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

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    (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    If your dad has a smartphone, you’ll know the quirks of ‘dad texting’.

    Many people acknowledge that their dads aren’t the greatest text conversationalists.

    Despite the wealth of chatting opportunity on messaging apps, such as voice notes, picture messaging, GIFs, and emoji, a lot of dads seem to stick to one-word replies. Or they send messages and updates about completely random things, usually out of context, or take forever to reply.

    The savvier among them might send memes. But you probably already saw that meme three years ago.

    There are some quirks that are just so dad, like one father who insists on always sending kisses in a particular format i.e XX XXX, the one who always refers to his daughter as Darling D, and another who can’t help but add an ellipsis after almost every sentence.

    Not to paint all dads with the same brush – we’re sure there are some dads out there who are texting geniuses – but our dear old dads really do have some strange texting habits that feel unique to fatherkind.

    We spoke to a dad, a daughter, and a parenting expert to explore why dads have such a way with text messaging.

    Dad-of-three Adrian Ballard, from Basingstoke, is 63 years old and doesn’t exactly love texting.

    He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I am reasonably au fait with modern technology and social media, but far from proficient.

    ‘To be honest, I hate texting. That said, that’s largely due to my physical and mental health problems which make it difficult for me.

    ‘Some of my gripes with texting include punctuation, or rather, the lack thereof, speed texting… I often receive three or four texts in the time it takes me to respond to the first, so I get frustrated and sometimes cut short the conversation.

    ‘Some people need to have their mobile phone constantly with them and switched on, even during social occasions or out for a meal. I feel this is rude and unsocial.

    ‘I don’t like the constant interruptions during face to face meetings.’

    Though texting isn’t his preferred method of communication, Adrian does see its benefits.

    ‘Given a choice, I would always prefer face to face or telephone conversations,’ he says. ‘However, I also like the ease of contact that texting provides and it is a valuable tool in maintaining a relationship with my daughter who currently lives in Australia and who intends continuing to travel for the foreseeable future.’

    Imtisal, whose dad either replies ‘ok’ or ignores her texts, told Metro.co.uk that she doesn’t mind her dad’s texting incompetence.

    ‘I personally don’t think our dads’ methods of communications are bad just because it’s not how we younger generations normally text or talk.

    ‘I actually think it’s pretty funny and I know that they don’t do it on purpose, at least in my situation.

    ‘My dad frequently uses internet slang and memes when he talks to both my little sister and I and it’s honestly just really funny to see him using them.

    ‘Knowing that he understands some of the things we find amusing is something I’m thankful for because it shows that he still has a sense of humour no matter how much older he gets.’

    For most dads, the struggle of texting comes down to a generational difference.

    Us millennials were raised immersed in the world of digital communication, while our dads have had to adjust to a new way of talking with their children.

    Just as they’re unlikely to know the latest slang spread on the playground, it’s hard for dads to have the same communication style and tone as their children if they’re not occupying the same physical or online space.

    It’s only natural to have a touch of culture clash when you’re far apart in age, and for dads and their offspring, this often comes to play when texting.

    Joshua David Stein, editor of parenting website Fatherly, thinks virtual communication is important no matter how much effort is put in.

    ‘For a child, a dad’s grasp of emoji and internet slang matters profoundly less than the fact that he is trying to reach out to his kid on his kid’s level,’ he says.

    ‘Actually, the worse you are as a dad in the world of LOL, IRL and LMFAO, the more fodder you provide for anecdotes by your kid about how adorable you are.’

    While your dad might not have nimble fingers or a grasp of texting tone, at least he’s giving you plenty of material to tweet about, to tell your friends, and maybe even your children one day.

    And remember, mums aren’t much better either:

    MORE: Dads with preteen daughters are less likely to be sexist, study says

    MORE: Dads campaign for baby changing tables in men’s toilets

    MORE: 5 things new dads automatically get used to, from projectile pooping to sleepless nights


    PHONE_DADTXT02-9391PHONE_DADTXT02-9391

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    Earlier this week we did a deep dive into whether or not you should be washing chicken.

    The conclusion was no.

    Possibly more surprising than the idea that you shouldn’t wash chicken is the suggestion that you shouldn’t wash salad.

    Most of us give a bagged salad a quick rinse under the tap before we eat it to get rid of pesticides or lingering bugs. But according to new research, washing your salad might be making you more likely to get ill, not less.

    The warning comes from the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, the research arm of the Italian National Health Service.

    Lead author Dr Elisabetta Delibato deliberately spiked lettuce with both salmonella and Yersinia enterocolitica – a bacteria that attacks the gut and can cause sepsis.

    The lettuce was then kept in a fridge at 4ºc for a week and washed in tap water and also water containing chlorine.

    Dr Delibato found the washing does nothing to eradicate the bugs.

    She said: ‘The recent knowledge about vegetables, as a vehicle of foodborne illnesses, has led to increase the research on the persistence of different pathogenic microorganisms on leafy green vegetables.

    ‘In this work we have demonstrated that salmonella and Y. enterocolitica could survive in fresh produce for all their shelf life without any substantial reduction of their microbial loads.

    Explaining how washing lettuce could actually make things even worse, she adds: ‘Washing has been identified as a potential pathway for dispersion of microorganisms from one site to another. removing the bacteria from initially localised contaminated parts and spread them to the rest of non- contaminated leafy green vegetables.’

    So rather than getting your salad clean, washing it might actually just be marinating it in the bacteria.

    However, as there is currently no safer way to wash salad in a domestic kitchen, according to the research all you can do is give your salad and extremely thorough wash, not just a quick rinse under the tap.

    Remember, your body is equipped to handle lots of bacteria, and millions of bacteria live very happily in your gut, helping to keep you healthy. So ingesting some bacteria in your salad isn’t always a bad thing.

    But if you’re really worried and want to play things safe, we haven’t seen any suggestions of bacteria in biscuits.

    MORE: Beauty product-filled Easter eggs are a thing now

    MORE: Woman discovers horrifying amount of mouldy food trapped under kitchen plug hole


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

    It is common knowledge that our emotions and our stomachs are intricately linked.

    When we are nervous or stressed our tummies churn, we get butterflies, we need to run to the loo more often.

    But if you have a long-term or chronic mental illness, like anxiety or depression – the impact this can have on your appetite and nutrition can be significant.

    I know my anxiety is peaking when my ability to eat healthily goes out the window.

    Out of nowhere I will start craving exclusively beige, processed food – carbs, sugar and cheese become the staples of every meal. The thought of a piece of broccoli is suddenly repulsive.

    It’s weird because I am normally pretty conscious about my diet and eat mostly healthy meals.

    Anxiety appears to rob me of my ability to make healthy decisions for my body. It seems to stem from a combination of looking for comfort and an overwhelming need for simplicity – bland, stodgy food seems to be the only thing my brain can compute.

    I knew I couldn’t be alone in experiencing this, so I spoke to other people who have bouts of anxiety or depression to find out how it affects their eating habits.

    how to fuel your body for an ultra marathon
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Jess* finds that anxiety makes eating really difficult for her – particularly when she’s busy and stressed at work.

    ‘I would buy food and try to eat, but find that I physically can’t take more than two bites,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Especially at the tail-end of last year when it was at its worst – it was coupled with depression – I went days without eating, but not on purpose – I absolutely love food.

    ‘I’m aware of how much weight I’ve lost since, so this year I’ve made an active decision to join the gym for weight training. I’m now trying to maintain my weight after gaining a few lbs back.

    ‘Training has made me more aware of my diet, so it has improved. There are days – usually at work – where my anxiety comes into play still and I don’t eat, but I try to make up for it on other days and at the weekends.’

    Charley has a similar experience. Anxiety makes her desire for food disappear almost completely.

    ‘When I’m feeling anxious, my appetite is one of the first things to go,’ Charley explains.

    ‘I think it is a combination of my body going into “survival mode”, and my mind telling me in that moment that I have bigger things to worry about than eating. It’s not nice.

    ‘It was only after taking part in therapy that I learned to see this dip or complete loss of appetite as an anxiety trigger, and I now do my best to eat regardless, but it can still be very difficult at times.’

    How our appetites are affected seems to vary from person to person. Soma said; ‘I eat more when I’m anxious,’ with Amy adding, ‘with depression I overeat and just want fat and carbs.’

    So what exactly is going on here? Why is mental illness having such a significant and wide-ranging effect on our ability to eat healthily?

    When we’re depressed or anxious, it is even more important for us to look after our bodies from the inside out – so why can’t we do this?

    Nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr says the reason behind this puzzling behaviour is purely scientific.

    ‘We have this fantastic connection that runs between our digestive systems and our brains, which is why our gut has now been nicknamed our “second brain”,’ Clarissa tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘The two systems are connected by the vagus nerve, one of our 12 cranial nerves, that allows signals to flow back and forth between the two systems.

    ‘This communication highway between the two means that when our mental health is compromised, the gut is one of the first things that can feel the repercussions.

    ‘Often those who have anxiety or depression can develop IBS-like symptoms thanks to this link.

    ‘For some, when they are anxious or depressed, they can find they lose their appetite or reach for “safe” and “comforting” foods. This can impact our dietary intake of essential nutrients and vitamins.’

    Nutrition advice with mental illness

    Focus on breakfast. We can make or break our energy, and therefore our mood, with breakfast. It also happens to be one of the easiest meals for us to prep and make ahead of time.

    Think a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, veggies/ fruit and some good quality fats.

    Eat foods that are easy to digest. If you suffer with digestive issues when you are anxious, reach for something that is simple for your body to process and also good for you gut.

    Think of live probiotic rich yogurt, kefir or a smoothie packed full of nutrients.

    Consume foods that offer slow-release and consistent energy. Think complex carbohydrates and fibre rich foods. Rye and wholemeal flours, brown rice, quinoa, starchy root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips.

    Make sure you get adequate protein. We need our essential amino acids from protein to help create neurotransmitters that are vital for our cognitive and hormonal functions.

    Protein sources include things like eggs, poultry, red meat, tofu, yogurt, nuts and seeds.

    Fats are vital for brain health and hormone creation. Make sure you are reaching for good quality fats such as monounsaturated fats from nuts and seeds and olive oil.

    Also ensure you are consuming oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring) three times a week (or vegan sources from chia, flax and walnuts).

    Clarissa Lenherr, nutritionist

    Clarissa says it is really important for people to be aware when their normal appetite is out of whack, and take proactive steps to tackle the problem. If you don’t, it can lead to additional health problems and even prolong your episode of anxiety or depression.

    ‘If we lose our appetite, we may find that we do not consume enough energy from food as well as vitamins and nutrients. This can further impact our mental health stability,’ explains Clarissa.

    ‘When we are low in energy from a lack of food, this can cause our moods to fluctuate. Low blood sugar, or blood sugar fluctuations can directly impact our mood and cognitive function.

    ‘Additionally, if we are low in certain amino acids that come from protein sources, this can impact our levels of serotonin creation, which is one of our “happy hormones”.

    ‘Many of the foods that people reach to as comfort foods tend to be high in sugars, low-quality fats and fast-acting carbohydrates. Frequent consumption of these types of foods can lead to inflammation, weight gain and increase your risk of other health concerns.

    ‘This then leads to a cycle, whereby systemic inflammation, weight gain and other chronic health issues can exacerbate pre-existing mental health concerns, or increase the likelihood of their development.’

    But simply telling someone to think about their nutrition when they’re in the grips of a depressive hole or spiralling with anxiety, isn’t exactly helpful.

    The reason your diet goes out the window during these times is because everything feels overhwhelming – the thought of making yourself three balanced, healthy meals every day can feel like an insurmountable challenge.

    We asked psychology expert Natasha Bray for practical tips that someone struggling with their mental health might actually be able to follow.

    ‘Your appetite may be suppressed, but try to still aim for three small meals through the day, or eat a small snack – some fruit and nuts, even if you’re not feeling physically hungry,’ suggests Natasha.

    ‘If your motivation is too low to make food for yourself, keep things simple – porridge with milk, blueberries and honey, or having ready-made, fresh soup in the fridge can be a life-saver.

    ‘On better days, cook batch meals or homemade soup and freeze portions for days when you are struggling more.

    ‘Consider having some freshly made meals delivered from a food prep company, or a food box delivered with all the ingredients inside, so it’s all there and ready to make.

    ‘Another good idea is to arrange a meal out with family or your friends – it’s really important not to isolate yourself completely. A meal out provides you with nourishment and company.’

    Need support? Contact the Samaritans

    For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

    MORE: Working class, black men are being forgotten in the conversation about mental health

    MORE: I had difficulty describing my mental health symptoms and it led to the wrong diagnosis

    MORE: Photographer’s Devastation Portraits capture just how overwhelming anxiety and depression can be


    why are we allowing so many women to suffer from chronic bloating?why are we allowing so many women to suffer from chronic bloating?

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    After months of ‘horrific’ seizures and hair loss, Caitlin is working as a model (Picture: Brett Watson/@brettphotography37)

    Caitlin Leigh was plaiting her long brown hair when she noticed a chunk of strands fall into her hand.

    Over the course of a few hours she had a 10p sized patch of hair missing. As the days went on that patch grew, Caitlin’s hair tangled, and the matted hair would come away in her hands.

    ‘It was a difficult time as I had no idea why it was happening,’ Caitlin tells Metro.co.uk. ‘I found myself getting increasingly agitated at the sight of my hair falling out.’

    Caitlin was diagnosed with alopecia areata, but doctors couldn’t predict how much more hair Caitlin would lose.

    ‘I would absolutely dread washing my hair,’ she says. ‘The aftermath was just horrific.’

    One week later, Caitlin had her first seizure.

    Caitlin before her hair loss (Picture: Picture: Caitlin Leigh)

    Feeling stressed about trying to hide her hair loss at a friend’s birthday party, Caitlin’s entire body began to shake and she quickly lost consciousness. She was taken to hospital, where, in the space of six hours she had eight more seizures, with no memory of each one.

    For the next 11 days Caitlin continued to have seizures, eventually having 20 seizures in a day – all while her hair was falling out.

    Caitlin was confused, scared, and feeling entirely disconnected from her own body.

    Soon Caitlin began to lose eyelashes, her eyebrows, and nose hairs.

    In the space of a day she had lost massive chunks of hair (Picture: Caitlin Leigh)

    She decided to take control by shaving her hair. The decision was scary for someone who, like so many of us, had grown up in a culture that said long, flowing hair was feminine and beautiful.

    But with the buzzcut came an unexpected heaping of confidence.

    Shortly after going for the chop Caitlin had a fall following a seizure, which finally led to her diagnosis: non-epileptic seizures, which are triggered by Caitlin’s brain feeling overloaded.

    (Picture: BrianRolfephoto)

    ‘Although it is thought stress plays an important part in these attacks, people can have these seizures at times when they do not feel particularly stressed,’ Caitlin explains.

    ‘I certainly don’t always feel stressed, in fact I can be having a really lovely fun filled day. Yet my seizures will continue to happen.

    ‘Non-epileptic seizurse are definitely a rollercoaster to deal with and I’m extremely physically and mentally drained by them but I am determined to battle with them and one day win!’

    Then came a diagnosis of adenomyosis, a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus, causing chronic pain.

    Rather than letting a nightmare few months drag her into despair, Caitlin decided to face her challenges head on.

    (Picture: Esther Leigh/@ohana_days)

    She decided to embrace her newly shaved head, to love her body despite its failings, and to inspire other people to accept and cherish what makes them different. When she was told she would need to use a wheelchair, she decided to be proud of that too.

    Caitlin was scouted by Zebedee Management, who thought she’d be perfect to do some modelling work. She said yes as a way to further raise awareness of alopecia and dissociative seizures, and to show that ‘fashion can be worn and enjoyed by everyone’.

    Soon she landed campaigns with Primark and Tu.

    (Picture: BrianRolfephoto)

    ‘It’s important that more diversity is seen within the fashion industry and advertisement in general as that shows people that nothing should hold you back,’ Caitlin tells us.

    ‘Since losing my hair I struggled to know what style of clothes would suit me because I didn’t see many models that had short hair that I could look to for inspiration.

    ‘It’s also super hard to shop for clothes now I’m in a wheelchair as again it’s hard to know what styles will work.’

    (Picture: BrianRolfephoto)

    Working as a model has helped Caitlin fall back in love with her body and given her a purpose.

    Alongside appearing in campaigns she shares her experiences on Instagram and through her blog to provide support to anyone else struggling with illness, disability, or body image issues.

    ‘Since becoming a wheelchair user, my body has changed a lot,’ Caitlin says. ‘I have definitely struggled with my body image but over time I am slowly learning to love myself a little more. It just takes time.

    ‘Showing more diversity within these campaigns will help other people to have some style inspiration and to see that fashion is for everyone.’

    MORE: Women with alopecia pose in stunning photo series to show that bald is beautiful

    MORE: Disabled woman with brittle bone disease risks her life by doing aerial silks

    MORE: Do not dehumanise me. I am a disabled person and I’m not here to be your fetish


    Zebedee Feb 2019 Day 2 0232-70a3Zebedee Feb 2019 Day 2 0232-70a3

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    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    A new mum who couldn’t wait to meet her baby has spoken with heartbreaking honesty about her postnatal depression, which, at its worse, made her hope her baby would stop breathing in his sleep.

    Tahnee Knowles, 27, became pregnant with her first child in early 2017, and was so excited she planned her own at-home water birth.

    But she says she was robbed of the ‘magical moment’ she had imagined, as a complication saw her being admitted to St Mary’s Hospital in Newport, near her home on the Isle of Wight, for a caesarean section.

    As a result Tahnee felt ‘no connection’ when she first held her newborn son, Gus, and went on to silently battle postnatal depression for weeks before telling her husband. She remained too afraid to seek help for seven months.

    Much stronger and now calling Gus, 17 months, her ‘best friend,’ she said: ‘There are so many societal norms around how you should act when you first become a mum, that I felt under pressure to put on a brave face.

    ‘I felt almost angry with my husband for being so besotted with Gus. I didn’t understand why I was the only one to feel the way I did.

    ‘At first, I wondered if I just had the baby blues – then one night, I was watching him sleep, and suddenly realised I was unsure if he was breathing. A thought flashed across my mind, that I almost hoped he wasn’t, as that way, things would go back to the way they’d been before I had him.

    Tahnee, Bernardo and Gus (PA Real Life/Collect)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘I knew then that something far more severe than baby blues was going on.’

    Physically, Tahnee, who is speaking out to encourage other women with postnatal depression to seek help, had a text book pregnancy and was even able to exercise all the way through.

    Mentally, though, she found herself on an emotional rollercoaster, which she put down to hormones. But she soldiered on – making plans to have a water birth at home, rather than in hospital.

    In November 2017, at 39 weeks, she was pottering around at home when she noticed a wet patch on her jeans.

    She recalled: ‘I thought it could be my waters breaking, but it was hardly any liquid, so I wasn’t sure.

    ‘I called the midwife who came out right away. She tested the fluid and confirmed it was amniotic. She then said that if I hadn’t gone into labour within 24 hours to get to hospital.

    ‘I struggled to sleep that night. I tried to stay relaxed, but every movement I felt was so exciting.’

    The next day, with no signs of labour showing, Tahnee was strongly advised to go to hospital.

    She added: ‘I asked the midwife if I’d be able to come back home again, to have the birth I’d planned if I started to progress.

    Tahnee toward the end of her pregnancy (PA Real Life/Collect)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘She advised I bring a bag, as it was likely I’d need to stay in hospital – and that’s when I knew it wouldn’t be going to plan.

    ‘At hospital, I was checked over and doctors said they would induce me. That’s when a cloud just came over me. I felt silly, but I was getting really upset.

    ‘The birth of your first baby is such a huge thing, and none of it was going how I’d dreamed.’

    While she was disappointed, Tahnee knew that the most important thing was for Gus to arrive safely, so she agreed to be induced and stay at St Mary’s.

    For hours, despite also being given syntocinon – a synthetic hormone used to bring on contractions – she did not start to dilate.

    On 23 November, a day after being admitted to hospital, a caesarean was mentioned for the first time. A natural birth at this point would very likely have involved the use of forceps or ventouse, which neither Tahnee or Bernardo wanted.

    Tahnee recalled: ‘A new consultant came on shift and he was just amazing. He sat down beside me on the bed and said how sorry he was that the birth plan I’d worked so meticulously on wasn’t going to happen.

    ‘It meant so much to hear someone acknowledge that, to me, this birth wasn’t just a medical thing, it was hugely emotional.

    ‘He explained that we could do a caesarean and still keep some of the things I’d wanted, like dim lights and music.

    ‘I could meet my baby within the hour and he could be born into a calm, relaxed environment, rather than me keep waiting for something to happen naturally and exhaust myself.’

    At 10am on 23 November little Gus arrived via caesarean section – but as soon as Tahnee held him, she could tell something was wrong.

    She continued: ‘I’d asked for immediate skin to skin contact, but as Gus was passed on to me, I felt no connection. It was like he was an alien. He could have been anybody’s baby.

    Tahnee with Gus when he was three days old (PA Real Life/Collect)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘Everyone around me was cooing and I felt mounting pressure to react in a certain way, so I put on this façade, but inwardly, I just didn’t want to hold him.’

    The following day, Tahnee was discharged – but said that, for a good 72 hours, she did not want to be around her newborn baby.

    As the weeks passed, her mood did not lift and she soon realised it was more than just baby blues.

    She explained: ‘I felt as if I had to trick people into thinking I was fine, but deep down, I worried I’d made a huge mistake.

    ‘When Gus was around two weeks old, I had a moment of real connection with him. He looked up at me one day and I just thought, “Oh my god I do love you.” I cried out of pure relief and felt on top of the world.

    ‘After that, my bond with Gus continued to grow, but those feelings of self doubt about by new role as a mum soon came back.

    ‘It continued like that for months. I loved Gus but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a mum. I didn’t relate to this new person I’d become.

    ‘I didn’t dare speak up though, as I felt frightened people would think I was a bad mother. I was struggling to connect with him. For the first few weeks, I didn’t even tell Bernardo, as I was scared of coming under scrutiny.’

    Seven months after Gus was born, Tahnee had a lightbulb moment when a friend asked her a question nobody else had – ‘how are you doing mentally?’

    Tahnee broke down and talked about how much she had been struggling. This was a huge relief and gave her the courage to finally seek help.

    She said: ‘I never had antidepressants, as I only spoke out once I was coming out the other side of things, but I would encourage others to get help as soon as they can.

    ‘If this happened to me again, I’d explore avenues like CBT and therapy. It’s such a huge help to talk these things out and get them off our chests.’

    Now, keen to use what she has been through to help others, Tahnee has launched her own pregnancy wellness retreats called Bump and Mind.

    She has also trained as a hypnobirthing teacher and passes on techniques to her clients, as well as providing them with guided meditation materials to use after they have given birth.

    She said: ‘I know how important it is to go into giving birth relaxed, so my retreats are very focused on mindfulness and meditation. They aren’t just for mums – dads are welcome too, and they can be great for really bonding a couple.

    ‘I can also speak about all the ‘what ifs,’ as birth doesn’t always go to plan.

    ‘Now, I haven’t suffered in a long time. Gus is my best friend and he’s a dream, but I don’t feel guilty for struggling, which I think is really important.

    ‘I want to break the taboo around postnatal depression and show others that they aren’t bad people for needing help.’

    MORE: Working class, black men are being forgotten in the conversation about mental health

    MORE: I had difficulty describing my mental health symptoms and it led to the wrong diagnosis


    Tahnee KnowlesTahnee Knowles

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    (Picture: Getty)

    A man has divided opinion online after asking whether it was fair of him to expect his girlfriend to buy condoms, considering they were costing him ‘a fortune’.

    Taking to Reddit, he explained that there was a recent sale on condoms and he suggested to his girlfriend that it was her turn to buy some, as she isn’t on the pill, and won’t take other forms of contraception due to their hormonal effects.

    He said: ‘I began thinking that over a few years I could end up spending quite a lot buying condoms and I think it’s fair that she should chip in now and then.’

    His girlfriend said it was his responsibility to buy condoms, and wouldn’t want to because of the embarrassment of taking condoms up to the till. She added that her buying razors is the ‘female equivalent’ of condoms as she uses them before sex.

    He continued: ‘I argued that she would shave regardless if we were together – going to the gym, going out etc.’

    ‘I appreciate you can get free condoms but personally I get little enjoyment out of those as the quality sucks and my gf even notices.’

    Since the the story was posted, people have been divided over who was in the right.

    Some people say it is the boyfriend’s responsibility. One person wrote: ‘You should just suck it up and pay for them. It’s already expensive enough being a woman. Everything marketed for women, from tampons to clothing to salon services are expensive. Dudes get off easy. Buying your own condoms is a cheap expense for a high reward/value.’

    Someone said the girlfriend should start paying, writing: ‘My boyfriend and I only use condoms as well and we take turns in buying them. Never has it ever crossed my mind that I couldn’t buy them for some sort of stigma. Wtf is that even supposed to mean?’

    It’s clear that some people aren’t sure who’s responsibility it is to buy condoms. So let’s discuss it.

    When you are using condoms to have sex, you are taking shared responsibility to protect yourself against both unwanted pregnancy and STDs.

    metro illustrations
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    It is up to both of you to ensure you are protected, and so both partners should contribute towards any cost. This includes contraceptive pills, if they are not free on the NHS.

    Condoms can add up – especially if you like the fancier versions – and it seems only fair that you both chip in given you are both having consensual, enjoyable sex.

    There’s a simple solution to someone refusing to step up and contribute to contraception: if they won’t provide contraception, they don’t get to have sex. Easy.

    If the money really is an issue, there are free condoms from NHS sexual health clinics available.

    As always, the best shout is open communication, with both partners discussing contraception and finding a solution that makes them happy.

    Who wants to have sex when there’s lingering tension over someone not taking their turn to pick up a pack?

    If you feel embarrassed about buying condoms, you’re not alone. But it’s important we all take steps to get away from that shame.

    Adults have sex. Condoms help prevent the spread of STDs and pregnancy. Buying condoms is a normal, responsible thing to do and you should be proud of yourself for buying them, never ashamed.

    Remember that anyone working the tills has seen hundreds of people buying condoms – it’s not a rarity and genuinely, they won’t bat an eyelid.

    MORE: What men and women lie about when it comes to sex

    MORE: Serial sperm donor says he only has sex to get women pregnant


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    (Picture: Getty)

    Spill it is the series where we get people to anonymously tell us about their drinking habits.

    We’re talking to men and women from all over the UK – unless anyone volunteers from abroad in which case we’re going international – about how much they really drink.

    Not how much they tell their doctor they drink, or a rough guesstimate, but the unvarnished boozy truth.

    This week we’re hearing from Martin (not his real name) who is a 37-year-old financier who lives in Surrey.

    Friday 

    We’ve had a good week so we all go down to a bar when we finish work (I’m based in Canary Warf). I have two beers and then realise that I’m later than I think I am to leave. I text my wife to say that the trains are a mess and hope she doesn’t check.

    Seeing as I’m late I have another beer before I go home. Then I drink a can of beer on the train home from Waterloo to Surrey, which takes less than an hour.

    Saturday 

    I wake up at a decent time to go for a run. My wife lets the kids watch their iPads in bed on the weekend mornings which keeps them quiet. I come back from the run, have a shower and then put on some laundry.

    We have lunch at a pub with my wife’s family. It was her idea, so she drives. I have two beers at lunch.

    We get home around four at which point the kids are respectively knackered and hyper. Knackered one throws and tantrum, hyper one starts screaming for the iPad.

    I offer to make dinner while my wife sorts them out. We share a bottle of red after they go down.

    Sunday 

    I take the kids swimming while my wife has a lie in. When I get home I realise she got out of bed and did a load of house work while I had the kids, which isn’t really the idea.

    We take the kids out to lunch at a local pizza place, one of them screams the whole time. I have two beers and my wife offers to drive.

    Once we’re home the kids chill out a bit and even play together. I suggest we go upstairs for sex but wife doesn’t seem keen.

    I make dinner (Thai Green curry) and have a couple more beers.

    Monday

    Quite relieved to be going back to work to be honest.

    Have a beer on the train home. Wife asks if I drank when I get home and I say no. Can’t face the argument.

    Tuesday

    Successful day’s work, and I think a girl from my team is flirting with me. She’s much younger.

    I go to the gym after work and get home late, kids are already in bed. No alcoholic drinks.

    Wednesday

    My team are going to a pub quiz. They all live in London and don’t have kids, sometimes I feel jealous of them.

    I go to the pub quiz. My wife isn’t keen, but she doesn’t say no. It’s half term and she’s been home with the kids all day (she’s a teacher).

    I drink three or four pints, and we win a round of shots, so have a tequila as well.

    Thursday

    Late for work after a manic morning with the kids and stay stressed all day.

    I wanted to leave on time to give my wife a break but have to finish what I’m working on so am home after half seven. I have a beer on the train to try to relax.

    My wife smells the beer on me and is annoyed. We don’t talk much.

    Friday 

    I’m working a half day because we’re going away to my parents for the weekend. In early, on top of everything, home by early afternoon and packing up the car.

    My parents live a couple of hour away and when we get there the kids can run around. Wife and I talk about moving further out, which we’ll never do but it’s a nice idea.

    We have a few bottles of wine between the four of us.

    Units this week: 35.5 units 

    Units recommended by the NHS: 14

    MORE: Spill it: how much a 30-year-old media exec drinks in a week

    MORE: Spill it: How much a 27-year-old journalist drinks in a week


    Spill it, 37 year old financer from SurreySpill it, 37 year old financer from Surrey

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    Japanese women seen holding replicas of phalluses during the festival. Honen festival is a traditional famous festival in Tagata Jinja Shrine, komaki, Aichi prefecture, Japan. The festival is held every March 15, and in it, a newly carved phallus from Japanese cypress, more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried by a parade of men of an "unlucky age" and offered to the shrine with prayers for a good harvest, flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. (Photo by Takahiro Yoshida / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
    Every year on 15 March, people flock to Komaki to celebrate the penis (Picture: SIPA USA/PA Images)

    Erect your carefully crafted signs and erupt with all-consuming joy, for it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

    Yes, friends, once again it is time to celebrate the wonders of the penis.

    Every year in March, residents and visitors of the Aichi Prefecture in Japan flock to Komaki, north of Nagoya, to celebrate the phallus, all as part of the Penis Festival – also known as Honen-sai.

    Why? Well, to wish fertility to loved ones, obviously, by throwing a massive festival packed with all manner of penis-like objects.

    Think dick statues, cream-filled cakes shaped like members, throbbing monsters paraded through the streets.

    Visitors can pray to the many structures in hopes of having a child, meeting someone lovely, or having a bountiful harvest. It’s all about fertility, with the penis as a symbol of that.

    The festival begins each year on 15 March at Tagata shrine, where priests have salted the road to purify the path for those carrying large penises.

    SIPA USA via PA Images Japanese men seen carrying a replica of a phallus during the festival. Honen festival is a traditional famous festival in Tagata Jinja Shrine, komaki, Aichi prefecture, Japan. The festival is held every March 15, and in it, a newly carved phallus from Japanese cypress, more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried by a parade of men of an "unlucky age" and offered to the shrine with prayers for a good harvest, flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. (Photo by Takahiro Yoshida / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
    The Honen festival is a chance for people to wish for fertility (Picture: SIPA USA)

    Then, the largest wooden penis, crafted each year from Japanese cypress, is carried by a group of men. This can be incredibly hefty, weighing upwards of 400kg and with a circumference of more than 100cm, and is the one to which most tributes and prayers are paid.

    Lucky guests are able to give the wooden penis a kiss on the tip.

    Once that bit’s done, it’s time for the parade, featuring more penis tributes, followed by a street party with snacks, sake, and souvenirs.

    Yes, the food is indeed all penis shaped, as are all the souvenirs. Do enjoy tucking into a chocolate dipped banana, uncircumcised hot dogs, and artfully designed pancakes.

    Do we wish we could be there? Absolutely, yes. But sadly, plane tickets to Japan are pricey. So instead let us look at the glorious photos of this year’s proceedings, carve some food into a phallic shape, and pretend we’re part of the fun.

    A replicas of a phallus seen during the festival. Honen festival is a traditional famous festival in Tagata Jinja Shrine, komaki, Aichi prefecture, Japan. The festival is held every March 15, and in it, a newly carved phallus from Japanese cypress, more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried by a parade of men of an "unlucky age" and offered to the shrine with prayers for a good harvest, flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. (Photo by Takahiro Yoshida / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
    Each year a new wooden penis is carved and carried through the streets (Picture: SIPA USA)
    A man seen posing with a phallus during the festival. Honen festival is a traditional famous festival in Tagata Jinja Shrine, komaki, Aichi prefecture, Japan. The festival is held every March 15, and in it, a newly carved phallus from Japanese cypress, more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried by a parade of men of an "unlucky age" and offered to the shrine with prayers for a good harvest, flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. (Photo by Takahiro Yoshida / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
    Guests are welcome to bring along their own phallic creations (Picture: SIPA USA/PA Images)
    A Japanese woman seen holding a replica of a phallus during the festival. Honen festival is a traditional famous festival in Tagata Jinja Shrine, komaki, Aichi prefecture, Japan. The festival is held every March 15, and in it, a newly carved phallus from Japanese cypress, more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried by a parade of men of an "unlucky age" and offered to the shrine with prayers for a good harvest, flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. (Photo by Takahiro Yoshida / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
    People will pay tribute to the statues to wish for fertility (Picture: SIPA USA)
    SIPA USA via PA Images Replica bananas of a phallus seen sold at stalls during the festival. Honen festival is a traditional famous festival in Tagata Jinja Shrine, komaki, Aichi prefecture, Japan. The festival is held every March 15, and in it, a newly carved phallus from Japanese cypress, more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried by a parade of men of an "unlucky age" and offered to the shrine with prayers for a good harvest, flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. (Photo by Takahiro Yoshida / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
    Chocolate dipped bananas are a popular snack (Picture: SIPA USA)
    SIPA USA via PA Images Replica sausages of a phallus seen sold at stalls during the festival. Honen festival is a traditional famous festival in Tagata Jinja Shrine, komaki, Aichi prefecture, Japan. The festival is held every March 15, and in it, a newly carved phallus from Japanese cypress, more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried by a parade of men of an "unlucky age" and offered to the shrine with prayers for a good harvest, flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. (Photo by Takahiro Yoshida / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
    As are hot dogs, for obvious reasons (Picture: SIPA USA/PA Images)
    Replica pancakes of a phallus seen sold at stalls during the festival. Honen festival is a traditional famous festival in Tagata Jinja Shrine, komaki, Aichi prefecture, Japan. The festival is held every March 15, and in it, a newly carved phallus from Japanese cypress, more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried by a parade of men of an "unlucky age" and offered to the shrine with prayers for a good harvest, flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. (Photo by Takahiro Yoshida / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
    Fancy it? (Picture: SIPA USA/PA Images)

    MORE: Who should be buying the condoms in your relationship?

    MORE: You can send a chocolate penis to friends because why not

    MORE: The Penis Gallery: New penis exhibition celebrates diversity with willies of all shapes and sizes


    SIPA USA via PA Images Replica bananas of a phallus seen sold at stalls during the festival. Honen festival is a traditional famous festival in Tagata Jinja Shrine, komaki, Aichi prefecture, Japan. The festival is held every March 15, and in it, a newly carved phallus from Japanese cypress, more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried by a parade of men of an \"unlucky age\" and offered to the shrine with prayers for a good harvest, flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. (Photo by Takahiro Yoshida / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)SIPA USA via PA Images Replica bananas of a phallus seen sold at stalls during the festival. Honen festival is a traditional famous festival in Tagata Jinja Shrine, komaki, Aichi prefecture, Japan. The festival is held every March 15, and in it, a newly carved phallus from Japanese cypress, more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried by a parade of men of an \"unlucky age\" and offered to the shrine with prayers for a good harvest, flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. (Photo by Takahiro Yoshida / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

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    Baby crying in crib due to sleep regression
    (Picture: Getty)

    Getting a baby to sleep through the night is an art in itself, and that feeling when you get a full forty winks is unmatched.

    Sometimes, however, you think you’ve got the formula just right, but things slide back to where you need eight coffees a day just to get through after sleepless nights.

    This is often known as sleep regression, and is a perfectly normal part of being a parent (even if it feels tough at the time).

    There are plenty of ways to help your baby through these times, and get back to a place where they’re sleeping soundly – the important thing is not to worry too much and remember that this will likely be a short-lived thing.

    What is sleep regression?

    This term refers to any time a baby who’s previously been sleeping well starts to wake up more through the night or is harder to settle.

    Sometimes these regressions can last a few weeks, or sometimes they can just be a few days at a time.

    Although it’s called a regression, this doesn’t mean your baby will be like this forever, and is simply part of their development and totally temporary.

    How to help sleep regression

    Oftentimes, this occurs at key points of your baby’s development, with some anecdotal evidence showing it can be worst around milestones like learning to crawl.

    Experts also suggest it might be to do with the baby’s sleep cycle changing into a more adult one; moving into having deep and light sleep phases.

    One thing you can do from birth is try not to rock or nurse your baby to sleep, giving them a chance to learn how to fall asleep on their own. If you haven’t done this, not to worry, just try to reduce sleep props as much as possible.

    You may also want to change baby’s bedtime so it’s earlier, meaning they still get the same amount of sleep just over a longer period of time.

    It’s important not to rule out hunger when it comes to sleep regression, so if none of these techniques are working, try feeding them straight after waking and see if that helps at all.

    It’ll be your own sanity that’s tested at this point, so make sure you have some help from your partner, friends, or family. Sleep is vital – for you as well as baby – and things will be back to normal in no time.

    MORE: I won’t take the iPad off my toddler, it’s a great parenting tool

    MORE: Mum explains how postnatal depression left her hoping baby would die in his sleep

     


    Baby boy in crib cryingBaby boy in crib crying

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    red noses for red nose day
    Red noses are an iconic symbol of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day (Picture: Rex Features)

    On Comic Relief day, you generally can’t move for red noses.

    It’s the iconic symbol of the special charity night – a bright red ball squished onto someone’s nose in the name of raising cash for the good cause.

    But have you ever wondered why the Great British public don these funny little noses? Do they have a secret meaning?

    After all, we part with cash to get our hands on them every other year and they don’t exactly enhance our faces, so what’s the story?

    Why do we wear red noses on Comic Relief?

    The basic answer to this is because Comic Relief runs a charity night every other year called Red Nose Day.

    These red noses are therefore a symbol to celebrate this event. After all, if it’s called Red Nose Day we’re not going to wear blue ears, are we?

    The first red nose design came about in 1988 and it was a plain affair.

    Nowadays, the design is changed each year to encourage people to want to buy the different and up-to-date model.

    The reason it is a nose is all because of Comic Relief founders Sir Lenny Henry and Richard Curtis.

    Many years ago, Henry and Curtis were in a meeting discussing the concept of Comic Relief. They were on the hunt for a charity symbol that was bold and fun but also simple – and it had to be something you could wear.

    One person in the meeting joked, ‘what about a red nose!’ The rest is history.

    They are worn to raise awareness for the fundraising appeal and by making a small donation to the charity – £1.25 this year – you can own your very own nose.

    Are the Red Nose Day noses made from plastic?

    Yes, they are. However, with plastic no longer deemed a sustainable source, there are talks for the noses to be plastic-free from 2021.

    In February this year, one primary school announced they were banning the ‘single use’ plastic noses

    An open letter written to the BBC stated that the move was brought about by the outrage over plastic pollution in the seas, highlighted by the BBC Blue Planet programme.

    And it seems Comic Relief is taking note.

    According to iNews, an environmental group has revealed that Comic Relief bosses are hoping to produce a plastic-free nose for their next Red Nose Day, which is scheduled for 2021, with 2020’s event being Sport Relief.

    ‘The noses in the next iteration of Comic Relief will be plastic free, I understand,’ Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, told the publication.

    ‘All of those red noses are manufactured over a year in advance. We will be working with them [Comic Relief] on the next Red Nose Day.’

    red noses 2019 for red nose day

    While this has not been confirmed by Comic Relief itself, a statement from the charity stated they plan to explore their options.

    The statement read: ‘We recognise our responsibility to ensure all of our campaign products, which raise so much for good causes, are as environmentally friendly as possible.’

    How to get a red nose for Red Nose Day 2019

    If you want to help the cause, you can snap up a red nose and wear it with pride today.

    You won’t be able to order any online now, given today is Red Nose Day, but get yourself to your local high street stores, like Sainsbury’s, Oxfam and Argos, as they are selling the bright red fashion items.

    If you just desperately want a 2019 nose and don’t mind it being late, you can purchase up to 39 red noses at a time from the official Red Nose Day online shop for £1.25 each.

    There are eleven new Red Nose Day nose designs, including nine red noses, a rare green one, and an even more rare nose that you can turn upside down, to effectively enjoy two noses in one.

    Susanna Reid, Joanna Lumley and more wear Disney aprons for Comic Relief
    These cute Disney aprons are available too (Picture: Comic Relief/PA Wire)

    Red Noses aren’t the only way you can support Comic Relief by going shiopping.

    The folks at TK Maxx teamed up with Disney and Comic Relief to produce a whole bunch of lovely products, including Fairtrade t-shirts, pyjamas, tea towels and tote bags.

    TK Maxx promises that: ‘Money from every purchase will help children and vulnerable young people in the UK and around the world’.

    On top of that, the Red Nose Day website is offering the likes of aprons, badges, glasses and wristbands.

    Red Nose Day is today, Friday 15 March. The live TV broadcast will air on BBC One from 7pm.

    MORE: What time is the Four Weddings Comic Relief sequel on TV tonight?

    MORE: Louis Tomlinson ‘pulls out of Comic Relief performance’ following sister Félicité’s death at 18


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    Can you get pregnant from a toilet seat
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    It would be perfectly natural if you assumed that pelvic floor problems are exclusively the preserve of women who have given birth vaginally.

    Most of the time when we talk about issues with our pelvic floor it is in relation to women who have had children. However, women who have never given birth vaginally or even been pregnant are also able to to experience issues with their pelvic floor.

    We spoke to Dr Mayoni, a guest doctor and pelvic floor expert at Epilium & Skin.

    Can women who have not given birth have pelvic floor problems? 

    Yes! Anything that chronically puts pressure on the pelvic floor can cause problems.

    Being pregnant itself carries a risk even if a woman ends up delivering abdominally (via C Section). Other causes of pelvic floor issues can include surgeries such as hysterectomy,  chronic constipation, chronic cough (smoking), overweight, a lot of high impact exercise and extreme weight loss diets with low fat intake – which can affect the connective tissue.

    Also, conditions such as nerve disorders, post spinal surgery, diabetes, multiple sclerosis also can cause weakness

    Some people with chronic back pain, systemic conditions which affect connective tissue collagen like Ehlers Danlos may have pelvic floor issues.

    Menopause is also a major factor –  loss of oestrogen and progestogens will affect the elasticity of our muscles and connective tissu

    Do women with pelvic floor issues sometimes misunderstand their condition because they assume it’s only for women with kids?

    As a whole, pelvic floor health is poorly understood and promoted so even women who have had children don’t seem to understand the connection between symptoms and pelvic floor disorder.

    The same applies to women who have never had children – often say this to me ‘But I’ve never had children” – but they are marathon runners!!

    Can anything be done to help women with pelvic floor issues?

    Yes! There is a lot you can do.

    Firstly – ask for help! You should request a UroGynae or Colorectal referral.

    You may need some tests – pelvic floor ultrasound, urodynamics, anorectal physiology

    After that you might need a physiotherapy referral – pelvic floor exercises if appropriate.

    Other options would include a non-invasive procedures such as Viveve if appropriate (although the data has been carried out on women who have had at a least 1 vaginal delivery.)

    There are also surgical options, depending on the changes in anatomy.

    In conclusion, you should not assume that just because you are child free or have had children via C-section that your pelvic floor ‘must’ be normal.

    As ever, if you are suffering with sexual dysfunction or any kind of incontinence you should seek help from your GP. 

    MORE: Serial sperm donor says he only has sex to get women pregnant

    MORE: Sex tapes, blindfolds, and doing it in a car top people’s sexual bucket lists


    Can you get pregnant from a toilet seatCan you get pregnant from a toilet seat

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    After the gloom of winter, every aspect of our lives needs a little freshen up – especially our homes.

    So this spring, throw open your windows, let some fresh air in and breathe new life into your pad with a bit of home improvement.

    And in the spirit of change, B&Q are celebrating their 50th anniversary by launching an incredible competition to find the Home Improvement Rising Star of the Year. And the best bit? The winner will get a B&Q gift card worth a whopping £2,500 to bring their next home improvement dreams to life.

    To get you in the mood for making your house over, we have come up with some simple, affordable and sustainable ways to zhoosh up your indoors.

    From bedrooms to kitchens to a new colour scheme, spring is the perfect time for Home Improvement

    Likes

    No, we’re not talking about Instagram – although, B&Q’s Insta and Pinterest pages are packed with inspo for your interiors. We mean putting together a good ol’ fashioned list of how you want your room to look and make you feel. This will help you start envisioning the finished product as well as finding out what your priorities are – and that’s where B&Q come to the rescue, making home improvement simpler, affordable and accessible for everyone. A similar list of dislikes will help weed out what you definitely don’t want to hone down what you’re really after style-wise.

    Try ideas

    Before you are forced to live with something you regret, think about using samples and testers (GoodHome paint tester pots are just £1.30 at B&Q) to see your vision come to life. If there is furniture you’re keeping, it might help to see if colours or textures clash with these testers before wasting your precious time, money and energy. Testing it all out will also help you get your shopping list started and get things organised! The new GoodHome Paint Range, starting from £12 at B&Q, has special formulations that are perfectly designed for walls and ceilings, kitchens and bathrooms so you can try them all out before you commit to your new colour scheme. Unsure of what to opt for in 2019? This year sees a big rise in jewel combination colours; pairing toned down shades such as dark, dusky greens and darker teals will make your home feel opulent, rich and comforting – the GoodHome Walls & Ceilings Antibes Matt Emulsion Paint, £12 at B&Q is particularly relevant for bringing this style to life!

    Try out a new look with a tester for GoodHome Durable Antibes Matt Emulsion Paint, 50ml, £1.30 at B&Q

    Storage

    We all know that storage is vital. Can you ever have too much? Understanding how to make storage look effortless is the tough part as you have to incorporate it into the design seamlessly – or make a feature out of it. You have to ask yourself if you want your favourite items on display or would you prefer a minimalist vibe. Always try to avoid overloading your room with furniture and accessories because it will look cluttered and the space appear smaller. Do you really need the pasta containers on display? Will you promise to clean and wipe them down every week? Ask yourself the tough question so you can decide where to go next – there’s beyond loads of choice at B&Q so browse for your style and specifications here. Don’t know where to start when it comes to decluttering? B&Q have a straight forward guide to making the most of your space.

    Work it with wallpaper

    Superfresco Easy Sequoia Black Tree Mica Wallpaper – £16, B&Q

    Wallpaper can instantly add a pop of colour, a playful pattern and a bit of texture to your space. And you needn’t worry if you’re  still renting your home as many of B&Q’s great wallpaper styles come in Paste The Wall varieties. These types of wallpaper are simple to use and a doddle to remove as they can be lifted easily from walls without the need for steaming or soaking.

    Kitchen refresh

    We cook, clean, eat and party in the kitchen. It’s the heart of the home, and one of the rooms which suffer with wear and tear quicker than other places. You can give your kitchen a dramatic refresh in just a few hours. Switch the handles to something more contemporary for an immediate lift, or if you have wooden units, why not try a fresh new colour? The GoodHome Paint Range from B&Q includes renovation paint which is designed to be used on many different surfaces such as wood, melamine, plastic-coated cabinets and doors, metal and glass. If you’re renting and you’re grand kitchen plans are limited, you can give your cabinets a complete overhaul in moments with the D-C-Fix Wood effect White Self adhesive film, £6.50 for (L)2m (W)680mm from B&Q – which is easy to apply and remove. B&Q have tonnes of tips and hacks on how to cook up a home improvement project in your kitchen here.

    If you’re renting, give your cabinets a makeover with this clever D-C-Fix Wood effect White Self adhesive film from B&Q

    Finishing touches

    Don’t forget, flowers, lanterns, candles, cushions and pictures can really add an edge to your designs. A key trend at the minute is having plants EVERYWHERE around the house, whether you’re suspending them from the ceiling or having a statement plant in the corner, it really adds life to any room. Pick greenery – B&Q has an extensive and easily-affordable range – that suit the area you’re about to put them in (i.e moisture in a bathroom or kitchen for direct sunlight).

    Create a vibe

    You don’t need to knock down walls to change the look and feel of your home, whether it’s your name on the mortgage deed or if you’re renting. You can bring in just a few cheeky tricks to set the mood and it starts with lighting.

    Ditch your dusty old shades and replace with something with a little brutalist charm like this Baici Wire Black Pendant ceiling light, £40 at B&Q. Lamps are also a great addition to create warm, cosy vibes and add chic decoration or create a statement by illuminating parts of the room. Even just updating your switches can be inexpensive, but can tie in metallics if you fancy to create lavish and well thought out design. Candles and lanterns will create drama and add a decorative flair to any space.

    B&Q, Baici ceiling light
    Swap dusty shades for something more modern like the Baici Wire Black Pendant ceiling light, £40 at B&Q

    Texture

    Whether it’s your new curtains or blinds, adding texture to your room can be done through throws, rugs and cushions as well to transform your house into a home. Try different colours and material, to give your design another dimension. It doesn’t have to be just fabrics you’re looking for, introducing marble, stone and wood can give your room a lavish feel. Check here for all of B&Q’s advice for what soft furnishing work in what rooms.

    Raise your roof!

    There’s a whole lot of unused space in every room of your home where you can unleash your creativity: the ceiling. 2019 is all about the statement ceiling – whether you wallpaper it or raise your roof by painting it a dramatic or bang-on-trend shade. Use bright, bold colours to bring rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom – which can sometimes be a little dull/white/clinical – to life. The amazingly gorgeous GoodHome Walls & Ceilings Paint from B&Q comes in a huge range of colours, shades and palettes which are perfect for perking up any area of your home. Go big AND go home with amazing colour combos like pink ceiling and grey walls – which is a huge trend on Pinterest.

    How to enter B&Q's Home Improvement Rising Star of the Year competition

    Channelling your inner interior designer, B&Q is asking those new to home improvement to show off their skills and ingenuity.

    You’ll do this by coming up with an inspired project to transform an area of the home, all for the chance to win a fantastic prize.

    What’s involved?

    Firstly, you will need to provide a minimum of one photo of one room you have already transformed to show off exactly what you’re capable of.

    Then, you’ll need to write 200 words to support your entry, outlining how you developed the design, chose the aesthetics and what skills you used. For this first stage, you will be judged on the transformational impact of your project, aesthetics, design, innovation and use of your DIY skills.

    If you’re chosen as one of the three finalists, you’ll be asked to put your skills to the test in an exclusive project day in London, where you’ll bring your designs to life with products that you have chosen from diy.com. You’ll have seven hours to make over a space in accordance to your plan and your chosen materials.

    The final result will be judged by architectural and design historian and broadcaster, Tom Dyckhoff, B&Q Category Director, Surface and Décor, Iain McColgan, and Metro Home Editor, Liz Burcher, who will assess your home improvement skills and the creative flair you’ve demonstrated.

    What’s the prize?

    The winner will bag themselves a £2,500 B&Q gift card to create their next home improvement project. Two runners-up in the competition will receive £500 B&Q gift card each.

    HOW TO ENTER

    If you think you’ve got what it takes to become the B&Q Home Improvement Rising Star, follow these simple steps:

    • 1. Write 200 words on why you believe you should be B&Q’s Home Improvement Rising Star.
    • 2. Upload a picture of a room you have previously transformed.
    • 3. Upload your entry along with your contact details at metro.co.uk/home-improver-of-the-year

    Open to UK residents 18+ excluding professional decorators/ designer/influencers. Promotion opens 15/03/19, closes 07/04/19. Visit metro.co.uk/home-improver-of-the-year to enter. 1 first prize: £2,500 B&Q gift card; 2 runner up prizes, each a £500 B&Q gift card. Full T&Cs apply, for more information, please click HERE.


    Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 13.41.54-3545Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 13.41.54-3545

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    (Picture: MAC)

    Attention, Disney-loving makeup fans: MAC is launching a new Aladdin themed range, and we’re super excited.

    MAC is releasing a three-piece makeup collection which includes a nine-pan eye shadow palette with shades inspired by Princess Jasmine.

    The launch coincides with the release of the new Aladdin movie, which is being released in May.

    The company released the news on Instagram, writing: ‘Your wish, our command! Manifest your magic with The Disney Aladdin Collection by M·A·C.

    ‘Launching this May, this wish-fulfilling collaboration highlights the self-determination and confidence of Princess Jasmine in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, Aladdin – in theatres May 24.’

    MAC Is Collaborating With Disney For An 'Aladdin' Range Credit: Mac
    (Picture: MAC)

    According to MAC, the collection ‘highlights the self-determination and confidence’ as seen by Princess Jasmine.

    It will include an eyeshadow palette featuring neutral metallics, shimmers and mattes, alongside a honey-toned bronzer which features a lamp debossed in the pressed powder – called Your Wish Is MY Command.

    There will also be a magenta lipstick, with all makeup items coming in gold and turquoise packaging.

    MAC Is Collaborating With Disney For An 'Aladdin' Range Credit: Mac
    (Picture: MAC)

    Though some products have been announced, prices have not yet been detailed.

    Allure states each item included in the collection will be ‘adorned with special packaging inspired by the rich patterns and vibrant colours of Agrabah, where Aladdin and Jasmine’s exciting story unfolds.’

    MORE: Beauty product-filled Easter eggs are a thing now

    MORE: Stunning photos show the beauty of people with a rare and untreatable skin condition


    MAC Is Collaborating With Disney For An \'Aladdin\' RangeMAC Is Collaborating With Disney For An \'Aladdin\' Range

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    (Illustration: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    There are no two ways about it: Breakups suck. And we’re not just talking relationships.

    Friendship breakups suck, too. Sometimes even more than relationship ones – especially if you’ve been friends for years.

    Your best friend is everything to you. They’re the one person you can be completely yourself around. They know everything about you. Even your darkest secrets.

    They’re the ones you go running to when everything else in your life gets messy, and they’re the ones who are a shoulder to cry on when your heart is hurting.

    But what happens when a friendship comes to an end? It can seem to hard to let someone go who is a huge part of your life, especially as within a friendship there are no romantic feelings, so you can’t even use falling out of love as an excuse to leave.

    Sometimes, despite how much a person means to you, the best thing can be for a friendship to end. But what does it take to end a friendship?

    We spoke to a number of people who went through ‘friendship breakups’, asking them what it took to put the final nail in the coffin and move on with their lives.

    Here’s what they said.

    ‘She didn’t support me’

    ‘I was best friends with a girl for thirteen years. We would have small fallouts but they were never anything serious, we would always make up. However over the space of a year I realised that all of the fallouts we had had, I always came running back. Even when she was in the wrong, I would not receive one apology. It was always down to me to sort it out.

    ‘She would put me down about my achievements, and there was this constant feeling of toxicity and competition, it was like everything she did had to be better than me, and if it wasn’t she would put me down. She wasn’t supportive of me at all.

    ‘After another fallout, I decided not to go running back to her for once. I wanted to see whether she would apologise or try to make amends, but she didn’t. And so I decided to leave it.

    ‘We haven’t spoken in over a year now, and it just goes to show that when you stop making the effort, you realise what your friendship is worth.’

    (Picture: Erin Aniker for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Toxic attention seeker’

    ‘Because she faked not one but two miscarriages mere months after I had my own, because she saw the attention and sympathy I received from our friends group and wanted to be centre of attention again. Toxic attention seeker would be a good name for her.’

    ‘She had a toxic partner’

    ‘She had a toxic partner who didn’t like us being friends, he came first and that’s the way it’s been for the last three years unfortunately, I miss the friendship we had.’

    ‘Who’s to say she didn’t talk sh*t about me?’

    ‘Because I realised she was the kind of person who talked shit about all her other close friends…. so who’s to say she didn’t talk sh*t about me? My rule for friendships is: never befriend someone who you know could and would make your life hell if you fell out.’

    ‘They stopped making that effort’

    ‘I think we just grew apart, and then they stopped making that effort, so I stopped too. I did see them a year or so ago by chance and it made me so happy to know they were ok, but we just didn’t have that chemistry anymore. I think it’s a part of growing up, and that’s ok.’

    ‘I was no longer of use to her’

    ‘She finally found *the* boyfriend and amidst their whirlwind romance our friendship was no longer of use to her. I ceased to exist and I was discarded ever so easily.’

    metro illustrations
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘She told me I was selfish’

    ‘My mum died just before her wedding and she couldn’t understand why there was no way I could go or that it took me 6 weeks after that to contact her and ask to see her wedding photos. I was being treated for the mental breakdown caused by my mum dying. She told me I was selfish.’

    ‘I came out as bisexual’

    ‘I came out as bisexual. She told me she accepted me regardless, but then gradually stopped talking to me and in the space of a few weeks she had a completely new group of friends. And now, years later, she has magically reappeared and keeps asking me to hang out. Never again.’

    ‘She prioritised a guy who assaulted me’

    ‘She prioritised a guy who assaulted me over twenty years of friendship, after talking to him on a dating site for a day or two. As soon as she said “I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened”, the friendship was over.’

    ‘She ghosted me’

    ‘The going got tough in my life…and she ghosted me. Not a peep since. I think she couldn’t handle my stuff but I needed her more than ever. 20 years of friendship down the toilet!’

    ‘He didn’t pay me back’

    ‘He convinced me to take out a loan for him and then didn’t pay me back. My dad then helped me by paying it, so my friend then owed my dad. Agreed a payment plan but he kept missing payments, but somehow still had money for nights out and designer shoes!’

    ‘I dumped my best friend after 15 years of friendship’

    ‘I dumped my toxic ‘best’ friend after almost 15 years of friendship. I hate that it took me so long, but it’s like any bad relationship – you often don’t realise how terrible it was until you’re out of the madness.

    ‘I’m ashamed to say I let her manipulate me for years; I had really low self-esteem and would allow myself to be pushed around by her.

    ‘But when I actively worked on my mental health, took better care of myself, and became more assertive, she really didn’t like it. I had a choice: better myself, or stay small for her. And I chose me.’

    MORE: Men break down toxic masculinity and explain how to be a man in this series of pictures

    MORE: People share the most romantic things their partners have ever done for them


    ILLUSTRATION/COMP REQUEST: Friendship heartbreak: people tell us how and why their closest friendships endedILLUSTRATION/COMP REQUEST: Friendship heartbreak: people tell us how and why their closest friendships ended

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    Pieminister
    (Picture: Pieminister)

    We love a good brunch – but sometimes smashed avocado on toast just doesn’t cut it.

    Sometimes you need something a little more filling, like a good old pie. Yes, you can now eat pies for brunch, as Pieminister has re-launched its Bottomless Brunch.

    Pieminister is offering customers an hour and a half to enjoy brunch pies, with bottomless prosecco or cocktails including mimosas, Aperol Spritz and Bloody Marys.

    Oh, and it all costs just £20. Amazing.

    Pieminister
    (Picture: Pieminister)

    The brunch is on every other Saturday with the occasional Sunday special, but spots often fill up fast – unsurprisingly.

    To tempt you into booking, let’s tell you a little bit about the brunch pies. Forget steak and kidney, because this is all about mid-morning goodness.

    The pies include a ‘Morning Glory’, with free-range sausage and bacon, cheesy béchamel and baked egg.

    There’s also a vegetarian ‘Sunny Pie Up’, which is a veggie pie with red onion, rosemary veggie sausage, béchamel and baked egg.

    Pieminister
    (Picture: Pieminister)

    The gluten free option is dubbed the ‘Bangin’ Bean Skillet’, and features smokey baked beans with halloumi.

    And finally, there is also a vegan option – ‘The Vegan Banger’ comes with red onion, rosemary veggie sausage, béchamel and vegan cheese.

    Each pie comes topped with garlic potatoes, kale, vine tomatoes and baked beans.

    As mentioned, spots tend to fill up fast so if this menu is enough to tempt you – and the unlimited cocktails, of course, you can book your slot here.

    MORE: Women say they’re suffering from ‘keto crotch’ thanks to their diet, but experts say food may not be to blame

    MORE: Man shuns food to consume nothing but beer for the 46 days of Lent


    Pieminister\'s Bottomless Brunch Is Back And It\'s Bringing Prosecco And PiesPieminister\'s Bottomless Brunch Is Back And It\'s Bringing Prosecco And Pies

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    metro illustrations
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Look, we love our mums. They’re great.

    But few of us want to be just like them.

    Blame the rebellious teenager locked inside us, but loads of us are lumped with a horrifying fear of turning into perfect copies of our parents.

    We don’t want their lifestyles, their terrible sense of humour, their rubbish opinions.

    And yet, despite our fiercest wishes, it happens. We start to notice we crinkle our nose when we laugh just like our dad. Suddenly our mum’s point of view doesn’t seem so unreasonable. We find ourselves bulk-buying discount toilet roll and inwardly cringe.

    If this hasn’t happened to you yet, brace yourself. It’s coming.

    According to a new poll, women start their transformation into their mother at the age of 33.

    Anyone else panicking?

    Men, meanwhile, say they start turning into their fathers at 34, so they get one more year of freedom from their deepest fear.

    The poll of 2,000 people, by Harley Street, found that signs women were becoming their mums included watching the same TV shows as them, taking up the same hobbies, and using the same expressions. So please, do shake me if I start enjoying bird-watching or going to Italian lessons.

    Men said they were more likely to become like their fathers after they became dads themselves. Makes sense.

    The signs they noted included switching off lights in empty rooms, listening to Radio 2, putting on weight, and sharing political opinions.

    Don’t panic too much if you’re the wrong side of 30, though. Your transformation at 33 isn’t set in stone, and it’s not the only time people have noticed themselves picking up their parents’ habits.

    Do you really have to wake up at 4am to be successful?
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    The poll found that 52% of people started to behave like their mothers between 30 and 35, but 26% noticed the change at 35 to 40, 10% at 40 to 50, and 7% at over 50. You could be one of those unusual lucky people who manages not to look in the mirror and see their mum until middle age.

    Or you could be part of the 5% who said they started behaving like their mum in their 20s. Oh dear.

    The survey was commissioned by Dr Julian De Silva, a Harley Street plastic surgeon, so – shockingly enough – he suggests cosmetic surgery as a way to battle the sensation of feeling like a carbon copy of your mum and dad.

    He said: ‘We all turn into our parents at some point in our lives – and that is something to be celebrated. They are the most wonderful people in the world.

    ‘Becoming parents is the main trigger and lifestyle factors are also important.

    ‘Both sexes said the physical signs of middle age were also a key factor.

    ‘It is an inevitable part of ageing but a process lots of people want to put off for as long as possible.

    ‘It is one of the reasons why the average age of first-time cosmetic surgery is coming down for both sexes.

    ‘For women, it is now 37 and for men it is 43. More people are trying to delay this onset of middle age to improve their appearance and levels of self-confidence.’

    For some, surgery might be a solution, but remember that it’s not the only option.

    There’s nothing wrong with being more like your ma and pa – it’s only natural, giving they raised you. And if you are feeling an itch to go the opposite way, try doing so in your attitude and approach to life before you go for injectables.

    It doesn’t matter how line-free your face is, you’ll still feel old when you catch yourself doing the crossword in your dressing gown on a Sunday morning.

    MORE: I won’t take the iPad off my toddler, it’s a great parenting tool

    MORE: What to know if you’re dating someone with depression

    MORE: People tell us the heartbreaking stories of why they broke up with their best friend


    Mental health series #11/Mother's Day: Talking to my mum about mental healthMental health series #11/Mother's Day: Talking to my mum about mental health

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    Being strong is about more than just physical strength.

    For many women, the label of ‘strong’ is problematic – it comes with a stigma and can put women off from being active altogether.

    All too often the media only presents us with a singular image of what a ‘strong woman’ looks like – a certain size, race, age – but the reality is that any woman can find their strength, love their body and be physically fit – regardless of outward appearance.

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

    This series aims to redefine what it means to be a strong woman, and feel empowered to reclaim their own sense of personal strength.

    Sally Wilkinson battled bankruptcy, depression and suicidal thoughts.

    Completing an Ironman at 47 was her turning point – now she wants to inspire other women to push the limits of their potential.

    Sally Wilkinson crossing the Ironman finish line
    Sally crossed the finish line 12 minutes after the 17-hour deadline. But she was ecstatic Picture: Sally Wilkinson)

    Have you always been in to fitness?

    For a lot of my youth, my fitness was based on a feeling of ‘ought’ rather than ‘want’.

    But my relationship with fitness and what it could do for me started to change when I was 24 and I ‘accidentally’ started playing rugby.

    I went along with no intention of joining as I had long nails, I just wanted to earn my cider allowance. But after the first training session, I was hooked.

    My coach saw immediate potential in me. The training sessions were hard and I just loved the team spirit. I was beginning to venture into a world of actually wanting to do fitness.

    I wanted to feel fit on a pitch. I wanted to be able to play for 80 minutes.  Most of the other players were students and so I felt I had something to prove.

    I spent the next 16 years playing rugby and even played for the north west of England and had a game for the north of England! I was always one of the fittest players.

    As I got older, my reason for being fit continued to change and it became a lot more important to me. I wanted to be fit to be healthy, to feel strong. I felt empowered and confident. I had a period of six years where I was the fittest I have ever been. It really is like having your own superpower.

    I didn’t follow a diet, I just moved my body a lot. Fitness allowed me to eat and drink without any guilt or shame. My mindset had changed.

    My relationship with fitness continues to evolve, and I now see it as nature’s very finest anti-depressant.

    I believe passionately that you can achieve anything you want, providing you don’t have an injury. The body is designed to move and there is nothing worse when you simply just don’t feel like moving it.

    Everything in life is easier to deal with if you are fitter and stronger. Fitness is my therapy. You seem to create your very own safety net and, more importantly, you really start to like yourself.

    But it hasn’t always been a smooth journey to get to this point.

    Tell us about your bankruptcy – how did it affect you?

    When I was on maternity leave with my third child, the property market was booming and I decided, along with my brother, who is a builder, to buy a property and develop it. We paid for the deposit on a credit card!

    We worked hard, sold it and did very well out of it. We did two more, then decided to start renting them out. It was going so well I left the call centre where I was working and trained to become a fitness instructor on the side.

    We eventually had 11 properties – our aim was to build a pension fund.

    Unfortunately, very shortly after our final purchases, the recession of 2008 kicked in and the banks withdrew all their funding – we were left high and dry. We did our best to secure another loan but it just didn’t happen.

    What followed was years of stress and worry. Along with that came comfort eating, drinking too much and my desire to exercise diminished.

    One of the investors turned out to be a gangster – he wanted his money back and was threatening our lives. He found out where we lived and knew the children’s names.

    I was becoming more anxious and worried and I fell into a deep depression.

    Apart from the four spinning classes I taught (which had become half-arsed at this point) I stopped wanting to exercise. I just wanted to eat and drink to block out the worry.

    I started to spend more time in bed and I could barely function. I kept telling myself to be grateful that I wasn’t ill, but the fact is I was.

    I was suicidal and often had awful thoughts about ending it all.

    At this point the bailiffs were knocking at the door. The bank wanted their money back, so they repossessed the hotel development we had invested in. It was sold off cheap and the bank were left with an outstanding debt of more than £200,000, which we didn’t have.

    We were forced into bankruptcy and we lost everything. The only reason we didn’t lose our house is because it was in negative equity as we had remortgaged to help fund the development.

    I continued to eat and drink and I spent even more time in bed. I just didn’t recognise myself. I was becoming an immobile hermit.

    I remember my daughter, who was 11 at the time, coming into my room at 7.15am every morning and asking me to tie her hair up. I would sit up and do it and then just go back to sleep, leaving her to sort herself out and go and get the bus to school.

    I started to feel a huge amount of shame and I was so concerned about how my daughter would perceive this.

    Her mum, who had always felt so strong and active, had become this waste of space in bed.

    What changed things for you?

    My turning point was when, I decided to ‘out myself’ on Facebook about my depression. The outpouring of support was truly breath-taking.

    I was astounded and upset at how many people felt the same. This was enough to make me want to do something about it.

    I remembered how good exercise used to make me feel. I needed a challenge that would force me out of bed and outdoors. One that felt impossible. I decided to sign up for Bolton Ironman in the coming July, which left me only four months to train.

    For those of you who don’t know, an Ironman is a 2.5 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a full 26.2 mile marathon.

    Sally Wilkinson completing the Ironman
    Sally trained relentlessly to get ready for the event (Picture: Sally Wilkinson)

    It worked. I will never forget getting out of bed, feeling sluggish, overweight and hating myself – but I forced myself to do just six miles on the bike. It nearly killed me, but I just knew I was doing the right thing.

    I committed to it and so the training began. I didn’t follow a training plan. I didn’t have a time goal, I didn’t even think I could finish it. My goal was to just get to that start line believing I had a chance.

    People used to ask what was my best discipline. I was pretty crap at all of them, but I knew I had a strong mind and I could feel that strength returning with every training session.

    The week of the actual Ironman, I had to the Official Receivers office to discuss the bankruptcy. It was one of the most humiliating and shameful days of my life.

    To go through it all again, to list all the money and properties we had lost. The list of all the money that the investors had put in, my parents savings, our own pension funds – all gone.

    We were even nearly prosecuted as we sold our other buy-to-let properties off cheap just so we could pay the gangster his money back. The tears of shame flowed.

    That very same week on Sunday, 17th June 2016, I actually crossed the line of the Ironman in Bolton – and there were more tears, but this time because of pride and relief!

    I was officially last, but there were more than 400 people behind me who didn’t finish.

    Ironman have very strict rules that you have to finish within the 17 hour deadline. I finished in 17 hours and 12 minutes. I am therefore classed as a ‘did not finish’, but I was the last person they allowed over the line.

    The man on the microphone had gone home, along with the crowds. The barriers were empty and there was just a handful of people left.

    I knew as I was ‘late’, so I wouldn’t get a medal or T shirt. But I will never forget the lady volunteer with the long blonde hair who ran towards me as I crossed the finish line, at midnight, broken, but believing in myself for the first time in a very long time.

    She put a medal over my head with tears running down her face, telling me that I was the reason why she volunteers and that I deserved every inch of that medal.

    The training that I had needed to do for the Ironman had worked. I could feel my depression had lifted. I still had, and still do have bad days, but they are few and far between now.

    What does the label ‘Strong Woman’ mean to you?

    Strong Woman to me, does not just mean physically strong. A strong mind is so important – without it, you will always give up at the first, often self-imposed, hurdle.

    I have always believed people are capable of so much more than they think.

    So many people unfortunately give up doing fitness way before they need to. People just are not aware just how much their bodies can achieve simply because their mind says no.

    I have resilience. I believe you are born with this but so very many of us lose it. In the same way we become inhibited, and worry what others think about us. That can then affect the choices we make.

    I believe my experience has taught me to be resilient and to never give up.

    During this difficult period I really focused on practicing gratitude. I know that may seem strange but I am so grateful for all of my experiences, good and bad.

    To me, being strong also means that you are enough – to trust that you are enough – to know that you are enough.

    Sally Wilkinson takes a selfie in the gym
    Sally thinks too many people give up on fitness way before the need to (Picture: Sally Wilkinson)

    Why do you think so many women are scared of being perceived as ‘strong’?

    I think a lot of women fear they will stand out and open themselves up for ridicule and judgement from others.

    It’s a very common problem. It’s such a shame that when you see a woman stand up and have the courage to want to change her body shape and improve her fitness, she is met with criticism by some.

    When I was losing weight and I became the fittest and strongest version of me, I had many people telling me I looked gaunt, I had gone far enough, or they said I was obsessed or just mad.

    Unfortunately it was always women making these comments too.

    I do feel though, that when you do decide to take action and make positive change, you hold a mirror up to some people and it releases their fears and insecurities.

    But remember that you will also inspire many people and there is no better gift than that.

    Women need to start believing in themselves and become aware of just how much they can achieve.

    I feel passionately that strong women should not just be perceived as those with their own Instagram profile dedicated to their magnificent glutes.

    I have known so many strong women, of all different ages shapes and sizes who have never even set foot in a gym.

    I am not knocking the Insta girls, as they can be inspiring too, but generally only to the minority.

    A lot of women feel that they could never look like them and that it is unattainable. This can be seriously demotivating.

    It’s also important to remember that just because someone appears to have a strong body on the outside, that certainly doesn’t mean they have a strong and happy mind.

    To me it has to be the whole package.

    Need help or support?

    For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘Menopause made me anxious, fitness helped me find myself again’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘I went from a fit, active runner to someone who couldn’t get off the sofa in pain’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘As a black woman in long distance running, we are a rare breed’


    Metro illustrationsMetro illustrations

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    Wine
    (Picture: Getty)

    Having a glass of wine is one of the best things in life.

    Or so it is in America, according to a new study.

    Across the pond, researchers have named the 20 best simple pleasures in life and drinking wine topped the list at 65%, alongside watching your favourite TV shows in the comfort of your own home (56%) and eating a home-cooked meal (55%).

    The study included 2,000 participants, half of which said they enjoyed vino weekly, and half of these also revealed that they drink wine several times per week.

    Sipping wine after work is so popular, it’s become a cultural phenomenon, known as wine o’ clock.

    But no one has ever been able to specify when exactly this takes place during the day.

    Does it begin after the traditional nine-to-five working day is over?

    And what about the weekend, when there’s no working day to determine when you should uncork that bottle of Sauvignon Blanc – what then?

    Or perhaps it’s a fluid event, a proclamation to be used whenever required?

    Thankfully, we now have the answer. Researchers have officially determined when wine o’ clock begins and it’s very specific: 6.59pm.

    And don’t confuse wine o’ clock with after-work – the latter can occur anytime you finish work, while wine o’ clock is favoured on Saturdays, according to survey participants.

    Overall, wine o’ clock is preferred later in the week.

    That doesn’t mean people don’t sip red, white and rose throughout the week.

    Out of the participants, 62% said drinking wine is relaxing and 37% enjoy the social aspect of spending time with friends and family (while cracking open a Chardonnay or other), while 49% did so in the company of their partner or spouse.

    However, only 57% claimed to actually like the taste of wine, which raises the question – why not switch to another type of beverage?

    The best place to guzzle the drink isn’t at fancy wine bars either. On the contrary, 66% prefer to sit at home on the sofa.

    Research is yet to reveal whether 6:59pm is also the optimal time for wine o’ clock in the UK – the time zones alone could be confusing.

    So, we say, wine o’ clock is whenever you decide it is (just maybe make sure you’ve at least left the office first).

    MORE: Switching to flat wine bottles could help to reduce carbon emissions

    MORE: Restaurant in Melbourne now has a self-serve prosecco fountain

    MORE: You can now sleep inside a barrel after a day of wine tasting in Portugal


    Official time of wine o' clockOfficial time of wine o' clock

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    (Picture: Kebab Queen)

    Most of us have enjoyed a messy, delicious kebab on the way home after a night out.

    Frankly, it’s a time-honoured tradition for many people (myself included).

    As of late, the popular dish has received a makeover.

    It’s no longer contained to local shops – where the greasiness of your dish is only matched by the slathering of garlic and chilli sauce – with restaurants such as Le Bab and Maison Bab cropping up across the capital with gourmet kebabs on the menu.

    Founders of the above have announced their latest project and it’s even snazzier than its existing options.

    Please welcome Kebab Queen, a restaurant where kebab connoisseurs can sample a seven-course tasting menu that includes delicacies such as foie gras.

    The Foie Gras Kebabito is a minature kebab, to be eaten in two bites.

    Don’t worry, the miniscule serving will be followed up by six more sizzling dishes such as the Doner Risotto – lamb jus risotto with shavings of lamb’s tongue – and a chargrilled fish shish kebab of monkfish, monkfish liver and chicken skin, served on a charred cabbage leaf.

    Kebab tasting menu Credit: Kebab Queen
    (Picture: Kebab Queen)
    Kebab Queen
    (Picture: Kebab Queen)

    Afterwards, for your main, bite into a rum-aged spit roast Fesenjan duck, with a crust of crisp Persian rice.

    Finally, for dessert, guests will be served freshly-baked sticky milk buns (dubbed ‘Got Milk?’) stuffed full of caramelised cream and topped with crème fraiche sorbet.

    The experience costs £60 and includes an optional wine pairing for an extra £40.

    Kebab Queen will open in the basement of Maison Bab, which has been designed to resemble a high street – the restaurant itself looks like a shop front, with space for 10 guests.

    It will be run by chef Manu Canales, who currently runs the Le Bab kitchen.

    Diners will be encouraged to eat with their hands and at least in this way, it’ll be like your usual kebab experience.

    Dig in.

    MORE: Pieminister is hosting a bottomless brunch with breakfast pies and cocktails

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    Kebab tasting menuKebab tasting menu

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    Anthropologie/plus-size clothing/Urban Outfitters
    (Picture: Anthropologie)

    Last month, Anthropologie announced that it would be releasing a plus size range.

    And the collection has finally arrived.

    It officially launched on the US site yesterday, with 120 pieces up for grabs in a range of styles – from flowy dresses and skirts to jeans, loose-fitting trousers and tops.

    The collection has summer vibes written all over it, with colourful pieces and quirky patterns taking the lead.

    Anthropologie, owned by URBN, the company that also includes Urban Outfitters, has long been known for only offering standard sizes up to 16.

    The new line however, dubbed A+, will feature sizes from 16 to 26.

    Anthropologie has 226 stores across the globe, however, sadly, this collection is currently available in 10 stores across the US and Canada, as well as the US website.

    That’s not to say it won’t come to the UK – which is precisely what we’ve asked the brand.

    Until we find out, here are some of our favourite pieces from the A+ line.

    Just in case you happen to find yourself across the pond sometime soon and need some shopping inspiration.

    Anthropologie/plus-size clothing/Urban Outfitters
    (Picture: Anthropologie)
    Anthropologie/plus-size clothing/Urban Outfitters
    (Picture: Anthropologie)
    Anthropologie/plus-size clothing/Urban Outfitters
    (Picture: Anthropologie)
    Anthropologie/plus-size clothing/Urban Outfitters
    (Picture: Anthropologie)
    Anthropologie/plus-size clothing/Urban Outfitters
    (Picture: Anthropologie)
    Anthropologie/plus-size clothing/Urban Outfitters
    (Picture: Anthropologie)

    ‘This is an exciting starting point for Anthropologie, said Richa Srivastava, managing director of design at the company.

    ‘Our goal is to be a destination for everyone wanting to express their personal style and to feel like their best selves. At launch, we’ll offer a great range of options and an exceptional shopping experience.

    ‘We’ll evolve both as we move forward, adding more styles and locations as we learn from customer feedback.’

    On the site, the new collection is described as ‘…thoughtfully tailored with women’s real proportions in mind’ by Karen Wilkins from technical design.

    Decide for yourself here.

    MORE: ASOS is looking to cast new models of all shapes and sizes for its site

    MORE: Woman orders Boohoo jeans, gets sent denim best suited for someone on stilts

    MORE: Students create glamorous photoshoot in their local Lidl


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