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

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    Alex, Megan, Rosh and Bethan on a training run
    Alex, Megan, Rosh and Bethan (Picture: Mara Hafezi/Metro.co.uk)

    An inspirational, diverse group of women are pushing the boundaries of what’s physically possible and undertaking a once-in-a-lifetime challenge.

    As part of The Speed Project, eight women will cover 340 miles across the hostile terrain of the Nevada Desert running from LA to Las Vegas.

    There are no rules, no specific route to follow – it’s just about being the fastest team to get to Vegas

    Battling heat, sunburn, potential dehydration and the ultimate challenge of endurance, the team – who call themselves Artemis’ Arrows – will attempt to complete the relay ultramarathon at the end of the month.

    So what does it take to sign up for such an intense physical challenge? What are these women made of?

    We spoke to six of the team to find out what motivates them, what they’re nervous about and what’s going to get them over that finish line.

    Mara Hafezi

    ‘In November 2017, I started to really step outside my comfort zones by training for my first triathlon, an Ironman event in July 2018. Since then, I have decided to take on events that push me mentally and physically.

    ‘At the same time, I want to encourage more women and men, particularly women of colour, to do things that scare them.

    ‘It is so liberating to achieve something after spending months persevering on a rollercoaster journey with all the highs and lows. It opens your eyes to a whole new world and it makes you really start to believe in yourself more.

    Mara and Bethan doing some strength training
    Mara and Bethan doing some strength training (Picture: Mara Hafezi/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I have really learnt the importance of strength training, and found joining my local crossfit box a fun way to incorporate my strength training. Crossfit for me is also a great way to train the mind mentally.

    ‘During an ultra, like The Speed Project, there will be times when our minds may feel weak and we may want to quit.

    ‘Having a strong mind and knowing how to push through the low points is important to me.’

    Jessica Robson

    ‘I signed up to demonstrate to myself and others that great things can be achieved despite our greatest fears, despite our lowest days, and despite the loneliness and heaviness that mental ill health can bear.

    ‘The Speed Project has presented the most amazing opportunity to collaborate with other strong females to pull together and achieve something that is quite frankly, huge, and incredible.

    ‘I have placed a lot of emphasis on strength training in addition to the runs throughout my training for this challenge. I find I run stronger when my body feels stronger as a whole, and that my recovery times are much much faster as a result.

    ‘It has brought about more mental challenges than physical, and I have learned how to manage my emotions better with regards to the anxiety and fear that an event of this scale can elicit in a person.’

    Jessica running
    Jessica (Picture: Mara Hafezi/Metro.co.uk)

    Alex Todd

    ‘I’m terrified of getting injured and not being able to run, purely because I’ve seen so many friends go out fast and hard and end up side-lined.

    ‘I’ve mixed up runs with spin classes and strength training to gain practice running on tired legs. Other days are double run days, and last weekend we hit up a triple run day with three sets of 10 km spread across the day.

    ‘For the sake of my team, I can’t go in unprepared. Knowing this, I have trained harder and more consistently than I ever have in the past.

    ‘My advice for someone considering doing this? Don’t be scared, but don’t be naïve – know what you’re getting yourself into.

    ‘If you’re cool with that, you can then just tell the doubters to shut up – even if that’s the little voice inside your own head.’

    Rosh Radia, team captain

    ‘I am so tired of running for times and medals. I want to run for fun, because it is an adventure like no other.

    ‘I am running this for the pride, for the envious questions from other runners, and because this is something exclusive and ridiculously exciting. I hope to take the self-pride and self-belief into all aspects of my life.

    ‘When I was putting the team together, I was worried about how we would all get along.

    After all, The Speed Project is all about running through exhaustion and inadequate nutrition. Moods and tempers will be running high as the hours pass.

    ‘But here’s the thing, we do not need to get along. We do not need to like each other. What we need to do is be flexible with each other’s needs, be understanding, and be open to accepting all our quirks.

    Roshini Radia
    Roshini Radia (Picture: Mara Hafezi/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘We need to be able to support and cheer each other on and help pull each other up when it all gets a little too much. None of that means we have to be friends.

    ‘Though I suspect that after we have completed all 340 of those miles we will be more like family than friends.’

    Bethan Taylor

    ‘I have always been fascinated by endurance and the idea of going out and simply seeing what you can do holds a lot of appeal for me.

    ‘As someone who studies endurance runners – I’m a PhD student in management at Birkbeck, University of London – I am curious to understand more about how women in particular experience their sport.

    Bethan running
    Bethan (Picture: Mara Hafezi/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘During the event I’ll not only be pushing myself out on the road, I’ll also be carrying out field work that will hopefully help us understand more about women’s experiences in sport and help us work out ways to overcome barriers to participation.

    ‘When you’re training for something like this it can be so tempting to think you need to be on the go all the time, and then to beat yourself up on the days when you feel knackered.

    ‘I have anxiety disorder and the medication I take does make me a bit drowsy. I have really had to learn when I can push myself, and when I need to slow down a bit and rest.

    ‘I’m really lucky that I have coaches who have been able to support me with this and build  my plan so that it is really flexible.’

    Corey Melke

    ‘I love taking on challenges that seem insane. Plus I figured it was the perfect way to come back from meniscus repair surgery and turning 40.

    ‘I have ran one ultramarathon before – which was 50 miles – so my coach and I know what I need to be successful.

    Corey
    Corey (Picture: Mara Hafezi/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I’m a Type 1 diabetic, so it’s a challenge to balance my blood sugars and run extremely long distances.

    ‘I ditch the normal long runs and opt for multiple 10 kms a day instead. Getting used to running while exhausted is the key to being prepared during the race.

    ‘Never be afraid to dream big, it may sound cheesy but it’s true. I can’t tell you show many times I’ve been told I can’t do something. Dream big and don’t stop till you make it happen. Anything really is possible.’

    The Artemis Arrows aim to complete the event on the 1st April – where they will be greeted with a classic Las Vegas pool party.

    We wish them the very best of luck.

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘We lost everything, I was suicidal. Signing up for an Ironman saved me’

    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’


    Alex, Megan, Rosh and Bethan on a training runAlex, Megan, Rosh and Bethan on a training run

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    Meet your new internet boyfriend, George Lodge.

    George may not be your typical heartthrob, in the sense that he is not an actor, songwriter, or someone giving out free samples of houmous.

    Instead, his dreaminess comes from his dedication to beekeeping… naked.

    George, who also happens to be in his fifth year studying medicine at University College London, chose to strip off and attend to his hive to fund a research trip to Britain for a beekeeper he met in Zanzibar.

    ‘Having gone to an all boys school and done life modelling before, I was pretty good at getting naked anyway,’ says George. ‘It’s not something that’s ever really bothered me.

    ‘So, when a friend flippantly suggested I should pose beekeeping naked, to raise money, I thought, ‘Why not?'”

    George hopes to raise enough money to bring Khamis, a part-time beekeeper, from an island just off the coast of Tanzania all the way to England.

    George met Khamis when he went to work for two weeks at a honey cooperative. To thank him for his hospitality and for showing him his approach to beekeeping, George invited Khamis back to England with him.

    George beekeeping in the buff (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    But Khamis couldn’t afford the trip. So George decided to make and sell a nude calendar to pay his expenses.

    ‘I am very interested in traditional beekeeping methods and wanted to see how it was done around the world,’ George explains.

    ‘I’d had an idea of selling honey to raise money, but knew that wouldn’t make nearly enough.

    ‘Then, one day, I was discussing beekeeping with a friend and he jokingly asked if I had ever tried it naked. That prompted the idea of making a calendar.’

    From the pre-sale of the calendar alone, George raised over £2,000 – enough to cover Khamis’ flights, allowing him to come to the UK in April last year for a month-long visit.

    George beekeeping in the buff (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘I took him everywhere I thought would be useful for him to see, where he might be able to learn something that could help the co-operative on Pembar Island,’ said George.

    ‘It gave me a great feeling of satisfaction to be able to return the favour and, hopefully, show Khamis our techniques so that he can take what he wants from it.’

    Then came the time to make the calendar, with a photo of George beekeeping in the buff for each month.

    ‘I was a bit apprehensive beforehand,’ he said. ‘I wasn’t particularly relaxed, as I felt a bit of a plonker stood there on a rooftop in London, looking down on people walking around on the street below, with nothing on.’

    By the end of the year the calendar was complete and sent off to all those who’d paid £20 for a copy.

    Now back to studying medicine, George doesn’t have plans to do beekeeping naked again any time soon, but will continue with his dedication to the hive.

    He said: ‘It raised a few eyebrows when I announced my decision to go beekeeping in the buff.

    ‘But there’s no longer any doubt in anyone’s mind how avid I am about apiary!

    George beekeeping in the buff (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘It was quite a silly and fun thing to have done, but it was in aid of a great cause, which was to bring over my friend Khamis Dadi Khamis and show him how we beekeep in Britain.

    ‘It was an invaluable experience for him, so, thankfully, my antics – which made a few of my friends and family think I’d lost the plot a bit – were not in vain.’

    George’s passion for bees was sparked by his mum, Clarissa, who had kept them when she was at school.

    It became a joint hobby, then they both became members of the Winchester Beekeepers Association. When George was 10 years old, he and his mum were given their first swarm of around 2,000 bees, and would rush home from weekends at boarding school just to check in on his bee buddies.

    George beekeeping in the buff (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    He’s adored beekeeping ever since.

    ‘I found it fascinating to observe how a hive of tens of thousands of bees interact together, all doing different things,’ says George.

    ‘I have a mind that enjoys intricacy and order and to be a beekeeper, you have to watch very carefully what is going on inside the hive, so that you can diagnose what is going well and what is going less well, so you can decide what needs to be done.

    ‘It’s also very meditative and it forged a very close bond between my mum and I having this shared, niche hobby in common.’

    MORE: Builder bares his bum on a toilet in front of beautiful landscape

    MORE: Lush is ditching eggs from all its products

    MORE: Topshop releases one of its most popular dresses in a new snakeskin style


    Bee keeping in the buffBee keeping in the buff

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    (Picture: Kennedy News)

    A spiteful Tinder reject called a girl a ‘hungry hippo’ with ‘more rolls than Greggs’ and wished for her to be run over in a disgusting fat-shaming rant, all because she rejected him.

    22-year-old Becky Kerr was swiping through Tinder last weekend when she matched with a guy named Tom.

    Becky was stunned when Tom bluntly asked if she ‘fancied a shag’, despite Becky stating on her Tinder profile that she’s not interested in random hookups.

    But after responding with ‘No, ta’, Becky was met with a barrage of abuse from the rejected ‘keyboard warrior’, calling her a ‘disgusting fat b****’ who looks like a ‘sack of potatoes’.

    Lovely.

    It then got darker, with the man wishing Becky would get ‘run over’ by a ‘taxi or lorry’.

    In one particularly hateful message, Tom said: ‘Shut up you fat ugly horrible dirty obese todge.’

    Tom’s opening rant said: ‘Alright ya fat b****. You’re such a huge woman it’s actually disgusting I really hope you choke on a hungry hippo…. Oh wait… That’s you.

    ‘Stupid fat b*** thinking your mad cos you look like the mad controller.

    ‘I really wanna bell a delta [taxi] to yours and give a fiver for him to run you over but to be fair you will probably eat the car thinking it’s a burger or a pizza ye fat giraffe neck.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: SUPERMARKET BAKER BECKY KERR, 22, WAS BRANDED A 'HUNGRY HIPPO' BY A MAN SHE REJECTED ON TINDER) A 'spiteful' Tinder reject branded a girl a ???hungry hippo??? with ???more rolls than Greggs??? and wished for her to be RUN OVER in a merciless fat-shaming rant - all because she rejected him. Singleton Becky Kerr, 22, was swiping through the dating app last weekend when she matched with a man called Tom. The supermarket baker was stunned when Tom bluntly asked if she ???fancied a shag??? - despite Becky expressly stating on her Tinder profile that she???s not interested in random hook-ups. But after politely responding ???no, ta???, Becky was met with a barrage of abuse from the rejected ???keyboard warrior' calling her a ???disgusting fat b****??? who looks like a ???sack of potatoes???. In a bizarre and disturbing twist, the spurned romp-seeker also expressed a wish to see Becky ???RUN OVER??? by a taxi or lorry. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News)

    ‘So next time you’re in the street I hope you get run over by a lorry yet fat wet wipe.

    ‘You’re the size of the Wetherspoons on south road. No wonder I couldn’t get a breakie this morning cos you probably ate it all ye fat hairy b****.

    ‘I’m off to go shag a bird who doesn’t look like a sack of potatoes from Iceland.

    ‘P.S. you’re so fat you look like a Fiat 500, oh wait you couldn’t porbs fit in the car cos you would break the tyres.

    ‘Just an extra P.S. you’re fat.’

    Determined to show her Tinder reject that his vile taunts couldn’t hurt her, Becky refused to get upset and block Tom – instead hitting back with her own witty retorts.

    Becky, of Warrington, Cheshire, said: ‘He messaged me saying ‘fancy a shag?’. To me if someone sends that in a first message it’s a straight “no”.

    ‘I said “no” to him in what I think was a polite way. I could have gone on a massive rant about how you shouldn’t speak to women like that but it wasn’t worth the argument.

    ‘Then I got all that abuse back. At first I was shocked. I’ve been called ‘boring’ or ‘frigid’ before by people on Tinder but this is the first time someone has really tried to hurt me.

    ‘But then I started picking up on all of his mistakes and it was making me laugh, like he called me the mad controller instead of the fat controller.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: BECKY KERR, 22, COMPARES DATING A 'FAT GIRL' TO EATING A BAG OF CRISPS IN CHURCH IN HER OWN TINDER BIO) A 'spiteful' Tinder reject branded a girl a ???hungry hippo??? with ???more rolls than Greggs??? and wished for her to be RUN OVER in a merciless fat-shaming rant - all because she rejected him. Singleton Becky Kerr, 22, was swiping through the dating app last weekend when she matched with a man called Tom. The supermarket baker was stunned when Tom bluntly asked if she ???fancied a shag??? - despite Becky expressly stating on her Tinder profile that she???s not interested in random hook-ups. But after politely responding ???no, ta???, Becky was met with a barrage of abuse from the rejected ???keyboard warrior' calling her a ???disgusting fat b****??? who looks like a ???sack of potatoes???. In a bizarre and disturbing twist, the spurned romp-seeker also expressed a wish to see Becky ???RUN OVER??? by a taxi or lorry. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News)

    ‘I also found it funny that he compared me to a Fiat 500 because I own a Fiat 500.

    ‘I tried to find the funny side. That’s my coping mechanism. And I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of just blocking him and acting like he’d hurt me.

    ‘So I sent him a funny reply and it’s not the response he wanted. I got loads more abuse back.’

    After reading his angry rant, Becky replied to Tom awarding him 10/10 for effort and highlighting how funny she found it that she owns a Fiat 500.

    Tom appeared to continue trying his luck, asking Becky to perform a sex act on his ‘average size c***’ in exchange for ketamine.

    When Becky pointed out that she had no need for the drug as Tom had called her a hippo not a horse, he replied: ‘Shut up you fat ugly horrible dirty obese todge.

    ‘You look like a mix between Bruce the shark and Shrek you fat ugly b****. You have more rolls than f***ing Greggs.’

    Determined not to let Tom ‘win’, Becky responded by telling Tom he ‘can’t handle rejection’ and questioning his taste in women.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: UNWILLING TO LET 'SPITEFUL' TOM SEE HER UPSET, BECKY KERR HIT BACK WITH HER OWN WITTY RETORTS) A 'spiteful' Tinder reject branded a girl a ???hungry hippo??? with ???more rolls than Greggs??? and wished for her to be RUN OVER in a merciless fat-shaming rant - all because she rejected him. Singleton Becky Kerr, 22, was swiping through the dating app last weekend when she matched with a man called Tom. The supermarket baker was stunned when Tom bluntly asked if she ???fancied a shag??? - despite Becky expressly stating on her Tinder profile that she???s not interested in random hook-ups. But after politely responding ???no, ta???, Becky was met with a barrage of abuse from the rejected ???keyboard warrior' calling her a ???disgusting fat b****??? who looks like a ???sack of potatoes???. In a bizarre and disturbing twist, the spurned romp-seeker also expressed a wish to see Becky ???RUN OVER??? by a taxi or lorry. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News)

    But the baker, who compares dating a ‘fat girl’ to ‘opening a bag of crisps in church’ on her own Tinder profile, thinks taking Tom’s cruelty on the chin only angered him more as he quickly unmatched her.

    Becky said: ‘It didn’t upset me because he had asked me to sleep with him before so I can’t be that bad.

    ‘It’s purely because I said ‘no’ to him that he was then being so spiteful.

    ‘He wasn’t giving me abuse out of nowhere. He messaged me asking for a shag but I knew I was better than what he was offering and he just couldn’t handle the rejection.

    ‘He wanted me to argue back and get upset so he could think he was the big man upsetting a girl but I wasn’t going to let him win.

    ‘And he was really unimaginative. He just picked up on one thing, the fact that I’m a big girl. But my whole bio is a jokey metaphor about dating a big girl.

    ‘I even say on my profile that if you’re after just a shag then move on so I don’t know what response he was expecting.

    ‘He thought he was being funny so I thought it would be entertaining to give him a funny response back and he just couldn’t handle it. He ended up unmatching me.

    ‘I think he was really offended that I was seeing the funny side.’

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: TOM SEEMED TO TAKE OFFENCE TO BECKY KERR'S HUMOROUS REPLIES AND UNMATCHED HER) A 'spiteful' Tinder reject branded a girl a ???hungry hippo??? with ???more rolls than Greggs??? and wished for her to be RUN OVER in a merciless fat-shaming rant - all because she rejected him. Singleton Becky Kerr, 22, was swiping through the dating app last weekend when she matched with a man called Tom. The supermarket baker was stunned when Tom bluntly asked if she ???fancied a shag??? - despite Becky expressly stating on her Tinder profile that she???s not interested in random hook-ups. But after politely responding ???no, ta???, Becky was met with a barrage of abuse from the rejected ???keyboard warrior' calling her a ???disgusting fat b****??? who looks like a ???sack of potatoes???. In a bizarre and disturbing twist, the spurned romp-seeker also expressed a wish to see Becky ???RUN OVER??? by a taxi or lorry. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News)

    While she was able to laugh off Tom’s ‘shocking’ behaviour, Becky feels this kind of abuse from the Tinder reject could seriously impact women struggling with their body image.

    Becky said: ‘It’s lucky it was me he was giving abuse to and not someone who’s more insecure.

    ‘It could have a really serious impact on some people.

    ‘If someone was already feeling quite down and depressed or struggling with their body image that abuse could be their breaking point.

    ‘A few of my friends who saw the messages told me they would have been raging or in tears.

    ‘I’m probably not the only woman he’s down this too.

    ‘He obviously has no respect for women whatsoever and will go around hurting people’s feelings and not caring about the consequences.

    ‘It’s just not right. He’s probably a keyboard warrior and wouldn’t dare say any of those things to someone’s face.

    ‘If other women have had that kind of abuse they should just ignore it, there’s no use taking any notice of it.’

    MORE: Woman labels man’s Tinder bio that awards or deducts points depending on your hobbies as the ‘worst ever’

    MORE: Man sends hilarious CV to Tinder match to apply to be her wedding date


    Tinder rejectionTinder rejection

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    (Picture: Getty)

    It’s Mothering Sunday next Sunday (31 March – don’t forget!)

    For many mothers that means a fancy new hand cream and lunch with the family. But one mother has taken to Mumsnet to ask whether she can have a childfree mothering Sunday.

    She writes: ‘Hi, I have 4 lovely (in their own way) children aged 23, 20, 15, and 4, I have been recently asked what I would like and I’m shocked at there response [sic].

    ‘I replied (very very keenly lol) to spend the day with my feet up no cooking, cleaning or watching others.

    ‘I would like the day to me, may I comment I started the Dry January thing and have not had a drop since, so I may decide to have a good old tipple, watch what I want, wear what I want do anything, I deserve it, a day to think I deserve this, my children have totally dismissed the idea and continue to plot, they asked I gave an honest answer, am I being unreasonable?’

    The replies have been mixed, with some Mumsnetters thinking that she is totally within her rights to ask for some downtime, but others being horrified at the idea.

    One Mum replied: ‘It’s a bit weird you want to spend the day where you celebrate motherhood on your own without your reason for celebrating.’

    Another said: ‘I think what you want to do on Mothers Day sound ideal for a birthday. As you have a little one I think it sounds strange on Mother’s Day itself.’

    But not everyone thought that a child-free Mother’s Day was such a mad idea. ‘Pffft. Do what you want’ wrote one user.

    MORE: Meet the women running 340 miles from LA to Las Vegas

    MORE: Photos of New York’s plastic bags will remind you to pick up your reusable tote


    Affectionate daughter giving flower bouquet to mother on MotherÕs DayAffectionate daughter giving flower bouquet to mother on MotherÕs Day

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    (Picture: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

    McDonald’s Monopoly is well underway, and people have already been reporting wins.

    The game works where you buy qualifying items in-store that have special stickers on them.

    There are instant wins available, but the main idea is to get sets of the same colour and stick them on the free boards available to in the bigger prizes.

    The sets become more valuable as you go around the board – just like in regular Monopoly – with dark blue bringing in the best prize.

    In each set, McDonald’s have also made it even harder by ensuring that there’s one extra-rare sticker to be found.

    Here are the rarest ones on the board:

    Rarest McDonald’s Monopoly stickers

    Mayfair – only four available

    Bond Street – 20 available (including five instant wins)

    Coventry Street – 50 available

    Liverpool Street – 400 available (including 100 instant wins)

    Strand – 650 available (including 150 instant wins)

    Marlborough Street – 2,000 available (including 1,000 instant wins)

    What you can win

    The fast food chain have yet to release what the winnings are for 2019.

    However, last year, a dark blue set (featuring Mayfair) was worth a whopping £100,000 cash.

    For the green set (featuring Bond Street) you could have bagged yourself a Mini Cooper, or for yellow (featuring Coventry Street) a trip for four to Universal Studios in Orlando.

    The sets closer to the start of the board would have got you anything from a McDonald’s medium meal to a £30 Missguided voucher to a wireless speaker.

    Three people managed to take home the big cash prize last year, six people claimed the car, and millions more got a food prize.

    MORE: Woman asks if it’s okay to want a child-free Mother’s Day

    MORE: Woman gets last laugh after Tinder reject called her fat and hoped she’d get ‘run over’


    McDonald's Launches Its Largest-Ever PromotionMcDonald's Launches Its Largest-Ever Promotion

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    boys with plants book
    (Picture: Boys With Plants)

    Millennials love plants, attractive people, and social media.

    So it’s really not surprising that an Instagram account dedicated to hot men with plants became majorly successful.

    In the last two years Boys With Plants has attracted more than 118,000 followers, who flock to double tap pictures of muscled men caring for their leafy pals.

    Now, finally, the Instagram account has become the coffee table book it was always meant to be.

    Out now in the UK, Boys With Plants is a book of 50 boys and the plants they love, captured in beautifully filtered photos accompanied by their vital stats – Instagram handle included.

    Take a look at some of our favourite plant fans below.

    Tyrell

    (Picture: Boys With Plants)

    Tyrell, AKA @gothiago, is a fashion photographer who likes to spend his downtime in his own mini tropical jungle.

    ‘I researched the characteristics of each of my plants to make sure I knew their ideal temperature and humidity, the best watering routine, and how often I should fertilize them,’ he says.

     

    Jono

    (Picture: Boys With Plants)

    Jono loves plants so much he has his favourite plant, the Australian red flowering gum, tattooed on his arm.

    When working as a style editor, he often adds greenery to get the perfect shot.

     

    Ben

    (Picture: Boys With Plants)

    Interior stylist Ben prioritises his plant’s wellbeing above aesthetics, moving them to the spots where they’ll receive optimal levels of sunlight and humidity.

    ‘We all start from somewhere and learn along the way,’ says Ben. ‘There might be times when your plants die, some of mine did too, but that is how I learned – so don’t be discouraged.’

    Ben, we love you. And your corgi.

     

    Dabito

    (Picture: Boys With Plants)

    ‘I love to give my plant babies baths,’ says Dabito. ‘It helps to keep their leaves clean of any dirt that has built up, which can block them from absorbing light.’

     

    Emil

    (Picture: Boys With Plants)

    ‘I used to kill my plants until I learned not to overwater,’ says Emil.

    Same, Emil. Same.

    Martin

    (Picture: Boys With Plants)

    Marketing manager and freelance writer Martin, from Austria, loves rubber plants and calatheas.

    ‘The number one killer of house plants is over-watering, which leads to root rot,’ he says. ‘Don’t let your plants sit in water and don’t automatically water all your house plants on a schedule.’

    MORE: What I Rent: Sophie and Samy, £1,516 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Hackney

    MORE: What I Rent: Pippa and Michael, £850 each for a two-bedroom house in Walthamstow


    Dabito-featured-16d0Dabito-featured-16d0

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    (Picture: Getty)

    The NHS will offer DIY smear test kits as part of a trial to increase the number of women having cervical cancer screenings.

    The news comes as this week marks 10 years since Jade Goody died from cervical cancer.

    In light of this, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has called on the government to offer home-testing kits to women for free, so that they can diagnose HPV – which causes 99% of cervical cancer cases – as soon as possible.

    NHS health bosses announced that they are going to trial the at-home tests across parts of England.

    It was first suggested back in December, but has since been confirmed.

    While tests are available to buy on a range of websites including Superdrug, these tests will help women who cannot afford that, but would rather test in their own homes.

    Would you use a DIY smear test? New kit allows women to take a cervical cancer test at home - as poll reveals 1 million have NEVER been tested fearing embarrassment and pain
    (Picture: GynaeHealth UK)

    The tests will be sent in the post, in hopes that they will increase the falling numbers of women having cervical cancer screenings.

    Jade’s death prompted the ‘Jade Goody Effect’, with a drastic increase of women getting their smears done.

    However, the numbers have been dropping in recent years.

    By the end of March last year, less than three quarters of women who were eligible for smear tests had been screened.

    Professor Sir Mike Richards, an oncologist and former national cancer director in the UK Government’s Department of Health, told the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday that the prospect of self-testing shows ‘great promise’.

    Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, added that self-testing could lead to an increase in women getting tested for HPV, all from the comfort of their own home.

    Cervical cancer development image. Detailed vector illustration with uterus and cervix carcinoma. Biology, anatomy, medicine, physiology and healthcare scientific concept.
    (Picture: Getty)

    He said that countries that already offer self-testing, including Australia and Denmark, have seen ‘fantastic results’, as more cancers have been ‘prevented or diagnosed at an early stage’, noting that offering these tests could be a ‘game changer’, especially for those who find the idea of screening daunting for physical or psychological reasons.

    Anne Mackie, director of screening at Public Health England, said in a statement that the organisation has asked the UK National Screening Committee to ‘consider the merits’ of offering at-home smear tests for women.

    She said: ‘Work is also under way between PHE and academics at University College London and King’s College London to evaluate the feasibility of using these kits.

    ‘Any women using kits bought at pharmacies should take their results and discuss these with their GP.’

    MORE: Beauty salons offer free bikini waxes to encourage women to get their smear test

    MORE: Women tell us what a smear test actually feels like


    NHS To Roll Out DIY At-Home Smear Test KitsNHS To Roll Out DIY At-Home Smear Test Kits

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    GOLF BREAK-UP - A woman has accused Royal Mail of causing her boyfriend to break up with her - after a parcel which arrived opened spark a debate about how much GOLF he plays
    (Picture: Ocford Mail / SWNS)

    A woman has accused Royal Mail of causing her boyfriend to break up with her, after a parcel which arrived opened sparked a debate about how much golf he plays.

    41-year-old Samantha Smith said her boyfriend blamed her when a parcel, which was supposed to contain golf grips, was found ripped open and empty.

    She says she had a row with her partner, Richard, who broke up with her, and that the whole thing ‘ruined’ their two-year relationship.

    Samantha went to her local delivery office in Abingdon, Oxon, to complain, but staff said nothing could be done and that the package had been through four sorting centres.

    Richard went on to complain himself, but when he got there Samantha says staff denied anything could have been wrong with the packages, and that he should look closer to home.

    Samantha Smith with her ill fated parcel. See SWNS story SWBRpost; A woman claims Royal Mail caused her boyfriend to break up with her after an empty parcel sparked a row between the pair. Samantha Smith, from Abingdon, had ordered several items from Ebay, including golf equipment for her partner, which arrived on Friday. She said: ?The postman handed over about six or seven parcels and I signed for them without having the chance to check them all. ?It was only when I did that I saw the one that should have had my boyfriend?s golf grips inside had already been ripped open and there was nothing inside.?
    (Picture: Ocford Mail / SWNS)

    She claims staff ‘put doubts’ in his head about whether she was lying to him.

    Samantha said: ‘He thought I could be responsible because we had argued in the past about his playing golf.

    ‘That didn’t make any sense though because I’d ordered other golf things for him that came fine.’

    She added the incident had initially ‘ruined’ her two-year relationship, as the pair hadn’t argued about the issue in months.

    She said: ‘You expect to be able to trust what the post office are telling you but I don’t like that I have been made out to be the one in the wrong in this.’

    Samantha, who has Asperger Syndrome and other medical conditions said it has been a stressful situation and she has not felt listened to.

    She said: ‘The golf grips were only £33 so it wasn’t the biggest amount of money but it was more the impact it had on my relationship.’

    Samantha Smith with her ill fated parcel. See SWNS story SWBRpost; A woman claims Royal Mail caused her boyfriend to break up with her after an empty parcel sparked a row between the pair. Samantha Smith, from Abingdon, had ordered several items from Ebay, including golf equipment for her partner, which arrived on Friday. She said: ?The postman handed over about six or seven parcels and I signed for them without having the chance to check them all. ?It was only when I did that I saw the one that should have had my boyfriend?s golf grips inside had already been ripped open and there was nothing inside.?
    (Picture: Ocford Mail / SWNS)

    She revealed she and her partner Richard are now back together, but only after he saw how seriously she had taken it – also going to the police to report the theft.

    She said she was sharing her story because ‘quite a few’ parcels had been delivered to the wrong houses in her area lately, saying ‘what happened to me could also happen to someone else.’

    A Royal Mail spokesperson said: ‘Every item we handle is important to us and we always strive to provide the best possible service to all of our customers.

    ‘We would like to offer the customer a cheque for £50 as a gesture of goodwill, to compensate for the loss of the item. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.’

    Police confirmed the theft had been reported to them and they were currently investigating.

    MORE: Woman asks if it’s okay to want a child-free Mother’s Day

    MORE: Meet the women running 340 miles from LA to Las Vegas


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    (Picture: Twitter/katiewaddilove)

    A woman has taken to Twitter to accuse Pretty Little Thing of selling a pair of joggers which she claims were originally made by Fruit of the Loom, but have had the label removed.

    She tweeted a picture of the seam of the trousers, which showed the Pretty Little Thing label on one side and what looks like the remnants of a Fruit of the Loom label on the other.

    The woman, @katiewaddielove, says that the Fruit of the Loom joggers retail from between £6 – £12, but says PLT are selling the same pair for £20.

    She included a screenshot of what looks like the joggers she bought being sold on Amazon by Fruit of the Loom.

    Lots of people have jumped on to Katie’s comments, some saying they were disappointed with the brand, others testing out their own products by taking a closer look at their labels.

    But some sprang to PLT’s defense and told Katie that is just how the fashion industry works – but she had a response for them.

    She accused Pretty Little Thing of doing a ‘sloppy job’ of removing the original label. She also said that they have ‘not altered the product in any way to justify the >100% profits made!’

    One Twitter user seemed particularly disappointed in PLT’s alleged actions: ‘People throw their hard earned into something they’ve admired and wanted all month and when they buy it it’s nothing better than a regular item with new tags sewn into it,’ they wrote.

    Another added, ‘Amazon Prime better than PLT next day delivery anyway.’

    We have contacted Pretty Little Thing for a response to this claim, but they have not yet responded.

    MORE: Woman orders dress from Boohoo and ends up looking like Friar Tuck

    MORE: Boys With Plants book celebrates men’s love for their leafy pals

    MORE: Meet the women running 340 miles from LA to Las Vegas


    PLT accused of selling fruit of the loom sweatpants with no alterationsPLT accused of selling fruit of the loom sweatpants with no alterations

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    spill it
    (Pictures: Shutterstock/Metro)

    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 Carla (not her real name) who is a 45-year-old stay at home mum, who lives near St Albans.

    Friday 

    It’s been a long week but I’ve got a girls night tonight. I’ve got a close group of mates who live close together, within a few streets. We go out once a month for a night together. I pick my kids up from school – I’ve got a son who is nine and a daughter who is seven – and let them watch their iPads while I’m getting ready.

    My husband works a 45-minute drive away. He gets home around six and I go to meet the girls in a nice local pub that does cocktails. I start with a cosmopolitan, then have two pornstar martinis. I’m very drunk so swap to lemonade for a couple of hours.

    Then we go on to another pub, which is less nice but a lot cheaper. I have a Malibu and lemonade, which I know is tacky but makes me feel like I’m on holiday.

    Saturday

    I feel absolutely terrible on Saturday morning. My husband takes the kids to swimming and I sleep in trying to feel better. Lots of photos going around on our Whatsapp group from last night – I was a right mess.

    We watch a film on the sofa in the afternoon as a family which is nice, I try not to nod off – I don’t sleep well when I’ve had a lot to drink.

    In the evening the kids are both out on sleepovers. My husband drives them to their friends’ houses because I’m worried about still being over the limit. He wants us to go out for dinner but I can’t face it so we have a curry. He has a couple of beers but I can’t face the idea of a drink.

    Sunday 

    I was hoping to feel better when I woke up but I still feel bad – it’s a two-day hang over. I let the kids have their iPads because I feel guilty.

    We go out to a local pizza place for lunch. I offer to drive because I feel guilty.

    I spend the afternoon cleaning the house and getting everything ready for Monday morning. We watch rubbish telly. My husband has a glass of wine but I don’t fancy it.

    Monday 

    Monday is my favourite day of the week. I drop the kids at school and the spend the day sorting the house out. I’ve got loads of ironing to do so I catch up on Corrie and Eastenders while I do it.

    The kids have after school activities on a Monday so I pick them up late, then we do homework and eat as a family in the evening. Doesn’t occur to me to drink alcohol.

    Tuesday

    I have lunch with a friend. She orders a glass of Prosecco so I do the same.

    When I pick the kids up at 3.30 pm I feel worried that I’ll be over the limit. I know that one small glass at 1 pm won’t put me over, but I drive extra carefully anyway.

    Husband is out with friends so I can watch what I want on the TV!

    Wednesday 

    Husband takes the kids to school on Wednesday so I can have a lie in. I get up at 9 am and then do all the laundry. I go to the supermarket to do a food shop – I like it better than online shopping.

    I buy some beers for the husband and and some alcopops for me as we’ve got friends over at the weekend.

    Thursday

    Husband is home late from work and has been out with his mates. I’ve helped the kids with their homework and got them into bed.

    We watch Game of Thrones on the sofa. He has another beer when he gets home but I have a cup of tea.

    Friday

    I’ve got a birthday dinner for a friend tonight so I’m going to London. The kids are having dinner over at friends’ houses and then my husband is picking them up.

    We go for Champagne afternoon tea at a hotel in London where I have one glass. I don’t like Champagne that much but it’s included. Then we go to the big Primark, have a wander around the shops and then for cocktails. I order a pornstar martini and start to feel quite drunk.

    We go to a Brazilian restaurant for dinner and everyone orders pitchers of margarita, I don’t drink all of mine because I feel rough.

    I get home around 11 pm and go to bed. I will probably have a big hangover again tomorrow.

    Units: 9

    Maximum recommended units: 14

    MORE: Spill it: How much a 37-year-old financier drinks in a week

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


    spill itspill it

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    (Picture: Getty)

    Today is the 10 year anniversary of the death of Jade Goody due to cervical cancer.

    Jade was just 27, and had two young sons. However sad this may be, she inspired a number of people to go to their cervical screening, with demand going up by one fifth.

    In recent years, however, uptake rates have dipped once again and are at their lowest for 20 years. Two women die from the disease every day in England.

    Some reports have suggested that it’s due to fear of pain or embarrassment. This absolutely might be the case sometimes, but it’s all likely that many people have simply forgotten when their smear test is due, or missed their most recent invitation.

    If that’s the case for you, don’t worry at all. You can still have your test.

    How to find out when you’re next due for a smear test

    You’ll be invited for a smear test every three to five years from the age of 25 until around 64. A letter will come from your doctor urging you to book one and giving you instructions on how to do so.

    You can find out when your next one is due by remembering when your last one was, and checking it against your age.

    If you’re under 25, you’ll be invited just before your 25th birthday. Between 25 and 29, it’s every three years, and for those between 50 and 64 it’s every five years.

    For those experiencing any symptoms, however, there is no need to wait until your next scheduled screening. Simply call your GP to book.

    Common cervical cancer symptoms

    • Bleeding during or after sex
    • Bleeding between your periods
    • Bleeding after you have been through the menopause
    • Pain and discomfort during sex
    • Unusual or unpleasant vaginal discharge
    • Pain in your lower back or pelvis.

    How to book a smear test if you’ve missed your invitation

    As said above, you should always book a smear if you are experiencing symptoms.

    Even if you’re not, though, you should re-book if you missed your most recent one.

    Call your GP and let them know what you’re booking for. Ideally you should choose a time two days or more before or after your period, and two or more days after using vaginal medications, lubricants or creams.

    MORE: Woman accuses Pretty Little Thing of selling Fruit of the Loom joggers with the label cut out

    MORE: Mum horrified to find ‘maggots’ in Kinder egg she bought for son, 2

     


    Doctor holding cervical smear equipmentDoctor holding cervical smear equipment

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    Zip, a three-year-old Australian Cattle Dog rescue, has become an adoptive mother to a 13-day-old foal, whose mother died shortly after she was born. Alabama, USA..See SWNS story SWNYfoal. This rescue dog is acting like a guardian angel for an orphaned baby horse in Alabama, USA. Zip, a three-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, has become very protective of the 13-day-old foal, whose mother died shortly after she was born. ?Zip is acting like the foal?s father, he is very loving towards the her,? said Karla Swindle, 47, who runs a S & K Quarter Horses in Fayette, AL. ?He licks and nuzzles her and he stays by her side the whole time, making sure she?s OK, he even sleeps next to her at night.
    (Picture: Karla Swindle/SWNS)

    A rescue dog has become an unlikely guardian angel for an orphaned baby horse.

    Zip, a three-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, has become very protective of the 13-day-old horse, whose mother died shortly after she was born.

    Karla Swindle, 47, who runs S & K Quarter Horses in Fayette, Alabama, says Zip is acting just like the horse’s father, adding that he is ‘very loving towards her’.

    Zip, a three-year-old Australian Cattle Dog rescue, has become an adoptive mother to a 13-day-old foal, whose mother died shortly after she was born. Alabama, USA..See SWNS story SWNYfoal. This rescue dog is acting like a guardian angel for an orphaned baby horse in Alabama, USA. Zip, a three-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, has become very protective of the 13-day-old foal, whose mother died shortly after she was born. ?Zip is acting like the foal?s father, he is very loving towards the her,? said Karla Swindle, 47, who runs a S & K Quarter Horses in Fayette, AL. ?He licks and nuzzles her and he stays by her side the whole time, making sure she?s OK, he even sleeps next to her at night.
    (Picture: Karla Swindle/SWNS)

    She said: ‘He licks and nuzzles her and he stays by her side the whole time, making sure she’s OK, he even sleeps next to her at night.

    ‘This is the first time he’s ever cared for a foal like this.

    ‘He usually just looks at the horses and carries on walking, no interest, but he’s taken to this one so much, he lays on her and they rest their heads on each other.

    ‘It’s amazing the bond these two have.’

    Zip, a three-year-old Australian Cattle Dog rescue, has become an adoptive mother to a 13-day-old foal, whose mother died shortly after she was born. Alabama, USA..See SWNS story SWNYfoal. This rescue dog is acting like a guardian angel for an orphaned baby horse in Alabama, USA. Zip, a three-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, has become very protective of the 13-day-old foal, whose mother died shortly after she was born. ?Zip is acting like the foal?s father, he is very loving towards the her,? said Karla Swindle, 47, who runs a S & K Quarter Horses in Fayette, AL. ?He licks and nuzzles her and he stays by her side the whole time, making sure she?s OK, he even sleeps next to her at night.
    (Picture: Karla Swindle/SWNS)

    The foal, who is yet to be named, was born earlier this month, but nine days later her mother, a palomino colt, became so ill that she had to be euthanized.

    ‘That night Zip was laying there with the foal,’ said Karla.

    ‘It just broke my heart…the dog was crying and whining and I started crying too.

    ‘I think he’s adopted the little foal as his baby because he wants her to know she’s not alone, she is only 13 days old, I’m glad he’s there to make her feel safe.’

    MORE: Dog owner vows to keep cloning her beloved pooch so it never dies

    MORE: Adorable blind golden retriever has his own guide dog puppy


    DOGGY DAD - Rescue dog is best buddies with an orphaned baby horseDOGGY DAD - Rescue dog is best buddies with an orphaned baby horse

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    We love cats and all the silliness they have to offer.

    We’ve fallen head over heels for one little kitty, who tried to play it cool when she got stuck in a McDonald’s paper bag – blindly walking backwards out of the room as if she was trying to avoid being laughed at.

    Drew LaFasto and her fiancé Zach Ellis had tossed the fast food bag to the side while eating their meal last Sunday and little Velma – known for loving human food – decided to snoop inside.

    When the eight-month-old short-haired black kitten found the bag empty she tried to back up, only for the bag to get stuck on her head.

    In what appears like an effort to extract herself from an embarrassing situation, the hilarious video shows poor Velma try to sneak backwards out of the room.

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: Velma the cat stuck in a paper Mc Donald's bag) TThis greedy kitten tried to play it cool when she got stuck in a McDonald's paper bag - blindly walking backwards out of the room as if trying to avoid being laughed at. Drew LaFasto and her fianc?? Zach Ellis had tossed the fast food bag to the side while enjoying their meal last Sunday and nosy Velma - known for loving human food - decided to snoop inside. When the eight-month-old short-haired black kitten found the bag empty she tried to back up, only for the bag to get caught on her and stuck on her head. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News)

    Despite being completely blinded by the bag on her head, the cat manages to edge her way completely out of the door – and her owners filmed the whole thing.

    Drew, from Knoxville, Tennessee, said: ‘My fiancé and I had placed an empty McDonald’s bag on the ground since we were eating and the bag was in the way.

    ‘As Velma went inside the bag, she tried to back-up. While doing this, her head caught the top part of the bag, encapsulating her inside.

    ‘She didn’t know how to respond other than walking backwards into our master bedroom.

    ‘Initially, when Velma was stuck in the bag I thought, ‘I wonder if she’ll figure out how to get out!’

    ‘She likes snooping for food from any and everything, so when she got caught in the bag, I kind of thought, ‘That’s what you get for eating our food all the time!’

    PIC FROM Kennedy News and Media (PICTURED: Velma the cat when she was a kitten) TThis greedy kitten tried to play it cool when she got stuck in a McDonald's paper bag - blindly walking backwards out of the room as if trying to avoid being laughed at. Drew LaFasto and her fianc?? Zach Ellis had tossed the fast food bag to the side while enjoying their meal last Sunday and nosy Velma - known for loving human food - decided to snoop inside. When the eight-month-old short-haired black kitten found the bag empty she tried to back up, only for the bag to get caught on her and stuck on her head. SEE KENNEDY NEWS COPY - 0161 697 4266
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    ‘I promise we feed her a lot, but she loves the smell of human food.

    ‘It was hilarious watching her sheepishly back out of the room like that. It’s like she was embarrassed at getting stuck and was trying to quietly exit without anyone noticing.’

    Since the video was posted to Facebook, it has received more than 1,600 likes and comments.

    One user said: ‘This is me when I embarrass myself at a party and want to leave the conversation.’

    Another joked: ‘Sometimes I wonder how the hell cats managed before we domesticated them.’

    Drew, 25, said: ‘The whole experience was just a funny instant I thought was necessary to catch on camera.

    ‘Velma does a lot of weird stuff, and to see her walking backwards all the way into another bedroom was goofy.

    ‘When I saw her walking backwards, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to post this on Facebook, that’s too cute’.

    ‘A lot of people made jokes about the video like ‘me backing out of an awkward situation’, or things along those lines.’

    MORE: From LOLCats to Pepe the Frog: How memes became the language of the internet

    MORE: Urban Outfitters is selling caps for cats and they’re so adorable


    This greedy kitten tried to play it cool when she got stuck in a McDonald\'s paper bagThis greedy kitten tried to play it cool when she got stuck in a McDonald\'s paper bag

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    (Picture: Getty)

    Please, my palm, she’s very sick.

    If you’re anything like the average millennial, your rented flat is packed with all manner of house plants – all of which droop and die seemingly without reason.

    It is endless heartbreak. You buy a plant, you love it, you take photos of it, then it starts to droop and you have no clue how to save it. Do you want more water, plant? Less? More sun?

    Before you chuck out your calathea and get a plastic version, you might want to try this mum’s trick for bringing drooping plants back from the brink.

    Over on Facebook, where all genius ideas are shared, an Australian woman revealed that she gives her plants a bath with a special ingredient: epsom salts.

    6820921 Mum's genius trick for reviving dying plants in the bathtub
    The plant before its bath (Picture: Facebook)

    Along with before and after photos of her revived plant, she wrote: ‘A few inches of water in the bath with Epsom salts and I give the leaves a shower to get dust etc off and keep it happy.

    ‘I have to use them (Epsom salts) myself and it was always sold out because gardeners would use it on their plants, that’s what gave me the idea.’

    She recommends adding a ‘handful’ of epsom salts to a few inches of bath water, and leaving plants soaking overnight if they looked extra dehydrated.

    6820921 Mum's genius trick for reviving dying plants in the bathtub
    The plant after its epsom salt bath (Picture: Facebook)

    The photos are pretty convincing, but before we rushed off to Boots we had to check in with a plant professional to see if this hack would actually rescue our poor plants from their despair.

    Helen, a plant doctor at Crocus, says that epsom salts can help as they are magnesium sulfate, a nutrient that plants need to thrive.

    But proceed with caution, because not all plants are suffering from a magnesium deficiency.

    Helen tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) can be used to treat plants that are suffering from a magnesium deficiency, but the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency (ie , yellowing between the leaf veins, and sometimes a reddish brown flush on the foliage), do not include wilting.

    ‘Plants can look droopy for a number of reasons, but it’s usually a result of a disease, which won’t be helped by Magnesium, or weather damage (snow, ice, drought or heavy rain).

    ‘Indoor plants can wilt from both too much or too little water, so if a plant is suffering from drought, then sitting it in a few inches of water for a couple of hours will help perk it up (even without the Epsom salts), but if it’s wilting because it is waterlogged, and the majority of house plants are killed by too much water, then you could be doing more harm than good.’

    So basically, either this trick will do wonders or it will make things even worse. Great.

    We’d recommend analysing your plant’s symptoms before you go ahead and try any at-home remedies.

    If your plant is wilting but the soil is wet, it’s likely you’ve overwatered, so a bath won’t help. The same goes for brown leaves – it’s important not to assume this means your plant is dry, and instead taking a finger and placing it into the soil to see if it feels dry. If it’s dry, water. If it’s not, let it relax.

    MORE: Boys With Plants book celebrates men’s love for their leafy pals

    MORE: Depressing books and spiky plants could be turning your home into a man repellent


    Trick for reviving house plantsTrick for reviving house plants

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    For many women, the label of ‘strong’ is problematic – the stigma and negative connotations can put women off from being active altogether.

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

    So it is more important than ever for women to reclaim the definition of strength and find ways to embrace being physically active.

    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.

    Strong Women aims to challenge the idea that a woman has to look a certain way in order to be fit, strong and love her body.

    Juliana Buhring is an ultra-endurance cyclist. She has ridden across the entire globe – but at age 30 she had never cycled. The death of a loved one set her on a new path.

    Juliana Buhring head shot
    (Picture: Juliana Buhring/Metro.co.uk)

    What do you love about fitness?

    Fitness to me is just a side effect of doing what I love, riding my bicycle. I love the feeling of strength and freedom I get pedalling my heart out on the open road.

    The worries and pressures of life just kind of fall away.

    It’s a state of peace and well-being that rejuvenates me mentally as much as physically. It’s true what they say, a healthy body equals a healthy mind. I see fitness as a means to an end rather than the end game.

    I don’t care about fitness to look good, I care about my body being in peak shape in order to come back from a long ride or race feeling strong rather than destroyed.

    I guess I stumbled into the sport by accident. I didn’t intentionally look for it, it just kind of found me.

    My journey into the world of ultra cycling began with the death of a person I loved very much. At his memorial service someone talked about cycling across Canada and that got me thinking about where I would want to cycle if I was going to cycle anywhere in the world.

    I started researching interesting bicycle journeys and eventually stumbled upon the men who had circumnavigated the world by bike. This made a lot of sense to me, since I’m a bit of an extremist. Either go big, or don’t go at all.

    I thought if you’re going to cycle a continent, why not the world?

    At 30 years old, I had never really cycled before, apart from puttering around the courtyard as a kid. I got a cheap, clunky tour bike and started cycling on the chaotic roads around Napoli where I lived.

    Every day I would go a little further and kept adding mileage till I was comfortably cycling 200 km rides. I was not an athlete, much less a cyclist, so it was little wonder I couldn’t find a sponsor for my endeavour. I had decided since I was going around the world anyway, I might as well attempt to make the first women’s record for circumnavigation by bicycle.

    Strangely, by 2011, no woman had done it yet.

    Eight months later, I set off, without a sponsor, or support and just £3,000.

    By the time I made it home 152 days later with the world record, I had become pretty proficient in cycling long distances.

    That led me into the world of ultra cycling races.

    I was the only woman to participate in the first edition of the Transcontinental Race from London to Istanbul in 2013, followed by winning the Trans Am Bike Race and more recently the Oman Sprint where I made my personal best of 1,070 km nonstop in 49 hours.

    Juliana Buhring cycling
    (Picture: Juliana Buhring/Metro.co.uk)

    How did grief shape your relationship with fitness?

    At the time, I used cycling as an escape from grief. The physical pain and exhaustion distracted me from the deep sadness and anger I felt.

    I started out on my journey around the world not caring if I made it back or not, but by the time I rode into the finish, I had rediscovered a passion for life and new adventures and experiences.

    Cycling brought me back to life and set me on a journey towards self discovery that I am still on today.

    I think as women we often undervalue ourselves and our abilities. When it comes to exploring our potential, we are our own worst enemies.

    Someone once told me, “if you think you can’t, you’re right.”

    If you fear failure, then you’ll probably fail. Whether or not you make a dream a reality, or whether you fail or succeed in anything, starts first in the mind.

    In fitness and in sport, I’d say what you are able to do and how far you are able to push yourself is 75% in the mind and that’s huge. So I tend to approach all my endeavours and challenges with – I wonder.

    I wonder how I’ll hold up under 45 °C heat. I wonder whether I can average 400 km a day instead of 300. I wonder what new surprise will come at me this time that I haven’t prepared for.

    Juliana Buhring posing with a soldier
    (Picture: Juliana Buhring/Metro.co.uk)

    Approaching a challenge with curiosity and a sense of adventure reduces the stress of expectation, because then it is less about whether I win or lose, succeed or fail, but rather it becomes one more valuable life experience, regardless of the ultimate outcome. I always learn something more about myself, about who I am, outside of my comfort zone.

    The fitness part of it is just a side product of the ultimate life training and self discovery it brings me. For me, it is less about the end game, or about winning. It is all about the ride.

    What obstacles have you faced?

    My biggest obstacles have usually come down to me getting in my own way, or pushing myself too hard, ignoring the warning signs my body was giving me and paying the consequences of that.

    Once you discover that you are able to do so much more than you thought, it can become addicting to find out how much more you are capable of, and how much further you can push yourself.

    This is great in achieving milestones or taking yourself to the next level, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t know when to stop.

    For example, I destroyed my knees on the Trans Am Bike Race, when my seat post broke and I cycled half of the 7,200 km with the bike seat way down low and my knees way up high. I blocked it out with painkillers, but it did more damage than I had thought.

    I learned a lot about mind-over-matter and how I could keep cycling through pain and push past the point when most athletes would probably have stopped. I arrived in the first female position and 4th place overall, but that came at a high cost.

    It took a couple years of recovery and I have permanently damaged my patella discs because of it. Also, because of the overdose of ibuprofen, I developed an intolerance which grew into a full on allergic reaction to all anti-inflammatory medication. This means that now if I take anything in that group of medicine, I can suffer heart attack and liver failure.

    This was vividly brought home to me in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race across Australia when I suffered a severe reaction to an anti-inflammatory. I was in the middle of the Nullarbor desert, 1,000 km from civilisation and no one around to help.

    I managed to get myself to the nearest roadhouse where they called the bush doctor who advised them what to give me from the emergency medical kit. It was scary, and since then I have never touched any kind of medication.

    I have learned that caring for my body is the most important thing I can do. It is the machine that will keep me moving through life and if I destroy it early on, I’m going to suffer later when it starts to break down.

    Juliana Buhring cycling
    (Picture: Juliana Buhring/Metro.co.uk)

    Why do you think of yourself as a strong woman?

    The strongest metals are forged in the hottest fires.

    I have faced a pretty large share of suffering and challenges throughout life, starting from a very young age. At the time, those experiences were extremely painful, but today I am thankful for all of them, because not only have they given me a certain mental toughness and resiliency, but also empathy for others’ suffering.

    Every struggle I have passed through and overcome has made me stronger. The more you overcome, the more you know you are capable of overcoming. When you come out the other side knowing you lived through it, you survived, you’re still here, then you have the confidence that you can take everything and anything life throws at you.

    At this point, I’m pretty much unbreakable.

    I think there is still a perception of a strong woman being somehow ‘bitchy’ or ‘scary’, and intimidating. I often hear myself referred to as ‘badass’. When I meet people for the first time, I’m told, ‘Oh, you’re actually really nice in person.’ I don’t get why there would be an assumption that I’m not nice – apart from being considered a strong female ultra cyclist who regularly challenges a predominantly male field.

    I think that women who challenge traditional conceptions of what a woman can and can’t do, or should and shouldn’t be able to do, makes them somehow scary or threatening at a subconscious level.

    It could be that we need to change the perception of what being a strong woman means. To me, strong does not mean hard or bitchy.

    It takes more strength to be kind to someone who has been cruel to you. It takes strength to stand up for what’s right even if it costs you something, especially when it costs you something.

    A strong woman uses her strength to lift others up. A strong woman knows how to say no. A strong woman doesn’t compromise her values in order to achieve her goals. A strong woman knows being weak is part of the process of becoming strong. A strong woman cares for her mind as much as she cares for her body.

    These are the kinds of images of strong women I wish we saw more of.

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘We lost everything, I was suicidal. Signing up for an Ironman saved me’

    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’


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    An open letter to the Instagram fitness model my boyfriend dumped me for
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    It’s endless fun to laugh at people’s terrible use of social media.

    There’s a thrill in spotting something that epitomises cringe.

    Think the ice cream man, whose thrusts and eye contact as he spun an Oreo made us so deeply uncomfortable we had to look away.

    Remember the influencer who got death threats for her intensely plotted bit of spon con, complete with tortillas masquerading as a stack of pancakes?

    Oh, what fun it was to laugh at these people exposing their darkest truth: that they actually put earnest effort into how they present themselves on social media.

    Since we were little, we’ve been told that trying hard is the antithesis of cool.

    It was only cool to do well on an exam if you’d barely revised, an outfit should never have required hours of planning, and the revelation that you had actually considered a response to a text rather than just casually firing it off without a second thought would be humiliating.

    There’s shame in revealing that you care, that you’re bothered, and that you’re willing to put time and work into something – especially if that thing is social media, which is continually referred to as not being ‘real’ and is thus a particularly silly thing to care about.

    Melissa Dahl, the author of Cringeworthy: a Theory of Awkwardness, describes the feeling of cringe as ‘when the “you” you think you’re presenting to the world clashes with the way the world is actually seeing you’, explaining that when you see other people’s actions as cringeworthy, ‘it’s because they’re presenting themselves one way and don’t know they’re coming off another way.’

    Knowing that someone has put effort into the way they’re trying to present themselves deepens the cringe – they’ve tried so hard and it’s gone so wrong, and it’s unbearable to watch… but also hilarious.

    In the midst of laughing at people’s cringey social media use or calling them ‘ice cream shagger’, there’s a darker truth that we don’t want to acknowledge.

    We are these people. We try, too. And we’re just one bad choice away from being just as cringey as they are.

    (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    There are two ways to react to someone doing something embarrassing. Either you can laugh, point, and ridicule, or it resonates. As Melissa puts it: ‘you can shut them out and be like, “I am not that idiot on Tinder on this big projection screen” or you can say, “that’s me, too. I’m feeling this way because I have been a version of that idiot”.’

    When we point and laugh, we’re often trying to distance ourselves from the unsettling knowledge that we’re guilty of the same crimes.

    Presented with a lot of money to promote Listerine, we, too, would be met with the temptation to create an absurdly posed shot not at all reflective of our morning routines.

    The truth is you can see yourself trying to make a plate of pancakes, realising they look sh*t on camera, and reaching for the El Paso packet.

    Deep down you know that if you were to create a business dedicated to chopping ingredients into rolled ice cream, you would do at least 17 takes of the same video, reciting a script you spent hours drafting and editing.

    Just think of the last time you tried to get a photo of yourself for Instagram. You dropped your jacket off one shoulder. You pulled out the strandid. You tensed your jaw and smouldered for shot after identical shot until you finally got one you could be proud of.

    You did all this because you care. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but you do. It would be even more embarrassing to reveal all you’ve put into your social media; to share the selfie poses that didn’t come out right, to keep that tweet on your profile even after it flopped, to have someone witness the way you play with filters and carefully curate the photos to put in an album.

    You get a shivering thrill looking at people’s cringey social media because they remind you of your secret shame; the effort you make, the way you try.

    We are all one click away from shattering the illusion that we’re somewhat cool, from revealing all the work and caring that goes on behind the scenes, from being cringe-worthy.

    So go ahead and laugh for now. Chuckle at that awkward TikTok, obsess over a woman’s early beauty tutorials where they hold products in front of their palms, do a mock tweet of someone’s hot take.

    But know that one day, that could be you. In fact, it already is – you’ve just been lucky enough to cover your tracks; the selfie attempts, the deep thoughts you didn’t post, the genius skit you’re reluctant to send out into the world. As long as these remain private, you’re safe.

    Just be warned that you, too, could so easily fall into the trap of thinking that, actually, something is brilliant and needs to be shared with the world, only to get torn apart for revealing the big dirty secret: that you tried.

    MORE: There's power in being lovey-dovey

    MORE: It's time to Marie Kondo your online life

    MORE: Don't worry about being weird: check in on people you care about right now


    An open letter to the Instagram fitness model my boyfriend dumped me forAn open letter to the Instagram fitness model my boyfriend dumped me for

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    Vagina Museum
    Founder Florence Schechter (Picture: Vagina Museum)

    Florence Schechter is on a mission.

    Earlier this week, she launched a crowdfunding campaign with the hopes to raise £300,000 for a museum dedicated entirely to vaginas.

    The aim of the project is to remove the stigma and mystery around female genitalia, as well as highlight other important issues such as mental health and body image, inclusivity, intersectionality and consent.

    It’s about time we talked more about vaginas, especially with figures showing that 65% of 16 to 25-year-olds have problems simply using the word vagina or vulva, according to a study by the Eve Appeal.

    More than one in 10 of 16 to 35-year-olds also find it difficult to discuss gynaecological health concerns with their GP, while a third admit they avoid going to the doctor because they feel embarrassed.

    The Vagina Museum already has a space in a grade II listed building in Camden Market.

    Vagina Museum
    Volunteer Jasmine Evans (Picture: Vagina Museum)
    Vagina Museum
    (Picture: Vagina Museum)

    Once funding rolls in, it will feature an exhibition space where ‘everything from the history of period products to the science of animal vaginas’ will be displayed, as well as an event space for talks, plays, workshops and more.

    There’s also a balcony, which will be transformed into a cosy spot with Sheela Na Gigs artwork (carvings of vulvas) and plants that have been used for period pain relief or contraception throughout history.

    In addition, the museum will host an outreach programme which includes ‘healthy and inclusive sex and relationships education’, as well as engagement with doctors and other medical professionals in improving understanding and support for trans and intersex communities.

    On the crowdfunding website, a statement reads:

    ‘With a Vagina Museum, all people can learn that there is nothing shameful or offensive about vaginas and vulvas and by fighting stigma, we can be a part of helping solve these problems.’

    The museum will be welcome to people of all ages, including children (though it’s up to parents and guardians if they want to bring their kids).

    It has the support of the local council, as well as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, actors, comedians and authors.

    ‘We have recently collaborated with the Vagina Museum to engage women in conversations about some of the taboos that exist around women’s health,’ said Dr Alison Wright, vice president of the college.

    ‘Both organisations share a common mission of spreading knowledge and raise awareness of gynaecological anatomy and health.

    ‘We believe the museum will be a huge asset to help people to understand women’s health and to talk about it more openly.’

    To tackle such a broad range of issues, the museum also has a dedicated advisory board and board of trustees that includes sex educators, medical professionals, scientists, LGBT activists, academics who specialise in gender studies, and people who are fighting against female genital mutilation and period poverty.

    The goal is to open in November this year. In just two days, the Vagina Museum has received £6,580, but there’s still a long way to go.

    If you are a supporter of vaginas (and why wouldn’t you be?) and want to donate a few pounds or more, you can do so here.

    Frankly, we can’t wait for opening day.

    MORE: Putting parsley in your vagina to bring on your period is a dangerous idea

    MORE: Cult Beauty launches a ‘wellness’ range that’s all about sexual pleasure and vulvas

    MORE: Photographer Laura Dodsworth shows what vulvas look like in 100 photographs of different women


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    Little girl playing in the ball pit joyfully

    Sorry to spoil your child’s birthday party/your drunken dip in the club’s adult ball pit, tucked away in a grimy corner, but ball pits could contain potentially life-threatening germs, according to new research.

    This is because those fun pools of plastic spheres can go weeks without being properly cleaned.

    Researchers at the University of North Georgia analysed six ball pits attached to inpatient physical therapy clinic or outpatient clinics used for children with autism.

    Swabs were taken from nine to 15 balls taken from various depths of the pits. On these plastic surfaces, 31 bacterial species were identified, including eight pathogenic bacteria and one pathogenic yeast.

    There’s bacteria everywhere, of course, but some of the bacteria found on these balls can lead to infection and even death.

    Nine germs that can have outcomes such as septicaemia, meningitis, and pneumonia, were identified on the balls. Bit worrying, no?

    The bacteria included Enterococcus faecalis, which can cause septicaemia and meningitis, and staphylococcus hominis, which can cause bloodstream infections.

    (Picture: Getty)

    The researchers found that ball pits are often contaminated with dirt, vomit, faeces, or urine – plus all the other dirt and stickiness children’s hands can bring – and that they’re not properly or frequently cleaned, allowing bacteria to thrive.

    ‘Clinics may go days or even weeks between cleanings, which may allow time for microorganisms to accumulate and grow to levels capable of transmission and infection,’ said the researchers.

    ‘Bacterial colonization was found to be as high as thousands of cells per ball, which clearly demonstrates an increased potential for transmission of these organisms to patients and the possibility of infection in these exposed individuals.’

    The risks posed to children increase if that child has a cut or graze, or if their immune system is compromised.

    Of course, how frequently and how well the ball pit is cleaned will make a difference, too.

    The lesson here: If you’re squeamish about germs or have a kid whose immune system isn’t the strongest, either avoid ball pits or make sure you go to one with high standards of hygiene.

    And, as always, if you see vomit or faeces floating around, get out sharpish.

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    Little girl playing in the ball pit joyfullyLittle girl playing in the ball pit joyfully

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    Rest in peace tooty frooties, gone too soon
    Pictures: Amazon

    In truly devastating news, Nestlé is going to stop selling Tooty Frooties.

    You remember Tooty Frooties – those deliciously sweet squares you’d bite into then spend ages picking out of your teeth. An excellent treat.

    But apparently our beloved Tooty Frooties have been neglected, falling out of fashion as gummy and jelly sweets rise from the ashes.

    Nestlé confirmed the news on Twitter, writing: ‘Unfortunately, we’ve had to say goodbye to Tooty Frooties. Our love for them will always be there but, for now, we have to let it go.’

    If you love something, you have to let it go, we suppose… although we don’t think that rule applies to sweets we were hoping to buy at the corner shop.

    Rowntrees Tooty Frooties aren’t just a great loss because of their taste, but because they’re basically a British institution, having been around since 1963, making them nearly 60 years old.

    Rowntrees Tooty Frooties
    (Picture: Rowntrees Tooty Frooties)

    A spokesperson for Nestlé said: ‘Sweet tastes and trends change over the years and Tooty Frooties have become much less popular in the decades since their launch.

    ‘In 2019, people prefer the jelly and foamy sweets you find in Rowntree’s Randoms and that’s why we’ve decided to concentrate on new products under the Randoms brand.’

    We blame all those over-cautious parents panicking about us cracking and rotting our teeth on those hard sugary shells.

    The decision to axe Tooty Frooties hasn’t gone down well, with tweets begging Nestlé to bring them back.

    Some say they’ll be stocking up while they can, filling their bunkers with as many packs of sweets as they can.

    Over on Ebay, a £45g bag of Tooty Frooties has already been listed with a starting price of £100.

    These truly are wild and unsettling times.

    MORE: Swapping sugar for sweeteners might not be a healthier choice

    MORE: Sorry, but that ball pit you’re playing in may contain a load of dangerous germs

    MORE: KitKat Drumsticks bring together ice cream, chocolate sauce and wafers and we’re excited


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    (Picture: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home)

    It’s National Puppy Day – and while we love the furry, friendly young pooches, that doesn’t mean the older ones don’t deserve the same level of attention.

    There are currently 42 dogs sat in Battersea Dogs and Cats Home waiting for someone to take them home (and that’s not counting the newbies who are still being trained).

    By all means, get a puppy if you want one (do so responsibly) but remember that there are already so many dogs out there who need a human to love them.

    And age is just a number.

    We’ve chosen nine of our favourites, each with his or her own unique characteristics.

    Athena, one year and six months

    Pups up for adoption Athena Provider: Battersea Dogs' and Cat's Home Source: https://www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/dog-rehoming-gallery
    Athena (Picture: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home)

    Athena might look a little cranky, but don’t let that put you off.

    The friendly Dogue de Bordeaux is still getting her confidence back, but would be a great fit for a family with older kids.

    But you’ll need to dedicate time to spend with her, as Athena can get stressed if she’s left on her own for too long.

    Arnold, four years and three months

    Pups up for adoption Arnold Provider: Battersea Dogs' and Cat's Home Source: https://www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/dog-rehoming-gallery
    Arnold (Picture: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home)

    As you can see, Arnold is a master of the puppy dog eyes.

    He loves people, but gets a little over-excited sometimes and albeit friendly, isn’t a fan of living with teenagers or cats.

    The Shar Pei will need confident and experienced owners, but put in the time and he’ll give you the love.

    Feather, two years and six months

    Pups up for adoption Feather Provider: Battersea Dogs' and Cat's Home Source: https://www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/dog-rehoming-gallery
    Feather (Picture: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home)

    Feather is a cute little fur ball, but she’s a nervous pup.

    The Shih Tzu needs a confident doggy pal to live with, in order for her to develop her confidence.

    Feather has a long way to go, but just imagine what it would be like to curl up on the sofa with her after a long day.

    Zack, two years and one month

    Pups up for adoption Zack Provider: Battersea Dogs' and Cat's Home Source: https://www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/dog-rehoming-gallery
    Zack (Picture: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home)

    He might not be that old just yet, but Zack prefers the company of adults.

    Zack isn’t all that keen on living with other dogs either, but might be up for becoming roommates with a cat.

    A mongrel breed, he’s has had a rough start in life, and just needs some encouragement and training from patient humans.

    Once he’s gotten to know someone, it’s all about the cuddles and kisses.

    Rupert, eight years and seven months

    Pups up for adoption Rupert Provider: Battersea Dogs' and Cat's Home Source: https://www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/dog-rehoming-gallery
    Rupert (Picture: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home)

    Energetic, happy and still a puppy at heart.

    If you want to win this Staffordshire Bull Terrier over, tennis balls are the way to go.

    But it’s best to keep Rupert on a lead when there are other dogs around, as he can be a little too much for other pups to handle at times.

    Flo, one year and nine months

    Pups up for adoption Flow Provider: Battersea Dogs' and Cat's Home Source: https://www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/dog-rehoming-gallery
    Flo (Picture: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home)

    Flo likes company, so could be a great fit for someone who works from home or is able to bring her with them to work.

    She’s a very intelligent mongrel who likes learning new tricks and eating.

    But Flo is an attention-seeker, so prefers to live alone and really doesn’t like cats as housemates.

    Bella, one year and 11 months

    Pups up for adoption Bella Provider: Battersea Dogs' and Cat's Home Source: https://www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/dog-rehoming-gallery
    Bella (Picture: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home)

    Bella is a little fussy.

    She is a gorgeous dog, but has some mouthing problems and doesn’t like traffic, and definitely needs owners that are calm, patient and experienced in training dogs.

    Sometimes, you have to put in a little extra work to make it work – but that doesn’t mean she’s not an amazing pooch (she clearly is).

    Kira & Shiloh, both four years and a few months

    Pups up for adoption Kira & Shiloh Provider: Battersea Dogs' and Cat's Home Source: https://www.battersea.org.uk/dogs/dog-rehoming-gallery
    Kira and Shiloh (Picture: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home)

    Why adopt one dog, when you can get two?

    Kira and Shiloh are a team; she’s more outgoing and can be a little pushy with other dogs, while Shiloh is quite chilled and prefers to have a sniff around the bushes.

    As they are Siberian Huskies, the pair require an owner who knows the breed well and preferably lives in an area with a garden where they can run and play.

    You can view all dogs and cats up for adoption on the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home site.

    There are plenty more who need a new home and human.

    So, what are you waiting for?

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    MORE: You can buy human size replica masks of your pet’s face and we’re both amazed and terrified


    Pups up for adoptionPups up for adoption

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