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

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    You can get a vagina made out of creme egg fudge
    (Picture: Fudgeina)

    It’s always nice to send your friends something in the post.

    But this gift could go either way – a fudge vagina (or vulva if we are being anatomically correct as vagina is the name for the bit inside).

    You might remember we brought you the news that you can send a chocolate penis through Dick At You Door, earlier this month

    Well now we have Fudgeina.

    Fudgeina offers you the chance to send fudge lady parts to anyone, anywhere, either anonymously or with a note.

    The idea was started in December 2018 by Matt Garbutt.

    He explains: ‘The internet is full of services to send your friends (or enemies) dicks, poop or potatoes; but I couldn’t find a way to send a vagina, so I thought why not start it myself.

    You can get a vagina made out of creme egg fudge
    (Picture: Fudgeina)

    ‘While searching for what I could make the vaginas out of I stumbled upon fudge, and then the name really made itself.

    ‘The fudge is made by our artisan fudge maker, and then hand poured into our one of a kind mould.’

    The fudge is completely vegan and comes in two regular flavours – strawberry or vanilla  – as well as a special Easter creme egg flavour.

    There’s also a solid chocolate one if you don’t fancy fudge.

    They all cost £11.99 and are currently only available online.

    Everything is made in the UK but they ship worldwide so you can send it to anyone across the world.

    MORE: Mum finds genius method of removing splinters using Nurofen tube

    MORE: Mum says she looks so youthful that she’s mistaken for her daughter’s sister


    You can get a vagina made out of creme egg fudgeYou can get a vagina made out of creme egg fudge

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    Mother Carrying Son And Daughter As They Play In Park
    (Picture: Getty)

    Parents spend hours tidying up, cleaning and looking after their kids.

    Apparently, if it was a paid role, women in particular would earn £108,837 a year for the work they do.

    Internal data from Childcare.co.uk, a platform for childcarers and parents, shows how much mums could charge if it was a paid role, and found that in the UK, mums could earn roughly £12.51 an hour, which, on a 24-hour basis, would equate to £108,937 a year.

    The site surveyed its database of parents and childcarers, and calculated an hourly rate based on a mixture of services ‘others provide that childcare professionals charge for, such as cooking, school pick up and drop off, childcare, washing, cleaning, counselling and tutoring.

    Beautiful mother at home with her cute baby son in her lap, sitting at the kitchen table, working on laptop, holding smart phone
    (Picture: Getty)

    The salary is based on a UK average, therefore the amount mums would be paid differs depending on location.

    Mums in London would be paid the most at £123,627 a year, because childcare is more expensive, while mums in Stirling and Scotland would be paid the least at £86,485.

    Stirling is the cheapest area in the UK across all childcare types at £6.10 an hour – compared to London’s £8.75 an hour.

    The salary is much higher than the UK average, which was £29,588 in 2018.

    Mother And Daughter Sit On Sofa In Lounge Reading Book Together
    (Picture: Getty)

    It’s also higher than some dentists, lawyers, finance managers, nurses, doctors, pilots and product manager roles at Google.

    Richard Conway, Childcare.co.uk founder, said: ‘As a parent myself, I have witnessed how hectic being a mum can be, and with Mother’s Day just around the corner we thought it would be nice to see just how much they could be getting paid if they were a childcarer on our site.

    ‘After we worked it all out, I wasn’t surprised to see such a high salary, as unlike any other role in the world, being a mother is constant, you never get a holiday from it or get to leave your responsibilities at the office.

    ‘I hope this figure puts into perspective the amazing job mothers do.’

    MORE: Mum finds genius method of removing splinters using Nurofen tube

    MORE: Mother’s Day cards to celebrate parents’ sobriety fight against ‘mummy drinking’ culture


    Mother Carrying Son And Daughter As They Play In ParkMother Carrying Son And Daughter As They Play In Park

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    (Picture: Aldi)

    Parma Violet gin is nothing new.

    We wrote about it last year, when The Zymurgorium Manchester Sweet Violet Gin Liqueur first went on sale – though it was quite expensive at £25.89 per bottle.

    And after that, Wetherspoons pubs went on sell it in single and double measures.

    Some supermarkets also sell Whitley Neill’s Parma Violet gin for £26 per bottle, but now Aldi has realeased its own version and it’s much cheaper.

    Oh, and it’s much prettier too, as it’s full of glitter.

    The gin costs just £9.99.

    Aldi Is Selling Glittery Parma Violet Flavour Gin And For Just ??9.99
    (Picture: Aldi)

    The 50cl bottles will be in stores from 26 April, and we don’t doubt you’ll have to be quick to get your hands on one, as we expect people will be flooding in to buy the cheap purple gin ready for their BBQs when the weather gets warmer.

    The violet gin comes as part of a new three-part collection, featuring new flavoured liqueurs.

    This includes a coconut and vanilla rum, a mango and papaya vodka and a rhubarb, pink grapefruit and black pepper gin.

    Each bottle will cost £9.99, and we’ll be stocking up our cupboards as soon as they’re all released.

    If you want to combine gin with upcoming Easter holiday, there’s also an Easter egg with a whole bottle of gin inside.

    The egg, made by Slattery in Manchester, features a bottle of the stuff made by Zymurgorium – the same people who made the original Parma Violet drink.

    This time, you can choose between either Realm of the Unicorn gin, with a toasted marshmallow flavour, or FlaGINgo gin, which is a pink gin with mango, pineapple, passionfruit and ginger.

    MORE: You can send your friends a vagina made from creme egg flavoured fudge

    MORE: You can now get an Easter egg with a whole bottle of gin inside


    Gin parma violetGin parma violet

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    (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    It’s official – spring has sprung.

    If the sight of the sun has left you scrambling through your wardrobe searching for those transitional pieces you stored away way back when and you’ve already visited ASOS’ new in section too many times to count, we feel you.

    And while we’ve been told it’s going to be a scorcher, we may have a few weeks to wait until we can indulge and purchase a few new pieces for our Spring wardrobes.

    But, that’s not to say you can’t revamp your beauty routine with new skincare, makeup and haircare arrivals.

    From Glossier Play’s new colour cosmetics to The Ordinary’s first-ever cleanser, these are the best new beauty buys that you should get excited about this spring.

     

    Morphe 35G Bronze Goals Artistry Palette

    Morphe 35G Bronze Goals Artistry Palette, £24, cultbeauty.co.uk
    (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    Morphe never disappoint with their well-priced and highly pigmented palettes and their 35G Bronze Goals Artistry Palette, is a welcomed addition to their already mighty and eyeshadow offering.

    The Spring and Summer approved palette has a selection of warm, earthy nudes and bronze hues, with a mix of matte and shimmer to gorgeous metallic finishes.

    There are literally hundreds of ways to pair and wear these shadows.

    Morphe 35G Bronze Goals Artistry Palette, £24, cultbeauty.co.uk and uk.morphe.com

     

    Beautyblender Opal Essence Serum Primer

    Beautyblender Opal Essence Serum Primer
    (Picture: Beautyblender)

    The brand that brought us our favourite makeup sponge has created four ‘pre-touch primers’ – and these multitaskers are not to be missed.

    Our favourite of the four, Opal Essence, is a serum primer that’s been infused with botanical extracts to add radiance and moisture to dry lackluster skin.

    Sure it helps makeup last that bit longer, but it also crates a hydrating base so foundation glides over skin without clinging to any dry patches or lines. And it smells good too.

    Beautyblender Opal Essence Serum Primer, £28.50, cultbeauty.co.uk

     

    Giorgio Armani Sì Fiori Eau de Parfum

    Giorgio Armani Si Fiori Eau de Parfum
    (Picture: Boots)

    We love the original Giorgio Armani Sì, but it may have just been knocked off its pedestal with the introduction of the new eau de parfum Sì Fiori.

    Blended with top notes of sparkling green mandarin and energetic blackcurrant, the signature ingredient in every Sì fragrance and with base notes of powdery vanilla and white musk, you’ll never want to tell what perfume you’re wearing.

    It’s feminine, soft, clean and melts seamlessly into the skin.

    Giorgio Armani Sì Fiori Eau de Parfum, £54, boots.com and lookfantastic.com

    Glossier Colorslide Technogel Eye Pencils

    Glossier Colorslide Technogel Eye Pencils, £13, glossier.com
    (Picture: Glossier)

    Glossier Play arrived earlier this month with its colourful collection of glitters, lip glosses, highlighter and eye pencils.

    And while we’ve enjoyed dabbling with the potted glitter, it’s the Colourslide Technogel Eye Pencils that have become a mainstay in our makeup collections.

    The pigmented eye pencils are waterproof, smooth and available in 14 playful shades, ranging from your everyday brown, to a metallic moondust green-gold and a rich mustard – which FYI is the eye makeup trend to try this spring.

    And if you’re unsure how to wear colour on your peepers, makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes has all the inspo you need.

    Glossier Colorslide Technogel Eye Pencils, £13, glossier.com

     

    Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Body Builder

    Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Body Builder, £23, lookfantastic.com
    (Picture: Lookfantastic)

    If your hair is limp, or lacking life, Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Body Builder will add the long-lasting volume you’re after.

    In a spritz it gives instant body, light hold and bouncy fullness, that can be controlled and tailored with the adjustable nozzle.

    Sure, the nozzle may seem a tad gimmicky, but it can be turned to alter particle size and spray rate. It also contains heat protection and an emollient blend to enhance natural shine.

    In short, we’re impressed.

    Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Body Builder, £23, lookfantastic.com, spacenk.com and feelunique.com

     

    Anastasia Beverly Hills Loose Highlighter in So Hollywood

    Anastasia Beverly Hills Loose Highlighter in So Hollywood, £25, cultbeauty.co.uk
    (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    We have two words for this highlighter: so pretty.

    Anastasia Beverly Hills limited-edition illuminator in So Hollywood has been given a loose powder upgrade and unsurprisingly its stunning.

    The warm gold highlight has a metallic finish, offers buildable coverage, doesn’t emphaise skin texture and lasts all.darn.day.

    Undoubtedly one of the best on the market for an Instagram-worthy highlight.

    Anastasia Beverly Hills Loose Highlighter in So Hollywood, £25, cultbeauty.co.uk

     

    The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

    The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, £5.50, theordinary.com
    (Picture: The Ordinary)

    That’s right The Ordinary are now doing cleansers.

    Priced at just £5.50, the vegan cleanser contains squalane, an emollient that locks in moisture and helps to protect skin from moisture loss.

    Not to mention, it’s extremely gentle, meaning it can be used daily, without over-drying the skin.

    The hydrating cleanser is simple, affordable and as far as cleansers go, there’s nothing to dislike.

    The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, £5.50, theordinary.com and cultbeauty.co.uk

    Huda Beauty Power Bullet Matte Lipstick

    Huda Beauty Power Bullet Matte Lipstick, £22, cultbeauty.co.uk
    (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    Huda Beauty has managed to whip up a beautifully pigmented non-drying matte lipstick.

    Better yet, the Power Bullet Matte Lipstick doesn’t budge for hours on end and the colour pay off is insane – one swipe is all you need for a saturated pout.

    The shade offering is composed of eight medium to dark nudes and although it’s hard to pick a favourite, we’ve been gravitating towards the shade Interview on the regular.

    Huda Beauty Power Bullet Matte Lipstick, £22, cultbeauty.co.uk and feelunique.com

    MORE: Calling all makeup lovers: MAC Cosmetics is releasing an Aladdin themed collection

    MORE: Backstage makeup tips to try from Paris Fashion Week AW19

    MORE: Woman mocked for her monobrow is finally embracing her natural beauty


    8 new launches to add to your beauty routine8 new launches to add to your beauty routine

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    Flashpanner flashpanning dating terms
    (Picture: Getty)

    If you’re in the early stages of dating someone and have already told your family or friends… Why?

    It’s a sad fact that in the current dating landscape means nothing is set in stone until you’re basically married – and, in the words of American Pie’s Steve Stifler, you don’t score until you score.

    Dating is now a pretty convoluted thing, and there are a million checkpoints to get to until the status of settled.

    Going on a lovely date and feeling a real connection, sleeping together, discussing what you’d call your future pet geckos (Paris and Nicole, obviously). Not one of these things makes your blossoming romance worthy of telling anyone, and that’s because they might be a flashpanner.

    Have you ever dated someone who seemed so into you, only for them to cool off quickly after or even ghost you? Felt like everything made sense at the start, only for the relationship to drastically shift? You might have been a victim of flashpanning.

    The term, which we’ve handily come up with to describe the phenomenon, refers to someone who’s like a flash in the pan; hot and warm and bright at first, and gone before you know it.

    The flashpanner is someone who’s addicted to that warm, fuzzy, and exciting start bit of a relationship, but can’t handle the hard bits that might come after – such as having to make a firm commitment, or meeting their parents, or posting an Instagram photo with them captioned as ‘this one’ (gah!).

    It’s not just the scary and big-seeming stuff they dislike either; a flashpanner hates the mundane and everyday. They’ve got wining, dining, and sixty-nining you down to a fine art, but will bail before TV, tea, and missionary become things you want.

    We all know there’s such a thing as a honeymoon phase, when you brush your teeth before they wake up to rid yourself of morning breath and only pick your absolute funniest anecdotes to text to them. It’s also not to say that you simply slide into squalor and a lack of effort once you get into a relationship.

    More likely, as you grow and people and as a couple there will be a bigger mix of your highlight reel and bloopers. For most people, this level of comfort and ability to be yourself is a great thing. Not so for a flashpanner.

    Despite the fact the want just the fireworks, the flashpanner differs from a f***boy in that they want the full gf/bf experience rather than simply sex. They want the promises and the plans and the human connection, just without following through on that long-term.

    That won’t become clear until it’s too late, however, which makes spotting one in the wild, wild, world of dating apps and sites extremely difficult.

    One obvious tell, however, would be ‘lovebombing’ early on. If you find that the person you’re seeing is quick to use the L word and step things up right off the bat it could potentially be a warning sign.

    Open-ended plans could be another one, with big promises being uttered with no real decision on when or how they’ll happen. ‘Let’s go to Paris, babe, I want to show you this great little bistro’ or ‘My mum would just love you, I can’t wait to introduce you’ are be two examples that are normally fine but can be part of flashpanning when left without a follow-up.

    The end result can be a classic ghosting or a more tapered phase-out, but whether you’ve been flashpanned is identified by whether you had every hallmark of a brilliant relationship that was dashed once things got a bit too real.

    If you have been on the wrong end of this, it’s important to be mindful of those who go in too fast, but not let it erode your trust in real love. Shunning connections because someone could hurt you down the line is not the aim of highlighting these dating trends; letting you go into things with your eyes wide open, however, is.

    You might even be a flashpanner yourself, unable to understand why your relationships wilt under the spotlight of reality. You may notice that you’re idealising what it feels like with someone and the rush of the attention and spark, then ‘failing to launch’ when it comes to progressing.

    If that’s the case, you need to reconcile within yourself that you’re not ready for a relationship. Make a commitment to be honest with people about what you’re looking for, and to be honest with yourself about whether you’re in love with love or the person you’re dating.

    Most of these horrible dating trends can be solved with a little bit of conversation and honesty about expectations from either side. Loving getting to know someone is amazing, but leading them down the garden path definitely is not.

    MORE: Eight new launches to add to your beauty routine

    MORE: Aldi is selling bottles of glittery Parma Violet gin for just £9.99


    Have you ever dated a \'flashpanner\'? Probably, but not for longHave you ever dated a \'flashpanner\'? Probably, but not for long

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    vibrator dave anderson
    (Picture: Dave Anderson)

    Whether you’re smashing stereotypes with your fleshlight or just exploring a whole new world of vibrators and bullets, you’ve got to store your sex toys somewhere.

    Considering nearly all sex toy brands offer discrete packaging as a selling point, it’s clear there’s still pressure to keep our masturbation tools private and out of view.

    Do you proudly leave them by your bedside table to say yeah, I’m sex-positive and proud? Or do you prefer to keep your private life private and hide your toys away?

    What’s best practice? What’s ther

    We spoke to some people about where they store their sex toys and their relationship with self-pleasure.

    Marie, 23

    I keep my sex toys in any random box. But one time I had to hide [a sex toy] in a pillowcase as it was on my bed and I forgot I had a friend coming over to stay.

    Then another time I had to put it into a shoebox because my mother was coming over and she is that nosy.

    Faith, 24

    I hide mine in these little storage drawers near my bed. It’s in a drawstring bag though, it’s not just sitting there in the drawer all out.

    I would only mind if my brother or dad found out, but they’re not nosy or in my room a lot so I don’t think they’d find it.

    I share a room with my sister and she knows I have a vibrator, as we talk about pretty much everything. It’s totally normal, we all have needs!

    Derek, 31

    I have a fleshlight which my friends got me for my 30th bday as a joke because I don’t watch porn, and also because they recommended it after they had kids and their sex life slowed down.

    I think it’s great. It’s weird that sex toys for men aren’t celebrated or promoted enough. They are scoffed at. If you’re a man with a sex toy, to some, it’s kind of emasculating as it implies you can’t ‘get women’ which is ridiculously misogynistic because it’s like you’re out to catch women like Pokemon.

    I have a partner who I see regularly – not a girlfriend – but we hang out and we use toys like handcuffs, vibrators, etc because it’s fun and we like to try things.

    We know sex is a two-way pleasure street and want to give each other the best we can give. Toys just help us do that in different and interesting ways.

    I’m quite open around sex and sexuality. But some people seem to look down and frown upon an open attitude to it. You have to explore and try things. We’re so uptight about it in this country I feel.

    People are putting weed up their bums and vagina as the 'cannabis sex industry' blossoms metro illustrations Ella Byworth/ metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Ella Byworth/ metro.co.uk)

    Liv, 25

    As a sex writer I receive a lot of toys so all unused or new ones go in a big black box in my closet, either for future use or to be gifted to friends.

    I store any used toys in the drawer of my bedside table, very neatly as well, if I might add. It’s mostly for convenience, so they’re always close by during sexy times because that’s also where I keep any lubes or gels.

    Storage space is somewhat of a factor too. I have a couple of butt plugs (which I don’t use) on display on my bookshelf. Almost everyone has seen my drawer, boyfriend and Instagram followers included.

    I don’t really care who sees because I don’t think sex toys are anything to be embarrassed by. It’s my room, my sex life and my genitals.

    But I make an exception for my parents. When they come to visit I empty the drawer and put all the toys in a cloth bag and hide it in my closet, they’re a little bit nosy and I’d rather they don’t come across my vibrator collection.

    They wouldn’t care because they know what I do for a living and they’re very open about these type of things, but I’d rather avoid the awkwardness of having them tell the story of how they found all my sex toys at future family events.

    Corri, 27

    I used to store my sex toys in random drawers in socks, but I now currently have everything sorted and stored in a very large trunk.

    When I was younger, I would say that I did feel a little embarrassed because nobody really talked about having toys or vibrators, but when I finally found friends that did, I was much more comfortable.

    As far as their storage now, it’s mostly because I have so much and I also have step-children who I don’t want running into them.

    I don’t feel any shame at all, I’m the first person that will pipe up in everyday life about my sex toys! However, there is definitely still a huge stigma that surrounds them and sometimes people have really bizarre thinking when it comes to toys.

    What sexperts at Lelo say

    Stu Nugent, a sex toy expert at LELO says: ‘Everybody has a need for discretion sometimes, so my advice to those secret squirrels who want pleasure on the downlow is to invest in a sex toy that doesn’t look like a sex toy in the first place, like the LELO Mia which is modelled after a lipstick and won’t draw any attention.

    ‘There are plenty of sex toy storage devices out there i.e dust-protective satin pouches as well as travel locks so they don’t switch on when you’re going through customs.

    ‘I’ve even seen one that will direct UV light at your products while they’re not in use to neutralise bacteria.

    ‘The accumulation of dust and fluff is inevitable over time when they’re stored away, so it’s essential to clean them before and after use. Use a cleaning spray because it’s body safe and won’t harm the silicone we use in our products.

    ‘But, at a push, the very least you can do is use soapy hot water, or certain baby wipes. If you’re really dedicated to your hygiene, most LELO sex toys can be put in the dishwasher or even boiled – but that’s not true of other products.

    ‘We dream of a day when it won’t be necessary to hide our sex toys but to display them openly like any other beloved items.’

    MORE: Sex toys on trial: Is Poundland’s Nooky Bonkin’ Bunny Vibrator good enough to get you off?

    MORE: A male contraceptive pill is on the way and it will change your sex life forever

    MORE: Blogger claims parents should give their teenage daughters sex toys


    whatamaleorgasmactuallyfeelslike-5fa3-f85bwhatamaleorgasmactuallyfeelslike-5fa3-f85b

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    (XX) Men on what it's like to be pegged
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Pegging describes the act of a woman penetrating a man anally with a strap-on.

    There are a lot of misconceptions around pegging – with men who have always wanted to try it being too scared to do so because they are worried their sexuality will be questioned.

    But liking anal penetration doesn’t make you gay. Let’s just get that out of the way. It’s just something that you like – or that you’d like to experiment with.

    We all have our own fantasies and desires, and as long as it’s legal, consensual, and safe, what people get up to in the bedroom is totally up to them.

    We spoke to six men who have each been pegged by female partners, to find out what pegging is like, what they liked about it, why they decided to do it and whether they’d do it again.

    Here’s what they said.

    ‘It was larger than anything I had used to penetrate myself’

    ‘I tried pegging as sort of a natural progression. I had experimented with self penetration when masturbating, and realized I liked it.

    ‘My first experience being pegged was with my now ex-wife. We had a very open sexual relationship when it came to trying new things, and she had voiced interest in pegging me, so we agreed together to try it.

    ‘As far as how it felt, there are a few things I remember. So, we didn’t have the proper equipment (like a strap-on) so we kind of had to improvise. I laugh now, but all we had that wasn’t going to be too extreme for me was one of those KY His and Hers lube bottles. They’re very phallic.

    ‘Even then, it was larger than anything I had used to penetrate myself. So, there was that initial discomfort, but it was mostly a very pleasurable experience.

    ‘Mentally, I think I had had some minor conflict, but mostly it was still me discovering a lot about my sexuality, which can oftentimes be stressful.

    ‘So, to finish, yes I mark it as a positive experience, and assuming I had a partner I trusted, it would still be an option for me.’

    (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I learned about pegging through porn – it mentally clicked with me’

    ‘I first learned about pegging through porn and it just seemed to mentally click with me. As a bisexual male, that may play a part of it but it just seemed like something I would definitely like.

    ‘I first tried it with my then girlfriend. It was me that suggested it, but she was not reluctant in going along with it.

    ‘Mentally, it definitely clicks. It puts me in this wonderful head space. I love the intimacy of it and the feeling of submission also. It’s not rough of violent for me, and it’s not a punishment kind if setting.

    ‘Physically, if it’s done right, it’s awesome. It can be a little awkward with getting the right gear, prep, partner positioning etc. But ultimately it’s worth it the majority of the time.

    ‘The first time was a little awkward, but fun. My girlfriend was plus size so configuring can be difficult, especially with a smaller toy. It was enough fun that I wanted to try again, and have done so.

    ‘It’s not a regular occurrence because it’s hard to do spontaneously but it’s repeated sometimes. It’s very positive mentally, so even if the physical aspect doesn’t hit the mark, it will still be very enjoyable.

    ‘Even the simple visual of a woman wearing a strap-on is enough to give me a thrill.’

    ‘I missed being with guys’

    ‘I’m bi so sometimes I miss being with guys (I know, I’m greedy) and one time it just felt like too much and I was holding it in for months being too scared to talk to my partner about it.

    Eventually I did and after a few days of talking about it she suggested getting a strap-on.

    ‘It took a bit before we used it because I got the feeling she felt uncomfortable with it but one night she came in with it on.

    ‘We gave it a go and I think we both really enjoyed it in the end. It’s been a semi-regular event ever since and it made me love this woman more than I ever thought I could.

    ‘It’s the best experience sexually that I’ve had, it gets rid of the cravings to be with a guy and it’s a great bonding activity, would 100% do it again.’

    metro illustrations
    (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘It was very sore at first’

    ‘I tried it because I came across porn videos of pegging and it turned me on.

    ‘It was with an ex-girlfriend and I suppose she initiated the discussion initially at least but we both wanted to.

    ‘[It was] sore at first! Very sore! To the point I was like “take it out”… but then I relaxed and it felt more natural, and eventually a big turn on when the strap on hits certain spots.

    ‘Mentally at the time it was good. It just felt a natural thing to be sort of dominated by her. I suppose afterwards you ask yourself questions like “Am I gay/bi because I take it up the ass?”.

    ‘That’s a more difficult thing mentally to assess what it means in terms of sexuality, if anything.

    ‘I’ve done it a few times since that first time and definitely will again. I think the biggest appeal is a sense of role-reversal, that normally as a guy it’s me giving it, so for the girl to give it and for me to take it is a turn on.’

    ‘The key is trust and relaxation’

    ‘I had a discussion with my girlfriend at uni in which she said she had a fantasy of penetrating me with a strap-on. I knew from solo experimentation that I enjoyed being touched and penetrated, so I agreed.

    ‘Some time later, we ordered a strap-on and some plugs, and began to play and explore.

    ‘It feels great. The key is trust and relaxation, and not being over-ambitious too quickly in terms of size or speed or force.

    ‘Mentally, it was an interesting dynamic shift, but the same is true of different positions and moods with any partner. To me, there was nothing emasculating about it, and my partner enjoyed it too.

    ‘I absolutely would do it again, although I think it can be a difficult discussion to have sometimes.

    ‘As I’ve got older and more comfortable with my body and what I enjoy sexually – and have slept with people of different genders and in different roles – I’ve valued even more the experiences I had with pegging and with the safe, loving environment that was all about my pleasure and her fantasy.’

    couple in bed
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘It hindered on painful to passionate’

    ‘It was a suggestion from a friend before I met my current partner. Being relatively open even I was a tad worried with it but thought why not!

    ‘It was basically a person I had no intention of being in a relationship with but enjoying experimental stuff with. A friend, with many many benefits.

    ‘Physically it hindered on painful to pleasurable. It definitely heightened the orgasm, without a doubt.

    ‘Mentally it was strange at first but then I’d done fairly similar things. It was more physical than mental for me, but things were heightened in both aspects.

    ‘I wouldn’t make it part of my routine but I’d have no qualms doing it again. I can’t foresee too many issues if it’s with right person and you have communication.’

    MORE: Where do you store your sex toys?

    MORE: Five women open up about how having a stoma bag has affected their love lives


    (XX) Men on what it's like to be pegged(XX) Men on what it's like to be pegged

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    METRO GRAB - Adorable Shiba Inu dog runs his own roasted sweet potato store in Japan From @hobby_space_jun/Twitter
    (Picture: @hobby_space_jun/Twitter)

    This is Ken-kun being a very good boy and greeting customers at his sweet potato stall.

    The three-year-old Shibu Inu is one of the dogs in this world that has a job – and according to a post on 9Gag that’s gone viral, he’s doing a fantastic job at that.

    On the island of Hokkaido, Japan, Ken-kun mans the stall all day, with customers coming up and taking roasted sweet potatoes.

    Although Ken-kun can’t take card payments or direct you to the best condiment, he keeps customers company by popping up in the stall when they arrive.

    Then, they choose their desired roasted sweet potato from the box, and put the right money (100 yen/68 pence) in a special slot.

    A sign beside Ken-kun reads ‘because I am a dog, I can’t give you a change’, and if people pay more, it simply gets spent on extra food for the four-legged shopkeeper.

    It’s not a case of all work and no play for this special boy, though. His owner takes him for walks around Sapporo City where they live.

    Shiba Inus are known to be confident and loyal dogs, although sometimes they can be wary around strangers.

    They’re often seen as ‘big dogs in little bodies’ as they like to go their own way and can be somewhat strong-willed.

    That doesn’t seem to be the case for Ken-kun, though, who is apparently known to never try and chase customers who don’t abide by his stall’s honesty policy.

    Just one look in those sweet eyes and there’s no way you could leave Ken-kun without money for chew toys and treats.

    AD FEATURE: What is ‘flexitarianism’ and why should you be doing it?

    MORE: Naughty miniature goat found wandering on road makes friends with entire town


    Adorable Shiba Inu dog runs his own roasted sweet potato store in JapanAdorable Shiba Inu dog runs his own roasted sweet potato store in Japan

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    The World Youth Forum was held in Aswan, Egypt
    The Arab and African Youth Platform was held in Aswan, Egypt

    The world’s future leaders are uniting. In a time when the world appears to be more divided than ever, there’s a new platform that is assembling the new thinkers and empowering the world’s youth and supporting their ideas.

    The Arab and African Youth Platform (AAYP) was a three-day event, which took place in March (16-18), in Aswan, Egypt, bringing together around 2000 people from Africa and the Arab world and is part of of the highly-successful World Youth Forum (WYF).

    Since its inception, three years ago, the support for the WYF has grown to reach seven million young people from 193 countries on social media, Aya Ateya, the general coordinator of the WYF, announced at the AAYP.

    With a shared history and understanding of challenging circumstances, it was organised so that the youth in the Arab region and Africa can benefit from an open dialogue and exchange of ideas and experiences. The AAYP is made up of young people from both regions for this reason. Aswan was chosen as the ideal location for the meeting point, cementing its tag as the capital for African Youth.

    The three-day event was designed to bring together minds, ideas and solutions
    The three-day event was designed to bring together minds, ideas and solutions

    The event was a unique opportunity for young people to come together to discuss issues that affects both African and Arab youth, with the aim to bring together minds, ideas and solutions and spark intelligent debate and inspire innovative solutions for shared problems.

    Key policy and decision makers were also invited to the event to participate in workshops, sessions and roundtables to make sure their thoughts can reach beyond the event, and inspire change.

    President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, attended the platform and said that it had been difficult communicating with young people before 2016. With the AAYP, he said, it was an immediate gateway and encouraged better dialogue.

    ‘The challenges we face are the same, be they population growth or political, economic and security challenges. There should at least be awareness of these challenges, their impact and means to overcome them. If we think of the challenges as mountains standing in the way of our goals we will not move forward,’ Al-Sisi said.

    ‘We have to listen to each other, and believe each other.’

    The temple of Hathor and Nefertari, also known as the Small Temple, in Abu Simbel, south of Aswan in upper Egypt. (Picture: Getty Images)

    Aswan was picked for this year’s event, as the capital for African youths, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a taste of Egypt beyond the pyramids.

    It’s Egypt’s most southern city which is packed full of history as well, tasty restaurants offering local delicacies and a must-visit colourful souk to snap up local crafts, fabrics and spices.

    Taking visitors beyond the familiar names of Cairo and Luxor, Aswan offers a different glimpse of Egypt.

    Visitors can expect a more relaxed and chilled vibe compared to its sister cities.

    The event brought together around 2000 people from Africa and the Arab world
    The event brought together around 2000 people from Africa and the Arab world

    Aswan is home to awe-inspiring temples, like the Philae Temple as well as the nearby Abu Simbel, and its magnificent carvings which were made in the 13th Century.

    Days in Aswan can be spent floating along the River Nile on a felucca (a small boat), with the hot weather, you can catch a breeze as you sail past iconic landmarks. Some travellers often enjoy several days on the Nile as they hop on and hop off, with the temples at Kom Ombo and Edfu recommended as particular hot spots.

    The city, which you can fly to from London often via Cairo, is situated in southern Egypt on the eastern bank of the River Nile. Hotels are reasonable, with 5 star hotels available for around £110 per night, or for budget conscious travellers you can snap up 4 star accommodation for £40 a night.

    Highlights from the AAYP

    WYF Labs

    The new initiative will aim to establish strong startups that will serve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. WYF Labs will offer support and consultation sessions to develop the start ups and operate in business successfully.

    African Presidential Leadership Program (APLP)

    This will target qualified African youths.

    Ahmed Khalil, Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the National Academy for Training said: ‘The APLP targets highly qualified African youth aged 18 to 30. During each course, the program hosts 100 African young people in Egypt for six weeks, with 120 hours of training divided between theoretical and practical exercises to create a state of integration and cultural exchange, as well as to integrate challenges and opportunities among African countries.’

    Exponential Technology

    Haider Ghaleb Representative of Singularity University in Cairo announced that the University which specializes in Exponential Technology is looking forward to transforming the African and Middle-East regions within the upcoming 10 years. The vision of Haider along with SU is to create a culture of technological producer rather than a consumer by building a strong foundation of innovation and development in both regions.

    Global Impact Competition (GIC)

    A unique competition that will be held at July, 2019 in El Gouna. The aim is to identify young digital scientists, change makers, entrepreneurs and other individuals that are seeking to tackle the MENA’s grand challenges in the fields of AI, Robotics, Blockchain, space, Nanotechnology and Digital-Biology. 20 startups will be selected to attend a four-day intensive workshop at El Gouna to get mentored by top, elite professionals in the mentioned fields. The 20 startups will pitch their ideas to a committee of experts, investors and other decision makers where the committee will then select one winner to travel to SU’s premises at NASA AMES research park in Silicon Valley in September 2019.

    For more information and details about the event, click here https://wyfegypt.com/.


    EGYPT-NILE-FEATUREEGYPT-NILE-FEATURE

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    (Pictures: George at Asda)

    We love a new outfit but fast fashion isn’t good for the planet.

    Throwing away clothes when you’ve only worn them a few times is not good for the planet.

    But Asda has a solution – they are making brand new clothes out of old ones.

    The blouses and dresses are made with fabric created by recycling polyester clothing.

    Their spring/summer range also includes cushions and throws made from recycled plastic bottles.

    George at Asda launches range made from recycled plastic bottles and old clothes
    (Picture: George at Asda)
    George at Asda launches range made from recycled plastic bottles and old clothes
    (Picture: George at Asda)

    The supermarket brand has made a commitment to only use polyester made from recycled fabric by 2025, as well as only source sustainable viscose and sustainable cotton.

    As well as offering recycled garments, the retailer wants to help customers understand more about how to reduce the environmental impact of what they wear.

    They said they want to increase the visibility of how to care for garments to make them last longer, as well as increasing the awareness of how they can repurpose, reuse and recycle old clothing.

    The cushion is made from plastic bottles (Picture: George at Asda)

    Any clothing that George can’t recycle is donated to charities to be repurposed as they don’t burn anything.

    ‘We have a responsibility to do the right thing by our customers, not only on the price and quality of our goods, but also on the impact we have on the world around us,’ Asda senior vice president for commercial Nick Jones said.

    ‘Our George sustainability strategy builds on the work we’ve done to date and sets stretching targets and commitments to reduce the environmental and social impact of our products; because we know that, for our customers, looking after the environment is always in fashion.’

     


    George at Asda launches range made from recycled plastic bottles and old clothesGeorge at Asda launches range made from recycled plastic bottles and old clothes

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    Avon Marc Jacobs Daisy dupe
    (Pictures: Avon/Marc Jacobs)

    We love a dupe and a beauty hack here at Metro.co.uk, whether it’s a £3.30 lengthening mascara up there with the pricey ones or a Lidl straightening brush that’s been compared to a £125 GHD one.

    It seems we’re not alone either, as a new perfume from Avon has won over a massive fan base due to its similarity to Marc Jacobs’ Daisy.

    The scent, which costs £14 for 50ml compared to Daisy’s £57 price on Boots, which is a pretty big saving.

    Avon’s website says it include notes of ‘tender peony and sweet cedarwood’ and there’s also some amber and gardenia in the fragrance created by created by renowned French perfumer Laurent Le Guernec.

    Reviewers have said so far:  ‘My rep said this smells like Daisy…it does! I’m so happy with it, I will be telling my friends about it’. While another commented; ‘Worth every penny! Really has a similar scent to Marc Jacob’s Daisy fragrance. Loving it!’

    The proof is apparently in the sales, as Avon has reported that Eve Truth is flying off the shelves at a rate of three per minute.

    At the moment, the fragrance is also on offer with a special free gift worth £32.25.

    You’ll also get yourself an Eve Truth Purse Spray, Eve Truth Body Lotion, True Nutra Effects Mini Oil-Infused Micellar Water, True Nutra Effects Miracle Glow Nourishing Oil Cream, Planet Spa Heavenly Hydration Face Mask, True Colour Pro+ Nail Enamel in Sea Breeze and an Eve Truth Beauty Bag.

    Now that’s value.

    MORE: These dresses, tops and cushions from George at Asda are made from recycled clothes and plastic bottles

    AD FEATURE: These amazing people want to help the world a better place


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    (Picture: Wales News Service)

    A woman spent £65 on a ‘wonky’ haircut, after spending four and a half hours in a salon having a cut and colour.

    20-year-old Rachel White went to get her hair styled at Arista Hair, but when she got home she noticed long bits of hair hanging down from her blunt cut.

    Her cousin had to trim her hair before Rachel could go to work as a postwoman.

    Rachel said: ‘I didn’t think twice about not looking at the result because I’d been in there so long.

    ‘I’d only asked for a trim so wasn’t expecting to see much change but as soon as I got home my cousin said: “You need to look in the mirror, your hair isn’t even.”

    A postwoman spent ?65 on a WONKY haircut - and refused to go out on her rounds until it was fixed. Postie Rachel White, 20, spent four and a half hours in the Arista Hair and Beauty salon having a cut and colour. But when she got home the postwoman was horrified to see long strands of hair hanging down from her blunt cut. Pictured here is the wonky haircut. ? WALES NEWS SERVICE
    (Picture: Wales News Service)

    ‘So I washed it first and styled it my own way but there was no denying how bad the hair cut was.’

    Rachel then took to Facebook to complain to the salon in Nelson, South Wales.

    Rachel, of Edwardsville, Merthyr Tydfil, said: ‘I posted the worst pictures to warn others about my terrible experience.

    ‘I received a message from the salon telling me to come back and they’d fix it but they didn’t apologise.

    ‘No way was I going back there.’

    Staff at another nearby salon, called Aura, offered to fix Rachel’s hair free of charge.

    A postwoman spent ?65 on a WONKY haircut - and refused to go out on her rounds until it was fixed. Postie Rachel White, 20, spent four and a half hours in the Arista Hair and Beauty salon having a cut and colour. But when she got home the postwoman was horrified to see long strands of hair hanging down from her blunt cut. Pictured here is the wonky haircut. ? WALES NEWS SERVICE
    (Picture: Wales News Service)

    Rachel said: ‘Aura were kind to help and they have done well to fix what they could but I’ve had to have so much cut off I’m still so unhappy.

    ‘My hair is now about three inches shorter than what I asked for.

    ‘I won’t be able to wear my hair down for a very long time as it’s embarrassing.

    ‘It’s really knocked my confidence and I won’t be taking selfies until its all grown back.’

    A statement from Arista said: ‘We are currently taking detailed legal advice concerning the slanderous and defamatory remarks made by a customer concerning professional services obtained at our salon.

    A postwoman spent ?65 on a WONKY haircut - and refused to go out on her rounds until it was fixed. Postie Rachel White, 20, spent four and a half hours in the Arista Hair and Beauty salon having a cut and colour. But when she got home the postwoman was horrified to see long strands of hair hanging down from her blunt cut. Pictured here Rachel before the wonky haircut. ? WALES NEWS SERVICE
    (Picture: Wales News Service)

    ‘We are also taking advice from the Police regarding published threats to our business and livelihood and damage to our reputation as a professional salon.

    ‘Therefore we are unable to make any detailed comment at this time other than to say this lady was given every opportunity to return to our salon to discuss her concerns and for us to view the alleged styling concerns.

    ‘She was offered a full refund also despite us not having the opportunity to view for ourselves the alleged errors in person.

    ‘The lady left our salon happy and paid in full at the time of the styling.’

    MORE: The new launches to add to your beauty routine

    MORE: Beauty blogger applies pepper spray to her own eyes to test two different mascaras


    A postwoman spent ?65 on a WONKY haircut - and refused to go out on her rounds until it was fixed. Postie Rachel White, 20, spent four and a half hours in the Arista Hair and Beauty salon having a cut and colour. But when she got home the postwoman was horrified to see long strands of hair hanging down from her blunt cut. Pictured here is the wonky haircut. ? WALES NEWS SERVICEA postwoman spent ?65 on a WONKY haircut - and refused to go out on her rounds until it was fixed. Postie Rachel White, 20, spent four and a half hours in the Arista Hair and Beauty salon having a cut and colour. But when she got home the postwoman was horrified to see long strands of hair hanging down from her blunt cut. Pictured here is the wonky haircut. ? WALES NEWS SERVICEA postwoman spent ?65 on a WONKY haircut - and refused to go out on her rounds until it was fixed. Postie Rachel White, 20, spent four and a half hours in the Arista Hair and Beauty salon having a cut and colour. But when she got home the postwoman was horrified to see long strands of hair hanging down from her blunt cut. Pictured here is the wonky haircut. ? WALES NEWS SERVICEA postwoman spent ?65 on a WONKY haircut - and refused to go out on her rounds until it was fixed. Postie Rachel White, 20, spent four and a half hours in the Arista Hair and Beauty salon having a cut and colour. But when she got home the postwoman was horrified to see long strands of hair hanging down from her blunt cut. Pictured here is the wonky haircut. ? WALES NEWS SERVICE

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    There’s not a day goes by that most people don’t log into a social media platform, whether it’s Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter, that’s unless you’re having a ‘digital detox’ for Lent, and even then you’ll make sure to hashtag with #latergram once your penance is over and you’re tucking into them eggs.

    Over 60 million photos are posted on Instagram alone each day, making it one of the most popular platforms – and with just a swipe, you’re tapping, zooming and swiping your way through the vortex.

    As one of our favourite past-times (read: addiction), Instagram is entertaining- but how DO people get all of the likes? How do they crack it? Well, we can help you hatch a plan to unwrap your social media superpowers – just keep your wits about you when it comes to images, so you don’t end up with egg on your face…

    Pick a theme

    Some might call it a vibe. Others a mood. Whatever slang you use, you need to pick a style or theme for your Instagram page if you want to expand your followers. Your account needs to reflect your personality, but in this case, you can pick whatever one you want. An authentic, but curated, page is best. But it takes a lot of upkeep. So what’s your theme – will it be minimal, botanical, dark, romantic or tropical? Are you all about the selfies? Or are you a full length kind of Grammer? The choice is yours.

    What’s it about?

    Your page isn’t just a photo album for family and friends; it’s a window into your brand. Yes, we said brand. Your social media page is curated by you, like a shop display on the high street – so what do you want on show, and how do you want to sell it? This is an extension of the theme. Think about what you want to post and talk about; some people want to include everything, but those that perform the best are consistent with their topics rather than flip-flopping between venting about a rude passenger on the tube to your favourite books. Look at your favourite influencers and take note. And never walk on eggshells, let your personality shine!

    Unwrap these social media secrets and light up your IG like an OG

    Know when to post

    You’ll notice that top influencers on social media can post several times a day – remember this is part of their job. But you’ve got to get that content ready. To make the most of it, use an app to figure out what time of day suits your audience best. Recommended times can vary between first thing in the morning to even 2AM depending on where in the world your audience is.

    Hashtags

    These are an actual thing and get your hard work in front of a wider audience – if it’s done right. Picking the perfect hashtags can see your content at the top of a popular page, and racking up the likes quickly, which will lead to follows if the first steps are sorted. Some advisers recommend up to 20 hashtags (there’s apps that help you generate these!). You have to discover a sweet spot for your hashtags so you avoid being drowned out in some fields like #fashion or #travel. So you’ll have to figure out how to combine industry-specific ones with trending hashtags. Instagram allows you up to 30, but you don’t just want to sling these into your caption. Instead you can create a break with full stops – or create a hive of the hashtags in one comment below your picture.

    Filter. Filter. Filter.

    There’s a plethora of apps that help you enhance your picture and you might think that this should vary depending on lighting and your mood, but if you’re trying to build your following, you’ll stand more chance by using just one filter. Seriously. Not the eight combined that you’ve been using. Most of the biggest accounts use the same filter every time.

    Content is king when it comes to social media. Make sure you’ve got plenty of it.

    Create a flow

    Until now you may have thought that Instagram is static after you post and if you want to rearrange you’ll have to delete everything and start again. Well, with your theme and layout in mind you can adopt some tricks of the trade and use an app to show you what your page will look like – and how to make photos look so good. Influencers have a secret trick, where they try out pictures next to each other before they post so the balance, spacing and vibe is right.

    Lighting

    Use natural light to make your photos pop. The right lighting can really make the difference, especially natural light. Why do you think everyone goes on about the ‘golden hour’? Photos that are snapped in good natural light come out better when using a filter. The best time to get the light is either in the morning or at the end of the afternoon for, you guessed it – ‘golden hour’.

    Quality wins

    Apologies if this is patronising, but you’ll be surprised the difference between a good picture quality and an outstanding picture quality. It really does stand out and will quickly rack up the likes. Blurred or pixelated images doesn’t attraction the same attention and certainly won’t have people (well, except for your mum) rushing back to your page. But a sharp, eye-catching snap will get those double taps rolling in. Avoid using the front camera on your phone, the back camera is usually much better.

    Capture it, then caption it

    Captions are as important as hashtags. Just an emoji or one word like ‘Love’, isn’t enough to help the storytelling process and engage your audience. You might think you’re being cute and mysterious, but actually it’s doing nothing to attract more followers. You might have seen celebrities do it, but they did have a head start on you. Long read captions might put you off, but you will find your social media voice and tone as you introduce this into your overall strategy.

    Cadbury, Creme Eggs
    Watch those tags. You don’t want any bad eggs!

    Don’t tag me

    Want to forget that infamous night in the cheesy pop room? We don’t blame you – sweaty pits and smudged eyeliner might clash with your Blair Waldorf-vibes on IG. And we get it. To curate your social media page and increase your following, you will need to set some rules. One of which will need to be to remove unwanted tagged snaps from your profile. This will help you only feature the best snaps you want people to see. You can do this with the ‘hide from profile’ option. You might also want to consider changing your settings so that you have to approve tags first.

    Plan your content

    Content is king when it comes to social media. Get a few weeks’ worth of content together and schedule. Map out, much like a planned photoshoot, what type of shots you want and set out a plan of action to get the money shot. You might want to think about change of clothes, props and locations if you’re serious about the IG hustle.

    Selfies

    Selfies have fallen in and out of favour in the past year but whether you still like them or prefer a full body shot, pictures with faces get more likes and comments. So always try to include a human in most of your uploads. Be mindful of what might be hidden in your pictures – yes, you might like your pout but what’s in the background? Check it’s all clear before posting…

    Comment and like it

    Believe it or not, you need to engage with your community. People have used bots to get more engagement on their own page, but genuine likes will increase your engagement and make you in it for the long haul. Create a community around your page and your interests, and watch it grow. You can thank us later.

    So now you’re all set to be a social media star – and while you’re at it, there’s an incredible valuable egg that you need to hunt.

    UK, 18+. 14/01/19 – 21/04/19. No purchase necessary. Email address and internet access required. For your chance to win, find and take a photo of a Cadbury Creme Egg hidden in selected third party adverts and upload your photo on huntthewhitecremeegg.com. Prizes: 30,000 Cadbury Creme Eggs (‘CCE’) and 1,000 white chocolate Creme Eggs (‘WCCE’). A maximum of 5 CCE and 1 WCCE available to be won per person throughout the Promotion Period via pre-determined moments. WCCE winners will be entered in a draw for a chance to win 1x £10,000. Promoter: Mondelez Europe Services GmbH – UK branch, Cadbury House, Sanderson Rd UB8 1DH. See website for full T&Cs.


    SEI_27388166-ea85SEI_27388166-ea85

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    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    A woman whose ‘daydreaming’ was actually epileptic seizures was so full of anxiety over her diagnosis that she kept it a secret for five years.

    While teachers thought she was not paying attention in class, Jasmine Banovic, now 21, was actually having absent seizures, where people become unconscious for a few seconds but do not fall over, so they look like they have just switched off.

    At her worst, Jasmin experienced up to 30 seizures a day, lasting from 10 seconds to five minutes. The graphic design student from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was eventually diagnosed with epilepsy aged 11 – but could not talk about the condition for years.

    She said: ‘At that age, you just want to be like everyone else. I didn’t want this to be happening, and saying it out loud felt like accepting it, which I wasn’t ready to do.

    ‘For the first five years after my diagnosis, I didn’t tell anyone other than my best friend and family.

    ‘I think some of my other friends and teachers knew, as my parents had told them, but I never spoke to them about it. How could I explain this to others when I didn’t understand it myself?’

    Speaking out on Purple Day, an international day of awareness for epilepsy which falls on 26 March this year, Jasmine remembers her absent seizures beginning when she was around nine years old and still in primary school.

    She continued: ‘It wasn’t the sort of fit you stereotypically imagine when you think of epilepsy. Instead, I would lose all focus and stop responding.

    ‘People just thought I was daydreaming.’

    Jasmine (PA Real Life/Collect)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Jasmine’s mum took her to see her GP, where her hearing was tested in case it was faulty.

    But when the results came back fine, she was referred to a neurologist, leading to a string of tests and investigations and, eventually, a diagnosis of epilepsy – a neurological condition causing seizures due to a sudden burst of intense electrical activity in the brain.

    Speaking of the life-changing news, Jasmine, whose diagnosis came after she had an absent seizure in front of the doctor, aged 11, said: ‘I had never heard of epilepsy then, so was really confused about what was happening.

    ‘I felt incredibly isolated, like the only child in the world this was happening to. I wish I’d known back then about all the support that’s out there, like the charity Epilepsy Action.

    ‘It would have been a lifeline for me to be able to talk to others in my position.’

    In the years that followed, Jasmine found herself overwhelmed by anxiety, terrified of going out in public, or even to school, in case she had a seizure.

    With stress being a major trigger, she found herself trapped in a miserable catch 22.

    Her education suffered and she ended up feeling left behind, before eventually leaving to become home-schooled aged 15.

    She explained: ‘I was having to miss school where my anxiety and seizures were really bad. The times I did go in, I felt ignored and misunderstood, as I had missed so much.

    Jasmine (PA Real Life/Collect)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘At that age, all you want is to fit in – but I felt so different. I ended up closing myself off from the world, not ready to face up to or talk about what was happening.’

    Finding home-schooling a massive help, as it allowed her to catch up on her learning, Jasmine eventually felt ready to open up to a therapist aged 16.

    She was able to talk openly and honestly about how she felt, which encouraged her to go on to talk about her condition with her family, and eventually friends, too.

    Her seizures were brought under better control by medication and she slowly started to feel stronger.

    ‘Speaking to a therapist had a knock on effect and showed me it was okay to open up to my loved ones too,’ she said.

    ‘When you get such a huge thing thrown at you so young, it is incredibly daunting, but talking was a turning point for me, and has allowed others to have a better understanding of what life with epilepsy is like.’

    Now, Jasmine is feeling mentally stronger than ever, although, sadly, she still suffers with side-effects of her medication, such as fatigue, headaches and nausea.

    She is speaking out as a report, published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, has found that almost 90% of health boards and trusts do not offer any mental health support within epilepsy clinics.

    Jasmine with her dog Bronte, and Bronte's puppies (PA Real Life/Collect)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    This is despite the fact that children and young adults with epilepsy in the UK are four times more vulnerable to mental health problems, according to Epilepsy Action.

    Now Jasmine hopes her story will encourage other epilepsy sufferers to be more open, as well as challenging common misconceptions about the condition.

    She said: ‘Because I am no longer having seizures, people assume I’m fine, which isn’t the case, as I still suffer with side effects.

    ‘I have no idea how well I’ll feel from one day to the next. As a result, I’ve lost friends over this, as they assume I’m cancelling plans as I don’t care when, in fact, it’s because I’m not well.

    ‘I’d like to see more education in schools, too, so teachers are better equipped to help children like me. If the right support is there, you can absolutely go on to have a happy, normal life.’

    MORE: If being a mum was a paid job, women would earn £108,837 a year

    MORE: Mum finds genius method of removing splinters using Nurofen tube


    Woman whose ?daydreaming? was actually epileptic seizures kept diagnosis secret for five yearsWoman whose ?daydreaming? was actually epileptic seizures kept diagnosis secret for five years

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    (Picture: Erin Aniker)

    We already know that struggling with money can have a huge effect on mental wellbeing.

    But new research suggests that those with mental illness can end up in a terrible cycle of suffering mentally and financially.

    People with mental health issues are three and a half times more likely to be in serious debt than people without a mental illness, analysis of the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey’s reports of 7,500 people in England suggests.

    The report by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that 46% of all people with debt problems have also been diagnosed with a mental health issue, and that 1.5 million people in England are currently struggling with problem debt and mental illness at the same time.

    Certain illnesses are especially associated with money troubles.

    The report found that people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are six times more likely to be in problem debt. It’s thought this may be due to common OCD symptoms such as difficulty processing information and having an unreliable memory.

    Those with bipolar disorder or depression are five times more likely to experience serious financial struggles than people without mental illness. Bipolar disorder can cause excessive and impulsive spending during manic episodes, while depression’s low moods and poor concentration can make it feel impossible to manage finances.

    Ecoanxiety Electricity power save eco money anxiety disorder mental health body mind Ph?be Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk Phebe
    (Picture: Phébe Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk)

    The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute wants these stats to provoke change.

    The charity is urging the government to ensure that people with mental illness are protected from aggressive debt collection, and are provided support from banks when it comes to saving and spending.

    Helen Undy, chief executive of Money and Mental Health, said: ‘When you’re struggling with your mental health it can be much harder to stay in work or manage your spending, while being in debt can cause huge stress and anxiety – so the two issues feed off each other, creating a vicious cycle which can destroy lives.

    ‘Yet despite how connected these problems are, financial services rarely think about our mental health, and mental health services rarely consider what’s happening with our money.

    ‘The government has an opportunity to use its upcoming Consumer White Paper to introduce minimum standards that people with mental health problems can expect across essential services like energy and banking, to ensure that they get a fair deal.

    ‘That should include help to avoid problem debt, and better protection from aggressive debt collection practices when it does happen.

    ‘And ensuring that money advice is routinely offered to people using mental health services would increase recovery rates, as well as improving the financial wellbeing of the 1.5 million people currently dealing with this terrifying combination of problems.’

    To talk about mental health in a private, judgement-free zone, join our Mentally Yours Facebook group.

    MORE: Over three quarters of us are stressed about money

    MORE: What to do if money is having an impact on your mental health


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    Rimping supermarket in Chiangmai, Thailand uses banana leaves instead of plastic.
    (Picture: Perfect Homes Chiangmai)

    Take note, UK supermarkets: a store in Thailand has found a smart way to reduce plastic packaging.

    The Rimping supermarket in Chiangmai is now using banana leaves as packaging instead of plastic.

    The leaves are used to hold together bunches of chillies, spring onions, and peppers, with a flexible piece of bamboo tied to keep everything in place. There’s still some plastic used for the label, but the use of leaves instead of unnecessary plastic is a good step in the right direction.

    Banana leaves are a great alternative to plastic wraps as they’re so readily available in tropical locations, and are often discarded if people don’t see a use for them.

    The supermarket isn’t the first to find a clever purpose for banana leaves – they’re often used to wrap portions of rice across Asia.

    Rimping supermarket in Chiangmai, Thailand uses banana leaves instead of plastic.
    (Picture: Perfect Homes Chiangmai)

    But when photos of the alternative packaging were shared by a real estate company on Facebook, the move was flooded with positive responses.

    ‘Little steps make a big difference,’ wrote one commenter. ‘Change is coming!’

    Others noted that once the banana leaves are done holding vegetables, they can be used as great compost. Plus, their vibrant green shade is far more aesthetically pleasing than clear plastic wrap.

    There are plenty of benefits to using banana leaves as packaging. They’re naturally waterproof and can withstand humidity, and they’re free of any nasty toxins or dyes you may worry about finding in plastic.

    Rimping supermarket in Chiangmai, Thailand uses banana leaves instead of plastic.
    (Picture: Perfect Homes Chiangmai)

    The big one, of course, is that they’re biodegradable – just pop ’em in your compost bin and know that you’re not contributing to the overwhelming issue of plastic pollution.

    There may be issues with using this approach in the UK, however, as banana leaves aren’t as readily available as in east Asian countries.

    But perhaps this supermarket could inspire us to get creative with our own plant life.

    Tesco is already trialling ditching plastic for certain vegetables, but for products that need to be bunched together, why not try something naturally occurring rather than reaching for the plastic?

    MORE: These dresses, tops and cushions from George at Asda are made from recycled clothes and plastic bottles

    MORE: We’ll ring in 2019 rowing on the Atlantic to highlight what plastic pollution is doing to our seas

    MORE: Waves of rubbish floating in Caribbean Sea show how bad plastic pollution is getting


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    Mixed race means your parents hail from two or more different racial backgrounds.

    There is a negative stereotype that being mixed-race necessarily results in confusion or a lack of identity – but it is much more nuanced than that. Yes, there can be conflicts and contradictions, but there are also unique joys, increased cultural openness and a inbuilt sense of resilience.

    Mixed-race is the UK’s fastest-growing ethnic group, and as a relatively young group, we are finally old enough to start forging our own narratives.

    Mixed Up is a weekly series looking at the highs, lows and distinctive lived experiences of mixed-race individuals.

    Kristian Foged has never lived in one country for more than five consecutive years. With influences from Uganda, Denmark and The Seychelles, his cultural experience couldn’t be more varied.

    Kristian has never lived in any country for more than five years (Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘“Where are you from?” has always been a complicated question for me,’ Kristian tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘My mix is firstly one of ethnicity, with my mom being from The Seychelles and my dad from Denmark. But it is also a mixed heritage and cultural upbringing.

    ‘While my mom’s side of the family is fully Seychellois, my grandparents emigrated from The Seychelles to Uganda when they were young, which meant my mom was actually born in Uganda and has spent her whole life there.

    ‘On the other side of the world, my dad was born in Denmark, and became an engineer because he wanted a job he could do anywhere. Eventually, he ended up in Uganda and met my mom.

    ‘Since my first four or five years in Uganda, I have moved back and forth between Uganda, Denmark and Greenland, before finally moving to study at university in England in 2010.

    ‘My moving around as a kid has actually meant I have never lived in any country for more than five years in a row. In fact, if I make it past this summer, London will be my new record!’

    Being mixed-race is important to Kristian. The transiency of his upbringing made fitting in a constant battle, but it also generated a strong desire to form a solid sense of identity. No matter where in the world he moved, that sense of self could come with him.

    ‘Identity is usually seen as a neat set of boxes and defining criteria that allows us to easily classify ourselves, others and create tribes around these shared attributes,’ explains Kristian.

    ‘My mixed-race has informed my identity in being at the core of a long search to have one at all – the struggle to fit in and be part of the many countries and cultures I had to adapt to throughout my childhood.

    Kristian with older brother
    Little Kristian with his older brother who is half Sri Lankan (Picture: Kristian Foged/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Our reliance on visual identity becomes clear when you’re constantly made aware of “sticking out” and people assuming you’re not from here, no matter where “here” happens to be – not being black enough to be Ugandan and never light enough to be Danish.

    ‘A recurring but honest joke I make is that England is the first country I ever lived where I had to open my mouth before (some) people realised I wasn’t from there.

    ‘On the flip-side, the reality of never neatly fitting in – and moving around as often as I did – meant I have had to learn to belong everywhere and quickly get along with everyone.

    ‘At the end of the day, being mixed-race and of mixed culture has meant there are many sides and elements to me, all of which I have eventually learnt to embrace as collectively forming my unique identity.’

    It is impossible to make assumptions about someone purely on the basis of them being mixed-race. Our experiences are far too varied. But some people really struggle with the idea of multiplicity – they want everyone to fit in tidy boxes.

    ‘I think people have quite binary ideas of race and a real need to be one thing or another – and just that,’ suggests Kristian.

    ‘The terrible examples are when we also associate certain behaviours and personality attributes with race, to the extent that a dark skinned person who is wearing a suit, studying law and is articulate, is called an “Oreo” or “Kinder Egg” (black on the inside, white on the outside). Both myself and a Nigerian friend were called this in our university days.

    ‘The issue stems from the same place that racial constructs as a whole stem from.

    ‘There are so many damaging stereotypes, perceptions and divisive lines about what it means to be black or white, that you’re usually made to fit into one socially constructed camp or the other growing up – only to then be told, “but you’re not really black”, by both black and white people.’

    This sense of not being ‘enough’ is a common theme for mixed people. Rigid social constructions of race can leave mixed people feeling uncertain – traversing uncharted territory somewhere in between.

    Kristian with mom and brother in The Seychelles
    Kristian with mom and brother in The Seychelles (Picture: Kristian Foged/Metro.co.uk)

    What’s important for Kristian is that he gets to define his identity for himself. Life experience has given him the confidence to step away from what is expected of him and reject what society attempts to project on to him.

    ‘Mixed people are not just one thing – no one is – that might not be the straight-forward answer some people need, but it’s the reality,’ Kristian tells us.

    ‘More importantly, I want people to respect that my near 30 years of life experiences and how I identify, are not there for your validation or seal of approval.

    ‘You don’t get to tell me, “but you’re not really black” or, “but you don’t look very Danish”. You don’t get to define who I am on the basis of what you see and choose to understand.

    ‘I am a black African and a Scandi Dane: The two are not mutually exclusive and I’m also far more than the sum of these parts.’

    Having lived on opposite ends of the planet, Kristian is uniquely placed to comment on differing global attitudes to race and mixed-race people in particular.

    He has found that how he is perceived is hugely dependent on where he happens to be in the world.

    ‘When I was a child, my skin tone changed depending on my geography: I was white in Africa, but black in Europe,’ he explains.

    ‘But you learn to adapt and build an identity that’s about your character, values and experiences rather than simply your skin-tone.

    ‘Having spent most of my adult life in Denmark and Uganda though, the challenges I’ve had around race are of having dark skin.

    ‘Racism – explicit or structural – doesn’t discriminate between what shade or degree of non-white you are: you’re a person of colour regardless. The only difference is perhaps that I’ve occasionally gotten a “half-” prefix when someone calls me the N-word.’

    Kristian ended up spending the majority of his childhood in Uganda – 12 years in total, but not consecutively.

    ‘I’m probably closer to my African heritage,’ says Kristian.

    ‘But there is also an element of me that feels I was never truly Ugandan. People there would sometimes call me “mzungu” – the local term for white man – but I never felt like I had to belong in Uganda.

    Kristian with brother and sister
    Kristian with his brother and sister (Picture: Kristian Foged/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Many of my years in Denmark were spent being acutely aware of the fact that I wasn’t fully Danish, even though my dad’s heritage and my own passport would suggest otherwise.

    ‘Having an idea in my head that I was supposed to be Danish, but being constantly faced with surprised exclamations of, “oh wow, your Danish is really good” when speaking my native tongue, gave a sense of distance from what my passport told me I was supposed to be.

    ‘It’s strange, because while I have many of what some would think of as African/black values about family, food, and my understanding of racism, inequality and privilege are all from this perspective, many of my social and political values are certainly more what some would call ‘Western’.

    ‘I have had more than one argument in Uganda about LGBTQ+ rights and equality, where we simply don’t see eye-to-eye. But then I guess I’ve also had disagreements in England around unconscious bias, structural racism and white privilege where we don’t agree either.’

    Despite lacking a sense of belonging in Uganda, Kristian never felt any open hostility. That is something he only feels in the West.

    ‘While I’ve been called “white” in Uganda and judged in some ways for my skin tone there, I only ever felt my colour was a negative when dealing with Western racism.

    ‘I have experienced a lot.

    ‘The ignorance of being called the Danish translation of the N-word in Greenland by entire classes of students and even a couple of teachers, who have waived my protestations by saying, “but I meant in a nice way”.

    ‘I have also been told straight up, “f*** off, you’re black. Don’t talk to me”, at a bar in Beaconsfield.

    ‘Racism is definitely still alive, but it’s tough to say if it’s getting better or worse.

    Kristian with his older brother
    Kristian and his older brother (Picture: Kristian Foged/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘There are some ways in which there have been long-term improvements in the opportunities and programmes, increasing accessibility, opportunity and representation. And I see from generation to generation how attitudes and inclusivity are only improving among younger people, mine is better than the last and the ones growing up now are better than us.

    ‘But the issues of perception still run deep, and there are huge issues and conversations we refuse to have.

    ‘Racism isn’t slavery or just someone shouting the N-word anymore; the real definition of racism is the structural and systematic disadvantaging of people because of race – and these attitudes run deep and have a long history, and one we need to acknowledge, even when it exposes the flaws within ourselves, so we can tackle them.

    ‘I would recommend reading Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – which is fantastic on this topic.’

    Kristian thinks that conversation is the greatest tool we have in dismantling society’s systemic barriers and challenging internalised misconceptions.

    ‘We as a society are sometimes too nervous to have the difficult and honest conversations about race that can actually start to tackle these issues,’ explains Kristian.

    ‘I have tried to become more direct and open about having these conversations in a way that also gives room for people to speak their minds, so long as they are also willing to listen to other perspectives and experiences. We are not going to get anywhere by shouting each other down.

    ‘The biggest difficulty for me has been trying to reconcile my two halves into my own identity, and embracing that I’m a mix of two wonderful things – but not neatly fitted into either.

    ‘Mixed-race people are the ultimate minority, at the end of the day you have to define who you are for yourself and embrace everything that makes you, you.

    ‘I don’t have any fantasies that we live in a post-racial world, and racism is still very much alive and real, but perhaps the great thing about being mixed is that we are the physical embodiment of love existing across races and nationalities.

    ‘I think that’s pretty cool when you think about it in that light.’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘Racism made me feel sub-human. I used to pretend to be anything but black’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I have been accepted by black people and distanced by white people’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I would ask my parents multiple times to prove that I wasn’t adopted’


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    Caption: Denim panties

    Please, won’t the fashion industry leave jeans alone? Or at least prioritise making jeans that don’t dig into your stomach and gape at the back rather than committing horrific crimes against denim?

    We’ve seen super long extendo jeans, jeans that look like they’re covered in mud, and asymmetrical jeans we continue to have nightmares about.

    Now, Y/Project, the same ‘creative’ types behind the denim jacket with strangely long sleeves, buttless jeans, and jeans that look like they’ve been done up wrong, is now selling what they describe as denim panties..

    Denim panties are super short denim shorts designed to look like underwear but complete with belt loops and a button fastening in the style of your standard pair of denim.

    The product description reads: ‘Denim brief-style shorts in navy. Fading throughout. Mid-rise. Three-pocket styling. Belt-loops at waistband. Copper-tone hardware. Tonal stitching.’

    (Picture: Ssense)

    On Ssense, the model wears the denim panties with a white shirt and a denim jacket, which is a look, but we suppose you could also layer a pair of tights underneath your set for a tad more coverage.

    We don’t think these panties are designed to be worn as actual underwear (imagine trying to put clothes on top. Sounds uncomfortable), but at this point in bizarre fashion we truly can’t be certain.

    Ssense writes: ‘These “brief-style shorts” can be worn under or over pants, meaning they’re far more versatile than what you’d traditionally expect from a pair of briefs. Underwear that doesn’t need to stay “under there.”’

    So… they are underwear? Or should you wear underwear under them? Are we really expected to wear three layers on our bottom halves?

    (Picture: Ssense)

    Over on Instagram, people have expressed both confusion and outrage.

    ‘This def ain’t it ladies,’ commented one man.

    ‘Chafing is great,’ said another customer. We don’t think they mean it.

    Others have rushed to the comments section to term the denim panties ‘janties’, which is a word that will haunt us, and to reference Never Nude Tobias of Arrested Development.

    Anyway, if you’re desperately keen to wear a set of denim briefs, these particular janties are available for just £235. A bargain, we’re sure you’ll agree.

    MORE: Halima Aden turns fashion designer as she launches 27 new headscarves

    MORE: People are saying this Fashion Nova romper looks like a toe

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


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    Oonagh and her daughter Izzy, 10 (Photo: Amanda Searle)

    I was 17 years old when I told my parents that I was trans. I had been putting it off for years at that point.

    My parents are farmers in rural Iceland and have been running our family farm since they were 17 and 19.

    The chances of them having knowingly met a trans person were slim to none. It was a shock to them when I told them, especially for my dad. Everyone had thought I was gay.

    It took them about two years to come to terms with it all. But in that space of time they went from worried about other people’s reactions to being my biggest supporters.

    Now my dad writes articles about this ‘life-changing experience,’ as he puts it, and my mum’s favourite story is how a psychic once told her that she was going to have three boys, before pausing and saying one would actually probably be a girl.

    In hindsight, I wish I had come out sooner. It would have spared me years of secrecy, distress and agony.

    But a lot has changed since then, and it warms my heart to see trans kids being accepted and supported by their families.

    Anyone who actually takes the time to get to know these parents and kids cannot fail to notice that they are just like any other family, and by allowing their kids to express themselves freely, they have greatly increased their well-being and happiness.

    I have recently had the pleasure of interviewing some mums and their trans children. Hearing their stories isn’t something I take lightly, as I know many of them are apprehensive to share their experiences out of fear their words will be twisted or taken out of context.

    It certainly isn’t easy when your child comes out as trans, and nor does anything happen overnight.

    When I asked Jan, the mother of trans girl Jess who came out at 18 years old, she said: ‘Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. We had a lot of working out to do in our own minds to get our heads around the whole concept and how this would impact the family as a whole, but we hid that from Jess – she needed our support.’

    Many of the parents said that they were really worried for their children and people’s reactions. Lisa, who runs the architect company Pride Road, is the mum of Alex, who started to come out in his teens.

    She was terrified of telling her tight-knit Jewish community: ‘I thought it was going to be the worst thing in the world, but everyone has been really amazing. Everyone, including the rabbi, have embraced Alex for who he is, and it’s been wonderful.’

    Much like my own parents, most of the mums I spoke to thought that their kids might just be gender non-conforming or gay. But it became clear to them that this wasn’t the case, nor was this a phase they’d grow out of.

    Jan and her daughter Jess, 18 (Photo: Amanda Searle)

    As Oonagh, the mother of 10 year old trans girl Izzy, put it: ‘Initially, when Izzy was younger, we just thought that she was a boy who liked dolls and dressing up. I was very proud of it and even posted pictures of my non-stereotypical boy online.

    ‘However, over time it became more apparent that Izzy was exploring her identity a bit more than other children. She didn’t really fit in with either the boys or the girls a lot of the time.

    ‘We still had an open mind and Izzy didn’t have the words to describe how she felt. We just wanted to support her to be who she is and to make sure we did the right thing for her.’

    Despite the fact that my parents never shamed me for my expression, it didn’t cross their mind that I could be trans.

    It wasn’t that they’d never seen trans people – In 1998, my mother and I watched in awe as Dana International swept away the crown at Eurovision with her mega hit, Diva – but neither made the connection as it was so far removed from our simple reality in rural Iceland.

    At the time the media wasn’t speaking of Dana International kindly either; I remember the host made several jokes about this ‘curious creature’ and ‘the man in the dress.’

    Despite the charismatic power of Dana International, it is safe to say that being ‘exposed’ to her didn’t influence me either.

    Even today there are a lot of misconceptions out there about trans children, and often parents of trans children get accused of influencing their children.

    Kelly, the mum of the 10 year old Billy, said that it’s immensely frustrating: ‘I hate when people say, “when I was seven I wanted to be a dog”, as if we are indulging whimsical fantasies.

    ‘Or when people infer that it’s a “trend”. Seriously? I can’t make my child eat lettuce let alone live as a different gender. If you could hear your child screaming in pain, crying, “why am I like this? I don’t want to be me”, you’d do whatever you could to try and help them, wouldn’t you?’

    Cat, mum of six year old Sam, said that it also bothered her when people criticised her for supporting her child: ‘I hate to hear that it’s child abuse and as parents we should be ashamed of ourselves.

    ‘I would like for people to actually try and put themselves in our shoes, as I know if they had a transgender child they would think differently.

    ‘They would never let their child develop in a way that caused them severe distress. We love our transgender son and we are VERY proud to be his parents.’

    The voices that we still don’t hear in the media are the voices of the children themselves. This is partly because of how hostile and toxic the media is, as many families fear negative reaction and harassment.

    As a trans person in the public eye I know this reality all too well, and the sheer level of vitriol directed at me on social media every single day is incredible.

    Despite catastrophic and fearmongering headlines, the fact is that these kids are actually doing really well.

    To these kids it really isn’t a big deal at all, and they are all confident and assured with who they are.

    Kelly and her son Billy, 10 (Photo: Amanda Searle)

    Ned, a trans boy in his teens, said that it’s frustrating when people say kids are too young to know who they are.

    ‘I’m not too young. Everyone is presumed to know they are a boy or a girl from birth, so why am I less capable of knowing who I am?’

    He said that he was grateful that he learned about being trans at school, as it helped him being able to articulate his feelings and come out.

    I know for a fact that if I had learned about it at school, it might have enabled me to open up a dialogue with the people around me. It wouldn’t have had such negative connotations that were constantly fed to me through popular media, and would’ve saved me years of internalised shame.

    Jess, 18, said that people who question trans kids are usually people who don’t know what being trans is about: ‘I can be who I truly am and not have to live a lie. I imagine a future. Whereas before I didn’t. I’m just now a normal person getting on with life.’

    Sam, a six year old trans boy, says it’s quite simple: ‘I’m a boy and I know who I am. And I don’t care what they think.’

    It’s easy to forget that all trans people were trans kids once. I certainly knew when I was a child, but it just wasn’t a possibility for me at the time. I didn’t want to be a ‘curious creature’ or a ‘man in a dress’.

    The fact is that people coming out at a younger age is a natural development as society grows more accepting of difference. And while the adults are busy fighting about all this, the kids are busy planning their future.

    From wanting to become barristers, to teachers, to doctors and business owners, the last thing on their mind is to listen to negative and uninformed voices. Billy, 10, said that when he grow up he wants ‘a house, a car, a family and a dog or two.’

    Sounds good to me.

    What stood out from everyone’s interviews was the sheer amount of love and understanding the parents had for their children.

    Molly, the mother of Ned, said that the only thing she regretted was not supporting her son earlier.

    Many of them struggled with the prospect of their child being trans, and many still fear that they will be treated poorly by their peers or other people.

    But above all they want their children to be happy and content with life. So for them supporting their child and allowing them to express themselves ultimately was a no-brainer.

    I’d like to believe that if my parents would have had access to the same information and the media would have been kinder to people like me, they would have supported me and affirmed who I was from a much earlier age.

    Ultimately it comes down to allowing children to live their lives to their full potential, the way that makes them happy. And that is something every child deserves.

    Or as Izzy, 10, eloquently put it: ‘I know who I am and you can’t stop that.’

    Photos shown are a part of the exhibition commissoned by All About Trans called Transparent Love by Amanda Searle, that is currently open at the BFI NFT at the Southbank Centre in London. For more information about how to best support your child if they are questioning their gender, please visit Mermaids UK, a charity that supports trans and gender question children and their families.

    MORE: I’m a short, transgender man who modelled at London Fashion Week to show that fashion can be diverse

    MORE: It's 2019, lesbian soap characters shouldn't be more likely to die than have a happy ending

    MORE: Being trans doesn't give you an advantage in sport, but fear from discrimination keeps us from playing


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    (Picture: Getty)

    When your delicious food or travel pic on Instagram gets lots of likes and comments, it’s easy to think ‘yeah, I could really become an influencer’.

    Why post that perfectly curated selfie for free when you could be getting paid for it, right?

    If you’ve been seduced by the idea of influencing or wondered just how much your vlogging faves get paid then you’ll be glad to know there’s a study showing how much the average influencer earns for their sponsored posts.

    The UK Bloggers Survey 2019 revealed that influencers can get paid between £100 to £1,000 depending on their following and the products they’re advertising.

    Research conducted by the Canterbury Christ Church University, in collaboration with software firm Vuelio, looked at British influencers and found out how much they charged for their content through the course of 2018.

    It turns out influencing isn’t all fun and games (okay, maybe some of it) as Instagrammers have to share up to three original posts a day which means lots of planning and strategising.

    (Picture: Getty)

    The research found that in 2018 27% of influencers charged £100 per post while 30% asked for something between £100 and £250 per post.

    There were a few social media celebs that charged more, with 11% asking for £251 to £500. Meanwhile 6% are in the £501-£1,000 bracket for their content.

    Top of them all sits a mighty 2% who asked brands to cough up more than £1,000 to post with their product.

    Research also looked at why bloggers do what they do, with most reporting that it was just a hobby.

    Lifestyle and parenting were found to be most popular topics to blog apout.

    Interestingly, the blogosphere is dominated by women in most topics including lifestyle, food and drink, fashion and beauty, and parenting, but travel was equally divided between men and women.

    Fashion blogging is also on the decline, found researchers.

    Bloggers are posting less frequently with most posting just once a week; which might explain why your faves seem to be ghosting.

    Perhaps absence makes the heart grow fonder and posting fewer pictures makes you seek an influencer out even more.

    It’s all about strategising, after all.

    MORE: Why so many influencers are getting therapy

    MORE: Fitness influencer who has broken her bones 200 times won’t let her disability hold her back

    MORE: Influencers slammed for hanging out of a moving train to get a photo for Instagram


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