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- 03/27/19--08:48: _Where can you go to...
- 03/27/19--08:57: _18 last-minute Moth...
- 03/27/19--08:57: _When does McDonald’...
- 03/27/19--09:10: _Man creates ridicul...
- 03/27/19--09:58: _Attention, please: ...
- 03/27/19--10:03: _Disabled dog rescue...
- 03/27/19--10:03: _Teacher gets 580 of...
- 03/27/19--10:11: _Experts tell us how...
- 03/27/19--10:28: _Illustrator reimagi...
- 03/27/19--11:07: _Contraceptive earri...
- 03/27/19--11:13: _Little girl becomes...
- 03/27/19--23:27: _These are the most ...
- 03/27/19--23:35: _16 people open up a...
- 03/28/19--00:05: _Pupuccinos at the r...
- 03/28/19--01:01: _My Label and Me: Be...
- 03/28/19--01:21: _Man looks so much l...
- 03/28/19--01:31: _Lean On Me: All my ...
- 03/28/19--02:10: _If you long for mor...
- 03/28/19--02:20: _How I Save: The con...
- 03/28/19--02:52: _Woman thought she w...
- 03/27/19--08:48: Where can you go to get an indoor nature fix in the city?
- 03/27/19--08:57: 18 last-minute Mother’s Day gift ideas from Etsy
- 03/27/19--09:58: Attention, please: Giant Kinder Surprise Easter eggs now exist
- 03/27/19--11:13: Little girl becomes unlikeliest of best friends with a giant rabbit
- 03/27/19--23:27: These are the most popular baby names of 2019 so far
- 03/27/19--23:35: 16 people open up about their most brutal breakups
- 03/28/19--00:05: Pupuccinos at the ready: A Pomeranian cafe is coming to London
- 03/28/19--02:10: If you long for more pockets then you’ll love these cargo hotpants
- Books from Waterstones, £39
Human beings are wired to seek out nature.
There’s something about surrounding ourselves in greenery that simply speaks to our inner selves and connects us to ancestors who grew up in wide, open spaces.
But with many people living in cramped cities where there are few green areas for us to explore – unless you’re lucky enough to live near a park – it can be difficult to get back to our nature roots.
Thankfully, there are plenty of indoor options to explore.
We’ve rounded up a list of our favourite green spots in London that you can visit now or whenever nature calls (not that kind of calling).
Hidden away in the City, you’ll find the Barbican Conservatory – home to 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees.
It’s open on selected Sundays every month, as well as bank holidays, but check the website to be sure of exact opening days and times to avoid disappointment.
The vast green room also occasionally hosts events, including an afternoon tea experience that opened just a few days ago and will run until 28 April.
If you really like the venue, you can book it for a wedding reception or drinks party as it fits up to 100 to 150 guests.
There’s also a terrace within the conservatory, with space for 200 people.
Crossrail Place Gardens
Found in Canary Wharf, this gem of a roof garden features plants and trees that are connected to the ‘history and geography’ of its location.
Although you can definitely walk around and just enjoy the greenery, you’re better off booking an activity to take part in.
Crossrail Place Gardens often hosts events for the public, such as art classes (23 May), candle-making experiences (13 June) and poetry workshops (23 July).
Musicians and entertainers also do shows in the amphitheatre, which seats 80 people.
The garden is open from 6am to 9pm every day, a perfect option for busy business people who need a break from the hustle and bustle.
London Terrariums isn’t technically a green space in itself, however it does give ample opportunity to work with greenery – so we’ve decided it counts.
The venue offers workshops where guests can learn to make their own terrarium plants and conical or boiling flasks.
Admire the beautiful jungle of plants around the room as you create your masterpiece, but make sure you read the description for the class before you book it – as some of them are BYOV (bring your own vessel).
Temperature House in Kew Gardens reopened in 2018, after a five-year renovation.
Inside, you can find 10,000 individual plants from 1,500 species from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Islands.
It’s a truly magnificent spot, best seen during a sunny day as the light shines in through the windows and gives the plants a golden shimmer.
Kew is also home to the world’s loneliest plant – Encephalartos woodii – the only one of its kind found in the wild.
The gardens in Kew open at 10am every day, but check the website to see closing times as this depends on the month.
Petersham Nurseries has a public café which is located within a garden centre and designed to resemble a greenhouse.
And it’s the perfect excuse to combine your love of food with your appreciation for plants.
If you’re looking for an activity to do on Mother’s Day, pop in for a meal with your mum or try the special floristry workshop on 31 March.
The café is also a stone’s throw from Richmond Park, one of the finest open green spaces in London. Swing by for deer watching.
We’re cheating with this one, because the Conservatory Archives near Cambridge Heath is actually a plant shop.
But what better way to surround yourself with plants indoors than to add some to your own home?
Plus, it’s a very pretty shop.
The team can help you with plant installations or hire the greenery for photo shoots, should you want to create the ultimate plant-feed on Instagram.
Indoor green places
PSA: Mother’s Day is fast approaching.
This year Mothering Sunday falls on Sunday 31 March, which FYI is mere days away.
So, if you’re yet to order your mom flowers, or a perfectly packaged beauty product, don’t fret as we’ve selected 18 Mother’s Day gifts from Esty that are so good, she’ll never know you scrambled to find something.
From personalised bath bombs, to gorgeous hammered earrings, these are the very best handmade gifts from Etsy to treat your mom to this Mother’s Day.
The game is afoot, folks, as McDonald’s Monopoly has begun in earnest.
There are all sorts of prizes available, from Extra Value meals to £100k cash, as well as instant wins giving you shopping discounts and food prizes.
It’s a real (Mc)flurry of excitement for fans of the game, but it does have to come to an end at some point – otherwise you’d simple be able to keep collecting stickers to make sets.
Here’s how long you have to get your collection sorted and use them up in time.
When does McDonald’s Monopoly 2019 end?
Online codes expire on 30 April. That means you’ve got just over a month to collect your full sets and pop the codes in on the website.
Instant win codes expire 14 May, which gives you slightly longer to claim your free ice creams and nuggets.
It’s worth noting, that even if you receive the winning stickers before this date, they won’t be honoured. Claim right away, or deal with the sadness that you might have lost out on a hundred grand (or at least a voucher for some new clothes).
How do you claim prizes online?
Peel off your sticker, and look for the 10-digit online game code that runs along the side.
Then go to the website, input the sticker and your email address, and get notified if you’re a winner.
If you’re one of the lucky few who get one of the major prizes, you’ll have to confirm further details before the prize is paid out.
According to McDonald’s you must also ‘retain your Game Piece(s) whatever the type of prize you have won, both before and for a reasonable time after award’.
This is for verification purposes.
If you have an Instant Win sticker, simply go into a participating store to redeem.
McDonald's Launches Its Largest-Ever Promotion
We’ve seen some pretty terrible Tinder bios in our time.
There was the man who rewarded and deducted points based on your lifestyle.
And in January, we brought you the man who boasted about his house, brains and music skills.
Well, here is another one to add to the ‘bad bios’ list.
This man, named only as 26-year-old Chad, has a topless selfie as his picture, along with a list of demands that he expects from a date.
He comments on hair colour, has a very specific height range and demands an excellent blow job.
He even insists his date should be ‘available at all times.’
He also has a list of things his match must not do, like approach other men and go out for girls’ nights.
The full bio, originally posted on Reddit, says:
‘Must be to my standards:
‘Be blonde or brunette.
‘Be fit and toned, go to the gum > 2 weekly.
‘Be no more that 5’ 6 and no less than 5’2 in height.
‘Be available at all times.
‘Give good head and call me anything I want.
‘Be able to cook and clean.
‘Be a non-smoker, non-alcoholic and no druggies.
‘Devote as much of your time to me as possible.
‘Have a steady income >$70,000pa.
‘Have own apartment that I can crash at occasionally.
‘Approach other men.
‘Smoke, drink or do drugs.
‘Go to the club or “girls nights”.
‘If you fit these criteria, swipe right, I will not not settle for anything less.’
You might notice the double negative ‘not not’ settle at the end, which technically means he will settle for less.
Who knows if it’s all an elaborate joke or if he just put the extra word in by accident.
But we’re pretty sure most matches would be put off before they even get that far.
Some Reddit users spotted the last line and pointed out it was a joke but others pointed out he was unlikely to find any matches with that bio.
One person said: ‘Enjoy being single, Chad.’
Another added: ‘Well he’s never gonna find anyone.’
‘Buddy might want to lower his standards,’ another poster said.
Strict criteria for Tinder date
If you’re looking for an Easter egg, beyond the standard Mars or Cadbury, giant Kinder Eggs are now a thing.
Kinder has launched giant, hollow Kinder Eggs which come with toys inside for the kids. Great idea, right?
The Kinder Surprise eggs, which are available in most UK supermarkets for £4, come as part of Kinder’s Easter range, and they’re basically huge versions of the little eggs you can buy in supermarkets – oh, and they come with bigger toys, too.
The eggs come with the standard milk chocolate outside and milky lining, and each toy within is buildable.
The toy range includes a Minion, Teenage Ninja Turtles or the Powerpuff Girls.
And don’t worry, the packaging of each egg shows what’s hidden inside – so unlike the smaller eggs, it isn’t that much of a ‘surprise’ as to what your kid will be opening.
The Kinder Easter range also features Kinder Joy eggs, which are chocolate eggs with one half featuring layers of milky and cocoa creams with crispy wafer bites, and the other half a toy.
So, that’s your child’s eggs sorted. What about yours?
If you’re looking for something a little more grown up, you can now buy an Easter egg that comes with a full bottle of gin inside it.
We know, it’s a miracle (and we’ll all need it after the over-excitement of the Easter egg hunt).
Oh, and they’re very Instagrammable, too.
Manchester patissier and chocolatier Slattery has partnered with local Zymurgorium to create unicorn and flamingo Easter eggs.
Each egg comes with a full size 50cl bottle of 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.
It features a milk chocolate shell which is placed around the bottle, and coated in a white and strawberry chocolate with a pearlised finished.
We’re not sure whether to de-construct them for the gin and the chocolate, or just leave them to look pretty on the shelf.
Who are we kidding? We’re definitely going with the first option.
Kinder Egg giant
When retired civil servant Sharon Warnock was living in China, she came across a Facebook page that documented animals trapped in the dog meat industry.
The page was dedicated to getting animals set to be sold for food out of slaughterhouses.
One particular pooch caught her eye and Sharon, 54, couldn’t stop thinking about him. It was Henry, a toy poodle who was found by a government worker after an attack by another dog left him with a broken spine.
The disabled dog had no tail, could not walk or do his business without help, and the skin around his backside was rotting away.
Sharon knew she couldn’t abandon Henry and decided to pay £600 to get him out of China and into her home in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Unable to walk without help because of his broken back, Henry arrived from China with his own set of doggie wheels.
Henry now zooms around in his wheels and has become quite the star. He is the official team mascot for the Ulster Superbike Championship and has his own biker outfits.
You can even catch him in local schools and on loads of important appointments.
‘Dog meat is seen as a luxury in China, so people will pay more for it than for beef or chicken and the way they make the meat more tender is by effectively torturing the dogs,’ explained Sharon.
‘I had several sleepless nights trying to decide if I could offer to adopt Henry.
‘I just kept thinking “who’s going to want him?” The shelter wasn’t even sure he could survive the long flight out of China and if he did make it, I knew he would need a lifelong commitment to take care of him.’
Now living at home with Sharon’s two other dogs, Henry has to wear a padded nappy for extra protection, incontinence pads, and a babygro to stop them from slipping off.
When she first met him Sharon said she was shaking with nerves. ‘It was a very emotional first meeting,’ she said.
‘It wasn’t love at first sight from him, though. He growled when I first touched him, but he was in a lot of pain and I understood that.
‘Then, when we said our goodbyes and I strapped him into the car to bring him home with me, he looked up at me and I swear he was smiling.’
His mobility aid has also become a hit at special needs schools he has visited, especially with the children in wheelchairs who immediately identify with the cute canine.
‘Henry is such a happy, cheeky and feisty little dog,’ added Sharon. He is a real advocate for disabled dogs and proof you can have a good quality of life even when you need wheels.
‘While people say I rescued Henry, I think he rescued me.’
Sharon wants to help other dogs like Henry come out of the meat trade industry and has set up a Go Fund Me page. You can donate here.
Disabled dog who was rescued from the Chinese meat trade melts the internet?s hearts with adorable snaps of him zooming around in his special wheelchair
Rebecca Bonner, a primary school teacher in Texas, U.S, has been called a national treasure after she showed off a dress designed by her young students.
The 46-year-old asked 580 kids, ranging from the ages of three to 11, to draw whatever they wanted on her frock for her to wear to the school art show.
The children from Mcauliffe Elementary School left a wonderful array of colours, shapes and characters on the skirt of her cream dress.
Rebecca’s daughter Charlece shared an image of her mum posing in the attire, which quickly went viral.
‘My mum is the cutest art teacher ever!’ tweeted the proud daughter. ‘She made a dress and had every one of her students draw one thing on the dress for her to wear. This was her at her student’s art show tonight. I’m sobbing.’
The sweet gesture resonated with many users as the post amassed over 100,000 likes.
Rebecca replied to Charlece’s viral tweet saying she loves her job and was delighted to represent her students’ artwork.
The white dress she wore, bought from Amazon, was tied together with a red ribbon belt which made the drawings pop even more.
She left the dress at school for two weeks to let the kids draw whatever they wanted in their own time with felt tips and sharpies.
‘Your mum is the type of teacher that change a child’s life and they never forget the positivity that was poured into them,’ wrote one fan.
Another person wrote: ‘Your mum is a national treasure and must be protected at all costs. My art teacher is why I fell in love with the arts. Your mum is doing wonderful, I hope she knows how amazing she truly is.’
Rebecca has acquired some fame for her dress and even featured on Good Morning America where she explained that the idea for the dress came from a Facebook page.
She wants to inspire young people to get into the arts.
‘I think it’s great to promote the arts because elementary art is not everywhere,’ she said.
‘I think it’s really important for kids to have that outlet, to have that place to create, and that freedom to create.’
Elementary school art teacher is dubbed a 'national treasure' after photos of her modeling a dress covered in her students' DRAWINGS go viral
We’re having a love affair with plants.
As of late, the leafy goodness has taken centre stage in becoming the new cool things for millennials (avocado is so last year).
Perhaps it’s because we have nothing else or maybe there’s another explanation.
Most human beings, millennial or not, are generally drawn towards green spaces – it’s in our nature to do so – and plants are the perfect way to bring greenery indoors. Especially if you live in a busy city where there is a distinct lack of it.
And research has also shown that greenery could have a beneficial impact on mental health.
According to a recent survey by Arboretum, 42% of 2,000 participants said that being around plants improved their mental health.
This figure was even higher in London, where more than half (56%) admitted plants make them happier.
But why and how does this connection occur and what exactly is it about plants that speaks to us?
‘We know for sure that plants and gardening are vital for our mental health,’ Sue Biggs, director general of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) tells Metro.co.uk.
‘There’s nothing quite like being around, and interacting with nature to relax and help ease the mind. With gardening, simply focusing on the task in hand, be it weeding, pruning or planting, can have an astoundingly positive affect on your mood.
‘90% of us say we feel better just by being around plants and evidence continues to stack up around the positive impact of gardening and having access to green space has on our mental health.’
The RHS will be partnering with the NHS this year during the Chelsea Flower Show and its garden will be relocated to an NHS trust in order to benefit staff and patients.
Sue also tells us that some doctors are now prescribing gardening for patients.
This resonates with Dr Faisal Maassarani, who is the founder of Care Merseyside, the UK’s first ‘social prescribing’ charity.
‘As a GP, I believe that traditional and prescription drugs are not always the answer and can be complemented by a more holistic approach,’ Dr Maassarani tells Metro.co.uk.
‘We advocate mindfulness, community, health and well-being and have seen the benefits to our patients of being in nature through our social prescribing activities like our walking group.
‘Not only does walking through natural beauty spots increase steps and activity, but being out in open green spaces is good for clearing the mind, reducing stress and increasing happiness.’
For all its wonder, we don’t get the same feelings from technology as we do from plants either.
One study from 2015, which compared two activities – tending to plants and working on a word processor – revealed that participants were calmer when working with the plants.
They felt ‘comfortable, soothed, and natural’ after this task, compared to the other technical task where they felt ‘uncomfortable, awakened, and artificial’.
Other benefits of surrounding yourself with plants, reported in Psychology Today, includes lowered blood pressure, improved productivity in workplaces, general improvement on well-being and improved job satisfaction.
If you don’t have the space or money to purchase fancy plants (some of them can be a bit pricey), you can also visit indoor spaces in the city to get your green fix.
And communities are also popping up across the country where you can engage in horticultural activity as a means to reduce anxiety and to help with depression.
‘Being around plants can help overall health and may even improve productivity and help in a reduction of stress levels,’ Rick Hay, nutritionist and expert in botanical medicine, tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Studies have shown that interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress – in fact they can have a soothing effect. Studies have also shown that being around plants may also help with concentration and memory.
‘The trend of forest bathing has become more popular as people generally relax more when being in nature. Having greenery around you at work can provide stimulation to the senses, which can even help mental cognition.
‘An added bonus of indoor plants is that they help to reduce pollution, which may be why we feel that little bit better when we are around them or working in a workplace that has them.’
It’s clear that being around plants – whether that’s by introducing a miniature cactus on the office desk, buying a plethora of leafy pals for the home or reading about them in a book, makes us feel better.
And ways to improve and maintain good mental health are always welcome in our book.
How plants can affect your mental health
Lots of little girls grow up looking up to Disney princesses.
But one illustrator wanted to show that you don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.
Marcela Sabiá, 28, from São Paulo, Brazil, took Disney princesses and reimagined them with acne, body hair and scars.
She also drew Cinderella in a wheelchair and a plus-size Ariel from the Little Mermaid.
She explains: ‘I think the Disney princesses are female referrals to thousands of girls around the world, just like they were for me.
‘Knowing the power and reach they have inspired me to use them to talk about body positivity.
‘I thought it would be fun to make them more human and make girls feel represented.’
For her #realprincesss series, she started with Snow White, with acne over her skin.
She wrote: ‘A beautiful princess with white skin like snow and severe acne.
‘Women who often hate themselves because of long-established patterns, when they are absolutely incredible and worthy of love.
‘You are much more than your skin. You are all princesses and queens.’
Next, she drew Jasmine from Aladdin with facial hair and posted: ‘What if Jasmine had facial hair just like many women have?
‘A lot of people would call her ugly, dirty or disgusting because of it for sure – since it seems unacceptable for girls to be ok with something that is totally natural.
‘Well, it wouldn’t change the beautiful, strong and feminine princess that she is.
‘Facial hair doesn’t change a thing about who you are. It’s your choice to shave it or leave it, it’s your body and there is nothing about it that can’t and shouldn’t be loved.’
Marcela then looked at Ariel, and reimagined her as a plus-size princess, saying: ‘We are so used to seeing slim princesses with thin waistlines, but beautiful girls exist in all shapes and sizes – which is wonderful.
‘Ariel would also be amazing with more curves and as charming as it is in the original version. Once again, we are all princesses and queens.’
Looking at Mulan, she included scars on her face to show that everyone is beautiful.
‘I have to admit that Mulan is the most inspiring princess to me,’ she said.
‘She broke the “fragile and delicate girl” pattern showing us that a woman can be fearless and fight for what she believes.
‘If Mulan had a scar on her face, would that change? Absolutely not.
‘She would remain an incredible and beautiful warrior – just like any of you. Scars show that we have survived and we’re strong.’
Marcela also drew Cinderella in a wheelchair to inspire women who are disabled.
‘The beautiful Cinderella,’ she said. ‘If she had a disability, she would still be strong, independent, and capable of overcoming all obstacles in her path – as well as all real-life princesses and queens in wheelchairs.
‘You are incredible, never forget that.’
Marcela drew Moana without hair to celebrate women who have suffered hair loss or who have chosen to be bald.
She said: ‘Even a wonderful princess like Moana is not defined by her hair.
‘I dedicate this illustration to all the amazing women who are bald for various reasons – whether by choice or not.
‘You remain feminine and powerful. You are much more than your hair.’
The last princess in the series is Belle from Beauty and the Beast, who she drew with a bigger nose.
Marcela said: ‘Beautiful women do not necessarily need delicate, small noses.
‘Belle would still be charming and worthy with a big nose – just like all of you’
After posting the series, Marcela said the reaction has been incredibly positive.
She said: ‘I had a very good reception overall, with many people suggesting new ideas and thanking me for seeing princesses with features they can really identify with. It was very gratifying.
‘Of course there were haters but the vast majority appreciated my version.
She’s currently taking a break from the project but hopes to illustrate more in the future.
You can follow all her illustrations on her Instagram.
Illustrator reimagines Disney princesses in a body positive way. Marcela Sabiá
If you take the contraceptive pill, you face the difficulty of remembering to take it.
Missing two or more pills in a pack means your protection against pregnancy may be affected.
But what if preventing pregnancy involved putting on a pair of earrings every day instead?
Scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology have created adhesive patches that could be stuck to your jewellery to do just that.
We aren’t convinced remembering to put earrings in every day is actually easier than remember to taking a pill.
Lots of us have experienced the feeling of re-piercing your ears because you forgotten to wear any and the holes close over.
But it is good to have alternatives to the pill so everyone can find something that works for them.
There is a possibility the contraceptive could be added to watches, rings or necklaces too.
The idea is that a contraceptive patch is attached to the jewellery and the drug is absorbed into the body through the skin.
The earrings would be removed at night and the contraceptive patch would need to be changed periodically, probably about once a week.
The contraceptive technique has not yet been tested on humans but initial testing suggests it may be able to deliver sufficient amounts of hormone to prevent pregnancy.
So far it has been tested on pigs ears and hairless rats.
Test patches measuring about one square centimetre and containing the hormone levonorgestrel were mounted on earring backs and applied to the skin.
To simulate removal of the earrings during sleep, the researchers applied the patches for 16 hours, then removed them for eight hours.
Once in the skin, the drug can move into the bloodstream and circulate through the body.
Testing suggested that even though levels dropped while the earrings were removed, the patch could produce necessary amounts of the hormone in the bloodstream.
The earring patch consisted of three layers – one layer is impermeable and includes an adhesive to hold it onto an earring back, the underside of a watch or the inside surface of a necklace or ring.
Dr Mark Prausnitz, a Regents Professor and the J. Erskine Love Jr.Chair in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology said: ‘The more contraceptive options that are available, the more likely it is that the needs of individual women can be met.
‘Because putting on jewellery may already be part of a woman’s daily routine, this technique may facilitate compliance with the drug regimen. This technique could more effectively empower some women to prevent unintended pregnancies.
‘We are taking this established technology, making the patch smaller and using jewellery to help apply it.
‘We think contraceptive jewellery could be appealing and helpful to women all around the world.
‘The advantage of incorporating contraceptive hormone into a universal earring back is that it can be paired with many different earrings.
‘A woman could acquire these drug-loaded earring backs and then use them with various earrings she might want to wear.
‘We need to understand not only the effectiveness and economics of contraceptive jewellery, but also the social and personal factors that come into play for women all around the world.
‘We would have to make sure that this contraceptive jewellery concept is something that women would actually want and use.
‘Pharmaceutical jewellery introduces a novel delivery method that may make taking contraceptives more appealing. Making it more appealing should make it easier to remember to use it.’
He added: ‘We think there are uses beyond contraceptive hormones, but there will always be a limitation that the drug has to be effective with a low enough dose to fit into the limited space in the patch.
‘It also should be a drug that would benefit from continuous delivery from a patch and that is administered to a patient population interested in using pharmaceutical jewellery.’
This photograph shows an earring patch (white) that can deliver contraceptive hormone while being worn on an earring back. The size of the patch is about one square centimeter. See National News story Nnpill.Women will be able to protect themselves from pregnancy in the future by simply putting on an earring.Hormones to prevent pregnancy could be applied to jewellery such as earring backs, watches, rings or necklaces, scientists claim.If successful, the body would absorb controlled doses of the drugs from patches placed on the jewellery.Contraceptive patches are already available and were originally designed for use in developing countries, where access to health care and contraception are more limited.
A little girl has become best friends with a huge one-and-a-half stone rabbit.
35-year-old mum-of-two Lindsay Smith bought the fluffy brown Continental Giant rabbit – named Cocoa Puff – in 2017 as a gift for daughter Macy’s second birthday.
But Cocoa Puff has grown so large that his monthly food bill is £200, and he needs to use the litter tray tens times more than a normal sized bunny would.
Lindsay, also mum to Hunter, six, said the almost three-foot-long pet is now almost the same size as her daughter Macy, now three.
Macy and Cocoa Puff have been inseparable ever since they met.
They play with toys, watch TV together and run around the garden.
Lindsay said: ‘Cocoa Puff, like other rabbits, takes a lot of work to care for.
‘However, due to his size certain things are more work — such as changing his litter boxes.
‘Cocoa Puff has always been wonderful with children, he loves being where the action is and is super patient and calm, making him a great family pet.
‘Macy and Cocoa Puff have always had a special bond, they are always together.’
Despite the most eye-catching aspect of Cocoa being his size, he is actually small for his breed.
The online sensation has since racked up thousands of online fans for his hilarious pictures and videos, which show him appearing next to dwarf Macy.
Lindsay added: ‘Cocoa Puff is actually small for his breed, we were hoping he would be about 5lbs heavier.
‘People are always surprised by his size, not knowing rabbits this big existed.’
Toddler giant rabbit
We’re a quarter of the way into 2019 now, so it’s a good time to reflect.
No, not on everything that’s happened so far in the world of politics – that’s a mess we do not wish to wade into.
Instead, let’s take a look at something pure and joyful: the arrival of babies into the world, and what their parents choose to name them.
The experts over at Nameberry have tracked the names that have received the most attention on their site so far this year, creating a list of the most popular baby names for the first quarter of 2019.
Now, this list doesn’t reflect what people have actually called their babies, so don’t go changing your plans because you’re worried there’ll be ten girls called Posie in your daughter’s class. Instead it’s a list of the name pages on Nameberry that have been viewed the most over the last few months.
Topping the girls’ list is the name we just mentioned; Posie, followed by classic girls’ names Isla and Olivia.
Most popular girls' names of 2019 so far:
Just below those standard names (they’re always on the most popular lists these days) come Aurora and Maeve, which we think is due to the coolness of Emma Mackey’s character on Netflix’s Sex Education.
Nameberry says it makes sense Posie is popular, as it’s a mashup of a bunch of this year’s naming trends: vintage names, nature names, and nickname-names.
For boys, Milo is on top, followed by Jasper, Atticus, Theodore, and Asher. Nothing too surprising there, as Milo has been rocketing up the popularity list in the US since 2001.
Most popular boys' names of 2019 so far:
Father With Newborn Baby
Breakups suck. But some are worse than others.
If you’ve managed to have an easy breakup, and have even stayed civil with your ex, you’re one of the lucky ones.
Other people haven’t been so successful.
Breakups hurt. They can be traumatic. They can affect your ability to trust or to open up your heart ever again.
We spoke to 16 people about their most brutal breakups.
Here’s what they said.
‘He said it was for the best’
‘I had been seeing this guy for 10-ish months when he suddenly dumped me. Didn’t tell me why, just that “it was for the best”.
‘Fast forward a month later I was feeling uneasy. A doctor’s appointment later I found out the guy gave me an STD and that I suffered a miscarriage.
‘Told the guy, he confessed he was screwing one of my ‘friends’. She gave him the STD, then he gave it me.
‘Realised and hoped I would get with someone else and blame ‘him’. Oh and his response to me having a miscarriage was “well least it didn’t have my nose”. So that was fun.’
‘He left me for another girl during a breakdown’
‘We were together for six years and I had bad mental health problems. One month I was in a really low place. I was contemplating ending my life and was under the Crisis mental health services.
‘One weekend he went out with “friends” and didn’t come home. I trusted him so didn’t think anything of it.
‘Two days later he ended it with me. He deleted and blocked me on social media despite me still living in our shared home and sharing bills together.
‘Two weeks later he was in a relationship with another girl. He was pictured with her on the night he didn’t come home.
‘To add extra pain they posted a photo of themselves together, and she was wearing my jumper.’
‘He said I needed to find somewhere else to live’
‘I was suffering from PTSD and really bad anxiety after being sexually assaulted. For the first time in a while I managed to leave the home we shared together only to I come back and find he’d packed a bag and disappeared.
‘He didn’t answer his phone and I only found out he was breaking up with me when I checked my emails.
‘He said that it was over, he was staying at his parent’s place and I needed to find somewhere else to live. I genuinely thought I’d never get over it but now I see it as him doing me a favour as I got to see how unreliable he was before getting married or having kids.’
‘He’s getting married’
‘He texted me the day my best friend was getting engaged (it was a surprise for her but her boyfriend had organised a party) to tell me he wouldn’t be coming because he didn’t want to see me anymore (after two years together).
‘Found out later he had slept with someone he worked with two days before and they were in a relationship three days after he did that (though I have messages from him saying he made a mistake and just needed a break).
‘They are getting married this year. He basically played me around until he knew this girl wanted a future, when he was 100% sure she did, he dropped me!
‘I had to spend the whole day being happy for my friend while literally dying inside. I was so happy for her but it was super hard.’
‘He nagged me about my weight’
‘One ex became obsessed with what I ate and nagging me about my weight.
‘He was completely unsympathetic when I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, let me go to A&E alone, then due to all the medication I was taking I was gaining weight but not hungry and I just snapped after more hurtful comments.
‘The worst part is he collapsed at work three months later and it turned out he had a brain tumour, which is what had caused the personality changes and lack of empathy. He’s still undergoing treatment and apologised but I had a lot of guilt over it.’
‘He’d been having a seven month affair’
‘Husband was in a crisis and it made me crash and burn, ended up having a breakdown and looked after by mental health teams, only to find out ten months later he’d been having a seven month affair with a girl he worked with.’
‘He dumped me on the day I was getting a biopsy’
‘A guy dumped me on the day I was having a biopsy on my cervix after getting very bad smear results.
‘Through tears I told the nurse that it wasn’t because I was scared, but because i’d been dumped. “Did he know you had this today?” she asked.
‘”Yes”, I replied.
‘”Then he’s a c***”.’
‘He didn’t know what he wanted anymore’
‘I was getting ready to spend New Year’s Eve with my partner of six years. As I was about to get in the car to go to his, he called me and told me he “didn’t know what he wanted” anymore. Left me hanging in radio silence for eight days then officially ended it.
‘It turned out he’d been cheating on me.
‘I spent NYE alone with my cats and the next week of my life in absolute turmoil not having a clue where this had come from… we’d just spent a lovely Christmas together! The girl he left me for was someone I went to college with, who he’d been working with.’
‘We were making an album together’
‘My ex and I were together for ten years, had forged a career together, and then we suddenly found ourselves at the end. It was extremely painful for both of us, but we both did everything we could to make sure the other had what they needed.
‘We were making an album together at the time, crying in the vocal booth between takes, living in the same apartment writing songs together. It was tough, and it’s the worst I’ve experienced – but what you went through was truly awful.’
‘He went to South Africa and ghosted me’
‘My ex was going to South Africa and told me as it was only for a few weeks we’d still speak and it would be fine. Literally as soon as he left he ghosted me.’
‘He’d changed his mind about marriage and kids’
‘Ex-husband phoned me from work one night after 13 months of marriage to tell me he’d “changed his mind about marriage/kids.”
‘He sent a mate to collect his stuff and I never saw him again.
‘Best thing that ever happened – Went on to have a baby girl three years later. So thank you!!’
‘He left me in debt’
‘I found out my ex was cheating on me, then when I left I had to try to pay all the bills and all the debt he had left me in (£13k), I tried to get my stuff back but had donated everything to charity. I was left in so much debt and had no clothes or anything.’
‘He broke up with me on New Year’s Eve’
‘After seven years my ex let us move into a new flat. Signed a lease. Spent the day at IKEA buying new furniture, then putting up all this new furniture, before breaking up with me out of the blue.
Oh and it was New Year’s Eve. Spent midnight at Reading services drinking tea.’
‘We got married young’
‘I married the first time very young. I was not 20 until a few months after we married. I worked as a night audit at a hotel. I decided to get off early and surprise my husband. I was the one that got surprised – he and one of his coworkers were in our bed together.’
‘He said we should go back to dating’
‘I had an ex say we should go back to just dating. No label on it. He then basically ghosted me after a day or so of this and turns out he ended up with a girl from his workplace that same week.’
‘He was having an affair’
‘My ex was having an affair.
‘I am severely disabled. One day he came back from his bit on the side and told me to get out. Me and wheelchair ended up on the street.
‘He refused to let me have my cat or my things. Left me in £12k debt, and he had claimed ESA in my name.’
X lessons I’ve learnt about relationships (Jo Middleton)
It feels like high time that Pomeranian pooches get their day in the sun.
Now, finally, that day is nearly here.
On 12 May at The Happenstance in St Paul’s, there will be a popup Pom Café dedicated to your favourite fluffy breed.
The Pom Café will celebrate all things Pom, with a menu dedicated entirely to the small dogs, including pupcakes, dognuts, pompops, pawsecco, and paw star martinis.
There’ll be food for humans to enjoy, so don’t worry about going hungry. You’ll even get a free cupcake.
Every Pomeranian in attendance will receive a free pupuccino and a gift themed around the Secret Life of Pets 2, the film the popup is honouring.
And, obviously, you’ll get to hang out with a load of Pomeranians. What a joyful way to spend a day, right?
Tickets are £10 for Pomeranian owners, and £14 for anyone who doesn’t have a dog but wants to come along and fuss over some pups.
The café is organised into two 70 minute sittings; one at 12.30pm and one at 4.15pm, and we expect both to get booked up fast, so it’s worth getting your tickets the moment they’re available.
Oh, and if you’re not a Pomeranian fan, don’t fear – Pug Café will also be posting popups for sausage dogs, pugs, and French bulldogs in the coming months.
Photo 15-03-2019, 11 15 42-da68
I grew up pretty naïve.
For example, in acting, I always assumed that I would be taken on my own merits. After all, I was a young woman, and dad… well he was big ol’ Brian Blessed with his bushy beard.
We were hardly going to be up for the same parts, right?
The first time I became aware that I was judged in a different way to my classmates was at university. Did being a Blessed make me blessed in the eyes of others?
I was nearing the end of my drama degree from Exeter and was auditioning for drama schools (another three years of drama – it’s a lot of drama, I know).
I had just had a wonderful time, literally playing God, in the Mystery Plays with a director I adored, when I overheard someone saying, ‘well of course she’ll get into drama school, she’s Brian Blessed’s daughter.’
Now that’s not the most terrible thing in the world, but it was the first time I was confronted by the assumption that I was being given an easy ride based on my parentage.
I hated that my value and my self-worth were not being defined by my own actions.
Also this was the first unsettling realisation that the way people spoke to me face-to-face was different to what was whispered about me in corners.
It gave me this weird, sick feeling and made me just want to crawl away and hide.
That instinct to hide has remained actually, and requires battling.
There is a generalised assumption that the child of someone famous is spoiled, talentless, difficult and given a leg up by nepotism.
This is not my opinion or experience of others, I judge each person on themselves. But I’m aware of it.
At the end of my first term at drama school one of my teachers drew me aside and said, ‘I think we all owe you an apology. We thought you’d be no good and difficult.’
Honestly guys, I learn my lines, I’m early, I make the tea and clean the kitchen afterwards!
As I got older, I got more jaded. I started to grow more cautious of people’s intent.
Were they just showing an interest in me in order to get to my dad? Sadly, often yes.
I got tired of answering, ‘Why don’t you just get your dad to get you a job?’ or, ‘It must be easier for you right, with your dad?’
Well let me put down my Oscars to answer that properly. I tried to put a distance between my father and myself professionally. I was so desperate to be my own person.
Fortunately I got older still and decided I didn’t care. My dad is awesome. It’s great to be a Blessed.
Comparisons will be made, as I’m a big strong lass with a voice loud enough to shake the meat off ya bones.
We are both pretty eccentric, with homes full of rescued animals.
If we want to work together because we get a kick out of each other’s work, why not? I’d regret it in years to come when the opportunity had gone.
The funniest thing of all is that I was working for the Guildford Shakespeare Company and my dad asked me if I could ask them if they would be interested in him playing Lear – I figured they might.
So Brian Blessed got cast as Lear because I was playing Goneril, NOT the other way around. But this will not be the perception.
To me, the most important thing is that my dogs know who I am, my friends and family know who I am and my fella knows who I am.
I also find it easier now that I write. That is something that is separate and undeniably gives me my own voice, my own identity.
It’s me, not Brian Blessed’s daughter, right there on the page.
I’ve been able to help people through my writing, which is the greatest joy. I write from personal experience, which I think helps others open up.
I recently put on a piece of work, Tales from Behind the Twitching Curtain, dealing with mental health issues, which actually run through my family – from me, having experienced eating disorders, to my father’s mother, to dad’s own breakdown, which is in his biography.
Dad is a force and teaches me to be fearless. No more hiding. Thank you dad for making me blessed.
Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity — positively or negatively — and what the label means to them.
If you would like to get involved please email email@example.com
Usually when someone’s told they look just like a celebrity, it’s barely a passing similarity.
That’s not the case for Jourdon Gavin, who looks so similar to model Cara Delevingne that he could get away with playing her twin.
Jourdon had never seen the resemblance until his girlfriend Chloe’s sister sent the couple a picture of Cara, admitting she originally thought it was a photo of her sister’s boyfriend.
Chloe hadn’t spotted the likeness before, but now ‘can’t get over it’.
We can see why – Cara and Jourdon have the same blue eyes, a similar nose and mouth, and those iconic brows.
Chloe posted a side-by-side photo of Jourdon and his female double on Facebook where it racked up more than 150 likes, comments and shares.
Chloe wrote: ‘Why does Jourd look like Cara Delevingne? Weird as hell.’
Thankfully Jourdon, 21, sees his resemblance to the model as a good thing.
Jourdon, from Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset, said: ‘It would be super weird if I pursued acting and ended up in the same film as her. We could play twins.
‘It’s really freaky when you’re told you look like a girl when you’re actually a boy.
‘I 100% see it as a compliment that people think I look like her though.
‘It’s really weird, but I’ve got used to [the comparisons] now. Even my family make jokes about it now.
‘I can see some of the similarity but I don’t like that people say I look like a girl. I think her eyes, mouth and nose are all the same as mine. It’s a weird coincidence.
‘I’ve never met her in person so I’d have to meet her to see how our differences hold up. If I met her I would just say ‘you look like me’.’
Chloe says she’d take it as a compliment, too.
Chloe said: ‘I never saw it before either. I’ve never noticed it until I saw the picture. It was my sister who sent me a picture of Cara and she said ‘I thought this was Jourdon, I had to double check’.
‘I thought, no way, that actually does look like Jourdon. We put the two pictures together and it was almost a spitting image.
‘Except for the fact that Jourdon is not blonde, the facial similarities are just crazy. He has model features.
‘I wasn’t with Jourdon at the time so I sent the picture to him and said ‘how much does this look like you?’. Everyone just thought it was hilarious.
‘I’m a fan of her through makeup and things. Obviously she’s really popular with women. But Jourdon wouldn’t really pay much notice. He’s just a boy version of her, that’s all it is.
‘I don’t think she’s a massively girly looking model herself. I would take it as a compliment if it were me.
‘I went shopping the other day and I went down to see Rimmel makeup and I sent a video to Jourdon saying ‘hi Cara, it’s you modelling’. Everytime I see her face now I think of him. It’s crazy.
‘I’m getting used to it now because I’ve already seen it. But when I look back at the post I just can’t get over it. I’m never going to look at him the same way.’
Jourdon says he was actually scouted to be a model back when he was 18, so if he had made some different choices he and Cara could have crossed paths.
‘I was offered to be a model when I was 18 but I rejected it and I didn’t take it up,’ said Jourdon. ‘I just didn’t feel confident enough to model back then.
‘A random guy stopped me in the street who worked at a modelling agency. It was quite weird. I was at a train station.
‘He went ‘you’re a good looking lad’. It was a bit awkward because he was a guy as well. It was bizarre. He gave me his contact card at the time, but it was six years ago now.
‘Now, if I got asked I would be more intrigued and think about it a bit more, whereas at 18, all I cared about was working. If someone asked me now I would take it up and see how it goes.’
Someone get this man a gig with Cara herself – we need to see them side by side to prove they’re not the same person.
A sales assistant claims that he could play Cara Delevingne\'s twin
Almost all of my closest friends have children, and I am genuinely so happy for them – but I’m both childless and single, and when we’re together they don’t talk about anything else but their kids.
Don’t get me wrong: I know having children is life-changing and I know how important it must be for them to have each other’s support.
But they rarely ask anything about what’s going on in my life and if they do, the conversation lasts all of three minutes before it’s back to buggies, nappies and nurseries.
I try to make a real effort by listening and asking questions, and I don’t want to sound critical as I might be just the same if I ever have kids, but sometimes I feel invisible and wonder if they would even notice if I was there or not.
It’s already quite lonely being single – I don’t want to feel left out of my friendships, too. What do I do?
Growing a small human being from scratch and then pushing it out of your body seems to me as one of the most terrifying/wondrous things a woman can do.
I have not yet done it, so I can only imagine the joy, horror, awe and love that comes with it. I can also imagine that I’d probably find it difficult to talk about anything else for a little while.
I would just stare at my kid, vulnerable and teeny, and wonder aloud at her miraculous existence. I would want to talk about the size of her toes, the sound of her breathing and the hours of sleep she takes from me.
Most likely, I would just stand around in my pajamas, accepting guests and saying, ‘are you aware how small baby human beings can be?’.
So, give your mum and dad friends permission to talk and talk about the living, breathing human being they created for a bit.
They’ve earned it – besides, they’re probably sleep-deprived enough that it’s about all they can manage.
Anyone with a newborn gets my permission to just do their best mashing together whatever sentences occur to them in their dazed, exhausted state.
It’s a very special sort of madness, the new baby phase. Forgive them their inane conversation for a strong while.
But then, after that initial period of settling into keeping a baby human alive, I think parents need to resurface and claim back a little bit of themselves.
Nothing will ever be the same – they made a person – but they do have to continue living in the world.
It’s not fair of them to make you feel invisible or forgotten, or somehow less worthy of time and conversation just because you haven’t stored a child the size of a watermelon in your uterus and then launched it into the world.
It’s at this stage that I believe they are once again accountable to good friendship, which includes being attentive to someone else’s existence.
They will need you, a cherished friend, and so they must find a way to support you as well.
If your mates are past that initial all-consuming phase, when they can be forgiven for thinking the entire world rotates around their small human, then it’s time they started paying you a little more loving attention.
It’s not fair of them to make you feel invisible or forgotten, or somehow less worthy of time and conversation just because you haven’t stored a child the size of a watermelon in your uterus and then launched it into the world.
You are worthy of talking to and talking about, and your life matters.
What you need to do is have a gentle but clear chat, one-on-one, possibly even by text or WhatsApp.
In all likelihood, your friends don’t even realise they’ve completely stopped talking about you and your life and things outside of buggies, nappies and nurseries.
Just put your hand up and say: ‘I love you, you know I do, but I was wondering if we could put a one-hour ban on talking about kids.
‘I am so proud of you for making a human but I miss my old friend and I need to spend some time talking to her. Can we do that?’.
If you need to elaborate, say what you said to me: that being single can get lonely and you’re feeling a bit invisible. If they’re still your beloved friends, they should understand, they should hear you and they should grant you baby-free conversation time.
It’s perfectly valid that you want to feel seen by your friends. Of course you do – and you deserve to feel like you belong in their company.
I would just go with a gentle reminder because the likeliest explanation for their total preoccupation with their child is that they’re too tired and too obsessed to even notice what they’re doing.
You need to break through their delirium with a ‘babes, it’s time to talk about something else now or your child won’t be the only one having a tantrum’ alert.
Natalia, I wish you luck in getting through to your mum and dad friends. My guess is that they might even be grateful to you for reminding them that they exist as adult friends, as well as new parents.
About Lean On Me
Kate Leaver is the author of The Friendship Cure and she will be answering your friendship woes in her weekly Metro.co.uk column.
If you’d like to submit a question or problem, email LeanOnMe@metro.co.uk with ‘Lean on me’ in the subject line.
Submissions are anonymous and you can follow the discussion on Twitter #LeanOnMe.
How to get pregnant at 40
When a bride wore a wedding dress with pockets the internet collectively lost its mind. We love a pocket or two.
But if you’re really passionate about having somewhere to rest your hands, you’ll love these cargo hotpants that are more pocket than pants.
German brand Isla is selling the Namilia Deconstructed Cargo… and deconstructed they truly are.
The pockets on the shorts are not quite on the material and hang below it, spread out all over your legs. They’re all connected by thin strips.
Unlike ordinary cargo trousers, usually worn for outdoor activities, there are lots of loose bits on the hotpants.
So you probably don’t want to go for a hike with them on, you might get caught on a branch.
At least you won’t need a bag to go with the trousers, though.
Of course, the internet has clocked onto the product and is having a good old laugh.
You can get the tactical trousers in a camouflage print, grey, or just plain old black. But they’ll cost you a pretty penny.
The German outlet is selling the stuff for €185 (£158).
Not everyone is feeling the trousers though. After a Twitter user from Norway tweeted an image of the range avaialble, others chimed in to express their horror.
One person called it a ‘thotty version of your favourite pants’ while another said ‘these are just bags tied to your legs’.
Others worried about the chafing and how comfortable it would be to move around and sit in them.
But the look won over some people. One person wrote: ‘I refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem with this, except for the fact that I do not know where to purchase these. I’ll take five.’
‘Um, unironically asking, where can I buy?’ asked another fan. Many people noted the Lara Croft and video game vibes.
We expect to see at least one person rocking these at a festival soon.
Cargo pant hot pants
Pull up a seat and put on your judgement hat, because our new weekly series, How I Save, looks at – you guessed it – how people are saving their money and spending it.
Money is still a topic that remains bizarrely taboo.
We’d prefer to chat about who’s in our bed than what’s in our bank accounts, and feel deep shame in not knowing everything about credit scores and taxes.
That’s a problem, because the silence around money harms us all.
Our awkwardness around money means we don’t ask for help when we need it, that we’re reluctant to admit that we need some guidance, and that we’re stuck getting paid less than we should because it’s seen as impolite to chat cash.
And, of course, the shame around money allows a lot of us to get into damaging behaviours and patterns, whether it’s taking out unsafe loans, spending on things we don’t need, or just refusing to look at our bank balance.
To take apart that general weirdness around money, each week we’ll be asking someone to share what they earn, how much they have saved, and how they’re spending their cash, as part of our new series, How I Save. They will be anonymous, because we’ve learned that people can get pretty vicious when finances are shared online.
First up, we have Samantha*, 25, a content creator from London.
How Samantha saves:
I earn £40,000 a year (before taxes and student loans).
But in my savings account right now I have exactly £577.36. That number will likely dip in the next two days, as in my current account I only have £49.95. Whenever my current account goes into overdraft I move money over from my ‘savings’ account to my spending one. Then when I get paid I try to put the money back.
I’m saving so I have some security. Sure, I’d like to buy a flat one day, but honestly that seems incredibly unlikely with the way I currently spend.
I’d just like to have a cushion there in case of an emergency. If my laptop breaks (it’s on its last legs) I’m screwed, because I can’t afford a new one. If I were to be made redundant I have no idea how I would survive.
I once had £5,000 saved and that reduced a lot of my stress. Then I made some terrible choices involving lending/giving money to friends and that disappeared.
My relationship with money is one of pure fear and guilt.
I feel like I never learned how to spend and save, and end up running out of money and not really understanding why.
I know I’m capable of frugality – at university I lived off my maintenance loan and still managed to save enough to travel to the U.S. every year. Why is it that when I’m earning the most money I’ve ever had I’m saving the least?
I’ve tried various saving strategies: excel sheets, strict budgets, moving over a small amount to my savings once a week. But each time I lose patience and revert back to old habits.
As of now my only saving strategy is berating myself every time I spend. I know I spend too much on ordering and buying quick food options, so I’m trying really hard to bring lunches in from home and have a proper meal plan with my boyfriend.
How Samantha spends:
Monthly expenses: £726 on rent, £88 on phone bill, around £115 on household bills
Monthly income: Around £2,177
Monday: It’s the beginning of the month and two weeks ’til payday, so I should be cautious. And yet my first spend of the month is £194 on getting my hair bleached and coloured, done yesterday but the money only removed from my account the morning after.
I grab breakfast from the office canteen – £2.50 – then head right back down for lunch, spending £4.20.
Then it’s a £1.50 bus ride home followed by a £19.90 UberEats order for me and my boyfriend, because I am out of control.
Tuesday: I bring in breakfast from home and feel smug, but then ruin that by spending £4.99 on lunch. I order a book on quitting sugar for £12.43 because I realise it is madness to buy a jacket potato for a fiver every day.
£1.50 bus home.
Wednesday: Another from home breakfast and a from home lunch. Well done, me. But then I go and spoil it all by doing something stupid like ordering an Uber home, £7.06, because I’m too lazy to carry things on the bus.
Oh, and then I spend £29.69 on a takeout because I’m tired and hungry.
Thursday: I buy an app for 79p and immediately regret it. It is pointless.
Breakfast from home, lunch at work for £2.30, then £39 on a spree in Waterstones.
Yes, fine, I get an Uber, too, because I’m only going up the road and getting the Tube would be incredibly complicated. This costs £6.96.
Friday: Time to pay my phone bill, which for reasons I do not understand is £88 this month. Then £9.99 for a Tidal subscription I only have so I can listen to Lemonade.
I buy some breakfast options for the next few days from Lidl, then treat myself to lunch at M&S for £5.
£1.50 on the bus home.
Saturday: I get an Uber into work for £7.34. Again, I am terrible.
I then spend £2.50 on breakfast, followed by another fiver at Whole Foods for lunch. I hate myself.
I get an Uber home, too, because there are no buses in 25 minutes (£13.63), and then order pizza, justified by the fact we have a discount code. It costs £15.99 between two.
Sunday: Time for the weekly shop, which comes to £43.25 between two, so £21.62 each. I stay home and spend nothing else so that I can make it to payday without crying.
How Samantha could save:
We spoke to the experts over at money advice app Cleo to find out what Samantha could be doing differently. Here’s their advice, which we reckon will be handy for anyone else struggling to save:
Samantha. Tough love coming (then a rant at the banks, then possibly some sort of vague convoluted commentary on the patriarchy).
I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you because you’re trying to cut back. You’re eating a quarter of your budget.
Take a long hard look in your cupboard. Bottom line is: you can’t bring lunch in from home because you have no food there.
Judging by how low your bills are (£115 a month incl heating?), I’m assuming all you’ve got in there is jumpers.
At £21.62 for a weekly shop, your food budget is miserable. If we assume there are a few things you can’t eat (sponges, loo roll, beer) it shakes out at around 75p per meal.
Double your grocery shop. Triple it, even. Frolic through the aisles. Make that fridge more attractive.
What’s going wrong:
Here’s a comprehensive list of all the fun things you’ve bought this week:
Ubers and potatoes are appealing because you’re giving yourself nothing else to get excited about. You’re wasting your money wrong.
An example: when you were saving for something fun (trips to America), you were killing it. It takes a monumental amount of imagination to get excited at the vague concept of future financial stability. Look for little wins to keep motivated.
Here’s your spending plan:
Safe to spend: £20 day / £140 week / £660 month
Spend on: Public transport, groceries, social events you can’t wiggle out of, etc.
Safe to save: £10 day / £70 week / £330 month
Spend on: Good news is you don’t seem to overspend. Get better at hiding money from yourself. Better still, get an algorithm to automatically do it for you.
Safe to burn: £10 day / £70 week / £330 month
Spend on: Ubers & takeout if you need to. You could actually afford to take a guilt free £6 Uber ride and buy yourself lunch every day. Or split a takeout every night with your partner.
Alternatively: Or you know, put it towards a holiday, or the pub, museum trips, house plants.
It’s not your fault that you feel lost around money, there are unforgivable gaps in education around finance, and by our banks. Also, you sound like you’re working pretty hard, so take that 40k salary straight to your boss and demand a pay-rise 💪
If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
*No, that’s not her real name.
Josephine Clinton, a carer, was confused when she couldn’t lose weight from her growing stomach despite a gruelling boot camp where she lost weight in other parts of the body.
The 49-year-old from Staffordshire, who’s had fertility problems, thought she had finally become pregnant with a ‘miracle baby’.
After her friends encouraged her to take pregnancy tests, Josephine found that they were all negative.
When she went to the hospital to get her bump checked out, she was stunned when a scan revealed two masses in her pelvic area. She had borderline ovarian tumours, the size of an apple and a grapefruit.
Josephine, who had dismissed her symptoms as back pain from her exercise regime, IBS and even just water retention, then had a full hysterectomy to get rid of the tumours.
She is now calling for more awareness of the symptoms of non-cancerous tumours.
‘I am grateful my friends made me do that pregnancy test that day, otherwise I might have just kept passing it off or leaving it,’ she said.
‘There needs to be more awareness of the symptoms.
‘The doctor said I was lucky I took myself into the hospital that day because if I had left it any longer it would have been a totally different story.
‘It was very scary to hear that because you don’t expect it. They always say that you’re supposed to have symptoms like painful sex or bleeding and I had nothing like that.’
Josephine explained that her belly grew out of nowhere in a matter of weeks. She had lost weight in her face, arms, legs and yet the bump stayed.
She thought the other symptoms she was experiencing, such as back pain and bloatedness, were side effects to the strenuous boot camp.
But she still had some hopes it might be due to a surprise pregnancy.
‘My husband and I had been told that we couldn’t have children – we’d been through IVF.
‘I kept thinking, I wonder if I am? It would have been a miracle if I was.
‘Of course it came back negative. At the hospital, they took me in for a scan straight away and then took me into a room and told me that there was a mass in my pelvic area.
‘I was basically floored, because I went up on my own thinking they were going to tell me I had a bit of irritable bowel syndrome or something like that.
‘It was a massive shock.’
Doctors drained seven litres of ascites fluid from her stomach during her first biopsy, and another seven litres in her second.
But when doctors decided she needed to have a full hysterectomy, Josephine was so intent on getting better that she didn’t take the time to process what it would mean.
It was only three months later as she continued to recover that she broke down crying.
‘I don’t think it hit me until afterwards because I just got the tunnel vision of “I am not going to die”,’ she said. ‘Everyone else around me was devastated because you just don’t expect it.
‘They just took everything away – my cervix and everything away in one go. I have a lovely big scar now.
‘I was quite emotional. I just got it into my head I was going to be fine no matter what they threw at me. I would cope with it.’
Josephine has now been given the all-clear but still attends check-ups every six months to make sure the tumours do not return.
What are borderline ovarian tumours?
Borderline ovarian tumours are abnormal cells that form in the tissue covering the ovary. They are not cancer and are usually treated with surgery.
Symptoms include: pain or a feeling of pressure in the tummy area, a swollen abdomen, pain during or after sex, vaginal bleeding not related to your period.
Buildup of fluid in the abdomen is ascites. It is the buildup of fluid between the tissue layers between the organs, causing the abdomen to swell. It is can be caused by cancerous cells irritating the lining of the abdomen, or when the lymph glands become blocked and can’t drain properly.
Symptoms include back pain, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, weakness, tiredness, breathlessness, needing to urinate more often, difficulty sitting or moving around, indigestion and clothes feeling tighter.
'miracle baby bump' was in fact grapefruit-sized tumours