Articles on this Page
- 04/01/19--03:32: _I never feel pain, ...
- 04/01/19--03:54: _How do you know if ...
- 04/01/19--04:00: _All the funniest an...
- 04/01/19--04:44: _M&S is selling a gi...
- 04/01/19--04:53: _Brace yourself, Gam...
- 04/01/19--05:05: _I won’t support Aut...
- 04/01/19--06:08: _Woman with large tu...
- 04/01/19--06:22: _Giant inflatable bo...
- 04/01/19--07:04: _Banana peel could b...
- 04/01/19--07:32: _What are the predic...
- 04/01/19--07:49: _How to do perfect d...
- 04/01/19--08:18: _Is it bad to wear a...
- 04/01/19--08:32: _Tokyo hotel serves ...
- 04/02/19--00:01: _Moliets-et-Maa is p...
- 04/02/19--00:04: _Rihanna releases ei...
- 04/02/19--00:23: _Costa Rica has some...
- 04/02/19--00:30: _Until we recognise ...
- 04/02/19--00:42: _Burger King launche...
- 04/02/19--01:55: _What I Rent: Harrie...
- 04/02/19--02:16: _Bride refuses to pr...
- 04/01/19--03:32: I never feel pain, don’t feel anxious and lead a happy life
- 04/01/19--03:54: How do you know if you’re having a slow-motion breakdown?
- 04/01/19--04:00: All the funniest and cringiest jokes from April Fools’ Day 2019
- 04/01/19--07:32: What are the predictions for the royal baby’s name?
- 04/01/19--07:49: How to do perfect deadlifts in the gym
- 04/01/19--08:18: Is it bad to wear a bra 24/7?
- 04/01/19--08:32: Tokyo hotel serves world’s most expensive burger for £700
- 04/02/19--00:04: Rihanna releases eight new shades of Fenty bronzer
- 04/02/19--00:23: Costa Rica has something for everyone. Don’t believe us? Read on…
- 04/02/19--00:42: Burger King launches meatless ‘Impossible Whopper’
You may have read my story recently – I’m Jo, and I don’t feel pain.
My whole life I assumed I was just clumsy. I have a history of cutting, bumping and burning myself time after time, but it wasn’t till my doctor told me that I should be in excruciating pain following a hip surgery that we realised all the ‘clumsiness’ over the years was because I don’t feel pain like most people do.
People who have had the surgery I did usually need painkillers to get through the post-op pain, but I needed none. It was the first time I have been able to directly compare myself with others.
Growing up, I never looked at others’ pain in contrast to my own. After all, you don’t envy pain as you would a toy.
The hospital anaesthetist was amazed and looked further into it. When the results came back, I felt like a lot of my life events fell into place.
Two moments particularly sprung to mind:
I had my first child at 30 and I was aware of all my friends having suffered considerable pain in childbirth. They told me to take all the drugs on offer and I went in prepared to do just that and take all the pain relief as soon as I needed it.
But I never did, for either of my children.
On another occasion, whilst my husband and I were backpacking in the Baltics some years ago, I tripped and fell on a kerb. Because my heavy backpack weighed me down so much, I couldn’t prevent failing and bashing my face on a bollard.
I broke my jaw (I learned later), lost two teeth, cut my lip and was badly bruised. I felt the swelling but no pain.
My husband wanted to cut the holiday short and get us back home but I refused – I saw no reason. I did spend the rest of the trip hiding behind sunglasses though, like some B-rate celebrity.
Pain, to me, simply feels like a touch. For example, I feel needles, but nothing more than them on my skin.
In fact, some sensations I really enjoy, like holding stinging nettles.
Doctors discovered that it is a gene mutation that causes my lack of pain sensitivity. I found the whole process really interesting, except I don’t think my poor husband who came with me did.
He acted as an age and environment standard to test me against – so everything they did to me they also did to him.
Unlike me he felt the pain of the pinpricks, hot and cold pads and pressure. We also both had blood and biopsies taken.
While the gene mutations mean I am a very forgetful person, they also have some great positives aside from not feeling pain.
I experience very little anxiety. I am very level in my emotions and lead a calm, happy life. I am as emotional as the next person and can be distressed, or tearful – like when my mother died recently – but I have found that I bounce back quickly.
I truly hope that finding out about my genes will help others in the future, possibly leading to a new gene therapy to ease the pain of others.
I also hear that around 20 people around the world who think they may be the same as me have made themselves known to the researchers in the past days as a result of my story’s publicity.
This has been a momentous occasion, but I honestly don’t see my life changing much after this – I’m still just me.
If anything, I have to be a bit more careful knowing that I won’t recognise if I’ve hurt myself, and I now have my family watching over me like a hawk!
Jo Cameron, woman who feels no pain, Whitebridge, Invernes shire, Scotland, UK - 27 Mar 2019
We tend to think of mental breakdowns as huge, cataclysmic moments that change our lives in the blink of an eye.
One day you’re working hard, coping with the stressors of life, the next you find yourself sobbing uncontrollably in the office, or completely unable to get out of bed or dress yourself.
But mental breakdowns are not always these dramatic, rapid events where your world instantaneously falls down around you.
Sometimes breakdowns creep up on you, incrementally, for weeks, months or years – it can be hard to even notice it is happening and incredibly difficult to dig yourself out once it starts.
The phenomenon can be known as a slow-motion or slow developing breakdown and they are surprisingly common.
We live in a world where being busy is the norm, we don’t often have time to take stock of our emotions and pushing through discomfort is just part of our day-to-day existence.
But when it comes to your mental health, this non-stop mentality can be enormously damaging and can trigger a gradual descent into serious mental illness.
So how do you know if it’s happening to you? How do you differentiate between normal stress and symptoms that signify the beginnings of a breakdown?
Former Sky Sports TV presenter and interior designer Cat Raincock experienced a slo-mo breakdown. She says becoming a mother is what started everything – but it took years for her to figure out what was really going on.
‘Following the birth of my first child, life became difficult to manage – I had a perfectly manicured life prior to introducing my child to the world,’ Cat tells Metro.co.uk.
‘I strove for perfection in everything I did, the way I looked and the perception I put out to the world.
‘Add a child to the mix and that all changed – it was like a tsunami of overwhelming feelings at the magnitude of the job I had ahead and the responsibility I now had to this child.
‘Trouble was, I still felt like a child myself so how was I going to manage a baby when I feel like an overwhelmed little girl? How could I, the woman who needed to be perfect, make motherhood look effortless and easy?
‘Motherhood bought up my control issues, I was obsessed with routine and was constantly busying myself to avoid the barrage of feelings that were coming up. My nervous system was on high alert every second of the day.
‘My meltdown was spread over around two years. Because it wasn’t one big catalytic moment, I didn’t see it coming.’
For Cat, her breakdown symptoms manifested as everyday stresses. But the accumulative effect of operating with perpetually frazzled nerves were catastrophic.
‘I would find drama and stress in most situations – packing to go on holiday felt like the biggest effort, airport travel was overwhelming, two kids in busy places with lots of noise would send my nervous system in to meltdown and wine o’clock always seemed like the only solution to numb the feelings and ignore the signs.
‘It was one day when my husband turned around to me and asked me if I was happy. I responded, “of course I am, I’m a busy mum and got tons to do.” But he suggested there was more to my “stress” than met the eye and recommended I get help.
What is a slow-motion breakdown?
A ‘slow-motion breakdown’ is not a clinical term, but refers to the notion of a mental breakdown happening gradually over time. Most ‘breakdowns’ would happen gradually, most likely after a series of life events which exacerbate mental distress. There are only certain psychological disorders which would result in rapid onset of a breakdown.
A breakdown often occurs when a series of events over a period of time culminate in a significant decline in your social, psychological and emotional functioning.
There isn’t a set time for anyone to experience a mental breakdown, everyone is unique.
It could be triggered from something that happened as a child and develops over a life time, or it could be something that happens as an adult and over a matter of months or years, if you don’t look after your mental health, it can slowly be chipped away leading to a gradual breakdown.
It is important that we become more in tune with our own mental health and are able to identify changes in behaviour and mood in ourselves and those closest to us.
If you feel yourself acting in a way that’s quite out of character such as withdrawing from seeing people, increasing other behaviours such as drinking, exercising, eating or spending money, then perhaps there is something that will need to be addressed.
Charlotte Armitage, TV presenter and trainee counselling psychologist
‘We have a notion in society that unless you’re having a mega breakdown that nothing is wrong, but we are normalising the low hum of everyday chaos with wine, social media reliance, gossip, blame, being busy and even work.
‘The drive to numb the feelings through these everyday addictions is the warning sign that there is something afoot. Most of us are used to just saying, “I’m fine”, when actually there is work to be done and ways to improve our emotional and physical health.
‘Had I not had a child, there is no doubt the meltdown would have manifested later on in life, but the trigger would have been different. They say that birth, death, divorce and even moving house can be the trigger to send you over the edge.
‘I was heading for the nervous breakdown for sure. Motherhood forced me to let go of perfection and control – there is no controlling life with a little one in tow, you have to go with the flow, but when you are obsessed with routine in a bid to feel safe, that’s a tall ask.
‘Motherhood was my trigger, but not the cause of my slow meltdown. The cause was my early childhood programming and acquisition of limiting beliefs of not feeling enough or ultimately good enough.’
Cat’s saviour was reaching out to get help. Professional assistance, coupled with a conscious effort to slow the pace of her life helped her come through the other side.
‘Don’t try to do it on your own. Seek help in a coach, a mentor or even a book or online programme. Be kind to yourself and stop the drive to be everything to everyone all the time, give yourself a break. Start slowing, explore meditation, yoga and being in nature – find ways to slow down – we need this in our go-go-go society.
‘And remember, you are good enough as you are and if this is the only mantra you remind yourself of every single day, then that’s a start.’
In 2005, Philip, a senior officer in the army, was dealing with the messy collapse of his marriage, the pressures of a harrowing tour in Iraq and fears for his dad who almost died after having a stroke.
He didn’t realise it at the time, but he was at the beginning of a slow developing breakdown, which would take him years to recover from.
‘The pressures on life were immense at that time – but being a senior officer I put a front on – a bluff so good that many of my friends and colleagues didn’t realise what was going on,’ Philip tells Metro.co.uk.
‘I just knew my moods were very up and down and when they got down, suicidal thoughts took over almost everything I was thinking about.
‘Over time, my down periods became longer than my up periods, as the legal battle over my divorce became more intense my behaviour would become more and more risky; drinking too much, not sleeping, running away from relationships, isolating myself and my ability to put a “normal” front on was tested to the extreme.
Tips for dealing with a slow-motion breakdown
Go to your GP, ask them to give information and maybe refer them to a therapist.
Start going to bed before 11, getting off social media for a while, meditate (maybe using an app like CALM).
Read up on the NHS website about symptoms and cut down on sugar.
And remember: you’re never alone, millions have already gone through or ARE going through the same, and they’re getting over it. You’ll be ok.
Silja Litvin, Psychologist
‘Eventually, when I couldn’t shake the suicidal tendencies, I went to my GP and was referred to a psychiatric unit for assessment where I was diagnosed with stress-induced depression. I don’t think there was any one time when I realised something was wrong, but I did know that “proper me” wasn’t there, and that worried me.’
Philip’s breakdown took around 18 months to fully materialise, and many more years to properly diagnose. He says that the gradual nature of this kind of illness can make it hard for people around you to realise that you need support.
‘The hardest thing for the sufferer is that you are the last to realise you are suffering,’ explains Philip.
‘You ignore the impact it has on those around you, on your career, on your loved ones, on your family, on your friends. People slowly distance themselves from you, it is almost like they don’t want to catch it.
‘No one asked how I was or if I needed to talk – I think the slow development meant that people began to believe that was who I was.
‘Awareness is the key to people realising that it is OK to ask if someone is OK and it is OK to admit you are not OK – there should be no stigma attached as you can get treatment and you can get proper you back.
‘I was unlucky as my depression was masking an underlying severe PTSD caused by my time in Iraq, my psychiatrist never assessed me for that and I was treated with drugs for my depression. Coming off those allowed the PTSD to come through and that took another fours years to be diagnosed and another year to be treated.
‘I am now out the other side, 15 years from the start of the conditions that led to my depression, breakdown and then PTSD, but I can now say I have proper Philip back.
‘I still have down times, but my loved ones know what to look for and they are my rocks. The support I have had from the NHS has been outstanding and I know when things are slipping so I can sort it.’
Psychologist Silja Litvin says that building resilience is key to preventing a breakdown from progressing.
‘In psychology we would call this phenomenon a gradual decline of mental health over time, or the increase of pathological symptoms over time,’ Silja tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Everyone’s mental health is on a “sliding scale”. Depending on a lot of external and internal factors, one’s position changes, and more symptoms manifest or worsen.
‘Continuous stress without a balance through coping skills, physical illness, lack of resilience, a pre-existing genetic disposition, life challenges, and an unhealthy lifestyle can be reasons this occurs.
‘Breakdowns can develop over days to weeks to months, depending on your resilience – people with high resilience can maintain halfway good health for longer, despite continuous stress. Poor sleep can speed things up, for example.
‘Look out for symptoms like: feelings of depression or anxiety that are new or more overwhelming than before, shutting down and being unable to participate in normal activities, missing appointments, work, school, and other responsibilities, being socially isolated and withdrawn, mood swings, decreased self-care, unexplained pains or gastrointestinal distress and getting sick more often or worse than usual.
‘Building resilience is key, it’s the single most powerful factor against developing a mental illness. You can do that through psychoeducation, maintaining good sleep, working out, meditation, staying connected to your tribe, going to therapy and practicing gratitude.’
Need support? Contact the Samaritans
Signs of domestic abuse in university students
If you’ve received any exciting or interesting news today, hold fire and remember the date. It’s April Fools’ today, people.
Anything that looks too good to be true probably is. Gone are the days of brands waiting for the day itself to release their sneakiest and groan-worthy pranks, now they’ve started to release their jokes days before 1 April to pull the wool over all our eyes.
But chances are, you’re not the only one. There’s probably someone in your family group chat telling you to pop to your nearest supermarket and grab limited edition chocolate bars and the like.
So if you’ve seen a product that comes in a bizarre new flavour, any brand that is introducing strange new rules, anything being offered for free, today is the day to be suspicious.
And don’t worry if you see some of these things and really, really wish it wasn’t all a cruel joke. Sometimes a lot of interest pays off and the company ends up listening to the voice of the people, Jägermeister Easter eggs are now a thing, after all
It’s after noon so traditionally, now is the time to come clean about your jokes. Here are some of the rib-tickling and straight up dodgy pranks and stunts we’ve seen going around.
The O2 turns into the O3 for Drake
Drake lovers will know the Canadian rapper’s lyrics in God’s Plan where he says: ‘And you know me. Turn the O2 into The O3,’ and the brand has delivered, claiming they will go up by one on their iconic sign.
An edited image of the entrance to the O2 Arena was even Instagrammed by Drake who will be performing there this month.
Tinder’s verifying men by height
Tinder said they want to put a stop to men who claim they’re taller than they are so requested all men pose against a commercial building. The dating app said it will then use their ‘state-of-the-art’ technology to figure out if the height you’ve selected on your profile is real or not. Truthers then get a badge on their profile.
Spreadable Yorkshire tea
Britain is a nation of tea lovers but why stop at drinking it? Yorkshire Tea said they’d be introducing a ‘thicker’ version of the stuff so you could spread it on your toast and wash it down with your fave brew.
Kit Kat tea
And why eat your Kit Kat when you could be drinking it? The chocolate company said you can get your tea in three different blends; four fingers, two fingers, and chunky. They even threw in in a tea shade colour chart and fake pic for good measure on their Twitter.
Sainsbury’s trolley trainers
If you wanted to know how many calories you burned on your grocery shop then you’ll probably like Sainsbury’s trolley trainers prank.
The supermarket claimed to become ‘Gainsbury’s’ offering resistance levels on the trolleys, complete with a heart rate monitor and calorie count setting.
Celeb Love Island line-up
Celebrity Love Island is not a thing anymore but seeing as how invested we all are in the regular show, we would probably lap it up.
Some of the stars in the joke line-up included Vicky Pattison and fresh off the controversy, Jordyn Woods. It’s unlikely we’ll see the ladies rubbing sunscreen on each other in the villa any time soon.
Uber pogo sticks
The taxi service claimed that to be more environmentally conscious, they’d be introducing UberGO Pogo in hubs around Australia which would also help reduce traffic.
But don’t worry, you won’t have to jump to your next destination. Imagine that on a night out.
Pickles are the original Marmite; you either love it or hate it. And McDonald’s prank claiming that they’d be introducing the McPickle (a burger with pickles as the main filling) horrified and interested people in equal measure.
Pot Noodle Marmite
Speaking of Marmite, everyone’s fave uni snack Pot Noodle claimed they’d be introducing a new flavour featuring Australian’s most contested item.
‘Even if you hate it, we will make it happen,’ the brand said. But fear not, it’s all a joke.
BBC iPlayer’s skip sex scenes button
What’s more awkward than watching a sex scene with your parents? Nothing. And BBC iPlayer suggested a ‘skip the sex scene’ button to avoid all that.
Sadly though it’s not real so you’ll just have to continue avoiding looking at the screen when you’re mortified while watching a steamy scene with your in-laws.
Free beer on the NHS
*Sigh* If only. Though this one was pretty obviously not real, lots of people showed interest in receiving beer bevvies on the NHS. The idea was if you can convince your GP you suffer from anaemia, insomnia, or tiredness then you get to benefit from the revolutionary therapeutic scheme.
Heinz Creme Egg mayo
Heinz got us last year with its talks of a chocolate mayo. But just like that, their Creme Egg range was also for April Fools’.
French tops banned because of Brexit
Brexit means Brexit but who knows what that means. According to Boden, though, who make stripey Breton tops, Brexit means they will no longer be allowed to sell the stuff.
The company joked that anyone owning a Breton top will now need to apply for a special EU shirt license to wear one.
Which other brands got you good?
METRO GRAB - Ongoing: April Fool's pranks
It’s April, which means Easter is almost here.
There’s a huge range of Easter eggs this year – from cheese eggs to eggs filled with gin – but this one from M&S is particularly jazzie.
It is literally covered in sprinkles like a giant version of retro Jazzie sweets.
The egg, made from milk chocolate, costs £4 in store.
M&S Product Developer, Katy Patino said: ‘Jazzies are a national favourite and this year we are bringing these retro treats to you as an Easter egg.
‘Made with luxury milk chocolate and covered in hundreds and thousands – it is the perfect Easter treat and is fantastic value at just £4.’
Obviously the eggs are only available during the Easter period so get in there quickly.
If you fancy something a bit fancier, M&S is also selling a pink prosecco flavour egg for £5.
The egg features a pink swirl design and is flavoured with prosecco, berries and a little bit of salt.
Apparently, it took over a year to perfect the recipe.
The M&S yoga bunny also turned heads because of the suggestive pose.
The chocolate bunny costs £6.
They’re all part of the quirky M&S Easter range, which also features a dark chocolate feather egg.
Other animal designs include the Rock Chick egg, which features a red crown and a pearl necklace, as well as an egg-shaped bull.
You can buy the new Easter range in M&S stores nationwide or online.
METROGRAB Jazzies easter egg
Earlier we announced that makeup inspired by the fantasy drama, just like winter, was coming.
And now Urban Decay is releasing its collection imminently so you can glam up before you watch the last season or on any night out, because this range seems fab.
You can get an eyeshadow palette, highlighter, lipsticks, cheek tints, all inspired by the badass and horrid characters of Game of Thrones.
The cosmetic brand revealed an image of the collection on their Instagram page and fans couldn’t get enough.
If you’re super excited and willing to even attend a red wedding for the stuff, then don’t worry – you won’t have to wait long. It drops a day before the premiere of the show on April 14.
So in a matter of days, you could be getting your hands on the Iron Throne worthy stuff.
Urban Decay teased fans earlier in the year with an Instagram post showing a model wearing a teal and metallic colbalt eyeshadow look with ‘for the Throne’ written across the photo.
Now we know that the fierce look was created using the uber chic merch which includes a themed eyeshadow Palette for £45, a Mother of Dragons Highlighter Palette for £25, and Dracarys Lip and Cheek Tint for £19.
You can also get four 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencils in Winterfell Snow, Lannister Gold, Dragon Smoke, and Night King at a reasonable price of £16.
And the Vice Lipsticks are named after none other than the feisty womenfolk of the show; Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, White Walker and Sansa Stark which are available for £19.
It all launches on 13 April but if you want to be the first to get hold of it, you can sign up for an alert. Those of you who want to buy the lot can do so as Urban Decay is offering it all for a hefty sum of £198.
Not everyone is fussed about the dosh though. One person wrote on the Instagram page: ‘Take all of my money. I need these. I’m going to eat only bread and water. Hungry but with amazing makeup.’
Urban Decay GoT makeup
Back in January 2015, after a three and a half year wait, I was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome (which is now recognised as Autism Spectrum Disorder).
A label like this doesn’t change anything, and yet it changes everything.
It’s just a word to describe people like me, but as soon as you say ‘I’m autistic’ out loud, it alters the way people behave towards you.
The awareness – how others see me – is why I, as an autistic person, will not be supporting Autism Awareness Week.
Since the diagnostic criteria for the condition was created, autism has always been viewed as a ‘problem’ – something to be ashamed of, to be kept quiet, something to be ‘cured’.
These days, the re-emergence of the (debunked) theory about vaccines has reared its head again. Harmful tropes surrounding autism and autistic individuals have also become something that is ‘normalised’ and disseminated openly on social media.
And the same attitudes of shame and secrecy, the need to ostensibly ‘cure’, have become almost mainstream.
This is offensive to me – I am not broken, nor a missing puzzle piece, vaccine damaged or injured. I am a whole human being, just like everyone else.
Once I was diagnosed, I became aware of how people reacted to me.
I would lose friends, teachers seemed afraid of me at times, and occasionally, would act in an obstructive manner.
Voices were altered to be calming, level and therefore patronising, because autism apparently means that I am either hard of hearing or too slow to comprehend what constitutes a ‘normal’ conversation.
One teacher made a reference to people with Aspergers syndrome as being ‘a bit cold and a bit weird’.
A relative would regularly rant in front of me, because I had received the MMR vaccine. According to this family member, I had ‘changed’ afterwards, and that was clearly because I was autistic.
Due to a lack of eye contact, I was also told I was a ‘liar’ – because this is apparently indicative of guilt.
While being tested for hypermobillity, despite expressing I was in pain, I was told I could clearly move my joints more.
I am either too empathetic or not empathetic enough; in newsrooms, where I have worked as a journalist, anything vaguely to do with diversity has often been passed to me.
When stimming on trains – a symptom of autism also known as self-stimulatory behaviour – due to distress at the overwhelming sounds, I have been laughed at.
People have also ‘outed’ me, before I was ready to share my diagnosis.
My list of issues like these goes on.
Awareness does not automatically lead to acceptance, but not challenging harmful tropes and ideas can lead to harmful incidents.
If you ask an autistic person about their experience, they may well say something similar. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence and case studies are regularly shared across Twitter under #ActuallyAutistic.
When interviewing an autistic friend who runs a comedy night, she expressed to me that awareness without acceptance seems ‘pretty pointless’.
A survey run by the National Autistic Society through YouGov indicated that 99.5 per cent of the public in the UK have heard of autism.
In contrast this to, only 16 per cent of autistic people and their families believe the public understand autism in a meaningful way.
The complete report, released in 2016, also indicated that 50 per cent of autistic people and their families do not go out sometimes, due to worries of how people will react.
And 74 per cent of the families in this report said people either tut or make disapproving noises about behaviour associated with their child’s autism.
What is the point of raising awareness when most of us know what autism is?
Awareness does not automatically lead to acceptance, but not challenging harmful tropes and ideas can lead to harmful incidents.
Campaigner Emma Dalmayne has been tireless in raising awareness of Miracle Mineral Solutions, a dangerous supplement sold online to ‘cure’ children of their autism.
Yet there isn’t anything in place to prevent this.
In the last week, the Advertising Standards Agency has announced it will be cracking down on the advertisement of these fake ‘cures’.
While this is a much-needed measure, legislation still needs to be in place as a strong deterrent for something so abhorrent.
Even the National Autistic Society made headlines recently, for mistreatment of people at one of its care centres.
If you look closely, there are stories of charities who undertake controversial stunts, such as the ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign, which Violet Fenn – a fellow writer who has autism herself – said she would ‘never’ take part in because autism doesn’t need a cure.
The ‘pity these poor people’ approach does not work and is archaic beyond belief.
Instead, charities should promote acceptance.
Autistic people need to be valued as much as anyone who is considered ‘normal’.
This can be done by reading up about the hallmarks, but also by knowing that it’s a spectrum disorder – if you meet one person with autism, you have not met all people with autism. We are not all the same.
Offering support when needed – such as if extra help is required in schools – is also great, as well as making provisions wide-ranging and easily accessible.
Autism Awareness should be renamed Autism Acceptance, regardless of whether it applies to the day, week, or month.
Research about ‘cures’ needs to be stopped and various organisations need to listen, rather than push their ideas forward.
And if you know someone who is autistic, be an ally for them – knowing I had a friend who accepted me as I am made all the difference.
Lydia Wilkins is a freelance, NCTJ qualified journalist. She documents her life as an autistic female on her blog, Mademoiselle Women.
KATE LEAVER: LEAN ON ME
Parents of Karina Rodini, from Curitiba, Brazil spotted small dark moles on her leg when she was a toddler.
At the age of two, she was diagnosed with a rare disease called neurofibromatosis that resulted in tumours forming on nerve tissue.
After having surgeries to remove the tumours which were growing on her hips and legs, between the ages of 15 and 16, they became bigger and bigger.
Now 28 years old, Karina worries that they will never stop growing. The condition, which has left her with tumours weighing 4kg, means she struggles to walk and suffers from severe scoliosis.
The left side of her body is also affected and she is unable to see properly with her left eye.
She is hoping to remove the tumours and needs more surgeries so it doesn’t spread out more throughout the body where it can grow internally and externally.
And no matter how much people look and make comments, Karina says she refuses to hide the giant tumours.
She doesn’t want to give in to the prejudices of other people.
‘Prejudice is always going to exist,’ she said. ‘From various people, with various problems. It can be with mine, with a person who has darker skin or a disabled person
‘My family always accepted me the way that I am. They learned to deal with the situation. My mother accompanies me to doctors, exams, consultations, trips.’
Unfortunately though, there are not many doctors specialising in neurofibromatosis in Brazil, therefore, Karina hopes to get treatment abroad.
Her family has now set up a GoFundMe page in hopes to raise funds for treatment that could change her life.
While she waits for those funds to be raised, Karina said she is working on embracing her body.
‘In this last year when the disease has affected me more, I felt shy of exposing myself, of taking pictures, of being recorded.
‘But now I try to overcome my insecurities.
‘I try to expose myself more, especially because there are many people who have the same disease who have reached out to me.’
Karina believes that talking publicly about her disease means she can help others who suffer from similar conditions.
‘You have to show yourself, you have to talk about the disease, you don’t need to be embarrassed,’ she added.
I Refuse To Hide My Giant Tumours
The Shard, the London Eye and Westminster are all things you expect in the London skyline – giant inflatable boobs, not so much.
Four of them have been placed across London as part of a campaign to fight the stigma around breastfeeding and pumping in public.
The boobs vary in size, from three metres to six metres tall, and represent different skin tones.
Each one is positioned at a different location, including Tanja’s Roof, in the heart of East London, Village Underground alongside their iconic tube carriages near Liverpool Street in The City of London, Neutral on Colombia Road, Ely’s Yard, Brick Lane and Huntington Estate, Shoreditch.
They went up yesterday and will remain in placed until tonight, and no, it’s not another April Fools’ joke.
Elvie, a tech firm specilising in products for London, put the boobs in place as part of their #FreeTheFeed campaign to empower women to feel safe and comfortable breastfeeding or pumping anytime, anywhere and encourage the British public to support them.
It comes after another campaign to normalise boobs in Amsterdam.
According to their research almost half (45%) of UK mothers say that everyday life situations, such as office meetings, prevent them from breastfeeding or pumping due to common perceptions of nudity in public.
Tania Boler, CEO of Elvie said: ‘The #FreetheFeed campaign is an invitation to everyone to stand with all those women that have felt shamed or confined when breastfeeding or pumping. We know the giant boobs will raise a few eyebrows, but we want to make sure no one overlooks the way that this stigma has been used to repress women.’
If you want to get abreast (sorry) of the campaign, head to East London today as they’ll sadly be deflated tonight.
Giant inflatable boobs erected around London to make women feel more comfortable with breast feeding
If you are vegan (or just cutting back on meat), you might be looking for some alternative ways to make the dishes you love plant based.
You’ve probably heard of jackfruit by now – a fleshy fruit used to replicate pulled pork.
Well it seems like there is a new alternative that might be easier (and cheaper) to get hold of – banana peel.
We promise this isn’t another April Fools’ Day joke. It turns out it’s got so many more uses than the classic ‘slipping on a banana skin’ gag in a comedy sketch.
The peel you usually throw away is completely edible but it does take a little bit of work to make it tasty.
Melissa Copeland, also known as The Stingy Vegan, posted the recipe for banana peel pulled pork sandwich online last week.
View this post on Instagram
Banana peel vegan pulled pork sandwiches. Don't freak out, banana peels are perfectly edible, are not gross and this recipe is based on a Venezuelan technique for veganizing shredded meat. Click through to the post to read all about it. Link in my profile! . #govegan #whatveganseat #veganrecipes #vegancommunity #veganliving #veganism #veganfoodshare #veganfood #veganlifestyle #vegandiet #vegansofig #plantbased #vegan #veganeats #justvegan #eatvegan #plantpowered #vegans #veganfortheanimals #vegansofinstagram #vegansofinsta #eattherainbow #bestofvegan #veganfoodshare #plantpower #veganfoodporn #healthyfood #veganpulledpork #healthyeating
Even she was a little sceptical to begin with. She said: ‘I was super sceptical about it but brave enough to try it. Turns out it works!
‘You are probably just as sceptical as I was about banana peels so let me put your mind at rest: no, they are not bitter and no it doesn’t taste like banana. The trick is to choose bananas that are not quite ripe yet as the peels are firmer and thicker, and scrape out the white skin part from the inside.’
First, you need to find a banana and remove the peel, scrape the inside with a spoon to get rid of the white flesh inside and then shred it with a fork. Mix it with olive oil and spices before cooking with water and BBQ sauce.
Melissa served the ‘pulled pork’ in a bun with slaw and it certainly looks the part.
It turns out there are loads of other ways to serve banana peel too – from fishless fishcakes to meatballs, burgers and even bacon.
View this post on Instagram
Banana Peel adventure continues… fishles fishcakes😊 . . #stopfoodwaste #useyourwaste #reducefoodwaste #sustainablelifestyle #conciousliving #veganinspiration #worldwidevegan #sustainable #sustainablecooking #stopmadspild #vegan #bananapeel #healthyfood #plantbased #vegansk #sundmad
View this post on Instagram
Did you know you can make the most delishous neatballs from banana peel? @chefjana (They say the peel has to be greenish, but I think mature works fine) They cook through in the marinara @medicalmedium and here served on butternut squash ”tagliatelle”. Vegan parmesan on top @violife_foods . #vegan#meatlessmeatballs #chefjana #medicalmedium#healingfoods#healingjourney#letthyfoodbethymedicine #butternutsquashspaghetti #glutenfree#dairyfree#soyfree#bananapeel #zerowaste
View this post on Instagram
Vegan BLTA!! But wait! The bacon is made from…BANANA PEEL! 😲 If you haven't tried this yet, get on it!! Scrape any banana bits from the peel, steam for about 5 mins, and marinate in your favorite bacon flavors (liquid smoke, soy sauce, maple syrup, bit of evoo). Fry it up in a cast iron until it's as crispy as you like it. It sounds bizarro, but holy crap this was so good!! 🌱🥓🤤
It’s actually pretty versatile with a little bit of work. The process isn’t entirely new – the peel is used in a lot of Asian countries, where it is cooked. In Brazil, it is used in cakes.
Although not as rich in potassium as the inside, the peel does contain nutrients and is a source of insoluble fibre. It is rich in vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium and does contain some protein.
It is important to wash any banana before use, if you are eating the skin, to remove any pesticides.
Yellow banana peel over floor marble surface. Loosely
With the Duchess of Sussex due any day now, speculation has naturally turned to what the baby is going to be called.
Prince Harry is the second son and quite a long way down the royal pecking order since the births of his three nieces and nephews, so he, like his uncles, will have a little more freedom with picking names.
Also, Meghan is from the US, therefore has a different cultural background shaping her taste in names.
Olivia, Emma, Ava, Sophia and Isabella are currently the top 5 US names for baby girls. In the UK it’s: Olivia, Amelia, Isla, Ava and Emily.
Noah, Elijah, Lucas, Oliver and Liam are the current five most popular names for baby boys in the US. In the UK its Muhammad, Oliver, Harry, Noah and Leo.
If you want a solid prediction the best place to look is usually the bookies.
Bookmakers reckon that the most likely picks for a girl are Diana (for obvious reaons), Alice, Victoria, Alexandra or Elizabeth.
If it’s a boy the smart money is on (from most likely to least, according to William Hill) Arthur, Edward, James, Phillip or Alexandra.
Another source of wisdom on names is the Mumsnet baby naming forum, who’ve been speculating about the name since Meghan’s pregnancy was announced.
Suggestions on the Royal Baby name thread include Alfred, Margot, Emilia, Thomas, Grace, Frances (Princess Diana’s middle name) Florence, Theodore, Nicolas, or Alexandra.
Mumsnet also reckon there’s a high chance of the baby having Doria as a middle name if she’s a girl. If they’re right and the bookies are also on the money we’d be looking at Diana Doria Sussex.
Deedee is cute, right?
The deadlift is one of the simplest weight training moves you can do in the gym – but so many people have never tried it for fear of getting it wrong.
The weights room in the gym can be a daunting place. There’s a whole lot of testosterone flying around – but don’t let the grunting and sweating put you off.
There are loads of simple moves you can do with weights that will improve the quality of your workout and help you build muscle, strength, stability and endurance.
Deadlifts are a great place to start. The quintessential weightlifting exercise targets every one of your major muscle groups. The compound move helps you develop overall strength while focusing on your core stability and functional movement.
Simply put, this is really practical exercise that will help your body function more efficiently and with more power.
But deadlifts are intense. And to get the full range of benefits you really need to be doing them correctly. The wrong posture or body position can pose a real risk of injury to your back – which could put you out of action for weeks.
Luckily – our fitness expert Melissa Weldon, master trainer at Sweat It London, is on hand to show us exactly how to do perfect deadlifts.
How to do deadlifts
Find a barbell in the gym – with a weight on either end. Start with a small weight and then build up once you have nailed your form.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, right up against the bar, so your shins are almost touching the bar.
Squat down, with your back straight and head up. Grab on to the bar outside each of your legs.
Once you have a secure grip, drive your feet almost through the floor and lift your chest and your butt at the same time – until you’re in a standing position. Keeping your arms straight, the bar should rest just below your groin.
Then you simply reverse the move back down in to a squat position.
To avoid injury, keep your back straight as you lift, and push with your thighs. Make sure you warm up thoroughly before attempting this move.
What are the benefits of deadlifts?
Cardio: Doing 10 repetitions of Deadlifts will definitely increase your cardiovascular ability. This move isn’t just about your muscles, it’s also about your heart.
Grip strength: Your forearms and fingers are working really hard when you deadlift, and they are probably muscles you don’t use very often – so progress will be swift and noticeable.
Posture: Deadlifting increases your core strength and adds to core stability – so don’t be surprised if you notice yourself sitting straighter at your desk next time you’re in the office.
Functionality: Building the weight that you can lift in this position is genuinely useful for your real life. Think about heavy bags of shopping or boxes of books next time you move house – this is definitely a transferable skill.
Heavy Weightlifting In Gym
Last week TV favourite Lorraine shocked the world by saying that she wears a bra at all times.
Her announcement sent shock waves across the country, with the majority of people writing off her bra-addiction as ridiculous.
But if you’ve got really big boobs, then Lorraine’s confession probably made a lot more sense to you than to your small and medium boobed friends.
As someone who wears as bra for a minimum of 16 hours a day, it’s frustrating to see wearing a bra written off entirely.
I wear a bra most of the time because if I don’t wear one, I’m uncomfortable. As a 34FF cup, not wearing a bra means feeling wobbly, uncontrolled and achey.
I don’t always wear a sexy bra, in fact much of the time when I’m at home I wear a soft cup ‘lounge bra’ which provides support without digging in or pushing up. Trust me, it’s not a sexy look, but it does mean that I can walk around my flat without knocking anyone out.
Similarly I tend to sleep in either a sleep bra or a vest with secret support. Why? Because otherwise my boobs get in the way when I’m trying to sleep.
Imagine you’ve got two quite sensitive melons strapped to your chest. Now try and get comfortable in bed.
Given that wearing a bra makes your breasts more controlled and more comfortable, is it really any surprise that women do it?
Worried that my phobia of going braless might be bad for me, I spoke to Tracey Jane, a professional bra expert. I asked her whether any of us should be wearing bras at night.
Tracey told Metro.co.uk: ‘There are some women who it’s advised to wear a bra at night: breastfeeding women & those who’ve had breast surgery, whilst the healing takes place.
‘For the rest of us, it’s much better for our whole body’s health if we remove the bra at night so that whilst we sleep the lymphatic system can do it’s work properly with nothing getting in the way.
‘Whilse I know many women like to feel comfortable and supported, it really is better for long term health to go bra free.
‘I’ve worked with breast care nurses over the years who’ve confirmed this & the reason too.If you do wear a bra at night, then it must be soft cup. No wires. Then there’s more chance for lymphs to drain without anything too hard pressing.’
Some of the comments aimed at Lorraine after her pronouncement suggested the she was wearing a bra 24/7 either to look more attractive, or to avoid sagging.
The research on whether or not bras prevent, cause or are neutral for breast sagging is very mixed. General consensus seems to be that it’s more about the make-up of your anatomy and you genetics
Tracey says: ‘It’s unlikely a bra at night will prevent sagginess. We sleep horizontal so breasts flattened against chest.
‘They will go south with age & hormones & pregnancy. We can’t prevent it. It’s natural & I believe we should embrace this as healthy breasts.’
So, if you feel the need to sleep in a bra, pick one which is designed for sleep – well fitting and free from any underwires.
In general you should try to wear bras which have been professionally fitted, as a proper bra will help maintain good breast and spine health.
Close-Up Of Bra On Blue Background
Is there a better way to celebrate than with a towering plate of meat?
The Grand Hyatt hotel in Tokyo doesn’t appear to think so – they have decided to welcome the country’s incoming Emperor with an enormous, gold-dusted burger that costs £700.
The Oak Door steakhouse located inside the hotel will mark the ascension of Crown Prince Naruhito with the ‘Golden Giant Burger’, which stands at 25cm wide and 15cm tall.
As well as the entirely necessary dusting of gold, the burger features a kilogram of prime Wagyu maize-fed beef, foie gras and shaved black truffles – as well as some more normal burger ingrediants including cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.
The feast, served with a bottle of wine, is designed for sharing between six to eight people – which could make the price tag around £100 per head. Slightly more than you would probably pay at Five Guys.
‘In celebration of the new Imperial era Reiwa and the long Golden Week, The Oak Door steakhouse will serve a special edition of their signature burger that come with two sizes,’ it says on the hotel website.
‘Let these indulgent burgers be the perfect choice for celebration!’
So if you fancy giving this burger a try you need to make sure you turn up hungry. You also have to be organised – the meaty extravaganza has to be ordered up to three days in advance – so start checking your diaries.
The Golden Giant Burger, which also marks the ushering in of Japan’s new Reiwa Era, will stay on the menu until the end of June.
Our mouths are already watering.
It’s fair to say that I don’t have the most active lifestyle; a bit of yoga and leisurely walks (to the bar) make up my exercise routine.
However, when it comes to holidays, I’m a huge fan of outdoor activities. For me, a holiday is all about trying new things, new foods, new experiences and ideally getting some sort of an adrenaline rush.
So I was glad to discover that Moliets-et-Maa, a spot in the south west of France, offered all this and more.
Other than the glamour of Biarritz and the wine of Bordeaux, I knew very little of this part of France.
Moliets-et-Maa is a lovely small village an hour north of Biarritz and two hours south of Bordeaux, nestled in the middle of a forest, with a number of different holiday villages and complexes.
We stayed in a private villa, which was part of Villas La Clairière aux Chevreuils. Surrounded by fragrant pine trees, with a small lake nearby, it was idyllic. I could have easily spent a week lounging by the pool.
However, first on the agenda was collecting our bicycles for the week.
The great thing about Moliets-et-Maa is that it’s really well laid out for cyclists. There are cycle paths on all the roads (which are pretty quiet anyway), and nearly everyone gets around by bike.
I loved this, as it meant we were getting a bit of exercise every time we went to the beach etc. but also no one had to drive so could enjoy all the French wine!
For more serious cyclists, there is a network of cycle paths that run all the way from Leon to Bayonne, so you can easily explore the region by bike.
From the villa, it is a short 2km cycle (or walk) to two beautiful beaches, Plage des Chenes Lièges and Plage de Moliets – both beautiful, wide sandy beaches – which we frequented often.
Plage de Moliets has a number of shops and bars, but Plage des Chenes Lièges is more natural, with just a shower and toilets, plus a surf hire stand.
Plage des Chenes Lièges was our favourite though, and we visited it often during our stay.
One of the activities I was most excited to try was surfing.
I’ve been learning to surf now for a year (it’s definitely not the easiest of sports!) and had heard great things about the surf in Moliets-et-Maa and nearby Hossegor.
In fact, Hossegor is well known as a surf destination and hosts a World Surf League competition each autumn.
We started by getting a beginner’s surf lesson at Plage des Chenes Lièges beach.
It’s huge, so there is plenty of space for both surfers and swimmers. It also has consistent swell, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to surf (or attempt it anyway!).
After our lesson, we headed to Hossegor to practice.
In general, the waves at Hossegor are larger than those of Moliets-et-Maa, and you will find lots of experienced surfers here.
Having said that, it’s still a great place for first-timers to try out surfing and it too has a surf school.
It’s an easy 30-minute drive from Moliets-et-Maa to Hossegor, and even if you don’t go for the surfing, I would recommend a visit during a stay in Moliets-et-Maa.
Hossegor is a lovely little town with great cafes, bars and shops and a central market. After refuelling on some pintxos we headed for the beach.
There are a few things on my ‘bucket list’ that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and I managed to achieve one of these in Moliets-et-Maa – horse riding on the beach.
Prade Messanges Equestrian Centre is a 5-minute drive from the villa and offers lessons and organised hacks.
We took a two-hour beach and forest ride, which I absolutely loved.
Leaving the school, we rode through trails and woodland, before reaching the stunning beach. This part of the coastal beach was almost empty and it was a dream to ride along the sand with the sound of waves crashing onto the beach.
Then it was back into the forest along a different route to return to the school.
Having a private swimming pool at the villa also meant we could enjoy daily swims, a great way to start each day.
After a week of swimming, horse riding, surfing and cycling, I felt totally invigorated and refreshed.
I’d ticked off some life goals, improved my surf technique and still enjoyed the delicious food and wine of the region, which confirmed to me that Moliets-et-Maa is the perfect adventure holiday destination!
Other activities in Moliets-et-Maa:
While in Moliets-et-Maa, you can also try high ropes, quad biking and paintballing at Adrenaline Park.
And on the water, you can hire stand up paddle boards or take a SUP lesson. Hire starts from £10 (€12) per hour.
Or alternatively, enjoy a round of golf at Golf Moliets. Golf passes start at £90 (€100)
Something slightly less active, but no less fun is a night at the local folklore festival.
This takes place each Tuesday in Moliets-et-Maa during July and August. It’s a display of Basque sport, dance and culture and includes Basque pelota, stilt walking and traditional music.
There is also local food and wine on offer, so a great opportunity to sample the traditional Landes cuisine.
Where to stay in Moliets-et-Maa and how to get there:
A week’s stay at Villas la Clairière aux Chevreuils with Summer France starts from £81 pp (£647 total) for eight people sharing a self-catering three-bedroom prestige villa with a private garden and swimming pool.
(Top picture: Hayley Lewis)
Hayley Lewis - A Lovely Planet - Moilets-et-Maa - Beach 1-f8eb
You might think bronzer only comes in one shade – bronze.
How many variations can there actually be? Turns out – quite a few.
Fenty Beauty have answered all of our bronzing needs with the release of eight new shades of bronzer, something for every skin tone.
It took Rihanna’s iconic beauty range two years to develop the products, which they say provide a natural warmth and glow no matter the colour of your skin.
The Sun Stalkr Instant Warmth Bronzer is described as a ‘smooth soft-matte powder formula’ – and it’s perfect to add a pop of sunshine to your look, just in time for summer.
The shades are called Inda Sun, Shady Biz, Private Island, I$land Ting, Bajan Gya (which means Barbadian girl), Caramel Cutie, Coco Naughty and Mocha Mami – and they range from light to dark.
Fenty has a history of leading the way when it comes to diversifying the beauty industry. Their launch of 40 shades of foundation was a revolutionary step and forced other brands to scramble to make their own ranges more inclusive.
When announcing the line, the company wrote: ‘Bronzer isn’t one shade fits all.’ And we are sure there will be thousands of women, with light and dark skin, that are thankful for this refreshing approach to beauty.
The new product range will be available to buy in the UK on the 5th April – and fans are excited.
‘Fenty always comes through I can’t wait to buy the new bronzers,’ wrote one fan.
Although others were slightly concerned that the deeper shades in the range weren’t dark enough.
One critic wrote; ‘These don’t run dark at all…so disappointing and over hyped… I thought there would be something deep enough for me.’
‘Agreed, I’ve been kind of disappointed with their deep end product selection,’ added another.
So we will just have to wait and see if the new shades deliver when we try them out for real.
Fenty releases eight new shades of bronzer
Costa Rica is the land of ‘Pura Vida’, which means ‘pure life’ or full of life’ and it’s a mantra that is woven into the fabric of its people. As tourists turn their backs on cookie-cutter package deals in search of authentic holidays bursting with adventure and culture, this Central American country is at the top of the list.
A multilingual nation and one that was found to be the happiest in the world according to Happy Planet Index 2018, Costa Rica boasts coastlines on the Pacific and the Caribbean, and is just under 11 hours from London.
Costa Ricans (Ticos) use the phrase ‘Pura Vida’ to say hello and goodbye, or just as a way to recognise that everything is cool. But Pura Vida is more than just a greeting, it’s entrenched in the way of life and you can see it across the whole of Costa Rica, from the way people live to the impressive biodiversity.
If you’re looking for day after day of sunshine, and explore a destination that’s full of tropical greenery, azure seas and incredible wildlife, then you don’t have to look much further than this dreamy destination.
Costa Rica boasts stunning beaches, five active volcanoes as well as lush greenery that is brimming with wildlife that you’d struggle to find anywhere else.
If you’re looking for a trip of a lifetime to enrich your mind, body and soul, then look no further.
Want to see magnificent sights with your own eyes instead of tapping the likes on Instagram? Rincón de la Vieja National Park is home to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls and hot springs and can give you a glimpse at the splendor of Mother Nature, with the awe-inspiring volcanoes. Santa Rosa National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, was the first national park in Costa Rica and is steeped in history as a landmark for the 1856 Battle of Santa Rosa.
The Arenal Volcano was the most active volcano up until 2010 before it went quiet. Now, you can rappel, horse ride or hike your way around the area taking in the incredible vistas as well as immersing yourself in nature. Tours in the area encourage you to explore the surrounding lush rainforest or to take a dip in the hot springs and discover the rivers that you can raft through.
The national parks across Costa Rica are natural wonders, meaning the protected land really is Mother Nature’s playground where you can spend your days hiking, diving, surfing, whale watching, ziplining and more. Where else can you say offers that?
Enrich your body with wellness Pura Vida, getting your blood pumping by taking on exciting adventures that will give you lifelong memories. Some of the most impressive activities include walking in the clouds in Montverde, or even trying the night walk to see creatures after dark, you can even hop on a bike to cycle in central valley to cover some ground and make the most of your experience in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is a wildlife-lover’s dream come true and is quite literally the essence of Pura Vida, as it is bursting with life everywhere you travel.
Catch a glimpse at the wondrous coral reef at Ballena National Park, where you can snorkel and get close to nature at its best to see the tropical fish and reef up close. It’s a hot spot for humpback whales too, who are often spotted in the area seven months of the year. But they’re not the only ones who enjoy this bountiful nature spot as it’s a favourite for Hawksbill turtles and dolphins.
Bring your binoculars if you take a trip to the Carara National Park, which is close to San Jose, it’s renowned around the world for being one of the best bird-watching spots with around five million birds migrating through Costa Rica each year. Here, you’ll watch scarlet macaws catch flight in the lush rainforest as well as hummingbirds, swallows and raptors.
If you want to explore off-the-beaten track, you can take a hike through the immense spaces of the Corcovado National Park. Experience an eco-system like no other, which is home to magnificent beasts like jaguars and giant anteaters.
When you visit Costa Rica, you’ll find that sodas are different to ones you might find at home. In Costa Rica, a soda is a small, family-owned restaurant often where you can find the best dishes for an authentic experience. If you have one dish on your travels, make sure you try the Gallo pinto. Traditionally served with breakfast, this rice dish will give you a taste of the nation with its beans, red peppers, onions and coriander. It’s often served with fried cheese, fried plantain and corn tortillas. That’s got to be enough for you to book a flight.
On your trip you will come across chicharrones. These bad boys are often served in bars, parties and family occasions. One taste and you’ll know why these fried pork rinds are so good.
Rice and beans are a main staple in Costa Rica, but also the fresh fish is a must, especially on the pacific. The Ceviche is a must-try. Before smoothies became all the rage at home, people of Costa Rica were enjoying the ‘pura vida’ with its locally grown fruits, using them in juices and tasty dishes. You’ll definitely want to take some of these recipes home.
You’ll struggle to find a landscape like Costa Rica. Its Gold Coast boasts incredible secluded beaches giving you the ultimate relaxation spots in a dreamy destination. The great beaches and warm azure waters will soon soothe away daily stresses and work will seem a million miles away.
Santa Teresa will give you one of the most authentic tastes of beach life, and is a surfer paradise. Even if you’ve never tried surfing before, you can’t leave without giving it a try. Don’t be surprised if you rub shoulders with a few detox-seeking celebrities, who flock to this area in the stunning Nicoya Golden beach with its lush green scenery and soak up the Pura Vida vibes to live life to the full.
The breathtaking Nicoya Peninsula’s 80-mile shoreline, which is one of the world’s five blue zones, where its people live the longest and locals believe it’s all because of the Pura Vida lifestyle at your fingertips. The stunning area is lined with dense forests and surfer beach towns and fishing villages. Kick off your sandals and feel the powdery sand between your toes as you enjoy the colourful sunsets.
Visitors can surround themselves with nature by picking an eco lodge in Tortuguero, a perfect opportunity to enjoy a digital detox where, you can switch off your phone, power down your laptops and tune in to the sounds of nature. If you want to push the boat out and immerse yourself in Pura Vida life, then try yoga in the forest, surrounded by nature and wildlife. Can it get any better?
Without daily stresses and distractions take leisurely strolls along the Golden coast, or feel the natural healing powers of the thermal hot springs in Ricon de la Vieja or La Fortuna. Whether you’re with the family or on a romantic break, there’s a different experience for each traveller.
These are just a few of the exciting host of experiences you can enjoy in Costa Rica. Direct flights are available with British Airways from San Jose and with Tui to Liberia in Guanacaste.
For more information about your visit to Costa Rica, click here: www.visitcostarica.com/uk/
Did you know that there are 12,000 children and young people in the UK living with arthritis? My daughter Harriet is one of them.
For these children the condition can cause severe pain, fatigue and isolation, as well as a risk of developing inflammation in the eyes; all this while coping with the everyday challenges of growing up.
Yet arthritis is almost always viewed as just an older person’s disease – it’s tolerated and dismissed as something inevitable and untreatable – but arthritis doesn’t discriminate.
I know this all too well, as Harriet was just two when she was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).
It was a battle to even get the diagnosis – we were told arthritis was so far down the list of possibilities for her symptoms that we shouldn’t give it another thought.
Treatments helped at first, but a few months later Harriet’s condition flared up aggressively and we struggled to control it.
She cried in pain at pre-school, she couldn’t take part in activities that other children could and saw so many different doctors that she became distrusting of leaving the house.
At its worst, I remember asking Harriet’s physiotherapist if there was anything I could do myself to help improve her mobility.
The answer involved numbing her foot in iced water and then manipulating it to get the joints moving again – not easy for a three-year-old in excruciating pain.
At this time, I also had a newborn and it was hard balancing everyone’s needs.
I realised it was up to us to fight this condition. Since then, I’ve become an advocate for living a positive life with JIA and I want to support other parents in similar situations.
The severe lack of recognition and awareness for arthritis, especially in younger people and children, means that many families struggle to get a diagnosis and are not aware of the support that is available to them.
When Harriet was eight, after a particularly aggressive flare up, she wanted to meet other children with JIA.
It proved difficult, so I was inspired to set up a local support group in London and got in touch with healthcare professionals and parents across the country to encourage them to do the same.
Two years later, my project, JIA Matters, is a network of online support groups, made up of nearly 1,000 families, one for each county across England and Wales.
And on 18 March this year, we officially joined forces with the Children’s Chronic Arthritis Association (CCAA) in order to better enable us to provide support for all JIA families.
It’s so important for families to be able to share their journeys and feel empowered when doing so.
I like to tell people that there is hope – with timely diagnosis and treatment it’s possible to live a full and active life with JIA.
Harriet doesn’t let anything stop her. She loves sport and seeing friends, and I think JIA has made her the determined character she is.
I have been moved by the support of charities like Versus Arthritis, who are part of the bigger picture in raising awareness of arthritis as a condition that affects us all.
The charity’s Young People and Families service supports 10-25 year-olds across the UK.
I’m also delighted to have taken part in an initiative this month known as World young Rheumatic Diseases (WORD) day, which aims to raise awareness of all paediatric rheumatic diseases in order to facilitate early diagnosis and prevent long-term damage.
We need to ensure that this is recognised at all levels of society, from researchers to clinicians to charities and governments, so that no one – parent or child – has to face arthritis alone.
Treatment and care for people with arthritis at all ages needs to be seen as a serious health priority.
If it was, maybe it wouldn’t have been so hard to get Harriet’s diagnosis and families like mine would find treatments that are right for them sooner.
The personal, economic and societal costs of arthritis are enormous – it affects over 10 million of us including children and young people.
But what I have learned is that once we speak out about arthritis, we’re already helping others and making that change happen.
EMILY EARLE: My child has arthiritis
Burger King has announced the launch of an entirely meatless Whopper in the hopes of attracting more vegetarian customers.
The ‘Impossible Whoppers’ are made with plant-based patties from Impossible Foods, and the fast food giant will trial the new product in 59 restaurants in the city of St Louis.
If the trial proves successful, the plan is to roll out the meat-free burgers internationally.
The difference between the Impossible Whopper and other veggie burgers on offer at the chain is that it has been made to mimic the look, feel and taste of real meat.
Impossible Foods, who has produced the patties, uses modern technology to create nutritious food which has a much smaller environmental impact than breeding livestock.
The new recipe used in the Burger King patties actually includes the same level of protein and iron as real beef – which is good news if you’re conscious about a balanced diet.
Burger King said that the Impossible Whopper has slightly fewer calories than the classic burger and is also very low in cholesterol.
In recent years we have seen an explosion of plant-based alternatives popping up in mainstream food chains – it is in response to the growth of vegetarianism and veganism, and the demand doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
14 g fat (8g saturated)
370 mg sodium
9 g carbohydrates
3 g fiber
Less than 1g sugar
*This is for the patty alone, without the bun, sauce or salad.
To offset the extra cost of producing the Impossible Whoppers, customers will have to pay around $1 (76p) more than the regular Whopper – but we’re sure veggie customers will think it is a price worth paying.
Meat free burger king
Housesharing is basically an essential part of being a millennial living in London.
If you choose to live in the city and don’t happen to have wildly wealthy parents, you’ll need to shack up with some pals (or strangers) to afford a place to live.
The tricky bit is knowing whether you’re getting a good deal or being massively ripped off.
It doesn’t help when you talk to people outside of London who berate you for chucking your money away when you could be living somewhere else for a third of the cost.
To get some more clarity on renting in London, without the judgmental ‘just move North’ line, we launched What I Rent, a series that takes you inside the rented property of a different person each week.
This week we’re chatting to Harriet and Hannah, both 23, who share a three-bedroom flat in St Paul’s with two other housemates, Jack, 23, and Joe, 24.
Hey Harriet! How much do you pay to live here?
I pay £850 per month, and approximately £50 a month in bills.
And what do you get for what you pay?
Three bedrooms, one master bathroom, and one en-suite, plus a living room and a kitchen and dining area.
How did you end up living here?
We all went to Loughborough University together. We went through months of extensive searching – but it was all worth it.
Are you happy where you live?
Yes, very! The best thing is probably the location – it’s so lovely that we can all walk to work!
The flat itself is very spacious, especially for being in central London, and has a lovely new kitchen.
We have a lovely courtyard out the back of the property – which makes it very quiet for central London.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
The bedrooms are really good sizes and all very equal.
Overall the flat feels like a very good size even though there are 4 of us in a 3 bed. The en-suite helps to reduce fights for the bathroom in the morning.
How have you made your place feel like home?
We love the communal area – we’ve tried to make it feel homely with plants, books and candles.
We all love cooking so the book shelf is a big feature – with all the cookbooks.
We also love hosting people, so enjoy having a large dining area and ensure the bar is always fully stocked… and are so far unbeaten at Prosecco pong.
Are there any major issues with the house you have to put up with?
Not so far.. everything seems to be going well.
Any plans to move again?
Not at the moment! So far we are really happy with everything and making the most of living here.
And have you considered buying a place?
Renting works really well for us at the moment but at some point in the future it would be nice to have our own places.
Shall we have a look around the flat?
What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property in London.
How to get involved in What I Rent
What I Rent is Metro.co.uk's weekly series that takes you inside the places in London people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what's normal and how much we should be paying.
If you fancy taking part, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You'll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!
You'll also need to be okay with sharing how much you're paying for rent, as that's pretty important.
What I Rent: St Paul\'s
Organising a wedding is hard: you have so many things to think about. And it’s not helped by the fact that a lot of the responsibilities fall on the bride.
So of course, the stress of everything can bring out what the worst in a person.
But some women do take it too far. Like the woman who refused to offer any food for vegans.
Posting on a closed wedding group on Facebook, the bride revealed that she did not ask for her guests’ dietary requirements.
So she was shocked to see people had RSVPd to the invite asking if vegan food would be an option. She made it clear it was not, saying anyone on a plant-based diet can bring their own food.
She wrote that it ‘irked’ her that two of her vegan friends wrote ‘all over’ the wedding invitations asking for non-animal based food.
The bride-to-be mentioned that the only people she might consider making adjustments for were the parents but for anyone else’s extra requirements, it was ‘no’.
‘Nowhere on the RSVP does it ask what guests want to eat at the reception. Nowhere,’ the bride wrote on the chat.
‘We are not making special food accommodations. If our parents needed something, sure. Them? No.’
She asked the followers of the group how she should go about it all and said she was considering ignoring it and just enjoying the big day.
On the day, she and the husband-to-be organised for tacos to be served but had no plans for vegans to be fed.
‘What are they going to eat? The lettuce and beans? I feel like my fiancé should speak to [them] in advance to let her know what we are having for dinner,’ she said.
‘They can bring their own food or order from the restaurant property (but it’s BBQ lol) at their own cost.’
The responses were mixed. Some people felt that the guests were being picky and could simply eat before or after the wedding.
One woman wrote she had specific food allergies but didn’t expect the wedding party to cater to her needs specifically. Another said: ‘I’d definitely say inform all guests as they know to make alternate plans for food, but that’s about it.’
Some people felt the bride was being unreasonable. One person wrote: ‘I seem to be the odd one out here for making sure my vegan and veggie friends will have something to eat.
‘They’re important enough for me that I’m inviting them to my wedding, I want to make sure they have a good time, which means allowing them to have something they can eat.’
What do you think?
Young couple and guests toasting with champagne during wedding reception in domestic garden