Articles on this Page
- 04/08/19--02:36: _Take a look inside ...
- 04/08/19--02:57: _What is MAXimalist ...
- 04/08/19--04:14: _London is getting a...
- 04/08/19--04:35: _Meghan Markle is be...
- 04/08/19--05:25: _McDonald’s is givin...
- 04/08/19--05:45: _The Little Angel Ma...
- 04/08/19--07:01: _Mum and dad documen...
- 04/08/19--07:25: _Serena Williams mig...
- 04/08/19--07:35: _Mum says she feels ...
- 04/08/19--08:29: _Remember the McDona...
- 04/08/19--08:37: _Marks & Spencer lau...
- 04/08/19--08:55: _Woman considers dum...
- 04/08/19--21:00: _When are the Easter...
- 04/08/19--22:33: _A guide to the EMG ...
- 04/09/19--00:16: _People with mental ...
- 04/09/19--00:17: _Burger King accused...
- 04/09/19--00:42: _Can anyone find whe...
- 04/09/19--01:04: _Woman suspects her ...
- 04/09/19--01:39: _What I Rent: Abbie,...
- 04/09/19--01:44: _Teaching kids about...
- 04/08/19--02:36: Take a look inside Britain’s ‘most unusual pub’
- 04/08/19--04:14: London is getting a SoulCycle
- 04/08/19--04:35: Meghan Markle is being a birth ‘brat’ and I love her for it
- 04/08/19--08:37: Marks & Spencer launches vegan hot cross buns
- 04/08/19--21:00: When are the Easter holidays and when are kids back at school?
- 04/09/19--00:17: Burger King accused of racism over chopsticks advert
- 04/09/19--00:42: Can anyone find where the cat is on this rug?
- 04/09/19--01:04: Woman suspects her husband wants to have sex with their dog
- 04/09/19--01:44: Teaching kids about food allergies in school would save lives
This is The Highwayman Inn – ‘Britain’s most unusual pub’, which has a horse-drawn carriage for a front door and is home to a sunken galleon.
The pub, which was first built in 1282, features a Tudor-style exterior and on the inside hosts a fairy tale pumpkin house and a fire breathing dragon.
The entrance is a stagecoach and the hallways are covered in an array of eclectic artefacts and objects, collected over several decades by former landlord Buster Jones.
Sally Thomson, 64, inherited the business, set in a 11th century building, from her father Buster, who had initially bought the watering hole in Sourton, Devon, in 1959.
He had spent years decorating the pub in his own unique Gothic fashion.
The pub’s two counters are made from part of a tree from local woodland which took seven hours to cut into two.
They were paid in beer and Sally says you can tell which end was the one they cut last because it is a bit ‘squiffy’ due to the effects of all the alcohol.
Other items in the pub include a crystal tree, a Tutankhamun statue, cartwheels, lanterns, and a bellow acquired from a blacksmith which has been turned into a table.
Sally said: ‘It’s the most unusual pub in the UK, it’s very surreal. It’s unique, you have to see it to believe it, really.
‘It’s an old building to begin with, my father had been working here since 1959 and finished in 1999.
‘He worked ceaselessly and it’s filled with his Gothic imagination.
‘There are stone walls and big doors that open on to parlours, one of which has a sailing galleon, in that room there is a sea monster that sways towards you.
‘There are other doors towards other rooms, each filled with things – one has a 6ft minotaur inside.’
Sally says that when people visit the pub, they comment on how ‘odd’ it is.
She currently serves customers alongside her 75-year-old husband Bruce, from behind an odd-shaped bar.
She added: ‘It was quite small and wasn’t what it looks like today. It had been modernised by Plymouth Breweries but wasn’t making much money.
‘My father uncovered the original stonework and beams which had been hidden.
‘They wanted to get people to come here so he started making it look a bit different and he got completely carried away.
‘He had a very Gothic imagination and used to stockpile artefacts.
‘They had lots of fun doing it; the locals still think we’re potty.
‘I love it, we never really own anything in life, I’m merely a custodian.
‘I do enjoy it, I like people; they can be ghastly but they can also be fantastic. There’s also not many jobs where you get paid to have a drink and a laugh.
‘I have tried to keep the essence of the pub the same.’
It might sound new or even a little bit daunting at firs, but when you embrace the excitement of MAXimalist Scandi, it can give your home a fresh lease of life, with very little effort.
Even though the name might strike as odd, this style is pretty easy to work with when you get past the name. So how do you work with Maximalist Scandi?
Put in its simplest terms, it is bright and bold shades in retro designs.
Full of vibrant, vivacious and bold colours, this style can trace its roots back to the 1970s. It’s a huge departure from how many would imagine ‘Scandi’ when presented with the word.
Northern European designs usually make us think of neutral, chilly colours that are as stark as they are beautiful. Stylish all the while, but still a little ominous. In a word, it would be minimalist.
That’s where Maximalist Scandi comes in. The furniture and decor retains all the beauty and functionality of the Scandi style, but adds a new lick of paint to it. A splash of colour, a dose of fun and an upbeat atmosphere.
You can bring a breath of the 70s into your home, without making your guests feel like they’ve walked into a fancy dress party. It’s throwback decor with a modern, tasteful Scandi twist.
IKEA UK & Ireland’s Interior Design Leader, Clotilde Passalacqua, put the design into context, saying: ‘From colourful sofas, to bold rugs, statement lights and house plants aplenty, there is something to excite everyone in the revival of the 70s décor.
‘A great way to create the Maximalist Scandi look at home is to inject colourful layers, textures and geometric shapes into a white space.
‘The best thing about this trend is you don’t need to worry too much about matching colours or prints, as an eclectic mix adds to the charm of the style.’
That really is the beauty of Maximalist Scandi, because you don’t need any kind of interior design expertise to pull off the look perfectly. You can throw together exactly what you like and it will work, because mixing colours, patterns and graphics is what it is all about.
Take the KROKHOLMEN coffee table, which lights up any room and will also work in almost any room. The red, metal table is bold enough to act as the central feature of a room, but it is also small enough to work as a side table.
It is bright, eye-catching and yet entirely functional, which sums up the style. It is also wonderfully versatile, not just in placement within a lounge, but it could sit anywhere inside or outside the house. The metal mesh table top makes it ideal for an outdoor table as well, meaning you can take your bright new Maximalist Scandi style even further.
KROKHOLMEN side table is great for any garden, patio, conservatory or balcony. It even works in any lounge, bedroom or kitchen – the choice is yours.
At just £35 for this hard-wearing and easy care table it is an incredibly simple and affordable way to kick off your new design venture.
The perfect way to give a whole room a splash of Maximalist Scandi in one fell swoop is with the beautiful GRIMSÅS pendant lamp, which will shine Scandi style on your lounge from above.
The swirling pattern of the lamp, which is designed to evoke dandelion seeds, dispersed by the wind, comes in an eye-catching yellow adding cheer any room without any light emanating from within.
With a simple flick of the switch,the room will be bathed in beautiful leaf patterns and shadows from the GRIMSÅS lamp.
You can hang the pendant lamp high, close to the ceiling, low over a table, making it the central piece of the room, or even in a corner so the patterns shine bright across two walls and the ceiling.
At just £50 the GRIMSÅS can take your dabble into Maximalist Scandi style to the next level.
It can be tempting to think your overhaul should stay indoors but with an INNERSKÄR/OTTERÖN pouffe you can spread the joy to outdoor areas as well as sprucing up your living room.
Designed with a fade resistant cover, you don’t need to worry about sunny days ruining the vibrant red of this pouffe. Whilst it’s easy to remove cover means you can mix and match depending on your mood.
Whether you plan on using it as a seat or somewhere to put your feet up, the £40 INNERSKÄR/OTTERÖN pouffe provides the versatility and comfort to help make your space even more homely and eye-chatching.
And at a space-saving size, it won’t dominate the area you choose to place it in. All in all, a pleasingly compact addition that will inject some vibrancy into your home.
We’ve already heard that geometric shapes in white spaces are a key aspect of the Maximalist Scandi theme and the STOCKHOLM wall mirror captures everything you need to create that change.
At 80cm in diameter you’ll immediately feel the impact this striking feature can make in any room, while it’s walnut veneer is curved in such a way as to provide a little ledge for things like makeup, your phone or wallet.
Each STOCKHOLM mirror has its own unique and distinctive grain pattern within the walnut veneer, giving you the feel that your mirror is individual to you and your home.
Coming in at £70, this mirror is affordable, versatile and will stand out in whichever room you feel needs that extra dash of Scandi decoration. Ideal.
London’s boutique fitness landscape is about to get hotter, with the arrival of SoulCycle.
The spinning class has been a US favourite since it opened in 2006 and is finally heading across the pond.
It’s been described as a ‘cardio party’, SoulCycle was co-founded by Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice with the aim of creating an ‘inspiring workout that’s as efficient as it is joyful’. Which sounds pretty American to us, but maybe their enthusiasm will be contagious.
Stateside it counts Victoria Beckham, Katie Holmes and Glee actress Lea Michele as fans.
The London studio will be the first outside the USA and Canada.
Discussing the opening, CEO of SouldCycle Melanie Whelan said: ‘We’re incredibly excited to open our first SoulCycle studio in the UK. SoulCycle is social and joyful and gives people a way to connect. Our classes are high energy and results oriented.’
London already has Boom Cycle, Pscyle, Core Collective and 1Rebel, so apparently we’re a city of spinners.
Group of athletic women on exercise bikes in a health club.
‘When I’m in labour’ I said over dinner with friends recently, ‘I’m not letting anyone put anything inside me before they’ve at least introduced themselves.’
Everyone around the table who had given birth laughed, as if I’d announced that when I have children in the future I’d like to have them removed from my body via a firm but relaxing massage.
This has, generally speaking, been my experience of expressing any feelings about labour as a childless woman.
‘That’s not how it works’ the friends told me. ‘One nurse told me that I should pop my dignity by the door. I had people putting their hands in my vagina without even introducing themselves.’
When I pushed the point, several of the mothers around the table became frustrated with me, saying it’s ‘not about how you feel, it’s about getting a healthy baby’ and telling me that I have no idea what I want because I haven’t been there.
Forgive me, but isn’t it a bit medieval that the options are healthy baby or retaining some control over how you give birth?
One woman who isn’t being bullied into giving birth on anyone else’s terms is the Duchess of Sussex.
In the last week we’ve been told that she won’t be doing the post birth photo shoot outside the hospital, à la Diana and Kate, and that she’s apparently passed over the traditional royal birth medical team for a female doctor, having said she doesn’t want her labour run by ‘men in suits’.
Meghan is not letting anyone tell her how she’ll be giving birth – she’s insisting on making her own choices, something which seems to make people extremely cross.
I’m not stupid. I, like most women, realise that labour isn’t generally a fun experience. But is it really so unreasonable to expect decent treatment?
Much of the commentary around Meghan Markle’s birth has centered on her being ‘ungrateful’ for the top tier care she has been offered, and critics have even dubbed her a ‘brat’.
If being a ‘brat’ is how you get full control of how you give birth, then sign me up. I’m delighted to be a birth ‘brat’.
If you are not a birth ‘brat’, then your chances of getting the birth you want and deserve are pretty low.
Women are entitled to elective c-sections. They have the right to refuse induction, and to demand as much or as little pain relief as is safe to take.
Women should also have the right to give birth without experiencing birth rape.
What is birth rape?
Birth rape, or obstetric violence, is the term for when a woman is subjected to a non consensual vaginal examination during labour.
The term was first used legally in Venezuela, when it was brought into legislation in 2007 to protect women giving birth. Within two years Argentina followed suit, with Mexico doing the same in 2014 – yet no such law exists in the UK.
Jodie Gibbons, who experienced obstetric violence described her experience to The Sun, saying ‘I begged the doctor to stop doing my vaginal exam, but he just ignored me. So I asked again, then again and even kicked at him to stop, but he wouldn’t.’
What does it say about the state of birth in the UK that I’m not even pregnant yet, and I’m already worried about how I’m going to be treated by the medical professionals who handle my labour?
I’ve already started coaching my husband on how to tell a doctor that I don’t want an internal examination, and read up on my legal rights to a caesarean or to resist an induction.
Having someone penetrate your body without your consent is not permissible outside of the labour ward. How and why does it suddenly become acceptable when you’re giving birth?
There is an expectation that we a woman should be so grateful to be in labour that her own comfort and bodily autonomy ceases to be a relevant concept. That expectation can absolutely go f**k itself.
Labour is a painful, arduous and deeply sexist biological process. It is not a privilege, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to do it your own way.
For Meghan Markle that may mean having a female doctor and skipping the press junket afterwards. For some women it will mean a home birth, and for others a scheduled c-section.
Please stop laughing at women who express a desire to give birth on their own terms, whatever those terms are.
Labouring women deserve to be treated as whole human beings, not as big sacks of baby making meat. If that makes them birth ‘brats’ then that’s just fine.
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, visit Morocco
Fancy a free McDonald’s breakfast this week?
Well you’re in luck – because the fast food chain is giving away bacon and cheese flatbreads, and all you have to do is buy a hot drink first.
Okay, so it’s not technically totally free, but given a hot drink starts at 99p and a flatbread costs £1.49, it’s a pretty good deal for a whole breakfast.
All you need to do to get your hands on one is download the app and order a hot drink before 10:30am between today and Sunday this week.
The deal is available in-store only – so there’s no point trying your luck in the drive-thru.
Both new and existing app users can claim the free breakfast, but you’re only allowed one per person – so if you’re planning on a heavy night out on Saturday, we reckon saving it for a hungover Sunday morning is your best bet.
The app is available on the App Store and Google Play. All you need to do is create an account with your email and name, go to the ‘Deals’ option, add the flatbread offer to your mobile order and choose a hot drink.
Then go up to the till and collect your order.
And who knows, with the McDonald’s Monopoly in action, you might even win yourself an extra freebie in the process.
McDonald's Is Giving Away Free Cheesy Flatbreads When You Buy A Hot Drink
Monday 3 December 2018 was a day Sam Boatwright had looked forward to for so long.
It was the due date of her first child – a girl called Emmy Rose.
But instead of seeing her for the first time that day, Sam went to register both her birth and her death.
Emmy had died three days earlier at three weeks and two days old.
She had severe ventriculomegaly, meaning enlargement of the ventricles, and agenesis of the corpus callosum, meaning the white matter between the two hemispheres of the brain did not develop properly.
Although she had been kept alive by a ventilator and then breathed on her own for three days, the birth defects were too severe for Emmy.
Plunged into unimaginable grief, Sam cut herself off, struggling to speak to people who didn’t understand.
But through Instagram, she found a whole community of parents who had lost babies.
Although five months on, she still struggles and misses Emmy every day, she says the people she has met online have given her hope.
And to bring them together, she has created a fashion line of slogan tops and jumpers to represent the parents who have lost babies.
The first jumper in the Little Angel Mama Collection is called the Emmy after her beautiful little girl, with the Percy, the Layla, the Carrie, the Leo and Tyler also in production, all named after the babies of people she has met online.
Sam, now 29, from London, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘When I was pregnant, I was following lots of mum collections with tops that said “Mama” or ones that you could twin with your baby. I couldn’t wait to wear one.
‘When Emmy passed, I still wanted to be thought off as a mum. I still am a mum but I felt that these tops didn’t describe my situation.
‘Baby loss is such a taboo and some people don’t talk about it and I wanted to get it out there. I want to raise awareness and show it’s ok to talk about it.
‘We all love our babies just as much even though they are gone. We can still be mums, dads and families to these babies.’
Sam found out she was pregnant in March last year after a whirlwind romance.
She met Emmy’s dad Si just a month after she came back from 20 months of travelling.
A month later, they were dating and then five months later, in March, they found out they were going to have a baby.
Although they were shocked, they couldn’t wait to meet their little one.
‘Everything moved quickly but there was no question of whether I was going to keep the baby though,’ Sam says.
‘I told him and we were both excited. I have wanted to be a mum since I was 21 or 22. I came out a relationship when I was 25 and then went travelling so it was always there but had been on hold a bit.’
But at an early six-week scan, they were told that there was only a 50% chance their baby would reach 13 weeks.
Sam adds: ‘We were worried but we were giving her a chance. I had this feeling that it was a girl and I just couldn’t wait to be her mum.’
At 12 weeks, they were told that there was a possibility that Emmy would be disabled but Sam was sure that they would cope with whatever happened.
She explains: ‘I was offered a termination but that just wasn’t an option for me. She was my little girl.’
Sadly, as her pregnancy went on, the news from her medical team got worse, with Emmy showed signs that she wasn’t developing properly.
‘We just tried to say it would be ok,’ Sam says. ‘We were trying to be positive. There were lots of tears and I don’t think I had a happy week throughout the pregnancy.
‘I had 37 scans in 37 weeks. It was just weekly bad news and they did keep advising me to terminate but I just wanted to give her a chance.
‘If they had told me that there was 100% no way she could breathe, I would have thought about it but they said they didn’t know for sure how she would be other than poorly.
‘I went online and added lots of groups. I spoke to other women who said that their children had been diagnosed with similar conditions and it had been ok. I just wanted to wait and see.’
At 33 weeks, a foetal MRI scan showed that Emmy was going to be severely disabled.
‘Every scan we hoped that it would stay the same but she was getting worse. We had the foetal MRI and they sat us down with a baby specialist and they explained that she might have problems breathing, hearing, seeing etc.
‘It was 33 weeks and they again offered me a termination but still did not want that. I could feel her kicking inside me,’ Sam says.
Sam went into labour at 36 weeks and three days, and despite her difficult pregnancy, she couldn’t wait to meet her little girl.
Sam says: ‘It was a really difficult labour. I had an epidural and I was pushing but she wasn’t moving because she was disabled so she wasn’t going down the birth canal.
‘They decided they were going to have to use forceps to get her out. I was laid there and then suddenly Emmy was out but I didn’t hear anything. I was waiting for her to cry.
‘There were about 30 doctors in the room and everyone was crying. Si was crying. He went to take a picture and see her and they were incubating her because she couldn’t breathe by herself. As soon as they cut the cord, she couldn’t breathe.
‘They brought her back and took her straight to neonatal intensive care but we knew that she was really poorly.’
That evening, after both Emmy and Sam were stabilised, Sam got to see her baby for the first time – but Emmy’s condition meant she wasn’t able to even touch her baby in the incubator.
She says: ‘The minute I walked in there, I just knew that everything wasn’t going to be ok.
‘All the babies have one-on-one care, which is amazing but at the same time, I thought about how sick is my baby was to need that. She was in an incubator and she just looked so poorly but she was beautiful.’
Emmy was wrapped in cooling blanket for 72 hours to try to give her brain time to recover from being starved of oxygen at birth.
Sam says: ‘It was just so horrible to see. I couldn’t hold her or even put my hand in the incubator because it affects the temperature. All I could do was watch.
‘This was my firstborn, beautiful daughter and that was all I could do. I was crying and crying. I was so exhausted. I fell asleep crying that night and woke up in the middle of the night because my milk was coming in.’
As time went on, doctors told Sam and Si that sadly, Emmy wasn’t going to be able to survive for long without the ventilator.
Knowing that their time with her was precious, they spent every hour they could at the hospital with her.
Sam says: ‘On day 10, an MRI scan showed that it really wasn’t looking good and all they could offer was palliative care. They told us we could go to a hospice as our family would be able to visit here there.
‘Emmy was struggling and she was having seizures. It was hell. We felt like it was time to say goodbye.’
Just before reaching three weeks old, Emmy’s ventilator was removed but amazingly, she was able to breathe by herself.
‘It was incredible and the doctors just couldn’t believe it,’ Sam says. ‘We knew she wouldn’t be able to breathe for long so we wanted to enjoy every moment.
‘We were able to spend three days with her, just holding her. She hadn’t opened her eyes the whole time and then she did in those last few days. It was like she was saying “Hi mummy and daddy. I am trying to be strong for you.”
‘We didn’t go home for three days and we just took it in turns holding her because we didn’t know she was going to go.
‘She was getting weaker and weaker and her breath was getting shallow. Her heart rate was slowing down. She couldn’t swallow and would start choking on her saliva so they would come and do suction.
‘We had 10 people in the room on the Thursday morning and we were going to take her to the hospice so she could meet her older sisters. They couldn’t come to the NICU because kids carry so many infections.
‘On the Thursday she stopped breathing and they managed to bring her round again but on Thursday night she kept being sick and she couldn’t take the medicine.
‘Her body was just shutting down basically. It was horrible to see and so heartbreaking. We spent all the time with her and I was saying: “You’re so brave but you can go and be an angel now, Emmy. We love you and we always will.”
‘We were just lying with her all night and just crying . She passed away so peacefully, she was laid on the pillow next to me and we were playing some soft music.
‘She was breathing really, really softly every 10 seconds. It was getting less and less. We were just watching her and then she went still and the doctor came in and said she was gone.’
After she passed away, Sam and Si bathed her and dressed her and they were able to take some hand and footprints, as she was placed in a cooling cot to preserve her.
In the weeks that followed Emmy’s death, Sam admits that everything was incredibly difficult.
Organisations to support people who have lost a baby
You can contact SANDS – the stillbirth and neonatal death charity through their helpline 0808 164 3332 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Bliss, the special care baby charity support parents of premature or sick babies. You can contact 0808 801 0322 or email email@example.com
The Lullaby Trust provides support for bereaved families, raises awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and promotes advice on safer baby sleep. There is a free information line for parents and professionals on 0808 802 6869 and a dedicated line for bereaved families 0808 802 6868. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Miscarriage Association helps those who are affected by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy. For support call 01924 200 799 or email email@example.com
She says: ‘The first few weeks were really dark. Her funeral was December 18, so a week before Christmas. I usually love that time of year but I just didn’t want anything.
‘I introverted into my grief and didn’t want to see anyone at all. I felt nervous and embarrassed. I was scared to see my closest friends. I think I closed myself off because I just didn’t see how they could understand,’ she says.
Looking for some support, Sam turned to Instagram, where she found a whole community of people who have experienced baby loss.
She explains: ‘I found friends through Instagram. At first I thought ‘Are you serious? I’m finding comfort for the death of my baby through a hashtag like #babyloss’ but I felt so lost.
‘I got a puppy a few weeks after she died to help and I couldn’t go to support groups because I didn’t want to leave her so Instagram became my online support group.
‘I was overwhelmed by the whole world of mums and families who have lost their babies. I couldn’t believe it. I started posting pictures of Emmy and people starting connecting and talking to me about how they understand.
‘One of the things that made a difference is that the community of people would say your baby is beautiful, rather than was beautiful. That is a big thing for parents who have lost a baby.
‘They might not still be alive but their memory is still alive. Speaking about them in the present is important.’
After meeting her new online friends, Sam created the Angel Mama meetup, for bereaved mums to meet together in different parts of the UK.
She says: ‘There are support groups out there and they are fantastic but I decided to set up something a bit more informal for mums who have lost children.
‘I set up the angel mama meet up and before I knew it, I had 30 mums wanting to come. We have one in Manchester too.
‘I’m putting together gifts and things for everyone and I just want it to be a really special day for everyone.’
And the people she met online have also inspired her to created the Little Angel Mama collection.
The range features t-shirts, tops and jumpers with different slogans to represent people who have lost children.
The Emmy is a navy jumper with pink stitching that says ‘My angel made me a mama’, a design that is also available in blue writing (The Percy) or a white stripy top (The Carrie).
The Layla is a white stripey top with gold lettering that says ‘Mama to an Angel’.
Sam hopes to create versions for mums who have lost twins, as well as a full range for dads and grandparents in the coming months. She’s also thinking about creating bags and accessories in the future.
She adds: ‘I just want to get people talking about baby loss. I’ve chosen the names of the pieces in memory of babies I have heard about along the way. The mums I have met love it when you say their baby’s name.
‘They’ve all been so supportive of the Little Angel Mama Collection and I have had such a positive response.’
Working on the meetup and the collection have helped to give Sam something positive to focus on and a way to remember Emmy.
She adds: ‘I still have bad days where I can’t do anything and some days are a little bit lighter but it is always there. It weighs heavily but the community have helped so much.
‘There are so many people out there who have said they have lost a baby and so many more who don’t talk about it. For me, talking about it and talking about Emmy every day has been so important and I just want to do what I can to open up that conversation.’
Samantha Boatwright - Angel Mama
A creative mum and dad have documented the first year of their toddler’s life in a monthly series of photos which see him travel the UK with his furry best friend.
Performing arts manager, Shawnna Michalek, 35, from Michigan, USA, and her 3D animator husband, Leonardo Michalek, 42, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, moved to London, UK for postgraduate work in September 2012.
Shawnna and Leo took on photography as a hobby when they arrived in the UK and were later influenced by other parents who they had seen document their own babies’ first year of growth and wanted to do something similar.
Ever since, their animal-loving baby boy Adrian, now 15 months old, has been busy with monthly, and often weekly, photoshoots in different locations around the UK alongside his little Yorkie companion, Maddie, 9.
The first month was inspired by a traditional teddy bear and the addition of two old vintage style suitcases that they had received as a Christmas gift.
The following eleven months saw a range of scenery, all four seasons and a whole spectrum of colours used collectively to match the time of year.
The couple showcase Adrian’s journey through Instagram under the name Little Chap and Pup.
‘It’s very common for parents to want to document their child’s growth every month for the first year, typically photographed with the same stuffed toy. We knew we wanted to do so in a fun and creative way,’ said Shawnna.
‘His first month we photographed him sleeping in these vintage suitcases that we found on Amazon.
‘This inspired us to have a travelling theme for the twelve months of photos. We chose the suitcases, his little bear and our dog as the consistency to demonstrate his growth.
‘From there it evolved further to focus on the story of him and his dog exploring.
‘Adrian and Maddie are best buddies. She continually makes him laugh and smile and is his biggest protector. She’s the first to greet him every morning at his cot.
‘Starting anything young is key. Since he’s been posing for photographs from the start, he loves having his photo taken. The more people around to watch, the better he will pose. And he is very intrigued by the camera.
‘Pup has also been posing for photos since we brought her home, so she is a very cooperative subject. We can pose her in different positions, paw up and against things, and she holds the pose until we release her.
‘Photos are taken by us. Dad is typically the assistant, looking after little chap and pup making sure they are safe and stay in position. Mum is jumping around behind the camera trying to get their attention.
‘Now (post 12 months), we have a running list of all the places we want to visit (that are feasible with our pup) and pick a new location to visit each week. We plan to continue with the travelling theme and explore locations across Europe next.’
Maddie joined the family almost nine years ago when she was just 10-weeks-old, but Adrian and her have become the best of friends and are both terrific subjects for the camera.
The hobby has taken them to famous places such as Buckingham Palace, New Forest, The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Ventnor Botanical Gardens and Appuldurcombe House on the Isle of Wight, Kingsgate Bay in Kent and Broadway Tower in Worcestershire.
Family and friends think that what they are doing is lovely. The couple want to inspire others to take as many photos as you can together, to create memories that can be cherished for life.
‘Our family and friends have loved that we are documenting our boy’s growth. Because the majority of them are so far away, it allows them to feel more involved in his life and share in his experiences,’ Shawnna said.
‘You can never take too many photos or have too many experiences with your children. They grow so quickly. Documenting their life allows you to not only cherish the memories you made but also relive your experiences.
‘With each photo we’ve taken, there is a story. A story of what we experienced, where we travelled, the challenges we may have faced, funny things that happened. You don’t have to travel far or do anything elaborate to connect with your children and have wonderful experiences.
‘Some of our favourite memories have happened just down the street. Sometimes going out seems like such an effort, but it’s always been worth it. Give yourself a goal to get out of the house and see where exploration can take you.’
There is a small (really small) chance that Serena Williams might have clued us in on the royal baby’s gender.
Serena created quite a flurry from a comment she made during an interview with E! News.
She makes reference to a‘pregnant friend’ having a baby girl, saying: ‘My friend is pregnant, and she was like, “My kid’s gonna do this,” [and] I just looked at her like, “No, she’s not.”’
Now it’s not impossible that she’s talking about Meghan. We know that they are close friends.
It’s probably more likely that Serena has multiple pregnant friends.
But, it does raise an interesting question: what do you do if you accidentally spill the gossip about someone else’s baby?
Being the first to hear that a friend is pregnant, or part of a small group of people who know the baby’s sex, is a huge privilege. You don’t want to mess that up by spilling the secret. Unfortunately, it happens.
We asked people to share their stories of when they’ve accidentally spilled the pregnancy beans. Warning: if you have a low embarrassment threshold then these are going to hurt.
I worked in a bookshop once and cheerily rang and left a message about a pregnancy book with a colleague of the person who ordered it. And yep… she didn’t want them to know. Oops.
I went to a gender reveal party, arrived early and saw the sister of the pregnant woman prepping the balloons full of pink glitter. The shower had been going for about three minutes before I referred to the baby as ‘she’ in front both the parents, who didn’t know yet.
The worst part was that I’d previously said how much I hate gender reveal parties and they seemed to think I’d done it on purpose.
My then boss put my scan appointment in the shared calendar and then someone from another department saw it and told other people.
My husband is a footballer, and his club announced the birth of our son before we got a chance to tell anyone!
When I was six I went into school and told everyone in the playground at pick up that my mum was being sick all the time and couldn’t have any more wine so she was sad.
Everyone just turned to look at her and the jig was up.
I tried to make my boss feel bad cause he reneged last minute to buy us pizza for lunch. I said ‘you can’t to that to a pregnant woman’, referring to my secretly pregnant colleague! I’d keep it a secret for 10 weeks and only had one more to wait! Mortified.
My mum spilled news about my abortion to my very catholic sister in law. Felt really betrayed and exposed.
I thought that my friend had shared her birth online, so I posed some pictures congratulating her on meeting baby Sarah*. She actually hadn’t told anyone that she had had the baby, let alone the gender and name. I apologised for about an hour but I’m not sure she’ll ever properly forgive me.
Relationship expert and therapist David Keighley says that these situations are best avoided by being extremely clear with anyone you tell about your pregnancy what they can and cannot say. ‘You have to be assertive, without being aggressive and make it quite clear you’re the one that’s in control of your own family and the information.
‘If you haven’t explicitly told anybody not to, they will turn around and say that they couldn’t have known. Whether they tell a friend in confidence or over social media, if you tell them not to, they shouldn’t do it.’
Mistakes happen, and if you’re the one doing the leaking, all you can do is apologise sincerely and ask if there’s anything you can do to make it up to them.
According to Psychology Today, the key points to a sincere and convincing apology are: acknowledging that you did wrong, being sincere, asking for forgiveness, taking full responsibility, being ready to apologise multiple times and explaining how you will change to avoid the situation happening again.
Alongside a sincere apology, a bunch of flowers or a card probably won’t go amiss.
Serena Williams tells pregnant pal Meghan Markle to stop being so nice
Every time Deena Todd, 31, breastfed her daughter, Isla, now five, she felt strong feelings of dread, homesickness and anxiety which left her in tears.
Doctors told her she had postnatal depression but she wasn’t convinced as she only felt the intense emotions when she was about to breastfeed.
Researching online, she discovered dysphoric milk ejection reflex, also known as D-MER.
The condition is an anomaly of the milk release mechanism in lactating women which causes them to feel intense feelings of dysphoria just prior to their breasts releasing milk due to hormonal fluctuations.
Deena’s suspicions she had D-MER were confirmed when she suffered the exact same symptoms after the birth of second child Koby, eight months.
She is now speaking out to raise awareness of the illness, which she claims is almost unheard of in UK medical circles.
The mum-of-two said: ‘When your milk is let down your body is supposed to release feel good hormones to help with bonding, but if you have dysphoric milk ejection, your dopamine drops, which causes the dysphoria.’
According to a study in the International Breastfeeding Journal, ‘Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER) is an abrupt emotional “drop” that occurs in some women just before milk release and continues for not more than a few minutes.
‘The brief negative feelings range in severity from wistfulness to self-loathing, and appear to have a physiological cause.
‘The authors suggest that an abrupt drop in dopamine may occur when milk release is triggered, resulting in a real or relative brief dopamine deficit for affected women. ‘
Dopamine gets involved because in inhibits prolactin, which is what makes the milk. For prolactin levels to rise to make more milk, dopamine levels must drop.
When a new mother has D-MER, her dopamine will drop faster than usual, which is what causes the negative feelings.
Deena said: ‘The first time it happened was in hospital when I fed my daughter for the first time.
‘Initially I just felt the most intense bout of homesickness, I went to boarding school throughout my childhood and it was like the first day of that all over again.
‘Then this intense feeling of dread kicked in, it’s hard to explain but other mothers I know have described it as like killing a family dog.
What is D-MER?
Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex is a condition affecting lactating women that is characterised as a type of brief dysphoria, and negative feelings that occur just before milk release and continuing for a short time before and during breastfeeding
Hollow feelings in the stomach
Something in the pit of the stomach.
‘After that, I would get severe bouts of anxiety, depression and homesickness every time I breastfed, which I started associating with my daughter.
‘It got so bad that when I knew I was going to pump, or breastfeed, I would just burst into tears knowing the feelings would come back.
‘These feelings only came on as I was breastfeeding, and right before I started but before I knew it was a condition I just thought it was a normal way that a woman felt after having a baby.
‘I knew I had to care for my daughter, but I also worried that the feelings wouldn’t go.
‘D-MER stopped me from being able to feel like a mum.
‘By the time I knew that what I was feeling was a genuine condition, the damage had been done, and I had already started to feel like I regretted having a daughter.
‘Once I realised that it was normal, and I had a name for how I was feeling, I knew it would pass and it felt amazing, I was just so relieved.’
She had no idea what the feelings were but during her first few days of motherhood, she says the sensation was so severe it left her regretting becoming a mother and she struggled to bond with her baby.
It was only after she diagnosed herself from online research in 2013 that she understood she was suffering from a real but little-known condition.
Deena visited her doctor who she claims dismissed her feelings off as postnatal depression.
But the mum said she couldn’t understand but she couldn’t understand how that could be when she only felt it right as she fed Isla.
She started digging and found forum after forum filled with mothers suffering the same issues – and realised what she was feeling had nothing to do with her skills as a mother or her daughter and was something she couldn’t control, which would pass after breastfeeding.
She is now determined to raise awareness by encouraging anyone who believes they may also have D-MER to speak out.
Deena said: ‘D-MER made me feel like a bad mother, or that I shouldn’t be one.
‘The problem with the condition is that because nobody knew anything about it, I thought it was me.
‘I didn’t know it was a condition and doctors brushed it off.
‘There’s nothing you can do to medicate this specific condition, you have to find your own way out, but it’s all about understanding why it’s happening and realising that it will go when you stop nursing.
‘When I had my second child, Koby, I knew what was wrong with me when I was breastfeeding, which made everything so much easier, I wasn’t scared, I had my own coping mechanisms.
‘We really need more doctors to know what this condition is, there will be mothers sat at home now who feel like they shouldn’t be mums.
‘When I knew I was going to be speaking about it I posted on the forums I’m a member of asking everyone what they wanted people to know about this condition.
‘Everyone just said we need exposure, we need more health professionals to understand the condition.’
A rare and little-known condition known as breastfeeding dysphoria caused a mum to feel intense dread every time she released milk
You might have seen the McDonald’s McPickle April Fools’ Day joke.
They said they were going to release a burger with pickles as the main filling.
And even though everyone knew it was a joke, people were a little disappointed.
Lots of people said they wished it was a real thing.
Although the fast food restaurant is not officially releasing the McPickle, one man has answered all your prayers.
The McPickle is real! pic.twitter.com/CvZvuW2jNM
— Matt Little (@__M_A_T_T___) April 1, 2019
Matt Little, from Tasmania, shows how with a few clever ordering tricks, you can make one yourself.
Posting a picture of his receipt, Matt says he ordered a standard Big Mac to recreate the McPickle.
He then asked for burger, Big Mac sauce and onion to be removed.
He asks for three portions of extra pickle and ketchup to recreate the joke burger.
The cheese and lettuce that come as standard remain.
Adding and taking away what you need to recreate the McPickle doesn’t affect the price so it will still be around £3.09 for just the burger and £4.79 for a meal.
Posting the picture of his creation on Twitter, Matt said: ‘The McPickle is real!’
One person replied: ‘Why does that look nice!’
And if you don’t fancy the McPickle, you can pick up a free flatbread for breakfast at McDonald’s this week.
The McPickle is not the only April Fools’ Day joke that turned out to be real.
Heinz and Cadbury teamed up to actually recreate the creme egg mayo.
You can try the interesting concoction this week at the Truman Brewery in London as part of a special installation.
Man makes McDonald\'s April Fools burger the real-deal
Attention, vegans: Marks & Spencer has launched vegan hot cross buns, and this is EXCITING NEWS.
Traditionally, hot cross buns are made using butter, eggs and milk. But M&S has made some that are free from animal.
The hot cross buns are flavoured with Bramley apples and come filled with currants. They’re fruitier than the average bun and apparently taste good either cold or toasted.
They cost £1.50 for a packet of four and are going to be available all year round, making it the perfect snack at any time of the year.
M&S product developer Sadia Usman said: ‘Our Bramley Apple Hot Cross Buns are a longstanding favourite with our customers and best thing is they are now completely vegan.
‘Ideal for little ones due to their familiar fruity flavour – this Easter everyone can enjoy a hot cross bun.’
In other hot cross bun news, Aldi has launched some hot cross bun stuffing balls – but unfortunately these bad boys aren’t vegan.
The recipe cobines sweet and savoury, and are made using RSPCA assured British Pork.
The hot cross bun stuffing balls are made using dried fruit, Bramley apple sausage meat stuffing and black pepper and cinnamon.
It’s then finished with a pastry cross to keep with the signature hot cross bun style.
A pack of six will be available from Sunday 14 April for £2.25.
Vegan hot cross buns have just arrived at Marks & Spencer
A woman has taken to Mumsnet to share her outrage at a date who got into his own taxi rather than waiting for her to get one first.
The woman, who writes on behalf of a friend who feels this behaviour is cause never to see this man again, writes:
‘Ladies of MN (mumsnet), please may we put it to you for the casting vote as we’re in some disagreement. To cut a longish story short, the date had gone well until they were on Charing Cross Rd and his Uber came first so he got in it and just left my friend standing on the street!
‘Now he’s texting her to meet again. She’s inclined to not bother, I feel as if I agree with her, but two others here think she should give him another chance (citing excuses such as traffic, it’s hard for cabs to stop, etc).
‘WIBU? (Who is being unreasonable?) Shouldn’t he have called her a cab and seen her off before just sailing off into the night? By the way, we are all early 40s so she can’t be bothered messing about.
‘Thank you in advance.’
She then added a further post, reading: ‘No he didn’t call her a cab before his own. He just called his, so she had to call her own and then his came first so he buggered off.
‘Now he wants her to traipse to Hampstead (where he lives) on the weekend, but I bet he won’t send a cab for her. We think this is a “red flag.”’
‘The thread went on to reveal that the woman on the date is middle aged, lives in Chelsea and that it was a first date.
Most of the replies firmly stated that she was in the wrong, and that being left to get into a taxi on a busy, well lit road in central London was perfectly acceptable.
‘She’s a woman in her 40s. Why is she unable to get her own taxi?’
‘Why doesn’t she call her own cab? I’d find someone who called me a cab a creep, like those men who try to order for you in a restaurant. Nope.’
‘In this day and age it is NOT normal to expect your date to pay for your cab home.’
‘If he’d flagged a roadside taxi it would be polite to offer it to her first. And if in a dodgy area, also polite to wait until her transport showed up… however neither are the case and you and your friend are being snowflakes.
‘If Hampstead isn’t convenient for your friend, she simply needs to say “that’s not convenient for me, how about we meet somewhere round xxx”.
‘She is a grown up independent woman – act like one.’
‘TBH if a man hailed my cab for me and paid for it in advance, or sent a cab for me to get to Hampstead from Chelsea, I’d see it as a massive red flag for someone who was extremely controlling.
‘There are certainly places where it would be poor form to leave someone standing on the street alone. Charing Cross Road really isn’t one of them.’
However some users seemed to take issue with being left to wait for a taxi alone, with one woman writing: ‘No, I wouldn’t see him again either. I have standards, and it’s just common courtesy not to leave your date standing like a lemon on the side of the road to swan off on your merry way.’
‘Christ what world do we live in? He should have seen she got off safely. People have very low expectations nowadays.’
Over the course of the discussion it is made clear that the woman in question has no mobility issues or additional needs which would preclude her from getting herself safely into a taxi.
So, is waiting for a woman to get into a taxi chivalrous and appropriate? Or is it pandering and patronising?
Close up of businessman using taxi app
If you start noticing more children around, it’s because half term has officially kicked into full gear.
Some families will no doubt go away, especially during the four-day Easter weekend.
If you don’t like the company of kids (they’re not for everyone) you would be wise to stay away from museums, the London Zoo or elsewhere where families like to converge (the park, for instance) – or at least for the next few weeks.
When is Easter half term in the UK?
Most schools will break up today, or did so before the weekend, and the children are off for a grand total of two weeks, returning back to school on Tuesday 23 April.
However, term dates may differ depending on the council.
The next break will follow in May and we’ve included a full list of 2019 bank holiday days below.
UK Bank Holidays 2019
Friday 19 April – Good Friday
Monday 22 April – Easter Monday
Monday 6 May – Early May bank holiday
Monday 27 May – Spring bank holiday
Monday 26 August – Summer bank holiday
Wednesday 25 December – Christmas Day
Thursday 26 December – Boxing Day
Multi-ethnic school children running from teacher outdoors
So you’ve been chatting to someone on Tinder/Bumble/[Insert trendy dating app here] and while they seem lovely, you realise you’re just not that interested.
Straight up ghosting can feel a tad harsh. What if they earnestly wonder if something terrible has happened? What if they tell their hot friend that you’re an awful person? It’s simply not worth the risk.
You could try caspering (that’s when you offer an explanation before you ghost, so your disappearing act doesn’t come as a surprise), but that requires a level of emotional maturity and honesty we’re not quite sure we’re ready for.
Enter the empty magnanimous gesture, AKA the EMG.
As coined by ManRepeller’s Harling Ross, the EMG can be deployed in those situations when you don’t want to make someone feel rejected, but you also don’t want to go out with them.
So, when they ask for a date, you throw out an offer that’s not at all appealing, so that they think they’re the one turning you down.
Let’s say a guy keeps suggesting drinks and you simply cannot be bothered. Easy – just message him a classic EMG offering to hit the bar late on a Monday night. Or mention you’re grabbing dinner with your parents and he can join. Or invite him on one of those dreaded super active dates, like a course on circus skills, a hike up a massive mountain, or a morning spin class.
The idea is to make your date offer one that someone is highly unlikely to agree to, giving you an easy out. Rather than not being interested, this suggests that you just can’t seem to make your dates line up. What a shame.
But there’s a risk to this method: if the recipient of an EMG says yes.
The thing is, if someone really, really likes you, they probably will agree to whatever bizarre date you suggest. They’ll put up with going to work hungover, digging out gym kit they haven’t worn in years, and even helping you pack up your flat for a move, all just to spend time with you.
When they say yes to an EMG, you’re in a tricky spot. You’re faced with a few options: Come clean and admit you don’t want to see the person, go along with the EMG and somehow manifest a trampolining class at 11pm, make up an excuse to cancel, or you’re back to square one and having to just ghost out of sheer shame.
The only way an EMG will work is if both parties simply aren’t that invested, or they understand a nice brush-off when they see one. Use your empty magnanimous gesture without proper care, and you could end up on a terrible date of your own creation.
Our advice: tread carefully. Suss out the person you’re dating before you offer up a rubbish date to figure out just how much they like you.
If you know that just a bit of inconvenience will throw them off, put out that EMG and make sure it’s one they can’t say yes too. If you can tell they’re falling head over heels, we’re afraid your safest option is honesty: tell them they’re lovely but there’s just no spark.
Oh, and if you’re using your EMG as a test of someone’s interest (sneaky), avoid roping in parents or relatives. Your poor grandma shouldn’t be dragged out of the house for after-work drinks and made to pretend it’s her birthday, especially for someone you’re not even interested in.
why do muslim women find it so hard to find a partner-dc7d
Mental illness is all too often dismissed or ignored because, unlike a physical illness, it can’t always be seen.
Let’s Talk is a project dedicated to visualising what’s going on inside someone’s mind, featuring people who have struggled with their mental health with their inner thoughts painted across their face.
The pictures will be shown to the public in Guildhall Yard, London, from 12 May to 22 May.
Photographer Charlie Clift tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I had wanted to talk about mental health in my work for a while, but couldn’t find the right way to show what was happening inside someone’s head.
‘Then one day I was joking with my assistant about putting graffiti on someone’s face and it struck me that this would be a great way to show someone’s thoughts in a photograph. That’s when I struck upon the idea.
‘Of course it has evolved a lot since that first spark. I realised quickly that to create this project I would need to find an awesome lettering artist to collaborate with so I dived into research. When I came across Kate’s website I realised I had seen her work before in a massive installation in Hachette’s London offices – it’s a stunning piece featuring authors’ names that spans five floors on their central lobby. She was definitely the right person to work with, so I got on the phone to Kate and explained the project and my aims.
‘Thankfully she was up for giving it a try, so a few weeks later we were in a studio experimenting with different ways of drawing words onto a face.’
Charlie set about recruiting people to take part in the project, asking for anyone who would be willing to publicly share their innermost thoughts.
Once volunteers were sorted, they were asked to share what goes on in their head. These words were then carefully painted on the person’s face by Kate, to be photographed by Charlie.
For some, it was a difficult process. Others found it therapeutic.
‘I have a huge admiration for the people who have participated in the project, because they’ve been so open we’ve been able to help others,’ Charlie tells us. ‘It’s not easy having your most difficult thoughts displayed two meters tall in an outdoor exhibition.
‘The process was quite a long one and the whole way through I made sure people felt comfortable and knew exactly what they were getting into — I didn’t want there to be any surprises for the participants.
‘It started with me interviewing each person on the phone prior to their shoot, I needed them to express in their own words how it feels inside their head.
‘I recorded this conversation so that later on Kate and I could pick out the most poignant words and phrases to write on their face.
‘On the day of the shoot, I made sure that there was a relaxed and open atmosphere in the studio. Each person would sit for about two hours whilst Kate drew the words onto their face, then I would photograph them for 30 minutes.
‘Some people found it tough, others found it great fun.
‘I think what stood out to me was the bravery of each volunteer. This campaign has been very public and I admire them hugely for opening up and encouraging others to do the same in the process.
‘I found that it helped me understand my own mental health difficulties a lot more — during the interviews I often found myself thinking I’ve felt like that or that’s happened to me.
‘Of course, every person is different, but the one thing that really stood out was that even though these people have been through incredibly tough times they are also living interesting and unique lives.
‘Seeing how much they achieved despite their mental health difficulties was really inspiring for me.’
Charlie experienced depression while he was at university, so the thoughts of his subjects had a special resonance.
He hopes that the images will make people get talking about mental health, and remind those struggling that they are not alone.
Some people might find that some of the words speak directly to them and are talking about the same feelings they’ve experienced,’ says Charlie.
‘If so I hope they will help them realise they are not alone, having tough things happening in your head is really normal. Loads of people go through it.
‘The best thing you can do to help yourself is to talk to someone friendly about it – that might be your doctor, your friend, your parents, siblings or a mental health organisation.
‘If people don’t relate directly I really hope that these images can help you understand what it’s like when others struggle with their mental health.
‘I hope these images can help them to empathise with those who are going through tough times.
‘Ultimately I want these photographs to help spark conversations. The more we can talk about mental health the easier it will be for people to seek the help they need.’
Need support? Contact the Samaritans
New Zealand’s Burger King chain is under fire because of a new advert featuring customers attempting to eat burgers with chopsticks.
The advert is a promotion for the fast food restaurant’s new Vietnamese sweet chilli chicken sandwich – and it shows customers struggling to eat their meal with giant red chopsticks.
‘Take your taste buds all the way to Ho Chi Minh City with our Vietnamese Sweet Chili Tendercrisp, part of our Tastes of the World range. Available for a limited time only,’ read the original caption accompanying the post on Instagram.
The ad has since been removed from social media following complaints of cultural insensitivity, but it resurfaced on Twitter as a woman accused the global brand of making fun of Asians.
‘This is how Asians eat,’ she wrote sarcastically in a series of tweets.
‘Orientalism is harmless fun… I’m so sick of racism. Of any kind. Of the kind that makes fun of different cultures #GiveNothingToRacism.’
The video was shared on Twitter on the 4th April and has since been viewed more than 2.7 million times. But there has been a torrent of backlash on Twitter.
One tweeted: ‘This ad is the worst – get your f***ing ad department’s s*** together.’
Another said: ‘This ad just yelled “ching chong” at me with its eyes pulled up and asked me if I eat dogs.’
‘LOL chopsticks amirite?’ added another. ‘Who the hell came up with this? There are a lot of Asian people in NZ, though they probably aren’t getting their Vietnamese food from Burger King.’
Burger King are yet to respond to our request for comment.
Burger King criticised for chopstick advert Picture: McDonald\'s METROGRAB
Can you spot the cat on this rug?
Yes, you probably can. It’s that big lump with ears.
But let us acknowledge, please, that this particular cat does match the rug upon which it sits nearly perfectly. It is a master of camouflage, and to protect its ego we must pretend it’s impossible to see it.
With that in mind, we ask again: Can anyone find where the cat is on this rug?
The cat/master of disguise in question is KC, a five-year-old Selkirk rex living with owner Laura Miller in Muncy, Pennsylvania.
KC loves to roll around and groom herself on the furry rug. When she does, she blends in and practically disappears thanks to her matching fur.
Laura said: ‘KC looks so much like the rug, it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.
‘The rug came first and I didn’t even realise the resemblance until I was sitting in the living room one day and she was rolling around on it.
‘I couldn’t believe how close a match it was.
‘She does love to lie on this rug but she much prefers a lap, only on her terms in typical cat fashion of course.’
As is typical of cats, we suspect that when KC is on the rug she refuses to make herself known, ignoring any calls of her name (new research suggests cats do know their name and just choose to snub us) and then scratching when your foot goes near her paws.
Laura says of KC: ‘She begs at the table and can be found taking any opportunities available to eat off our plates.
‘KC will wait at your feet until we get up to get a drink and jump up and grab your food.
‘She’s not extremely fond of being picked up and will let you know but loves attention.’
CAMOFLAUGED RUG CAT
Take a browse on Reddit and you’re likely to find some strange revelations.
Remember the man who was shocked to discover his family’s ‘poop knife’ wasn’t the norm?
These are classics that will be spoken about in pub trips and on the internet for years to come, and so as disturbing as they may be, we must bring your attention to them.
Such is the case with this call for advice on the relationship_advice subreddit.
A woman, 29, has asked for Redditors’ wisdom in dealing with her disturbing suspicion that her husband, 32, wants to have sex with their dog.
In a post titled ‘I (29F) think my husband (32M) wants to have sex with our dog’, the woman outlines some damning evidence of her partner’s sexual desires.
She explains that in their three years of marriage, he had never shown any sign of being interested in bestiality, but this changed when they moved into a permanent home last year.
‘As soon as we were settled he consistently brought up wanting to get a dog,’ she writes. ‘I wanted to focus on starting a family first but he brought up the point that taking care of a dog would be a good first step and I agreed with that.
‘Eventually I gave in and 4 months ago we got a 2 year old female German Shepard from the shelter named Molly.’
Following the dog’s adoption, some strange behaviour began.
The woman noticed that every time she and her husband had sex, Molly the dog would always be in the room. At first she just dismissed this as standard dog behaviour (they’re always walking in at inappropriate moments, right?), but then she noticed that the bedroom door was always shut. When she tried to initiate sex with Molly shut out of the room, her husband would say he needed the toilet or a glass of water, come back with the dog, and shut the door behind him.
The dog would sometimes jump on the bed and the husband would let her stay, telling his wife to ignore her. When the woman said she was uncomfortable, he joked about having ‘two girls in bed with him’.
When asked why he kept letting the dog in the bedroom, the husband said he didn’t like leaving Molly alone somewhere alone, where she could get hurt.
After an argument, it was agreed that Molly was no longer allowed on the bed.
Then, the woman came home from work and saw something odd.
‘I came home early one day and saw him and Molly in the backyard,’ she writes. ‘He was bent down and it looked as if he was inspecting her genitals.
‘When I opened the back door to ask what he was doing he jumped up as if he had been caught doing something wrong and said he was just trying to untangle a patch of matted fur next to her back leg.
‘When I asked why he jumped he said it was because he wasn’t expecting me home early and I startled him.’
He could have been telling the truth, of course, but more troubling things followed.
One night he left his laptop logged in. The woman looked and found a folder dedicated to furry pornography (a type of porn featuring animal/human hybrids, such as a human dressed as an animal, or a drawing of an animal that can walk and talk).
All the pornography was made up of cartoons, and all the characters had human characteristics, but the woman says the majority of the images depicted German shepherds – the breed of dog Molly happens to be.
The woman is concerned, and took to Reddit to ask what she should do next. Should she bring this up with her husband? Is she right to be worried?
‘He just seems overly affectionate with her,’ she writes. ‘He cuddles with her more than he does with me and on more than one occasion I’ve overheard him quietly talking to her but he always stops when I come into the room. I don’t see why he would need to stop if he was just saying something normal.
‘Is it possible all the other events are purely coincidental and my mind has just stitched them together?
‘I don’t know if I want to have children with a man that’s interested in these sorts of things. I understand being a furry is a kink but bestiality in my books is a step down from pedophilia.
‘Obviously I need to talk to him about this but I really don’t want to and I have no idea how I would even bring it up to him? Do I admit to snooping on his laptop? Or should I just say I think his relationship with our dog is a bit strange and hope that opens up a dialogue?
‘And my most important question:
‘Am I overreacting or is this a legitimate cause for concern?’
Unfortunately, a lot of the advice on Reddit isn’t particularly helpful. One of the top comments is simply ‘ruh roh’.
But some people did come up with ideas on how to deal with this particularly difficult situation.
One person wrote: ‘Get some nanny cams under the pretense that you are wanting to see what the dog is doing during the day. He can’t deny you because of all the ridiculous stuff he does in the name of protecting her. Get a few more cameras that he won’t know about so you can hide them.’
Some have suggested going to couples’ therapy, while others have reminded the woman that someone’s fetish or porn preferences do not always indicate what they would do in real life.
There’s also the suggestion that the entire question could be fake, which is entirely possible. This could just be an elaborate trolling attempt engineered to get internet clout – although the woman has commented on the accusations with: ‘I really wish I was trolling’.
If this situation is real, communication is absolutely key, and the dog has to be the priority.
In the UK and in Australia, where the couple lives, bestiality – the penetration of an animal by a human – is illegal. It can cause pain and distress to an animal that has no way of consenting to anything sexual.
A camera set up in the home may be a good way to prove that nothing is going on, but there are clearly issues of trust and poor communication running deep in this relationship, whether the husband’s sexual preferences are innocent or not. If you’re interested in the furry community and can’t discuss that with your partner, that’s a warning sign. If you don’t trust your husband and suspect he might cause harm to an animal, that’s an even bigger one.
Get off Reddit and talk to each other, and ideally a professional, stat.
Portrait of a German shepherd
Renting in London is fun, isn’t it?
Paying hundreds to live in a house with a bunch of strangers, putting up with an hour-long sweaty commute, and desperately asking your landlord to please, please just fix the oven so you can actually cook dinner. The dream.
An added bit of joy in the renting market is that it’s tricky to know if you’re paying a reasonable amount.
There’s such a wide range of rents you’ll hear of that it’s tough to figure out what you should be paying and what you should be getting in return.
We started What I Rent to provide some clarity on the situation, taking you inside a different person’s rented property each week.
This time, we’re spending time with Abbie, who shares a three-bedroom flat in Manor House.
Hey, Abbie. How much rent do you pay?
I pay £520 a month for a double room in a flat I share with two other girls.
We pay our gas and electric quarterly, but all the bills work out to be about £50 a month.
Do you think you have a good deal?
It’s not too bad considering the distant to a tube station (10 minute walk) and the size of my room. I don’t think I’d be able to find anywhere much cheaper.
What do you get for what you pay?
We have the upstairs of a house but we also have a garden to ourselves. There are two double rooms and one single, plus one bathroom. Before I moved in I was worried about sharing a bathroom but we don’t have any issues.
Do you like the area?
It’s in Seven Sisters/Manor House area, so not the nicest of areas but it could definitely be worse.
Before I moved, I did get warned about getting mugged in this area, but it could happen anywhere in London.
And what about the flat – are you happy with it?
I’ve lived here since November last year, so around 5 months now.
I’m fairly happy here! It’s easy for me to get into work and I like my room, and the fact we have a living space so we can have friends over or hang out together outside of our rooms.
I like that you can walk to a tube station from the house, and also that there’s a bus that goes from the station just round the corner.
I like having a garden – it will be fab to be able to have friends round in the summer when the weather is nicer – and also the size of my room is great.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Bedroom wise, yes. The kitchen and bathroom are quite small, but it works for the three of us. Although if all three of us are in the kitchen at once it gets a bit difficult.
How did you find the place?
I found it through a group on Facebook for performers and creatives in London looking for flatmates or a place the live. It was a bit of a gamble to move in somewhere I found on Facebook but it’s worked out quite well.
I didn’t know either of my housemates before I moved in with them! I was worried that we wouldn’t get on, but I get on with both girls really well.
Some of my friends thought it was a bit risky to move in with people I didn’t know but thankfully we’re all fairly chill and enjoy each other’s company.
How have you made the place feel like home?
Crystals, plants, fairy lights, and lots of photos have made my room feel homely!
I’m really bad at getting rid of things with sentimental value so there’s stuff everywhere. Especially elephants.
Are there any major issues with the house you have to put up with?
Not really. We did get broken into but that’s not really an issue with the house, more with the area. The only problem was when the downstairs tenants had a leak in the ceiling and our water had to be turned off – not having a working toilet or shower was a tad frustrating.
Any plans to move again?
I’d like to move to a nicer area of London but I can’t really afford it! At the moment I’m happy where I am.
And have you considered buying a place?
Um, I wish!! I doubt I’ll ever buy a place in London, not in this lifetime.
Same. Shall we have a look around?
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: Haringey
Food allergies are unforgiving. You cannot make a mistake. You cannot slip up and accidentally eat something unsafe without suffering the consequences.
Like me, many people with food allergies are impacted not just by their own eating choices, but also those of the people around us.
If someone eats food containing nuts near me, I become anxious and scared – and not without reason: my allergy isn’t airborne but if I touch something they’ve touched without washing their hands it could trigger a potentially fatal anaphylaxis.
I’ve had many experiences like this over the years. But one that sticks in my mind is when I was eating at a local deli and was assured that – despite serving various cakes with nuts in – a chocolate brownie was safe for me to eat.
However, after taking a couple of bites of my cake, it became apparent that something was very wrong. I became extremely hot and cold at the same time.
I started to sweat and shiver, and I began to feel extremely sick.
Someone commented that my face was swelling up and asked whether I was okay. Of course I wasn’t.
I could see the panic in everyone’s faces, no one had seen a reaction like this before and no one really knew what to do.
This is just one example from many similar situations that I – and many other allergy sufferers – have been through, all because of a lack of understanding of what having a food allergy actually means.
In 2016, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after eating a Pret sandwich that contained an undeclared allergen. Now, her best friend Bethany Holloway is campaigning for better education around allergies – something that I fully support.
There’s little to no education about food allergies at schools, colleges and universities, which means that even in 2019, kids with food allergies are put at risk every day. Very few young people understand the dangers, and even fewer know what to do should someone suffer an allergic reaction.
Currently, children don’t legally have to be taught anything about food allergies at school – whether students receive an education on the topic depends on the school that they attend.
Without proper education, those with allergies will continue to be mocked and ostracised, and this could have truly deadly consequences.
When I was at school, it was mandatory to learn first aid, which included basic CPR and wound care. However, we never learned anything about food allergies or how to administer an EpiPen. Food allergies were never talked about.
It was down to me to educate the people I was closest to about my allergies – just like Natasha educated her friend Bethany about hers.
Some schools do ban certain allergens from their premises but it’s difficult to enforce, particularly in secondary schools, colleges and universities.
When a school offers a ‘packed lunch’ option, they cannot monitor every child’s lunchbox or snacks. There will always be people who will ignore the guidelines in place – intentionally or not.
If schools and educational facilities were to add food allergies to their curriculum, lives could be saved.
We should be giving young people a more in-depth insight into how dangerous a food allergy can be, and teaching them what to do should a classmate suffer an allergic reaction, when and how to administer an EpiPen and the importance of calling an ambulance.
And it’s not just the medical side that needs to be improved – perceptions and attitudes also need to be changed.
A recent study undertaken by the Food Standards Agency (in partnership with Allergy UK and the Anaphylaxis campaign) found that one in 10 young people won’t tell friends about their food allergy due to embarrassment.
A large number of young people with food allergies are targeted as a result. US figures show that more than one third of children and teens with food allergies reported being bullied specifically because of their food allergies – usually by classmates.
Other children throw food that contains allergens at them or try to get them to eat it. Yes, this really does happen.
I’m a member of multiple food allergy support groups, and hearing reports like this from other allergy sufferers and parents of kids with allergies is extremely common. It’s terrifying.
And it’s not only young children this happens to – just last month two teenage girls were suspended from school for allegedly putting crushed nuts on a teacher’s desk who has a nut allergy.
The amount of ignorance around allergies both angers and terrifies me in equal measure.
Without proper education, those with allergies will continue to be mocked and ostracised, and this could have truly deadly consequences.I feel like my fertility issues are forcing me to have a child before I am ready
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Why you shouldn't be scared to ask someone to stop eating something that will kill you