Articles on this Page
- 04/10/19--07:53: _What is queerbaiting?
- 04/10/19--08:02: _Shelter desperately...
- 04/10/19--08:05: _New York’s favourit...
- 04/10/19--09:29: _‘Be fiercely you’: ...
- 04/10/19--09:34: _Slaughterhouse surv...
- 04/10/19--22:11: _Glasses at the read...
- 04/10/19--22:14: _Couple unrecognisab...
- 04/10/19--22:39: _Magical bean bag on...
- 04/10/19--23:57: _Sinking country hou...
- 04/11/19--00:01: _My Label and Me: I’...
- 04/11/19--00:23: _Co-op needs your he...
- 04/11/19--00:33: _Lean on Me: Is it O...
- 04/11/19--01:13: _I went to a sensual...
- 04/11/19--01:54: _How I Save: The gra...
- 04/11/19--02:03: _It’s too late to ra...
- 04/11/19--02:35: _Mars is paying some...
- 04/11/19--02:49: _Two blind veterans ...
- 04/11/19--02:59: _Mum says son’s seve...
- 04/11/19--03:06: _If you love bread s...
- 04/11/19--03:24: _Mum’s terminal bowe...
- 04/10/19--07:53: What is queerbaiting?
- 04/10/19--08:02: Shelter desperately seeking volunteers to rescue dogs from death row
- 04/10/19--22:39: Magical bean bag onesie lets you sit wherever you go
- 04/10/19--23:57: Sinking country house with guide price of £1 sparks bidding war
- 04/11/19--00:01: My Label and Me: I’m Muslim and you will not erase my humanity
- 04/11/19--01:13: I went to a sensual supper club and ended up naked in a hot tub orgy
- Mortgage – £300.
- Utilities – £50.
- Childcare – £60
- TV/Internet – £10
- Council Tax – £75
- Food – £150
- Petrol – £80
- Phone bill – £44
- Apple Music – £9.99
- Adobe Subscription (Photoshop etc) – £24
- Train – £110 (ish)
- 04/11/19--02:03: It’s too late to raise my daughter bilingual and my guilt is immense
- 04/11/19--02:35: Mars is paying someone to eat their chocolate and sweets
- 04/11/19--02:59: Mum says son’s severe eczema was cleared by £7.99 ‘miracle’ cream
- 04/11/19--03:24: Mum’s terminal bowel cancer was dismissed as IBS
- a persistent change in bowel movements – going more often, with looser stools and sometimes abdominal pain
- blood in the stools
- abdominal pain, discomfort, or bloating always brought on by eating
After pop sensation Ariana Grande released her new song Monopoly, many fans wondered whether she was hinting at her bisexuality.
Some, however, felt that she was manipulating LGBTQ fans by letting them believe she is queer. Using sexual ambiguity to tease an audience is called queerbaiting.
Queerbaiting is like flirting with a queer person for personal gain but not following through with it.
The concept is usually applied to film, television, and music, with a few artists being accused of hinting at queerness in order to maximise the market to which they appeal.
Accusations of queerbaiting can be difficult to navigate, as we don’t always know how artists identify. Last year Rita Ora was forced to come out as bisexual after people accused her of queerbaiting for the song Girls.
Essentially, when someone or something is accused of queerbaiting, it means that they’ve suggested queerness without following through.
In TV and film, LGBTQ characterisation and storylines are alluded to but never delivered, leaving people hungry for better representation.
Dr Michele Aaron, a reader in Film and Television Studies from Warwick University, tells Metro.co.uk that queerbaiting shows queer audiences that they’ve become a profitable market.
‘The queer community’s interest is courted for commercial purposes. You gain some rights, you start having some social and financial security, you become a market to be tapped,’ she explains.
‘At the same time, though, it is important to remember that stars and films, as key examples, have always enjoyed titillating audiences and allowing a brief frisson of sexual suggestiveness for (queer) audiences.
‘Think Marlene Dietrich or James Dean and numerous others. The difference, and it’s a very important one, is that homosexuality was both illegal or banned from being shown on screen when they were stars.
‘It certainly isn’t now – so the question becomes why is it still exploited or flirted with, rather than just shown and celebrated? Why, when we’ve supposedly come so far, do queer audiences still feel used and abused?’
She adds that it’s a problem because these storylines usually end on heterosexual resolutions. But, as Britain becomes more progressive, she hopes representation will also be more authentic.
‘I think mainstream UK culture is much queerer than it used to be and that we get to enjoy much queerer content where stars or shows sustain ambiguity and complexity in characters’ sexuality and don’t simply fall back on or idealise or end on heterosexual relationships.
‘It’s all about how the queer flirtation is used – is it a provocative one-liner encased in ‘high heterosexual’ performance? (as Grande’s seems to be). Or is it sustained, given proper screen time, proper due, and therefore actually challenging heterosexist society?’
2018 iHeartRadio Wango Tango By AT&T - Show
Animal lovers are being asked to help save healthy dogs at a rescue centre from death row.
Volunteers are needed to take the dogs to the beach and give them baths, as well as to repair kennels at Islay Dog Rescue in Cumnock, East Ayrshire.
The rescue centre is on the brink of closure due to a massive shortfall in volunteers, meaning they can’t save any more dogs from ‘death row’.
So far, 600 dogs have been saved by volunteers.
Helpers will be treated to lunch and refreshments in reward for walking the adorable dogs.
Shelter boss, Lorraine Jardine, 54, said: ‘At the minute dogs are dying because we don’t have the resources to take in anymore at the moment which is devastating.
‘We save dogs from death row.
‘They are usually perfectly healthy but no one can take them on, that’s where we come in.’
Even schoolchildren can get involved with helping, as long as they are over the age of 14.
Lorraine added: ‘We are desperate for volunteers to help us look after the dogs. It would be great to have some dog walkers – that’s something we are really lacking.
‘We have a fully operational wash room that need a groomer to wash the dogs, they don’t need to be a professional they just need to be up to the task.
‘We need some work done on the gates and the portacabin outside.
‘Just general pieces like that would make a massive difference.
‘We could do with someone who has an interest in gardening as well to make the place look nice and welcoming.
‘The dogs we have here are all lovely they are just down on their luck and need some TLC.
‘They need someone to come take them to Dumfries House, Ayr beach, and other outings that they can enjoy together.
‘We welcome volunteers every day between 9-5 as long as they are over the age of 14 and they can stay for an hour or all day if they like.’
So far, £11,000 has been raised to restore the kennels, just £2,000 short of the charity’s target.
Lorraine said: ‘We are really picking up from scratch here and need all the help we can get.
‘The shelter is a serious risk if we don’t get some more volunteers.
‘We have rehomed over 600 dogs, so to fail now would just be unthinkable.’
GIMME SHELTER - Animal lovers are being asked to ?gimme shelter? in order to save healthy dogs at a rescue centre from death row
News of a Halal Guys restaurant opening in London pleases not only Muslims but anyone partial to a bit of Middle Eastern food.
After success in New York as a hot dog cart, the establishment went on to become one of the fastest growing chains in the US.
Last month, the restaurant opened its first branch in the UK. Now the cuisine is available on UberEats for keen customers in the capital.
Halal Guys will be bringing its hugely popular fast-casual form of Middle Eastern dining right to your door starting from 24 April.
As the name suggests, all their meat is halal, which means it adheres to Islamic dietary rules.
Fan favourites on the menu include chicken and beef gyro platters with rice, falafel wraps, not to mention their famous secret recipe white and hot sauces.
Also successful in Canada, it is likely that the restaurant will take off in London where there is a strong appetite for halal food.
Managing partner for Halal Guys, Whitney Nyrus, said the decision to collaborate with UberEats was a natural one.
The sentiment was backed by Toussaint Wattinne, general manager of UberEats who said: ‘We’re always striving to offer the best selection of restaurants for our customers, and we are absolutely delighted to be a part of Halal Guys UK launch, being the first to offer American halal Middle Eastern menu at the touch of a button’.
Muslims looking for other halal food might also be interested in Street Eats – a three-day festival boasting cuisine from all over the world.
You can expect all kinds of delicious halal certified grub, for a nifty little entrance fee of £1.
The festival runs from 19-21 April.
Halal Guys comes to uber eats
Halima Aden is a 21-year-old model who was born into a refugee camp.
The American-Somali was the first hijab-wearing model to be featured on the cover of Vogue, advertise a headscarf for Nike, and be part of a Kanye West Yeezy presentation. She recently became the proud designer of 27 new headscarves.
So when Halima came to London to host the fourth annual International Somali Awards (ISA), we had to chat to her about Muslim identity and being part of the diaspora.
Where Halima is from in the US, Minnesota, has the largest Somali population but doesn’t have many community events due to funds.
‘As a former refugee, I know firsthand the problems that the diaspora faces so to have a day like this as a celebration of the hard work and dedication that Somalis are putting in makes me so proud,’ Halima told Metro.co.uk.
‘I’ve had a great experience modelling so far, it’s been scary too, I took a risk being the first Muslim woman to do x, y, z. It’s scary to go into the unknown but now seeing so many girls enter the fashion industry wearing the hijab, it’s amazing.’
After featuring on the cover of Vogue Arabia with two fellow Somali models Amina Adan and Ikram Abdi Omar, who was also at ISA, the trio were praised globally for representing black Muslim women.
‘It was a monumental occasion,’ added Halima. ‘It’s such an exciting time because representation is everything, it’s important to me and so many Muslim girls who never had that.
‘I want them to think “Oh I can do that now” or “I can go out and do this now”. It’s not enough yet but it’s something.
‘In modelling there’s like 10 hijabis and even with designers, there are more emerging and I have so much faith in the next five to ten years.’
Last year, Halima was filmed having a conversation with her mum, who had reservations about her daughter’s fashion career. When asked how she navigates resistance from older and conservative members of the community, the model said it’s about open discussion.
‘I had the chance to explain why it’s so important to me,’ she explains. ‘That conversation is so important.
‘In the beginning, I faced a little bit of criticism because people didn’t understand modelling or fashion. Because it’s a different culture, it’s not a Somali thing.
‘But explaining why it’s important for anyone growing up in America who looks like me is a crucial conversation. My mum understood that and its impact.
‘I’m not just a model either and that’s helped with the elder community, like my work with UNICEF, I’ve not forgotten where I came from.’
She adds that it’s easier to be a visibly Muslim woman in the US now because people are not as scared about the hijab – but there’s still a long way to go.
From her mostly positive experiences, she says people only question her beliefs from a point of wanting to be educated, not from hate.
She left us with a message for young Somali or other Muslim girls in the homeland or the diaspora: ‘I like to give the advice my mama gave me: “When you stay true to yourself, you really can’t go wrong”.
‘So be authentic to who you are and your values. Never spread yourself too thin to fit into a mould. Be fiercely you, unapologetically yourself.’
Halima Aden says its an exciting time to be a Muslim woman at ISA
Skye Wardle is a true animal lover.
The 22-year-old student and animal welfare assistant from Minsterworth, Gloucester, has adopted three slaughterhouse survivor dogs and now wants to raise awareness of the dog meat trade and Yulin, the annual Chinese dog meat festival that takes place in June.
Skye’s urge to adopt a pooch came about after one of her friends rescued a stray from Spain in 2016. She contacted the Rushton Dog Rescue, a charity that looks after dogs that have been abandoned, abused or unwanted, and that was the start of her adoption process.
In November that year, she was sent photos of Clover, a beautiful golden retriever rescued from a dog slaughterhouse in Changchun, China. The animal had been starved and dehydrated, and contracted pneumonia and canine distemper (a viral disease).
‘We are all animal lovers and have always had lots of pets including dogs and horses,’ said Skye, whose mum works for animal charities.
‘We have always known about the Chinese dog meat trade and Yulin, as it’s publicly spoken about by celebrities such as Simon Cowell and Ricky Gervais. But we never thought we’d be able to adopt a dog from the meat trade.
‘A friend of ours rescued a Spanish street dog from Rushton Dog Rescue and we saw their Facebook page. We saw they had started a project rescuing dogs from the Chinese dog meat trade, so I contacted them and was surprised to find out they had a golden retriever.
‘We saw photos of him and immediately wanted him. Clover arrived in the UK in December 2016 and we went to Rushton Dog Rescue’s farm in Somerset to meet him once he had been there a few days to settle.
‘We adored him and signed the adoption papers and took him home that day.’
*Warning: the following features photos that some readers may find upsetting.*
In March 2018, Bonnie joined the family.
The pooch experienced suffering from a young age; at just 10 months old, she’d been found abandoned on the streets of Beijing, covered in sores and lice. It’s a miracle she’s; Bonnie also has the same canine distemper virus, which has an 80% fatality rate among puppies.
Despite having recovered since, the pup still suffers from a syndrome known as myoclonus (involuntary muscle spacs that resulted in a neurological tic) but is now happy in her forever home.
Eight months later, Skye adopted Nellie.
The Samoyed dog escaped a brutal fate when someone burned down the puppy mill where she was bred for the purpose of being sold as dog meat. Nellie, who was pregnant at the time, survived but was badly burnt.
She was treated for her burns and gave birth to eight puppies – though unfortunately only seven survived.
The pups were sent to Y-Not Save a Sam Rescue, while Nellie herself was taken in by Skye and her family.
Skye said: ‘Clover is the sweetest boy, he is quiet, friendly and sensitive. I would say he is the most affected by the abuse he has been through, as they are manhandled and beaten, thrown around by metal poles around their necks in slaughterhouses.
‘He is a cuddly boy but loves his own space and loves his walks where we he can walk for miles on his own exploring.
‘Bonnie is a larger than life, hilarious character. She is small from stunted growth from her starvation as a puppy, but she makes up for it in personality. She is loud, loves to bark and play fight, she is funny and a real tough cookie, gets bowled over and trampled by the other two when playing and gets back up and carries on every time.
‘She is the little boss, always starts the play fighting and is fiercely independent, even though she needs a lot of help and support with her myoclonus.
‘She has definitely come out of her shell and changed the most since we adopted her, she was quiet and frail at first, very weak and her tic was very bad to the point she could barely sleep or stay crouched to go to the toilet. She has blossomed and grown into an amazing character.’
Skye said: ‘Nellie is a typical Samoyed and has been from the beginning. She has the “Sammy spirit” and Sammy smile, is endlessly happy and adores her life.
‘She absolutely loves chasing her ball and running, walking lots and cuddling up to us at night. Her and Bonnie have a special bond we noticed straight away. Nellie has had puppies and is very maternal, and we don’t know if Bonnie ever knew her mum, she spent most of her recovery in isolation as she was so ill.
‘Nellie treats Bonnie like her baby, cuddles her, licks her and looks after her, and Bonnie seems to really love her and enjoy it. Their relationship is so lovely to watch.
‘All the dogs get along so well and love each other so much.’
Now, Skye wants to educate others on the dog meat trade, and encourages people to adopt when it comes to dogs.
She said: ‘We would just like to raise awareness of the dog meat trade and rescuing and urge people to adopt instead of buying dogs.
‘People have a common misconception that rescue dogs are difficult, problematic, or always cross-breeds and undesirable breeds who aren’t family-friendly.
‘I think our three show that is not always the case, and rescuing has changed our lives as well as theirs.
‘Rescue dogs deserve a chance of a loving, safe forever home, and they give so much.’
Slaughterhouse Survivors Fur-Ever Home
A three day Prosecco festival is coming to the UK later this year, so get your glasses ready.
The event is hosted by Prosecco Springs, the UK’s first and largest festival dedicated to the holy sparkling wine.
This year will mark the festival’s third event, with Oval Space hosting its homegrown festival with producers, live music, masterclasses Italian street food and prosecco. Amazing.
Tickets cost £40 each, and the event will spread over three days, from 17 to 19 May, 12pm to 5pm.
Included in the ticket is eight sample glasses of Prosecco, entry to Oval Space for five hours, live music and a wide range of Italian street food to purchase.
The event is incredibly popular, with 7,000 people attending.
Honestly, it sounds amazing and we couldn’t think of anything better than an entire day dedicated to Prosecco.
In other bubbly news, Marks & Spencer is selling a pink Prosecco glittery Easter egg.
The ‘Proseggo Egg’ is flavoured with Prosecco, berries and salt, and is selling for £5.
It’s super pretty as it’s glittery, pink and features a hand-decorated swirly design.
Egg Developer Katy Patino spent over a year perfecting the egg as part of the store’s Easter collection.
She said: ‘I absolutely love the new and on-trend Proseggo Egg.
‘We’ve infused luxury milk chocolate with raspberry, blackcurrant and Prosecco for a delicate flavour with floral notes. ‘And, at just £5 you can treat your loved ones to that touch of luxury without breaking the bank.’
Prosecco illustration via Dave Anderson
A once-obese husband and wife are now unrecognisable from their wedding photos after losing nearly 10 stone between them.
Nicky and Mark had always struggled with their weight. Though they’d lost pounds on crash diets, they would always put the weight back on.
Nicky, 45, weighed 16st 9 lbs and was a size 26, but she took up running and joined Weight Watchers and has lost more than 6st and fits a size 12.
Her husband Mark, 47, joined her and now weighs 13st 9lbs, while Nicky weighs 10st 6lbs – and they’re helping each other to stay on track.
Nicky, from Bristol said: ‘It actually became a lot easier for me to stick to it when Mark joined.
‘Instead of having this little devil on my shoulder, encouraging me to have that extra chocolate, he was totally focused too.
‘Before he joined, he’d say things like ‘oh you’ve done so well, let’s have a glass of wine!’, but with his head in the game too it became much simpler.
‘I hadn’t realised how complacent I’d been, so it gave us both the push we needed to prepare healthy meals for the family.’
Civil servant Mark added: ‘My weight had crept up over the years and I’d gotten to around 16 stone, so I signed up for the coach to 5k and noticed shooting pains just below my knee.
‘I could run, but then as soon as I stopped I was in absolute agony.
‘I went to the doctors in 2016 and they also referred me to WW, so I thought I’d give it a go – especially after I’d seen how great it was for Nicky.
‘The more weight I lost, the less pain I had.
‘The difference it was making was immediately obvious. It was so helpful.’
Nicky said she has had problems with her weight ‘for as long as I can remember’ and they are unrecognisable from the wedding snaps taken 15 years ago.
Nicky said: ‘My mum was the same. We didn’t have a good relationship with food at all.
‘Throughout my teens I would try all sorts of diets and even when I did lose a bit of weight it never stuck.’
After giving birth to their first daughter Poppy, now 12, Nicky managed to lose six stone – but in an unhealthy way, by skipping meals and starving herself.
‘It wasn’t sustainable,’ she said.
‘I wasn’t eating nearly enough and as soon as I started to eat normally again the weight just piled back on – and more!’
After welcoming her second daughter Flora, now nine, she gained weight again.
But when her mum Janet died of oesophageal cancer in 2011, Nicky vowed to get healthy.
She said: ‘I’d always told my mum I’d sort myself out and I was determined to stick to that.
‘I never wanted my daughters to be the same as us with food, so I needed to be a good example.
‘I was in such deep grief that I didn’t start properly for two years, but I went to my GP and got a referral for WW.
‘I really threw myself into it – and my life changed almost immediately. For the first time, I felt like I had the tools to control myself better.’
Mark noticed the changes in Nicky too, commenting on her newfound confidence
He followed suit in 2016 after being inspired by his wife’s journey and has lost nearly three stone with the slimming group.
The duo also found a love for exercise, and started going to running events together, and have tackled 10k runs.
Nicky, who has become a weight loss consultant said: ‘I’d always been terrified of exercise.
‘I had no belief in myself at all and didn’t think I could do anything.
‘But once I started running it was like a magic wand. Each week it got easier and it soon became me-time – a time I could switch off and think about nothing.’
But the family make sure to enjoy an occasional treat.
‘We’ll still enjoy a treat every now and then,’ Nicky said.
‘Our girls love fish and chips, so we’ll get one big portion between us all and split it.
‘It’s more than enough – and saves the pounds on the waist and the pounds in the purse!’
LEAN ON ME - Husband and wife are unrecognisable from their wedding photos after shedding nearly 10 stone between them when they teamed up to beat the bulge
You know that creeping feeling of dread when you realise you’ll need to stand for a prolonged period of time?
All the chairs in the pub are taken. The gig is standing, but it’s 8pm and the support act aren’t even on yet. Your manager thinks standing meetings are better for productivity and ‘active thinking’.
These are terrible moments, but thankfully, there’s now a solution.
Behold the bean bag onesie – an all in one outfit that gives you a comfy seat wherever you go.
ThinkGeek, where the stylish item is sold, describe the onesie as ideal for times when you’re waiting in line for midnight premieres, product launches, and meet-and-greets, but we say: why stop there?
We could wear this all day, every day.
No more staring at someone until they give you their seat on the Tube. No more human interactions where you have to force yourself to stand and chat, as if you’d not rather be lounging.
It’s designed in green cotton, so is the perfect option for every occasion – work, parties, funerals. You’ll be able to sit wherever you please, and thus be the envy of all those who behold you.
Just make sure you’re not pals with any ne’er-do-wells who will think it’s ‘funny’ to snip a hole in your seat and watch all the beans fall out. You don’t need those kind of people in your life.
If you fancy buying this fashion-forward creation, you can do so for the price of $89.99 (£69).
Alternatively, pick up a bean bag from Ikea and sew it on to an outfit of your choosing. There’s really no need to stand when you could be sitting.
Beanbag onesie lets you sit wherever you go
And the title of the auction we most wish we were at goes to… this one, where a country home was listed with a guide price of just £1.
We could have got on the property ladder for the price of a sausage roll if we’d been determined enough.
The four-bedroom home in Ebbw Vale, South Wales, was put up for auction with a guide price of £1, sparking a major bidding war. In the end it was sold for £32,500.
That’s quite the bargain for a bit of property in the countryside, but there’s a reason the home was offered up on the cheap.
The house is sinking into the ground. Yup, sinking. So whoever bought the place is unlikely to actually live there, and will instead probably demolish the house and build something new.
Huge cracks can be seen in the walls, and the garden wall has moved from six feet away to just six inches away from the house. Not an ideal living situation.
The home’s new owners are investors who do not wish to be named, so again, it seems like they’ll tear the place down.
If planning permission is granted, the land could be used to build new properties.
According to property experts, if the house weren’t sinking it would be worth around £170,000.
Mortgage advistor Kelly Williams, of Cheshire & Co estate agents, said: ‘In all my property experience I have never come across a property being priced at a guide price so low.
‘It was incredible.
‘The house is sinking. It’s moving forward, cracking in half with the front of the home falling forward.
‘The movement has been happening for the past eight years but within the last two years there has been a significant increase in movement.
‘Up to four inch cracks have appeared and ceilings are bulging. It’s quite scary to go in there. It’s a teardown property.
‘At that super low guide price we were looking to spark interest prior to the auction.’
A country house sparked a bidding war at auction - with a guide price of just ONE POUND. The four-bed home overlooks lush green countryside and was put on the market with a tiny guide price. But following a bidding war it was finally sold under the hammer for ?32,500. ? Cheshire & Co/WALES NEWS SERVICE
It’s Friday night and I’m on a late train home from Birmingham to London.
The carriage is full of tired faces of commuters trying to ease the work week off them and drunken slurs from those who choose to drink it down in cans of Fosters bought just for the journey.
There are two white men sitting opposite me and they are strange spots of paleness among a sea of colour.
For once, most of us are black and brown, with our skin shining against bright outfits, such as the green and red hijabs the group of Muslim women behind me are wearing.
The two Englishmen have suddenly found themselves in Africa with Nigeria to the right of them, Sudan to the left, and I, Egypt, in front.
They are loud and drunk, and crush beer cans in between their conversation that no one wants to have. They interrupt us time and time again.
Nigeria tells them where he’s from and they talk about jerk chicken – saying they get it from Tesco.
Sudan tells them where they’re from, but they see headscarves and hear only Muslim.
They joke about the Taliban and ask what ISIS really want.
I exchange looks with the women and we roll eyes together, our silence an entire language.
They ask me where I’m from and I curtly reply ‘London’.
The colour of my skin doesn’t look like London and they insist, ‘No, where are you from from’.
I tell them I’m half Egyptian and half Irish and they roar loudly in appreciation, before telling me how exotic I am. They also ask if I’ve ridden a camel.
Then, they say that I’m a ‘good-looking lass’ and I see the fantasy in their eyes.
They in turn see the anger in mine and call me ‘feisty’ – telling me how they like feisty women.
I am too tired and on my own, so I say nothing and bow my head back to my book.
The journey continues this way.
Us trying to mind our business, them constantly and aggressively trying to pull words from us.
Over the course of the train ride we are rebranded, labelled something new.
Terrorist. Exotic. Foreign.
We get off the train with new names we never asked for and identities that have been given to us.
I want to tell them that my label is writer, poet, feminist and freedom fighter. Those are the names and labels I wear on my chest with pride.
Instead, I’m now part of a terrorist group that they are afraid of, but a woman they will fantasise over late at night when the alcohol has dried up and the music has stopped playing.
That’s the things with labels.
They are wonderful and empowering when you’re the one choosing them.
They are an opportunity to be a new person, become a different human and grow into yourself in diverse ways.
They’re refreshing and rejuvenating and can become a rallying cry, your own shout for independence and freedom.
In essence, it allows you to craft your own identity and image.
They can be really beautiful things, but the minute you’re excluded from the process of choosing your label is the same instant they transform into something else completely.
They become heavy and distorted, a yolk around your neck that changes the person you are and even the direction your life can take.
At various intervals, I have been given the labels terrorist, exotic, sinner, extremist, oriental, Jihadi and fanatic.
They have been placed upon me and in doing so have begun to frame my narrative for me, completely cutting me out of the conversation.
It’s an uncomfortable sensation to be spoken about in a way that misrepresents you, yet knowing there isn’t much you can do to change the story being told.
I often think back to that train ride and the shared glances of exasperation that passed between us all and how frustrating it was for everyone.
Not only was our collective journey interrupted by two men who lacked any cultural awareness, but more so because our identities were framed in ways that were not true to any of us.
We were reduced to labels.
We became nothing more than caricatures of communities or problems that exist, our humanity erased in just a few bawdy jokes and some drunken laughter.
We had all become something that we were not, and that’s one of the biggest dangers with labelling other people.
Rarely will you get it right and the most you’ll do is erase their own ability to tell their story because you’re insisting on telling it for them.
It’s time we remember that we are the only people who have a right to tell our stories and labels will only ever work when you’ve assigned them to yourself.
Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity — positively or negatively — and what the label means to them.
If you would like to get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-op is launching a new gender-neutral gingerbread person, and they need your help to give the product a name.
The new gingerbread person will be launched in September, but the brand has just released a sneak peek of one of the possible designs.
Just as Pret a Manger’s gingerbread man is called Godfrey and their gingerbread woman is called Annie, Co-op’s new gingerbread person will need their very own name. The brand is asking customers to suggest what they’d like the biscuit person to be called.
Once suggestions are in, the supermarket will create a shortlist from which they’ll make a final decision. All ideas will need to be submitted by 1 May.
A Co-op representative said: ‘Inclusion and diversity lie at the heart of Co-op’s values and we’re looking to create a character which can be used to celebrate different occasions through the year and will appeal to all our customers,” a Co-op representative said.
‘We’ve got some great ideas for what the new characters might look like and we’re pleased our first one is already famous – but now we need the help of our members in deciding on a name.’
So, anyone got any ideas? We’re fans of keeping things simple and calling them Ginger. Easy.
Co-op isn’t the first brand to create a gender-neutral gingerbread character.
Last year a bakery advertised their biscuits as gingerbread people, provoking backlash.
gender-neutral gingerbread person
My best male friend is getting married this year. I’m so happy for him and obviously I want to celebrate, but because I’m a woman, I haven’t been invited to his stag do.
Instead, I’m going to his fiance’s hen do. I feel a bit hurt and left out because as much as I like her, he’s the one I’m close to. Is there anything I can do or say?
Oof, this is a tough one. I absolutely get your pain here. It feels like a betrayal and a rejection to be excluded from your friend’s stag do. Especially on the basis of simply being a woman.
It’s a strangely antiquated ritual, splitting into all-boy, all-girl groups to celebrate the soon-to-be-married. You’d probably like to think that your friendship with this guy is above those sorts of rules. I would, too.
I would be wounded if my best male friend left me off his guest list, and I’d like to think I would invite him to my hen. You’d think enough of us have close friends of the opposite sex, that we would have cancelled the gender split tradition by now.
Apparently not, lovely Alice. Apparently not.
Here’s what I’m thinking. I’m thinking that we do not know the full madness of wedding planning until it comes our time to do it. I’m learning, the more of it I am privy to, that it is a very special but weird and potentially tense time in a couple’s life.
There are all these unspoken rules and regulations they have to factor into every minute decision. Writing a guest list for any wedding-related event is fraught with countless chances to hurt feelings and offend people.
The engaged often feel like they cannot possibly get it right, including and excluding people for any number of different, delicate reasons.
The whole process is absolutely littered with little injustices, missteps and perceived offences. It’s no ordinary party, the wedding. It’s an emotional minefield.
I’m beginning to think that we have to give our beloved friends and family permission to be a little wild when they’re planning their wedding.
Ideally, they’d be chill and everything would be easy. But no one ever truly is, because the whole thing can be so laden with guilt and pressure.
My best advice would be to let your mate get away with excluding you. Forgive him, for he has done his best in a mad situation. I think you could definitely mention that you’re a bit sad not to be going on a lad’s cruise/playing beer pong/whatever manly activity your friend has chosen for his No Girls Allowed bash.
He’s not going anywhere, you are still entitled to your friendship and it will still be there after he ties the knot. Try to loosen up your emotional investment here and minimise how offended you feel.
If you feel the need to vocalise it and you have that kind of friendship, you could say a little something.
But I would also find it in your heart to be OK with it just this once. He’s going through a whole thing right now, trying to throw the biggest party of his life without offending anyone.
If you can, let him get away with hurting your feelings a little and find a way to celebrate, the two of you. Maybe you could suggest that you have a special send-off just the two of you before the wedding.
Maybe you could find out if the bride-to-be has any male friends she didn’t get to celebrate with and do a little get-together, all the cobbled-together opposite-sex friends.
Maybe you can just let this one slide and celebrate doubly joyously with both of them on the big day.
Find a way to forgive him and make peace with your exclusion from the stag do, if you can. We are bound by so many weird, outdated traditions when we get married and we don’t discover just how stubborn and affecting they are until it’s our turn to contend with them.
This much has become apparent to me, just watching my sister and two of my best friends get married. It’s a special madness we all enter into with love and our best intentions.
You may well find, if you choose to get married one day, that you only invite women to your hen do. You may leave your best male friend off the guest list because by that time, once you’ve spoken about it endlessly with your partner, you decide it’s the best or right thing to do.
I just don’t think we can fully anticipate how wedding planning will affect us, until we get there. Maybe you’ll have a glorious co-ed celebration before your wedding and this friend of yours will secretly regret not having you by his side at his stag do.
My point is, wedding planning can send even the most sensible person a little mad. Give your friend a bit of leeway to get it wrong this time.
Obviously, he would never hurt you intentionally and it may not have even occurred to him that he might have. He’s just doing his best as a groom-to-be and I hope you will have plenty of time to celebrate him and his decision to promise forever to the love of his life.
He’s not going anywhere, you are still entitled to your friendship and it will still be there after he ties the knot. Try to loosen up your emotional investment here and minimise how offended you feel.
It’s just one, drunken night you’re missing out on – and you probably wouldn’t even feel like you spent proper time with your friend, anyway.
Go to the hen do, use it as an opportunity to get closer to your friend’s partner and save up all your extra love you have for the wedding day – and all the days of your friendship that follow.
Have a lovely time, all of you.
About Lean On Me
Kate Leaver is the author of The Friendship Cure and she will be answering your friendship woes in her weekly Metro.co.uk column.
If you’d like to submit a question or problem, email LeanOnMe@metro.co.uk with ‘Lean on me’ in the subject line.
Submissions are anonymous and you can follow the discussion on Twitter #LeanOnMe.
How to talk to a woman you don't know
‘Is it hygienic to share a hot tub with 15 people?’
It’s strange that one of my many thoughts swiveling around in my mind as I watch a man across from me stroke his girlfriend’s breasts is about cleanliness.
I’m secretly hoping that no one gets too excited, because the idea of adding sperm into the mix isn’t appealing.
We’re all guests of the Tokio hotel, a new supper club concept that combines food and sensuality in a secret townhouse location.
The invite is vague, with little to no information of what to expect as we step inside, and it’s a weird experience from the get-go (hours before the hot tub incident).
As my friend – let’s call him Ben – and I enter the hotel, a male host dressed in a black silky robe asks us to remove our clothes and put on kimonos, as well as hands us each a very small notebook and a pen.
We’re not allowed to speak in this room but welcome to communicate in writing.
How undressed we’d like to get is up to us; I wear a lace body for the occasion and decide to keep it on for the moment, mainly because the organisers hadn’t accounted for people with large breasts and it’s a bit early in the evening to free the nipple.
It’s a small room, too small for the gathering of around 20-30 guests (all couples), especially as we’re sat on cushions on a heated floor. But it’s a welcoming atmosphere, with people eyeing each other up and trying to suss out who they might have fun with later.
Since we can’t talk, we pass notes to each other; most are polite questions such as ‘have you been to anything like this before’ but soon enough, we’re passing dirty greetings along.
Ben gets one such note: ‘I can’t wait to get to know you tonight’, it said. And the subtext of ‘I’d like to shag you’ is pretty clear.
It’s a great icebreaker and since the hosts pass the ‘dirty’ notes for us, no one is left feeling rejected or embarrassed.
After the introduction, we’re asked to do a few tasks, including looking into the eyes of a stranger, followed by closing our eyes and doing a ‘dance’ together, with our fingers. I’m stood across from Charlie*, a handsome man with a lovely smile.
For this minute or two, we focus purely on each other and it’s oddly erotic, even though we’re barely touching.
Moments later, it’s dinner time – and I say that loosely.
Our meal is, quite literally, spread out onto the table; there are no plates or forks, just a bundle of vegetables and miso sauce for us to eat with our hands. It’s quite evident that the emphasis of this supper club isn’t on food, especially as midway through our starter, the lights go out and we’re treated to an erotic dance as we listen to a soundtrack of a woman moaning.
Suddenly, the atmosphere is electric and I notice some people getting turned on.
But personally, I’m still perplexed. It’s not quite a sex party and not quite a dinner, and I’ve not had enough of either to satiate my appetite.
We’re split into groups of four, and asked to go to different floors and rooms for a special experience. Mine includes drawing on other people with glow-in-the-dark paint, while Ben gets a bit more physical in his.
‘I had to massage a man, with oil, and then he did it to me. I mean, it was a nice massage but they also asked us to make these sensual sounds and given I’m not gay, it felt a bit weird,’ he tells me afterwards.
At the main meal, I end up next to James*, who is also a journalist. I notice his treasure trail and realise he’s naked under the robe. His girlfriend is sat across from us, and he tells me they’re ‘not swingers’ but have an open relationship and live together.
It’s also during this meal that I receive my first dirty message, which says ‘I noticed you the moment you walked through the door’.
I’m very flattered but since I have no idea who it was from, I resume my chat with James.
At this point, the sensual aspect of the evening truly begins (and I don’t just say that because I fancy my dinner company).
First, two of the guests – who as it turns out are actually hired performers posing as guests, one of them Charlie – slide underneath the boxed glass table and start covering each other in paint.
‘I need to readjust, this is giving me a hard-on,’ James whispers in my ear.
After the show, we go upstairs to enjoy dessert. In the middle of the room is a naked man, suspended in the air by ropes, getting his arse smacked by his mistress. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to munch on profiteroles without thinking of penis again.
But we’ve had wine by now, so none of us are particularly bothered.
Enter the hot tub.
More than a dozen of us venture out onto the roof, get naked and jump in the tub (note: there is no graceful way to do this).
We’re sharing bottles upon bottles of wine between us, and it’s loosening inhibitions. Hands are wandering underneath the water, nipples are being sucked, massages are given and penises stroked.
An hour later, I’m kissing James (you knew this was coming, didn’t you?) as his girlfriend floats naked in the same hot tub, getting her feet sucked by a stranger. Another two are playing with her breasts.
Later, it escalates into fingering, blow jobs and partner swapping galore.
The hot tub starts to feel crowded, and it’s at this point I bow out and head downstairs.
I’ve lost Ben, and find him making out with the mistress in the main room.
Meanwhile, in the sofa room, there’s a full-blown orgy taking place with six couples shagging and sharing.
As the only singles at the party, barring one man who bravely came on his own, sex parties can sometimes make you feel like the odd one out.
Because while everyone is happy to share for a short time, they inevitable end up with their partner in the end.
And if you’re a newbie to this scene, it can feel uncomfortable – which is why I recommend bringing a male friend or going to the singles only event (which took place the night before, on the Friday).
‘Friday had much more of a subdued energy; there wasn’t so much sexual activity, but deep conversation,’ Gillian Mead, co-founder of the Tokio Hotel, tells me.
‘A lot of people very also interested in the Shibari workshop. Because they weren’t couples, it was more of a “getting to know each other” energy.
‘Sex is something that we expect, but that’s not the sole purpose.
‘We are not a sex party, but some people might come and engage in sexual activity, some might not, and do a massage or stare into each other’s eyes and have a deep conversation for there hours.’
Tokio hotel is a good introductory event for people who feel overwhelmed by overtly kinky or fetish-inspired evenings, because despite the f***ing that goes on, it’s held in a house and has a more intimate feel to it.
But if you’re single, be prepared to potentially end up like I did – doing shots with the staff while watching others orgasm.
I still had a blast, and may or may not have taken that kiss with James further – you’ll never know – but next time, I’m going to the singles night or bringing a lover.
Sensual supper club - (make it saaaaaucy)
We’ve all been told that by a certain age, we should have a certain amount saved.
Both the age and amount vary, but they’re nearly always incredibly intimidating.
Saving is hard, and the lack of financial focus in our education means we fan feel unequipped to deal with the money troubles life throws at us.
It doesn’t help that people assume we’re just spaffing our money on takeaway coffees and Uber trips.
To get some clarity on how we really save and spend, we launched How I Save. Each week we’ll take a look at how a different person spends and saves their money, then share some expert advice on how they (and the rest of us) could save better.
This week we’re looking around the finances of Sam (not his real name, as people can be very nasty about how people spend their cash), a freelance graphic designer living in Manchester.
How Sam saves:
I’ve just left a job earning 27,000 a year to go freelance. I aim to match that salary within the next few months then build upwards.
In the moneysaving app Chip I have £641.25. It’s useful for me because it squirrels money away when I don’t really notice it going missing, in small chunks.
In the app Moneybox I have £697. I got Moneybox because it sounded cool, even though I have no real clue about savings, investments and ISAs. Proof that if someone can package something up neatly for you in an app, you’ll link your bank to it and get an immense feeling of self satisfaction. Just call me the Wolf of Wallstreet.
Then £573 in another bank account that isn’t really savings, it’s just a way of putting money somewhere else.
I’m not entirely sure what I’m saving for. I own a house. I guess I’m saving for a bit more security, especially now I’m out on my own job-wise. Plus for the inevitable expense that comes with having children.
The main way I save is by giving a huge chunk of money to my wife each month to put in her (the joint) account, then trying my hardest not to splurge the remaining few hundred pounds.
I struggle with saving because I like to eat. All the time. This might sound like it isn’t a lot but I’m the kind of guy who gets a double pasty Greggs for the walk between the office and buying my *actual* lunch. I Can’t go into a petrol station without buying a sandwich.
I don’t even drink. I just love snacking.
How Sam spends:
Monthly expenses: My half of monthly spending is as follows:
Monthly income: It WAS around £1900 after tax, through wages and bits of freelance work.
Monday: I set up my new website and paid for all that, £61 for the year. My weekly train pass was £26.80. I bought a £2.45 bakery for lunch, and a £2.55 coffee. When I got to my work space I bought another couple of coffees for me and a friend – £6.00. It was cold when I got off the train so I got the bus back from the station, £2. My phone bill also came out, £44.74. Not the best day spending-wise.
Tuesday: Tuesday was a better day! Took lunch with me (proud), got another £2 bus but got a bit peckish on the way home so stopped off for a £2.45 pasty.
Wednesday: Missed my first train so got a £2 coffee while I waited for the next. Went to Tesco for a cheap lunch. Spent £6 on salad and cookies. Ate all the cookies.
Thursday: Took the car for a service, and sat in somewhere to work for the morning. Spent £10.40 on breakfast and coffee. Oops. Apple Music subscription came out (£9.99) .Then the £160 to Halfords for car repairs. Went to football in the evening, that’s £7 cash. It’s daylight robbery, and I played awfully. What a waste of everyone’s time, energy and money.
Friday: Spent nothing today. Utterly nothing. Not a bean.
Saturday: Nip to the shop for some bits, as the food delivery comes tomorrow, £8.65. Not too bad. Couple of treats in there. Relatively cheap day for a Saturday.
Sunday: Take the lad to football training, and get a £2 coffee and a £2 bacon butty. Then after we all go for breakfast – £29 but it all comes from the mysterious ‘joint account’ so that’s fine, right? Spending stops at midday, thankfully – the shop arrives that was paid for by that joint account again, but that’s it for the week.
I may have nipped out later for biscuits, £1.79
Total spend this week: £388.82
How Sam could save:
We spoke to the experts over at money advice app Cleo to find out how Sam could boost his savings. Here’s their advice:
This answers the question every Londoner wants to know: what do you start saving for when you’ve already bought a house?
The answer seems to be pasties.
You made 16 purchases this week excluding bills. 56% of these were snack based. You’re on track to ‘pop out’ for biscuits or a coffee 520 times in the next year. If nothing else, that’s just a lot of extra human interaction scheduled.
Where you’re going wrong:
It’s pretty bold to go freelance with less than one month’s salary as a cushion (it’s also bold to share your ridiculously affordable mortgage with a demographic who spends £800 a month to rent a cupboard).
When you do the maths, there’s roughly £404 unaccounted for in your predicted month’s spending. A mysterious amount goes to your joint account, a mysterious amount gets rounded up by Moneybox, a mysterious amount gets automatically siphoned off by Chip and then you deposit a mysterious amount in a personal savings account.
This is totally fine behaviour if you’re in a salaried role and your only business expense used to be a £2.79 pasty to fuel you to your desk. But you’re not. Expenses are coming. Taxes are coming. The night is dark and full of receipts.
Business spending: £75.50 a week / £302 a month
This is what you’ve been spending on trains, snacks and software in a salaried role. This is how much you can still safely spend a month on freelance costs without changing anything.
Personal spending: £9.99 a week / £37.99 a month
If you take out the coffees and snacks built into your work habits, you only spend £7 a week on intentionally fun activities. I’ve added Apple Music here just to make it less depressing. It’s not inspiring me, Sam.
Joint spending: ??? a week / ??? a month
After bills and the wiggle room for car repair etc, you’ve probably got a free £400-500 to work with each month. You need to sit down with your partner and figure out how much of this can go into family savings, and how much can go to building a salary buffer for you. Absolutely no vagueness allowed.
I’m hijacking this space to get you to Google receipt and expenses apps. Get one. Now.
How Sam Saves
It was a balmy summer’s day in a quiet residential area of north London, and as the evening drew to a close, everyone at the party took a seat and readied themselves for the joking hour – a scene I witnessed many times in my childhood.
At the end of every Iranian party, known as a ‘mehmooni’, when the banquet of Persian food has been devoured, and everyone’s been suitably embarrassed on the dance floor, it is normal for guests to gather round and offer up their best Persian jokes.
During my childhood, my dad was often the first to have a go and I loved seeing guests cry with tears of laughter at his latest offering.
The jokes were always recounted in Farsi, most used a clever play-on-words, and every single one was intrinsically linked to what we all knew and understood to be quintessentially Persian, such as a ‘taroff’ – a customary and very over the top, excessive politeness – or a very politically incorrect dig at the stereotypes we’d all grown up laughing at.
The natural format of these mehmoonis – regardless of the country where they occur – has always been this way, and I imagine that’s how it will remain.
And this unique, wonderful cultural heritage is something I’d always pictured sharing with my own kids.
Though I grew up in Hertfordshire, my Iranian parents, who came to the UK in the late 70s, exclusively spoke Farsi to me. When I started school, I began to respond primarily in English, but they continued to speak to each other and to us kids in Farsi. As a result, I am fully bilingual.
It’s a skill that’s given me a lot. I’ve been able to communicate with Persian relatives all over the world, and it’s helped us all stay connected to our family’s history and each other. I spent countless summers as a teenager in Tehran with my cousins, who didn’t speak a word of English.
It means I’ve been able to hear first-hand about the wonderful Iran my extended family grew up in. Not the Iran you might think you know based on the limited and often negative press, but the real Iran, where people are helpful, open minded, kind and ridiculously generous.
Being bilingual has been such a positive force in my life that my husband Andy and I were determined our children would be bilingual too. We were so committed that Andy, who is British, took lessons to learn Farsi.
In the first year of our daughter Millie’s life, I spoke only Farsi at home to her. It helped that I was on maternity leave and spending most days with my mum and my grandmother.
By the time I went back to work when she was one, Millie was able to follow commands in Farsi. When she started nursery, her English came on in leaps and bounds, but Farsi entirely took a back seat.
As a journalist, I was speaking English all day and we all fell out of the habit of speaking Farsi at home. I was exhausted after a day at work at and speaking in one language to Millie and another with Andy simultaneously was hard work. I also stopped seeing my family daily, so we were less exposed to it.
Now that Millie is is two and a half, when we occasionally speak Farsi to her she gets frustrated – rejecting our attempts to reintroduce it. When my parents try, she is either unable to understand, or ignores them. Unsurprisingly, this is a sore point for my parents, who were thrilled in mine and Andy’s initial determination to raise a bilingual child.
Now, I doubt Millie will ever be bilingual like I am and that causes me immense guilt. It means she will miss out on the rich tapestry of culture, heritage and strong sense of Iranian identity I grew up with. She won’t get to know that part of herself – or me.
My parents are frustrated by my inaction and I can’t blame them. There is going to be a certain disconnect with their grandchild because of this sudden loss of language commonality.
When I was a child, my parents worked really hard to build an Iranian community for me here, despite their displacement from Tehran during the Revolution. As a result, my childhood here was filled with huge Iranian parties, amazing food, a network of Iranian ‘aunties’ and many second generation bilingual friends.
Alongside the weekend birthday parties in McDonald’s with my British friends were sleepovers with my Iranian cousins. My bilingual ability was the glue that brought it all together.
Of course it’s easier to speak to Millie in a language she is finally adept at communicating in. And with Andy and I speaking English together, the onus on instilling this second language really falls to me.
But I know a bit of frustration, hard work and resilience would be worth it in the end, when Millie is sat on my lap and rolling her eyes to my dad’s ridiculous Persian jokes at the end of the mehmooni. I only hope it’s not too late to get there.I am so incredibly proud to be the mother of my trans son
Brexit has made me afraid of speaking my native language in the UK
If eating chocolate all day seems more appealing than your current job, now could be the time for a career change.
Chocolate and confectionery giant Mars Wrigley is hiring an intern.
The company, which makes Mars bars, Malteasers, Milky Way, Skittles, M&Ms, Snickers, Twix, Galaxy, Starburst, Juicy Fruit and Extra chewing gum, has launched the ‘World’s Sweetest Internship 2019’.
The role involves media work and social media training, but most importantly, it includes sampling the brands and creating flavours of our own.
The only catch is that the role is based at their headquarters in Chicago so you’d have to be willing to move the the U.S. for eight to 12 weeks.
The role is fully paid (though they haven’t revealed the salary) and comes with a signing bonus – a year’s worth of sweets and chocolate.
Applicants should be high school graduates but those with a university degree are preferred.
You must be at least 21 years of age as of May 20, 2019 but still posses the mindset of a kid in a candy store.
They also have some very specific requirements.
The job advertisement says: ‘Ideal candidates should be:
‘Committed to effecting change in the community; previous experience in running programs or events preferred.
‘A strong entrepreneur and self-starter, preferably someone who isn’t afraid to ring every doorbell in every neighborhood on Halloween.
‘As passionate about Chicago as a Sox fan who heads to Wrigley for the cross-town classic.
‘Able to distinguish between the chocolate used in Snickers vs. M&Ms; name all five fruity flavors from the Skittles rainbow; and prove they can keep a potted peppermint plant alive for at least eight weeks.
‘Demonstrate the will power to write about and photograph candy without eating it before the work is complete.’
They also want someone with writing, communication and organisational skills as well as knowledge in photo and video editing and social media.
Experience in journalism or creative content development is preferred but not required.
Mars Announces World-Wide Recall Of Chocolate Bars
Peter Van Zeller and Nancy Bowstead, both 97, served in the Second World War and now live in Brighton. But they never met, until last year.
The war veterans met at a Blind Veterans training and rehabilitation centre where they both now live. They immediately fell in love.
A mere six months later Peter, who was born in London and grew up in Inverness, decided to propose to Nancy, from Cheshire.
So, the couple – both previously married and widowed- decided to make a formal commitment to each other surrounded by family and friends.
They held hands throughout a blessing service which had all the hallmarks of a wedding without the legal formality of a marriage, in a chapel decorated with flowers and hearts.
The pair have been inseparable since meeting at the rehab centre, where they moved after going blind later in life due to glaucoma.
Nancy also had two strokes while Peter had macular degeneration.
They’re delighted to have found each other and consider it a dream come true.
‘This lady came and sat next to me in the lounge after dinner,’ explained Peter. ‘She definitely had a spark about her and we hit it off immediately.
‘Until I met Nancy, I hadn’t realised how lonely I’d really been since my wife died. We just want to live and be happy together for a very long time.’
Nancy said that she thought Peter was ‘a little grumpy’ when they first met but once they got talking, she felt the spark.
‘It was just like an electric shock,’ she said.
‘We now live just four doors down from each other so I can go and visit him whenever I wish.
‘He proposed because he wanted to make sure I didn’t go off with another man. There are a lot more men than women here.
‘It is a dream come true to know that I could be treasured and feel loved by someone as wonderful as Peter after many years alone. It really has been a miracle and we love each other to bits.’
Peter joined the Royal Air Force aged 18, training as a pilot and flying the Westland Whirlwind fighter jet in a squadron protecting cargo vessels at sea.
In 1943 he joined the army and was sent to Normandy about a week after the D-Day landings in 1944, serving in the infantry.
During his time, he was also shot in the right arm by a sniper. He later went on to get married and have a family but sadly his wife Betty died in 2012, aged 89.
Similarly, Nancy had two children with her late husband who also died aged 89 in 2013.
When she was 17, Nancy left to serve her country, joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in 1941.
She then served on a gun site in Swansea for the remainder of the war and was discharged as a subaltern in 1948.
Nancy joined the Blind Veterans charity in 2011 and Peter joined five years later.
The two share stories of their former lives together and are delighted to officially be a couple.
The charity’s chaplain, Clare Callanan, officiated at the service which included prayers, readings, favourite hymns picked by the couple and a declaration of their love where they made promises to honour each other.
‘We want to live forever and enjoy our time together,’ added Nancy. ‘We’ve had a lot to face in our lives and we just want to enjoy each other’s company.
‘We are looking forward to doing all sorts of things together. We are so happy.’
Blind Veterans blessing
A mum who said her baby’s eczema was so severe that she couldn’t kiss or cuddle him, claims his skin has been soothed by a £7.99 cream.
Pui and Danny Tsui, parents of little Alex, said when their son was three months old he started off with a little dry patch on his forehead that quickly spread all over his face.
The family, from Hertfordshire, tried everything to get his skin to clear up.
Alex, now three, was only five months old when his condition became extreme and he had to be admitted to the hospital and put on an intravenous antibiotic drip.
He was unable to do lots of activities that children his age could do, as friction could cause further infection.
When Pui and Danny went to their GP, Alex was recommended an over-the-counter steroid cream but his mum and dad wanted a long term solution.
When they came across a cream made by Skin Salvation, which they could buy online for £7.99, the parents were delighted.
Mum Pui said it’s a ‘miracle’ cream that completely changed Alex’s skin.
‘Having your first baby can be a stressful time as it is, but every day was so difficult as he was so upset and in pain and discomfort,’ said Pui.
‘He wasn’t able to learn as quickly or meet physical milestones like other babies.
‘It felt so cruel to hold his arms down physically as he was using his natural instinct to rub his face up against you, or anything he could, to itch. His skin was so raw we couldn’t even kiss or cuddle him.
‘I would be physically exhausted from holding him the whole day to ensure he didn’t infect himself again. A few times I’d wake up feeling guilty that in my sleep, I’d let his arms escape and he’d scratched his face until the skin went weepy.’
In one month, Alex was prescribed a total of three courses of oral antibiotics as well as other petroleum-based creams, baby antihistamine, a skin wash and steroids.
His parents wanted something more natural, and didn’t want him to become dependent on steroids.
Pui did lots of research online and found the Skin Salvation cream being recommended on a mums’ forum online.
The product, which is sold on Amazon for a slightly higher price, contains beeswax, – which forms a waterproof barrier for the skin – hemp seed, safflower and olive oils.
‘We use Skin Salvation every night as soon as he comes out of the bath,’ said Pui. ‘His body is eczema-free but we still like to keep it healthy and use it more for prevention.’
Consult with your doctor and get food allergy tested with a dietitian before purchasing any cream to treat yourself.
The varity in design is all in the name of allowing you to rest and give you a good night’s sleep.
Now there’s a bread pillow, which serves the same use as a regular pillow but with the added perk of letting everyone know how much you love bread.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pillow, inspired by carby goodness, is available on Amazon where you can find the weirdest and most wonderful creations humanity has to offer.
Described as a ‘plush stuffed toy for home decor’, the product comes in three sizes: 11.8”, 23.6” and 31.5”.
Bread enthusiasts might want to go for the larger one while the non-committal types can opt for the smaller option, which looks like the size of an ordinary pillow.
The pillow isn’t quite as cheap as a loaf of bread as it retails at
People have left raving reviews on the website, commending the novelty cushion for being ‘adorable and unique’.
One reviewer wrote: ‘Got this for my wife. She loves it. She laughed at it. Is it as big as the picture? Nope. Is it close? Yup. Is it comfortable? You bet your bottom dollar it is. Heats up just like a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven if you sleep hot. Does it smell like bread? Only if you think about it really hard while in the bread aisle of your local grocery store.’
Another person wrote: ‘Finally you can fulfill your lifelong dream of falling asleep on a giant pillow made of bread! It’s got a fluffy exterior, and plastic beans on the inside. It’s a pretty good pillow…just don’t try to eat it.
‘I got the version that’s 33 inches. It’s massive. And wonderful.’
Others complained that it wasn’t as big as pictured.
If you wanted to complete the look, Amazon also sells bread slippers. What more could you want?
Amazing bread pillow Picture: Amazon METROGRAB
A mum has spoken out about major health issues being dismissed by doctors, after a GP suggested her terminal cancer was probably irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Linzi Page, 36, went to her doctor last January complaining of blood in her stools and changes in her bowel movements.
The mum-of-two says the GP was ‘very dismissive’, stating she probably had IBS. Linzi did a blood test and offered a stool sample, but the results showed no abnormalities.
Dr Chris McKenna, medical director of NHS Fife, said: ‘We are unable to comment on the care of individual patients for reasons of confidentiality.’
Three months later the issues hadn’t gone away, so Linzi went back to see a doctor from the Burntisland Medical Group in Fife. This time around she was sent for an urgent colonoscopy.
A few days later Linzi was told she had stage four metastatic bowel cancer. She has been given just two years left to live.
Linzi said: ‘Probably typical of everyone who is at a young age, the doctor was very dismissive.
‘They said ‘it’s probably IBS’ – then they did the routine blood test and took a stool sample, then it was all forgotten about
‘I just knew myself that something wasn’t right.
‘I still had bleeding, there was too much blood and I was the one who pushed for further tests.
‘I went back to my GP in April and told them ‘this just doesn’t feel right at all and I just don’t buy that it’s IBS’.
‘I naively thought that it couldn’t be cancer as nothing had ever been mentioned by the medical professionals.
‘I didn’t in a million years expect the results to come back showing bowel cancer.
Symptoms of bowel cancer:
Symptoms of bowel cancer include:
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, speak to your GP.
‘I was absolutely devastated when they took me into a little side room by myself to tell me – it’s not what I expected at all.’
Linzi is now fundraising £22,000 to pay for an intravenous treatment that’s not available on the NHS in Scotland, called Avastin. The cycles of the drug cost £2,200, and Linzi and her husband Mark hope they will help extend her life.
So far the mum has raised £11,950, and will begin her treatment in April.
‘My frustration is with the doctors, it doesn’t enter their head – if you’re young they just think it’s IBS, that’s their first reaction,’ said Linzi.
‘They never consider the possibility that it could be bowel cancer and decide to send you for a colonoscopy.
‘If I went when I was 60 they would have sent me for a colonoscopy right away, but when I presented these symptoms at age 35 that’s not the doctors initial reaction.
‘Unfortunately, by the time younger people do get diagnosed because we go through the process – it’s too late for us.
‘I literally cannot think about my situation day-to-day, it’s like I’m talking about myself in the third person.
‘If I do think about it I will get very depressed and part of cancer is the mental battle to keep yourself going.
‘So I just can’t think about it as I want to spend as much time with my kids as I can.
‘I want my children to know I’ve done everything I can to be with them for as long as possible. It really is so much more special the time I’ve got with them.’