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

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    RICHMOND HEIGHTS, MO - APRIL 01: In this photo illustration, an 'Impossible Whopper' sits on a table at a Burger King restaurant on April 1, 2019 in Richmond Heights, Missouri. Burger King announced on Monday that it is testing out Impossible Whoppers, made with plant-based patties from Impossible Foods, in 59 locations in and around St. Louis area. (Photo Illustration by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
    (Picture: by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)

    Food tastes better when it’s free, and that is a fact.

    Burger King clearly know this as they’re giving away free Whopper burgers on what shall hereby be known as Whopper Wednesdays.

    The chain will only be serving their signature burger to try and remind people of the ‘royalty’ of the classic dish. If you try to order another burger in store, you’ll simply be served a Whopper instead.

    There are two ways to get your hands on a free Whopper tomorrow as well. If you’re near one of the restaurants, download the Burger King UK app, register and go to their nearest participating branch to claim.

    For those not able to pop into a Burger King on the day there will be no need to worry, they’ll be adding a free Whopper to all Burger King orders on Deliveroo on 17 April.

    Katie Evans, Marketing Director at Burger King UK, said: ‘We are so excited to treat the nation to our iconic Whopper. The Whopper is Burger King’s pride and joy, and for one day only we think everyone deserves to get involved, tuck in and savour that flame grilled goodness on us.

    ‘Burger fans have no choice, but in a good way. Hope you understand. After all, Burger King is not called Home of The Cheeseburger!’

    They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but in this case it might not actually be true. As long as you like Whoppers, you’re pretty golden.

    Go forth, and let the meat sweats ensue.

    MORE: Statins: Side effects, risks, and benefits

    MORE: What to do if you don’t get your first choice Primary school place and how to appeal


    Burger King Offers Meatless Whopper In Its St. Louis LocationsBurger King Offers Meatless Whopper In Its St. Louis Locations

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    Meghan Markle and the Queen
    ‘Elizabeth’ is among the most popular royal names this year (Picture: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

    While it may only be April, a list of the most popular baby names of the year has been compiled by Nameberry and surprisingly features a number of royal family favourites.

    Charlotte has taken a spot in the top 10 girls’ names while Elizabeth has also managed to fall into the favoured 50.

    Royal names within the top 50 girls' names:

    9. Charlotte

    35. Elizabeth

    Royal boys’ name proved more popular among normal folk with six appearing in the top 50 boys’ names.

    Henry fell just outside the top 10 while Arthur and Louis ranked in the 20s, with Charles not far behind.

    Harry and William both managed to make the top 50.

    Royal names within the top 50 boys names':

    11. Henry

    21. Arthur

    22. Louis

    26. Charles

    35. Henry

    44. William

    The Royals are partial to recycling their favourite regal names, with there being 12 Alberts within the family since 1819.

    That’s followed closely by George of which there are 10, and eight royals called Charles.

    There has also been seven Marys in the past 200 years, six Alexandras and Louises and five members named Elizabeth, Christian, Louis, Arthur or Fredrick.

    A baby
    (Picture: Getty)

    If traditional royal names aren’t your thing, you can always consider Disney-inspired names.

    Among the UK’s top princess names are Elsa (Frozen), Tiana (Princess and the Frog) and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty).

    If you’re look to shun all things royal all together, there’s always an old school name you could bring back to life.

    There are a number of vintage names making a comeback in 2019 including the royal Arthur, Atticus, and Audrey.

    MORE: These are the most popular baby names of 2019 so far

    MORE: What are the predictions for the royal baby’s name?


    Royal baby namesRoyal baby names

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    Melissa and Cody getting married
    (Picture: MDWfeatures / Cody Kreutz)

    Two former addicts who were both once suicidal have fallen in love, had two sons and now say that the support they’ve had from each other has helped them conquer their addictions.

    Medical biller, Melissa Kreutz, 30, from California, USA, was just 15 when she fell into alcohol addiction. She says her alcoholism stemmed from a lack of self-esteem where she felt like the world would be better off without her.

    For years she abused alcohol, leading to self-destructive behaviour which caused a rift between her and her family.

    Melissa ended up drifting apart from her family due to her addiction, which resulted in her moving out.

    Her family told her she could come back to them if she went to rehab. So she went to her doctor, who was astonished by her excessive drinking, even telling her that he had never seen anyone as young as her that consumed so much alcohol.

    Front desk manager, Cody, 38, was raised Mormon but he had developed an addiction to opioids that resulted in him lying, stealing and starting to hate himself.

    His guilt mixed with self-loathing resulted in him attempting suicide twice within a 24 hour period before he realised he needed help.

    Melissa and Cody pictured happy together. MEET THE two former addicts who were both suicidal until they checked into rehab where they met each other, fell in love, had two sons and now claim that the support they???ve had from one another has helped them conquer their addictions. Medical biller, Melissa Kreutz (30), from California, USA, was just 15-years-old when she fell into an alcohol addiction which was stemmed from a lack of self-esteem where she felt like the world would be better off without her. For years she abused alcohol and this would lead to self-destructive behaviour which caused a rift between her and her family. Melissa ended up drifting apart from her family due to her addiction that lead her to move out. It wasn???t until her family told her she could come back to them if she went to rehab. So she went to her doctor, who was astonished by her excessive drinking, told her he had never seen anyone as young as her that consumed so much alcohol. Front desk manager, Cody (38), was raised Mormon but he had developed an addiction to opioid pills that resulted in him lying, stealing and starting to hate himself. His guilt mixed with self-loathing resulted in him attempting suicide twice within a 24-hour period before he realised he needed help. Both Melissa and Cody checked into rehab in 2013, both going in with low expectations, however, they ended up staying sober for months before meeting each other when Cody instantly fell in love with Melissa. Despite completing his treatments and 12-step programme in October 2013, Cody couldn???t get her out of his mind and asked his friend, who was still in rehab, to pass her number to him and they began dating officially in January 2014, by which time she had also left rehab. The two entered into a whirlwind romance that resulted in Melissa falling pregnant with their first child just five months into dating. Fast forward four years later, they are now proud parents of two sons, Watson (4) and Emerson (18-months),
    (Picture: MDWfeatures / Cody Kreutz)

    Melissa and Cody each checked into rehab in 2013, both going in with low expectations. They ended up staying sober for months before meeting each other.

    Cody instantly fell in love with Melissa.

    Despite completing his treatments in October 2013, Cody couldn’t get Melissa out of his mind and asked his friend, who was still in rehab, to pass her number to him.

    ‘I saw Melissa in rehab and basically fell in love on the spot, but she had no idea who I was,’ said Cody. ‘My rehab ended and I couldn’t get her out of my mind.

    They began dating officially in January 2014, by which time she had also left rehab.

    The two entered into a whirlwind romance that resulted in Melissa falling pregnant with their first child just five months into dating. Fast forward four years later, they are now married, five years sober, and proud parents of two sons, Watson, four and Emerson, 18 months.

    ‘Family has always been the most important thing in my life, unfortunately I allowed alcohol to take them from me,’ Melissa said.

    ‘I have struggled with self-love and abandonment issues my whole life and looked to booze and men to help me heal – that lead to years of self-destructive behaviour.

    ‘Before finding sobriety I held such a deep self-loathing; I believed I would never accomplish anything and that I was a selfish human being who was meant to die an alcoholic’s death.

    ‘At the end of active addiction, I was physically ill and mentally shattered. I hated myself and pushed everyone away and was very alone.

    Cody proposing to Melissa. MEET THE two former addicts who were both suicidal until they checked into rehab where they met each other, fell in love, had two sons and now claim that the support they???ve had from one another has helped them conquer their addictions. Medical biller, Melissa Kreutz (30), from California, USA, was just 15-years-old when she fell into an alcohol addiction which was stemmed from a lack of self-esteem where she felt like the world would be better off without her. For years she abused alcohol and this would lead to self-destructive behaviour which caused a rift between her and her family. Melissa ended up drifting apart from her family due to her addiction that lead her to move out. It wasn???t until her family told her she could come back to them if she went to rehab. So she went to her doctor, who was astonished by her excessive drinking, told her he had never seen anyone as young as her that consumed so much alcohol. Front desk manager, Cody (38), was raised Mormon but he had developed an addiction to opioid pills that resulted in him lying, stealing and starting to hate himself. His guilt mixed with self-loathing resulted in him attempting suicide twice within a 24-hour period before he realised he needed help. Both Melissa and Cody checked into rehab in 2013, both going in with low expectations, however, they ended up staying sober for months before meeting each other when Cody instantly fell in love with Melissa. Despite completing his treatments and 12-step programme in October 2013, Cody couldn???t get her out of his mind and asked his friend, who was still in rehab, to pass her number to him and they began dating officially in January 2014, by which time she had also left rehab. The two entered into a whirlwind romance that resulted in Melissa falling pregnant with their first child just five months into dating. Fast forward four years later, they are now proud parents of two sons, Watson (4) and Emerson (18-months), married and fi
    (Picture: MDWfeatures / Cody Kreutz)

    ‘Leaving the house or speaking to others gave me debilitating anxiety, I woke up every morning feeling like the world was crushing me.

    ‘Due to my physical addiction to alcohol, I could no longer hold a job; I was 25 years old with nowhere to go – no college education, no job, no car, no license and basically nowhere to live. I was alone and waiting to die.

    ‘I found myself back in detox; my parents would allow me to come back home if I went to rehab. I didn’t intend to stay sober; I truly thought my destiny was death.

    ‘I met a doctor who said, “Melissa, I’ve never seen someone so young drink the way that you do, I don’t know why, but you are trying to kill yourself, and you’re going to succeed if you don’t get help”.

    ‘I went to rehab and figured I may as well give it a shot. Then as I began to change, my life began to change. There was a window of opportunity to get sober, and somehow, I jumped through it.’

    Cody says his addiction caused him to become someone he didn’t recognise.

    ‘At one time, alcohol was fun for me, a way to enjoy the company of others, a way to celebrate, a way to have fun. However, it was my addiction to pills that robbed me of my true self,’ he said.

    Melissa and Cody at their wedding. MEET THE two former addicts who were both suicidal until they checked into rehab where they met each other, fell in love, had two sons and now claim that the support they???ve had from one another has helped them conquer their addictions. Medical biller, Melissa Kreutz (30), from California, USA, was just 15-years-old when she fell into an alcohol addiction which was stemmed from a lack of self-esteem where she felt like the world would be better off without her. For years she abused alcohol and this would lead to self-destructive behaviour which caused a rift between her and her family. Melissa ended up drifting apart from her family due to her addiction that lead her to move out. It wasn???t until her family told her she could come back to them if she went to rehab. So she went to her doctor, who was astonished by her excessive drinking, told her he had never seen anyone as young as her that consumed so much alcohol. Front desk manager, Cody (38), was raised Mormon but he had developed an addiction to opioid pills that resulted in him lying, stealing and starting to hate himself. His guilt mixed with self-loathing resulted in him attempting suicide twice within a 24-hour period before he realised he needed help. Both Melissa and Cody checked into rehab in 2013, both going in with low expectations, however, they ended up staying sober for months before meeting each other when Cody instantly fell in love with Melissa. Despite completing his treatments and 12-step programme in October 2013, Cody couldn???t get her out of his mind and asked his friend, who was still in rehab, to pass her number to him and they began dating officially in January 2014, by which time she had also left rehab. The two entered into a whirlwind romance that resulted in Melissa falling pregnant with their first child just five months into dating. Fast forward four years later, they are now proud parents of two sons, Watson (4) and Emerson (18-months), marrie
    (Picture: MDWfeatures / Cody Kreutz)

    ‘I would say the last two years of my drinking and drug addiction were terrible and wreaked havoc on my life emotionally and physically.

    ‘In active addiction, I began lying, stealing and hurting others, I became a man I didn’t recognise, a man I hated. The guilt took me to a very dark place.

    ‘While I still had friends and loved ones, I caused a lot of damage and hurt throughout my addiction. I was spiritually broken, in the middle of a divorce and working a job I hated. At the end, I wanted nothing more than to get clean.

    ‘I believed I was a piece of sh** and I was consumed by guilt. I was broken and had surrendered to my disease, so I was ready to go to any lengths to get clean.

    ‘I had two unsuccessful suicide attempts and finally gave in to seeking help and do everything suggested by the team of doctors.

    ‘Literally, everything has changed since finding sobriety. I was able to become the man I always had been; kind, responsible, empathetic, unselfish.

    ‘I’ve worked incredibly hard over the past four years to move up in my company, last year I became the head of my department.’

    Melissa and Cody with their oldest son Watson. MEET THE two former addicts who were both suicidal until they checked into rehab where they met each other, fell in love, had two sons and now claim that the support they???ve had from one another has helped them conquer their addictions. Medical biller, Melissa Kreutz (30), from California, USA, was just 15-years-old when she fell into an alcohol addiction which was stemmed from a lack of self-esteem where she felt like the world would be better off without her. For years she abused alcohol and this would lead to self-destructive behaviour which caused a rift between her and her family. Melissa ended up drifting apart from her family due to her addiction that lead her to move out. It wasn???t until her family told her she could come back to them if she went to rehab. So she went to her doctor, who was astonished by her excessive drinking, told her he had never seen anyone as young as her that consumed so much alcohol. Front desk manager, Cody (38), was raised Mormon but he had developed an addiction to opioid pills that resulted in him lying, stealing and starting to hate himself. His guilt mixed with self-loathing resulted in him attempting suicide twice within a 24-hour period before he realised he needed help. Both Melissa and Cody checked into rehab in 2013, both going in with low expectations, however, they ended up staying sober for months before meeting each other when Cody instantly fell in love with Melissa. Despite completing his treatments and 12-step programme in October 2013, Cody couldn???t get her out of his mind and asked his friend, who was still in rehab, to pass her number to him and they began dating officially in January 2014, by which time she had also left rehab. The two entered into a whirlwind romance that resulted in Melissa falling pregnant with their first child just five months into dating. Fast forward four years later, they are now proud parents of two sons, Watson (4) and Emerson (18-mon
    (Picture: MDWfeatures / Cody Kreutz)

    The couple’s shared experience played a huge role in their relationship, and their mutual support helps to keep them on track.

    ‘Melissa and I both knew that recovery was the most important thing in our lives, so very early into us knowing each other we set some boundaries,’ says Cody.

    ‘Number one: don’t try to run each other’s programs, number two: make recovery a centre piece of our relationship from the beginning (i.e. dates would be going to twelve-step meetings instead of other things).

    ‘Number three: promise each other that if either of us relapsed in early recovery we would leave the person who relapsed because we would have obviously made a mistake in being in a relationship too soon.

    ‘Melissa and I can both be brutally honest with each other and we also have a tremendous amount of respect for how we each run our own recovery.

    ‘Our family started early and by surprise. Melissa got pregnant four months into us dating. It was a real test for us and made ask very serious questions, but we both decided pretty quickly that being madly in love was what was going to make this work.

    ‘Like, no joke, having a kid scared the sh** out of us, but we both knew that if it was going to happen this soon, we were with the person we wanted to have kids with so we dove right in.

    ‘Having a family has helped us both dramatically. However, I think it’s important to point out that Melissa and I have continued our recovery because we know how bad it will be if we go back.

    ‘This decision has to come from us. Of course, our kids help on making that decision daily, but they do not keep us sober/clean.’

    Melissa adds: ‘I cannot credit my sobriety to my children, while they give me so many reasons to stay sober, they also give me so many reasons to drink/use (mainly stress and exhaustion).

    ‘However, being a mother has taught me the responsibility and accountability I didn’t have before – and those two things are necessary in sobriety.

    ‘People are always supportive. We have had people turn to us for help, and I think that’s the biggest gift. Never give up. Life can be f****** beautiful once you begin to fight. It’s not easy, but it is amazing.’

    MORE: Burger King is giving out free Whoppers tomorrow

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    Ex-Addicts Find LoveEx-Addicts Find Love

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    The lake at St James's Park, with Buckingham Palace in the background
    Your new gaff? (Picture: Getty)

    We’re all trying to reduce our commute times, but living and working at Buckingham Palace really takes the cake.

    A new job has been posted by The Royal Family as part of their Gardens and Grounds team.

    The job is for a gardener, and the successful candidate ‘will help ensure the Royal Gardens and surrounding areas of Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace are maintained to an exceptional standard’.

    The salary starts at £18,100 – depending on experience – but you do have your room and board covered (and in Zone 1 too, unheard of!).

    Daily tasks will include mowing, edging, and top dressing, as well as planting new things across the gardens and making sure they look beautiful for years to come.

    Your living quarters will be shared, but food will be provided for you. If you do decide to go for separate accommodation, your salary will be adjusted.

    As for the rest of the benefits, you’ll get 30 days off a year (including bank holidays), 15% employer pension contribution, training and development, and what the Royal Household call ‘a range of recreational facilities’.

    To get the job you’ll need a clean UK driving license, a minimum qualification of Horticulture NVQ 2 (or similar), and plenty of experience using mowers and other garden equipment (can’t be mishandling a strimmer and losing a finger on Elizabeth’s watch).

    Understandably, too, you’ll need to have a keen eye for horticulture and ways to develop the gardens.

    Given that millions of tourists visit these areas every year, it’s certainly some good exposure.

    If you think it’s the job for you, you can apply here. Applications close on 24 April, so get your green fingers – and CV – at the ready.

    MORE: The most popular royal baby names in 2019 so far

    MORE: Burger King is giving out free Whoppers tomorrow


    Lake at St James's Park and Buckingham Palace, LondonLake at St James's Park and Buckingham Palace, London

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    Jack with his tickets
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Pictures)

    Most trips to the fairground end with a sugar rush and pocketfuls of cheap plastic tat.

    But one schoolboy spent six years saving up all the tickets he could so he could have exactly what he wanted – a giant Minion.

    Jack Barker spotted the toy when he was four – the first time he visited Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey.

    But he knew 100,000 arcade tickets was a huge goal.

    For six years, he refused to give in and take lollipops or novelty pens home, instead saving every ticket from each visit.

    Now 10, Jack has amassed so many he can fill two wheelbarrows with the mountain of almost 100,000 tickets, which weighed around three stone.

    But in the end, Jack decided to leave the Minion toy and donated most of his tickets to charity – keeping just 6,000 for himself to get a new drone.

    JACK BARKER, 10, WITH HIS HUGE STASH OF 96,500 ARCADE TICKETS
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Dad Paul Barker, 47, from Fetcham, Surrey, said: ‘We’ve been collecting the tickets since Jack was four and we’ve never really spent them. He’s always saved them up and you get to a point where you’ve so many.

    ‘It’s pretty good of him – most children would think they’d just get a lollipop each time.

    ‘It’s very mature – let’s hope he’s the same with money when he’s a teenager!

    ‘I dread to think how much we’ve spent over the years in the arcades – it would run into the thousands.

    ‘It’s nothing over the years – a tenner here and there. But I can imagine it’s in the thousands – I don’t want to think about it.

    ‘I know the tickets don’t weigh up to how much you spend but I love seeing the look on his face when he wins.

    ‘The first time we went to Chessington he was putting coins into the slot machines but didn’t really get the concept.

    ‘He’d win one or two tickets then want a giant Minion, so we said it was a good idea to save them for something better down the line.

    ‘It’s become habitual now. He still gets the buzz of winning the tickets, but then we take them home and put them in the storage container.’

    Over the weekend, the mechanic and his son finally decided to try to cash in the tickets and loaded up the wheelbarrows but became stuck when they wouldn’t fit into Paul’s car.

    Instead, they set about counting the tickets – which took four hours and turned out to be in excess of 96,500.

    Paul said: ‘We didn’t manage to get to the theme park itself. If we rocked up with two wheelbarrows full it was going to be an absolute nightmare.

    ‘When you get there you have to feed them into a machine that then prints out a receipt.

    ‘Can you imagine someone queuing behind us waiting to cash in 100 tickets?

    JACK BARKER, 10, WITH THEME PARK-MAD DAD PAUL BARKER, 47
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    ‘It took us four hours so we thought we’d go another day.

    ‘Jack was very excited to know exactly how many we had.

    ‘When you see that big bundle it’s hard to get an idea of how many there are.

    ‘I told him to take a guess and he said about 10,000. I said “I think it’s more than that, love”.

    ‘I have an accurate set of kitchen scales and it works out that five tickets equals one gram.

    ‘So we multiplied that by how many we had in weight.

    ‘I said I think it’s almost 100,000 and of course, Daddy was right.

    ‘We ended up with piles and piles of the folded ones, then a big bag full of individual ones.

    ‘I haven’t got a clue what he’d be eligible to win if he cashed them in.

    ‘There’s been so many funny comments from people saying “oh, 97,000 tickets should be enough for a pencil sharpener”.’

    Amazed by his epic display of tickets, Jack was eager to cash them all in at his favourite theme park – but after realising just how many he had, he decided he’d like to help other less fortunate kids.

    Paul said: ‘My son is very lucky – he’s not spoilt but he doesn’t really want for anything.

    ‘It was really sweet – he wasn’t saying “I want to get something really good with them”. He was just intrigued by how many he had.

    ‘We put them in two wheelbarrows but there were just too many tickets to fit in the car.

    JACK BARKER, 10, WITH SOME OF HIS WINNINGS AFTER JUST ONE TRIP TO ARCADE
    (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    ‘So we were wondering if there was a local charity we could maybe donate them too.

    ‘We thought it might be really nice to give these to a children’s charity who have organised a day out to Chessington’s or something like that.

    ‘I’m always trying to encourage him to do things for others and we thought about going down to a charity.

    ‘There’s so many people out there that will just want them for personal gain.’

    Deciding he’d quite like a new drone, Jack can’t wait to visit the theme park, for which he has a season ticket.

    But as agreed with his dad, he is plotting to find a local charity so children might benefit from some of the prizes he wins.

    Jack said: ‘I’d like to give some prizes to people that don’t really get to go to arcades or have very much money so they can be lucky like me.

    ‘I just thought there was no point of getting something really small and decided to save up for something pretty big.

    ‘What we did was we put them into different piles then put them on a scale. We’ve ended up with quite a lot now.

    ‘We are going to take them into Chessington and cash them in for some big prizes, then maybe give some away.

    ‘I think there’s a drone that’s around 6,000 tickets or something. My last one broke and I wanted to get a new one.

    ‘My friends don’t know about the tickets yet because it’s the Easter holidays, but when I go back to school I’ll tell them about it.’

    Lisa Duff, head of retail at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, said: ‘We cannot believe how many tickets Jack has collected – we think it might just be the most we’ve ever seen. We look forward to meeting him and seeing what prizes he picks.’

    MORE: Woman left with eyebrows that look like ‘they were drawn on with a marker pen’ after salon wax and tint

    MORE: Mum makes six-year-old party guests give the bears they created to the birthday girl


    A kind-hearted schoolboy saved up a whopping 100,000 arcade tickets after spotting a giant Minions toy he wanted six years agoA kind-hearted schoolboy saved up a whopping 100,000 arcade tickets after spotting a giant Minions toy he wanted six years ago

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    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: The Lawrence Hotel, in Burnley, Lancs has now introduced spa packages for posh pooches so that they can relax and enjoy a range of treatments while lounging in white robes to match their owners) - A five star hotel has introduced spa packages for posh pooches including curly blow dries, massages and pedicures. Its no surprise that The Lawrence Hotel, Burnley, Lancs, is now popular with with dog lovers after launching their new services.Pooches can relax and enjoy a range of treatments while lounging in white robes to match their owners.SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Caters News)

    A five-star hotel has introduced spa packages for dogs – including curly blow dries, massages and pedicures.

    The Lawrence Hotel in Burnley has racked up popularity with dog lovers who don’t want to leave their pets at home, offering a spa treatment for humans and their pooches.

    Basically, it’s the ultimate treat day for you and your pup.

    Your dog can relax and enjoy a range of treatments while lounging in white robes to match you. They can have a curly blow dry, a de-stressing massage and a manicure, all while the hotel’s restaurant makes meals fit for even the fussiest of pets with paw-secco. Amazing.

    Hotel owner Michael Huckerby, 43, said his love of enjoying a relaxing treatment with his sprocker spaniel, Hetti, two, was one of the reasons he launched the dog-friendly treatments.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: The Lawrence Hotel, in Burnley, Lancs has now introduced spa packages for posh pooches so that they can relax and enjoy a range of treatments while lounging in white robes to match their owners) - A five star hotel has introduced spa packages for posh pooches including curly blow dries, massages and pedicures. Its no surprise that The Lawrence Hotel, Burnley, Lancs, is now popular with with dog lovers after launching their new services.Pooches can relax and enjoy a range of treatments while lounging in white robes to match their owners.SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Caters News)

    Michael said: ‘A lot of hotels are ‘dog friendly’ but we decided to take it to the next levels and create dog friendly treatments too.

    ‘We’ve had our dog Hetti for two years now, and last year she gave birth to a litter of sevens pups who were all over the hotel.

    ‘Guests loved seeing Hetti and the puppies and we enjoyed having lots of dogs around, so that’s when we decided to be a ‘dog loving hotel’ rather than just a dog friendly one.

    ‘With our spa treatments being so popular, it made perfect sense to extend this to furry guests too.

    ‘With so much open space and great walks in the area it’s the perfect getaway for dogs and their owners, so we wanted to be able to accommodate to both.’

    The services offered for dogs range from dog sitting services and play dates with Hetti, to trips to the local groomers or in-room doggy essential oils massages.

    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: The Lawrence Hotel, in Burnley, Lancs has now introduced spa packages for posh pooches so that they can relax and enjoy a range of treatments while lounging in white robes to match their owners) - A five star hotel has introduced spa packages for posh pooches including curly blow dries, massages and pedicures. Its no surprise that The Lawrence Hotel, Burnley, Lancs, is now popular with with dog lovers after launching their new services.Pooches can relax and enjoy a range of treatments while lounging in white robes to match their owners.SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: Caters News)

    Michael added: ‘The most popular treatment has been the dog de-stress massage, taking a pet anywhere long distance in a car can be a stressful experience, so that starts off with the de-stress massage oil and a pup dressing gown too.

    ‘The feedback we’ve received has really blown us away – dogs are part of the family now so, as well as just bringing them away with you, you want them to have an experience as well.’

    As well as meeting new four-legged friends, Hetti loves to be treated to a curly blow dry and wearing her very own doggy dressing gown.

    Michael said: ‘Hetti is so well behaved and loves to be pampered.

    ‘She was the first one to try out the dressing gowns and things and was very relaxed – every dog needs one!’

    MORE: Burger King is giving out free Whoppers tomorrow

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    DOGGY SPA HOTELDOGGY SPA HOTEL

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    This is the home of infamous satanist aleister crowley
    (Picture: Galbraith /SWNS.COM)

    If you’re into all things dark and witchy, a property previously owned by a real-life Wicker Man could be perfect for you.

    The ruined home of a real-life Wicker Man and former notorious Satanist has been put for sale for more than £500,000.

    Boleskine House in Foyers on the banks of Loch Lomond, Highlands, used to be owned by Aleister Crowley, who is said to have practiced black magic at the property between 1899 and 1933.

    Born in Royal Leamingston Spa, Warwickshire in 1875, Aleister was an occultist, writer and mountaineer who rejected Christian doctrine and established Thelema.

    He called himself a prophet, and said he would be the one to guide humanity into the so-called Aeon of Horus – an age of spiritual interest and self-realisation.

    The ruined home of the real-life wicker man
    (Picture: Galbraith /SWNS.COM)

    He died at the age of 72 in Hastings, East Sussex in 1947.

    In 2015, a major fire ruined the B-listed Georgian building, which was also previously owned by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page from 1970 to 1992.

    The property is listed on the market for £510,000 and includes the ruined Boleskine House – but you could transform it using some magic.

    To tempt those who want to cast spells even more, the property comes with 22.9 acres of land.

    This property features 22.9 acres of land
    (Picture: Galbraith /SWNS.COM)

    Described by estate agents Galbraith as a ‘unique renovation project on the shores of Loch Ness’, the four lots also include a coach house, a B-listed gate house, grazing land and woodland.

    A listing for the property on the agent’s website said: ‘Formerly a gracious B listed Georgian house of historic note, Boleskine House was predominantly destroyed by fire in 2015 and today the main walls with echoes of its former splendour are all that remains.

    ‘The opportunity now exists to restore the house and grounds to create an outstanding property subject to obtaining the necessary consents.’

    MORE: A property next to the royal family’s estate is on the market for £750,000

    MORE: A seaside property used in World War II is on the market for £1.5 million


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    The door of a disabled bathroom
    (Picture: Getty)

    Just because someone doesn’t ‘look’ disabled, it doesn’t mean they aren’t facing debilitating symptoms.

    Our series, You Don’t Look Sick, shows how living with an invisible illness means facing misconceptions and misunderstandings when using disabled parking spaces or priority seats.

    But one issue is when people with invisible conditions use disabled bathrooms.

    Some people use them because they need to go urgently aren’t able to queue. Others need more space to empty an ileostomy bag, for example.

    New figures though show that 93% of people would challenge someone who looks healthy with they see them using an accessible toilet because they think they are ‘standing up’ for the rights of disabled people.

    The study carried out by Crohn’s & Colitis UK reveals that people with invisible disabilities have also faced verbal and/or physical abuse for using accessible bathrooms.

    From the 1,771 people with Crohn’s or Colitis surveyed, 61% said they faced abuse and around two thirds said they had been refused when they asked to jump the toilet queue.

    Symptoms of Crohn’s and Colitis include chronic diarrhoea so sometimes, getting to the toilet quickly is very important.

    The campaign imagery for the #NotEveryDisability campaign, featuring Hannah who has a stoma bag.
    (Picture: Crohn’s and Colitis)

    The data revealed that these emotional and physical experiences are greatly impacting patients. 70% of people with Crohn’s or Colitis have had an accident in public or experienced unpleasant symptoms because someone wouldn’t let them jump the toilet queue, which can have a devastating social impact

    81% of people with Crohn’s or Colitis think that the public have little understanding of these conditions and are quick to judge those living with them.

    Now Crohn’s & Colitis UK has launched the Not Every Disability Is Visible campaign to try to change signage and attitudes around people using disabled toilets.

    Over 80% of people with Crohn’s or Colitis said they feel more comfortable visiting places with the Not Every Disability is Visible signs installed, powerfully demonstrating that these signs have a real impact on people’s lives. For businesses this is a small change, for people with invisible disabilities this can be life-changing.

    Marta Azmy Yousef, a new mother, fashion textiles sales administrator, and a Not Every Disability is Visible campaign ambassador says: ‘I’m always worried about being challenged by someone when I come out of an accessible toilet – I feel as though I have to plan what I would say before leaving just in case someone decides I don’t look disabled enough.

    ‘I can get really anxious, worrying about someone having a go at me for being in the toilets that are ‘supposed to be for disabled people.’ It’s ridiculous. I know I’m allowed to use them, but people can be so cruel.’

    ‘These signs make a real difference to people living with Crohn’s or Colitis,” says Sarah Sleet, CEO at Crohn’s & Colitis UK. ‘We know that if the public better understand the devastating symptoms of these conditions, they will be more considerate and supportive of people who feel too ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their Crohn’s or Colitis.

    ‘It is vitally important that everyone gets involved in the campaign to help increase understanding of the true impact of these conditions.’

    MORE: Mum makes six-year-old party guests give the bears they created to the birthday girl

    MORE: Schoolboy spends six years saving up 100,000 tickets from the fairground to win a giant Minion


    Disabled sign on toilet door, close-upDisabled sign on toilet door, close-up

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    a range of vegan Easter eggs
    (Picture: Getty)

    Easter is just days away but if you still haven’t picked up an Easter egg, there’s still time.

    If you have a vegan in your family or if you are vegan yourself, the good news is that will the rise of veganism, there are plenty of options.

    Gone are the days when some plain old dark chocolate was all that was available.

    Now there’s something for every budget and taste.

    We’ve picked out our favourite vegan Easter treats – but some of them look so good, they would make great gifts for anyone.

    The Chococo Madagascar vegan milc chocolate Easter egg – £18.50

    Chococo Madagascar vegan milc chocolate Easter egg
    Chococo Madagascar vegan milc chocolate Easter egg (Picture: Chococo)

    Just because you are vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on milk chocolate. This one is made from cashews to give you that creamy taste.

    It’s 40% Madagascan Single Origin Chocolate and completely dairy and soya free.

    It comes with a recycable box, which is made from 70% recycled plastic.

    Tesco Finest free from salted caramel egg – £5

    Tesco Finest free from salted caramel egg
    Tesco Finest free from salted caramel egg (Picture: Tesco)

    This supermarket egg looks pretty fancy but costs just £5. The description says it has a caramel flavour and is made from cocoa, rice syrup and rice flour with sea salt and crisp rice pieces.

    It comes with raspberry flavour fondant filled milk free chocolate flavour truffles.

    Sainsbury’s deliciously free from strawberry and white chocolate egg – £3.50

    Sainsbury's deliciously free from strawberry and white chocolate egg
    Sainsbury’s deliciously free from strawberry and white chocolate egg (Picture: Sainsbury’s)

    If you want a whole different flavour this egg is made with a white chocolate alternative and free dried real strawberry pieces.

    It’s completely gluten, wheat and milk free.

    Asda Extra Special free from dairy free Belgian dark chocolate Easter egg with vanilla flavoured truffles – £5.00

    Asda Extra Special free from dairy free Belgian dark chocolate Easter egg with vanilla flavoured truffles
    Asda Extra Special free from dairy free Belgian dark chocolate Easter egg with vanilla flavoured truffles (picture: Asda)

    For £5 you get a whole dark chocolate egg and some fancy vanilla truffles. This one is quite traditional so perfect for vegans who just want a simple egg.

    Holland & Barrett milk chocolate style egg with bunny bar – £2.99

    Holland & Barrett milk chocolate style egg with bunny bar (Picture: Holland & Barrett)
    Holland & Barrett milk chocolate style egg with bunny bar (Picture: Holland & Barrett)

    This is just a a plain chocolate egg made from creamy dairy free chocolate. It comes with a bunny shaped chocolate bar so great for kids.

    So Free white chocolate alternative egg – £2.99

     So Free white chocolate alternative egg (Picture: So Free)
    So Free white chocolate alternative egg (Picture: So Free)

    If you miss white chocolate, the good news is that there is a completely vegan version. It’s been used to create this hollow egg and bunny bar.

    This one doesn’t contain milk, nuts or gluten so great for people with allergies too.

    Hotel Chocolat hard-boiled Easter egg 100% dark chocolate – £15

    Hotel Chocolat hard-boiled Easter egg 100% dark chocolate (Picture: Hotel Chocolat)
    Hotel Chocolat hard-boiled Easter egg 100% dark chocolate (Picture: Hotel Chocolat)

    This Easter egg is delicious and incredibly pretty. Apparently it was actually inspired by a trip to the Tate Modern. It’s made from 100% dark chocolate, studded with raisins and almonds.

    Montezuma’s absolute black vegan Easter egg – £9.99

    Montezuma's absolute black vegan Easter egg (Montezuma's)
    Montezuma’s absolute black vegan Easter egg (Montezuma’s)

    Made with dark chocolate chocolate, this is a cute hollow egg filled with chocolate buttons.

    Lindt dark chocolate bunny – £4.99

    Lindt dark chocolate bunny (Picture: Lindt)
    Lindt dark chocolate bunny (Picture: Lindt)

    Although not strictly an egg, we all love a Lindt chocolate bunny at Easter. Now they sell a dark chocolate version alongside the traditional milk one so that vegans (or just anyone who prefers dark chocolate) don’t miss out.

    MORE: Mum makes six-year-old party guests give the bears they created to the birthday girl

    MORE: Someone has placed an ad in The Times to announce they are exclusively dating


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    Man holding out engagement ring in blue box
    (Picture: Getty)

    A woman has taken to Reddit to ask whether it is unreasonable of her to reject an engagement ring because her partner had originally bought it for his ex-girlfriend.

    She explained that she and her boyfriend had always talked about getting married, and that recently he asked if she was okay with him giving her an old ring.

    She said: ‘So just a short background on the ring and our story: he and his ex had broken up about three years ago, and while he has dated girls between then and now, I was the first girl he saw a future with and wanted to marry.

    ‘So anyway, he and his ex were together for about four years and he had planned to propose to her, however the proposal did not happen because the girl had broken his heart again and again and he finally had enough.

    ‘Before that though, he had ordered a customised ring from overseas for her.

    ‘I’m not sure what the actual value of the ring was, but according to him he spent few thousand dollars on the ring in total.

    ‘This was not even including the money spent flying to and from.’

    The woman went onto explain that he had asked whether she was okay with being given the ring he had bought for his ex, as it had ‘just been sitting in his cupboard’, and he ‘felt like there was finally a purpose to that old ring’.

    She explained that she saw the practicality of it – given that the ring was always there and would go to waste otherwise, and they could save the money for more important things.

    However, she said there was something about the ring she just couldn’t let go of.

    She continued: ‘Something in my heart just can’t get over the fact that the ring was originally made for someone else in mind.

    ‘He assured me that she never wore it, but I just don’t want something that wasn’t made for me. Am I being unreasonable?

    ‘I don’t need an expensive ring, and I don’t need diamonds, but I’d like the ring to be bought with me in mind.

    ‘I suggested that he sell the ring away, but he said that he had asked the jeweller before and he could only get a few hundred dollars back for it.

    ‘The ring was only expensive because of all the customisations that he had made to it. The jewel/material of the ring itself was not that expensive.’

    Man proposes to girlfriend with diamond ring
    (Picture: Getty)

    After sharing the dilemma, lots of people came to support her, explaining that they felt it was wrong for her to take the ring.

    One person said: ‘Eh, I understand the practicality of it but I’d still feel funky about accepting ring that wasn’t intended for me. I wasn’t sure if I was being a snob about it so I asked my husband. He said ditch the ring.

    ‘He also said I’m a snob anyway. Thanks honey.’

    Another wrote: ‘No girl! You’re not being unreasonable. Rings carry stories and history. If it’s not a story you want to carry around on your finger for the rest of your relationship, you are totally within your rights.

    ‘Also, that ring was customized for another woman, not for you. Get another ring!’

    However, a jeweller also wrote on the post with another idea for the ring.

    They said: ‘I’d say keep the diamond, and reset it. A diamond is a diamond, and the mounting should be just for you.

    ‘If you think the stones and metal aren’t worth much, get yourself a new ring. That’s gross, trying to give you a ring completely made for someone else. You’d look at that thing every day, and resent him for his cheapness.’

    What do you think? Do you think it would be unreasonable for the woman to reject the ring?

    MORE: Bridesmaid cuts off long luscious hair for cancer patients but bride says the look will ruin the wedding

    MORE: Woman thinks her pregnant bridesmaid should pay for a second wedding after ‘ruining’ her big day


    Bride-to-be rages after discovering her boyfriend proposed with a customised ring he made for his exBride-to-be rages after discovering her boyfriend proposed with a customised ring he made for his ex

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    strips of bacon on a colourful yellow background
    Even eating moderate amounts of red and processed meat puts you at an increased risk of bowel cancer (Picture: Getty)

    You might want to put your breakfast down for this.

    We’re sorry to say that anyone smug about reducing their intake of red meat may not be doing enough to protect their health.

    Even consuming moderate amounts of bacon, ham, and red meat is linked to bowel cancer, a study part-funded by Cancer Research UK found.

    Researchers say that eople who stick to NHS guidelines for red and processed meat consumption – 70g a day – still increase their risk of bowel cancer by 20% compared with those who eat very small amounts of the stuff.

    So even if you’ve reduced your meaty portions to just a sausage and bacon sandwich instead of a massive loaded fry-up, you may need to cut back even further to see health benefits.

    The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, looked at data from 475,581 people between the ages of 40 to 69, following them for an average of 5.7 years. Over the course of the research, 2,609 of these people developed bowel cancer.

    Researchers found that those who consumed an average of 76g of red and processed meat a day had a 20% higher risk of bowel cancer compared to people who ate an average of 21g of meat a day.

    A bacon sandwich sits against a pink background
    We’re so sorry (Picture: Getty)

    For those who only had red meat, none of the processed bits, the risk was still there – people who ate 54g of red meat a day (the equivalent of one lamb chop) had a 15% higher risk of bowel cancer than those who ate an average of 8g per day.

    For processed meat only, the risk of bowel cancer was 19% higher for people who had an average of 29g per day (the equivalent of one rasher of bacon or a single slice of ham) compared with those who ate an average of 5g per day.

    That suggests that even one rasher of bacon or slice of ham a day increases your chances of developing bowel cancer.

    Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s head of health information, said: ‘The Government guidelines on red and processed meat are general health advice and this study is a reminder that the more you can cut down beyond this, the more you can lower your chances of developing bowel cancer.

    ‘This doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out red and processed meat entirely, but you may want to think about simple ways to reduce how much you have and how often.

    ‘Although breaking habits we’ve had for a long time can be hard, it’s never too late to make healthy changes to our diet.

    ‘You could try doing meat-free Mondays, looking for recipes using fresh chicken and fish, or swapping meat for pulses like beans and lentils in your usual meals.’

    Symptoms of bowel cancer:

    Symptoms of bowel cancer include:

    • 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

    If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, speak to your GP.

    NHS

    MORE: Easter 2019: The best vegan Easter eggs

    MORE: Disneyland Magic Kingdom shows off all the vegan dishes in their new menu

    MORE: McDonald’s is giving away free bacon and cheese flatbreads all this week


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    6913835 From slippery slides to an indoor tree: Kids around the world draw up their dream bedrooms - and grown-ups turn them into reality
    (Picture: Angies List)

    When you’re young, your interior design visions know no bounds.

    Yes, let’s replace all the stairs with slides and tunnels.

    I agree, a giant water bed would be far better than a regular mattress, and a room just for teddy bears sounds splendid too.

    For most of us, these dreams are confined to the doodling board. Not so for one group of children, who had their dream bedrooms turned into real life designs.

    Home services website Angie’s List asked children to draw their dream bedrooms, then handed those drawings over to a team of experts.

    Those experts brought the drawings to life, creating 3D rooms in a warehouse where the children could play. Sadly, these rooms wouldn’t become the kids’ actual bedrooms (that wouldn’t have been practical), but the children did get to see that their dreams could become reality. Magical.

    We’ve shared the drawings and the real-life versions below.

    Briana, 10, Philippines

    (Picture: Angies List)

     

    Inaya, five, from Pakistan

    (Picture: Angies List)

     

    Martin, six, from Spain

    (Picture: Angies List)

     

    Gala, six, from Argentina

    (Picture: Angies List)

    Elias, six, from Greece

    (Picture: Angies List)

     

    Viola, nine, Ukraine

    (Picture: Angies List)

     

    Harry, 10, England

    (Picture: Angies List)

    MORE: Photos of bedrooms in London capture the reality of children living in poverty

    MORE: Parents feed their son from food found in bins to save around £150 a month

    MORE: Photographer captures the final years his parents spent together before their deaths


    6913835 From slippery slides to an indoor tree: Kids around the world draw up their dream bedrooms - and grown-ups turn them into reality6913835 From slippery slides to an indoor tree: Kids around the world draw up their dream bedrooms - and grown-ups turn them into reality

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    Monopoly game comes with Mufasa's face in the middle
    (Picture: Hasbro)

    As excited as we are by Beyoncé being in the Lion King remake, we’re just as jazzed to find out that the classic Disney film is getting a Monopoly makeover.

    The board game and the Disney movie – both family favourites – are coming together as Hasbro is launching Lion King Monopoly dedicated to the residents of Pride Rock.

    Instead of spending hours fighting with your family and causing life-long feuds over London properties, you could be doing it over the Elephant Graveyard or paying for wildfires.

    And what’s a musical without music? Unlike the traditional game, the Lion King edition comes with its soundtrack, played from a mini Pride Rock.

    The Oscar-winning film has been featured on a previous Monopoly version but as part of a wider Disney theme.

    It’s the first time the Lion King has a whole board game dedicated to it.

    Soon you could play any one of the iconic characters, including Mufasa, Simba, Scar, Timon or Pumbaa.

    Lion King Monopoly game characters include Mufasa, Nala, Simba, Scar
    (Picture: Hasbro)

    You can expect plenty of artwork and quotes from the movie which will have you feeling ultra nostalgic.

    At the centre of the board is a giant picture of Mufasa so you never forget who the true lion king is.

    There are interesting new concepts in the game, such as ‘the circle of life’ and ‘remember who you are’ as well as Scar’s famous quote ‘life’s not fair, is it?’ which requires you to pay 50 Monopoly dollars.

    The outer box also has artwork of Mufasa
    (Picture: Hasbro)

    You won’t find hotels and houses either (duh, we’re in a jungle) so expect to see plastic beetles and grubs.

    The railroads have been transformed into four animal herds: the rhino, elephant, antelope, and wildebeest.

    All cards can be put into the Pride Rock toy which when pressed plays The Circle of Life. That obviously requires batteries but don’t worry, the game comes with three AAA batteries.

    Those that are super keen to call up their 90s loving friends will have to wait a bit, as the game is only dropping in Walmart stores for now.

    It will be available at Walmart from 22 April for $39.99 (£30.62) but there are plans to roll out to other stores in June.

    MORE: Monopoly labelled sexist for showing men graduating and women in bikinis

    MORE: When does McDonald’s Monopoly 2019 end and how do you claim prizes online?


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    Mixed Up is a weekly series that aims to elevate the under-heard narratives of the mixed-race population in the UK.

    Mixed-race is the fastest growing ethnic group in the country, but so little is heard of our unique, lived experiences.

    Ethnic ambiguity is becoming increasingly popular on social media and in advertising campaigns, but this only offers a skin-deep insight into what it means to be mixed-race.

    This series shines a light on the highs, lows, joys and unique contradictions of being mixed-race – from the people who have lived it.

    Siobhan Lawless is a writer. She is Jamaican and Irish, with east and south Asian elements thrown in for good measure.

    Siobhan Lawless
    (Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘My mum is second generation Jamaican and my dad second generation Irish – although my great grandparents on my mum’s side are also part Indian and Chinese,’ Siobhan tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘On dad’s side, nana is from Longford and grandpa was from County Galway in Ireland. On mum’s, grandma and grandad are from St Catherine’s and St Elizabeth, parish towns in Jamaica.

    ‘Both sides of my family came from large households and farming backgrounds. They came to England as immigrants in their teens and early twenties, hoping Britain would open up more opportunities for their children – even though this move came with its own challenges.’

    The similarities don’t end there. Siobhan thinks it’s important to note that while her family might have be different from each other in terms of ethnicity, their life experiences bring them much closer together.

    ‘The Irish and Jamaican cultures might seem very distinct from one another, but both sides of my family have shared struggles as immigrants,’ says Siobhan. ‘The importance they both place on family, food and religion are the shared values which bring them together.

    Siobhan when she was at school
    Siobhan when she was at school (Picture: Siobhan Lawless/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I think it’s just as important celebrating these similarities, as well as the differences which makes each side unique.

    ‘To me, being mixed-race means having a crossover of cultures informing your identity, which might seem completely different, but can co-exist in harmony. I think the hardest part is trying to figure out how this plays out for you.’

    The closeness of family life is something that has really helped to define Siobhan’s identity. As a child she benefited from the sharing of cultures – soaking up the influences that pervaded her family home.

    ‘I was raised in a household where food, music and film from around the world always filtered through,’ explains Siobhan.

    ‘From an early age, being encouraged to celebrate difference has made me an open-minded and compassionate person, someone who is accepting of other people’s cultures.

    ‘As a writer, being mixed-race has definitely informed my interest in racial inequality and social injustices, I hope to use my writing to spotlight these issues and write as a vehicle for change.’

    For so many mixed-race people, where you fit in the world depends on how other people perceive you. For Siobhan, her lighter skin places her closer to whiteness, but there are complications alongside the privilege.

    ‘I find it really frustrating when others try pinning a definition on you, which you can’t relate to,’ she explains. ‘Sometimes it’s hard remembering that we don’t need other people to validate our own experiences or beliefs.

    Baby Siobhan with her dad
    Baby Siobhan with her dad (Picture: Siobhan Lawless/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Being white-passing with an Irish name has definitely entitled me to privileges, although this also comes with its limitations.

    ‘Being fair with wavy afro hair, people still perceive me as “other”, even if they can’t guess my mix.

    ‘Growing up, at times I felt like I existed in a grey area, an in-between space where I didn’t belong anywhere, which could be pretty isolating.’

    So much of who we become as adults can be informed by the environment in which we grew up. Being surrounded by people who looked like her helped Siobhan feel like she had a place in the world, but that all changed when she moved schools.

    ‘I went to very ethnically diverse primary and secondary school, which went out of its way to celebrate every different religious holiday and dedicated lots of time to learning about one another’s cultures – diversity was completely normalised,’ she tells us.

    ‘For sixth form I moved to a school which in many respects was the antithesis of this and I began feeling like I didn’t fit in.

    ‘My teens were definitely the toughest times I spent trying to trying to navigate around my mixed identity, as I become increasingly aware of the world around me.

    ‘I think a massive lack of representation in the media played a huge part in my personal struggles.

    ‘I used to idolise the women on the pages of Vogue, but back then the magazine was nothing like Edward Enninful’s brilliant, new publication. I never saw any models that looked like me or had hair like me. It made me feel seriously inadequate.

    ‘At one stage I even went as far as bleaching my hair blonde, which on top of the constant straightening completely damaged my hair.

    ‘I thought I just wanted to look like the blonde models in the magazines – but now I realise I felt like that because not enough other alternatives were being celebrated.

    ‘I had been tricked into believing there was only one, Westernised definition of beauty.’

    Siobhan with her grandparents
    Siobhan with her grandparents (Picture: Siobhan Lawless/Metro.co.uk)

    Siobhan’s outward ethnic ambiguity allows her a certain amount of fluidity. A simple change of her hairstyle will instantly change assumptions about her. But she doesn’t resent people for asking her where she’s from.

    ‘Ever since embracing my natural curls I think the majority of people guess I’m a mix of black Caribbean and white – although sometimes they might assume my mum is mixed-race because I’m so fair,’ explains Siobhan.

    ‘When my hair was dyed black and straightened, I had more people guessing I was part Asian or Spanish. I still get people who can’t tell. Now, I find the guessing games pretty entertaining – Australian was a first the other day.’

    While Siobhan champions representation and wants to see different faces reflected in the media, she worries that the motivations behind the recent explosion of ethnically ambiguous models being used in mainstream campaigns are somewhat suspect.

    ‘The romanticism of being mixed is becoming problematic. It is strange to read articles about why it’s attractive or “cool” to be mixed-race,’ says Siobhan.

    ‘Growing up, there was barely a handful of mixed-race models working for mainstream fashion brands. Suddenly there are so many, with some brands almost exclusively using mixed-race faces – it starts to feel like commodification or a “trend”. It is uncomfortable.

    ‘I would have loved this kind of representation growing up, but vacillating between such extremes makes you feel like you’re being exploited as a marketing tool.

    ‘It’s also still skirting around the greater issue of racial diversity.’

    Siobhan is thankful that was never subjected to the overt, horrific racism that her mum’s side of the family faced when they first came to England. What Siobhan has experienced is something subtler, something more insidious.

    ‘I guess I’ve witnessed more microaggressions,’ says Siobhan.

    ‘People have asked me in an accusatory way, “why are you so light?” Each time I’m asked it stuns me. It used to make me feel apologetic over something completely out of my hands. I’ve learnt with age I don’t owe anyone an answer to questions like that.

    ‘I have lost count of the number of people who reach out to touch my hair before asking my name.

    ‘It was such a powerful moment when Solange said outright what I think so many women with Afro hair were too scared to say in case they caused offense, but ultimately it’s about self-preservation.

    ‘People have called me “half-caste” without realising how horrible this word is and that it is associated with slave owners’ offspring. I’ve also been called “lightie” on numerous occasions – I think this problematic term only fuels colourism.’

    Siobhans parents
    Siobhan’s parents (Picture: Siobhan Lawless/Metro.co.uk)

    Being mixed-race is only part of who Siobhan is. It informs how she sees the world, but so does the influence of her family and the culture in this country where she and her parents were both brought up.

    Siobhan has found her own ways to form connections with the different elements of her heritage. And her grandparents are key to that.

    ‘While I identify as mixed-race, culturally I identify as British,’ explains Siobhan.

    ‘Both my grandparents have been here for so long and raised their families here, they all see Britain as home.

    ‘As I turned twenty, I started reconnecting with my Jamaican heritage and actively learning more about a side of me which didn’t feel as readily accessible, given that my grandparents have been in England for about 60 years.

    ‘I have always found food one of the most enjoyable ways of experiencing a culture, so I’ve been having cookery lessons with grandma – learning how to make dishes like her mutton curry and oxtail stew.

    ‘Moving from the suburbs to South London has also made me feel more connected to my heritage – there are so many amazing Caribbean food places around and I no longer have to bust a gut trying to pick up plantain from a shop.

    ‘Spending more quality time with grandparents and hearing about their past is great.

    ‘My nana told me of the time when she getting on her bike in the middle of the night as a teenager, beginning her arduous journey from Ireland to England without telling a soul – I have so much respect for her bravery. She simply said that living on a farm really wasn’t for her.

    Little Siobhan at 18-months old
    Little Siobhan at 18-months old (Picture: Siobhan Lawless/Metro.co.uk)

    Siobhan believes that sharing experiences is key to unlocking understanding and limiting other people’s ignorance. She understands that society has a tendency to try to pen people into certain boxes, but she wants people to be more open-minded.

    ‘I believe the mixed-race experience is very fluid and something you can’t quantify as someone being strictly half this and half that.

    ‘The way everyone identifies with their mixes is going to be different. When I was a teenager, trying to come to terms with my heritage, I would end up focusing on each side in such an isolated way – this separation ultimately made me feeling incomplete.

    ‘It’s important for people to hear our stories so they realise we’re not one homogeneous mass – we are full of nuances. I think a lot of confusion stems from people not appreciating this. That’s why it’s such an honour to be featured in a series like this.

    ‘While social media poses its own problems, its advent has given visibility to so many underrepresented mixed-race and minority ethnics which is definitely a massive positive.

    ‘Although we are becoming a more racially diverse society, racism and ignorant presumptions still persist and the need to keep on telling our stories is stronger than ever.’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘If you are anything other than white, you are considered black’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I want people to understand that there are different types of black’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘You don’t get to tell me that I’m not really black’


    SiobhanSiobhan

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    M&S slammed for collagen in drinks
    (Picture: Getty – Triangle News)

    Vegan and vegetarian customers at M&S were shocked when they found that fruit juices at the supermarket contain beef extract.

    After a customer tweeted asking why they had beef collagen in their Super Water protein juices, many people criticised the brand.

    Even those who eat meat said they didn’t understand why fruit drinks would contain animal bits.

    The Vegan4Eva blog on Twitter called out M&S and posted a picture of the Super Water packaging, which showed that the drink contains 20g of collagen, 4% of which is taken from cows.

    The Super Water costs £2 for 500ml and is said to ‘increase your protein intake’. The drinks are described as being ‘high in collagen to help build strength’.

    Collagen is a protein found in the body of all animals. It makes up connective tissue like skin, tendons, cartilage, organs, and bones. When collagen is hydrolysed, it’s broken down into smaller, easy-to-process particles.

    People on a plant-based and animal diet complained that the drinks aren’t accessible to people on their diets.

    Londoner Liz Mann took to Twitter in outrage and wrote: ‘This is foul, beef collagen in fruit juice, really Marks and Spencer? How can you justify this?’

    Vegan Rob Stringer also added: ‘Bought some watermelon and lime water from M&S today only to find out afterwards they’ve added beef to it!

    ‘Guess it was too much to ask them to indicate that your water isn’t suitable for vegans unlike every other bottle of water.’

    One meat-eating person admitted: ‘I’m not remotely vegan but even I’d be a touch bamboozled by beefy water.’

    We reached out to M&S about the drinks and asked if they will store animal-free versions in the future.

    An M&S spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘There’s growing demand for protein-based drinks that offer added vitamins and benefits. In response, we’ve launched two new Super Waters containing a natural source of collagen, which is a widely used ingredient.

    ‘The drinks are clearly labelled with their ingredients on pack, however, we are looking into how we can make this clearer for our vegan and vegetarian customers.’

    MORE: Vegans beware – 10 surprising foods and drinks that may contain animal products

    MORE: Disneyland Magic Kingdom shows off all the vegan dishes in their new menu

    MORE: Easter 2019: The best vegan Easter eggs


    Beef in M&S drinksBeef in M&S drinks

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    If you watched Total Wipeout, you know you wanted to be part of the action-packed adventure. Now you can.

    When The Monster – a giant inflatable obstacle course – came to London last year, it blew up. And now it is set to return.

    The 300-metre course, dubbed ‘the craziest bouncy castle in the world’ debuted at Alexandra Palace and it will now come back for a short residency in August.

    You can expect to see 42 obstacles which include an 18-metre long Mega Slide and the Bouncy Cage of Doom.

    For the brave, there’s even a terrifying House of Hell.

    Though it’s usually for adults (why should kids have all the fun?), the obstacle course will be open to youngsters aged between seven and 15 on two set days.

    But step aside, children, the rest of the time this game is for grownups.

    world's biggest inflatable obstacle course is returning to London Picture: The Monster UK
    (Picture: The Monster UK)

    Pencil in the dates in your diary – you won’t want to miss out on the chance to bounce past your friends and power through to the finish line.

    ‘At 300 metres long, The Monster is the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course and it’s bigger, better, bouncier and more bonkers than ever before! This ain’t no ordinary bouncy castle folks,’ reads the website.

    And there are new additions for 2019: Drag Queen Karaoke, Boozy Bingo, Mega Beer Pong, and the Wheel of Glitter.

    To top it all off, the day is complete with live DJs, an inflatable unicorn (hello, new Insta pic), flamingo ball pits, and of course delicious street food, cocktails, bubbles and craft beers.

    One of the 48 obstacle courses
    This could be you (Picture: The Monster UK)

    Tickets are now available on the website, but hurry as they do sell out pretty fast.

    The Monster will run from 23-28 August and family days are on 27-28 August. Tickets are available for £25. You can buy them here.

    MORE: Cheese lovers, rejoice: A fromage festival is coming to London

    MORE: Cowboy boots hit Coachella hard, and will soon be yeehawing their way into your shoe cupboards

    MORE: Forget flower crowns and crop tops, you just need a bit of tape for the perfect Coachella outfit


    world\'s biggest inflatable obstacle course is returning to Londonworld\'s biggest inflatable obstacle course is returning to London

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    Red meat in a butcher's shop
    Red meat consumption has been linked to a higher risk of bowel cancer (Picture: Getty Images)

    New concerns have been raised over red meat consumption after even small amounts were linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer.

    According to a study part-funded by Cancer Research UK, even people who stick to NHS guideline for red and processed meat consumption – 70g a day – are increasing their risk of bowel cancer by 20 per cent compared with those who limit their consumption even further.

    However it doesn’t end there – with those who ate red meat only and avoided processed meat (giving them a total of 54g a day), having a 15 per cent higher risk of bowel cancer than those who ate around 8g a day.

    And those who ate processed meat only – an average of 29g a day – increased their chances of contracting the disease by 19 per cent compared to those who ate only 5g a day.

    All of which suggests only one rasher of bacon a day could prove problematic.

    So just what qualifies as red meat and how much can you safely eat?

    What is classed as red meat?

    Red meat is defined as anything which is red when it is raw and, and which remains a dark colour after it is cooked.

    According to NHS UK that includes the following:

    • Beef
    • Lamb
    • Mutton
    • Pork
    • Veal
    • Venison
    • Goat

    Poultry such as chicken, turkey, duck and goose are classed as white meat, as are game birds and rabbit.

    Bacon frying in a pan
    Bacon is also being seen as a risk (Picture: Getty Images)

    Processed meat refers to meat which has been preserved, by smoking, curing or adding salt or other preservatives.

    This category includes meats such as sausages, bacon, ham, salami, luncheon meat (including that made from chicken and turkey) and other products such as canned meat and meat pate.

    How much red meat should you have per week?

    A bacon sandwich sits against a pink background
    Might be time to cut down on those sarnies (Picture: Getty)

    The World Cancer Research Fund has previously advised that people should eat no  more than 500g of red meat a week (which is about 70g per day) and avoid processed meats.

    The NHS has published advice on how to keep to these limits, including cutting down on portion sizes, swapping red meat for alternatives such as white meat and fish, and having one meat-free day a week.

    You can find out more information here.


    Farmers Group Calls For Higher Meat PricesFarmers Group Calls For Higher Meat Prices

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    Scenic train ride along Pacific ocean coast in Canterbury regoin, South Island of New Zealand
    (Picture: Dmitry Naumov)

    The iconic Coastal Pacific train that runs from Picton and Christchurch in New Zealand has been forced to shut its outdoor carriage after too many people attempted dangerous selfies.

    Scenic shots are nothing new on Instagram but those risking their lives will now be unable to do so on the train’s viewing carriage.

    The 217-mile route passes through some of the most picturesque landscapes of the country but too many people have been leaning out of the carriage to take selfies, photos, and videos.

    A lot of the people hanging out of the train are not aware of the upcoming tunnels which can quickly become dangerous.

    So the KiwiRail group – which operates the service – is now conducting a review to see how it can continue allowing people to take in the sights without allowing them to be exposed.

    The carriage will be closed until the group comes up with a solution.

    The train will no longer open its doors to the outdoor viewing carriage
    (Picture: Dmitry Naumov)

    ‘Despite the number of signs and announcements on board our trains pointing out the dangers of this, we have seen passengers leaning out with selfie sticks, iPads and their bodies, often unaware of an approaching tunnel which could cause a tragic incident for themselves, and others in the carriage,’ said Katie McMahon, general manager of KiwiRail group.

    ‘We simply have to stop adults and children leaning from the carriages or we would not be discharging our duty as a safe transport operator.’

    They are considering glass windows, rails or some sort of barrier.

    It’s not the first time travel shots were considered dangerous. Last year, an influencer was slammed for standing in front of a moving train to get the perfect Insta shot.

    Recently a vlogging couple were criticised after one of them was seen dangling from an infinity pool.

    Remember: no Instagram like is worth serious injury or death.

    MORE: Get paid £200 a week to travel the world – but Instagrammers have to choose what you do

    MORE: Fancy getting paid £50k to travel and eat food? You can

    MORE: How much money do influencers make from Instagram posts?


    Train has to close open door because influencers kept leaning out for selfiesTrain has to close open door because influencers kept leaning out for selfies

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    Author EL James, who wrote the Fifty Shades of Grey books
    (Picture: Isa Foltin/Getty Images)

    After the success of the Fifty Shades franchise, it seemed only natural that EL James would bring out another mysterious and sensual book that captured readers worldwide.

    Her new venture, however, is capturing people in a different way, as fans are speculating that there may be a royal inspiration behind the story.

    Word on the street is that The Mister’s romantic leads bear a striking similarity to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, in what is being touted as a ‘Cinderella story for the twenty-first century.’

    The book itself focuses on aristocrat Maxim Trevelyan, a man who has led a charmed life filled with wealth and promise.

    However, when he meets Alessia Demachi, a new-to-London beauty with a dark past, he falls in love and vows to protect her from danger.

    Is there any similarity to the royal couple in the book, however, or is it all hearsay?

    Book cover for EL James' new title The Mister
    (Picture: Penguin/PA Wire)

    EL James herself has not confirmed whether or not the book bears any similarities to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

    Speculation, however, has focused on the fact it features a beautiful young woman who moves London and has family troubles in her past.

    Also the fact that the male lead Maxim is born into money and power and that it all takes place in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea (the real couple live in Kensington Palace).

    Unfortunately for theorists, that’s where the similarity stops. Alessia’s background is the Balkans, and she has a much darker history than Meghan Markle.

    She is also musical, whereas we know that Meghan is a talented actress instead.

    Although it might be nice to hope that there is a thread of truth James’ romance novel, it doesn’t seem to be based on any real life tale.

    That said, if you want a sexy novel with an aristrocratic edge, it just might be the one for you. The book was released yesterday, and currently has three stars on Amazon.

    Lovers of Fifty Shades may just find that this is the new bodice-ripper to quell their desires.

    MORE: Vegan yoga master hasn’t had a cold in 20 years because he snorts his own urine

    MORE: Legion of robot dogs display terrifying feat of strength by dragging a truck

     


    Is EL James\' new book The Mister really based on Meghan Markle?Is EL James\' new book The Mister really based on Meghan Markle?

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    Bride shows off mermaid gown with transparent section over the stomach
    (Picture: Facebook)

    When it comes to weddings, people on the internet can get pretty judgmental.

    Anyone sharing their dress code or dining spread should be ready for some nasty comments.

    Sometimes those honest opinions can be a helpful barometer in the decision making process. After all, it’s better that strangers on the internet say they hate your choice of wedding song than regretting it on the big day.

    But that doesn’t make receiving the feedback a particularly pleasant experience.

    Spare a thought for this poor bride, then, whose photos of her gown led to a bunch of comments telling her to burn her dress until there was nothing left.

    The woman took to a Facebook group to ask whether she should put an inlay in her dress or leave the middle section sheer.

    She wrote: ‘Is anyone selling wedding shoes size 8.5 or know of a place that sells them cheap that will look good with my dress?

    6929941 Bride-to-be urged to burn her 'trainwreck' wedding dress with exposed middle as it would 'only flatter someone with Elle Macpherson's body'
    (Picture: Facebook)

    ‘Also opinions on the middle of my dress… do I put an inlay in or leave it as it is (see through)…’

    Rather than offering much input on alterations to the dress, members of the group rushed to tell the bride to throw the whole thing away, labelling the gown a ‘trainwreck’.

    One person wrote: ‘Burn it. Just burn it.’

    Another said: ‘The only redeeming factor to me is the neckline but it looks like someone cut up six different dresses and stuck them together.’

    Many members explained that their comments weren’t personal, and that the dress simply wouldn’t suit anyone who wasn’t ‘six foot tall with the body of Elle Macpherson’.

    ‘I feel like Jessica Rabbit, a cartoon character, is the only one who could wear this oddly cut dress,’ one woman said. ‘Like… this wouldn’t even go well on Barbie’s figure.’

    Bride-to-be urged to burn her 'trainwreck' wedding dress with exposed middle as it would 'only flatter someone with Elle Macpherson's body'
    (Picture: Facebook)

    Some suggested that if the bride couldn’t ditch the dress entirely, they could make it a touch better by adding an inlay to make the section over the waist opaque, or by tweaking the waistline.

    Others have urged the woman to question her friends’ honesty, as a good pal would advise her to choose a different dress the moment she put this one on.

    Now, we don’t think the dress is outrageously heinous, and if the bride feels comfortable and confident in it she should go ahead and rock it. A great wedding dress is one that makes you feel good, and it’s okay to change it up if you buy one option and then regret it.

    But the key, as with most things, is to listen to your own feelings rather than taking internet comments to heart. If you love a dress, ignore the haters and wear it.

    MORE: Bridesmaid cuts off long luscious hair for cancer patients but bride says the look will ruin the wedding

    MORE: Bride and groom do Parkrun on wedding day with their guests

    MORE: Couple unrecognisable from wedding photos after losing 10 stone between them


    Bride urged to burn wedding dressBride urged to burn wedding dress

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