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

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    Sugar onion remedy for colds https://www.facebook.com/walkinpantry/ Picture: Walk In Pantry
    (Picture: Walk In Pantry)

    When you’re stuck with the sniffles, you’re probably already downing copious mugs of green tea with lemon and honey.

    But if that doesn’t work, what next?

    You might want to try picking up some onions and sugar on your way home.

    Before you do, let us be clear: if you’re seriously ill the best thing to do is to make an appointment with your doctor and get some proper medical advice.

    DIY hacks and remedies should only be used for those standard cold symptoms or when you’re feeling a tad rough. No amount of honey and lemon will fix a serious illness that needs medical intervention, okay?

    One mum found a remedy that does the trick for soothing a snotty nose and tickling cough.

    When mum of two Carol Heaton’s eight-month-old son fell sick with a cold, she tried everything to clear his symptoms but found nothing worked.

    Carol chatted to her family, who recommended an old-school treatment using only natural ingredients: onion and sugar. She decided to give it a go, and was overjoyed when she actually saw results.

    Sugar onion remedy for colds https://www.facebook.com/walkinpantry/ Picture: Walk In Pantry
    (Picture: Walk In Pantry)

    The remedy is simple: you cut a brown onion into large slices, sprinkle sugar on top, then let it sit in a small bowl for a few hours. Eventually you’ll see juice from the onion collecting at the bottom of the plate.

    Carol recommends giving a spoonful of the juice to the child every hour.

    Carol told KidSpot that within hours of giving her son the syrup, he was bringing up phlegm, which reduced the congestion in his chest. Soon the coughing was reduced too.

    ‘To say I was amazed would be an understatement,’ said Carol. ‘Wow, something that actually works.

    ‘It’s a great recipe because it’s easy to do, two ingredients which you have sitting in your pantry or fridge. It’s quick acting and all natural. And the most important part is that it actually works.’

    This isn’t a new hack by any means – Carol originally shared it two years ago, and people have been recommending it as a remedy for decades.

    It’s thought to work because onion thins out phlegm, making it easier to rid the lungs of congestion. Onions also contain vitamin C, which is often used to treat colds (although there’s no evidence to suggest that vitamin C has any impact in preventing or remedying colds).

    Sure, onion sugar syrup might be a placebo, and in the case of Carol’s son the cold may just have cleared up on its own.

    But it’s worth a go, right?

    Just make sure to chat to a doctor before giving your baby a home remedy, to make sure that nothing more serious is going on. Once you’ve got the all clear and are certain it’s just the case of the sniffles, go ahead and try piling some sugar on an onion. Even if it doesn’t work, at least your sick kid gets a taste of something sweet.

    MORE: Paramedic explains why every parent should pin a note to their child’s car seat

    MORE: I won’t take the iPad off my toddler, it’s a great parenting tool

    MORE: Toddler throws tantrum because she’s cast as an angel instead of Spiderman in the school nativity


    Sugar onion remedy for coldsSugar onion remedy for colds

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    Marathon runners
    (Picture: Getty)

    The London Marathon is less than a week away, so now is not the time to panic.

    Yes, it’s probably the biggest race of your life, yes, there is a lot riding on it, yes, everyone you love is coming to cheer you over the finish line… OK, you can panic a little bit.

    But don’t worry, there is still time to cram in some last minute preparation.

    At this point, the hope is that your body is physically ready for the challenge after weeks of training, but there are still a few things you can do to give yourself that crucial race day edge.

    To help make sure runners are prepared for what lies ahead Katherine Shaw, senior sport scientist at Lucozade Sport, has shared her top tips to help you cross the finish line feeling like a total boss.

    Taper your training

    Taper your training in the final couple of weeks leading up to the race. This simply means reducing the amount you run and increasing your resting time.

    Cutting the distance and time you are running in training gradually, but maintaining your ‘race pace’ is recommended.

    Try including shorter interval type training to maintain fitness but also allowing increased periods of rest.

    Smiling female runner resting with hands on knees on sunny urban street
    (Picture: Getty)

    Carbohydrate loading

    Stick to foods that you are familiar with in the lead up to the race.

    You will be primarily relying on your carbohydrate stores during the race so fuelling up by increasing your carbohydrate intake in the week before will ensure your muscles are fully loaded.

    However, don’t allow your total calorie intake to increase as your training is reducing. You will also want to avoid gaining any extra weight in the last few weeks before the marathon.

    Remember not to neglect your hydration in the final build up to the race.

    Eat well the night before

    What you eat the night before your race is important, but don’t overthink it.

    Eat something you enjoy and are familiar with, ensuring it is rich in carbohydrates. Foods like pasta, rice, bread or potatoes will mean your carbohydrate stores in your muscle and liver are stocked up.

    These stores are the petrol to the engine on race day and will delay the feeling of tiredness and fatigue during the race.

    Have an early dinner and an early night

    Make sure you plan your pre-race meals in advance so that you have time to relax.

    Eating at a reasonable time will give your body time to digest your food and help you wind down for a good night’s sleep. A lack of good quality sleep may affect your performance the following day.

    Race day breakfast

    Running a marathon requires a huge amount of energy, so your race day nutrition is crucial.

    Woman toasting bread in toaster in kitchen
    (Picture: Getty)

    Your breakfast should ideally be carbohydrate based and low in fibre and fat, as these can cause an upset stomach.

    Stick to what you have eaten during training and know what works for you. Good options include porridge, toast, cereal, bagels and fruit juice.

    Start hydrated

    Being hydrated before the race starts is important. Keep a drink with you in the build up to crossing the start line, little and often is key.

    Dehydration may result in a decline in endurance performance.

    Even a 2% reduction in your body water weight has been shown to negatively impact performance, reducing the intensity you are able to sustain.

    Keep fuelled during the race

    The stores of carbohydrate in your body will deplete during the race. To combat this and avoid fatigue, consume some carbohydrate during the race such as sports drinks, gels, bananas or dried fruit.

    It is recommended on average to eat between 30g-60g of carbohydrate per hour. However, the best advice is to simply replicate what you have practiced in training.

    Remember though, everyone is different when it comes to the amount and type of fuel they can take on while running.

    When it comes to gels, practice really is the most important thing to consider when using them. Have an idea of when you are going to take them. They are available at miles 14, 18 and 22.

    Post-race rehydration and recovery

    Recovery starts as soon as you cross the finish line. The race might be over, but your body still needs help to get back to its best.

    Rehydrating in the hours after exercise should also be an important part of your strategy.

    Athlete drinking water
    (Picture: Getty)

    Sports drinks provide carbohydrates and electrolytes to help replenish what you’ve lost.

    Celebrate with a serious meal

    You did it! So make sure to reward yourself with a meal you enjoy, but don’t neglect carbohydrates.

    It is important to replenish your carbohydrate stores as they are likely to be low having just run 26.2 miles.

    Finish up with some protein

    It’s not just carbohydrate that is important after the race. Combine it with some protein to help your muscles grow and adapt.

    Treat yourself with around 20g of high-quality protein, this is equivalent to a palm-sized portion of protein on a plate of food such as meat, fish or dairy.

    The London Marathon will take place on Sunday 28th April.

    MORE: Anxious about running the London Marathon? You could have ‘maranoia’

    MORE: Is it OK to drink after a marathon?

    MORE: Olympic icon Jo Pavey shares her favourite running routes in London


    Last minute tips for running the London MarathonLast minute tips for running the London Marathon

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    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Jessica Lindsay and boyfriend Sean Fiztpatrick photographed in their living room. ??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Jess is our first ever repeat participant in What I Rent. Since last year she’s moved from a house-share with three other people to sharing a one-bedroom flat with her boyfriend (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)

    Our weekly series What I Rent aims to take an honest look at how we’re renting in the UK.

    In the midst of misleading flat listings and dodgy landlords, it’s vital for us to have clarity on what people get for what they pay – so we can know when we’re being ripped off.

    So, each week we take you inside a different person’s rented property, looking at the good bits of renting as well as the grotty bits.

    This week, we have a special edition of What I Rent, as for the first time we’re returning to a previous What I Rent participant.

    This time last year we chatted to Jess, who at the time paid £580 a month for a room in a four-person houseshare in Deptford. The thermostat was kept in a locked box, the windows didn’t open, and there were ongoing issues with mould and ants.

    One year later, Jess has moved to a one-bedroom flat with her boyfriend, Sean. We decided to see how she’s getting on in her new place.

    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Jessica Lindsay and boyfriend Sean Fiztpatrick photographed in their room. ??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Last year Jess paid £580 a month, now she pays £625 a month (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)

    Welcome back, Jess! How much rent are you paying for your new place?

    £625 a month each, £1,250 a month in total.

    Bills are roughly £155 a month each for council tax, water, energy, and broadband.

    There’s one bedroom, one bathroom, an open-plan living/dining/kitchen area, and a hallway with a storage area.

    That’s £45 a month more than your last place – do you think you’re getting a good deal?

    Definitely for London. The letting agent haggled us up from £1200 (why do they do this?!) but it still felt decent for a nice modern flat in an area we like.

    And you’ve stayed in Deptford – how come?

    It’s always been a dealbreaker for me to stay here because there are so many good pubs, food places, my favourite nail shop, and super friendly people.

    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Details of the living room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    The couple stayed in Deptford as they love the area (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)

    How did you find this flat?

    We moved in at the start of December 2018. Zoopla, I think. We were scouring most of the property apps and websites for ages.

    Do you like it? 

    We genuinely love it, and sometimes just sit around marveling at how different it is from mouldy, dark shared flats we’ve had in the past.

    It’s close to all our favourite places and our neighbours are lovely. All good things.

    Do you feel like you have enough space? 

    No complaints really, but we’ve had to buy a few things like rails and drawers to make the best use of the space. It came unfurnished apart from a bed and a wardrobe so at least when we move we can still make use of all that stuff.

    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Details of the kitchen of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Jess wants a cat, but pets aren’t allowed in the flat (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)

    What made you decide to move?

    My old flat became too mouldy to bear and we had planned to move in together anyway.

    What’s better about this place than your last?

    No mould, no ants, no mice, no landlords randomly turning up, no windows that are nailed shut. Regarding the properties themselves, they’re like night and day.

    You’ve also gone from a group house-share to living just with your boyfriend. What’s that like? 

    You feel so much freedom moving out of a shared place. I loved my old flatmates, but not having to be constantly vigilant about the space you’re taking up (and whose dishes have been left where) is a game changer.

    I can belt out Lana Del Rey in the shower now whenever I want and have someone great to come home to after work.

    Are there any major issues with the flat you have to put up with?

    The light in the hallway was broken, but they came out to fix it a day after it was reported. The bar is so low that we were pretty elated the job had been done when and how it was supposed to be.

    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Details of the kitchen of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    But it’s a major improvement on her last place, which had problems with mould and ants (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)

    Last time you took part in What I Rent you said you want a bath, a more homely vibe, and a cat. Are you closer to getting those things?

    Not quite a hat trick as this agent doesn’t allow pets, but I’ve named all my plants so I have something to nurture. The bath and booze basket also soothe my soul greatly.

    Are you planning to move again? 

    Hopefully not, but the lease runs out in December, so if they put the rent up considerably we may have to. That would be really sad as we’ve made this place ours, but if it happened we’d just have to see what we could get I suppose.

    Last time we chatted you said you’re not looking to buy. Is that still the case?

    If I get a win on the scratch cards, yes, but otherwise no.

    Same. Let’s have a look around Jess and Sean’s new pad. 

    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. View of the living room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    The flat came unfurnished, so Sean and Jess were able to make it their own (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Jessica Lindsay and boyfriend Sean Fiztpatrick photographed in their living room. ??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Jess says she appreciates the freedom of sharing with a boyfriend instead of living with three other people (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Details of the living room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Plants and choice furniture make the flat feel more like home (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. View of the living room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    We’re big fans of the yellow chair (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Details of the living room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    The rent is a touch more than the couple would have liked, but they still say they got a good deal (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Details of the living room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    They’ll have to move if the rent is hiked up in December (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. View of the kitchen of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Here’s the open plan kitchen and dining area (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Jessica Lindsay and boyfriend Sean Fiztpatrick photographed in their living room. ??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Jess and Sean with their plant baby (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Details of the kitchen of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Anyone who stores their teabags in little canisters wins adult points (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Details of the kitchen of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. View of the room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Here’s the bedroom. Note that pop of yellow. (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Details of the room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Like many Londoners, Jess has given up on being able to buy property in the city (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. View of the room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Thankfully she’s happy where she is (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. View of the room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. Details of the room of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Everything’s very tidy and organised (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. View of the bathroom of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    Even the bathroom (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. View of the bathroom of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    How many plants have you counted? (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. View of the bathroom of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)
    18/04/2019 South East London (London) What I Rent. View of the bathroom of Jessica Lindsay??s rented flat in South East London. Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero
    And finally, the toothbrushes (Picture: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Metro.co.uk)

    What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property in London.

    How to get involved in What I Rent

    What I Rent is Metro.co.uk's weekly series that takes you inside the places in London people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what's normal and how much we should be paying.

    If you fancy taking part, please email whatirent@metro.co.uk.

    You'll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!

    You'll also need to be okay with sharing how much you're paying for rent, as that's pretty important.

    MORE: What I Rent: Abbie, £520 a month for a room in a three-bedroom flat in Manor House

    MORE: What I Rent: Harriet and Hannah, £850 each a month to share a three-bedroom flat in St Paul’s

    MORE: What I Rent: Sophie and Samy, £1,516 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Hackney


    What I RentWhat I Rent

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    Jonathan in a Terrence Higgins Trust campaig
    Jonathan in a Terrence Higgins Trust campaign (Photo: Gideon Mendel/Terrence Higgins Trust)

    In early October, 1982, I became unwell.

    My GP sent me to ‘The Special Clinic’ – she suspected I had syphilis. I was seen and admitted for a biopsy as every lymph node and gland in my body was enlarged and painful.

    They put me on a hospital side ward for a couple of days and it was here that I was diagnosed with virus: HTLV3, now known as HIV.

    In 1982, HIV was a terminal diagnosis for which there was no cure or medication. I was 33 and my life was over before it had even begun.

    On this day in 1984, the US National Cancer Institute discovered that Aids was caused by HIV. There was an understanding at this point that this is what caused it, but to hear it confirmed felt terrifying and only confirmed my fears that this was a death sentence.

    For HIV to become Aids, a person must have at least three infections brought about by the virus attacking the immune system.

    As a person living with HIV in the 80s, I knew there was little doctors could offer but it was a comfort to know that at least we had a National Health Service that would care for me if my health deteriorated, and that there would be palliative care when the time came.

    It is at this point that I want to emphasise how fortunate we are in the United Kingdom to have our NHS.

    Sometime in the mid-to-late 80s I was asked if I would like to join the Concorde trial, which tested the drug AZT — which had previously only been given to people with Aids — on people with HIV, to see if they could slow the disease.

    For a number of reasons I didn’t take part in this study and I believe this choice saved me. As well as AZT being a chemotherapy drug with heaps of side effects, more people died from Aids in the AZT group than the control group and 146 people died in total.

    Jonathan Blake
    These medicines, while literally difficult to swallow at times, have kept me alive (Photo: Jonathan Blake)

    The study ultimately discovered the drug had no impact on delaying Aids in HIV positive participants and recommended that people with HIV should be discouraged from taking the drug.

    These were difficult times and there were still few treatment options available. We also had to contend with the infamous ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ campaign, which had instilled fear as opposed to giving information to those who needed it most.

    There was however one bright aspect in all the dark and fear and that was the opening of HIV drop-in centres, the first being the Terrence Higgins Trust, started by friends of Terry Higgins, who was one of the early casualties of this dreadful epidemic.

    In 1989 my CD4 T cell count dropped to 200 and I freaked. CD4 T cells are white blood cells that fight infection and a normal count sits between 500 to 1,600.

    This was an Aids diagnosis.

    I was offered anti-retroviral therapy (ART) but I wasn’t ready. I didn’t trust the medications having witnessed the whole AZT situation.

    For a while I coped on antibiotics that kept pneumonia, shingles and herpes (caused by the common chicken pox virus) at bay.

    But in 1996 my health gave out. Suddenly I felt like my virus had finally caught up with me after 14 years and the fears took hold again.

    I was told I had to bite the bullet and start on ART.

    After four weeks it was like I was a new person. I had boundless energy, so much so that I laid a patio outside my bedroom.

    Jonathan Blake and his partner
    Jonathan and his partner Neil (Photo: Jonathan Blake)

    All was good for 12 months until I developed intolerable pains in my feet. I was then put on another drug, which made me constantly nauseous. I simply could not tolerate it so was taken off them and given a drug holiday.

    I only had 70 T cells and viral load (the number of HIV viruses in the bloodstream) that was dangerously high at over a million. I had to start back on the medications.

    These medicines, while literally difficult to swallow at times, have kept me alive.

    Nowadays we have effective treatment, which means people can be HIV positive and have an undetectable viral load.

    U =U. Undetectable equals untransmittable. If you are on effective treatment and are undetectable you can’t pass it on.

    This is a truly important message.

    There is also PrEP, which blocks HIV from surviving in the blood of the person taking it.

    I still have to pinch myself when I see how far we have come in the treatment of HIV here in the UK and the developed world.

    I have been very fortunate to witness the most extraordinary advancement of treatment options.

    We may not have a vaccine to prevent the spread of HIV but we do have effective medication and the chance to limit its spread.

    And all of this within 35 years of discovering that HIV leads to Aids – imagine what another 35 will bring.

    MORE: We have the tools to stop HIV and the government must now use them

    MORE: Finding out I had HIV in my fifth month of pregnancy changed my life for the better

    MORE: The UK has met the UN’s targets in our fight against HIV – now we must aim for zero transmissions


    Jonathan and Neil-5bfaJonathan and Neil-5bfa

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    a portrait of william shakespeare
    Today’s the day for celebrating the life and times of The Bard himself (Picture: Prisma/UIG/Getty Images)

    Today, April 23, is the day we celebrate a little ol’ writer called William Shakespeare, who wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets and three narrative poems that we know of, and changed the face of the English language forever.

    We’ve studied him in school, they can’t get enough of him in Hollywood, and even though he died hundreds of years ago, his impact on literature and popular culture is still felt strongly to this day.

    To mark Shakespeare Day 2019, here’s what you need to know about the Bard’s birth, and some of his most iconic quotes.

    When is Shakespeare’s birthday and where was he born?

    Shakespeare is said to have been born on this day, 23 April, in 1564, and died exactly 52 years later on 23 April 1616.

    He was born and died in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, but spent the majority of his career as a playwright and poet in London.

    During his time in the capital, he gave us the likes of Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew and dozens of others.

    Iconic Shakespeare quotes

    ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
    Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
    And summer’s lease hath all too short a date’ – Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

    ‘All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts.’ – Jaques in As You Like It

    ‘If music be the food of love play on.’ – Orsino in Twelfth Night

    ‘These violent delights have violent ends
    And in their triumph die, like fire and powder
    Which, as they kiss, consume.’ – Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet

    ‘Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
    Men were deceivers ever;
    One foot in sea, and one on shore,
    To one thing constant never.’ – Balthazar in Much Ado About Nothing

    ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.’ – Prospero in The Tempest  

    ‘The course of true love never did run smooth.’ Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

    ‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.’ – Malvolio in Twelfth Night

    MORE: It’s Shakespeare Day: Here are 14 facts you may not know about the famous playwright

    MORE: Shakespeare Quiz: Who said it, Shakespeare or Stormzy?


    SHAKESPEARE, WilliamSHAKESPEARE, William

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    Game of Thrones pet cloaks Provider: Facebook/Le Magical Menagerie Source: https://www.facebook.com/pg/lemagicalmenagerie/photos/?ref=page_internal
    (Picture: Facebook/Le Magical Menagerie)

    If your pet isn’t joining you to watch Game of Thrones, what are you playing at?

    There’s no reason your pooch should miss out on the Battle at Winterfell. Just cover their eyes at the naughty bits.

    But while your cat or dog is cheering on Arya, it’s vital that they’re properly attired.

    Thankfully someone’s selling an option that’ll save you from crafting a mini iron throne out of foil or trying to balance a crown on your pet’s head.

    Over on Etsy GoT fans can pick up a cape inspired by the show and designed to fit dogs and cats of all sizes.

    Game of Thrones pet cloaks Provider: Facebook/Le Magical Menagerie Source: https://www.facebook.com/pg/lemagicalmenagerie/photos/?ref=page_internal
    (Picture: Facebook/Le Magical Menagerie)

    LeMagicalMenagerie is selling cloaks in Night’s Watch black, grey, and even a Daenerys inspired white.

    Fasten them around your pets with either the buckle or velcro fastening and they’ll look perfect for your late-night screening.

    It’s the ideal way to make sure your critters aren’t left out of the fun of cosplay. As photos show, a dog or cat wearing a cloak looks rather elegant.

    Game of Thrones pet cloaks Provider: Facebook/Le Magical Menagerie Source: https://www.facebook.com/pg/lemagicalmenagerie/photos/?ref=page_internal
    (Picture: Facebook/Le Magical Menagerie)

    The product description reads: ‘Make sure to prepare your pet because…WINTER IS COMING!

    ‘Your dog or cat will look AWESOME sitting next to you watching Game of Thrones in their brand new furs from The North’s Night’s Watch.

    ‘Whether you have a small cat or terrier, or a large German Shepherd, we have the robe for you!’

    Game of Thrones pet cloaks Provider: Facebook/Le Magical Menagerie Source: https://www.facebook.com/pg/lemagicalmenagerie/photos/?ref=page_internal
    (Picture: Facebook/Le Magical Menagerie)

    The reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

    One happy customer wrote: ‘Yes, I ordered this because my 3.5 pound chihuahua is now a member of the Night’s Watch and that is hilarious. She’s afraid of leaves.

    ‘But also, as Lola grows older, she gets cranky about things going over her head and this cloak has velcro and will keep her warm when we got out in winter. I will be ordering something else soon. Thanks!!!!’

    LeMagicalMenagerie also sells Jedi robes and Hogwarts outfits for pets, so once the season is over your fur baby will still feel like part of your binge-watching sessions.

    MORE: Game Of Thrones season 8: Did Bran Stark confirm Jaime Lannister will die in episode 3?

    MORE: Maisie Williams age, boyfriend and career including Game Of Thrones’ Arya Stark

    MORE: 16 times Game Of Thrones blatantly ripped off EastEnders


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    Davide creates vulva prints using models he finds on Tinder
    (Picture: SWNS)

    Davide Di Votti, 34, is an artist who wants to celebrate the vulva (that’s the external bit of the vagina, including the labia).

    He has created more than 100 colourful vulva prints, all using models he found through Tinder.

    The models are of all different ages, sizes, sexuality, and gender identity, so that Davide can use his work to promote inclusivity.

    Each print involves painting the model’s vulva and getting them to press themselves on a canvas to leave an imprint.

    ‘I have different techniques,’ explains Davide. ‘They sit down and open their legs and I need to paint on the vagina. How we get the print, it always changes.

    ‘Some of them I put the canvas there, or some the girl puts it there, or another they put the canvas on the back of the sofa and they needed to sit on it.

    Davide Di Votti's unique works of art which he created by taking painted prints of VAGINAS -- after finding his models on Tinder. See SWNS story SWTPpaint. Davide Di Votti, 34, wanted to create shocking art that also spread a positive message about inclusivity and equality. He said he "had the idea of painting vaginas and making prints" and set up a profile on Tinder asking for models for body painting art. The professional theatre critic found six models who were willing to let him paint their bits and take prints.
    (Picture: Viktor Klug / SWNS)

    ‘I did some research on professional body paints. I didn’t want a law suit on my hands, if someone had an allergic reaction.

    ‘I chose some that will not make any damage. That is not what I wanted to happen and we did tests on their hands first.’

    Davide has created around 100 prints, but narrowed down his selection to the best 30 for his exhibitions. He held a show in Berlin, then one in Budapest to celebrate Pride week last June.

    He says: ‘There were many of the woman at the exhibition but nobody knew who.

    Artist Davide Di Votti who creates unique works by taking painted prints of VAGINAS -- and finds his models on Tinder. See SWNS story SWTPpaint. Davide Di Votti, 34, wanted to create shocking art that also spread a positive message about inclusivity and equality. He said he "had the idea of painting vaginas and making prints" and set up a profile on Tinder asking for models for body painting art. The professional theatre critic found six models who were willing to let him paint their bits and take prints.
    (Picture: Davide Di Votti / SWNS)

    ‘Maybe someone would be looking at the exhibition and standing next to the model whose painting they were looking at.

    ‘When you see all the pictures, they are all different, but they are all vaginas and you don’t know who is who or who is gay or straight or anything else. They are all beautiful in the same way.

    ‘I have changed too. After I worked with a trans lady, I spoke with her about her life and her challenges and before that I didn’t know much about what it meant to be trans.

    Davide Di Votti's unique works of art which he created by taking painted prints of VAGINAS -- after finding his models on Tinder. See SWNS story SWTPpaint. Davide Di Votti, 34, wanted to create shocking art that also spread a positive message about inclusivity and equality. He said he "had the idea of painting vaginas and making prints" and set up a profile on Tinder asking for models for body painting art. The professional theatre critic found six models who were willing to let him paint their bits and take prints.
    (Picture: Viktor Klug / SWNS)

    ‘But when you look at the pictures you can’t tell who was born a lady and who was born as a guy.

    ‘In Hungary this is a really, really, really hard topic to discuss and that makes the message important.’

    Davide is now on the look out for more models to take part in the project, having found his previous participants through Tinder.

    Davide Di Votti's unique works of art which he created by taking painted prints of VAGINAS -- after finding his models on Tinder. See SWNS story SWTPpaint. Davide Di Votti, 34, wanted to create shocking art that also spread a positive message about inclusivity and equality. He said he "had the idea of painting vaginas and making prints" and set up a profile on Tinder asking for models for body painting art. The professional theatre critic found six models who were willing to let him paint their bits and take prints.
    (Picture: Viktor Klug / SWNS)

    His Tinder profile didn’t mention the intimate nature of the painting, but anyone who replied to him received an honest explanation of the work.

    Those who agreed to take part met Davide for coffee for a chat, then they would arrange a second meeting at his apartment for the painting.

    He was inspired to create the works because he wanted to make something shocking.

    ‘I started to think I should do something that is personal and shocking and can transfer some kind of message,’ he explains.

    Davide Di Votti's unique works of art which he created by taking painted prints of VAGINAS -- after finding his models on Tinder. See SWNS story SWTPpaint. Davide Di Votti, 34, wanted to create shocking art that also spread a positive message about inclusivity and equality. He said he "had the idea of painting vaginas and making prints" and set up a profile on Tinder asking for models for body painting art. The professional theatre critic found six models who were willing to let him paint their bits and take prints.
    (Picture: Viktor Klug / SWNS)

    ‘I was thinking about what could be interesting. I had the idea of painting vaginas and making prints.

    ‘People say that Tinder is a place to find people so I did a profile on Tinder and said what I was looking for.

    ‘I was quite surprised by the matches.

    ‘There are all sorts of models from skinny girls to bigger girls, from ages 20 to in their 40s, and any age and size. It was important to me to have a variety and they were all very different.

    ‘The message for me is that all ladies are ladies.’

    MORE: People are putting cannabis up their bums and vaginas to have better sex

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    Meet the artist who creates unique works by taking painted prints of vaginas -- and finds his models on TinderMeet the artist who creates unique works by taking painted prints of vaginas -- and finds his models on Tinder

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    Dog sex dolls are the pet accessory that will haunt your dreams
    (Pictures: Exotic Palace/Getty)

    Everybody – man or beast – needs love and comfort. It’s debatable, however, whether dogs need to be bought sex toys to fill those needs.

    We all know a dog that humps everything, and will see visitors’ legs and inanimate objects alike as sexual partners.

    That was clearly the target market in mind when this company created an upmarket sex doll for pooches, allowing your dog to be a bit more choosy over who they do the nasty with (without resorting to living beings).

    The product was made by French design agency Feel Addicted, and has been marketed online as the ‘Hot Doll Game Sex for Dogs Toy No Doll Inflatable Sex Toy Dog’.

    It’s not cheap – retailing at £162.21 with around £30 shipping fee – but is purported to be a high end and made from UV and heat resistant materials.

    The Hot Doll comes in white or dark grey, and includes a small tank at the back where liquids go.

    Exotic Palace
    (Picture: Exotic Palace)

    According to an FAQ on the Feel Addicted website, the dog will be naturally drawn to the doll, but the owner will have to teach it the specific purpose and stop it going back to the pillows and soft toys it may be used to.

    Dogs with health problems should not use the Hot Doll, but otherwise it’s supposed to be suitable for any pup.

    Orders have flown in from Los Angeles, Paris, Copacabana, and Tokyo, and apparently it even appears in exhibitions due to its unique design.

    It certainly is an unconventional product to have, but who are we to judge? If it saves your couch cushions from being the target of your dog’s desires, then all’s well that ends well.

    MORE: Artist takes vulva prints from people he finds on Tinder

    MORE: I was one of the first in the UK to be diagnosed with HIV

     


    Dog sex dolls are the pet accessory that will haunt your dreamsDog sex dolls are the pet accessory that will haunt your dreams

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    Metro Illustration
    (Picture: Erin Aniker for Metro.co.uk)

    In the movies, being approached by an infatuated stranger is the very pinnacle of excitement and romance.

    Maybe your eyes lock across a crowded room. The sparks are instant. The chat up lines are sincere, heart-felt and adorable. You’re probably about to fall deeply in love.

    Unfortunately, in real life, this is rarely how it goes.

    Being hit on by a stranger is a total minefield that swings from the cringey and the bizarre to the downright offensive and, on occassion, the threatening.

    It’s weird that we have romanticised this notion of being accosted on the street by a stranger and demanded to supply them with smiles, attention and even a phone number.

    Even though we owe these strangers nothing, there is an unspoken power dynamic that requires us to play the game, appear flattered, give out a fake number if we need to.

    Every woman is aware of how outright rejection can turn things hostile in the blink of an eye.

    There is an art to the unsolicited chat up line. And so few people get it right. We asked women to tell us the very worst ways they have been chatted up – and we don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    Michelle

    ‘A guy once said to me; “when you walked in the room, I saw your arse and thought – yes I could do that. Then I saw your face and thought – I could definitely do that.”‘

    Andrea

    ‘A hospital porter who looked like Danny Devito kept mopping past me and grinning profusely, all while I was waiting for my gynaecologist appointment.’

    ‘After five minutes of tactical mopping, he shyly whispered: “You smell and remind me of summer.”‘

    Jordana

    ‘I was in a bar, coming out of the toilet when I felt someone put their arms around me from behind. It was so intimate that I thought it must be my boyfriend and turned around for a kiss.

    ‘I was utterly horrified to discover it was some random guy I had never seen before. I then watched him do the same to two other women.

    ‘I always find getting chatted up on public transport really awkward too – because there’s no escape.

    ‘I have been on trains with groups of boys, one will come over and try to chat to you while the rest of the group are laughing behind him and egging him on – that always feels horrible.’

    Becky

    ‘I find that taxi drivers hitting on me is one of the worst things,

    ‘One guy spent the whole journey telling me that if he was single he would marry me and then asked if it would be OK for him to text me after the journey. To which I said no, and reported him.

    ‘Last weekend a guy was flirting so hard with me at the bar – he bought me a shot of tequila and repeatedly told me how beautiful I was, that he had never seen anyone as beautiful as me.

    ‘So far, so good.

    ‘Then he says, “oh, this is my girlfriend!” I genuinely thought he was joking, but then he grabs this tiny brunette girl and then they are both just there grinning at me.

    ‘I downed my tequila and backed the hell away from that weirdness.’

    Metro Illustration
    (Picture: MMUFFIN for Metro.co.uk)

    Sonya

    ‘Once I got told I look “too exotic” to be British. I think he thought it came out of his mouth like a compliment.

    ‘Another time, this guy literally followed me for 20 minutes – I was driving my car, he was driving his, all he could see was my eyes from my car mirror.

    ‘He followed me to where I was having lunch with family, stopped next to me, got out and gave me his number.’

    Narjas

    ‘I was walking home from the station when a guy did a u-turn in the road, drew up next to me, opened his door and asked me if he could give me a lift home because he thought I was beautiful.’

    Jo

    ‘I was followed by two men in a van once who waved cash out the window. I think that might have been a different sort of proposition…’

    Anna

    ‘When I was on the underground in New York, a man moved so that he could sit next to me.

    ‘His opening line was; “do you know why koalas eat eucalyptus?”

    ‘I said no.

    ‘He said, “to get high, I’m David.’

    Mara

    ‘Once I was at a train station, waiting for my train. A guy comes up to me, tries talking to me and tells me I’m pretty and that I look like his sister and his cousin.

    ‘Then he asks for my number.’

    Sam

    ‘A particularly creepy incident was when I was thinking that a guy was stood really, really close to me – and it turns out he was sniffing me.

    ‘My hair did smell good that day, but that is really, really not the way to get me to talk to you.’

    Josie

    ‘I once got told in a club that I had very pretty feet.

    ‘It was really creepy and I have never gone clubbing in strappy heals again.’

    Ria

    ‘I was in Oceana in Kingston a few years ago. A guy said “hi” to me, or something vaguely normal like that, and I greeted him back.

    ‘His literal next move was to shove me up against the wall and put his hand up my skirt. I screamed, obviously.

    ‘Another time I was at work and there was a cleaner who spent his whole time trying to chat me up and he would stare at me a lot, which I could cope with.

    ‘But then one time I came back to my desk to find he had left printed out sheets with information about how the brain evolves when you have sex with someone you love.

    ‘He was watching form the other side of the office to see what my reaction would be.’

    Metro Illustration
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Ellen

    ‘At my old job there was a guy who worked in the stockroom of the high street store (I worked in the head office).

    ‘I went over to pick up some samples and sort a delivery, signed a form, and he then looked at my signature to find my name and found me on Facebook.

    ‘He proceeded to message me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on my personal email – which was especially creepy as it has my middle name and wasn’t linked to any social media at the time – calling me the girl with the tiny tattoo and asking me why I wouldn’t talk to him.’

    Katherine

    ‘A really strange one was the time a guy told me that my eyes were “really weird” and that they had a yellow circle around the iris.

    ‘The fact that he had paid such close attention to the minute detail of my eyes was creepy in itself – when had he looked at them that closely? And the use of the word “weird” didn’t go down too well either.

    ‘It was a very bizarre way of trying to flirt with me. He kept trying to talk to me after that, but as you can imagine, I gave him the cold shoulder.’

    Jess

    ‘A guy I met in a bar once asked for my Instagram as he was new to the UK and I said yes, as he was friendly and genuinely seemed to just want to meet people.

    ‘However, he then continued to DM me the YouTube link to Jet, Are You Gonna Be My Girl until I had to block him.’

    Rosa

    ‘Some guy who said his name was Daniel was incessantly messaging me on LinkedIn – asking me on dates, telling me he wanted to take me for dinner.

    ‘He then started endorsing my profile with “skills” like “beauty” and “charming” and “great body” – this went on for weeks! I was terrified his weird endorsements would end up on my profile where people could see them.’

    Not very professional Daniel.

    Every woman wants something different from a prospective romance – but what we don’t want is pretty resounding.

    We don’t want to be made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe, we don’t want to be followed and we certainly don’t want someone to act as though they are entitled to our time.

    Follow these rules and you might have a shot.

    MORE: What I Rent: Jess, £625 a month to share a one-bedroom flat in Deptford

    MORE: Artist takes vulva prints from people he finds on Tinder

    MORE: Dog sex dolls are the pet accessory that will haunt your dreams


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    Veganism, pescetarianism, ovo-lacto vegetarianism, gluten-free, flexitarianism… the list goes on, and it’s hard to keep up with the latest diet trends. But, if you’re looking to get your diet on track, a varied, balanced diet might be the answer you’re looking for.

    As we become more conscious about what we put into our bodies, it’s only right that we look into the nutritional value of what we eat. Lean red meat, such as lamb, pork and beef, is a rich source of protein, which is important for the growth and repair of muscles and bones. Beef is also a good source of a type of iron that is more readily absorbed from lean red meat than other sources such as pulses, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables.

    A healthy diet doesn’t need you to chop out big food groups, which can also make you feel like you’re missing out. A healthy, balanced diet incorporates all the food groups in the right proportions.

    Making quick midweek meals with lean red meat and teaming it with a variety of nutritious vegetables, starchy carbs and other food groups could get your health in check, by feeding your body the right balance of nutrients you need.

    Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for your overall health
    Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for your overall health

    In an effort to feel healthier, we can often be told to ditch certain foods, but this can mean we miss out on vital health and nutritional benefits. Nourishing your body with essential vitamins and minerals will help you support good health and well-being, and many experts believe the best way is through a varied balanced diet that incorporates a variety of foods, such as meat, vegetables, starchy foods and dairy.

    Robert Pickard, professor of neurobiology at the University of Cardiff, says: ‘For anyone looking to achieve a healthier lifestyle, my recommendation is to maintain a varied and balanced diet.

    ‘Eating a diet inclusive of meat and dairy offers a host of health and nutritional benefits, with lean red meat offering a large range of nutrients that are difficult to source from a plant-based diet. These include iron, high quality protein, zinc, and vitamin B12 to name a few.’

    Dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton explains why cutting out meat could mean missing out on essential nutrients, as she says: ‘We know the more varied a diet you have the more likely you are to achieve recommended nutrient intake levels. When we analyse the diets of vegans, where people cut out meat, poultry, dairy, fish and eggs, we find people are often lacking in nutrients.

    ‘We also know that if you’re eating a varied diet where you’re eating from the different food groups every single week, then you are giving yourself the best possible chance of achieving required nutrient intakes.

    ‘So you can have a healthy, balanced diet with red meat which provides the iron and the zinc you need in your diet.’

    You don’t have to miss out on your favourite dishes if you incorporate lean red meat into a healthy, balanced diet

    Benefits of eating lean red meat

    • Bones – lean red meat is a source of phosphorus, protein and zinc, important nutrients for maintaining normal, healthy bones
    • Muscles – building muscle is not all about hitting the gym, the protein and potassium found in lean red meat makes a great workout addition to support the growth and maintenance of muscles
    • Brain – lean red meats are great for supporting normal psychological function, as they contain vitamins and minerals such as niacin, vitamins B6 and B12
    • Tiredness buster – lean red meat includes essential vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, pantothenic acid and iron, which help reduce tiredness and fatigue
    • Immune system – including lean red meat, such as beef and lamb will provide vitamins B6, B12 and zinc, all of which can help to maintain a normal, healthy immune system
    • Sex – lean red meat is a source of zinc, which helps to normalise testosterone levels in the blood and supports normal fertility


    steaks with chipotle pesto-c58bsteaks with chipotle pesto-c58b

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    Caption: Why I'm quitting teaching Picture: Ph?be Lou Morson Phebe
    (Picture: Phébe Lou Morson)

    Earlier this week, the BBC reported an increase in the number of people who choose go to work when in they’re actually too sick to be there.

    Whether it’s a snotty nose, a chest infection or a stress-induced panic attack, we feel compelled to rock up to the office when we feel unwell.

    This is called ‘presenteeism’, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has found evidence that it’s on the rise within the British workforce.

    Their latest Health and Well-Being at Work Survey Report states that 83% of people questioned had observed the phenomenon in their organisation and 25% said that the problem had gotten worse.

    Education is one work environment which seems to make taking a sick day particularly hard.

    Ruth is 38 and lives in the West Midlands. She’s been teaching for 13 years and says that from day one, she’s been expected to show up and get the job done. No matter what.

    She even turned up to teach when she had no voice to actually talk to her class.

    ‘The common phase ever since I started teaching was if you’re well enough to get out of bed, you are well enough to come into work,’ Ruth tells Metro.co.uk. ‘This is something I’ve always stuck to.’

    Although there’s no direct pressure from colleagues, she says that the stress of covering classes for others in the past has made her reluctant to ask them to return the favour.

    Ruth explains that the logistics of phoning in sick are quite often more hassle than they’re worth.

    ‘You have to make sure you have rung in very early in the morning,’ says Ruth. ‘Then having to think of topics and tasks that can be easily handled by someone who doesn’t teach your subject. Write it all up, find the relevant worksheets, etc. I’d rather go in.’

    29-year-old ex-teacher Jo says that she was repeatedly told by fellow staff members to take time off to get better.

    Self-employed stress
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    But like Ruth, she found that just one day off would lead to more stress in the long run.

    Jo tells us: ‘I would often find that having to sort resources and lesson plans for a covering teacher took me twice as long as if I was going to teach myself, as the plan would need to be more detailed and would often differ from what I would have done as their teacher with them.

    ‘This was especially the case when you did not know anything about the person covering.’

    Jo says that when she did take the odd sick day, she would often end up planning the next day’s lesson instead of recuperating.

    The general consensus seems to be that there isn’t enough support for teachers who are absent due to illness, making presenteeism the least painful option.

    The 2018 Teacher Wellbeing Index found that 36% of teachers feel they have no form of mental health support at work. A huge 64% of schools admits they don’t regularly survey their staff to gauge their sense of wellbeing.

    Counselling Directory member Louise Whitnall says that choosing to go to work with an illness is a personal choice, depending on how extreme your symptoms are.

    ‘For those who are physically unwell, it may just be not possible to work and the only way to get well is to rest,’ says Louise. ‘With mental illness, sometimes work is a useful tool to help people manage their depression.

    ‘Work is very tied up with a sense of identity, respect, meaning and usefulness, all elements that make up a healthy state of mind.’

    You should make sure you talk to your GP about the pros and cons of working in relation to your own specific health concerns, but Louise warns that presenteeism could negatively affect your mental wellbeing if you choose to ignore medical advice.

    ‘The long-term implications of not taking time out will cause stress and could lead to a state of deep depression which will be much more difficult to get out of,’ she explains.

    Whether you choose to go to work or not, she advises taking steps to maintain a healthy mind.

    Although you may not be able to achieve all of these goals due to health or physiological reasons, she suggests outdoor walks, healthy relationships, keeping yourself free from debt and — maybe the hardest of all — finding an enjoyable job where you feel valued.


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    Hayfever tablets and flowers on a blue background
    (Picture: Getty)

    While some people are able to enjoy the warmer months without a care in the world, there are others who are plagued by hay fever.

    With the advent of smartphones and up-to-the-minute forecasts, there are ways to be more prepared. It still doesn’t make up for being a snotty mess, though it can mean you’re ready with your remedies before disaster strikes.

    Sufferers will be beginning pack antihistamines or barrier balms ahead of time, but do you know that it isn’t just a problem that starts when the mercury soars?

    When is hay fever season?

    Hay fever typically affects people between March and August, but can start earlier or end later.

    The pollen from trees is released earliest (sometimes as earlier as January), with about 25% of people suffering from symptoms then.

    The majority of hay fever sufferers are allergic to grass pollen which has two peaks between mid-May and July.

    Depending on where you live in the UK hay fever can strike at different times, with cities having less pollen than countryside area, and the North experiencing a shorter season than the South.

    Can you still get hay fever when it’s cold or rainy outside?

    You definitely can, and it’s all to do with which kind of pollen your hay fever is triggered by.

    Trees such as alder, hazel, and yew pollinate as early as January or February, while nettle and mugwort do so late into September.

    Although this is unlikely to be a problem for the majority of people, it could be worth remembering if you still experience symptoms when it’s not Spring or Summer.

    Your best bet to prepare is to check the pollen count on the Met Office website, and decide whether or not a long walk in the park will be viable.

    If symptoms become too much to bear and aren’t treatable with standard remedies, you should see your GP or pharmacist.

    AD FEATURE: Fruitarian, flexitarian or… WHAT? Why a traditional balanced diet is the winner

    MORE: Elderly couple return to church after 75 years to renew vows


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    Woman shames her boyfriend for proposing with paw shaped engagement ring
    (Picture: Facebook/Mervis Diamond)

    An engaged woman has shamed her fiancé in a Facebook group for proposing with a paw-shaped ring.

    The ring was made up of a silver band with a diamond in the centre, with four additional diamonds dotted around the edge to look like a dog paw.

    The woman’s fiancé thought a pooch-themed engagement ring would be perfect for his bride-to-be considering how much she loves their pet dog.

    He was wrong. She didn’t like it.

    She hated the ring so much, in fact, that she forced him to melt the ring down and give her another ring that isn’t paw-shaped.

    She wrote on Facebook: ‘I love my FH [future husband] but I forced him to melt this down and turn it into not-a-dog-paw.

    ‘Who in their right mind would want to walk around with a dog paw on their hand?

    ‘Don’t get me wrong, I love my dog – our fur baby makes us act like “those people”, but I draw the line at dog-themed jewellery I’m expected to wear every day of my life.’

    dog paw engagement ring
    (Picture: Facebook)

    Reactions to the woman’s bashing of the ring have been mixed.

    Some have said the ring is ‘disgusting’, with one woman writing: ‘I am one of those legitimate psychos that spends all their free time at dog shows and if my husband gave me this I would divorce him.’

    Some have said that even if the ring were beautiful, the woman is still perfectly within her rights to ask for one she likes better. It’s her ring, after all.

    Others, however, have called the woman ungrateful and said she was ‘cruel’ for shaming the ring on Facebook when it was obviously a thoughtful gesture.

    One person commented: ‘I’m shaming you for shaming him when he tried to make something niche and specific to your relationship. It’s not a super obvious paw print so I’d wear that with pride.’

    Another said: ‘The only person worth shaming is you, for being ungrateful.’

    We’d like to note that the ring doesn’t need to be chucked out entirely. Just a reposition of those small diamonds will turn the ring from a paw into something lovely.

    It could be much worse. A quick Google search reveals loads of paw print designs, many of which are much more obviously dog-themed. If you love dogs enough to wear a pawprint on your finger, that’s lovely, but the average person might not be best pleased.

    What do you think – is the woman in the right to be annoyed about her paw-shaped ring?

    MORE: You can now buy bridesmaid dresses for your dog but it’ll cost you £114

    MORE: Maid of honour forced to deal with 99 dead goldfish which bride insisted on using as wedding favours

    MORE: Bride says her niece isn’t welcome at her wedding if she wears a superhero costume


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    Women standing in front of Iranian Embassy holding large white material
    (Picture: Dan Jones Images Ltd)

    In Iran women who break the country’s compulsory hijab laws are punished.

    To protest against the rigid system, Iranian women started taking pictures of themselves wearing white and taking off their hijab last year. The movement soon went international.

    It came to be known as the #WhiteWednesdays movement. Last week campaigners proved that the fight was still going strong when they surrounded the Iranian Embassy in London with a massive white veil.

    The move came after Nasrin Sotoudeh, an international human rights lawyer, was sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes for protecting women who appeared in public without a hijab.

    Organised by the International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR), the campaign is calling for women to be given the right to choose whether or not they cover their hair.

    White Wednesdays is also a social media protest designed to raise awareness of women in Iranian jails who are being lashed for not wearing the hijab.

    Protestors from the International Observatory of Human Rights surround the Iranian Embassy in Kensington, Central London with a white veil.
    (Picture: Dan Jones Images Ltd)

    Nasrin’s 38-year jail sentence was passed without a trial having taken place.

    Last Wednesday protestors wore T-shirts with the hashtag #FreeNasrin and held signs featuring her face.

    White Wednesdays is the work of writer and activist Masih Alinejad, who began the Facebook page My Stealthy Freedom where Iranian women can post videos and pictures of themselves without their headscarves.

    It began as a safe, private space for women to be themselves without being threatened with arrest.

    In the first two weeks of the Facebook page’s existence, hundreds of videos were sent in by women who wanted to remove their headscarves and support women’s rights in Iran.

    Protestors from the International Observatory of Human Rights surround the Iranian Embassy in Kensington, Central London with a white veil.
    (Picture: Dan Jones Images Ltd)

    With the movement growing in popularity all over the world, Masih came up with an idea which would allow women to protest in public as well as online.

    She called on people to wear white to display freedom from the traditionally black Islamic dress which women are required to wear in conservative families.

    Soon, women all over the world were taking part in White Wednesdays and sharing their pictures online with the hashtag.

    Protestors from the International Observatory of Human Rights surround the Iranian Embassy in Kensington, Central London with a white veil.
    (Picture: Dan Jones Images Ltd)

    Masih has now been exiled to the U.S, unable to return home for fear of being arrested and tortured.

    The IOHR supports Masih and believes that putting a continuous focus on Iran’s treatment of women will impact change.

    IOHR Director Valerie Peay tells Metro.co.uk: ‘We are at an ultimate tipping point for human rights in Iran.

    ‘The utter disregard of women’s rights is appalling; more than 112 women have been jailed in 2018 for merely practising their civil liberties and objecting to forced hijab laws.

    Protestors from the International Observatory of Human Rights surround the Iranian Embassy in Kensington, Central London with a white veil.
    IOHR Director Valerie Peay joined the protest (Picture: Dan Jones Images Ltd)

    ‘There are lives at stake and Iran’s head of the judiciary can make a positive change by pardoning Nasrin and all those unjustly jailed–that is why we are protesting–calling for justice.’

    The IOHR has campaigned extensively for other high profile cases such as British charity worker Nazanin Ratcliffe, Saeed Malekpour and Ahmadreza Djalali.

    They are now calling on the public to support their campaign by posting #WhiteWednesdays on social media on a Wednesday ideally with a white square or even a picture of themselves wearing white.

    If you’d like to find out more about how to support the campaign or follow news about women currently in jail or being arrested, visit the IOHR website.

    MORE: Feminism needs to cater to Muslim women, not the other way around

    MORE: Wearing a hijab for one day is not the solidarity Muslims need

    MORE: Muslim women’s modesty only benefits them in society when it aligns with patriarchal and sexist views


    whitewednesday_003-6705whitewednesday_003-6705

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    Greta Thunberg
    (Picture: Franco Origlia/Getty)

    A desperate deflection, an insensitive attack and a distinct lack of autism understanding. These are just three ways to describe a recent article in Spiked targeting climate activist Greta Thunberg.

    In the article, which has angered the autism community especially, the author described her as a ‘weirdo’ and wrote the ‘poor young woman increasingly looks and sounds like a cult member’ – a description meant to belittle Thunberg’s work and bring focus on to her personally.

    People have rushed to defend her condition, but as someone who has autism I can’t help but wonder – have we missed the point?

    Greta Thunberg is a leader, a Nobel peace prize nominee and, yes, she is also autistic.

    Yet in articles, opinion pieces and online discussions which centre on her battles against climate change, readers and writers both somehow manage to bring her autism into the discussion – even when it has no place being there.

    I am grateful that people have offered their support, but I find it infuriating that in doing so, the conversation has moved from one of climate change to one of autism – something which I believe only replaces one label with another.

    Autistic people have a vast array of talents, but society spends so long focusing on how the differences can be ignored or tamed that we rarely stop to focus on the advantages they provide.

    This is why many including myself struggle with sharing our diagnosis with people, as once we do everything is viewed through a person’s past experiences and expectations of autism.

    Personally, I often encounter people who will gloss over the fact I spent a year learning how to code – because they already assume autistic people have a natural ability to work on computers.

    I can also visibly see the dynamic of a job interview change from ‘strong candidate’ to ‘flight risk’ or ‘liability’ after I mention the fact I run a website about autism.

    This despite the fact that my page actually showcases many of the creative skills that employers are looking for.

    Autism is a spectrum and every person is impacted to widely different degrees. While Thunberg’s voice may have been shaped by the condition, what makes her an inspiration isn’t that she has carried out her work despite being autistic – her outstanding accomplishments speak for themselves.

    It’s also interesting that many have defended her by saying autism is the reason for her ‘monotone’ speech, yet few mention that it may also be due to English not being her first language.

    Furthermore, while many criticise climate change movements as rabble-rousing, I believe Thunberg’s cool and fact-led approach should be celebrated as evidence that this is not the case.

    The response to the article on social media, where people have said things such as ‘picking on a girl with Aspergers seems pretty f***ing abysmal’, demonstrates that our understanding of autism is still lacking.

    It suggests that autism is still perceived as something we must all scramble to protect at a moment’s notice.

    By jumping to defend Thunberg’s quirks, we are not showing solidarity with her, but exemplifying that we still view autism as a disability that must receive special dispensation. This is a shame, as she has herself said that autism is a ‘superpower’ and one which is only held back by other people’s lack of understanding.

    If you want to support Greta Thunberg, don’t do it by defending her autism – stand up for her beliefs instead.

    After all, while her voice may be under scrutiny, she’s fully capable of speaking up for herself if this petty name-calling really affected her.

    MORE: My Label and Me: Being autistic is something to be celebrated

    MORE: Autistic people have voices, reducing us to puppets in a play is a betrayal

    MORE: I won’t support Autism Awareness Week because autistic people are not a ‘problem’ to be aware of


    'Fridays for Future' Climate Change Rally'Fridays for Future' Climate Change Rally

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    Dyson air purifiers
    (Picture: Dyson)

    Dyson products are regularly up there when it comes to rankings of best vacuum cleaners.

    However, a new Which? test has found that perhaps their air purifiers might not be worth the cult status.

    The review brand put 33 air purifiers to the test, with two of the pricey Dyson models both coming out with a ‘don’t buy’ score. Ouch.

    Air purifiers are an option for people who suffer from hay fever, and with pollen season coming up now, it’s the perfect time to find out which ones work best.

    The purifiers were tested for pollutant removal, energy efficiency, and ease of use. To come up with a Best Buy score, the product needed to get 75% or above.

    The Dyson Pure Cool Link DP01 (£349) got 40%, while the Dyson Pure Cool Link TP02 (£250) scored 38%.

    Testers found that even though the products looked the part, they removed fewer particles from the air than others.

    It’s not just Dyson who failed to meet the mark. Other Don’t Buy models include machines from Homedics, DeLonghi, Bionaire, Electriq and Meaco. Given the high price point and regard for the brand, however, the results are pretty significant.

    Although we may assume that the more we pay for a product, the better it will be, this isn’t always the case. Those that fared best in this test did cost at least £250, but those upwards of £400 were deemed not worth the money.

    Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said: ‘With more and more of us worrying about the effects of air pollution, and hay-fever sufferers bracing themselves for soaring pollen counts, an air purifier may go some way to reducing the effects of these pollutants – but only if you buy a good quality machine you can rely on.

    ‘A Dyson air purifier may look great, but it’s more likely to leave you out of pocket than to really help improve the air quality in your home. There are a number of better alternatives on the market, so do your research before you buy.’

    You can check out the full list of scores on the Which website, but you will need to be a member to do so.

    MORE: Women are wearing white on Wednesday to protest Iran’s strict hijab laws

    MORE: How should you go about getting that pay rise?


    Which survey reveals Dyson products may not be worth the moneyWhich survey reveals Dyson products may not be worth the money

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    IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR IDAHO POTATO COMMISSION - The Big Idaho?? Potato Hotel, a 6-ton, 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall spud made of steel, plaster and concrete, is firmly planted in an expansive field with breathtaking views of the Owyhee Mountains on Monday, April 22, 2019 in South Boise, Idaho. The replica Russet Burbank potato traversed the U.S. from 2012 to 2018 aboard the Idaho Potato Commission's Great Big Idaho Potato Truck until it was ultimately recycled into a unique retreat that can now be reserved on Airbnb. (Otto Kitsinger/AP Images for Idaho Potato Commission)
    (Picture: Otto Kitsinger/AP)

    If you’re all about that carb life, we’ve just found the destination of your next holiday.

    Over in South Boise, Idaho, you can now book a stay in a giant potato.

    Not a real potato, to be clear. We don’t think a pile of potential mash would be structurally sound.

    Nope, this is a six tonne, 28-foot long, 12-foot wide, and 11.5-foot tall potato made of steel, plaster and concrete, originally created by the Idaho Potato Commission to promote the best vegetable of them all.

    The fake potato toured the state for six years on the back of a truck. When the tour was done, the Idaho Potato Commission were at a bit of a loss when it came to what to do with their giant potato baby, until a tiny house developer, Kristie Wolfe, approached them.

    IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR IDAHO POTATO COMMISSION - The Big Idaho?? Potato Hotel, a 6-ton, 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall spud made of steel, plaster and concrete, is firmly planted in an expansive field with breathtaking views of the Owyhee Mountains on Monday, April 22, 2019 in South Boise, Idaho. The replica Russet Burbank potato traversed the U.S. from 2012 to 2018 aboard the Idaho Potato Commission's Great Big Idaho Potato Truck until it was ultimately recycled into a unique retreat that can now be reserved on Airbnb. The Big Idaho?? Potato Truck tour was officially launched at the grand opening and it's currently on its 8th tour. (Otto Kitsinger/AP Images for Idaho Potato Commission)
    (Picture: Otto Kitsinger/AP)

    Kristie suggested turning the potato into a rental home. The Idaho Potato Commission agreed and gave her free rein to do whatever she fancied with it.

    She turned the potato into a rather lovely one-bedroom property, planted in a large field with views of the Owyhee Mountains.

    It’s pretty remarkable inside, including a queen-sized bed, an indoor fireplace, air conditioning (so you won’t feel like a baked potato), and a bathroom.

    There are plenty of plants and pops of pink for decoration, to make your stay as Instagram-worthy as possible.

    IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR IDAHO POTATO COMMISSION - The Big Idaho?? Potato Hotel, a 6-ton, 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall spud made of steel, plaster and concrete, is firmly planted in an expansive field with breathtaking views of the Owyhee Mountains on Monday, April 22, 2019 in South Boise, Idaho. The replica Russet Burbank potato traversed the U.S. from 2012 to 2018 aboard the Idaho Potato Commission's Great Big Idaho Potato Truck until it was ultimately recycled into a unique retreat that can now be reserved on Airbnb. (Otto Kitsinger/AP Images for Idaho Potato Commission)
    (Picture: Otto Kitsinger/AP)

    The room allows for two people to stay for $200 (£154) a night.

    Frank Muir, the Idaho Potato Commission president and CEO, sells the experience pretty well, stating: ‘If you really just wanted to know whats it’s like to be inside a potato as opposed to have a potato inside you, here’s a great opportunity to experience it.’

    I have always wanted that, it’s true.

    If you fancy booking a few nights in the Big Idaho Potato Hotel, it’s open now through Airbnb. There’s no TV but plenty of farmland, so bring a few books and some on-theme potato-based snacks.

    MORE: There’s an amazing Airbnb where you can sleep in this dreamy pastel ball pit

    MORE: AirBnB is sponsoring people to live like local in a remote Italian village for three months

    MORE: California hotels might ban mini toiletries – so what will you steal now?


    Potato hotel on AirbnbPotato hotel on Airbnb

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    woman sleeping at desk
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Staying up to finish just one more episode really isn’t a wise idea – even if it will help to avoid spoilers the next morning.

    A new study suggests that losing out on just 16 minutes of sleep makes a difference to your productivity and stress levels the next day… in a bad way.

    Researchers at the University of South Florida surveyed 130 healthy employees working in Information Technology, tracking their sleep and their performance at work.

    Participants reports that when they slept just 16 minutes less than usual, they experienced issues focusing and processing information the next day. This raised their stress levels, making them less productive.

    Researchers also found that workers tended to have worse judgement and were more easily distracted after a poor night’s sleep.

    Participants were also tracked at the weekend. Unsurprisingly, the consequences of losing sleep weren’t as apparent when participants had the day off work.

    Lead author Soomi Lee said: ‘These cyclical associations reflect that employees’ sleep is vulnerable to daily cognitive stress and also a contributor to cognitively stressful experiences.

    Do you really have to wake up at 4am to be successful?
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Findings from this study provide empirical evidence for why workplaces need to make more efforts to promote their employees’ sleep.

    ‘Good sleepers may be better performers at work due to greater ability to stay focused an on-task with fewer errors and interpersonal conflicts.’

    This isn’t the first time it’s been suggested that employers could benefit from ensuring workers have a decent sleeping pattern.

    Last year a study found that sleep can impact university performance as much as binge-drinking or drug use.

    Back in 2016 Rand Europe found that sleep deprivation costs the UK economy £40billion per year, thanks to the issues with productivity, focus, and physical and mental health caused by a lack of sleep, and in 2017 research from the University of Rotterdam found that even one night of poor sleep can lead to employees displaying unwanted behaviour at work, such as taking longer breaks or losing their temper with colleagues.

    The tricky bit is that bosses can’t exactly watch over each employee’s bedtime routine. But we also know that stress at work can impact our sleep, which then leads to a damaging cycle of rubbish sleep, poor work performance, and more stress.

    What workplaces can do is work to create a healthy working environment, ensure daily stress isn’t leading to burnout, and promote the importance of a healthy work/life balance – part of which is a proper night’s sleep.

    MORE: Do you really need to wake up at 4am to be successful?

    MORE: Man proposes to his girlfriend over a sausage roll and a cup of tea in their local Greggs

    MORE: You can now live out your dreams of sleeping in a giant potato


    Why offices should give workers time and space to sleepWhy offices should give workers time and space to sleep

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    Woman says Uber driver who asked her out and then charged her double exploited her
    (Picture: @sunshineharris0022/PA)

    When artist Amanda Harris’ Uber driver asked her out on a date after the car broke down, she grew worried.

    She and the driver were stopped for an hour waiting in a quiet neighbourhood for help to arrive.

    In that time, the driver asked her some questions and asked her to go out with him.

    After she politely declined, she woke up the next morning to find she was charged for the trip even though the car had broken down and he had said the trip was free.

    Amanda took to Twitter to vent her frustration and told Metro.co.uk she wants taxi service companies to provide better safety measures for women and vulnerable people.

    Amanda said she was terrified when the car broke down
    (Picture: @sunshineharris0022)

    ‘As the car broke down and we pulled over, I was a bit worried,’ she explained.

    ‘The driver had already been asking me lots of questions about my job and my life. When he pulled over on the dark road he said “oh well, it’ll give me more time to talk with you”.

    ‘I told him I needed to hurry home to take my dog out, etc. He told me he would call another driver if the car wasn’t ready in 10 minutes…that didn’t happen.

    ‘He told me he wouldn’t charge me for my ride and my troubles. He asked me to dinner, I declined the offer. He offered me money, which I declined (wondering why in the world would this man offer me money).’

    Amanda explained that she wanted to get herself out of the situation but on a dark road, and with poor mobile signal, it didn’t seem wise to her.

    Eventually, she made it home as the driver was able to drop her off.

    The next morning when she woke up, she found that the driver had decided to charge for the whole trip and included the time they had been broken down.

    ‘So the driver overcharged me because I refused him? This is his form of punishing me for turning him down? I should have given in to him in order to avoid a charge for a ridiculous ride?’ she added.

    When she contacted Uber Support through the app, she was refunded just $4 (£3.10).

    ‘They refunded me $4. My dignity is worth $4?

    ‘Eventually, Uber got right on it and refunded me the whole amount. They also said the incident was “noted on the driver’s account”, so I don’t know if he is still out there driving around or not, all the while, knowing where I work (pick up location) and where I live (drop off location)

    ‘If I said I thought this was an isolated incident, that would be naive. For me, it’s the only time an Uber driver has done this, but what about all the other women, or men even, that go through things like this as passengers?

    ‘They shouldn’t have to go through it either.’

    A spokesperson for Uber told Metro.co.uk: ‘Our support team has fully refunded the rider and we are looking further into the experience she has described.’

    MORE: All black women want from clubs is good music and a place to be ourselves

    MORE: Women and girls need to feel safe everywhere they go – not just at work

    MORE: Drunk woman left with £300 bill after accidentally ordering Uber to Newcastle


    Woman says Uber driver who asked her out and then charged her double exploited herWoman says Uber driver who asked her out and then charged her double exploited her

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    Mixed Up is a weekly series that aims to shine a light on the highs, lows, joys and contradictions of being mixed-race.

    We speak to the hugely diverse mixed population to find out exactly what it’s like being part of the UK’s fastest-growing ethnic group.

    Having access to more than one cultural reference in your immediate family is an incredible privilege, but being mixed also comes with a unique set of challenges and, occasionally, conflicts.

    We dig below the surface, beyond outward perceptions and stereotypes, to get to the heart of the mixed-race experience.

    Cherise Silavant is a newly graduated professional. A turbulent few years at school left her questioning her place in the world, but now she’s happy to embrace who she is.

    Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie Morris
    Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk

    ‘I am a mix of mixes. My mum is from Barbados, St Vincent and Guyana and my Dad is from Mauritius and Ireland,’ explains Cherise.

    ‘I think being mixed-race means everything to me now that I am comfortable and confident within myself, but it has not always made me feel this way.

    ‘For me, being mixed without a white parent is even more challenging, especially because my dad is sometimes mistaken as white because of his fair complexion.

    ‘People expect my dad to look like Mr T, like some big, black guy, but he really doesn’t. It leaves people confused, it even left me confused.

    ‘From a young age I struggled to understand how to love myself or even understand who I was. I didn’t know how I should feel in certain situations or how to deal with the negative stereotypes being thrown at me.

    ‘But as I have got older, that has become easier. Now I know how to embrace myself, and where to place myself in the world.’

    Cherise only graduated from university last year, so her education is still fresh in her mind.

    The school she attended in a small village in greater London was a minefield for racial tension, and Cherise often found herself caught right in the middle.

    ‘My school was majority white – I mean like 95% white. But then in the sixth form there was a total switch and it became 95% black.

    ‘In my year, there were only eight black and mixed-race girls and maybe 10 black and mixed-race boys.

    Little Cherise with her mum
    Little Cherise with her mum (Picture: Cherise Silavant/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘In the early years of school, all my friends were white and I remember one of my friends at the time used the N word – I want to point out that I wasn’t there when she said it.

    ‘She was confronted about it by three girls from the self-named “black girls group”. I stood up for her, not because I agreed with what she said, but because she was scared and her friends were silent.

    ‘After this argument, everyone asked me to pick my side. They said I could only be on one side.

    ‘I found this was a message that I would hear again and again while I was growing up, as people always expect mixed-race people to be either white or black. One or the other.

    ‘In later years at school I become friends with the other black and mixed-race girls.

    ‘We were all labelled with the “angry black female” stereotype, but the main stereotype I faced was the “rude lightie”. It was mad. We weren’t invited to the cool kids’ parties, we weren’t even invited to our school prom after party.

    ‘School was a pretty racist environment to grow up in.

    ‘The boys in our year would do a “Black vs White Fight” at the end of every half term. The boys who were mixed-race would have to pick their side. It would just end up being a huge brawl with all the boys – based solely on race.

    ‘For loads of the boys, this would genuinely be the highlight of the term. It was crazy, it was like something out of movie which you would never relate to real life.’

    Cherise doesn’t know much about her dad’s side of the family. She hasn’t visited Mauritius or Ireland yet, so much of the history and her family’s place in these countries remains a mystery to her.

    Her mum’s side of the family have always been much more hands-on. As a result, Cherise feels a deeper connection to both Barbados and Guyana.

    ‘My family is incredibly proud of its heritage,’ she explains.

    Cherise with her mum and sister in Guyana
    Cherise with her mum and sister in Guyana (Picture: Cherise Silavant/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘There were periods where my sister and I would stay at our grandparents’ house and they had memorabilia from Guyana and Barbados in every corner.

    ‘I feel like I majorly relate to my mum’s side of my heritage more than anything. Mainly because my grandparents on my mum’s side always looked after my sister and I.

    ‘After my grandparents moved back to Barbados they really made the effort to keep in touch and to keep me informed about my heritage and history.’

    It’s something she appreciates. Having spent much of her childhood feeling adrift in terms of identity, learning about her heritage has been crucial in forming Cherise’s new sense of belonging.

    But it hasn’t been entirely simple. Even those within the familial ranks have made comments to Cherise that have made her feel inadequate in one way or another.

    ‘I have no white family members, but even despite that, I have had relatives tell me that I am acting too white or too black,’ she tells us.

    ‘”Cherise, you need to cream more, you’re not white,” they would say.

    ‘But when I got to the age of finding what works for me – and I will always refer back to my hair journey for this – I would wear my silk bonnet before bed and they would say I was acting “too black”.

    ‘It was difficult. It made me feel like I was being rejected by both sides.’

    Mixed-race people are often shouldered with the burden of justification. The constant expectation of explaining ‘what’ you are and where you belong.

    Not only can this persistent questioning of your identity cause you to doubt yourself, it’s also just really exhausting.

    Cherise at graduation with her dad
    Cherise at graduation with her dad (Picture: Cherise Silavant/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I have wasted time and energy convincing people I am not the “typical lightie” – with the resting bitch face. Or that I am not an “Oreo” – white on the inside,’ says Cherise.

    ‘I was scared to attend the Black Girl Fest event, or even to sign up to my university’s ACS (Afro-Caribbean Society) because of how I thought people would perceive me. I felt like I wouldn’t belong.

    ‘I felt like in these spaces, I was getting stared at, I was anxious.

    ‘I had friends telling me that I only get attention from people because I am light, or people would say I thought I was better than them because I was lighter.

    ‘Now, I love being who I am, but I never did before.

    ‘It is a struggle to be accepted by both white and black people, you feel stuck.

    ‘This has definitely informed my identity, and I want people to understand that mixed-race people are marginalised too. It took so long to even get my own friends to understand that mixed-race people also suffer at the hands of racism.

    ‘We are a minority within an even smaller minority and not many people realise this.’

    Cherise with her nana
    Cherise with her nana (Picture: Cherise Silavant/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Entering the professional world last year has exposed me to another realm of racism,’ says Cherise.

    ‘I have been laughed at in two job interviews when talking about my dissertation title, which was focused on whether contemporary Britain is a post-racial society. I was even asked why did I study race at all?

    ‘Thankfully, I have found a platform that celebrates the minorities working in PR – BME PR PROS – otherwise I feel like I would have lost my mind.

    ‘Being mixed-race isn’t about being either or. But so many people want to label you in this way.

    ‘Why is it so hard to simply celebrate the complex but beautiful mixed heritages of individuals?’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘Being white-passing has definitely entitled me to privileges’

    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’


    CheriseCherise

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