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

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    PICS BY JACOB HOLBROOK / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED : The hilarious moment Katie told Raegan she was going to be a big sister to their child) - A doting owner was left in hysterics after capturing his dogs shocked reaction to finding out she was going to be a big sister. Jacob Holbrook, 23, decided to take a photograph of his fiance, Katie Gillum, 24, showing her baby bump to their nine-month-old Weimaraner puppy, Raegan. When taking the photograph, Katie, who is 25-weeks-pregnant, told the pooch that she was going to be a big sister. However, much to the couples surprise, the reaction from their dog was not as they expected - as she first appeared to look shocked and then concerned by the news. - SEE CATERS COPY
    We think Raegan’s a bit shocked (Picture: JACOB HOLBROOK / CATERS NEWS)

    The pressure to react correctly to someone’s baby news is intense.

    You have to show immediate, genuine excitement about the prospect of a tiny human or you risk looking incredibly rude. Any glimmer of concern, confusion, or ‘really, you’re ready to do that right now?’ will be obsessed over for the entire pregnancy.

    Dogs, however, are free of this stress, and can instead show exactly how they feel.

    Take a look at Raegan, a nine-month-old Weimeraner living in Russell, Kentucky.

    Her owners Jacob Holbrook and Katie Gillum decided to take a photograph of Katie showing off her baby bump to the dog.

    PICS BY JACOB HOLBROOK / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED : The hilarious moment Katie told Raegan she was going to be a big sister to their child) - A doting owner was left in hysterics after capturing his dogs shocked reaction to finding out she was going to be a big sister. Jacob Holbrook, 23, decided to take a photograph of his fiance, Katie Gillum, 24, showing her baby bump to their nine-month-old Weimaraner puppy, Raegan. When taking the photograph, Katie, who is 25-weeks-pregnant, told the pooch that she was going to be a big sister. However, much to the couples surprise, the reaction from their dog was not as they expected - as she first appeared to look shocked and then concerned by the news. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: JACOB HOLBROOK / CATERS NEWS)

    Raegan responded with all the panic us humans have to bury beneath an enthusiastic ‘congratulations’.

    The dog immediately looked shocked and concerned, looking straight at the camera as though to ask what on earth was going on. We think she’s a bit nervous about being a big sister.

    PICS BY JACOB HOLBROOK / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED : The hilarious moment Katie told Raegan she was going to be a big sister to their child) - A doting owner was left in hysterics after capturing his dogs shocked reaction to finding out she was going to be a big sister. Jacob Holbrook, 23, decided to take a photograph of his fiance, Katie Gillum, 24, showing her baby bump to their nine-month-old Weimaraner puppy, Raegan. When taking the photograph, Katie, who is 25-weeks-pregnant, told the pooch that she was going to be a big sister. However, much to the couples surprise, the reaction from their dog was not as they expected - as she first appeared to look shocked and then concerned by the news. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: JACOB HOLBROOK / CATERS NEWS)

    Jacob said: ‘Our goal was to get a cute picture of Raegan sitting in front of Katie, while looking at her baby bump.

    ‘She wanted to post a progress picture of her baby bump, so I was snapping pictures and ended up with these gems instead.

    ‘We were scrolling through them and both of us instantly burst out laughing and I knew those were going to be the ones I used.

    PICS BY JACOB HOLBROOK / CATERS NEWS - (PICTURED : Katie Gillum, 24, with fiance Jacob Holbrook, 23, and their nine-month-old Weimaraner puppy, Raegan) - A doting owner was left in hysterics after capturing his dogs shocked reaction to finding out she was going to be a big sister. Jacob Holbrook, 23, decided to take a photograph of his fiance, Katie Gillum, 24, showing her baby bump to their nine-month-old Weimaraner puppy, Raegan. When taking the photograph, Katie, who is 25-weeks-pregnant, told the pooch that she was going to be a big sister. However, much to the couples surprise, the reaction from their dog was not as they expected - as she first appeared to look shocked and then concerned by the news. - SEE CATERS COPY
    (Picture: JACOB HOLBROOK / CATERS NEWS)

    ‘We can’t wait to take more progress pictures – hopefully when the news has settled in for Raegan – as we include her in everything we do.

    ‘Raegan is great with children, so we can’t wait to see her grow up with our little one too!’

    MORE: Cat adopts four orphaned squirrels

    MORE: Couple prank their friends with adorable gender reveal for their new puppy

    MORE: Woman who says she’s a ‘cat person’ finds puppy in a ditch and takes him in


    Caption: Dog shocked at baby newsCaption: Dog shocked at baby news

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    Greggs chess board
    (Picture: Greggs/Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    Chess is a wonderful way to exercise your mind and kill time when the internet’s down.

    But – whisper it – it can also be quite boring.

    It’s hard to care about a game when you aren’t emotionally connected with your pieces, you know? We’re not too bothered about our knights and pawns – not the same way we care about the thimble and Scottie dog when we play Monopoly.

    Someone may have come up with a solution.

    A Greggs employee has been so inspired by the thrill of pasties that they’ve decided to mash up Greggs with good old Chess, making a one-of-a-kind Greggs inspired chessboard.

    Crafted entirely out of clay, the model features Greggs classics as the chess pieces, including sausage rolls, yum yums, doughnuts, and gingerbread men.

    the greggs themed chessboard has pieces that look like bacon butties, sausage rolls, and steak bakes
    (Picture: Greggs)

    Sadly, the pieces are inedible, as they’re made out of clay. We’d recommend doing a Greggs haul before you settle into your game in case playing with a tiny sausage roll makes you peckish.

    The creator of the chess set is Rachael Dorward, 39, who works as a warehouse supervisor at Greggs’ manufacturing site in Longbenton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

    Rachael previously volunteered at Sure Start Centres, showing children how to make things with clay, so she’s skilled in the crafty side of things.

    Rachael said: ‘I’ve always loved crafting and find clay modelling particularly therapeutic and a brilliant way to relax. I’ve done it for years but was recently inspired by my day job to create something a bit different, featuring models of my favourite Greggs products.

    ‘The chessboard was perfect as it allowed me to create lots of miniature models of things like sausage rolls and bacon sandwiches, my favourite is the Steak Bake so I obviously I had to make that one the King!’

    Sadly the chess set is just a one-off, so you can’t buy your own or have a play at your local Greggs branch, but who knows, maybe the excitement will get Greggs to delve into the board game industry. We’re hoping for a Monopoly set with a vegan sausage roll piece next.

    MORE: Lion King Monopoly exists and it comes with a mini Pride Rock to blast out songs from the film

    MORE: Tesco launches ‘vegan sausage roll’ to compete with Greggs

    MORE: The brain ‘switch’ that makes us crave junk food has been revealed


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    Orange mock up bottles of sun screen and sunglasses on bright contrast blue beach wrap on horizontal blank white background with copy space. Holiday flat lay
    Can you smell summer already? There are certain scents that will tap into your memories – even if you don’t even know it (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    When you think of your fondest memories, what are the scents that spring to mind? Subtle hints of salty sea air are the long and lazy days by the oceanside, while fragrant pink flowers transport you back to exotic escapes and cocktails at sunset.

    For most of us, those fantasies can’t come around often enough, yet scents have the power to take you on that journey: back to a specific time, wrapped up in an emotion or back to your happy place.

    We’re always dreaming of our next beach escape, but those wistful feelings don’t need to be saved for summer, because Air Wick has introduced a new range of fresh fragrances designed to take you back to the oceanside, any time.

    In three energising varieties, Air Wick’s Beach Escapes range will make your home feel like Malibu, Mykonos or Bali, tapping into the nostalgia of your all-time favourite getaways.

    What’s more, Air Wick Freshmatic Kits work automatically, sending continuous fragrant bursts for up to 60 days, so you needn’t even move a muscle.

    Whether it’s the coconutty tones of tanning lotion or the fruits zesty enough to make your mouth water, we’ve found seven scents sure to trigger a lifetime of memories.

    1. FRUITY SHAMPOOS
    Remember those fruity shampoos that you’d squirrel away every summer, ready for your next holiday? Well, the scent of sweet cream and rose petals still smells like coastal getaways, and it’s enough to bring that carefree feeling flooding back. Air Wick has bottled that scent for the whole home, with the Malibu Beach & Hibiscus Fragrance, which is enough to spark nostalgia in automatic bursts.

    Natural cosmetics ingredients, for a body and hair from strawberry. Red liquid in a transparent bottle. Strawberry oil, shampoo, shower gel.
    It’s amazing how a fruit shampoo can remind you of a holiday (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    2. NEWLY-CUT GRASS
    The first cut of spring conjures memories of laughter, fun and family time when the grass is soft enough to get outside and enjoy. Not only does it bring back happy memories but it carries the anticipation of the summer holidays, picnics outside and staying out until the sun goes down.

    Beautiful public park in France.
    Freshly cut grass brings back Easter memories and the start of spring (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    3. SUN LOTION
    Was there ever a smell that captured summer so effortlessly? That coconut-cream holiday skin feeling is locked in every exotic trip you’ve ever taken – it’s almost sad that summer only comes around once a year. But if you wanted to be transported to the Gili Islands again or the coast of Canggu, you only need a spritz of Air Wick’s Bali Blue Waters to take you there – without the fuss of the long-haul flight.

    Summer Fashion woman swimsuit Bikini, starfish and spa flower. Travel and vacations in the holiday, wood white and blue background., top view. Summer Concept.
    The smell of sun lotion can instantly take you back to childhood holidays and beach breaks gone by (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    4. OLD BOOKS

    Remember the first time a book changed your life? Opening a book from your past can bring back the same escapism and take you on the journey all over again. It’s as if the turn of every page in an old book brings back the same childhood excitement and adventure like no time has passed at all.

    Row of old books on a bookshelf. Many of the books show lots of wear and damage from aging.
    Getting into a good book – is there a better form of escapism? (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    5. FRESH LAUNDRY
    Not only does freshly-washed laundry feel deeply satisfying – chores for the day, check – but it smells like those first weekends in spring when the pink blossom and the warm breeze begs the promise of long, hot days ahead. A breath of delightful pink flowers is enough to make any house feel like the shores of Greece and for that year-round feeling, there’s also Air Wick’s Mykonos White Sand and Sea Salt.

    Freshly laundered bright whites drying in a gentle breeze against a dramatic sky.
    The fresh laundry scent in a home is a happy home (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    6. RAIN ON A HOT DAY

    Remember that smell? The start of a shower on a hot day – there’s definitely a smell. It’s the scent of freshness and clearing the air. Sometimes it’s a little light relief from humid weather with the promise of a rainbow just around the corner, or it’s those days when it seems like the only option is to take cover, dig out a film and hibernate for the rest of the afternoon.

    Colorful umbrella on a road in autumn
    A little rain never hurt anyone (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    7. CUPS OF HOT TEA

    They say that a cup of tea can solve everything – at least that’s how the old wives’ tale goes. But the aroma of a fresh pot of tea locks in all of the girlie chats, the meet-ups with mum and lazy days with breakfast in bed. The smell of fresh brewing tea is the scent of a happy home, are we right?

    Tea being poured from a vintage bone china tea pot with with knitted wool cosy or cozy cover into a pretty tea cup with saucer. All on a vintage style patterned table cloth. Steam can be seen coming from the hot drink.
    Can the smell of tea simply make you happier? We’d say so (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    Life's a beach! Air Wick's scents that bring the seaside into your home:

    Is your holiday to somewhere warm taking ages to come around – or perhaps you just want to fast-forward to summer and add some inviting freshness into your life?

    Well, Air Wick have launched a new summer range which are all inspired by getting away to the seaside. The Beach Escapes range will instantly bring a burst of fresh, coastal air into any area of your house – and freshen up your spirit in the process. Here, are the three new amazing fragrances for you to choose from…

    Mykonos White Sand 

    Dip your toes in the sparkling waters along the white sandy beaches of Mykonos, while enjoying the fresh salty sea air, and the delightful scent of fragrant pink flowers.

    Bali Blue Waters

    Escape to a pastel beach paradise with perfect pink sunsets. Take in the aroma of fresh coconut, exotic fruits and tropical blooms, and immerse your senses in the tranquillity of Bali Blue Waters.

    Malibu Beach & Hibiscus 

    Feel the cool ocean breeze and the warmth of the sun caressing your skin as you escape to your Malibu beach hideaway, feeling a beautiful blend of sweet cream and pretty petals.

    These 250ml refills are for a Air Wick Freshmatic Max kit. It releases bursts of fragrance to constantly freshen your home and neutralise odours for up to 60 days.

    It couldn’t be easier to bring a beach escape to your home – click HERE to buy your Freshmatic Max kit today…


    Orange mock up bottles of sun screen and sunglasses on bright contrast blue beach wrap on horizontal empty white background with copy space. Holiday flat layOrange mock up bottles of sun screen and sunglasses on bright contrast blue beach wrap on horizontal empty white background with copy space. Holiday flat lay

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    Illustration of a man in authority wearing a waistcoat and jacket
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    If you’re one of the six people in the UK who hasn’t watched season two of Fleabag, then here’s what you need to know.

    The second series follows Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s unnamed character, who is equal parts hot mess and perfect woman, as she attempts to charter the choppy waters of a sexually charged friendship with an extremely attractive priest.

    Fleabag asks all sorts of clever questions about modern life, like what role religion has in 2019, how it’s possible to be both sex positive and recognise that casual sex can come from an unhealthy place and why some people look so much better in a jumpsuit than others.

    But the question I found myself asking, as I had a demi orgasm over Andrew Scott telling Phoebe Waller-Bridge to ‘kneel’, is why I – and a lot of other women – am so desperately, universally, unflinchingly attracted to figures of authority.

    For me it started with teachers. I went to an all-girl boarding school so obviously everyone had a crush on a member of staff. When you go that long without seeing anything male it’s only natural. But for me it was deeper. I didn’t just like a bit of male attention or entertain the occasional fantasy.

    Something about the combination of male, older and in a position of authority made me feel safe, protected and sheltered.

    Even worse than teachers were priests. At Catholic school they’re an occupational hazard. When we very occasionally had an attractive (or even semi-attractive) man of the cloth brought in to talk to us, I was utterly spellbound. The heady combination of forbidden fruit, caring paternalistic role and position of total authority (what’s more powerful than a direct line to actual God?) was impossible to resist.

    I had assumed that once I left school and met some boys my fixation on teachers, priests and anyone with any kind of authority would fade away. Sadly, it didn’t, which is how I found myself in a four and a half year long relationship with a man 36 years my senior.

    A man tells off a woman
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Francesca, 34, tells Metro.co.uk that she has a similar problem: ‘I’ve fancied almost every boss I’ve ever had. When I worked as a temp I would fall for anyone senior in an office who was kind to me or took a moment to explain how to use the coffee machine.

    ‘It’s something about someone senior taking time to focus on me, like I’m special and worthy of extra attention. I can’t resist it.’

    It doesn’t feel very empowered to be filled with a constant desire to hook up with people who can exert control.

    Sex and relationships psychologist Natalie Cawley says a fascination with powerful people is a common tendency, explaining: ‘Studies have been done whereby people are artificially put in a position of power for a short time. The results show people were more likely to engage in conversation with the ‘powerful person’ who also inspired more creativity and spontaneity. Such effects may increase the likelihood of desire.’

    So it’s normal, but where does this power fetish actually come from?

    Natalie says: ‘The desire or attraction seems to come, in part, from the idealised view of the person, it is assumed that because a person holds a position of power they are respected, capable, together and are able to contain and respond to our own fragility or chaos. For such a person to value us would reinforce our ego and communicate to others that we are valuable, lovable and worthy.’

    Power imbalances in relationships are a hot topic following the #MeToo movement. Undeniably there have been abuses of power from people in positions of authority both towards adults and children.

    Fortunately for me, every authority figure I fell for in my adolescence either didn’t notice my thumping great crush, or wasn’t inclined to take advantage of it.

    In adulthood the boundaries of appropriate relationships are blurred. We know that relationships between teachers and students are wrong, similarly between underage teenagers and adults. But what about when the object of your affection doesn’t have power over you directly? Does fancying someone because they have authority within their own life constitute a problem?

    Lianne Young, a sex and relationships counsellor, says: ‘Being attracted to men who have positions of authority over other people may mean nothing apart from you like having the option to be submissive. But it could mean you are insecure and looking for security from someone else.

    ‘If you find the idea of someone making decisions for you, that can be dangerous territory as then you run the risk of becoming an object within the relationship and being reliant upon someone else.’

    It’s impossible to make blanket statements about whether or not a relationship is healthy or unhealthy, but women who seek out powerful men over and over again might well be trying to heal internal wounds.

    A man and a woman hug
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Natalie goes on to explain: ‘The desire for those in power is deeply rooted in our psyche. In evolutionary terms someone in a position of power is seen as someone with resources and abilities that will create viable offspring and therefore we are driven to form an attachment with them.

    ‘The attraction to power will also be based on an individual’s early attachment relationships. If one had a parent (particularly the opposite sex parent) who held a position of power in a nurturing, containing and protective manner the may be more likely to be attracted to such qualities in a mate.

    ‘If someone felt invalidated by someone in a power position in the family they may also seek out powerful mates. This is because as humans we commonly have a repetition compulsion, we repeat patterns in relating that are familiar to us, as this is less threatening.

    ‘We also engage in relationships with a similar dynamic and seek a different outcome in an attempt to gain reparation for the first invalidating relationship.’

    As with any repeated behaviour or compulsion, there is a reason that we keep going for authority figures, and as Natalie says it’s probably to do with childhood trauma (isn’t everything?)

    Whether or not a romantic of sexual predilection is ‘healthy’ is an enormous question and one I could burn some serious cash working out in therapy. Suffice to say, I doubt that my fetish for men in power positions is a hallmark of A Grade psychological health, but it’s also an ingrained part of my personality.

    It would have been contrived in the extreme to spend my twenties dating passive, laidback men who thrived on irresponsibility just to avoid pandering to my power fetish.

    In the end, I found a sort of cure for my fixation in the shape of my husband – eleven years my senior, capable of pulling rank occasionally, but very much not in a position of authority over me and not interested in micromanaging my life.

    But even now, if I’m seated next to a teacher at a dinner party, he’ll raise an eyebrow at me across the table, full in the knowledge that I’ll never quite be able to shake my addiction to authority figures, and that I’m very slightly hoping they’ll ask why I haven’t handed in my coursework.

    MORE: Could micro-dating be the relationship saver time-poor parents need?

    MORE: The signs you’re dating someone who has a fear of commitment

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


    ***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** How I broke the golden rule of sex work and fell in love with a client (Miranda Kane)***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** How I broke the golden rule of sex work and fell in love with a client (Miranda Kane)

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    A complete guide to multi-masking with Pixi Beauty
    (Picture: Pixi Beauty)

    Who doesn’t feel 1,000 times better after masking?

    Face masks are a self-care moment for you and your skin, helping you to relax and boost your complexion when it’s feeling a little ropey.

    Why limit your skin to just one mask when you can use a combination of masks to exfoliate, clarify, hydrate, tighten pores, and get healthy glowing skin?

    Multi-masking might sound like a load of faff, but it’s an effective and simple solution that involves applying different face masks to different areas of your face at the same time.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu1YvtBHJmB/

    We spoke to Pixi Beauty’s Global Artistry Director Amanda Bell on how to effectively try the multi-masking trend.

    ‘Multi Masking can be so beneficial for the skin as masks are results driven and can really work quickly and effectively to improve the skin.’ explains Amanda.

    ‘It can be effortless and be applied in steps to maximise the benefits for the complexion’

    Amanda Bell's on 'complexion perfection' masking

    1. A cleansing mask, or purifying mask would always be the 1st step for a deep pore cleanse. Ensure that your skin is immaculately clean and apply a mud/clay mask. I recommend The Pixi Glow Mud Mask (£18) for 10 minutes. It is mud and botanical based, so deep cleanses but soothes.

    2. Then be prescriptive if your skin is prone to breakouts. I would recommend a 2nd step in purifying the skin, but also hydrating. The Pixi In-Shower Steam Facial (£18) is perfect for this, as it is purifying but ultimately hydrating – leaving skin superbly moisturised.

    3. The Pixi Glow-O2 Oxygen Mask (£26) which is a 2 minute oxygenating mask, is an instant pick-me-up for all skin types. After removing move onto the next step of masking.

    4. Next pop the Pixi DetoxifEYE Depuffing Eye Patches (£22) under the eyes as the ultimate revitalising treatment targeted to tackle puffiness and tired eyes.

    5. Then apply the Pixi GLOW Glycolic Boost Brightening Infusion Sheet Mask (£10) on top for 15 Minutes. This sheet mask is saturated with an intense version of the cocktail of goodness in Glow Tonic to hydrate and revitalise the skin giving a wonderful glow to all skins.

    It you’re a skincare minimalist, trust us when we say it’s not as frivolous as it sounds. Multi-masking works like a charm.

    Totaling it up, multi-masking can become expensive, but often, two masks will cater to your skins needs. Check out a few more of our trusted face masks if you need some help picking.

    Let’s be real, what else are you supposed to do while watching Game of Thrones, or half-heartedly shaving your legs? Sit back, relax and multi-mask – your skin and your soul with thank you for it.

    MORE: Snoop Dogg narrated a makeup tutorial and it's dope

    MORE: 10 classic beauty products that have stood the test of time


    A complete guide to multi-masking with Pixi BeautyA complete guide to multi-masking with Pixi Beauty

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    Get the most out of the London Marathon 2019 with the official app (Picture: Alex Cavendish/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

    The time has finally come, Race Week is here and the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon is on Sunday.

    With over 40,000 people taking on the iconic challenge across London, you need to get organised so you don’t miss a thing and we have the best solution – the official race app, powered by the Official 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon app, powered by TCS.

    In the past over 800,000 people have lined the streets on Race Day to cheer on the runners, wave their banners and hand out sweets and water to loved ones across the 26.2 mile course – downloading this free app makes the whole experience easier.

    Advice is tailored for both runners and spectators so that everyone is at ease with the plan, knows the course and can even keep tabs on the athlete from home – making sure everyone is part of the experience – especially when you’ve supported throughout all of the training, miles and miles of sweat, tears and blisters as well as the mountains of food – take them to the finish line with this app.

    As a runner, you’ll have one less thing to think about be more relaxed as you know people can track your race and meet you at that finish line, or start getting the celebratory orders in.

    Here’s why you need to download the official #ThisRun race app:

    Keep tabs

    Using the app you’ll be able to track everyone you want to across the course. Finding your favourite runners has never been easier, whether it’s a friend or a family member, celebrity or elite runner, you can track each 5km and the app will even give you predicted times for when they reach the next marker according to the runner’s pace. This gives you a better chance of cheering them on.

    Track your favourite runner around the London Marathon 2019 with the official app
    Track your favourite runner around the London Marathon 2019 with the official app
    Find all the points of interest around this year's London Marathon course with the handy app
    Find all the points of interest around this year’s London Marathon course with the handy app

    Runner info

    When running the marathon, you’ll have a lot on your mind – whether you have enough energy gels and plasters, deciding when to go to the loo and where you need to be. The app might not be much help with the other two, but it does tell you where you need to go – the start times for each race and how to get there. You’ll also be able to plan around the toilets, water stations and First Aid points with the helpful interactive maps. Spectators will find it also useful to find you and give you that much needed boost, as well as finding the nearest pub. Told you it was useful.

    Updates

    You might be juggling the Sunday roast or have a full-on day with the kids, meaning you can’t spend the whole time watching the finish line on the TV to spot your pal, instead you can get push notifications to your phone which will tell you when they’ve crossed the start line, the halfway point and of course, when they hit that all important finish line so at any point you can send the all-important encouraging message.

    Access all the important information you need from your pocket
    Access all the important information you need from your pocket

    Running Show

    All the information you need about the different exhibits, what time it’s open and directions so you reserve your energy for the big day and get to where you want to go easily.

    Ones to Watch

    New this year, get all the information on the elite runners and their trailblazing efforts as well as all of the celebrities joining the marathon. Profiles on the runners will show you who to keep an eye on and spot on the way around and give them a supportive cheer to see them round the course. This year, the elites include the incredible Eliud Kipchoge, Sir Mo Farah, Mary Keitany and David Weir. While celebrities putting themselves through their paces include Kirsty Gallacher, Mark Wright and Chris Evans.

    Donate

    Donations just got a whole lot easier with an in-race donation button. You can find your runner and give them an extra boost so they hit their targets from the tracking page.

    Time for a selfie

    This year you can share your marathon experience, whether you’re running the 26.2 miles yourself or supporting friends and family, you can get all of your mates to join in and share the love with London Marathon themed filters for the Race Week. You can then join the thousands by using the #ThanksABillion hashtag.

    The 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon Official Race App, is available to download for iPhone and  android now.


    Virgin Money London MarathonVirgin Money London Marathon

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    Illustration of two people having sex
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    A sex routine is the way of having sex that you and your partner have honed over the space of your relationship.

    It’s the no bells and whistles, we’re going to have sex but let’s not make a big fuss about it, form of bonking.

    Routine sex can be great – it’s like a well oiled machine. You’ve probably crafted it over months or years so that it works well for both of you.

    It might not sound sexy, but in a time when we’re all busy, stressed and allegedly having less sex, being able to revert to something which works is no bad thing.

    We asked people to open up about their sex routine, and amazingly they did. Enjoy!

    Peter

    We usually go upstairs to bed as soon as we get home on a Friday night. We’re long distance during the week.

    We will kiss for a while, then I will touch her intimately. She will give me a blow job, and then we have sex in missionary.

    I don’t orgasm from sex, unlike most men, so I will finish by masturbating over her body. She will sometimes bring herself to orgasm while I do this.

    Gary

    Our routine starts with me behind. We stroke and kiss – she likes me kissing around her ear. She grinds her bum against me, in a spooning position. When that happens I’ll fondle her breasts etc and usually undress down below.

    We start in missionary but she likes to go on top. It takes me a while to orgasm like that but my wife definitely orgasms.

    Senna

    My boyfriend prefers morning sex, so usually we wake up, he has an erection and he’ll pull my pyjamas down. I’m always happy to be woken up by having my neck kissed and leading into sex. He’ll penetrate me from behind in spooning position and finish quickly. Then he’ll go and shower and I’ll finish, then I’ll shower and we’ll go to work.

    It might not sound very exciting but it means we have sex most mornings before work, and it keeps us close.

    Jason

    It will typically be either a Saturday or Sunday morning, as during the week we are all up and off to the races for work/school etc. The way it works is that one of us will get up early to feed the dogs and get breakfast ready for the kids. The other person gets the chance to have a lie-in.

    The person on morning duty then makes tea for the other person and returns to bed around 08.30 or so. The tea helps the person in bed offset the worst effects of morning breath!

    Jane:

    Our basic sexual routine is a little bit of kissing and foreplay, then we undress ourselves and I get on top.

    I use a vibrator on my clitoris to get to orgasm and he comes around the same time that I do. It takes around 15 minutes from start to end, but it’s fun.

    Mark

    We cuddle for a short period and attempt kissing without too much exposure to morning breath-related issues! Once done, some mild foreplay may happen but rarely anything particularly adventurous (breast-play for example but not anything further down).

    We also have lube to hand to speed the process up if necessary but fortunately my wife does not have issues with arousal which is a blessing for her – and me of course.

    We will then have sex for around five to 10 minutes (max) which means that my wife rarely has a chance to orgasm, which upsets me greatly. I will always orgasm (typical bloke) and that is normally the end of that. We mostly have sex in the missionary position with the odd exception when I might take her from behind if she is happy to do so.

    Overall, it is not a satisfactory state of affairs. I always used to take great pride in being good at foreplay and making sure my wife always orgasmed.

    Now that we have to revert to the quick and easy solution in the morning, it really has turned sex into an act of simple and quick connection and reaffirmation of our relationship (which is still useful of course) but not the slower and more romantic act which is once was.

    Charlie

    Our routine is that we both get into bed, usually very tired. We kiss for a few minutes and then bring ourselves to orgasm while lying next to each other. It takes around five minutes.

    It isn’t very adventurous but we both sleep better after an orgasm and we do not have a lot of spare time.

    Having a routine isn’t a bad thing – even if the word might sound a bit less than erotic.

    As long as everyone is consenting and enjoying it, there is no wrong way to have sex. Hollywood might pretend that hours of bonking is the norm, but research shows that the actual length of time the average person has sex for is just 5.4 minutes. 

    MORE: A complete guide to multi-masking with Pixi Beauty

    MORE: Why are we so attracted to authority figures?


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    Cadbury's Creme Eggs, Mini Egg and Easter Egg graphics please
    (Picture: Cadburys/Getty/Nestle)

    If you thought Easter being over would help with keeping your sweet tooth under wraps, you might want to wait a few more weeks.

    Supermarkets have slashed the prices of their Easter chocolate, and it looks as if replenishing their stock won’t be much of a problem.

    Keen bargain hunters have found varieties of Creme Eggs, Mini Eggs and Mars eggs going for much cheaper than their original store price with some eggs going for as little as 16p each.

    So where can you find these deals?

    According to Money Saving Expert, in Lidl a 5-pack of Cadbury Creme Egg is now reduced from £1.65 to 82p, averaging out at just 16p per egg.

    Other bargains can be found at Sainsbury’s where medium Easter eggs such as Freddo and Maltesers could be found at 62p down from £1.25.

    Mini Eggs are being added to Heroes just in time for Easter
    (Picture: Cadbury)

    If you want to douse yourself in more pleasure, Ferrero Rocher’s large egg now costs £4, reduced from £8 at Asda.

    Easter Egg Bargains

    Lidl

    Cadbury Creme Egg Twisted – 49p (was 99p)

    Cadbury Creme Egg 5-pack – 82p (was £1.65)

    Lidl Dip eggs with spoon – 84p (was £1.69)

    Lidl Golden sculpture egg – £6.49 (was £12.99)

     

    Asda

    Mini Eggs – 50p (was £1)

    Orange Smarties – 50p (was £1)

    Cadbury Creme Egg Twisted (80g) – 75p (was £1)

    Large Easter eggs incl Creme Egg/Twirl/Wispa//Mars – £1.50 each (were £3)

    Ferrero Rocher large egg – £4 (was £8)

    Asda ‘Extra Special’ Belgian chocolate egg – £2 (was £5)

     

    Aldi

    Maltesers Mini Bunnies – 49p (was 99p)

    Galaxy Golden Eggs – 49p (was 99p)

    Aldi Choceur Eggjoyables – 99p (was £1.49)

    Maltesers large egg – £1.49 (was £2.49)

     

    Sainsbury’s 

    Small Easter eggs incl Disney/Milkybar – 50p (were £1)

    Medium Easter eggs incl Freddo/Maltesers – 62p (were £1.25)

    Large Easter eggs incl Oreo/Galaxy/Maltesers – £3 (were £4)

    Galaxy giant egg (526g) – £5 (was £10)

     

    Tesco 

    Cadbury mini Dairy Milk eggs – 50p (was £1)

    Small Easter eggs incl Dairy Milk/Milkybar – 50p (were £1)

    Medium Easter eggs incl Smarties/Aero/KitKat – 75p (were £1.50)

    KitKat egg, bars and mug set – £2 (was £4)

    Extra large Easter eggs incl Mars/Galaxy – £3 (were £6)

    Lindt Lindor egg and truffles – £4 (was £8)

     

    Hotel Chocolat

    Soft boiled Easter Egg – £7 (was £10)

    Hard boiled Easter Egg brownie – £10.50 (was £15)

     

    Thorntons

    Milk chocolate bunny model (200g) – £3 (was £7)

    Milk chocolate Easter egg (265g) – £3 (was £7)

    Or a Lindt chocolate Lindor egg (containing their signature truffle) from Tesco is also the same price as the Ferrero egg.

    If you have far fancier taste buds, these might be more to your liking: Hotel Chocolat is selling a soft-boiled Easter Egg at £7 down from £10 and Thortons isselling their milk chocolate bunny model for £3.

    Make sure you snap them up quickly – it doesn’t seem like they will be there for long.

    MORE: Stop what you’re doing and Google Thanos for the best Avengers: Endgame Easter egg

    MORE: Expert warns not to dismiss your bloating as just eating too many Easter eggs

    MORE: Mars is paying someone to eat their chocolate and sweets


    Cadbury's Creme Eggs, Mini Egg and Easter Egg graphics pleaseCadbury's Creme Eggs, Mini Egg and Easter Egg graphics please

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  • 04/26/19--05:15: How to use a menstrual cup
  • A woman holding a menstrual cup
    (Picture: Getty)

    Menstrual cups are a great alternative to tampons and sanitary pads, and save a lot of money as well as being good for the planet.

    If you’ve never heard of them before, they’re a small cup that you insert into your vagina to catch the blood from your period.

    You need to change them less than tampons or pads, and instead of throwing them away you simply wash out and re-insert.

    Many people choose them for their ease of use, and since they tend to cost under £30 and last a long time, for the fact they reduce the cost of periods.

    If you’re thinking of getting a menstrual cup, here’s everything you need to know about their use.

    How to get started with a menstrual cup

    The first thing you’ll need to do is work out what size you are.

    Different brands have different sizing, but more often than not there will be two options available.

    One will normally be for those under 30 who have not given birth, and another will be for those who are over 30 or have.

    The size you’re looking for does not relate to your menstrual flow, but your pelvic floor tone. This helps to get a secure, leak-free fit.

    menstrual cu[p being folded
    (Picture: Getty)

    How to use a menstrual cup

    Before using the menstrual cup for the first time, many choose to sterilise it. Whichever brand you go for should have guidelines on how to do this, but it tends to involve boiling it or placing it in water in the microwave.

    You may also need to trim the stem of the cup. Check your instructions for guidance on this.

    Once your cup is clean and dry (and you’ve washed your hands) you can try insertion.

    Fold the cup into a C-shape and part your labia, placing the cup into your vagina. The cup should sit lower than a tampon would, and unfold itself to create a seal.

    For the first few tries, it makes sense to also wear a pad in case of leaks, as you get used to how to place it inside you correctly.

    Every eight hours or so, you can squeeze the bottom of the cup to release the seal, and empty the contents. Give it a rinse or wipe and it’s ready to go back in.

    Between periods you should also sterilise your cup.

    MORE: Britain’s fattest dog put on diet after ballooning to 11 stone

    MORE: You can grab a Creme Egg for 16p in the post-Easter clearout


    Midsection Of Woman Holding Menstrual CupMidsection Of Woman Holding Menstrual Cup

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    Three young women preparing and decorating a table outside in a huge garden for a dinner party.
    (Picture: Getty)

    A woman has taken to Mumsnet to ask how mad she should be about the fact her sister didn’t want her at her BBQ because she was too ‘fat’.

    The woman explained that her sister had set up a group chat with her, her siblings and parents about a big BBQ she was having, and wanted to find a date they could all do before finalising the plans.

    However, despite there being a range of dates they could all do, her sister chose the one date that the woman couldn’t do.

    The reason why? She didn’t want her guests knowing that she had a ‘fat sister’.

    She wrote: ‘I pointed out there were a lot of dates we could all do and she came back and said she wasn’t sure I’d feel comfortable at the event as she was also inviting a lot of her clients, I phoned her to ask what this was supposed to mean.

    ‘Sister is a personal trainer, I am overweight (size 16).

    ‘Cut a long story short she started by saying everyone going was really slim and cared about their weight (my anger rose to about 5/10 here), then she proceeded to suggest it looked bad on her as a personal trainer if she had a “fat” sister.

    Outdoors on patio eating
    (Picture: Getty)

    ‘I hung up the phone. I have never hung up the phone on her before. I am fuming!!!! What do I say to her?’

    Unsurprisingly, people came to the defense of the woman writing, explaining how it was an awful thing for her sister to say and totally not fair at all.

    One woman said: ‘I would tell her she is hurtful cruel and rude and it’s nice to know her image means more to her than her relationship with her sister. What a b****.’

    Someone else said: ‘You say nothing. She needs to apologise. Vile attitude. Hopefully one of your family will deal with her nastiness.’

    One commenter said that she should host an event and not invite her sister to get her own back, while another woman wrote: ‘Can you rearrange your thing on that date? I would show up unannounced and act up stuff sausages in your mouth and drink champagne out of the bottle that kind of thing she’s a class A d*ck!’

    Obviously, what the woman’s sister said was incredibly hurtful, and nobody should have to put up with that.

    We hope the pair sort it out – and at the very least that the sister apologises.

    What do you think? Should the woman confront her sister or leave it? Let us know in the comments below.

    MORE: You can grab a Creme Egg for 16p in the post-Easter clearout

    MORE: Let’s talk about your sex routine


    Young women preparing a table for an outdoor dinner partyYoung women preparing a table for an outdoor dinner party

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    7 payday beauty products to buy right now
    (Picture: Getty/ Drunk Elephant)

    If, like us, you’ve been counting down the hours to payday, congratulations – you’ve made it.

    You know what that means? Now is the perfect time to treat yourself to some shiny, new beauty products and top up your bathroom cabinets with your favourites.

    It’s the perfect excuse to ‘spring clean’ your regime.

    Whether you’re after a skin smoothing, scale-banishing scrub, a brightening cleanser, or some new additions to freshen up your makeup bag, here’s what to buy this month.

    1. OAUI Scalp & Body Scrub

    OAUI Scalp & Body Scrub
    (Picture: Space NK)

    Do not underestimate the power of a good ol’ body scrub.

    This sugar scrub from OAUI can be used to eliminate pesky product build-up on your scalp, prep your skin for fake tan and smooth your limbs.

    Here at Metro.co.uk, we’ve been loving this scrub to pamper our soles and remove dead skin buildup. Just add a dollop to a pumice stone and gently rub your feet.

    OAUI Scalp & Body Scrub, £32, cultbeauty.co.uk, spacenk.com

     

    2. Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand

    Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand
    (Picture: Charlotte Tilbury)

    The Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand is a well-formulated liquid highlighter that offers an unrivaled glow.

    For a flawless finish, we recommended taking the highlighter on the back of your hand and using a dampened Beautyblender to apply to your cheekbones and cupid bow for an undetectable finish.

    With three new shades to choose from – the gold hued Goldgasm, peachy Peachgasm and a glowing pink aptly named Pinkgasm, you’ll be hard-pressed to pick just one.

    Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand, £29, cultbeauty.co.uk, charlottetilbury.com

     

    3. Emma Hardie Moringa-Light Cleansing Gel

    Emma Hardie Moringa-Light Cleansing Gel
    (Picture: Emma Hardie)

    Emma Hardie’s newest cleanser deserves a spot on your #shelfie.

    In celebration of the brand’s 10th anniversary, Emma has introduced a new product to the award-winning Moringa collection; Moringa-Light Cleansing Gel.

    The lightweight gel cleanser contains grapeseed and sweet almond oil, is suitable for all skin types and it’s vegan-friendly.

    Emma Hardie Moringa-Light Cleansing Gel, £34, marksandspencer.com, emmahardie.com

     

    4. Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Antipollution Sunshine Drops

    Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Antipollution Sunshine Drops
    (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    If your post-winter complexion is looking a little lacklustre Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Antipollution Sunshine Drops is what you need.

    Just blend a drop, or two of the bronzy lotion with your foundation, or apply alone for an instant sun-kissed complexion.

    The formula feeds and protects your complexion against environmental aggressors, thanks to its cocktail of chronopeptide that mimics the antioxidant benefits of vitamin D and omega-rich virgin marula.

    Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Antipollution Sunshine Drops, £30, cultbeauty.co.uk, spacenk.com

     

    5. AMELIORATE Transforming Body Lotion

    AMELIORATE Transforming Body Lotion
    (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    If you’re plagued by chicken skin (AKA Keratosis pilaris) and yet to try AMELIORATE’s Transforming Body Lotion, what are you waiting for?

    With continual use AMELIORATE’s lightweight moisturiser will help to unclog the hair follicles and reduce inflammation of those annoying patches of bumpy skin.

    Its star ingredient lactic acid is a humectant so it helps your skin retain moisture. It’s also a gentle and effective exfoliator.

    AMELIORATE Transforming Body Lotion, £14.50, cultbeauty.co.uk, spacenk.com, beautyexpert.com and lookfantastic.com

     

    6. NARS Voyageur Eyeshadow Palette

    NARS Voyageur Eyeshadow Palette
    (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    NARS’ Voyageur collection includes three curated eyeshadow palettes that are perfect for your spring/summer travels.

    With a mix of flattering buttery matte browns, shimmering bronzes and metallic rusts, the palette Copper is a winner for blue-eyed babes.

    They deliver beautiful colour payoff and stay put too.

    NARS Voyageur Eyeshadow Palette, £28, cultbeauty.co.uk

    MORE: Snoop Dogg narrated a makeup tutorial and it's dope

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    MORE: 10 classic beauty products that have stood the test of time


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    Why do we find some celebrities irrationally annoying?
    (Picture: Rex/Getty)

    I cannot stand Rita Ora. Which is unfair of me because she’s probably a very nice person.

    She hasn’t done anything mean to me, and as far as I know she’s never done anything mean to anyone else either. And yet something about her sets my teeth on edge.

    I’m not alone in having an irrational celebrity hatred. Lifestyle editor Ellen Scott confesses that she finds Jeremy Renner from The Avengers utterly unbearable, but has no idea why.

    When I requested to hear people’s irrational celebrity hatred the list was long and diverse, including: Ricky Gervais, Leonardo Di Caprio, Lily Allen, Josh Widdecombe, Rita Ora, Anne Hathaway, Davina McCall, Katherine Heigl, Emma Watson, Jessie J, Jack Whitehall, Jess Glynn, Ewan McGreggor, Samuel L Jackson, Beyoncé, Emma Thompson, Kevin Bacon, BJ Novak, Keira Knightley and Cheryl Cole.

    Another popular choice was Greta Thunberg, which seems unfair given that she’s an activist not a celebrity, and also a teenager who has ASD.

    No-one on this list has been accused of any hideous crimes or acts of evil. Most of them are probably absolutely lovely.

    And yet, there are people who hate them. Not for solid, easily defined reasons, but thanks to a general sense they can’t explain.

    They’ll say the celebrity has an annoying face or their voice sets them on edge, but are sure the celeb is talented and lovely. It can feel incredibly cruel to have this irrational hatred, especially if the person in question is doing excellent things.

    Intrigued by what it is that makes us hate total strangers, I spoke to Sally Baker, a therapist.

    She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Sometimes celebrities seem immune to their privilege, and we have to watch from the sidelines their car crash of a life.

    ‘There’s a part of us that loves seeing celebrities fail, but there’s another part of us that want to be lifted into a fantasy world by celebs, and it can feel really annoying with even their huge advantages they can’t make their lives have happy endings.

    ‘The public set the bar really high for celebrities. Somehow we emotionally invest in them being god-like, cellulite-free, body perfect creatures.

    ‘When a celebrity fails physically by putting on weight or looking the worst for wear we are merciless in our condemnation because it triggers us to doubt our ability to succeed to improve ourselves or improve our life when celebs can’t even manage to.

    ‘We look at all the advantages celebs have that money can buy and how they struggle in their personal lives. It makes us insecure we’ll ever succeed when we have so little time and resources to invest compared to them.’

    Which makes sense in the case of car crash celebs. But what about the ones who bump along happily enough without sex drugs and multiple marriages?

    Sally says: ‘Sometimes we feel out and out envy for a celebrity, and we refuse to acknowledge their humanity because we are unreasonably jealous of who are and what they have. Our envy of some celebrities feeds our obsession with them.

    ‘We are driven by a desire to find out more and more about them. We are desperate to find their weakness, their Achilles heel so that we can then feel better about ourselves and our lives.

    ‘Being jealous of celebrities is a no win. Even when they’re betrayed and broken-hearted, they are in a more select resort than we can ever afford and even with their heartache they still look perfect.

    ‘If we were not interested in them we wouldn’t care at all about how their life is working out for them but because we are envious of them it feels like an energised state and we’re plugged into reading and watching and essentially envying them all of the time.

    ‘Our relationship with some celebrities is a conundrum because we might express dislike for them but at the same time obsessing about them. We deny that they have something about them

    Psychotherapist Annette Vaillancourt suggests that it might be even deeper than that, saying: ‘People “hate” what they deny in themselves. It is why there are hate crimes.

    ‘People are trying to eradicate something within themselves that is unacceptable, but acting out towards others whom they perceive to have that characteristic or trait.’

    General consensus seems to be that as long as your dislike of a celebrity is limited to switching off the TV when they appear, it’s not a problem.

    If there is a famous person who really grinds your gears for no good reason, that doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person, and you’re certainly not in a minority. It might mean that the celebrity in question has things that you envy, or that they have qualities you dislike in yourself.

    There is a huge difference between a personal dislike (entirely reasonable, if illogical) and acting on your dislike. It should go without saying that it’s never okay to target the people you find annoying on social media or in real life.

    If you start feeling compelled to tweet a celebrity abusive messages, feel that your hatred is dominating your mind or feeling tempted to send them hate mail then you need to reflect on why you’re feeling that way and speak to your GP about your mental health.

    MORE: ASOS slammed after being caught out using clips on model’s dress

    MORE: You can grab a Creme Egg for 16p in the post-Easter clearout


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    Jonathan Hyslop with rescue dog Lita. See SWNS story SWSClines. A kind-hearted couple adopted an elderly dog found tethered outside a vet surgery and took her in - only to discover she has cancer, and are trying to fundraise her treatment.Shirley Findlay, 33, and her partner Jonathan Hyslop rescued Lita, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, but are now trying to fundraise ??1,500 to pay for medical treatment for the ageing pooch.They heard of her plight on a Facebook page and approached police for permission to adopt Lita, who they said has brightened up their lives.Lita was found tied up with rope outside Abbey Vets in Murdieston Street, Greenock, Inverclyde.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    A couple adopted an elderly dog who was found tethered outside a vet surgery.

    After taking her in, they discovered she has cancer – and they’re now trying to fundraise for her treatment.

    33-year-old Shirley Findlay and her partner Jonathan Hyslop rescued Lita, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and are now trying to fundraise £1,500 to pay for medical treatment for the ageing pup.

    Lita was found tied up with rope outside Abbey Vets in Murdieston Street, Greenock, Inverclyde.

    She is thought to be around 15 years old and is deaf, but responds happily to hand signals.

    Jonathan Hyslop with rescue dog Lita. See SWNS story SWSClines. A kind-hearted couple adopted an elderly dog found tethered outside a vet surgery and took her in - only to discover she has cancer, and are trying to fundraise her treatment.Shirley Findlay, 33, and her partner Jonathan Hyslop rescued Lita, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, but are now trying to fundraise ?1,500 to pay for medical treatment for the ageing pooch.They heard of her plight on a Facebook page and approached police for permission to adopt Lita, who they said has brightened up their lives.Lita was found tied up with rope outside Abbey Vets in Murdieston Street, Greenock, Inverclyde.
    (Picture: Greenock Telegraph /SWNS.COM)

    Now living with Jonathan and Shirley, as well as another pet dog Barney and Bubba the tortoise, Lita has been given a new lease of life.

    Jonathan said: ‘She is 15 years old and we were devastated that she had been abandoned.

    ‘We contacted the police, who had the dog in their kennel and we went to retrieve her.

    ‘Upon arrival the dog was extremely excited to see us.

    ‘The police, after some proof was provided of our knowledge of the dog, placed her in our care.

    ‘Since then we have had her each day with her tail waggling away.

    ‘She is clearly a happy dog in a loving and caring home.’

    Rescue dog Lita
    (Picture: Greenock Telegraph /SWNS.COM)

    Generous donors have so far raised more than £500 to help with the costs of veterinary treatment for Lita, and a woman even left a £50 note at the vets where she was abandoned.

    Jonathan added: ‘We are looking for donations to help us pay towards the upcoming treatments and operations as this beautiful old dog deserves to maintain the rest of her days in happiness and content.

    ‘Even though she is deaf she understands hand gestures and facial expressions very well and is a very outgoing loving dog.

    ‘We just want to make the rest of this dog’s life happy and pain-free, so any help is greatly appreciated.’

    Shirley said: ‘It was heartbreaking to find out that she had been abandoned.

    ‘She is a great-natured dog.

    ‘We were told that she was found outside the vets with a rope tied round her neck.

    ‘When we took her to the vets they said she has a form of breast cancer for dogs.

    ‘She’s not sore but we’ve been advised that she should get a blood test and a lung X-ray.

    ‘After that Lita may get an operation but it all depends on whether the cancer has spread to her lungs.

    ‘They can’t operate if it has, so we’ll find out after these tests.’

    MORE: How to use a menstrual cup

    MORE: Britain’s fattest dog put on diet after ballooning to 11 stone


    Jonathan Hyslop with rescue dog Lita. See SWNS story SWSClines.Jonathan Hyslop with rescue dog Lita. See SWNS story SWSClines.

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    people drinking at party outdoor. group of friends cocktails in hand toasting with glasses.close up on hands and drinks; Shutterstock ID 663056257; Purchase Order: -
    (Picture: Shutterstock)

    As April edges into May it’s cocktails’ time to shine.

    But short of leaning on the popularity of the Aperol Spritz, what other cocktails would whet the whistle of summertime?

    Here are some simple, easy-to-make cocktails that you can use at home to impress friends and family, convincing them you’re quite the mixologist.

    Failing that, at least you’ll get merry in the process.

    Sour-Cherry Gin Smash

    Sour Cherry Gin Smash Cocktail
    (Picture: Getty)

    This simple cocktail is a smooth mix of sour cherries and gin, lathered in ginger ale and garnished with a lime wedge.

    Ingredients:

    • 60ml gin
    • 6 sour cherries
    • 1 sugar cube
    • 14ml of fresh lime juice
    • Ginger Ale
    • A lime wedge.

    Directions:

    Combine the cherries and sugar cube into a cocktail shaker, then mix until the sugar is broken down. Add lime juice and gin, and then shake. Strain into glass filled with ice. Top with ginger ale and garnish with lime wedge – simple!

    Negroni

    Negroni with orange peel and ice cubes
    (Picture: Getty Images/Westend61)

    Fancy a bit of vermouth?

    Ingredients:

    • 25ml gin
    • 25ml vermouth
    • 25ml Campari
    • 1 orange

    Directions:

    To make, you pour the gin, sweet vermouth and Campari over ice and stir. Get to your preferred taste and then grate a zest of orange over the glass and add citrus to the concoction. Classy.

    The Mexican Mule

    Mexican Mule; Shutterstock ID 1353252197; Purchase Order: -
    (Picture: Shutterstock / Kuznetsovdmitriy)

    Fancy a little Central American flair? Try this beauty.

    Ingredients:

    • 55ml Vodka
    • 14ml Lime juice
    • 20ml Pineapple juice
    • 14ml  ginger syrup

    Directions:

    Throw the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and stir. Strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with a splash of rum for extra kick.

    Sidecar

    A timeless Sidecar Cocktail garnished with a lemon twist.
    (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    If you want to be fancy, but still a bit rough around the edges, here’s the drink.

    Ingredients:

    • 40ml Cognac
    • 20ml Cointreau
    • 20ml fresh lemon juice
    • Sugar

    Directions:

    Create the rough edges by coating the rim of a cocktail glass. Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and stir. Gently pour into the glass and garnish with orange peel.

    Old Fashioned

    Old fashioned cocktail with orange and cherry on wooden table
    (Picture: Images/iStockphoto)

    Are you more Don Draper than Harvey Specter?

    Either way, you could just try this, well, old fashioned cocktail.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 sugar cube
    • 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
    • 2 ounces (60ml) bourbon or rye whiskey

    Try to add an Orange or Luxardo cherry to finish in style.

    The Sicilian Firing Squad

    Sicilian Firing Squad Cocktail with lime wedge
    Sicilian Firing Squad Cocktail

    Bloody. Of course.

    Ingredients:

    • 30ml mezcal
    • 30ml blood orange liqueur
    • 15ml grenadine
    • 30ml freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters

    To make this potion you should combine all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over fresh ice and garnish with a lime wheel.

    Oh, and add a cherry. Thank us later.

    MORE: Pieminister is hosting a bottomless brunch with breakfast pies and cocktails

    MORE: How did the Aperol Spritz become the most iconic drink of the summer?

    MORE: ‘It has changed my life’: Chris Evans claims ditching drinks with meals helped him to lose weight


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    An adorably podgy pug born with excessive fat rolls is defying the odds by living his best life.

    Eight-year-old Theo from Oslo, Norway,suffers from multiple conditions due to inbreeding, including neurological issues and excessive rolls which make him look extra chubby.

    He still leads a very happy life, but has to take one painkiller in the morning and needs more rest than other dogs.

    He loves napping, watching football and playing with his best friends, Tui the one-year-old Shar-Pei and five-year-old pug Alvin.

    Theo is a very chubby boy
    (Picture: Caters News)

    Owner Nicole Hetland, 24, a learning disability nurse, said: ‘Theo’s condition is due to irresponsible inbreeding.

    ‘We have owned dogs our entire lives, however we didn’t know much about pugs, and unfortunately, we trusted Theo’s breeder.

    ‘While many people think Theo is overweight, he is actually a healthy dog considering his condition.

    ‘However, he also has been diagnosed with a form of degenerative disc disease caused by sciatic nerve damage.

    Look at the chubster!
    (Picture: Caters News)

    ‘Unfortunately, there may come a day when Theo’s quality of life has diminished to the point where we have to make a difficult decision.

    ‘We want to make sure others don’t have to go through what we have, so I want to tell everyone who is looking for a new pup, do research.

    ‘It is better to take things slow and find a responsible breeder to ensure a healthy and long life for your dog.’

    MORE: Couple who adopted abandoned elderly dog seeking donations for her cancer treatment

    MORE: New beauty products to buy this payday


    Rolly pugRolly pug

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    Black athlete running in race
    (Picture: Getty)

    The average time it takes to run the London Marathon is three hours and 48 minutes for men, four hours and 23 minutes for women.

    That’s a long old time.

    And once the nerves and the buzz of the starting gun have worn off, all that’s left in front of you is the pavement and your own mind.

    I don’t care if you’re Paula Radcliffe, if you’re doing nothing but running for four hours, your mind will wander and boredom is definitely going to creep in.

    So how do you keep yourself motivated? And, importantly, how do you keep yourself distracted from the incessant pain in your lungs and your legs?

    We spoke to Saucony UK athlete, James Williams, for his top tips to keep your mind focused when you’re on a long run.

    Be goal orientated

    One of the best ways to stay motivated is to keep your main goals at the front of your mind. No matter how difficult a run seems, having a clear focus on your end goal is a great motivation.

    To do this, you need to clearly define your goal.

    Writing it down is one of the best ways to do this. Are you struggling to think of a goal? Once you’ve defined your goal, you can then focus on breaking it down into all of the processes that will help you achieve it.

    For example, I’m attempting to break the record for running from a Land’s End to John o’ Groats. To do that I need to run 100 miles a day repeatedly. So I need to practice running big back-to-back days. That means I need to get up at 4am to do long runs before work.

    My second tip is to use visualisation.

    Recently, I’ve been visualising the end of my world record attempt – the John o’ Groats signpost. And specifically seeing my wife and two daughters there. This has been a huge positive image for me to use during long runs.

    Run with friends

    There was one huge learning that I have taken from my training – there is no better distraction from running miles and miles than having someone next to you.

    I do practically 100% of my training alone. After all, there aren’t many people who want to get up at 4 am to go running.

    But it was amazing how quickly the miles passed by when there was someone next to me.

    If you can train with someone else, even for short sections of a long run, it will make it a lot easier.

    There are various ways to find other people to run with. Look at past results, check local clubs for fellow runners, check Instagram using the relevant social tags, or simply just pick four or five people on race day to go with and chat to.

    Focused female marathon runners waiting
    (Picture: Getty)

    Use podcasts and music

    My preference during long runs is to listen to podcasts.

    I find that you can concentrate on them a lot more than listening to music. So they take your mind away from the fairly monotonous act of running.

    I also feel that I’m making better use of my time than when I just listen to music, as I’m learning something new or hearing something inspirational.

    When it comes to podcasts there are a lot of shows out there, and in my experience, a lot of them are terrible.

    But by doing a bit of googling on ‘best podcasts in the genre that interests you, you’ll find a bunch.

    James' favourite running podcasts

    If you need inspiration, here are some of my current favourites:

    1. Rich Roll – Get insights into the life of high achievers across a number of different areas. One of my favourites was Ross Edgley, who swam around the entire coast of the UK.
    2. 30 for 30 – Documentary style episodes on some great topics. Start with the ‘Six who Sat’ for two iconic stories about women’s running.
    3. Choiceology – An insight into how to make small changes in our everyday lives that have big impacts. Start with ‘The big impact of small changes’ episode.
    4. Endurance Planet – Some very specific advice for training for endurance athletes. Start with any topic that takes your fancy.
    5. Hurdle – Stories of successful people and businesses and how they got there. Start with the episode with Kirsty Godso, a Nike ‘Master Trainer’.

    The second trick is to download a bunch of shows and stick them in a playlist.

    Downloading them means you don’t have to rely on 3G or 4G connections when you’re out and about. It also means that you can queue up shows that actually interest you. Otherwise, you’ll go into auto-play and end up listening to podcasts that are pointless and not interesting.

    Once you’ve downloaded lots of shows, mix up the order so that you don’t have multiple episodes from the same podcasts.

    This is a nice psychological boost for a few reasons.

    First, you don’t get bored by hearing the same voices over and over. Second, it’s often a nice surprise when a new episode comes on that you weren’t expecting.

    It’s a small win. But a good one.

    I rarely listen to music, but I do have a secret weapon when I need a psychological boost specifically in races.

    I have created a playlist on Spotify called the ‘Ultra Running Motivational Playlist’. This is an embarrassing collection of the cheesiest, happiest tunes that I’ve ever heard.

    There are classics from Steps, S Club 7, Busted and many songs from Disney films.

    This playlist only comes out when I’m at my deepest and darkest points during a race. But it’s incredibly effective at raising motivation.And I’ve often found myself singing aloud at the top of my voice in the middle of the night in a race!

    I highly encourage you to have this secret weapon in your back pocket. But make sure that it only ever comes out as a last resort. Overuse of this will mean it becomes ineffective very quickly.

    MORE: A pensioner with dementia is about to take on his 131st marathon

    MORE: London Marathon music – the top Spotify playlists and songs to keep you motivated while running

    MORE: Last minute tips for running the London Marathon


    Black athlete running in raceBlack athlete running in race

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    pints of beer
    (Picture: Spill It)

    Spill it is the series where we get people to anonymously tell us about their drinking habits.

    We’re talking to men and women from all over the UK – and other parts of the world – about how much they really drink.

    Not how much they tell their doctor they drink, or a rough guesstimate, but the unvarnished boozy truth.

    This week we’re hearing from Ted (not his real name) who is a 29-year-old trader, who lives near St Albans.

    Friday

    We finish at a decent time on Friday, which is good news because I’ve got a stag do.

    I go straight from office to airport, and meet the rest of the boys at the airport. We sink a few before the flight. Four beers.

    As soon as we’re on the flight I’m out like a light – I got up at 5am to work out. Next thing I know we’re arriving in Italy. The stag is in Florence which is a bit rogue but fine.

    We get a bus to the town center (grim) and dump our stuff at the apartment, then straight to the bar. Five or six pints, then we go back to the apartment to sleep. It’s always a mistake to go too big on the first night.

    Saturday

    Wake up and look for somewhere to have breakfast. No where does a proper one, so we end up buying slices of grim pizza from a street seller.

    First beer opened at 11am.

    Some of the boys want to go to a museum but it’s a long queue and art isn’t my thing, so we go for a walk around the town. It’s nice.

    We have lunch at some outside pizza place (I have lasagne) and have a few beers and a couple of bottles of wine between us.

    We’re supposed to do a segway tour but the guide says we’ve had too much to drink. We argue and agree to come back tomorrow.

    No tour, so we go to an Irish pub and start sinking the drinks. Few shots, more beers.

    Eventually we go to a club.

    Sunday

    Safe to say we’re not feeling well today. We sleep in until 12pm. The curtains in the apartment are shit.

    I check my bank and realise I spent €600 last night. Apparently I bought drinks for everyone in the club or something.

    We are not going to make the segway tour. Eventually we get up and go downstairs to the nearest bar. We all get coffees. The bravest ones order beer but I can’t face it.

    After a couple of hours we’re all ready to try drinking again, we go back to the apartment to shower and change, then out for dinner. Quite civilised, a few bottles of red and a nice pasta.

    Monday

    Cab to the airport, flight at the arse crack of dawn and back in London. Straight to the office.

    Long day. Straight home after work, shower, order sushi and straight to bed.

    Tuesday

    Up early for the gym. Leave work around 9pm.

    Get home, drink a beer, go to bed. Realise I forgot to eat supper.

    Wednesday

    At work at 6.30am, straight through to the evening.

    Go for some drinks with a mate. Home at 10pm. Realise I haven’t been home in day light for a while.

    Thursday

    Strong day at work. We go out to celebrate after work at a place right by the office. A mate offers me some blow but after a bit of a dicey attachment to it last year I don’t dabble anymore.

    Four beers, then home.

    Friday

    Thank f*** it’s Friday. In early, out early. Get home and realise I didn’t make any plans for the weekend.

    Open Tinder and see if I can find someone to come over tonight. Turns out I can.

    We drink a bottle of white.

    Total units: 34

    NHS recommended total units: 14

    MORE: Spill it: What a 39-year-old lawyer drinks in a week

    MORE: Spill it: How much a 37-year-old financier drinks in a week

    MORE: Spill it: What a 22-year-old student drinks in a week

     


    Spill it, 37 year old financer from SurreySpill it, 37 year old financer from Surrey

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    (Picture: Triangle News)

    We’ve all seen something that looks amazing on the hanger, but absolutely bizarre on us.

    Margaret McEwan was shopping at a TK Maxx branch in Reading, Berks, when she picked out a sparkly tasselled green dress.

    It looked great on the hanger, but once it was on it looked like a carwash. Yes, a car wash.

    The 53-year-old, from Sandhurst, said the outfit was ‘unique’, and couldn’t stop laughing when she tried it on.

    Although she says she ‘loved its weirdness’, she didn’t end up taking it home with her.

    Margaret loves TK Maxx, and when she spotted the green dress she wanted to try it on.

    Margaret says the dress made her look like a carwash
    (Picture: Facebook)

    After realising she looked like a human carwash, she took a photo and shared it to Facebook, saying: ‘BP called, they want their carwash back.’

    People quickly started commenting on the post to agree with her.

    One woman said: ‘Well that’s not machine washable for sure.’

    Another said: ‘That’s a safety hazard!’

    Someone else called it ‘green slime gone wrong’ – however another said they ‘wanted it’, adding that they’d look like a ‘mossy witchy creature’. Which, let’s be honest, is better than a carwash.

    The internet found it very funny
    (Picture: Facebook)

    Margaret – who also discovered a jumper that made her look like a tin of ‘Bird’s custard’ – said: ‘I absolutely love the unique and random things they sell in TK Maxx but also I have managed to buy some really lovely clothes and shoes in there too.

    ‘It’s my absolutely favourite place to shop. I rarely come out empty-handed.’

    And speaking of the dress, she added: ‘It’s certainly an individual style and there’s little chance of seeing anyone else wearing the same frock.

    ‘I’d probably end up getting completely tangled up that I’d need to be cut out of it with a pair of scissors.

    ‘I am tempted to buy it though and I confess I did do a little spin around in the changing room much to the bemusement of the other shoppers.’

    MORE: ASOS slammed after being caught out using clips on model’s dress

    MORE: ASOS launches modest fashion range with Muslim model showing off hijabs and dresses


    SEI_64358207SEI_64358207

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    Woman with depression
    (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)

    Man, it’s tricky knowing how to navigate a friendship after you learn that your friend is depressed, isn’t it?

    Do you ask about it, or is that seen as nagging or bringing something up at the wrong time? But if you don’t, are you ignoring it and will they think you don’t care? If you take them out for drinks and A Jolly Good Knees Up will that make it worse because of all the alcohol?

    What a mindf***.

    With one in six of the UK suffering from mental health problems at the moment, chances are that you’re friends with someone who has depression.

    Depression has a different effect on everyone, and even those who are going through a severe depressive episode are often able to mask it. If someone you’re close to has talked to you about their mental health, or you might think that they’re struggling and just want to be there for them, there are things you can do. Panic not.

    Psychotherapist Emma Marlin has some simple advice: ‘If you have a friend who is depressed, know that person needs connection and contact. Don’t be put off if they don’t return your texts or calls – keep texting and calling. Let them know you are thinking of them and are there for them. It all reminds them that you care.’

    Personally, when I told a friend that I was having a rough time, I was really touched when she then started to regularly check in with me and invite me out for very low-key, chilled evenings or weekends. She wasn’t annoyed that I would say no 98% of the time and hide in a dark room instead. She continued to care when she quite easily could have given up. What a babe.

    ‘Don’t be afraid to ask your friend how they really are,’ says Emma. ‘If they say ‘down or depressed,’ say something like, “I’m sorry to hear that. I’m here. I’m listening.” Don’t try to talk them out of how they are feeling or be afraid to ask them just how bad it is.

    ‘If your friend is opening up to you about dark thoughts or feelings, take it as a good sign because people who talk about suicidal thoughts are much less likely to act on them. If your friend tells you they have formulated a plan to act on those thoughts or feelings, take them to the nearest A&E so they can get the mental first aid they need.’

    What about if you live with someone who’s going through depression, though? It can be hard, of course it can, to try to anticipate someone else’s mood. I can’t speak for all of us sad-sacks, but other people tiptoeing around us is not the dream.

    Man and woman hugging
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Jamie* has lived with a depressed housemate for a few years, and seems to have a pretty excellent system worked out. He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘You need to constantly be on the lookout for signs of the beginning of a depressive episode, that means checking on her to see how she’s feeling, watching her energy levels, both physical and emotional.

    ‘If I think I see signs of an episode then I’ll try to do something to head it off, if she has been having a tough day at work and I’m home before her, I’ll light lots of candles and download some of her favourite shows. I put more candles in the bathroom and as soon as she walks in the door I take her bags from her and tell her to have a nice hot shower.’

    Um, where can we get Jamies for everyone, please?

    ‘If we can’t prevent [an episode] then the most important thing is to not make her feel responsible for being depressed. On the bad days we just wrap up in a duvet and sit together on the couch.

    ‘When she moved in that was the hardest thing; she wanted to shut herself away on bad days so she wouldn’t be a burden, but I always insist on being with her on the bad days; not trying to fix her or cheer her up, just sitting with her so she knows I’m there.

    ‘Sometimes I’ll tell her silly stories or talk about fun times we’ve had together. Just to remind her as much as possible that as bad as things are, this is temporary.’

    Over the years of his friendship, Jamie’s practiced the crucial element of not making somebody feel responsible for their depression. If your mate has the norovirus, do you say that they’re bringing it on themselves and it’s not that bad really? If a friend has a chest infection, do you tell them it’s probably not as bad as they’re making it out to be in their own head? (If you do, please give yourself a shake, re-read this piece and then say in the mirror three times, ‘I am a crapbag.’)

    I’m also touched by Jamie’s willingness to just be there for his mate.

    Depression is a stagnant, sticky, thick syrupy pool of hell that it’s often near impossible to get out of, and even the most foolish puppy videos in the world won’t shift it. Don’t feel bad if your efforts aren’t making a visible difference – but do rein it in a bit, and just exist with your friend. Be alone, but together – and probably not in a pub, if you can help it, says Emma.

    ‘If you’re meeting up with a friend that you know is struggling, steer away from just drinking,’ she tells us. ‘Sure, booze will lifts spirits in the short term (which might make you feel more comfortable) but getting a depressed friend drunk is not a kind thing to do as it will make the depression worse the next day. If that person is already taking antidepressants (and you can’t always know this) alcohol, in even small quantities, can make them black out. Meet them for lunch instead or suggest a walk.’

    ‘You have to be prepared to carry two people if depression hits,’ says Jamie. ‘It can be exhausting and frustrating because you love this person and nothing you do will make them better, but that’s when you have to learn to do nothing but just be there.

    ‘If you try to cheer someone up and it’s not working you can actually make them feel worse as they might feel guilty for not responding to your attempts to make them feel better.

    ‘You need to let them know that you don’t think they’re to blame for being depressed and not being able to go somewhere or do something, anymore than someone on crutches is to blame for not being able to climb lots to stairs or walk up steep hills.’

    Yes, depression is complicated and isolating and frightening. It’s f***ing annoying – and you can bet that your depressed mate thinks so, too. They may seem like they’re sacking you off; ignoring messages, declining invites and staying locked in their room – but please don’t leave them. Just knowing that someone’s there for them can save their life.

    If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, you can find a qualified local counsellor in your area with Counselling Directory . Mental health charity Mind also offer counselling services, and you can call The Samaritans on 116123 (UK and ROI). The NHS even have a little quiz you can take. If you can, visit your GP for further advice.

    MORE: Lean On Me: My friend's depression is becoming too much to bear

    MORE: The anxious leg bounce: Why it happens and how to deal with it

    MORE: Woman with depression who keeps falling asleep in public is worried about doing it at her own wedding


    Is toxic positivity ruining your mental health?Is toxic positivity ruining your mental health?

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    There is still a stigma about the word ‘strong’ when it is applied to women.

    There is a belief that a woman can’t be feminine, or sexy if she is strong. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Strong Women is a weekly series that aims to help women reclaim and redefine the concept of strength. You don’t have to look a certain way or be a certain size in order to be strong, fit and love your body.

    Sport England reported that 75% of women are put off being active over fear of judgment. We want to change this and highlight the stories of diverse and inspirational women who embrace their strength.

    Finn Madell lost her mother while she was pregnant with her first child. Amidst the grief of shock, Finn resolved to get fit and healthy so she could be there for her own children for as long as possible.

    Finn Madell lifting weights
    Finn’s mum sadly passed away when Finn was pregnant with her first child (Picture: Finn Madell)

    Tell us about your relationship with fitness

    I have always loved fitness, sport and the camaraderie that goes with it.

    I get a great deal from this, but it was always the first thing to slip if other life events come into play.

    I played rugby at university and for a couple of years afterwards. I loved this but was always a bit half-hearted about it.

    I realised that I wasn’t ever going to like more gentle sports, though I have found a real value in yoga for body and mind. When I gave up rugby – because my aging body found it too painful – I did a bit of circuit training, and a bit of running but nothing very consistently.

    I gained weight and generally felt rubbish. I was working full time in a stressful job and eating and drinking more than I should.

    How did it change when your mum died?

    My mother’s sudden death while I was pregnant was a real wake up call.

    Loosing my mum when I was 21 weeks pregnant was awful. She was only 54. My son would have been her first grandchild.

    I had another baby and I felt rubbish approaching 40. I joined a gym and started training very early in the mornings.

    At this time, I had two children and a full-time management job, so the early mornings were all that I could fit in. The training was semi-personal training, I was taught good form and encouraged to get better. The support and encouragement has been amazing.

    Friends commented that I seemed happier, one said that I was a better person – which was slightly rude, but probably very true.

    I lost weight, toned up, but more importantly to me, felt strong and well.

    When my mum died so young, it became so important for me to be fit, strong and healthy for my children.

    Mum was a social worker and I followed her in this career. It is stressful. I don’t think she found ways to manage this stress. I had to. I needed to be there for my children. Forever preferably!

    Finn Madell lifting weights
    Finn wakes up at 6 am most morning to train before work (Picture: Finn Madell)

    I needed to manage the stresses of my career and try to make my well-being a priority to ensure my children had a fit, strong and well mum. This became a real focus for me.

    I saw what the stress of the job did to my mum. I was never going to let the same thing happen to me, or my children.

    How does training affect your life?

    Training as I do gives me energy and positivity.

    I trained this morning at 6 am and I feel great. I am going paddle-boarding straight after work because I know that exercise really energises me.

    It is so important to me that my children feel and see that I am fit and well. I didn’t get this feeling with my mother sadly.

    Five years on, I’m still there, training four times a week.

    I have run lots of 10km races, done a half marathon, completed two Survial of the Fittest races, got into road cycling and been on two cycling holidays, where we did between 50-100 miles each day.

    I absolutely love the feeling of being strong and well. The benefits to me are huge.

    My children (who are now 10 and 14) are very proud, and they also love fitness.

    At Christmas this year I decided to start a Level 3 Diploma in Nutrition and Fitness. It’s really difficult fitting it in with my now senior management job and home life but I am determined.

    If I can do this, anyone can! I want to help people to feel the benefits of feeling fit and strong. It is the best feeling.

    I think I had to really identify what it was that I loved about fitness and being strong. For me this was never aesthetic.

    Finn Madell on a TRX rope
    Finn wants to remove the stigma of what it means for a woman to be ‘strong’ (Picture: Finn Madell)

    I have never wanted to be ‘skinny’. Of course I wanted to be slimmer, but I always knew that there was so much more to it. The achievement factor is big, the mental challenge mixed with the physical challenges is something I really enjoy.

    I also enjoy food and drink and am not one to deprive myself.

    I have faced lots of obstacles along the way. Fitness and finding the time to train is always the first to be put on hold if there are other life pressures. To overcome this, I train early.

    When I started, this was working out at 5 am! It’s now 6 am, but when it’s done, it’s done. I can get the children to school and on to work knowing I’ve done what I need to.

    It makes me feel so much better. I smile to myself when in meetings thinking about the mornings training session. Box jumps, weights, burpees. I love it.

    I do have to go to bed very early though. However, I’ve found a way to make it work and the benefits are huge. I now want to get my P.T qualification to help others. It doesn’t have to be gym-based but getting up and moving makes people feel better. Fact.

    I am 45 now. I am fitter than I have ever been.

    Why do you think of yourself as a strong woman?

    I am strong. I love it. I lift heavy in the gym. Heavier then most others who are younger than me. Others comment about how heavy I lift.

    I get amazing encouragement from the coaches and the others there and it gives me such a buzz. I actually like the feeling on muscle ache, which I am pretty sure makes make me weird. People often comment on how ‘well’ I look. I’m not skinny, but I am strong and healthy.

    There certainly aren’t enough strong women represented in the media. I do think this is getting better though. Campaigns like This Girl Can and the latest, more realistic-looking Sweaty Betty models really help.

    Real women being used who are strong and an inspiration is what’s needed. I think the emphasis needs to be on well-being rather than just being skinny.

    There is still the perception that weight lifting makes you bulk up and that strong is not sexy for women. I think this is changing, but slowly.

    I train with men and women, admittedly all of whom enjoy this type of strength training, but there is real encouragement and respect. I love this. And this is how perceptions can change.

    I think this approach can and will be intimidating for some women, so it’s important to find a route that suits the individual. It’s not OK to be critical of others, so if someone wants to do Zumba or aqua aerobics, give praise and encouragement.

    Fitness and strength has impacted more positively than I ever imagined. It is a brilliant outlet for stress, the endorphins are amazing and the benefits to body strength and composition as I get older are so important.

    I have made some brilliant friends and done amazing things.

    My children are proud that I can do the monkey bars in the park – It’s the best feeling.

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘My life expectancy is tragically short, but I’m not bound by it’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘I woke up in hospital, paralysed – I had to learn to live again’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘People of colour are increasingly seeing that yoga isn’t for them’


    Strong Women: Finn MadellStrong Women: Finn Madell

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