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

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    Doctor with a urine sample
    (Picture: Getty)

    We know smear tests are necessary to test for cervical cancer but it isn’t always the most comfortable experience.

    With screening attendance at its lowest for two decades, doctors are looking at other ways to test.

    In March, the NHS said they would launch a DIY at-home kit but a recent study has shown you could be tested using a urine sample, possibly ending the need to have a smear altogether.

    Research by scientists at the University of Manchester believe urine tests could be as effective at detecting the human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical cancer.

    Their tests showed that HPV infections were detected in cervical smear samples, self-collected vaginal samples and urine samples.

    Lead researcher Dr Emma Crosbie said: ‘We’re really very excited by this study, which we think has the potential to significantly increase participation rates for cervical cancer screening in a key demographic group

    ‘Many younger women avoid the NHS cervical cancer screening programme because they find it embarrassing or uncomfortable, particularly if they have gynaecological conditions like endometriosis.

    ‘Campaigns to encourage women to attend cervical screening have helped. The brilliant campaign by the late Jade Goody increased numbers attendance by around 400,000 women.

    ‘But sadly, the effects aren’t long lasting and participation rates tend to fall back after a while. We clearly need a more sustainable solution.’

    The study involved 104 women, who were screened using two brands of HPV testing kits.

    Around two-thirds of the women tested positive for any high-risk HPV type, and a third for HPV-16 or HPV-18.

    Urine in a tube ready for testing
    (Picture: Getty)

    From the total, eighteen women had pre-cancerous changes to the cervix that needed treatment.

    With the Roche HPV testing kit, urine, vaginal self samples and cervical smears picked up 15 of these.

    With the Abbott HPV testing kit, urine picked up 15 of these and vaginal self samples and cervical smears picked up 16.

    Dr Crosbie added that the results were ‘exciting proof of principle that urine HPV testing can pick up cervical pre-cancer cells’ but she added that they needed to trial the tests on a greater number of women.

    She said: ‘We hope that is going to happen soon.

    ‘Urine is very simple to collect and most hospitals in the developed and developing world have access to the lab equipment to process and test the samples.

    ‘Let us hope this is a new chapter in our fight against cervical cancer, a devastating and pernicious disease.’

    MORE: Buy a luxury condo and get free avocado on toast for a year

    MORE: Woman fires back at Tinder guy who said dress wasn’t doing her ‘any favours’


    Doctor with urine drug testDoctor with urine drug test

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    (backgrounds have been changed) Credit: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    How often do you masturbate?

    While it’s an entirely normal part of being a human, many of us don’t feel all that comfortable discussing self-pleasure. At least, not in polite company.

    However, that could be set to change with a new social media challenge which starts today, on the first day of Masturbation Month.

    The Self-Pleasure 30-Day Challenge asks participants to spend ten minutes each day masturbating.

    If you want to take part, there are a couple of ground rules you have to follow. First of all, you can’t use any sex toys or watch porn when you’re masturbating. Instead, you’ll have to let your hands and imagination do the hard work.

    You’ll also need to track your journey by sharing your journey through photos you can submit to the challenge’s Instagram. Write down your experience in ten words or less, hold the sign over your face, snap a selfie and post it. Simple.

    Amy Baldwin and April Lampert, co-hosts of the Shameless Sex podcast, are the brilliant brains behind the challenge, which runs until 30 May. The women are on a mission to destigmatise masturbation and bring the topic to the mainstream conversation.

    ‘Most folks aren’t talking about masturbation openly or with pride,’ Amy and April tell Metro.co.uk. ‘It continues to live in the shadows.

    ‘Our guess is that this is related to the social constructs of religion and the anti-masturbation crusade that was inspired by Kellogg and the Victorian Era.

    ‘So many people are disconnected from their own bodies. They are either turned down or turned off – often from past trauma or shame – and they are craving to feel more alive and sexually vibrant.’

    masturbation month challenge
    (Picture: Instagram/shamelesssexpodcast)

    ‘The purpose of this campaign is to invite participants to fully connect with themselves and see what they may be missing out on now that all of the distractions have been removed.’

    ‘We are also inviting folks to make this a practice of presence and discovery with no goals of climax as people often miss out on the subtle sensations of the journey when they are so focused on the destination.’

    Amy and April hope the challenge will motivate people to make time in their busy schedules for some self-love.
    ‘It takes dedication and discipline as well as time and patience, and we live in a busy world where self-care is often put on the back-burner,’ they says. ‘This challenge invites participants to be in this together by holding themselves accountable because they know they have committed to 30 days of self-pleasure.’

    So, what if you simply don’t have the time to get down and dirty with yourself on a daily basis? Making self-pleasure a priority doesn’t happen by accident. You’re going to need to plan ahead and make the time for this important activity.

    ‘Look at your calendar for the week and notice what windows you have for me time,’ suggest Amy and April. ‘Block out those windows in advance, and then when it comes time, commit to the practice. Again, we are trying to stay away from goals here.’

    When you’re ready to get down to business, there’s one thing to keep in mind. Amy and April recommend listening to your body and responding to what it desires from you.

    It’s not all about the genitals, but doing whatever feels good.

    metro illustrations
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    They advise: ‘We are inviting people to check in with themselves for each session by asking, What does my body want in this moment? What might feel good? Perhaps it isn’t a hand on the genitals. Perhaps it just hands caressing the breasts or inner thighs.’

    ‘Start with whatever touch feels interesting or available in that moment, and then follow the thread for what your body wants next. Maybe your hands make their way to your genitals. Or maybe that’s not available in this session. This is an opportunity to truly listen to and be present for you.’

    Thinking about giving it a whirl? Amy and April want people to know that the challenge is open to both men and women. After all, we can all share the self-love.

    ‘This campaign is for all bodies and genders,’ the explain. ‘We have already received a number of entries from penis-owners as well. We do believe that we are living in a culture that deems women as less sexual than men when it comes to libido and the desire for variety.’

    ‘And we are also seeing that vulva-owners tend to be less inclined to make masturbation a priority as compared to a lot of penis-owners.’

    ‘It is our hope that folks leave this challenge with more connection to themselves, their bodies, their arousal and their desire, potentially resulting in more juiciness, embodiment, and overall aliveness in and out of the bedroom.’

    Shameless Sex is a weekly podcast of ‘unbridled, unscripted and uncut conversations about sex-positive issues in the modern world’. You can follow it on Instagram at @ShamelessSexPodcast and take part in the challenge by using the hashtags: #selfpleasurechallange #selfpleasure #shamelesssexrevolution #30daychallenge.

    MORE: Masturbation Month: 11 unexpected benefits of masturbating

    MORE: Masturbation Month: What women think about when they masturbate

    MORE: Masturbation Month: 9 ways to upgrade your orgasm


    Masturbation routinesMasturbation routines

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    Huda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H liquid highlighter will give you the glow of your life
    (Picture: Huda Beauty/ Metro)

    If you want your whole body to gleam, Huda Beauty’s new N.Y.M.P.H face and body highlighter has the ability to radiate your skin like no other.

    The beauty brand’s very first body product N.Y.M.P.H (AKA Not Your Mama’s Panty Hose) is made up of 28% light reflecting pearls and according to Huda Kattan, ‘nothing will make your face and body as glowy as this’.

    In a YouTube video and blog post, Huda explains how the product was an ‘accident’ and inspired by none other than Beyoncé during her Coachella performance: ‘It kinda came out accidentally, we weren’t planning on doing a body product.’

    ‘It was inspired by Beyoncé and the way she would perform on stage. She’d always wear these amazing pantyhose and her legs would look so fierce, amazing, shiny and flawless.’

    ‘We always said if we did a product we’d want it to look like Beyoncé legs; those amazing flawless, sexy legs.’ she continued.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bwj-KoelxJK/

    Available in three shades, Luna, Aphrodite and Aurora, the highly concentrated and ultra-pigmented all-over highlight ‘gives you those liquid pantyhose kinda effect wherever you put it’ and sufficiently primes and highlights your face too, which isn’t surprising as it was originally designed as a face product.

    Huda recommends avoiding the T-zone area when using as a primer to avoid the area looking too shiny. If you don’t want to use it as your base, just mix half a pump to your foundation instead.

    After applying N.Y.M.P.H in the shade Aphrodite all over her face, Huda followed with her best-selling foundation, concealer, cream contour, powder and Demi Matte Cream Lipstick in Day Slayer and added: ‘With all the mattifying product that I’ve applied on my face without a primer, my skin looks really smooth, my pores are gone and you can see this really nice natural kind of glow.’

    ‘It has become my favourite primer in the whole entire world.’

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bwmk9yZld5x/

    It doesn’t look as though Huda will stop ruling the makeup world anytime soon, as we couldn’t help but notice Huda applies a small amount of N.Y.M.P.H with a makeup sponge directly to her cheekbones with the help of a spray labelled *top secret* – meaning there’s another launch in the mist, quite literally.

    Huda has also created the N.Y.M.P.H Body Blur & Glow Brush, a synthetic, dense body brush to help apply and seamlessly blend liquid highlighter for a fool-proof, streak-free finish.

    If you aren’t already wearing an all-over body highlighter, N.Y.M.P.H has made the case that we totally should be.

    And with summer just around the corner, there’s always the need for a little shimmer.

    Huda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H. £40 and the Body Blur & Glow Brush £28 launch online on 3rd May at cultbeauty.co.uk, shophudabeauty.com and feelunique.com.

    MORE: 10 festival skin, hair and makeup products you need this summer

    MORE: Artist who creates incredible looks on herself has to get rid of clothes to make room for all her makeup


    Huda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H highlighter will give you the best glow of your lifeHuda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H highlighter will give you the best glow of your life

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    Woman with concealer and bronzer painted on her face
    (Picture: Getty)

    Be honest, how much time to do you spend Googling beauty questions?

    The search engine is always on hand to answer our pressing beauty questions (and health symptoms).

    Some of our frequently-typed queries are on the topic of concealer, including: ‘Which concealer should I use?’, ‘Where do you put concealer?’ and ‘What is the best way to apply concealer?’.

    Bad advice is rife, so we decided to get our questions answered by Marc Jacobs Beauty Global Artistry Ambassador, Morgane Martini.

    Here’s what she said…

    Do you put on concealer before or after foundation?

    I usually put concealer after foundation as foundation is supposed to even out the whole base first and then you apply concealer where you need more coverage.

    Where do you put concealer?

    Concealer can be use on multiple areas; first under eyes to cover dark circles, you can also use it to cover redness or blemishes.

    Depending on the formula you can also apply it to brighten some parts of your face. Apply it under the eyes in a triangle shape, also on the smile lines, chin and centre of forehead just above the brows. This will brighten and shape your face in a subtle way.

    Can you use a concealer as a foundation?

    Recently I’ve been using the new Accomplice Concealer & Touch-Up Stick by Marc Jacobs Beauty all over the face because it’s so creamy it’s very easy to blend all over. It also has the perfect amount of coverage and comes in 17 shades.

    What is the micro-concealing technique?

    The micro-concealing technique is to basically use concealer only on the blemishes and areas where needed by using an eyeliner brush or any tiny pointed brush. This helps keeping the skin looking very bare and clean.

    Apply the concealer with your small brush just on the blemish and then gently tap with your finger. That’s what I do actually on myself, as I like to keep my skin as fresh as possible.

    What is the best way to apply concealer?

    I use a brush, sponge and fingers. If I want more coverage I usually use a sponge, because you can buff the texture into the skin really nicely. If I am being very delicate I use my fingers and some brushes. I love a little round fluffy brush to apply concealer, specially for areas like under eye  and sides of nose.

    Our favourite concealers

    MORE: Huda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H liquid highlighter will give you the glow of your life

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    profile of smiling girl, concealer patternprofile of smiling girl, concealer pattern

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    You can get food from Disneyworld posted directly to your door
    (Picture: Boxney)

    Disney World is a magical place but a big part of every trip is filling up on all the themed food and drink.

    And now, when your trip is over, you can still get some of your favourite snacks sent directly to your door.

    Until now, you could only get these treats in the parks.

    Boxney (combining the words box and Disney) is a new subscription service which puts together boxes of sweets, chocolates and popcorn from Disney World in Florida and then posts them straight to you.

    They’re not officially associated with Disney but they make the trip to the park for you to get the exclusive treats.

    The company is based in America but the good news is that they ship internationally.

    HarshLight/Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/harshlight/4526941119/in/photolist-7U2KSX
    (Picture: HarshLight/Flickr)

    There are three levels – the mini with three to four items, which costs $30 (£22.95) a month, the original with four to seven items, which costs $60 (£45.91) a month and the premium with 10 to 15 items, costing $110 (£84.16).

    The snacks inside are a surprise and are specially curated by the Boxney team, meaning you get different things every month but expect character-shaped cookies, huge lollipops and themed popcorn. The boxes also include some Disney souvenirs.

    If you don’t want to sign up for a regular subscription, you can also purchase a one off box.

    And they are planning limited edition boxes with food items from around the world or for occasions like Halloween and Christmas.

    Shipping to the UK is obviously not cheap – the smallest box costs $37.41 (£28.63) to get here but that is still much cheaper than a flight the whole way to Florida.

    MORE: Huda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H liquid highlighter will give you the glow of your life

    MORE: Urine test for cervical cancer could mean an end to smear tests


    You can get food from Disneyworld posted directly to your doorYou can get food from Disneyworld posted directly to your door

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    Illustration of a half naked man on a colorful background
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    People can be very harsh when it comes to how they view their own bodies.

    Split among the genders, it’s been revealed that men are more likely to consider themselves attractive, compared to women.

    The findings are from a new study from Osnabruck University, Germany, where researchers conducted an experiment with 100 men and 100 women, all aged between 18 to 30 and with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 18.5 to 23.5.

    For reference, the average ‘ideal’ BMI for women is 21.5 and 27.5 for men, according to research from last year.

    Apparently, men ‘self-enhance’ their appearance, while women rate looks in a ‘fair-minded manner’.

    Lead author Mona Voges claims this is the first study of its kind. She suggests that the over-confidence is ‘beneficial for men’s self-worth and body satisfaction’ and works as a coping mechanism to widespread body insecurities among men.

    ‘The results indicate that men devalue non-ideal bodies and upvalue ideal bodies when they are self-related, whereas women more rate in a fair-minded manner,’ she said.

    In the experiment, the participants are presented with a series of computer-generated bodies in a range of body types including thin, average weight, overweight, athletic and hypermuscular men and women.

    First, participants are shown a random person with ‘average’ looks onto one of the bodies, then a separate one where the participant’s own head is generated onto the torso. After which, they are asked to rate the images.

    The bodies stay the same throughout – only the heads change.

    Voges’ experiment revealed that men gave higher scores when marking bodies with their own heads, while women were more ‘self deprecating’.

    Illustration of two men in a room, one dressed in suspenders, the other in a bowtie
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    In the journal, Frontiers in Psychology, Voges wrote: ‘This is the first study to examine double standards in body evaluation in men and to compare these double standards with those applied by women.

    ‘Men rate moderately or low-attractive bodies more negatively and the ideal body more positively when bodies are presented with their own face compared to another person’s face. In contrast, women are less influenced by identity and mostly rate in a fair-minded manner.’

    So, why are women rating themselves lower?

    ‘It has been suggested that it is important for women to appear friendly and agreeable and to emphasize similarities in groups in order to encourage harmony and positive feelings in a group,’ she wrote.

    ‘Thus, women may refrain from evaluating themselves as better than other women in order to avoid appearing selfish or conceited. This would fit with our finding that women do not evaluate bodies more positively when the bodies are presented with their own face.’

    Desired male traits however are to be ‘proud, strong, dominant and successful’ – which could potentially ‘facilitate men to evaluate their own body as better than the bodies of others when they believe that the body matches the ideal and thus enables them to promote themselves.’

    ‘In contrast to women, men seem to carry the advantage of being able to rate in a self-serving way if a feature is desirable: If they believe that a body is very desirable, they evaluate it more positively when it belongs to them than when it belongs to someone else,’ wrote Voge.

    ‘This is in line with studies showing that men evaluate their intelligence as above average, whereas women believe themselves to be of average intelligence.’

    Here in the UK, aesthetics expert and plastic surgeon, Christopher Inglefield believes that the findings line up with reality – as women are still ‘much more likely’ to have plastic surgery, compared to men.

    ‘The gender differences revealed by this research are intriguing, and they tally with what we’re seeing in clinics,’ said Inglefield, who is also the medical director of the London Bridge Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Clinic.

    ‘Women are still, by far, much more likely to undergo cosmetic surgery than men.

    ‘There are around 2,500 male procedures in Britain every year, and around 26,000 women opt to go under the knife. That’s ten times as many. And if women are more likely than men to consider themselves merely “average” on the attractive scale, it could be prompting them to seek some subtle help from a surgeon.’

    That could soon change, though.

    As of late, the plastic surgeon has seen a shift in cosmetic surgery trends.

    He said: ‘There’s been a small, gradual rise in the number of men opting for surgical cosmetic procedures over the past five years.

    ‘With the increasing importance of Instagram and Snapchat, appearance has never been scrutinised as much as it is today. And the biggest increases we’re seeing in terms of male procedures are in facial surgeries – such as facelifts, brow lifts and eyelid corrections.

    ‘These are areas of the body which other people see immediately, and which some men perhaps feel the most self conscious about.

    ‘If men do over-inflate their attractiveness, it’s entirely feasible it could be born out of a form of deflection strategy because of the great scrutiny they’re placed under.’

    MORE: Thai man has liposuction to sculpt a six pack

    MORE: Woman is raising £12,000 to get rid of excess skin after losing half her body weight

    MORE: Mum says ever-growing boobs are ruining her life


    whatamaleorgasmactuallyfeelslike-5fa3-f85bwhatamaleorgasmactuallyfeelslike-5fa3-f85b

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    Krispy Kreme now does ice cream
    (Picture: Krispy Kreme)

    Krispy Kreme fans, rejoice: You can now buy your favourite doughnut in ice cream-form as the American doughnut company gets us ready for summer.

    Yes, you heard that correctly, Krispy Kreme ice cream is now a thing. Incredible, we know.

    Apparently, it tastes just like one of their signature doughnuts.

    Krispy Kreme announced the new ice cream on its Instagram account.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw1kmpqAp2z/

    They said: ‘As if we weren’t cool enough… Imagine… Ice Kreme that tastes just like our signature Original Glazed doughnuts…’

    The ice cream is already available and costs £1.95.

    You can also add either caramel or chocolate sauce and doughnut bites for another £1.

    If you want to go all out, you can combine a doughnut and the ice cream together – with a load of ice cream piled on top of a glazed doughnut, for £3.50. And yes, this is what we’ll be doing.

    Since the launch, people have been getting super excited for the ice cream, and have been commenting on the Instagram post to share their delight.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw6itXIB4CO/

    One person called it the ‘best day ever’ while another said it was the ‘best idea’.

    Loads of other people were tagging their friends to share the news with them.

    While this does sound incredible, we’ve got some bad news: The ice cream won’t be available everywhere, and you’ll only be able to find it in selected stores.

    This includes Bluewater, Braehead, Bristol Avonmeads, Edinburgh Hermiston Gait, Enfield, Gateshead, Leeds Birstall, Manchester Trafford, Peterborough, Shannon Corner, Slough, Milton Keynes, Meadowhall, Southampton, Cardiff and Windsor.

    So, if you’re desperate to get your hands on the ice cream you might have to invest in a train ticket – unless you’re lucky enough to live in any of these places.

    MORE: Makeup artist answers the most common questions about concealer

    MORE: Instagram challenge asks people to masturbate every day in May


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    The cake was very awkward...
    (Picture: Instagram)

    Have you ever seen a golden penis? Well, you’re about to, as one has accidentally made its way on top of a birthday cake.

    A recent photo of a unicorn cake was shared to the Instagram account Awkward Family Photos. The unicorn cake is very pretty, with white icing, a rainbow floral mane and gold eyelashes… and what looks like a golden penis – which was, of course, meant to be the unicorn’s horn.

    The photo was captioned: ‘My wife and I went to a child’s birthday party. The theme was unicorns’.

    The photo received more than 26,000 likes, and a whole load of comments from Instagram users who found the photo hilarious – especially because the horn-penis even had a head on it.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw29mNJAHfQ/?utm_source=ig_embed

    One person said: ‘Is that a unicorn in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? oh wait…that is your unicorn..’

    Another wrote: ‘It’s all fun & games til someone sits on the cake.’

    Someone else added: ‘When your cake baker doubles as an adult film star on the side’.

    And another person commented: ‘Who’s gonna tell em?’

    Other people commented to say they wondered what was in the children’s goodie bags… and honestly, after the unicorn cake incident, we don’t want to know.

    MORE: Buy a luxury condo and get free avocado on toast for a year

    MORE: Teenager says PrettyLittleThing fuels girls’ insecurities after her dress size was wrong


    Awkward 'Unicorn' birthday cakeAwkward 'Unicorn' birthday cake

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    We taste-tested Marks & Spencer's new vegetarian Percy Pigs
    (Pictures: Marks & Spencer/Getty)

    Marks & Spencer’s have changed the recipe of their iconic Percy Pigs to make them vegetarian.

    That’s right – no more gelatine.

    But rather than seeing this as a good move – for the animals, for the environment – lots of people are enraged at the change of recipe

    ‘Are me and my family the only ones outraged by the recipe change to Percy Pigs?’ raged one customer.

    ‘Quite frankly they’re now disgusting, they taste like chemicals – and they must be, because we all agree on this, and we seldom all agree on anything.’

    Predictably, Piers Morgan waded into the conversation – spitting out the new sweets in apparent disgust on Good Morning Britain.

    But is this a fair assessment? Do the new vegetarian sweets actually taste any different to the originals?

    We grabbed a bag and did a team taste-test. For the greater good.

    Laura:

    ‘They taste pretty much the same and I still enjoyed them but did think there was maybe a little more of an aftertaste, which wasn’t unpleasant but was just different to the original.’

    Ellen:

    ‘I thought the original Veggie Percy Pigs were slightly stiffer or tougher.

    ‘The new veggie Percy is, to me, exactly the same as the old Percy, and possibly *better*. They taste fruitier although I may be imagining that, and the texture is spot on.

    ‘Everyone needs to calm down.’

    Piers Morgan rages at vegans over Percy Pigs change: 'Leave our pig sweets alone, you people'
    Piers Morgan isn’t a fan. Shock. (Pictures: REX/M&S)

    Faima:

    ‘I love Percy Pigs and, as a Muslim, I love the fact that they’re all now veggie, which is the only type I can eat.

    ‘I’ve never tasted the gelatine-based ones but I’m sure the tastes can’t be that different. The chewiness might be different but hey, do we really need animal-based products in our sweeties?’

    Natalie:

    ‘I am strongly against the new veggie Percy Pigs.

    ‘I think the texture is all wrong; they are too soft and stick to your teeth – not enough bounciness in the bite. And they definitely have a synthetic aftertaste that I don’t think the old ones have.

    ‘Yes, I know. I’m all for animal rights and the general shift to plant-based products – but I won’t be buying these new vegetarian Percys. They are grim.’

    Here on lifestyle the team have mostly concluded that the sweets taste essentially the same and that even if there is a slight difference it’s worth it for the benefit of not including animal byproducts.

    Loads of people on Twitter seem to agree with that too.

    But not everyone is quite so forgiving about the change.

    MORE: Piers Morgan rages at vegans over Percy Pigs change: ‘Leave our pig sweets alone, you people’

    MORE: People are outraged at Marks & Spencer because all Percy Pigs are now vegetarian

    MORE: Percy Pigs could be banned under rules to tackle childhood obesity


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    Cropped image of a bodybuilder making himself a protein shake
    (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    If you enjoy a protein shake, be warned – a new study has linked them to an increased risk of obesity and a reduced lifespan.

    The research looked at excessive consumption of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) – a component of the powder added to water to create a protein shake.

    Whey protein – the most popular form of fitness protein – is made from dairy by-products and contains high levels of BCAA.

    The study, carried out by University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, found that the substance builds muscle but it can affect temperament, cause weight gain and lead to a shortened lifespan.

    The researchers also found that drinking a lot of BCAAs can lead to lower levels of serotonin, a chemical that helps you sleep.

    Sport woman relax resting after workout or exercise in fitness gym. Sitting and drinking protein shake or drinking water on floor. Strength training and Bodybuilder muscle theme. Warm and cool tone
    (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    The study, published in Nature Metabolism, was carried out on mice. Some were fed double the normal amount of BCAAs (200%), some were given the standard amount (100%), some had half (50%) and some had one fifth (20%) for life.

    Mice who were fed 200% BCAAs increased their food intake, resulting in obesity and a shortened lifespan.

    Lead researcher Dr Samantha Solon-Biet said: ‘While diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates were shown to be beneficial for reproductive function, they had detrimental effects for health in mid-late life, and also led to a shortened lifespan.

    ‘What this new research has shown is that amino acid balance is important – it’s best to vary sources of protein to ensure you’re getting the best amino acid balance.’

    MORE: We taste-test the new vegetarian Percy Pigs

    MORE: Teenager says PrettyLittleThing fuels girls’ insecurities after her dress size was wrong


    Getting enough protein in your diet?Getting enough protein in your diet?

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  • 05/01/19--09:09: Are Percy Pigs vegan?
  • Percy Pigs flying around on a colorful image
    (Picture: Getty)

    When Percy Pigs first appeared in M&S stores in 1992, the iconic piglets contained gelatine, a protein derived from animal skin and bones.

    However, Marks & Spencer recently made the decision to permanently remove the ingredient from all versions of its sweet treat, making them all suitable for vegetarians.

    And it has divided the nation.

    Some people are outraged, while others praise the brand for its inclusive approach.

    But what about vegans – will they also be able to enjoy Percy Pigs?

    Unfortunately not.

    While the gelatine has been removed, Percy still contains beeswax.

    What do M&S Percy Pigs contain?

    • Glucose syrup
    • Sugar
    • Modified potato starch
    • Dextrose
    • Modified tapioca starch
    • Fruit juice from concentrate (3.5%):  Apple, Mandarin, Elderberry
    • Acids: Citric, malic, lactic
    • Potato protein
    • Flavourings
    • Fruit concentrates: Red grape, Elderberry
    • Beeswax
    • Caramalised sugar syrup

    It’s not just vegans that are missing out.

    Percy Pigs also isn’t suitable for people with milk allergies, ‘due to manufacturing methods’.

    Also, keep the product away from children under the age of 36 months, as it’s considered a ‘potential choking hazard’.

    If you’re curious about whether the new Percy’s taste the same as the old ones, you’re in luck – we have done a taste test (and are just as divided as the rest of the nation).

    MORE: People are outraged at Marks & Spencer because all Percy Pigs are now vegetarian

    MORE: How to get up to £5 off your McDonald’s this week

    MORE: No one is impressed by this ‘vegan lasagne’ which looks more like a stacked salad


    Are Percy Pigs vegan?Are Percy Pigs vegan?

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    Starbucks releases new pink drink
    (Picture: Starbucks)

    Starbucks US has launched a new bright pink drink – and it’s too pretty to even want to take a sip.

    Sadly for those of us in the UK, it’s not something that’s going to hit your local Starbucks’ menus – but that doesn’t mean we can’t drool over how lovely it looks.

    The Dragon Drink, previously known as the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher, is a ‘tropical-inspired pick-me-up is crafted with a refreshing combination of sweet mango and dragonfruit flavors, handshaken with ice and a scoop of real diced dragon fruit’.

    Yum.

    While the original Mango Dragonfruit Refresher featured coconut, Starbucks has split the drink into two with the Refresher, which is now the drink without the milk, and the Dragon Drink, which features coconut milk and makes the drink look extra creamy.

    People have been sharing the drink to Instagram, and we just wish we could try one to make our feeds look a little prettier:

    Just look how pretty it is!

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

    Seriously, we must try this

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BlN5Lf2Appq/

    Why can we never have nice things?

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw54JXqJojm/

    The Dragon Drink, which has an extra pastel-pink look, is being launched alongside a S’mores Frappuccino, and a load of other seasonal summer items.

    This includes two Frappuccinos: the Mocha Cookie Crumble – made with mocha sauce, Frappuccino chips, coffee, milk and ice, topped with whipped cream and cookie crumbles, and the Caramel Ribbon Crunch – which blends dark caramel sauce with coffee, milk, and ice and layers it between whipped cream and more caramel sauce.

    The top also has crunchy caramel sugar topping sprinkled over whipped cream.

    As well as the drinks, there will be grilled cheese sandwiches and a veggie wrap made with black beans, salsa slaw, mixed vegetables all wrapped in a tortilla.

    The new items are available now – but as mentioned, us here in the UK can only really attempt to make them ourselves.

    Or, as we are doing currently, sob on Instagram looking at all the cool stuff the US has that we don’t.

    MORE: Baker makes child a unicorn birthday cake that ends up looking rather rude

    MORE: Krispy Kreme now does Original Glazed Doughnut ice cream for just £1.95


    Starbucks' new bright-pink 'Dragon Drink'Starbucks' new bright-pink 'Dragon Drink'

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    Compilation of Aldi's log burner
    (Picture: Aldi)

    For those lucky enough to have a garden, late-night chats under the stars with a bottle of wine and a BBQ is the ideal way to spend warmer months.

    But let’s face it, British summers can still get a bit chilly.

    Perhaps that’s why Aldi’s outdoor log burner has been flying off the shelves. That, and the fact it’s priced at £59.99.

    The supermarket’s popular offering from Gardenline has already sold out in pre-orders online, but will be on sale in stores tomorrow (2 May).

    It’s made from durable steel with a bronze finish and you’ll be able to enjoy it from every angle, as the log burner features a 360 degree view of the fire. There’s also plenty of space underneath to store the wood.

    And it’ll be good for next summer too, as the product comes with a three-year warranty.

    Gardenline Outdoor Log Burner
    (Picture: Aldi)

    Alternatively, if you want a more contemporary look, you could also try Aldi’s garden fire pit with a faux stone exterior. It’s cheaper too, at £49.99.

    Most similar items are priced higher than Aldi’s log burner, but there are a few deals going at the moment.

    For instance, you could get the Marko outdoor patio heater from Amazon for just £32.99 (with free delivery). The online retailer also sells hardwood logs at a range of prices, so you don’t have to chop up your own.

    Or go for the slightly pricier cast iron garden pit burner from Primrose, for £46.99.

    It’s currently sold out online, but is expected back on sale tomorrow (it’s clearly a big day for log burners).

    If Aldi’s version is the one your heart desires, find a store near you by using the supermarket’s store finder tool.

    But be quick if you want to get your hands on it, as it’s likely the log burner will sell out again quickly.

    MORE: Aldi and Lidl have slashed Prosecco prices to give you change from a fiver

    MORE: We taste-test the new vegetarian Percy Pigs

    MORE: Krispy Kreme now does Original Glazed Doughnut ice cream for just £1.95


    Log BurnerLog Burner

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    Photo taken in Solna, Sweden
    (Picture: Getty)

    Devastatingly, one in four people don’t feel they have anyone to confide in, according to new research.

    Even after sharing their feelings, seven in 10 have held back how they really felt from a coworker, friend or partner.

    The findings come after 2,000 Americans were examined to see how their daily stressors affect their mental health, and what prevents people from seeking therapy and additional help.

    The results showed than nine in 10 people admit to downplaying their emotions, because they don’t want to worry or burden someone they love.

    The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of BetterHelp, found that young people ages 18-30 are seriously withdrawn.

    They were found to be more uncomfortable than people over 50 when it comes to discussing money, job stress, parents, or friends with a partner.

    Holding so many emotions back unfortunately causes those worries to manifest in physical ways.

    Portrait of young Caucasian woman in apartment.
    (Picture: Getty)

    Results found that trouble sleeping, bad focus, short temper, and poor eating habits all made it on the top five ways people’s stress gets the better of them.

    Three in 10 admitted that they’re more prone to crying when stressed and there’s definitely some preferred places for letting a few tears leak out.

    This includes 53% crying in their car, while two in five have cried at a family event, and 34% have cried at their job.

    Walking down the street and the shops rounded out the other most common places people have cried.

    Still, for all this stress, three in four Americans feel there’s still a stigma surrounding mental health and therapy — even though 36% would like to attend regular therapy sessions.

    The stigma shrouding therapy might be due to some outdated assumptions people have about it.

    One in two think therapy is all about discussing one’s childhood. Other respondents admitted they think patients have to lay on a couch or talk to someone who looks like a ‘professor’.

    man sitting on a bed
    (Picture: Getty)

    But this is not true – therapy comes in all shapes and sizes and you can find a therapist who suits exactly your needs if you do your research.

    This includes a therapist who is cost-effective – another worry of people wanting therapy, with half of the people in the study saying high costs had prevented them from exploring it any further.

    Founder and BetterHelp CEO Alon Matas said: ‘A lot of people think that therapy is all about wading through deep-rooted trauma. While it certainly can be, there is a lot of benefit to consulting with a counsellor on a regular basis about daily stressors.

    ‘It takes a lot of courage for people to reach out and get help. Often people find that traditional therapy can be prohibitively expensive, difficult to access, and hard to schedule.’

    Other common reasons people gave for not seeking out a therapist included not having enough time and not knowing how to find a therapist.

    One in four didn’t think their troubles were ‘serious enough’ to warrant talking to someone. Heartbreakingly, about a quarter of people struggled with feeling embarrassed and didn’t want anyone else to find out if they went to a therapist.

    Despite all of these concerns, 54% of respondents wished they had attended therapy at some point in their life.

    The most frequent experiences that people regret not getting professional help for were: grieving the passing of a loved one, feeling depressed, financial struggles, a breakup, and a traumatic experience.

    Alon added: ‘Regular counselling can be a gamechanger for a lot of people in improving and maintaining their mental health. Having someone in your corner who is there to help you with life’s challenges can make a world of difference.’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘Being a gay person of colour took its toll on my mental health’

    MORE: Student hairdresser offers free services to those with mental health conditions


    1 in 4 people have no one to confide in1 in 4 people have no one to confide in

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    Tired of your office job?

    Really like the idea of spending your days dressed in swimwear, doing nothing but relaxing?

    If so, we’ve good news – because there’s now a job that fits this description.

    SpaSeekers, a brand which specialises in, er, spas, is looking for someone to test out swimming pools and hot tubs during the summer months and will pay the person £500 to do it.

    Don’t worry about sprucing up your CV or writing an enticing cover letter; to become a ‘spa-ologist and professional hot-tubber’, you need to hone your selfie skills.

    According to the application process on the website, you must share a holiday pic of yourself ‘living your best life’ on social media for a chance to grab the coveted role.

    You can choose from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, so long as you remember to tag the company in it and #dreamsummerjob.

    One lucky person will be chosen for the job (we’re assuming based on their selfie game) and will get the chance to test four spas across the UK during July and August.

    Woman lying on a sunbed near a swimming pool
    (Picture: Spaseekers)

    The company will choose the specific locations but will aim to pick ones near the person’s home address.

    Towels, robes and slippers will be provided at each spa, along with complimentary tea and coffee, lunch and two glasses of champagne.

    You can also bring a guest with you to ‘work’, but they will have to pay to use the facilities.

    All applicants must be over 18 years of age and upload their snaps before Friday 31 May, with the winner chosen on Monday 3 June.

    If this isn’t an excuse to have a holiday – just to make sure you get the best pic – we don’t know what is.

    MORE: The 10 surprising jobs that will be huge in 2050

    MORE: People share five jobs they’ve had on Twitter to take the edge off career stress

    MORE: What to do if you hate your job


    You can now be an infinity pool testerYou can now be an infinity pool tester

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    Any mother caught between the demands of a child-rearing and work know the difference help can make.

    Despite women’s relative progress over the last 50 years, they’re still shouldering the burden of childcare and domestic labour. For many working women, a ‘second shift’ of unpaid work awaits them when they get home – and careers suffer.

    What if the answer wasn’t a nanny or nursery, but technology? It’s already said to have taken over 90% of the jobs humans used to do outside the home – how might things look if AI revolutionised work in it?

    Avatarmind is already touting a solution. Their 3ft tall, 13kg humanoid robot is capable of babysitter-like interactions: It can tell stories and jokes and allows parents to use tn app to see and hear everything the iPal does. Though not quite a robotic Mary Poppins, the robot is designed to augment the work of caregivers.

    Though the technology is embryonic, this could be the foundation for a world in which our creations ease the burden of domestic labour. Could the iPal’s descendants dramatically change the career potential of working mothers?

    ‘Domestic technologies haven’t liberated women,’ Dr Becky Faith, of the Institute of Development Studies, tells Metro.co.uk.

    AvatarMind robot pal
    (Picture: AvatarMind)

    As tech advances, she says, women are expected to do more in the domestic sphere – cooking elaborate meals, cleaning their houses better and spending endless time on educational activities with their kids.

    To rely on automation would be a ‘cheat’ and nobody wants the looks you get when your child takes a shop-bought cake into school.

    Rather than freeing us from existing social relations, AI could very well push us deeper into them, as women’s time is socially and culturally ring-fenced for domesticity.

    AI won’t address the fundamental issues contributing to women’s economic disempowerment.

    Over 70% of jobs under most threat of automation are held by women, according to the Office Of National Statistics.

    That is stark by itself but the ‘cult of domesticity’, the 18th century idea to cement the woman’s role as homemaker, still prevails. It was the industrial revolution that brought it to prominence and it might take more than the AI revolution to really break those shackles.

    Simply substituting in AI to do the work that typically falls to women could have unintended social consequences.

    Turning to technological solutions to solve the caring crisis could deprive society of the qualities of human care, empathy shared experience and friendship – a person-to-person connection that cannot be replicated with silicon and clever programming.

    ‘Taking on work that is currently typically performed by poorly remunerated women – is this what society wants?’

    Instead of looking to automation for the answers, Dr Faith says policymakers and governments should instead focus their efforts on redistributing the burden of domestic labour on women.

    To make the most of our automatic aides, we have to think about structural inequalities rather than the day-to-day tasks. Women’s full access to the labour market is restricted by far more than whose turn it is to do the dishes or the night feeds.

    She recommends that policymakers give serious consideration to interventions such as shortening the working week. This would help to address job losses from automation as well as benefiting women with caring responsibilities.

    But there’s another issue with the gender gap: sexism in AI.

    If technology is to be the revolutionary force that we dream of, we need to stop feeding it existing human biases.

    An Amazon AI recruiting tool was scrapped ‘because it taught itself to dislike women’. The machine learning trained itself to give a lower mark to any CV containing the word ‘woman’ or ‘women’s’, even though Amazon says it is committed to workplace diversity.

    ‘Why is Amazon’s virtual artificial intelligence assistant, Alexa, female?, Dr Faith says.

    Laura Andina, a product manager at Telefonica Digital, actually researched into why this might be.

    She told the European Women In Tech conference that it comes down to skeuomorphic design – the idea that a calculator on your phone looks like a real-life calculator – because it’s easier for people to use something they are useful.

    Because women are stereotypically seens as ‘helpers’ and ‘servants’, it would make sense given current gender roles to have Siri or Alexa’s voice being female.

    And AI systems are a product of the systems that create them.

    Microsoft created an AI Twitter bot that would learn from people talking to it. Tay, as she was called, was young and female and eager to learn.

    Within 24 hours, Tay had tweeted that feminism was a ‘cancer’ and a ‘cult’ (though she did also say that she ‘love[s] feminism now).

    The experiment was quickly halted and deleted.

    The systems we design naturally bear our imprint in ways that are more insidious than we might imagine. We are already seeing the fruits of hardcoding sexism into tech because of the gender bias in the data we feed them from a team of programmers who are more likely to be male than female.

    There is a real danger that failing to consider the gendered dimensions of automation will see our creations unintentionally perpetuate problems rather than solve them.

    As Dr Faith points out, even if the amount of domestic work is eased by automation, women cannot escape the trappings of their gender so easily. Instead of providing liberation, labour-saving devices have been a catalyst for the scope-creep of a woman’s role in the home.

    In the 1800s a staff of three of four would have been needed for the upkeep of a single home to common standards of cleanliness. By the 1950s, housewives had vacuums and other devices that improved the efficiency of home maintenance – but the burden of doing all of that work fell squarely on their shoulders.

    History has shown time and again that more is expected of women when their hands as free.

    The culture has a real knack for shifting the goalposts and reframing new expectations as desires because what is expected of women in a patriarchal society has not evolved in line with rapid advancements in tech.

    Women are still expected to provide what Professor Kate Manne refers to in her book Down Girl as ‘feminine-coded goods’ – attention, care, sympathy and service.

    As tasks are increasingly outsourced, it’s likely that the tasks a woman takes on will be given moral value: a mother that eschews technology in order to cook, care for and attend to her home and her family will be elevated above those who take advantage of the tech.

    These ever more elaborate expressions of care and attention will be carried out because it is precisely in those tasks that gender difference is maintained. Until the system changes, advances in automation will only treat the symptoms.

    Perhaps rather than looking to AI as a silver bullet to liberate women, the adoption of automation will force us to see ourselves anew.

    Having our biases play out in our creations might force our face to the mirror. Should we be focusing our effort on alleviating the symptoms, or is it time to be more ambitious about the world of tomorrow?

    Ultimately the technology exists that could see the domestic burden on women addressed directly, the society has a choice to make about the sort of future we want to create.

    Passing on the burden of care to a robotic aide will not fix this fundamentally human issue

    The Future Of Everything

    Future Of Everything

    This piece is part of Metro.co.uk's series The Future Of Everything.

    From OBEs to CEOs, professors to futurologists, economists to social theorists, politicians to multi-award winning academics, we think we've got the future covered, away from the doom mongering or easy Minority Report references.

    Every weekday, we're explaining what's likely (or not likely) to happen.

    Talk to us using the hashtag #futureofeverything  If you think you can predict the future better than we can or you think there's something we should cover we might have missed, get in touch: hey@metro.co.uk or Alex.Hudson@metro.co.uk

    Read every Future Of Everything story so far

    MORE: Your boss is already reading your emails. What happens when they can track your every move?

    MORE: Quiz: Could you be replaced by a robot?

    MORE: How will the rise of automation and robots affect people’s earnings?


    How automation of domestic work will impact working mothers - ASSIGNED VONNY LECLERCHow automation of domestic work will impact working mothers - ASSIGNED VONNY LECLERC

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    Despite the office gossip that is part and parcel of a relationship with a colleague, it’s pretty fun to hook up with someone you fancy at work.

    A third of relationships start this way. It makes sense – if we stick to the standard 40-hour working week, we spend more waking moments with our colleagues than anyone else.

    But as working cultures shift, more of us may end up working remotely.

    What does this mean for work wives/husbands? For office romances? For best friends you met on your first day at a new job?

    Quarter of a million more UK workers have moved into remote-working in the last decade and that number grows each time the Office for National Statistics reports the numbers.

    The number of jobs adverts posted in the US allowing home working has jumped by over 25% in two years.

    Studies show it boosts productivity, employer satisfaction and cuts down the cost of renting office space.

    Legally, all employees have the right to request flexible working – not just parents and carers. But you’ll have to make a statutory application, only after working 26 weeks or more at your place of work.

    But until very recently, it was seen as a ‘secret day off’.

    If you searched working from home (WFH) two years ago, the results were comical: barely-dressed people in front of a computer or doing the ironing, as pointed out by Professor Nicholas Bloom in a Ted Talk which looked at the positives of WFH.

    If we now look at the same topic, the images are more serious – men and women looking pensively at their laptops.

    Companies are taking remote work more seriously as an option, with the tech and health industries leading the way.

    Getting everyone to work remotely would cut down on the need for office space and long commutes but ultimately, it would also mean no more gossiping by the water-cooler nor making eyes at the hot colleague two desks away from you.

    Author Megan Hustad has worked from home for more than a decade and thinks it boosts productivity.

    ‘I’ve got an almost three-year-old and my work is such that I work juggle multiple projects and clients, so there’s really no advantage at this stage to heading into an office each day and all that it entails,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘I’d have commuting, hurrying my kid out the door to daycare on a strict schedule, additional overhead costs that I’d rather spend on editors, designers or software developers.

    ‘I think of it less as working from home and more like a cottage industry.’

    Does all this convenience actually free-up time to meet people or does working remotely mean the end of all office relationships?

    How will you have office romances and friendships when everyone’s working remotely?
    (Picture: Ella Byworth/Metro.co.uk)

    ‘It’s totally possible to build trusting professional relationships virtually,’ Prof Glenn Geher, an author and psychologist at the Evolutionary Psych Laboratory, tells Metro.co.uk

    ‘People often form bonds with others starting from scratch.

    ‘In such cases, there are many standard cues that people use to determine if they like and trust that person.’

    These can include deciding whether the person seems agreeable, intelligent and fun along with broader demographic cues such as whether the other person seems to have similar politics and educational level.

    All of these can be established online.

    ‘Online communication can be very beneficial for introverts who may find it relatively difficult to interact in social situations,’ Prof Geher says.

    ‘Many of the hurdles to interacting in person are absent, and so this kind of communication channel might be particularly useful.’

    But, he warns, there are negative factors.

    Online communication, similar to everyone’s Instagram ‘best life’ profile, presents an idealised view of the person you’ve set your trackpad on and there are subtle details missed.

    ‘When you know someone only through technology, the data that you have on that person is limited,’ Prof Geher says.

    ‘Nuances including the person’s scent, for instance, which actually plays an important role in mate selection, are absent.’

    Considering the success of online dating, which eHarmony predicts will vouch for over 50% of relationships by 2031, the online workspace might get a whole lot flirtier to compensate for the lack of human interaction.

    Just as communicating through the internet reduces the sting of rejection, it could also make us bolder when it comes to crossing emotional lines with people we work with.

    This is because you can edit your responses and take your time to communicate efficiently and broadly, says business mentor Rob Moore.

    ‘You can get to know people in a safe environment,’ he says.

    ‘You can edit your comments and responses over time improving them continually to set up for real-life experiences, You can gain knowledge and insight into a person.’

    So, chatting to our colleagues online – unlike in an office where talking out loud can be seen as unproductive – may cause us to become closer to one another.

    Drawing of someone writing an email on their laptop
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Encouragingly, many relationships also form over the internet without people meeting for years. This could become a possibility when it comes to work too.

    Shamir, who used to work in Parliament, used to chat online with his now-partner Maddie for a long time before eventually meeting.

    ‘We both worked in Parliament for several years at the same time but never met – even though we worked on the same legislation,’ he tells us.

    ‘We always thought it was a bit spooky, we probably stood behind each other in the coffee queue at times.’

    But it was only when they met that the sparks flew.

    ‘It allowed a more natural flow to the beginning of our relationship which may have never happened if we only corresponded by email.

    ‘The non-romantic workplace interactions we had have allowed us to appreciate each other on a professional and intellectual level. We both have a great deal of respect for each other professionally and bouncing ideas off each other in a work capacity definitely enhanced our relationship.

    ‘We both left Parliament at different times but ended up working in the communications team where we finally met and started dating very soon after. We’ve now been together since summer 2017 and also bought our first flat together.’

    For some companies, WFH allows huge expansion without the cost of rent.

    Toptal, a freelance platform, has been remote since its inception. The company is one of the largest fully-remote workforces in the world, with almost 500 employees working across 60 countries.

    Unlike office environments, where a person can absorb the culture from what surrounds them, a remote company such as Toptal has to take steps to create and instil their culture in team members.

    All meetings and calls have to use video conferencing. They also use Slack channels for work and topics unrelated to work so they can get to know each other on a more informal and personal level.

    There are events organised where employees are able to interact with each other and offsite in-person meetings a few times a year.

    They do meet in real life and party too; some teams get together in person more often than others and some of the larger teams spread across multiple continents have smaller gatherings.

    That sounds like more socialising than a lot of real-life offices.

    Much like the rest of us, the Silicon Valley-based company has an annual Christmas party in December where people get together on a weekend.

    But unlike the majority of us, their Christmas parties are BYOB-based and happen over a holiday-themed video call.

    What will happen to Christmas party hookups?
    Goodbye Christmas parties (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)

    ‘It’s a really great bonding opportunity. We do a holiday costume party that has typically had very high levels of participation,’ Mark Bosma, vice president of sales at Toptal, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘There are extremely close friendships that have formed across Toptal between employees across states, countries, and timezones. The use of technology enables co-workers to collaborate effectively and form close bonds.

    ‘Co-workers meeting for the first time often feel like they are already old friends.’

    But there are things that you don’t expect when you’ve been working someone for months but meet them in real-life for the first time.

    ‘The thing that’s most surprising about meeting people face-to-face for the first time is their height.

    ‘We get familiar with a given colleague’s personality, appearance, style, and their quirks during one-on-one meetings and team calls. However, when colleagues meet in person for the first time, we often expect that people are always taller or shorter than they appear on video calls.’

    Mark works from home with his wife.

    He says that there have been a few relationships that have started through Toptal but they tend to be kept low-key, from him at least.

    Though there are plenty of advantages of working from home, there are downsides too, namely the isolation that comes with it.

    Tina, 23, has been working from home for four years due to a health condition and struggles with feelings of alienation.

    ‘I often feel very isolated, I am inside every day, alone,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘I feel if I didn’t work from home I would have a better social life and a healthier lifestyle.’

    Studies also show that those WFH struggle with sleeping, mental health, and career progression.

    Those who prefer social settings where they can chat to the person sitting next to them or enjoy having a crush to keep things interesting at work may need to create the ambience of a co-working space to avoid loneliness.

    If you like the atmosphere of a cafe but don’t want to leave your bedroom, there are websites that imitate its sounds for those who hate working in silence.

    If we have no choice but to work remotely, we may end up craving companionship. Already there are Facebook groups and Google hangouts that replicate office vibes.

    Generic Office Roleplay is a Facebook account that sends niggly messages akin to emails that currently clog up your inbox.

    An example of a message you might receive from the Generic Office Roleplay group
    An example of a message you might receive from the Generic Office Roleplay (Picture: @Dustin Craig/Facebook)

    Alternatively, libraries and coffee shops may thrive if people go looking for spaces to work alone but also interact with those around them.

    Already, people are meeting their romantic partners at coffee shops or anywhere with an internet connection that allows long stays.

    Sunny Hodge, who runs an independent coffee shop, tells us he’s used to seeing romance blossom in his establishment.

    ‘Books are often the giveaway for prolific coffee shop prowlers. I’ve seen all the tricks; a smile, an “is this seat being used”, the “would you mind keeping an eye on my bag whilst I use the toilet”, and eventually the “I adore Orwell, have you read x?”.

    ‘And it works as numbers are rushedly exchanged.’

    In this way, conversation starters about books might turn into discourse about what one is working on once coffee shops become widely-accepted work stations.

    And if we were all to work remotely, it would certainly change work-life culture.

    But it might require a bit of overtime from both you and your company if you’re looking to forge meaningful relationships while also getting your work done.

    MORE: The 10 jobs that aren’t commonplace yet but will be huge in 2050

    MORE: Computer says no: What happens when we disagree with the robots we’re working under?


    Illo - How will you have office romances and friendships when everyone’s working remotely?Illo - How will you have office romances and friendships when everyone’s working remotely?

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    Jazmin Bean has been into alternative fashion since becoming a teenager.

    The Londoner regularly dons heavy doll-like makeup, unique contact lenses, and uses props to complete the look which they liken to an alien.

    Jazmin, who uses the pronoun they, spends hours perfecting their image which is influenced by Japanese culture and mythological creatures.

    They wear a binder to flatten the chest and but hope to have surgery in the future to make this more permanent.

    Jazmin is also currently working on making their own makeup brand for those in the alternative community.

    They dress as their mythological persona most of the time, but sometimes they have to tone down their look due to harassment and people not accepting the alternative style.

    Youngster uses makeup to look like a 'genderless monster
    (Picture: Barcroft)

    Jazmin first got into dressing up after experimenting with drag makeup on Instagram. They then went on to develop their own style.

    Jazmin’s look takes around three hours to complete, and their outfits contain a variety of props, ears and accessories – sometimes including fake weapons.

    ‘When I started out I was playing with different things and different subcultures and styles and looks and managed to just keep on evolving into my own thing,’ said Jazmin.

    ‘I just think it’s really funny for someone so small, like really cute looking, but you know I mean to have all these weapons.

    ‘I don’t even fight, like never been a physical fight. I’ve never thrown a punch in my life.

    ‘I just like the aesthetic in general, to have something like a little creature that’s like a superhero or an evil villain.’

     Jazmin Bean poses for a picture in her bedroom
    (Picture: Marcus Hessenberg / Barcroft Media)

    Jazmin wants to wear the chest binder more regularly but worries about damaging the ribs. But surgery might be the answer in the future, they add.

    ‘I will probably get [rid of] my chest completely, so it is just flat and there is nothing there. That’s ideal but obviously, surgery is very expensive and also not very risky in this day and age but is just like a big leap.’

    At the moment, Jazmin gets a lot of stares in public and sometimes people try to take pictures. Jazmin doesn’t think it’s malicious but more of a curiosity thing.

    Jazmin Bean gets ready for the day as she applies make up at home in her bedroom
    (Picture: Marcus Hessenberg / Barcroft Media)

    Their family has been really supportive, which helps.

    ‘I am lucky to have everybody just kind of enjoy and be proud of what I am doing more than any other reaction, which is good. My close family are all really supportive.

    Jazmine Bean poses for a photo in her bedroom holding one of her prop weapons
    (Picture: Marcus Hessenberg / Barcroft Media)

    ‘My advice to anyone that wants to start dressing like this or sees people and it is like “oh I wish I could do that”, find your own thing before anything because obviously, we don’t like copiers.

    ‘Find your own thing before anything and just evolve that.’

    MORE: Why this non-binary activist is fighting for more gender options on passports

    MORE: There’s now a non-binary, gender-neutral alternative to Alexa and Siri

    MORE: 24-year-old woman shares why she dresses up as a baby and takes part in nappy play


    Youngster uses makeup to look like a 'genderless monster'Youngster uses makeup to look like a 'genderless monster'

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    sunbathing on the beach
    (Picture: Getty)

    After the pain of sunburn comes the unique pleasure of peeling off your skin.

    We’re sorry to ruin that for you, but an expert says that picking at your skin after a sunburn really isn’t a wise idea, as it could leave you with a skin infection or a longterm scar.

    Candice Brown, a skin aesthetitician with the London Bride Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Clinic says:’You might think you’re picking at ‘dead’ skin, but you could actually be damaging perfectly healthy skin in the process and inflicting scarring similar to that experienced by acne sufferers.

    ‘These small wounds also make it easier for bacteria to attack your skin, which could result in an infection – such as cellulitis or impetigo – and further scarring.’

    This is because different areas of your skin will heal at different rates, meaning a part that’s ready to peel off could be right next to a section that isn’t. If you pick at it anyway, you’re damaging the skin and opening it up to nasties.

    The best thing to do is leave your skin to peel on its own, while moisturising as much as you can.

    The skin underneath your peeled off layer is fresh and sensitive, so needs protection.

    ‘Peeling is a surefire sign that you’ve caused some damage to your skin,’ explains Candice.

    ‘And the new layer of skin that emerges in place of the dead cells is actually immature. That means it’s unable to produce as much ceramide – a waxy, fatty substance which acts like a natural barrier and form of protection for your skin.

    illustration of man with a T-shirt shaped sunburn
    (Picture: Getty)

    ‘And without this ceramide, you’re even more susceptible to suffering further damage.

    ‘If you’ve already been sunburned and suffered a peel, it’s more important than ever to protect this new skin.’

    While you’re loading up on moisturiser, it’s worth following the NHS’s advice for sunburn too.

    They recommend getting out of the sun as quickly as possible and cooling the skin with a cool shower, bath, or a damp towel before following up with aftersun cream or spray.

    It’s also vital to drink plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration.

    The NHS warns to never use petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin, and to never put ice packs directly on the skin either.

    They echo Candice’s warning to avoid picking, explaining that you shouldn’t try to scratch or remove peeling skin or pop any blisters.

    You should seek help from a GP if your skin is blistered or swollen, your temperature is very high, or you feel hot and shivery, you feel very tired, dizzy and sick, you have a headache and muscle cramps or your baby or young child has sunburn

    Of course, rather than fixing a bad sunburn with moisturiser and aftersun, the best approach is to avoid sunburn entirely. Make sure to slather on the sunblock regularly so you’re protected from the sun’s harsh skin-damaging rays.

    MORE: What dating a redhead taught me about sunburn

    MORE: Exfoliation benefits, tips and best skincare products


    Sunburned man with hairy back on blue backgroundSunburned man with hairy back on blue background

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    M&S is offering an artisanal LGBT sandwich
    M&S’s LGBT sandwich has lettuce, guacamole, bacon, and tomato (Picture: David @PumpItLowda)

    M&S has just launched an LGBT sandwich and will be making a large donation to help the queer community.

    The artisanal sandwich launched this week in the U.K and Ireland and is filled with lettuce, guacamole, bacon and lettuce (to fill in for the LGBT acronym).

    ‘M&S Food is showing their support of the pride season and have this year launched a special LGBTQ+ sandwich – a twist on the traditional BLT,’ a spokesperson told Metro.co.uk.

    The supermarket is making a donation of £10,000 to charity Akt to which works with providing safe homes and better futures for young queer people.

    The retailer will also be making a further £1,000 donation to another charity BeLong To Youth Services in Ireland.

    Recently, the sandwich was spotted on Twitter by David, from Dublin, Ireland, who photographed the Pride-friendly sarnie in the local supermarket and wrote: ‘M&S threw the first artisanal sandwich at Stonewall’.

    The grub, costing €4.45 (£3.83) was on display with a message from the retailer saying: ‘We created this colourful sandwich to show our support for Pride – with crispy avocado and smoky bacon, it’s packed with flavour’.

    M&S LGBT sandwich
    The brand is donating proceeds to charity (Picture: M&S)

    David’s tweet has now received more than 9,000 likes with loads of people weighing in with their thoughts on the sandwich.

    Considering the display had LGBTQ+ emblazoned on it, some wondered why there wasn’t any quinoa to fill in the letter q.

    Before M&S confirmed their support for LGBT charities, people online wondered how the supermarket was supporting the community.

    Most people had a laugh and said they couldn’t wait to try it.

    ‘€4.50 for a BLT with guac? Guess they’re hoping gays really have expensive taste,’ quipped one person.

    ‘Oh I’m hoping my local M&S have it for my lunch break,’ said another.

    ‘Am I wrong but that sounds kinda nice?!’ wrote another person.

    Others joked that anyone looking to get in the best shape for Pride parade was not going to be eating any carbs.

    And of course, there were some jokes about the word anal in artisanal. Classic.

    MORE: People aren’t impressed by these ‘sexist’ cards that say flowers are for girls and sandwiches are for boys

    MORE: Unfortunate M&S bikini makes you look like you’ve had a period mishap

    MORE: M&S is selling a £39.50 dupe of the Victoria Beckham dress worn by Meghan Markle


    M&S artisanal LGBT sandwichM&S artisanal LGBT sandwich

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