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

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    Kalkan's bustling harbour is the place to watch yachts and trawlers come and go, to board your gulet or just for a stroll Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Kalkan’s harbour is the place to watch trawlers and yachts come and go, to board your gulet or just for a stroll (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    Twenty years ago, Kalkan was a sleepy fishing village, a handful of rustic seafood restaurants dotted on winding, cobbled lanes.

    Now, Kalkan is a lively harbour town with more than 350 restaurants and bars, cute cafes and eclectic shops selling everything from diamonds and textiles to ‘designer’ handbags and football kits.

    The atmospheric town runs down to indigo water dotted with colourful boats and gulets, traditional Turkish wooden sailing boats.

    The streets are busy, restaurants are full.

    Kalkan, set on the Turkish Mediterranean, also known as the Turquoise Coast, is the perfect holiday destination for singles, couples and families (Picture: Getty)
    Kalkan, set on the Turkish Mediterranean, also known as the Turquoise Coast, is the perfect holiday destination for singles, couples and families (Picture: Getty)

    It’s good news for one restaurant owner.

    ‘Kalkan has been a special place for British tourists for 20 years,’ he said. ‘Then, three years ago, they stopped coming. Our restaurants were empty.

    ‘It is so sad to see families lose their livelihoods because they have been unlucky enough to be given this political situation,’ he adds.‘President Erdogan behaves badly and everyone suffers.’

    In 2015 and 2016 Kalkan was like a ‘ghost town’, he says. Now, people are coming back – tempted in part by the exchange rate.

    With some airport bureaus offering less than one euro to the pound, Spain is no longer the affordable option.

    Meanwhile the lira has fallen against the pound for the past 5 years and while recovering slightly from last summer’s low (Brits got 8.87 lira to the pound – it is now at 7.6 lira to the pound), it is lower than it was at the end of 2018.

    Turkey never lost its appeal, but now it’s more affordable than ever.

    It is nothing to crow about – this economical insecurity comes at a high price to Turkish people – but it is playing a major part in winning back Turkey’s tourists.

    On the day-long Gulet trip organised by Likya Pavilion - a must when staying in Kalkan Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    On the day-long Gulet trip organised by Likya Pavilion – a must when staying in Kalkan Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    It's summer almost all year round in Kalkan (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    It’s summer almost all year round in Kalkan (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    Fair to say, Turkey – and particularly the Turquoise Coast – is back on the map.

    It’s understandable too – the lure of the Turquoise coast is obvious: Named for the twinkling blue waters of the Mediterranean that laps these shores, this southern coastline, running the length of the Dalaman coast, is gorgeous in spring, hot but tempered by sea breeze throughout August, and has balmy bikini weather well into October.

    300 days of sunshine a year. October average highs of 27c. Uncrowded beaches, sensational food, friendly people. This is a year-round destination perfect for singles, couples or families.

    WHY VISIT KALKAN?

    If you’re looking for a combination of peace peppered with activity when you can muster up the energy, Kalkan is ideal. Locals tell us that Kalkan’s tourism is made up of 70% return visitors.

    At first glance, it is a bustling family resort set in a picturesque harbour with all that offers. Scratch the surface though, and you’ll find incredible restaurants set in ancient villages, perched at the top of verdant valleys, run by families so friendly you’ll want to return again and again.

    With daytime temperatures keeping us by the pool or beach club, we built our evenings around culinary experiences.

    Kalkan old town is charming (Picture: Getty)
    Kalkan old town is charming (Picture: Getty)

    The places we visited were mostly out of the way. We took advice from the team at our hotel, the Likya Pavilion, where a WhatsApp group for guests lets you chat away about dinner recommendations like you would with friends.

    Here is what you need to check out to do Kalkan like a pro.

    WHERE TO STAY IN KALKAN

    LIKYA PAVILION

    It's tempting never to leave your room when staying at the lovely Likya Pavilion (Picture: Fairlight Jones)
    It’s tempting never to leave your room when staying at the lovely Likya Pavilion (Picture: Fairlight Jones)

    We stayed at the charming Likya Pavilion, a Fairlight Jones property tucked away to the east of Kalkan.

    Reached up a quiet, unpaved road, it really is a hidden gem. Private villas are dotted up secluded paths, each with a private pool.

    The duplex apartments have sun-drenched bedrooms on the top floor with picture windows offering unfettered views of the sparkling Med.

    Each morning we threw back the curtains and had our breakfast on the balcony, watching yachts come and go.

    The philosophy of this hotel, new to the Fairlight Jones portfolio, is relaxed, quietly excellent service.

    The team operate a convenient WhatsApp system so that any time day or night (within reason!) you can message for food or drink, help, a taxi, a restaurant, bar or beach recommendation.

    Manager Korhan is a hidden gem of his own – a vague message telling him we would like some lovely Turkish snacks and white wine resulted in some of the best mezze we had in Turkey, gorgeous olives and a bottle of crisp, dry wine from the hills of Antalya sent to our private pool in minutes.

    Lunch at our villa at Likya Pavilion - sea bass, cucumber, tomato and onion salsa, gorgeous olives and of course, Efes
    Lunch at our villa at Likya Pavilion – sea bass, cucumber, tomato, herb and red onion salsa, gorgeous local olives and of course, Efes

    ‘You have good taste!’ he told us, kindly. But, truth be told, it was he who had the good taste.

    This same charming service runs throughout all of the hotel’s staff. Joan, our rep (all guests are given one to look after their needs during the week); the lovely cleaner, who waved and chatted every day, despite us sharing no more than one word in common, and every one of the bar and restaurant staff.

    On our first night, Korhan told us he had moved to Kalkan for the friendly village feel, to recapture the nostalgia of the ‘good old days’ in Turkey. He was right: Everyone we met was warm and welcoming.

    It is a big part of why guests just keep coming back.

    LIKYA GARDENS

    The sister hotel to the Likya Pavilion, this lovely property is right on the water’s edge. Unrivalled views over the harbour, beautiful, relaxed and Bohemian rooms. There is no restaurant, but breakfast is served on the terrace and guests can order food from Likya Pavilion – the full restaurant menu is available and a table will be set for private dining.

    Sunbeds and sea views - with plenty of umbrellas and sea breeze to relieve the heat - at Likya's private beach club
    Sunbeds and sea views – with plenty of umbrellas and sea breeze to relieve the heat – at Likya’s private beach club

    They also have immediate access to the beach club shared also with Likya Pavilion – a eaceful little place carved into the rocks offering plenty of sunbeds, umbrellas and a sublime swimming area with jumping platform.

    VILLA MAHAL

    Villa Mahal was voted Europe's most romantic hotels by Conde Naste (Picture: Fairlight Jones)
    Villa Mahal was voted Europe’s most romantic hotels by Conde Naste (Picture: Fairlight Jones)

    A luxe option with a killer waterside location across the bay. If you’re a guest of Likya Pavilion / Likya Gardens, they can organise a speedboat to take you across for a day lounging on their sun terraces or at the infinity pool.

     

    WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK

    Kalkan has more restaurants than you could eat at in a year. It makes choosing a trial – but everywhere you go will be good. Ask for recommendations, or wander the leafy streets until you find somewhere that catches your eye.

    FISH TERRACE

    In Kalkan itself, we loved the Fish Terrace. Set high up on a rooftop under the stars (as so many restaurants in Kalkan are), you would never know you were in central Kalkan. Slick service and some of the best fish we ate all week. It is run by a family, half English and half Turkish, with the sons waiting tables in their university holidays and husband and wife running the show. They use only fresh catches and have a remarkable wine list. A three-course meal here was around £30, which to give you an idea of affordability, was the most we paid all week.

    VILLA MAHAL

    Dinner at Villa Mahal is not to be missed (Picture: Fairlight Jones)
    Dinner at Villa Mahal is not to be missed (Picture: Fairlight Jones)

    A jewel on the Kalkan coastline. During the day, the rocky levels of this hotel are a beautiful beach club. By night, it transforms into a restaurant Conde Nast called the most romantic in the Med. We sat at a table inches from the waves, the lights of Kalkan curving around the bay.

    One of the most spectacular impressive dining spots in Kalkan itself.

    LIKYA PAVILION

    The Bay at Kalkan by Fairlight Jones
    in-room dining at Likya Pavilion, Kalkan, a hotel by Fairlight Jones

    Wraparound sunset views over Kalkan bay, a peaceful spot away from the bustle of central Kalkan and impossibly friendly staff. The head chef, along with manager Korhan, came up with a menu inspired by the Turkish dishes of their childhood, brought into the modern day. Mezze was the speciality – all handmade and so good that after trying the restaurant’s Taste Of Turkey – a culinary voyage of discovery – we ordered the mezze almost every day for lunch.

    The sea bass with caper, tomato and onion salad was also excellent – we had it delivered to our villa every day for lunch, along with the mezze and a bottle of dry Anatolian white.

    Every room at The Bay has its own private pool
    Every room at Likya Pavilion has its own private pool

    BOTANIK

    A laid-back, world-traveller-chic kind of place, with eclectic seating – low tables, hammocks, and treehouses. Open all day til late, come for a casual cocktail or bed in – almost literally, given the treehouses are decked out with floor cushions.

    Try the margaritas at Botanik (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Try the margaritas at Botanik (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    I can safely say after 3 that the margaritas are well worth a try.

    Mature trees provide shade and fans are placed all around so even in the midday sun, the bar is cool enough.

    Botanik bar is the number one spot for relaxed cocktails (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Botanik is the number one spot for relaxed cocktails (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

     

    OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

    The irony that we are tourists who don’t want to be with other tourists does not escape us… but isn’t it nice to get off the beaten track on holiday?

    As such, the rest of our week was spent exploring more out-of-the-way restaurants.

    Each time, we were the only English guests among Turkish diners, which is always a sign the food will be authentic – and ideally good. As we hoped, it was excellent. Every time. Here is the lowdown of the best of the restaurants outside of Kalkan itself.

     

    GURU’S PLACE

    Topping this list is Guru’s Place, also known as Kuru’s Place. Set up on the hillside on the road out of Kalkan to Kas, this was more than just a meal: it was an experience.

    Owner Hussein will come to pick you from your hotel in his minibus and will regale you with tales of Kalkan’s history, Turkey’s politics – and even astrology. On the way home, he stopped the vehicle in excitement: he wanted to show us how the star and moon were perfectly aligned in the night sky to depict the Turkish flag, a celestial phenomenon he said happens only rarely.

    At his wonderful restaurant, you can feel free to put yourself in his hands.

    Liberated of menus and decisions, we enjoyed whatever was fresh from the kitchen that day, which happened to be sensational mezze followed by a succulent pulled pork dish and the piece de resistance: beef meatballs with yoghurt, baked flatbread and homemade chilli sauce that should be bottled and sold.

    His choice of wine was impeccable too – a local dry white (Likya Patara, from Antalya). No meal is complete at Hussein’s without a shot of ajibadem, a Turkish almond liquor reminiscent of Amaretto.

    Hussein also holds cookery courses in his kitchen with tour of local butcher, greengrocer and a tasting in the cheese shop ending in a convivial lunch. Enormous fun, you’ll come out with new skills, full stomach and a smile.

    Ask any taxi to take you to Guru’s place, on the road out of Kalkan and you’ll get there.

    Kalkan Kaş Karayolu Üzeri 3. Km, 07960 Antalya, Turkey, +90 536 331 10 16

     

    PINARBASI TERRACE, ISLAMLAR VILLAGE

    View at sunset from the terrace of Pinarbasi restaurant in Islamar village 
    The uninterrupted view at sunset from the terrace of Pinarbasi restaurant in Islamar village

    If views are your thing, you will love this. This restaurant really was out of the way – we would never have discovered it without recommendations from our hotel – but it was unforgettable.

    A pleasant 15-minute taxi ride took us into alpine hills, through tiny hamlets, past families sitting on sofas in their gardens enjoying the cooling evening.

    Our destination was the trout-farming village of Islamlar. Up to 5 degrees cooler, it provides welcome relief from mid-summer heat and a truly authentic experience. Springs diverted from the mountains into the village have led to a thriving trout farming industry, and it is this that forms the backbone of the cuisine.

    The spicy tomato sauce and fresh greens at Pinarbasi Terrace in the hills of Kalkan was so simple yet so good
    Spicy tomato salsa and fresh greens at Pinarbasi Terrace were simple yet delicious
    That's what you call a sundried tomato...at the Pinarbasi Terrace in the hills outside of Kalkan
    That’s what you call a sundried tomato…view from the Pinarbasi Terrace

    There are a handful to choose from, but for the views, it had to be Pinarbasi Terrace.

    As the sun set, we looked over the flame-coloured skies and lush forested hills down to the now violet-tinged Med.

    No photo could do it justice and it is not hyperbole to call it breathtaking.

    As we left, a father and son selling honey from their own bees on a stall opposite gave us a taste of pine and orange blossom honey – and sent us off with a large jar.

     

    Pinarbasi Terrace is a must visit if in Kalkan
    Pinarbasi Terrace is a must visit if in Kalkan

    Pınarbaşı Terrace Restaurant, Kalkan Mahallesi, no:49, İslamlar Köyü Yolu, 07960 Kaş/Antalya, Turkey

     

    DOGA at DOGA HOTEL

    Another one not to be missed – and another so off-the-beaten track that we were again the only English people in sight. The drive along a mountaintop road hugging the cliff edge makes the 40-minute trip from Kalkan worth it – a sunset seascape with mountainous backdrop.

    If you’re staying in Kas, the journey will be more like 15 minutes.

    Doga restaurant 40 minutes out of Kalkan is another hidden gem worth seeking out (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Doga restaurant 40 minutes out of Kalkan is another hidden gem worth seeking out (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Seating is on wide tapestry cushions and you can just order whatever is cooking in the stone ovens (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Seating is on wide tapestry cushions and you can just order whatever is cooking in the stone ovens (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    Seating is on traditional raised Turkish köşk with vines hanging overhead. Reclining on wide tapestry cushions around a low table, we again ordered whatever was fresh from the kitchen, where everything from slow-cooked meats to pides (Turkish pizza) emerge from a stone oven.

    If you have time, visit for breakfast too, where tea is prepared in traditional fire-heated kettles at your table and the eggs are a speciality.

    Try the menemen – a dish of eggs and diced vegetables – served with warm bread fresh from the stone oven.

     

    WHAT ELSE TO DO IN AND AROUND KALKAN

    I will admit: we were in Kalkan primarily to relax. Turkey has a wealth of cultural and historical offerings for the energetic – but with our own private pool, full menu and wine list on speed dial and views for days, we had little inclination to leave our haven.

    We did dip a toe. A ruins trip here, a boat trip there, a casual snorkel before lunch.

    Likya Pavilion could organise mountain biking, snorkelling, kayaking, tennis, spa experiences (including massage in your own room), Turkish cooking courses. Further afield, cultural experiences to Phaselis and Cirali, Gombe, Saklikent Gorge, Pinara.

    For all guests, a day-long boat trip was included – and if you enjoyed that, you could book for more – sunset cruises with drinks parties or dinner on board the boat. Here’s what we did manage to do:

    PRIVATE BEACH CLUB

    The beach club at Likya Gardens Kalkan was a wonderful place to while away the days (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    The beach club at Likya Gardens was a wonderful place to while away the days (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    Carved into the cliffs next to Likya Gardens, the private beach club is a heavenly place to spend a day if you can drag yourself away from your villa.

    Sunbed drinks service, a restaurant serving salad, fish (and spaghetti bolognese, if you’re that way inclined) and towels. The safely cordoned-off swimming area with steps to enter or a jumping platform provides a natural swimming pool.

    PATARA BEACH

    Kalkan can lay claim to one of Europe’s most famous beaches, Patara beach, frequently name-checked in lists of the world’s top 10 best beaches.

    This 11 mile-long (20km) stretch of sand is largely unspoiled, thanks to the fact it borders the Patara ruins, and also to the fact it is an important site for loggerhead turtles to nest. This protected species has been returning to Patara to lay its eggs for 40 million years. Incredible.

    No shops, no buildings – just miles of uncrowded sand, clear waters and sand dunes. If you take your own umbrella and walk far up the beach away from the sunbeds for hire, you’ll find a deserted spot of white sand to make your own.

    After sunset and until 8.30am, the beach is out of bounds to protect hatching baby turtles.

    You’ll find it around 20 minutes from Kalkan. Visit it at the same time as you do the Patara ruins.

    Patara ruins just outside Kalkan at Patara beach (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    Patara ruins just outside Kalkan at Patara beach (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    PATARA RUINS

    An important city in the Roman Empire, Patara is now a well-preserved archaeological site revealing much about the layout of Roman towns.

    There’s an amphitheatre, temples, colonnaded streets, a triumphal arch. Every summer students from Antalya go to work on reconstructing buildings, so it will get better and better with time.

     

    BOAT TRIPS

    A gulet in Kalkan bay (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
    A gulet in Kalkan bay (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

    A must-do while on the Turquoise Coast. Wherever you’re staying, your hotel should be able to organise a boat trip – a couple of hours, an afternoon or a day – but as we were Fairlight Jones guests, a day on a gulet came included in our stay.

    We met at the boat at 9am, and by five past we were barefoot at the front of the boat, cold bubbly in hand, heading out to sea.

    We swam in deserted coves, jumped off rocks, spotted turtles swimming alongside and ate lunch at sea, accompanied by Efes and Anatolian wine.

     

    KALKAN: WE’LL BE BACK

    We arrived in Kalkan feeling like first-timers and left feeling like family. Every encounter was warm, every meal was special. When we were told 70% of people who come to Kalkan come back, we took it with a pinch of salt. After a week in the company of this very special village and its lovely inhabitants, we could believe it.

    We’re not the first ones to say this, but we’ll be back.

    HOW TO GET THERE

    Fly to Dalaman with a 1hr 30m transfer to Kalkan or to Antalya with a 3hr transfer.

    Find more information about Fairlight Jones properties in Kalkan and where to stay in the area at fairlightjones.com

     

    TURKEY: BACK ON THE MAP

    But for the past three years, it hasn’t been this way.It has been a difficult time for families who rely on tourism in Turkey.

    Subjected to political unrest and a despotic leader in Erdogan, the country dropped off the radar for many.I nstead, they went to Spanish islands, Greece – or even (as much down to Brexit as Erdogan) stayed at home.This year though, Turkey – and Kalkan – is back in favour. When we went in August, business was booming – a restaurant owner we met spoke with relief that British tourists are returning.‘Kalkan has been a special place for British tourists for 20 years,’ he said. ‘Then, three years ago, they stopped coming. Our restaurants were empty.’It has been tough, he says, for a community that earns most of its living from tourism. Families and their staff work hard for six months of the year to make enough to keep going for the other six, when the tourists have gone home and the restaurants are quiet.

    ‘It is so sad to see families lose their livelihoods because they have been unlucky enough to be given this political situation,’ he adds.‘President Erdogan behaves badly and everyone suffers.’

    In 2015 and 2016 Kalkan was like a ‘ghost town’, he says. Now, people are coming back.

    not only are Brits more resilient than most in the face of political unrest – we haven’t hammered the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ fridge magnet wisdom to death for nothing – but

    While we were in Kalkan, a crash – relating to trade issues with Trump – saw it plummet to even more devastating lows, giving us 8.87 lira to the pound.While it has recovered somewhat, the rate remains at 7.6 lira to the pound. For tourists, it takes the sting out of spending in Turkey. For the Turkish tourist industry, it could help lure back travellers put off by political unrest.In fact, last summer Thomas Cook reported that Antalya was once again its most served destination from the UK.

    It’s no wonder:  a small matter of the lira exchange rate has tempted bargain-hunting Brits back to Turkey.After all, with some airport bureaus offering less than one euro to the pound, Spain is no longer the affordable option it once was.It is nothing to crow about – this economical insecurity comes at a high price to Turkish people – but the lira has dropped consistently for the past 5 years and is now lower than it was at the end of 2018.


    Kalkan - KasKalkan - Kas

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    I’m retired. It’s a label I honestly find to be uncomfortable, ageing and inappropriate.

    I don’t feel retired. But when someone asks me what I do, what am I supposed to say to explain that I no longer have a 9-5 job.

    18 months ago, my husband and I were entrepreneurs and respected members of the local business community. Now we’ve been neatly labelled as ‘over the hill’ and ‘put out to grass’.

    Because that’s what it means to be retired, right?

    Look up the meaning of ‘retired’ in the Oxford English Dictionary and it’ll tell you that the verb ‘to retire’ is derived from the French verb retirer, ‘to draw back’. It’s defined as:

    • To leave one’s job and stop working, especially because one has reached a particular age
    • To withdraw from a race or match because of injury
    • To leave a place

    Saying the word out loud makes my heart sink.

    The only ‘R’ words in our vocabulary are ‘recreation’ and ‘reinvention’ (Picture: Susannah Ireland?Metro.co.uk)

    There’s nothing wrong with being retired per se (in fact I whole-heartedly recommend it) but the conventional view of life conjured up by the label ‘retirement’ is what I dislike.

    It might’ve been accurate for our parents’ generation; for them, retirement regularly manifested itself as a carriage clock and glass of sherry with colleagues on a Friday followed by a cuppa in the potting shed and daytime TV on Monday.

    Today, however, post-work life holds so many other possibilities.

    As a generation, we’re more affluent, healthier and live longer than our forefathers. So when Tony and I decided to sell our restaurant and wind down our events business, the plan wasn’t to take it easy, put our feet up and retire as many friends assumed.

    We were simply looking forward to the next new adventure. The only ‘R’ words in our vocabulary are ‘recreation’ and ‘reinvention’.

    I think of retirement as a whole new career made all the more exciting because I can write my own job specification.

    My body might be older and need a little more TLC than it did 30 years ago, but in my late 50’s my energy and enthusiasm for life remains.

    There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ label that accurately describes how I feel about my current lifestyle (Picture: Susannah Ireland?Metro.co.uk)

    I want to use the experiences and knowledge I’ve absorbed over the years to explore new business ideas, to help others do the same, to volunteer, perhaps, keep active, travel and embrace the new technologies of the 21st century well into my 60’s and beyond.

    There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ label that accurately describes how I feel about my current lifestyle.

    Perhaps it’s my imagination, but talking to millennials and their offspring about being retired seems to result only in a sympathetic smugness; sympathy for my advancing years touched with a smug confidence at their own youth and vitality.

    Maybe I’m just jealous of all that time they still have, but it feels as if the conversation soon loses impetus. What would an old fogy like me know, anyway?

    Talk to someone from my own peer group about being retired and it’s a different kettle of fish. Those still working gaze off into the mid-distance and wish they too could give up the daily grind.

    Those who already have waxed lyrical about going travelling, spending more time with family and friends, taking up new hobbies – only stopping to complain that there’s not enough time in each day to fulfil their wish list.

    Retirement as a label is outdated, outmoded and, in many cases, no longer fit for purpose (Picture: Susannah Ireland?Metro.co.uk)

    No-one talks about doing nothing or taking it easy – except in the context of falling into an early grave.

    Perhaps a change of pace might be called for, but retiring from life isn’t an option.

    Retirement as a label is outdated, outmoded and, in many cases, no longer fit for purpose.

    I am so much more than my label and until peoples’ perception of retirement changes, I refuse to live my life bound by the expectations of society.

    I’ll continue to live life with energy and purpose.

    I want to travel (Japan and India are on the cards for 2019), socialise with friends, toy with the occasional new business opportunity, keep fit, potter in my garden and chase that elusive new definition for retirement that does justice to the positive, dynamic and fun-filled future that I’m determined will shape the years ahead.

    Stephanie and her husband run Retireista.  

    Labels

    Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity  positively or negatively  and what the label means to them.

    If you would like to get involved please email jess.austin@metro.co.uk

    MORE: My Label and Me: I used to think asexual meant fancying yourself

    MORE: My Label and Me: Being called disfigured may make you uncomfortable, but I love it

    MORE: My Label and Me: I’m Muslim and you will not erase my humanity


    Labels - retiredLabels - retired

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    How do I tell my best friend she is rushing into a marriage with a guy she barely knows? (Kate Leaver) Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk
    How do I tell my best friend she is rushing into a marriage with a guy she barely knows? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Welcome to Lean On Me – a weekly agony aunt style column from Metro.co.uk where Kate Leaver answers your friendship woes.

    Dear Kate,

    One of my best friends has just agreed to marry a man that she’s only known for six months.

    She’s a fairly dramatic and impulsive person, who throws herself into things wholeheartedly (she moved in with the guy after four months, for god’s sake).

    Her passion and spontaneity are two things that I admire most about her. But I feel like she’s made this decision for the wrong reasons. That being said, I really like her new partner. He is kind to her (unlike so many of her past partners) and makes her happy.

    I’m finding it really difficult to be 100 per cent supportive, which is going to prove difficult going forward as she’s asked me to be her bridesmaid.  

    How do I be a supportive friend, if I’m so fundamentally concerned about her rushing such a big life decision? I want to be there for her, but I’m not sure how to do that without voicing my concern and extreme scepticism.

    Please help.

    Kendra, 21

    It is your job to swallow the ‘I told you so’ and be here for her (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Dear Kendra,

    I feel you on this one, I really do. If one of my best friends got engaged after knowing a person for six months, I’d be sceptical too.

    Even if I liked the guy, my first instinct would be to try and stop her. If marriage is meant to be for a lifetime, what’s the rush, right?

    I love love, but I also love it when people are sensible, rational and patient.

    I do think you could push a little ‘are you sure this is the right decision for you, my darling friend?’ conversation, just in case she’s frightened herself and doesn’t have anyone to voice it to now that she’s made the engagement announcement.

    You’re probably one of her best confidants and you might like to give her the chance to say, ‘shit, girl, what have I done?’ Raise it gently in person or send her a little text. Give her the chance to talk it through with you, if she needs to.

    Keep your judgment to yourself, though, K. If she tells you this is the right thing for her and she knows in her heart of hearts that she must put on a big white dress and throw a big shiny party and say her big meaningful vows, then you’ve got no choice but to support her.

    She is a grown woman who owns her own decisions and this one utterly belongs to her. I know how tempting it is to tell your friends how to live their lives – ooh, do I know – but her love life does not belong to you.

    If this is what she wants, you’re going to have to find a way to wriggle into that bridesmaid dress, whack on a dazzling smile and celebrate this blessed union. You’re just lucky you like the man she’s agreed to marry.

    Excuse my optimism for a moment, but it’s entirely possible these two will live happily married together and defy your every doubt. Let’s hope that’s the case.

    Even if I liked the guy, my first instinct would be to try and stop her.

    The more I learn about love, the more weddings I go to, the more I think that there simply is no formula for enduring love. Time has very little to do with it. I knew a couple who’d been together more than a decade before they got married, and they didn’t last the first year of marriage.

    I’ve heard of people who get married nauseatingly quickly – and last for decades. Arranged marriages have a bafflingly high success rate. There truly is no way to predict how long a relationship will last or whether a marriage certificate will fortify it or break it.

    Perhaps your friend and her beloved will prove you wrong; perhaps they will be together until the day one of them dies. Equally, you may be entirely correct in your scepticism and they could be hiring a divorce lawyer in a year’s time.

    You cannot know that and for now, you’ve just got to stand by your girl. That’s your calling right now; that’s your gesture of love for her.

    Whatever happens with this man, your friendship is for always. That is your concern here. You have to be there on your friend’s wedding day, just as you will be there if this relationship falls apart.

    Try and see, lovely Kendra, that this is simply not your decision to make.

    If your friend’s engagement turns out to be an absolute flaming disaster, then it is your job to hold her and listen to her and put her back together. It is your job to swallow the ‘I told you so’ and be here for her.

    For now, it is your job to quickly, sensitively raise your concerns and then retreat. It is your job to be there for your dear, besotted friend while she marries this man – even if you turn out to be entirely correct.

    Respect your friend’s autonomy, let her make her own decisions and decide to be around, even if it turns out to be a walloping mistake. That’s probably, let’s be honest, what you’d want from her.

    About Lean On Me

    Kate Leaver is the author of The Friendship Cure and she will be answering your friendship woes in her weekly Metro.co.uk column.

    If you’d like to submit a question or problem, email LeanOnMe@metro.co.uk with ‘Lean on me’ in the subject line.

    Submissions are anonymous and you can follow the discussion on Twitter #LeanOnMe.

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

    MORE: Lean On Me: Is it OK to be upset that I wasn't invited to my best mate's stag do?

    MORE: Lean On Me: I have lots of friends, so why do I still feel lonely?


    Why we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to helpWhy we should care about children?s mental wellbeing - and what we can do to help

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    Tiffany says that her previous weight caused her to struggle to walk
    Tiffany before her weight loss (Picture:MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit)

    Tiffany Elizabeth assumed that after losing a load of weight and getting a tummy tuck, she’d be happy with her body.

    But she’s been left regretting it all after her surgery went wrong, leaving her with a swollen stomach.

    Tiffany, 27, grew up in a household that didn’t have much understanding of nutrition. She would eat unhealthy microwaved ready meals, piles of pasta, fast food, and pizza.

    At her peak weight of 16stone and 6lbs, and a UK size 22, Tiffany struggled to walk due to her weight. She experienced bullying at school and was miserable, sleeping for more than 12 hours a day to avoid dealing with reality.

    One day she walked towards her bathroom from her bed and experience unbearable pain in her feet. That’s when she knew it was time to make a change.

    Tiffany pictured before her weight loss
    Tiffany before her weight loss (Picture: MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit)
    Tiffany showing her weight at its peak. THIS WOMAN could barely walk from her bed to her bathroom because of her size but has since shed over HALF HER BODYWEIGHT and underwent a tummy tuck ??? but it didn???t exactly go to plan and she has been left with a SWOLLEN STOMACH that she would trade for excess skin any day. Business owner and mum, Tiffany Elizabeth (27), from Florida, USA, grew up in a household that didn???t have much understanding about nutrition and eating healthy and her parents would feed her unhealthy meals, such as microwave food, spaghetti, fast food and pizza. At her peak weight of 16st 6Ib and UK size 22, she would get teased by kids during high school who would call her ???fat??? and she felt miserable. She would sleep for over 12 hours a day and struggled to walk due to her weight. One day she walked towards her bathroom from her bed, which was 10 feet away, and her feet were in unbearable pain that she decided to make a drastic change to get her life on track. She joined a gym where she works out five-days-a-week and instead of eating fast food or readymade meals, she cooks healthy meals. She has since shrunk to a healthy 9st 11Ib and a UK size eight, but due to the drastic change in her weight, she decided to remove her excess skin in February 2019. However, the process left her with a swelling tummy that has made her feel insecure. She is assured that the swelling will go down with time, so she is now trying to raise awareness of the process of a tummy tuck and has remained very proud of her journey and wouldn???t change her weight loss, as it has made her feel like a better parent to her children, Landon (8) and Kiara (4). MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit
    Tiffany showing her weight at its peak. (Picture: MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit)

    She joined a gym and began to work out five days a week, and swapped her unhealthy food habits for home-made meals.

    Tiffany shrunk down to a healthy 9st 11lb, but her weight loss left her with excess skin. In February 2019 she decided to get the sagging skin removed through a tummy tuck.

    Unfortunately the surgery left her with a swollen tummy that has made her feel even more insecure.

    She’s immensely proud of her weight loss journey, but isn’t pleased with the results of her tummy tuck.

    Tiffany pictured with her boyfriend
    Tiffany after her weight loss, pictured with her boyfriend (Picture: MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit)

    Tiffany has been told the swelling will go down in time, but is sharing photos of the results to prepare other people for the reality of the serious surgery.

    ‘I had my tummy tuck on February 18, 2019,’ says Tiffany. ‘I wish I could tell you I feel better but as of now, I don’t. My body didn’t take the surgery well and I’m extremely swollen.

    ‘I would trade the loose skin for a giant bulge in my belly. I’m not happy right now with my decision but I’m hoping as the months go by, it will get better.

    Tiffany pictured with her boyfriend just before her tummy tuck. THIS WOMAN could barely walk from her bed to her bathroom because of her size but has since shed over HALF HER BODYWEIGHT and underwent a tummy tuck ??? but it didn???t exactly go to plan and she has been left with a SWOLLEN STOMACH that she would trade for excess skin any day. Business owner and mum, Tiffany Elizabeth (27), from Florida, USA, grew up in a household that didn???t have much understanding about nutrition and eating healthy and her parents would feed her unhealthy meals, such as microwave food, spaghetti, fast food and pizza. At her peak weight of 16st 6Ib and UK size 22, she would get teased by kids during high school who would call her ???fat??? and she felt miserable. She would sleep for over 12 hours a day and struggled to walk due to her weight. One day she walked towards her bathroom from her bed, which was 10 feet away, and her feet were in unbearable pain that she decided to make a drastic change to get her life on track. She joined a gym where she works out five-days-a-week and instead of eating fast food or readymade meals, she cooks healthy meals. She has since shrunk to a healthy 9st 11Ib and a UK size eight, but due to the drastic change in her weight, she decided to remove her excess skin in February 2019. However, the process left her with a swelling tummy that has made her feel insecure. She is assured that the swelling will go down with time, so she is now trying to raise awareness of the process of a tummy tuck and has remained very proud of her journey and wouldn???t change her weight loss, as it has made her feel like a better parent to her children, Landon (8) and Kiara (4). MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit
    Tiffany pictured just before her tummy tuck, wearing body control underwear to cover her excess skin (Picture: MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit)

    ‘I’m a unicorn apparently. What’s happening with my swelling is not the norm, but my life doesn’t like to go as planned always.’

    Despite the surgery going wrong, Tiffany feels much better about her body than before her weight loss.

    She says: ‘I am so happy that I made the decision to fight for me. You have to be selfish sometimes to take proper care of yourself and I think as a parent that can be so hard when your focus is your children.

    ‘I had to tell myself that I can’t put 100% of my energy on my children, I have to put some on myself so I can do a better job as a parent.

    Tiffany showing her belly post-tummy tuck showing the swelling. THIS WOMAN could barely walk from her bed to her bathroom because of her size but has since shed over HALF HER BODYWEIGHT and underwent a tummy tuck ??? but it didn???t exactly go to plan and she has been left with a SWOLLEN STOMACH that she would trade for excess skin any day. Business owner and mum, Tiffany Elizabeth (27), from Florida, USA, grew up in a household that didn???t have much understanding about nutrition and eating healthy and her parents would feed her unhealthy meals, such as microwave food, spaghetti, fast food and pizza. At her peak weight of 16st 6Ib and UK size 22, she would get teased by kids during high school who would call her ???fat??? and she felt miserable. She would sleep for over 12 hours a day and struggled to walk due to her weight. One day she walked towards her bathroom from her bed, which was 10 feet away, and her feet were in unbearable pain that she decided to make a drastic change to get her life on track. She joined a gym where she works out five-days-a-week and instead of eating fast food or readymade meals, she cooks healthy meals. She has since shrunk to a healthy 9st 11Ib and a UK size eight, but due to the drastic change in her weight, she decided to remove her excess skin in February 2019. However, the process left her with a swelling tummy that has made her feel insecure. She is assured that the swelling will go down with time, so she is now trying to raise awareness of the process of a tummy tuck and has remained very proud of her journey and wouldn???t change her weight loss, as it has made her feel like a better parent to her children, Landon (8) and Kiara (4). MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit
    Tiffany showing her belly post-tummy tuck showing the swelling (Picture: MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit)

    ‘I went gluten free, stopped eating cheese, stopped drinking cream in my office and mostly dairy free. I pay attention to my sodium intake and watch the ingredients in my food.

    ‘I would say at some points you just want it to be over with, you want to just throw the towel in and say forget it.

    ‘You want to be able to just eat whatever you want but it’s realising that that’s not how it works. In order to have the body you want; you have to eat for that body.

    Tiffany pictured in her gym gear after her weight loss. THIS WOMAN could barely walk from her bed to her bathroom because of her size but has since shed over HALF HER BODYWEIGHT and underwent a tummy tuck ??? but it didn???t exactly go to plan and she has been left with a SWOLLEN STOMACH that she would trade for excess skin any day. Business owner and mum, Tiffany Elizabeth (27), from Florida, USA, grew up in a household that didn???t have much understanding about nutrition and eating healthy and her parents would feed her unhealthy meals, such as microwave food, spaghetti, fast food and pizza. At her peak weight of 16st 6Ib and UK size 22, she would get teased by kids during high school who would call her ???fat??? and she felt miserable. She would sleep for over 12 hours a day and struggled to walk due to her weight. One day she walked towards her bathroom from her bed, which was 10 feet away, and her feet were in unbearable pain that she decided to make a drastic change to get her life on track. She joined a gym where she works out five-days-a-week and instead of eating fast food or readymade meals, she cooks healthy meals. She has since shrunk to a healthy 9st 11Ib and a UK size eight, but due to the drastic change in her weight, she decided to remove her excess skin in February 2019. However, the process left her with a swelling tummy that has made her feel insecure. She is assured that the swelling will go down with time, so she is now trying to raise awareness of the process of a tummy tuck and has remained very proud of her journey and wouldn???t change her weight loss, as it has made her feel like a better parent to her children, Landon (8) and Kiara (4). MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit
    Tiffany pictured in her gym gear (Picture: MDWfeatures / @myadventuretofit)

    ‘Just eating whatever you want all the time is not going to get you there.

    You need self-control and discipline, but it’s so hard sometimes.

    ‘People say I look like a completely different person. It’s funny because people constantly comment on my photos saying, ‘not the same person’. I’ve started to take it as a compliment.

    ‘You have to just jump in. There’s no magic time, jump in. Make a separate weight loss Instagram account and flood it with motivational accounts of people who are on the same journey as you. This was huge for me.’

    MORE: Teens who eat breakfast have a better body image than those that skip it, scientists claim

    MORE: Slimming clinics are ‘putting patients at risk’ with dodgy weight loss pills


    Woman regrets tummy tuckWoman regrets tummy tuck

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    Each week in How I Save we look at how a different person spends and saves. This week we're looking at Claire's finances. Claire has £1,288 saved and spends her money on food, socialising, and lottery tickets
    Each week in How I Save we look at how a different person spends and saves. This week we’re looking at Claire’s finances. (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    How I Save is a weekly series that explores how real people spend and stash their money.

    We’re all pretty rubbish when it comes to talking about money, which can leave us stuck in an unhealthy pattern of terrible spending, debt, and shame.

    We’re trying to open up the conversation so that we all feel more comfortable asking for help when we need it – and admitting that we don’t magically know everything about personal finances.

    This week we’re chatting to Claire (not her real name, as people can get very rude about other people’s money situation), a 24-year-old communicating and marketing professional living in Glasgow.

    How Claire Saves:

    I earn £30,000 a year.

    In my savings account right now I have £300 in a newly opened First Direct 5% interest savings account, £378 in a standard Bank of Scotland 0.2% savings account, £450 in a 2% Bank of Scotland savings account (which my mum and I save £100 a month in for a trip to New York we have planned for 2020), £150 in my ScotWest credit union (£50 per month comes off my wage for this automatically each month) and £10 in a Moneybox stocks and shares ISA which I’ve just started using – anything I buy on my Monzo card gets rounded up to the nearest pound and saved via moneybox.

    Writing that all out makes me realise I might be making my savings overly complicated but I’m quite used to it now.

    I’m saving for the New York trip in 2021 and my wedding, which we’ve just booked for summer 2020.

    I try not to think about the credit union savings and hope to use that to build up an ‘emergency’ fund for the future. I’m a total panicker and get worried imagining things breaking in the house or the car needing a big repair and not having some savings to fall back on for it.

    However, I do really love going on holiday and although I’ve agreed to no holidays with my fiancé this year so we can save more for the wedding, I can see myself dipping into that emergency cash to fund a week away somewhere.

    The main way I save is by transferring money to my savings account as soon as I’m paid. I’m also a big fan of Monzo and have been using that for a few months now for my spending money – when I’m paid I transfer money to my joint account, my savings and around £450 to Monzo for ‘fun money’ to spend on whatever I like, usually clothes. I’ve also recently started using the pots function to lock away money until a specific date which has been handy for birthday presents or trips.

    I struggle with saving because I don’t think I leave myself enough ‘fun’ money each month and usually end up dipping into my Bank of Scotland savings account. I really struggle to contain myself when it comes to clothes and usually spend far too much each month, I’m on a self-imposed shopping ban for April but I have a lot of birthdays coming up this month and like that I can still shop for other people.

    Woman looks at online banking account
    Claire spends her money on socialising and lottery tickets (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Shutterstock)

    How Claire Spends:

    Monthly expenses:

    • £460 to joint account for mortgage, bills and food
    • £80 on credit card (0% interest until July 2020)
    • £45 phone
    • £25 gym
    • £10 for other subscriptions like Netflix and charity.
    • I try to treat my savings as an expense too so £460 for that too.
    • Monthly income: £1565 (four weekly pay) after student loan (£82), Credit Union (£52), Travel loan (£86) and pension (£73), plus usual tax and NI

    A week of spending:

    Monday: £5.25 mac and cheese with proscuitto from Pret, £2 in Children’s Lottery Tickets. £10 on National Lottery for scratch cards.

    Tuesday: Another £20 on scratchers (very bad), £12 on acupressure (roughly twice per month half hour appointment). Brought tuna wraps from home. Annoyed at myself for wasting that £30 on scratch cards, it was fun at the time but could have bought myself clothes.

    We’re currently trying the Gousto boxes, which I love, they’re so handy, so have dinners sorted for the week but gave in to temptation and spent £20 on a two for Tuesday from Dominoes (from the joint card). I still made tonight’s dinner to take in for tomorrow’s lunch.

    Wednesday: Out after work to meet a friend we used to work with who is home for a week, £15 dinner (pizza and glass of prosecco), £21 on glass of prosecco and three cocktails. Brought last night’s veggie pasta bake from home for lunch.

    Thursday: £24.70 at Superdrug (put on credit card – which makes it seem like it didn’t cost anything, very bad mentality) on conditioner, eyeliner, pencil sharpener, lip balm, lip gloss, cotton pads, naked bar, Tic-Tacs and Red Bull. Fancy meal out at a nice restaurant near our house – £0 because of vouchers we got after getting engaged. Brought more veggie pasta bake from home for lunch.

    Friday: £4 in Sainsburys on Jelly Babies, tuna sandwich and a Red Bull to keep me going this afternoon. £35 at Doner Haus for a team night out dinner, £28 at a bar nearby for my round of drinks, £3 at Greggs for a pizza slice and yum yum for the train ride home – in my drunk mind, this was healthier than a bag of chips.

    Also gained £28 back on my credit card after taking a top back to River Island and resisting buying anything else.

    Saturday: £20 for an Italian lunch and prosecco when out with fiancé’s family for a day of shopping, £20 in the kitty for other drinks throughout the day, mostly pink gins. £10 in Sainsbury’s on the way home for a bottle of prosecco, skittles and crisps.

    Sunday: £12.50 for hangover munchies for my fiancé: a selection of sweets, crisps, Lucozade, koka noodle, and another £2 scratch card all paid for from joint account so again, feels like I’m not really spending money.

    Total spent this week: £264.45

    How Claire could save:

    We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out how Mara could save better… or at all. 

    Note: the advice featured is specific to one individual and doesn’t constitute financial advice. Especially on a London budget.

    Money talk, let’s go.

    Main vice:

    No surprises, I’m going straight for the jugular: lottery spend. If this is your main source of fun you need to up your game, Claire.

    At £32 on a bad week, we’re talking £128 a month. This stacks up to £1,536 a year, which, coincidentally, is more than what’s in your saving accounts. This is also more than a quarter of your allotted spending money each month, three flights to Bali, or 54 trips to River Island.

    Second problem: social spends. You’re dangerously exempting yourself from guilt if you’re buying for others. You’re also locked into a lot of group dinners and nights out. The group setting pressure can make it hard to put a cap on budgets. Did you mean to spend £139 last week?

    It’s a lovely attitude: I’d be your friend! But if you’ve got to feed all these people at your wedding, at this rate you can afford to have about two a half friends attend.

    I’m not suggesting you try to change our entire drinking culture, but maybe saying no to the odd social occasion is also cool. It’s not selfish if you think that’s one extra starter for your BFF’s husband.

    Where you’re going wrong:

    Why have one bank account when you could have, like eight!

    Not sure anyone has needed to download Cleo more. A key feature is looping in all your accounts and getting a bigger picture of your spending. It might help you feel less anxious if you can have this at an easy glance (like the powerful financial overlord that you are).

    Having a card like Monzo for free spending is great. But having this, plus a credit card and the murky territory of a joint card, isn’t great. You’re constantly looking at just a third of your spending. Comforting. All lies.

    Spending plan:

    Safe to save: £400 a month

    I’m lowering this because you can’t afford to save as much as you’d like to based on your current habits. Note: you could up this to £528 a month if you deposit money in a saving account instead whenever you feel the urge to buy a scratch card. Win:win

    Safe to spend: £15 a day / £106 a week / £425 a month

    Social commitments, presents, snacks for your partner (selfless spends! Put a cap on it!)

    Safe to burn: £50 a week/ £200 a month

    These are your guilty pleasures. Be that clothes shopping and scratch cards, or sneaky holiday fund. I’m adding in your £80 credit card bill here too: spend intentionally.

    How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing ellen.scott@metro.co.uk.

    MORE: How I Save: The small business owner who earns £44,000 a year and has no savings

    MORE: How I Save: The graphic designer who left a £27k salary to go freelance and has £1,338 saved

    MORE: How I Save: The PR account manager who earns £31k a year and has £19,312 saved


    How I SaveHow I Save

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    A student was using her own money to give out free sanitary products but now her university has agreed to take over
    A student was using her own money to give out free sanitary products but now her university has agreed to take over (Picture: The Tab /SWNS)

    When student Daisy Wakefield asked her university to provide sanitary products to female students, she was told they’d look into it, but to no avail.

    So the 22-year-old made the selfless decision to use the last of her student loans on giving out pads and tampons.

    Now the University of West England in Bristol has finally agreed to offer it themselves.

    Daisy, who studies Drawing and Print, said there was an urgency to end period poverty and designed 40 handmade boxes of sanitary products earlier in the year.

    She was tired of emails from her uni saying ‘I’ll get back to you’ or ‘I’m not sure’ and was forced to take matters into her own hands.

    Daisy felt that the universities have a duty of care so it was a shame they took so long to realise the severity of the issue and invest money.

    Currently, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Exeter already make sanitary products available free to all so perhaps we’ll be seeing more English universities follow suit.

    Daisy standing next to a poster of the reproductive organs
    Daisy spent her student loan buying tampons and sanitary towels to leave around campus (Picture: The Tab /SWNS)

    ‘I am beyond happy and proud and I can’t thank everyone enough for [their] support throughout this campaign,’ said Daisy.

    ‘I will be pushing for access to products for all genders, offering reusable menstrual products and training staff to recognise period poverty.

    ‘I am happy they are willing to help and make positive change [and] hope more universities in the near future hear my story and take initiative by also supplying free sanitary products.’

    Daisy will continue to push for student support on this at the National Union of Students Women’s Conference next month.

    A University of West England spokesman said: ‘We are now exploring various different options with our Students Union on how we can extend the financial support we already provide and make it easier for students to know how and where to access it.’

    Period poverty is an issue for many girls and women around the world.

    One in ten people can’t afford tampons or period-related products – reiterating the need to make them accessible.

    According to Plan International, 40% of girls in the UK use toilet roll because of this. Alarmingly, some girls have reported using socks, other fabrics, newspaper or paper in replacement of sanitary products to manage their period.

    You can learn more about the situation in the UK on Plan International’s website.

    MORE: Man dismisses period poverty as ‘nonsense’

    MORE: Girls in primary school experience period poverty too – where are their free sanitary products?

    MORE: The responsibility to end period poverty lies with government – not teachers


    Student gets south-west university to provide free sanitary products after she forked out ?100 of her loan to make her own period packages for girlsStudent gets south-west university to provide free sanitary products after she forked out ?100 of her loan to make her own period packages for girls

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    Aldi Dinner Winner tray is helping mums get their kids to eat
    One photo a mum shared of the compartments (Picture: Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK)

    Fussy toddlers can make mealtimes a chore, trying to find a fun way to ‘trick’ your little one into eating their meal.

    Parents have taken to Facebook to sing the praises of a new solution from Aldi that’s helped them – and it only costs £6.99.

    The Dinner Winner Mealtime Tray features compartments in a snake design, with little messages of encouragement on the bottom to make eating a game.

    The last compartment has a top over it so parents can hide a small dessert treat that kids get the chance to open as a reward for finishing their dinner.

    As well as being made from BPA-free melamine, the tray is dishwasher save to save you time on the washing up.

    It’s a simple idea, but one which has been extremely popular on the Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK group.

    Aldi Dinner Winner Tray
    The tray is a simple idea, but clearly works for many (Picture: Aldi)

    After one mum shared how successful it had been in getting her child to eat everything, and the comments poured in.

    The original post said, ‘I really struggle with my three year old as she never sits still so we are constantly telling to her to sit back down, also she is very fussy and doesn’t like meals, but bought this plate today from Aldi for £6.99 and she’s sat and eaten ALL her dinner including the veg!

    ‘Without getting off her seat at all and ate it without arguments!’

    Other positive parents said, ‘Ours worked a treat with both my kids …. every kids different. So good luck to all the fussy eaters and hr long cold dinner homes’ and simply ‘They are amazing !!!!’

    It’s certainly true that you’d have to make sure your child didn’t simply go straight for the treat at the end, but it’s a good option for parents whose children won’t eat food that touches or who who struggle to focus during mealtimes.

    Another recommendation for this is the Munchkin Apple Compartment Plate, which is available from Boots for £4.99.

    The Aldi Dinner Winner tray is available on the supermarket’s website now, or you can grab in store. Be quick, though, as these short-term deals do tend to sell out quickly.

    MORE: How I Save: The 24-year-old marketing professional in Glasgow who earns £30k a year and has £1,288 saved

    MORE: Lean On Me: My best friend is marrying a guy after knowing him six months. Should I stop her?


    Mums rave over ?6.99 Aldi plate that helps fussy toddlers finish their dinnerMums rave over ?6.99 Aldi plate that helps fussy toddlers finish their dinner

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    High school sweethearts who fell in love with the same woman set to marry her
    ChaCha (left) and Jimmy, have been with Summer since they met her at a business event when she was 18 (Picture: Mediadrumworld/@polyam.us)

    Jimmy Silva, a 35-year-old marketing director from California, U.S, met ChaCha Sahagun, 31, while they were at high school.

    They immediately got together and have been an item for nine years.

    The high school sweethearts were experimenting with the idea of an open relationship when they met 25-year-old Summer Pelletier, who was 18 at the time, at a business event.

    Jimmy and ChaCha both ended up falling for Summer who returned the feelings for both of them.

    So in 2012, they decided to become a triad.

    Now they’re getting married after Jimmy proposed on his 10-year anniversary with ChaCha. Both rings are made from the same diamond stone.

    Jimmy pictured on a beach (middle) with ChaCha (left) and Summer (right)
    Jimmy and ChaCha have been together since 2009 and met Summer in 2012 (Picture: Mediadrumworld/@polyam.us)

    ‘I started thinking about how happy these two girls make me,’ said Jimmy.

    ‘I proposed close to midnight so our new anniversary could be combined as one.

    ‘We are so stoked to be engaged. We are enjoying every step of the way. We love love. We are free spirits, but we are also sensitive beings.’

    Jimmy posing with ChaCha (left) and Summer (right)
    Jimmy proposed to both of them on his ten-year anniversary with ChaCha (Picture: Mediadrumworld/@polyam.us)

    ChaCha and Summer both say that they were nervous and shocked by the proposal and are very happy.

    ‘I was so happy my stomach hurt instantly. I could not keep my eyes from Jimmy, listening to every single word coming out of his mouth,’ said ChaCha.

    ‘His smile was so different – I’ve never witnessed such bliss in his voice as he declared his love and devotion for us.

    ‘I was so excited I grabbed the ring out of the beautifully lit up box before Summer told Jimmy to put it on me.

    ‘This was a big surprise, I never expected to get married and proposed to in front of so many people. We have discussed being together, but the marriage was not something we planned.’

    Jimmy pictured with ChaCha (left) and Summer (right)
    They’ve been a triad for six years (Picture: Mediadrumworld/@polyam.us)

    ‘I was so surprised, and my body immediately went into shock. The good kind, like a happy shock,’ added Summer.

    ‘I was shaking from head to toe, naturally, I looked at ChaCha for approval, and I was overwhelmed with happiness as we both just shook our heads and said yes.

    ‘I am honoured to spend the rest of my life with these two amazing people.’

    All of their families, though traditional, are open-minded towards the relationship and have accepted it for what it is.

    Jimmy says that they have received many positive messages on social media since their engagements, including some saying that their love inspires them.

    ‘So far it has been a very positive reaction; with more questions and how we plan to get married in the U.S as a triad,’ he said.

    Jimmy pictured with Summer and ChaCha in bed
    They plan to marry next April (Picture: Mediadrumworld/@polyam.us)

    ‘We get messages on Instagram that our love has inspired people to hit the market and start dating.

    ‘Polyamorous relationships are not for everyone. Imagine how hard it is to find someone to connect with, now multiply that times three.

    ‘Throughout the years we’ve noticed our unique strength and perseverance is what has kept us together and very happy against all odds.

    ‘We don’t get jealous, we are extremely happy to be sharing our lives together.’

    The triad plan to marry a year after the proposal, in April 2020.

    At the moment polygamous marriages in the US are illegal. The crime is punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both, according to the law of the individual state and the circumstances of the offense.

    But it’s still practised and attitudes to it are becoming more relaxed.

    MORE: Couple become a polyamorous ‘throuple’ after they both fall for their holiday threesome partner

    MORE: Bride and groom fall in love with the bridesmaid and enter a polyamorous relationship

    MORE: Polyamorous couple live as vampires, feeding on blood and sexual energy


    High schoolers fall in love with same womanHigh schoolers fall in love with same woman

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    The Theragun uses percussion therapy to target muscle pain
    The Theragun uses percussion therapy to target muscle pain (Picture: Theragun)

    If you work out a lot or play sport then you will know just how painful muscle soreness can be.

    The day after a heavy fitness session, a simple flight of stairs can become an unconquerable mountain. Lifting yourself off the toilet becomes your Everest.

    The go-to response to ease burning calves and aching glutes is normally to jump on a foam roller and flatten out your muscles until the pain subsides.

    But sports science experts aren’t 100% sold on the universal benefits of foam rolling, and new technologies could actually offer easier and more effective ways to relieve muscle pain and speed up recovery times.

    The Theragun looks and sounds intimidating.

    It is a triangular ‘gun’ with a padded cushion on one end and a button at the other that controls the speed. Turn it on and the power it exhibits is kind of scary – and loud.

    The idea is that you place the cushioned end against your aching muscles and the gun does all the work for you – you don’t have to press hard or massage the area – just hold it lightly against your sorest spots.

    It’s a far cry from the grunting, flailing mess you become whenever you foam roll in the gym.

    The Theragun aims to make it super simple to heal your whole body. The gun is lightweight and versatile, so you can reach even tricky areas – like your back and shoulders – without too much trouble.

    It’s electrically powered, so the kinetic energy used to knead your muscles comes entirely from the device, not from you. Meaning recovery can be just abut recovery – rather than another workout.

    How does the Theragun work?

    The Theragun uses percussive therapy to pulse targeted pressure into your muscles at speed.

    Every Theragun houses a powerful industrial-grade Japanese motor, engineered to precisely deliver 16 mm of Amplitude at a speed of 40 percussions per second on the body.

    ‘The device delivers short-duration pulses deep into the tissues of your body,’ explains Ben McNamara, Theragun UK Lead.

    ‘The specially engineered speed and amplitude of the pressure works to relieve pain, enhance athletic performance, improve range of motion, and accelerate recovery.’

    This all sounds great, but the Theragun is expensive – with models starting at £275 – is it really worth investing when you can buy a good-quality foam roller for less than a tenner?

    Are the benefits actually that much better?

    This futuristic 'gun' could be more effective than foam rolling for muscle soreness Picture: theragun
    The G3Pro is the most powerful device and costs £549 (Picture: Theragun)
    This futuristic 'gun' could be more effective than foam rolling for muscle soreness Picture: theragun
    The liv is a simple, lightweight option that costs £275 (Picture: Theragun)

    ‘Purely through its nature, the vertical motion of percussive therapy causes a deeper impact on the body than other forms of myofascial release such as foam rolling,’ says Ben.

    ‘For some people, foam rolling and different forms of myofascial release can be uncomfortable or painful.

    ‘Our physician-calibrated percussive therapy combines an optimal frequency (speed) amplitude (depth) and torque (pressure) to override these pain signals from reaching the brain, thereby making the treatment a more comfortable experience.

    ‘This is referred to as the Gate Control Theory of Pain.’

    The benefits of using a Theragun

    Theragun helps with the following:

    • Accelerates recovery and muscle repair
    • Increases blood and lymphatic flow
    • Relieves muscle spasms and stiffness
    • Breaks up scar tissue
    • Improves lactic acid clearance
    • Activates the nervous system and muscles
    • Muscle fatigue, pain, tightness, soreness, and knots
    • Natural stress relief
    • Theragun can also help with muscle tension related to nerve damage, atrophy, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and a range of other ailments

    Ben McNamara, Theragun UK Lead

    Is foam rolling effective for muscle soreness?

    Foam rolling is everywhere. There are more than 600,000 videos on YouTube explaining different foam rolling techniques and how to target different muscles.

    From elite athletes to casual gym goers – foam rolling has become embedded in the fitness conversation. And it is great that we are all paying more attention to recovery and injury prevention when it comes to working out.

    But despite its prevalence, there is still limited information about just how effective foam rolling is for muscle soreness. While most fitness experts seem to agree that foam rolling is better for your muscles than doing nothing, there are some who claim that it can actually be dangerous when done incorrectly.

    So what is the truth? And what is the best way to actually use foam rolling to your advantage?

    ‘Foam rolling can be a great method for assisting the reduction of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It is one of multiple strategies we can employ to aid the recovery process,’ explains Joe Delaney, personal trainer at Ultimate Performance.

    ‘It is one method people can use to help shift the build up of lactic acid accumulated from a heavy training session.

    ‘Foam rolling can help bring new blood into the targeted areas which can assist in the recovery process.

    ‘Furthermore, as we get sore, we tend to avoid wanting to move those sore muscles, so foam rolling can help increase the range of motion too.

    ‘Overuse can cause bruising, but this is in the extreme.

    Young woman exercising in gym
    Excessive foam rolling can result in bruising (Picture: Getty)

    ‘Use foam rolling as one recovery modality post-training. Low impact steady state bike riding, especially with DOMS in the legs, can also have similar effects with improving blood flow.

    ‘Most importantly, no amount of cool downs, stretching or foam rolling will help alleviate DOMS if you are not consuming an adequate amount of protein. Protein is the key to rebuilding and repairing the damaged tissue.’

    The main argument in favour of using a Theragun rather than a foam roller appears to be the lack of pain – there’s no risk of bruising, no matter how often you use the device.

    Dragging sore leg muscles over a roller can be excruciating. While this pain likely isn’t indicative of any damage, it still isn’t pleasant.

    Surely, if you had the choice you would prefer to effortlessly soothe your muscles without stifling screams or breaking into a cold sweat.

    But at almost £300 for the most basic of models, the Theragun would need to be a serious investment.

    If you’re working out on the regular and need your body to recover quickly, it might be worth spending the extra cash and treating yourself to the equivalent of a deep tissue sports massage after every gym session.

    When you tot up the cost of monthly massages – you soon make your money back. Your muscles might thank you for it.

    MORE: University agrees to give out free sanitary products after student used own money to provide them

    MORE: How will you have office romances and friendships when everyone’s working remotely?

    MORE: How to cope with muscle soreness after the London Marathon


    This futuristic \'gun\' could be more effective than foam rolling for muscle sorenessThis futuristic \'gun\' could be more effective than foam rolling for muscle soreness

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    A woman holding her baby bump
    If you are pregnant, you might want to consider a home birth (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    We’re still waiting for news on the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first child, but rumours have been flying around for months.

    After they said they’re going to take a step back from protocol, people have speculated that the Duchess of Sussex is going to give birth at home, and might even hire a doula to help her.

    If that’s the case, she would be one of the 2% of women who decide to have their baby in the comfort of their own home, with a midwife coming to help.

    Of course, Meghan’s labour is likely to be very different to the home births most mums have but what are the benefits and risks of giving birth outside hospital?

    According to the NHS, most births are safe no matter where you choose to have your baby but the risks of complications are slightly higher for women who decide to give birth to their first baby at home.

    Serious problems occur in five in 1,000 hospital births but that rises to nine in 1,000 for home birth.

    But a home birth is just as safe as a hospital birth for mum’s having their second or subsequent baby.

    So why have a home birth? Of course being somewhere where you know, might help you stay relaxed and calm.

    Woman holding her baby bump
    Let your team know you are considering a home birth as early in your pregnancy as possible (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    It also means that you can make yourself comfortable in one place for your entire labour, rather than having to go back and forward to hospital (particularly if it is a long labour).

    If you already have children, a home birth means you won’t need to leave them, though it is important to have arrangements in place in case you need to be transferred to hospital.

    Your partner will also be able to stay with you the whole time at home and they will be comfortable. They can’t usually stay overnight in hospital, for example.

    People who have home births are also less likely to have interventions such as forceps or ventouse.

    How to prepare for a home birth

    • Your midwife will give you disposable pads but you might want to get a waterproof cover for your mattress if you want to give birth in your bed.
    • If you would like water birth, lots of towels are good.
    • Think about creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere with music and lighting.
    • Consider what pain relief you would like.
    • Be prepared with flannels to keep you cool, a bucket in case you feel sick and maybe a handheld fan to keep you cool.
    • Charge your camera if you want your partner to take pictures or videos.
    • Prepare plenty of snacks and drinks. Having a straw might make it easier when you are in labour.

    Tommy’s 

    If you are thinking about opting for a home birth, there are some important things to consider.

    Home births are not recommended for any one classed as a high-risk pregnancy as being in hospital means doctors and midwives are able to monitor you more closely and step in if there are any complications.

    If you have pre-eclampsia, diabetes or a high BMI, doctors recommend giving birth in hospital. Similarly, if you have had abnormal scans, your baby is breach or you have previously had a c-section, you are considered to be high-risk.

    Even if you are low risk, there is still a chance you will need to be transferred to hospital once you are in labour if there are any complications.

    The Birthplace Study found that 45 out of 100 women having their first baby were transferred and 12 out of 100 women having their second or subsequent baby, so it’s important that you are prepared with a hospital bag in case you need to have a hospital birth at the last minute.

    Of course, the pain relief available at home is not the same as in hospital. Epidurals are not available for home births but gas and air, birthing pools and TENS machines can be provided.

    To organise a home birth, it is best to speak you your midwife or GP as early in your pregnancy as possible. They can then help talk to you about whether it will work for you and who to speak to.

    MORE: This futuristic ‘gun’ could be more effective than foam rolling for muscle soreness

    MORE: Mums rave over £6.99 Aldi plate that helps fussy toddlers finish their dinner


    How to get pregnant at 40How to get pregnant at 40

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    Percy Pigs packet on a green background with miniature pigs
    One Twitter user said the new sweets ‘taste like arse’ (Picture: Marks & Spencer/Getty)

    Marks & Spencer recently overhauled the recipe of its iconic Percy Pig sweets – making them all vegetarian.

    And people have feelings about it. Strong feelings.

    Critics on Twitter have slammed the move, claiming that the new gelatine-free Percys ‘taste like arse’ and that they want the option to buy the original recipe sweets.

    Under mounting pressure, Marks & Spencer has announced that they will be holding a Percy Pig Panel where 100 mega fans will be able to vote on the future of the sweets.

    The vote will be on whether a special edition, classic Percy pack with the gelatine back in should be introduced.

    Which would certainly appease some of the harshest critics, including Piers Morgan who spat out the new veggie Percy live on Good Morning Britain.

    But getting a spot on the panel won’t be easy – lots of people are impassioned about this change and will want to have their say.

    Marks & Spencer is asking fans to pitch for their place on the panel by sharing why they love Percy on the M&S Facebook page or Twitter page – and only true Percy obsessives will be considered.

    ‘Calling all Percy fanatics!’ It reads on the Marks & Spencer Facebook page.

    Marks & Spencers
    All pork gelatine has been removed from the classic Percy Pig pack (Picture: Marks & Spencer)

    ‘You’ve probably heard that our Percy Pigs are now 100% veggie-friendly. We know some people have their tail in a twist over this so we’re giving you the chance to have your say.

    ‘Tell us why you’re the ultimate Percy super fan and you could be one of the 100 people on our #PercyPigPanel who’ll decide if we should introduce a special edition Percy pack with gelatine back in.’

    The Percy Pig Panel of 100 mega fans will convene on 16th May at a Percy Pig party to make the vote.

    If the original Percys are voted for, Marks & Spencer has made it clear that they would be a special edition. The classic Percy pack with the gelatine would sit alongside all of the other veggie friendly, gelatine-free Percy Pigs.

    MORE: We taste-test the new vegetarian Percy Pigs

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

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


    SEC_65277192SEC_65277192

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    Andrea has xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) (Picture: Andrea Ivonne/PA Real Life)
    Andrea has xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) (Picture: Andrea Ivonne/PA Real Life)

    Covered in thousands of freckles, Andrea Ivonne Monroy, 26, has xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) – where the skin cannot repair DNA damage caused by sunlight.

    She never goes out during the day, unless it is for a medical appointment, and then she has to carefully protect her body and face.

    And the incurable condition, which shortens life expectancy to just 37, also increases sufferers’ cancer risk and means women need to have children young, before their hormones change.

    Yet Andrea Ivonne, who lives with her parents in San Diego, California, where there are on average 146 sunny days and 117 partly sunny days a year, refuses to let it hold her back:

    ‘I just love being this human that I am.

    ‘I’m complete with the human I am. I’m complete with everything I am and what I have.

    ‘I am in the menopause, as women who have what I have go through the menopause faster than women without it, but I don’t want to have children. I wasn’t born to be a mother.

    ‘You don’t need a significant other to be complete. You don’t need a child to be complete or to be a woman. I’m fulfilled because of who I am, the person I’ve become and I just love what my life is.’

    She has to keep her house dark during the day with curtains that block out UV light.

    She can only use LED lightbulbs inside and Andrea Ivonne has to carry a light meter with her and wear a protective hat and mask if she does leave the house.

    The family car even has blacked out windows, so that Andrea Ivonne can travel outside the home, but she tends to stay indoors in the dark and only ventures out at night.

    Andrea Ivonne in her protective mask (PA Real Life/Collect)
    Andrea Ivonne in her protective mask (Picture: PA Real Life/Collect)

    ‘I’m not out partying and going to bed when other people get up,’ she said. ‘I sleep normally at night and get up in the morning, just like other people do. The difference is I don’t go out in the day. I work from home on my blog nightlens and my YouTube channel.’

    Andrea Ivonne’s XP also meant she had to be home-schooled by her mum and she has never been able to go out to work.

    And in 2014, when she attended the XP Family Support group conference, she learned that female XP sufferers need to have children before their late twenties, because the condition also means they will go through an early menopause.

    She says she never wanted children but admits that going through the menopause is tough.

    ‘My body is so tired. I get exhausted a lot, my moods have been on a roll, my migraines are back and so many other things have been going on with me,’ she said.

    Andrea Ivonne when she was little (PA Real Life/Collect)
    Andrea Ivonne when she was little (Picture: PA Real Life/Collect)

    ‘But I am getting better and I am slowly getting back to my old self and that feels wonderful.’

    She also knows that her life expectancy is low but refuses to dwell on it.

    ‘I am really happy with my life and see how beautiful life is,’ she said.

    Still, despite all the restrictions XP has imposed on her life, she remains admirably positive.

    ‘I’m okay with it all now,’ she said. ‘Four years ago, I had a really bad depression over it but then I decided to learn to love myself.

    ‘I read of lot of inspiring books and took up yoga and meditation, and now I am happy in a way I never thought I could be.

    ‘I never imagined I would be working as a blogger or have my own YouTube channel and so I think it was all just meant to be.

    ‘If I think about my life five years from now, I want it to be just as it is now. I am happy and I want to stay that way.’

    MORE: Marks & Spencer is recruiting 100 fans to vote on the future of Percy Pigs

    MORE: What are the benefits and risks of having a home birth?


    Blogger with one-in-a-million allergy to sunlight speaks candidly about how her condition has triggered the menopause at 26Blogger with one-in-a-million allergy to sunlight speaks candidly about how her condition has triggered the menopause at 26

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    The passion fruit martini Yankee Candle
    The passion fruit martini candle is back (Picture: Yankee Candle)

    Attention, Yankee Candle lovers: The passion fruit martini scented candle is BACK and we couldn’t be more excited.

    The fruity candle was first launched in 2016 but very sadly got discontinued. And we missed it burning in our living rooms a lot.

    But now it’s back and it’s selling out fast – with the medium jar having already sold out.

    There are large sizes for £23.99 and small sizes for £8.99 available, as well as votives and scented tea lights.

    Oh, and currently there’s a ‘buy one, get 50% off another’ deal on the candles – so go nuts.

    Yankee Candle describes the candle as being a ‘tropical mix’ of passion fruit, mango and zesty orange, adding that it’s ‘like a long sip of a true beachside cocktail’.

    The candle’s top notes feature pineapple, mango and orange, while the mid note is peach and the base is musk.

    Since making a comeback, people on Twitter have been getting very excited about having the candle back in their homes:

    The candle has also had brilliant reviews online.

    One person gave it five stars and said: ‘Absolutely perfect fruit smell! Passionfruit is a hard scent to capture without it smelling fake or plastic-y, same with guava and pineapple.

    ‘But this one is so good. The throw is strong enough to fill a large room, and it’s very refreshing. One of my favorites, and I hope they keep it around for a long time, I will need more every summer.

    Yankee Candle brings back much loved Passionfruit Martini scent in time for summer - Picture: Yankee Candle
    There’s currently an offer on Yankle Candles on their website (Picture: Yankee Candle)

    ‘People always immediately compliment me on this candle when I’m burning it. The fruit scents can be hit or miss with the strength and throw, but this one ticks all the boxes.’

    Another added: ‘This is a fantastic, summery scent that reminds me of a tropical drink! Perfect for a summers evening. The throw is fantastic; very strong. Love the colour of the wax too. Would recommend.’

    So, with all of these great reviews in mind, we think it’s time to head over to the Yankee Candle website and put our order in.

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    Yankee Candle brings back much loved Passionfruit Martini scent in time for summer -Yankee Candle brings back much loved Passionfruit Martini scent in time for summer -

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    Woman doing push-ups
    Learn how to nail the renegade row (Picture: Getty)

    The weights room in the gym can be a scary place.

    With so much gratuitous grunting and testosterone-fuelled competitive energy – it’s not hard to understand why so many women are put off from weight training altogether.

    But we want to demystify the weights room and empower more women to feel confident walking in and picking up a pair of dumbbells.

    A great move for beginners is the renegade row. It might look complicated – but it’s a really simple way of incorporating weights in your fitness regime and building strength in your back, shoulders and arms.

    The renegade row is also known as a plank row – and it essentially uses the basic plank position combined with a press up and weights to target both the core and the upper back.

    We know, we know, planks are hard enough without adding weights to the equation. But believe us, the long-term benefits outweigh the fleeting pain.

    The renegade row is a really functional exercise that will help improve stability, balance and posture – but you need strong core control in order to do it properly and not risk injuring yourself.

    Luckily – our fitness expert Melissa Weldon, master trainer at Sweat It London, is on hand to show us exactly how to do them.

    Simply start in a high plank position, with straight arms – with each hand resting on a dumbbell.

    The weight you choose is up to you, but we suggest starting low (around a 4 or 5 kg) before building up to heavier weights.

    Draw in the right dumbbell up towards your ribcage before dropping it back to the floor.

    Do the same with the left dumbbell. Make sure you are maintaining a solid plank position throughout – not rocking from side-to-side, twisting your hips or sticking your bum in the air.

    Immediately after the two dumbbell reps, perform a full press-up – with your hands balanced on either dumbbell – bend your arms and bring your chest towards the floor, before pushing up to a finish in a high plank position.

    The repeat the whole process. Aim for ten full reps, rest for 30 seconds and then do ten more.

    If a full press-up is too difficult, you can do the entire move on your knees as an alternative. Just make sure you keep your hips tilted forward and your spine in a straight line.

    The benefits of the renegade row

    The renegade row is perfect for targeting the entire upper body and core.

    The plank makes you engage the deep stabilizing muscles of the abdominals, spine, shoulders, and hips, and the row portion of the exercise targets your upper back and arms, including the larger muscles of the upper back as well as the biceps and shoulders.

    What’s unique to the renegade row is the anti-rotational engagement of the obliques. You have to hold your stomach muscles really solid to prevent yourself from naturally twisting upwards as you row. This is a real core-burner.

    The best thing about the renegade row is that it will challenge and push you – no matter what level of fitness you are at.

    By adding weight and increasing the intensity and number of reps – this exercise can ensure that even the fittest athlete can still be pushed to their limit.

    But using a lower weight and adaptions – like dropping to your knees – make this move accessible for beginners too.

    MORE: This futuristic ‘gun’ could be more effective than foam rolling for muscle soreness

    MORE: How to cope with muscle soreness after the London Marathon

    MORE: What are the benefits and risks of having a home birth?


    Woman doing push-upsWoman doing push-ups

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    NARS pop-up shop The O coming exclusively to London this May
    Picture: NARS

    NARS Cosmetics are opening a pop-up shop in the heart of London and launching a new slew of Orgasm makeup to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

    And we’re already turned on.

    The store suitably named The O by NARS, will be located on Brick Lane in The Old Truman Brewery and will be open to the public for three days only from Friday 17 May until Sunday 19 May.

    The exclusive London event will see NARS Orgasm devotees experience the world of Orgasm first hand and get their mitts on the brand new limited edition collection on exit.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv9JJuCBFor/

    The sultry line-up includes a limited edition Lip Tint, Multi Use Palette, Highlighting Drops and NARS’ cult favorite product Orgasm Blush in an oversized compact.

    The beauty brand said: ‘Guests are invited to create their own orgasmic journey, indulging their senses through sight, touch, smell, sound and taste exploring five immersive rooms for the ultimate turn-on, to appreciate there is more than one way to achieve an Orgasm.’

    Those who visit The O by NARS will enjoy the use of personalized key cards, designed to capture seamlessly every stimulating moment in the sensorial playground.

    Along each step of their journey, guests are invited to tap their card at designated touch points to have their picture or a video clip taken, which can then be emailed over.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bwp3fBDHC4a/

    The event is free for everyone.

    There’s also the chance for fans to get their hands on a VIP-exclusive Orgasm gift, including a limited edition Naomi Campbell T-shirt (the supermodel is the new face of NARS) with the purchase of a VIP ticket which can be purchased online for £20.

    The O by NARS

    When: May 17th – 19th (open to the public)
    Friday: 12 – 10pm
    Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 8pm

    Where: The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

    Tickets:

    theobynars.com

    Standard entry: Free
    VIP Ticket: £20

    With the VIP ticket, guests can experience The O like a true #NARSissist. Enjoy fast pass admission and a VIP-exclusive Orgasm gift, including a limited edition Naomi Campbell t-shirt. A limited number of VIP tickets will be available for purchase per day. Limit of two tickets per person.

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    Get set to experience The O: NARS pop-up shop is coming to LondonGet set to experience The O: NARS pop-up shop is coming to London

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    Tinder festival mode
    They look good now, wait until you see them when they haven’t showered in three days (Picture: Tinder)

    When you go to a festival and want to pull, the current options are ‘accidentally’ spilling beer on someone and striking up a conversation or making sure you park your tent near where a group of fitties have.

    Tinder thought that there must be a better way to find love with other music-lovers, and so have created their new festival feature.

    It’ll give you the ability to add a badge to your profile to tell people you’re going to festival, in hopes you can bond over your favourite bands and potentially meet up when you get there.

    You can connect up to three weeks before the event, and match with others who also have the badge up.

    Last year, Tinder claim to have noticed noticed a surge increase in app use during festival season, with app registrations during Lovebox increasing by up to 36x and app activity increasing by 25% at British Summer Time Festival.

    Now you don’t just have to don your shorts and sequins and hope you catch someone’s eye.

    In the UK, festival mode will begin rolling out on Tinder starting today (1 May 2019) kicking off with London-based music festival, All Points East. Other participating festivals include:

    • All Points East 24/05/2019
    • British Summer Time 07/05/2019
    • Parklife 09/06/2019
    • Lovebox 12/07/2019

    As well as this festival mode, they will also have people on the ground at these festivals offering rewards and discounts to attendees.

    If you happen to be going to any other festivals internationally, they’re also partnering with Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas, Governors Ball, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Faster Horses, HARD Summer and EDC Orlando, Hangout Fest, and Firefly.

    MORE: High school sweethearts who fell in love with the same woman set to marry her

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    Tinder is launching a festival feature so you can find love among the mudTinder is launching a festival feature so you can find love among the mud

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    The woman had her son uninvited to the wedding
    (Picture: Getty)

    A woman has taken to Mumsnet asking for some advice after her best friend uninvited her son to her wedding.

    She explained that in January, her best friend, the bride, invited her and her family to her wedding abroad.

    She was asked to be a bridesmaid, and although the wedding invited stated ‘no children’ she was told she would be able to bring her son.

    But after saying yes and planning it all out, the bride changed her mind.

    The woman wrote: ‘The wedding invite stated “no children” and when I queried this she said they were having an adults only wedding – except obviously their own children would be there (1&3).

    ‘She told me that as I am a bridesmaid, my son (2) could come, and she also knows I have no childcare options (dad too old and sick, no parents on husband’s side).

    Bride with bridesmaids posing in hotel or fitting room at wedding day
    (Picture: Getty)

    ‘Great, all sounds good and I say I would love to be a bridesmaid. My husband and I book the time off work, the accommodation and the transport. Everything is now paid for.

    ‘Today she has told me that my son can no longer come with us as they have decided it really is adults only and they don’t want the stress of children. She suggested I come alone and leave my husband at home with our son.

    ‘I understand that it is her wedding, and therefore her rules. After all, they have paid for it. But to say yes and then change your mind? When everything is already booked?’

    Asking fellow Mumsnet users what they would do, people rallied around the woman, explaining that the bride had been out of order.

    One person said: ‘Wow – she is completely out of order here, particularly as it is a foreign wedding and you have made plans and paid for everything. That is not ok.

    ‘Ask her if she is going to reimburse you as this is exactly what she should be doing in these circumstances. TBH I wouldn’t want to be her bridesmaid anymore either after pulling this at this late stage.’

    Another said: ‘Ditch the wedding, still go, enjoy the family time. She’s being a dick.’

    What do you think? Is the bride out of order or should the woman accept it and remain a bridesmaid? Let us know in the comments below.

    MORE: Bride-to-be asks wedding community if it’s rude to skip the open bar

    MORE: Bride caught out stealing flowers from her neighbour’s garden for her wedding


    WEDDED DISS Bridesmaid raging after bridezilla mate UNINVITES her son from her destination wedding ??? after she???s already booked the ticketsWEDDED DISS Bridesmaid raging after bridezilla mate UNINVITES her son from her destination wedding ??? after she???s already booked the tickets

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    Beth and Lee Southern on their wedding day
    Beth and Lee were delighted with the outcome (Picture: Andrew Price/View Finder Pictures for Daily Mail)

    Beth and Lee Southern wanted a traditional church wedding but the hefty price tag that came with it wasn’t so appealing.

    So, the couple, from Cheshire, enlisted the help of a local vicar.

    Luckily for them, Reverend Mike Smith from St John’s Church in Hartford was able to slash the average £30,000 price of a wedding to a much smaller figure.

    He decided to launch operation ‘grand wedding’, drawing in support from a whole team of volunteers.

    Together they were able to give Beth, 25, and Lee, 26, a proper entrance into married life. And it only cost the delighted couple £1,000.

    Their wedding had all the trimmings: flowers, a cake, a ceremony with reception, a two-course meal, and photography for the big day.

    Wedding cake
    A cake was included in the budget wedding (Picture: Andrew Price/View Finder Pictures for Daily Mail)

    Beth and Lee aren’t the only couple that Reverend Smith hopes to help – he has launched the scheme to cut costs for other hopeful married couples.

    ‘I couldn’t have asked for a better day,’ Beth told MailOnline. ‘The wedding was perfect. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone who helped to put it on.

    ‘Lee and I have been together since we were 16 and got engaged four years ago.

    ‘Because weddings are so expensive we thought we’d have to wait. We were saving up but wanted to buy a house first. Then we spotted this offer and it meant we could do both at the same time.’

    An organist agreed to play for free
    An organist agreed to play for free (Picture: Andrew Price/View Finder Pictures for Daily Mail)

    The army of volunteers included a teacher who became the wedding planner, a seamstress to help with the dress (which Beth had to buy out of pocket but was able to get tailored for free), an amateur photographer, and a grandmother to arrange the bouquet.

    An organist offered his services for free and a local car firm even gave up a luxury car for the day.

    Rev Smith, 49, said: ‘We believe marriage is God’s gift to all and price should not be a barrier.’

    His church will offer the discounted services three times a year, waiving their normal fees. But £250 goes on non-negotiable diocesan fees.

    An amateur photographer
    An amateur photographer (Picture: Andrew Price/View Finder Pictures for Daily Mail)

    Approximately £650 is spent on food and drink: the meal includes pea and ham soup and a chicken main course for 30 guests at the reception in the church centre.

    All remaining money is spent on flowers, invitations, a cake and a framed photo.

    MORE: Getting married? Here is how much the average wedding costs around the world

    MORE: Bride caught out stealing flowers from her neighbour’s garden for her wedding

    MORE: Bride-to-be asks wedding community if it’s rude to skip the open bar


    Thrifty couple organise their 'perfect' church white wedding for just ?1,000 - including flowers, cake and a slap-up reception - after drafting in an army of volunteersThrifty couple organise their 'perfect' church white wedding for just ?1,000 - including flowers, cake and a slap-up reception - after drafting in an army of volunteers

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    Jay and Linda now and on their wedding day in 2000
    Jay and Linda got married in 2000 when he was 17 (Picture: SWNS)

    A husband and wife from Essex who wed when he was 17 and she was 51 are due to celebrate 19 years of marriage – despite family and friends saying it wouldn’t last.

    Jay Barham met mum-of-two Linda, who is 34 years older than him, in 2000 when she was giving him driving lessons. They bonded over their love of music and soon had a whirlwind romance, deciding to get married.

    At the time he met council youth worker Linda, Jay was a trainee and just 17 years old.

    Their loved ones were shocked at the union. Jay worried about his parents, who are a decade younger than Linda, while Linda worried about her son who is close to Jay’s age.

    But nothing stopped them from being together and eight months after meeting, they decided to get married.

    Now Jay, 36, and Linda, 69, are due to celebrate 19 years of marriage in July, with both insisting they are ‘more in love than ever.’

    Jay and Linda Barham's Wedding day July 2001
    Linda used to give Jay driving lessons (Picture: SWNS)

    Jay and Linda are unbothered by people’s comments about their age gap.

    ‘The biggest positive about being married to an older woman is the civility, being able to speak about feelings and not pushing them under,’ said Jay.

    ‘We have adapted our lives [for Linda’s age] for example instead of walking ten miles we’ll go for a ride in the car.

    ‘People have said horrible things to us in the street. We just got on with it, even now people frown on it. Linda has been called a child snatcher, I’ve been called a granny basher.

    ‘We’ve been called names in the street, and sometimes people think she is my mum. But we don’t care what people say.

    ‘Our marriage has lasted a lot longer than many others and we are still very much in love.

    Jay Barham, 36 with his wife Linda Barham, 69
    Jay is now 36 and Linda 69 (Picture: SWNS)

    ‘I think the secret is spending so much time together, we love each other and we do everything together.

    ‘The only thing we argue about is the cat, and even then we never go to bed without sorting everything out.’

    Linda thinks there is some hypocrisy in judging older woman more so than older men that have young partners.

    ‘If it’s a man then you’re doing well for yourself, but then if you are a woman then you’re disgusting and frowned upon,’ she said.

    ‘We just love each other, we haven’t done this for fame or for money, we just love and think about each other.’

    She had some reservations at first though.

    ‘I just thought: “this is wrong”, I felt awful,’ she added.

    ‘But I was divorced for five years, my children were all grown up and knew that it just felt right.’

    Jay Barham, 36 with his wife Linda Barham, 69 in Las Vegas in 2009
    They’ve been together 19 years but decided not to have any children (Picture: SWNS)

    When the couple got married, Linda was still able to have children but Jay was never keen on being a parent.

    He enjoys being a step-granddad to Linda’s seven grandchildren, who are aged between four weeks and 18 years old.

    ‘I never wanted to be a father, I’m one of those people that just keep the toys to myself.

    ‘I’m just not the parent type, I much prefer having grandchildren as you get to give them back.’

    Jay also says he and Linda continue to have a great sex life. Jay wasn’t a virgin when he met Linda and had three serious girlfriends before her.

    ‘You don’t just stop having sex when you reach 65,’ he said.

    Jay Barham, 36 with his wife Linda Barham, 69 at their home near Harwich, Essex
    They said they love is still alive more than ever (Picture: SWNS)

    ‘She still has that drive, I don’t know why people think you die sexually at 50.’

    Now that their families are well acquainted, they go on holidays together but some have mistaken Jay’s dad and Linda to be his parents.

    They also get the occasional looks at home. People often think Linda is Jay’s mum.

    The couple now looks back at their 19-year relationship and the wedding they had eight months after meeting.

    A lot went wrong on the day including the car breaking down and the ring being too small, but they were just happy to be husband and wife.

    MORE: Married couple with 32-year age gap say they don’t care about being mistaken for granddad-granddaughter

    MORE: Married couple with 45-year age gap have their first child

    MORE: Couple met in a homeless shelter and fell in love – despite their 19-year age gap


    Age gap couple proud of their successful marriage- despite having over three decades between themAge gap couple proud of their successful marriage- despite having over three decades between them

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    Lidl's pool is just £13.99
    (Picture: Lidl)

    Summer is getting closer and the weather is getting hotter – and so it might be time to add a pool to your garden.

    By a pool, we mean Lidl’s new paddling pool, which they’re selling for just £13.99. We can’t imagine doing anything but sitting in it drinking a cocktail.

    Or, you could host a huge BBQ and fill the pool with booze to keep it all cold. Great idea.

    The paddling pool comes as part of Lidl’s new Summer Essentials range.

    The 202 x 186 x 46/60cm paddling pool includes double air chambers, interlocking valves, integrated headrest and cup holder (amazing), and has a three year warranty.

    Alongside the pool, Lidl has also released a load of other stuff within the range, such as a £14.99 beach shelter and a “12.99 portable air lounger – both things we also need to add to our gardens.

    The paddling pool went on sale today 2nd May, so you may want to act fast if you fancy getting your hands on one.

    In other Lidl news, the supermarket has slashed the price of its Prosecco.

    Lidl’s Allini Prosecco Trevise Frizzante, which usually costs £5.49, is now just £3.99.

    Apparently, Lidl’s Prosecco ‘expresses a lovely freshness and fruitiness’.

    Unfortunately, the deal is only available in stores. But hey, if you go and grab a paddling pool you’ll already have an excuse to buy a bottle – and what sounds better than lounging in the water under the sun, drinking a nice cold glass of bubbly?

    The answer is nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    MORE: Asda launches £2 donut burgers that are perfect for bagels

    MORE: Sainsbury’s merger with Asda blocked by competition commission


    Lidl is doing a paddling pool for under ?14Lidl is doing a paddling pool for under ?14

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