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

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    Brother and sister playing on homemade go-kart
    Mum Natalia said the three-year-old loves blue and hates anything ‘girly’ (Picture: Getty)

    A mum has shared her concerns about her ‘gender-challenging’ three-year-old daughter who ‘prefers everything “boy” over “girl”‘.

    Natalia wrote on Mumsnet that her daughter hates anything considered girly like princesses, the colour pink and having her hair up.

    The mum, 45, revealed she had no problem with the youngster choosing what she wants to play with or how she looks but wondered why she opposes girl things so vehemently.

    Natalia also wrote that her daughter is particularly fond of a seven-year-old uncle called John who she tries to emulate.

    The three-year-old even goes as far as to pretend she’s John and says she can’t be a girl as she is John.

    Posting on the forum, Natalia asked if this has occurred with any other parents and whether she should be worried.

    Little girl playing in water
    Natalia said the youngster is obsessed with a seven-year-old uncle (Picture: Getty)

    ‘My 3 1/2-year-old daughter prefers everything “boy” over “girl” — from what she wears to the toys that she plays with, she has always picked the blue car over the pink princess castle- for as long as she has had a voice to choose,’ wrote Natalia.

    ‘As she approached three she decided she would choose her own clothes, that meant no pink, no dresses. Totally fine with me, I let her wear what she wants. Then it was she couldn’t wear her hair up because that’s “girl hair.”

    ‘Everything has to be blue. She has always loved the colour blue, she wants blue everything. She says things like pink is for girls and dresses too.

    ‘I always say things like pink is for everyone, anyone can like pink, anyone can like blue, anyone can have long hair, anyone can have short hair, some girls build houses, some boys do ballet.’

    Natalia explained that she is always encouraging the toddler to be herself, to wear what she likes and makes sure she doesn’t make gendered comments.

    But she has received some comments from other people who ask her why she lets her daughter dress that way.

    ‘Today I had someone say to me why did I let her wear that? “She looks like a boy” right in front of her and it rubbed me the wrong way,’ added Natalia. ‘[My daughter] loved her outfit today and she was so happy to wear it.’

    Other parents told Natalia that she had nothing to worry about and that it may be a phase or just her imitating someone she looks up to.

    Some commended the little girl for challenging gender stereotypes.

    They also praised the mum for being on the right track in supporting the youngster to discover her interests.

    MORE: I want gender neutral uniforms to be law because what children wear doesn’t affect how they learn

    MORE: Sex therapist explains why she’s raising her toddler as gender neutral

    MORE: Single widowed mum says restaurants that allow kids to eat free per every paying adult are unfair


    Stressed mother with little girl in kitchenStressed mother with little girl in kitchen

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    A family in matching swimwear from Matalan
    The whole family can be matching (Picture: Matalan)

    We’ve had matching Christmas PJs and now it’s time for the summer equivalent – matching swimwear.

    That’s right, the whole family can twin with these outfits from Matalan.

    There’s a few different prints to choose from but we love this blue tropical print.

    You can pick up a bikini for mum, shorts for dad, swimsuits and bikinis for little girls and shorts for boys.

    The men’s shorts are £10 and boys range from £5-£7 depending on size, ranging from 9 months, right up to 13 years.

    The girls’ costume rangs from £6-£7 and for mum’s, the bikini bottoms cost £7.

    Matalan matching family swimwear boys' shorts
    The boys’ shorts (Picture: Matalan)
    Matalan matching family swimwear girls' shorts
    The girl’s’ swimsuit (Picture: Matalan)

    The bikini top is currently out of stock online but check out your local store to get the full matching set.

    Everything is machine washable so it’s perfect for your family holiday this year.

    The mini me range also includes a similar yellow tropical print, toucan print swim shorts, a flamingo print and pineapple print, so you could have a different matching set for each day.

    There’s even matching beach kaftans for mums and daughters and flip flops in some of the prints.

    It’s not the first time the store has encouraged the family to co-ordinate. Earlier this year, they released this great range of floral print items for the whole family, and the good news is that it’s still available.

    The delicate print on a white background was used as shirts for men and boys, and dresses for women and girls.

    We stan a twinning family.

    MORE: Mum asks for help with ‘gender-challenging’ three-year-old

    MORE: Lidl is selling amazing jungle and pirate adventure paddling pools for £35


    METROGRAB Matalan matching family swimwearMETROGRAB Matalan matching family swimwear

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    Fewer tourists, milder weather, cheaper fares — shoulder season is the smart time to escape for a long weekend away. Whether you want a taste of island paradise, a dose of culture or a romantic retreat, the short breaks below are at their best before the crowds descend.

    Best for scenic cycling

    Mallorca, Spain

    There’s a reason top pros such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have been spotted riding in Mallorca. The island has smooth well-maintained roads, challenging climbs, sweeping descents, flat coastal routes and fantastic weather. It’s a cyclist’s dream, whether you’re an occasional pedaller or a wannabe professional. Stay in Port de Soller or Pollenca, near to the island’s best terrain, and get a guide from one of the many touring outfits.

    Fly to Palma from Gatwick Airport with British Airways

    Best arty weekend

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    This year is the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death and the city where he lived and worked for most of his life has the biggest celebrations. The Rijksmuseum is bringing together all of the 22 paintings, 60 drawings and 300 etchings in its collection for the first time in one exhibition. The Rembrandt House Museum and the Jewish Historical museum are also running shows, plus the tourist board has launched a special Rembrandt walking route.

    Fly to Amsterdam from Gatwick Airport with British Airways

    Best for romance

    Lake Como, Italy

    You’ll see why the rich and famous flock to the northern Italian lakes as soon as you see Como: dramatic steep-sided shores, boutique towns with cobbled streets, glitzy lakefront restaurants. But most fabulous are the romantic, 18th-century palazzos, with immaculate manicured gardens looking over the water. Many are now fabulous hotels, with spas, and Michelin-starred restaurants, so you can become an Italian lord of the manor — if just for the weekend.

    Fly to Milan from Gatwick Airport with British Airways

    Best for sunny walks

    Algarve, Portugal

    The Algarve isn’t all beaches and golf courses. Just under half an hour from Faro airport at Sao Bras de Alportel, you can step onto the Via Algarvina, a 300km walking route stretching from the Spanish border all the way to Cape St Vincent. It takes you through untamed countryside, wildflower meadows, alongside gently flowing rivers and up to panoramic viewpoints at Foia and Picota, the highest points in the Algarve.

    Fly to Faro from Gatwick Airport with British Airways

    Best island paradise

    Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

    Dubrovnik’s starring role in Game of Thrones has made the city busier than ever, yet one hour on the ferry from the capital takes you to car-free Lopud island, where you can idle in pretty shingle coves or ride to the island’s 15th and 16th century churches. Spend a few more hours on the water and you’ll reach even wilder Lastovo, where ramshackle villages and cheap lobster restaurants await.

    Fly to Dubrovnik from Gatwick Airport with British Airways

    Best wine-based citybreak

    Vienna, Austria

    The Austrian capital is emerging as one of Europe’s most dynamic wine destinations. It has 1,700 acres of vineyards within the city limits and sleek new wine bars are starting to rival the famous old-school coffee houses. You can drink Sauvignon Blancs from the Styria region and natural and orange wines in waterside and rooftop bars. Plus many spots have list featuring over 50 wines by the glass.

    Fly to Vienna from Gatwick Airport with British Airways

    Best city-centre sunbathing

    Barcelona, Spain

    Spain’s second city has the hippest beach in the country: La Barceloneta, a short walk from the famous Las Ramblas boulevard. You’ll find a long, wide stretch of golden sand, beach bars serving deep-fried potato balls wrapped in ham, icy cans of Estrella, and the city’s best sunsets. Go for a dip, promenade on the boardwalk, and watch the locals playing chess and volleyball on the shore.

    Fly to Barcelona from Gatwick Airport with British Airways

     

    Get there

    All the weekends above can be reached from Gatwick Airport with British Airways, which has an extensive network of flights across Europe. Combine your flight with a hotel and car hire from British Airways Holidays to create a great-value getaway.

     


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    Electric Robin production company
    Electric Robin founders Ross (pictured) and Kev set up their production company six years ago (Picture: Electric Robin)

    Technology is making the world a smaller, more accessible place, says Ross Brandon, who co-founded production company Electric Robin when he was just 26 years old.

    In the six years since he established a market-leading business with his childhood friend, Kevin Batchelor, Ross has managed to travel to seven continents shooting visually compelling video content for some of the UK’s best-known brands – all while syncing up with Kev and the team at home.

    And it’s thanks to their willingness to adopt modern ways of working that Kev, 36, and Ross, 32, are able to work as a team across continents, producing impressive digital content at a competitive speed.

    ‘Electric Robin is a company that can only have been made in this generation and this time,’ co-founder Kev tells Metro.co.uk.

    Electric Robin
    They are now part of the Endemol Shine Group (Picture: Electric Robin)
    Electric Robin production company
    The founders don’t put in ‘conventional’ hours when it comes to their business (Picture: Electric Robin)

    ‘The traditional way of working in TV and how you tell a good story or create a narrative has been transformed so that everything we do is fast, fun and relevant.’

    Electric Robin was established in 2013 while Ross was working in TV and Kev was making commercials.

    The two friends, who grew up together in North Bucks, came back together 10 years later to found a company that complements each other’s skillsets.

    Within two years, the business became part of the world’s largest production company, The Endemol Shine Group.

    They now produce film packages for popular TV shows like Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor and The Greatest Dancer, as well as working for brands such as Lexus, Strongbow and Heineken.

    While the business strives for the most exciting content for their clients, it means that these hugely successful business partners don’t always find themselves working a traditional 9-5 at their London office.

    Electric Robin production company
    It’s a multi-faceted business that they say keeps getting faster (Picture: Electric Robin)
    Electric Robin production company
    Electric Robin prides itself on being at the forefront of technology (Picture: Electric Robin)
    Electric Robin production company
    They are constantly adapting to a fast-paced industry (Picture: Electric Robin)

    The partners also use Dropbox for their wider day-to-day processes, giving them the agency to work the way that best fits their style and needs. It also empowers them do to their work from all over the world.

    Last year, one memorable project involved shooting in Antarctica.

    Despite being over 10,384 miles away, Ross was able to shoot footage and use Dropbox to get it back to Kev and the production team in the UK, to work on it instantly.

    ‘We were telling the real-time story of a father and son travelling to the South Pole,’ Kev explains.

    ‘But we had Ross putting footage into the Dropbox Team Folders overnight so as soon as we arrived in the office the next morning, we were able to work on it.’

    ‘What’s more, the file structure easily reflected what was done on each day so we were able to cut the sequences and have it up within 12 hours of the shoot to be able to run as a campaign for the brand.’

    Electric Robin production company
    Electric Robin specialises in visually compelling video content (Picture: Electric Robin)
    Electric Robin production company
    Ross was named within the Top 30 people under 30 within the UK Television industry in 2016 (Picture: Electric Robin)

    Ross adds: ‘It’s our central hub. We all have Dropbox on our laptops, it’s our central hub. We’re able to stay in sync and have the most up-to-date version of everything.

    ‘So, whether we’re commuting in the UK, working in the office or finishing a shoot out of the country, our team is always on the same page.’

    Electric Robin now works on around 200 projects a year and thanks to the efficient systems Kev and Ross have in place, they can work more efficiently than ever before.

    Kev explains: ‘We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of technology that enables us to work flexibly because it frees up the time we dedicate to making the project the best it cane be.

    ‘Dropbox improves our relationship with our clients because we can do the job seamlessly, to a better standard.’

    As far as their aims for the year ahead, Electric Robin is striving for award-winning excellence.

    Kev says: ‘We want to be able to stand side-by-side with our peers and say we’ve achieved something beyond creating the content, that other people revere.

    ‘To be recognised as a well-known, award-winning company that make the best, market standard work is our dream.’

    Electric Robin production company
    Their work includes short-form branded content, film packages for the UK’s most popular TV shows through to award-winning documentaries (Picture: Electric Robin)

     

    To learn more about how Dropbox is re-imagining work visit www.dropbox.com/flow

     


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    Wedding in Malta
    Malta is the dream wedding destination that’s right at your fingertips

    There’s a reason why couples are choosing Malta as their dream wedding destination in 2019 so read on to discover why this island is Europe’s hottest new place to say ‘I do’ and for your chance to WIN a luxury wedding in Malta.

    Not only is the country an attractive, affordable and accessible option for nuptials abroad, but everyone is welcome to get married in Malta, thanks to its LGBTQ pledge.

    Malta, the largest in an archipelago of beautiful islands in the Mediterranean Sea, is just over three hours from the UK so for you, and your guests, it’s just one easy flight away.

    The country gets over 300 days of sunshine a year, illuminating the spectacular natural beauty of the island and some 7,000 years of its history.

    On top of all of that, it’s a wedding destination that won’t even blow the budget, so the breathtaking ceremony you always dreamed of has never been so easy to create.

    Wedding in Malta
    Stunning seascapes could be the backdrop to your wedding
    Wedding in Malta
    The natural beauty of Malta is illuminated by over 300 days worth of sun

    Natural beauty

    Malta is home to 365 beautiful churches, from humble chapels to ornate cathedrals, so having a religious service is no issue, but there are plenty of options for civil ceremonies too.

    Whether it’s a charming villa, a quaint farmhouse or a grand castle, Malta’s far-reaching choice of wedding venues means you can’t possibly make a bad decision. Or, if a touch of modern Malta is to your taste, there’s also a variety of stunning five-star hotels like the Phoenicia Malta, which offers affordable luxury for a truly memorable big day.

    Seasonality isn’t a problem either, because Malta has over 300 days of sunshine a year, making it the perfect location for an outdoor wedding. Keep things simple and say your vows on the beach at sunset or why not surround yourself with nature in one of the island’s lush gardens?

    Church in Malta
    There are 365 exquisite churches in Malta
    Wedding in Malta
    Consider the wealth of beautiful wedding venues in Malta

    LGBTQ weddings

    Malta is among the most progressive European countries on gay rights. Not only does the country boast a thriving LGBTQ nightlife and its own Gay Pride week but same-sex marriages have been legally held on the island since 2017.

    The Government of Malta approved legislation for civil unions two years ago, so venues stretching right across the island can welcome gay and lesbian ceremonies. And, since embracing marriage equality, words like ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ have been replaced with the gender-neutral ‘spouse’ ensuring same-sex marriage carries the same rights and obligations outlined in state laws.

    Wedding in Malta
    Malta has been welcoming same-sex marriages since 2017
    Wedding in Malta
    There is 7,000 years worth of rich history to be discovered in Malta

    Smooth planning

    Hundreds of experienced wedding planners are waiting to curate your ideal wedding day in Malta. Everything from hair and make-up artists to photographers, flowers and wedding cakes can be organised by a professional with local contacts and context at their fingertips.

    To make life even easier, the country is predominantly English speaking, meaning that organising the day will be a seamless and stress-free experience, even from the UK.

    And once you get there, communication during your wedding is also simple, thanks to the friendly and accommodating nature of the Maltese people.

    Let experienced local planners curate your perfect wedding day

    Accessible

    If having your guests in one place is a top priority for your wedding, you’ll be surprised that this accessible wedding destination has been under your nose all this time.

    Malta is a short three and a quarter hour flight from the UK, with daily departures from 22 major airports across the country.

    What’s more, a variety of low-cost airlines now fly out to Malta, meaning your guests won’t be put off by steep ticket prices. It’s also convenient for regular trips to your venue during the wedding planning process.

    Malta is only a three hour flight from the UK so planning your destination wedding will be easy

    Feast

    Maltese food is a Mediterranean mash-up of British, Spanish, French and Sicilian culinary inspirations. It’s renowned for being rich in flavour while keeping things simple and fresh.

    Tomatoes, olives, rustic bread and cheese are all dietary staples, not forgetting the huge range of fresh fish and crustaceans, thanks to the proximity to the sea.

    Traditional Maltese weddings start with a large buffet reception, but British style sit-down wedding breakfasts are also a familiar concept. Whatever you decide, you can be sure your guests will be well fed in Malta!

    Whether you want a formal dinner or a relaxed affair you’ll be well fed in Malta

    Memories

    When the vows have been said and the guests have been fed, Malta will hold memories to last a lifetime. But if you’re not ready for it all to end so soon, then thanks to its beautiful beaches, breathtaking countryside and fascinating cultural history, Malta will be the perfect destination for an unforgettable honeymoon.

    And why not plan to return to your romantic island retreat for nostalgic mini-breaks, anniversaries and future family holidays?

    For more information about weddings on Malta, go to: https://www.maltauk.com/weddings/

    Malta tourism
    And if you never want to leave, stay for a long and romantic honeymoon

     

    Win a Wedding at the 5* Phoenicia Malta

    Marry in the secluded Gazebo on the historic Place of Arms at The Phoenicia.

    Nestled within 7.5 acres of grounds, the Gazebo is surrounded by evergreen gardens with the bastion walls of Valletta and breath taking views of the sea as your backdrop.

    Click HERE to enter and you could win:

    • B&B accommodation for 10 people in 5 rooms

    • Return flights direct from a UK airport for ten guests

    • Wedding Executive to guide you through the planning

    • Organisation and coordinator services on the day

    • Preparation of all documentation, registry fees and transport to the officiate

    • Red carpet welcome

    • Choice of indoor or outdoor reception venue

    • Fresh flower arrangement for the ceremony table

    • Candelabra or fresh flower table centrepieces

    • 3 course menu followed by tea, coffee and treats

    • Single tier cake, use of antique silver cake stand & knife

    • Flowers for the couple, Best Man and 1 Bridesmaid

    • Makeup trial for the Bride

    • DJ for up to 4 hours

    • Professional photographer for up to 4 hours

    Terms and Conditions 

    The winner must agree to let Mail Metro Media, The Phoenicia and Malta Tourism Authority use their wedding imagery globally, on all platforms and for perpetuity.

    They also agree to appear in a follow up interview for a potential MailOnline article next year

    The prize can not be redeemed in May and October and redemption is subject to the availability of the 5* Phoenicia Malta hotel on other dates. It must be redeemed in the year after the winner is announced.

     


    Palazzo parisio aperitif gardens 2PPT-61e6Palazzo parisio aperitif gardens 2PPT-61e6

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    a man and a woman wearing denim swimwear from shinesty
    (Picture: Shinesty)

    We’ve seen some interesting uses for denim.

    You might remember the asymmetrical jeans or the £235 jean panties (or janties).

    But now, you can pick up a full collection of denim swimwear. Yes, the jeado and jekini are here.

    The American brand Shinesty are mixing up jeans and swimwear.

    There’s a matching bikini or one piece swimsuit for women and swim briefs or trunks for men.

    The items are made to look like denim but aren’t actually denim, which is good because we imagine it would get a little heavy for swimming.

    The bottoms look like a cut-off pair of jeans and the tops/one-piece looks like a pair of dungarees, complete with belt loops and buckles.

    They come in a standard dark denim and some pieces also come in an acid wash denim version.

    a woman wearing a denim swimsuit from shinesty
    The jeansuit looks like a pair of dungarees (Picture: Shinesty)

    For women, the one piece swimsuit costs $59.99 (£46.10), while the bikini top costs $49.99 (£38.42) and the bottoms £29.99 (£23.05).

    For men, the briefs are $39.99 (£30.74) and the shorts $59.99 (£46.10).

    The description on the website for the bikini says: ‘No, this isn’t the love child of Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock – it’s a Daytona Jeankini that was birthed smack dab in the middle of the Daytona 500.’

    A man and a woman wearing denim swimwear from Shinesty
    You can get outfits for men or women (Picture: Shinesty)

    Unfortunately, as they are being shipped from the US, you’ll have to pay an extra £15.

    If the jeado and jekini aren’t really your thing, try this more traditional collection of matching family swimwear from Matalan.

    The range features swimsuits, shorts and bikinis for the whole family in a range of bright summer prints.

    MORE: Matalan is selling matching swimwear for the whole family

    MORE: Mum asks for help with ‘gender-challenging’ three-year-old


    The jeado is the new denim trend for summerThe jeado is the new denim trend for summer

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    Dr George Papanicolaou, inventor of the smear test, examines a slide in a laboratory
    The Greek doctor invented the smear test (Picture: Bettman Archive)

    Georgios Papanikolaou is being celebrated as today’s Google Doodle for his work on cervical screening.

    While most women will agree that a cervical screening test isn’t particularly fun, it’s essential.

    In 99.8% of cases, cervical cancer is preventable, and the screening, previously known as a ‘pap test’ or a ‘smear test’, can provide early detection of cervical cancer cells and saves lives.

    So, who do we have to thank for the life-saving test that spots cancer before it gets the chance to grow?

    Who is Georgios Papanikolaou and why is he today’s Google Doodle?

    Give your thanks to medical pioneer and cancer researcher, Georgios Papanikolaou, inventor of the smear test.

    Today would have been his 136th birthday, which is why he’s been chosen as the Google Doodle of the day.

    Born in the coastal town of Kymi in 1883, he took to the medical professional early on.

    Aged just 15, Georgios applied for a medical course at the University of Athens before finishing his undergraduate degree in 1904, and later completing a PhD in biology and zoology in Munich. He also spent some time serving in the Greek military as an assistant surgeon.

    Georgios Papanikolaou, the inventor of the smear test, sat in a garden dressed in splendid suit in front of his microscope
    Georgios with his trusted microscope (Picture: Wikipedia)

    Less than a decade later, Georgios moved to the US to work at the New York Hospital and the Anatomy department at Cornell University.

    His wife, Mary, joined him and worked as his technician.

    It’s here that Georgios started studying cervical cancer and created the Papanicolaou smear test (which is also why it’s known as the ‘pap smear’, though the term is more common in the US). The pioneering procedure was outlined in his book Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear, published in 1943 and co-written with Dr Herbert Traut.

    The doctor was dedicated to his work; according to the Singapore Journal, he didn’t take vacations and worked seven days a week.

    Just a few short months into his new role, developing the Miami Cancer Institute in 1962, Georgios sadly suffered a heart attack and died. He was 78 years old at the time.

    In his honour, the institute was renamed the Papanicolaou Cancer Research Institute.

    His death was tragic, but Georgios left behind a legacy that saves approximately 5,000 lives every year.

    Never had a smear test but concerned that you might need one? Women in the UK are invited for a smear test after the age of 25, but you can speak to your GP or other medical professional for help if you’re worried.

    The NHS is also currently trialling DIY at-home tests across some parts of England.

    MORE: Who is Molière and why is he today’s Google Doodle?

    MORE: How did Steve Irwin die and how old was he, as Google Doodle remembers the conservationist?

    MORE: What is tactile paving and when did Seiichi Miyake invent it?


    Who is Georgios Papanikolaou and why is he today's Google Doodle?Who is Georgios Papanikolaou and why is he today's Google Doodle?

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    Grace Woodward's naked selfies for Body Of Work
    everywhere I looked I saw images that were designed to motivate me to be fitter, thinner, more beautiful (Images: Grace Woodward)

    A year ago, I walked away from my decades-long career in the fashion industry.

    I found that everywhere I looked I saw images that were designed to motivate me to be fitter, thinner, more beautiful. They just made me feel depressed and worthless.

    Even though I’d been party to making them, working in fashion had taken its toll on me. The way I felt about myself and how other women should look were totally skewed by the industry where thinness and beauty were the only currency.

    Research conducted in the US suggests Americans see between 4,000 and 10,000 adverts each day, not including the people we see on TV, in newspapers, magazines, or endless scrolling on social media.

    In our conscious mind we know some images have had weeks, if not months spent on them, manipulating them into whatever it is compels us to be parted with our cash.

    These images have to make us feel bad about ourselves so that we will only feel better if we buy the product. We know this, but somehow this messaging still works and it all goes in on some level.

    It’s becoming much harder to be mentally resilient to marketing or to not feel bad about how we are all measuring up against perfected images. The rational knowledge we have to process them as fake or irrelevant is being drowned out by quantity.

    I know when I am looking at something that’s harming me. That bad feeling can be a sensation in your stomach or solar plexus or in your breathing – my mind never says stop looking, but when I feel uncomfortable I stop breathing properly.

    Grace Woodward wearing a red dress and fluffy white coat
    We had to fit the clothes, not the other way round (Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage)

    Coming from fashion, I have a theory: that body perfectionism started with developments in manufacturing technology. Suddenly new technology meant we had new ways to do things but no idea of the impact it might have (sound familiar, social media?)

    When we stopped getting clothes via makers and started buying standardised sizing, we started to diminish the uniqueness of our bodies. We had to fit the clothes, not the other way round.

    This, coupled with the 60s reaction to post war contentment, ultra-skinny was flagged as the new, desirable (but for most unachievable) body image and the teenage, waif-like model Twiggy was held up as the pinnacle.

    My mother developed a life-long eating disorder around that time. She died at 60, having never recovered and the after effects eventually made me completely revaluate life and career.

    Fast forward to today, and our bodies are vehicles for commerce. Add in a host of technological advances that mean we are inundated with messages about body image, the multi-billion pound industries that are health, diet and fashion, and you can see why big business and the government aren’t super keen to go, ‘hey guys, you know what? You’re OK just as you are’.

    I left the fashion industry to find out why I – and I suspected loads of others – felt cripplingly bad about themselves and their bodies. Why, no matter how we tried, we could never be ‘enough’.

    It’s because when you are not allowed to like yourself for who you are, only what you buy, it will never be enough.

    Grace Woodward's naked selfies for Body Of Work
    I’ve now started a project Body of Work to try make myself and others feel better (Grace Woodward)

    I’ve now started a project Body of Work to try make myself and others feel better. It’s a disruptive project of self nudes with no filters, no retouching, no diet or work out schedule that’s making waves on Instagram. It just shows my 43 year old, post baby body as it is.

    I’ve learned a lot along the way. Muting or unfollowing anything or anyone that makes you feel negative works – it doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend, a Kardashian or news alerts.

    It doesn’t have to be forever; the feelings might pass, they might not, but you are in control of testing what works to secure your own peace of mind.

    I know people bang on about mindfullness. I know it seems like another mountain to climb to ‘learn’ to meditate. I’ve found that sitting down with my eyes closed and giving my brain a break from seeing and processing images is enough.

    Try it at bed time and when you wake up instead of screen being the first and last thing you see. Two weeks to create a habit both good and bad, who knows how long to break them.

    I stopped dieting and exercising solely for my body image, which can become a form of control and stressor. We have been convinced that a buff body is a healthier, but this doesn’t take into account the role our minds play.

    I walk, run and do yoga when I know I need it and try to eat intuitively. Fads and diets don’t work, listening to yourself about what you want to eat and why does.

    I used to have epic meltdowns about how I looked and how extremely unhappy I was. Now I’ve turned the tables to say no, it’s society that needs to change, not me. I’ve never felt more liberated.

    I think about it like this: every time you feel bad about yourself, it’s because someone wants to take your money. It really helps give me perspective. It’s not you. You aren’t broken. You don’t need fixing.

    MORE: Woman who shaved her head due to trichotillomania becomes stylist to help others

    MORE: Naked Beach star wants to change how the world views fat, black bodies

    MORE: Woman shares empowering bikini photos after being mocked by cruel strangers


    Grace Woodward: body positivityGrace Woodward: body positivity

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    Tess Daly, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Keeley Hawes and Jodie Comer at the Baftas
    Tess Daly, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Keeley Hawes and Jodie Comer (Picture: PA/Getty Images/WENN)

    We’ve had the Oscars, the Bafta film awards and the Golden Globes – and now it’s the television stars’ turn to take to the red carpet.

    Yes, it’s the British Academy Television Awards – the biggest event for stars of the small screen.

    And although it’s obviously all about celebrating the work of some fantastic actors, it’s also a chance for them to get dressed up.

    This year it was all about the full length, elegant ball gown, with best actress winner Jodie Comer wearing an asymmetrical pink dress and Keeley Hawes wearing a beautiful off-the-shoulder gown.

    One of the most talked about looks of the night was from nominee Daisy May Cooper, who created her own elaborate gown from a 16 litre bin bag.

    The dress was made by her mum and she said she donated the money she would have spent on a dress

    These are some of our favourite looks from the red carpet.

    Jodie Comer

    Jodie Comer won best actress for Killing Eve at British Academy Television Awards
    (Picture: David Fisher/BAFTA/REX)

    Keeley Hawes

    Keeley Hawes at British Academy Television Awards
    (Picture: Lia Toby/WENN.com)

    Holly Willoughby

    Holly Willoughby at BAFTA British Academy Television Awards
    (Picture: David Fisher/BAFTA/REX)

    Susanna Reid

    Susanna Reid at the British Academy Television Awards
    (Picture: Anthony Harvey/BAFTA/REX)

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge at BAFTA British Academy Television Awards
    (Picture: James Veysey/BAFTA/REX)

    Daisy May Cooper

    This Country's Daisy May Cooper at BAFTA television awards 2019
    Daisy May Cooper made her dress from binbags (Picture: Alpha Press)

    Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman

    Claudia Winkleman (L) and Tess Daly attend the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2019
    Claudia went for all black while Tess rocked a bright suit (Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

    The Derry Girls cast

    The cast of Derry Girls (L-R) Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Siobhan McSweeney, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Nicola Coughlan, Dylan Llewellyn, Kathy Kiera Clarke and Louisa Harland attend the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards
    The Derry Girls cast went (Picture: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

    Suranne Jones

    Suranne Jones attending the Virgin Media BAFTA TV awards
    (Picture: Ian West/PA Wire)

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    Fashion BaftasFashion Baftas

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    Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, pictured smiling in a press photo
    The Mental Health Minute will be led by The Duke of Cambridge (Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty)

    Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.

    It will run from 13 to 19 May and will see businesses, organisations, charities and the media sharing helpful information around mental health.

    As part of the event, radio networks have put together the annual Mental Health Minute.

    The message will be broadcast today (13 May) and includes famous voices such as Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, Stephen Fry and Jameela Jamil.

    What is the Mental Health Minute?

    Radio stations across the UK will unite in one collaborative act: to encourage and support conversation around mental health.

    There’s long been a stigma attached to talking about mental health, though it has lessened in recent years, largely thanks to information becoming more widely available.

    The theme behind this year’s minute is ‘the importance of listening, and the difference we can make to someone when we take the time to stop and to listen’.

    Led by The Duke of Cambridge and the industry body, Radiocentre, the Mental Health Minute will be broadcast across hundreds of radio stations, including BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and 5 Live, as well as networks including Global, Bauer and Wireless and smaller community stations.

    American singer Katy Perry on stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival holding a microphone
    Katy Perry is among the celebrities taking party in the Mental Health Minute (Picture: by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

    The 60-second-long message, which was created by TBI media, includes the voice of Prince William (who also did the first one in 2018), as well as comedian and author Stephen Fry, actress and TV personality Jameela Jamil, and singers Katy Perry and Alesha Dixon.

    Last year, the minute featured Lady Gaga, Dame Judi Dench, David Harewood and Dame Jessica Ennis.

    It reached over 20 million people, but that figure is anticipated to be even higher in 2019, as local BBC stations will also join in for the first time.

    A campaign called Shout was also launched last week, a 24/7 service that aims to find 3,000 volunteers to support people with mental health problems through text messages.

    When is the Mental Health Minute and how to listen to it?

    The Mental Health Minute will be broadcast at 10.59am this morning.

    To listen in, simply switch on your radio.

    Need help?

    If you are suffering from mental health problems and need support, you can text SHOUT to 85258. The service is confidential and free.

    Alternatively, you can also call the Samaritans helpline on 116 123

    MORE: How to manage a depressed person at work

    MORE: A new ’emotional fitness’ app could change how we tackle mental health

    MORE: How to be a good friend to someone who has depression


    The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit BlackpoolThe Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Blackpool

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    Two cups of coffee on a wooden table, the girl holds in her hand one cup of coffee in the background. A photo indicates a meeting of people and a joint pastime
    Coffee could save your life? (Photographer: franz12)

    Two cups of coffee a day might be the key to living longer, according to a new study.

    According to research published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, it was found that drinking as little as two cups of coffee a day can increase your life expectancy by up to two years.

    In the study, 40 cases were looked at including over 3 million subjects and 450,256 causes of death.

    The researchers found that drinking coffee had an inverse association with all-cause mortality – ‘irrespective of age, overweight status, alcohol drinking, smoking status and caffeine content of coffee.’

    Moderate coffee consumption, such as two to four cups a day, ‘was associated with reduced all-cause and cause-specific mortality, compared to no coffee consumption’, according to researchers.

    But life expectancy wasn’t the only thing that coffee reduced the risk, as it seems that a reduction in the risk of developing and dying from cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory disease was found.

    Espresso machine making fresh cup of coffee
    Caption: Espresso machine making fresh cup of coffee (Photographer: MariuszBlach)

    The study was conducted to examine the association between coffee and mortality ‘in various sub-populations by characteristics of subjects’ such as ageing, obesity and other lifestyle factors that impact mortality.

    In the study, it shows that the link between coffee and mortality was stronger than the inverse association in the United States.

    The links to coffee and health related issues is not a new one.

    In the past it has been attributed to slow growth of prostate cancer, stunting growth, overall improved heart health and a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

    Of the findings, Astrid Nehlig, a research director at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research, told The Sunday Times: ‘It is difficult to calculate, but my feeling is that drinking coffee possibly adds another couple of years to your life’ – and that the increased focus and alertness may be partly the reason.

    MORE: Louis Theroux has ‘so many emotions’ after finding coffee mug of his body with boobs

    MORE: Emilia Clarke spills the tea as she pokes fun at Game Of Thrones coffee cup blunder

    MORE: Costa launches new summer menu with strawberry cold brew coffee


    CoffeeCoffee

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    The underboob bikini is the next big Instagram trend
    Perfect – if you have gravity defying boobs (Picture: ASOS/Pretty Little Thing/Oh Polly)

    Instagram has spoken. Cleavage is out, underboob is in.

    The social media platform’s most fashion-forward influencers are all jumping on the latest trend for summer – barely-there bikinis that display a cheeky glimpse of the bottom of your boob.

    You could be forgiven for thinking that the fashionistas have simply picked out the wrong size – but no, the skimpy look is decidedly a choice, and the peek-a-boob is 100% intentional.

    The look works with bandeau tops, triangle bikinis and even swimsuits – team them with high-waisted briefs – or a thong if you’re feeling really daring.

    The hottest looks seem to be in neon colours – perfect for complimenting your tan, or, the trend that refuses to die – animal print.

    Unleash your inner leopard with one of these risqué numbers – just avoid any vigorous movement. A back flip into the pool will result in a certain nip-slip disaster.

    Pop star Rita Ora was ahead of the game last summer with this teeny, tiny neon pink number – perfect for showing off her gravity-defying boobs.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BsHzuWwnUS7/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    This one comes with a handy harness under your breasts – to make sure you’re securely strapped in for your poolside photo shoot.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BsbxpCmhs4x/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Simplicity is key with this plain black bikini – nothing to distract from the two slivers of boob.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BtjYqKIhJ5o/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Release your inner cheetah with this wild design – although we’re not sure you’ll actually be able to move very fast when you’re wearing it.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BjcR_3xl97P/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Bandeau, neon and leopard print – ticking off three trends in one. Added points for the thighbrow pose.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bwz9Ho7HKWE/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Go for something with a high neck to offset the underboob – we also love the strappy detail around the middle on this piece.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BdkjPYPj4v9/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Become a real-life mermaid with aquamarine, turquoise hues. The skimpy, scoop neckline leaves little to the imagination – perfect for maximising tan coverage.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BqCI8G1HMrA/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Go asymmetric with a one-shoulder design, like this super sleek back one-piece. Mirror selfies and Barbie feet pose on point.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BrpBhvdg2lR/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Highlighter neon yellow is always perfect in the sun, and is sure to make tanned skin pop. The teeny tiny straps aren’t going to give you much in the way of support – but they definitely look cute.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BxHXTbPlxHJ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    MORE: Bafta TV awards 2019: All the best fashion from red carpet

    MORE: Meet the jeado and jekini: denim swimwear is here for summer

    MORE: Mum asks for help with ‘gender-challenging’ three-year-old


    The underboob bikini is the next big Instagram trendThe underboob bikini is the next big Instagram trend

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    These 8 men are posed in their underwear to challenge body image for men's wellness campaign, Men of Manual.
    Caption: Men of Manual Campaign for body image acceptance (Picture: Manual.)

    This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is body image, and the effect it can have on mental health.

    Previous campaigns from brands such as Dove and Misguided have outwardly challenged misconceptions around the ‘bikini body’ resulting in women’s bodies finally being celebrated in all sizes, races, genders and aesthetics – but there is still a long way to go.

    The conversation has been predominantly focused on women, and now men have been urged to speak out on more issues about body image and challenging stereotypes in the media.

    Manual, a men’s health and wellbeing platform, have put together a campaign called ‘Men of Manual’ to challenge the stereotypes of the male body.

    Bashir Aziz posing for Men of Manual campaign.
    Bashir Aziz posing for Men of Manual campaign. (Picture: Manual)

    It’s timely, since a new study published by New Macho reported that 80 per cent of people agree that adverts are influencing gender stereotypes, and outdated ideals about what masculinity looks like continue to be enforced in the media.

    More and more men are being judged against the muscular aesthetics typical of a Gillette model – chiseled jaw, washboard abs and tanned – but the Men of Manual campaign seeks to highlight the different shapes men come in, embracing their bodies and their mental health.

    Ben Whittaker, UK's first male plus size model poses on stool in teal boxer shorts for Men of Manual Campaign.
    Ben Whittaker, UK’s first male plus size model . (Picture: Manual)

    Ben Whittaker, the UK’s first plus-sized male model is a part of the campaign and said: ‘Growing up seeing men on social media, seeing this ‘Men’s Health’ body, being told that all men have to look a certain way, and they have to have chiseled chests and rock hard abs, it put a strain on my mental health.

    Ben Whittaker stands in teal boxers for Men of Manual campaign
    Ben Whittaker for Men of Manual Campaign. (Picture: Manual)

    ‘A lot of my mates were smaller than me and they were toned and I was the biggest in my class, I did feel depressed and think “am I meant to look like this?“. But there’s no such thing as a perfect body, it doesn’t actually exist, all bodies are unique in their own ways.’

    A heavy use of social media has an impact on mental health as well and that’s where James King spends his time challenging body image.

    He said: ‘It’s really easy to get stuck in a cycle of ‘I hate my body and nobody else is gonna like my body’. I had to forcibly say to myself ’stop hating your body so much – what bits do you like about yourself and highlight those parts!’.

    But James added that changing mindsets is the most important thing about body confidence.

    James King sits on stool for the Man of Manual campaign for mental health awareness week
    James King, built his confidence up on social media (Picture: Manual)

    ‘I’m still not 100% there and I even got the fear today, but I find things like this shoot push me out of my comfort zone. A massive part of all this is changing your mindset.

    ‘I’ve actually found social media really good platform for it. While I believe social media can be bad for mental health, I just started following more positive, inspiring people made me feel like I can be big and confident on Instagram without being a thirsty bear.

    ‘I posted a half-naked photo of myself in the bath and thought “oh god, everyone’s gonna hate this” but I got all these likes and I felt amazing about it afterward. Things like that really started to help me.’

    Kenny Ethan-Jones stands in teal boxers for Men of Manual campaign.
    Kenny Ethan-Jones, is a trans model and activist. (Picture: Manual)

    For trans-model and activist, Kenny Ethan-Jones, finding confidence in himself was the thing that made him happiest.

    He said: ‘Going to the gym was a huge part of me overcoming any insecurities I had about my body. I was skinny – I weighed about seven stone –  and then I went up to ten stone.

    Kenny Ethan-Jones poses for Men of Manual campaign.
    Kenny Ethan-Jones (Picture: Manual)

    ‘That added weight made me feel a bit more masculine, stronger and gave me that confidence. When you feel that confidence, you radiate it out to everyone else and they feel it, too.’

    George Pallis, Co-Founder of Manual, said: ‘If you only look at the men in adverts, you would think that all men have six-packs, the perfect amount of stubble and permanently bronzed skin.

    ‘It is completely unrealistic and doesn’t reflect what masculinity really looks like.

    ‘In a world where opening up about mental and physical well-being is arguably more crucial than ever before, it’s vital that we all work together to de-stigmatise men’s wellness and improve the health and happiness of men everywhere.’

    MORE: Joe Sugg, Caspar Lee and Jack Maynard open up about mental health and body image in honest video with Mikey Pearce

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

    MORE: What is the Mental Health Minute, when is it and how to listen to it?


    Hi-Res Manual Image -ae28Hi-Res Manual Image -ae28

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    Grieving for someone we barely know
    It’s the ultimate anti-climax (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Having a baby, getting married and buying a house are meant to be the happiest, most significant moments of our lives – but expectation doesn’t always match up with reality.

    A new study has found that these big milestone moments often leave many feeling vulnerable and stressed when their reality doesn’t live up to the social media hype.

    As part of Mental Health Week 2019, new research by Bupa Health Clinics revealed that 86% of respondents agreed that society puts too much pressure on achieving life’s milestones.

    Social media plays a pivotal role in this, with 58% agreeing that it creates an expectation of what life’s key moments should look like.

    It’s the ultimate anti-climax, and it’s making us ill.

    According to the research, Brits admit to feeling upset or down after comparing their experience of a milestone to someone else’s on social media.

    85% of people said they felt this way when returning to work after having a baby, 70% said it happened when starting their first job and 64% said they felt low after getting a promotion and seeing others celebrating their own promotions on social platforms.

    Buying a house (55%), retiring (53%) and taking a big holiday (43%) were the next significant moments which left the nation feeling flat once they compared themselves to what others were doing on social media.

    And this phenomenon isn’t surprising. Social media gears us up to live life through the lens of constant comparison – so that even when good things happen to us we will immediately question – but is it as good as somebody else?

    What to do if you love your friend but hate their social media
    58% think social media creates unrealistic expectations (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Social media can be a fantastic way of engaging with other people, staying informed and building and maintaining a network,’ says Bupa Health Clinics’ medical director, Dr Arun Thiyagarajan.

    ‘However, it can be easy to forget that what we see on social media is just a snapshot of a moment in time and can sometimes leave people feeling depressed and inadequate when their experiences don’t match up. 

    ‘This is especially true when it comes to the big life events. Whether it’s adjusting to becoming a parent, buying a house or even celebrating Christmas – comparing your reality with picture perfect experiences can make you feel as though you’ve fallen short.

    ‘It’s important to understand that taking care of both physical and mental well-being before, during and after a big life event, is vital to enjoying the moment itself. 

    ‘Social media can also have an impact on body image and confidence. Whether this is seeing constant weight-loss updates or celebrities’ holiday snaps, it can have an effect on the way we view our own bodies.

    ‘It is crucial to remember that what you see on social media may be an exaggerated version of reality.’

    According to the study, one in 10 – 5.4 million people in the UK – have felt unhappy about an event or significant moment in life because of social media.

    13% of people have even avoided posting pictures on social networks because their experience didn’t look as good as others.

    Luckily, Dr Arun Thiyagarajan has some top tips to help you close the gap between expectation and reality:

    Preparation is key 

    Reaching big milestones – whether a promotion or wedding – can be hard work.

    Make sure you consider the role your physical health can play on how vulnerable your mental health can be.

    Getting as much good sleep as you can, eating well and exercising are simple things you can do in the lead up to a big life moment to ensure you are well equipped to think clearly, when you are faced with feeling low.

    Ditch the comparisons 

    It’s easier said than done, but it’s important to focus on the great stuff in your own life rather than compare it to the perceived experience of others.

    This is enormously positive for your mental health. Try to remind yourself that everyone is fighting their own battles, and that social media only represents a moment in time.

    Don’t forget you are able to hide people from your timeline without having to remove them as a friend.

    Detox from the negativity 

    Taking a regular step back from social media will give you the space and clarity you need to close the gap between expectation and reality.

    This distance will encourage you to enjoy and cherish your happy moments while giving you the time to process those that are less than perfect.

    Try swapping some of your social media time with apps that will help improve your mental health rather than hinder it.

    Talk to someone 

    If social media – or anything else – is having an impact on your mental health, talk to your GP.

    Taking the first step can be difficult but once you’ve made that appointment you are going in the right direction.

    Equally, you could opt for a more holistic view of your health and lifestyle; as part of Bupa’s health assessments, there is time dedicated to discussing mental health.

    Should you decide to check in with the health of your body as well as your mind, use this time to discuss areas of concern and how to manage them.

    Fill your feed with positivity 

    If you do want to continue using social media, why not choose to follow accounts that uplifts you rather than bring you down. Look for people to follow who have similar backgrounds and interests as you.

    Engage with friends and influencers who are going through the same things and are being honest about it. Being open about real-life situations will make you feel better about your own.

    Remember – not everyone is perfect!

    MORE: Men of Manual campaign challenges male body image in the media

    MORE: The underboob bikini is the next big Instagram trend

    MORE: Two cups of coffee a day could ‘make you live two years longer’


    Grieving for someone we barely knowGrieving for someone we barely know

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    Beth Martin, 18 with baby Maizie
    Beth Martin, 18 with baby Maizie (Picture: Caters News Agency)

    Beth Martin, a teenager from Blackpool, underwent extreme physical activity such as army and police riot training as part of her preparation to be part of the UK’s Border Force.

    But while the 18-year-old went through rigorous training, she didn’t realise she was actually pregnant.

    Staying the same size for most of her pregnancy, Beth, from St Anne’s, put tiredness down to her intensive training.

    When Beth did a pregnancy test two months before she went into labour, the results came back negative.

    Known as a cryptic pregnancy, the baby had grown behind Beth’s ribs, showing no physical bump – and has even failed to show up on two of the tests she did.

    And when she finally went into labour, she put contraction pains down to a severe case of irritable bowel syndrome.

    But 76 hours later, Beth had a little girl who she named Maizie.

    Beth with her surprise baby in hospital
    Beth was training to work with Border Force and was undergoing 70 hours of exercise a week (Picture: Caters News Agency)

    ‘Someone at work had said I looked pregnant and I remember thinking how rude she was,’ she said.

    ‘I was doing a course into uniformed public services and had my heart set on becoming part of Border Force. My education was sport based, about 70 hours a week of intense physical activity.

    ‘The week before I’d had Maizie, I was doing riot police force training, where I had horses chasing me – it seemed surreal.’

    Yet despite Beth taking the pregnancy tests, she couldn’t help but notice she had gained a small amount of weight and became breathless easily.

    After getting stabbing pains in her abdomen after training at college, Beth rang 111 for advice.

    Medics realised she was in labour after she said she was spotting – bleeding from the vagina –  and she was sent her straight to hospital.

    Young mum Beth with now seven month Maizie
    The cryptic pregnancy didn’t have an obvious bump and the baby grew behind the ribs (Picture: Caters News Agency)

    Little Maizie Loraine Martin was born after 76 hours of labour, three hours of pushing and less than 24 hours preparation for Beth.

    Beth added, ‘By the time I got to the hospital I was in so much pain.

    ‘A nurse told me straight away I looked pregnant – and then I discovered I’ve been in labour for 69 hours.

    ‘I had seven hours to prepare for the fact I was about to become a mum.

    ‘My two older brothers thought I was playing a prank. My dad was so happy, and my mum came round after, shaking her head – we were all in shock.

    ‘I’ve absolutely loved becoming a mum – Maizie is the best thing in my life.’

    Beth showing off her qualification which she completed after becoming a mum
    Since having the baby, Beth went back to school to finish her training (Picture: Caters News Agency)

    Since her surprise pregnancy, Beth has gone back to college to complete her course, after just three months off for maternity leave.

    ‘I’d never wanted to have kids but now I can’t imagine my life without Maizie,’ added the young mum.

    ‘I want to show people what else I can achieve – and I’m prepared for anything.’

    MORE: Teen who didn’t know she was pregnant wakes up with a baby bump and gives birth 45 minutes later

    MORE: Teenager didn’t know she was pregnant for eight months

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘I am a survivor of things that are known to break other people’


    Border Force student endured a 76 hour labour, without knowing she was pregnantBorder Force student endured a 76 hour labour, without knowing she was pregnant

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    Danni and her boyfriend and Danni after surgery
    Danni and her boyfriend and Danni after surgery (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Danni Nulty spent years warning clients of the dangers of skin cancer caused by tanning.

    As she always used factor 50 SPF, she never thought it would happen to her.

    It was only when a fellow beautician told her to get the mole on her face checked that she found out she had cancer.

    She used a few sunbeds when she was younger but once she heard about the dangers, she stopped and always tried to protect herself from sun damage.

    But Danni, 36, of Coventry, Warwickshire, who lives with her personal trainer boyfriend Dave Kirkland, 38, saw a doctor, leading to a skin cancer diagnosis last November.

    She said: ‘My friend Sarah McMaster asked if I’d ever had the mole checked, because she’d noticed it had got bigger.

    ‘She made me promise to go to the doctor, so I booked an appointment but never gave it another thought.

    ‘I knew it had grown, but it wasn’t itchy or raised and had never bothered me, so when the doctor suggested we get a second opinion and booked me an early morning hospital visit the following Sunday, I almost didn’t go because it was a weekend.’

    Luckily for Danni, a beautician specialising in skincare and a business development manager, she made it to the hospital appointment, where doctors advised she would need to undergo a biopsy.

    Just 10 days later, on 5 November 2018, dermatologists confirmed that she had stage one melanoma skin cancer.

    Danni marked up for surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)
    Danni marked up for surgery, showing the mole on her face (PA Real Life/Collect)

    ‘I’m a redhead, half Irish and half Scottish, so with my colouring, I don’t tan and have never really been able to enjoy the sun,’ she said.

    ‘But for the last 10 years, I’ve always used factor 50 sun protection, so I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

    ‘I thought, ‘I can’t have skin cancer, it’s impossible.’

    ‘If you saw how white I am without fake tan, you’d think I was a zombie in an apocalypse movie.

    ‘But there was a Macmillan cancer nurse in the room, so although I was in a daze, I knew this was serious.’

    How to check a mole

    Here is the British Skin Foundation’s recommended ABCDE checklist for mole changes that should send you to the doctor:
    Asymmetry: One half of a mole is different to the other half
    Border: The edge of the mole is irregular, scalloped or poorly defined
    Colour: an uneven colour or variable colours within a mole is a cause for concern
    Diameter: You should have any mole that is larger than 6mm in size checked
    Evolving: the mole is changing in size, shape or colour

    The doctors told Danni that although they had caught the cancer early, it was on the cusp between stages one and two.

    ‘When I was 18 I had about a dozen sunbeds, but back then I didn’t realise how dangerous they were. I stopped as soon as I became more aware,’ she said. ‘Still, you never expect this to happen to you.

    ‘Now the big question was whether the cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes.’

    Luckily for Danni, one of the 17 in every 100,000 people in Great Britain to be diagnosed with malignant melanoma every year – compared with just three per 100,000 in the mid 1970s – according to the NHS, it had not spread.

    And on 7 November 2018, she went under the knife at Hospital of St Cross, Rugby, Warwickshire.

    Danni's scar after surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)
    Danni’s scar after surgery (PA Real Life/Collect)

    Danni, who has been supported by the British Skin Foundation, continued: ‘As I lay there in the operating theatre, fully conscious as the surgeon cut out the mole and an inch of the skin surrounding it, I thought, ‘Nothing is worth this.’

    ‘I’m so grateful to my friend, who told me to get my mole checked, because if I’d gone even for a few more weeks without seeing the doctor, it could have been a very different story.

    ‘If the cancer had gone to stage two and reached my lymph nodes, I would have had to have chemotherapy, so the main thing I would say to anyone who notices any changes to a mole, however small is, to get it checked straight away.’

    She was given the all clear but still need to be monitored by the hospital for another 12 months. She now admits she is scared of the sun and tries to cover up as much as possible.

    ‘It’s not holidays that are the biggest risk, because people do use sunscreen and reapply it,’ she said. ‘It’s the every day exposure and that’s the thing I’m most scared of now.

    ‘I check myself every day for any changes to moles and although I am now more anxious about skin cancer, I am also so grateful for the outcome in my own case, which could have been so much worse.’

    Danni and her boyfriend, Dave (PA Real Life/Collect)
    Danni and her boyfriend, Dave (Picture: PA Real Life/Collect)

    Rates of malignant melanoma are rising faster than any other type of common cancer in the UK, according to Dr Anjali Mahto, a consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, which recommends a whole-body self-examination monthly, after a shower or bath and in a well-lit room.

    Its experts advise anyone spotting alterations to a mole, including a change in colour, shape or size, to see their doctor and get it checked.

    ‘It is safe to go out in the sun but only if you’re wearing sunscreen,’ said Dr Mahto. ‘You need a high protection SPF – 30 or more – to protect against UVB light and a cream with a 4- or 5-star circle logo to protect against the UVA rays.

    ‘When checking, people should look for any new moles, a mole that looks very different to the others or any skin lesion that bleeds or fails to heal.’

    MORE: Life’s ‘happiest moments’ can negatively impact your mental health

    MORE: Men of Manual campaign challenges male body image in the media


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    Some of the images men posted about using the snapchat gender swap filter on Twitter
    (Picture: Twitter)

    You’ve probably tried the Snapchat gender swap filter by now.

    The filter is eerily good at showing what you could look like as the opposite sex.

    It shows women with a square jaw and facial hair to look like men and men with finer features and long hair to look like women.

    One man even used it to fool his girlfriend into thinking he was cheating, though the joke backfired.

    Other men though have used the pictures they’ve taken with the filter to see what Tinder is like for the opposite sex.

    Men are finally able to understand just how many creepy messages women get when using dating apps.

    So far we’ve only see men trying the trick and not many women trying to experience dating from a male perspective.

    One man explained he made a tinder for his friend using the filter and had already received over 100 matches.

    Another added: ‘Made a fake tinder with my girl Snapchat filter…. GUYS are PIGS. I have a date tomorrow.’

    My brother’s using the snapchat filter to catfish guys on tinder and it’s absolutely seen me off. HOW do these men think that is a real woman’s face??

    Garrett said he made the profile with the filter and posted a picture of his screen filled with notifications in just a few minutes.

    He said: ‘Holy f*uck did i make a mistake.’

    Jordan said he was posing on Snapchat with the female filter and someone had already sent him a message offering to travel around America with him.

    The message said: ‘Hi Jordan! That was a nice surprise, it’s lovely to meet you!

    ‘So what’s your go to car music? If we’re going to drive across America we need to get things like this sorted out!’

    Another man said: ‘I made a fake tinder account using the snapchat filter and i literally got 46 matches in less than 5 min.

    And Tyler posted a series of pictures showing some of the messages he got.

    In his tweet, he said: ‘I made a Tinder using the new Snapchat filter to see what would happen, and these are the f*cking messages I got.

    ‘I feel for you women everywhere if this is what your inboxes actually look like.’

    His inbox was full of the standard ‘Hey there beautiful’ within minutes.

    Mohi said he got over 168 likes in under 30 minutes.

    He said: Used the Snapchat filter on tinder for 30 minutes, and in conclusion I hate men.’

    Basically, there’s men everywhere trying it out and most are getting the same results – hundreds of matches and lots of pretty boring or pretty creepy messages.

    Finally, they might understand where women are coming from.

    MORE: Teen goes through 76-hour labour during Border Force training – but didn’t know she was pregnant

    MORE: Beauty therapist had cancerous mole on her face – despite wearing factor 50 SPF


    Men are using the Snapchat gender swap filter to get a taste of what Tinder is like for womenMen are using the Snapchat gender swap filter to get a taste of what Tinder is like for women

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    A woman claimed that her fiance proposed with a ring made of his own hair
    A woman claimed that her fiance proposed with a ring made of his own hair (Picture: Facebook)

    We’ve seen lots of styles of engagement rings: the thin, the double, the milky.

    They’re tokens of love, we shouldn’t judge how people use them to express their feelings. But we do and we love it. Facebook pages dedicated to ring-shaming exist for this purpose.

    The latest jewel to send everyone on a field day comes in the form of a hairy one. Because one boyfriend decided to propose to his girlfriend using a ring made of his own hair.

    It’s certainly a unique sentiment but we’re not entirely convinced. Neither are people on Facebook group That’s It I’m Ring-Shaming where it was shared.

    Originally shared on a YouTube channel for bad DIY creations, the ring was shown off by the bride-to-be.

    She wrote: ‘My boyfie is now my fiance. He proposed with a ring made from a lock of his own hair. This is a placeholder until my more intricately woven band is done’.

    And naturally, people roasted it all, the hair, the emojis, the use of the word ‘boyfie’.

    Some did point out that it could be fake and may have even been the woman’s own hair which she used to prank everyone.

    Image of the hairy 'ring'
    She wrote: ‘This is a placeholder until my more intricately woven band is done’ (Picture: Facebook)

    ‘Did she pull his hair from the drain and just wrap it around her finger? Does he even know they are engaged?’ asked one person commenting on the pictures.

    Someone else said: ‘She said more intricately woven. Omfg is there another hair ring coming?!,’ noticed another.

    Others had a joke saying: ‘Pubes are not a symbol of love,’ and ‘I’m not sure what’s more offensive, the ring or the fact she calls her boyfriend her boyfie’.

    Image of a woman's ring finger covered with her boyfriend's hair
    Real or not? (Picture: Facebook)

    While it might’ve all been a troll image, one person did make a fair argument about hair phobia.

    They wrote: ‘I hate being this person but I have to say this. I have a full on hair phobia. It f***s with my day to day life.

    ‘On a bad day, I can’t use bathrooms at university or anything because there’s f*****g hair in the sinks. So, thankfully today is not a super bad day.

    ‘But I know I’m not alone in this and people seem to be on board with other phobias about teeth and holes and all that jazz so  can we start covering hair pics with that “click to uncover the monstrosity” thing or something?’

    It certainly is a monstrosity.

    MORE: Woman mocked for her ‘tiny’ engagement ring and told not to bother wearing it

    MORE: Woman considers breaking up with fiancé after finding out engagement ring is fake

    MORE: Bride-to-be shamed for wearing two ‘ugly’ engagement rings when fiancé couldn’t choose one


    Proposal with hairProposal with hair

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    Suzanne Mulholland, The Batch Lady, who can cook enough food for 40 people in one hour. She has cooked Chilli, Fajitas, Spaghetti Bolognas, Meatballs and Burgers. See SWNS story SWSCbatch. A supermum can cook enough food to feed 40 people - in just one hour. Suzanne Mulholland has gained an internet following after filming herself batch cooking, using ingredients which are all bought frozen from the supermarket. The mum-of-two says buying frozen vegetables is convenient and keeps costs down. And she compared her frozen ready meals to ?switching from a remote controlled old TV, to using Netflix? in terms of convenience.
    Suzanne Mulholland, The Batch Lady, who can cook enough food for 40 people in one hour. (Picture: SWNS)

    Not all heroes wear capes, but this one does save time and money.

    Supermum Suzanne ‘The Batch Lady’ Mulholland cooks batches of up to 40 portions at a time for her family – a shrewdness that has seen her become an unlikely YouTube presenter.

    Suzanne, 43, can cook 10 different meals in an hour, a phenomenon leading her to YouTube to showcase her ‘money-saving’ freezer meal hacks.

    She found online fame after being inundated with requests from mums at the school gate which led her to create a YouTube channel under the name, ‘The Batch Lady’ and now has 60,000 followers.

    Suzanne Mulholland, The Batch Lady, who can cook enough food for 40 people in one hour. She has cooked Chilli, Fajitas, Spaghetti Bolognas, Meatballs and Burgers. See SWNS story SWSCbatch. A supermum can cook enough food to feed 40 people - in just one hour. Suzanne Mulholland has gained an internet following after filming herself batch cooking, using ingredients which are all bought frozen from the supermarket. The mum-of-two says buying frozen vegetables is convenient and keeps costs down. And she compared her frozen ready meals to ???switching from a remote controlled old TV, to using Netflix??? in terms of convenience.
    Caption: Suzanne Mulholland meal preps, (Picture: SWNS)

    Mum-of-two Suzanne started her unusual method of cooking to save time as she juggles family life with running the family’s holiday cottage business. The meals are distributed into bags which are then flattened to save space in the freezer.

    She said: ‘I do this because I don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking.

    ‘Working mums and dads want a home-cooked meal but there’s little time to cook during the week.

    ‘So it’s about finding an hour on a Sunday and doing it then.

    ‘You just stack them together on top of each other, all frozen flat. It is really good for when people are very busy.’

    Suzanne and her family live on a remote farm near Selkirk on the Scottish Borders which is a 30 minute drive from the nearest supermarket.

    She stockpiles food and cooks in large batches which provide nutritious meals throughout the week for her children Jake, 12, and Zara, 10.

    Suzanne Mulholland, The Batch Lady, who can cook enough food for 40 people in one hour. She has cooked Chilli, Fajitas, Spaghetti Bolognas, Meatballs and Burgers. See SWNS story SWSCbatch. A supermum can cook enough food to feed 40 people - in just one hour. Suzanne Mulholland has gained an internet following after filming herself batch cooking, using ingredients which are all bought frozen from the supermarket. The mum-of-two says buying frozen vegetables is convenient and keeps costs down. And she compared her frozen ready meals to ???switching from a remote controlled old TV, to using Netflix??? in terms of convenience.
    Caption: The Batch Lady, now has a YouTube channel

    Her meals mainly use frozen ingredients to keep the cost down.

    She said: ‘I cook meals at the same time which are all quite similar. It is easier to make things that have the same ingredients.

    ‘The recipes are very pared back, so they take less time to make. And it is cheaper and there is less to prepare.

    ‘Using frozen food is much cheaper than buying fresh vegetables.’

    She decided to launch a website and YouTube channel after offering a lesson at a charity raffle – and 20 interested mums crammed into her kitchen to watch.

    She said: ‘I knew what I was doing in terms of cooking, but not presenting.’

    ‘I put a video on YouTube, but I didn’t even have an email address 18 months ago.”

    Suzanne now has 60,000 followers across her social media channels on YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

    Her video titles include: ’10 family chicken meals in one hour!’, ‘Moroccan lamb chops in five minutes’ and ‘How to make a one pot roast chicken dinner’.

    Despite taking on her extra role as a YouTube presenter, Suzanne reckons her new style of cooking has created more quality time for her family.

    She said: ‘Years ago, mums would be looking after their kids and would cook in the middle of the day.

    ‘Now people come in, and they go straight out again to go to the gym or take their children to clubs.

    ‘I think we do more things with our kids every evening now, because I don’t have to spend time cooking.’

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    MORE: Morrisons launches meat pack which will make 14 meals for just £10


    Woman prepares meals for 40 in one hourWoman prepares meals for 40 in one hour

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    Sausage patty anyone?
    Aldi’s new sausage patty (Picture: Aldi)

    Aldi has started selling square shaped pork sausages, because the supermarket wanted to introduce an easier way to eat a sausage butty.

    The sausage patties come in 340g packs of four, and sot £1.79.

    The sausages are flat like burgers, and have been designed for sandwiches – you we suggest still sticking to the original sausage for hot dogs.

    The square shape means it’ll fill out all the bread and leave no empty spaces.

    They’re currently on sale in Aldi stores as one of the ‘fresh weekly offers’.

    Of course, anyone who is Scottish (or even if you’ve just had breakfast there), knows the joy of a square sausage (known as Lorne sausage).

    It's perfect for a sandwich
    It’s supposed to perfectly fit the bread (Picture: Aldi)

    We’re not sure how they compare to the traditional Scottish treat but it’s worth a try if you’re a Scot away from home.

    They’ll be on sale while stock lasts, so you’ll have to act fast if you want to get your hands on them.

    Though don’t worry too much – As Morrisons, and Iceland both do their own versions, too.

    In other Aldi news, the supermarket has relaunched its log burners, for just £59.99.

    The supermarket’s new item from Gardenline has already sold out in pre-orders online, but is now on sales in stores.

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

    We can’t wait to spend the summer evenings around the fire listening to someone badly playing an acoustic guitar and toasting marshmallows.

    Lovely.

    MORE: Argos is selling a firepit BBQ like Aldi’s but it’s £5 cheaper

    MORE: Aldi is selling Christmas Eve Boxes and summer hasn’t even begun


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