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

older | 1 | .... | 1646 | 1647 | (Page 1648) | 1649 | 1650 | .... | 1846 | newer

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    Illustration of two women hugging
    Avoiding them is the worst possible thing you can do (Illustration: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    When your friend has depression it can be hard to know what to do.

    If they’re struggling to get out of bed, unable to take pleasure in things that they used to love and generally withdrawing from the world – it can make you feel incredibly helpless.

    But this is the time when they need their friends the most. Even if it seems like they don’t want to see you or talk to you.

    Mental illness is tricky, and you don’t want to do or say the wrong thing – but avoiding them altogether is the worst possible thing you can do.

    Social isolation can make mental illness even worse – but caring for a friend with depression is an enduring act of love and requires dedication and work that is very often thankless. So you’ve just got to take one for the team.

    How to help a friend with depression

    There are lots of strategies you can use to help your friend feel loved, supported and understood.

    Support from friends and family can be hugely influential in helping someone recover.

    They need to know that it's OK to talk about how they're feeling
    They need to know that it’s OK to talk about how they’re feeling (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    But there’s no one way for somebody to get better and it’s important not to force anyone into speaking up or getting help – the best you can do is be super available and empower them to seek help if they feel ready.

    Just be there

    Whether that’s physically coming to visit them, regularly checking in with WhatsApp messages or phone calls – they need to know that you’re available and that it’s OK to talk about how they’re feeling.

    And if they can’t talk about it with you, help to find professional resources and encourage them to make an appointment.

    Caroline Hounsell, director of partnerships product development and training at Mental Health First Aid England told us recently: ‘Let them know that you’re there to talk and that there are sources of further support and resources available.

    ‘This could be via their local GP in the first instance, Employee Assistance Programmes through their workplace, or services like the Samaritans.’

    Listen

    Being there is one thing, but actually listening is another.

    Sometimes people don’t want a barrage of possible solutions, they just want to feel heard. So before you jump in with a million suggestions to help with your friend’s recovery, make sure you spend time listening to what they’re actually going through.

    ‘Try and listen non-judgementally and empathetically and give them your full focus,’ says Caroline.

    ‘Remember to respect that their experiences and values may be different to yours and take care not to express judgement or criticism because of your own attitudes and beliefs.’

    Be mindful of symptoms

    Depression symptoms are varied, numerous and different for everyone – and they may effect what your friend feels up to doing.

    Some people experience unexplained aches and pains, headaches and insomnia, all of which can effect their energy. So rather than suggesting a huge walk in the countryside – they might just want a movie day on the sofa.

    ‘Some people will be noticeably withdrawn and show signs of weight gain or weight loss, lack of sleep, lack of energy, but not everyone will fit this picture,’ says counsellor Katerina Georgiou.

    ‘Different people have different coping strategies for what they’re going through and so the biggest tip is not to interpret, [or] judge a depressed person’s experience.’

    Sometimes people don't want a barrage of possible solutions
    Sometimes people don’t want a barrage of possible solutions (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Lay off the pressure

    Pressurising someone with depression can be the exact opposite of helpful.

    You want to be helpful and supportive, but not overbearing. Making them feel guilty if they don’t feel up to meeting up, for example. Or pushing them to get help when they don’t feel ready.

    ‘To give an example, if they haven’t done their dishes, don’t do the dishes for them, but equally don’t pressurise them to do it or get angry,’ says Katerina.

    ‘Simply give them confidence that they’ll be able to do it in their own time. Let them know that if they need a hand, they just need ask.’

    Send them meaningful messages

    Avoid clichés or generic words of wisdom – your friend doesn’t need advice that they can find on a Pinterest board – make it personalised and real.

    Or sometimes they just want to hear something funny or lighthearted. Just because they have depression, that doesn’t mean that every interaction has to be about that.

    And remember to keep it positive. It can be easy to feel frustration when you care deeply about someone, but always remember that what they are going through isn’t their fault.

    The Mind website has some great advice on this: ‘Don’t be critical. If you’ve not experienced depression yourself, it can be hard to understand why your friend or family member can’t just “snap out of it”.

    ‘Try not to blame them or put too much pressure on them to get better straight away – your loved one is probably being very critical and harsh towards themselves already. Mind’s information about depression can help you learn more about it.

    ‘Listen carefully, don’t judge and most of all, don’t say, “cheer up.” It’s just not that simple. Sometimes solutions are unnecessary, so don’t feel you have to provide one.’

    Look after yourself too

    You will only be in a position to help someone else if you are also looking after yourself.

    Supporting a friend with depression can be draining, so make sure you’re maintaining your own well-being, making time for yourself and getting enough sleep.

    It’s vital for both you and your friend that you are physically and mentally well.

    Mental Health questions answered

    Google's most-asked mental health questions in 2019 so far:

    According to Google, the most frequently asked 'how to' questions relating to mental health this year so far are:

    1. How to relieve stress
    2. How to help anxiety
    3. How to stop worrying
    4. How to stop a panic attack
    5. How to deal with stress
    6. How to cope with depression
    7. How to know if you have anxiety
    8. How to know if you have depression
    9. How to help someone with PTSD
    10. How to overcome social anxiety
    11. How to get help for depression
    12. How to treat OCD
    13. How to help a depressed friend
    14. How to overcome a phobia
    15. How to treat PTSD

    MORE: How to relieve stress: Tips on how to manage when you’re under pressure

    MORE: Long-term illness and mental health problems are intertwined – why are they treated separately?

    MORE: How to use your internal monologue to overcome negative thoughts and anxiety


    X things people have said that actually helped my depression  (Lucy Dimbylow)X things people have said that actually helped my depression (Lucy Dimbylow)

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    Mum had to go through pregnancy with triplets knowing one of them was stillborn
    ‘I carried my triplets to full term knowing one had already died in my womb,’ (Picture: MDWFeatures/Kirsty Alexander)

    Mum-of-one Kirsty Alexander was delighted to find that she was pregnant with triplets, especially as she struggled to conceive and her first child was born through IVF.

    The 33-year-old, from Kent, didn’t expect to prepare for three babies with husband John, 39, but said she fell in love with all three the minute they found out.

    Throughout the pregnancy Kirsty was cautious and when she started spotting – bleeding vaginally, she feared she had a miscarriage.

    Medics reassured them that everything was fine and there were three healthy heartbeats.

    But sadly at 18 weeks, a scan revealed some issues with one of the babies’ development which caused the baby to pass away.

    That meant Kirsty had to endure the rest of her pregnancy  knowing one of her babies was stillborn.

    Kirsty said there isn’t enough support for bereaved parents after only finding solace through sharing her journey on Instagram.

    Kirsty with Delilah and Wilfred after their delivery
    Kirsty with Delilah and Wilfred after their delivery (Picture: MDWFeatures/Kirsty Alexander)

    ‘I seemed to have a baby bump very quickly after finding out I was pregnant,’ said Kirsty. ‘I did experience some bleeding, which I thought was concerning so we went for a scan earlier than expected.

    ‘I was terrified that we may have miscarried but our consultant said, “it’s a double congratulations as there’s two heartbeats” and then he paused before saying “oh there’s a third”.

    ‘I immediately laughed and cried simultaneously, and my hands were shaking. The nurse in the room had to get me some water because I became so faint.

    ‘I loved each of the babies from the minute we found out we were expecting triplets. I’d imagined what they looked like, what their personalities might be like and most of all I’d imagined holding them all safely in my arms.’

    Dad John holding Delilah and Wilfred while big sister Bonnie sits in the middle
    Did John holding Delilah and Wilfred while big sister Bonnie sits in the middle (Picture: MDWFeatures/Kirsty Alexander)

    Early on, Kirsty had joked that the babies looked like dots on their initial ultrasound scan so she decided to name the third baby Dotty.

    ‘It was at a scan just before 18 weeks that we found out there was a problem.

    ‘We had a follow-up scan at the hospital, and it was at that point that we knew we’d lost her. We were completely devastated and heartbroken.’

    Kirsty spent the following months grieving for Dotty.

    ‘I cried so many tears at the thought of her being alone, so Dotty’s bunny was something I chose to keep her safe. I cuddled it the night before my c-section, so when they took Dotty away, she’d always have it with her, and it would smell of me.

    ‘I just couldn’t bear the thought of her being alone.’

    Kirsty cuddling the purple bunny teddy which was given to Dotty so she'd never be alone. KENT, UK: THIS BRAVE mother endured half her TRIPLET pregnancy knowing that one of her babies would be STILLBORN, and she insists that there???s not enough support for bereaved parents after only finding solace through sharing her journey through INSTAGRAM. Kirsty Alexander (33) from Kent, UK, and her husband John (39) were delighted to welcome their firstborn daughter, Bonnie, in July 2017 as they celebrated their family growing. By July 2018, Kirsty found out that she was pregnant again, much to her astonishment after requiring IVF to conceive Bonnie. She felt different the second time around, and from four weeks gestation Kirsty noticed bleeding. After the initial excitement, Kirsty and John feared this was a sign of miscarriage, so they booked an early ultrasound at seven weeks. The consultant reassured the couple that all was fine, and that there were in fact three heartbeats. Unfortunately, at 18 weeks, a scan revealed some issues with one of the babies??? developments. In October, Kirsty and John saw a consultant who looked at her brain in more detail and believed that there was a development issue, causing that baby to pass away. Early on, Kirsty had joked that the babies looked like dots on their initial ultrasound scan, but after finding out they had lost one of the triplets, they looked back over the ultrasounds and were amazed at how much they???d changed over the weeks. Kirsty named their angel baby Dotty from then on, mesmerised by how much more than dots they were. Dotty, Delilah and Wilfred were born March 6, 2019 at 36 weeks via caesarean section, but Kirsty had to go through her pregnancy knowing that one of her triplets would be stillborn. Her anxiety soared and she became terrified that something would happen to her other two babies. Aside from her supporting friends and family, little bereavement support was offered, but after a few weeks it was suggested th
    Kirsty cuddling the purple bunny teddy which was given to Dotty so she’d never be alone (Picture: MDWFeatures/Kirsty Alexander

    Kirsty admits that going through infant loss or a miscarriage requires an underestimated level of strength, yet so many people suffer in silence.

    ‘The first few weeks were awful. I felt like I couldn’t leave the house because my anxiety spiralled and I was so terrified of something else happening to one of our survivors,’ said Kirsty.

    ‘I was experiencing so much grief that I couldn’t bring myself to speak with anyone face to face. There were times when John had to speak on my behalf to the midwives at the hospital as I just couldn’t get my words out through the tears.

    ‘But Instagram almost allowed me to have a comfort blanket for my emotions and it protected me from the face to face interactions whilst still allowing me to share my feelings.

    ‘It gave me a platform to grieve and I spoke with so many wonderful, supportive and caring people.

    Kirsty' at an ultrasound in December 2018 to check the growth of two of their triplets. KENT, UK: THIS BRAVE mother endured half her TRIPLET pregnancy knowing that one of her babies would be STILLBORN, and she insists that there???s not enough support for bereaved parents after only finding solace through sharing her journey through INSTAGRAM. Kirsty Alexander (33) from Kent, UK, and her husband John (39) were delighted to welcome their firstborn daughter, Bonnie, in July 2017 as they celebrated their family growing. By July 2018, Kirsty found out that she was pregnant again, much to her astonishment after requiring IVF to conceive Bonnie. She felt different the second time around, and from four weeks gestation Kirsty noticed bleeding. After the initial excitement, Kirsty and John feared this was a sign of miscarriage, so they booked an early ultrasound at seven weeks. The consultant reassured the couple that all was fine, and that there were in fact three heartbeats. Unfortunately, at 18 weeks, a scan revealed some issues with one of the babies??? developments. In October, Kirsty and John saw a consultant who looked at her brain in more detail and believed that there was a development issue, causing that baby to pass away. Early on, Kirsty had joked that the babies looked like dots on their initial ultrasound scan, but after finding out they had lost one of the triplets, they looked back over the ultrasounds and were amazed at how much they???d changed over the weeks. Kirsty named their angel baby Dotty from then on, mesmerised by how much more than dots they were. Dotty, Delilah and Wilfred were born March 6, 2019 at 36 weeks via caesarean section, but Kirsty had to go through her pregnancy knowing that one of her triplets would be stillborn. Her anxiety soared and she became terrified that something would happen to her other two babies. Aside from her supporting friends and family, little bereavement support was offered, but after a few weeks it was suggested th
    At an 18-week scan, Kirsty and John found out one of the triplets had development issues (Picture: MDWFeatures/Kirsty Alexander)

    ‘The strength of any parent who has experienced loss is phenomenal, but so many of them suffer in silence and don’t get the support they need and deserve.

    ‘Talking really does help lift the weight of grief, but parents need support to feel like they can open up to get through what is the most heart-breaking experience.

    ‘Whether you’ve lost a baby at three weeks or 30 weeks, or you’ve lost a child that’s been born, you are entitled to feel upset.

    ‘Each one of those mums and dads is a mum and a dad, and even if it’s to an angel baby, they will always be a parent to their baby.’

    You can connect with Kirsty via her Instagram account.

    Delilah and Wilfred. KENT, UK: THIS BRAVE mother endured half her TRIPLET pregnancy knowing that one of her babies would be STILLBORN, and she insists that there???s not enough support for bereaved parents after only finding solace through sharing her journey through INSTAGRAM. Kirsty Alexander (33) from Kent, UK, and her husband John (39) were delighted to welcome their firstborn daughter, Bonnie, in July 2017 as they celebrated their family growing. By July 2018, Kirsty found out that she was pregnant again, much to her astonishment after requiring IVF to conceive Bonnie. She felt different the second time around, and from four weeks gestation Kirsty noticed bleeding. After the initial excitement, Kirsty and John feared this was a sign of miscarriage, so they booked an early ultrasound at seven weeks. The consultant reassured the couple that all was fine, and that there were in fact three heartbeats. Unfortunately, at 18 weeks, a scan revealed some issues with one of the babies??? developments. In October, Kirsty and John saw a consultant who looked at her brain in more detail and believed that there was a development issue, causing that baby to pass away. Early on, Kirsty had joked that the babies looked like dots on their initial ultrasound scan, but after finding out they had lost one of the triplets, they looked back over the ultrasounds and were amazed at how much they???d changed over the weeks. Kirsty named their angel baby Dotty from then on, mesmerised by how much more than dots they were. Dotty, Delilah and Wilfred were born March 6, 2019 at 36 weeks via caesarean section, but Kirsty had to go through her pregnancy knowing that one of her triplets would be stillborn. Her anxiety soared and she became terrified that something would happen to her other two babies. Aside from her supporting friends and family, little bereavement support was offered, but after a few weeks it was suggested that Kirsty share her feelings, but she couldn???t bring herself to do
    The other two babies have a bunny each, same as their sister Dotty (Picture: MDWfeatures / Kirsty Alexander)

    MORE: Mum names baby twin daughters after sons she lost in crash

    MORE: Mum who was told her lost baby ‘didn’t count’ says we should talk about stillbirth more

    MORE: Mother shares heartbreaking image of stillborn baby on ‘her first day of school’


    GUARDIAN ANGEL I carried my triplets to full term knowing one had already died in my wombGUARDIAN ANGEL I carried my triplets to full term knowing one had already died in my womb

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    The swimming costume costs £35
    The swimsuit seems to be inspired by the designer brand (Picture: M&S)

    Marks & Spencer has started selling a white swimsuit with a plunging neckline and gold waist belt, which looks like a dupe of brand Melissa Odabash’s cult Dominica Swimsuit.

    Melissa Odabash is loved by Kate Middleton and her sister Pippa.

    The designer swimsuit is so popular that it’s sold out.

    But don’t worry – that’s where M&S comes in.

    The swimsuit features the same style, and costs just £35 – compared to the £98 the designer brand’s version has been spotted for.

    It features a slightly padded bust and a tummy control waist for a flattering fit.

    So far, the reviews for it have been amazing.

    The reviews have been amazing
    It features a plunging neckline and gold belt (Picture: M&S)

    One person who bought the suit said: ”Well done M & S you have actually smashed it this year with your swimwear and this swimsuit is the best. When I saw this on your website I had to order it, I’m normally a 14 in M & S swimwear but the 12 fitted better. The color is a cream rather than white but looks soooo expensive. I love it!!! At the age of 52 I never thought I’d get away with it but it has a great lining and support!’

    Another wrote: ‘This is stunning and such a simple and iconic design.

    ‘I am an 8/10 and the 8 fits perfectly.

    ‘The 10 is really big in the bottom and sits half way up the back. So get a smaller size if you are undecided or between sizes.’

    The sizes are available in 8 – 24, but you’ll have to act fast to get your hands on them as sizes 8, 10 and 12 have already sold out.

    MORE: Asos mocked for £30 lucky cat bra that barely covers anything

    MORE: ASOS model shows off bikini but people are more concerned with what’s on her plate


    Marks and Spencer just released an affordable version of this cult celebrity swimsuitMarks and Spencer just released an affordable version of this cult celebrity swimsuit

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    woman sleeping on desk
    It’s hard for employees to speak openly about mental illness at work (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    Anxiety is a stressful and debilitating mental illness, and dealing with it in the workplace can be really tough.

    When anxiety hits, simple things like meetings, phone calls or a snarky email can send adrenaline coursing through your veins, leaving you sweating and shaking at your desk.

    It can make getting through the week seem like an insurmountable task, and if you’ve ever had a panic attack in the work loos you will know just how vulnerable that can make you feel.

    But there are strategies that you can employ to make the working day manageable when you have anxiety.

    Sarah Romotsky, Director of Healthcare at Headspace, believes incorporating mindfulness, along with a host of other lifestyle changes, could have a huge impact on your overall well-being and help you cope with anxiety in the workplace.

    All the damage you're doing by holding in your pee at work
    Make sure you’re taking regular screen breaks (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Here are Sarah’s top tips for coping with anxiety in the workplace:

    Take control of your commute

    Londoners on average commute for 1 hour and 21 minutes each day: time better spent on positive habits instead of excessive screen time checking emails or playing Candy Crush.

    If you’re lucky enough to get a seat, this is the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness by being focused on the present.

    Feel the weight of your body on the cushion; mentally scan your body from your head to your toes and increase awareness of how it feels; listen to the noises around you, grounding you in the present.

    Being in tune with how your mind and body feels can not only reduce anxiety induced by overcrowded spaces but can also help set you up for the day by managing morning grogginess, ensuring you are calm and collected before heading into work.

    Schedule two sessions of mindfulness each day

    We all know the importance of fuelling your body each day with nutritious food, and the same goes for your mind.

    Make it a routine, as with your meals, to schedule two sessions of mindfulness each day: once at the beginning of the working day and another around the 4pm slump.

    Even if you only manage two minutes per session, it will work wonders and refuel the mind. You could even get a group of like-minded colleagues together and book a meeting room so you’re not disturbed.

    Know when to take a time out

    When making important strategic or creative decisions, it’s easy to feel anxious, deriving from the innate fear of making the wrong choice.

    When you feel anxiety grip, take yourself away from the trigger; you could make yourself a cup of tea or go for a brisk walk around the block.

    Taking a moment to breathe so you can be in the right frame of mind when making your next move is a great way to feel more confident in your decision making.

    Women looking at laptop
    Google men’s underwear and you’re presented with some comfy results (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    No more lunch à la desk

    To be at your best throughout the day, change up your routine by taking the time to eat a healthy lunch away from your desk and socialise with colleagues.

    Disconnect from work by having a break from your inbox, and take the time to be mindful about what you’re eating, chewing your food properly and savouring flavours.

    So often, we eat on autopilot in front of screens (both at home and at work); practicing mindful eating allows us to remove distractions, be more aware of what we’re eating, and connect with colleagues around the table.

    Being a mindful eater also helps to avoid the dreaded 4pm slump, ensuring you’re focused throughout the day.

    Head out and take a stroll

    Sometimes the hectic work environment is enough to throw you off balance. Anxiety can also be triggered by noise and a sense of cabin fever from being inside for hours on end.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed, switch out the grey office décor with some outdoor green and take in your surroundings whilst enjoying the fresh air.

    Meditating whilst walking, with the eyes open and attention focused on the environment around us, is a great way to re-centre the mind.

    Rather than focusing on breathing – as in normal meditation – be aware of the rhythm of your steps, take note of how your body feels, and notice what’s around you: the sights, sounds and smells of your environment.

    Allow gaps before and between meetings

    Filling out your diary to the brim is something we’re all guilty of. Over-scheduling is a recipe for disaster and can leave you running from meeting to meeting, feeling flustered and unprepared.

    Manage your time so that you have small gaps between meetings to catch a breather, scroll through urgent emails and delegate other tasks.

    That way you won’t find yourself uncontrollably rolling down the dreaded anxiety hill.

    Multi-tasking is not your friend

    It’s all too tempting to be pulled in different directions when keeping more than one tab of research open on your browser or checking your phone for Slack and WhatsApp messages whilst working on a report.

    Dabbling in more than one task will leave you feeling like the finish line is nowhere in sight.

    A mindfulness technique called ‘noting’ means realising the moment you‘re distracted by something and creating a bit of space whilst gaining clarity of what your main priorities are.

    This isn’t something that is taught, and is usually used sparingly; ‘noting’ is simply about being aware that distractions are imminent, so we are able to pull ourselves away more regularly.

    MORE: How to help a depressed friend through their illness and recovery

    MORE: How to relieve stress: Tips on how to manage when you’re under pressure

    MORE: How to use your internal monologue to overcome negative thoughts and anxiety


    sleeping-at-worksleeping-at-work

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    Protest outside Alabama state over abortion ban
    Alabama has just banned abortions (Photo: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

    I’ve had two abortions.

    I doubt I’ll ever be able to fully explain what it feels like, the turmoil of emotion that follows such a personal decision. I have no regrets, but both experiences will stay with me forever.

    It’s the smallest things that trigger the memories; the sight of a mother and her baby, seeing myself in the mirror and imagining, just for a moment, what I’d look like if I was nine months pregnant or stumbling across a movie with a scene of an ultrasound.

    Sometimes I can shake the feeling off, and sometimes it hits me at my core.

    The Alabama state senate has just announced the decision to ban abortion, barring a few extreme exceptions. The ruling comes shortly after the state of Georgia issued a similar abortion bill, and unsurprisingly both were passed and supported by men, which just makes the situation even more appalling.

    Men have no business making choices for women, especially when it’s in regards to abortion – an experience they will never be able to physically comprehend.

    If we set aside the obvious – that women should always have full autonomy of their own bodies – there is also a blatant disregard for how this ruling will affect women’s health and mental health.

    Not only is the Alabama law a regression of women’s rights that could see thousands harmed and sets a dangerous precedent for the future, with women either having forced pregnancies with no mental health support or resorting to unsafe methods, it will also ruin progress made on sexual freedom.

    For hundreds of years, women have been told that sex is dirty and wrong unless we’re married, that we should serve men in bed and that women who have casual sex are sluts.

    Illustration of couple standing next to one another
    Abortion is a private club; men will never be members, and women who have not had abortions will never be able to completely relate (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Thankfully, women revolted and are now owning their sexuality. But no contraception is fool proof, and removing the choice of abortion will likely instill a new-found fear of sex, and see women denying themselves sexual pleasure once again.

    Abortion is a private club; men will never be members, and women who have not had abortions will never be able to completely relate. I don’t mean to disrespect men who go through abortion (because they do), but even so, it’s not the same.

    Only a woman who has had an abortion will understand what it’s like to hold her stomach and cry, and the feeling of physical emptiness or guilt that can follow. Only a woman who has had an abortion will understand what it’s like to take or insert pills into her vagina, knowing it will cause her to bleed for days.

    And knowing that by doing so, she’s choosing one future over another.

    Let me make this clear: every abortion is individual and no woman feels the exact same way about it.

    Having an abortion can be gut-wrenching. It took me two years to get over my first one, and I’m still processing the second one – despite not wanting children and being certain I made the right decision both times.

    I have friends who accepted theirs and were able to let it go soon after, while others suffered severe mental health issues and were unable to speak about their experience without crying, even long after it happened.

    Somehow, I doubt male lawmakers can relate.

    Just imagine if every time you considered sleeping with someone, you’d have to weigh the pros and cons of forced pregnancy versus enjoying one of the most natural parts of human life. Would you stop having sex?

    Or even worse, imagine being raped and having your body violated in the worst of ways, but then also having to risk being imprisoned for aborting your abuser’s child.

    Or finding out your unborn child has a terminal illness, and being told the baby will die shortly after you give birth with abortion the only other option.

    Banning abortion isn’t pro-life. To me, this excuse is laughable, because if you’re a supporter of life, then surely that extends to women?

    Making abortion illegal is just yet another attempt by men to take power away from women, and will only serve to further associate abortion with shame.

    When in reality, there is no right or wrong, and there should be no judge or jury.

    There is simply a choice, one that women shouldn’t be denied by a government that is meant to look after their well-being.

    Unless you’re part of the club, and I genuinely hope you never will be, you don’t get a say.

    MORE: Alyssa Milano is calling on women to take part in a sex strike to protest against Georgia abortion law

    MORE: Jameela Jamil says having an abortion at a young age was ‘the best decision’ for herself and her baby

    MORE: 9 things nobody tells you about having an abortion


    Abortion LegislationAbortion Legislation

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    Chinese cafe serves coffee with candy floss on top so it rains sweetness
    Would you like some candy floss with that? (Picture: Mellower Coffee)

    Coffee is delicious, candy floss is delicious but what if you could combine the two?

    A cafe in Shanghai, China, is doing exactly that by offering coffees topped with cotton candy so when it melts, you’re left with a sweet sweet beverage.

    You won’t be reaching for a sugar cube at the Mellower Coffee cafe, where the magical idea was developed.

    It’s the ultimate Instagram snap as you can watch the fluffy clouds melt and rain into your hot drink.

    The joint has become very popular for its Sweet Little Rain coffee as it looks very Insta-worthy (they clearly know their market).

    However, the cool concept is pricier than a regular caffeinated drink as it’s on offer for 58 Chinese Yuan which is around £6.

    But think how cool it’ll look on the ‘Gram.

    Cafe In Shanghai Serves Coffee With Cotton Candy On Top So It Rains Sugar, And It Looks Magical. Mellower Coffee.
    Wonder if they have it in to-go form (Picture: Instagram)

    Food gimmicks often acquire Instagram fame quickly, think of roll-up ice cream, rainbow bagels, or unicorn frappucinos.

    People love a food item they can take a picture of.

    Bearing that in mind, Mellower Coffee decided to make the contraption which suspends the candy floss on top the drink.

    The heat from the water then melts the snack and it slowly drops into your drink.

    Cafe In Shanghai Serves Coffee With Cotton Candy On Top So It Rains Sugar
    A perfect cloud (Picture: Instagram)

    Those who don’t like their coffees sweet might not be major fans though. And those lucky enough to try it have said it’s a bit of a mess, though worth the photos.

    Food bloggers have said it delivers a high standard but once melted the sweet sticky stuff ends up all over your meal, not just into the cup.

    ‘Sticky cup, sticky table, sticky everything,’ wrote one person while another said: ‘Looks like it’s specifically made to be Instagram worthy’.

    Another person had a useful suggestion, saying: ‘They could just make the cloud smaller than the width of the coffee cup to make it less messy and a bit quicker to dissolve. It also would have been cuter to see a small cloud than this huge monstrosity.’

    Still, if we’re ever roaming the streets of Shanghai, we’ll be sure to check it out.

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

    MORE: Strudel the baby alpaca visits cafes, care homes and the local pub

    MORE: Pop-up café offers free ‘zero waste’ lunch for Stop Food Waste Day


    SEI_67417260SEI_67417260

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    You can now eat Nando's on a plane
    Nando’s snacks are coming to Jet2! (Picture: Jet2)

    Going on holiday soon and fancy a Nando’s on your flight? Well, you can now do that thanks to Jet2.

    The budget UK airline has just started serving Nando’s on its flight – introducing two snacks infused with Nando’s Peri-Peri spice.

    Nando’s Peri-Peri Flight Bites include a dip and dunk ‘Nando’s Box’, which involves their infamous houmous, Peri-Peri drizzle and salted pita chips.

    There’s also Nando’s Half-Popped Corn, in case you don’t fancy a dipping snack.

    The snacks provided on the plane
    *Need* (Picture: Jet2)

    A Jet2 spokesperson said they’re offering the food to give customers more reason to fly with them.

    They said: ‘To give customers even more reason to feel sky-high with excitement this summer, Nando’s vouchers can also be found in selected Nando’s boxes onboard, entitling one person to a free Nando’s meal.

    ‘Following the introduction of its first ever in-flight vegan meal earlier this year, the warming and hearty penne arrabbiata pasta dish, the company has added the vegan and gluten free “Gnaw” chocolate bar, with Nando’s Half-popped Corn also suitable for vegans.’

    Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, added: ‘The addition of these two fantastic snacking options give our customers even more great choice than ever, and mean that we are the first UK airline to offer Nando’s products on our in-flight menu.

    ‘We have already made a number of exciting changes to our menu this year, and we are sure this brand new menu will delight customers even more.’

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    MORE: M&S launches swimsuit dupe inspired by Kate Middleton’s favourite brand


    This airline is serving Nando's onboardThis airline is serving Nando's onboard

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    Compilation of dog faces and someone holding a phone in the background to represent PetSwap, a new function that allows people to swap their pet's faces with other animals'
    Ever wondered what your dog would look like as a cat? (Picture: Nvidia/Getty)

    People can’t get enough of face swapping.

    Whether it’s changing faces with our best mate for laughs or using Snapchat’s gender filter to see what it’s really like be a woman on Tinder, we’re obsessed.

    Have you ever glanced at your dog and thought: ‘I wonder what you’d look like if you were a cat?’

    Well, now you can find out – swapping human faces is only fun for so long, it’s time to get our pets involved too.

    Nvidia Corporation, a technology company that creates graphics processors and works with artificial intelligence, has designed a new website that allows owners to upload a photo of their pet and swap it against a bank of images that includes cats, foxes, other dogs and exotic animals like lemurs and hyenas.

    The effect is, er, interesting.

    There?s A Face Swap For Pets If You Wanna See What Yr Dog Looks Like As A Cat Picture: Nvidia
    It’s cute, but creepy (Picture: Nvidia)

    Some of the images will make your pet unrecognisable, but the eyes tend to stay the same – though your dog might appear a little bug-eyed.

    If you don’t have a pet or are curious on what happens when you mix a human face with that of a Saint Bernard, pug or Shih Tzu, you can always upload your own face and see what happens.

    Be warned, it’s pretty creepy.

    One man, Matt Hopkins, tried it on his own face and his glasses transferred onto the animals, making the image even cuter (and frankly, a little disturbing).

    There?s A Face Swap For Pets If You Wanna See What Yr Dog Looks Like As A Cat Picture: Nvidia
    PetSwap also works on humans – sort of (Picture: Nvidia)

    PetSwap is easy to use; just go onto the website and upload a photo of your pet and then draw a rectangle around their face with your mouse. Once finished, click on the translate button and watch as the images morph together.

    If you’d rather swap cat faces, you can do that too.

    The website is currently just a demo, and as such is fairly basic, but we’re sure confident someone will create an app very soon.

    Fingers crossed.

    MORE: Men use Snapchat gender swap filter to see what it’s really like to be a woman on Tinder

    MORE: People won’t adopt this dog because she’s too ‘ugly’ – can you give her a forever home?

    MORE: Company turns pets’ ashes into glass paws owners can keep forever


    There?s A Face Swap For Pets If You Wanna See What Yr Dog Looks Like As A CatThere?s A Face Swap For Pets If You Wanna See What Yr Dog Looks Like As A Cat

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    The spritz is strawberry flavoured
    Malibu has launched a new sparkling spritz (Picture: Malibu/Getty)

    Attention, rum fans: Malibu has launched a new rum-based strawberry spritz, and we’re so ready for summer.

    The drink, which is said to be ‘bursting with the taste of strawberry and a drop of coconut’, comes in a 75cl bottle with an alcohol volume of 11%, and they cost £9.50 each.

    The booze will be available both in stores and online at Tesco.

    In other rum news, Aldi’s own rum was recently voted one of the very best in the world – and it costs just £16.99.

    The rum was tried and tested at the Spirits Business Rum Masters, a blind tasting competition where industry experts gave the Sea Dog Premium Spiced Rum a gold medal.

    This is amazing news for such a cheap bottle – considering it was compared to the gold winner, Ableforth’s Rumbillion, which costs £45.

    The new drink is currently on offer in Tesco
    Yum! (Picture: Malibu)

    Aldi’s Sea Dog rum was selected for both price value, as well as taste with hints of sweet vanilla, spices, coffee and citrus lime.

    The supermarket also received a silver medal for its Old Hopking Spiced Rum, which costs £10.49.

    ‘We are delighted that our own label rums have excelled once again at an international competition,’ said Julie Ashfield, managing director of buying at Aldi UK.

    ‘Our UK-based buying team are constantly challenging themselves with new and exciting innovation to add to our range, so seeing new products win awards is a real testament to their hard work.

    ‘Rum continues to be a popular product with Aldi shoppers, and in 2018 alone we sold over two million bottles of the spirit. As more shoppers tap into the trend for creating cocktails at home, we’re expecting another great year of sales.’

    MORE: Chinese cafe serves coffee with candy floss on top so it rains sweetness

    MORE: How to cope with anxiety at work: strategies to banish the panic


    Malibu Launches New Sparkling Strawberry Flavoured RumMalibu Launches New Sparkling Strawberry Flavoured Rum

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    The new drinks on offer
    Aldi has launched three new gins (Picture: Aldi)

    Aldi is launching three new flavoured gins just in time for summer!

    The new range will feature a £10 raspberry and elderflower liqueur as well as a £19.99 gin that tastes like liquorice and blackcurrants. Yum.

    The gins come as part of Aldi’s summer gin festival, which starts 26 May and lasts until the end of June.

    The two bigger bottles, which are 70cl and full strength, come in liquorice and blackcurrant flavour, and the other is a bright pink rhubarb gin by Gin Lane.

    The new gins cost £19.99
    The rhubarb gin (Picture: Aldi)

    The Blackcurrant & Liquorice Gin has an ABV of 37.5%, which is a little lower than the supermarket’s new Gin Lane Rhubarb Gin, which has a volume of 40%.

    If you fancy something smaller, the raspberry and elderflower flavour comes in a 50cl bottle, and comes as part of Aldi’s The Infusionist range.

    This bottle is also cheaper, at just £9.99, and contains an ABV of 20%.

    The new liquorice gin
    One of the gins tastes like liquorice (Picture: Aldi)

    The new gins will be available both in stores and online, alongside a range of new gin cocktails which cost £1.99, and come in a variety of flavours including Citrus Fizz, Basil Smash and Berry Bramble.

    It’s say to say, Aldi will be hosting our summer BBQs this year – we can’t wait to get our hands on the lot.

    MORE: Chinese cafe serves coffee with candy floss on top so it rains sweetness

    MORE: Unless you’re part of the abortion club, you don’t get a say


    Aldi is launching three new flavoured gins ? including one that tastes like liquorice Picture: Aldi METROGRABAldi is launching three new flavoured gins ? including one that tastes like liquorice Picture: Aldi METROGRAB

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    a man sitting alone with his head in his hands
    You don’t have to go through PTSD alone (Picture: Vichai Phububphapan/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder which can be brought on when a person experiences very scary or distressing events.

    According to mental health charity Mind, the latest survey on the number of people who have various types of mental health issues found in 2016 that more than four in 100 people in England had PTSD.

    With that figure in mind, and as it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve put together five tips on what you should do if you think you’re suffering with PTSD, and what the professionals say that you can do to cope.

    See your GP

    First thing’s first – as the NHS puts it: ‘The main treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are psychological therapies and medication.’

    The NHS also clarifies that, while it is ‘normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event’, they also recommend that ‘you should visit your GP if you or your child are still having problems about four weeks after the traumatic experience, or if the symptoms are particularly troublesome.’

    With that being said, in addition so seeking professional help, there are also some self-care methods that you can employ to make dealing with the day-to-day effects of PTSD a little easier.

    Male doctor reading a patient's information
    Speak to your GP if you think you have PTSD (Picture: Shutterstock / TippaPatt)

    Open up at your own pace

    Many people with PTSD find it difficult to open up about their trauma, but, as Mind puts it, ‘you don’t need to be able to describe the trauma to tell someone how you are currently feeling.’

    ‘It could help to talk to a friend or family member, or a professional such as a GP or a trained listener at a helpline.’

    However they also emphasise the importance of giving yourself time, saying, ‘it may not be helpful to talk about your experiences before you feel ready.

    ‘Try to be patient with yourself and don’t judge yourself harshly for needing time and support to recover from PTSD.’

    woman cradling her head in her hands
    Flashbacks can occur for those with PTSD (Picture: Carlo107/Getty Images/E+)

    Learn what your triggers are…

    ‘You might find that certain experiences, situations or people seem to trigger flashbacks or other symptoms,’ says Mind.

    Getting to know what your triggers are can help you avoid flashbacks wherever possible, which can go a long way towards making your daily life easier.

    …But don’t fight your feelings

    However, as a testimonial on Mind’s website says, ‘you can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf; through my PTSD recovery journey I’ve learnt that emotions come and go in waves […] it’s best not to fight against them but ride with them.’

    If you do find yourself needing to cope with a flashback, Mind recommends focusing on your breathing, telling yourself that you are safe, and carrying an item with you that reminds you of the present.

    Get moving

    Both Mind and the NHS agree that exercise is good for your mental health, with the NHS saying: ‘Being physically active can lift your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, encourage the release of endorphins (your body’s feel-good chemicals) and improve self-esteem.

    ‘Exercising may also be a good distraction from negative thoughts, and it can improve social interaction.’

    On top of that, Mind mentions exercise specifically in relation to managing PTSD, with their website stating plainly: ‘Exercise can be really helpful for your mental well-being’.

    Mental Health questions answered

    Google's most-asked mental health questions in 2019 so far:

    According to Google, the most frequently asked 'how to' questions relating to mental health this year so far are:

    1. How to relieve stress
    2. How to help anxiety
    3. How to stop worrying
    4. How to stop a panic attack
    5. How to deal with stress
    6. How to cope with depression
    7. How to know if you have anxiety
    8. How to know if you have depression
    9. How to help someone with PTSD
    10. How to overcome social anxiety
    11. How to get help for depression
    12. How to treat OCD
    13. How to help a depressed friend
    14. How to overcome a phobia
    15. How to treat PTSD

    Mind

    Mind provide information and support on a variety of mental health issues, including stress.

    Their helplines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

    Call: 0300 123 3393

    Email: info@mind.org.uk

    Text: 86463

    MORE: My Label and Me: I want ginger people to know how freaking cool their hair is

    MORE: Can you drink too much water?


    Emotional moment: man sitting holding head in hands, stressed sad young male having mental problems, feeling bad, depressed, disappointed, hopeless. Desperate man in the dark corner needing help.Emotional moment: man sitting holding head in hands, stressed sad young male having mental problems, feeling bad, depressed, disappointed, hopeless. Desperate man in the dark corner needing help.

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    Alex Dacy, 25, from Chicago, was born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a progressive, genetic disease that causes muscle wasting and mobility problems.

    That means Alex has never been able to walk. When she was born, doctors gave her two years to live.

    Now, Alex is enjoying her life and has become an entrepreneur – creating merchandise that raises awareness for disabled bodies.

    Under the name ‘Wheelchair Rapunzel’, Alex has started posing in sexy photos wearing her underwear to bring disability into the body positivity movement.

    ‘There is a body positivity movement happening today and it’s so important for people with disabilities to be represented in this,’ she said.

    ‘People with disabilities can feel sexy in their bodies and we do.’

    Alex with the words 'sexy', 'able' 'curvy written on her body as she poses in underwear
    Alex is on a mission to challenge stigmas surrounding disability and body image by posting risque photos (Picture: Adam Gray / Barcroft Media)

    After noticing how little people like herself are represented in the body positivity movement, Alex decided to put herself out there on Instagram.

    She has uploaded a range of photos on her profile, always receiving thousands of likes and a wave of positive comments.

    There are pictures of her posing in her underwear to nude shots with words such as ‘sexy’, ‘strong’ and ‘beautiful’ drawn on her body.

    Alex as a youngster when she lost lots of weight
    When she was born, doctors said she had two years to live (Picture: Adam Gray / Barcroft Media)

    ‘I just love having the ability to advocate for everyone on a large scale like Instagram,’ said Alex.

    ‘I post pictures that are more risqué – I recently posted a picture of me in a thong to exemplify that people with disabilities have booties that we want to show off.

    ‘It got a lot of attention and most of it was positive and it paid off.’

    Alex in her bedroom, sitting on her wheelchair
    The 25-year-old has also created merchandise to advocate for disabled body positivity (Picture: Adam Gray / Barcroft Media)

    Feeling inspired by the pictures, Alex decided to create merchandise to raise awareness for disabled body image.

    Her merchandise, which features the slogans, ‘love your genes’ and ‘disabled bodies matter’, aims to make people feel confident about their bodies.

    Alex posing in her Calvin Kleins
    (Picture: Adam Gray / Barcroft Media)

    ‘I’m not a designer by any means, so I had to learn everything myself. It’s mainly me with the help of some friends,’ she added.

    ‘I sell t-shirts, hoodies and bracelets – all sorts of really cool things.’

    Alex in her Calvin Kleins
    (Picture: Adam Gray / Barcroft Media)
    Mum Jackie and Alex
    Mum Jackie and Alex (Picture: Adam Gray / Barcroft Media)

    Mum Jackie feels immense pride in watching Alex work so hard to make others feel better about themselves.

    She said: ‘Alex makes me proud every day – watching her happiness as those orders roll in and watching her face light up when her followers have something beautiful to say to her – all those things are the joy in my life.’

    MORE: Should we use the word ‘disabled’?

    MORE: Woman says she’s much happier and more confident since becoming disabled

    MORE: Do not dehumanise me. I am a disabled person and I’m not here to be your fetish


    *** COLLECT PHOTO *** VIDEO AVAILABLE *** DATE AND LOCATION UNSPECIFIED - UNDATED:COLLECT PHOTO OF Alex Dacy. SUPPLIED BY Adam Gray / Barcroft Media A PASSIONATE advocate for body positivity is on a mission to challenge stigmas surrounding disability and body image by posting risqu? photos of herself online. Alex Dacy, 25, from Chicago, was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a progressive, genetic disease that causes muscle wasting and mobility problems. Under the name, ?Wheelchair Rapunzel?, Alex has become an online advocate for disabled-body positivity, often Instagramming ?risqu?? photos of herself in her underwear to break the stigmas. She has also become an entrepreneur - creating merchandise that raises awareness for disabled bodies. SUPPLIED BY Adam Gray / Barcroft Media*** COLLECT PHOTO *** VIDEO AVAILABLE *** DATE AND LOCATION UNSPECIFIED - UNDATED:COLLECT PHOTO OF Alex Dacy. SUPPLIED BY Adam Gray / Barcroft Media A PASSIONATE advocate for body positivity is on a mission to challenge stigmas surrounding disability and body image by posting risqu? photos of herself online. Alex Dacy, 25, from Chicago, was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a progressive, genetic disease that causes muscle wasting and mobility problems. Under the name, ?Wheelchair Rapunzel?, Alex has become an online advocate for disabled-body positivity, often Instagramming ?risqu?? photos of herself in her underwear to break the stigmas. She has also become an entrepreneur - creating merchandise that raises awareness for disabled bodies. SUPPLIED BY Adam Gray / Barcroft Media

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    An illustration of two people holding hands, with only the hands visible and a heart design on top in pink, with a purple background
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    As if dating isn’t hard enough, new findings have revealed that 54% of single people have mental health issues – and it’s affecting their love lives.

    Out of 4,000 participants, just under half (43%) of singles with mental health problems said it makes it harder for them to find a relationship.

    The survey, which was conducted by eHarmony together with psychotherapist Lucy Beresford, further revealed that being ghosted (20%) and not receiving a reply from a new lover (18%) is a trigger for many single people.

    Receiving critique for their appearance and having their mental health problems misunderstood was also a sensitive issue for 16%, respectively.

    The most common mental health issues for singles included anxiety and depression (39% for both) and sleep disorders (18%).

    However, the stigma around mental health may be lessening in relation to dating.

    One third of the single people said it’s no longer taboo, while for those in relationships, half (50%) said mental health problems are present in their relationship but 48% believe it has a positive influence.

    Body confidence concerns were prevalent for both singles and those in relationships; 14% of the later are triggered by getting naked with their other half.

    Top 10 mental health triggers for single people

    1. Being ‘ghosted’ – 20%

    2. Being worried about having sex for the first time with a new partner – 19%

    3. Unsuccessful dates – 19%

    4. A new date not texting back – 18%

    5. Having mental health problems misunderstood – 16%

    6. Sexual/ physical intimacy – 16%

    7. Getting into an argument with someone they’re dating – 16%

    8. A date being critical about looks – 15

    9. A date being critical about an element of their personality – 15%

    10. Experiencing ‘gaslighting’ – 13%

    Top 10 mental health triggers for people in relationships

    1. Getting into an argument with my partner – 20%

    2. Having my mental health problems misunderstood by my partner – 17%

    3. Issues around sexual activity or physical intimacy – 16%

    4. My partner being critical about an element of my personality – 16%

    5. Getting naked in front of my partner – 14%

    6. My partner not contacting me back when I was expecting a response – 13%

    7. A partner having previously cut off communication with me – 12%

    8. My partner being critical about my looks – 11%

    9. Experiencing ‘gaslighting’ – 9%

    10. Interacting with my partner’s friends – 8%

    ‘What’s massively encouraging from this research is that so many people – whether they’re dating or in a relationship – are benefitting from starting a conversation about their mental health,’ said psychotherapist Lucy Beresford.

    ‘Intimate relationships can provide the support people need to improve their mental wellbeing, and can allow us to experience tolerance, understanding and being loved for who we are.

    ‘At the same time, it’s useful to be reminded that relationships and dating can create negative triggers for mental health.

    ‘Whether it’s anxieties around body confidence or sexual performance, feeling like your mental health diagnosis is misunderstood, or confusion around modern dating protocols, knowing that your mental health could be affected means you’re in a better position to take your self-care seriously. If issues are affecting you or your relationship, professional help is available and can make the world of difference.’

    When it came to talking about mental health problems with a partner, nearly half of those in a relationship felt ‘safe and empowered’ by it, but 21% revealed it takes them more than a year to do so.

    This was particularly prevalent among participants over the age of 35, who were found to be four times more likely to not tell their partner about their mental health condition(s).

    ‘We applaud both and couples for admitting they sometimes battle mental health issues,’ said Rachael Lloyd, relationship expert at Eharmony.

    ‘The reality is most of us will have an experience of depression or anxiety in our lifetimes and, hopefully, gone are the days of having to pretend it’s not happening.

    ‘We encourage those battling anxiety-related conditions to be bold in their search for love. We know that high levels of neuroticism can impact on overall relationship satisfaction. But even if there are mental health struggles present, couples who communicate well, score high on conflict resolution and are adaptable can and do have happy relationships in the long term.’

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

    MORE: Long-term illness and mental health problems are intertwined – why are they treated separately?

    MORE: How to help a depressed friend through their illness and recovery


    Dating stagesDating stages

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    Lemon Frozen Granita Slush Drink in glasses on rustic wooden table. Homemade Italian Granita Dessert, refreshing summer Slush Drink.
    Homemeade cocktails are the way to go (Picture: GettyImages)

    Summer is coming, and that means cocktails will be at the tips of everyone’s mouths.

    Yet, going out and spending money on a daiquiri or Aperol Spritz might put a dent in the bank account, so making cocktails at home may just be the next best thing for fancy summer’s day parties and entertaining.

    Cocktails are becoming popular by the day, and while bar-tenders can make the art of ‘mixology’ – the skill of mixing cocktails and other drinks – look like it could be a class from Harry Potter, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use ordinary kitchen utensils to make a cocktail at home.

    A cocktail with a lime slice in a margarita glass
    Refreshing summer drink (Picture: Jamie Grill)

    But how?

    It can be quite simple to make a great cocktail at home, you just need a basics.

    Instead of a traditional Boston Mixer, you could use a regular jam jar. A fine strainer for those mojitos you so love could be replaced with a tea strainer.

    a tea strainer being used to make a cocktail
    Have a tea strainer? Easy enough to use. (Picture: Old J Spiced Rum)

    Simple Shaken Cocktail

    Daiquiri:

    50ml Old J Spiced Rum

    A squeeze of lemon juice

    Monin Gomme sugar syrup

    Method: Shake and serve

    Or what about a spirit measure (for those dangerous double shots)? You can use an egg cup.

    use an egg cup to measure liquids if you don't have a measuring cup
    Use an egg cup to measure portions! (Picture: Old J Spiced Rum)

    Whatever you decide, you can get creative and pick up anything that will give you an extra buzz this summer.

    Simple Build Cocktails

    Simple Build Cocktails (built and served in the same glass)

    Lemon Sherbet:

    50ml Old J Spiced

    Ting

    10ml Lime

    1/8 lime wedge added to glass and a mint sprig

    Method:

    Add all ingredients to glass stir with ice

    Something affordable and cheap for the long summer days and evening parties that will be inevitably be occurring for the next few months.

    So, why don’t you give it a go?

    Thank us later.

    MORE: Summery cocktails for when you’re bored of an Aperol Spritz

    MORE: Get your swimwear ready, an Aperol Spritz lido and orange waterfall is coming to London

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


    Lemon Slush DrinkLemon Slush Drink

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    Nervous young woman using smart phone and biting her thumb nail
    Anxiety can be difficult to overcome (Picture: Jamie Grill/Tetra Images/Getty)

    Anxiety is a common condition, with the NHS stating that around 5% of adults in the UK are likely to be affected.

    For Mental Health Awareness Week, we have looked at the most searched questions on Google surrounding mental health.

    Anxiety comes in many forms and often people use search engines like Google to try to learn more and understand what they may be going through.

    With anxiety often causing restlessness and a feeling of being worried, as well as difficulties sleeping and concentrating, ‘how to help anxiety’ is a popular query.

    Here are five ways that could help you reduce your anxiety…

    Women friends talking, drinking tea
    It can be helpful to talk about how you feel with someone close to you (Picture: Caiaimage/Sam Edwards/Getty)

    Talk to someone

    Mental health charity Mind advises talking to someone who you trust, as it can provide relief when you open up to someone about you anxiety.

    The charity’s website says: ‘It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself.’

    This can be either by talking to a friend or family member, or by contacting a charity that has a helpline that you can call.

    Anxiety UK is one of the leading support groups for people living with anxiety, and it provides an information line that people can call – 03444 775 774.

    The charity also offers the option to speak to a therapist online through their website.

    Alternatively you can call the Samaritans for free at any time on 116 123.

    Woman using smart phone, drinking coffee in cafe
    There are plenty of NHS-recommended apps that you can use (Picture: Hero Images/Getty)

    Mental health apps

    There are a wide range of apps that can be useful for keeping your anxiety under control.

    The NHS has a large catalogue of useful apps listed on their website, which they have assessed to make sure they are secure and safe to use.

    Many of them are free, while others provide more features such as the Be Mindful app, so they cost money to either as a one-off payment or as a monthly subscription.

    The Orcha website also provides reviews and assessments on health apps, if you are concerned with how they might use your data.

    The apps can give you information and tools for self-help support, as well as general information, lifestyle tips and ways to connect to your GP or other support contacts.

    Tired young woman sleeping in bed
    A good sleep can have a positive impact on your mental health (Picture: Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Getty)

    Get more sleep

    This can be a difficult one, as difficulty sleeping can be a symptom of anxiety.

    However, research has shown that a poor night’s sleep can increase your level of anxiety the following day.

    Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, looked at the anxiety levels of 18 healthy people following either a night of sleep or a night spent awake. Those who were sleep deprived had 30% higher levels of anxiety than those who slept.

    Some of the ways that you can try to improve your sleep includes avoiding alcohol before bed, and not to drink caffeine after 4pm.

    It’s also useful to keep your phone away from your bed and to relax away from any technology for the final hour before you go to sleep.

    The NHS advises that you also sleep at regular times, unwind before heading to bed and make sure that your bedroom is a relaxing environment.

    A runner in a park wearing a tracksuit and wearing headphones
    Regular exercise can help you deal with stress and anxiety (Picture: Ryan Edy/taxi/Getty)

    Exercise

    The NHS advises that exercising regularly can help to reduce your anxiety.

    Mental health charity Mind also recommends trying physical activity, saying that many studies have shown that it can improve mental health.

    Their website states that it can help you to sleep at night ‘by making you feel more tired at the end of the day’ and it also releases ‘feel-good hormones’ to improve your mood.

    Mind also says: ‘Doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times.’

    Man with clipboard talking in meeting
    Cognitive behavioural therapy is a service offered by the NHS (Picture: Caiaimage/Agnieszka Olek/Getty)

    Therapy

    The NHS offers cognitive behavioural therapy which teaches techniques to help keep anxiety under control, although there is a waiting list that you will have to join before you will be seen.

    Psychotherapist Juliusz Wodzianski of Talk Therapy London described anxiety as ‘a psychological factor’.

    She told Metro.co.uk: ‘This is a very real thing which can lead to panic attacks, physical pain and dizziness, amongst other things.

    ‘To be managed effectively, [it] will often involve working with a psychotherapist (or other professional) to uncover the event or events that may have initiated the onset of anxiety.’

    Mental health charity Mind also advises trying complementary and alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation and aromatherapy, to try to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

    Mental Health questions answered

    Google's most-asked mental health questions in 2019 so far:

    According to Google, the most frequently asked 'how to' questions relating to mental health this year so far are:

    1. How to relieve stress
    2. How to help anxiety
    3. How to stop worrying
    4. How to stop a panic attack
    5. How to deal with stress
    6. How to cope with depression
    7. How to know if you have anxiety
    8. How to know if you have depression
    9. How to help someone with PTSD
    10. How to overcome social anxiety
    11. How to get help for depression
    12. How to treat OCD
    13. How to help a depressed friend
    14. How to overcome a phobia
    15. How to treat PTSD

    Mind

    Mind provide information and support on a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety.

    Their helplines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

    Call: 0300 123 3393

    Email: info@mind.org.uk

    Text: 86463

    MORE: Long-term illness and mental health problems are intertwined – why are they treated separately?

    MORE: Ellie Goulding urges fans to talk about their mental health as she opens up on anxiety


    Nervous young woman using smart phoneNervous young woman using smart phone

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    Here are some ways to prevent a panic attack
    Deep breathing can help a panic attack (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Panic attacks are scary. They can be so severe that they have been likened to the feeling of a heart attack, with them causing symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pains.

    When you have anxiety, and something triggers it, you never know when a panic attack might strike – but there are ways to stop the attack from getting any worse – because in some cases, they have resulted in people going to the hospital and being helped by paramedics.

    For mental health awareness week, we’re discussing Google’s most searched questions on mental health, including how to stop a panic attack.

    Rachel Boyd, Head of Information Content at Mind, says panic attacks can be a ‘scary experience, particularly if you’ve never had one before or if you don’t know what’s happening.’

    She says: ‘Panic attacks can be a scary experience, particularly if you’ve never had one before or if you don’t know what’s happening.

    ‘They’re an exaggeration of the body’s normal response to danger, stress or excitement. You might have physical symptoms like dizziness, nausea, rapid breathing, chest pains and sweating.’

    Use techniques such as deep breathing and counting to five

    Rachel suggests a few techniques for how to stop a panic attack as it takes place – or to prevent it actually happening when you feel one is coming.

    Rachel at Mind spoke to us about preventing panic attacks
    Counting to five can als help (Picture: Phébe Lou Morson for Metro.co.uk)

    She says: ‘If you experience a panic attack there’s a few techniques you can try.

    ‘It can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five.

    ‘Focusing on your senses too – what you can taste, feel, smell, see and hear – can help bring you back from feelings of panic.’

    Think about something similar, and bring back awareness to your body

    Rebecca Lockwood, an award-winning Mindset Coach tells Metro.co.uk her best techniques for stopping a panic attack head-on.

    She says: ‘If someone is suffering with a panic attack or is about to, the best thing to do is to think about something that is familiar, like your favorite song and begin to sing or put it on to listen to.

    ‘This helps because it brings the awareness back to now and to changes the current thinking and internal representation.

    ‘Meaning that what you are thinking about in your mind changes. It brings you back to here and now and helps you change your physiology.

    ‘Changing your physiology will help you because think about it, when you are feeling unhappy or low, you have your shoulders slumped, you are looking down, when you are happy you are the opposite.

    ‘Your shoulders are back, your chin is up and your chest is open. By listening to your favorite music you will begin to feel more upbeat and interrupt the negative pattern.’

    Use apps to help keep you grounded

    There are also apps such as Calm, where there are options for meditation, calming stories and music, which may all be very helpful when you feel a panic attack coming along.’

    Most importantly, it is vital that you remember that you are safe, nothing bad is going to happen to you – and although panic attacks can be terrifying, the feelings do and will pass.

    This mindset can help keep you calm when you feel one about to take place.

    However, if you have frequent panic attacks, Rachel suggests seeing your GP.

    She says: ‘If panic attacks are becoming more regular, lasting longer or generally impacting on your day to day life, it’s worth visiting your GP.

    ‘Speaking about mental health can be a tricky thing to do, but Mind has lots of tips and advice to help prepare you for your appointment.’

    Mental Health questions answered

    Google's most-asked mental health questions in 2019 so far:

    According to Google, the most frequently asked 'how to' questions relating to mental health this year so far are:

    1. How to relieve stress
    2. How to help anxiety
    3. How to stop worrying
    4. How to stop a panic attack
    5. How to deal with stress
    6. How to cope with depression
    7. How to know if you have anxiety
    8. How to know if you have depression
    9. How to help someone with PTSD
    10. How to overcome social anxiety
    11. How to get help for depression
    12. How to treat OCD
    13. How to help a depressed friend
    14. How to overcome a phobia
    15. How to treat PTSD

    MORE: ‘I’m disabled and sexy’: Woman with spinal muscular atrophy regularly poses in underwear

    MORE: How to treat PTSD: Five tips on getting through the aftermath of trauma


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

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    Male friends hanging out together during outdoor wedding reception
    Sorry lads you’ll have to pee outside (Picture: Getty)

    We’ve seen people go to lots of different measures to save costs on a wedding, like combining it with another expensive occasion (i.e funeral), limiting the number of guests, getting the florist to do the job for free, and opting for homemade rings.

    But, er, we haven’t seen anyone trying to save on flushes.

    One bride-to-be from the U.S decided that she wanted a backyard wedding but that meant a lack of toilet facilities for the guests.

    With only two bathrooms in the home, she wondered whether the male guests could just ‘do their business’ in the garden.

    She even asked whether it would be cute to have a sign telling men to ‘tinkle outside’.

    People, of course, said it would not. Posting on a wedding shaming group on Facebook, the bride was roasted for her suggestion.

    The poster was met with a flurry of comments knocking the bad idea.

    The bride wanted to put a 'tinkle outside' sign for male guests
    The bride wanted to put a ‘tinkle outside’ sign for male guests (Picture: That’s It I’m Wedding Shaming)

    She wrote: ”Okay this is probably a weird question but here it goes lol! So our wedding is going to be in our yard, we have a gate that goes to the backyard, as you can see in the pictures.

    ‘We have two guest bathrooms and we plan on having close to but less than 100 guests. Now that’s a lot of people using the restroom right?

    ‘So my question is, would it be weird if I did some sort of cute nicely written sign that says “men do your business outside” and pointing towards the backyard?

    ‘I’m just tryna save some flushes! Ladies and children of course inside but guys can tinkle outside, or is that too rude lol?’

    People said the idea was ‘gross’ and would mean guys have to publicly get their junk out.

    One person wrote: ‘So you’ll have gents flopping their doodles out all over your lawn? That’s one for the photo album.’

    While another said: ‘Gross, my kids are all over every tree in our yard when they play, I can’t imagine how nasty that would be with people peeing on them all night.’

    One person joked: ‘It’s all fun and games until mad Uncle Bert takes a dump in the middle of the lawn!’

    Some people said a portable loo would be much better than allowing a stinky pee zone right by the area the bride and groom would be saying I do.

    MORE: Bride with fertility issues slams guest for giving her a pregnancy test and onesies as a wedding gift

    MORE: Bride asks florist to work for free – because she’s already spent thousands on wedding

    MORE: Man with learning disability couldn’t find a wife so family throws him wedding without bride


    Male friends hanging out together during outdoor wedding receptionMale friends hanging out together during outdoor wedding reception

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    Building the future of building
    Building the future of building

    A new exhibit at the London Transport Museum is shows how new technology like drones is changing more than just your flight schedule.

    It might seem like construction equipment and vehicles haven’t changed for decades but a new London exhibit illustrates how quickly things are changing – and it’s doing so via the medium of Lego Technic.

    The exhibit features a number of models created by members of the public, following a worldwide competition organised by Volvo and Lego.

    The idea was to imagine future construction machines that are able to use modern tech like solar power, autonomous machines, drones, and 3D printers.

    The winner was Vida Andras from Budapest but the runner-up was local boy James Cox, from East London.

    The idea was to inspire young engineers into imagining how construction vehicles would look in the future, using Lego Technic – the more Mecanno-like Lego system that has working gears and mechanical parts.

    The FutuRE:BUILD exhibition is exclusive to the London Transport Museum and runs until Thursday, 16 May. You can find more information on the official website.

    Inspiring a new generation of engineers
    Inspiring a new generation of engineers

    Building the future of buildingBuilding the future of building

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    Sightseers pose for a photograph at Brighton Marina, voted the UK???s most photogenic backdrop in research revealed today to celebrate the launch of new Google Pixel 3a. Top Photographic backdrops have also been revealed across the UK including Oxford University, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Cathedral Square in Birmingham, Liverpool???s World Museum, Tower Bridge and several other places around London. 15th May 2019
    Brighton Marina best loved place to take a photo (Picture: Tony Kershaw)

    We’ve all been there.

    Trying to get the perfect spot for a fantastic photo.

    But it seems that if you’re looking for a great location to take the perfect photo in the UK, you need to head to Brighton Marina, as it has been voted for the top slot across the nation.

    Followed by Oxford University and Tower Bridge in London in second and third spots.

    Sightseers have their photo taken at Tower Bridge in London, as Google has mapped out exactly where to snap the nation's favourite photographic backdrops to celebrate the launch of Pixel 3a. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 15, 2019. Top Photographic backdrops have also been revealed across the UK including Brighton Marina and Pier, Oxford University, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Cathedral Square in Birmingham, Liverpool???s World Museum and several other places around London. Photo credit should read: Tim IrelandPA Wire
    Sightseers have their photo taken at Tower Bridge in London, as Google has mapped out  (Photo: Tim Ireland, PA Wire)
    Sightseers have their photo taken at Tower Bridge in London, as Google has mapped out exactly where to snap the nation's favourite photographic backdrops to celebrate the launch of Pixel 3a. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 15, 2019. Top Photographic backdrops have also been revealed across the UK including Brighton Marina and Pier, Oxford University, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Cathedral Square in Birmingham, Liverpool???s World Museum and several other places around London. Photo credit should read: Tim IrelandPA Wire
    Jump for joy (Photo: Tim Ireland)

    Tower Bridge in London became the top spot for a photo in the capital, followed by the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, and Buckingham Palace.

    It’s harder than it looks: the lighting has to be right, there has to be a great photographer who can command crowds to not walk through as you get that award-winning shot.

    But could there be more to it?

    A study by Google Pixel and a team of social media experts pinpointed the exact locations for the photo backdrops to get the perfect photo.

    Couple posted on the Brighton Marina for iconic spot
    Team Pixel Brighton Marine (Picture: SWNS)

    Tips for top photos

    Time of Day:

    When looking for a good shot getting the right time of the day is essential. In popular locations your best chance at success will be going at sunrise and sunset (or as photographers call it, the Golden Hour).

    Natural Light: 

    Avoid harsh shadows that are created in the day by taking a photo at sunset or sunrise.

    Artificial Lighting: 

    Utilise artificial light at night-time. It’s probably best to use a tri-pod, but there are settings on phones that could make for great night-time shots.

    A Great Camera:

    Worth the investment, but make sure you’re comfortable with it and it can handle different lighting well.

    According to the study, Brits seem to love their home turf so much that when given the option to spend £500 on travel anywhere in the world – the saving you’d get from buying a top-end smartphone – the Lake District came in a close second, just following Paris.

    The study also revealed that many Brits enjoyed capturing the money shot and it was a key part of their day when out and about in their favourite location.

    Linda Blacker, photographer, surrounded by lilac flowers
    Linda Blacker, Photographer (Photo: Linda Blacker)

    About the study, prolific portrait photographer Linda Blacker said: ‘The best backdrops are those that are instantly recognisable like London’s/UK’s top spot, because this provides an exciting opportunity to capture an iconic landmark in a whole new way, your way.

    ‘However, no matter how great the backdrop is, having a camera that you can rely on to capture a high quality image first time, every time is essential.

    ‘This is particularly important at locations with high footfall, like many popular landmarks, where you might only have one chance to take the perfect snap.’

    MORE: Photographer waited four years to get this picture of kingfishers having sex

    MORE: Photographer captures perfect moment when mum finds out baby girl is actually baby boy

    MORE: Samsung reveals a phone with screens on both sides which could change photography forever


    SEI_67411461SEI_67411461

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    Grace may die without the surgery
    Grace spent eight years without a diagnosis (Picture: SWNS)

    Doctors spent eight years telling a family their daughter had an eating disorder – before discovering she actually has a rare condition that makes it impossible to eat.

    For years, 14-year-old Grace Jackson-Matthew was told that her eating problems were psychological, until a new test in Germany revealed she actually had four different illnesses that cause her blood vessels to be crushed.

    The teen has not been able to eat for months because of the pain she feels – because her organs are putting severe pressure on her major blood vessels.

    Her parents say life-changing surgery that will stop her deteriorating is not available in the UK and they face a £50,000 bill to take her abroad.

    Mum Joanna, 45, said: ‘We have had three in-patient hospital stays. We have almost had to self diagnose and tell them what she has wrong with her.

    ‘It’s a miracle we have got the diagnosis.

    ‘It is urgent, if she isn’t able to have the surgery she will eventually die of malnutrition.

    Young Grace Jackson-Matthew who suffers from a number of conditions
    Grace is very weak (Picture: Joanna Jackson Matthew / SWNS)

    ‘We don’t want her to get the stage where she is totally emaciated and too weak to go for surgery.’

    So far they have raised more than £17,000 in an online Crowdfunding campaign.

    The multiple artery operation will involve a drastic re-arrangement of Grace’s arteries and veins to relieve the pressure.

    If left untreated, Grace will be unable to digest food and will need to be fed through a tube.

    She also faces kidney failure and will lose the ability to walk altogether.

    From the age of six, the youngster from Tunbridge Wells, has endured constant pain when she ate.

    She has had to leave school and is now mostly bed-bound.

    Doctors in the UK were unable to diagnose a cause and it wasn’t found until Joanna read an article about compression conditions on the internet and took her daughter to Germany.

    Grace desperately needs the surgery
    Grace’s family are fundraising for the surgery (Picture: Joanna Jackson Matthew / SWNS)

    Doctors there finally diagnosed her with MALS, SMAS, May-Thurner syndrome, and Nutcracker syndrome using a new technique called a colour doppler ultrasound.

    Grace has lost around 20kg since September and has been surviving on yoghurt and ice lollies as she is unable to eat a proper meal.

    Joanna said: ‘Her quality of life is zero, she had to leave school a year ago, she’s lost contact with friends.

    ‘She can’t eat and she can’t walk – it’s awful.

    ‘It’s affected her sisters and the family too, because I need to be with her I’m effectively housebound and up in the night with her.

    ‘Emotionally it’s terrible for the other children. Grace in her waking hours is in so much pain. She is very close with her sisters.

    ‘This has hit us like a bolt out of the blue, we’ve always known something was not right but we never imagined it was something like this.’

    Grace now takes regular doses of morphine and tramadol to cope with the pain.

    She has two younger sisters Nina, 10, and Maria, 11, who have been left devastated by Grace’s condition.

    Joanna says her family feel ‘abandoned’ by the NHS which she says does not have the specialist knowledge to treat Grace’s condition.

    She added: ‘She’s just been left. Tunbridge Wells Hospital don’t know anything.

    ‘We feel abandoned by the NHS. Despite making plenty of contact, lots and lots of emails, it doesn’t get a response.

    ‘We have been to our GP, to A&E. We even took an emergency action and took her to the emergency wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddingdon.’

    MORE: Chinese cafe serves coffee with candy floss on top so it rains sweetness

    MORE: Unless you’re part of the abortion club, you don’t get a say


    Nutcracker diseaseNutcracker disease

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