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

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    Married couple Paul and Gregg LeBlond recently adopted their first child, seven-year-old Gavin.

    The new dads warmed the collective heart of the internet when they showed off the T-shirts they wore on the day they legally adopted Gavin.

    Opting for Lion King themed tops, Paul and Greg’s T-shirts read: ‘Today I became a dad’.

    Now they are set to celebrate Gavin’s eighth birthday, making sure it is as special as possible for the boy who had a rough start to life.

    Though they are enjoying life as a family, the adoption process hasn’t been easy for the couple from Rhode Island, U.S.

    Paul explained to Metro.co.uk what the journey was like and how they wish more parents would adopt or foster young and vulnerable children.

    Paul (left) with Gregg holding Gavin's hands on their first day as an official family
    Paul (left) with Gregg holding Gavin’s hands on their first day as an official family (Picture: Paul Leon LeBlond III)

    ‘Gavin is adorable, hyperactive, thoughtful and sweet,’ Paul tells Metro.co.uk. ‘When he came to us, he had a lot of issues revolved around his behaviour.

    ‘Given everything he has gone through I don’t think anyone would blame him. He has gotten so much better day to day and continually impresses us with his improvement.’

    The proud dad explained how quickly Gavin is taking to life at home, having lived there for nearly a year now. He enjoys playing in the pool, with the puppies, going to the arcade and being active.

    Dads wear t-shirts with their new son with the words Today I became a dad
    The new dads said choosing a child was the hardest bit (Picture: Paul Leon LeBlond III)

    He certainly keeps his two dads on the move. They just want Gavin, who has overcome so much, to have a better start in life.

    ‘We have worked through a lot of issues and he is not the same kid that moved in with us,’ says Paul. ‘It’s crazy to think that just a lot of love, attention and structure could do so much.

    ‘He rarely requires the same amount of attention as he did the day he moved in. It is still a struggle to maintain structure and Gavin really enjoys throwing curve balls at us. Nothing a quick dad joke or five can’t calm.’

    The family posing together on Christmas
    Gavin has been living with his doting dads for a year now (Picture: Paul Leon LeBlond III)

    The adoption process was rough because of the paperwork: background checks, classes, inspections. They all end up just being a blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things though, said Paul.

    ‘I think for us the roughest part of the process with Gavin was listening to his full disclosure – a process that the social worker goes over with you right before adoption,’ says Paul. ‘Having to listen to the horrors of what he had been through and what others did to him made us very angry.

    ‘Not at him of course but at the people who harmed him. It took us a while to deal with that. In the end, everything we did and had to overcome pale in comparison to the love and progress he has made.

    ‘He has made incredible strides in the last months. He did this not because of us but because he wanted to. All we did was provide a stable foothold so he could climb.’

    Dads Share A Heartwarming Picture Of Their First Day After Adopting A Son There?s nothing more important in life than family. When there are so many bad things happening in this world, everybody needs to feel loved and supported. Sadly, there are so many unfortunate children who didn?t get a chance to have the love and affection they needed while growing up. Growing up in an abusive family or somewhere where you don?t feel needed can affect your life forever turning it into a life-long battle of depression, suffering, and worse. This is why it is so important to give a chance to foster parents whose only wish is to make one kid?s life better than it was. Bored Panda has contacted two new parents to tell us more about their obstacles while adopting a child. ?Gregg and I met in October of 2012 and our first date was dinner and a movie. After about 3 months of dating, I moved to Rhode Island to live with Gregg in his house. Over the course of the next few months, we talked about how much we both wanted a child and fatherhood, both incredibly nervous if we had what it took to be parents. We talked about surrogacy at length. We did a little research into the process and discovered it was 75-150 thousand for the full process. We both decided that instead of doing that, we could take that same money and make one kid?s life amazing.? ?We found out that Rhode Island was running a pilot program called Become an Anchor. It was a fast-forward track for people wishing to foster/adopt. On one weekend, we would be able to complete all the required classes for fostering. It was brutal! We started on a Friday night, checked into a hotel in Providence, and us as well as 300 other people were in classes for 6 hours ? Friday night, 12 hours ? Saturday and 8 hours ? Sunday. We learned everything we could about state laws, the process, the support structures, etc. We laughed, we cried a lot listening to other kids? stories, and we met some amazing people. After that, we scheduled our fire and home inspections and chose a foster agency to work with. After what seemed like a mountain of paperwork and hurdles, we were finally cleared for fostering.?
    Paul and Gregg wish more couples would consider adopting or fostering (Picture: Paul Leon LeBlond III)

    The couple has some advice for hopeful adopters, urging more people to take the plunge.

    They said: ‘Don’t judge by the paperwork. Gavin looked really bad on paper but wasn’t even close to what we had envisioned in our head. When you boil down any kids past into a few pages of diagnosis it can look really bad.

    ‘Remember these kiddos have been under a microscope for the short time of their existence so anyone would look bad under that kind of scrutiny.

    Dads Share A Heartwarming Picture Of Their First Day After Adopting A Son There?s nothing more important in life than family. When there are so many bad things happening in this world, everybody needs to feel loved and supported. Sadly, there are so many unfortunate children who didn?t get a chance to have the love and affection they needed while growing up. Growing up in an abusive family or somewhere where you don?t feel needed can affect your life forever turning it into a life-long battle of depression, suffering, and worse. This is why it is so important to give a chance to foster parents whose only wish is to make one kid?s life better than it was. Bored Panda has contacted two new parents to tell us more about their obstacles while adopting a child. ?Gregg and I met in October of 2012 and our first date was dinner and a movie. After about 3 months of dating, I moved to Rhode Island to live with Gregg in his house. Over the course of the next few months, we talked about how much we both wanted a child and fatherhood, both incredibly nervous if we had what it took to be parents. We talked about surrogacy at length. We did a little research into the process and discovered it was 75-150 thousand for the full process. We both decided that instead of doing that, we could take that same money and make one kid?s life amazing.? ?We found out that Rhode Island was running a pilot program called Become an Anchor. It was a fast-forward track for people wishing to foster/adopt. On one weekend, we would be able to complete all the required classes for fostering. It was brutal! We started on a Friday night, checked into a hotel in Providence, and us as well as 300 other people were in classes for 6 hours ? Friday night, 12 hours ? Saturday and 8 hours ? Sunday. We learned everything we could about state laws, the process, the support structures, etc. We laughed, we cried a lot listening to other kids? stories, and we met some amazing people. After that, we scheduled our fire and home inspections and chose a foster agency to work with. After what seemed like a mountain of paperwork and hurdles, we were finally cleared for fostering.?
    The family are now preparing for Gavin’s eighth birthday (Picture: Paul Leon LeBlond III)

    ‘Get a thick skin. Remember all the anger and hurtful words don’t come from a place necessarily directed at you. These kids harbour a lot of pain and anger.

    ‘Sometimes that comes at you hard, but you need to remember its not always you who is the intended recipient. A lot of times you’re just convenient.’

    They added that patience was key when handling a new adoptee.

    ‘Always try to think about what they have been through and where the emotion is coming from. It’s not always about you, sometimes it’s a trigger from the past and there’s no way of you knowing.

    ‘Keep a journal if you have to. Listen to them. The details of what they really mean or how they really feel come out in the most subtle ways. Make sure to pay attention.’

    MORE: Teen daughter of Britain’s first gay dads also wants surrogate twins

    MORE: Children to be taught about gay and trans relationships at school

    MORE: Why are dads so bad at texting?


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    Cabin crew member Rima has alopecia universalis - but she's not letting that hold back her career
    Cabin crew member Rima has alopecia universalis – but she’s not letting that hold back her career (Picture: Rima Theisen)

    Think of a Virgin Atlantic air stewardess and what comes to mind?

    Tall, glamorous women dressed in 80s-like red suits? Perfect makeup? Beautifully done up hair?

    Well, meet 37-year-old Rima Theisen.

    She’s all of those things bar the last one, because she has no hair. Anywhere.

    Rima has alopecia universalis – the most extreme end of the hair loss spectrum – meaning that she has no hair on her head, arms, or pubic area.

    She doesn’t hide that fact on board.

    Last year Rima's hair began falling out
    She’s worked onboard for 15 years but last year, her hair started falling out (Picture: Rima Theisen)

    ‘When I went back to work with a shaved head, I told my manager that this was what was going on, stuck my false lashes on and just got on with it – and I’ve been like that ever since,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Obviously, a lot of people think I have cancer.

    ‘People ask me if I’m having chemo or if I’m ill and I just tell them what it is I’m living with and actually a lot of people have never heard of it. They’re really intrigued and they want to ask questions which I’m really cool with – I want to spread awareness of it.’

    Rima’s condition is really rare; only about one in 4,000 people get it, and the chances of it being reversed are slim-to-none.

    Total hair loss - including the eyelashes and brows - is a rare condition
    It’s a mega rare condition with one in 4,000 having it (Picture: Rima Theisen)

    ‘I get on board when I’m at work and I look around and think, not in a woe in me way but a statistical one, “no one else in here is bald – just me”. And that’s on every single flight.

    ‘You don’t come across many bald women.’

    Despite what you may think about the airline business, Rima says that she’s never had any issues with going bare-headed on board. She doesn’t like wearing wigs, although she does have a few for wearing on date nights with her husband.

    Rima tells us: ‘Some people asked me “oh, don’t Virgin make you wear a wig?” and I’m like “no, they can’t do that – they can’t discriminate because of a medical condition”.

    ‘I’ve only ever had good compliments and comments from passengers. But I do always put my fake eyelashes on when I go to work.

    ‘A lot of people just think that I’ve done it as a fashion choice – asking me why I’ve shaved my hair and I’m like, no I didn’t choose this.

    She chooses to go without wigs and that confidence often fools people into thinking that her look is a fashion choice
    She chooses to go without wigs and that confidence often fools people into thinking that her look is a fashion choice (Picture: Rima Theisen)

    ‘Because I’m quite confident and I don’t let it bother me, people just assume that perhaps it’s just a personal fashion choice.’

    Rima’s hair loss journey started last April, six months after giving birth to daughter Clementine.

    ‘I started to get some hair loss, which I was expecting because I’d had the same with my son. But that was just the normal postpartum shedding and this time, it didn’t stop. It was coming out in clumps.’

    She went to her GP who suggested that she was stressed and that it would probably all settle down.

    Fast forward a month and so much of her hair had fallen out that she couldn’t disguise it anymore. So she took a pair of clippers and her mum shaved off what remained.

    Before the hair loss, Rima had long, flowing locks
    Rima before the hair loss (Picture: Rima Theisen)

    ‘It was probably the best thing I ever did because I didn’t have to watch hair drop out all the time, which was obviously really distressing,’ she says.

    After getting tested for lupus and other autoimmune conditions, her doctor was none the wiser. But thanks to her own research, Rima pushed to be referred to a dermatologist who finally diagnosed her with the usually irreversible condition.

    In July her maternity leave was up and so Rima had to go back to work as a cabin crew member of Virgin Atlantic.

    ‘By this point, all my eyelashes and eyebrows were gone, and my arm, leg and pubic hair were falling out.’

    She was then put on a course of strong steroids for six weeks called prednisolone, which is supposed to suppress the immune system.

    Alopecia is thought to be an autoimmune condition where your body mistakenly sees hair follicles as foreign invaders. There’s some sort of glitch in the immune system which makes it go into overdrive to attack them, creating inflammation.

    The idea of the steroids is to reduce that inflammation. But the side effects were horrible.

    Although she has tried a course of steroids, Rima given up on them due to the side effects and the possibility that the hair might fall out again
    Although she has tried a course of steroids, she’s given up on them due to the side effects and the possibility that the hair might fall out again (Picture: Rima Theisen)

    ‘I had really bad hot flushes, I fainted once or twice,’ says Rima. ‘I did have a tiny bit of hair growth but I knew from talking to other people on the Alopecia Support Group UK on Facebook that if it did grow back at all, the likelihood of it falling back out after I stopped taking the steroids was quite high because once you stop them, your immune system works it was back up again.

    ‘After that, I decided that I didn’t want to do anymore treatments – despite being offered other stronger immunosuppressants that they give to cancer patients. But I would have had to go for bloods every month, liver checks, there’s an increased chance of lymphoma – that kind of stuff.

    ‘I thought, “I ‘m not ill, why would I make myself ill just for an aesthetic reason?”. So I decided against that and I’ve just been getting on with it since.’

    While there’s no official cause, there always tends to be a trigger point for autoimmune issues.

    In Rima’s case, medics thought that it might have a ‘perfect storm’ of just having had a baby, stopping breastfeeding, and crash dieting for a holiday.

    The problem, as in so many women’s health cases, is that diagnosis is often hard to come by and involves the women having to really push for further investigations to be made.

    Rima at the beach
    She advises anyone else to push for a concrete diagnosis and know that there is life after hair (Picture: Rima Theisen)

    ‘I had a couple of girls message me on Instagram recently saying they’re going through the same thing and their doctor has just told them to relax and take some vitamin B12 tablets which isn’t really a good enough answer when all your hair is falling out and you don’t know what to do,’ says Rima.

    ‘My advice would be to exhaust all the blood tests, then try to push for some form of diagnosis because that really helps you come to terms with what’s going on and once you have that clarity that there’s nothing really wrong with you (if it is alopecia), that helps you to accept and move forward and get on with things a little bit better.’

    What other coping strategies does Rima recommend for other women going through hair loss?

    ‘Know that you can be the same person you are without hair,’ she tells us.

    ‘There are amazing wigs out there these days. I get two free NHS wigs a year – they’re not amazing full lace Beyoncé style things but they’re alright.

    ‘Once you learn to go forwards step by step every day, you learn to accept and become a new you.’

    MORE: What it’s really like to have sex when you’ve got alopecia

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

    MORE: Woman with alopecia gets a tattoo covering her whole head to help her embrace being bald


    alopecia-ffe9alopecia-ffe9

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    Split image of two profile photos featuring Rory McGuire, a campaigner for Changing Faces
    People told me they would kill themselves if they looked like me (Picture: Rory McGuire)

    I was born with a venous malformation (VM) birthmark on my upper lip and right cheek.

    Over the years, I’ve had around 20 operations to reduce the size of it.

    When I was younger and my birthmark was a lot more prominent I would get stared at and laughed at nearly every day, which completely crushed my self-confidence.

    I was told that I was a freak. I was compared to an alien and ‘evil’ film characters.

    Sometimes children would have competitions to see who could call me the most offensive names.

    Back then, I couldn’t imagine that things would ever get better for me, so I resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to be truly happy.

    This was because of the constant prejudice and mental abuse that I had to endure, simply because of my appearance. I didn’t choose to ‘look different’, yet this became the one thing that people focused on.

    People told me I was ugly.

    People told me they would kill themselves if they looked like me.

    People told me I would never achieve certain things in life.

    I turned down opportunities to go out with my friends, attend family events or even have dinner at restaurants with my parents, simply because I just couldn’t handle being in public.

    At the time, because my confidence was so low, I started to believe them.

    To be treated noticeably differently to your peers is a hard thing for anyone to go through, especially a young person, and it made me very shy and sensitive as a teenager. It also held back my social development because I didn’t like meeting new people due to fear of how they might react.

    I turned down opportunities to go out with my friends, attend family events or even have dinner at restaurants with my parents, simply because I just couldn’t handle being in public.

    I always felt like all eyes were on me and my mind would go into overdrive, thinking and simultaneously trying not to think about what people might be saying about me.

    When I was 17, I was at my lowest point.

    I decided to start having injections to reduce the size of my birthmark after more than a decade of no treatment.

    The injections started to make a difference to my overall well-being, but I also decided to write on Facebook about my experiences. The reactions were so positive that it gave me a real boost. I felt like I had a future.

    Over time, I have overcome the adversity that I faced when I was younger and I am now happy and confident in myself, but it took a lot of mental strength and patience not to let some of the experiences I endured completely destroy me.

    Why should some people have to spend their lives being treated unfairly and be made to feel ‘different’ because of what they look like?

    I also got involved with Changing Faces and the charity’s new campaign, Face Equality Week, because I want to tell my story and raise awareness that this kind of abuse is classed as a hate crime. It can be reported to the police or other organisations who can help.

    There are around 67,000 cases of reported hate crime relating to disability every year, which includes those living with visible differences.

    But that figure doesn’t represent the level of hate crime that occurs; research from Changing Faces found just over one in three people (35%) report this type of incident to the police.

    I didn’t consider reporting any of the tough experiences I endured when I was younger because not only did I not have the confidence to do so at the time, I also didn’t know that there are certain avenues that you can take to report hate crimes and get support.

    If I had known then I would have been inclined to report some of the incidents.

    That’s why I’m backing the charity’s call for more police forces and other agencies to commit to raising awareness of appearance-related hate crime and to improve reporting procedures for victims.

    We live in a multi-cultural and diverse world, and nobody should be made to feel like they don’t belong here.

    This week is Face Equality Week run by Changing Faces, the UK’s leading charity for everyone who has a mark, scar or condition that makes them look different. If you or a loved one have a visible difference and need some advice or support, call 0345 450 0275 or visit the charity’s website for more information.

    MORE: We have to challenge the fashion and beauty industry to be more inclusive of people with visible differences like mine

    MORE: My enjoyment of fashion and makeup shouldn’t be limited by my birthmark. I want the world to showcase diversity in all its forms

    MORE: I was bullied for my alopecia but now I embrace not having any hair


    Rory birthmarkRory birthmark

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    Suffering from hellish cramps? Just smear some period blood on your face, suggests Yazmina Jade Adler, a 26-year-old woman from Melbourne.

    On a SBS show called Medicine or Myth?, Yazmina shares that she engages in a sacred ritual every month to save her body from the pain of periods.

    The ritual, which Yazmina discovered when she met a shamanic womb woman, involves meditating in a sacred space and applying her period blood to her face and body.

    ‘I use blood in a way to connect either through putting it on my hand or anointing it on my third eye,’ she reveals on the show.

    ‘By doing this, it has relieved the discomfort.’

    To gather her menstrual fluids Yazmina uses a menstrual cup for her period, then pours it into a small jar.

    Yazmina is sharing her remedy to urge other people to reconnect with their bodies, suggesting that it could be a fix for period pain.

    ‘I’ve been using this remedy now for about 10 months to a year and my cramping has gone,’ she says.

    ‘What I found is taking that time out, actually be with myself, and meditate, connect with my body, it’s like the pain has gone away.

    ‘I just want every woman to feel it.’

    Yazmina Jade Adler describes herself as a blood witch and a spirit healer
    Yazmina Jade Adler describes herself as a blood witch and a spirit healer (Picture: SBS)

    Yazmina, who calls herself a ‘blood witch’, previously said that her ritual helps her engage with her body in a ‘sacred’ time.

    She said: ‘It’s taken me years to realise that bleeding is a sacred ritual time, for women to go inward, to let go, to create, to use in powerful manifestation and to honour our womb power and MOTHER EARTH.. I have been drawn more and more to reconnecting with my body and especially the womb…

    ‘We hold sacred wisdom with our wombs. Our BLOOD holds the same wisdom, it’s something to be celebrated, honoured and worshipped. Not hiddened, disowned and sanitized.

    ‘We have shamed ourselves as women for bleeding, men have placed this taboo on us for bleeding. It’s a time to reclaim our power through reclaiming that which comes naturally for us.. It’s a blessing.

    ‘As women, we’re deeply disconnected with our bodies because of societal shame.’

    ‘I am definitely inviting women to explore their own ways with the power of blood. It holds a powerful energy and history with magic and spellcasting. ‘This is about reclaiming that power. It’s about connecting with your whole being and exploring all of ourselves.’

    As you might expect, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that covering yourself in your own menstrual fluids poses any medical benefits, including pain relief.

    But there’s also no evidence to suggest there’s harm in trying. The act of meditation or other mindful rituals could help to reduce the pain of periods, although research findings on this topic have been mixed.

    Yazmina isn’t the first woman to apply menstrual fluids to her skin in an attempt to find physical benefits.

    Sex and story coach Demetra Nyx spent years being embarrassed of her periods, until she began to apply her own menstrual blood to her face. She also paints with her blood, and shares photos online to get rid of the idea that periods are ‘gross’ or something to be ashamed of.

    MORE: The Mooncup goes mainstream: ASOS is now selling menstruation cups on site

    MORE: History period – a look at menstruation through the ages in 15 fascinating facts


    Yazmina Jade AdlerYazmina Jade Adler

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    Rolled Toilet Papers Against White Wall
    What are they eating? (Picture: Getty)

    A woman has been slammed online after admitting that her household – made up of three adults – gets through nine toilet rolls every week.

    The woman asked Mumsnet just how much toilet roll a reasonable person uses weekly, to find out if her housemates were being excessive.

    She soon found out that they most certainly were, according to other Mumsnet users.

    ‘There are two adults in my house. A pack of nine would last a month, honestly,’ one said.

    ‘We have two adults and two children and we use two to three toilet rolls max a week. We’d probably use a lot less if the kids didn’t use half a bog roll every time they had a poop,’ another said.

    Toilet roll usage is often a contentious issue in shared houses, with flatmates often concerned about the cost and the burden of constantly replacing the used up rolls – not to mention the environmental impact.

    a pile of toilet paper rolls in a brown wooden crate.
    Some people say it’s down to the quality of the loo roll (Picture: Getty)

    ‘Three adults in my house, two male, one female. I buy a pack of nine a week and we are using 90 per cent of it… honestly I think someone is eating it! What do you use? Is this excessive?,’ wrote the woman in her initial question.

    Some people on the site new exactly what this woman was going through.

    ‘This is a strong topic in my house. There’s seven of us and the toilet roll use is ridiculous,’ said one mother.

    ‘Omg there’s two of us and we use one and a half toilet rolls PER DAY,’ said another.

    ‘I can walk in the bathroom and there’ll be half a roll then the next time you go it’s gone. I buy a pack of six on a Monday come Friday/Saturday, I’m buying more,’ added another.

    Others were sure that it all came down to the quality of the loo roll that the woman was buying.

    ‘I think it depends on the brand,’ she said. ‘I shop at Aldi and get their cheap “luxury” paper but don’t think you get as many sheets to a roll as other brands.’

    ‘At home, I use Andrex Shea Butter loo roll which requires two sheets per wipe,’ added someone else.

    ‘When I forget to take my own and have to use cheap hotel loo roll, I’m forced to use upwards of 10 squares sometimes just to provide enough substance to prevent it disintegrating.

    ‘When less is used, I have found issues with paper torn off and stuck in places you’d rather not have it stuck.’

    So what’s the answer? How much loo roll is a normal amount to use?

    Nine in a week sounds expensive if nothing else… so maybe it’s time for this particular household to reconsider its diet. Less fibre, maybe?

    MORE: Dads who adopted seven-year-old boy wish others parents would consider adopting

    MORE: Meet the Virgin Atlantic stewardess who’s challenging beauty standards at 31,000ft

    MORE: How to get milkshake stains out of a suit


    Close-Up Of Rolled Toilet Papers Against White WallClose-Up Of Rolled Toilet Papers Against White Wall

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    Young man and woman's hands toasting with fruit and vegetable smoothies in plastic cups
    Cheers to that (Picture: Phil Leo / Michael Denora)

    Say farewell to sipping your green juice through a plastic straw, as Whole Foods is finally ditching the much-maligned drinking tool.

    Whole Foods announced yesterday that the brand will get rid of plastic straws from all its stores in the US, UK, and Canada by July 2019.

    This comes after the grocer introduced smaller produce bags that use less plastic, as part of Whole Foods’ attempts to be more environmentally friendly.

    They’ve already scrapped plastic bags at checkouts and polystyrene meat trays, and offer salad boxes made of compostable materials.

    They estimate that the ban on straws and the change to produce bags will reduce 800,000lbs of plastic each year. Which is quite a bit, really.

    By July 2019, all Whole Foods Market shops will no longer have plastic straws as the go-to option in their juice bars, coffee bars, and cafes.

    If you ask for a straw, you’ll be given a recyclable and compostable paper straw, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

    Those with disabilities will still be able to access plastic straws from the stores’ bars and cafes, however. This is a crucial consideration – for many, a plastic straw is essential, meaning the calls for universal bans feel exclusionary.

    Horizontal photo of a group of multi-colored striped straws
    Customers with disabilities will still be provided plastic straws (Picture: Getty)

    Makeup artist Lyndsey told Metro.co.uk: ‘I shake a lot and have really weak wrist and hands, so most days holding a cup on my own is painful. I remember a few months ago I was bedbound for a week and a half from a flare, and I couldn’t even sit up to drink my medicine.

    ‘I needed straws – specifically plastic, bendable straws.’

    Whole Foods plans to take more action to make their stores more eco-friendly – although we’re not sure what moves are next.

    Whole Foods Market’s president and chief merchandising officer, A.C. Gallo, said in a statement: ‘For almost 40 years, caring for the environment has been central to our mission and how we operate.

    ‘We recognize that single-use plastics are a concern for many of our customers, Team Members and suppliers, and we’re proud of these packaging changes, which will eliminate an estimated 800,000 pounds of plastics annually.

    ‘We will continue to look for additional opportunities to further reduce plastic across our stores.’

    MORE: Morrisons is rolling out plastic-free fruit and veg areas in stores

    MORE: Boots customer ‘angry’ after receiving prescription in plastic bag, not paper


    Toasting with fruit smoothiesToasting with fruit smoothies

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    Girl lies worrying in bed with an empty bottle of wine on her bedside table.
    A lot of people would congratulate me on what a great time I was having, and I started to believe the lie (Illustration by Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

    Alcohol promised me the world, and gave me nothing.

    From the age of 12 it stripped me of my dignity, dreams and self-respect. All it gave me was the constant inability to show up for the life I deserved, and it’s taken me over 10 years to see this.

    As a child I felt like I didn’t fit in, and I hated the way I looked. I started drinking at age 12 and found that alcohol took all my anxieties away, so I was drunk most weekends and blackouts were familiar to me from the beginning. I lost friends and relationships because of my behaviour when I was drunk.

    This carried on for years; my life was chaotic and tragic, with alcohol at the centre of everything. I made countless promises to myself and those around me. I would only drink on weekends, I wouldn’t do shots, I would pace myself, I always failed and I couldn’t understand why.

    I wasn’t just a party girl; I couldn’t stop drinking once I started. I never understood why I got myself in the situations I did when I was drunk.

    My friends and family regularly voiced their concern about my drinking and showed their hurt and distaste when I let them down.

    My teens were a recurring pattern of harmful behaviour until March 2016, when I’d had enough. I was suicidal, in debt and could finally see that my life had been ruined by alcohol. I vowed to get sober.

    I went to groups and did everything I could to not drink. My life got dramatically better but there was a part of me that didn’t fully believe I was an alcoholic. I just wanted all the consequences to stop.

    Writer Bella Kelly sits at a table with a glass of wine in front of her
    I remember thinking my drinking was like walking to the edge of a cliff and jumping, and every time not knowing if I’d make it (Credit: Bella Kelly)

    I thought that I couldn’t really be an alcoholic. I was too young, I was over exaggerating!

    After 14 months of sobriety, I had forgotten the pain that alcohol had caused both myself and the people around me and started drinking again, thinking I could now control it and within six days, I had missed work.

    I thought I could just stop again, but I couldn’t. I was addicted.

    I quickly lost any self-esteem I had built up, and was doing the same things I had before and worse.

    My behaviour horrified me, but I learnt to hide my shame so that I wasn’t questioned about my drinking.

    Life became more and more chaotic as my mental health deteriorated, but to the outside world I was having a great time.

    It was a very well oiled machine, I would post photos on social media of all the amazing holidays and events I was going to, but behind the scenes it was a very different story.

    I was barely eating and I would make sure any photos were taken before I headed into a blackout. There were never any photos taken the next day when I was in turmoil.

    A lot of people would congratulate me on what a great time I was having, and I started to believe the lie. 

    The last few years of my drinking were truly horrific. I embarrassed myself in unimaginable ways, I hurt the people I loved the most and almost died several times.

    I ended up in another country once, alone without any money or coat and an uncharged phone. I woke up in hospital after suicide attempts – with my despairing mother by my side – only to walk out of the hospital and drink again.

    I remember thinking my drinking was like walking to the edge of a cliff and jumping, and every time not knowing if I’d make it.

    It’s a very dark and lonely place to live, knowing you have absolutely no control over your own body and choices and accepting it anyway.

    I was very lucky to have people who stood by me and supported me in trying to get sober. I had got to the point where I didn’t want to live anymore, with or without alcohol.

    Life became more and more chaotic as my mental health deteriorated, but to the outside world I was having a great time.

    The day I chose to accept I could no longer drink is the day I became free.

    I can now do anything and everything I want, as long as I don’t drink.

    It is not a life sentence – as I once thought – but a new life ruled by me and not by alcohol.

    If you are reading this and wondering why you can’t ever just have one drink without ruining your life; it doesn’t have to be like that.

    If you can relate to the hell I was in, there is a way out. Whatever your age.

    Alcohol lied to me constantly. It told me I needed it, it told me this time would be different, it told me life was more fun when I had it, when in actual fact my life without it has given me the very feeling I’ve always craved, real joy.

    I am choosing to be open about my journey as I know there must be many people suffering as I did, not knowing how to stop it all.

    Getting sober was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but every minute of it was worth it for what I have today.

    At 25 I now have the best times of my life sober. I feel I am enough, just as I am. I don’t need to put a substance in me to make me feel at ease with myself.

    When I stopped, I thought my life was over. I definitely never thought I would get to the point where I didn’t actually want to drink.

    I would say to anyone who is in the darkness of addiction now to be brave and speak up.

    You are not alone, and there is another life waiting for you.

    If you or someone you know is struggling with the issues covered in this article then further help can be found at Alcoholics Anonymous and Mind.

    Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/14/im-32-and-an-alcoholic-and-accepting-that-has-made-me-happier-than-ive-ever-been-7823726/?ito=cbshare

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

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    **Illustration request** Alcoholism**Illustration request** Alcoholism

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    Jonny Jarvis and Flo Matthews at home in Aylesbury
    Flo and Jonny share a two-bedroom house in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)

    Every time we’ve shared a London property in our weekly series, What I Rent, we’ve braced for the inevitable comments on how much cheaper places are outside the city.

    These comments aren’t wrong, they’re just endlessly frustrating for those of us who’ve committed to living and working in London.

    We know we could get a place three times the size of our tiny studio for less money if we went north. We know our pals are only paying £600 a month and don’t have to put up with any annoying housemates.

    We don’t want to rub it in, but after a year of What I Rent, we think it’s time to venture outside zone six.

    This time around we’re nosing around the rented property of couple Flo, 23, and Jonny, 24, who rent a two-bedroom house in Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire.

    Jonny Jarvis and Flo Matthews at home in Aylesbury, with their cat Pumpkin
    They pay £850 a month between them (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)

    Hey, Flo! How much are you paying to live here?

    Rent is £850 a month, bills are £313.49 a month. This includes Sky, Sky Sports, BT Internet, BT Sports, council tax, TV licence, gas, and electricity.

    We split everything 50:50 except Sky Sports and BT Sports, which Jonny pays for!

    We think we know the answer to this… but do you think you’re getting a good deal? 

    Absolutely! This house is incredibly affordable for the size and location and we pay a lot less for a lot more compared to other people we know. We feel very lucky.

    What do you get for what you pay? 

    We have two bedrooms and an open plan kitchen/dining room/living room space and one bathroom. We also have a garage attached to the house.

    the couple moved in 18 months ago
    The couple moved in 18 months ago (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)

    Do you like the area? 

    We live on a relatively new estate in Buckinghamshire. It’s close to two train stations, we have a bus stop on our road and obviously Bucks is close to Milton Keynes, Oxford, London, etc so it’s a prime location really.

    The road is relatively quiet and we are a five minute walk from endless fields that we can walk through in the summer which is lovely. There’s lots of wildlife, such as hedgehogs, foxes and even deer (which surprised us).

    We are close to a lake, two pubs, and the local town, plus we have a shop, community centre, two parks and school on the estate we live on, so if we wanted to stay here long term it would fulfill most of our needs.

    How did you find the house?

    We found this place online. We had looked at four places previously and there was one I loved and one my partner loved but neither that we both really loved together.

    We were running out of time (we needed to move out of my mum’s as the tenancy was up) and then suddenly this place appeared.

    We immediately liked that it wasn’t in a block of flats, which is what we had previously been looking at, and when we came for a viewing, we just knew it was the one. We expressed our interest the next day and within a month we were moved in! It was like it was meant to be.

    We have lived here for about 18 months now and have another 18 months or so left of our contract. We renewed it for another two years after the first year was up as our landlord is keen to have us here long term and we love it enough to stay.

    they've made the house feel like home with lots of little touched
    The couple have a landlord who’s laidback about hanging things up (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)

    Do you have enough space?

    Yes, plenty. There is only two of us but from the get-go we decided a house with two bedrooms was necessary so we had space to do our own thing when we wanted and also plenty of storage space.

    As it’s our first home together we didn’t ever want to feel like we were living on top of each other.

    What’s it like living together? 

    It can definitely be challenging at times. Before we moved in together I had been living at my mum’s and Jonny had been staying over a lot.

    We had only been together for four months when my mum reached the end of her tenancy and wanted to downsize.

    I was happy to move out alone but knew Jonny would stay over probably all the time, so we thought we may as well make the jump and move out together.

    It was risky for sure but it’s paid off because we couldn’t be happier. We do bicker over housework more than anything else (it always seems to be my turn to do… well, everything) but it’s basically like one never ending sleepover with your best friend.

    While I do most of the cleaning, Jonny does ALL the cooking – which is great because he’s so good at it.

    The landlord allowed them to adopt a cat, Pumpkin
    They’ve even been allowed to adopt a cat, called Pumpkin (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)

    How have you made the house feel like home?

    One of our biggest concerns about renting was making it a home, because we all know how strict landlords can be.

    However we really have been so lucky as our landlady is an angel. She’s so laidback and so we can hang pictures on the wall and other things like cute key hooks and fairy lights.

    I constantly switch up the ‘theme’ of each room and am a sucker for cushions and throws. We also love candles so have a lot of those too.

    The thing that really makes our house a home though is our pet cat, Pumpkin. After we had lived here for almost a year we decided to bite the bullet and ask our landlady if she’d change her mind about the ‘no pets’ rule in our contract. Our angel landlady said she just wanted us to be happy and allowed us to have pets – so we headed straight to our local RSPCA branch and adopted Pumpkin shortly after. She really makes the house complete.

    Are there any issues with the house? 

    Absolutely no issues with the house at all, and whenever we do have one, our landlady resolves it straight away.

    We do have a few noisy in the block of flats opposite but other than that, everyone is friendly and nice – and takes in our endless parcels.

    Books stacked on the shelf with F & J statues in front
    Alright, how many of these Jacqueline Wilson books have you read? Let’s tick ’em off (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)

    Do you have any plans to move again?

    We are here for another 18 months or so. I guess we will see where we’re at closer to the end of the contract before deciding if we will renew again (if our landlady wants us to, of course) or if we will move on.

    We have dreams of building our own house so we definitely won’t be here forever, but we are happy to be here long term – especially when it’s so expensive to buy right now. Saving the deposit is hard.

    Are you keen to buy a place?

    Not really! We are happy renting, it’s pretty beneficial for us financially as thankfully it’s all quite cheap and we also like to travel a lot (one holiday a month this year) and buy ourselves quite lavish treats – designer handbags for me, designer trainers for Jonny.

    We can only do this because our rent and bills are so low and I think we’d struggle more if we had to save to buy, so for now it’s not high on our list of priorities. In future though, probably.

    Shall we have a look around, then?

    Jonny and Flo in their living room
    The living room has plenty of space for two – plus Pumpkin (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    The open plan living room leads into the kitchen
    There’s an open plan design that leads into the kitchen (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    Jonny's DJ decks
    And a dining/DJ table (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    the kitchen
    The kitchen (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    A Henry hoover sits at the top of the stairs
    Up the stairs we go (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    Bedroom one has a blue and white striped duvet on the bed and mirrored cupboards
    Here’s the main bedroom, where the couple sleep (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    What I Rent. Jonny Jarvis and Flo Matthews at home in Aylesbury
    Flo and Jonny wanted two bedrooms so they have the option of their own space (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    The second bedroom works as a spare room and storage area
    The second bedroom works as a spare bedroom and storage area, but also as Flo’s personal space (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    The second bedroom
    Go on, count the cushions (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    sloth toys on the sofa bed
    We think Flo and Jonny like sloths (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    The shelves are decorated with shot glasses and perfumes
    And shot glasses (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    The bathroom in Flo and Jonny's house
    The bathroom (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    books titled '52 things to do while you poo' sit on the bathroom shelves
    With some excellent literature (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)
    A pot containing toothbrushes in front of the bathroom mirror
    And, of course, the toothbrush. We can only spy one. (Picture: Richard Cave/Metro.co.uk)

    What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property in London.

    How to get involved in What I Rent

    What I Rent is Metro.co.uk's weekly series that takes you inside the places in London people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what's normal and how much we should be paying.

    If you fancy taking part, please email whatirent@metro.co.uk.

    You'll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!

    You'll also need to be okay with sharing how much you're paying for rent, as that's pretty important.

    MORE: What I Rent: Billie, £800 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Walthamstow

    MORE: What I Rent: Hannah, £620 a month for a room in a three bedroom house in Brockley

    MORE: What I Rent: Charlotte and Chloe, £648 each for a one-bedroom flat in Arnos Grove


    What I Rent.   Jonny Jarvis and Flo Matthews at home in AylesburyWhat I Rent. Jonny Jarvis and Flo Matthews at home in Aylesbury

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    Imported German product supermarket chain, Lidl, seen in
    (Picture:Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/ Getty)

    Lidl has introduced a clever hack for its shoppers allowing them to take away one free item every week.

    The supermarket is rewarding customers in any of their new stores with a Welcome Card.

    The Welcome Card allows people to choose one free item every week for up to six weeks in a new Lidl store.

    Each little gift is Lidl’s way of thanking you for staying loyal to the brand and shopping at their latest branches.

    But you’ll have to make sure you spend £20 on each purchase to get the freebie each week.

    If you’re doing your weekly shop, you’re probably spending more than £20 anyway, so might as well throw in an extra treat.

    Woman holing shopping list looking at information on yogurt pot
    Yes, love, it’s free (Picture: Getty)

    To get your hands on the Welcome Card you’ll need to visit the supermarket website where you can order it for free.

    Or if you have a local Lidl store that you normally go to, you can request it there.

    Once it arrives, you can only use it in a newly opened store. But if you haven’t had time to grab your card before the shop opens then don’t worry, you can also pick it up after it opens at the store.

    It doesn’t work like a loyalty card so you won’t pick up points as you shop.

    You can only use it once you’ve spent more than £20 for any item under £3 – whether it’s a household essential or just some multipack chocolate bars, it’s up to you.

    If you’re wondering which Lidl branches are opening near you, download the app to find out. The app also has other promotions on it if you’re into freebies (who isn’t?).

    Here are some of the stores that have recently opened or are set to open soon:

    Just opened: 

    Paisley North, Renfrewshire, Scotland

    Thursday 23 May 2019

    Bingley, Main Street, Bradford

    Chorley, Preston Road, Lancashire

    Thursday 30 May 2019

    Kingsway Retail Park, Lancaster

    Go collect your freebies, all.

    MORE: Lidl and Aldi battle it out over square sausage ‘invention’

    MORE: Lidl is selling a paddling pool with a cup holder for just £13.99

    MORE: Morrisons is rolling out plastic-free fruit and veg areas in stores


    Closeup Young Asian women using the smart mobile phone for check product and Handing the trolley for shopping over the store blurred in department store bokeh backgroundCloseup Young Asian women using the smart mobile phone for check product and Handing the trolley for shopping over the store blurred in department store bokeh background

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    K9 cinema in Plano, a movie theatre that allows dogs
    Now they just need some pawsecco for the dogs, too (Picture: @K9Cinemas / Instagram)

    Currently, if you want to pet your dog when you watch a film, you have to do it in the comfort of your home.

    A movie theatre in Plano, Texas, is changing the game, however, and has become the first cinema in the world to let pooches in to watch.

    For just $15 (under £12) you get entry to a film at K9 Movie Theatre along with your dog, as well as bottomless wine and whiskey. That’s a bargain if ever there was one.

    Although they don’t show brand new releases, there are different themed evenings every week, from date night to bring your dog to church night to margarita and movie night.

    The theatre – which opened last year – has big comfy sofas as well as treats so your dog won’t feel left out of the mid-film snacking.

    They’re in the process of switching over to a members-only system, where guests can pay $29 (under £23) a month for unlimited monthly visits  – with your dog – free wine and liquor and 10% off all concessions and merchandise.

    Those who prefer soft drinks or don’t fancy any refreshments can get unlimited visits for $19 (£15) monthly, or upgrade to unlimited soft drinks and water for $24 (£19).

    K9 cinema in Plano, a movie theatre that allows dogs
    It’s a great way for the dogs to get out of the heat (Picture: @K9Cinemas / Instagram)
    K9 cinema in Plano, a movie theatre that allows dogs
    K9 owner Eric says its the first of its kind in the world (Picture: @K9Cinemas / Instagram)

    There aren’t plenty of rules, but you do need to make sure you clean up after your dog (you should really be doing this anyway), and bring in their papers so you can confirm they’re up-to-date with vaccinations.

    It’s all air conditioned inside to get your pet some respite from the Texan heat, and they can play with the other dogs to their heart’s content.

    K9 is the brainchild of Eric Landsford, who previously worked in finance. His dog, Bear, walked into his life and he decided on a career change that would incorporate his new best friend.

    Eric said of its opening: ‘I wanted to do something that made me happy for once instead of just chasing money and create something that made myself and others happy’.

    MORE: Lidl is giving away free items for six weeks and the deal is surprisingly easy to get

    MORE: What I Rent: Flo and Jonny, £850 a month for a two-bedroom house in Aylesbury


    K9 Cinemas in Plano provides a place for dog lovers to watch theK9 Cinemas in Plano provides a place for dog lovers to watch the

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    Female athlete looks sweaty in the gym
    Exercise can fight aging and promote collagen production (Picture: Getty)

    A new workout claims to boost your skin’s radiance, reduce signs of ageing and even banish breakouts.

    The workout is based on extensive research into the benefits of exercise for your skin. It was created by Swedish wellness brand FOREO alongside GP and Dermatologist Dr Anita Sturnham and celebrity trainer, Ciara London.

    In a report written by Dr Sturnham, it was discovered that certain exercise programmes can promote skin health, impacting anything from cellular ageing, to radiance and acne.

    The intensity levels of exercise, the length of session, and even the time of day and physical environment all play a role on the health and appearance of the skin.

    They found that resistance training paired with yoga is the best workout combination for boosting radiance. Moderate intensity workouts such as cycling are recommended for reducing acne. High intensity interval workouts appear to be best for reducing free radical damage and boosting collagen.

    The ultimate workout for your skin

    STEP 1: Pre-workout cleanse – remove up to 99.5% of dirt and oil that can contribute to adult-onset acne breakouts.

    Remove all make up and deep cleanse your skin. If you’re choosing to tailor your workout to benefit your skin, then removing your make up is an essential first step before your skin starts to sweat.

    Allow 15 seconds rest between every exercise. Repeat all rounds of exercises twice.

    STEP 2: Yoga and core – low intensity yoga reduces circulating cortisol levels, which can reduce skin pigmentation.

    1. Side Plank – one minute each side
    • Laying on one side, either raise onto your hand/ forearm into a side plank. Flag opposite arm for core stability.

    2. Walk Outs – repeat for one minute
    • Standing at end of the matt, walk out into a plank position, dipping hips down, before reverse walking yourself up into standing.

    3. Chaturanga – three rounds of 20 seconds
    • In a traditional plank hold, tuck elbows in and lower the body. Your triceps support your hold.

    4. High Plank – hold for one minute
    • Walk out into a plank position, lock elbows out and plank on hands. Hold for one minute.

    5. Low Plank – hold for one minute
    • Walk out into a plank position, lower onto forearms and hold plank with elbows on the floor.

    STEP 3: Resistance Training – Resistance training elevates the heart rate and boosts blood flow, resulting in skin radiance.

    1. Weighted Squat Hold – repeat for one minute
    • Sit into a squat position. Body at a right angle, shoulders back and bum out.

    2. Plank Rows – 10 reps each arm
    • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, planking above them. Row the weights up with each individual arm.

    3. Shoulder Flys – repeat for one minute
    • Holding the dumbbells, tilt pelvis back and bend forward slightly. Open up arms and shoulders, to create flying motion with dumbbell.

    4. Squat Press – repeat for one minute
    • Hold dumb bells in hand, resting on the shoulders. Press up weights when standing, and bring back down to shoulders in a squat.

    5. Weighted Squat Jumps – repeat for one minute
    • Hold the dumb bells by your side. In squat position launch up into a jump.

    STEP 4: HIIT – HIIT can reduce free radical damage and mitochondrial fatigue, which have been identified as triggers for skin ageing. It can also promote healthy collagen stores.

    1. Plyo Lunges – 30 seconds each leg
    • In lunge position, jump up, and land in lunge position.

    2. Squat Jumps – repeat for one minute
    • Squat hold and launch up into a jump before landing back into a squat.

    3. Spider-Man – repeat for one minute
    • Plank hold position, then step right foot next to right hand. Then repeat with left hand and left foot.

    4. Squat Burpees – repeat for one minute
    • Lay flat on the floor before jumping up into squat hold position and launching into a pike jump.

    5. Touch Downs – repeat for one minute
    • In a squat position, jump in and out. Touching down each time you squat jump.

    Allow three minutes before repeating the HIIT cycle.

    STEP 5: Post-workout cleanse – remove sweat from the skin

    1. When you exercise it is inevitable you will sweat, it’s an important bodily function for removing toxins.

    However, leaving it on the skin can result in clogged pores and dehydration, making all the hard work you are doing for your skin redundant. Remove any sweat that has built up on the skin as quickly as possible post exercise.

    Young lady doing push ups on exercise mat
    But it’s also really important to cleanse properly after getting sweaty (Picture: Getty)

    ‘We all know how important it is for our health that we exercise regularly, but the impact of exercise on your skin is something that has been little documented, until now,’ says Dr Sturnham.

    ‘It has been fascinating to delve deeper into the relationship between the two and I hope that this work done by FOREO will encourage others to consider certain types of exercise as a beneficial element to our skincare regimes.’

    But although working out can be brilliant for your skin, the sweating and potential for clogged pores if you’re wearing make up, can make exercise a minefield for breakouts. Dr Sturnham says the best way to get that flawless glow is to couple your fitness regime with regular cleansing.

    ‘If you are choosing to tailor your workout to also benefit your skin, then it’s important to remember that caring for it topically is also of paramount importance,’ she explains.

    ‘However you exercise, sweating is inevitable, and while this is an important bodily function for removing toxins and impurities, leaving it on the skin can result in clogged pores and dehydration.

    ‘If you’re not removing the sweat from the skin, then all the hard work you have done in your skin boosting exercise regime becomes redundant.’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘Surgeons didn’t want to remove my healthy breast, but I know my own mind’

    MORE: Woman says her household of three adults gets through nine toilet rolls per week

    MORE: Giving up alcohol at 24 hasn’t been a life sentence – it has set me free


    Female athlete looks sweaty in the gymFemale athlete looks sweaty in the gym

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    A couple in wedding dress and suit holding flowers
    The couple decided they didn’t want kids at their wedding (Picture: Getty)

    We’ve seen plenty of bridezillas but now it’s the turn of the stepmotherzilla.

    One bride posted on Reddit about how her stepmother had ‘excommunicated’ her from the family because she and her fiancee wanted an adults only wedding.

    Their decision meant that her step-sister’s one-year-old son wouldn’t be able to come.

    The couple wanted to keep their wedding small and knew that once they invited one kid, everyone else would want to bring their children so they decided to have a blanket rule.

    The bride explained that when her stepmother found out, she ‘flipped out’.

    She said that they decided to pull out of the wedding, excommunicated her from the family and her stepmother had called her fiance’s mother and said some horrible things about him and her mother.

    In the now deleted post, she wrote ‘I explained that it wasn’t because we didn’t love him, it was that if we open it up for him to attend then we need to open it up to my fiance’s side of the family which would put us at 13 children and ultimately not be what we were looking for on our day.’

    The bride and groom offered to pay for a babysitter for her stepsister and her partner but they refused to come to the wedding without their son.

    Eventually the whole family fell out in a massive way.

    A couple in wedding dress and tux, holding hands
    The bride’s family said they wouldn’t come to the wedding (Picture: Getty)

    The bride asked Reddit if they thought she was in the wrong.

    Most people agreed that it was her wedding and she could organise it whatever way she wanted.

    One said: ‘I’m sorry. It’s your wedding, not your stepmother’s. You are not being unreasonable at all.’

    Another added: ‘Why are they excommunicating you over a 1 year olds attendance? That baby will never remember your wedding day and likely would never care that he wasn’t invited.’

    ‘It’s totally reasonable not to want children at the wedding, especially if that means there will be 13 of them. And you can’t make an exception for just one child, family or not.

    ‘The fact that you offered to pay for a babysitter is beyond reasonable and it’s clear that your stepmother simply does not care about you or your wedding, only about herself. Do not feel bad about this,’ another person posted.

    MORE: Lidl is giving away free items for six weeks and the deal is surprisingly easy to get

    MORE: This workout is great for your skin as well as your body


    Midsection Of Newlywed Couple Holding HandsMidsection Of Newlywed Couple Holding Hands

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    A woman drinking wine in front of an Aldi sign
    (Picture: Getty)

    Do you know your Chardonnay from your Sauvignon Blanc? Your Merlot from your Pinot Noir?

    If you like wine, Aldi are offering the chance for you to taste their range for free.

    The supermarket is looking for 30 wine tasters to join their wine club.

    At the start of every calendar month, for three months, you will receive three bottles of wine to try.

    You’ll just have to drink them and review them using the #AldiWineClub hashtag.

    The store opens up applications every few months and they are now searching for their 22nd panel.

    To enter, you need to send your name, the name of your Twitter account, up to 150 words explaining why you should be selected and proof of age.

    Glasses of red wine
    Could you be Aldi’s next wine taster? (Picture: Getty Images/AWL Images RM)

    You also need to be following the Aldi Twitter account.

    A panel of representatives from Aldi and an independent wine consultant will then choose the panel and if you are successful, they’ll let you know within 14 days.

    The closing date is 3 June so get your entries in soon.

    If you’re not a wine drinker, the store is also offering a new range of gins for summer.

    Unfortunately, you won’t be able to taste them for free but they are pretty good value.

    There’s a £10 raspberry and elderflower liqueur as well as full strength liquorice and blackcurrant flavour and  a bright pink rhubarb gin, both for £19.99.

    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.

    MORE: Bride excommunicated from her family because she wanted an adults only wedding

    MORE: Lidl is giving away free items for six weeks and the deal is surprisingly easy to get


    Aldi wine tasters wantedAldi wine tasters wanted

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    Vincent at Georgia Highlands Cartersville Campus
    Vincent at Georgia Highlands Cartersville Campus providing comfort to students (Picture: Healing Whiskers)

    Meet Vincent, the one-year-old rat with a very important volunteer gig.

    Vincent is a therapy rat, heading into schools and libraries to help children learn to read.

    To be clear, this is not a genius rat able to sound out words and teach children about spelling and grammar.

    He’s there to provide comfort and a non-judgmental ear for kids who need a confidence boost when it comes to reading aloud.

    As part of Pet Partner’s Read With Me scheme, Vincent will sit with a child and accept strokes and cuddles as they read through whichever book they fancy.

    ‘What makes this special is that Vincent will not get on to the kid if they mispronounce a word or skip a sentence or two,’ Vincent’s handler and owner, Abby Chesnut, explains to Metro.co.uk.

    ‘If you think about it, if someone keeps correcting you every time you read out loud it can become disheartening and you might not want to do it anymore.

    ‘The point of the program is to improve reading confidence.

    ‘I have the child sit in a bean bag chair next to me and I sit Vincent on the arm of it so he can “see” the pictures. Rats have poor eyesight so I sometimes ask the child to put the book close to Vincent so he can see them. Vincent just has to sit there and listen.’

    The gig isn’t as easy as it sounds.

    An animal requires a specific personality and skills to become a therapy pet, as well as training and care.

    Thankfully, 26-year-old Abby knows her stuff. She works as a therapy rat handler on a volunteer basis, sharing her story on her blog, Healing Whiskers. She’s hoping to create an online class to help other people train their pets to become therapy rats.

    Vincent with his friend Wyatt
    Vincent with his friend Wyatt (Picture: Healing Whiskers)

    Abby’s journey started when she stumbled upon her local therapy animal group, Compassionate Paws, who put her in touch with Pet Partners so she could learn how to get her pets certified.

    She adopted a rat, Jasper, and his brother, Oliver, and set to getting them trained. After Jasper had some seizures, Abby stopped his training and focused on Oliver, visiting colleges, libraries, and public events to teach people about how lovely rats can be.

    Oliver worked for a year and a half before both he and Jasper passed away. He and Abby had just started a reading program at a library, and she didn’t want to stop the scheme just as it was getting going.

    Abby found a new breeder, fell in love with a little wavy-furred baby rat, and picked out him and his brother to take home. That rat was Vincent, along with his brother, Xavier.

    Vincent the reading rat at Chattooga County Library
    Vincent travels to libraries and schools in his special basket (Picture: Healing Whiskers)

    Once they were ready, training began.

    ‘For therapy rats, they need to be on a towel or in a basket wearing a harness, be good with loud noises, different smells, and be around lots of people,’ says Abby.

    ‘They cannot have bitten any person or domesticated animal and if you want people to give them treats they need to be gentle.

    Vincent enjoying being with a boy at a local homeschool group
    He provides comfort and confidence to children as they learn to read (Picture: Healing Whiskers)

    ‘At first, I worked with both Vincent and Xavier to see who would be better suited to be the next therapy rat. I had six months (per Pet Partners rule, pet rats have to be with their owners for six months before their evaluation) to get them acclimated to the outside world from the comfort of a basket.

    ‘I started with a snuggle sack I made, which is just a soft pouch they can snuggle in, and put it in the basket with both of the rats inside. I would let them sleep in there while I did work on the computer.

    ‘But over time with baby steps I got them comfortable with the basket and going outside.

    ‘During playtimes on the bed, I noticed Vincent really enjoyed hanging out in the basket. This was a big plus for me. Xavier, on the other hand, was more interested in exploring everything he could get his little paws on.’

    Vincent the therapy rat being stroked at Chattooga County Library
    Vincent underwent special training to make sure he could handle stressful environments (Picture: Healing Whiskers)

    After heading to some pet-friendly events, Abby realised Vincent was best suited to the reading with rats idea, as Xavier was far too curious.

    Once Vincent was chosen as the therapy rat, he underwent more training as well as nail trimming, baths, and litter box training. Then, last October, he and Abby underwent the therapy animal evaluation.

    Vincent was passed around in his basket, met a dog, was given a treat, and faced loud noises. He passed with flying colours, meaning he’s officially allowed to act as a therapy animal in high-stress environments such as airports and hospitals.

    Vincent being held by a boy a Trunk or Treat
    He’s naturally very friendly and gentle (Picture: Healing Whiskers)

    Since then, he and Abby have been visiting colleges, schools, libraries, and public events to help give children confidence reading, reduce people’s stress levels, and promote Compassionate Paws.

    Abby has seen the benefits Vincent’s support can bring.

    ‘We started in November and have been visiting there every other week since,’ she tells us.

    ‘We’ve had kids come and go, but two boys, in particular, have been there pretty much every visit and have had major improvement.

    ‘They are older, but on the autism spectrum so their reading level doesn’t quite match.

    ‘At first, they were uneasy and stumbled their words, and now they are reading faster and clearer with confidence to boot!’

    Vincent celebrating his first birthday with a cake made of sweet potato
    Oh, here’s Vincent celebrating his first birthday with a cake made of sweet potato (Picture: Healing Whiskers)

    Abby hopes that alongside helping individuals in one-on-one settings, Vincent’s story will also inspire people to give rats a chance.

    ‘Rats are amazing animals,’ she says. ‘Wild rats and pet rats are very different with pet (or fancy, as they call it) rats being domesticated, just like dogs or cats.

    ‘What got me into them in the first place was seeing a video of a couple of rats doing tricks just like dogs. I do tricks with my own dogs and I wanted to do that with rats as well, but I kind of got sidetracked with training them for a different and more thoughtful purpose.

    Vincent listening to Dr. Seuss with a local homeschool group
    Vincent listening to Dr. Seuss with a local homeschool group (Picture: Healing Whiskers)

    ‘They are insanely smart, clean, and oh so very cuddly! Rats clean themselves like cats all the time.

    ‘I actually give Vincent a bath before each event and even then he is constantly licking himself afterward.’

    Vincent is the perfect poster boy for therapy rats, we’d say. He’s sweet, friendly, loves a stroke, and loves to travel to new places and meet new people.

    ‘He is a really sweet innocent little boy,’ says Abby. ‘His favourite foods are sweet potatoes, peaches, watermelon, corn, and yogurt drops.

    ‘He loves cuddling with his brother Xavier, and a major dislike would be becoming bored from not getting any attention.’

    Abby and Vincent do their work on a volunteer basis, and need help to keep their great work going. If you fancy, you can donate through their website or buy some Vincent-themed merch.

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    DSC_0003-1 (2)-8596DSC_0003-1 (2)-8596

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    Iceland The Big Triple burger buns
    Return of the Mac… To your very own kitchen (Picture: Iceland)

    If you fancy making a dupe Big Mac at home, you currently have to squish the bottom of a regular bun in between two burgers and it’s not quite the same.

    Iceland’s Big Triple Bun will hopefully give you more freedom to fakeaway to your heart’s content and bulk up your barbecues.

    Priced at just 69p for a pack of two – and clearly inspired by the McDonald’s classic – the buns have a sesame seed top, a middle to sandwich between burgers, and a sturdy bottom to keep it all together.

    It’s the first of its kind to hit UK supermarkets, and comes right in time for barbecue season.

    They’re in stores as of now, and are predicted to be a sell-out by the retailer who are currently aiming to be the ‘burger kings’ of the high street.

    Iceland launch triple burger buns so you can make a Big Mac inspired burger
    They’re predicted to sell out quick (Picture: Iceland)

    To try and tempt you further, Iceland is offering 50% extra free on its 100% British Beef Quarter Pounders, priced at £2.

    For vegans, you could grab yourself some No Bull Burgers, which are down to £1 for two. Sainsbury’s and Tesco also have vegan Goodfella’s pizzas available now, which means your summer munches are well and truly sorted.

    Last year, Iceland pledged to stop using palm oil in all their own-brand goods, and are even planning on going plastic-free in the next few years, so you can also be safe in the knowledge that you’re having an eco-friendly feast.

    Right in time for the bank holiday!

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    Iceland launch triple burger buns so you can make a Big Mac inspired burgerIceland launch triple burger buns so you can make a Big Mac inspired burger

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    The vegan sausage rolls
    Aldi has launched vegan sausage rolls (Picture: Aldi)

    Aldi has launched a new vegan range and it includes vegan sausage rolls for super cheap – so move over, Greggs.

    The new plant-based range features sausage rolls and burgers that contain no animal products at all.

    First up are the Mae’s Kitchen Vegan, No Sausage Rolls, which cost £1.19 for a pack of four. A single Greggs vegan sausage roll is £1, so Aldi’s offering is quite the bargain.

    The sausage rolls are wrapped in golden puff pastry and are made using soya.

    Also joining Aldi’s new frozen vegan range are Mae’s Kitchen Vegan No Beef Burgers and Mae’s Kitchen Vegan No Chicken Burger.

    Aldi says: ‘They’re everything you would expect from a burger…thick, flavoursome and juicy; you’ll find it hard to believe they’re vegan!’

    The No Beef Burgers cost £1.99 for a pack of two. They’re plant-based burgers that resemble a quarter pounder in size, shape and colour.

    The vegan burgers
    They’re also selling ‘No Beef’ burgers (Picture: Aldi)

    They’re made from wheat, soya and pea protein, onion and mushrooms – and they feature 19g of protein per burger.

    There are also No Chicken Burgers on offer. They cost £1.99 for a pack of two.

    They’re made from vegetable protein and are covered in a golden crumb coating to ‘give the taste and texture of a chicken burger’.

    Finally, there are also some Superfood Burgers – and they’re £1.29 for a pack of two.

    They’re filled with quinoa, cous cous, pumpkin seeds, butternut squash, red pepper and sweet potato. Yum.

    Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, says: ‘The launch of our new vegan range is in response to our growing, ethically inspired customer base, looking for delicious alternatives to meat and another example of our ongoing commitment to cater for all diets, at everyday low prices. We look forward to expanding our vegan offering even further over the coming months.’

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    Aldi launches Vegan Sausage RollsAldi launches Vegan Sausage Rolls

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    Mr John waving to the kids who made him king for a day
    Mr John was overwhelmed (Picture: KHOU11)

    Every member of staff at your kid’s school is important.

    From their teacher to the janitor, they all play a role in helping with their education.

    And one school in Georgia, U.S., recognises the importance of their support staff.

    When the janitor at Sand Hill Primary School, John Lockett – also known as Mr John – finally decided to retire at 83 years old, the kids wanted to give him a great send off.

    He worked at the school for more than a decade after a long career in construction. He finally decided to retire after suffering from health issues.

    Described by Principal Carla Meigs as the ‘grandfather at school’, he’s more than just a janitor to the kids.

    ‘He’s at work every day no matter how bad he feels with a smile on his face,’ Principal Meigs told KHOU11.

    Mr John getting his gifts
    Mr John was presented with gifts and a crown (Picture: KHOU11)

    To celebrate, the kids turned him into a king for the day, giving him a cape and a crown. He walked down the hallway collecting cards as they shouted his name.

    They also presented him with a cake saying ‘Happy Mr John Day’ and a framed print highlighting his work.

    At the bottom it says: ‘You have made a difference to the lives of so many.’

    Mr John said: ‘These kids mean the world to me. I come here and try to clean their school and I try to do it right because I know germs and disease is out there.

    ‘The school is definitely a family to me.’

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    The TUNPO vegan Tuna at Morrisons
    The range comes in five flavours (Picture: Getty – Morrisons)

    2019 has been the year when vegans get more choice.

    There was the Greggs sausage roll, the meatless Burger King and Ikea’s vegan meatballs.

    But if you prefer a packed lunch in the office, Morrisons has created a plant-free version of one of our favourite sandwich fillers – vegan tuna in a can.

    The TUNO range is available in the U.S. and Australia but this is the first time it will be sold in the UK.

    It’s made with soya protein and natural flavourings to create a flaky texture like real tuna.

    The fish alternative is high in protein and all have under 100 calories per serving.

    It will be sold in the tinned fish aisle alongside normal tinned tuna from this week.

    A sandwich using the TUNO tuna from Morrisons
    TUNO is a perfect alternative for vegan sandwiches (Picture: Morrisons)

    Flavours in the range include Spring Water, Lemon Pepper, Mayo, Sesame and Ginger and Thai Sweet Chilli.

    All flavours are available in 142g cans, costing £1.30 and 85g ‘on the go’ pouches.

    Robert Wilson, Morrisons Tuna Buyer said: ‘We have listened to so many customers who want an easy alternative to tuna, that’s high in protein and can be used in much the same way.

    ‘TUNO provides a convincing alternative for sandwiches, pasta and salads.’

    While you’re in store, you can also now browse plastic-free fruit and veg aisles.

    Yesterday the store announced they would roll-out the areas in 60 stores, where customers can pick up loose fruit and veg and avoid plastic packaging.

    You can either use your own bags, take them to the till loose, or use one of their recyclable plastic bags.

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    Morrisons first supermarket to sell tins of vegan tunaMorrisons first supermarket to sell tins of vegan tuna

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    Star was at the shelter for five years
    Star has finally found a home! (Picture: EDCH /SWNS.COM)

    The UK’s ‘unluckiest’ dog has found a new home – after five years at an animal shelter.

    Star, a seven-and-a-half-year-old Staffie, was found by police tied up behind a derelict building in July 2013.

    He’s spent most of his life living at the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home after being rescued.

    When he was found, he was underweight and showed signs of neglect, with nails so long they curled underneath the pad of his paw.

    His story captured the hearts of millions through a desperate appeal to find him a home.

    Over the years, the home’s staff worked tirelessly to help Star recover from his physical ailments and heal his mental scars.

    Star is looking very happy
    Star is so happy now! (Picture: EDCH /SWNS.COM)

    And now staff, who dubbed Star the UK’s unluckiest dog, said he has found a home with Graeme Webb, a professional photographer from Hawick, Scottish Borders.

    Graeme said: ‘After seeing Star on social media, and seeing he was still available after thousands and thousands of views, I thought to myself, “why is no one taking him?”, so I decided I’d go and see him for myself.

    ‘When I saw how happy and friendly he was, I decided he was the one for me.’

    Following several visits with Star, the Home’s kennel staff were convinced it was a perfect match.

    Graeme added: ‘When he arrived “home” he was a bit stressed, so that first night I slept on the sofa and Star slept on his bed next to the sofa.

    ‘Since then I’ve slept in my own bed and Star has claimed the sofa as his.

    ‘He settled in quite quickly really.

    ‘After a few days, he was more relaxed, but he is still reactive to other dogs, so we’ve been avoiding them as much as possible.

    Star is finally being loved and cared for by a new owner
    He’s settled into his new home well (Picture: EDCH /SWNS.COM)

    ‘The only real issue I had was in my gallery where I have floor-to-ceiling windows.

    ‘Star would react to dogs walking past and wouldn’t settle, so I bought some opaque window film and put it along the bottom of the windows.

    ‘That instantly settled him down as he feels there is now a barrier between him and the other dogs.’

    Graeme said Staffies often get a bad rap, but says any animal can behave badly if mistreated.

    He said: ‘Star is such a friendly, happy, loving dog who wants company and cuddles all the time.

    ‘Yes, he’s strong and he does react to other dogs, but you just have to be aware of that and understand why.

    ‘It’s a shame that whatever happened to him previously has caused him to react the way he does.

    ‘It’s a case of understanding his needs and working with him.

    ‘There’s nothing like the greeting I get when I walk down the stairs in the morning.

    ‘Eating is his favourite thing to do.

    ‘He also loves playing with a football, so we are either out in the back garden, or we go to a freedom field close by, where he can run around as much as he wants off the lead.’

    Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, director of operations, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, said: ‘Everyone at the Home couldn’t be happier that Star has finally found his forever family.

    ‘To see the way he looks at his new dad with such trust and love makes the long search for Star worth it.’

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    HOMEWARD BOUND - The UK's 'unluckiest' dog has found a new home - after five years at an animal shelterHOMEWARD BOUND - The UK's 'unluckiest' dog has found a new home - after five years at an animal shelter

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    Morrisons won gold in the taste test
    This burger has been dubbed the best supermarket burger in the UK (Picture: Morrisons)

    A burger from Morrisons has been named the best supermarket burger in the UK.

    Morrisons won gold for its The Best British Beef Burger, which is enriched with bone marrow, in BBC Good Food’s Summer Taste Awards.

    According to the supermarket, the bone marrow was added to the burger to give a ‘very rich flavour’.

    The burgers were blindtasted by judges, who tried a variety of supermarket burgers and ultimately crowned Morrisons the winner – with the burger achieving top marks for juiciness, high quality meat and great beefy taste.

    The burgers cost £3 for a two patty pack and are included in the ‘two packs for £5’ offer across Morrisons summer food range.

    The burgers are also one of the best value options for the BBQ season.

    Joshua Brockbank, Burger Buyer at Morrisons, said: ‘We’re really proud of our burgers which have been created with British ingredients. Adding bone marrow gives the burger a rich and juicy flavour and we’re confident our customers will love them.’

    The Best British Beef Burgers enriched with Bone Marrow are available online and in Morrisons stores nationwide now.

    In other Morrisons news, the budget supermarket has launched a section of plastic-free fruit and veg.

    You’ll be able to pick them up loose and put them in your own bags, or use recyclable paper ones instead.

    The move follows a ten month trial in three Morrisons stores in Skipton, Guiseley and St Ives.

    In those stores, the amount of loose fruit and veg bought by customers increased by an average of 40%.

    The supermarket hopes to see a similar result across other stores, which could save an estimated three tonnes of plastic a week.

    Drew Kirk, Fruit and Veg Director at Morrisons said: ‘Many of our customers would like the option of buying their fruit and veg loose. So we’re creating an area of our greengrocery with no plastic where they can pick as much or as little as they like.

    ‘We’re going back to using traditional greengrocery and we hope customers appreciate the choice.’

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