Articles on this Page
- 05/24/19--07:54: _PLT is selling a pl...
- 05/24/19--08:10: _Boss writes powerfu...
- 05/24/19--08:32: _Spill It: What a 25...
- 05/24/19--09:34: _A floating Negroni ...
- 05/24/19--09:35: _Woman donates the p...
- 05/25/19--01:01: _Writing anonymously...
- 05/25/19--01:35: _Strong Women: ‘Disa...
- 05/25/19--02:35: _11 awful wedding gu...
- 05/25/19--03:06: _11 people open up a...
- 05/25/19--04:31: _Primark releases su...
- 05/25/19--05:27: _Malibu launches Fiz...
- 05/25/19--08:13: _Argos is selling a ...
- 05/25/19--08:17: _Someone found a ’30...
- 05/25/19--09:32: _Woman who suffers w...
- 05/26/19--00:32: _Dog owner shocked t...
- 05/26/19--01:00: _You Don’t Look Sick...
- 05/26/19--01:01: _My Odd Job: No one ...
- 05/26/19--01:04: _Should you wear pan...
- 05/26/19--01:34: _Man shares simple h...
- 05/26/19--02:00: _I turned down being...
- 05/24/19--08:32: Spill It: What a 25-year-old web developer drinks in a week
- 05/24/19--09:34: A floating Negroni bar on the Thames is launching next month
- 05/24/19--09:35: Woman donates the plasma in her blood so she can buy more clothes
- 05/25/19--02:35: 11 awful wedding guest stories that will make you cringe
- 05/25/19--04:31: Primark releases super affordable Aladdin-inspired beauty collection
- 05/26/19--00:32: Dog owner shocked to find her great dane had 70 teeth
- 05/26/19--01:01: My Odd Job: No one could stop me becoming a rallycross driver
- 05/26/19--01:04: Should you wear panty liners?
- 05/26/19--01:34: Man shares simple hack for packing jeans in your suitcase
- 05/26/19--02:00: I turned down being my best friend’s bridesmaid – and I’m glad I did
If you’ve ever looked at a skirt and though ‘it’s nice, but it’s just not plastic enough’ then fashion brand PrettyLittleThing has got you covered.
The Clear Transparent Mini skirt is described by the brand as the skirt that ‘…will make all of your festival dreams come true.’
The go on to explain that the skirt features ‘a transparent material with pocket detailing and a button front,’ suggesting that you ‘team with the matching crop jacket for a look that will turn heads.’
They’re definitely not wrong about the turned heads.
However one savvy customer, Natasha, decided that she could probably fashion something similar using cling film.
The clear plastic version isn’t currently on the site, but the good news is that they are selling it in both hot pink and fluro green.
— nat 🌹 (@natasharose_xo) May 24, 2019
If you like the look of these skirts but think £25 is a bit much money, you could copy Natasha’s design skills, use clingfilm and then add colour using a highlighter.
Natasha tells Metro.co.uk that there is a bit more of a meaning to her cling film skirt though, saying: ‘As a member of a society that is becoming increasingly aware of the impact of capitalism and fast fashion, I felt it was my duty to call out the hypocrisy of a skirt like that costing so much.
‘Also, who doesn’t want to spend their Friday afternoon being wrapped up in a roll of cling film for bants.’
We’re a bit worried about the sweat situation with a plastic skirt, as well as the environmental impact. But if you’ve the chutzpah to wear a clear plastic skirt – thigh condensation be damned – then honestly who are we to judge?
If you are keen to cover your body in plastic, you’ve got plenty of options. PrettyLittleThing is also selling an entirely see-through jacket and jeans (matching, so you be entirely plastic, fantastic) while ASOS is also trying to make clingfilm fashion a thing.
We asked PLT for a comment. If they respond to us we’ll update this article.
plt skirt featured image-36cc
In a time when so many of us still feel guilty for calling in sick or leaving the office on time, one boss’s letter is all too needed.
Ian Sohn, a single dad and the president of marketing and advertising agency Wunderman Chicago, wrote an open letter to his employees that’s been flooded with praise on LinkedIn.
In the letter, he tells workers to stop feeling terrible for having lives outside of work – and it’s a message we all need to take in (or send to our bosses).
Ian says he doesn’t need to know what his employees are doing outside of work, because it’s their time. He’s fed up of workplaces not putting their trust in people to manage their lives.
He wrote: ‘I never need to know you’ll be back online after dinner.
‘I never need to know why you chose to watch season 1 of “Arrested Development” (for the 4th time) on your flight to LA instead of answering emails.
‘I never need to know you’ll be in late because of a dentist appointment. Or that you’re leaving early for your kid’s soccer game.
‘I never need to know why you can’t travel on a Sunday.
‘I never need to know why you don’t want to have dinner with me when I’m in your town on a Tuesday night.
‘I never need to know that you’re working from home today because you simply need the silence.
‘I deeply resent how we’ve infantilized the workplace. How we feel we have to apologize for having lives. That we don’t trust adults to make the right decisions. How constant connectivity/availability (or even the perception of it) has become a valued skill.
‘I’m equally grateful for the trust/respect my peers, bosses and teams show me every day.
‘Years ago a very senior colleague reacted with incredulity that I couldn’t fly on 12 hours notice because I had my kids that night (and I’m a single dad. edit: divorced). I didn’t feel the least bit guilty, which I could tell really bothered said colleague. But it still felt horrible.
‘I never want you to feel horrible for being a human being.’
Ian later added that in addition to not needing to know what his employees are up to every minute of the day, he doesn’t want them to apologise for their lives outside of work, ever.
Ian’s letter has received thousands of comments from people thanking him for his words, and sharing their own stories of feeling guilty for being human beings.
A founder of a marketing agency commented: ‘I have a wonderful employee who still asks “can I take off 30 minutes early today” for whatever reason, usually kids. I have told her so many times, never ask for my permission, just tell me you are leaving. I can’t imagine a work environment when the answer to her would be no.’
Another comment reminded us just how important it is for senior members of staff to make it clear that work/life balance is key: ‘It gets easier and more important the higher you are on the ladder.
‘We need to make it the norm. We don’t [own] another human’s life because they agree to work for us. Trust them to do the right thing, and your odds are so much better that you’ll get it.’
And business executive John had a suggestion for anyone keen to lead by example.
‘This is spot on,’ he wrote. ‘A few years ago a very senior executive asked what I was doing after our mid afternoon meeting.
‘I told him I was coaching a soccer game.
‘He asked “what does your team think you are doing?” I replied “I don’t know. I guess they assume I am working.” He responded “do me a favor and just send them a quick note letting them know you are spending time with your kids. That way when they need to spend time with their kids they will see you leading by example and know it is really okay.”
‘That lesson really stuck with me. While his directive kind of contradicts your specific suggestions, your post just takes that same commitment to trusting professionals to also be good humans one step further. Thank you for sharing.’
What does the ideal healthy working day look like?
Spill it is the series where we get people to anonymously tell us about their drinking habits.
We’re talking to men and women from all over the UK – and other parts of the world – about how much they really drink. Not how much they tell their doctor they drink, or a rough guesstimate, but the unvarnished boozy truth.
This week we’re hearing from Chloe (not her real name) who is a 25-year-old web developer from Walthamstow.
Our office stops work around three on a Friday and brings out free drinks, or puts money behind the bar at the pub. I have three beers in the office and then around five I head off. Some people stay until really late but I usually have a few drinks to be friendly and then go.
I meet my friends at a pub near my office, which is rammed because the weather is nice. We get a bottle of white wine, then another one. Then we move on to another pub around the corner and get another bottle, which is probably a mistake.
I call an Uber home, which is a mistake. I spend the whole thing trying not to throw up the bottle of wine I’ve drunk. I didn’t have dinner.
Make it home without throwing up in cab. Vomit in front garden of house.
Wake up around midday feeling very, very unhealthy. My anxiety is really bad when I’m hungover, which is at least three days a week. Vicious cycle, huh.
I eat some curry I find in the fridge, putting a tikka masala in a wrap I’ve got at the back of my cupboard. Pretty great.
Meet some friends from school at a fancy pub in Fulham. I f*****g hate Fulham.
A bottle of wine is £27 which stops me from getting totally wasted. Drink a bottle and get a nightmarish combination of buses and trains home.
Hungover again. No curry left, so I make a very sad smoothie.
It’s my friend’s birthday so we’ve got to go out for a roast.
Roast costs £25, is dry and served in an extremely hot, very crowded pub. It’s a really nice day outside but we’re sitting inside. I’m stuck at the shit end of the table trying to make conversation with some terminally boring people who work in banking.
Drink half a bottle of red wine to try and numb the pain.
Get home, have a slightly pissed shower, sort my life out ahead of work tomorrow.
Get to work hungover, try not to have panic attack. Make it to the end of day without having one, go home and get into bed around 9pm.
On Tuesday I go to the gym before work. I am furious about this all the way there, but begrudgingly grateful as it shifts the panicky feeling I’ve had for the last few days.
Home around 7, bowl of pasta and bed around 9pm.
Great day at work, decide to celebrate with work friends. We share two bottles of rosé between four. I get home around 9.30, pissed and happy.
Wake up feeling anxious and panicky, angry with myself for drinking last night. Why do I do this?
My best friend asks me for after work drinks. I agree to go but won’t drink.
End up drinking two glasses of wine, which temporarily stops the anxiety.
Check bank account and realise that I’ve hemorrhaged money this week and am really short. Realise this means I won’t be able to go out tonight and feel somewhat grateful for the excuse.
Go home after Friday arvo work drinks and sit in the garden with a beer. Resolve to drink less next week.
Units drunk: 42 units
Units recommended by NHS: 14 units
spill it comp-0732
A bar on the Thames has teamed up with Italian dry gin brand VII Hills to bring us the capital’s only floating Negroni bar in time for Negroni week (yep, it’s a thing – 24 to 30 June).
The event will take place at Glass Room, Bateaux London’s restaurant and bar on the Thames, to celebrate the centenary of Italy’s most famed aperitif.
The Glass Room x VII Hills Floating Negroni Bar will pop up for one month, kicking off on 24 June.
Apparently, it’ll be the most amazing on-the-water experience with 360-degree views of London’s landmarks, offering a Negroni in hand when you pre-book a lunch, afternoon tea or dinner experience – with dining experiences starting from £39 for an hour-and-a-half.
VII Hills’ brand ambassador Gabriele Manfredi has created four VII Hills Negronis exclusively for Glass Room, perfect for sipping on a sunset sail down the Thames.
There’s the £8 Bateaux Signature Barrel-Aged Negroni made with VII Hills, Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino and Campari.
The Fiori De Pesco, £10, is a peachy concoction made with VII Hills, peach liqueur, Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino and Campari while the Negroni All’arancia, also £10, is a mix of VII Hills, Martini Bianco, Campari and Cointreau.
Completing the list is the classic Negroni Italiano, made the traditional way with equal parts of VII Hills, Martini Rosso and Campari. It costs £9.
It’s the perfect event to head down to if you fancy getting tipsy on a boat on a nice summer’s day.
If you’re looking for another cocktail pop-up this summer, St Martins Lane Hotel in London will be transforming The Den and its outdoor terrace into a ‘tropical jungle oasis.’
It’ll be decorated with a mirrored entrance, palm trees, overflowing foliage and butterflies.
There will also be summery props so you can fill your Instagram feeds with influencer-like selfies.
Veuve Clicquot will be served by the glass and by the bottle, and there will also be ice cream and sorbet on offer. Yum.
Glass Room x VII HIlls-5da8
A self-confessed shopaholic has made more than £2,500 donating her blood plasma to fund her retail therapy obsession.
20-year-old Carisa Barker has spent a year visiting a clinic twice a week to donate the protein-rich liquid found in blood, in exchange for cash for her shopping sprees.
The student and part time nanny makes £220 a month from her plasma and in one year she has made £2,645.
Carisa, of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, recommends the practice as an effortless way to make money.
She said: ‘I donate plasma twice a week.
‘I get $20 the first time and $50 the next time.
‘It’s just a little bit of extra money that I can spend that I don’t feel I worked very hard for.’
Plasma is the yellowish fluid in blood which remains after the white and red blood cells and platelets have been removed.
The liquid consists of water, salts, proteins and enzymes and is used in medicines that help people suffering from burns, shock, trauma and other medical emergencies.
While blood donors are not offered money in exchange for their donations, plasma collection centers across the US offer payment in return for plasma.
Carisa, who is studying communications at college, calls herself a shopaholic and admitted that she hits the mall about three times a week.
She estimates that she spends about $600 a month on clothes, shoes and beauty products.
She said: ‘I’m a shopaholic and I would shop every day if I could.
‘I usually go three or four times a week.
‘Clothes and shoes are my favorite things to buy and I also love beauty products.
‘On each shopping trip I only spend about $50 but that adds up to $150 a week.
‘If I see something that I like or there’s a discount or a good deal, I’ll just buy it.
‘I feel powerful knowing that I have the money and I can buy stuff.’
Carisa began donating plasma last summer after a friend suggested it as an easy way to make money and she hasn’t looked back.
The process takes an hour and a half each time at BioLife Plasma Services in Layton, Utah.
During the donation process, called plasmapheresis, the blood is removed from Carisa’s body, the plasma is collected, and the remaining blood components are returned to her body.
She said: ‘One of my friends does it and she took me with her one time. I just kept doing it.
‘I do it as often as I can which is usually twice a week.
‘It takes about an hour and half each time I go.
‘I go in and complete a survey to make sure I am feeling well that day, that I have no tattoos or piercings.
‘They screen you and take your blood pressure and temperature.
‘It takes them a while to pump the blood out and put it through the machine.
‘The machine separates the red blood cells from the plasma.
‘Then they put the blood back into my body.
‘As long as I eat a lot of protein before I go and stay hydrated, I feel fine.
‘There are no health risks that I know of and my parents are fine with me doing it.
‘My plasma is used to make medicines for people with rare diseases.
‘It makes me feel good to know that I’m helping people.
‘I plan to keep donating.’
Although friends have asked Carisa to curb her shopping habits, she admitted that she can’t see a time when she won’t indulge in retail therapy.
She said: ‘My friends have told me to stop shopping but I can’t.
‘I live at home and all of my money goes on shopping.
‘I would save a lot of money if I stopped but as long as I have money that I can spend, I’m going to keep doing it.
‘If I was ever at a point where I didn’t have money, I would stop.
‘Shopping is my biggest expenditure but I also spend a lot on travel.’
Carisa updates her followers on her shopping sprees and plasma donation on her Youtube channel Carisa Barker.
A representative for BioLife said: ‘Strict criteria, including donation frequency, have been established for plasma donation by global regulatory authorities to ensure the safety of donors and recipients of plasma-derived therapies.
‘Donors also must meet screening criteria for blood count (hematocrit) and total protein levels, along with other screening criteria, prior to each donation – additional testing is done every four months.
‘BioLife adheres to those standards as part of our commitment to the highest standards of safety for our donors and our products that go out to patients.
‘Plasma collected from healthy donors is processed into a wide variety of therapies that benefit thousands of people every day with rare, often life-threatening diseases such as immunodeficiency disorders, hemophilia and hereditary angioedema (HAE).’
Love, Or Something Like It
In Love, Or Something Like It, our new Metro.co.uk series, we’re on a quest to find true love.
Covering everything from mating, dating and procreating to lust and loss, we’ll be looking at what love is and how to find it in the present day.
I was 36 when my long-term boyfriend binned me out of the blue and sailed off into the sunset with a girl from work.
All my friends were on their second or third babies and there was I, nose to the dating grindstone, swiping and drinking my way through the single men of London but no closer to finding My Person.
So after two years I decided to start writing about my experiences.
It was cathartic. Suddenly every good date was still a good date, and every bad date was a good story and it made the disappointments and rejections easier to bear.
My stories aren’t even that dramatic: I’ve never ended up doing shots with a football team at 4 am or had a date turn out to be on the run from the law (that I know of!).
Some of my dates have been thrilling, like the guy from Tinder who picked me up outside my house in an Uber (smelling divine). We drank beers while stuck in Friday night traffic and ended up having a whirlwind romance – until it all came crashing down.
Some have been excruciatingly awkward, like the guy with terrible teeth who kept his hand in front of his mouth all night and barely said a word.
Others have been a touch frightening, like the intense and pushy bloke who leaned in too close and wouldn’t stop touching me, even when I asked him to back off.
If and when it happens, the secret of my blog will become impossible to keep. Right now that situation feels so improbably remote that I simply don’t worry about it and will keep writing.
I suppose what people like is that is that I’m having very common experiences and writing about them in an honest, warts-and-all way that makes them feel less alone.
My readers range from other single women, to men hoping to pick up tips, to happy couples who are smug that they don’t have to go through this crap any more. Others are married with kids and remind me that relationships are hard and that there are benefits to being single.
Writing about events weeks or months after they’ve happened can be difficult: it’s fine when it was just a tedious drink that went nowhere, but reading back through loved-up WhatsApp chats or raking up old feelings after a budding relationship went sour can be heartbreaking.
I prefer to stay anonymous so my mum won’t end up reading about my sex life and so that I can date and write about it without worrying that guys will be put off. I change names and identifying details so they can’t be recognised and I think the chances of them stumbling across my blog at random is unlikely, but it does worry me.
A friend discovered it after someone recommended it to her and recognised me in the writing, so I guess it could happen with one of my dates too. If it does, I’ll just have to deal with it.
I have also struggled with the idea of writing about guys and sharing screenshots of our conversations without their consent, and I know that if some of those people found out, they’d have every right to be upset.
Some might think the fact that I carry on regardless makes me a bad person, but honestly I don’t know how to stop.
I see lots of stories of failed relationships, disappointments, heartbreak and heartache – I’ve been through plenty of it myself – but being able to vent my frustrations online has made the dating process easier to cope with.
It has also helped me define more clearly what I’m looking for. I’ve been forced to go on more dates and take chances on guys I might not have normally – though interestingly, none of them worked out, so I tend to trust my instincts more and more.
I know exactly the sort of guy who would be the perfect match for me. But don’t get me wrong – I’m not holding out for some Disney-fied romance and love at first sight.
In nearly two years of blogging I’ve chatted to countless guys, met dozens, had feedback from hundreds of fellow singletons and watched many of my twitter followers fall in love and have their hearts broken.
It’s taught me that love is about kindness and generosity of spirit. It’s about caring so much about someone that their happiness becomes crucial to your own.
I fear we’ve become increasingly selfish and narcissistic as a society. Nowhere is this more obvious than on dating apps, where so many people are collecting likes for an ego boost or expecting the other person to put in the effort.
Many of us who’ve been single for a long time have become used to putting ourselves first and having everything our own way – and yes, I’m guilty of this too.
But when I look at successful couples, it’s clear the reason they work is because they each put the other first. True love is about compromise, about both partners giving more than they take. I’m still hopeful that I can meet someone to have that with – someone who wants to spend every day trying to make me happy, so that I can do the same for him.
If and when it I do, the secret of my blog will become impossible to keep but right now it feels so improbably remote that I simply don’t worry about it, and will keep writing.
Putting myself out there in such an unapologetically honest way means everyone feels they’re entitled to weigh in on my choices or offer ‘helpful’ advice on where they feel I’m going wrong.
The vast majority is positive but occasionally something lands that makes me think ‘Maybe they’re right? What if I am broken?’
I just have to pull myself together and carry on. I have to keep faith that he’s out there somewhere and we’ll find each other when the time is right. I just wish he’d hurry up, because I’m tired of being on my own.
Read Lucy’s blog at lucygoesdating.com
Last week in Love, Or Something Like It: I think everyone should try divorce before they’re 30
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*Illo request* Lucy Goes Dating- looking for love as a dating blogger
A recent Sport England study found that 75% of women are put off from being active due to a fear of judgement.
Strong Women is a weekly series that aims to normalise diversity in the world of sport and fitness and reaffirm the idea that women of any age, size, race and ability can be fit, strong and love their bodies.
There is a shocking lack of variation when it comes to women’s bodies in the media – and that can have an isolating effect.
By showcasing the wide range of different women who are achieving incredible things, we hope to empower and inspire underrepresented women.
Freya Levy has facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) – a genetic muscle disorder. At just 23, Freya has already competed for her country in wheelchair basketball, Para Ice Hockey and Wheelchair Rugby 7s.
What went through your mind when you were diagnosed with FSHD?
It’s difficult to put into words. I was 14 at the time and I think I found it harder in the sense that I knew it was going to be incredibly difficult for my family, but mostly my mum.
FSHD is a hereditary condition. My parents got tested to see if they were carriers before they had children and were told they weren’t, so it was a bit of a shock to us all.
From a young age I was very aware of the impact it would have on her more than me, especially as the ‘baby’ of the family – I’m the youngest.
It was very important to me to stay strong for her and show her that it wouldn’t stop me. My nan, uncle and aunt all have the condition, too, but it affects us all in different ways.
My siblings were amazing at the time. I owe them a lot and it brought the family closer in some ways. I’m just so grateful they never saw me any differently.
It was just never an issue – I’d still be told: ‘so what if you’re in a wheelchair, I’ll still smash you at Fifa’ or, ‘don’t think it’s getting you out of the washing up’ kind of thing.
I really appreciate how they helped me get through it, because there was nothing really to get through in their eyes. I was still their baby sister and we would still argue over who has control over the remote.
I remember asking the doctor if there was a cure, and he said no. I asked if it would ever get better, and he said no. I asked if he knew how bad it would get, and he said no. So I just stopped going back to the hospital.
I had already wasted my summer holidays sat in hospital waiting rooms and getting various tests, scans, being poked and prodded. I knew there was nothing they could do to stop it or slow it down, so I just decided to crack on with it and carry on being a teenager as best I could.
I didn’t see the point, because from a medical point of view there’s nothing very positive to come out of being told how it’s got worse or to be told how you’ve got weaker. I’m grateful my parents allowed me to make that decision and take control in my own way.
I feel lucky in the sense that the timing was perfect. I was studying for my GCSEs, so it was a great distraction. I could focus on my education and the here and now and just cross the bridges when I came to them.
I think it definitely gets harder to deal with later on. Beyond the diagnosis, there’s no notification to show that certain muscles have deteriorated or disappeared, you just kind of get daily reminders every time you go to do something, like reaching for the light switch and finding that you can’t do it like you could yesterday.
But again, you just find ways to adapt and overcome it, to the point I hadn’t realised how bad my condition had got. You just have to constantly find tips and tricks to get around daily tasks.
How did wheelchair basketball help you cope after your diagnosis?
I remember not long after I was diagnosed, I was playing football for my school and I just fell. I went to get up and fell again, and my friend just reached out their hand to help me up and said: ‘you’re done, dude.’
I knew it was going to be the last time I ever played football.
Having trialled with Arsenal Ladies FC three months before I was diagnosed, it was very difficult to come to terms with, but I also knew that it wasn’t going to be the last time I played sport. I went home that night, starting researching disability sport and came across wheelchair basketball.
I pestered my parents to take me to my local club, and at first I hated it. I had no idea how to work a wheelchair, let alone do that as well as control a basketball.
My teacher Mr Hawes pushed me to go back and try it again and I’ve never looked back.
At school I was getting used to ‘Freya? Oh, the one in the wheelchair’, but at basketball I was just Freya.
I learnt so much from the other players about living with a disability and how to get around and just deal with life, really. It had such a positive impact being surrounded by people just like me from day one.
What does sport bring to your life?
Sport has always been a huge part of mine and my family’s life.
After becoming disabled, finding disability sport helped me get through what was obviously an incredibly difficult time.
Sport and being an athlete has enabled me to be completely independent, travel the world, study at university and secure a dream job. Without sport, I genuinely have no idea what I’d be doing.
I’ve competed for Great Britain in Wheelchair Basketball, Para Ice Hockey and for England in Wheelchair Rugby 7s and internationally medalled in all three. I’ve been skiing, para-sailing, jet skiing, horse riding, rock-climbing, zip-lining, skydived and just achieved things I never thought was possible.
I definitely wouldn’t have been as successful if I wasn’t disabled. Sport just gives you that drive and the push to keep setting goals and to keep achieving them.
I’m supported by Michael Johnson as a young leader and mentor on his Young Leader program. I work with a sports charity Panathlon Challenge, which brings sport to over 20,000 disabled children a year.
It’s just an honour to be able to give back and see the difference sport can make to children who don’t have access to sporting opportunities because of their physical or learning disabilities.
Sport has just opened so many doors that I couldn’t have imagined even being possible.
Why is it important to encourage disabled people to take part in sport?
Sport can be an incredibly powerful tool in so many ways, for your social life as well as the obvious physical benefits and for your mental health.
Disabled people are often only told what they’ll never do or be able to do again, but by getting involved in sport and physical activity you can meet so many new people and achieve things you might have thought were possible.
I think sport has had an extremely positive impact on my mental health as well as my physical. Sometimes it’s the only time of the day or week where your head is completely clear or free of daily stresses or anxiety.
Most importantly, though, it’s just fun. Disabled or not, I think everyone should be involved in some sort of sport or physical activity. It doesn’t even have to be competitive.
Have attitudes towards disability improved?
I think they’ve come a long way since London 2012, however there is definitely a long way to go.
There are still huge issues that aren’t being tackled, like access to public transport or even accessible housing.
In 2016, I found myself homeless due to the lack of access to housing and basically knowledge of a disabled person’s needs.
Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Trailblazers are doing an incredible job in raising awareness of these issues and have made massive changes to disabled people’s lives by gaining better access to sports or leisure facilities, cinemas, air travel and Changing Places toilets.
It’s great to be a part of a team that are helping challenge the views of disabled people. I’m a huge believer in the fact that society can disable a person.
Personally, I only feel disabled when I can’t access something an able-bodied person could. It’s just about educating and vocalising the different needs of disabled people because it’s not a one size fits all. Putting in a ramp doesn’t help someone with a hearing impairment, we have to recognise the hidden disabilities.
Making buildings or activities accessible sometimes doesn’t need a huge amount of money invested, just a bit more creativity. Ultimately if everything was accessible, no one would be disabled.
What does the word ‘strong’ mean to you?
Every woman is strong because strength can take so many different forms.
I may not be strong physically at times due to the muscle wastage but, hell yeah I’m strong because I wake up and face it every day and still achieve, regardless of what the future may look like.
I think it’s very important to understand what strength means to you. Some mornings it’s hard to accept that today is the strongest you’ll ever be, because FSHD is a progressive disease and you just do not know what the future holds.
It can be scary at times, but you just have to re-imagine what you see strength as.
I’m very fortunate to have incredibly strong female role models. My Nan and my Mum are my absolute heroes, and the strongest people I know. They give me my strength and have taught me to redefine what strong means to me.
It 100% isn’t about the size of your biceps.
There is always one guest you wish hadn’t come to the wedding.
Whether it’s someone who arrives empty-handed, gets too drunk or gives an awful speech, this person knows how to ruin your big day.
While the above examples are bad, believe it or not, people can be even worse than this. Yes, really.
We spoke to a bunch of people about their worst-ever wedding guests, and their (anonymous) stories will make you cringe.
The one who turned up in a werewolf costume – and wasn’t even invited
A random guy in a werewolf costume just showed up at the end of the night and started dancing with the guests.
Absolutely nobody had any idea who he was. There are photos of him, though. In a werewolf costume.
I wonder if he does that to a lot of weddings. He did not bring a gift.
When your brother in law ruins the speeches
My brother-in-law started by walking into the reception halfway through the speeches, and ended the night telling his wife he was leaving her.
For his mum’s friend.
This is awful
My mother-in-law turned up late and ran in front of me as I was walking down the aisle, purposely turned up wearing the same outfit as my mum, threw gravel at me instead of confetti, stole all the bottles of wine on other tables and then walked out halfway through.
There’s always that one person who makes it all about themselves…
My uncle stood up at my wedding at the end of the official speeches, completely unasked, and told everyone that it was his wedding anniversary and how wonderful he and his wife were.
Then he sat down to a baffled silence and scattered, uncomfortable clapping.
Someone asked why my step sister was my bridesmaid because she wasn’t my sister. So that she could hear. Luckily I didn’t otherwise I’d have kicked her out!
Well, at least it’s creative…
We had a Halloween wedding and a guy came in a bloody maxi pad costume.
When your photographer (and her ex) are the worst
She disappeared midway through the reception and had the word ‘c**t’ etched in big letters on the side of her car by her ex-husband.
The ones who didn’t bother showing up
The ones who didn’t turn up, leaving a couple alone on a table for eight.
Why is there always one who drinks too much?
My father-in-law. He turned up already stinking drunk and making a complete idiot of himself.
My husband threatened to throw him in the river.
When the fights break out…
When I got married, my brother-in-law started a row with the MOH [maid of honour] and a fight nearly broke out.
He then disappeared in London for a couple of days.
And one woman was unlucky enough to have three awful guests. Yes, really
The one who got so trashed the night before that he missed the wedding entirely and just about made it to the reception.
Or the ones who came empty-handed.
Or also the one who triggered the hotel fire alarm, making the groom’s party an hour later to the reception. Take your pick!
Stop asking me when I'm getting married - A women's worth isn't tied with her relationship status
If there’s anything worse than heartbreak, it’s heartbreak that stems from being cheated on.
There’s no denying that it absolutely sucks.
All of that time spent together and trust painstakingly built up in the relationship – gone, just like that.
We spoke to 10 people who have been cheated on about how they found out, how they felt, and what happened afterwards. To keep them anonymous, we’ve left the names out.
‘He’d slept with three other girls’
I’d go and stay at his halls when he was at uni.
He wouldn’t let me use the communal kitchen or bathroom unless he ‘checked’ first.
Turns out he’d slept with the three girls on his floor and was actually dating another. We’d been together three years.
‘I saw a notification on her phone’
We visited my parents house, I saw a notification on her phone from a fling she had been in touch with asking her to ditch ‘the skank’ and bring her knickers and pink champagne and she would book the hotel.
We broke up not long after.
‘He told me over the phone’
He told me over the phone.
It was some stranger at the club. He said he was so drunk he would class it as rape, but also said I was being cold and distant as I had started working full time and pushed him into the arms of another girl.
We broke up soon after.
‘He only liked me because I am black’
Said he was studying with a friend at university and that he was staying the night at his place. Then later, told me they f***ed multiple times and said he did it because he looked like me.
He also confessed that he only liked me because I’m black. I already saw a red flag before when I saw he only followed black guys on Instagram.
He showed no remorse and acted like it was no big deal. I blocked him on everything I could and cried for two hours straight.
‘I found out through his iPod’
I found out that I was cheated on at uni when I borrowed his iPod Touch to go running and when it reconnected to WiFi coming back into halls a stream of messages came up showing he was sleeping with his ex.
I threw his iPod Touch against the wall and cracked it.
‘She’d been seeing her ex’
She texted me one morning to tell me she’d been seeing her ex.
I was heartbroken, humiliated, and nauseous. Then after a long argument I told her goodbye and I deleted her number from my phone.
‘It gave me a panic attack’
I’ve only had a few panic attacks in my life from anxiety and I had one of my worst when I was on his laptop as normal but a message popped up looking suspicious. Clicked it and read back a little to find nudes from her and her begging him to go to hers or send pics.
Lived together, five plus years together, just felt like everything was over.
Couldn’t breathe at the thought of my life as it was ending and how I would fix it or rebuild. He was all I knew.
I knew something was up earlier because he came home acting odd one night.
‘She accidentally showed me in a screenshot’
She sent me a screenshot of a message about something, but with the banner notification of an explicit message from another guy.
I questioned her, she got angry at me, I ended it there and then. Felt kinda indifferent honestly, wasn’t really that heavily invested towards the end.
‘I found out through a rumour’
A close friend told me there was a rumor spreading that my boyfriend slept with a friend of ours and he wanted me to know.
My two best friends came up to my locker and said they needed to talk to me. Before they said anything my boyfriend came over all shaky.
Saw scratches on his back from the other girl. Ashamed to say it took me forever to leave, even after friends told me about many different cheating incidents.
‘I was cheated on by my ex-wife’
I was cheated on by my ex-wife. I found out on the night of my birthday after she passed out drunk in the middle of arranging a date via WhatsApp with some guy.
I waited until she sobered up the next morning, spoke about it and she kicked me out in response and I never went back.
‘We were together for five and a half years’
I was in a relationship for five and a half years that ended last year suddenly when my partner told me they wanted to break up. I was devastated, had been planning on proposing and chosen a ring, but I understood and didn’t want them to be in a relationship they weren’t happy in.
But in the weeks after our breakup my partner and our friend group stonewalled me and started giving me the silent treatment without telling me why. About a month later, I was clearing things from our shared laptop and found poetry my ex had written about being in love with our mutual best friend.
It had been written for months throughout our relationship, during times when my ex was talking to me about building a future together, down to suggesting future baby names to me. I confronted my ex and learned they’d gotten into a relationship with him a week after our breakup.
I was in a lot of shock. I got physically sick over it. We all sat down to have a conversation because I feel I was trauma bonded at this point in time and struggling to make sense of things.
The other guy told me he didn’t know how I was even able to talk to him, and that should’ve been all I let him say.
In the end, I ended that friendship, along with the other friendships of the people who had known about the affair and kept it quiet. I cut contact with my ex a while after that, after I’d found somewhere to live.
It’ll be a year next month since our breakup and I know I’m going to struggle through it, but I’m doing my best to be as strong as I can and be kind to myself.
ILLUSTRATION REQUEST: Don’t do it! XX people share their horrifying and cautionary stories of sex with their ex (Bibi Lynch)
Primark has launched an Aladdin-inspired beauty collection and we want it all.
The range, which is available in stores now, features a ‘Your Wish Is My Command’ eye shadow palette, a hair brush, turban, fragrance, eye masks, glitter body mist and a compact mirror.
The eye shadow palette has 12 matte and shimmery shades, including red, green and blue hues.
The packaging is also very pretty and magic-themed, and in true Primark fashion, the range is super affordable, with prices ranging from £2 to £8.
‘From Genie blues to emerald greens, our 12 highly pigmented eyeshadows are the perfect colours when creating magical make-up styles,’ wrote Primark’s style editor on the brand’s blog.
‘With names like “Shooting Star” and “Cosmic Love”, it’s easy to see that these shadows are as dreamy as Aladdin himself.
‘But before you head out on your magic carpet ride, don’t forget to spritz yourself with our enchanting fragrance, containing hints of jasmine (see what we did there?) and cashmere wood.
‘And if you’re in the mood for an extra dusting of magic, then our glitter body mist will leave you that lil’ bit more mesmerizing. Welcome to a whole new you!’
For the Jasmine look, try the glittery pink and golden shades or add a touch of blue to channel the Genie.
We can’t wait to fill our baskets with the whole lot – and enjoy not ruining our bank accounts in the process.
PSA: Primark just dropped an Aladdin beauty range Picture: Primark METROGRAB
Rum fans, rejoice: Malibu has launched alcoholic pink lemonade cocktail in a can, likely to become the next go-to summer tipple.
The pre-mixed product features a ‘sparkling blend of fizzy pink lemonade with coconut, with a slight sweetness and the distinctive character of Malibu Caribbean rum’.
The Caribbean rum is produced at the West Indies Rum Distillery, which was founded in 1893, and the 250ml cans have an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 5%.
The price isn’t too bad either, you can get it at Tesco for £1.80 per can.
Also in the range is the popular Piña Colada, a pineapple and coconut mix that replaced the strawberry and kiwi flavour from last year.
Malibu also does Cola pre-mixed cans, for those who aren’t so into the fruity taste.
There’s currently an offer going at Tesco where you can get four cans for the price of three until 8 September, a perfect deal for all those summer BBQs.
The drinks are also available in Asda and Sainsbury’s, although they don’t have the four-for-three offer.
The release of the Fizzy Pink Lemonade follows Malibu’s recent launch of a new rum-based tipple, called Strawberry Spritz.
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 ABV of 11%, and costs £9.50.
The booze will be available both in stores and online at Tesco.
Malibu now does a PINK lemonade ready-made cocktail in a can ? and it costs ?1.80
Argos is delivering all the summer goods this year, with a new gazebo that comes attached to a bar.
Yep, the two things we most want for our gardens for the warm weather, you can now get as one.
Oh, and in even better news, the price of the set has just dropped by over £130 – which means you can spend the saved pounds on booze and BBQ food.
The gazebo with its built-in bar now costs just £197.99, down from £330.
Argos’s Home Bar Gazebo, Table & Chairs Set features a bar and two stools, which both come in grey.
The bar has a toughened glass top and two mesh metal shelves underneath, covered with fabric curtains.
The metal frame of the gazebo also has a built-in wine rack and ventilated roof.
Basically, once you go into the gazebo, you’ll never have to (or want) to leave.
The £132 price drop offer is available until 4 June and so far, customers have been very happy with the product.
Out of three reviews, it’s received five stars.
One person said: ‘Well worth the money and very easy to assemble.’
Another said it looked ‘great’ after it had been put up.
You know what we think is great? The fact this gazebo bar is currently the cheapest of its kind around.
So you better get your hands on it while the discount lasts.
Women on a wedding shaming group were shocked when one of them came across a controversial rule book named ’30 Ways To Keep Your Husband’.
The rules were shared to a private Facebook group after one user spotted them on a wedding planning page, with the anonymous original author claiming the points are backed up by passages found in the Bible.
Unsurprisingly, the rules – which include sexist notes such as ‘never raise your voice for any reason to your husband’ and ‘defensive women don’t have a happy home’ have not gone down well with women in the group.
The list features sexist instructions too, which claim a wife should do her ‘duties’ and not be a ‘wasteful wife’ – as her ‘husband’s sweat is too precious to be wasted’.
The first rule claims you should ‘never raise your voice for any reason to your husband’ as this is a ‘sign of disrespect’.
Rule two however, states: ‘Don’t expose your husband’s weaknesses to your family and friends.
‘It will bounce back at you. You are each other’s keeper.’
And you shouldn’t rush on your makeup – because your husband will always be surrounded by prettier women. How lovely.
Rule 16 reads: ‘Never be in a hurry in the bathroom and on the dressing table. Out there your husband is always surrounded by women who took their time on their looks.’
Other rules said women should not be ‘too demanding’ and to make sure they cook well for their husband – because ‘no man jokes with food’.
But the most shocking rule of all said that women should never deny their husband sex, and simply do as he pleases as men can’t be without sex for too long. There is no reference to the wife’s pleasure and the rule also raises red flags around consent.
‘Never pretend to be sick for the purpose of denying your husband sex,’ it reads.
‘You must give it to him how he wants it. Sex is very important to men.
‘If you keep denying him, it is a matter of time before another woman takes over that duty. No man can withstand sex starvation for too long (even the anointed ones).’
Women on the wedding shaming group were shocked.
One person said: ‘We really need to write something like this for men so they’re less disappointing. Okay thanks.’
Another said: ‘Wow, look, another man giving advice that no one asked for.’
‘How ridiculous! I’ve been happily married almost 15 years, I don’t follow any of these and we met in church,’ someone else said.
‘Someone really stupid wrote these and people are even stupider for following them.’
And to be honest, we agree.
The 'ridiculous' list from the rule book
1. Never raise your voice for any reason to your husband. It’s a sign of disrespect.
2. Don’t expose your husband’s weaknesses to your family and friends. It will bounce back at you. You are each other’s keeper.
3. Never use attitudes and moods to communicate with your husband, you never know how your husband will interpret them. Defensive women don’t have a happy home.
4. Never compare your husband to other men, you’ve no idea what their life is all about. If you attack his ego, his love for you will diminish.
5. Never ill treat your husband’s friends because you don’t like them, the person who’s supposed to get rid of them is your husband.
6. Never forget that your husband married you, not your maid or anyone else. Do your duties.
7. Never assign anyone to give attention to your husband, people may do everything else but your husband is your own responsibility.
8. Never blame your husband if he comes back home empty-handed. Rather encourage him.
9. Never be a wasteful wife. Your husband’s sweat is too previous to be wasted.
10. Never pretend to be sick for the purpose of denying your husband sex. You must give it to him how he wants it. Sex is very important to men. If you keep denying him, it is a matter of time before another woman takes over that duty. No man can withstand sex starvation for too long (even the anointed ones).
11. Never compare your husband to your one-time sex mate in bedroom, or an ex-lover. Your home may never recover from it if you do.
12. Never answer for your husband in public opinion polls, let him handle what is directed to him although he may answer for you in public opinion polls.
13. Never shout or challenge your husband in front of children. Wise women don’t do that.
14. Don’t forget to check the smartness of your husband before he checks out.
15. Never allow your friends to be too close to your husband.
16. Never be in a hurry in the bathroom and on the dressing table. Out there your husband is always surrounded by women who took their time on their looks.
17. Your parents of family or friends do not have the final say in your marriage. Don’t waste your time looking up to them for a final word. You must leave if you want to cleave.
18. Never base your love on monetary things. Will you still submit to him even if you earn more money than him?
19. Don’t forget that husbands want attention and good listeners, never be too busy for him. Good communication is the bedrock of every happy home.
20. If your idea is better than his, never compare yourself to him. It’s always teamwork.
21. Don’t be too judgmental to your husband. No man wants a nagging wife
22. A lazy wife is a careless wife. She doesn’t even know that her body needs a bath.
23. Does your husband like a kind of cooked food? Try change your cooking. No man jokes with food.
24. Never be too demanding to your husband, enjoy every moment, resource as it comes.
25. Make a glass of water the very first welcome to your husband and everyone entering your home. Sweetness of attitude is true beauty.
26. Don’t associate with women who have a wrong mental attitude about marriage.
27. Your marriage is as valuable to you as the value that you give it. Recklessness is unacceptable.
28. Fruit of the womb is a blessing from the Lord, love your children and teach them well.
29. You are never too old to influence your home. Never reduce your care for your family for any reason.
30. A prayerful wife is a better equipped wife, pray always for your husband and family.
Affectionate couple holding hands, watching TV in living room
Sara Geurts, from Minnesota, has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a connective tissue disorder that means her body lacks collagen.
While most people with EDS show no visible signs, Sara’s rarer form of Dermatosparaxis EDS causes her skin to sag excessively.
The condition has left her bed-bound and unable to eat, and she’s now trying to raise money to help her travel to get the right treatment.
In hopes of raising awareness of her condition, Sara spoke out about it on Instagram, and has since gained over 76,000 followers as a body image influencer.
But she said she’s still suffering with extremely poor health, and that the last year has been one of the hardest ever.
‘These last four years of my life I feel like have been the best years that I’ve ever lived just because they’ve been lived to what I feel is my genuine and my authentic self,’ Sara said.
‘And how I feel about my body is how I want everyone to feel about their body no matter their circumstances or what they are in.
‘From being admitted to different books, to magazines, with Winnie Harlow, Wiz Khalifa, Mandy Moore, different, inspirational figures like that.
‘It’s been quite the exciting journey ever since then for sure.’
Sara first started posing for pictures on her Instagram account, with photographer girlfriend Bri Berglund behind the camera.
She said: ‘Bri was the one who was the main inspiration in terms and support of what I was doing in terms of loving my body and loving myself.
‘I was at a really bad point in my life, really bad habits, really bad people and it took a lot of cleansing in terms of that and she was there to help see that light and to aid me through that journey.
‘We chose to use my symptoms of my disorder through photography as a way to help others or try to, because [EDS] is known as the invisible illness, I’m kind of the rare case where I am visible.
‘And so that’s why a lot of people out there aren’t getting the treatment that they need because the doctors can’t physically see anything wrong with them.
‘And why I chose to say “okay, fine if I have something that I can show about my disorder why not use that?”‘
Common symptoms of EDS include joint hypermobility and pain, fatigue, loose skin and digestive problems.
But the condition can affect every sufferer differently.
Sara explains: ‘It’s a collagen deficiency. So collagen is found in your skin, in your ligaments.
‘For me, I don’t have any collagen in my skin, which causes that extreme laxity.’
It wasn’t until she was six or seven that she started to really become aware of her stretchy skin.
‘All the kids in the neighbourhood thought I was so cool, because I had the stretchy skin,’ Sara said.
‘And then I think it wasn’t until in-between the ages of eight and 10 that I was diagnosed.’
Over the last few years, Sara has learned to embrace her body. But, as a teenager, she was incredibly self-conscious and would hide her body away.
She said: ‘I just wanted to cover it up. I didn’t want anyone asking me about it. I wore jeans and sweaters at 90-degree weather.
‘I refused go to the pool; didn’t want to be in a swimsuit all that type of stuff, just because I knew people would look and people would wonder.’
It wasn’t until she hit her twenties that Sara finally found the confidence to not only show off her body but to wholeheartedly love it.
Sara said: ‘I think back to the times in high school or just even in the past when I didn’t love myself and just how toxic everything was in the lifestyle that I was leading.
‘And it saddens [me] that I tried to cover it up and that I was so insecure.
‘Now it’s just a complete 360, it’s like I am who I am, my disorder is a part of me but I’m not my disorder. And I love my body.’
Sara is now raising money through GoFundMe for treatment.
Because of this, she has been able to see an EDS specialist in Minneapolis; however this won’t cover the ongoing medical costs.
‘We did find the high possibility of gastroparesis and then we did also find the possibility of mass cell activation disease or another underlying disease or disorder,’ said Sara.
‘So we have quite a long way to go in terms of the tests and the specialist that we have to see.’
Woman, 28, who has saggy skin that makes her look DECADES older reveals she has been left bedbound from the rare disord
A dog owner was shocked to find that the great dane she adopted had 70 teeth.
Aurora Rutledge, 31, rescued her dog Loki, who is believed to be one year old, two months ago, and decided to take him to the vet to have a routine check up.
When the vet looked inside Loki’s mouth earlier this week, she found that the pup’s mouth had a total of 70 teeth – which is 28 more than the average dog.
After making the discovery, the vet removed 21 of the teeth – leaving the dog with a set of 49 teeth.
£600 worth of extractions later, Loki is recovering at home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is on a strictly soft-food diet to help his mouth heal.
Aurora, a bar owner, said: ‘I had taken him to our local vet as a routine check up since he was a new rescue and mentioned to the doctor that the people we got him from mentioned that he may have retained baby teeth.
‘Loki is a giant puppy and is very energetic – so I hadn’t had a chance to look inside his mouth myself beforehand.
‘When we did get a chance to have a little look we could see he had more than normal, but we didn’t think he’d have 70 teeth in there!
‘The vet administered dental extraction onto Loki and removed 21 of his teeth, leaving him with 49 – which is still seven more than average.
‘It was something that massively shocked us, but we’re just so glad that he is home and recovering now.’
Aurora, a mother-of-three, explains that Loki suffered with hyperdontia – but vets were shocked to see it to such an extent.
She said: ‘Hyperdontia is a genetic anomaly, but it is never usually seen to such an extreme as this.
‘The vet cannot rule out that he may have this as a result of poor breeding – so the rescue we got him from is working hard to track down his breeder to hopefully stop something as painful as this happening again.
‘The night of and morning after the procedure were rough – he bled all over my couches, rug, kitchen, dog bed, me.
‘We had to give him a medication to make him sleepy, so he wouldn’t be up and around.
‘Right now he’s still on soft food and transitioning him to more solid kibble slowly.
‘After this, as far as dental goes, hopefully after all is healed, he will not even notice he had so many additional teeth!
‘We will make sure he has his routine dental checks, especially since they did leave seven more teeth than average.’
Despite the large vet bill and bleeding all over the house, Aurora says it was all completely worth it – but now wants to warn others of similar possibilities when rescuing dogs.
‘She said: ‘Rescuing dogs is not always easy – you often run up giant vet bills, but the animals are so worth it.
‘Loki just snuggles in, and you know he feels safe, you can’t put a price on that.
‘We wish bad breeding practices would be stopped.
‘Until they are, adopting is the only way we will attain our dogs.’
Dog with 70 teeth
Living with an invisible illness means facing a range of symptoms everyday, but on the outside, you look healthy.
Our weekly series You Don’t Look Sick looks at how people deal with different hidden conditions and the stigmas they face when they use disabled bathrooms or parking spaces because of how they look
James Conway, 32, from Gloucester, has a rare condition called Rosai-Dorfman disease.
It causes overproduction of white blood cells in the lymph nodes, which can build up around the body. Symptoms include fever, weight loss, malaise, joint pain, and night sweats.
He works full-time in financial services but says that having an invisible illness has made finding work harder for him because employers don’t always understand.
He explains: ‘I’ve seen people’s eyes start to glaze over when I’ve tried to explain my condition – they don’t want to have to deal with it and are just willing me to go away.
‘The worst problem has been in attempting to find work as once there’s gaps on your CV or you mention the phrase “medical condition” to a recruitment consultant you may as well have e-mailed your cover letter to a ‘Do Not Reply’ address.
‘Thankfully my current employer has bucked the trend and are very supportive.’
James started to experience health problems in September 2010, shortly after he came back from travelling around Europe.
He says: ‘I noticed that the lymph nodes in my neck were swollen and sensitive. I assumed it was a delayed reaction to a bug I’d picked up while I was away.
‘The swelling didn’t subside so I went to my GP who referred me to my local hospital. I saw a consultant hematologist who arranged a biopsy which I underwent under local anesthetic in November.’
In February 2011, he was diagnosed with the condition, which has only had about 650 reported cases worldwide since it was discovered in 1969.
James adds: ‘I had never heard of Rosai-Dorfman disease, nor had my parents, or indeed the consultant. He explained that it was an incredibly rare illness of unknown origin with no established treatment program.
‘Although benign in itself, as an auto-immune disease there was the potential for complications and the almost complete absence of knowledge of the condition meant that I was still in the dark.
‘I was put on 60mg of steroids which made me feel great but didn’t shrink the nodes in my neck at all. I was obviously glad that it wasn’t a malignant diagnosis but wished it could have been something common.’
Since then, James says that both the illness and the medication he takes for it have caused a range of side effects that affect his every day life.
He says: ‘My nodes would periodically swell up making me look like The Elephant Man before retreating.
‘In late 2012 I fainted in the street on my way to work and was diagnosed with haemolytic anemia (the abnormal breakdown of red blood cells) which didn’t burn itself out until 2015.
‘I had to undergo several blood transfusions which each necessitated a full day in hospital and in the periods between, I experienced the effects of a low hemoglobin (HB) level, namely breathlessness and fatigue. I got out of breath climbing the stairs.
‘In July 2013, I left work feeling terrible and ended up in hospital with neutropenic sepsis after a new drug I’d been put on wiped out my white blood cells. That was a low point.’
He says that was a low point and it took some time for him to bounce back. He had to resign from his job and move back in with his parents.
He adds: ‘Since then I’ve also been in hospital with pneumonia, a severely low blood count, had excruciating gallstone attacks, a blood clot that required six months of daily blood thinner injections and latterly the odd panic attack and low mood.
‘The disease has also manifested in my lungs but thankfully appears to have stopped progressing there with only minimal damage caused.’
Taking steroid medication helps with his condition but it does mean he is at risk of gaining weight.
He says: ‘I have to watch what I eat as just looking at a burger can cause me to gain 5lb.
‘While good at controlling the disease, they’re not good in the long run and I have scarring and weak bones as a result of prolonged use, as well as a flushed face.
‘I currently have a stable level of hemoglobin but I could do with it being higher as I’m limited in what I can do; I can’t walk all that fast and can only do sedentary work.
‘On a good day I’m more or less fine provided I don’t exert myself too much. On a bad day I’m fatigued, irritable and anxious. Thankfully the good mostly outweighs the bad but the sad fact of the matter is that the illness does rule my life and I have to live with it.’
James has a lot of support from his medical team, as well as from his friends and family but admits that having a rare illness means it is difficult to find anyone who really understands what he is going through.
‘I am under the care of an absolutely brilliant team at Hereford County Hospital who go above and beyond in their care and professionalism.
‘Sadly as my condition is so rare there are no support groups or anything of that nature and no-one else I can find who has the illness so I’m a lone wolf in that regard.
‘My family and friends are all great and do their best for me; they know my limitations and understand why I can’t help someone move house or go paintballing on a stag do.
‘I try not to overdo it, take each day as it comes and not plan too much. I’ve tried meditation and counselling but it’s not for me. I much prefer a cold beer and some loud death metal.
‘Thankfully my friends treat me just the same as everyone else but know I may need to stop to catch my breath or sit down for a couple of minutes.
‘They don’t treat me with kids gloves and I fully expect to get my share of friendly abuse as well as everyone else.
‘ It can be awkward explaining my condition to new people but I’ve never really had any negative reactions that I’m aware of. People are a lot more understanding these days, although if you’ve been annoyed at being stuck behind me while I’ve been walking slowly – tough shit.’
James wants to see more awareness around invisible illness and for people to understand that not every disability is visible.
He says: ‘The sheer amount of people who can’t seem to grasp that there’s a sliding scale of illness and not everyone who’s sick is in a wheelchair or ‘looks ill’ is staggering.
‘Disabled people face prejudice every day and hate crimes need to be punished more severely.
‘I’d start with educating children from a young age that people with hidden or un-hidden illnesses are all around them, should be treated with respect and are just trying to live their lives as best they can.’
How to get involved with You Don't Look Sick
You Don’t Look Sick is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that discusses invisible illness and disabilities.
If you have an invisible illness or disability and fancy taking part, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ll need to be happy to share pictures that show how your condition affects you, and have some time to have some pictures taken.
My dad tried to discourage me from taking up rallycross.
He knew how hard it was to make it, being a successful rallycross driver himself, but no matter how hard he tried to keep me from racing, there was no stopping me.
Rallycross is all about explosive starts and short, sharp racing on mixed surfaces (dirt and asphalt) in amphitheatre venues.
Our cars are over 600 horse power and can go from 0 to 60 in less than two seconds – faster than an F1 car.
People may find that surprising considering I drive an Audi S1 (which can be seen on the high street), but it has some serious modifications and lots of noise!
Races are short – no more than five minutes – and we have four qualifying rounds, semi-finals and a final.
During race weekends, I am busy from Thursday to Sunday. We prepare the cars on Thursday and Friday, have four qualifying sessions across Saturday and Sunday followed by the semi-finals and final, if I make it.
These days are long, and it’s not abnormal for us to work for 12 hours.
Besides racing there is a lot of PR and media work to do such as press conferences, photo shoots, media engagement and autograph signings.
If I’ve never driven on a particular track before I will also make sure I take more time to prepare.
When I ran my own team the day to day was a lot busier, having to cope with more logistical jobs, but now I am part of the Monster Energy World RX cartel, I have a great team around me to take on some of that workload.
To keep in shape I do training and conditioning to keep my reactions quick and also mountain bike and row to stay in shape.
It’s a dangerous job and you always have to be on your game. I’ve never had any serious injuries from racing (luckily) but I have been in some big accidents, including rolling nine times.
When it happened I don’t really know what was going through my head. All I can say is that I was happy to be OK when I got out the car.
The scariest incident though was when I was racing in Abu Dhabi. In the semi-final the car in front of me hit a curb, flew through the air and then landed on top of the car next to me.
I somehow managed to come out the other side of that. You cannot hold onto things like that because it can really affect how you will drive in the future.
To mitigate these risks there are strict safety rules around the fireproof clothing we wear. Personal experience has also taught me how vital it is to have a good support system behind you.
I trust in my team, mechanics and my car. My family is also a racing family, too, and that helps with managing the fear and risks.
To be honest I just get in and drive, pushing past the nerves and butterflies. It’s self-confidence and self-belief that has got me where I am.
I’ve been driving for 15 years and I still love it all. I love pushing limits and getting the most out of the car.
There’s nothing like the buzz that comes from the adrenaline rushing through your body just before the lights go green.
I also like the engineering side of racing; I am always striving for the perfect set up for the car.
The most difficult part of the job for me is switching out of race mode and staying focused, especially when you have to change so suddenly from racing at high speed to meeting and interacting with fans.
People may think by looking at Formula One that rallycross drivers would have a lavish lifestyle but it’s not by any means.
There’s a lot of hard work – mental and physical – behind the scenes. And I have a day job away from racing in aggregate processing.
It’s all worth it though, especially at times like the X Games 17 in Los Angeles in 2011. It was a career changing win for me; I was the underdog, winning against some of the biggest names in the world.
And more recently I secured a podium at the opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Abu Dhabi in front of my kids. There’s no greater feeling.
My kids are still quite young but they most definitely want to follow in my footsteps. I love that they love what I do.
I am currently racing at SpeedMachine Festival at Silverstone, and I will be racing for them. It will be intense to be in front of my home crowd again.
For anyone considering getting into rallycross racing I would say, drive anything you can get your hands on.
Go to track days, stay focussed on your dream, work hard and make it happen.
Tickets for SpeedMachine Festival 2020 are available at speedmachine.com
How to get involved with My Odd Job
My Odd Job is a new weekly series from Metro.co.uk, published every Sunday. If you have an unusual job and want to get involved, email email@example.com.
Period products are a hot topic as we try to reduce the amount of plastic that we put into the world.
Pads and tampons are guilty of using a lot of non recyclable plastic, but at least they’re only used for a portion of the month. Panty liners, on the other hand, are designed for everyday use, so create even more waste.
But do we actually need to use panty liners? Are they a great way to stay fresh throughout the day, or are they an unnessary product designed to take womens’ money by making them feel their vaginas are unclean?
We spoke to Dr Mayoni, doctor, pelvic floor expert, and owner of The Clinic, about whether we should be spending our money on panty liners.
Is vaginal discharge normal?
Yes, totally! It’s our vagina’s way of keeping healthy and clean, while allowing natural shedding of any dead cells/microbes.
This will change through your cycle under the influence of different hormones. However, if your discharge is very offensive, smells or changes in colour from clear/white, then definitely see your doctor.
Can scented panty liners cause gynaecological problems?
Yes, because they can upset natural flora and fauna. Perfume/cleansers can cause irritation to the delicate vulval and vaginal tissue – so I recommend using plain liners and changing them often.
Should women feel obliged to wear panty liners for health reasons?
Not at all. Sometimes having a spare clean cotton underwear can be a good and safe alternative. And of course if you are worried about the amount of discharge you are producing, then please seek medical advice.
Is there any health benefit for the vagina to a panty liner?
If you are at the end of your period or at a situation where you can’t change your underwear regularly, then of course a frequently replaced thin panty liner can help to keep your vulva and vagina healthy.
The problem comes when a liner isn’t changed frequently enough, and the natural bacteria thrives and overgrows in this environment; thus leading to potential vaginal and urinary tract infections.
In conclusion, as Dr Mayoni says, you do not need to wear a panty liner.
However, some women do feel more comfortable wearing them – the feeling that your vagina is unclean is ingrained in a lot of us from childhood and hard to unlearn.
If you do feel the need to wear panty liners, avoid scented ones as they can irritate your vagina, mess with your natural pH, and also because your vagina smells fine as it is.
You can also buy washable bamboo panty liners. We haven’t tried them so can’t comment on how good they are, but they’re certainly more eco friendly.
Trying out period pants
Need to pack some jeans for your Bank Holiday weekend away?
Don’t faff about with folding them into a neat square – you know the second you pick up your suitcase your clothes will wriggle their way around and be a complete mess when you unpack at your hotel.
Instead, pack jeans and trousers with the army roll.
LaJoy Lampkin tweeted a video of her stepfather folding clothes this week, to show everyone the easy hack for packing away jeans.
In the video, her stepfather makes sure to leave one leg out when rolling up a pair of jeans. Once the jeans are rolled, he tucks them inside that leg, creating a little packed sausage that won’t come loose in your suitcase.
It’s a simple trick that we can all remember next time it comes to packing a bag.
And there’s a bonus: the army roll also helps to minimise creases and wrinkles, so it’s ideal for trousers of any fabric.
You can use the same technique for long-sleeved tops – just leave out a sleeve in place of a leg.
Many people will already know the army roll. It’s widely used by members of the Army (hence the name) and Navy, so if you know a service member, you’ll know this trick. It’s also known as the ranger roll, military fold, and skivvy roll.
LaJoy said her stepdad served in the US Navy for 26 years, but this was the first time she’d seen anyone fold up trousers in this way.
Woman sitting on suitcase in train looking at smart phone
When my best friend Claire* asked me to be her bridesmaid, my heart sank.
Wasn’t I supposed to jump for joy, fling my arms around her shoulders, excitedly begin to brainstorm ideas for the hen?
But that’s not what happened. I said yes, and immediately felt overwhelmed, my smile turning inwardly to dread.
At that point in my life, my anxiety was through the roof in many different ways. I had come out of a toxic relationship and had just quit a job where I’d contended with a bullying boss for two years.
I didn’t have the capacity to attend bridesmaid get-togethers over afternoon tea, go on detoxes for dress fittings, organise a 30 person-strong extravagant hen do and give my energy and time over to the 18-month build-up of her wedding, at a time when I desperately just needed to look after myself.
After spending the next couple of weeks thinking on my decision, I decided it was best to explain I wouldn’t be able to be a bridesmaid.
I arranged to meet Claire for brunch to break the news. Would she understand? Would she hate me? Would she think I was being a self-absorbed b*tch who’s drunk on too many self-love books?
As I began to speak, and apologise, I watched Claire’s face being gradually overtaken by confusion and sadness.
At first, she didn’t get it. She thought the whole experience would be lovely – and it can be. For the majority of women, having their best friends as their bridesmaids is the pinnacle of female friendship. It’s a statement. A milestone.
In modern times, it’s became incredibly important for brides to have their nearest and dearest hold their hand on the day and play a part in this special occasion.
But having been a bridesmaid several times before, I know that the role can also be a very time-consuming, often stressful, expensive and tiring period of time.
There is often a huge pressure put on bridesmaids, not just to say yes but to be there at the bride’s every beck and call during the engagement, to splash out on bridesmaid get-togethers, dresses, hair, makeup and social gatherings.
After a very heavy and tearful conversation (from both sides), Claire admitted she felt disappointed, upset and angry.
I was sorry from the bottom of my heart. But it isn’t selfish to say no to being a bridesmaid. In saying no to the commitment, I gave myself energy, time, patience and most of all, care.
I also realised exactly what my friendship with Claire was made of. With her grace, strength and love, she may not have completely understood my decision at that meeting, but she tried her best to, and that alone meant the world.
It was a decision that actually strengthened our relationship, although I know I am lucky – I’m not sure every bride would have been as forgiving and understanding as Claire and I’m sure it could have gone the other way.
Being a guest and not a bridesmaid at the wedding laid heavy on my heart, but ultimately I felt relief that I’d said no. I was burnt out from allowing people to cross my boundaries and I was at a juncture in my life where I desperately needed to start looking after myself.
While I still experienced bad days of anxiety, for the first time in years, I felt stronger
Seeing my best friend and her husband beaming on the day was something that I could be a part of and felt so happy to see, whether I was wearing a bridesmaid dress or not.
Turning down the bridesmaid offer was one of my better, smarter and most empowering decisions in life.