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

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    plants in the office
    Which plants will actually survive your office? (Picture: Getty)

    Sticking a potted plant on your desk is an easy way to make your workplace feel less miserable.

    But that brightening effect is quickly dashed if every succulent, cactus, or money plant you pop next to your monitor withers and dies in the space of a week.

    It’s also tricky to get your deskmate to water your plant while you’re away if your working culture isn’t appreciative of a bit of greenery.

    So which plants are best suited to life in an office? And what benefits of a desk plant can you show your boss so that everyone will get a little green pal of their own?

    Read on, plant fans. We’ve got the answers.

    The benefits of having plants in the office

    First off, having plants around makes your office look a whole lot nicer, and having a working environment that’s aesthetically pleasing will make you more enthusiastic about dragging yourself in each day.

    But the benefits go beyond having decent Instagram backgrounds for a shot of your iced latte.

    Chanel de Kock of the Flower Council of Holland tells Metro.co.uk: ‘It has been scientifically proven that by simply adding plants to your work space, it could help you achieve a greater sense of wellbeing, reduce your stress, boost creativity, and make you more productive, as well as the benefits of cleaning the air by absorbing and removing harmful toxins and chemicals from the air that are often emitted by office furniture and equipment.’

    So workers will feel better and work better in the presence of plants. Sounds good to us.

    an aloe vera plant on a desk
    An aloe vera can survive if you forget to water it (Picture: Getty)

    The team over at Arboretum reckon that a plant-filled space can make for more creative thinking by immersing us in nature – a necessary balance to all the desktop hardware we work on day in, day out.

    ‘Being surrounded by natural green plants enables employees to think more freely and creatively,’ they say. ‘Introducing plants in office spaces replaces the old, stale office surroundings with fresh, natural elements that can make the working environment feel new, more inviting and therefore open for creative thinking.’

    Plants could also reduce the number of sick days you take, as one study from the University of Agriculture in Norway found that indoor plants can reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats, and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30%.

    Which plants can thrive in office environments?

    Okay, so we know we should have plants in the office.

    But which bits of foliage will survive an environment of low natural light and aircon that’s often on full blast?

    You want to pick plants that can handle low levels of natural sunlight, such as those naturally found living under the shady canopy of trees in the rainforest.

    These include Devil’s Ivy, Chinese Evergreen, the Peace lily, the rubber plant, and the monstera deliciosa (also known as the Swiss cheese plant, a philodendron, or those trendy leaves that pop up all over Pinterest).

    monstera leaves
    A monstera instantly livens up a corner of the office (Picture: Getty)

    Chanel says: ‘These are all pretty easy to care for plants, will add lost of green to create a calm environment, and these are all happy in low light conditions.

    ‘Their best feature yet is that they’re all great air-purifiers. Usually all plants with large leaves tend to be great air-purifiers.’

    The guys over at Arboretum also propose spider plants, as they’re super easy to care for, and snake plants.

    snake plant
    A snake plant is air-purifying and easy to look after (Picture: Getty)

    If you know you’re someone who forgets to water their plants, a Jade plant is another strong choice. It’s known as the money plant, with Japanese folklore claiming it brings financial success, so that’s another good reason to stick it on your desk.

    And, of course, the classic cactus is an easy option for beginners. Little watering is required, just find a well-lit area for your cactus to thrive. The same goes for an aloe plant, which can thrive without regular soaks.

    Plants that will survive and thrive in your office:

    Aloe vera – just a water every other week should do an aloe vera well.

    Bamboo – looks pretty and requires little light, so it can survive a shady corner.

    Cacti – little watering required.

    Air plants – these don’t even need soil to survive. Just dunk them in water every week or so.

    Devil’s ivy – often sold as a hanging or climbing plant, this one doesn’t need much light so is perfect for livening up a corner of the workplace.

    Jade plants – a hardy plant that can survive you forgetting to water it for a few days.

    Jade plants are hardy and small enough to fit on your desk
    Jade plants are hardy and small enough to fit on your desk (Picture: Getty)

    Monstera deliciosa – also known as the Swiss Cheese plant, this is another trendy statement plant that instantly transforms a space. Be warned: it’s not safe for cats so pet-friendly offices may want to give it a miss.

    Peace Lily – an air-purifying plant that’s pet-safe and can handle low levels of natural light.

    Rubber plant – this is a big lad, so probably not one for your desk. It’s super easy to look after, though, so recommend your boss dots a couple around the office floor.

    Spider plants – spider plants flourish in indirect light, so they can survive an office that doesn’t have massive open windows. When spider plants grow they produce pups which can be cut and grown into another spider plant, so from one plant you can make plenty more for the rest of the office.

    Snake plants – these do grow best with some natural sunlight, so choose a snake plant if you’re near a window.

    Succulents – hardy plants that can survive minimal watering and dry air.

    Which plants should be avoided in an office?

    Be careful choosing flowering plants, as these could cause trouble for sufferers of hay fever.

    Weeping figs, orchids, and marigold have been known to cause skin reactions, so we’d recommend avoiding those too.

    If there are pets in the office, make sure that all your plants are safe for curious cats or dogs to nibble on.

    MORE: Plant-themed baby names are a major trend right now

    MORE: Ever fancied growing your own d*ck plant? Well, now you can

    MORE: Man is tricked into thinking a potted pickle was a cactus, believing it for weeks


    Smiling businesswoman sending message on smart phone while working on officeSmiling businesswoman sending message on smart phone while working on office

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    Nikki Goodwin was shocked to find a dead fish in a bag she ordered from Boohoo
    Nikki Goodwin was shocked to find a dead fish in a bag she ordered from Boohoo (Picture: Mercury Press)

    A mum says she was pretty shocked to find a dead goldfish in a package she received from Boohoo.

    Nikki Goodwin, 34, had ordered a black pleather handbag as a present for her 15-year-old daughter, Tayla.

    When Tayla unwrapped the gift on Wednesday, she claims she spotted a dead golfish inside.

    Nikki, from London, said: ‘Tayla was pretty excited about getting a new bag, she’d been asking for one for school for a while so I let her order one using my card.

    ‘She came in from school and took the package upstairs then I just heard this scream. It was a really girly, dramatic scream. I was thinking “what now?”

    ‘She said “there’s a fish” and I was thinking that it was a prank and maybe one of the boys at school had put one in her schoolbag.

    The dead fish in the packaging
    The dead fish in the packaging (Picture: Mercury Press)

    ‘She sent me a picture from upstairs and it was in the packaging on her bed.

    ‘I went upstairs picked it up within the packaging and took some photos.

    ‘It was all fossil-like. It had gone all hard from decomposing. It had a hard coating on it and you could just about see its eye and mouth.

    ‘It was only a couple of inches long but it did stink when you got close to it.

    ‘I was thinking ‘how the hell did it get there?’ I thought it was someone in the packaging factory having a laugh.

    Pic by Mercury Press - (Pictured: The goldfish.) - A mum was left shocked after discovering a dead GOLDFISH in the packaging of a bag she ordered as a gift from Boohoo. Nikki Goodwin, 34, had ordered the black bag as a present for her 15-year-old daughter Tayla Clarkson. But the teen, from London, was horrified when she unwrapped the gift on Wednesday [May 22] and saw the tiny dead fish. Mum-of-three Nikki, who thinks the fish was put in there as a prank by one of the warehouse staff, has since been offered a full refund and ?20 voucher. SEE MERCURY COPY
    Nikki had ordered the bag for her daughter, Tayla (Picture: Mercury Press)
    ‘My daughter was grossed out by it but I could see the funny side. She’s seeing the funny side of it now.’

    Nikki messaged Boohoo on Facebook and was promised a full refund, along with a £20 voucher.

    As traumatic as finding a dead fish may be, the incident hasn’t put Tayla off her bag, nor has it put Nikki off shopping through Boohoo.

    Nikki said: ‘It just makes me wonder what might come in the next package.’

    Boohoo has been contacted for comment.

    MORE: Mum captures the moment her baby cries seeing her fake tan gone wrong

    MORE: PLT is selling a plastic skirt for £25 but savvy woman makes her own for a quid

    MORE: Teenager’s back left stained purple after wearing Boohoo crop top


    Woman finds dead fish in Boohoo packagingWoman finds dead fish in Boohoo packaging

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    Hay fever wipes
    Could these hay fever relief wipes be the relief you’re searching for? (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    Brace yourselves: Hay fever season is coming.

    As you prepare by eating spoonfuls of honey, staying inside, and having sex, we’re sure you’re desperately searching for any remedy that will relieve your itchy eyes and streaming nose.

    If online reviews are anything to go by, these wipes might be worth trying.

    Skincare brand Nuage is selling Hayfever Relief Wipes that claim to remove and trap pollen, dust, and pet hair before they can cause irritation.

    They’re reasonably priced at 99p in Savers, and when someone shared the product in the Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK group they were flooded with praise in the comments.

    Users say they’re ideal for kids who don’t like taking tablets and can be carried around for on-the-go use.

    The peppermint and tea tree oil traps and removes pollen from the skin and soothes itches. You just swipe them over your hands and face and you should be good to go.

    It’s worth noting, though, that these aren’t an environmentally friendly solution for your hay fever woes.

    We all know that wet wipes create unnecessary waste, especially if, like these, they’re not biodegradable.

    You could easily wipe away pollen in the same way with a damp flannel – a cheaper and more sustainable alternative to daily wipes. Just keep a flannel and a spray bottle filled with water and a touch of tea tree oil and you’re getting the same effects for less money and guilt about the environment.

    You can also use barrier treatments to block pollen from entering your nostrils. Applying Vaseline or Hay Max Pollen Barrier to the outside of your nose helps stop pollen going in and traps much of it before it can affect you.

    MORE: When does hay fever season start, and can you still get it when it’s cold outside?

    MORE: The best air-purifying indoor plants that will survive life on your desk

    MORE: Allergy waivers give restaurants permission to put lives at risk


    Untitled-1-1c56Untitled-1-1c56

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    Chick N Skin sells crispy fried chicken skins as a keto-friendly snack
    Don’t you just love chicken skin? (Picture: chicknskin.com)

    For those of you who eat chicken, the skin might always be the main objective for indulging.

    Carving your way through breast, thigh and wing as a means to an end savouring the crispy, salty and greasy skin of the chicken at the meal’s finish line is pretty dreamy.

    For those chicken skin lovers, good news has come.

    There is a company in the United States that sells crunchy chicken skins as ready-to-eat snacks.

    Chick N’ Skin are selling chicken skin crisps in batches on their website as alternatives to potato chips.

    According to their website: ‘The mission of Chick N’ Skin is to put chicken on the map and serve the best part every time.

    Your wholesome everyday snack
    Your wholesome everyday snack (Picture: chicknskin.com)

    ‘But our goals are more than skin deep,’ says the website. ‘Our vision is to be a leader in reducing the impact on our environment. We have created a resourceful way to utilize the entire animal, thereby minimizing waste.’

    It won’t just be a ‘salty’ flavour available though, since the company currently have six separate chicken skin options, including Original, – which is likened to a ‘rotisserie chicken’ on the company website –  BBQ Bacon, and Chinese Salt and Pepper.

    There’s also Salt & Vinegar for those who enjoy an acidic tang, and fiery Tom Yum for extra heat. The most popular appears to be Buffalo Wing,  which is currently sold out on the website.

    Picture: chicknskin.com THERE IS A COMPANY THAT ONLY SELLS FRIED CHICKEN SKIN
    They’re available in flavours including Tom Yum and Salt & Vinegar (Picture: Chick N Skin)

    In addition to the environmental considerations of using otherwise discarded animal parts, Chick N’ Skin also claim that their product is healthier than your average street snack.

    On their website, they state that: ‘Our products are created to be a unique type of healthier snack idea for those who are tired of the same old boring chips and carb heavy foods.

    ‘Our foods only have 1 carb per serving, making them the perfect food for those who are following a low carb diet, who are diabetic, or on other restrictive diets due to health conditions.’

    Lie changing.

    MORE: Dr Oz claims you don’t need to wash chicken and people are not convinced

    MORE: Panic over chlorinated chicken in UK ‘based on myths’, says US official

    MORE: The brain ‘switch’ that makes us crave junk food has been revealed


    THERE IS A COMPANY THAT ONLY SELLS FRIED CHICKEN SKINTHERE IS A COMPANY THAT ONLY SELLS FRIED CHICKEN SKIN

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    pro choice tattoo
    Patrick is giving out free tattoos for whatever donations people can afford (Picture: european.son.420)

    With horrendous bans on abortion in Northern Ireland and Alabama, we need pro-choice allies speaking up about reproductive rights.

    That means people marching the streets in protest, supporting those who have had abortions, and helping those in places where abortions remain illegal.

    But it also means doing what you can to raise awareness on an individual level.

    For Patrick Bates, that’s giving out tattoos.

    Patrick is a tattoo artist living in Brighton with a rep for doing simple hand-poked lettering. He’s been tattooing for three years, having previously worked in residential care homes for young adults with mental health issues and learning disabilities.

    His act of allyship is in giving out free ‘pro choice’ tattoos in exchange for a charity donation of whatever the individual can afford.

    A woman's 'pro choice' tattoo on her leg
    (Picture: european.son.420)

    On Sunday 2 June at Heartbreaker Tattoo in Brighton, Patrick will welcome anyone who’d like to get ‘pro choice’ tattooed on their body. People can donate what they like, with money going to charities in aid of reproductive health.

    Patrick tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I kept seeing and hearing stories about what was happening in America with regards to the abortion laws. It sounded like something out of a dystopian novel.

    ‘My family are of Irish and Argentinian descent and I played basketball in America for five years as a teenager so the topic in each of these countries was quite close to my heart.

    ‘I started tattooing three or so years ago and have now got an online platform which reaches people from all over the world so I thought I should use that platform to speak about what was happening and hopefully make as many people aware of what was going on as possible.’

    Rose Savage's pro-choice tattoo
    (Picture: european.son.420)

    Patrick initially wanted to just tattoo ‘pro choice’ all day for free so that all those supporting the right to choose could stand proud. But when he offered out the tattoo, fans said they wanted to donate money in aid of reproductive rights, too.

    He’s already done the pro choice tattoo five times in the last week, and is hoping the dedicated day in June will see loads more people getting the words inked on their bodies.

    ‘I hope to tattoo at least 30 people on the day,’ says Patrick.

    Of course, lots of people won’t be able to get to Brighton for the day, so Patrick has some other options.

    ‘I thought I would offer to write the words and take a photo and send the file to whoever wanted it for free and they can get it tattooed where they live,’ says Patrick. ‘My assistant Iva told me that she has sent the design to about 300 people so far.

    ‘I never expected so many people would want to get the tattoo. I would love it if 1,000 people would get it.’

    Patrick also plans to release a pro choice T-shirt, with all profits also going to charity.

    If you’d like your own pro choice tattoo, contact Patrick by email at european.son.420@gmail.com.

    MORE: Woman embraces mastectomy scars with stunning tattoo

    MORE: It’s okay not to want to talk about your abortion

    MORE: Repealing the 8th Amendment was monumental but vulnerable women still can’t access abortions


    pro choice tattoo 1-0c4fpro choice tattoo 1-0c4f

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    As my taxi made its way along a bumpy road in the middle of the night I started to wonder if it had been worth travelling half way across the world for a festival in the Costa Rican jungle.

    I had decided to attend Envision after watching a video that described it as a ‘crazy hippy festival’.

    This idea sounded quite romantic and went against what a lot festivals are today – commercialised events owned by massive corporations.

    After further research I discovered Envision’s aim was to focus on community rather than the individual and it also strived to ‘awaken the self to a higher consciousness in alignment with the natural harmony’.

    That was one of eight pillars that defined the event, with others including spirituality, movement, art and music.

    Despite all of this I was still filled with trepidation as I completed the three hour journey from San Jose airport to Uvita.

    Would it all be worth it or had I just been duped by a great sales pitch?

    A wonderful costume from the festival
    A wonderful costume from the festival (Picture: Envision Festival)

    Well, it wasn’t all a rouse. Envision delivered on its promise to create a community in jungle that made you feel like you were part of something more important.

    I happily bought into things that I would not have if I was back in the UK. I’m not a yoga fan but I still found myself stretching on the ground with everyone else.

    I’m not into meditation but I didn’t mind repeating mantras while I sat with my eyes closed.

    One of the many yoga sessions at the festival
    One of the many yoga sessions at the festival (Picture: Envision Festival)

    Envision hired some of the best yoga teachers to lead classes so that probably made learning a bit easier.

    Swedish yoga teacher Rachel Brathen brought her Yoga Girl brand to the festival and Life-Force Academy founder Jai Dev Singh, who is an expert in Ayurvedic healing, was also on the bill.

    DJ Drez was on hand to help people move with his tunes, playing mystical hip-hop, reggae roots and Indian raga that provided the soundtrack to yoga sessions.

    The production quality was amazing
    The production quality was amazing (Picture: Envision Festival)

    Once the sun went down Envision became more about partying and less about yoga, pilates, meditation and talks.

    There was a bit of something for everyone, with the music categories split up in stages.

    If you wanted heavy bass accompanied with out of this world performers then the Luna Stage was perfect for you.

    Acts included French electronic and bass musician Clozee, Ecuardorian Nicola Cruz and US West Coast performer Random Rab.

    Another great performance
    Another great performance (Picture: Envision Festival)
    The performers brought their A game (Picture: Envision Festival)

    Fans of house and techno were served at the Lapa Stage, with UK house and breakbeat DJ Lee Burridge, DJ and producer duo Bedouin and the piano playing Viken Arman performing.

    If live bands are more your taste then you would have loved the Village and Sol stages, which featured US singer and song writer Trevor Hall, live electronic duo The Floozies, Grouch in Dub and young Indigenous rapper and activist Xiuhtezcatl.

    Fire was a running theme (Picture: Envision Festival)
    The costumes were on point (Picture: Envision Festival)

    Envision did not cheap out on stage design either, with all the sets looking brilliant and being accompanied with light shows, flames and acrobats.

    There was also plenty of artwork on show, with a pop-up gallery on site and plenty of art installations and paintings dotted around the festival.

    The people were the most important part of Envision, with everyone seemingly buying into the ideas of the festival.

    I encountered visitors from different walks of life who were happy to commit to forming a new community for a few days where everyone was equal.

    He looks like he’s having a great time (Picture: Envision Festival)
    She also looks like she’s enjoying herself (Picture: Envision Festival)

    They included a young woman from British Columbia who was travelling through Costa Rica on her own after spending the summer earning money as a landscaper.

    She had made friends with a like-minded lady from America and they were now on their way to explore the beach.

    I met a bodybuilding couple who had come to Envision to get married. They had decided to get hitched on a beach in front of new friends they had made at the festival.

    There was another woman who was half English and Spanish and was currently living in the Netherlands. She had heard about Envision while researching a trip to Costa Rica and decided to make it part of her holiday.

    The beach was something else (Picture: Envision Festival)

    The beach was a must, especially at sunset.

    I watched a father and son team performing with fire sticks as the sun went down, which is a visual I won’t forget anytime soon.

    The view back towards the jungle, with the trees and mountains, was glorious.

    I’ve never seen a sunset like this (Picture: Jimmy Nsubuga)
    Fire performers on the beach (Picture: Jimmy Nsubuga)
    The beach is a must (Picture: Jimmy Nsubuga)

    The beach was somewhere where the festival goers and locals could mingle. If you had been camped out at the festival and not been able to visit the nearest town then this was the perfect place to get a taste of Costa Rica.

    The local entrepreneurs set up stores, where you could buy cheap alcohol, souvenirs and food.

    This VIP cabana will cost a bit (Picture: Envsion)

    Where to stay

    You have several choices when it comes to accommodation. It really depends on how much you want to spend and how close you want to be to the festival.

    I stayed in and Airbnb 30 minutes away in Matapapalo that cost from £113 per night. It was comfortable and allowed us to see more of Costa Rica away from the Envision site.

    Alternatively you could stay in the jungle, which brings both positives and negatives. You’re permanently around the positive energy of others but unless you get a good spot you could be awoken by the searing heat in the morning.

    Options range from a tent for free, VIP bungalow for £831 ($1,100) or a VIP cabana if you’re willing to fork out £15,800 ($21,000).

    How to get there

    San Jose airport in Alajuela is the closest international airport to the venue at around three hours drive. Liberia International Airport airport is about six hours drive.

    Envision puts on a free shuttle when the event is on that goes from the airport to the festival site.

    An Uber from San Jose airport will cost around £90 ($120).

    Envision festival takes place again next February and tickets can be booked online.

    MORE: Anguilla: The Caribbean haven celebrities don’t want you to know about

    MORE: How to plan the ultimate foodie tour of Taiwan


    EF19_EricAllenPhoto_Beach_34-80c3EF19_EricAllenPhoto_Beach_34-80c3

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    Sainsburys, Tesco, Aldi, and Lidl Bank Holiday opening hours
    Need supplies? (Picture: Getty)

    Although the weather is supposed to be something of a mixed bag this Bank Holiday weekend, we’ll all be enjoying the time off work nonetheless.

    It’s the second Bank Holiday of the monthm and the last one until the end of Summer – so it’s best to make the most of it if you can.

    Regardless of whether you’re planning a barbecue or a weekend in front of Netflix, you’ll likely need to eat.

    So you can go out to get supplies for yourself, we’ve got the opening hours from some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets.

    If you live in Scotland, whether you have a Bank Holiday or not will be dictated by your local council, so it makes sense to check stores specifically.

    Tesco Bank Holiday opening hours

    Most Tesco Extra stores will have opening hours on Monday from 9am to 6pm on Bank Holiday Monday.

    Some superstores will be open for longer (from 8am to 7pm) while the Express branches should be open from 6am to 11pm.

    Check your local store here.

    Sainsbury’s Bank Holiday opening hours

    The opening times on Monday for your local Sainsbury’s will be dependent on the branch near you.

    For example, larger stores will be open (for the most part) from 8am to 8pm).

    Smaller Sainsbury’s Local stores however should have opening hours between around 7am and 11pm. Check here.

    Lidl Bank Holiday opening hours

    All Lidl stores will be open from 8am to 8pm on Bank Holiday Monday, and will have normal Sunday hours today.

    Check your local store here.

    Aldi Bank Holiday opening hours

    The supermarket will be open as normal today. On Monday, however, all stores will have opening hours between 8am and 8pm.

    Find your local store here.

    MORE: Queen will ‘break royal tradition’ to attend funeral of ‘adored’ long-standing aide

    MORE: Disabled dad left staring at ‘blank wall’ after DIY SOS makeover


    Bank holiday opening times for Tesco, Sainsbury?s, Lidl and AldiBank holiday opening times for Tesco, Sainsbury?s, Lidl and Aldi

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    Soak your oven trays in the bath with washing up liquid and dryer sheets to get them sparkling clean
    Could this trick be an easy way to clean your oven trays? (Picture: Facebook)

    If you’re doing some weekend cleaning, stick this on your to-do list.

    Members of the cleaning community are obsessed with a genius hack for cleaning the grime off dirty oven racks.

    Why? Because it’s easy, it works, and it saves you from scrubbing at a big metal shelf for hours.

    The trick is essentially just a smart way to give your racks a proper soak.

    Simply put your dirty racks in the bathtub (with the plug in), cover them with boiling water and washing up liquid, then cover with tumble dryer sheets. Leave overnight to ask, drain the tub in the morning, and use the soaked dryer sheets to wipe the racks clean. The dirt should come off easily.

    Trick for cleaning dirty oven racks going viral
    You will need access to a bathtub (Picture: Hinch Army Cleaning Tips)

    The trick works thanks to the fabric softening ingredients in the dryer sheets, which help to soften baked on food and dirt. The antistatic properties of dryer sheets help, too, because they dilute the bond holding the dirt on the metal. An overnight soak allows all that magic to work, and because you’ve done it all in the bathtub, it’s easy to rinse away any resulting mess.

    Cleaning enthusiasts have been trying out the trick in droves, and sharing the incredible results on Facebook.

    One group member wrote: ‘OMG!!! Had to share. Tried out a proper bonafide hack today. Best hack I have come across.

    ‘My oven was in desperate need of a clean, and I HATE cleaning the racks & using smelly chemicals that are strong enough to get them gleaming clean.

    ‘So I tried my recently discovered hack, and to be honest wasn’t expecting it to work even a little bit.

    ‘I dutifully put my racks in the sink with a splash of washing up liquid, a tumble dryer sheet, & added boiling water. Left it to soak for one hour, and the used the dryer sheet to wipe all the gunk away, leaving it all shiny and clean. Knock me down with a feather duster!’

    A woman's dirty oven rack before trying the hack
    One woman’s oven racks before the trick… (Picture: Hinch Army Cleaning Tips)
    the results of the cleaning trick
    …and after (Picture: Hinch Army Cleaning Tips)

    One woman did have a word of warning for anyone planning to test the hack themselves: make sure you let your family members know that the racks are sitting in the tub.

    In the Mrs Hinch Made Me Do It group, Michelle wrote: ‘I thought I would try this last night after a few glasses of wine. My husband was wondering why I was emptying our oven and taking them to the bath. Thought I had gone mad.

    ‘I then proceeded to throw a couple of tumble dryer sheets in with some warm water.

    ‘Off to bed I go…….

    ‘A few hours later our eldest comes home from a night out and proceeds to have a shower. Yeah you can see what’s coming. He steps in the shower then proceeds to shout at the top of his voice there’s beep beep beep something in the shower.

    ‘By now I am awake but slightly pissed so lie there laughing and really not helping at all.

    ‘Out the shower he gets and off to bed he goes with a bruised toe as he had stubbed it on the racks.

    ‘Well this morning I have been called all sorts of names but no sh*ts given as I have nice clean wire racks after giving them a little scrub to get the last bits off.’

    A stubbed toe is worth it to avoid a load of scrubbing, we reckon.

    If you can’t get hold of dryer sheets, there are some other bathtub soaking techniques you can try to get your oven racks sparkling clean.

    Try soaking racks in the bath with hot water and some dishwasher granules, or use a baking powder and vinegar mix.

    After letting the racks sit overnight, you’ll still need to do a bit of a scrub to dislodge caked on grime. An old towel or a toothbrush will do a brilliant job.

    MORE: Man shares simple hack for packing jeans in your suitcase

    MORE: People are loving these 99p hay fever wipes that promise to remove and trap pollen

    MORE: Mrs Hinch fans are celebrating their birthdays with cleaning-inspired cakes


    Oven cleaning hackOven cleaning hack

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    Trinidadian Doubles with chickpeas and garnish
    Mouthwatering (Photo: Justin DeSouza)

    There’s a long held belief that Caribbean food revolves around Jamaican Jerk chicken and rice and peas.

    But across the Caribbean there are many islands that represent a wide array of the region’s colourful cultures, from music to food.

    Across the bank holiday weekend restaurateur and Trinidad-born Sham Mahabir has put together a food festival to celebrate all the tastes that the Caribbean has to offer, beyond the jerk chicken we’ve come to expect.

    In the heart of Old Spitalfields Market this weekend is Jerk & Beyond, a three-day festival dedicated to Caribbean rum and food.

    Sham tells Metro.co.uk: ‘The food festival is more about changing people’s perceptions of Caribbean food in the UK.

    Mac n Cheese Bites made by Mike's Calypso Restaurant
    Mac n Cheese bites, anyone? (Photo: Justin DeSouza)

    ‘The idea came about when I saw that there weren’t many, if any, Caribbean restaurants that were in prominent areas of Central London that were owned by Caribbean people and extended further than being centered on Jerk as the only food available from the region.’

    Sham started a rum and Trinidian restaurant in October 2018 called Limin – which means ‘the art of doing nothing’ – a pop up where he centres Trinidadian food in Spitalfields.

    It was then that he saw a saw a huge interest in the concept.

    Sham Mahabir, the founder of Limin' Restaurant
    Sham loves Trinidadian food and culture (Photo: Justin DeSouza)

    He said: ‘I started the restaurant because once I started working a rum bar, I would be doing Trinidadian food alongside that venture to showcase it.

    ‘It took off. Since the launch, so many people from Trinidad have said they enjoyed the experience and that they are excited to see that there’s a place exclusively for Trinidadian food centrally after being here for sixty years.

    ‘It’s been absolutely unbelievable, and has been an amazing journey.’

    Sham came to London from Trinidad when he was 21 years old and worked in a variety of industries before entering food and hospitality.

    Rum Punch
    ‘Come lime with us!’ (Photo: Justin DeSouza)

    He said: ‘We are a restaurant but we want to create more of an experience.

    ‘At the time of Brexit and the Windrush scandal, we want to be able to create a positive experience of cultures in the UK.

    ‘It’s a place where people from the Caribbean and elsewhere can come and have a safe-space, be themselves and enjoy what we have to offer.’

    Now at 42, he wants to put Caribbean food on the map, and by pulling together different Caribbean restaurants from across London in one place to serve the people in the busy Spitalfields market.

    And that he does.

    Mai Tai
    Fancy a Mai Tai with a Caribbean twist? (Photo: Justin DeSouza)

    The food fest has everything you could imagine associating the best parts of the region with: great music, flourishing cocktails and delicious food all in one place.

    Stalls offer up dishes including Trinidadian roti filled with meats, fish or vegetables, Peruvian Arepas, seafood or meat served in cornbread, and Jamaican rum cakes.

    Each meal costs £6 with drinks at roughly the same price. You will be greeted with island music and Sham himself is around welcoming everyone to the experience.

    Ackee and Calaloo Fritters with Bean Salad
    Yum (Photo: Justin DeSouza)

    ‘We want everyone to come and enjoy themselves. People bring their friends and family because they are proud of their heritage and culture, and we want everyone to feel welcome to indulge in what the region has to offer. Come lime with us!’

    And with that, let’s hit the rums.

    The Jerk and Beyond festival is running this bank holiday weekend until Monday 27 May. Limin will remain in Old Spitalfields Market until the end of June.

    MORE: Street Eats is the food festival bringing you the best halal grub for only £1

    MORE: Nicki Minaj contributing to relief efforts after her native Trinidad is devastated by floods

    MORE: Comedian calls a crepe ‘French roti’ and people love it


    Jerk & Beyond Doubles with chickpeas by Limin 3-f091Jerk & Beyond Doubles with chickpeas by Limin 3-f091

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    Mandatory Credit: Photo by Sipa/REX/Shutterstock (523188c) Stormtroopers 'STAR WARS EPISODE 3 : REVENGE OF THE SITH' FILM PREMIERE, LONDON, BRITAIN - 16 MAY 2005
    Are you ready? (Picture: Sipa/REX/Shutterstock)

    Star Wars fans, your time has finally arrived.

    Disneyland ishiring people to take on roles as Stormtroopers in their new Star Wars themed section, called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

    The potential troopers will need to be between 5 foot 10 and 6 feet tall, of athletic build and quick witted to deal with the galactic intensities that come with the role.

    Namely, dealing with eager tourists who want to take a shot at upending the Galactic Empire.

    Mandatory Credit: Photo by Lee Jones/REX/Shutterstock (4724871k) Star Wars fans dressed up in Imperial Stormtrooper cosplay outfits Star Wars Celebration day, Leicester Square, London, Britain - 16 May 2005
    Locked and Loaded. Photo: Lee Jones/REX/Shutterstock)

    Once the job is successfully obtained, you’ll be expected to interact with thousands of people each day in meet-and-greets while posing for pictures and helping to create magical moments with guests of all ages.

    As a Disneyland Stormtrooper, you will have to demonstrate high energy levels, a full range of body movement, and imaginative improvisation all while working in a full-body costume.

    There’s not much more information on the gig, but if you’re keen you can apply through the Disney Careers website.

    No word on whether any Sith Lords will be acting as supervisors or if you’ll have to answer to a droid, but it could be a fun way to see behind-the-scenes action at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

    MORE: Harrison Ford gets emotional as he reveals he ‘misses’ Star Wars pal Peter Mayhew

    MORE: Calls flood in for Game Of Thrones star Peter Dinklage to win all the awards for season 8 finale

    MORE: Rocketman star Bryce Dallas Howard admits playing Elton John’s mum was ‘daunting’


    Disneyland is hiring StormtroopersDisneyland is hiring Stormtroopers

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    Biking around Medellin in the footsteps of Pablo Escobar
    (Picture: Rupert Parker/Metro.co.uk)

    I’m cycling around the centre of Medellin in Colombia, until recently one of the world’s most dangerous cities, with over 6,000 killings recorded in 1991.

    During the 80s and 90s, local boy Pablo Escobar, king of the cocaine cartel, ruled with an iron grip and many of the murders were drug related.

    He was shot by the police in 1991. Some companies offer Escobar tours, much to the disgust of the locals.

    I’m seeing the city’s sights by bike and the only danger is fruit and vegetable merchants who seem happy to plonk their stalls right in front of me.

    A sign that Medellin is back on the international stage is that it’s hosting the second edition of Tour Colombia with top cyclists from all over the world competing in its six day event.

    El Peñón de Guatapé
    El Peñón de Guatapé (Picture: Rupert Parker/Metro.co.uk)

    Our very own Chris Froome is here with Team Sky.

    The vertiginous climbs up the sides of the Medellin valley are an ideal rehearsal for the Tour de France. I talk to some of the British competitors who tell me that the rides here are some of the most challenging in the world.

    I’m certainly not up to their level but do manage a stretch downhill to the nearby town of Guatapé, about 60 km south of the city. It’s attractively situated by the side of a lake, and the white walls of its traditional houses are covered in brightly painted murals of people and animals.

    The star attraction here is the climb up 659 steps to the top of El Peñón de Guatapé, at 2135m. It’s a lot of effort at this altitude but the reward is a stunning view of the fingers of the lake laid out below the distant green mountains.

    Back in Medellin, I get on my bike to explore the city further.

    House of Memory Museum

    the house of memory
    The House of Memory is well worth a visit (Picture: Rupert Parker/Metro.co.uk)

    I start in the House of Memory Museum, a good place to get an overview of the troubled history of Medellin.

    It opened in 2012 in a purpose built space and three floors of photos, videos and voice recordings detail the violence that plagued the city for more than 30 years.

    For Colombians it’s a place to grieve, reunite and remember their nightmare. Its purpose is to ensure this never happens again.

    Joaquín Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden

    Joaquín Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden
    Head to the Joaquín Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden for some peaceful greenery (Picture: Rupert Parker/Metro.co.uk)

    The Botanical Garden of Medellin, named after Joaquín Antonio Uribe, a Colombian naturalist and writer, covers 14 hectares in the city centre and has over 1,000 species of plants.

    There’s a tropical forest, a lake with wetland area, a desert garden, an Orquideorama containing orchids, carnivorous plants and tree ferns and a palm garden with 120 different species.

    New is a butterfly house and the garden’s restaurant serves an excellent lunch.

    Plaza Botero

    Medellin artist Fernando Botero is famous for his sculptures of large bodies
    Medellin artist Fernando Botero is famous for his sculptures of large bodies (Picture: Rupert Parker/Metro.co.uk)

    I continue to the urban park in front of Museo de Antioquia that displays 23 bronze sculptures created by the Medellin artist Fernando Botero.

    His art is distinguished by his exaggerated body shapes, or ‘fat’ figures, as he calls them. He says that he’s attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why.

    Comuna 13

    Comuna 13
    Once a makeshift shanty town, Comuna 13 is now a spot to stroll through with brightly painted houses (Picture: Rupert Parker/Metro.co.uk)

    I ditch my bike and take advantage of the excellent public transport which includes cable cars to get people up to the higher barrios, once makeshift shanty towns.

    Comuna 13, rising up the hill from San Javier Metro station, has no cable cars but instead a series of covered escalators, or moving staircases, that provide access to areas that were previously isolated. It was once the most violent neighbourhood in the city but now is completely safe.

    It’s been transformed into a giant street art museum with murals and graffiti covering the walls at all levels.

    large murals cover the walls
    Large murals cover the walls (Picture: Rupert Parker/Metro.co.uk)
    large murals on the walls of Comuna 13
    (Picture: Rupert Parker/Metro.co.uk)

    The houses have also been painted in bright colours to match the murals and it’s best to take a local guide who can explain the history behind the artworks.

    As well as street art, several small galleries and market stalls are dotted along the main pedestrian routes and there are often displays of dancing.

    Arví Park

    You can reach the park by cable car from Arví metro station
    You can reach the park by cable car from Arví metro station (Picture: Rupert Parker/Metro.co.uk)

    Perched high above the northeast of the city, Arví Park is an eco-nature reserve where city dwellers go for hiking, biking and horse riding.

    You can reach it by cable car from Arví metro station and there’s a market selling street food as you step out of your gondola.

    The park covers 16,000 hectares, 1,760 of which are natural forest and there are 54 miles of walkable trails.

    Nearby is the little town of Santa Elena where flowers are grown for the annual Medellin Flower Festival.

    Where to stay in Medellin and how to get there:

    The City Express Plus Hotel in Poblado is a good base for visiting the city.

    Piedras Blancas Ecological Hotel is handy for Arví Park and has its own private nature reserve.

    Medellin Travel has information about the city.

    Avianca flies direct daily from London Heathrow to Bogota and has connecting flights to Medellin.

    TravelLocal (0117 325 7898 offers a 9 day trip to northern Colombia, including cycling in the Guatapé region, trekking in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Lost City hiking experience, from £1480pp with flights.

    MORE: How to visit Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in an eco-friendly way

    MORE: Widow travels the world with a cardboard cutout of her late husband


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    Model Karla Crowe wants to inspire women to love their bodies and feel sexy
    Model Karla Crowe wants to inspire women to love their bodies and feel sexy (Picture: MDWfeatures / Karla Crowe)

    After facing bullying and rejection for her weight, Karla Crowe spent years hiding her body in baggy clothes and starving herself to appeal to men.

    Now, she’s a body-positive model who’s showing plus-size women they can have great sex lives – and that loving sex is nothing to be ashamed of, whatever your size.

    ‘Throughout high school I never had relationships like most of my friends did, I think nobody ever wanted to admit to having a crush on ‘the fat girl’,’ says Karla.

    ‘I was forced to hide under baggy boy’s clothes that made me feel awful and ostracised. Boys would make a lot of fat jokes, girls would generally exclude me.

    ‘Throughout high school I never used to eat lunch because I didn’t want anyone to see me eat.’

    It was a night out at a gig that changed Karla’s mindset forever.

    Karla, pictured in her late teens, always used to cover up.
    Karla, pictured in her late teens, always used to cover up (Picture: MDWfeatures / Karla Crowe)
    Karla as a teenager
    Bullying and rejection from boys made Karla hate her body (Picture: MDWfeatures / Karla Crowe)

    She says: ‘In my late teens and early twenties, I used to go out to a lot of live music events and always wanted to be a singer but never felt even remotely confident enough to get on stage, always worried that I would be mocked for my size and terrified that people wouldn’t like me.

    ‘One day I was at a gig and was chatting to the frontman after he got off stage and he told me, “you learn to stop giving a s*** about what people think of you when you realise that they seldom do”.

    ‘That has stuck with me ever since, realising that people are generally too busy worrying about their own image and insecurities that they don’t actually care much at all about me and mine.’

    Karla decided to embrace and love her body.

    Karla has learned to love her body
    Karla has learned to love her body (Picture: MDWfeatures / Karla Crowe)

    That newfound confidence affected her dating life. She was surprised to find – after not having any relationships through school – that plenty of men were attracted to her at a size 20 and weighing 18st 12lb.

    This inspired her to become an advocate of sex positivity and self-love, motivating her to share photos of herself in her underwear on Instagram.

    In 2011 she met her now-husband Xavier, who encouraged her to pursue modelling.

    Now Karla is a model and sexual wellness advocate, hoping to show plus-size women they shouldn’t be ashamed of enjoying and desiring sex.

     Karla has learnt to embrace her body, working as a model and sex positivity advocate
    She works as a model and sex positivity advocate MDWfeatures / Karla Crowe

    ‘I am so disappointed in how often women are being ripped off in their sexual relationships because of body image issues and all the societal norms that impact on healthy relationships,’ says Karla.

    ‘The body shaming, fat shaming and slut shaming has all got to stop.

    ‘Women are just as entitled to fulfilling sexual relationships as men are. Enjoying sex is nothing to be ashamed of and it should not be so taboo.

    ‘Being sex positive to me simply means acknowledging that women have sexual desires too and should feel comfortable to express them as freely as men do. It’s very well established that ‘sex sells’ so I don’t understand why it is still so taboo.

    ‘I make conscious choices about my sex life and actively explore and experiment with different things. My husband and I have a motto of “if it feels good, do it”.’

    After years of being bullied through school, Karla has embraced her body
    She wants to show women there’s no shame in enjoying and desiring sex (Picture: MDWfeatures / Karla Crowe)

    Karla’s journey of body confidence has seen her overcome the pain of bullying and rejection, and she now hopes to share what she’s learned with people around the world.

    ‘I once went on a date with a guy I’d met online,’ she remembers. ‘We chatted for a few weeks before meeting in person and when we caught up things got pretty hot and heavy so I thought everything was going really well.

    ‘Until later that night he sent me a text saying that he didn’t want to see me again because he didn’t realise from my photos that I ‘was so large’ and that he’d be embarrassed if his friends met me.

    Karla in the shower
    ‘There’s no room in my world for hate anymore, and that includes self-hate.’ (Picture: MDWfeatures / Karla Crowe)

    ‘I think the thing that hurt most was that there was an obvious physical attraction, hence things getting hot and heavy on the date, but even though there seemed to be potential for connection there, he was too ashamed and concerned with what his friends would think because of the fat shaming that is still so prevalent in our society.’

    For other women struggling to feel sexy, Karla recommends the cliché stuff along with that essential inner confidence and self-acceptance.

    ‘Lacy lingerie and red hot lippy make me feel my most confident,’ she explains. ‘I think sexy matching lingerie really affects my psyche, even when nobody else knows what I’m wearing underneath my clothes I know it puts a big smile on my face and spring in my step.

    Karla now embraces and loves her body, showing off with naked selfies on Instagram
    ‘I love my body now’ (Picture: MDWfeatures / Karla Crowe)

    ‘I love my body now. Like anyone, I have days where I don’t feel great, I am human and have a lifetime of poor self-esteem to keep working on but I feel like surrounding myself with like-minded people, especially on social media, is a hugely helpful strategy to keep me feeling good about myself.

    ‘There’s no room in my world for hate anymore, and that includes self-hate.

    ‘I think things are gradually changing but old-fashioned gender roles are still definitely a factor regarding women’s sexual relationships. I think the more we keep challenging gender stereotypes and encouraging women to feel worthy, empowered and celebrated, the more change we will see.

    ‘I hope that with tools like social media we can continue to shift attitudes by normalising healthy sexuality and making it safe for women to express themselves openly without judgement.’

    MORE: Why your vagina leaves ‘bleached’ patches in your underwear

    MORE: Woman who suffers with saggy skin due to health condition is now a body image influencer

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


    Plus size sex positivePlus size sex positive

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    Aruba’s nickname is ‘One Happy Island’, and we can see why.

    The tiny Dutch Caribbean island is located approximately 16 miles from the South American coastline of Venezuela. It boasts calm glittering azure waters, sun-soaked shores and enjoys a tropical climate all year round.

    Arubans are some of the friendliest people on the planet and the island has an ongoing success with tourists as it enjoys the highest repeat visitor rate of any Caribbean destination.

    Plus it’s located outside of the Caribbean’s hurricane belt so the chances of a natural disaster are minimal.

    There is no warmer and exciting welcome to Aruba than hoping on board Kukoo Kunuku, the island’s flamboyant open-air party bus.

    The six hour nightlife adventure begins with the bus picking me from my hotel. I am introduced to my party mates, who are fellow revellers from all over the world.

    The six hour party bus bring together tourists from all over the world
    The six hour party bus bring together tourists from all over the world (Picture: Kukoo Kunuku)

    Leading the way is Kukoo Kunuku’s dancing queen Mama, who has worked for the company for over 21 years.

    She is well-known on the island and no visit to Aruba would be complete without saying hello and having a drink or two with her.

    The party atmosphere is set with a lively playlist of classic hits, current chart toppers and reggae tracks to shake our maracas along to. We drive past the capital city Oranjestad and head towards off-the-beaten-path spots that I might not have found driving on my own though the streets in Aruba.

    Our first stop is the California Lighthouse, which is located at Hudishibana near Arashi Beach. This picturesque location is the perfect spot to watch Aruba’s sunset and see the waves gently lap against the beach.

    After having a champagne toast by the sea we are whisked away to one of Aruba’s famous landmarks – the Casibari Rock Formations, where we enjoyed dinner under the stars at the Casabari café.

    The first stop on the Kukoo Kunuku party bus is a champagne toast by the sea at the California Lighthouse
    The first stop on the Kukoo Kunuku party bus is a champagne toast by the sea at the California Lighthouse (Picture: Kukoo Kunuku)
    Mama is one of Aruba's moat popular locals and she one of Kukoo Kunuku's tour host
    Mama is one of Aruba’s most popular locals and a Kukoo Kunuku tour host (Picture: Kukoo Kunuku)

    With all the niceties out of the way we set off on Kukoo Kunuku’s adventurous bar crawl, which sees us making pit stops at U-Wanna Beer and La Ronda, where we are given one free drink ticket each.

    The drinks menu includes Aruba’s national beer Balashi and Kukoo Kunuku’s special cocktail, the Lovers Kukoo Kiss. Savvy party goers purchase a Kukoo Kunuku souvenir bottle, which at $6 (£5) guarantees free refills.

    As the night becomes merrier, we dress up as carnival queens, learn some local dances and the grand finale sees Mama handpick some of the men in the bar to perform a rendition of Village People’s YMCA.

    The clock strikes midnight and even though its home time this party bus shows no signs of slowing down, so much so I’m still shaking my maracas as I’m dropped off back to my hotel.

    The adventurous party bus stops at local bars such as U Wanna Beer where the tour's guests can mingle and party with guests
    The adventurous party bus stops at local bars such as U Wanna Beer where the tour’s guests can mingle and party with guests (Picture: Kukoo Kunuku)

    Another exciting introduction to the warmth and hospitality of Aruba is the Bon Bini Festival, a weekly folkloric music and dance festival in the island’s oldest building in Oranjestad.

    Bon Bini means ‘Welcome’ in Papiamento, Aruba’s national language, which is an infusion of Creole, Portuguese and Spanish. This colourful affair takes place takes every Tuesday in the outdoor courtyard of the historical Fort Zourman.

    When I arrive I am greeted by a host of market stands displaying local art works, jewellery and handcrafted souvenirs. In addition to food stalls selling the authentic and regional cuisine staples like rice and peas, plantain and kabritu (goat stew).

    The cultural immersion begins with the MC teaching us about Aruba’s fascinating history and key Papiamento phrases such as ‘Mi ta stimabo’ (I love you). The affair ends with a mini carnival with traditionally costumed folkloric dancers performing on stage followed by a drumming band stomping their way to the front with guests participating in the fun.

    Bon Bini Festival is the island's weekly folkloric music and dance festival
    Bon Bini Festival is the island’s weekly folkloric music and dance festival [Keira Blake]
    Both during the day and night Aruba is full of beaches to escape to for a spot of shade or seclusion. On the island’s north-west corner, is Eagle Beach, which is regularly acclaimed as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

    From first glimpse I can tell why it’s one of Aruba’s finest. It’s a true natural beauty with an uninterrupted stretch of glittering ivory sands and the island’s iconic twin fofoti trees, which are perfect for an Instagram moment.

    Aruba's Eagle Beach is well-known for its twin fofoti trees. They make for the perfect Instagram picture
    Aruba’s Eagle Beach is well-known for its twin fofoti trees. They make for the perfect Instagram picture (Picture: Keira Blake)

    My favourite beach is Aruba’s Baby Beach, located in Seroe Colorado at the south-eastern tip of the island. The waters here are shallow meaning non-swimmers can waddle out into the sea for a long distance and even touch the sea’s bed.

    The beach has huts and refreshment stands such as Big Mama Grill, where my taste buds were ablazed with a hearty plate of Oxtail, rice and peas, and coleslaw.

    Aruba's Baby Beach is full of open-aired restaurants where you can try traditional Caribbean dishes
    Aruba’s Baby Beach is full of open-aired restaurants where you can try traditional Caribbean dishes (Picture: Keira Blake)
    At Big Mama's Grill in Aruba you can try authentic traditional cuisine such as oxtail, rice n peas, plaintain and coleslaw
    At Big Mama’s Grill in Aruba you can try authentic traditional cuisine such as oxtail, rice n peas, plaintain and coleslaw (Picture: Keira Blake)

    If you’re up for it Island life in Aruba can be quite an adventurous, as I discovered during a walking tour at Mira La Mar in Arikok National Park.

    I put my endurance to the test as I weaved and meandered through 20 miles of rugged desert hiking trails. Prickly cactus plants are to be found at almost every corner of this beautiful landscape.

    The hike is grueling but worth it as I am rewarded with breathtaking views of the three highest points in the island. Near to the park is Fontein Cave one of the island’s most darkest and mysterious spots on the island.

    I was warned that I may see bats as I entered this cave which is located inside the great granite rocks of Arikok. The caves is both eerie and fascinating as it displays etched symbolic drawings from the Caquetio Indians, who were Aruba’s earliest inhabitant from over a 1000 years ago.

    The Arikok National Park features popular hiking tours for locals and visitors to hike on
    The Arikok National Park features popular hiking tours for locals and visitors to hike on (Picture: Keira Blake)
    Aruba's Fontein Cave is located near Aruba's Arikok National Park
    Aruba’s Fontein Cave is located near Aruba’s Arikok National Park (Picture: Keira Blake)

    Back into the daylight I jump in an ATV and head down Aruba’s bumpiest road, The Highway, courtesy of ABC Tours. We drive past the palm-fringed beaches and rock formations into the secret havens of Aruba’s natural splendour.

    The back roads lead us into stunning sites such as Aruba’s amazing natural bridges, which were created about one million years ago and can be found along the north coast.

    ABC Tours Aruba allow tourists to get off the beaten track to explore some of the island's natural gems
    ABC Tours Aruba allow tourists to get off the beaten track to explore some of the island’s natural gems (Picture: Keira Blake)

    We then take a dip in the steamy hot springs of the Natural pool, which was once used to hold sea turtles, and wandered through the Black Stone Beach where you’ll find some of the island’s impressive rocks.

    Aruba's Natural Bridge is one of the island's most stunning geological formations and is formed naturally out of coral limestone
    (Picture: Keira Blake)

    While the Caribbean tends not to be associated with street art it is a blossoming area of development in Aruba.

    One of the most colourful areas to explore in Aruba is San Nicolas, where you’ll find the remains of the striking art created during the island’s first street exhibit in September 2017.

    12 leading street artists from all stretches of the globe – including Portugal, Mexico, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Argentina, Curacao and Germany – used the architecture of San Nicolas in Aruba as their canvas.

    San Nicolas is Aruba's street art district where you'll find murals that have been created by artists from all over the world
    San Nicolas is Aruba’s street art district where you’ll find murals that have been created by artists from all over the world (Picture: Keira Blake)
    Aruba is steadily growing its street art scene
    Aruba is steadily growing its street art scene (Picture: Keira Blake)

    Before I leave the island I meet with one of the island’s most renowned artist Stan Kuiperi, who told me more about his 40-year career and why Aruba is the world’s next enticing destination for art.

    ‘Today we have everything you can think of, everything that is done on the global scene, installations, video and performances,’ says Stan.

    ‘Everything is going on in Aruba! It’s a short history but we’ve made a huge leap and progress in what’s being done here on this incredibly small island.’

    It may be small but Aruba is definitely one island that packs a happy punch.

    Where to stay

    Bucuti & Tara is one of Aruba’s world class resorts leading the way for places to stay on the island. This four star adult-only boutique-style oasis has been opened for 30 years and is nestled away on Eagle Beach.

    It’s a modern property and its secluded location makes for a romantic and stunning choice for couples and travellers who are seeking an intimate environment.

    The resort is conveniently located nearby all major attractions including the Aritok national park and is only 10 minutes away from downtown Oranjestad and 15 minutes from the airport.

    The exclusive Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is a four star adult-only boutique-style oasis situated on Aruba's Eagle Beach
    The exclusive Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is a four star adult-only boutique-style oasis situated on Aruba’s Eagle Beach (Picture: Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort)

    The service at Bucuti & Tara was consistently impeccable and the staff contributed to making my stay full of peace, love and happiness.

    I stayed in the resort ’s luxury oceanfront Tara suite, which offers incredible, uninterrupted, panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. The Tara suite is made for comfort and comes complete with a king-sized bed and a separate, elegantly decorated living area with its own television and sofa sitting area.

    Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort's luxury oceanfront Tara suite
    Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort’s luxury oceanfront Tara suite (Picture: Bucuti & Tara)

    With large balconies, you can relax whilst watching the famous Aruban sunset or if you’re an early bird sunrise. The luxurious bathroom has walk-in shower and an electric mirror with a built-in TV.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you won’t want to miss Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort Full American Breakfast Buffet daily at the beachfront Elements Restaurant or in Tara Lounge.

    The Tara Suite features a walk-in shower and an electric mirror with a built-in TV
    The Tara Suite features a walk-in shower and an electric mirror with a built-in TV (Picture: Bucuti & Tara)

    Kuoni (0800 540 4263 / www.kuoni.co.uk) is offering 7 nights at the exclusive Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort from £2,215* per person in a Superior Garden view room. Price includes breakfast and return flights with KLM from London Heathrow.

    *Priced is based on a departure date of 6 September and is subject to availability.

    MORE: How to spend 48 hours in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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    The New Inn has launched a new scheme to encourage local produce
    The New Inn has launched a new scheme to encourage local produce (Picture: The New Inn Great Limber/BPM Media)

    Few things make us want to ditch London more than seeing the price of a pint outside the city.

    News from The New Inn, in Great Limber, has pushed us even closer to packing our bags.

    The pub has launched a new concept called a Barter Board, that allows visitors to swap homegrown fruit and veg for pints or puddings.

    Guests can swap asparagus, cauliflower, Jersey Royal potatoes, broccoli, radishes, rhubarb, or spring greens for an item off the pub’s menu, including a Carlsberg Lager, Somersby Cider, a guest ale, or a sweet treat.

    If you can bring in some home-grown radishes, for instance, you can swap them for a pint. Lovely.

    The New Inn in Great Limber has launched a Barter Board
    Guests can swap their home-grown vegetables for a free pint (Picture: BPM MEDIA)

    General manager at The New Inn, Lewis Phillips, said: ‘The New Inn is situated in a great place for local produce and with so many farms nearby, we wanted to utilise this.’

    There are two rules when it comes to the Barter Board – produce must be homegrown and grown in Lincolnshire, except Jersey Royal potatoes which can only be grown in Jersey.

    ‘We have been inundated so far,’ said Lewis. ‘People have been coming in saying “If we knew you wanted veg, we would have brought some in”, and they have just handed it over.

    ‘They didn’t want a free pint or pudding so we haven’t actually given one away yet. I’m sure that will come soon.

    ‘The produce on our Barter Board is in season right now. It will be updated and altered throughout the year to suit the season.

    A bunch of rhubarb can get you a pint or a pudding
    A bunch of rhubarb can get you a pint or a pudding (Picture: BPM MEDIA)

    ‘There are no set amounts – that’s where the bartering comes in. But if someone comes in with too little, we will send them back to pick some more
    produce.

    ‘We also have another board in our dining area which lets our guests know what we’ve used their produce for. Right now we have rhubarb crumble on there.’

    The veg is used by the pub to make more tasty treats, so it’s a brilliant way to encourage growing veg and using local produce.

    Under 18s and teetotallers can swap their veg for a free pudding instead.

    If the scheme is a success, the Barter Boards will be rolled out to other branches of the Coastal Country Inn, which owns the place.

    Here’s hoping more pubs and restaurants pick up on this great idea.

    MORE: Red wine, coffee, fruits and vegetables may protect women against cancer

    MORE: The best air-purifying indoor plants that will survive life on your desk

    MORE: Experts tell us how surrounding yourself with plants can help your mental health


    Swap your homegrown for a pintSwap your homegrown for a pint

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    Bundlebean
    Entrepreneur Emily Goodall (centre) launched an online shop for waterproof buggy covers in 2011

    When events organiser Emily Goodall came up with a product idea for active parents nine years ago, she went from new mum to mumpreneur within the space of a year.

    Because BundleBean, a range of waterproof covers for baby slings, car seats and pushchairs, was quickly turned from a rainy-day idea into a viable product that launched online in 2011.

    Within three years the business had expanded to covers and accessories for wheelchair users – adults and children – and now Emily has a full-scale product empire on her hands.

    ‘I never expected it to be this large but we’re happy to be here,’ Emily tells Metro.co.uk.

    Bundlebean
    But the mumpreneur says her secret to success has been outsourcing the roles and managing her team via Dropbox

    ‘I thought we’d invented a useful product for active mums but now we have a whole range of lightweight options, designs and uses. It’s taken on a life of its own.’

    When it came to rapidly scaling up her business, Emily – now a mum-of-two – says the best thing she did was outsource parts of the business to a highly-skilled team of experts in their field and manage them remotely via Dropbox.

    ‘Part of being a good business owner is recognising where your strengths do, and definitely do not, lie,’ says Emily.

    ‘Outsourcing has been very important for us. Right at the start, we found a book keeper to do our accounts because it’s my weakest area.

    ‘Now we have a warehouse department, a customer service specialist and a social media manager. Some are stay at-home mums and another is regularly on the move while her husband serves in the RAF but it doesn’t affect the way we get the work done.’

    Bundlebean
    The idea came to Emily (right) as a new mum, and now she has two children and a product empire on her hands

    As for Emily, it was a family move from London to rural Wiltshire last year that means the remote team relies on the collaborative workspace they share more than ever.

    ‘Truthfully, we would be a bit lost without Dropbox,’ says Emily.

    ‘We use it for everything from images and file sharing with our retailers, through to stock control, accounts and customer management. We can all log in, wherever we’re working from and we’re in sync.’

    ‘And when it comes to managing the team,’ Emily says: ‘I run my business using Dropbox to stay connected with my team and have a strong understanding of everything, so I can step in at a moment’s notice.’

    It’s these flexible ways of working that have enabled Emily to continuously expand and go on to win multiple awards for her products that are now on sale all over the world.

    She adds: ‘As an entrepreneur, you need left field thinking. I essentially invented something by looking at the world in a new way.

    Bundlebean
    Emily’s original, outdoorsy products are now award-winning, including a NIPA Baby prize for Authentic and original brand in 2019

    ‘And to make it work, you have to be flexible and adaptable and open to new ways of doing things. Especially if you’re a small start-up without lots of investment at the offset.

    ‘It’s about being imaginative about how to make your business work for you, as well as your family life and that of your team.’

    Yet it’s not just the sales that demonstrate BundleBean’s runaway success. It’s the feedback from Emily’s wonderful customers that inspire her progression.

    ‘It’s lovely to know that as well as having staff that are able to make a living from home, we are making products for people that improves their accessibility.

    ‘I’m proud that we have given them the ability to get out into the world on a miserable rainy day, whether they are in wheelchair or they’re a young mum who is desperate to go out for a walk.

    ‘We’re helping people to get outdoors and that means the world to me.’

    Bundlebean
    The business owner (left) says feedback from her customers is the thing that inspires her

     

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


    BundlebeanBundlebean

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    the outside of an HSBC branch
    Can you actually bank on a bank holiday? (Picture: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)

    Planning on making a trip to the bank this bank holiday?

    How apt.

    But banks, just like most commercial institutions, are subject to having their opening hours changed when it comes to bank and public holidays.

    If you wanted to use your bank holiday day off this weekend to do some actual banking, then read on, because we’ve got the opening times for some of the nation’s most popular banks.

    Are banks open this May bank holiday?

    Yes, there will be some bank branches open this late-May bank holiday.

    However, not all bank branches will be open, nor will they all be open at their regular times…

    a metro bank sign
    Is your bank open this bank holiday? (Picture: Laura Lean/PA Wire)

    Metro Bank

    All branches of Metro Bank are going to be open today, for the bank holiday Monday, from 11am until 5pm.

    On top of that, Metro Bank is open seven days a week, with branches only closing on Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

    Royal Bank of Scotland 

    All Royal Bank of Scotland branches are going to be shut for the bank holiday today.

    Lloyds

    Strangely enough, only the Manchester Market Street branch of Lloyds will be open – from 11am until 5pm – while all other branches are going to be closed.

    HSBC

    All branches of HSBC will be shut this bank holiday.

    the inside of a natwest branch
    Some NatWest branches will be open (Picture: Georgie Gillard/ANL/REX/Shutterstock)

    NatWest

    Five NatWest branches will be opening their doors today, but will be operating at different hours than usual.

    The branches at Westfield Stratford City and Westfield White City will be open from 10am until 4pm, and the branches at Birmingham Grand Central, the Canary Wharf Crossrail and the Nottingham City self-service will be open from 11am until 4pm.

    Santander 

    Again with Santander, only one branch will be open for the bank holiday – the branch in the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

    It will be open from 10am until 6pm.

    a sign for a TSB bank
    TSBs won’t be open unfortunately (Pictures: Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images)

    TSB

    All branches of TSB will be closed today for the bank holiday.

    Halifax

    The flagship branch at London’s New Oxford Street will be open from 11am until 5pm today.

    Meanwhile all of the other branches will be shut.

    MORE: Tesco opening times for May bank holiday

    MORE: When is the next Bank Holiday and how many are left in 2019?


    BRITAIN-ECONOMY-BANKING-EARNINGS-COMPANY-HSBCBRITAIN-ECONOMY-BANKING-EARNINGS-COMPANY-HSBC

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    Tech-assisted sex has been stuff of fantasy since human beings conceptualised robots.

    As advances in technology change what it means to be human, and our interactions become mediated by new devices, it opens a question up about the future of sex.

    We’ve enjoyed assistance with ‘alone time’ since prehistoric times – ancient dildos dating back 28,000 years were recently found in Germany.

    Like our ancestors before us, it’s only natural that we put some of our smarts towards the thing that gives us the most pleasure.

    Over the past five years, sex toys have come a long way. You can get a device controlled by a partner on the other side of the world, and even a wearable, hands-free vibe designed to close the ‘pleasure gap’ between men and women.

    On-demand Ohhhs aren’t far away – but what happens if we can just cut out the hardware entirely?

    Will we ever have an orgasm button?

    Back in 2003 there was a bit of a buzz (sorry) around this idea. Dr Stuart Melroy, a physician and founder of the Advanced Interventional Pain Management clinic accidentally invented one.

    The spinal surgeon was performing a routine pain-relief operation on a patient, using electrodes implanted into the spine when he hit the magic spot.

    The patient who was awake at the time started making rather appreciative noises, and told Dr Meloy: ‘You’ll have to teach my husband how to do that’.

    Meloy realised the same application could be used to treat sexual dysfunction in women.

    He began investigating a device that could trigger orgasms on demand, though they involved having a generator – akin to a pacemaker – surgically implanted along with the spinal electrodes.

    Aside from the invasive surgery requirement, there was one other problem: the generators cost $25,000 (£19,600) each.

    In the years since, interest in the Meloy’s orgasmatron has gone limp (sorry again).

    Finding the $6million (£4.7m) needed to fund a full FDA trial has proven impossible, so it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing a mass-produced version of his invention, at least until costs come down and the procedure becomes less invasive.

    So does that mean it’s the end of the road for on-demand-orgasms for optimistic pleasure seekers?

    People are putting weed up their bums and vagina as the 'cannabis sex industry' blossoms metro illustrations Ella Byworth/ metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Ella Byworth/ metro.co.uk)

    Not exactly. But first, we need to look at what an orgasm actually is.

    To figure out how we might reverse-engineer our jollies, it’s essential to understand how an orgasm works. I know you know, but let’s get technical for a moment.

    The orgasm, it seems, is rather harder to define outside of our experience of it.

    Barry Komisaruk, one of the world’s leading experts the science behind sexual pleasure, wrote the book on orgasms.

    ‘Orgasm is a compelling, brief event that is an integration of cognitive, emotional, somatic, visceral, and neural processes,’ Dr Komisaruk says.

    The pleasure we experience after our ‘brief event’ is the result of neurohormones and endorphins – endogenous morphine.

    The stimulation of different nerves produces different types of orgasms (vaginal, clitoral, anal, prostate, cervical, urethral etc) meaning that there are different flavours and blends depending on your particular predilections.

    But if an orgasm is ultimately just a flood of chemicals to the brain, could there be an answer outside of new tech devices?

    What if you could take a pill that eliminated the hard work (and aching wrist) making sexual nirvana as easy as treating a headache?

    Recently in Pakistan, a group of patients being treated for Parkinson’s disease reported a rather unusual side effect.

    After starting the drug rasagiline, the (un)lucky patient experienced up to five spontaneous orgasms throughout the day.

    Could this have a mass application? Would it even be desirable?

    The experts are sceptical. The downside, of course, is that if you cheat it and shortcut your way to climax, you miss out on all the good stuff.

    It’s like specifically taking the scenic route and falling asleep until you get there.

    Orgasms are complex, multi-layered, textural things, according to Dr Komisaruk.

    Stimulating the other erogenous zones like the anus and the nipples can add to the intensity and particular flavour of an orgasm.

    If you’re just dumping a load of pleasure chemicals into your system, it’s going to be a pretty flat and ultimately disappointing experience, fizzling out like a supermarket firework on a wet November night. Research suggests that women desire more foreplay than they currently get – it’s not clear whether this is in pursuit of a higher likelihood of orgasm or an enjoyment of the non-orgasm parts of sex on their own, but we know that sexual enjoyment doesn’t only occur during climax.

    While an orgasm button might be a way off, there’s certainly plenty of sex tech innovation to keep an eye on.

    Much of the innovation is coming from women, borne of a desire to close the ‘orgasm gap’ in heterosexual encounters (heterosexual women said they orgasmed 63% of the time, for men, it was 85%).

    Moving beyond your 10-a-penny vibrator, many of the current generation of sex toys are far less of a one trick pony, harnessing air flows and microrobotics to offer more ‘human’ experiences.

    The Osé by Lora DiCarlo, for example, moves away from vibrations entirely, mimicking a human mouth, tongue and fingers.

    It was banned from a major consumer electronics show for being ‘too obscene’. It is set for release later in 2019.

    With implants, for now, proving too expensive and invasive to be marketable, and pill-popping to cheat your way to orgasm undesirable, the sexual please market is still looking to machinery to keep us happy in our near-future bedrooms.

    While an orgasm button isn’t expected any time soon, labour-saving devices have taken an enormous leap in recent years.

    The thing that science hasn’t provided an answer for is that the journey towards orgasm is as important as the destination.

    Sex tech has quite a long way still to travel before it gets us there.

    The Future Of Everything

    Future Of Everything

    This piece is part of Metro.co.uk's series The Future Of Everything.

    From OBEs to CEOs, professors to futurologists, economists to social theorists, politicians to multi-award winning academics, we think we've got the future covered, away from the doom mongering or easy Minority Report references.

    Every weekday, we're explaining what's likely (or not likely) to happen.

    Talk to us using the hashtag #futureofeverything  If you think you can predict the future better than we can or you think there's something we should cover we might have missed, get in touch: hey@metro.co.uk or Alex.Hudson@metro.co.uk

    Read every Future Of Everything story so far


    What if there was an orgasm button on your phone?What if there was an orgasm button on your phone?

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    So many Hollywood stories rely on the search for ‘the one’ – that single person we can grow old with.

    But marriage is decreasing in popularity, divorce is becoming more common and having a lifelong relationship with one person is no longer the norm (if ever it was).

    At the same time, we’re hearing about ethical non-monogamy and polyamory – literally meaning many loves.

    The word itself was first used in the 1960s to mean multiple committed relationships.

    It’s not just about casual relationships or sleeping with someone else behind your partner’s back. Polyamorous relationships are built on a principle of being open and honest with all your partners and building something that works for you.

    It is an umbrella term for non-monogamous relationships:

    • Someone with multiple partners who are not connected but are equal (sometimes called anarchamory)
    • A group where all partners are committed to each other in a triad or sometimes more (triad/quad/delta/throuple/non-hierarchical poly)
    • A pair defined as primary partners – the person they are closest to – and then other secondary or tertiary partners (hierarchical poly)
    • Someone with a single emotional partner but they are sexually open with more than that one person (open relationship/ethical or consensual non-monogamy ([ENM/CNM])
    • A wide variety of terms not listed here as a key part of polyamory is that there are few (if any) set ‘rules’ for how individual relationships work and it is down to individuals to discuss boundaries

    And just because someone is polyamorous, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can have as many partners as they want.

    For a society where monogamy is the most common type of relationship, having more than one partner may seem ‘wrong’ but Janet Hardy, author of The Ethical Slut, argues that having one sexual partner is not necessarily natural.

    ‘I don’t think humans are biologically inclined toward monogamy,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘No other primate is monogamous and monogamy is very rare in nature.

    ‘Many creatures who have long been thought to be monogamous, like swans, are in fact biologically inclined to be pair-bonded – but sexual monogamy is not usually part of of that bond.

    ‘This does not mean, of course, that monogamy is not a good choice for many humans – it obviously is, for a great many people. But I don’t think that humans raised in a culture which values all consensual choices equally would tend toward lifelong monogamy.’

    And humans are relatively new to this monogamy lark:

    ‘Only 17% of human cultures are strictly monogamous,’ Bernard Chapais, of the University of Montreal, wrote in Evolutionary Anthropology.

    ‘The vast majority of human societies embrace a mix of marriage types, with some people practicing monogamy and others polygamy.’

    Research on the popularity of polyamorous relationships is thin on the ground but a study in 2016 showed that one in five people in the US reported being involved in consensual non-monogamy (CNM) at some point in their lifetime.

    Could we be moving away from monogamy towards a future where everyone is polyamorous?

    Rachel, 34, has been in a polyamorous throuple for six months with Katie and John, both 35.

    ‘Our methods for courting and dating have changed drastically with the rise of Tinder, Grinder, Bumble etc,’ she says.

    ‘Sex and connection are more easily accessible.

    ‘There’s a perception that you can’t trust your partner, or you must keep on eye on them to prevent them cheating, emotionally or otherwise, because they are not fulfilled by monogamy and unable to express that.

    ‘I think polyamory is one solution that many people will discover as it becomes more openly represented and less taboo.’

    The triad met on a swinging site when Rachel was with her ex-husband but when that relationship broke down, Katie and John reconnected with Rachel and asked her to join their relationship.

    Rachel, John and Katie each came to polyamory in different ways. Katie explains that she was introduced to the idea in her early 20s, while she was exploring her bisexuality.

    Her first husband didn’t agree with polyamory. He allowed her to explore her bisexuality with women but wasn’t comfortable with her having relationships with other men.

    When her marriage was coming to an end, she met John, who was also coming out of a long term relationship.

    John says: ‘Katie and I both quickly realised that neither one of us were interested in a conventional monogamous relationship again.

    ‘This was going to be a first for me.’

    The triad has been together for six months
    The triad has been together for six months (Picture: John, Katie and Rachel)

    John, Katie and Rachel are very open about their love for each other. They have found that attitudes are starting to change in some way, particularly as polyamorous people are using social media to improve visability.

    There is a social stigma around polyamory, that it is just adultery or sleeping around under a different name.

    There is also the incorrect view that it is illegal, linked to bigamy laws only allowing legal marriage to one person.

    ‘While representation hasn’t improved much in media, I have discovered a whole community through Instagram that makes me hopeful, Rachel says.

    ‘There are others just like me bucking social norms for what makes them happy.’

    ‘Someone who has a formula for what looks normal and boxes that everyone should fit in, will always be uncomfortable and be sure to let you know it.’

    Dr Ryan Scoats agrees that for people like Rachel, John and Katie the internet is a huge driving force in the advancement of polyamory:

    ‘The internet allows more people to be exposed these differing relationship styles and thus have the mystique around them stripped away,’ he says.

    ‘This has the potential to lead to decreased discrimination against these groups as well as people considering these relationship styles for themselves.’

    Relationship coach Sarah Louise Ryan thinks that in the modern age, polyamory is becoming a much more viable option for many people:

    ‘I do feel that we live in a modern dating world where we are slowly but surely, and I believe unfortunately, moving away from the idea of monogamy,’ she says.

    ‘I think with online dating and living in a world that’s very much online has a part to play in that.’

    Sarah believes that part of the rise of polyamory is because people are more open to the idea of ‘micro-dating’ multiple people.

    ‘If you are polyamorous, you are giving away certain slices of your energy cake to certain people you are physically and emotionally intimate with (and retain certain parts for other SOs),’ she says.

    ‘You are never fully giving them your all, the whole cake so to speak. How can you give each and every romantic partner your all if you have multiple?

    ‘Online dating now often comes with a serving of fear of rejection or of ‘dating failure’.

    ‘Putting eggs in numerous baskets, polyamory means having others to cushion back on when the going can get tough.’

    Between 20 and 25% of men admit cheating on their wives and 10-15% of women admit cheating on their husbands. Over 40% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce.

    Is it because we don’t want to admit that ‘the one’ is actually ‘the few’?

    For John, Katie and Rachel, polyamory means a stable relationship, just with an extra person, and they are all equally committed to each other.

    Others have many more partners and their polyamory is much more flexible and often not all the partners in a relationship are connected.

    Sally has been in poly relationships for 10 months
    Sally has been in poly relationships for 10 months (Picture: Sally)

    Sally, 33, from London, started exploring non-monogamy after her last long-term relationship ended last year.

    After resuming casually dating, she wanted to pursue relationships with several of the people she met and has been polyamorous for 10 months.

    She says that her situation works for her but admits it hasn’t always been easy.

    ‘I’m still with some people from that time, others I am not and for others the connection has changed and we are still friends.

    ‘It is only recently that I have begun to feel like I have a handle on how this all works and how to manage my relationships.

    ‘It takes so much energy in listening and being honest with yourself and others to make things work.

    ‘Now I have two major partners I love as well as three casual partners, I understand much more about polyamory.

    ‘There is a vast difference between seeing multiple people casually and being honest about it and that being ok, and feeling deep and full relationship feelings including love for more than one person at the same time.

    ‘It’s taken a while to get my head around but I’ve never been happier.’

    Knowing what it takes to make a polyamorous relationship work, Sally doesn’t feel that we will see a society where monogamy is not the most common form of relationship but she does feel we are moving towards a place of more acceptance.

    ‘I think some people will always want monogamy,’ she says.

    ‘I don’t think polyamory will overtake it but more people are being honest about what they do want.

    ‘It’s a big leap from mono to poly and it takes a certain kind of outlook on life to be comfortable in a poly situation.

    ‘I hope people keep moving to a more honest view of their needs and that they have the confidence to fulfil them however is best.

    ‘Poly does have an advantage in that you can set up your relationship landscape exactly the way that works for you with people that fit with you so there are so many options to not be monogamous. With that freedom it seems likely that poly will be on the rise but I don’t think monogamy will disappear entirely.’

    Are we moving towards a society where polyamory is the norm?
    Are we moving towards a society where polyamory is the norm? (Picture: Ella byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    The tricky thing with the umbrella term nature of polyamory is that it can mean a number of things.

    Everything from ‘open’ relationships where sexual activities are between multiple people but emotional intimacy is monogamous right through to a anarchamoric relationship commune where everyone is in some sort of relationship falls under the term.

    Will every relationship end up on this spectrum and monogamy be resigned to the past?

    ‘I am not sure if we would ever get to a point where those who were polyamorous out-numbered those who were monogamous just as monogamy is not right for everyone, nor is consensual non-monogamy (CNM),’ sociologist Dr Ryan Scoats, of the Centre For Social Care and Health Related Research at Birmingham City University, says.

    ‘While some may be happy for their partner to form romantic attachments to others, some will not.

    ‘Some may be interested in just threesomes with their partner, whereas others might want complete openness.’

    Though he believes it’s unlikely polyamory will overtake monogomy, he does think it will grow massively in popularity.

    ‘If the numbers are correct, a huge number of people engaging in CNM.

    ‘Yet in comparison to monogamy there is much less awareness of it, much less formal education about having these relationships, and a lot more stigma around it.

    ‘A more accepting environment would likely increase the amount of people engaging in CNM and polyamory, but it is impossible to say whether it would ever become the dominant relationship style.’

    Part of that acceptance might come from building a family with children.

    Technology and science is allowing us to move beyond the idea of a two-parent family.

    The first three-parent babies have been born, where DNA from three people is mixed. It’s only being used to prevent inherited diseases now but technology could be developed further, even if it would be seen as very controversial

    ‘There would need to be a huge cultural shift in how CNM is perceived, as well as legislation laying out the legal rights and responsibilities of all involved,’ Dr Scoats say.

    ‘We currently don’t even have laws to protect those in CNM relationships from general discrimination.’

    ‘We are a long way from seeing it as a choice that everyone should have.’

    So what will relationships look like in the future?

    ‘If/when the world is genuinely nonjudgmental about any form of consensual relationship – which I don’t expect to see in my lifetime – many people will still choose monogamy,’ Janet Hardy says.

    ‘Not everybody wants the amount of stimulus, effort and communication that poly requires; many people prefer the consistency and ease of monogamy.’

    But with visibility and acceptance of polyamory, in the future, we could see more people more willing to incorporate it into their lives.

    ‘My best guess is that in such a world, many people will flow back and forth among different relationship agreements as their lives take different shapes,’ Janet says.

    ‘One pattern could be perhaps solo poly in their late teens and early twenties as they explore; monogamy during the years of having children and building a career, which require more attention than poly can accommodate; poly in midlife and, as they age, back to monogamy or celibacy, depending on the flux of libido and the amount of attention they have available for relationships.’

    The Future Of Everything

    Future Of Everything

    This piece is part of Metro.co.uk's series The Future Of Everything.

    From OBEs to CEOs, professors to futurologists, economists to social theorists, politicians to multi-award winning academics, we think we've got the future covered, away from the doom mongering or easy Minority Report references.

    Every weekday, we're explaining what's likely (or not likely) to happen.

    Talk to us using the hashtag #futureofeverything  If you think you can predict the future better than we can or you think there's something we should cover we might have missed, get in touch: hey@metro.co.uk or Alex.Hudson@metro.co.uk

    Read every Future Of Everything story so far


    Illustration request - Future of Everything - Everyone will be polyamorous in the futureIllustration request - Future of Everything - Everyone will be polyamorous in the future

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    Nazia, a fitness trainer, eating her healthy iftar, the meal Muslims break their fast with
    Nazia Khatun, a fitness trainer, tries to maintain a healthy diet and exercise in the hours she’s not fasting (Picture: Jerry Syder)

    Welcome back to Muslims Who Fast – our annual mini-series looking into the lives of those who fast during Ramadan and the food they eat at iftar.

    Last year, we spoke to a vegan Muslim, an imam, a medical student, and a family who very cleverly play Come Ramadine With Me.

    We kick off this year with Nazia Khatun, an award-winning fitness specialist who uses neuroscience and exercise to help women, mostly from minority backgrounds, enjoy their bodies.

    Nazia has also had some mental health issues in the past such as depression and eating disorders, things that make Ramadan particularly difficult.

    But exercise has allowed her to take ownership of her body. She even manages to keep it up while she fasts.

    Let’s find out more about Nazia.

    Nazia preparing a healthy meal to break her fast with
    Nazia has struggled with eating disorders in the past and says getting strong, not thin eventually became her goal (Picture: Jerry Syder)

    Tell us about yourself

    I started my business Fitness Reborn UK as a result of struggling with an eating disorder when I was young. As an amateur boxer, I also had to overcome cultural barriers (being an Asian, Muslim woman).

    Depression was something I experienced in my early 30s and due to these things combined I created a fitness program that championed people to take control of their lives.

    Exercise for me is like breathing so during Ramadan I keep up with my fitness. The routine is totally different but it feels amazing and hard at the same time.

    So what are you having for iftar?

    Today I have prepared roast chicken with loads of vegetables and potatoes.

    I usually break my fast with a date, high-quality protein shake and some fruits before eating the main dish.

    An roast chicken iftar washed down with a protein shake
    A roast chicken iftar washed down with a protein shake (Picture: Jerry Syder)

    Do you crave certain foods during Ramadan?

    Yes, I crave everything. I mostly crave desserts but to curb that I recommend people eat very well at suhoor (pre-dawn meal) with high fibre, good fats and protein such as porridge with banana and cashew nuts or eggs with avocado on rye bread.

    A good happy fast truly depends on the food you eat and how well you keep yourself hydrated after iftar.

    Roast potatos
    A wee bit of potato (Picture: Jerry Syder)

    What rituals or traditions do you have?

    After iftar, it is a must that one person makes the tea for the family whilst the desserts are made and handed around.

    Broccoli and green beans in a colander
    Nazia said she hopes no one will make fun of her healthy dinner (Picture: Jerry Syder)

    Do you work out during Ramadan?

    During the hours of fasting, I don’t train due to dehydration and lack of energy, but after iftar, I get into my gym kit straight after prayers and go for a run at 12 am.

    Luckily the 24-hour gyms have been a saviour to get resistance training done. I also ensure that I keep myself mobile by doing 15 minutes of stretching during the day.

    I also run an online fitness group for people who want to stay fit during Ramadan so this also keeps me accountable for my own training and ensures I don’t slack.

    Dates, strawberries, and a banana
    Nazia eats plenty of fruits (but eats cakes and desserts later) (Picture: Jerry Syder)

    What issues do you face during Ramadan?

    During Ramadan, my eating disorder triggers are the things that I have to be mindful of. I’ve had mental breakdowns halfway through the month in the past.

    Every negative emotion I have experienced in the past also heightens in a way that cannot be explained.

    With an ED, it’s all about control and the fact that Ramadan is obligatory leaves me with no control.

    But thankfully, we’ve reached a new level of understanding in my household and have been open about it which helps me deal with it.

    Dates are a major Ramadan staple
    Nazia preparing dates, a major staple during Ramadan (Picture: Jerry Syder)

    And lastly, what does Ramadan mean to you?

    It means a fresh start as I cleanse away and discipline myself. It means surrendering to god, It is the ultimate training camp mentally, physically and spiritually.

    For me it allows me to reconnect with the lost parts of my soul and align myself with my thoughts and body and understand what I need to do for the future.

    Ramadan also is a great time of reflection to appreciate everything that we have.

    Nazia tucking into some dates
    Nazia tucking into dates (Picture: Jerry Syder)

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    Ramadan series - Iftar with Nazia KhatunRamadan series - Iftar with Nazia Khatun

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    Ria and Matthew in their Harry Potter wedding outfits, with their wedding car and signing the register with wands
    Harry Potter mad couple Ria Scriggins and Matthew Tipper (Picture: SWNS)

    Every couple wants their wedding day to be magical.

    But one pair’s big day really was spellbinding – because every part was themed around Harry Potter.

    Ria Scriggins, 34, and Matthew Tipper, 31, are both obsessed with the wizarding series.

    They even have a nine-month-old daughter named Luna and Ria has a Harry Potter tattoo on her wrist.

    So when they were planning their big day, they knew they had to incorporate it.

    Part-time model Ria said: ‘I have always been a massive Harry Potter fan.

    ‘I grew up reading the stories and every time I watch the films it takes me back to when I was younger.

    ‘Before I met Matthew I had never met someone who liked it as much as me but he is just as passionate about Harry as I am.

    ‘It’s wonderful to be able to share that with someone and when we decided to get married it seemed obvious to have a Harry Potter theme.

    Ria and Matthew in their outfits with wands on their Harry Potter themed wedding day
    Ria and Matthew sign the register with wands (Picture:Tristan Potter / SWNS.com)

    ‘Everything about the wedding is Harry Potter themed even the vows. I said ‘After all this time?’ which is one of my favourite quote from Dumbledore and Matthew simply said ‘Always’. It was perfect.’

    The quote comes from the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is spoken by Professor Severus Snape revealing he loved Harry’s mother.

    The couple arrived for the ceremony at Glenfield Town Hall on Saturday, wearing Hogwarts gowns and accompanied by an owl.

    And for her wedding dress, Ria wore a white version of the dress worn by Hermione for the Yule Ball in the fourth book.

    Ria and Matthew with their wedding party at their harry potter themed wedding day
    The wedding party (Picture: Tristan Potter / SWNS.com)

    Matthew, a sales manager, donned a burgundy Gryffindor suit for the big day.

    Ria said: ‘I studied the movies to cram as many Harry Potter details into the wedding.

    ‘Even the tables have little golden snitches on them, which are little Ferrero Rocher chocolates with wings on them.

    ‘My dress is white, but it is in the same style as the one Hermione wears for the Yule Ball from the Trizward Tournament in the fourth film.’

    The couple will continue the wizard theme on honeymoon when they take a VIP tour of the Harry Potter studios in Watford.

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    Harry Potter coupleHarry Potter couple

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