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

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    Lucia and her products
    Lucia has been nominated for a national award for achievements in business (Picture: Lucia Loves)

    A savvy 17-year-old has launched an all-natural range of Afro beauty products – after learning how to do her own hair when her mum was injured in accident.

    Now the teenager is up for a National Diversity Award and wants to spread the word about her organic hair butters and raise awareness about young carers.

    Lucia became a young carer at 11-years-old. She had just started secondary school and her mum broke her back in a serious car accident, leaving Lucia as the main carer for her mother and young brother.

    As well as taking on the house work and cooking, Lucia also had to learn how to care for her and her brother’s long Afro hair, she had no experience, but she quickly picked up the skills – and that blossomed into the beginnings of her business.

    ‘The hardest part was seeing my mum go from being such an active part of her community to being immobilised and pretty isolated,’ Lucia tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘I think from that, as cheesy as it sounds, what I have learnt is that life is too short and to take every opportunity you can to be successful.

    ‘For so long I didn’t feel like I was doing anything but in hindsight I see that I do have such a different experience to my peers, which is why I feel strongly that there needs to be more awareness, so that young carers know they are special and get the support they deserve.’

    17-year-old entrepreneur launches her own line of Afro hair products Credit: Lucia Loves
    ‘I buy my ingredients and use stockists from other black-owned businesses as much as possible'(Picture: Lucia Loves)

    Lucia started her business – Lucia Loves… – when she was 14. Now she has products in local shops in north London and has big dreams to expand before she finishes college.

    ‘My mum always took care of my hair. When she got injured, I had to learn to look after it myself literally overnight,’ explains Lucia.

    ‘I used to mix different products together to see what would work. I remember putting Cantu with oil and some shea moisture in the food blender, then putting it in a spray bottle. I found it fun, but my mum was not impressed.

    ‘She bought me some raw ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter, and I taught myself how to make these into a hair butter (while making a lot of mess), when clearing up, I realised that the hair butter made my skin feel nice too. I named it Melting Joy.

    ‘I then got the opportunity to sell products in a shop and my mum encouraged me to start my business doing what I was already doing with my products, she taught me about the importance of group economics and I now buy my ingredients and use stockists from other black-owned businesses as much as possible.’

    For black and mixed-race women, hair is historically political. Western beauty standards make it incredibly difficult to embrace and celebrate natural Afro hair, and that is something that can be hard to unlearn.

    Lucia head shot
    Lucia started her business when she was just 14 (Picture: Lucia Loves)

    ‘To be honest, I have always wished my hair was softer and easier to manage because I found it annoying,’ says Lucia.

    ‘People always said to me I would look so much better if I straightened my hair but recently, especially since starting my business, I have seen so much positivity around natural Afro hair, which is good.

    ‘I feel actually proud of my hair. When I see people with Afros I get excited and I really appreciate how much time and effort hair care takes.

    ‘My hair has lots of different curl patterns in it. The texture of my hair has changed so it’s always a learning process.

    ‘Of course, there is so much stigma around our hair type in society still. People think it’s unprofessional, I have been told my hair is a distraction and messy, when often that is not the case.

    ‘When we embrace our natural hair, we can be a part of reducing the stigma and by extension help alleviate the discrimination black and mixed women often face.’

    Lucia is mixed-race and has struggled with discrimination and negative perceptions during her education – a lot of that stemmed from prejudice about her hair.

    ‘When I was in nursery, I remember girls saying I couldn’t play with them because I had to choose if I was black or white and I wasn’t either,’ says Lucia.

    ‘My mum remembers me asking her, at like three years old, why I didn’t have hair like hers – she showed me Alicia Keys and taught me that my hair was amazing.

    ‘All through school, teachers and my peers always made comments about my hair, they said it got in the way of the board, when I had corn rows they told me I looked like a boy, when I wore it out they said my hair was distracting. In both primary and secondary school, I was bullied.

    ‘I loved school and I enjoy learning, but I found it difficult to fit in.’

    But this sense of alienation pushed Lucia to throw herself into her business – and she’s come a long way since she started out.

    ‘My whole range is natural and 100% certified organic. All of my packaging is environmentally sustainable and I encourage customers to return the jars and tins to be reused,’ says Lucia.

    ‘My products are all tested on myself and my family, never animals! None of my products or their ingredients are tested on animals as I have been a vegetarian all of my life.

    Lucia Loves products
    Lucia’s products are organic and 100% natural (Picture: Lucia Loves)

    ‘I do not use water or preservatives either. They are made by someone who actually has experience with natural, Afro hair. Also, my business is just a regular person, facing regular challenges. For example, I have only just been able to start my re-branding now I am in college, so I have gained access to the computers and software that I need, as I couldn’t afford it myself.

    ‘Look out for my re-branded product labels on my social media in the next few months.

    ‘I hope to expand the Lucia Loves… brand into more than just hair products.

    ‘I want to make it about connecting with different communities who face challenges, for example I have started writing a book aimed at young people about what it means to be a young carer. “Being a Young Carer is…..”.

    ‘I am holding an event on 13th July called “Love Your Hair” aimed at parents with children who have Afro or curly hair, it’s about empowering children to embrace their curls and teaching parents and carers how to manage the curls naturally.

    ‘I love animation, I hope to study it at university and for this to be my career path. I hope to use animation as a medium to further connect with marginalised communities through positive representation.’

    The National Diversity Awards receives over 25,000 nominations and votes annually, and Lucia is up for an award in her age category. You can vote for Lucia until the 31st May, when the voting closes.

    ‘My advice for young entrepreneurs? Just don’t let anyone or anything stop you,’ says Lucia.

    ‘Look at the people who inspire you in your life and use what has made them successful to your own benefit. Even if it’s something as seemingly small as doing commissions on the side to do something you like – when people pay you for you services that’s the first step in being a successful business owner.

    ‘The world is your oyster – as clichéd as that is.

    ‘People who have inspired me are my mum, who has shown me how to be brave, and also a woman called Shakayra who started the Mixed Girl Meet Up – which is a fantastic organisation for mixed-race women to meet and talk and connect. It is so refreshing to be around other inspiring women and I have learnt so much about life and the world around me!’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I spent a large part of my life wishing I was just one race’

    MORE: Fenty praised for not retouching and using models with ‘imperfections’

    MORE: Ultra-processed food is linked to ‘early death’


    entrepreneur launches her own line of Afro hair productsentrepreneur launches her own line of Afro hair products

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    Weighing just 245g when she was born at 23 weeks, doctors thought baby Saybie wouldn’t live longer than one hour.

    But five months on, she is healthy and leaving hospital with her parents.

    Back in December, Saybie’s mother developed preeclampsia, a serious condition that causes high blood pressure, and was told that her baby would have to be delivered.

    But as she was just over halfway through her pregnancy, doctors didn’t think her tiny baby would live.

    Saybie weighed the same as an apple and was 7g lighter than the previous tiniest baby, who was born in Germany in 2015.

    Her ranking as the world’s smallest baby ever to survive is according to the Tiniest Baby Registry maintained by the University of Iowa.

    Saybie was born at 23 weeks. She is the world's tiniest baby
    Saybie when she was born (Picture: AFP)

    Dr Edward Bell, a professor of paediatrics at the University of Iowa, said Saybie had the lowest medically confirmed birth weight submitted to the registry.

    But “we cannot rule out even smaller infants who have not been reported to the Registry,” he said in an email to The Associated Press.

    In a video released by Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns, in San Diego, California, where Saybie was born, her mum said the birth was the scariest day of her life.

    Her father said doctors told him he would have about an hour with his daughter before she died.

    ‘I kept telling them she’s not going to survive, she’s only 23 weeks. But that hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week,’ the mother said in the video.

    Saybie with one of the nurses as she leaves hospital, wearing her graduation cap
    Saybie with one of the nurses as she leaves hospital (Picture: AFP)

    Slowly Saybie gained weight in in the neonatal intensive care unit, where a pink sign sat by her crib that said ‘Tiny but Mighty’.

    ‘You could barely see her in the bed she was so tiny,’ nurse Emma Wiest said in the video.

    Now, Saybie is well enough to leave hospital but she could experience vision and hearing problems, developmental issues and a host of other complications.

    Nurses put a tiny graduation cap on her when she left the unit to celebrate her survival against the odds.

    ‘She’s a miracle, that’s for sure,’ said Kim Norby, another nurse featured in the video.

    MORE: Ultra-processed food is linked to ‘early death’

    MORE: Eight signs your partner is cheating on you


    Smallest baby in the worldSmallest baby in the world

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    Lisa and Miley before the flight took off and Miley with Chloe after the choking incident
    Lisa and Miley were flying from Dublin to Turkey (Pictures: Lisa Murray)

    Lisa Murray was off on holiday to Turkey with her 23-month-old daughter Miley when disaster struck.

    The little girl, from Cork, was on the flight from Dublin when she started choking on a Pringle and Lisa thought she might lose her little girl.

    She panicked about what was happening but luckily the crisp was dislodged and she started to come round.

    After the ordeal, Lisa posted on Facebook to thank the staff who had helped her and the rest of the passengers.

    She said: ‘From the bottom of my heart I want to thank Aer Lingus staff and customer service.

    ‘Tonight I witnessed my child’s life nearly taken from her.

    ‘She nearly choked to death on the plane she turned blue choking on a pringle.

    ‘It got lodged in her throat and she was choking -she was practically losing consciousness at this stage but she managed to get it up, thank god.

    ‘I was panicking and screaming “shes choking shes choking “and the whole plane was in a panic.’

    Air steward Chloe with Miley after the choking incident
    Miley and Chloe (Picture: Lisa Murray)

    Lisa said she had the ‘fright of my life’ but added that the crew had been amazing at helping.

    Referring to the airline steward in the picture, she added: ‘This girl calmed the whole plane down and took Miley under her wing as if she was one of her own.

    How to help a choking child

    • If you can see the object, try to remove it. Don’t poke blindly or repeatedly with your fingers. You could make things worse by pushing the object further in and making it harder to remove.
    • If your child’s coughing loudly, encourage them to carry on coughing to bring up what they’re choking on and don’t leave them.
    • If your child’s coughing isn’t effective (it’s silent or they can’t breathe in properly), shout for help immediately and decide whether they’re still conscious.
    • If your child’s still conscious, but they’re either not coughing or their coughing isn’t effective, use back blows.

    NHS

    ‘So professional making everyone comfortable and able to enjoy there flight.

    ‘Hoping to find her name so I can treat her to a voucher because she definitely deserves it.’

    After the flight Lisa managed to track the crew member down through the Facebook post and has sent her a special gift.

    Chloe, the air steward who helped, commented: ‘Lisa thanks a million for such kind words! Glad Miley Rose and yourself are feeling better! She’s an absolute little superstar.’

    MORE: World’s tiniest baby, who weighed the same as an apple, leaves hospital at five months old

    MORE: 17-year-old launches Afro beauty range after learning to do her own hair when her mum became disabled


    Aer LingusAer Lingus

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    Bin bag vacuum challenge
    (Picture: Lucas Shilliday)

    Stop eating your Tide Pods, and tell your friends to stop practicing the triangle dance, because a new craze has hit the internet.

    The bin bag vacuum challenge is the latest trend, and thankfully this one shouldn’t actually harm you – as long as you do it properly.

    It’s also been known as the #InMyBagChallenge and trash bag challenge (across the pond, of course), and to do it all you’ll need is a bin bag and a standard vacuum cleaner.

    Then, you simply sit inside the bin bag, and create a relatively close seal around your shoulders. Once you put the hose of the cleaner into the bag and switch it on, it sucks all the air out of the bag, and leaves you looking like you’re wearing Black Widow’s outfit in Avengers.

    Once all the air comes out, most people who do the challenge tend to fall down like a little vacuum-packed Christmas turkey, and laughs ensue.

    Take a look:

    One person who did the challenge alleged that they were stuck on their kitchen floor for two hours until their parents came to save them.

    While it’s possible, this won’t happen if you make sure you’re supervised for the challenge and keep the bag well away from your face and neck.

    Also make sure that you can easily turn the vacuum off, and re-use the bag afterwards, because the planet is burning and the last thing we need is more wasted plastic.

    These challenges are always fun and silly, until somebody ruins it by hurting themselves or others. Don’t let that ruiner be you.

    MORE: How I Save: The 33-year-old journalist in London who earns £29k a year and has £1,141 saved

    AD FEATURE: Where to enjoy a beach escape in the UK this summer


    Bin bag challengeBin bag challenge

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    A screenshot of the ridiculous conversation
    Someone she barely knew asked her to make the cake (Picture: Shutterstock)

    We’ve come across what might just be the most unbelievable text exchange on Reddit: A person threatening to tell their co-worker’s office and HR about the fact they won’t bake them a cake for their birthday… for free.

    And that’s not the worst bit – the pair hardly even know each other.

    A Reddit user recently shared the conversation online, to show the audacity of the person messaging her.

    She received a text which read: ‘Hey I heard that you baked a cake for your team on his birthday. It’s my birthday next week, can you bake me a cake and bring it into the office? It’s free right?’

    The woman replied saying that she had volunteered to make the cake because the team usually puts money into it, and that it would be a bit awkward for her to make them a cake, as they don’t really know each other and she hasn’t spoken to any of their team before.

    But the person wouldn’t let up. They explained that they were going to buy a cake, but it was free to ask her, so they did. Rude, right?

    And, to make matters even worse, they suggested she just bring the cake to their desk, and they will dish it out so it’s not ‘awkward’ for her. How considerate.

    The screenshot which was shared to reddit
    The audacity of this person (Picture: Reddit)

    They then went on to send a photo of the cake they wanted – a large chocolate cake decorated in Ferrero Rocher and Lindt Truffles. Two fairly expensive chocolates, might we add.

    But they were a little nicer this time – saying that the baker could count the cost of the chocolates towards their birthday cake. How sweet.

    Instead, the woman explained that she could make him a box cake or some cookies, to which they asked whether she was ‘joking’.

    She went on to explain that it was probably best that they buy a cake themselves, as she didn’t have the time and the whole thing made no sense.

    The coworker wasn’t happy. Instead of acting like an adult, they threatened to tell the office about the interaction (which doesn’t make a lot of sense) and that she could expect a call from HR soon.

    Yes, they really threatened her with HR because she wouldn’t make someone she barely knows an expensive cake for free.

    Outrageous.

    The post has so far received over 3,000 comments from equally baffled users.

    One person said: ‘Is it possible to bake a cake with like the screenshot of this convo on top of it? It would be pretty hilarious’.

    Another wrote: ‘I’d bake the cake, put the screenshot and cut all of the pieces for every single one in the office except her. But that’s just my petty imaginary world.’

    Honestly, we’re fans of these ideas.

    MORE: The bin bag vacuum challenge is the funniest new thing sweeping social media

    MORE: 17-year-old launches Afro beauty range after learning to do her own hair when her mum became disabled


    Bake me a cake or I'll tell HRBake me a cake or I'll tell HR

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    ‘Damn she boutta get it.’

    ‘Hola guapa… my angel.’

    These are the sort of comments you’d expect under any famous woman’s Instagram post… but in this case, they were made under photographs of a woman who doesn’t exist.

    Lil Miquela is one of many models made entirely by AI.

    She isn’t real, in terms of actual flesh and blood, but she exists on Instagram to be thirsted over, gets signed to major ad campaigns and landed in some hot water by making out with Bella Hadid, an act that was accused of ‘queerbaiting’.

    Lil Miquela doesn’t exist but that doesn’t stop people from being attracted to her. Could AI-created people be the future objects of our affection?

    Think of all the celebrities with fans who would say they’re deeply in love with someone they only see on screens, or the YouTubers who feel like our pals despite us never having met them.

    Physical contact in those cases isn’t a necessity to attraction, affection, and obsession nor is a direct reciprocation of our longing.

    So why is it different if it’s not a ‘real’ person?

    It’s easy to dismiss those commenting on the pics of Lil Miquela and another digitally created model, Shudu as confused men who don’t understand that the people they’re crushing on aren’t actually people.

    But that’s not the full story:

    lil miquela, a digitally created model and influencer
    Lil Miquela has 1.5 million followers on Instagram (Picture: Instagram/lilmiquela)

    Digisexuality is a form of attraction primarily through the use of technology.

    Those who identify as digisexual may be attracted to sex robots, AI, digitally created imagery or only feel arousal when engaging in sexual activity with a machine rather than a human.

    Akihiko Kondo has a happy marriage with his wife, a hologram of a virtual reality popstar called Hatsune Miku. Neither the original Hatsune Miku nor the hologram are human beings and so he is in love with a concept of a person, someone who exists in terms of an idea.

    He says he’s always been in love with Miku. Each morning his personalised hologram of the singer wakes him up, says goodbye when he goes to work and turns on the lights for his arrival back home.

    He says he’s simply not attracted to human beings, only feeling attraction to his wife and wants recognition of digisexuality as a valid identity.

    ‘I believe we must consider all kinds of love and all kinds of happiness,’ he said.

    ‘It’s simply not right [to try to change these feelings], it’s as if you were trying to talk a gay man into dating a woman, or a lesbian into a relationship with a man.’

    Akihiko Kondo with his wife, the hologram of Hatsune Miku
    Akihiko Kondo with his wife, the hologram of Hatsune Miku (Image: AP)

    Akihiko’s relationship is considered unusual.

    But in the future, as sex robots become more readily available, AI progresses and social attitudes shift, could having a relationship with someone who doesn’t exist be considered entirely normal?

    We might already be part of the way there.

    Dr Markie Twist and Dr Neil McArthur coined the ‘digisexual’ label and see technology used for pornography, sexting, and teledildonics (remote sexual devices) as the first wave of digisexuality.

    ‘Those who engage in first wave digisexual activities like watching online porn or online dating (for example) most likely do not consider themselves digisexuals,’ Dr Markie Twist, of the University of Wisconsin-Stout, tells Metro.co.uk.

    We should now be prepared, they say, for the second wave.

    The second wave describes people whose primary sexual identity comes through the use of tech.

    ‘Those who do and/or will engage in second wave digisexual activities like sex with robots may consider themselves a digisexual,’ Dr Twist says.

    ‘Their primary engagement with sex tech is the engagement with the technology itself – not as a mediator for human connection/partners.’

    ‘In other words, their orientation is to the technology itself not to humans.’

    This means that other humans are taken out of the process.

    While the focus on digisexuality is currently on sexbots, there’s potential to be explored in virtual reality and AI creations.

    While sexbots’ cost makes them inaccessible to many, an AI partner could be cheaply and widely spread to anyone interested.

    Rather than swiping through a dating app based on existing human beings, the future could be right-swiping through faces that are digitally created.

    They swipe right too (of course they do, they’re bots), and you begin to chat.

    As we mentioned, responses aren’t needed for a sexual attraction, but with AI they’re entirely possible.

    Just as Siri responds to questions you ask, the technology is there to make your digital dream person have a conversation – even one that turns flirty.

    Shudu, a digitally created model
    Shudu is another digitally created model who’s been featured by Fenty Beauty (Picture: shudu.gram)

    Things progress and you decide to be in a committed relationship.

    Sex can happen through a VR headset and immersive sex toys, allowing you to see and feel your digital partner’s ‘response’. They can appear on your Instagram at important events, comment on your photos, and send you messages and voice notes while you’re at work.

    They’ll exist. Your relationship will be ‘real’. Except it will all be through tech.

    The Future of Sex reports that ‘by 2024, people will be able to be anybody, with anybody, in photorealistic worlds’.

    Why does that anybody have to be a real person?

    There are obvious benefits to having a digital partner – they’re designed to your exact specification, they don’t get grumpy and won’t suffer emotional depletion after pondering whether you’re really the one.

    They’re the perfect partner. The only thing missing is the physical intimacy of talking and touching IRL.

    But does that really differ from the internet dating and long distance relationships people are currently having?

    There’s the social stigma of not having a ‘real’ significant other to contend with but that could disappear as we grow to accept the greater presence of tech in our bedrooms.

    Dr Neil McArthur tells Metro.co.uk that by 2050, ‘digisexuals will probably make up around 3% of the population.’

    That might not sound massive but Neil believes that in the next few decades, identifying as digisexual will be regarding with the same respect as other minority sexualities, and will fight for inclusion within LGBTQ+ spaces.

    ‘By that time it will simply be regarded as one shade in the kaleidoscope of human sexuality that people will by that time just take for granted,’ Dr McArthur, of the University of Manitoba, says.

    ‘It will sit alongside other alternative sexual identities such as kink and the different forms of non-monogamy.

    Human model Bella Hadid posing with digital model Lil Miquela
    Human model Bella Hadid teamed up with Lil Miquela for a Calvin Klein campaign (Picture: lilmiquela/Calvin Klein)

    ‘My prediction is that these sort of minority sexual identities just will not make anyone raise an eyebrow by that time.’

    It won’t be an easy ride, though.

    ‘There will certainly be a backlash to digisexual relationships at least in the first few years following their emergence,’ Dr McArthur tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘New, alternative sexual identities always face hostility, stigma and fear. And people have a tendency to panic any time sex and technology come together.’

    Kathleen Richardson is a professor of ethics and the co-founder of The Campaign Against Sex Robots. She doesn’t see being digisexual as a real identity.

    ‘Most human beings aren’t attracted to objects,’ Prof Richardson tells us.

    ‘If men could have substituted women with an interest in objects, they would have.

    ‘Most men, even the ones who claim to be all for sex robots, are unlikely to be aroused by a rubber doll with a bit of mechanics.

    ‘It’s a lie that humans are in relationships with robots and AI. Digisexual is a term made up to describe men who fantasise with rubber dolls with tech.

    There’s only one commercially available head that can be put on a doll’s body that costs thousands to buy.

    ‘The primary buyers of these are sex dolls fetishists… agalmatophilia [an attraction to statues], digiphilia is probably a better description of what might develop.’

    The price of sex tech being an exclusionary factor is unlikely to be the case for long, particularly if purely digital, not physical, AI become more widely available.

    But there’s already a larger conversation taking place about the inclusion of kink and fetishes as sexual identities – could that conversation include emerging digisexuality too?

    ‘People are constantly convincing themselves, for reasons I don’t understand, that the sexual identities of a small minority of people are somehow going to have a massive social impact,’ Dr McArthur says

    TFOE: Will robotic romantic partners be more common than real ones by 2050? Metro Illustrations Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk
    Could relationships with technology ever be accepted as a norm? (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)

    ‘People honestly thought as recently as a few decades ago that if homosexuality was legalised the human race’s ability to reproduce itself would be threatened.

    ‘People already worry that our relationships to technology are undermining our ability to have healthy relationships. And we have seen cases where this does happen.

    ‘But any behaviour – shopping, eating chocolate – can become problematic if the person starts to experience it as beyond her control.

    ‘People who identify as digisexuals and who don’t see their relationship as problematic shouldn’t be pathologised. And most people are not going to give up human relationships. The race will survive.’

    Drs Twist and McArthur say we don’t need to panic about rigid lines drawn between digisexuals and those who prefer a human touch.

    ‘Some people are worried about people not having sex with humans and only having sex through masturbation via porn or virtual reality, but if a person is not in a relationship with a human than who is this hurting?,’ Dr Twist says.

    ‘If they enjoy these activities then okay – they can’t get anyone pregnant or get pregnant, can’t really spread sexually transmitted infections, can’t be raped [by a digital partner], etc.

    ‘If they are in a relationship with another person or people – then it is up to the people in the relationship to discuss and contract with digisexual involvement makes sense to them and their relationship. Because the technology is constantly growing and changing this will most likely have to be a conversation that is revisited across the lifespan of the relationship/s.

    ‘When vibrators first came on the market people were worried that women would stop having sex with men and that hasn’t happened. It’s a little like this in that the fears and concerns – what I call digisexual phobia – are a combination of technophobia and erotocentrism.’

    With sexuality being seen by young people increasingly as a spectrum rather than one thing or another, the things described as digisexuality could just be one part of someone’s experience:

    ‘Many people, maybe most people, are a bit kinky,’ Dr McArthur says.

    ‘They do kinky things when they are in the mood. But then there are people, a relatively small number, who identify as kinky as their sexual identity, and cannot imagine their sexuality apart from being kinky.

    ‘Similarly, nearly everyone will experiment with second wave sexual technologies and incorporate them into their sex lives. A small number will use them as a source of identity.’

    Most of us have experience with first wave digisexuality – four of the most popular 30 websites in the world are pornography sites – but second wave digisexuality is beginning to happen, even if it may be on a small scale.

    So what happens next?

    A lot of that will come down to the big questions: what makes someone ‘real’? If something looks, talks, and acts like a human, what is it that prohibits it from being treated as a human?

    ‘Lil Miquela is really interesting because she is a celebrity who isn’t real,’ Dr McArthur says.

    ‘But she is for most purposes just as real as most of the celebrities people follow on social media, in that the followers will never meet or interact with the real person anyway.

    ‘I am not sure why we would see it as more weird to be attracted to her than it would to be attracted to Taylor Swift or Beyoncé.

    ‘People are drawn to this idea of perfection they know is impossible.

    ‘These relationships can be very safe and predictable.

    ‘Real life is messy and we should accept that. But you know what, most of us have lots of real, messy relationships in our lives already.

    ‘Who could blame someone if they wanted one relationship in their life that was a little bit easier or more relaxing to deal with?

    ‘Some people will come to prefer these digital interactions to relationships with real people. These are the things we know for certain.

    ‘These technologies may very well help make our old ideas of gender and sexuality obsolete. I think that’s exciting.’

    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

    MORE: What’s the sexual taboo that will define the next generation?

    MORE: Will we all be bisexual in the future?

    MORE: Forming romantic and sexual relationships with robots ‘will be widespread by 2050’


    Digisexuality- Being attracted to people who don't existDigisexuality- Being attracted to people who don't exist

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    The dog was thrown out of a car
    Does this dog belong to you? (Picture: RSPCA/SWNS/Google Map)

    The RSPCA is appealing for the owners of an adorable elderly dog to come forward after she was thrown out of a moving car.

    A man who was working nights saw a car slow down and a dog thrown out of it on 25 May.

    He took the dog home overnight and then took her to the RSPCA the following morning.

    Luckily the dog, named Beatrix, had no injuries, but she was very frightened.

    Staff at the charity think the dog may have been stolen, although there is a chance her owner discarded her because they have not wanted the expense of her medical treatment.

    They will hold on to the white and tan Jack Russell type dog for 28 days to see if anybody comes forward to claim her.

    The RSPCA is appealing to find the dog's owners
    (Picture: RSPCA / SWNS)

    Vets believe she is elderly as she has dental issues and a large mammary mass.

    Staff at the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield Bradford & District branch appealed on Facebook for anybody who may know her owners, writing: ‘This female dog was thrown from a car in the BD4 area. She may not be from this area.

    ‘Please share as there may be worried owners searching for her.

    ‘We believe she may have been stolen and then dumped.

    ‘She is not currently available for rehoming.

    ‘We will post an update on her when we have any news. For now, please keep sharing and hopefully we will find the owners.’

    MORE: 17-year-old launches Afro beauty range after learning to do her own hair when her mum became disabled

    MORE: How I Save: The 33-year-old journalist in London who earns £29k a year and has £1,141 saved


    ANIMAL CRUELTY - The RSPCA are appealing for the owners of this adorable elderly pup - after callous thugs threw her out of a moving carANIMAL CRUELTY - The RSPCA are appealing for the owners of this adorable elderly pup - after callous thugs threw her out of a moving car

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    A baby awake in a cot
    The mum said her baby kept waking up before 5am (Picture: Getty)

    If you’re a parent of young children, you’re probably a little bit sleep deprived.

    This mum found that although her daughter slept through the night, she was always waking up before 5am – and she was desperate to get her to sleep a little longer.

    The woman, from Northern Ireland, told Belfast Live that she had tried all sorts of things to try to settle her 10-month-old daughter.

    She thought it was hunger but when the baby did wake up, she didn’t want to take her bottle.

    She added that she thought it could be teething but once the baby was up, she was fine but just a little cranky because she was still tired.

    The mum had resigned herself to always having to get up early with her daughter.

    But after chatting to a friend, she realised that the light coming around the blackout curtains could be the issue.

    A baby girl with a teddy in her cot
    She found the answer in her kitchen cupboard (picture: Getty)

    She said that she noticed light was getting through the top and the room was brighter than she expected.

    ‘I didn’t really want to spend a fortune on new blinds and curtains in case they made absolutely no difference to her sleep so I decided to think outside the box and look for an alternative, and there it was right in my cupboard,’ she said.

    She put bin liners around the window where the light was coming in and it worked.

    I didn’t even care what the neighbours must have thought as I was desperate to get more sleep,’ she added.

    The first night, her daughter slept through until 8am and now she sleeps until at least 7.30am every morning.

    MORE: Mum says this 17p coke cleaning hack completely removes greasy stains from clothes

    MORE: People love this hack that leaves glass clean and streak free


    Female baby lying in bed, looking to toyFemale baby lying in bed, looking to toy

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    Why you should get in to outdoor swimming this summer
    Nathaniel and Peigh are the founders of Swim Dem Crew (Pictures: JamesCarnegiePhotography)

    There is something gloriously life-affirming about swimming outdoors.

    Maybe it’s the direct connection to nature, or the bracing cold of the water – whatever it is, outdoor swimming is a fantastic way to get fit and make the most of the warmer weather – and you should probably give it a try this summer.

    We get it – the thought of plunging yourself into some unknown, wild river or lake is daunting. So you need to be prepared, have your technique on point and feel as confident as possible.

    We went along to an open water swimming masterclass co-hosted by Nike Swim and Swim Dem Crew – and their experts shared their experiences and best outdoor swimming techniques.

    Sighting

    Sighting is something that you never have to have to think about until you swim in open water for the first time.

    Swimming pools have lane ropes and guides painted in them, along with clear water that all help you swim in straight lines. There isn’t any of that in open water except for the buoys that are spread across the water.

    Nike Swim Dem event
    The Swim Dem Crew experts explain their top tips before we dive in (Picture: Nike Swim/JamesCarnegiePhotography)

    The two main parts of sighting are to look forward just before you turn your head to breathe and to ‘sight’ every nine or so pulls.

    If you do it too often, you can bring an unnecessary strain on your neck and shoulders.

    Nutrition

    Make sure to eat before you enter open water. Your body has to work harder to stay warm due to the typical cold temperature of lakes and the sea.

    It’s even harder to stay warm when you haven’t fuelled correctly, so we advise to having a hearty breakfast before a morning open water swim.

    Accessories

    After your first open water swim, you’ll get an idea of the parts of it that are too uncomfortable to want to do again, thankfully, there are plenty of accessories out there to make the transition easier.

    Nike Swim Dem event
    Having the right equipment is really important (Picture: Nike Swim/JamesCarnegiePhotography)
    • Ear plugs
    • Nose clip
    • Gloves
    • Socks
    • Wetsuit
    • Rash vests (with neck material prevent from ‘wetsuit burn’)
    • Body glide
    • Safety buoy

    Stroke

    Open water swimming is about efficiency. It’s not about thrashing about as fast as you can in the water, it’s about swimming effectively so you can travel the maximum distance with minimal effort from each pull.

    This means incorporating an effective glide in the water after each arm pull and kicking your legs for body balance first, rather than propulsion.

    Race tip

    The starts of open water races are chaotic. Avoid the faff by starting on either side of the big crowd at the start of the wave.

    That way you can get into your swimming rhythm in your own time, rather than being forced to sprint for safety at the start.

    ‘If you have never been in open water before – go in a group of a few people the first time,’ explains Peigh, co-founder of Swim Dem Crew.

    ‘Get an induction, don’t be silly like me and sign up for a triathlon having done no training – that did not go well!

    ‘There are places that do inductions and help to acclimatise you the water, there will be a classroom session and they will go over dos and don’ts, so you won’t have to just jump in at the deep end.

    Nike Swim Dem event
    ‘Open water swimming is a time to just escape’ (Picture: Nike Swim/JamesCarnegiePhotography)

    ‘When you get in the water, flush your wet suit, get water all up in there – just get a feeling for it. Take it in stages. Don’t see it as this one, big thing that you have to do – there are lots of steps to ease you in to it.

    ‘You’re this small thing in this big body of water – that is the harsh reality, and you have to respect that and just take it slowly.

    ‘For me, personally, open water swimming is a time to just escape. That’s what I love the most – it feels like pure escapism. You get in the water and you’re in another world. Sometimes you need that.

    ‘In the hustle and bustle of the city there are very few places where you can actually escape the pace of that and let your brain really tune out from it – open water is a place that allows you to do that, and I love it for that.

    There is an enduring myth that black people don’t swim, and while Swim Dem Crew are categorically proving that this isn’t true, it is true that swimming isn’t the most accessible sport – particularly for people from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

    ‘It’s super important for me to get people who wouldn’t normally swim into the water,’ explains Peigh.

    ‘I think I would have seen that, it would have encouraged me to do it – because I learned to swim very late in my life. I taught myself as an adult after a running injury.

    ‘It’s definitely about visibility and representation.

    ‘I try to not even say that stereotype that we have all heard about black people and swimming – but unfortunately it is there. I want to dispel that and debunk those myths.

    ‘We’re doing it. We do swim. And you can as well.

    ‘People will find confidence in that – in seeing us doing that. If you can see me, someone who didn’t know how to swim and taught himself as an adult, doing what I’m doing – that’s got to give people confidence.’

    MORE: 17-year-old launches Afro beauty range after learning to do her own hair when her mum became disabled

    MORE: World’s tiniest baby, who weighed the same as an apple, leaves hospital at five months old

    MORE: The bin bag vacuum challenge is the funniest new thing sweeping social media


    Why you should get in to outdoor swimming this summerWhy you should get in to outdoor swimming this summer

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    A photo of Walter with his owner
    Walter is up for an award for looking after his owner (Picture: SWNS)

    A cat is up for an award after learning to wake up his diabetic owner when her blood sugar gets too low in her sleep.

    Nine-year-old Walter has never received any training as a medical emergency detection pet, but he has learned to recognise when owner Hazel Parkyn is about to suffer a hypoglycaemic attack in her sleep.

    48-year-old Hazel, from Swadlincoate, said her pet may have saved her life many times over.

    Walter beat hundreds of other entries to take his place as one of three contenders for the Hero Cat award in the final stage of the awards, run by Cats Protection.

    Hazel said: ‘Walter really is a remarkable cat. When my blood sugar runs low it can be very serious, especially if I’m asleep as I may not be able to wake up.

    ‘Yet Walter can sense when this is about to happen and will repeatedly pat me on the face until I wake.

    Walter the cat, 9, and owner Hazel Parkyn, 40.
    Hazel says Walter has saved her life many times over (Picture: Cats Protection /SWNS.COM)

    ‘He won’t stop until I’ve woken, he really is very persistent. He’ll then sit with me while I get my sugar levels back to normal.’

    She added: ‘He’s a great pet and I love having him around but he’s more than that, he’s a lifesaver.’

    Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards, organised by the UK’s largest cat charity and sponsored by Purina, is an annual celebration of real-life stories of heroism and loyalty in the feline world.

    Hazel and husband Darren now have to wait until 8 August, when winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at London’s Savoy.

    The event will be attended by celebrities including entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, former England goalkeeper David Seaman and his wife, Dancing on Ice star Frankie Seaman.

    If Walter wins his category, he will also be in with a chance of being crowned National Cat of the Year.

    Walter the cat, 9.
    What a good boy! (Picture: Cats Protection /SWNS.COM)

    Previous Cat of the Year Theo left some large paw prints to follow, after helping his owner Charlotte Dixon survive a potentially fatal blood clot.

    Cats Protection’s awards organiser Kate Bunting said: ‘Walter is clearly a much-loved pet.

    ‘But his amazing ability to detect a medical emergency means he’s also a reassuring presence for Hazel and her family.

    ‘What’s even more remarkable is that he’s able to do this without any previous training, showing just how intuitive cats can be.’

    Calum Macrae, Regional Director UK & Ireland at Purina, said: ‘The National Cat Awards is a wonderful celebration of everything we love about cats.

    ‘In particular it shines a spotlight on the incredible bond that can exist between pets and owners.’

    ‘At Purina, we’re passionate about enriching the lives of pets and the people who love them, so we’re thrilled to support the National Cat Awards once again this year.

    ‘All the finalists are truly inspiring and go to show the hugely positive impact cats can have on people’s lives, for all sorts of reasons.

    ‘From providing fun and friendship to being there for comfort and companionship, and even to sometimes saving lives.

    ‘It’s no wonder that cats have earned a special place in our hearts and homes.’

    MORE: Brave cat fights fearsome wild dog – and wins

    MORE: Meet Greedy Cat, the Persian who can’t stop stealing baked beans and cereal


    HERO CAT -A cat is up for an award after learning to wake up his diabetic owner - when her blood sugar gets low in her sleepHERO CAT -A cat is up for an award after learning to wake up his diabetic owner - when her blood sugar gets low in her sleep

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    Lidl has launched a new permanent range of vegan yoghurts
    For anyone who’s craving some reasonably priced dairy alternatives (Picture: Pictures: Lidl/Getty)

    Vegans are out here doing their bit for the environment and animals, and for that we should all be truly thankful.

    It’s a shame that they have to miss out on things sometimes, but the breadth of items that can go in place of meat, dairy, and other animal products is staggering.

    Lidl’s latest offering to the market look like a perfect vegan dessert, and a great way to have a ‘yoghurt’ without any milk.

    Their coconut pots are made with (you’ve guessed it) coconut milk, and come in a variety of flavours.

    The plain would be an alternative to natural or Greek yoghurt, and work well on top of a curry or chilli. Other flavours include blueberry, mango, and strawberry.

    Better still, they’re only 55p a pot, which works out at around a third of the cost of similar plant-based yoghurts in other supermarkets.

    The coconut pots are set to be a permanent feature in the stores too, rather than one of their special buys, so no need to panic buy.

    Lidl recently launched a £1.50 veg box, which has a whopping five kilos of ‘wonky’ vegetables, that you can purchase until midday each day.

    Although the goods in the box may not be the prettiest, they’ll taste great, and you’ll be doing your bit to fight food waste.

    Saving the planet and saving a few quid? We’ll take that any day.

    MORE: The rise of digisexuality could see us falling in love with people who don’t exist

    MORE: The bin bag vacuum challenge is the new weird thing sweeping social media


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    The UK's first 100% vegan hotel is opening in Scotland Provider: No Credit Source: https://www.veganfoodandliving.com/the-uks-first-100-vegan-hotel-is-opening-in-scotland/
    Even the cleaning products and energy source are 100% vegan (Picture: Saorsa 1875)

    The UK’s first 100% vegan hotel is set to open in Highland Perthshire this June.

    The new hotel, Saorsa 1875, will be entirely free from animal products – so guests can enjoy a getaway that is entirely free of animal cruelty.

    All of the house-keeping products will be eco-friendly and cruelty-free, and even the hotel’s power system, Ecotricity, is Vegan Society certified.

    It almost goes without saying that the food on offer at the hotel will all be plant-based and vegan.

    Head Chef Luca Sordi will run the hotel’s restaurant and will be serving dishes that have been inspired by the Scottish wilderness.

    The ingredients will be grown in Saorsa 1875’s own vegetable patch or sourced from local suppliers – so maximum freshness and minimal eco-footprint is guaranteed.

    All wines, spirits and cocktails at the bar will be vegan, too.

    The boutique hotel is all about ethical luxury – so, just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it can’t also be lavish.

    ‘Ensconced by 2 acres of natural woodlands and gardens and overlooking the town of Pitlochry, Saorsa 1875 is a unique hotel dedicated to showcasing ethical luxury,’ it reads on the hotel’s Facebook page.

    ‘Designed for vegans, vegetarians and the plant-curious, Saorsa 1875 balances the building’s Victorian gothic origins with modern amenities to offer the minimal design and neutral tones of Northern Europe.

    ‘More than a synthesis of tastes, the hotel offers the perfect antidote to the frantic pace of modern living.’

    The hotel boasts just 11 bedrooms, each one styled with a ‘calming combination of luxurious linens, bohemian styling and antique furnishings.’

    As part of the full hotel experience, cooking classes, health and wellness retreats and outdoor activities will be offered.

    MORE: Why you should get in to outdoor swimming this summer (and how to get started)

    MORE: A cat is up for an award after learning to wake up his diabetic owner in emergency

    MORE: Lidl now has a permanent range of vegan yoghurts that look delicious


    METROGRAB The UK\'s first 100% vegan hotel is opening in ScotlandMETROGRAB The UK\'s first 100% vegan hotel is opening in Scotland

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    Jemima and Stefan
    Jemima saved Stefan’s life (Picture: Stefan Willis)

    It was just like any other day for Stefan Willis.

    He’d gone to work as a university teacher, spent time with his wife Jemima and their children and cooked spaghetti bolognaise for dinner.

    The 43-year-old went to sleep feeling normal – but during the night on 15 October 2016, everything changed. He had a sudden, unexpected cardiac arrest in his sleep.

    It’s only thanks to the quick thinking actions of his wife that he survived.

    Jemima called the ambulance and was guided through giving CPR as his heart stopped beating and he stopped breathing for 25 minutes.

    Stefan was in a coma for five days after suffering a stroke and a minor brain injury.

    He had been a keen cyclist before the cardiac arrest, cycling up to 1000km a month and Jemima was worried he’d never be able to do the things he loves again.

    But now three years on, Stefan has made incredible progress and for the third year, he is cycling 54 miles for the British Heart Foundation next month for the London to Brighton Bike Ride.

    The dad-of-three, from London, explains: ‘I never had any health issues. There was no indication that anything was wrong with my heart so my sudden cardiac arrest was a huge shock to myself and my family.

    ‘I have no recollection of what happened – all I know is that I went to sleep in my bed and woke up five days later in King’s hospital.

    ‘Without Jemima, I wouldn’t be here. There is no other way it could’ve gone other than death if she hadn’t been so brave.’

    On that day, Jemima says everything seemed normal with her husband before they went to sleep, with them discussing their plans for the weekend.

    At 2am, their son woke up and she went to check on him. Usually, she would fall asleep with him but says for some reason, that night she could not get comfortable, so when he had settled, she went back to her own bed.

    Stefan with his wife and children at the London to Brighton Bike Ride (Picture: Stefan Willis)
    Stefan and Jemima with their children (Picture: Stefan Willis)

    45 minutes later, she was woken by Stefan making a strange noise and initially she thought he was snoring.

    She says: ‘At first I thought he was snoring, and then I realised he didn’t snore, so I thought he was having a bad dream.

    ‘I put my hand on his arm and tried to reassure him but then I realised his skin felt really clammy and the noises were getting worse.

    ‘The only sound I can compare it to was a donkey braying. When he didn’t reply to me and I realised he wasn’t waking up, I turned the light on and instantly knew something was wrong.

    ‘I went into survival mode. I ran downstairs and got my mobile phone and called for an ambulance.

    ‘I think I reacted pretty quickly as the situation felt very serious. I don’t know why but I just knew something awful was happening.’

    Jemima was given instructions over the phone on how to do CPR to keep her husband alive until the paramedics arrived.

    When they arrived they shocked him eight times with a defibrillator to try to restart his heart.

    He was rushed to hospital and placed in an induced coma for five days but the cardiac arrest had caused a stroke and damage to his brain.

    His medical team warned his family that they would have to wait and see how much damage had been done.

    Jemima says: ‘I spent five days having conversations with specialists, nurses and doctors about every possibility under the sun. However, until someone actually wakes up there is no guarantee.

    ‘I did know that if Stef couldn’t ride his bicycle or have his freedom and independence, he’d be totally miserable.

    Stefan and Jemima (Picture: Stefan Willis)
    Stefan and Jemima (Picture: Stefan Willis)

    ‘The day he came round was amazing but also really scary as no one knew how much damage had happened to his body or his brain.

    ‘It was amazing to see him try to get off the hospital bed, as well as realising that he still remembered who I was and that he had a family.

    ‘Over the coming days, I felt like I was on high alert, looking for things that might be different about him.’

    Stefan was fitted with an S-ICD – a mini defibrillator inserted into the chest to give the heart shocks should it go into an abnormal rhythm, to protect him from any future cardiac arrest.

    He left hospital after three weeks but doctors still aren’t sure what caused the cardiac arrest and he is still undergoing screening to try to find out why.

    Stefan said: ‘When I got home, a tough part of my recovery was from the S-ICD surgery. I found it unmanageable and as I was still really struggling to come to terms with what had happened.

    ‘I couldn’t even feel grateful for it. I just wanted to get back to feeling like me as soon as possible – I didn’t fully comprehend what I had just been through.’

    Jemima adds that is was hard for her to sleep after what happened: ‘I would wake throughout the night to check he was still alive, despite knowing he now has his device.’

    Stefan says he was in denial about what happened until he saw the TV show 24 hours in A&E and saw another man who had a cardiac arrest.

    Stefan cycling (Picture: Stefan Willis)
    Stefan is a keen cyclist (Picture: Stefan Willis)

    He said: ‘I saw the reality of how cardiac arrests are treated. So many staff are involved, so much equipment attached to the patient and the family were in so much shock.

    ‘This brought it all home for me – what I had been through, my brush with death and what my poor wife, family and friends had experienced.

    ‘This is when my wife first admitted to me that at the time, the doctors had told her that I was the most ill person in the hospital. I realised how lucky I had been and the enormity of the situation.’

    As he came to terms with what happened, Stefan also wanted to do as much as he could to recover – and he turned back to cycling.

    How to give CPR

    • Check the person over. If they are not responsive and not breathing, then their heart has stopped working and they are having a cardiac arrest.
    • Now, call 999. Then you do hands-only CPR.
    • Lock your fingers together, knuckles up. Then push down, right on the sovereign. Push down five or six centimetres. That’s about two inches.
    • Push hard and fast about two times a second, like to the beat of Stayin’ Alive. Don’t worry about hurting someone. A cracked rib can be mended – just concentrate on saving a life.
    • Keep this up until the ambulance arrives.

    British Heart Foundation

    He started with short distances and set goals to motivate himself.

    He explains: ‘During my first ride, after two miles, I stopped at a cyclist café, head to toe in all my gear so that people might think I had just ridden 60 miles. This is what helped make me feel like me, even if it was a little silly.

    ‘It was very important to me that I got back on my bike as soon as I could.

    ‘As I had completed the London to Brighton Bike Ride four times prior to my heart stopping, I thought this 54 mile bike ride challenge that I knew and loved would be a fantastic goal to aim for and help me to recover.

    ‘I have a strong emotional attachment to Brighton and the London to Brighton Bike Ride – the fact that it is organised by and raises money for the British Heart Foundation just seemed perfect.’

    Although still nervous after everything that happened, Jemima wanted to support him as he got back to what he loved.

    Stefan with his wife Jemima at the London to Brighton Bike Ride (Picture: Stefan Willis)
    He rides the London to Brighton Bike Ride every year for the British Heart Foundation (Picture: Stefan Willis)

    ‘Stef has never been someone who lets anything stand in his way, so it was quite clear that he was going to try and get back to normal life as quickly as possible,’ she says.

    ‘When he said he was getting back on his bicycle and was going out on his own, I knew this was a big deal for him and a sign that he was back.

    ‘It’s hard not to worry after what we went through, but knowing things could have been so different made the recovery process much easier.’

    Stefan completed his first London to Brighton Bike Ride for the British Heart Foundation six months after his cardiac arrest and crossed the finish line in just over three hours.

    After that, he set out to do the bike ride every year to continue raising money for the BHF, who fund research into heart diseases.

    He wants to raise awareness of the work the charity does, as well as encouraging others to learn emergency first aid to help anyone who suddenly has a cardiac arrest.

    He adds: ‘I feel truly blessed to have Jemima and would encourage as many people as possible to learn CPR to help more people who have cardiac arrests outside of hospital walls.

    ‘Sometimes I look at my one year old son and think; “You were so very nearly not here”. This makes me reflect on what happened but also makes me feel incredibly grateful. It’s heart breaking to think how close I was to leaving my wife and children – I know just how lucky I am.’

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    Woman saved husband\'s life by doing CPR after he had a cardiac arrest in his sleep beside herWoman saved husband\'s life by doing CPR after he had a cardiac arrest in his sleep beside her

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    A dermatologist's guide to SPF sunscreens including top tips and myths
    Choosing a sunscreen can be a hard task (Picture: Reimann/ La Roche-Posay/ Murad)

    It should go without saying that every single one of us should be wearing a broad-spectrum SPF every day.

    Why? Because the sun still remains the biggest cause of premature and accelerated skin aging.

    As much as we all love to bask in the sunshine, fine lines, wrinkling, uneven skin, tone, pigmentation and textural changes occur because of damage from sunlight. So for healthy, youthful complexion SPF is non-negotiable.

    Yet choosing a sunscreen can be a hard task, not to mention the shockingly common SPF myths that circulate on the world wide web baffle and confuse.

    So, to set the record straight about the biggest and most common sunscreen myths, Metro.co.uk spoke to La Roche-Posay Consultant Dermatologists Dr Hiva Fassihi and Dr Justine Hextall and here’s what we learnt.

    Wear SPF everyday (not just in the summer)

    From an anti-aging point of view, sunscreen should be worn on a daily basis.

    ‘I would recommend that everyone wears an SPF everyday because I do think it makes a difference, not only from the perspective of protecting against skin cancer, but also from an ageing point of view in the long-term.’ Dr Hiva Fassihi tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘And should you use it all the way through the year, because you’re still going to make a change to the cumulative amount of UV that your skin is exposed to.’

    And this is applies to everyone, no matter your skin tone

    Regardless of skin type and tone it’s important to protect your skin from the sun.

    ‘Generally, and particularly with people with fairer skin types, I would advise you should always use an SPF50 to achieve the best effects on the skin.’

    ‘If you’ve got a darker skin-type, I think an SPF30 or above is probably satisfactory and will definitely make a difference with features of ageing, particularly pigmentation and loss of elastic tissue.’ Dr Hiva Fassihi explained.

    Protect yourself against UVB and UVA

    Dr Hiva Fassihi explained that ultra-violet radiation comes from the sun and its split into UVA and UVB – that’s what mainly gets to our skin on Earth.

    And that ‘it’s important that we use suncreens that cover against UBV and UVA, both for skin cancer prevention and for ageing.’

    • UVB has a shorter wavelength and it’s a bit more damaging in that it can cause sunburn and is definitely associated with causing skin cancers in future life.
    • UVA is slightly different, though it can also cause skin cancers. It penetrates deeper in the skin and causes problems with photo-ageing, so skin ageing through breaking down collagen and elastin.
    A dermatologist's guide to SPF sunscreens including top tips and myths
    (Picture: Getty)

    Understand SPF numbers

    It’s important to note that using an SPF of 30 doesn’t provide double the amount of protection of SPF 15.

    Dr Justine Hextall explained that to determine a sunscreen’s SPF, testers use sun-sensitive people and measure the amount of UV rays it takes them to burn without sunscreen.

    The test is then repeated with sun cream. The ‘with sunscreen’ number is divided by the ‘without sunscreen’ number, and the result is rounded down to the nearest five. This is the SPF. In order to determine the sun protection factor (SPF), the following equation is used:

    Minutes to burn without sunscreen x SPF number = maximum sun exposure time

    There are two main types of suncreen: chemical and physical (mineral)

    ‘When choosing a sun cream there are broadly two types of protection: chemical blocks which absorb the UVB and UVA and physical blocks that reflect light rays from the skin,’ says Dr Justine Hextall.

    However, Dr Justine Hextall explained that there are pros and cons to both: ‘Chemical blocks often rub in more easily and are felt to potentially have better protection against UVA. However, they can sometimes cause irritation and allergy which is less likely with physical blocks.

    ‘Physical blocks usually contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and are better tolerated. However sometimes the thick white cream is considered less cosmetically acceptable, particularly with darker skin tones.’

    Wear a seperate sunscreen on your face

    Although you don’t necessarily need to get a separate sunscreen for your face, Dr Hiva Fassihi encourages people to use a separate sunscreen as ‘the facial skin is very sensitive and varies in different people’ for instance many body sunscreens are quite heavy and may not be suitable for blemish-prone facial skin:

    ‘Some people are prone to getting breakouts or spots, some have very dry skin so you can really tailor your sunscreen for your face, dependent on your skin type.’

    Also facial sunscreens may contain additional beneficial ingredients that body sunscreens lack, not forgetting ‘you can wear sunscreen almost as a primer, as a base layer before you put your make-up on and to give you that extra protection during the day’.

    As for amount to apply, approx. half a teaspoon of sunscreen for the face and neck is about right.

    Not all sunscreens give off a white cast

    Dr Justine Hextall added: ‘There are clever physical blocks now, such as clear zinc that can be used on all skin tones. Many sun creams have a mixture of chemical and physical block.’

    Check its expiry date

    Sunscreen is generally designed to last three years.

    However, if it has been exposed to extremely high temperatures, looks like it has changed in its colour or consistency, or is past its expiry date then don’t think twice about binning it.

    Multiple products with SPF do not give additional protection

    If you use a moisturiser with SPF followed by a sunscreen and then a foundation it will not result in a greater effect.

    You will only have the protection of the highest SPF product that is being applied to the skin.

    Shop the best SPF sunscreens

    La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Ultra-Light Fluid SPF50+

    La Roche Posay Anthelios Shaka Ultra-Light Fluid SPF50+
    (Picture: La Roche -Posay)

    For the face we recommend the new addition to Roche-Posay’s best-selling Anthelios suncare range Shaka Ultra-Light Fluid SPF50+.

    It offers even higher UVA protection and is lighter and more invisible than the original ultra-light, with new Intelimer technology making it perfect for everyday use.

    La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Ultra-Light Fluid SPF50+, £16.50, buy now from laroche-posay.co.uk and lookfantastic.com

     

    La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Mist SPF50+

    La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Mist SPF50+
    (Picture: La Roche -Posay)

    Don’t forget your limbs by applying La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Mist SPF50+.

    It’s the brands first-ever SPF mist for body in a lightweight and instantly absorbed formula that is perfect for applying on-the-go.

    La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Mist SPF50+, £22, buy now from laroche-posay.co.uk and lookfantastic.com

     

    Murad City Skin Age Defence Broad Spectrum SPF50 I PA++++

    Murad City Skin Age Defence Broad Spectrum SPF50 I PA++++
    (Picture: Look Fantastic

    This revolutionary, ultra-light 100% mineral sunscreen from Murad goes beyond just sun protection (UVA and UVB) to shield against infrared radiation, pollution and even blue light from electronic devices.

    Murad City Skin Age Defence Broad Spectrum SPF50 I PA++++, £60, buy now from lookfantastic.com and johnlewis.com

     

    Riemann P20 Face Sun Cream SPF30

    Riemann P20 Face Sun Cream SPF30
    (Picture: Amazon)

    P20 has launched its first ever cream-formulated sun protection, P20 FACE Sun Cream SPF30, developed specifically to protect the face from UV-induced skin damage.

    The new formulation offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, is durable for up to 10 hours and with a 5-star UVA rating, it exceeds EU protection recommendation.

    Riemann P20 Face Sun Cream SPF30, £16, buy now from boots.com and amazon.co.uk

     

    Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen SPF50

    Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen SPF50
    (Picture: Amazon)

    The number one best-selling body SPF on Amazon not only protects, it’s affordable – so there’s no excuse not to wear protection.

    Altruist has been set up by a UK skin cancer expert, a consultant dermatologist and a Dutch economist who wanted to do something good and help prevent skin cancer before people get it.

    All the profits made are used to produce and sell more products and they also donate 10p from each sale to charity to help people with albinism in Africa, where sun protection is even more crucial.

    Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen SPF50, £7.50, buy now from amazon.co.uk

     

    Perricone MD Photo-Brightening Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF30

    Perricone MD Photo-Brightening Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF30
    (Picture: Feelunique)

    This oil-free moisturiser from Perricone MD visibly brightens, tightens and reduces the appearance of dark spots.

    And not forgetting, its formulation includes SPF30 to protects against environmental aggressors.

    Perricone MD Photo-Brightening Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF30, £59, buy now from amazon.co.uk, feelunique.com and johnlewis.com

     

    The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 15 With Antioxidants

    The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 15 With Antioxidants
    (Picture: The Ordinary)

    Calling all The Ordinary devotees.

    The Ordinary’s range of Mineral UV Filters formulas’ offer SPF protection along with antioxidant, hydration, and anti-irritant support.

    It’s suitable for all skin tones, is vegan friendly, cruelty and vegan free.

    The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 15 With Antioxidants, £7.90, buy now from theordinary.com, cultbeauty.co.uk and beautybay.com

    MORE: The 10 best bronzers for a realistic post-holiday glow from Benefit, Huda Beauty, Morphe and more

    MORE: Top self-tanning tips for achieving the perfect spring glow


    Ask the expert: A dermatologist\'s guide to SPF sunscreensAsk the expert: A dermatologist\'s guide to SPF sunscreens

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    The cafe will launch next month
    A Central Perk cafe is coming to Primark (Picture: Getty/NBC)

    If you’re an avid Primark shopper and a huge Friends fan, you’ll be absolutely delighted to know that the Manchester store is opening a fully-branded Central Perk Cafe in partnership with Warner Bros.

    The cafe will open at Primark in Manchester on 12 June this year, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Friends.

    The cafe will be exclusive to Primark and is the very first to open up on the UK high street.

    And yes, the whole thing does sound amazing.

    It’ll feature a New York inspired menu, exclusive branded products and even an opportunity to get a photo on *the* sofa.

    The cafe as seen in Friends
    We’re so excited! (Picture: Getty)

    You can now channel your inner Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, Rachel, Joey or Ross on the couch with a large cup of coffee. How exciting.

    The cafe will use compostable cups and ethically sourced coffee beans, as part of its Primark Cares initiative.

    After visiting Central Perk Cafe, customers can continue the Friends experience in the Friends shopping area, which features everything from clothing to mugs.

    Primark’s Director of New Business Development, Tim Kelly said: ‘We are hugely excited to be bringing the first branded Central Perk Café in fashion retail in the UK to the British high street.

    ‘Customers can relax and have fun there whilst also enjoying our amazing fashion at amazing prices in our Manchester store.’

    *Books train tickets to Manchester*

    MORE: A dermatologist’s guide to SPF sunscreens including top tips and myths

    MORE: Woman thought her husband was snoring – but he was having a cardiac arrest in his sleep


    Primark opens Central Perk cafePrimark opens Central Perk cafe

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    A picture of Aldi's new sausages
    The sausages are £1.99 each (Picture: Getty/Aldi)

    Aldi is selling foot-long sausages for just £1.99 ahead of Father’s Day.

    The sausages, which are made with 100% British pork, are apparently ideal for barbecues, and they’ve been launched to celebrate Father’s Day on 16 June.

    The sausages are infused with South Carolina sauce, which is a mustard-based barbecue sauce.

    Alongside the massive sausages, Aldi is also bringing back its Big Daddy Steak – which sold out when it was first launched.

    The rump steak will cost £4.99 for 16oz of meat.

    Aldi's new sausages
    The sausages are BBQ flavoured (Picture: Aldi)

    And finally, a porchetta joint is also hitting shelves. It weighs 1.5kg and will cost you £9.99.

    With the lot coming to under £20 – it’s the perfect excuse to have a BBQ this summer.

    Stick some buns out and some salad, and you’ve got a super cheap summer afternoon.

    If you’re a non-meat eater, the supermarket has also just released a new vegan range, including sausage rolls and burgers.

    The sausage rolls are made using soya and the burgers are totally plant-based.

    Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, says: ‘The launch of our new vegan range is in response to our growing, ethically inspired customer base, looking for delicious alternatives to meat and another example of our ongoing commitment to cater for all diets, at everyday low prices.

    ‘We look forward to expanding our vegan offering even further over the coming months.’

    MORE: A cat is up for an award after learning to wake up his diabetic owner in emergency

    MORE: Asda releases super cheap gold award winning wine


    Aldi is selling foot-long sausages for Father?s Day - and they cost less than ?2Aldi is selling foot-long sausages for Father?s Day - and they cost less than ?2

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    Mark McMullan on Britain's Got Talent and with his brother Declan McMullan
    Mark McMullan and his brother Declan (Picture: Dymond/Thames/Syco/REX)

    During an episode of Britain’s Got Talent on May 4, Mark McMullan floored the nation not just with his incredible singing voice, but with the heart-wrenching story of his brother Declan, who suffers with Locked-in syndrome.

    Before his performance, Mark dedicated the song to Declan, and has since described his brother’s condition as like ‘being buried alive’.

    Mark told Metro.co.uk: ‘When the opportunity came up for me to audition for Britain’s Got Talent, I just kind of thought as much as I had other things going on in my life, and trying to focus on my career and stuff, everything always comes back to music.

    ‘I kind of told myself if Declan could do it, he would do it.’

    So, as we ready ourselves to see Mark take to the stage once again in tonight’s semi-final episode of Britain’s Got Talent, let’s take a closer look at Locked-in Syndrome and what causes it.

    What is Locked-in Syndrome?

    Locked-in Syndrome is a rare motor disability which is characterised by the NHS as being similar to a disorder of consciousness – like a coma or a vegetative state – however it is not treated in quite the same way.

    A person suffering from Locked-in Syndrome is conscious, is cognitively intact and aware of their surroundings, but they are almost totally paralysed.

    Often, someone with Locked-in Syndrome can move their eyes, and communicate through blinking, however there are some cases where a person is left in a completely locked-in state and the eyes are left paralysed as well.

    What causes Locked-in Syndrome?

    Locked-in Syndrome usually occurs when parts of the lower brain and/or the pons, which is a part of the brain-stem, becomes damaged.

    Multiple things are thought to be able to cause Locked-in Syndrome, such as:

    • A traumatic brain injury
    • A stroke
    • Circulatory diseases
    • A lesion to the brain-stem
    • Nerve cell damage
    Mark McMullan singing on Britain's Got Talent
    Mark McMullan is back on Britain’s Got Talent this week (Picture: ITV)

    How did Mark McMullan’s brother Declan get Locked-in Syndrome?

    In Declan’s case, as Mark said: ‘Declan unfortunately when he was 19, he suffered a cardiac arrest in his bedroom, when we were getting ready for school one morning. He just dropped dead in the middle of the bedroom, but obviously, at this point, he was up earlier than the rest of us in the house so nobody was awake to know what was happening.

    ‘We went in to check on him, when I was getting ready for school that morning and I just happened to notice he was lying in quite a weird position on his bed. He just didn’t look normal, and eventually I went over to him and realised that at that point he was dead, he wasn’t breathing.’

    Thankfully, since both Mark and his father knew CPR, they were able to revive Declan and get him the medical care he needed, however Declan’s brush with death left him with this permanent damage.

    Mark added: ‘He’s here today with us and we’re really lucky to have him, but too much time had passed between him taking ill and the paramedics getting there that a lot of brain damage occurred.

    ‘The only way I can describe it is it’s like being buried alive,’ he continued. ‘He can’t see, he can’t speak he can’t eat, he can’t drink, he can’t move any part of his body. The only parts that he can move are his eyelids and some slight facial movements and that’s it.’

    Britain’s Got Talent is on tonight from 7:30pm until 9pm on ITV.

    MORE: Who is in the Britain’s Got Talent final?

    MORE: Who is Britain’s Got Talent finalist and singing Chelsea pensioner Colin Thackery?


    mark mcmullanmark mcmullan

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    A man proposed to his girlfriend 30ft deep in the Caribbean Sea.

    26-year-old Travis Grenier surprised Kenna Seitz, 24, with a rose gold engagement ring hidden inside a tiny treasure chest during a diving trip.

    Travis, a motions graphics designer, had taken months to plan the proposal, which was inspired by Kenna’s love of the ocean.

    Kenna of course said ‘yes’, and they kissed under the water with a clash of oxygen masks.

    Kenna said: ‘I will never forget Travis’s proposal. It blew all of my expectations out of the water.

    Travis, from Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA, invited Kenna on a trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, after he’d secretly booked a boat and prepared his GoPro camera to capture the moment.

    Kenna, his girlfriend of four years, was excited to go on the couple’s first ‘snuba’ – a dive where the oxygen pipe connects to the boat, rather than a tank on the diver’s back.

    Travis panicked about losing the expensive ring during the dive but the plan was a success.

    The sweet photo of the pair kissing
    They kissed with their masks (Picture: Travis Grenier /SWNS.COM)

    Kenna said: ‘Travis was insistent on wearing this fanny pack and I couldn’t understand why, but I just tried to forget about it.

    ‘He even wore it into the water, which I thought was very weird, but I didn’t put two and two together.

    ‘The snuba was incredible, it is so beautiful down there. The instructor started to gesture for us to get together for a picture on our GoPro towards the end of the dive.

    ‘I stood up and when I looked down Travis was on his knee holding a little treasure chest. I opened the box and it was the most beautiful treasure I could have imagined.

    ‘I started screaming. It was the most special moment. We even kissed through our masks.’

    Travis added: ‘Kenna is a one of a kind girl and I knew she needed a one of a kind proposal.

    ‘She loves the water and she recently became scuba certified.

    ‘I had a company work trip coming up in April and I just thought it would be a great idea to invite Kenna along and propose underwater.

    ‘I ordered a couple of different treasure chests beforehand, to make sure the ring wouldn’t budge during the dive.

    ‘When she saw the ring she started screaming underwater and gave me the thumbs up.

    Travis proposing under water
    She said yes! (Picture: Travis Grenier /SWNS.COM)

    ‘And when we got to the surface there was even more screaming.

    ‘Two of our friends accompanied us on the trip and it was nice to share the moment with them.’

    Kenna and Travis, who first met at a beer carnival in 2015, celebrated their engagement at a beach party, right after the boat trip.

    Travis said: ‘It was the last night of the trip and we celebrated on the beach.

    ‘We had a lot of champagne and everyone was celebrating with us.’

    Kenna added: ‘It was the most special day.

    ‘I love Travis, I love his spirit, his personality and how he gets me. I can’t even put my feelings for him into words.’

    Kenna and Travis plan to wed in March 2020, but the event will most likely take place on land.

    Travis said: ‘People have definitely joked about that. They’ve asked us if we are going to get married underwater too.’

    Kenna added: ‘I think the wedding will definitely take place on land. In fact we plan to get married on my dad’s property in Georgia.’

    MORE: Aldi launches new foot-long BBQ sausages ahead of Father’s Day

    MORE: A Friends themed Central Perk Cafe is coming to Primark next month


    SEI_70316926SEI_70316926

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    ikea recreates the living room from the simpsons
    Ever dreamed of sitting on The Simpsons sofa? (Picture: Ikea/FOX)

    Ever watched The Simpsons and thought: ‘I’d love to hang out in that living room’?

    Us neither. But apparently the people over at Ikea have pondered this, as they’ve set up three living spaces to mirror some iconic rooms from TV shows.

    In their Ikea Real Life series, the brand has made a room for families, a room for mates, and a room for everyone.

    Those names don’t give the game away, so to explain: the room for families is based on The Simpsons, the room for mates is the living room in Monica’s apartment in Friends, and the room for everyone is Joyce’s living room in Stranger Things.

    All the products in the photos are available to buy, so if you’re really keen you can replicate those famous rooms in your own home.

    The campaign is just taking please in the UAE, though, so you’d need to pay for shipping – not all the products will be available in the UK.

    Room for Mates

    Ikea recreates famous living rooms: Friends
    Here’s the real Friends living room (Picture: NBC)
    Ikea recreates famous living rooms: Friends
    And here’s Ikea’s version, complete with a vintage TV (Picture: Ikea)

    The table doesn’t look so vintage and we can’t spy a naked guy through the window, but it’s a pretty convincing knockoff otherwise.

    Just make sure you get a photo frame to place around the peephole in your door.

     

    Room for families

     The Simpsons living room
    In case you’ve ever wanted a living room just like the Simpsons, here’s your inspo (Picture: The Simpsons)
    Ikea recreates famous living rooms: The Simpsons
    Ikea even remembered the wonky picture frame (Picture: Ikea)

    We didn’t realise how minimalist this living room was.

    There’s no way you can buy that sofa without recreating the opening sequence of The Simpsons every single time you sit on it.

     

    Room for everyone

    Joyce in her living room in Stranger Things
    Here’s Joyce in her living room in Stranger Things (Picture: Netflix)
    Ikea recreates famous living rooms: Stranger Things
    And here’s how to create it yourself (Picture: Ikea)

    Yes, you will require copious amounts of Halloween candy.

    MORE: Ikea’s big blue bag gets a rainbow makeover to celebrate Pride

    MORE: Ikea selling £3 blinds that fit any window and don’t require any tools

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


    Ikea recreates famous living roomsIkea recreates famous living rooms

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    Yassmin shows us a 'Sudanese-Australian combination iftar'
    Yassmin Abdel Magied, originally from Sudan, grew up in Australia and now lives in London (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    This past week, which is officially part of the last ten days of Ramadan, a sacred time when worshiping efforts are intensified, we spoke to some of the amazing Muslims fasting while working, studying, volunteering, and exercising.

    On the final day of Muslims Who Fast, we speak to Yassmin, a writer who’s led a colourful life, working in Australia’s oil rigs as not only one of the few women but also a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.

    The author, of Sudanese descent, invites Metro.co.uk to see what an iftar combining her two different cultures looks like.

    Yassmin, who recently published her first work of fiction, remembers and compares what Ramadan was like in Sudan, in Australia and now in London where she lives.

    Her iftars are a fusion of different and delicious delicacies.

    Let’s see what she had for iftar:

    Shot of dinner table
    She invited some friends over for a culturally diverse iftar (Picture: Matthew Chattle)
    Lentil soup
    They ate a lentil soup (Picture: Matthew Chattle)
    omelette
    An omelette (Picture:Matthew Chattle)
    salad
    A salad (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    So what are you eating tonight?

    Today we have a bit of a cultural mix, reflecting my life here in London. We have fool (Sudanese broad or fava beans) and bayd (arabic for eggs), and shorbat adas (lentil soup) – they’re the Sudanese staples I can make quickly and confidently.

    bread
    Some bread to dip into the hummus and soup (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    We also have salatat zabadai (yoghurt and cucumber salad), variants of which can be found all over the Mediterranean and North Africa.

    dessert
    A cheeky dessert (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    What does a traditional Sudanese iftar look like?

    We break fast like many others with a date and water. The first course is usually a soup: cauliflower, pumpkin, or lentil soup. At that point we take a digestion break to pray, before getting into the main meal.

    lentil soup
    Anybody else suddenly feeling very hungry? (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    Growing up, that usually consisted of tameeya (like falafel), fool, eggs, salads, eggplant (either in a salad or in a béchamel) and then on special occasions something like aseeda wa mullah, like a porridge with the local stew, or a protein like fried fish, chicken or lamb.

    Shot of dinner table
    How many of the Sudanese staples can you spot in the images? (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    We typically also have sweet drinks like carkadeh (hibiscus drink) hulumur, mishmish (apricot), and guava. My grandmother also used to make a mean lemonade!

    We’ll almost always finish up with tea, coffee and a sweet dessert like basboosa (semolina cake).

    For suhoor (pre-dawn meal), we usually have um Ali (puff pastry soaked in sweet milk and raisins) or run bi laban (rice porridge).

    More shots of the dinner table showing rice, bread, soup
    You can never have too many food pics (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    Sounds delicious. So what do you crave while fasting?

    I often hanker for the easy, simple, food of home: fool, bayd and tameeya. The smells, tastes and textures make me think of warmth, comfort and family, and who doesn’t want that in a holy month?

    I generally don’t miss food. But coffee! Oh, I do miss that.

    Yassmin admiring her dishes
    Yassmin admiring her work (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    Same. So, what does Ramadan mean to you?

    Ramadan is a spiritual reset button, an opportunity for me to take a moment – a month, in fact – to not only spiritually detox, but physically do so as well.

    My routines change: so rather than the day being structured around food, it’s around prayer times.

    I also try to make a more conscious effort to slow down, read more Quran, connect more with family and community. I look forward to it every year, and although sometimes on long London days it can be exhausting, it’s a month I am grateful for.

    Yassmin standing in front of the food with her friend
    The author likes to break fast with friends, at home or away (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    How old were you when you first began fasting?

    I went to a Muslim primary school in Brisbane, so my early years were filled with trying to compete with the other kids in class to see who could fast the most.

    My parents let me start slow – one day a week, then the weekends, then I moved up to every second day and by the time I was 10 or 11, I was proud to be fasting all of Ramadan without needing to take much of a break at all!

    Yassmin taking a bite of the food
    Time to taste the results – did you remember to put the salt in? (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    Did you ever accidentally break your fast as a child?

    One morning, observing Ramadan in Sudan, I woke up and got out of bed and then for some reason started scoffing the lollies in the ‘guest tray’ in the living room!

    I must have really needed some sugar. Hand full of lollies I froze and realised I’d completely forgotten it was Ramadan. My parents said that because I hadn’t done it on purpose, the fast counted and so I fasted the rest of the day as normal.

    Yassmin and her friend smiling at each other
    She did remember the salt (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    Is it hard to fast away from home?

    Being away from my family and the traditions I grew up with is always a challenge. I think when you’re living on your own in a big city, Ramadan feels much more difficult than when you are at home with a group of people, all in it together.

    Ultimately, it’s meant to be a shared experience, bringing people together.

    The pair try the food and chat
    The food seems to be a hit (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    If you’re not naturally in that space you have to put in a little extra effort to get the most out of the month.

    I do try to work around it: when I am in London I make an effort to have Iftar with friends every night, and the Open Iftar project is a lovely effort towards alleviating loneliness.

    Yassmin, Breaking Fast, Shoreditch
    Yassmin starts plating the food for her other friends who will be bringing some Pakistani and Indian dishes to complete their diverse iftar (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    Do you have any traditions or rituals during Ramadan?

    When I think of traditions, I think of the food that I eat during Ramadan. The process of making um Ali, of soaking dates in sweet water before the month arrives, of the cool sweet tang of carkadeh.

    I think of praying taraweeh, or listening to Quran, of not swallowing when I brush my teeth!

    I think I’m in the process of creating new traditions here in London – like breaking the first fast of the month with the same friends every year.

    Yassmin, Breaking Fast, Shoreditch
    Sadly there was no Marmite at this iftar but they seem happier for it (Picture: Matthew Chattle)

    MORE: Muslims Who Fast: Fitness trainer Nazia talks eating disorders, depression, and post-iftar workouts

    MORE: Muslims Who Fast: Tabetha, who organises Open Iftar, shows us food from Pakistan


    Muslims Who Fast featureMuslims Who Fast feature

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