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

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    plants on a shelf in the bathroom
    Which plants thrive in bathrooms? (Picture: thejoyofplants.co.uk)

    In case you haven’t heard, having plants in your bathroom is a major trend.

    Having plants anywhere is cool, obviously – millennials are obsessed with greenery, after all – but take a browse through Pinterest and Instagram and you’ll see the most stylish bathrooms come complete with some leaves.

    Before you go ahead and move your kitchen plants to your sink, it’s important to note which plants actually thrive in the damp, humid environment of the room where you shower and bathe.

    Chanel de Kock, country manager of the Flower Council, tells Metro.co.uk that the plants best suited for bathrooms are those ‘you’d generally find in a rainforest where the light is low and the humidity is relatively high.’

    She says: ‘Ferns, Tillandsia, Spathiphyllum (Peace lily), and Ficus pumila.

    ‘What they have in common is that they grow in an environment that resembles a tropical rainforest. And that in turn is very similar to the bathroom after the morning rush; the moisture and steam left behind offer ideal conditions for these plants.’

    You want plants that love plenty of water and little light, basically, and won’t die in high humidity areas.

    We’ve listed a couple of the prettiest plants to put in your bathroom below.


    Ferns love high humidity
    Ferns love high humidity (Picture: thejoyofplants.co.uk)

    Ferns of all descriptions do well in bathroom areas – prop them along the side of your bathtub, on the sink, or on a plant stand on the floor.

    There are plenty of types of fern to choose from: asparagus, maidenhair, boston. Pick your favourite and go all out, or mix and match to create a lush fern corner.

    Ferns like low levels of light (ideal if your bathroom doesn’t have massive windows), plenty of shade, and high humidity.

    Even with the moisture from your daily shower, though, it’s still worth giving ferns a frequent water. Their soil should be damp, not dry or soaking.


    Peace Lily

    a peace lily can handle low levels of light, so no worries if your bathroom doesn't have massive windows
    A peace lily can handle low levels of light, so no worries if your bathroom doesn’t have massive windows (Picture: thejoyofplants.co.uk)

    Peace Lilies look splendid and will easily adapt to lower light levels.

    They need their soil to be kept moist at all times, and prefer the high levels of humidity provided by a bathroom.

    Peace Lilies are also air-purifying.



    Calathea plant, close-up
    Look at those leaves (Picture: Getty)

    We love the beautiful leaves of calatheas. They’re also known as prayer plants, as at night the leaves curl up at night like hands in prayer.

    They work gloriously well in bathrooms as they like shady spots and high humidity.

    Wipe the leaves when they get dusty to ensure they can still soak up indirect light.


    Ivy's hardy enough to survive most environments
    Ivy’s hardy enough to survive most environments (Picture: thejoyofplants.co.uk)

    Ivy looks great in a hanging planter by the tub.

    It’s a pretty hardy plant, but it doesn’t like high heat – so avoid keeping your ivy near the radiator.



    A dramatic palm will liven up any area
    A dramatic palm will liven up any area (Picture: Getty)

    Most palms love high humidity and can deal with direct or indirect light.

    They also look glorious, and are super trendy. Stick a couple in a corner or under the sink to instantly transform your bathroom.

    Palms like their soil to be moist so water regularly.

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

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

    MORE: Amazon build a huge rainforest in their office to inspire their employees

    Styling Elize Eveleens - KlimproduktiesStyling Elize Eveleens - Klimprodukties

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    The tops which are selling on ASOS
    The tops aren’t very popular online (Picture: ASOS)

    ASOS has released some crop tops for men – which people are calling ‘moob tubes’ and mocking online.

    Just recently, a Twitter user shared a photo of two of the tops being sold side-by-side, writing: ‘I give up.’

    The image showed a £15 Reclaimed Vintage bandeau in black, and a £15 Reclaimed Vintage extreme cropped top – both worn on men.

    Since the tops were shared, others have been laughing at them online:

    However, ASOS has hit back at those mocking its releases – explaining that the tops are a part of them breaking down fashion norms, and that they’re proud to be doing so.

    And we’ve got to agree with ASOS on this one – the clothing is a little different to what we see on the average day, but what’s the problem?

    Men’s crop tops were pretty common back in the 80s and this fashion brand wants to bring it back. Crop tops may not be to everyone’s taste but we shouldn’t be slamming men that do like them.

    We should be embracing our differences, and not mocking men for liking what they like.

    We say the models in the pictures are rocking the look.

    Men: If you want to rock a crop top, you do you. Just follow in the models’ steps and pair it with a nice jazzy belt.

    All eyes will be on you as you walk into the club.

    MORE: Do not fear the crop top for men

    MORE: Ben & Jerry’s really wants to launch CBD infused ice cream

    MORE: Life hacks to help you deal with classic summer stains

    ASOS Is Selling Moob Tubes For Men And People Aren't Feeling ThemASOS Is Selling Moob Tubes For Men And People Aren't Feeling Them

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    Illustration of a woman's leg and a squirt of blue liquid coming out between them
    Don’t hold it in, as you could weaken your muscles (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    The recommendation for how much you should drink is usually said to be about eight glasses per day.

    However, what’s less spoken about is how often we should go to the toilet or – more specifically – pee.

    Many people with busy lifestyles or who work in hectic environments that don’t lend themselves to frequent bathroom breaks (or in jobs without easy access to a toilet) have a habit of holding it in.

    However, just as farts are better out than in, so is urine.

    ‘Holding urine in the bladder for too long over a long period of time overstretches the bladder wall and its muscle (detrusor) and eventually weakens the bladder muscle and as a consequence this overstretched bladder begins to fail to empty completely,’ Sudhanshu Chitale, consultant urological surgeon and honorary clinical associate professor, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘The long-term consequences of overstretching of the bladder are very many: failure of bladder emptying and, building up of residual volumes, recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and impairment of kidney function.

    ‘Regular bladder emptying is of paramount importance to maintaining the health of the lower urinary tract (LUTr) over long term.’

    If you’re reading this and currently holding in a wee, don’t worry – you won’t stretch your bladder by occasionally prolonging your toilet visit.

    But it’s advisable to not make it a habit.

    ‘What happens if you hold your pee in: initially, nothing,’ said Samar, an NHS doctor and honorary clinical lecturer at the University of Sheffield.

    ‘However, for those who do this on a chronic basis they can cause over-stretching of the bladder muscle which will cause problems in its ability to contract and empty; increased risk of kidney stones; increased risk of urinary tract infections; swelling of the kidneys (known as ‘hydronephrosis’) and subsequent reduced kidney function.’

    How often you pee is depends on a wide variety of factors, including how much you drink.

    Jess, who drinks around three litres per day, said she pees on average around 11 times daily – and mostly at work (she tells us this as she’s headed to the toilet for yet another wee).

    Meanwhile Ellen, who likes to ‘always be sipping something’ goes to the toilet around six to nine times per day.

    Others tell us they can hold off for an entire working day, due to lack of time to drink and pee.

    So, what’s a good amount to wee every day?

    Samar recommends going to the toilet between five to 10 times per day, but points out that ‘quantities would differ somewhat based on the size of the person’.

    Other factors include how much you sweat, whether you smoke (as it can irritate your bladder) and how much salt you consume.

    Ever noticed how bars and pubs offer salty nuts along with your pint?

    There’s a reason: it makes you thirsty and you’re more likely to drink more (and therefore, pee more).

    If coffee is your morning beverage of choice, you might also find yourself heading to the loo more often as caffeine is a diueretic, which essentially means it makes you pee.

    Same thing goes for drinking beverages that are high in sugar.

    In addition, some medications and medical conditions can be a factor, such as diabetes.

    Obviously, if you don’t need to go, you shouldn’t try to force yourself.

    ‘There is no such figure written in stone that would be considered an abnormal amount of urine; as abnormal means too much or too little than average,’ said Chitale.

    ‘Human kidney unit produces an average of 1ml of urine per minute, so 60ml per hour and 1440ml over 24 hours.

    ‘However, during sleeping hours (overnight) a natural hormone (ADH) secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain restricts the amount of urine produced by the kidneys as a normal or physiological, protective response, so we have an undisturbed sleep.

    ‘If this hormone is not adequate, the kidneys produce more urine overnight and the individual passes more than a third of total urine output during sleeping hours (nocturnal polyuria).

    ‘If one is passing too little urine (oligouria), less than 400 – 500ml over 24 hours (20ml/hr) or urine output of less than 50 ml per day (anuria) indicates acute kidney failure.’

    If you’re concerned about your toilet habits, speak to your GP or other medical health professional.

    Depending on your symptoms, they could ask you to keep what urologists call a ‘voiding diary’, which is like a normal diary but only filled with tidbits about how much you drink, when you pee, how often you pee and how much is released each time.

    Do bare in mind that your peeing habits will change as you age and your muscles naturally weaken. To counteract this, you can do kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor.

    Generally however, all you have to do is listen to your body.

    It’s pretty good at telling you what it needs.

    MORE: Student left with chemical burn on her eye after using micellar water

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

    MORE: Woman could have lost part of her finger after acrylic nails went wrong

    ella byworthella byworth

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    Just one of the luxurious doggy houses
    Your dog would be very happy to stay in this (Picture: Caters News)

    A company has launched a new range of luxury dog kennels that cost up to £170,000.

    The kennels – which are actually dog houses – have been released by Hecate Verona, and feature heating, air conditioning, treat dispensers and a conference calling system so the dog and its owner can communicate with eachother.

    The plush dog houses also have indoor and outdoor lighting, a food and water feeding system, sound systems and televisions.

    Yep, your dog can now live the life of total luxury.

    Another of the stunning dog houses
    Isn’t it stunning? (Picture: Caters News)

    The dog houses start at £30,000, with fully equipped high end models costing £150,000.

    Each house is designed by luxury yacht craftsmen and are made with natural but lavish materials including oak and marble and have elegant features such as pillars, engravings and classical style columns.

    The living space has been divided into separate bedroom and living room areas with the latter giving panoramic views of the surroundings – thanks to the windows which are lowered accordingly depending on the height of the dog.

    The London-based company has spent three years developing the lavish homes, with each one taking up to three months to build.

    These houses are amazing
    We’d move in here, to be honest (Picture: Caters News)

    Creative director Alice Williams said: ‘Our objective was to create a majestic and royal looking dog manor which seeks to complement the garden and the surrounding in which it stands.

    ‘Our customers and their dogs typically live indoors so we see our dog manor as an extra that gives a pet more comfort – it is dog´s own house that has all the comforts of an indoor living room, making the whole experience of staying outdoors more fun and enjoyable.

    ‘This leads to the dog enjoying the outdoors even more and staying more active and that is highly recommended by veterinarians.’

    MORE: The best plants to put in your bathroom

    MORE: Ben & Jerry’s really wants to launch CBD infused ice cream


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    Over 13.9million people in the UK live with a disability.

    But many of them have invisible illnesses – and from an outsider’s point of view, they look completely healthy.

    You Don’t Look Sick is a weekly series that explores what it’s like to live with a hidden illness or disability and how different people cope with their symptoms, as well as the stares and judgement from strangers.

    Hayley Ray, 30, from Shepherds Bush, London, has endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.

    Endometriosis occurs when tissue like the womb lining grows elsewhere. PCOS is a condition that affects how the ovaries work as they are covered in fluid filled sacs.

    The condition means Hayley has suffered with severe period pain every month, since she was 12 years old.

    She missed a lot of time from school and sometimes the pain is so severe, she collapses in the the street.

    But she says she feels that because her conditions are put down to ‘women’s problems’, people are not always understanding.

    She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I got called into a HR meeting once and asked what was going on. I explained myself and the pain my period left me in and they turned around and told me; “You have to man up, take some paracetamol and just get on with things”.

    ‘I remember bursting into tears and before I could say anything they told me; “You don’t even look sick”

    ‘When I’d collapse in public I had a lot of people say; “stop being over dramatic”.

    Hayley Ray has endometriosis and PCOS
    Hayley Ray (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘When people don’t understand what’s going on they will usually form a negative opinion because they’re not the ones experiencing it. It’s easier to judge, than to ask questions.’

    Hayley first experienced pain when her periods started at the age of 12 but it took eight years before she was diagnosed.

    She says: ‘Growing up it affected every aspect of my life, I had to plan my life around my period. At the age of 13 my periods started becoming heavier.

    ‘The suffering it caused was unbearable – the heavy bleeding, cramps, clots and sickness. I ended up passing out on several occasions in loo cubicles, and public places.

    ‘I started to make excuses on why I couldn’t hang out with my girlfriends on the weekends or why I couldn’t attend birthday parties or events.

    What are the symptoms of PCOS?

    • irregular periods or no periods at all
    • difficulty getting pregnant as a result of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate
    • excessive hair growth usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
    • weight gain
    • thinning hair and hair loss from the head
    • oily skin or acne


    ‘No one seemed to understand the pain I would endure each month.’

    Hayley remembers being sent to school with medication for weeks before, during and after her period to help with the pain.

    ‘It didn’t just stop there. The pain I’d experience in my uterus was a dull, stabbing pain that seemed to attack a week or two before my period.

    ‘I’d also experience dizziness just days before my period was due and these unbelievable intense headaches.

    ‘When I’d come on my period, it was heavy, painful and I couldn’t move. Walking became crawling and I experienced leaking through sanitary products.’

    Hayley’s mum would take her to the GP but every time she was told it was ‘just period pain’ and she would be offered more painkillers.

    Hayley has had surgery to try to treat her conditions (Picture: Hayley Ray)
    Hayley has had surgery to try to treat her conditions (Picture: Hayley Ray)

    She says: ‘Every time I went into that doctor’s room, I knew I wasn’t being taken seriously. I knew they thought I was being ‘over dramatic’ and that they thought I was some kind of hypochondriac.

    ‘The pain crept into family events, holidays and social gatherings with girl friends. Some days I was unable to move from the intense pain and I felt like this illness I had experienced was slowly starting to take over any hope I had for the future.

    ‘Unable to seek answers from medical practitioners, I didn’t know what to do.’

    The pain meant Hayley was missing school and wasn’t able to take part in her hobbies any more. She left school at 16 and moved to a performing arts college – but the symptoms were got worse.

    ‘Most months I’d be sick and pass out during dance, acting classes, and in locked toilet cubicles from the pain I experienced,’ she says.

    ‘Unable to walk, I’d be wheel-chaired to the sick bay area and my my mum would make regular driving trips to Stratford-upon-Avon to collect me.

    ‘My mum took me to doctor and he decided to prescribe me the Pill as it was the next medication he could prescribe me.

    ‘The pill masked the symptoms and helped for a couple of months with the pain, however, it returned only to extend my periods and left me with heavy, clotted bleeding.

    ‘Taking time off each month, I was bedridden, unable to walk and weakened from the pain my period left me in.’

    She eventually graduated, moved to London and got her first job in television at 18 – but working full-time made her symptoms even more difficult to manage.

    ‘I’d take time off work monthly unable to move and changing my sanitary products every hour due to heavy bleeding.

    ‘I would also wake up in the night down the the stabbing pain that would suddenly sharpen in my uterus.

    ‘I once had to press the emergency button on a tube as I experienced so much pain.’

    After the HR meeting where she was told to ‘man up’, Hayley eventually left TV to take some time out.

    At 23, she took a job in Birmingham, and it was there she was eventually diagnosed with both conditions that had taken over her life.

    Hayley Ray in New zealand
    Hayley says her condition affected her self esteem (Picture: Hayley Ray)

    She explains: ‘After two weeks of starting my role, I caught my usual morning train like into the city centre and when I got to my station I felt a sharp, sudden stabbing pain from my left ovary.

    ‘It went away, and then came back much quicker and sharper.

    ‘It felt like a fire was spreading over my uterus and then eventually ended up taking spreading into the rest of my limbs, I felt a sudden dizziness and nausea overcome me and somehow made it into the office. In pain I screamed out loud to one of my colleagues.

    ‘I can’t really remember much from that moment as I passed out from the intense pain and woke up with a team of paramedics around me.

    ‘They asked questions, suggested I could have appendicitis or was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.’

    What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

    Symptoms vary from person to person but some of the most common include:

    • Painful, heavy, or irregular periods
    • Pain during or after sex
    • Infertility
    • Painful bowel movements
    • Fatigue

    Endometriosis UK

    Hayley was rushed to A&E in an ambulance and after tests and scans, she was diagnosed with a suspected ruptured cyst.

    But desperate for answers, Hayley booked a private gynecologist Miss Shrini Irani to try to find out what was causing her so much pain.

    Miss Irani insisted Hayley needed an internal examination, where they detected and picked a couple of cysts on both ovaries and also some scar tissue in her uterus area.

    Further laparoscopy surgery found that the cyst had taken over her left ovary, and it was 10cm by 10cm.

    Finally getting a confirmed diagnosis of endometriosis and PCOS, Hayley was able to look at ways to treat the conditions.

    Hayley Ray now
    Hayley is now feeling much better and has got some control over her conditions (Picture: Hayley Ray)

    She says: ‘I decided to book myself in for some food allergy tests with a specialist. A couple of weeks later when I received my results I was diagnosed with a gluten and wheat sensitivity and lactose intolerance.

    ‘From that day I eliminated all wheat, gluten, dairy, processed sugars, additives and processed foods. This certainly helped control and began to eliminate some of the symptoms that I’d suffered in painful silence over the years.

    ‘I also started to exercise, found yoga and spinning classes which also seemed to control my monthly symptoms.

    ‘I’d try and get into nature as much as I could too and started looking looking into more holistic ways I could treat the symptoms. I started taking magnesium and supplementing with fish oil.’

    She had further operations in 2015, after moving to New Zealand but moved back to the UK in 2017 to spend time with her ill father.

    Hayley says that since then, her symptoms have been much better controlled. Now working as a registered health coach, she helps other women put plans in place to manage their health.

    She says: ‘Don’t get me wrong. I still get symptoms but I’ve managed to control them and find ways to manage them.

    ‘I’d say exercising, eating mindfully, remembering food = mood and supplementing with magnesium, fish oil and B12 has helped me.

    Hayley Ray now works as a health coach and has her symptoms under better control
    Hayley now works as a health coach (Picutre: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I’ve also found meditation has really helped my symptoms as breathing allows the body to calm itself.

    ‘Through my own journey of health battles, and the breakdown of a relationship, I became interested in the healing power of food, self-care and development.

    ‘I’m now a registered health coach. I’ve developed various programs and 1:1 coaching programs to help women on a daily basis.

    ‘I support women transform their lives from a place of pain into a place of power.

    ‘It’s such an empowering and beautiful experience to be part of and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to transform something that once had such a negative impact on my physical, mental and emotional health into such a positive one.

    ‘I love that we get to create and rewrite our stories whatever the circumstances we get to break free from the heroine and become our own hero.

    She says she has had a lot of support from people she has met through her work, as well as other people with the conditions she has met online – after years of feeling incredibly isolated.

    ‘Up until I started getting answers I felt extremely isolated. My parents were the only two people who I could turn and talk to.

    ‘Now, I’ve met so many other women from connecting over social media – thank goodness for Instagram. I’ve been able to meet great women with such empowering stories and you’re able to create an online community.

    ‘My business is mainly online, so I get to connect and reach out to women who may need my support. There are also great charities such as Endometriosis UK who are doing some amazing things right now too.

    Although Hayley says that we have come a long way when discussing illness around periods, she wants to keep talking about it to break down the stigma.

    She says: ‘There’s still a long way to go to get the stigma around painful periods recognised. It’s all about healthy, honest and open conversations.’

    How to get involved with You Don't Look Sick

    You Don’t Look Sick is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that discusses invisible illness and disabilities.

    If you have an invisible illness or disability and fancy taking part, please email youdontlooksick@metro.co.uk.

    You’ll need to be happy to share pictures that show how your condition affects you, and have some time to have some pictures taken.

    MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘My condition is so rare, even the doctor had never heard of it’

    MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: I get asked if I’m sure I have terminal cancer’

    MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘I had seven strokes in 24 hours when I was 20’

    MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘I thought only old people got arthritis, until I was diagnosed at 28’

    I don't Look Sick (Hayley Ray)I don't Look Sick (Hayley Ray)

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    House plants need lots of love (Picture: Getty)
    House plants need lots of love (Picture: Getty)

    Is your succulent not quite so succulent? Is your fern is shedding leaves faster than you can say ‘millennial stereotype’?

    We love plants – but keeping them alive in a dark and cramped city flat is quite far removed from the features in glossy magazines.

    How can you become a gardener with a balcony, tiny patio or when you’re 17 floors up in a tower block with windows you can’t open?

    Let’s start with house plants. No matter how limited your outside space is you can grow a few house plants and they can live all year round.

    If you aren’t lucky enough to have floor to ceiling windows, you’ll probably struggle with light. But there are lots that can grow even in the darkest basement flats.

    Freddie Blackett, Co-Founder of plant delivery service Patch, explains: ‘One of the most common questions we get asked is how much light house plants should be getting.

    ‘The really short answer is that all plants need some natural sunlight to survive and thrive, but the level of light depends on the plant.

    ‘It’s important to think of its natural habitat, is the plant accustomed to bright light or more shadowy settings.’

    Buy plants that work for dark areas (Picture: Getty)
    Buy plants that work for dark areas (Picture: Getty)

    How do you know how much light there is in your house?

    Firstly, you need to figure out which direction the windows face – use the compass on your phone to get an idea.

    Freddie adds: ‘Because we’re in the Northern Hemisphere, South-facing will get the most light each day whereas North-facing windows get significantly less.

    ‘East and West facing windows fall somewhere in the middle. Remember to turn off the lights to get a measure for how the natural light fills the room, as house plants can’t feed off light bulbs.’

    Once you know what direction you are facing, you can figure out a little more about how much light your plants will get.

    If you look out the window at the buildings around you, you can estimate how much of the day you will be in the shadow of another building as the sun will move East to West over the course of the day.

    Buildings that are higher up will of course get more light than basement or ground floor flats that sit in the shadows on built up streets.

    What plants should you choose?

    After figuring out how much light your flat or house actually gets every day, you can choose plants that suit different light levels.

    Avoid aloe vera, ficus plants, hibiscus Meyer’s lemon and polka-dot plants as they all need higher levels of light.

    If you do want plants that need lots of light, place them in the window that gets the most light during the day.

    Patch co-founder Freddie's plant recommendations for low light conditions

    1. Aspidistras are a seriously tough. Nicknamed the ‘cast iron plant’, this super-plant is nearly indestructible and can handle reasonable neglect and low-level light.

      An Aspidistra (Picture: Patch)

    2. Hailing from South America, Philodendron scandens is a winner for three reasons: easy to care for, has beautiful heart-shaped leaves and is perfectly fine in a dim part of your home.

      A Philodendron(Picture: Patch)

    3. Corn plants (or ‘Dracaena fragrans’) are a beautiful, low maintenance plant with gorgeous foliage and an easy going disposition. They thrive in shady spots, and — if you’re very lucky — will even sprout lovely white flowers.

      Dracaena fragrans (Picture: Patch)

    How should you care for your plants in a dark flat?

    When you pick the perfect plant for you, be aware that it still needs some light, love and care.

    Freddie adds: ‘The closer you put the plant to the window, the more light it will get – so you can always put shade lovers at the back of the room and sun lovers by the windows.’

    ‘If your plant is drooping, growing pale leaves, or shedding leaves altogether it may need more light. Move it to a bright spot and give the leaves a wipe to get rid of any dust (and maybe clean your windows while you’re at it to let in more light).’

    Plants can suffer from having too much sun too – they could have soil that is baked dry and their leaves may be crisp, bleached, or have brown spots or tips.

    If you spot those signs, don’t suddenly move them away from the sunlight altogether – they may just need the sunlight to be a little less direct.

    Happy growing!

    MORE: The best plants to put in your bathroom

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

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

    Woman Watering HouseplantsWoman Watering Houseplants

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    I have a really serious and important job: I tweet about smoothies all day.

    As a member of innocent’s social media team, I spend my day tweeting about what the company is up to and responding to customers.

    A member of innocent's social media team at work
    Our posts always sound like real people wrote them (Picture: Joe Newman)

    I try and find ways to genuinely entertain people and talk about stuff they might actually be interested in. Like dogs and the weather. You know, the important subjects.

    We’re a small team and we control what we say and how we say it, which means our posts always sound like real people wrote them.

    If we laugh at something, chances are someone else out there will too, so that’s how we decide what gets posted.

    We’ve got a graphic designer in our team who takes photos and draws stuff to go with the words and two customer service champs who chat to our followers all day.

    Then there’s my boss who writes the words on our smoothie bottles and tells me when I’m not being funny, which is most of the time.

    I write a lot of our tweets on the train in at 8am. If it’s raining, I’ll talk about how you’ll need an umbrella, a snorkel, and maybe an ark.

    A man tweeting about innocent's smoothies
    We’ve got about a million followers across our different channels (Picture: Joe Newman)

    Last month there was a dog on the train so I posted a photo of him. People sent in hundreds of photos of their dogs on trains and I spent all day retweeting them. That was a great day.

    When we do talk about our drinks, we try and do it in a way that will still make someone smile. We’ve just launched this new blue drink, and it’s really, really blue.

    We’ve never had a blue drink before, so we wrote, ‘We’ve made a new drink. It’s blue.’

    About 4,000 people replied saying it was green. I spent a whole bank holiday weekend correcting people and telling them it was definitely blue. No idea where they got green from, because it’s clearly blue.

    We’ve got about a million followers across our different channels. They buy our stuff and pay our wages, so it seems only fair that we reply to everyone who gets in touch.

    We get loads of lovely messages from people saying they’d love to meet the people behind our social media, and lots of marriage proposals.

    A member of innocent's social media team
    If I go to a party, I’ll probably stay in the kitchen (Picture: Joe Newman)

    I think if those people actually met me I’d be a bit of an anti-climax, to be honest. On our social media I’m really chatty – I can talk to a hundred people a day and have something to say to all of them.

    But I’m still a glass-half-empty Bradfordian at heart. If I go to a party, I’ll probably stay in the kitchen with my best friend, eating crisps. I’m much funnier if I’ve got three minutes to think of a response and can redraft it four times.

    I sit next to a guy in our finance team – he can’t believe I get paid for this. Neither can my mum. Or our CEO.

    It sounds weird, but the hardest part of my job is being paid to watch TV. When I started, I’d never watched an episode of Great British Bake Off.

    That wouldn’t normally be a problem but innocent is known for tweeting a live commentary so I had to come round to it pretty quickly.

    Last year I became obsessed with one of the bakers, Terry, and cheered him on every week. My boss got him to come into our office for my birthday as a surprise.

    He’s just as lovely in real life as he was on the show – he baked me a cake to say thanks for the support.

    Member of the innocent social media team, John Thornton
    When we do talk about our drinks, we try and do it in a way that will still make someone smile (Picture: Joe Newman)

    Being able to create genuine connections with real people through a smoothie company’s social media account is pretty special.

    A lot of company social media accounts are huge marketing beasts with dozens of people stuffing as many product messages into a tweet as they can.

    But people don’t go on social media to look at adverts – people want to see what their friends are up to, look at some funny pictures and just have some time out from their busy lives.

    As cheesy as it sounds, I got really lucky when I got this job. I’m surrounded by ridiculously talented people who are trying to make the world a better place. Then there’s me, the weird kid in the corner who gets paid to mess around on Twitter.

    I think that’s why people love our social media so much – we’re this really well-known company, yet we choose to pay someone to chat nonsense with the legends who buy our drinks.

    I just want to make the most of it while it lasts. It’s only a matter of time before someone creates a robot with a sense of humour.

    How to get involved with My Odd Job

    My Odd Job is a new weekly series from Metro.co.uk, published every Sunday. If you have an unusual job and want to get involved, email aimee.meade@metro.co.uk.

    MORE: My Odd Job: I’m the world’s only doll’s house interior designer

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    MORE: My Odd Job: My gardens for Chelsea Flower Show are made with blood, sweat and tears


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    A picture of Laura, 51
    Laura looks so young (Picture: MDWFeatures)

    A woman in her fifties has said that she regularly gets men in her DMs telling her she looks better than girls half her age, and asking her for dates.

    51-year-old Laura Heikkila, from California, is a personal trainer and holistic health practitioner. She says she used to lack confidence before discovering her love of fitness.

    Laura has always been very slim, naturally a size six, and would always eat a lot of junk food, but she started taking better care of herself when she fell pregnant with her daughter Jayden, 16, in 2002.

    Laura now eats healthy meals and focuses on fitness. She started weightlifting in her thirties and has gained weight and muscle over the past 15 years.

    She’s part of a fitness community called Ageless Women, where she often gets messages from men who love her for her ‘twenty-year-old’s’ figure.

    Laura showing off her incredible body by the pool in a black bikini.
    Laura is stunning (Picture: MDWfeatures / Laura Heikkila)

    But these men are out of luck, as Laura has been married for twenty years – though her husband, Jay, 49, is happy with all the male attention she gets.

    She said: ‘When I was in my twenties and early thirties, staying thin came naturally so I never really thought much about my health – I just wanted to be slim and I had a lot less confidence.

    ‘But after I had my daughter at thirty-five I discovered my passion for working out and cooking healthy meals. I found weight training and how I could change the composition of my body and I was hooked.

    ‘Maintaining my body has allowed me to live an active life with a lot of travel and it has also given me a platform in social media to help other women regain their body confidence.

    ‘Though sometimes my Instagram account seems more like a dating site because guys are always sliding into my DMs!’

    Laura pictured in a floral bikini by the pool.
    Men are always asking to date her (Picture: MDWfeatures / Laura Heikkila)

    She continued: ‘I get comments like, “are you really fifty?” “You look like you’re in your twenties” or “do you date younger guys?”‘

    ‘But I don’t think much of it because my pictures are there to inspire women to feel how I feel.

    ‘I have so much more body awareness and confidence than when I was in my twenties. I feel more confident in my skin and I’m proud to be 51 and to tell people my age.’

    Laura is less focused on the DMs she gets from keen guys, and instead wants to offer her time to inspire women to feel better in their bodies.

    She said: ‘Anyone can make the changes – just start off slowing with creating healthier habits. Eat a diet of real food and avoid processed food. Don’t starve yourself, and concentrate on weight training rather than intense cardio.’

    MORE: You can now buy your dog a luxury home with in-house treat dispensers

    MORE: How often should you wee every day?

    I?m 51 but men are constantly sliding into my DMs and telling me I?m hotter than a 20-year-oldI?m 51 but men are constantly sliding into my DMs and telling me I?m hotter than a 20-year-old

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    A young couple looking upset
    The man only realised when they got to her house (Picture: Getty)

    When you’re online dating in a small place, it can come back to haunt you.

    Maybe you have a mutual friend in common or your exes are now together.

    But for one man, it was particularly awkward when he realised that he had previously slept with his new girlfriend’s mum.

    Posting on Reddit, the 21-year-old explained that he lives in a town with three decent clubs so you often see the same people over and over again.

    A few months ago, he want to a rock bar and spotted a woman in the corner. They chatted and he got her number.

    Then, a few weeks later, he bumped into her again. This time they chatted more and he ended up going back with her to spend the night.

    A young couple arguing in the street
    They decided they had to end things (Picture: Getty)

    He explained: ‘I noticed she was a lot older (maybe around 40) than anyone else I’ve slept with before, and I’m 21, so pretty much double my age – but she looked good so I figured I’d learn a thing or two. All I’ve learnt now is how to regret more efficiently.’

    After their night together, the man didn’t see the older woman again. He says he moved on and forgot about her

    But recently he started seeing a girl, aged 19, who he met on Tinder.

    Things were going really well after a few dates and he was invited back to her house.

    He said : ‘As I walk down the street, I notice it’s the same one as my previous bonk.

    ‘My heart sank when I watched this lovely girl turn to face me, say “This is me!” while gesturing to the same door that I went through for a cheap one night stand.

    ‘I suddenly see the resemblance. Quickly I compliment her house and ask her how long she had lived there, grasping at some flimsy straws. “My whole life pretty much. Just my Parents, lil’ Sister and the dog.” she replies.

    ‘Everyone was home. I knew this. I had to tell her.’

    After breaking the news that he had slept with her mum, he said his new girlfriend knew it was true because he got her mum’s name right and she was incredibly shocked.

    He said: ‘I knew she was level-headed from our first few dates so thankfully she actually understood and didn’t attack me for it. We do agree we can’t keep seeing eachother (duh) but I really did like her, which can be rare for me, so it fucking sucks.

    ‘She didn’t mention her parents marriage and I don’t want to ask. I also don’t know how the house was free a couple of months ago. All I know is I f**ked up.’

    Although obviously an awkward situation, posters agreed it wasn’t really his fault and commended him for telling the truth.

    One said: ‘Props man for telling the truth. You’re a gem & any girl would be lucky to have you. Sorry about your rotten luck though.’

    MORE: Men are dying to date this 51-year-old woman who looks half her age

    MORE: How to keep house plants alive in a dark flat

    MORE: The best plants to put in your bathroom

    Young couple with relationship difficultiesYoung couple with relationship difficulties

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    A stock image of people with drinks and the screengrab from Twitter
    Chlo said he bought her drinks but then he asked her to repay him (Picture: Getty/ Twitter)

    You’re at the bar on a night out and you get chatting to the person beside you.

    They offer to buy you a drink and you swap numbers but then your friend drags you onto the dancefloor and you don’t see them again.

    Pretty standard, right?

    You might get in touch the next day or you might not – either is perfectly fine.

    But one girl was shocked when the guy she was chatting to got in touch and at first he had no idea who she was. Then he asked her to pay for the drinks he bought her because they didn’t sleep together.

    The audacity.

    Student paramedic Chlo Matthews tweeted the screenshot of her interaction with someone from a nightclub in Hull saved in her phone as Danny from Atik.

    He messaged her yesterday morning saying :’Hey who’s this?x’

    She replied ‘Aha we met in atik last night x.’

    After the gentle reminder, he recalled she was wearing a denim dress.

    Then he said: ‘Nice one ;) could you transfer me for those drinks I bought you lat nite [sic] since we didn’t go home togeva wasn’t really worth my time was it lol x.’

    Unsurprisingly, Chlo said she didn’t follow through with his request.

    Chlo tweeted: ‘So a guy bought me a drink when I was out last night and I gave him my number and… Chlo Matt is officially retiring from nights out.’

    People were shocked at the cheek of the man and had some great suggestions of how to get him back.

    The Tweet went viral, with over 11,000 likes but Chlo wanted to use the moment to encourage people to sign her petition to review the support available for Paramedic Science students like her.

    MORE: Man goes to meet new girlfriend’s parents – and realises he has slept with her mum

    MORE: Men are dying to date this 51-year-old woman who looks half her age

    Idiot asks for money transfer for drinks after woman refused to go home with him after night outIdiot asks for money transfer for drinks after woman refused to go home with him after night out

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    Nina with the towel and showing how to use it
    Nina with the Resusci Towel (Picture: SWNS)

    Would you know how to give CPR if your baby stopped breathing?

    A student has come up with a genuis idea to help people know what to do in an emergency – the Resusci Towel.

    Nina Birchard designed the towel, which comes with instructions printed on it and a hand pump which, when squeezed, inflates an adjustable neck support to raise the upper back to help clear a baby’s airways.

    Nina hopes her ingenious design will have a ‘global impact’ on baby resuscitation.

    The 23-year-old product design engineering student is trying to solve issues surrounding heat loss and the positioning of babies while they are being resuscitated.

    Around six per cent of babies, every year worldwide, need some form of resuscitation, according to Nina who says her creation could help midwives delivering newborns.

    Nina showing the instructions for the Resusci towel
    Nina hopes the towel will help healthcare professionals (Picture: James Chapelard / SWNS)

    Nina, who has filed for a patent on her design said: ‘I came up with it after working for a company last summer who design CPR devices.

    ‘I kind of got the idea by getting interested in the products they designed and looking online at the challenges they face.

    ‘I came across a piece of research which was trying to solve the problem I’m tackling.

    ‘It led me to want to explore the problem further surrounding the positions of babies and heat loss during resuscitation.

    ‘Around six per cent of babies worldwide every year need some form of resuscitation and the problem about positioning is something I’m trying to tackle.’

    In coming up with her work, Nina researched equipment and methods already used in resuscitation and even took part in a resuscitation course.

    She said: ‘I looked at what midwives performing the procedure currently do if they’re in an emergency, to try and understand what the current situation is.

    nina with a fake baby showing how to use the towel
    The towel includes instructions on how to give CPR (Picture: James Chapelard / SWNS)

    ‘I took part in a training course where I could observe people and saw they’re using towels already and realised there’s an opportunity to use something that’s already in use.

    ‘One of the great things is it has printed instructions on it so it gives people the basic steps to perform the procedure.

    ‘There’s a collar support and when you squeeze the pump it fills with air and it elevates their upper back – opening their airways to try and ventilate them and get their first breath.

    ‘That level of support that’s needed can vary a lot depending on the size of the baby and I’ve designed it so it can be adjusted in a really quick way.

    ‘It also reduces the chances of confusion and helps get the procedure right.

    ‘It’s pretty dangerous to use the adult technique on a baby.’

    Nina, who exhibited her work during the Glasgow School of Art Degree Show, hopes to see it adopted by doctors and midwives.

    She said: ‘I think based on the feedback I’ve got already it gives less confident health professionals the confidence and ability to carry out the procedure quickly and effectively.

    ‘I would like to see it implemented in Scotland at least and even one day make a global impact.’

    MORE: Man asks woman to transfer money for drinks he bought because she didn’t sleep with him

    MORE: Man goes to meet new girlfriend’s parents – and realises he has slept with her mum

    A design student has created a TOWEL which will help resuscitate newborn babiesA design student has created a TOWEL which will help resuscitate newborn babies

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    A stock image of email and some of Dani's tips
    Dani’s tips can help you write better emails (Picture: Getty; Instagram/danidonovan)

    When it comes to writing emails, it’s hard to know what to say.

    But one woman has devised this guide to make your emails sound more authoritative.

    Designer Dani Donovan tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I first started paying attention to this stuff when I read that popular article about getting rid of “just”s in emails. I suddenly became self-aware of how often I apologized for fear of rubbing people the wrong way. Reading through my Sent messages made me cringe; all of them were screaming “Please don’t be mad at me!!!!”

    ‘I’m faced with the same dilemma a lot of people (particularly women) face. I want to be taken seriously, but at the same time I don’t want people to think I think I’m rude or overly demanding.

    ‘I want to be helpful, but I don’t want people to take advantage of me. I knew there was a balance in there somewhere—a place where friendly meets boundaries and self-respect. I’d actually tried to Google “what to write instead of ‘just checking in’” a few times in the past, but kept coming up short.

    ‘While answering emails on my phone one day, I noticed how often I’d been typing/deleting/retyping. That thought ended up turning into a full-blown Twitter thread. It wasn’t my original intention to create it as a graphic, but enough people commented they were printing it out that I figured I’d save them some toner!’

    But Dani knew that perfecting your email style is important as it is the main way most people communicate in a professional environment.


    She says: ‘The way you write affects the way others perceive you. Without the in-person advantages of tone and body language, word choice becomes all that’s left.

    ‘I think a lot of people (myself included) find themselves falling into the same habits. We sugarcoat everything instead of being direct. We apologize for things that aren’t our fault in an attempt to pacify the situation as quickly as possible.

    ‘We put ourselves down for a laugh, or constantly let others off the hook when they wouldn’t do the same for us. We’re empathetic and end up being excessively ‘soft’ in emails instead of respectfully and directly asking for what we need.’

    She thought of the most common problems when she writes or reads emails and pulled them together before creating the graphic with them all in one place.

    Her list included:

    • excessive use of qualifiers (just, maybe, possibly)
    • gratuitous exclamation points
    • ‘please-don’t-be-mad-at-me’ emojis
    • unnecessary apologies (but do say sorry if you actually screwed up)
    • self-undermining (if not, no worries!)
    • over-explanations/excuses that no one cares about

    Dani says: ‘After adjusting for those, I re-read the message and think to myself “Would I feel upset if someone sent this to me?” 90% of the time the answer’s no, and I send it off.

    ‘10% of the time, if I’m like “Ehhh, this sounds off,” I’ll go back and adjust until it feels right.’

    Dani's example of how she's changed her email style

    PASSIVE VOICE: “Hi all! So sorry for the delay!! I just saw this email because I had dinner at my parents’ last night and forgot to check my email before I went to bed. :( Just wanted to check in on where we’re at with the report content? It’s probably just me who’s mixed up, but I’ve been getting a lot of conflicting messages and I’m a bit confused by what still needs to get done. Maybe we could get together and talk in person if that would work for everybody? If not, no worries (I know you’re all super busy)! Totally disregard this if it got mentioned in a previous email and I missed it! :) Sorry for the novel, hopefully that all makes sense!”

    ACTIVE VOICE: “Hey team! I’d love to get started on the report design—do we know when content should be ready? There are a lot of separate email chains floating around, and it’d be great to get together for a quick 15-minute meeting to make sure we’re all on the same page. I can get something put on the schedule for tomorrow, unless there’s already a prioritized task list somewhere? Let me know! Thanks so much.”

    As well as sharing the advice online, Dani has been trying to use it herself and she feels it has really helped with her own work as a designer at Gallup and as a freelance illustrator.

    She says: ‘At my full-time job at Gallup, I noticed a dramatic difference in my confidence; I really started to feel like an equal.

    ‘Our internal stakeholders started calling me a “partner” on projects, and increasingly started asking for my input earlier on in the process.

    ‘With my freelance design work, that confidence meant I was taken more seriously and able to ask for higher hourly rates without undercutting myself in negotiations.

    Dani Donovan and on the right, an illustration of herself
    Dani works as an illustrator (Picture: Dani Donovan)

    ‘People can tell when you respect yourself, and are more inclined to treat you accordingly. In my experience, being (respectfully) direct saves everybody a lot of time… which means all parties can spend less time beating around the bush, and more time getting stuff done. Win-win.’

    Dani adds that although the tips have worked for her, she’s not saying it’s something everyone has to do and there have been some negative comments.

    ‘Nearly all the comments I’ve seen on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr have been 99% positive,’ she adds.

    ‘Someone posted it on Reddit, and it made the front page. Deep down, I knew better than to read the comments, but did it anyway. Lots of name-calling and expletives. “If I worked for this boss I would quit,” “Oh right, you’re not allowed to talk like a person in a corporate setting,” “Yeah f–k you,” “Just more passive-aggressive bulls–t wannabe executive-speak,” etc.

    ‘I couldn’t believe how hostile the comments were over something as simple as saying “Thanks for your patience” in an email. The antagonistic indignation was palpable.

    ‘Now this is obviously speculation, but 76% of my social media followers are women between 25-49.… and the majority of Reddit users are men between 18-29. I’d guess that probably had something to do with it.

    ‘This guide was not intended to be a hard-and-fast rulebook. There’s no formula for perfect emails. Your response is entirely dependent on the situation, your job, and your relationship with whoever you’re talking to. Be nice. Be helpful. But don’t be a pushover!’

    MORE: Man asks woman to transfer money for drinks he bought because she didn’t sleep with him

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    Brilliant email tricks to sounding like a bossBrilliant email tricks to sounding like a boss

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    The ring posted in the group (Picture: That's it I'm Ring Shaming)
    The ring posted in the group (Picture: That’s it I’m Ring Shaming)

    We’ve seen all sorts of ring shaming.

    There was the hair ring, the double ‘ugly’ rings and the tiny ring.

    People have a lot to say about engagement rings.

    But this one has really got people talking.

    The gold ring with a red stone, surrounded by sparkle, was posted on the That’s It I’m Ring Shaming group on Facebook with the simple message ‘get shaming’.

    The poster didn’t reveal where the ring was from or if it was the ring of someone they knew.

    But lots of people really didn’t like it – with some describing it as like ‘a prolapsed butthole’, where part of the rectum comes out of the anus.

    One person said: ‘Wearble prolapsed butthole.’

    Another pointed out the similarity, saying: ‘This looks like a prolapsed butthole.’

    The comments in the group (Picture: That's it I'm Ring Shaming)
    The comments in the group (Picture: That’s it I’m Ring Shaming)

    Others said the ring bore a resemblance to a ring pop but honestly those two comparisons mean we’ll never look at a ring pop in the same way again.

    Another person said the colour and shape make it look a bit like a moulded jelly.

    Of course everyone has their own preferences when it comes to rings.

    One person said they thought the ring looked delicious.

    It’s not the first time the group has criticised a ring for looking a little gross.

    Previously, a post in the group featured a pink ring, which was then described as a ‘pimple popper blister’.

    The ring was compared to something found in one of the famous Dr Pimple Popper videos.

    MORE: These email hacks will help you craft more professional messages

    MORE: Man goes to meet new girlfriend’s parents – and realises he has slept with her mum

    Ring shaming looks like prolapsed buttholeRing shaming looks like prolapsed butthole

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    Sorted Food
    Sorted Food was co-founded by four school friends who reunited over their love of food (Picture: Sorted Food)

    Some of the best ideas are shared over a pint at the local pub.

    Well, that’s where the first conversation about Sorted Food came about, as four old school friends discussed how to get better at food prep during their lazy student days.

    Fast-forward 11 years and Mike, Barry, Ben and Jamie have over 2.2million fans joining in their everyday discussions about recipes, meal ideas and ingredients on a YouTube channel dedicated to their adventures in the kitchen.

    Jamie tells Metro.co.uk: ‘We were catching up at the pub during the Christmas holidays when the conversation kept coming back to our terrible diets and how little we knew all about cooking good food.’

    Sorted Food
    The fun-loving foursome are now finding original ways to talk to their community about food (Picture: Sorted Food)
    Sorted Food
    They each capitalised on their individual skills to create an unbeatable team (Picture: Sorted Food)

    That was, except for Ben, who was already training to be a chef.

    ‘He flipped over a beer matt and started writing us some easy recipes that we all promised to go away and try,’ Jamie adds.

    ‘It seems so obvious now but it was the first time we learned how much cheaper and healthier it was to cook than prepare microwave meals. From that point on, we were desperate to share the conversation with more people.’

    So, the boys pooled their skills in photography, marketing and video production to create cookery videos on YouTube that now receive hundreds of thousands of views at a time.

    From a team of just four, that went full-time in 2011, the foodie foursome now manages 16 staff members.

    Sorry, the video was not found

    Sorted Food And at the end of the day, they get to hang out with their best mates while they do it (Picture: Sorted Food)[/caption]
    Sorted Food
    Community members can now join a membership club to get more from Sorted Food (Picture: Sorted Food)

    And even though they have an East London studio, where the majority of the content is made, production often takes the founding members across the country, and even internationally, to broaden the conversation.

    ‘Being flexible is the nature of what we do,’ explains Jamie.

    ‘We are completely led by this constant conversation with people around the world so we have to be agile and we have to move with trends that they enjoy, whether it’s cooking trends or the rise of new social platforms.

    ‘That has filtered down to the way that we work as a team, where we rely on Dropbox as a digital workspace for collaborating across continents or time scales if we’re on the road filming content.’

    ‘It enables us to upload footage from wherever we are to our editors, regardless of where they are based, to work on the content, quickly and efficiently.

    ‘Effectively, it’s a time-saving tool because no-one’s sitting around waiting for us to return with an old fashioned hard drive of footage.’

    Sorted Food
    Members get to meet like-minded members at meet-ups and have access to exclusive offers (Picture: Sorted Food)
    Sorted Food
    And fellow foodies can continue the conversation on a global scale (Picture: Sorted Food)

    After conquering their international offering, the team has moved onto building exclusive experiences for their community.

    Sorted fans now have the opportunity to join a collective of passionate foodies to explore new trends, recipes, products and ideas as part of the Sorted ‘club’.

    ‘Members get access to cookbooks, make use of exclusive relationships with restaurants in major cities around the world and get special experiences when they get there as well as exclusive content on our site,’ says Jamie.

    ‘So, our new challenge as owners is having two branches to the business: the content side and the club service.

    ‘Dropbox has therefore become part of most things we do. We use it more and more for creating cookbooks for our Sorted members.

    ‘It’s a place to host images, edit them and proof them as well as collate our feedback, when we’re working remotely.’

    And the future of Sorted Food continues to focus on the community, Jamie says.

    ‘Food is such a massive topic that we don’t see ourselves ever getting to the end of it.

    ‘What’s exciting is that we’re seeing more people becoming interested in food – especially when it comes to caring about the climate and where their food comes from – so we can’t to see how far we can take that.’



    To learn more about how Dropbox is reimagining work visit www.dropbox.com/flow

    Sorted FoodSorted Food

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    Feshly brewed espresso
    Previous studies found that drinking coffee can stiffen the arteries (Picture: Getty)

    Coffee lovers rejoice – drinking loads of the stuff every day might not actually be bad for your heart as was previously thought.

    A study of more than 8,000 people in the UK found that drinking five cups a day was no worse than drinking less than one.

    In the past, studies have suggested that drinking coffee can stiffen the arteries, which can lead to serious heart problems. But these new findings suggest that even those drinking the higher daily amounts were no more likely to have stiffening of arteries than those who drank less than one cup a day.

    The research was part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and conducted by experts at Queen Mary University of London.

    The participants all had their hearts scanned and infrared pulse wave tests. Even after actors such as age, weight and smoking status were taken into account, researchers found the results held true.

    ‘Despite the huge popularity of coffee worldwide, different reports could put people off enjoying it,’ said Dr Kenneth Fung, from Queen Mary University of London.

    ‘While we can’t prove a causal link in this study, our research indicates coffee isn’t as bad for the arteries as previous studies would suggest.

    ‘We would like to study these people more closely in our future work so that we can help to advise safe limits.’

    The study tested 8,412 participants who were split in to three groups.

    The first group was made up of people who drink less than one cup of coffee a day, people in the second group drank between one and three cups a day, and people in the third group drank more than three.

    Some people drank up to 25 cups a day in the last group – but the average was five cups.

    MORE: These email hacks will help you craft more professional messages

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    Feshly brewed espressoFeshly brewed espresso

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    Communication between men and their friends rarely seems to break below the surface.

    MenTal(k) Health is a weekly series that speaks to men from all backgrounds and life experiences, to discuss how men can live better, truer and healthier lives by discussing health matters.

    This week, Nick Bennett, co-founder of emotional fitness app, Fika, speaks to Metro.co.uk.

    He discusses Fika and how he and his co-founder Gareth Fryer started the app after losing his friend to suicide. He also touches on the importance of his friendships, and how his wife taught him the power of opening up.

    First, Fika: the app that focuses on exercising different parts of the emotional health spectrum.

    The app has activities that can be done alone or in a group, similar to how the average person would engage in a physical workout by solo training, working out with a partner or in a class.

    Nick Bennett, co-founder of Fika in black tshirt
    Nick lost his friend in 2014 and has devoted his life to emotional well-being ever since (Picture: Rose Wilkinson)

    ‘What we’ve done at Fika is spent the last year and a half looking at the science behind it, looking at the science of reflection, peer-to-peer support, journaling and underpinned by the methods used in sports psychology in CBT and other therapies,’ Nick tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Through these, you can exercise your emotions and that’s the principle behind Fika.’

    Nick believes that this can result in greater confidence, more focus and more engagement that reduces the negative side of the emotional spectrum (anxiety and depressive modes) and creates a ‘better you’.

    app usage helps people set goals on Fika
    Fika uses goal setting as a way to get people emotionally disciplined (Picture: Fika)

    As well as better interviews, more chances of staying connected to studies and checking in with friends.

    He said: ‘Five-minute workouts you can do on your own or with a partner. It’s such a simple thing because that’s all we’ve done with physical exercise.

    ‘You have to look at the benefits that it provides and what we have followed for the past 30 years, and this is why our platform is focused on students for now.’


    But the real story is how it all began. 

    In 2014, Nick’s friend Ben committed suicide.

    The loss of his friend forced him to take a hard look at himself, which led him on a spiral of blame and regret.

    He said: ‘Was it my fault? Was it Ben’s fault? Why did he do that? What could I have done?

    ‘I took around eight months to really process it. We were really close but we were big drinkers.

    ‘A lot of men have relationships with their friends where they are drinker friends and we skim on the surface of our lives.

    ‘It was fun, but we never really had a good conversation about what we were going through.

    ‘We never really helped each other by talking to each other. We never really listened to each other properly. We just basically met up, had fun and quite frankly got drunk.

    ‘As I reflected on what had happened, I don’t think there was much I could have done towards the end. I feel guilty about it and still feel like I could have done more, but I think the problem started much earlier for both of us.’

    Man in black speaking to group of people about emotional health
    Gathering a community of men (Picture: Fika)

    It comes as Melanie Hamlett’s viral piece for Harper’s Bazaar called raised the emotional credibility of male friendships. 

    Her piece that posits men ‘don’t have friends and their women bear the burden’ spoke to a host of women who had been a victim of ‘emotional gold-digging men’.

    The question of men and friendships has since been the topic of intimate conversation among men and women.

    Nick said: ‘I’ve been on my own journey, and meeting my wife gave me the opportunity to open up. I spent a lot of my life closed up, and I think a lot of men do.

    ‘What a lot of men do is think strength is the ability to cope with everything without ever shouldering anybody else with that burden. “I can deal with it. I’m strong enough, I can hold it in.”

    Fika event: What can athletes teach us about emotional fitness?
    Men should be more open and vulnerable (Picture: Fika)

    ‘I was like that. In my head that was utter strength. Whatever happened I could deal with it.

    ‘But it was weighing me and my personal relationships down, but what my wife taught me was that I can open up. So I learned what strength is.

    ‘Strength is an open hand and saying: “This is how I feel”.

    ‘And that takes way more strength than holding it in.

    ‘If I could open up to people, have a conversation and get used to it, not only do I feel much stronger I feel way more confident, at ease and like I can speak to somebody.’

    Nick has used his vulnerability to open up space for a discussion on mental and emotional health, wanting to tear down the word ‘stigma’ and replace it with ‘fitness’ to get people in the best shape of their lives on a holistic level.

    The loss of his friend gave him the opportunity and awareness to open up to the ones he loves.

    He said: ‘Men should open up more often because it is unbelievable once you start doing it.’

    He says men need to learn how to listen. 

    ‘That means when you’re there with someone, having a pint or whatever, don’t think about the next thing you’re going to say – because that’s what we do.

    ‘Losing Ben has taught me that when your friendship is actually gone, you think about more than when you actually have it. I think about Ben a lot, and it has shown me that we take our friendships for granted. There is so much more we can get from our friendships.

    ‘They are such strength in your life and I don’t think we make the most of our friendships because, in a lot of instances, we keep them very surface.

    ‘And that is the change we want to see.’

    What is MenTal(k) Health?

    MenTal(k) Health is a weekly series that speaks to men who have a lot to say on a range of health issues from mental and physical health to fitness, sexual health and emotional intelligence.

    If you know someone who might be great to speak to, please email: alex.holmes@metro.co.uk or connect on twitter @AlexReads__.

    Last week’s MenTal(k) Health was with Ian Marber.

    Keep a look out for next week’s feature of MenTal(k) Health.

    MORE: MenTal(k) Health: ‘This ‘man up’ expression is so problematic’

    MORE: MenTal(k) Health: ‘We need to invest in our health in the same way we invest in our finances’

    MORE: A new ’emotional fitness’ app could change how we tackle mental health

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    Illustration of woman looking stressed and holding her hand on her face, with a purple background which includes a wedding dress, veil and wedding ring
    Wedding guest costs start long before the big day (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Wedding season is in full swing.

    While most people associate the happy occasion as an opportunity to celebrate a friend (or friends) getting married, others will no doubt be wondering how much the shebang will cost them to attend.

    According to recent statistics, it’s around £391 per guest in 2019.

    That’s just the actual wedding day – in reality, the expenses start long before the couple say ‘I do’.

    The traditional hen and stag do could end up adding several hundred pounds to your total.

    A new survey by MyVoucherCodes has revealed that the average hen or stag will cost £204.82 per guest.

    The breakdown of hen and stag do costs

    Food & Drink £28.35
    Clothing & Accessories £36.37
    Transport £26.05
    Accommodation £27.82
    Childcare £5.34
    Gifts £35.47
    Activities £45.41

    We are however somewhat perplexed by the cost breakdown, especially as childcare is said to only cost £5.34 – that’s one cheap nanny.

    You’re also likely to spend more than the suggested £28.35 on food and drink if the hen or stag is an all-day event (unless you stick to water).

    The study also doesn’t seem to take into account weekend or week-long trips, with less than £30 allocated for travel.

    That’s unlikely to cover train costs, let alone a return flight.

    Unfortunately, it seems you’ll probably end up spending quite a lot more than £204.82 unless the event is held at someone’s house for one day only.

    It’s not just guests who end up shelling a lot of cash on the big day; the bride and groom will also spend a lot of dough, with the average wedding in the UK costing £14,740.

    Basically, the lesson here is that weddings are fabulous – but they’re expensive for all parties involved.

    All hope is not lost.

    There are ways to budget, as this bride who spent under £1,500 on her entire wedding proved.

    But if you’re invited to a wedding bash in coming months, you might want to start saving now.

    MORE: Bride organises her wedding for just £1,320 so sick granddad can walk her down the aisle

    MORE: People really don’t like this engagement ring that looks ‘like a prolapsed butthole’

    MORE: People can’t decide if bride’s lace bodysuit is ‘tacky’ or ‘amazing’

    Revealed: The Average Hen or Stag Do Will Set You Back ?204.82Revealed: The Average Hen or Stag Do Will Set You Back ?204.82

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    Woman who said bride's wedding dress looked like a 'table cloth' is slammed for fat shaming
    Critics said the dress looked like it was made of curtains (Picture: Facebook)

    A woman has been accused of ‘fat shaming’ after criticising a bride’s wedding dress and saying it looked like a ‘table cloth’.

    And she wasn’t the only one – hundreds of women piled on to shame the woman’s choice of wedding dress after the photo was posted on a Facebook group.

    Commenters said the dress looked like it was ‘made from curtains’ and that it looked like a ‘nightgown.’

    And lots of people said the bride’s friends should have told her not to wear the gown as it was ‘unflattering’ and ‘ugly.’

    But now people have defended the bride and said the critics were ‘plus size shaming’ by questioning her choice.

    ‘Maybe she feels like it’s the only thing she’d be comfortable in… a lot of plus size women in my size and hers tend to get discouraged,’ said one.

    ‘We should probably talk about how hard it is to find an affordable wedding dress for plus size women that doesn’t look like a smock before we laugh and pretend that this was her dream dress,’ added another.

    It was a woman from Norway who shared the photo of the anonymous bride taking a mirror selfie in her chosen dress.

    While some accused her of fat shaming, others felt that the criticisms were purely about the dress and not about the bride’s size.

    ‘Why is it so hard for people to accept the fact that this post is dress shaming not fat shaming.

    ‘This is a table cloth that would look awful on anyone, she would look absolutely amazing in an empire waist dress,’ said one.

    ‘This outfit would be shame worthy even if it was on someone that’s a size two. I could careless about her size, the outfit is ugly,’ added another.

    Regardless of whether it’s ‘fat shaming’ or dress shaming – we probably all need to try harder to stop shaming women full stop.

    MORE: MenTal(k) Health: Men need strong friendships in their lives

    MORE: Heart problems linked to drinking coffee could be a ‘myth’

    MORE: These email hacks will help you craft more professional messages


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    I had a miscarriage but I don't regret telling people I was pregnant
    It’s a horrible, brutal, miserable process. The most painful thing I’ve ever felt (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Last week, I had a miscarriage.

    It’s not a fun story, but the long and the short of it is that I had some bleeding, went in for a scan and found out that the pregnancy had stopped developing a few weeks previous.

    My body didn’t seem to be passing the pregnancy on its own, so I had what’s known as a medically managed miscarriage, where you take pills to soften your cervix and let the pregnancy tissue pass.

    It’s a horrible, brutal, miserable process. The most painful thing I’ve ever felt.

    The only thing that made it even semi bearable is that I had the support of my family and friends.

    Conventional wisdom says that you’re ‘not supposed’ to tell anyone that you’re pregnant until you reach the milestone of the second trimester.

    At 12 weeks all UK based women are offered a scan where the pregnancy can be properly checked. If at 12 weeks you’ve got a healthy pregnancy with a strong heartbeat, you’re sort of in the clear. Plenty can still go wrong, but the statistics are in your favour.

    Understandably many people wait until that 12 week mark to share their news.

    I didn’t.

    Before I got pregnant I loved drinking and was a regular smoker, so it was very clear when I stopped drinking and smoking that something was up. Many of my close friends guessed instantly. And to be totally honest, I was glad that they did. I wanted to tell them.

    Being pregnant was one of the most exciting, scary, world changing things that had ever happened to me and I needed to talk about it.

    So I told my family, and then my closest friends, and the news spread. I told my colleagues (if nothing else to explain why I was going to the loo 15 times a day). I didn’t put the news on social media, but by the time I found out that I’d lost the pregnancy I had told 20 or 30 people.

    The unspoken rule about not sharing your pregnancy early on is that one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, so telling people comes with a 25 per cent chance that you’ll have to un-tell them. Which is exactly what I had to do.

    I won’t lie, Whatsapping my friends wasn’t a fun experience. There’s no emoji that goes with ‘I lost the pregnancy’.

    ‘You’ll want to keep the news to yourself until 12 weeks next time’ someone said to me when I explained what had happened, like that was a fact.

    But however hard the messages were to send, the outpouring of love, kindness and support that I got back was astonishing. Because those people had celebrated with me, they were more able to mourn for me.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to keep your pregnancy private for as long as you like. It’s entirely your choice whether you tell people the second you get a positive pregnancy test, or hold out until you’re most of the way through. But I do object to the pressure to keep quiet.

    ‘You’ll want to keep the news to yourself until 12 weeks next time’ someone said to me when I explained what had happened, like that was a fact.

    The truth is, if and when I become pregnant again, I don’t know what I’ll want.

    Maybe we will hug the news to ourselves for as long as possible. Or perhaps we’ll do the exact same thing again. It’s impossible to say how I’ll feel if and when that time comes. But I resent the implication that this time around I somehow got it ‘wrong’.

    I did not lose my pregnancy because I told people too early.

    I didn’t somehow jinx it.

    My miscarriage wasn’t a punishment for being too confident in the viability of the fetus.

    These are all things I have to repeat to myself over and over again, because on some level I am looking for a way that this was my fault. And the narrative that we ‘should’ keep pregnancy a secret until 12 weeks adds to that feeling.

    Miscarriage still carries a stigma. It is still surrounded by shadows and secrecy. Because so many women don’t share their pregnancy news until 12 weeks, many women will become pregnant and miscarry without anyone knowing.

    Ultimately, I’m glad I told so many people that I was pregnant.

    Partially because when people know that you are pregnant and then find out that you aren’t any more, they’ve been on the journey with you. They’re able to grieve with you.

    But even more importantly, my family and friends are now aware that they know someone who has had a miscarriage

    If one day one of my friends or family members loses a pregnancy (something I hope will never happen), they might feel able to talk to me.

    They might be able to ring me up and sob down the phone, or send a message saying ‘this is the f**king worst’. They will know that they are not alone.

    MORE: Miscarriage is cruel and unfair, and I need to tell you about what happened to me

    MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘When I collapse in public, people tell me to stop being dramatic’

    MORE: Alex Jones hosted The One Show just an hour after suffering miscarriage: ‘It hit us like a ton of bricks’


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    Bride and groom standing in a nature setting by a lake with hills in the background, with the bride throwing her bouquet in the air
    People are opting for non-religious weddings that aren’t conducted by a priest or similar (Picture: Getty)

    Church weddings are falling out of fashion.

    According to new research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) couples are opting for humanist weddings, compared to religious ones.

    Figures revealed that humanist weddings increased in popularity by 266% during the period between 2004 and 2016.

    Religious ceremonies on the other hand are no longer as appealing; Church of England weddings declined by 28%, while Catholic and Baptist weddings fell by 34% and 42% respectively.

    For those who aren’t familiar with wedding terms, a humanist wedding is any wedding that isn’t conducted by a religious figure or in a church.

    There is still a ceremony of sorts, but it is conducted by a celebrant or officiant.

    There are no set rules either; it can be held wherever, in whatever way.

    Some people are also choosing not to register their wedding, and thus forming a union without being legally married as humanist weddings are not yet recognised in England and Wales (though there are campaigners currently fighting for this to be changed).

    Alternatively, couples can head to Scotland or Northern Ireland; the former has accepted humanist weddings as a legal union since 2005, and the latter since 2018.

    According to Humanist Ceremonies UK, who help people organise humanist celebrations including weddings, funerals and namings, there are eight themes that connect humanist celebrations – they are one-of-a-kind, ‘non-religious’, ‘personal’, ‘tailored’, ‘collaborative’, ‘flexible’ ‘sincere’ and ‘approved’.

    If you’re considering a humanist wedding, there’s also good news from a report released in March this year.

    Apparently, people who have a humanist wedding are less likely to get divorced.

    No wonder there’s been an upswing…

    MORE: Hurrah, the average cost for attending a hen or stag do is more than £200

    MORE: Bride organises her wedding for just £1,320 so sick granddad can walk her down the aisle

    MORE: People can’t decide if bride’s lace bodysuit is ‘tacky’ or ‘amazing’

    Couple Throwing Bouquet While Standing At Lakeshore Against SkyCouple Throwing Bouquet While Standing At Lakeshore Against Sky

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