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- 06/05/19--00:20: _Mixed Up: ‘The blac...
- 06/05/19--00:27: _Thailand cave hero ...
- 06/05/19--00:45: _The biggest stresse...
- 06/05/19--01:01: _You have nothing to...
- 06/05/19--01:52: _Oreo releases cooki...
- 06/05/19--01:57: _Man throws ‘ball vo...
- 06/05/19--02:30: _Will gender become ...
- 06/05/19--02:37: _Nike’s new sliders ...
- 06/05/19--03:27: _Rejoice, there’s no...
- 06/05/19--03:29: _What is the eagle s...
- 06/05/19--04:01: _Student creates ada...
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- 06/05/19--04:19: _Amazon customers ar...
- 06/05/19--05:27: _Bride-to-be shamed ...
- 06/05/19--05:31: _Love Island has lau...
- 06/05/19--07:09: _Is Cheryl’s ‘extrem...
- 06/05/19--07:22: _This woman is deter...
- 06/05/19--07:39: _Kopparberg launches...
- 06/05/19--07:51: _Every fashion piece...
- 06/05/19--08:45: _Boy with scars on h...
- 06/05/19--01:52: Oreo releases cookie coated in Cadbury chocolate
- 06/05/19--02:30: Will gender become redundant and non-binary become the norm?
- 06/05/19--02:37: Nike’s new sliders have bumbags on them – and we’re not sure
- 06/05/19--03:29: What is the eagle sex position?
- 06/05/19--04:19: Amazon customers are loving this £5 eyebrow dye kit – here’s why
- 06/05/19--05:31: Love Island has launched its very own makeup collection
- 06/05/19--07:09: Is Cheryl’s ‘extremist’ workout actually safe? We ask the experts
- Heavy sweating
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Mixed Up is a weekly series that explores what it means to be mixed-race in the UK today.
The UK’s fastest-growing ethnic group has the unique perspective that comes with straddling two or more cultures, but that can also bring conflicts and innate contradictions.
It can be lonely to exist in an in-between state, but there are also shared understandings that unify their narratives.
Mixed Up aims to go beyond the stereotypes and get to the heart of the lived-experiences of mixed-race people.
Naomi Cortez is a writer and theatre-maker. She grew up in the 1970s when there weren’t many other mixed-race people in the UK – which was lonely at times.
‘My mum and dad met during a Hammer Horror film screening at a cinema in London. It was the 1960s and many people didn’t support their decision to fall in love,’ Naomi tells Metro.co.uk.
‘My mother Girly, was a young, black woman from Jamaica and was “sent for” (invited by a relative) to come to England in the 1950s. She was very clear that even though she was part of the Windrush generation, she came “on a plane, not a boat”.
‘My father Ralph (Raphael) was a younger white man, born in London. His father was a refugee from the Spanish Civil War and his mother was a Liverpool lass of Irish descent.
‘Girly and Ralph married and moved to the very white area of Gravesend in Kent. Unfortunately their marriage only lasted a few years and when I was about three years old, my parents divorced.
‘I saw my dad a little over the years but it was just my mum and I against the world.’
When Naomi was a child, being mixed-race wasn’t really a thing like it is today. The world saw her as black – and that was reinforced by the influence of of her mother’s culture. Naomi is still incredibly grateful that her mum taught her what it meant to be Caribbean.
‘Even though I am mixed-race, when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, apart from the occasional references to me being “half caste”, people regarded me as a black girl,’ explains Naomi.
‘Being raised by my mum meant that my cultural references came from her “Caribbean-ness”.
‘Every weekend we would drive along the motorway in her little Datsun and I would have my cultural boost.
‘This would consist of visits to mum’s relatives and friends from Jamaica, attending services at various Pentecostal and Revivalist churches and regular trips to Choumert Road in Peckham to buy yam, green banana and plantain.
‘Sometimes at the weekend when we were at home, Jim Reeves would be playing on the “gram” and every Sunday evening, I would sit on the carpet in front of mum and my hair would be combed out, oiled with Dax or Posner, and then plaited into canerow for the week.
‘This regular cultural “lift” was vital for me growing up as a mixed-race person, because my only immediate family was my mum.’
Naomi needed this supportive, cultivating environment at home because she certainly wasn’t getting it at school.
‘Everyone wants to be accepted. We want to be part of the group, not on the outside looking in. But as a mixed-race person, how do you choose? Do you have to? Do you really want to?’ asks Naomi.
‘I was in the playground at primary school in London and I was being fought over. It was a tug-o-war, on one side were the black girls and on the other, the white girls.
‘And there I was in the middle. This newly arrived, fresh faced, scared, little mixed-race girl.
‘It’s a bit extreme but it really happened, I can visualise the playground, the fencing and the concrete floor. That memory has never left me.’
Incidents like these, although decades ago, are still fresh in Naomi’s mind. Almost tangible. Recalling one particularly awful moment at school, the memory almost carries her back there.
‘I am a little eight-year-old girl chasing a white boy around the playground,’ she says.
‘He spits at me with “perfect” aim and it goes right in my ear. Disgusting, yeah? He laughs, telling me to “go back to Africa” and follows it with that saliva shot.
‘That’s the first time I can remember being treated badly because of my skin colour. I chased him but never caught him.
‘There have been many moments like this, from secondary school in Eltham to University in Bristol. And I have dealt with them. It’s a rite of passage, these struggles, and they appear in many different ways.
‘I think it gets easier but then suddenly an unexpected encounter will raise its head and you’ll be thrown for a moment.
‘You might ask yourself – will I ever be black enough, white enough, Caribbean enough, British enough? And then you remember you are enough. In fact, you are more than enough! And you pick yourself up and you carry on.’
With interracial marriages still seen as a taboo, Naomi was largely alone in having mixed heritage when she was a child. She felt that sense of pure isolation deeply.
‘I was the only one who looked like me. I don’t mean in the entire world, but thinking about it, that is exactly how I felt,’ she says.
‘Nobody could understand what it was like to be me. It was incredibly lonely and any opportunity I could experience where I could escape that loneliness was vital.
‘Now, that feeling of loneliness is different. It’s still there but maybe you don’t feel so alone? These days, being mixed-race is acknowledged, celebrated, dare I say even revered?
‘There will be another person that you’ll see on television, on the internet, even on the street, who will look a bit like you, and you will stop and smile. You will feel part of something bigger and that’s what we all want isn’t it? To be accepted.’
Today, that isolation has shifted and faded for Naomi. The thing that once made her feel alone now represents strength, courage and limitless potential.
‘In the morning I wake up and I’m mixed-race. And I’m mixed-race for the whole of the day and all of the night. Even in my dreams I am mixed-race,’ says Naomi.
‘I represent what happens when people fall in love in spite of differences. How amazing is that?
‘My parents decided to be together in a time when interracial relationships were not supported, and a black woman choosing to be with a white man was not okay.
‘My mum and dad had family members who did not agree with their decision to marry each other. My dad told me about how they were “bothered” by strangers in the street. And then they created me. Their legacy.
‘I know if it wasn’t for the strength of my parents (and that London cinema), I would not be here. And that is a huge birthright which I choose to carry.
‘So, from the beginning of my time I have had no choice but to forge my way to great things – to break down barriers, surprise people and inspire others.
‘Being mixed-race is part of this. It’s not the complete story, but it is a pretty big chapter in this book of my life.’
But this promise of greatness is not always an easy burden to bear, and when hostility rears its ugly head Naomi finds that it never fails to have a profound effect.
‘When you grow up, you hope that you can deal with racism differently, shrug it off,’ she says.
‘I was studying drama at the University of Bristol and I felt wonderful. I had left home and was in the big, wide world doing my own thang.
‘I was walking to the student union in Clifton and there was a group of lads, white lads, in a car. As they drove around the roundabout, and it’s a clear memory, one of them shouted out “n****r!”
‘It was awful. I was really upset but, you know what? I was made strong and I thought, “how dare you, what gives you the right?” I got angry.
‘Today, racism creeps up to me on the sly.
‘From being pushed roughly aside because you are unimportant, to not being noticed in a queue, oh my goodness sometimes it is just me in the queue.
‘Look, I have a big Afro and I wear bright clothes, please do not tell me you cannot see me!
‘But seriously, it is unnecessary and you do not have the right to believe you are more entitled than I.’
Microaggressions are one thing, but recently Naomi has also noticed an unsettling preoccupation with mixed-race people, and she isn’t sure it is always a positive thing.
‘I think society is really fascinated by mixed-race people but this fascination is really complicated,’ explains Naomi.
‘I think on the face of it, there is an acceptance of us, but most people who are mixed-race have experienced some sort of rejection. So how true is this acceptance?
‘Over the years, there has been change.
‘I work in the world of the performing arts and can attend a show with a mixed-race actor in the cast. I can turn on the television for an evening’s viewing and see mixed-race people trying to sell me a sofa. I can read a novel by a mixed-race author. This is a huge improvement from when I was a child, but it has taken a long time for us to be genuinely noticed.
‘And these improvements are still so new. We have to ensure that these changes are being made for the right reasons, and are not just for now, but forever.’
Acceptance was important for Naomi as a child, but that isn’t enough for her anymore. She wants to be accepted yes, but also to be understood and allowed the freedom to live and identify in any way that she wants.
‘I am not something exotic, bizarre, different or “other”. I am not “current” or the latest politically correct accessory. I’ve been on trend all my life!
‘On a personal level, I am a mixed-race woman who describes herself as a black woman. I should not have to justify, substantiate or explain this to anybody except myself.
‘I’m a good friend, loyal and kind. I’m funny and clever and sometimes brilliant! Truth.
‘People who are not mixed-race make assumptions about people who are. They claim to appreciate or understand our experiences. But we need to own and tell our stories. We have to create a conversation, shine a spotlight on the individuality of being mixed-race.
‘We must also get rid of this notion, that there is a “right” and a “wrong” way to be mixed-race. For every one of us, there is a unique story.
‘Mine started back in the 70s with Girly and Ralph, remember them? And it continues – forever evolving.’
A British diver who took part in an heroic and miraculous Thai cave rescue has opened the world’s first cannabis oil hotel.
And it’s high time.
Last year, Tim Acton was part of a huge rescue effort that captivated the world after a youth football team was stuck underground for 18 days, and now he has decided how he will make his mark with a brand new venture.
Tim has run leading firm Canna CBD with his friend Greg Land for three years and they are one of the biggest companies in the emerging sector. Now they are making the move to branch out into hospitality.
They have opened the Green Coffee Lab and Leafy Hotel in Colchester, Essex, which will sell cannabis infused cakes, coffee, tea, rum, gin and beer.
The owners have made the company so on brand that that even the light fittings are even made out of hemp.
There is literally CBD oil everywhere.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, with clinical trials suggesting it can have a positive effect on mental health and it can be prescribed on the NHS.
Last year Home Secretary Sajid Javid ruled that medicinal cannabis oil can be prescribed in the UK after epilepsy sufferer Billy Caldwell, 13, had his cannabidiol medicine confiscated at Heathrow.
legal CBD oil is found in the hotel’s cocktails, food, and even shampoo in the rooms.
The hotel offers eight rooms to guests, which will cost between £80 and £125 for a night.
The owners hope that businessmen, students and health-conscious travellers will book in, and they have already been taking bookings for when Tom Jones plays in the town.
Tim, 39, who also owns a hotel in Thailand, said: ‘As far as the restaurant and the bar are concerned we offer a range of CBD-infused products.
‘Once we are up and running the restaurant will be healthy fast food all infused with CBD.
‘Even the shampoo is hemp-based and our light fixings are made out of hemp too. We don’t want to limit ourselves to anyone, there are lovely rooms at the end of the day and a lot of people come through Colchester for different reasons.
‘We are not a huge hotel, and we don’t want to limit ourselves to any group really. We have been told this is the only CBD hotel in the world and it has been challenging.
‘It is difficult working in this industry in the UK, it is very new. It is fast moving and there are challenges.
‘There are some misconceptions but you can drink a gallon of oil and you won’t get high, it is nothing to do with the illegal side of things.’
The dad-of-one added: ‘We have had so much interest from the locals and we are hoping to be an education for people too.
Greg, 26, said: ‘I think CBD has become more accessible in terms of the stigma that cannabis had. People think cannabis is bad, but it is not bad it is just a plant and it is how people use it.
‘There is an illegal side of it, but there is an illegal side to everything.’
Tim added: ‘Around the time I first started my dad was suffering terribly from arthritis. After a couple of weeks of using the oil he was bouncing around like a teenager.
‘One of the original reasons we came up with the shop idea was to educate people.’
The hotel is a far cry from the dramatic scenes in Thailand last summer.
Tim was drafted in by the nation’s Navy Seals to save 12 players and their coach from the Tham Luang cave system.
The commercial diver crucially carried oxygen tanks and stretchers as the youngsters were miraculously brought above ground.
During the precarious mission he severely injured his leg and was thanked by the Thai Government.
He said: ‘It was an amazing experience to be part of the rescue and they were lovely blokes the Navy Seals. The Thai government have been great and the Navy Seals in particular.’
Describing the rescue he previously said: ‘You could not write what had happened and what we all saw. No one had ever thought of this situation possibly happening before.
‘This was the hardest and most stressful cave rescue to take place in history.’
Thai cave rescuer opens cannabis oil hotel
Childcare.co.uk has found that the majority of parents stress about the tidiness of their home more than anything else.
The findings come from a survery of more than 4,000 parents, which found that a lack of sleep and childcare issues were also top stress triggers for them.
As well as what causes them the most stress, parents were asked about their mental health, with two-fifths of parents believing that their mental health has negatively affected their parenting at some stage.
The stress of the cleanliness of their house was a bigger trigger than a parent than their child’s behaviour, or losing their child in a crowd.
60% of parents surveyed said that the state of their house causes them the most stress as a parent, compared to 55%, who said a lack of sleep was their biggest worry, and 30% said it was finding appropriate childcare.
The research results support statistics from the Mental Health Foundation who have found that approximately 68% of women and 57% of men with mental health problems are parents.
Richard Conway, founder of Childcare.co.uk said: ‘As a parent of two myself, I definitely know how it feels to be stressed.
‘There’s plenty of stressors involved in raising children, but it’s interesting to see that parents mostly stress about the tidiness of their house. Maybe this is because it’s a common cause that most parents experience daily.
‘What was even more interesting was how parents felt about their mental health and how they feel it has a direct impact on their parenting.
‘Hopefully this survey can start a conversation on stress as well as other mental health problems, and encourage parents to reach out and find the support they need.’
Parenting can be incredibly stressful – especially for new parents who are missing out on sleep, getting used to being a parent and adjusting to life with a baby.
But author and celebrity nanny Nanny Connie says there are ways to combat the stress – and that parents shouldn’t feel guilty for relaxing or taking time for themselves.
Connie said: ‘All new parents worry that they’re “messing it up”, when they should be relaxing. This fear is the biggest source of stress.’
She added that being verbal with how you are feeling is an important way to handle stress.
She said: ‘It is completely normal to feel tired from lack of sleep or anxious that you are not doing a good job.
‘Don’t keep your feelings hidden, be open about them and discuss them with your network – whether that be your doctor, family or friends.
‘If they are made aware, they can actively work to help you overcome obstacles that might be both physical or emotional.’
Another tip is treating yourself – something like a massage, a manicure, a haircut or just an afternoon of doing nothing. This is particularly relevant for new mums.
Connie says: ‘Feeling pampered is vital for your post-partum mental rejuvenation. Similarly, buying new outfits that aren’t maternity clothes are critical for that mental transition. For the last nine months of pregnancy you have undergone a significant emotional transition.’
Connie adds that sleep is so, so important.
‘Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest struggles of having a newborn, and this is particularly true for mothers. Sleep is essential for both you and the baby,’ she said.
‘To maintain a reasonable idea of how much sleep both you and your baby are managing, keep a sleep journal for the first couple of months.
‘This will help you track the amount of sleep you’re actually getting, and should be used as a guide to make sure there’s a steady increase as time passes.’
And finally, to combat stress, you really need to allow yourself peace of mind.
It’s totally normal to be stressing about your child, checking up on them and worrying about them. But it can also be a difficult experience for a parent.
Connie explained: ‘As a new parent, it’s normal to be constantly checking that your little one is okay while they’re sleeping.
‘However, this can be a draining experience for parents as they are in need of quality sleep just as much as their babies.
‘There have been great advancements in baby technology that allow parents to have a peace of mind whilst their baby is asleep.’
In Iceland, where I’m from, swimming is without a doubt our most popular pastime, often light-heartedly referred to as the cradle of our civilisation.
The importance of swimming in our culture was perfectly encapsulated by one of my family members, whose first reaction to me coming out as trans was to ask which changing room I would now be using when I went for a dip.
I told them I wouldn’t be going swimming anytime soon, as most public pools in Iceland require you to shower naked in front of other pool guests to ensure hygiene, given that they are not usually chlorinated. The mere thought of that is enough to make anyone shudder in embarrassment, let alone trans people.
There’s regular complaints from mortified tourists who find themselves in an unexpected face-off with a shower guard who insists they take off all their clothes and soap up their private parts before putting their swimsuits on and entering the pool.
It wasn’t until many years later that I ventured back and was able to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of swimming, like everybody else. Basking like a walrus in the Icelandic midnight sun while gossiping with friends isn’t a privilege I take lightly.
After all the hoo-ha earlier this year about trans women using the Hampstead Heath Pond in London, the pool finally announced that trans women would indeed be allowed to continue using the women-only pond. But trans women (and trans people in general) have been going there for decades already without trouble. Nevertheless, it was a welcomed clarification of their policies, in light of the misleading and toxic media debate about trans people.
This debate has become so muddled with baseless attacks on the trans community that I wouldn’t really blame anyone who consumes the media uncritically for thinking trans people were the root of all evil. And it would be dishonest of me to say that this debate hasn’t impacted me or the people around me.
Despite personally having used the women’s facilities for well over a decade now without issues, lately I have felt more unsafe than usual while enjoying recreational activities like swimming. Now I don’t only fear the everyday sexualisation, harassment and possible (and sometimes very real) abuse from cisgender men, but now also increasingly from cisgender women.
But despite this, I recently went swimming with some friends. In the changing room I was feeling a bit uncomfortable and found a secluded spot at the back to have more privacy. As I started to get undressed I was approached by another woman who called out my name. I froze and braced for abuse to be hurled at me.
I flinched in shock as the woman laid her hands on my shoulders. She stared me in the eyes with conviction as she explained that she had been following me on social media and just wanted to tell me how impressed she was by the work that I did and declared her support for the trans community.
She said she just wanted to tell me all this before we were naked together in the communal showers. I never thought I’d share a naked shower of solidarity with a stranger, but life is full of surprises.
It was a much needed reminder that trans people deserve access to these facilities just as much as anyone else. To exclude me or other trans people on the basis of what genitals they were born with, or what reproductive organs they have, or chromosomes or whatever reason they are using that day is unjust, unhelpful and completely unfounded.
Trans people should not be punished based on the fear that someone might pretend to be something they’re not. If that were to happen, those individuals should be punished accordingly. And let’s be honest – cisgender men certainly don’t need to pretend to be women in order to abuse them. They already have that power as we still live in an unequal society at large.
To be perfectly clear – trans people using the right facilities certainly isn’t the problem here, and conflating trans women with fictional cisgender men is a cheap and a devious way of misgendering them.
If there is a problem with trans people and swimming pools, it certainly has nothing to do with them prancing around and flashing their naked bodies at other pool guests. On the contrary, their absence from swimming pools and other recreational activities due to fear of abuse is a problem.
Hampstead Heath Pond re-affirming their policy is therefore not only important to show solidarity with trans people, but also upholds the Equality Act (2010) that explicitly says trans people can use facilities in accordance with who they really are. It is literally our legally protected right to do so.
This sudden stir has never had anything to do with safety and protection. The people responsible for it simply don’t like trans people, and it would be far more honest of them to just say that straight out. It’s just a malicious attempt to push trans people out of public life as an exercise of power and scapegoating.
So let Hampshead Heath Pond be an example to other facilities. It is time that these masked ‘concerns’ are finally laid to rest.
Illustration for Owl column
We love a new snack.
Thankfully, Oreo is here to supply one as it presents its latest creation: the Oreo Cadbury Coated.
It’s exactly what it sounds like: a delicious oreo cookie, made with the original dark biscuit and creamy filling, but with one added extra – Cadbury chocolate.
We imagine this is how the process came about.
One Oreo cookie creator turned to another and said: ‘You know what would make a crunchy chocolate biscuit even better? More chocolate.
They weren’t wrong.
‘We’re thrilled to launch Oreo Cadbury Coated,’ said Joanna Dias, senior brand manager at Mondelēz International.
‘We wanted to give our fans an even more delicious version of the much-loved cookie we all know so well and offer them a brand new eating experience.’
It’s not the only new cookie this year; a variation of the Oreo was also released in honour of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, which ended last month.
However, while new to the UK, it’s been around in Australia since 2017.
The Oreo Cadbury Coated will be available in all major supermarkets and costs £2 per pack.
Oreo chocolate covered cookie
A 26-year-old man attended a party for his left testicle after receiving a cancer diagnosis out of the blue.
Justin Robertson has since dubbed the party the ‘ball-voyage’ bash for his left testicle, and says it was exactly what he needed to lift his spirits.
The party was organised by Justin’s friends and family who wanted to do something nice for him after the shocking cancer news.
Not only were there spherical snacks, like meatballs and stuffing, there was also a selection of meat with one veg, and a variety of nuts in varying shapes.
And the playlist included Jerry Lee Lewis’ famous Great Balls of Fire and Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball.
‘I couldn’t believe it when I stepped through the door and all my friends and family were shouting, “ball-voyage,” in honour of my soon-to-be-departed left testicle,’ laughs Justin.
Justin had moved to London and was living life in the fast lane when he noticed his left testicle felt enlarged – but he kept finding excuses not to see a doctor.
Busy with work and socialising, Justin was finally forced to confront his fears at a walk-in health clinic, which led to tests that revealed a cancerous lump.
‘One minute I was walking into a routine health check-up and the next I was being told I was losing a testicle,’ says Justin.
Just two days after the soiree, Justin was in surgery at St George’s Hospital, having an orchidectomy procedure to remove his testicle through an incision made in the groin.
The surgery was a success, and Justin was discharged on the same day.
With follow-up treatment involving two bouts of chemotherapy and a course of radiotherapy, six months later, in May 2017 Justin was given the all clear.
After the good news, he had surgery to have a prosthetic testicle fitted, which he says gave him ‘closure.’
But he will always remember his original testicle thanks to the enduring memories he has of that incredible party.
‘It was such a great do and it made such a difference seeing everybody who’s important to me before the big op,’ said Justin. ‘I was the butt of one too many ball-related jokes, but it was ace all the same.
‘As fun as my “ball-voyage” party was, you don’t want to have one thrown in your name – believe me,
‘I wish I’d seen the doctor as soon as I noticed something was amiss, instead of waiting as long as I did.’
He says it was worryingly easy to put off going to see a doctor – and before he knew it, it was too late.
‘One morning I noticed that my left testicle felt slightly larger than before, it seemed irregular but there was no lump and I decided to see how it felt after a week.
‘Looking back, it’s clear that I could have made the time to see someone sooner if I’d wanted to – but I didn’t.
‘I was forever making excuses to myself. Either I had too much work on, or I didn’t want to eat into my social life, but deep down I know I was scared and embarrassed.’
Following successful treatment, Justin was given a brand new perspective on life, quitting his advertising job to become a senior marketing officer for the UK’s leading homeless charity, Crisis.
‘After coming through the other side of my cancer battle reasonably unscathed, I knew I wanted to do something meaningful and to give back,’ says Justin.
‘My work at Crisis is so fulfilling and I know what I do is making a difference to other people’s lives.
‘I’m a well-educated guy, but as with so many other men my age, despite being fully aware that our bodies are susceptible to health issues, I shut out that voice of reason.
‘Silence is a killer and too many men are staying silent.
Justin is telling his story as part of cancer charity Macmillan’s ‘Let’s Talk About What You Can’t Say’ campaign.
Man throws 'ball voyage' party for his left testicle after shock cancer diagnosis
We all have a gender. We all think we understand it.
We probably don’t.
Once you scratch beneath the surface, everything we think we know – that there are only two genders, that gender is linked to biological sex and that it’s completely fixed – falls apart pretty quickly.
The rise in conversations about non-binary genders highlights that how we see gender now will have to change in the future.
At its most basic level, gender is your sense of self related to masculinity and femininity.
It includes a gender identity – how you describe yourself as male, female, or something else. It also includes a gender expression – how you show it off such as through your hair and clothing.
It’s already important to think about gender but, as the lines become more blurred, we need to start asking whether the concept is going to stick around for much longer.
In the future, we will have to redefine what it means to be male and female.
As Michel Foucault described in the History of Sexuality, the reach of gendered norms is bigger than we often realise. It is built into the fabric of our everyday lives from the architecture of our buildings to our relationships.
This gendering is based on the idea that only two genders exist.
Society has changed dramatically and the slow recognition of non-binary identities could well be the first step towards a better, less rigid world.
That doesn’t mean we are all going to become non-binary.
A lot of people do happily find their sense of self in binary gender, either male or female, and see no part of themselves being repressed.
However, recognising non-binary people will let everyone express their identities without restriction.
It’s increasingly common to have pronouns displayed on Twitter profiles or email signatures and celebrities including Ruby Rose and Sam Smith have spoken out recently about their non-binary identities.
Both Rose and Smith have said that binary genders don’t fit them but that doesn’t mean we need to ask whether gender fits anyone.
There is a shared, often intangible, experience of womanhood or manhood. This is not based on biology or even gendered socialisation but on a cultural understanding of what a woman or man is.
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Happily, the boundaries of what fits into ‘female’ and ‘male’ have become quite wide-ranging – with butch women and feminine men existing – but that has been a long struggle.
Everyone’s relationship with their gender is unique, we simply have limited ways of expressing that. How one person defines female will be different from their neighbour, but that doesn’t mean both people aren’t female.
As a society, we’ve recognised that not all women are traditionally feminine and not all men are hyper-masculine.
Departing from outdated gender roles doesn’t mean you’re automatically non-binary, just like having one mushroom burger doesn’t make you a life-long vegetarian.
However, as non-binary identities are only now slowly being discussed in the mainstream, we’re going to see more people realising a binary category doesn’t fit them.
In the future, we might find that existing gender categories don’t fit many people at all, but to identify as something, you need to know that it’s a possibility.
That’s why queer people talk about representation – not only does it show us that we aren’t alone but it gives us the option to exist.
Defining certain physical attributes, clothing or careers as ‘male’ or ‘female’ hurts everyone but it is an issue that can be solved by recognising non-binary people and expanding how we think about society.
Gendered norms still act as the script for many of our daily interactions.
It’s almost second nature to see a stranger and label them as a man or woman based only on their appearance, despite gender being an internal identity.
If we accept that there are more than two genders and that gender isn’t fixed, looking at strangers on the street and assuming their identity will become a thing of the past.
In future, we will need to redefine all genders not as something that can be perceived but as something that requires disclosure.
One of the oldest debates surrounding gender is that of nature vs nurture.
Although gender is innate, but not biological, it is unquestionably shaped by society.
What do some of the gender identities represent?
Cisgender: A person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.
Non-binary: A gender or sexual identity that is not defined in terms of traditional binary oppositions such as male and female or homosexual and heterosexual.
Gender-fluid: A person who does not identify themselves as having a fixed gender.
Genderqueer: A person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.
Transgender: A person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.
Agender: a person who does not identify themselves as having a particular gender.
This is not an exhaustive list but includes some of the most commonly discussed identities (Source: Oxford Dictionaries)
When we talk about gender, many people default to talking about biological sex, but even that it’s a little more complicated than people think.
‘Labelling someone a man or a woman is a social decision,’ Anne Fausto Sterling writes in Sexing the Body.
‘We may use scientific knowledge to help us make the decision, but only our beliefs about gender – not science – can define our sex.’
Women are going to have varying levels of hormones, sexual characteristics and potentially even different chromosomes, but this doesn’t affect their innate gender.
The difference between oestrogen and testosterone is one of assumption, rather than reality.
It can have an impact on your gender expression and how you are perceived by others, but the idea that gender is determined exclusively by biology is simply wrong.
Going forward, we will have to completely sever the ties between sex and gender if we recognise more genders, eradicating sex-based assumptions.
After all, under the current understanding of gender, there’s no way of having non-binary biology.
There is an undeniable cultural pressure on keeping gender a distinct binary but this hasn’t always been the case.
The famous adage that blue is for boys and pink is for girls, for example, was only fixed as recently as the 1940s.
From gender reveal parties based on the grainy ultrasound of your child’s genitals to long into adulthood, we uphold gender binaries through cultural pressure.
This means we have the power to dismantle gender or at the very least be more open to all its nuances by accepting non-binary identities as simply another piece of the gender puzzle.
Gender’s role as a cultural fixture is unlikely to become redundant any time soon but recognising non-binary people and identities will have a seismic impact on the very fabric of society.
The more we know, the more we’re likely to explore gender and see it as more than a fixed concept.
Gender, it seems, is here to stay.
But don’t be surprised when more and more people begin to break the binary.
The 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: email@example.com or Alex.Hudson@metro.co.uk
TFOE: Gender will only relate to childbirth and genitals rather than the ridiculous list of cultural nonsense we have around it now
The rise of the bumbag has been unstoppable.
Once the accessory of deeply uncool, 80s mums, the bumbag has taken on a new life as the must-have for festival-goers, influencers and fashionistas alike.
But is this a step too far? Nike have released a new range of sliders that feature a teeny tiny bumbag that rests atop your foot.
Why? We hear you asking. But maybe shoes that double as tiny bags are set to be the next big thing – it would be a handy place to keep your keys after all.
This is actually the second summer of Nike’s flip-flop/bumbag collaboration. Last year they brought out neon designs, perfect for chilling by the pool – this year they have been updated with bold patterns.
One colorway features a black rubber sole dressed with a yellow, blue, white and green tropical floral print, while the other has a bright pink sole with a black bumbag adorned with neon green, pink, blue and white doodles.
The affixed, zippered pouch works as an actual functioning bag – perfect for storing emergency cash, or lip gloss.
Sliders are always a classic summer look – easy to wear with trousers, skirts or just swimwear – they add a relaxed edge to any warm weather look. So these novel items are likely to be popular.
The shoes are selling for £42.96 on the Nike website, alongside plenty of other Benassi slider iconic designs.
But are they actually wearable? The jury is still out.
Do you ever look at your fridge and think: ‘This is a bit bare and boring, a vulva magnet would make it much nicer’?
Unfortunately, there probably isn’t an extensive supply of genital-themed decorations to purchase from your local supermarket but fret not, for you can now make your own.
The Candid Collective, founded by sex and relationships educator Becky Lund-Harket, is hosting a ‘genital model making workshop’ tomorrow (6 June) where guests can create a penis or vulva fridge magnet by using modelling clay in various colours.
While intended as a fun activity, the workshop includes educational elements.
Becky, who also works with Sexplain – an organisation that aims to lift the stigma around sexual taboos – will run the event with Emma Chan, also a sex educator, as well as a junior doctor.
The pair will provide instructions on how to make the models, explain the correct language for the body parts and encourage positive conversation around penises and vulvas.
While you’re busy putting together the foreskin on your new creation or adding finishing touches to your vulva, Becky and Emma will also treat you to some interesting facts about genitals.
‘Talking about genitals is generally treated as taboo and this can lead to a lot of shame and feelings of anxiety,’ Becky tells Metro.co.uk.
‘In 2016, Eve Appeal found that 44% of women are unable to identify the vagina on an anatomical diagram; with 60% also unable to identify a vulva on the same diagram.
‘Labiaplasty is the fastest growing form of cosmetic surgery and porn can impose very unrealistic standards for all genders.
‘The workshop aims to tackle some of those feelings of anxiety by talking openly and honestly about genitals.
‘As experienced sex educators and health professionals we use the correct terminology throughout, throwing in lots of fun and amazing facts along the way!
‘Did you know that ejaculate travels at about 28mph?’
The event will take place at New Cross House, just around the corner from New Cross Gate station, and will run from 7.30pm to 9pm.
All materials are provided and tickets cost £15.
Bring a lover and it could act as excellent foreplay.
In last night’s challenge, the islander confessed that his favourite sex position is the ‘eagle’, which immediately caused a web search frenzy.
The curiosity was so intense, it even caused one sex site to crash completely due to the increased number of visitors.
So, what is it and how does it work?
There’s more than one version.
For those of you who didn’t spend all of last night frantically searching for instructions, here are six variations.
None of them include making bird sounds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.
The spread eagle
This is the most well-known eagle position.
In its most basic form, it’s similar to the missionary position, except the person on the bottom has their legs spread out to the sides (in other words, spreading their wings).
Sometimes, the person on top – generally a man but can also be a woman wearing a strap-on – will be standing on his or her knees and holding the wings – sorry, legs – which is also known as the Captain.
The exposed eagle
First, the person with the penis (whether real or rubber) needs to sit down on a flat surface with their legs spread.
Then the woman climbs on top and they sit together in a sex position known as the lotus.
To make the lotus into the exposed eagle, the woman needs to arch backwards and lie on top of her partner’s legs, which will expose her breasts. For stability, slide your legs down to either side of your partner’s hips.
The exposed eagle can be fun, but take care not to bend backwards to quickly as you could hurt each other.
People who have back pains might prefer to add a pillow underneath for comfort.
The soaring eagle
This one requires a bit of effort.
One person lies on their back and bends their legs back as far as possible and holds them in place.
Imagine stretching your toes towards your ears and you’re close.
Then, the other person leans across, almost as if they’re about to do a push-up.
It can be done on a bed, but is somewhat easier on a sofa as it adds a height difference. Otherwise you’re basically doing push-ups while having sex, which could get exhausting pretty quickly.
Works both vaginally and anally, but be careful and start out slow.
The reverse soaring eagle
Like above, except the person on top faces the other way.
The standing eagle
Very tricky and not as popular.
Usually done against a wall, with both parties standing up and one wrapping a leg around the other.
The more common version of this is the sofa spread eagle, where one person stands on a sofa for leverage.
The flying eagle
In this scenario, the woman is on top in cowgirl position.
What makes it an eagle?
Simple: she holds out her arms and flails them about in the air.
As previously mentioned, accompanying bird sounds are optional.
What is the Eagle?
A student from Nottingham Trent University wowed crowds at her graduation show with her innovative collection of clothes designed for people with disabilities.
Evie Ashwin showcased her adaptive collection as part of Graduate Fashion Week, and each outfit was worn by a model who has a physical disability.
Evie’s collection aims to address the problems that the fashion industry can cause for disabled people, recognising that fashion should be fully accessible for everyone.
‘I wanted a concept that would reflect inclusivity and a strong sense of belonging and community,’ says Evie.
‘We all have different expectations from our clothes – we want pieces that fit well. We use clothing to express our personalities and to fit in with our peer groups, so we need clothing to be fashionable and trend setting.
‘When we find the right outfit it enhances our appearance and we feel good and confident about ourselves.
‘However, the majority of high street clothing is made to enhance the able-bodied figure, with little or no regard for the physically disabled sector of society.’
Graduate Fashion Week is a celebration of imaginative and innovative collections from seven universities including Bath Spa, Birmingham City, Nottingham Trent, Manchester School of Art, Manchester Fashion Institute, Edinburgh College of Arts and Ravensbourne.
Evie is proud that her collection is doing something positive.
‘My concept is based on the football culture. The reason why I have looked at football is because it is a community which everyone feels part of, no one is left out,’ says Evie.
‘I am looking at the slogan “Strength In Unity” and I believe this sums up my collection, especially their passion and brotherhood for one another.’
‘I feel like the timing is right, there is lots of talking about mental health in the media and body positivity, it’s about time we talk about inclusive design too.’
Evie used a questionnaire to understand the issues that people with a disability have with regards to clothing.
She also reached out to various companies who campaign for equality for people with a disability, as well as a wheelchair sport company, RGK Wheelchairs.
‘The beauty of my collection is that although my designs are adaptive, you would never know by looking at my clothes. This is because I have hidden easy fastenings for quick and independent dressing, for example, magnetic zips, snap taping and magnetics for buttons.
‘The idea behind my designs is that it can be worn by anyone, if you have a disability or not.
‘I want my designs to be accessible to all individuals, whether they’re disabled or not. I want disability to be included in the designer approach from the very beginning.’
Firefighters have rescued a cat after it got stuck up a chimney when its owner tried to move house.
Pippin was being moved to her new home by her owner, who stopped off for a coffee at their mid-way point.
But the cat decided he actually didn’t want to move to Devon, and ran into the chimney of Coffee #1 in Ashton Gate, Bristol.
Little Pippin then stayed there in the chimney, behind a partition wall, and refused to come out – so the owner had to call the fire brigade.
Emergency responders came from Bedminster Fire Station and selected the slimmest firefighter to squeeze into the very narrow chimney.
A spokesperson said: ‘After escaping from her owner, Pippin climbed behind a partition wall at Coffee #1.
‘The slimmest member of the crew used a catch net to safely capture the feline. Pippin was reunited with her owner after her ordeal and appears just fine.’
Pippin isn’t the only animal to have been rescued by firefighters in the past week.
A dog called Luis recently got his head stuck in a cat flap, and his owner had to take him to the fire brigade so that the cat flap, which was stuck around his head, could be cut off.
Luckily, they managed to get the cat flap off and Luis was unharmed – but that’ll definitely teach him for trying to fit through things that are just way too small for him.
Cat rescue chimney
Ever considered tinting your eyebrows at home?
It goes without saying that a well-shaped and defined brow can instantly pull your look together by adding structure – even when you’re not wearing makeup.
Enter eyebrow tinting, the game-changing treatment that doesn’t remove hair, instead it uses semi-permanent dye to enhance and give further definition to eyebrows, by giving the illusion of extra thickness.
You can pay anything up to £20 for a brow tint and it usually fades within two weeks and can be completely gone by week four.
But Amazon customers have dubbed Eylure Dybrow Eyebrow Dye Kit ‘better than the salon’ and it will only set you back a fiver and give you up to 12 applications.
The best-selling beauty product by world favourite false eyelashes brand Eylure, has racked up over 1,000 glowing reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
One customer said: ‘This stuff is incredible. I have been paying 7 pound every 3 weeks at a salon. This is the easiest thing ever to do it took me 10 minutes start to finish.’
‘Such a good product, can get multiple uses and so much cheaper than to get it done professionally with basically the same results.’ said another happy reviewer.
Another added: ‘Salon quality tinted eyebrows which last weeks.’
And if that wasn’t enough to make you try this at-home brow tinting kit, customers have also shared before and after pictures and the results are pretty incredible.
Yes, dying your own eyebrows at home may seem a little daunting, but it needn’t be. It’s shockingly easy, we swear.
To use the Eylure Dybrow Eyebrow Dye Kit just mix the developer and dye together in the tray provided, then brush the creamy pigment through your brows with the included spoolie.
Once the dye is applied, it takes a matter of minutes to develop, before you remove the dye with a wet cotton pad to reveal freshly darkened eyebrows.
For best results we recommend you ensure your brows and skin are makeup and oil-free before applying the dye.
And for a more natural finish, apply the dye to the tail of the brow first, working your way through the arch to the front.
You can also apply a thin layer of Vaseline around your eyebrows to so the excess dye doesn’t stain your skin.
And if you do accidentally stain your skin, no fear, you can lightly scrub your brows the next time you wash your face – this will lift the dye off the skin, without affecting the tint.
If you’re trying to conserve cash, or simply don’t have the time to visit a salon and want to spend less time in the morning filling in your eyebrows, this kit is an easy way to give your brows an instant at-home refresh.
Amazon customers are hailing this ?5 eyebrow dye kit - here\'s why
Choosing the right engagement ring can be nerve-racking, because you never know how the other person will react.
Some people aren’t too bothered so long as there’s a diamond, others want their ring to represent a special story in their life.
One bride-to-be, who has been together with her beau for nearly 14 years, said she loves her ring because it was inspired by her black pet python Onyx – that tragically drowned last summer.
She goes on to explain that her future husband lost his job seven years ago but has recently stepped into a new role as CEO of a catering company, and spent his first paycheck on the ring.
The ring features a 0.5 karat black stone made from ‘dragon glass’ with a tungsten carbide band.
She posted a photo of her new piece of jewellery in a ring shaming group on Facebook, but despite the sweet (and somewhat strange) story, people aren’t loving it.
‘My boyfriend finally proposed 13 1/2 years and eight kids (all under nine) later!,’ she wrote.
‘Times have been hard for us lately since he lost his job seven years ago.
‘He finally got a job recently as a CEO of a catering company and with his first paycheck bought me this beauty! I requested a black ring in memory of our black python, Onyx, who drowned last summer in the lake behind our house (or swam away, we’re not sure). It’s a tungsten carbide band and a .5 carat dragon glass stone.
‘I am absolutely in love with it, do your worst!!!
‘P.S. my hands are super dry, I work with food, so I’m constantly washing my hands.’
Some people questioned whether the story was true or a ‘joke’.
‘I’m so confused by this story…is this real life?,’ wrote one.
Another said: ‘I’m just impressed someone can be unemployed seven years and step into a CEO role.
‘Maybe I can fly to the moon.’
Others gave their condolences for Onyx – though they still weren’t fans of the ring.
‘I think it’s so sweet that you wanted the ring in memory of your snake – I’m so sorry he drowned, that’s horrible,’ wrote one person.
‘But the ring itself… Nooo!!’
Another said: ‘Looks like a chunk of the stone is missing, or saved money by not buying the whole stone because of the dip.
‘Sorry to hear about your snake!’
Meanwhile, some of the women posted gifs and memes to showcase how underwhelmed they were and said the ring looks like a ‘key ring’.
One gif featured a scene from a movie with Zac Efron and was captioned: ‘You deserve better than this’.
Someone else referenced the fact the bride-to-be was also a mum-of-eight and should have been given something nicer.
‘If I birthed eight children in nine years, I better get something better than this shit!,’ wrote one.
At least the bride likes it and in the end, that’s all that matters.
Even if her story is admittedly a bit dubious.
Not only are all of Love Island’s islanders absolutely gorgeous, their makeup always rocks, too.
The girls always seem to have flawless faces and they’re constantly glowing.
And now you can too, as Love Island has released its very own beauty collection.
Love Island is launching Loveburst, a collection of face and body products created by Established – the company behind Fenty Beauty and Marc Jacobs Beauty.
Apparently, the range has been made for those who want to ‘stand out, feel special and glow in the spotlight’.
There is loads on offer – though the items don’t come cheap.
The range includes a matte liquid lipstick with a transforming topper, which comes as two halves of a heart, held together by a magnet. It costs £25.
The whole collection is love themed, meaning most things feature a cute, loveheart design.
It includes the On Show Bronzing Powder, £22.50, and the Heart Stopper Highlighter Powders, £22.50.
There is also a Hideaway eye shadow palette – which includes six pigmented shades in a mix of mattes and shimmers. The palette has a nude theme perfect for those who want more of a laid-back look. It costs £25.
Then, for those who can’t wait for a tan, there’s a body bronzing spray, £20, which is hydrating and leaves a shimmer, and also some metallic cream eye shadows for £17.50.
Finally, and the cheapest of the lot, is a Pillow Kiss lip balm for £13.
The shade changes depending on the pH of your lips, meaning you don’t have to splash out on a range of colours. Amazing.
The range is currently available on the Love Island shop – and we want to couple up with all of it.
Love Island beauty brand
Popstar, dancer and TV judge Cheryl has revealed that she follows a ridiculously intense daily workout regime in order to maintain her lean figure.
The former Girls Aloud star says she downs celery juice at 7am on an empty stomach, then turns up her radiators to do a hot yoga routine in 90 degree heat for an hour, and she does this four times a week.
Speaking to The Sun, Cheryl said: ‘I am one of those people who can’t do basic yoga, it’s too boring – I have to do the extreme heat where somebody can potentially die, or you feel like you’re dying.
‘I do the routine at home. I literally have four heaters and two humidifiers, it’s not for the faint-hearted, honestly I am an extremist.
‘It’s quite extreme – it’s a hard method, but it works.’
Cheryl might be happy with the results, and she certainly looks amazing – but is it safe? Should we really be putting ourselves through a grueling hot yoga session fuelled only be celery juice?
The experts think not.
Personal Trainer Mollie Millington thinks it’s unwise to try exercising in extreme heat at home.
‘In a studio, for Bikram yoga or another kind of hot fitness, you have knowledgeable people to help you if you are doing things unsafe – turning up the radiators and trying it in your own home leaves you at risk of hurting yourself,’ she tells us.
Ben Haldon, head coach at My Coach School agrees with Mollie and thinks exercising in the heat might not even be the most effective strategy:
‘Exercising in extreme heat can be dangerous due to raising the bodies core temperature, causing exhaustion, dehydration and decreased performance in exercises,’ says Ben.
‘This ultimately would result in less calories burned and less fat lost due to your energy expenditure being decreased by self inflicted heat.
What are the risks of extreme heat workouts?
Heat exhaustion can cause the following symptoms:
Exercising in the heat can also lead to dehydration, which can be extremely dangerous.
To combat dehydration make sure you drink enough fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated, and enjoy water-rich foods before and after exercise.
‘The only reason you may see a sudden weight loss will be due to the water retention lost, which will be regained after a bottle of the good old H20.
‘Cheryl would be best off sticking to the basics, committing to something more sustainable and saving herself on the heating bill.
‘I can’t help but think people will be sitting in front of Corrie now with the central heating on full blast in order to look like Cheryl. These type of fads need to be squashed.’
Simon Lord is a trainer who specialises in working with clients with health conditions, he was keen to reiterate the dangers of exercising in extreme heat – particularly when you’re alone.
‘That degree of heat while exercising intensely is dangerous,’ says Simon.
‘There is the potential for heat stroke, dehydration and hallucinations, particularly if it’s done alone.
‘Dehydration won’t tone the skin – in fact it will do the absolute reverse. It can cause the kidneys stress and seriously affect the body’s salts/minerals balance – none of this is worth it for a specific body appearance.’
And as for the celery juice – it might not be dangerous, but according to the experts it isn’t going to do much good either.
Cheryl claims the daily drink ‘gets rid of all the pathogens’ in her body, but Mollie is skeptical about that.
‘I don’t think celery smoothies is bad for you but I doubt it washed away pathogens. Water would do the same,’ explains Mollie.
‘Celery barely has calories, so it is not good as a meal.’
We have previously debunked the alleged health benefits of celery juice, and found drinking the innocuous liquid won’t do you any harm, but the ‘healing powers’ and removal of pathogens claimed by some is likely nothing but pseudo-science.
And trying to do a rigorous workout on nothing but liquefied salad probably isn’t going to leave you feeling brilliant.
Mollie thinks it’s really important for people to have an understanding of context when celebrities like Cheryl talk about their diet and fitness regimes.
‘People need to remember Cheryl has the unlimited time and the financial resources needed to achieve a six pack,’ says Mollie.
‘I would give up eating chocolate and drinking wine if it meant I was given £1 million (or even £10,000).
‘Everyone has a six pack, but to see it you need to have low body fat, which simply means changing your eating habits for most people.
‘Plus, Cheryl has recently had a baby, and for all new mothers, your post-baby your body needs time to heal, depending on how your birth went.’
So the fitness experts seem to agree that Cheryl’s routine probably isn’t safe for you to try at home.
It’s important to remember to speak to your doctor before trying any new fitness regime, particularly an extreme one – and be kind to your body, particularly if you have recently had a baby.
Is Cheryl Cole\'s \'extreme\' workout actually safe? We ask the experts
Gill Winestone has had one thing on her mind for the last five years. The long overdue return of ready salted Chipsticks.
You know Chipsticks – those crunchy, rectangle-shaped crisps that vaguely resemble French fries – and currently you can only get them in salt and vinegar flavour.
But Gill is determined to return to the glorious days when ready salted Chipsticks were also an option – and she’s willing to go the distance to make her dream a reality.
After starting a blog dedicated to ready salted Chipsticks – or as she calls them, the ‘best crisps in the world’ – in 2016, she then launched a petition and has sent multiple emails and Tweets to Walkers and a variety of supermarkets.
Gill’s blog is a combination of a plan of attack to reinstate her beloved snack, and fond memories about happier times when she could go to her local supermarket and still see her favourite crisps on the shelves.
‘Any time that I was in the vicinity of a Co-op, I would pop in and buy somewhere between three and fifteen bags of ready salted Chipsticks,’ wrote Gillian in one blog post.
‘This was just before a movie night at a friends flat, so when I walked in with my tasty snacks (ten bags this time), they mistakenly thought that I had brought a bag for everyone.
‘I stopped mid-step, hesitated; I was wondering how to politely refute this, whist still being able to keep all my ready salted Chipsticks.’
Gill’s desperation is intensified by the fact that there aren’t any alternatives that remotely taste like the originals – they were a one-of-a-kind.
She hopes that by drumming up enough public support she can convince Walkers to start making them again.
‘Walkers have said it’s a lack of demand that meant they were discontinued so hopefully this petition will show them there is demand and that they should reinstate them,’ Gill tells Metro.co.uk.
‘I started the petition about three years ago.
‘It was quite a slow burner to start with, but it has really picked up in the last year or so and now we’re at more than 3,000 signatures.
‘Recently it has gone up again with Matt Lucas signing and retweeting the link. It’s been a really great thing to get his support.’
— Gill Winestone (@GWinestone) April 15, 2016
But what is it about Chipsticks in particular that Gill can’t get enough of? And why can’t she just be content with the salt and vinegar option?
‘I’ve always loved them,’ explains Gill.
‘I don’t like vinegar flavoured ones, so there’s no other option for me. Honestly there is no other readily available alternative out there.
‘It’s hard to pin down what makes your favourite of anything, but taste, texture, and the general yumminess of them. I do miss them so much!’
Gill isn’t alone in her crusade.
The Chipstick community is strong and building momentum.
‘There are a few avid fans and communities out there,’ says Gill.
‘Someone started a Facebook page before I did and there are tonnes of people on twitter who keep asking for them back.
‘Not everyone knows it’s Walkers who own them now, so many of them don’t get through to Walkers marketing team.
‘I try and retweet as many of these as possible with the #readysaltedchipsticks to the company so they get to see them, but I think they may be bored of me now.’
And how would it feel if Gill’s petition were to finally work?
‘It would feel like victory, and it would make me very happy, if in great danger of getting fat!’
If, like Gill, ready salted Chipsticks rock your world, you can show your support by signing her petition.
Kopparberg has just launched a pre-mixed gin and lemonade cocktail in a can, following the release of a new strawberry and lime gin.
The cans are said to resemble the much-loved strawberry and lime ciders, and they’re just as cheap, at £1.95 a can.
Or you can get a pack of four for £6.
The pink gin has been infused with strawberry and lime flavours as well as juniper, lemon zest and coriander botanicals.
But it won’t be too overpowering, as it’s all mixed with lemonade. It’s the perfect summer drink!
Rob Salvesen, Head of Marketing at Kopparberg, said: ‘We wanted to continue the momentum and excitement surrounding the launch of Kopparberg Premium Gin and launch RTDs into the UK market ahead of summer.
‘The perfect serve of Kopparberg Premium Gin & Lemonade was designed to enhance the natural flavours of the gin and offer a taste profile sweet enough for a long, hot summer.
‘It’s the perfect drink to enjoy with friends and we’re very excited to offer Kopparberg fans another addition to the Kopparberg family.’
The launch comes after the brand released its own bottle of flavoured gin.
The strawberry and lime flavoured spirit comes in a London-dry style and is available at over 700 Greene King pubs across the UK.
For those who don’t have a Greene King pub nearby, it is also available in Asda and Morrisons, for £22.
Kopparberg Is Selling Cans Of Strawberry And Lime-Flavoured Gin Cocktails
Melania Trump is known for her love of designer brands.
That’s not to say she doesn’t wear high street clothing; in 2018, the First Lady wore a green military-style jacket from Zara that costs just £39.99.
The jacket had the words ‘I really don’t care, do u?’ written across the back and was a controversial choice, given Melania was on her way to Texas to visit immigrant children.
More often than not however, she opts for luxury fashion and is rarely seen in the same outfit twice.
For her visit to the UK this week with husband Donald Trump, the president of the US, she stuck to her expensive tastes.
And the show started before she boarded the plane.
Outfit one: Gucci
On her way to board Air Force One, Melania wore a Gucci shirt dress, which featured images of London, such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament – a nod to their pending visit.
Meanwhile the US president, Donald Trump, opted for a dark navy suit, white shirt and blue tie, along with a small pin of the United States flag.
Make of that what you will.
Outfit two: Burberry and Michael Kors
Melania chose a subtle yet colourful outfit for her arrival at Stansted Airport.
The 49-year-old disembarked the plane wearing a navy blue pencil skirt from Michael Kors and a red, white and blue printed pussy bow blouse from Burberry. She paired the ensemble with a a navy jacket, thrown over her shoulders.
Outfit three: Dolce & Gabbana and Hervé Pierre
Later in the day, Melania changed into a white pencil dress with a navy trim and belt from Dolce & Gabbana, which featured button detailing on the top half of the dress.
As we all know, the Queen loves a nice hat – so it comes as no surprise that the First Lady perfected her look with a matching hat by Hervé Pierre for the ceremonial welcome and garden party.
The outfit, which some said paid homage to British style, was compared to classic looks worn by the fictional characters Mary Poppins and Eliza Doolittle.
Outfit four: Dior
On Monday night, at the state banquet, it was time for glamour.
Melania went for an understated look in a sleeveless Dior gown in dove grey, paired with long white gloves.
The Queen wore a gown in a similar colour.
Outfit five: Celine and Hermès
Melania chose a Celine trench coat for her meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May.
It was a rare fashion moment for her, as the First Lady rarely recycles outfits and wore this one a year ago.
She paired the look with a thick black belt, cinched at the waist, black leather gloves and an Hermès bag.
Outfit six: Givenchy
For the second state banquet, Melania pulled out all the stops.
She channelled old Hollywood glamour in a red Givenchy gown with floor-length cape sleeves and sequin detailing.
Accessories were kept to a minimum with a pair of pearl earrings.
Five-year-old Payton Haynes, who has had multiple surgeries due to two separate neurological conditions, has been given a custom-made doll which has the same surgical scars as him.
Payton had to undergo two cranial surgeries and was left with scars on his skull and abdomen.
His mother, Kristin Hayes, told Good Morning America she wanted her son to have a look-alike doll because there was no toy on the market that looked similar to him.
After hearing this, students at nearby Cracker Trail Elementary School raised £444 and contacted a nonprofit organisation, which was then able to make the doll.
Payton was diagnosed with a birth defect called craniosynostosis when he was born, which means the skull’s bones fuse before the brain is fully formed.
He needed surgery to correct the shape of his head in order for his brain to grow properly, and had his first surgery at just three months old.
Last year, he was also diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition where there is a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, and in December he underwent a nine-hour surgery so doctors could insert a shunt.
Payton now has a five-inch-long scar on the back of his skull, as well as a scar on his abdomen, but has his doll by his side to make him feel better.
‘In the past we’ve donated to The Humane Society, the children’s museum, so we took a class vote on what to do this year,’ Liz Prendergast, a teacher at Cracker Trail Elementary School told Daily Mail.
The class decided to donate to a child with a serious illness and were put in touch with Payton after they reached out to Champions for Children, a charity.
Liz said: ‘I was talking to Kristin, Payton’s mom, and we said we liked the idea of buying something and giving it to the child.
‘And she said: “You know, there’s this doll made by a woman that I’ve been following on Facebook and if he could share it with his friends and show the doll’s scars and explain it using a doll, that would be so cool”.’
That woman was Amy Jandrisevits, who runs a nonprofit organisation called Doll Like Me that makes custom dolls.
Amy had a long waiting list, but after hearing Payton’s story made the doll in just one weekend, spending seven hours on it before sending the doll to the school.
She felt the doll was a ‘big deal’, as well as a ‘great lesson’ for the children who raised the money, as it showed them the difference they could make in another child’s life.
Payton was given the doll by the class last Friday, which he has since named Little Payton.
He was super excited when he saw it and said: ‘He looks like me, he has my scar!’
Payton takes Little Payton around with him wherever he goes – even to doctor’s appointments.
Amy said: ‘When I make dolls, nine times out of 10, [kids] name them after themselves or some version of their name,’ she said.
‘They really look into the face of a doll and want to see their own face. We can’t underestimate how important that is.’
Boy is given a custom-made doll with the same surgery scars he has