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

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    Ally Elouise (corr) lends prom dresses to girls who would otherwise struggle to afford them Credit: Daily Post Wales
    Ally Elouise lends prom dresses to girls who would otherwise struggle to afford them (Picture: Daily Post Wales)

    Your school prom is a big deal. It’s one of your last big blow outs with all your friends and you might take a date – so your dress has to be perfect.

    With the influx of American culture in the UK, prom is now a bigger deal than it has ever been before – and prom dresses can cost hundreds of pounds.

    Add the cost of hair, makeup, shoes, jewelry, a limo and a taxi home – and this is becoming one seriously pricey event.

    One school has come up with a brilliant solution to help keep costs down, so every student can have a great time at prom.

    Maesteg Comprehensive School holding a pop-up shop to rent out dresses for free.

    PE teachers Emily Scudamore and Annemarie Scarr had the brilliant idea of putting out an appeal on social media for donations – and they were inundated with dresses.

    Ally Elouise (corr) lends prom dresses to girls who would otherwise struggle to afford them Credit: Daily Post Wales
    The school’s textile department will be offering alterations (Picture: Daily Post Wales)

    They now have around 200 dresses, as well as shoes and accessories. They even have 30 brand new dresses from a wedding shop in the area.

    The school are also paying for tickets and buses to the event, and the textile department will be on hand with any alterations the dresses may need.

    ‘We’re so influenced by American culture, we can’t get away from that,” head teacher Helen Jones told Wales Online.

    ‘That’s something the pupils want.

    ‘The reality is that the prom is a wonderful idea that children want and they request them from an early age. However when people hear the word “prom” it is like “wedding” and they will double the price.

    ‘But it’s always been a concern. There has to be a child in every school in the country that feels ostracised because they can’t afford it. They would rather not go.

    ‘There’s enough pressure on teenagers already without that. There’s a reason we have uniforms in schools.’

    And there are other local schemes to help keep school prom costs to a minimum.

    Law graduate, Ally Elouise, from Penrhyn Bay set up Prom Ally, a charity which hands out free dresses to girls struggling to afford the average cost of going to the ball.

    What a brilliant idea – everyone should get the chance to experience prom, and ideas like this make it much more accessible.

    MORE: Amazon is selling a massive inflatable speedboat with a built-in drinks cooler

    MORE: Woman creates UK’s only cancer festival after surviving the disease

    MORE: What to do if you think your partner is faking their orgasms


    Ally Elouise (corr) lends Prom dresses to girls of lesser means for ??10. Photo: David Powell/North Wales LiveAlly Elouise (corr) lends Prom dresses to girls of lesser means for ??10. Photo: David Powell/North Wales Live

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    Love, Or Something Like It

    In Love, Or Something Like It, our new Metro.co.uk series, we’re on a quest to find true love.

    Covering everything from mating, dating and procreating to lust and loss, we’ll be looking at what love is and how to find it in the present day.

    I met the love of my life on a sex website.

    And I don’t mean the modern-day hook-up apps masquerading as dating websites, I’m talking a full on, old-school sex website, where in addition to listing your desired age range and preferred eye colour, you’d select your favourite position and percentage enjoyment of anal.

    I was 22 when I signed up and brokenhearted after a recent split. I didn’t think I’d ever feel right again, so I was absolutely not looking for another relationship. But then I went out with a friend and she introduced her new date. He was charming, witty and handsome – perfect. When I asked how they met, she laughed coyly and said ‘benaughty.com’.

    That night, three sheets to the wind, I eagerly signed up. I needed a distraction. I needed to feel good about myself again. I wanted to feel sexy.

    On the first day I received 13 messages, including three dick pics and one 63-year-old called Jim claiming he was ‘looking for a daughter figure’ – was I keen?

    Over the weeks that followed, frivolous online flirting was exactly what I needed. I wasn’t looking for anything beyond a quick shag.

    Looking back, I realise that at the time I had little experience of true romantic connection – I equated my self-worth to the reactions and control I could exert over the opposite sex. But these surface level interactions helped me heal. Perverse as it may be, this website was helping rebuild me.

    The constant dick pics soon started wearing thin, however. There’s only so many strangers’ penises a girl can see day in, day-out, before they all merge into one.

    A month in to my new adventure and I was kind of over it. It was around this same time that ‘A’ popped up on my radar.

    Had I been on one of the more conventional dating sites we would have never crossed paths – he was 39 to my 22, well outside my 20-30 age range, and lived 70 miles north of London.

    A’s profile picture was hilarious – he was bare-chested and flexing his biceps, mocking topless selfies. He was pulling the ultimate duck-face. And the black Y-fronts he wore had a huge tiger motif right in the middle. All in all it was ridiculous. I was drawn to him instantly.

    A was on a sex website, so of course I assumed he was looking for sex. This didn’t put me off – I can definitely be laughed into bed. And nothing in his chosen preferences scared me.

    Our initial conversation was flirty and banterous but by no means the outright filth I’d heard from most others I’d connected with – this intrigued me more.

    Harri Chatwell and her husband on their wedding day
    Our relationship works due to our ability to clearly communicate (Picture: Harri Chatwell)

    For three days, our messages flowed before we exchanged numbers. My brazen youth meant I felt no self-consciousness in ringing him straight away. I was so intrigued to hear the voice behind the online chat. Our conversation was a joy. We spoke about nothing and everything all at once.

    We quickly fell into a habit of speaking over the phone for hours each day. During this time I left the website – it had filled its purpose and maxed-out my sleeze capacity. But A was still the first person I’d message when I woke up, if I hadn’t already heard from him, and the only person I’d want to speak to if something shitty happened at work.

    It was obvious from the outset that we came from very different worlds – me from a privately-educated Surrey bubble, him from proper working-class Midlands roots. On paper we were not a love match but our differences exposed us both to new opinions and broke down our preconceptions.

    My friends started to show their concern. ‘You’re giving up a lot of yourself to someone who doesn’t want to meet you in person’, ‘Are you certain you aren’t being catfished?’ and ‘Can you really afford these phone bills?’

    But something in me wasn’t willing to let this one go. For some bizarre, unexplained reason I had a feeling this guy – this thing we were doing, the weird relationship we were building – had legs.

    Very sadly, during this time A’s father was diagnosed with cancer, which was savage and unforgiving, and caused him to pass within only five months. A says now that this sudden huge loss prompted a change in his outlook – life is too short, you need to get out there and do things.

    And so, 10 months after we had started talking, we arranged a ‘get together’. I won’t call it a date; in A’s eyes it was just time to meet as best mates and I had agreed, but secretly I’d hoped for more.

    Eight years down the line and we’ve been together ever since.

    Had I been ‘searching for love’ I know we would never have matched. I would have narrowed my pool so heavily with the standard box-ticking criteria.

    However it turns out that A, 100 per cent not my type on-paper, is the man of my dreams. And this is because my dreams are filled with true love building out of a foundation of strong friendship.

    Our relationship works due to our ability to clearly communicate – I believe this stems from the months we spent getting to know each other over the phone. Speaking freely to each other really is what we know best. He also still makes me howl with laughter, and this really helps with the monotony of everyday life.

    Reflecting upon how we met we both laugh now, as neither of us have a particularly kinky interest in sex, but life led us to meeting via a sex website. There’s just no way we would have met otherwise.

    Our relationship and the experience of how it came about has taught me that the best things are usually right under your nose, but you’re usually blocking yourself from seeing them.

    Last week in Love, Or Something Like It: My cats have taught me more about true love than any man

    Write for Love, Or Something Like It

    Love, Or Something Like It is a brand new series for Metro.co.uk, published every Saturday. If you have a love story to share, email rosy.edwards@metro.co.uk

    MORE: My cats have taught me more about true love than any man

    MORE: Who is destined to find their mate on Love Island based on what we’ve seen so far?

    MORE: How Love Island helped to heal my broken heart


    Love, Or... Harri Chatwell: what meeting my husband on a sex website has taught me about how we find true loveLove, Or... Harri Chatwell: what meeting my husband on a sex website has taught me about how we find true love

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    Illustration of two men in a room, one dressed in suspenders, the other in a bowtie
    Just because someone is full of bants doesn’t mean they’re immune to feeling low (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    This ‘high functioning’ depression is often easy to miss

    Depression looks different on everyone, and never seems to appear quite how you thought it would (a bit like an ASOS blouson).

    There are a staggering nine classifications of depression defined by psychiatric associations, but ‘laughing on the outside and dying on the inside’ hasn’t made it to the list yet.

    A lot of the funniest people we know are often (and really, it must be stressed that I don’t mean always) depressed. Humour and laughter can often come from a place of darkness, and comedy is the resulting wall put up between the ‘performer’ and their audience; if someone’s always cracking out jokes and making us all laugh, then they must live a smiling and hilarious life too, right? Not so much.

    The link between humour and depression is well documented, and was spoken about at length when comedian Robin Williams took his own life in 2014. People wondered ‘what did he have to be so sad about?’ as they imagined our loveable Mrs Doubtfire and Aladdin’s Genie bouncing around in his mansion, drumming up a side-splitting impressions routine before his staff of 27 and shelves of awards.

    Robin Williams perfectly summed up the relationship between mental illness and comedy, saying: ‘I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.’

    Studies have shown that experiencing low moods increases our capacity for empathy when we see others going through pain.

    Personally having previously been in a very dark place for a few years, I find myself going out of my way to make sure people are being looked after and are having a good time, because having a bad time is, well, the worst.

    Also there’s still a stigma around mental health, and even the most outspoken about mental illnesses might struggle or have struggled to tell people what they’re going through. Humour can seem like the best cover-up for internal darkness – laughing people can’t be depressed, right?!

    Wrong. Obviously, wrong.

    What is cognitive fog/cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it?
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    I’m not at all saying that all funny people hate themselves and that anybody who’s a guaranteed laugh-riot is probably dead inside, but maybe take a minute for your friends who seem so funny they couldn’t possibly be miserable.

    It’s natural to enjoy laughing responses to a joke you make and to want to keep that laughter going. If a ‘funny friend’ is constantly cracking out the witty responses even when you’re alone with them, there’s a chance they don’t want to remove the comedy barrier and show you who they are underneath, because they think that person is worthless.

    Another study suggests that being funny about a subject gives us a sense of control over a situation that we otherwise feel is overwhelming us or out of our hands. Even the phrase ‘well, you’ve got to laugh!’ when something unfortunate happens is us explicitly telling each other to choose the funny route that covers up the sad one.

    But what can you do about it? Don’t start by telling your mate that you’re sick of their jokes and you want to see them cry, but maybe do show them some extra support if you think they might be suffering.

    Of course there’s a chance that they’re not and they’re just a naturally funny, happy person (what the hell is that like?), but if you’re concerned it’s not hard to chuck out a few extra texts asking how they’re doing, or to send a link to something you think they might appreciate, for starters.

    Talking to your friend about the less comedic parts of life or asking for their advice around a problem you’re experiencing will show them that you value them for more than their surface-level bants.

    Comedy does not mean the same thing as happiness (clowns have always been a bit sad), and it can often be a huge barrier against something a lot darker. It’s no laughing matter.

    If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, you can find a qualified local counsellor in your area with Counselling Directory . Mental health charity Mind also offer counselling services, and you can call The Samaritans on 116123 (UK and ROI). The NHS even have a little quiz you can take. If you can, visit your GP for further advice.

    To talk about mental health in a private, judgement-free zone, join our Mentally Yours Facebook group.

    Need support? Contact the Samaritans

    For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

    MORE: How to help a friend with depression when they’re drinking booze

    MORE: How to manage a depressed person at work

    MORE: How to help a depressed friend through their illness and recovery


    How to handle confrontation like an adultHow to handle confrontation like an adult

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    A chihuahua sat on a lime green sofa with a pink coffee cup filled with cream in front of it
    You can bring your own or simply cuddle up to other people’s dogs – just ask first (Picture: Pug Cafe)

    Two years ago, we were blessed with the opportunity to snuggle up to pooches as the pug pop-up cafe arrived.

    A year later, sausage dogs took centre stage.

    While we love and cherish all dogs, because they are amazing, we’re excited to announce that there is a cafe launching in London to celebrate the diva of all dogs: the chihuahua.

    The one-day event will take place on Sunday 21 July at The Happenstance in St Paul’s, and organisers are promising ‘all things Chi’.

    There’ll be pupcakes, dognuts, barkscotti and pawsecco for the pooches, and each chihuahua will also be treated to a free pupuccino.

    Humans will have plenty to enjoy too, with the Happenstance’s regular menu available, featuring brunch classics, cake and cocktails.

    Chihuahua looking glorious as she sits next to her pink cocktail
    The diva of dogs (Picture: Pug Cafe)

    Organisers Pug Cafe have joined up with dog grooming brand Pet Teezer for the occasion and the first 200 chihuahua owners will receive a free brush worth £10.

    Ticket sales launched at 10am today (15 June) and cost £10 for dog owners and £14 for dog lovers.

    Yes, that means you can go along and stroke puppies even if you don’t have one of your own.

    We anticipate this event will be just as popular as previous ones, so if you want a ticket you better hurry.

    There’s also a chance Paris Hilton shows up, given the billionaire heiress’s affection for the tiny dog breed.

    MORE: Marmite the dog was saved by vets after swallowing two whole kebabs

    MORE: You can now dress your dog up like a mermaid in a glittering life jacket

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


    K5gATEwd-4114K5gATEwd-4114

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    Doctor consulting a male patient
    Parkinson’s is a serious disease (Picture: noipornpan/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    The Chase star and comedian Paul Sinha has gone public with his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.

    After a two-year health battle, the 49-year-old announced his diagnosis on Twitter, saying: ‘I will fight this with every breath I have.’

    Parkinson’s is a relatively common and serous disease, with, according to Parkinsons.org, two people in the UK being told every hour that they have the disease.

    With that statistic in mind, it’s important to understand Parkinson’s Disease, along with its signs and symptoms.

    What is Parkinson’s Disease and what are the symptoms?

    Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative neurological condition which affects motor skills, and sometimes cognitive abilities and/or emotions.

    The disease is caused by a reduction in the brain’s production of dopamine which happens as a result of there being a loss of nerve cells in the brain called the substantia nigra.

    It’s not yet known what causes this loss of nerve cells, however we do know that dopamine is vital when it comes to regulating the body’s movement.

    The NHS lists the three main symptoms of Parkinson’s as:

    • Slow movement
    • Inflexible and stiff muscles
    • Involuntary tremors of particular parts of the body

    Someone with Parkinson’s can also develop other symptoms, such as:

    • Problems with memory
    • Problems with balance
    • Insomnia
    • Depression and anxiety
    • A loss of sense of smell

    Most of those who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s are aged 50 or older, but younger people have been known to suffer from it as well.

    Parkinsons.org estimates that there were 145,000 people in the UK who were diagnosed with the disease in 2018.

    That’s roughly one in every 350 adults.

    There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, and treatment can typically involve medication, supportive therapy like occupational therapy and physio therapy, and in some cases brain surgery.

    Parkinson’s doesn’t directly result in death, however it can put enough of a strain on a person’s body that they are more susceptible to dangerous infections.

    However, medical advances have made it so that most people with Parkinson’s have a normal or near-normal life expectancy.

    MORE: Mum only realised husband had a brain injury after her daughter did too


    Paedophile counsellingPaedophile counselling

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    Strong Women is a weekly series that champions diversity in the world of sport and fitness.

    Women of all shapes, sizes, races, ages and abilities are achieving amazing things – but we rarely get to see them.

    Too many women are being put off from sport and fitness altogether because the industry is exclusive and often only promotes one kind of body image.

    This series aims to remind women that anyone can be fit, strong and love their body – regardless of how they look or how they are perceived.

    Aimi Bullock was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013, but she refused to let the condition alter her life and competitive nature.

    Golf became a way for Aimi to continue playing competitive sport, even during the worst bouts of her illness – and now she’s the UK’s number one golfer with a disability.

    Aimi Bullock playing golf
    ‘I’ve almost completely shut myself off from the world of hockey because I was so devastated that I couldn’t play anymore’ (Picture: Aimi Bullock)

    Illness forced you to give up hockey – your first sporting love. How did you cope?

    It came as a shock at the time because I was initially diagnosed with something called optic neuritis and I temporarily lost the sight in my left eye.

    I had always played hockey or a team sport and I just decided that my health was more important that the sport.

    I needed to protect myself and I decided that it was probably too dangerous to be risking the sight in my other eye playing a sport like hockey.

    It was a devastating blow because it was the only big sport that I had played.

    However, I was very fortunate that a friend came up to me not long after and asked whether I wanted to play golf for a bit of fun instead.

    I fell in love with the sport straight away and I basically went from playing hockey to playing golf immediately. 

    How have you managed to channel your energy into golf?

    I have always wanted to play sport to the best of my ability and it’s always good to find a sport you’re good at.

    When I first started, I struggled to play golf.

    You tend to hit one good shot and a few bad shots so you really begin to live for hitting the few really good shots when you first start off.

    Now, I’ve almost completely shut myself off from the world of hockey because I was so devastated that I couldn’t play anymore and have channelled everything into golf and improving as a player in the sport.

    Can golf bring you the same enjoyment now that hockey used to? 

    It’s difficult because I’ve always been more of a team sport person.

    Golf is a very individual sport and that means it comes with a lot of mental challenges to deal with along the way.

    But, every so often, you play in team events that add the team spirit element to the sport which I miss from my hockey days.

    Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I’ve also had to deal with life moving in a different way to how I expected it to and so I have to manage my energy levels and health in order to play golf.

    There’s a fine balance, I have to work at managing the energy levels and I wouldn’t be able to manage them playing hockey anymore. 

    Aimi Bullock playing golf
    ‘I’ve had to learn to exercise in a different way and manage myself completely differently’ (Picture: Aimi Bullock)

    Tell us about your journey as an athlete with MS 

    It’s a really l hard one because I’ve been throwing myself at sport all my life.

    My idea of a workout was to spend as much time as possible on the running machine and if I felt exhausted afterwards then I knew I’d had a good training session.

    I can’t do that with MS because my symptoms would get worse so I’ve had to learn to exercise in a different way and manage myself completely differently.

    I’ve had experiences with poor memory too. There’s this thing call MS brain fog where you feel like your head is a washing machine and you just can’t function for the day.

    I’ve learned the hard way that you have to stop and let your body deal with everything to stop yourself from having an MS episode. That way you can do the things you love again quickly.

    What has been the highlight of your career?

    Last week I was fortunate enough to be selected as the captain of the England disabled golf team competing in the European Nations Cup where we finished runners-up.

    It was a huge honour to  captain England, it really was a fantastic experience. It was quite a major tournament and incredible to be a part of.

    I love a team event so I thought it had a really great format. It was a real team sport event and we played really well together.

    Do you think of yourself as a strong woman? 

    I’ve never really considered myself a strong woman in the past but I’m very competitive, very determined and if I start something, I’ll finish it.

    That has always been my way of life.

    So I believe everyone else would say I’m a strong woman, but my mindset has always been like that naturally.

    Obviously, being diagnosed with MS has made things harder, but my determination has got me through.

    What do you think still needs to be improved about disability sport? Is it accessible enough?

    There are big things happening with the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA). They’re partnering with the European Tour in order to bring the sport to a wider audience so that people are far more aware of the athletes that are participating and what we are capable of doing.

    Golf in particular is an amazing sport because it has the handicap system, so people of all ages and abilities can play a round of golf.

    I think golf is going through some really exciting times at the moment and the sport is going to be brought to a wider audience which will hopefully increase participation.

    The role of sponsorship and partnerships with other organisations is increasingly important too.

    The EDGA doesn’t have a massive budget and it is doing amazing things for disabled golfers, but without partnerships and bigger organisations such as RSM and Golfbidder, who are willing to support us, it would be slow progress.

    This Girl Can

    Find out more about Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign on the website.

    There are inspirational stories, workouts you can do in the park or on the school run, and loads of advice on how to build fitness into your daily routine.

    You can even become a #ThisGirlCan supporter to help encourage women and girls of all shapes, sizes, abilities and backgrounds to get active.

    MORE: Dame Sarah Storey: ‘The setbacks I’ve suffered only made me stronger’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘I have dedicated my life to martial arts and I have no regrets’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘Disabled people are only told what they can’t do – sport changed that’


    Strong WomenStrong Women

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    Killing Eve's Villanelle is not pshychotic
    Who knew killers could look so cute? (Picture: BBC)

    Vilanelle in Killing Eve has been serving absolute looks for the last season and a bit, but the most recent craze she’s sparked is a strange one.

    After the assassin was seen in the show wearing children’s pop-art pyjamas, the internet has gone crazy for them and wants to get their hands on a bit of her deadly style.

    Twitter users were in a flurry after last week’s episode, begging to find out where they could buy a pair,

    The PJs were unfortunately made specifically for the show, but there are similar ones on the market, or you can buy the exact fabric yourself and have them made.

    Where can you buy Villanelle's pyjamas from in Killing Eve? (Saturday) From Funkifabrics RUB621 Comic Bubble Blue https://funkifabrics.com/rub621-comic-bubble-blue.html
    Sewing whizzes can make their own (Picture: Funkifabrics)

    The pop-art inspired fabric includes the iconic pow and blam symbols, and comes in a flex base fabric, which costume designer Charlotte Mitchell said was great to ‘make them tighter and tighter’ so they’d look too small on Jodie Comer.

    It comes from Altrincham-based Funkifabrics and retails for £31.20 per square metre. From there, you can have a go at making the garments yourself or commission from a tailor.

    If you’re not a dab hand with a sewing machine, here are some similar options (in style or print) that might work for your Killing Eve needs.

    Amazon, £12.95

    Amazon power rangers pyjamas
    The original PJs were supposed to be Spiderman, so these are a close second (Picture: Amazon)

    Okay, these are technically PJs for a little boy. However, the whole point of Vilanelle’s outfit was to look like she was wearing children’s pyjamas, and if you can fit an 11-12, these are a pretty close match in terms of style and print.

    Alternatively, you could get them for the little one in your life.

    Amazon, £12.99

    Amazon Wonder Woman pyjamas
    Wonder assassin (Picture: Amazon)

    If wearing teeny tiny loungewear isn’t for you, these adult-size pyjamas certainly have a Vilanelle vibe.

    Although she may be the anti-hero in the drama show, the pop-art inspired image of Wonder Woman and comic-strip style background definitely channels her outfit.

    Shein, £6.99

    Shein pyjamas
    Teddy bears picnics can be cool, okay (Picture: Shein)

    These are certainly more twee than the spy murderer’s usual antics, but have the same leggings style that’d be super comfy at night time.

    Also, for only £6.99, you can splash out on a Killing Eve style outfit to wear out of the house. Keep in mind, this does come from China, so you might have to wait a bit long for postage if you’re in the UK.

    TK Maxx, £9

    TK Maxx Chelsea Peers pyjamas
    Vilanelle, but make it adult (Picture: TK Maxx)

    Chelsea Peers do great PJs, and it’s even better when you can get them a big cheaper at TK Maxx.

    This is set is grown-up yet funky, and has similar cuffs and graphic colours to those used in the #inspo. The brand is also available at ASOS and their own website.

    Sainsbury’s, £14

    Sainsbury's Batman pyjamas
    Batgirl, that girl (Picture: Sainsbury’s)

    Tu at Sainsbury’s are always pulling it pout of the bag with fun and comfy styles, and these seem extremely Vilanelle approved.

    They go from a size 8 up to a size 22,. and you can pick them up in store as well as online.

    Boohoo, £9.60

    boohoo star print pjs
    Shine like a star (Picture: Boohoo)

    If you like your sleepwear to be stretchy and somewhat tight, these star-print numbers from Boohoo are for you.

    They’re a polyester and elastane mix, so will hug your body in all the right places (no more waking up with your nightie in a jumble) while still looking cute too. And they currently have 20% off their original price of £12.

    ASOS Design, £22

    Asos pyjamas
    I am assassin, hear me roar (Picture: ASOS)

    Leopard print has been absolutely everwhere for ages now, and it doesn’t show any signs of losing in the fashion stakes soon.

    Bring bright neon colours to your pyjamas, and do big V proud with your fierce yet friendly leggings and top combo.

    MORE: What is Parkinson’s Disease and what are the symptoms?

    MORE: Prepare yourself for cuddles, there’s a chihuahua café coming to London


    Where can you buy Villanelle\'s pyjamas from in Killing Eve? (Saturday)Where can you buy Villanelle\'s pyjamas from in Killing Eve? (Saturday)

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    Dead vagina syndrome
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    The influencer industry – and capitalism at large, really – relies on you being unsatisfied with something in your life and believing buying something will make it better.

    And of all the areas we can be influenced – food, interiors, getting lip fillers – your vagina is the easiest target of all.

    Take a dive into Pinterest and Etsy and you’ll find remedy after remedy sold as being able to make your vagina cleaner, tighter, and more ‘detoxed’.

    These remedies are often nonsense, pure and simple, and they can often pose serious health risks. But for a while, they were contained in hidden corners of the internet, only available to those who searched for an answer to their vagina-related woes.

    That’s not the case anymore. The influencer and wellness industries have realised just how much cash can be made out of our vaginal insecurities, and are now turning their full attention to sell all manner of products to make your genitals more glorious.

    There’s Mysweetv_, an Instagram account dedicated to selling gummies that apparently sweeten the taste of your vagina, promising to ‘give you a semi-fruity taste, sensual smell, optimal performance, sensation, desire in the bedroom.’

    Love Wellness is a brand selling probiotics to help you ‘maintain a healthy pH balance while preventing infection and supporting vaginal health through the immune system’, in perfectly Instagrammable packaging, of course, as well as ‘Do It All’ wipes for your vulva, advertised in flatlays alongside peaches.

    Then there’s The Perfect V, selling mists, highlighters, and an exfoliator to give you, well, ‘the perfect v’.

    All of these sorts of brands and the influencers paid big money to sell them are capitalising on a simple bit of knowledge: it’s very, very easy to plant the seed of insecurity when it comes to the vagina.

    If you’re a straight woman, you likely haven’t seen many other people’s vulvae. Sex education didn’t show you pictures of real vulvae in school or chat at length about how you should look after that area – it was more focused on explaining pregnancy and warning us all to wear a condom (important, absolutely, but couldn’t we have had some time dedicated to general genital care?).

    If you watch porn, you’ll see perfectly smooth vaginas with nary a slither of labia or a sprinkle of stubble.

    SEX INJURIES FEATURES: Cervix bruising, vaginal microtears, semen allergy
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Then you’ll hear people chatting about how ‘loose’ someone’s vagina is, making jokes about smelling fish, or even – as I remember growing up – singing songs about women’s ‘flaps hanging low’.

    So you’ve got a lack of education combined with a lack of exposure. A load of myths run wild and there’s not enough knowledge to disprove them. And because people’s vulvae aren’t visible in every day life (thanks, clothes), you don’t see the truth of their variety, instead believing that a ‘normal’ or ‘good’ vagina is the one in porn, the one that doesn’t get made fun of – meaning tight, with no visible labia, and smelling of roses.

    Because your vulva is hidden away until you get sexually intimate with someone, it’s easy for insecurity to thrive in the darkness. You can’t see anyone else’s, so you imagine they must be far better than yours. The shame starts early and it sticks hard. You’re paranoid about your scent, your looks, how you feel, and worry that if your vagina doesn’t fit the very narrow ideal you’ve been presented, it’s so ‘gross’ it’ll repel all potential partners.

    Then brands come along with apparent solutions to those deep, horrifying concerns.

    Buy this special wash, and you won’t smell gross, they tell us. Labiaplasty is the key to feeling ’empowered and confident’, according to the Google ad listing for surgery brand Mya. Loose vaginas are ‘bad’, so getting a magical tightening stick is a great idea.

    The brands and influencers team up to make you feel even worse about your vagina and sell you an ideal that isn’t real. And they do it because it works so well.

    They can’t tell you the truth, because that’ll stop you spending.

    The truth is that the vagina needs no cleansing products at all, as it’s self-cleaning. In fact, using any sort of cleansing product internally is likely to knock your pH balance off kilter and cause irritation and infection. All you need to do is wash the vulva (the external bits of your genitals) with warm water.

    Your vagina has a natural taste and smell that’s pretty glorious. It shouldn’t taste like a gummy bear or smell like roses. A change in smell can be a sign of something going wrong, and if you’re concerned you should head to a gynaecologist to check for an infection, not mask your symptoms in a haze of lavender scented mist.

    Labia come in all shapes and sizes. There’s no type that’s ‘wrong’, and it’s simply not the case that everyone else out there has the invisible labia you see in porn.

    No amount of sex will make your vagina ‘loose’. It’s designed to stretch and return to its glorious form, and a vagina so tight you can’t get inside isn’t a sign of goodness, but evidence that the person isn’t physically aroused enough.

    And hair removal, should you choose to do it, is a bitch. Stubble happens, so does irritation from a razor, ingrown hairs are a thing, waxing hurts – these are all perfectly normal and not a failing on your body’s part.

    The only way to guard yourself from influencers shilling transforming vagina products and ‘natural detox remedies’ (your vagina does not need a detox, and putting anything up there that doesn’t belong there will give you a nasty infection) is radical self-love. Get wise to the scam of insecurity and self-hate as a way to sell you all sorts of stuff you don’t need, and refuse to buy into it.

    Your vagina is wonderful the way it is, without the need for any gummy bear, highlighter, or surgery. Don’t let an Instagram post tell you any different.

    MORE: Please don’t vacuum your vagina to try to end your period faster

    MORE: All the things that happen to your vagina when you’re pregnant

    MORE: I painted vulvas in public loos to show no two vaginas are the same


    Dead vagina syndromeDead vagina syndrome

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    Eight bananas at different stage of maturity
    It won’t go brown, but it will shrink a little (Picture: Getty)

    As we grow older, most of us will lose some hair, get wrinkles and potentially also say goodbye to a few teeth.

    However, there are some adjustments that men in particular may not have thought of: what will happen to their precious manhood.

    Your penis is a body part like any other and ageing is completely normal – even if it may feel a bit terrifying.

    Depending on your current age, here is what you can expect to happen from your penis and balls.

    Your penis size will change

    Your body is regulated through testosterone.

    Remember puberty? That’s when your body first started producing it and you will reach peak levels in your late teens to early 20s.

    However, once you pass 40, this will decrease quite substantially, which can cause changes to your penis size.

    If you carry more fat on the pubic bone above your penis, this skin can begin to sag – effectively making your manhood look smaller.

    Don’t panic, your dick won’t just shrink over night and the healthier you stay throughout your life, the better your chances are of keeping it in the size you’re used to.

    However, unfortunately some men will also experience permanent shrinkage as their skin loses elasticity and healthy cells are replaced by collagen.

    Your penis could develop a deeper curve

    There are many different penis shapes, such as The Banana, The Cone and The Pepper.

    Regardless if it’s completely straight or already has a bend, there’s a chance you will see more curvature as you age.

    This curve is brought on by a condition known as Peyronie’s disease, where fibrous scar tissue builds up inside your penis.

    This is caused by an injury or fracture during sex and usually affects men aged 40 to 60 years old.

    The tissue develops as your penis heals and lies in the way of the blood flow during your erection, which curves your penis.

    You may experience erectile dysfunction

    According to the British Association of Urological Surgeons, impotence occurs in 50 to 55% of men aged between 40 to 70, but it is by no means limited to this age group.

    Causes for erectile dysfunction range can be physical, neurological or both.

    Not being able to get it up – or keep it up – now and then is normal and can be due to stress, anxiety or too much alcohol.

    However, if it’s happening frequently, it’s possible this issue is brought on by hormone problems, high blood pressure or medication.

    Having erectile dysfunction can severely affect your mental health, but you’re not alone in it.

    Chat to your GP if you’re worried and remember, it’s very common – and exactly why Viagra was invented.

    Your balls could droop and shrink

    When your testosterone levels drop your body will develop less sperm, which will cause your scrotum to shrink.

    Some men may also notice that their balls starts to droop, which is partly due to lack of skin elasticity – though no one ball sack is the same, and some men naturally have ‘low-hanging fruit’.

    You can do special exercises to lift the scrotum and some men also choose to get a surgical procedure to amend the droop (known as a scrotoplasty) – though this comes with its own risks and shouldn’t be your first port of call.

    There are also a range of medical issues that can be the reason for a droop including a condition known as varicoceles, which can also cause infertility and discomfort.

    Your pubic hair will thin or turn grey

    This is also a sign of testosterone levels dropping.

    On the upside, you no longer have to trim the landscape.

    While most of the above is no cause for concern, if you notice any changes that you’re uncomfortable with or experience any pain, swelling or other issues with your genitals, speak to your doctor.

    It can also be useful to chat to other men who are experiencing similar problems and thankfully there are many forums to join.

    Above all, don’t worry.

    Your penis is still glorious, even if it changes.

    MORE: Penis enlarging surgeries ‘don’t work’ and ‘should almost never be done’

    MORE: Do you need penis cleaner?

    MORE: Apparently there are seven types of penis in the world


    What happens to your penis as you age?What happens to your penis as you age?

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    Mum Mel Watts with her four children
    Mel is a mum-of-four taking down the pressure to ‘bounce back’ to your pre-pregnancy shape (Picture: @melwatts/Instagram)

    There’s so much pressure on mums to ‘bounce back’ to their pre-pregnancy bodies with haste.

    Despite having literally grown and pushed out a tiny human, new parents are still judged on the appearance of their body, held up against unrealistic ideals perpetuated by glossy magazine photoshoots.

    Blogger and mother-of-four Mel Watts is doing her bit to take apart that pressure.

    She shared a photo of her body two years after giving birth to her youngest child, to show that it’s perfectly normal for your body to look different after creating life.

    Along with a photo showing off her tummy, Mel wrote: ‘BRB just waiting for my pre baby body to bounce back – two years later (well actually 12 years).

    Mel Watts shares an honest photo of her body after having four kids
    Mel shared an unedited photo of her stomach (Picture: @melwatts/Instagram)

    ‘Oh and I’ll also love my old set of jugs to return to say 16 year old ones if that’s okay.

    ‘And whilst we’re at it I’d love my teenage mental health to flick itself right in there too, the IDGAF mind would be absolutely trick right now.

    ‘IT’S NOT COMING BACK, NONE OF IT.

    ‘I get so angry and fired up when I see people writing about bouncing back post baby. You’ll never ever ever be the same body or mind after you’ve had a baby.

    ‘It’s gone. Just like your ability to stay up all night and feel fresh the next day.’

    Mel goes on to explain that becoming a parent changes you – of course it does – and that we should embrace that change rather than trying to hurriedly reverse it.

    Mel Watts at the beach with her four children and husband
    Mel wants people to know that becoming a parent changes you, and that’s okay (Picture: @melwatts/Instagram)

    ‘We set so many up for failure because they feel like they need to bounce back, they need to get back to their pre baby selves,’ she writes.

    ‘Sheesh I’d love my husband to bounce back post birth too, but he ain’t and no one is telling him he should. The reality is that’ll he’ll never be the same either.

    ‘We either bare the scars on the outside or feel the changes on the inside. Not one person has walked out or been wheeled out of birth the same as they went in.

    ‘We [accept] we can just go back to our past selves as we cradle our future.

    ‘Embrace the what the heck you have, if you don’t like it, fix it. With the right mindset you could love the person you are right now, and if someone’s telling you differently – do you really need that?

    ‘It takes time to like you, but once you do you’ll see that you aren’t actually that bad.’

    Mel Watts with her husband
    Mel with her husband (Picture: @melwatts/Instagram)

    A far more reassuring message than the one spouted by celebs who go right back to being toned weeks after pregnancy, right?*

    *FYI, that’s very often a result of surgery, Photoshop, and a level of personal training and diet planning that only extreme wealth allows.

    It’s a post we clearly needed to see, judging from the mass of comments thanking Mel for sharing.

    One commenter wrote: WHY do we live in a society where it’s some kind of achievement to have a baby but not look like you’ve ever had a baby?????? love love love this!!!’

    Another added: ‘Thanks for speaking up and normalising what so many of us mums can relate with after kids.

    ‘I have a overhang, loads of stretchies and as much as I try and come to terms with it, accept my new bod, someone pops up ‘bouncing back’ flawless after 6 weeks. Gorgeous inside and out.’

    This isn’t the first time Mel has inspired positive body-image for mums.

    Back in 2017 she shared photos of her stomach four days after giving birth to her fourth child via a C-section.

    Mel's stomach during her pregnancy, and four days after giving birth to her fourth child
    Mel’s stomach during her pregnancy, and four days after giving birth to her fourth child (Picture: @themodernmumma/ Instagram)

    ‘It’s no castle or bloody piece of art,’ Mel wrote. ‘Sure it’s filled with stretch marks and dimples.

    ‘But this body, this one the one I own gave me another life. Another small human to love and to hold.

    ‘It held onto him for 9 months and sheltered him, protected him and prepared him for the day he was born.

    ‘So many times I’ve doubted my body, so many times I’ve pinched and pulled at sections that I didn’t like. In reality this body has done everything I’d ever want it to do.

    ‘Sure it’s not magazine or swimsuit worthy to some. But to me and my husband, it’s the place that grew our babies. It’s the place that everything we love most started. And that’s all that counts right?!

    ‘We feel as though we need to follow society’s stigma on what we should look like when in fact we should just do what we feel works for us.

    ‘No body has the same body. Every body has their own body. Enjoy it.’

    MORE: Mum only realised husband had a brain injury after her daughter did too

    MORE: How wearing high heels damages your body

    MORE: Mum says breast milk helped fade her stretch marks


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    Chloe, 15, was left with chemical burns after spilling some nail glue on her leg
    Chloe, 15, was left with chemical burns after spilling some nail glue on her leg (Picture: Warrington Borough council)

    A lesson to all: be careful using beauty products you’ve ordered online.

    That’s a warning that’s been issued by Warrington Borough Council after a girl experienced chemical burns from nail glue.

    Mum Sarah Gallagher had bought her daughter, Chloe, a nail art kit for £21 online as a gift.

    While using the kit Chloe accidentally spilled some glue on her legs.

    The product immediately burned through Chloe’s pyjamas and on to her skin. Despite rushing to wash the glue off, the 15-year-old was left with chemical burns.

    TRADING Standards watchdogs have issued a warning to online shoppers yesterday after a 15-year-old girl suffered chemical burns from nail glue. Mum, Sarah Gallagher of Warrington, Cheshire, bought her daughter, Chloe, a nail art kit for ??21 online as a gift.
    Chloe had to be treated for second and third degree burns (Picture: Warrington Borough Council)

    The teenager was referred to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, where she was treated for second and third degree burns.

    As you’d probably expect, none of that was a particularly pleasant experience. Chloe has been in a lot of pain and has needed to return to hospital multiple times to get her burns properly dressed.

    It turns out the nail kit Sarah ordered online was manufactured in China, with the seller based in Hong Kong.

    TRADING Standards watchdogs have issued a warning to online shoppers yesterday after a 15-year-old girl suffered chemical burns from nail glue. Mum, Sarah Gallagher of Warrington, Cheshire, bought her daughter, Chloe, a nail art kit for ??21 online as a gift.
    The council is warning people to be cautious buying beauty products onlineWarrington Borough Council

    As a result, Warrington Borough Council has issued a warning to be careful buying beauty products from places outside the UK, as they may not comply with the country’s regulations.

    Councillor Judith Guthrie said: ‘We strongly advise people to be wary of buying products that don’t appear to comply with EU/UK regulations.

    ‘It’s really important that people stay safe when shopping online and find out as much as possible about what they are purchasing.

    ‘On this occasion, our officers acted swiftly to get the product removed from the website. Unfortunately, as the seller and manufacturer are outside of Europe, we were not able to take enforcement action in this case.’

    MORE: Teenager shares photos of her ragged fingers to warn of risks of fake nails

    MORE: Mum shares photo of her tummy two years after giving birth to take down the pressure to ‘bounce back’

    MORE: What happens to your penis as you age?


    TRADING Standards watchdogs have issued a warning to online shoppers yesterday after a 15-year-old girl suffered chemical burns from nail glue. Mum, Sarah Gallagher of Warrington, Cheshire, bought her daughter, Chloe, a nail art kit for ??21 online as a gift.TRADING Standards watchdogs have issued a warning to online shoppers yesterday after a 15-year-old girl suffered chemical burns from nail glue. Mum, Sarah Gallagher of Warrington, Cheshire, bought her daughter, Chloe, a nail art kit for ??21 online as a gift.

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    Father's Day card
    Happy Father’s Day! (Picture: Getty)

    Father’s Day is nearly upon us here in the UK, and dads across the country will be ready to be showered with presents and cards.

    For brand new dads, however, the gifts tend not to come from their little ones, but from their partners. After all, most newborns only know how to gift the gifts of vomiting and needing their nappies changed.

    If you’re wondering what to get your loved one to say thanks for everything they do, we have a few ideas.

    Since we’re the on Father’s Day eve, the options we’ve given can all be bought in stores or with online vouchers, so you don’t have to faff about with delivery.

    Quality time

    Of course, this may seem obvious. However, for any new parent, there are a million and one things to do, and nowhere near enough time to do them.

    Some family time (or alone time if he needs a break) could be a great – and free way – to show you care. And if there’s a breakfast in bed in there, too, you’re on to a winner.

    A special experience

    Whichever ‘dad type’ you’re with, sites like Virgin Experience Days have something to suit.

    You can opt for motor racing, football stadium tours, comedy nights, afternoon tea, or even a father and child superhero portrait.

    Prices start from around £25.

    A little tipple

    No.3 London dry gin
    No.3 is critically acclaimed (Picture: Waitrose)

    Given that it’s Father’s Day, why not get something extra special for him to drink? No.3 London Dry Gin is £35 from Waitrose, and has been described by gin expert Geraldine Coates as ‘a classic’ and won multiple awards.

    Another gorgeous addition to the booze cabinet would be Cardhu Gold Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which is down from £42 to £25 at Asda right now. It was masterminded by blender Matthew Crow, and has notes of cinnamon and toffee.

    A place to store memories

    Now is the time your partner will be making all the memories with your baby, and a way to keep those forever is a project and a present combined.

    Paperchase have a number of different scrapbooking options, with some sets coming with everything you need to start documenting your wee one grow.

    Boots also offer a number of home decor options you can order and collect on the same day, so you can put your best pics on everything from cushions to mugs.

    A morning pick-me-up

    Keepcup
    Saving dosh and saving his sanity (Picture: Marks & Spencer)

    It’s very likely that he’s running on empty at the moment – as are you. If he’s someone that loves a coffee to help wake him up, this could be a good present option.

    Marks & Spencer sells a range of reusable KeepCups – this model is £12 – that are good for the environment as well as his caffeine habit.

    As well as that, many outlets offer discounts when you bring your own cup. Add on a Costa voucher too for added kudos.

    Home-made vouchers

    If you’re strapped for cash, as plenty of parents are after having to buy nappies and baby food galore, you could make a little book of vouchers for use in the home.

    They can be for one date night (where you cook) or one free pass to get out of a night feed. Easier said than done, but it’ll make your partner very happy in the long-run!

    And what dad doesn’t love a gadget?

    What would a Father’s Day gift guide be without a gadget or two. A drone (like this £30 stunt drone from Argos) or remote control car (such as this from John Lewis for £39.99) can bring out the child in him and pull him out of daddy mode while playing.

    Plus, it’ll be a fun activity starter with your baby as they grow.

    MORE: Where can you buy Villanelle’s pyjamas from in Killing Eve?

    MORE: Your vagina is the easiest target for influencers to sell you self-hate


    happy father's day concept with necktie and greeting cardshappy father's day concept with necktie and greeting cards

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    "Happy Father's Day" and "I love dad" written on cards with paint brush
    Father’s Day is just around the corner… (Picture: istetiana/Moment/Getty)

    Father’s Day 2019, aka Sunday 16 June, is coming up very fast indeed, and we’re running out of time to get our gifts to dad.

    Life can come at you fast and sometimes remembering to prepare gifts for holidays can fall by the wayside.

    We get it – we’ve all been there.

    If you, like so many of us have done before, have forgotten about Father’s Day, or if you just haven’t found the perfect present yet, then never fear, because we’ve put together a list of Father’s Day gift ideas that are available last minute and budget-friendly to boot.

    Alcohol

    Booze is a classic gift option for any occasion, and Father’s Day is no different.

    If your dad likes a tipple, there are budget-friendly options a-plenty for you to choose from.

    a glass of whiskey with ice
    A gift for the dad who likes his spirits (Picture: Richard Theis/EyeEm/Getty Images)

    This has been a great year for supermarket alcohol, with a £13.49 Lidl whiskey being voted the best Scotch in the entire world, Aldi’s £16.99 own brand rum being crowned best in the world, and Asda releasing a gold award-winning wine for £5.25.

    a cup of coffee being poured
    Lush (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)

    Coffee making accessories

    If your dad’s more into java than the hard stuff, coffee accessories would make a great gift that he could get years worth of use out of.

    For example, John Lewis are currently selling a 6 cup silver espresso cafetiere for £16.50, and a KRUPS coffee grinder with a two year guarantee for £20.00.

    A pile of butter fudge
    Probably not good for the teeth, definitely good for the soul (Picture: “Morris, Robert”/Getty Images/Foodcollection)

    Sweets

    We’re not talking penny sweets – there’s a wealth of unique and luxurious treats out there to suit any sweet tooth.

    For example, MenKind are currently selling a Guinness tankard and fudge for £12.99, and personalised Father’s Day Toblerone for £10.99.

    Table full of mediterranean appetizers, tapas or antipasto
    Beautiful, isn’t it? (Picture: NelliSyr/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    Savory snacks

    Not everyone’s into the sweet stuff, and if your dad is the type to reach for the savory snacks, then there are plenty of options for him out there.

    For instance, M&S are selling food and drink hampers with prices starting at £20.

    For that price, you can get the likes of the Beer and Snack Can, which includes a bottle of Jaipur IPA, a bottle opener, pork crackling, a whole chorizo, and oven roasted mixed nuts.

    Aldwyn and Sons foot scrub and clippers
    Guys need pampering too (Picture: Aldwyn and Sons)

    A manicure or pedicure

    If your dad is into pampering, then Aldwyn & Sons in Fitzrovia are currently offering a 30 minute manicure for £30 – at that price, maybe you and your dad could make a day of it, and get in on some quality cuticle care together.

    MORE: Morrisons is selling its Big Daddy Breakfast for £5 this Father’s Day

    MORE: Deliveroo launches new sauce that tastes just like your dad’s bad barbecues

    MORE: Chris Evans’ kids aren’t bothered that he’ll be 71 when they’re 18: ‘Dad, you’ve had your life’


    Making greeting card, holiday gift for dadMaking greeting card, holiday gift for dad

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    Two images, one showing Derin Gebhardt and his wife Sandra, the other Derin and his baby son
    Derin Gebhardt, his wife Sandra and their son, Gage (Picture: Mayo Clinic)

    Derin Gebhardt, 37, and his wife Sandra, 38 had been trying to conceive for a year, when they finally discovered what was standing in their way.

    After visiting their family doctor in Roundup, Montana, the couple were told that Derin had low testosterone levels, which the doctor believed could be due to a tumour.

    A week later, the pair found out that Derin had a benign tumour growing on his pituitary gland in the brain, which was affecting his sperm production.

    It was also the reason why Derin, who works as a volunteer firefighter and has an active lifestyle, had gained weight.

    Sandra and Derin met through mutual friends.

    She first spotted him through a Facebook campaign that his friends had put together in order to get Derin on NBC’s The Biggest Loser (a weight loss show) in 2010.

    A few months later, a friend tried to set her up with Derin.

    ‘He popped up in a picture [on Facebook] with one of my nephew’s moms,’ Sandra, 38, told Daily Mail Online.

    ‘She was trying to set me up with somebody – and it turns out it was him – and I was like: “I know who he is. I have a bit of a cyber crush on him”.’

    Derin and Sarah pose together in the countryside with a nature scene behind them
    Derin and Sandra met through friends (Picture: Facebook)

    After dating for a few years, the couple got married in March 2014.

    Two years later, they decided to have a baby, but despite trying various methods to improve their chances including using a basal body thermometer to track ovulation and tracking Sandra’s menstrual cycle, nothing happened.

    ‘I had the thermometer [to check my ovulation], charts, all the research from websites,’ Sandra said.

    ‘It was definitely frustrating. There was a lot of frustration and humiliation, and Derin was as down as I’ve ever seen him.’

    At the same time, Derin also started to gain weight – another symptom of his tumour. It was also affecting the hormones produced by the pituitary gland, which regulates testosterone levels and sperm production.

    ‘I was doing all the cooking and he was active,’ Sandra said.

    ‘I said: “It doesn’t make sense why you keep getting weight.”

    ‘I think at his heaviest, he was 460 [pounds].’

    Darren also started to experience mental health problems as a result of not being able to conceive.

    ‘There’s obvious frustrations when your body doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to,’ he said.

    ‘I figured that it was all a product of the way I had been living.’

    After receiving the official diagnosis from their family doctor, the couple visited the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, for help and Derin was soon put on a treatment that included medication to shrink the tumour.

    Derin looks happy as he lifts up his smiling son in the air
    While Derin was receiving treatment for his tumour, Sandra became pregnant with their son (Picture: Mayo Clinic)
    Derin's son sat with his toys and smiling at the camera
    Gage will turn one year old next month (Picture: Mayo Clinic)

    However, in the end, he required surgery to remove it.

    Preparation for the surgery was difficult – Derin needed to lose weight before going under the knife.

    ‘Sandra packed all my meals, and the diet was miserable,’ he said.

    ‘But it’s something you have to deal with. I wanted to be a candidate for surgery in the next few months. I was in a time crunch.’

    Derin Gebhardt and his son sat together on the floor
    Derin and his son Gage having some bonding time (Picture: Mayo Clinic)
    New dad Derin pushes his son around their house in his toy car
    Derin will celebrate Father’s Day for the first time this year (Picture: Mayo Clinic)

    The surgery, which includes using an endoscope that is inserted through the nose, was a success.

    ‘There are no cuts, no bruises,’ said Dr Devyani Lal, aa professor of otolaryngology at Mayo College of Medicine and Science, who treated Derin.

    ‘We create a passageway by removing tissue that gives access to the tumor, but does not change facial structure or appearance.’

    While Derin was undergoing the treatment, Sandra got pregnant and the couple welcomed their son, Gage, in June 2018.

    He will turn one year old next month.

    ‘We were, honestly, excited,’ Derin said.

    ‘I’d been praying for it for a long time. I was not surprised, but very thankful.

    ‘If you think you know something could be wrong you should get checked out,’ he said. ‘If you don’t like what you hear, get a second opinion or a third opinion.’

    MORE: Father’s Day 2019: A gift guide for dads who are tricky to buy for

    MORE: Morrisons is selling a Mighty Meat Feast for £5 for Father’s Day

    MORE: Morrisons launches Gingerbread Princes to celebrate Prince Harry’s first Father’s Day


    For a year, Derin Gebhardt and his wife, Sandra, tried every tooFor a year, Derin Gebhardt and his wife, Sandra, tried every too

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    Head to the Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary to meet baby chimps like Caesar
    Head to the Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary to meet baby chimps like Caesar (Picture: Rupert Parker)

    In front of me Mama P is holding her charge, Caesar, in her arms and he’s reaching out playfully to touch her face just like a baby.

    He’s only seven months old and is a rescued chimpanzee, orphaned after his mother was killed by poachers. His behavior is almost human… not really surprising since chimps share 98.6% of their DNA with us.

    I’m in Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary, just outside the capital Freetown, home to around 80 rescued animals. Sierra Leone has the third largest population of chimpanzees in Africa, after Liberia and Guinea, but they’re critically endangered with only an estimated 5,000 left in the wild. The adults are hunted for bush meat and most chimps that arrive here are orphans, often less than five years old.

    Mama Posseh Kamara has been rearing baby chimps for 15 years and they stay with her until they’re old enough to join the others. Although the long term aim is to release them back into the wild it’s been tough to find a suitable location.

    Fortunately, Sierra Leone has recently chosen the chimpanzee as its national symbol, hoping that people will stop hunting them for bush meat.

    Chimps aren’t the only thing to see in the area. Here’s where to head for the perfect break in this incredible country.

    Freetown

    What to do in Sierra Leone, Freetown
    (Picture: Rupert Parker)

    Freetown itself enjoys a stunning setting at the foot of verdant green mountains vanishing into the clouds, perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

    It was founded in 1792 by the British government, as a haven for returned slaves and went through a number of false starts as climate and disease took its toll.

    These days there’s still a smattering of colonial style wooden rickety houses, patched with rusted corrugated iron, in districts with English place names like Gloucester, Leicester and Kent.

     

    Beaches

    Lumley Beach
    Lumley Beach (Picture: Rupert Parker)

    I’m staying on Lumley Beach, the town’s seaside playground, home to fishermen and sun worshippers alike.

    From here the Atlantic coast stretches south in an unbroken stretch of sand with decent hotels to match.

    My favourite is luxury resort The Place at Tokeh Beach, where brightly painted wooden fishing canoes arrive in the evening to unload their catch on the brilliant white sand.

    boys play on the beach in Sierra Leone
    (Picture: Rupert Parker)

    The Banana islands, just off the coast, offer more of the Robinson Crusoe experience, with basic accommodation.

     

    Tiwai Island

    Canoe Crossing Tiwai Island
    You’ll need to board a canoe to get to Tiwai Island (Picture: Rupert Parker)
    Tiwai Island
    It’s worth the journey (Picture: Rupert Parker)

    In the east of the country, on the edge of the Gola rain forest national park, is Tiwai Island.

    It has one of densest and most diverse populations of primates in the world, with 11 species co-existing in an area of 12 square km.

    Also here is the rare and endemic pygmy hippopotamus, with only around 200 left in the country. Take a boat trip around the island and you may well get a fleeting glimpse of one.

    Camping is the only option here, but you wake up to a deafening dawn chorus, a mixture of monkeys and birds.

     

    Diamond Mining

    Sieving for Diamonds in Sierra Leone
    Go to the Kono district to see people sieving for diamonds (Picture: Rupert Parker)

    North of here is Kono district, Sierra Leone’s diamond mining region, known as the Wild East. In 1972, a huge 969 specimen, aptly named the Star of Sierra Leone and the third largest in the world, was found here.

    Much of the mining is still done by hand and, by the side of the road, are huge diggings populated by ant-like figures bent double. They’re sieving the alluvial gravel in the hope of finding something sparkling.

    Today the diamond trade is meant to be regulated by government, but the cowboys are still in control.

     

    Kabala

    A view of Kabala
    A view of Kabala (Picture: Rupert Parker)

    Near the border with Guinea are the Wara Mountains, easily accessed from Kabala.

    The huge black cliff of Gbawuria Hill, towering above the town, is sacred, so you need permission from the local chiefs before you can make the stiff one hour climb up to the top.

    From there you get splendid views of the town with the mountains stretching to the horizon, in brilliant greens and milky blues.

    On the way down, don’t forget to stop and sample some palm wine from rustic producers – refreshing and only mildly alcoholic.

    Bunce Island

    Bunce Island
    Bunce Island (Picture: Rupert Parker)

    From Freetown, a one hour boat ride brings you to Bunce Island, a grim reminder of the country’s past. It was settled and fortified by English slave traders around 1670 and 50,000 Africans were shipped from here to the United States until the trade was outlawed in 1807.

    Amid the crumbling ruins of this slave castle you can still make out the yards where captives were held and the large house where the owners lived their lives of luxury.

    Ruins in Bunce Island
    (Picture: Rupert Parker)

    Preservation work has just started, a sign that Sierra Leone itself is on the way to recovery.

    Where to stay in Sierra Leone and how to get there:

    Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, Freetown, is a comfortable base on Lumley Beach.

    The Place at Tokeh Beach is Sierra Leone’s Premier Beach Resort.

    Brussels Airlines flies to Freetown via Brussels.

    Rainbow Tours has a ten day trip to Sierra Leone starting from £2795 per person, based on two sharing including flights, all transfers, all activities, all accommodations and meals as per itinerary.

    MORE: Biking around Medellin in the footsteps of Pablo Escobar

    MORE: Stunning beaches and bags of culture: What could be better than a mango festival in Nevis?


    Mama P and Caesar-8afcMama P and Caesar-8afc

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    As I gaze out the window of a Cessna 208 Grand Caravan plane, an expanse of beehive-like rock formations come into view. We are entering the Purnululu National Park, and these are the Bungle Bungle Ranges.

    The Bungle Bungle Ranges were eroded over a period of 20 million years into the stunning striped domed cones that we see today in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

    It’s an area of incredible beauty and diversity, with a seemingly endless array of stunning landscapes to explore.

    Bungle Bungle Ranges
    Bungle Bungle Ranges (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)
    Bungle Bungle Ranges
    (Picture: Jean-Bernard Carillet)

    Accessible via direct flight from Perth, Kununurra is the area’s biggest town and a good base for exploring East Kimberley. From here a number of aviation companies operate scenic helicopter and plane flights to and across the region.

    A flight from Kununurra to the Bungle Bungle Ranges (known as the Bungles), flies over a number of Kimberley icons, including the Ord River Dam, Lake Kununurra and the huge Lake Argyle.

    The views are stunning, the low flying plane allowing for the most spectacular panoramas while our pilot talks us through the history and geology of the region.

    We land at Bellburn, an unsealed airstrip in Purnululu National Park, easily the smallest and most remote runway that I’ve ever been to. Here we meet our guides, Mick and Collier, stopping for a cup of tea before heading off on a hike through the park.

    plane to the bungle bungle
    Our plane (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    Close up, the Bungles are even more beautiful, with orange and black stripes looping the huge domes.

    As we walk Collier tells us about the traditional owners of the Bungle Bungle ranges – the Karjaganujaru people – and that the Bungles are an incredibly sacred place to them.

    We pause as he shows us aboriginal rock art – stencils of hands and boomerangs.

    aboriginal rock art
    (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

     Continuing on, our destination is Cathedral Gorge, a natural amphitheatre with incredible acoustics.

    In the wet season, a waterfall cascades into the gorge, leaving a pool of water. It’s the start of the dry season now, and after a bad (meaning little rain), wet season, the only evidence of the waterfall is the blackened rock where water would have fallen.

    I can’t resist singing to test out if the acoustics really are as good as they say, and my voice carries through the gorge with amazing volume and with a gentle echo.

    Compared to the heat we experienced on the walk, it’s remarkably cool in here, and we stop and enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade.

    Cathedral Gorge in kimberley
    Cathedral Gorge (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet )

    Back in our tiny plane, there’s more incredible scenery, including the Argyle Diamond Mine – famous for its rare pink diamonds. For those wishing to see the mine up close, there is an option to land at the airstrip here too.

    Argyle Diamond Mine
    Argyle Diamond Mine (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    As the sun begins to set we land at El Questro Wilderness Park, our home for the night.

    El Questro covers an area of 700,000 acres and includes a working cattle station and three accommodation options: The luxury Homestead, safari cabins at Emma Gorge and bungalows and camping at the Station.

    It’s hard to believe it’s only been one day here in the Kimberley, having seen and experienced so much, with such a contrast of landscapes and such untouched terrain. It really does feel like I’m on an adventure.

    Driving through El Questro Wilderness Park
    Driving through El Questro Wilderness Park (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    Day two is spent exploring El Questro Wilderness Park.

    A one-hour hike takes us to the spectacular Emma Gorge, a watering hole set at the base of towering 65m cliffs. The gorge offers a much needed and refreshing dip after the walk.

    Emma Gorge is just one of many trail options in El Questro, each with its own stunning scenery and appeal.

    Emma gorge in kimberley, Australia
    Emma Gorge (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    For further relaxation following a hike, Zebedee Springs is the perfect destination.

    A short walk through a pre-historic forest of Livistona and pandanus palms and you arrive at a collection of thermal pools and small waterfalls.

    Zebedee springs
    Zebedee Springs (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)
    Zebedee Springs thermal pools
    Definitely pause for a dip in the thermal pools (Picture: Jean-Bernard Carillet)

    The pools are open to the public from 7am to 12pm, after which only El Questro guests can use the pool. This is a great time to visit, when you can have the place to yourself and really relax in the warm waters.

    Our third experience, of the many on offer in El Questro, is Chamberlain Gorge. This 3km long fresh waterhole is surrounded by towering escarpments, with the chance to see rock wallabies and freshwater crocodiles – particularly later on in the season, when they bask on the banks.

    We pause at the end of the gorge, only to be soaked by archerfish. These cheeky fish spit water to impressive heights in order to knock small insects and prey off branches and out of the sky into the water – very impressive.

    But they also seem to love spitting at us on the boat.

    Stunning views at Chamberlain Gorge
    Stunning views at Chamberlain Gorge (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    Our final day of activities is all about water and includes boat trips on the Ord River and Lake Argyle.

    A day tour with Triple J Tours is the perfect way to see the river, powering through the calm waters at speeds of up 50km per hour, and stopping every now and then to learn about the wildlife, flora and fauna.

    It’s possible to see freshwater crocodiles in the river, as well as an incredible array of birds, bats, wallaroos, and more.

    Ord River, Kimberley
    Travel along the Ord River (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    After stopping for lunch on a sheltered riverbank, we continue on until we reach the Ord Dam. A huge project for the Kimberley, which was completed in 1971. The lake then took three years to fill and is now Western Australia’s largest man-made freshwater lake – containing over 18 times the volume of water in Sydney Harbour.

    We hop aboard a coach to take us up and over the dam, to the other side where our next vessel awaits. Lake Argyle, along with Lake Kununurra is recognised as a Ramsar protected wetland and is home to a vast selection of wildlife, including more than 270 species of birds.

    Lake Argyle is said to have the highest density of freshwater crocodiles anywhere in Australia, estimated at over 35,000.

    You might think this would be an incentive to stay out of the water, but our hosts stop the boat and invite us to take a swim, assuring us that freshwater crocodiles are not harmful to people unless provoked. It’s the saltwater crocodiles that you need to worry about.

    Lake Argyle
    Lake Argyle (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    So I decide to go for it – and I’m so glad I did. The water is beautifully clear and refreshing – and I’m even allowed to jump off the top of the boat.

    As we climb back aboard, the sun is setting and we enjoy a glass of sparkling while we watch the incredible show of colours on the horizon. A magical experience.

    Jumping off the boat into Lake Argyle
    Jumping off the boat into Lake Argyle (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    The final night is spent at Lake Argyle Resort – a caravan, camping and holiday resort – with a range of accommodation and one of the most beautiful swimming pools in Australia.

    The beautiful pool overlooks the lake and offers the most stunning views – particularly at sunrise and sunset.

    It’s incredibly refreshing to find a stunning pool in such a welcoming and affordable accommodation – and I waste no time in jumping in, reflecting over an incredible adventure in one of the last true wilderness areas of the world.

    The view from the pool at Lake Argyle Resort
    The view from the pool at Lake Argyle Resort (Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet)

    Where to stay:

    A 2 bedroom lake view villa at Lake Argyle Resort costs per night: £250 ($459.00 AUS) (sleeping 1 – 4 people)

    River view rooms at El Questro Station start from £222 ($409 AUS) per night.

    Rooms at Kununurra Country Club Resort start from £105 ($195 AUS) per night

    How to get to The Kimberley:

    Fly London to Perth with Qatar via Doha from £1,260.02 return in economy and £5,174.02 return in Business.

    From Perth fly with Virgin Australia to Kununurra from £135 ($249 AUS) one way.

    What to do:

    A Bungle Bungle Wanderer scenic flight and tour with Aviair costs £423 ($779 AUS) per person.

    A Lake Argyle Sunset Tour & Ord River Tour + Riverside Lunch costs £160 ($295 AUS) per adult.

    Hayley Lewis is a travel writer, blogger and producer. For more on the Kimberley head to alovelyplanet.com or follow Hayley on Instagram, YouTubeTwitter or Facebook.

    MORE: What you need to do and see on a trip to Sierra Leone

    MORE: Muslims Who Fast: Yassmin shows us a ‘Sudanese-Australian combination iftar’


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    Roast on a plate including meat, carrots, Yorkshire pudding, cabbage, peas and green beans. Two pints can also be seen in the background, along with the cut of meat on a board
    The roast – a British classic (Picture: Toby Carvery)

    Haven’t settled on where to take dear dad for Father’s Day?

    If you don’t mind waiting until the afternoon, you could score him a Sunday roast at Toby Carvery – on the house.

    On 16 June, the restaurant chain is offering all dads a free roast if someone else at the same table orders a full-priced main meal.

    Toby Carvery specialises in meats; dad can choose from turkey, beef, gammon and pork.

    Sadly, the lamb isn’t included.

    The deal is available from 6pm onwards and you’re best off booking a table.

    To claim the deal, download the Toby Carvery app and register (if you’re not already a member).

    But what’s a free meal without a free drink? If you go king size when you order, your dad will also get a complimentary pint of Coors Light, Stowford Press or a soft drink alternative.

    If roast isn’t your preference, there’s plenty else on the menu including salmon, Caesar salad, Toby’s Ploughman’s sandwich and the signature roast beef burger.

    But bear in mind, you’re still paying full price for these dishes and the deal itself only applies to roasts (and dads).

    Are you or your dad part of the armed forces?

    Swing back on 29 June as Toby Carvery will be offering free roast dinners to all military staff (veterans included).

    MORE: Prepare yourself for cuddles, there’s a chihuahua café coming to London

    MORE: What’s actually in the vegan KFC Imposter Burger?

    MORE: Morrisons launches gigantic surf and turf to celebrate Father’s Day


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    Illustration of six people, including women and men standing together
    Be kind and a good listener (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Dating is hard.

    Not only are you looking for a special connection, but most of us are also ticking off an internal list of qualities that we want, and don’t want, in our future partner.

    Some qualities – like whether your date has a dog or likes pineapple on pizza – are up for debate, but the fundamentals such as whether they are stable, treat you well and are trustworthy are can be deal-breakers for many.

    The dating website eHarmony has analysed eight years worth of data among users aged 18 to 34, in order to find out exactly which character traits are ‘must-haves’.

    On the flipside, the research also produced a definitive list of qualities that people ‘can’t stand’.

    According to the data, young people want someone who can have a laugh, likes giving and receiving affection and is reliable.

    More specifically, someone they can ‘count on to always support’ them (54%).

    Over half (53%) also said they wanted to be ‘deeply in love with and attracted’ to their partner, which technically doesn’t count – it’s not a quality someone can possess.

    Kindness also ranked highly (50%), as did listening skills (51%).

    Top 10 'must-haves' qualities in a partner

    1. Sharp and can enjoy the humorous side of life (77%)
    2. Comfortable giving and receiving affection (61%)
    3. Someone I can count on to always support me (54%)
    4. I must feel deeply in love with and attracted to my partner (53%)
    5. Good at talking and listening (51%)
    6. Gentle and kind (50%)
    7. Emotionally healthy, and able to share a stable life with someone else (41%)
    8. Willing to explore sexual desires with passion and understanding (35%)
    9. Honest and strong enough to do the right thing (34%)
    10. Can handle life’s frustrations or momentary setbacks with a patient, steady demeanour (33%)

    Top 10 'cant stand' qualities in a partner

    1. Lies to anyone – especially to me (74%)
    2. Takes advantage of people (69%)
    3. Someone who is belittling, impatient or hateful to people in any situation (57%)
    4. Isn’t clean (50%)
    5. Engages in sex outside a committed relationship (42%)
    6. Has a devious nature and is mean to others (40%)
    7. Uses illegal recreational drugs (38%)
    8. Can’t manage their anger or bottles it up inside (38%)
    9. Likes to spend excessive time sleeping, resting or being a couch potato (33%)
    10. Someone who is intolerant of others (31%)

    Meanwhile, as for the worst qualities some are pretty self-explanatory.

    Lying topped the list with almost three quarters of people saying they can’t stand it, while just 69% aren’t keen on someone who ‘takes advantage of people’ or is ‘belittling, impatient or hateful’ (57%).

    The least offensive quality was intolerance – only one third of people would be bothered by it.

    Most surprisingly perhaps is that cheating (42%) ranked lower on the scale compared to being clean (50%).

    At least the cleanliness can be solved with a quick shower…

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    Will everyone be bisexual? - The Future of EverythingWill everyone be bisexual? - The Future of Everything

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    Illustration of a woman sat on the toilet
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    No one is a fan of the skidmark.

    Unfortunately, it happens; most UK homes don’t have a bidet and unless you squirt a bit of water on your bumhole after you wipe it, there’s a high chance there might be some, er, leftover marks from your trip to the toilet.

    Let’s be clear – this is nothing to be ashamed of.

    We’re human, shit happens (quite literally) and we’re not in the business of shaming people for their poo routines.

    That being said, poo stains can be very difficult to get out.

    You’re unlikely to notice it until you take your underwear off at the end of the day, and so the stain has effectively settled into the fabric – making it harder to get rid of.

    Here are some household tips and tricks on how to get your undies back to their original, glorious state.

    Try white vinegar

    ‘Any stains that are soluble with water can be rectified with white vinegar,’ Esther Temple, cleaner and cleaning expert at Gear Hungry, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar with 1.4 litres of water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the stain and leave to settle.

    ‘After a few minutes put in the washing machine on a high temperature.

    ‘This method also works well with apple cider vinegar.’

    Give vodka a go

    However, sometimes the stain itself may disappear, but a smell remains.

    Don’t worry, Esther has a trick for that too.

    ‘To combat this, spray vodka over the area where the stains were,’ she said.

    ‘Do not be tempted to water down the vodka as this will dilute the spirit’s power to neutralise smells. Vodka works to collect the odorants properties together.

    ‘When the vodka is left to evaporate, it will also lift the smell. Always make sure that you use original vodka and not vodka that is infused with flavour.

    ‘Of course, the makeup of the stains can contribute to their staying power however, quite often it’s more the fabric that is the problem. For instance, removing stains from the likes of cotton is far harder than lycra.’

    Illustration of someone sitting on a bench
    You’re unlikely to notice it until you take your underwear off at the end of the day, and so the stain has effectively settled into the fabric (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Scrape it off

    According to the University of Illinois Extension, which has an entire website dedicated to ‘stain solutions’, all you need to get poo out of clothing is a few household items and chemicals.

    First, scrape off any leftover poo (we’re fairly certain they are referring to animal poo as opposed to your own stains, but it might still work).

    Then soak in lukewarm water, add liquid handwashing detergent and some ammonia – and rub.

    Repeat, and then do a separate soak with an enzyme product.

    Finally, if that doesn’t work, use chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach.

    Be careful not to breathe in the fumes.

    Sprinkle on some baking soda

    If the stain is fresh (sorry), you could end up making it worse if you’re not careful.

    Firstly, wash it with cool water to get rid of any excess poo.

    While the underwear is still wet, sprinkle on baking soda and gently scrub with a soft brush – a gentle dishwashing brush is fine, just make sure you either sanitise it or throw it away when you’re done.

    Rinse and throw into the washing machine.

    Afterwards, use a stain remover on the same spot for around 10 minutes – or whatever the product instructions suggest – and throw the underwear back into the washing machine with a little bleach for round two.

    Skip the bleach if it’s not a white wash or if the underwear is made from a delicate material such as lace knickers, for instance.

    You can also add in some white vinegar, as above.

    Squeeze a lemon onto the stain

    Drop some lemon juice on the stain, and wait for about 30 minutes before throwing it into the wash.

    The lemon will naturally bleach the fabric, so don’t use it on dark underwear.

    Ethan Mechare from Coming Clean, has a special trick that includes both lemon juice and baking soda, as well as some dishwashing detergent.

    ‘Natural at-home stain remover for feces can be one fourth of a cup of lemon juice and one cup of water – spray or pour onto stain and scrub with an old toothbrush or cloth,’ said Ethan.

    ‘Then soak in a mixture of dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda (two parts hydrogen peroxide and one parts of dish soap and baking soda) for at least 30 minutes.

    ‘Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are natural stain removers.’

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    Modern etiquette: Why are you so nervous about pooing at work?Modern etiquette: Why are you so nervous about pooing at work?

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    Mike Reynolds eats a donut with daughter
    Raising compassionate, caring, feminist children is important (Picture: Mike Reynolds)

    As a dad of daughters I’ve learned a few things over my 10 years of parenting:

    1. Young girls are powerhouses who don’t believe any of your stereotypes about girls being weaker or slower.
    2. I picked up a lot of crap about gender dynamics in my 30 years before becoming a parent.
    3. Identifying these things and then getting rid of it all is what makes me a good parent.

    I’d like to say I’ve always known just how unequal things have been and I’ve been pushing for social change since I was a young boy, but that is just simply not the case. Having daughters has made me realise and given me a first-hand view of the different ways boys and girls are treated everywhere from school, to the supermarket, to family gatherings.

    It’s important to acknowledge this and therefore understand why these stereotypes persist.

    Mike Reynolds stands with two daughters
    I am not unique in this men-come-late-to-the-party approach to social change either (Picture: Mike Reynolds)

    I’ve heard adults tell their sons they ‘throw like a girl’ in front of my kids. I’ve heard someone make a dumb blonde joke about a four year old. It took me seeing these interactions to understand how poorly men can treat others. Often, but most certainly not exclusively, without knowing they are doing it.

    I am not unique in this men-come-late-to-the-party approach to social change either. We have the ability and privilege to be able to ignore the experiences of others or to write them off as exaggeration because they have never happened to us.

    Men have a hard time believing lived experiences of others or admitting that what they have in life could be partially owing to the privilege they carry from birth. I am no different.

    Changing behaviours means we have to first confront that much of our lives has been spent in ignorance. We need to identify, confront, and work on removing the biases we pick up over the course of our childhood. That means being able to say things like ‘I was wrong,’ or ‘thank you for helping me understand this’.

    It means not always being the one doing the teaching and way more often being quiet and the ones who listen. It does not matter how hard these things may be for us to say, we need to learn how to say them anyway.

    Raising compassionate, caring, feminist children is important.

    I started the Everyday Girl Dad website and t-shirt line as a way to combat some of the harmful fatherhood stereotypes that are so often shown and laughed about.

    The dad with a shotgun protecting his daughter, the dad threatening his daughter’s dates, the dad doing everything he can to show off his strength in front of his daughter, the dad who tells his daughter to go talk to her mother about menstruation. These are gross representations of fatherhood that absolutely must change.

    What I write and share is meant to be a discussion point for other men. I want to show how I am learning as I go along and that, as men, we have responsibility to do the same.

    Mike and his daughter sitting on decking
    It is the responsibility of men to challenge other men on these things (Picture: Mike Reynolds)

    I want to create spaces where men can ask questions and want to work with them to find answers. My goal is to bring feminist ideas to the spaces that are reluctant to listen to them. My role isn’t to yell about how big a feminist I am in friendly spaces filled with the folks I have learned my feminism from, it’s to find the spaces where men aren’t listening and to confront their reluctance or anger.

    The irony of writing about how men need to be better at discussing gender and looking for greater involvement from fathers in doing this, is that there often comes a lot of praise. In my experience, too much of this praise gets heaped on men for doing what should be considered baseline work.

    Mike Reynolds with his kid
    I’ve heard adults tell their sons they ‘throw like a girl’ in front of my kids (Picture: Mike Reynolds)

    This is what my idea of what an ‘everyday girl dad’ is meant to represent. That speaking up against sexism or racism or transphobia should be your baseline as a parent, not something extraordinary.

    It is the responsibility of men to challenge other men on these things. This is not the work already marginalised communities have to do for us.

    People get angry when you ask them to take a look at their behaviour. People get angry when you tell them their views are harmful to others and that their views can lead to harm for children and marginalised communities. But this is what happens with racist or transphobic or homophobic language.

    These discussions are not just about raising our boys outside of some of the harmful stereotypes we teach them around masculinity and the world around them, it is about asking men to do the work and change the way they think too.

    Raising compassionate, caring, feminist children is important. Our kids are already using that empathy and compassion to create safe spaces for others. They do not even know they are doing this and that makes it even more wonderful. But in doing simple things like using they as a singular pronoun, and telling their classmates that boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls, they are showing their peers that they understand and embrace the differences in all our identities.

    Imagine if all dads of all kids got on board.

    MORE: Dominic Raab, feminists are not the ‘obnoxious bigots’ in this situation

    MORE: The Spice Girls weren’t perfect feminists and that’s OK – neither are we


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