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

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    The cookie dough pie, marshmallow mateys, pancakes and Hershey's sauce from lidl
    Just some of the range (Picture: Lidl)

    Live the American dream with this new range from Lidl.

    The supermarket is launching a delicious USA themed food range from Thursday 27 June.

    It includes a stack of pancakes, cookie dough pie, marshmallow cereal reminiscent of Lucky Charms and a king size Reese’s peanut butter cups for just 99p.

    It’s only available while stocks last so get in quick – that usually means the items are only around for a few weeks.

    Unfortunately, you can’t pick them up online so you’ll need to get down to your closest store.

    To go with all the USA themed food, there’s a range of kitchen accessories.

    You can pick up a five-portion George Foreman grill for £19.99.

    There’s a hot air fryer for £39.99, a mini chopper for £17.99 and a Russell Hobbs jug blender for £29.99.

    For some gadgets that will produce something truly Insta worthy, there’s a popcorn maker for £12.99, a candyfloss machine for £19.99 and a doughnut maker for £11.99.

    Most exciting of all is the £11.99 bubble waffle machine, which means no more queueing up for one. You can try them at home instead.

    The USA food range at Lidl

    The full Flavour of the Week USA range includes:

    Rustlers burger – 99p

    Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce – £2.49

    Deluxe maple and bacon British pork sausages – £1.89

    McEnnedy American-style snack box – £2.49

    McEnnedy potato griddies – 99p

    Hershey’s chocolate syrup – £2.99

    McEnnedy six American-style pancakes – £1.39

    Mcennedy super size peanut flips – £2.29

    McEnnedy crispies – 99p

    McEnnedy family size brownie – £1.69

    Gelatelli ice cream cones -£1.99

    McEnnedy double chocolate cookie dough pie – £2.49

    Reece’s 4 king size peanut butter cups – 99p

    Malt-O-Meal marshmallow mateys cereal – £1.99

    Jus Rol cinnamon swirl – £1.49

    Uncle Ben’s rice – 99p

    McEnnedy pancake mix – 99p

    McEnnedy American yogurt – 49p

    McEnnedy Neopolitan cone – £1.49

    McEnnedy American milkshake – 79p

    Deluxe maple butter fudge with Irish whisky cream – £1.49

    Reese’s nut bar king size – 99p

    Aunt Bessies pancake mix – 99p

    Attack a Snak wrap kit – 99p

    Oreo twin pot – £1.49

    Maryland Big & Chunkie cookies – 79p

    Marshmallow Fluff – £1.69

    Smuccker’s Goober Grape peanut butter & jelly – £3.29

    MORE: The way you sit on your sofa with your partner could say a lot about your relationship

    MORE: Home Bargains is selling 79p towel-sized wet wipes for your Glastonbury packing list


    Lidl USA food rangeLidl USA food range

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    couple in bed
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Not quite ready for robots and orgasms on demand, but still fancy jazzing up your sex life?

    Handily enough, Ann Summers has just shared their top five predicted sex trends for the near future.

    Near future, we said, so we’re not talking about super futuristic sex technology or radical culture changes. These are more like sex-related things you can look forward to becoming more mainstream in the next year or so. Cool.

    The sex toy brand polled 400 of their party planners (they organise sex toy partners for the general public, so get fairly up close and person with what real people are interested in) to find out the top five sex trends predicted to be big.

    Top of the list was self-love, with 85% of those surveyed listing it as their predicted sex trend.

    Makes sense when you consider they’re selling sex toys, but this particular stat is actually backed up by other experts, who reckon masturbation might overtake penetration for the next generation.

    The other trends Ann Summers puts forward are bondage, group sex and threesomes, gender-neutral sex toys, and polyamory.

    While we don’t know if bondage and group sex will become more popular, Ann Summers isn’t alone in predicting the rise of gender-neutral sex toys – there’s even a store dedicated to sex toys outside of the gender binary.

    As for polyamory, there’s backing for that as a trend, too.

    Ann Summers' predicted sex trends:

    1. Self-love
    2. Bondage
    3. Group sex and threesomes
    4. Gender-neutral sex toys
    5. Polyamory

    Relationship coach Sarah Louise Ryan told Metro.co.uk: ‘I do feel that we live in a modern dating world where we are slowly but surely moving away from the idea of monogamy.’

    It’s not that monogamy will die out, necessarily, but that polyamory will become more widely accepted.

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

    ‘While some may be happy for their partner to form romantic attachments to others, some will not. Some may be interested in just threesomes with their partner, whereas others might want complete openness.

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

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

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

    Interesting.

    If you still want more sex trend chat, sex toy brand Lelo released their predictions earlier this year.

    Like Ann Summers, they think that solo sex, self-love, and polyamory will be big in the coming years, but also throw in AI, sex dolls, male pleasure, and new sexual sensations.

    As long as there are no sudden curveballs, you can safely expect plenty of masturbation in the coming years.

    MORE: Love Island’s queen Maura is showing women can love sex and not want to sleep with you

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

    MORE: Nine reasons you’re not having an orgasm


    Metro IllustrationsMetro Illustrations

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    Sausages with mojito ingredients
    Aldi is bringing summer vibes with its mojito sausages (Picture: Aldi)

    Aldi has just launched mojito sausages, showing it’s possible to eat your sausage and have it too.

    Why waste time chewing and sipping when you could be doing both at the same time?

    The supermarket has mixed meat with a punchy white rum, mint, red chilli, lime zest and spices.

    The new six-pack range will soon be available to customers for a bargain price of £1.89.

    That’s what you call a boozy barbecue.

    The banger is made from fine British pork and smoked bacon with a unique mix of mojito.

    The pack is available on sale from Thursday 4 July so let’s hope the weather picks up.

    For the ultimate summer meal, Aldi is also offering specially selected brioche hot dog tolls  (£1.05 for a six-pack) with delicious relishes and salads from Aldi’s summer range.

    Those now tempted to arrange a BBQ can also pick out pasta salads in Mediterranean vegetable and olive or spinach and pine nut for £1.13.

    Couscous salads are also available in fruity Moroccan with feta (£1.39, 210g/220g). And vegetable dips in beetroot and mint or Moroccan butternut squash for a nifty price of 85p.

    If you can’t get enough of the minty taste, or just want a refreshing summer drink, Aldi of course, has all the ingredients you need to make your cocktail at home.

    The recipe can be found here.

    As with all Specialbuys, once they’re gone, they’re gone, so you’d better hurry down to your local.

    So go forth and enjoy your barbecues. Or just the taste of the citrussy sausages from the comfort of your home.

    MORE: Aldi launches two new tinned fruity ciders for just 99p each

    MORE: Aldi is selling a gazebo with a bar and it’s perfect for summer parties

    MORE: Aldi is launching a dinosaur themed paddling pool with a built-in shower for £29.99


    Aldi's mojito sausagesAldi's mojito sausages

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    Aldi fire pit
    The firepit from Aldi (Picture: Aldi)

    If you have a small garden, something that does two jobs at once is a great idea.

    This fire pit, for example, can keep you warm long into the summer evenings but if you add one of the grills, it can be used as a BBQ to cook food.

    The Gardenline Fire Pit from Aldi is just £24.99.

    It is similar to a best-selling fire pit they had earlier this summer but this one is much more portable, and is half the price.

    The fire pit comes with a steel charcoal grill, two chromed barbecue grill handles and a mesh spark guard.

    It also has steel legs to make it safe and stable.

    The fire put also comes with a warranty for three years.

    Aldi fire pit
    It’s just £24.99 (Picture: Aldi)

    It measures 60.5cm by 60.5cm and is 42cm tall.

    According to the store, the fire pit is ‘The perfect way to create a delightful summer garden scene while keeping you warm and snuggly on chilly evenings’.

    They add: ‘This fire pit is a great way to add contemporary style to your garden. Get ready for garden parties and BBQ’s that are so good they carry on long into the evening with this stylish and useful piece.’

    It’s available in store now or you can order it online.

    And if you need something to sip on through those summer nights, the store has just launched a new range of tinned ciders.

    You can choose between rhubard and pink grapfruit or peach, mango and lime.

    They cost just 99p for a 330ml can, with a 4% ABV.

    MORE: Lidl launches USA food range including king size Reese’s and giant cookie dough pie

    MORE: Lidl is selling a chair for cats so they don’t have to sit on your laptop anymore


    PRI_71149444PRI_71149444

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    The Fashion Nova dress that was bought as a bridesmaid dress
    The Fashion Nova dress that was bought as a bridesmaid dress (Picture: Fashion Nova)

    Would you be willing to let your bridesmaid choose their own dress?

    Sure, it takes some of the stress off you, but as one bride found out, it’s not always the best idea.

    When she asked her sister to buy a ‘navy dress with flowers on’, she ended up choosing a black see-through gown.

    And when she told her sister it wasn’t appropriate, she pulled out of being a bridesmaid.

    Sharing her dilemma in a wedding shaming Facebook group, the woman said: ‘The bride-to-be wrote: ‘My wedding is in eight days and I told my little sister in January to get a navy dress with flowers on it.

    ‘She told me today she hasn’t ordered a dress yet but she liked this. I said that’s not appropriate for my wedding especially as a bridesmaid so if this is your hint you don’t want to be a bridesmaid just say it.

    ‘So she has stepped out of being my bridesmaid and I think she still thinks she gets to do all the bridesmaid fun with me and bachelorette fun … sorry nope!’

    The dress seems to be the Fashion Nova’s Editorial Cover Floral Maxi Dress in Black, which comes with a bodysuit.

    The full length image of the Fashion Nova black dress
    The bride said she didn’t hate the dress but it just wasn’t suitable for a wedding (Picture: Fashion Nova)

    The dress costs $69.99 (£55), which is cheap for a bridesmaid dress but the look isn’t really suitable.

    Many who commented on the post said it wasn’t at all suitable for the big day.

    One person said: ‘Anyone that would wear this dress to a wedding as it is is just trying to show up the bride and be trashy. But if the bride is down then get trashy and have fun.’

    Choosing a bridesmaid dress to make everyone feel comfortable

    There are ways to make your theme suit everyone in your party, without letting them loose on buying their own dresses.

    You can try buying a range of different styles in the same colour to make the bridal party fit together but allow everyone to feel comfortable and express their own styles.

    The style is bang on trend.

    John Lewis recommends the idea of the ‘harmonising bridal party’ and says it is a great alternative to a matchy-matchy look.

    ‘It’s important for each member of the bridal party to feel confident and comfortable,‘ says Billie Nicholls, Partner & Buying Assistant.

    Many high street stores offer a range of styles in the same shades to allow you to get the look you like, which also helps to keep the price down.

    You can also choose multi way dress, like this one from Oasis, that can be worn in different ways.

    Go out with your bridesmaids to choose dresses – give them a sense that they have some input but it is your choice at the end of the day.

    Learn from the lesson of others – if you want a certain vibe on your wedding day, being involved in choosing the bridesmaid dress is vital.

    MORE: Aldi is selling a two-in-one BBQ fire pit for just £25

    MORE: Aldi is selling mojito sausages and summer is truly here


    Bridesmaid lacy black gownBridesmaid lacy black gown

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    Miss Peach the Colori Cat
    Michelle was devastated to lose Miss Peach (Picture: @coloricats)

    Losing a pet is hard at any time, but when your cat is loved by tens of thousands of people across the world, there’s an added level of pressure there.

    Michelle van Gennip is the owner of the Colori Cats – Louis, Jones, Mack, Mimi, and the late Miss Peach.

    Her Instagram, which was originally called Miss Peach and Brothers, has over 40,000 followers, and is shows her brood going about their lives and generally being extremely cute.

    In September last year, however, Miss Peach sadly passed away aged two, leaving her and all the people that had followed her life bereft.

    Those who follow internet cats will remember the death of Tardar Sauce – also known as Grumpy Cat – earlier this year, and how animal lovers grieved for a pet they’d never met.

    Owning one of these beloved cats means that you not only have to deal with your loss, but break the news to everyone else as well.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BjcycvtHGYK/

    Michelle, who lives in The Netherlands, tells Metro.co.uk, ‘It went so fast. Peach was a very playful cat. I remember one day looking at her and I thought seeing she looked less happy. I think all pet owners understand when I say you ‘know’ your pet is ill when he or she ‘acts’ differently…

    ‘Unfortunately, my feelings were right. She was sick, it appeared to be FIP. It’s hard to explain what it is, but in the end it’s not treatable. A cat with FIP gets sicker every day.

    ‘The moment I brought Peach to the vet, she was ‘quite okay’ but within 24 hours, she got a high fever and within 48 hours she lost a third of her weight. She didn’t want me to touch her anymore, it was so sad so see.

    There was only one option; saving her from her pain and letting her sleep forever. She died in my arms. I cried like a baby while I was at the vet with her. Going to the vet with the idea to help your pet, but coming home without your pet, is awful. It feels unfair, sad, incomplete.

    ‘Cause in the end, a pet is always a family member and for me, they feel like ‘my kids’, how funny that might sound.’

    FIP – or Feline infectious peritonitis – is a viral disease in cats that is nearly always fatal. It’s caused when a very common illness called feline coronavirus mutates spontaneously, and attacks the cat’s immune system.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BneaNOjighV/

    Peach was the reason the Instagram account had grown so much, and her funny mannerisms and gorgeous tricolour markings set her apart from many British Shorthair cats you see online. She could regularly be seen poking her head out of her cat hammock, standing up on her back two legs, or showing off her tummy as she played with her ‘brothers’.

    ‘It’s CRAZY to see how much people loved Peach, even when they live so far away and only knew her from their phone screen. I think what made her ‘famous’ was not only her looks, but also how people got to see her life every day, they got to ‘know’ her personality. I think the love I have for my cats reflects on my Instagram account and that’s what makes people love them too,’ said Michelle.

    In a goodbye post to Peach, she said ‘I always told her that people from all over the world love her… She left this world with love. Sweet Peach, I loved you so so much and I always will.’

    Although she was distraught, she had three other cats at this point to look after. Michelle says ‘Although Louis and Mack didn’t seem to be aware of it, they were aware of my sadness. They cuddled me a lot in that time, it’s great to see how animals can feel our emotions. Also I had to take care of them and while crying in that time sometimes, my other cats still made me smile everyday.’

    Jones, however, ‘started meowing, the whole day long for two weeks. Also he peed on Peach sleeping place constantly.’

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BhHm1kZg1V7/

    You can never replace a pet with others, but if you’re a family that’s used to having a cat around, that responsibility and comfort can be hugely helpful.

    Michelle had originally decided when she got Peach that she’d like to one day become a breeder of tricolour British Shorthair cats, and had been learning all about it when a brand new fur baby came into her life.

    She says, ‘A a few months after Peach died, Mimi came to my sight and I was able to buy her from a well respected breeder.

    ‘Mimi doesn’t replace Peach of course, I also don’t want her to, but I love to have a new female cat in my home. She has a completely different character, but she is the sweetest girl ever and also very funny.

    ‘I love her so much and so do my boys. Mimi is the start of my cattery and the love I got for tricolors started with Peach. I think if I never had Peach, I also didn’t have Mimi.’

    Not everybody will be in a position to have the adorable feline family Michelle has made for herself, but it’s important to note that if your cat does pass away, you’re not doing them a disservice by bringing a new cat into the home.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BtTwp1fFHtP/

    In terms of what she’d tell people who lose pets, Michelle says, ‘Whether it’s because of losing a family member, a friend or a pet, it’s always hard. It’s okay to cry, I also took a few days of from work cause all I did was cry. I just couldn’t believe what happened, it went all so fast and she was also so young so it felt so unfair. It might sound silly but I think crying for a pet makes us human. All pet-owners can relate I think. But eventually, life goes on…

    ‘After Peach died, it really felt as if I wasn’t alone with my loss. The power of social media is enormous and I love how all of my followers helped me with the loss. Of course, most people don’t have a social media account for their pet so when they loose a pet, it’s not as ‘public’ as I experienced it.

    ‘But all I can say to them is.. You can be sad. Cry. Call your boss and tell him you stay at home for a day. Losing a family member is always sad so it’s fine to say it out loud.. Life goes on, tears stop, and eventually you’ll smile every time you think back on your pet.’

    Another silver lining for the Colori Cats is that Peach’s brother became a father a few months back. Michelle is going to bring the new baby – who would have been Peach’s niece, into her family. She says, ‘It feels like she was meant to be mine’.

    Cat Week

    In honour of Catfest, we will be partnering with the festival to bring you seven days of the funniest, cutest, coolest and most amazing cat content.

    Until Saturday 29 June, read stories about all things cats, including kittens abandoned on rubbish dumps to fantastic cat art, and everything in-between.

    Catfest will include cat-themed literature and film plus live music, poetry and crafts. There will be rescue kittens, talks from cat experts, Instagram cats and an auction as well as cocktails, cake and much more. Tickets have sold out, but you can still get involved on social media.

    Part of the proceeds from the event will benefit Erham Rescue and International Trash Cat & Dumpster Dogs to help cats and kittens as well as street animals in need.

    Are you the owner of a fantastic cat? Then tweet us your cutest kitty pics @MetroUK and @MetroUK_Life for a chance to be featured!

    MORE: 16 stunning black cats who are looking for their forever homes

    MORE: Jeffree the cat helped young boy with Asperger’s cope with the sudden death of his father

    MORE: Animal charity offers students the chance to hang out with cats while they revise for exams

    MORE: Catios – patios for your cats – are all the rage right now

    MORE: These five adorable elderly cats are looking for a new home


    CAT WEEK: What happens when a viral cat passes away picture: coloricats METROGRABCAT WEEK: What happens when a viral cat passes away picture: coloricats METROGRAB

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    Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.
    A rare strain of Strep A has caused 12 deaths in Essex (Picture: Getty Images)

    Twelve people have died in an outbreak of a rare bacterial infection in Essex, which has been described as ‘very serious’.

    So far 32 cases of the disease, called invasive Group A streptococcus (iGAS), have been reported by the NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group.

    It said the outbreak started in Braintree, and has since spread to the Chelmsford and Maldon areas – but did not give a timeline.

    Public Health England has warned of further fatalities from the outbreak – although described it as a ‘local incident’.

    Here’s what you need to know about Strep A infection and what to do if you have symptoms.

    What is Strep A infection?

    Group A streptococcal (GAS) infection is a group of bacteria which causes infections in the throat and skin, which can range from mild to life-threatening.

    Most of these infections cause mild illness such as strep throat, scarlet fever or tonsillitis – while it can also cause impetigo, cellulitis, middle ear infection and sinusitis.

    Woman with a sore throat
    The bacteria can cause throat and skin infections (Picture: Getty Images)

    In the majority of cases those people who contract a minor strep A infection will make a full recovery and will not experience long-term problems.

    However if GAS gets into areas where the bacteria is not usually found, such as the blood and organs, it can prove more serious – leading to illnesses such as pneumonia, sepsis, toxic shock syndrome, meningitis and necrotising fasciitis.

    How is Strep A infection spread?

    The GAS bacteria can live on the throat or hands for long enough for it to be spread through direct contact with an infected person – such as through kissing or sneezing – or with a contaminated object.

    It can also be spread in droplets in the coughs and sneezes of someone with an infection.

    What should you do if you think you have symptoms?

    Streptococcus bacteria
    The infection looks pretty grim when viewed under a microscope (Picture: Getty Images)

    Symptoms of a strep A infection include sudden fever, headaches, a sore red throat and a loss of appetite

    The infection can also cause swollen lymph nodes and difficulty swallowing.

    If these symptoms are persistent or severe then you should visit your GP, who may recommend an antibiotic.

    Rachel Hearn, director of nursing and quality at Mid Essex CCG, told BBC News: ‘The risk of contracting iGAS is very low for the vast majority of people and treatment with antibiotics is very effective if started early.’

    MORE: Toddler had 150 spasms a day because of mystery illness doctors failed to spot


    Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteriaStreptococcus pneumoniae bacteria

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    different versions of the forky toy from toy story 4
    Forky toys galore

    Forky, played by Tony Hale, has been described as one of the highlights of the recently released Toy Story 4.

    For those who haven’t seen Toy Story 4 yet, Forky is a spork with pipe-cleaner arms and googly eyes who spends a decent proportion of the movie having an identity crisis as a result of his newfound condition as a toy.

    As a sure-fire scene-stealer, there’s little doubt that real Forky toys are going to swiftly be in high demand…

    Can you buy a Forky toy from Toy Story 4?

    Yes, no-doubt to the relief to parents and Disney fans everywhere, you can buy a Forky toy.

    In fact there are a few variations of the toy out there.

    Argos are currently selling a talking Forky toy, which comes complete with moving facial expressions, for £14.00.

     a talking version of a forky toy from toy story 4
    This version of Forky talks

    A similar toy, which has movable arms – although there’s no mention on the website of facial features that move – is also currently being offered by Disney for the same price.

    a pop forky toy from toy story 4
    Pop! are doing a collectible version of Forky

    John Lewis are offering a Forky toy for £12.99 which rocks back and forth and waves his arms, and for the same price, you can also get a collectible Funko Pop! figure of Forky from EMP.

    If you’re after something a little more cuddly, then Moonpig currently have a plush Forky toy in stock for £17.00

    MORE: Disney World’s new supersized Mickey Mouse doughnut looks amazing

    MORE: Disney reveals The Lion King character posters and Beyonce’s Nala is very stunning


    Can you buy a Forky toy from Toy Story 4 toy and if so where?Can you buy a Forky toy from Toy Story 4 toy and if so where?

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    Models wearing ASOS DESIGN X Lion King pieces
    Some of the clothes in the new collection (Picture: ASOS)

    Disney was a huge part of most childhoods and it’s nice to have something a little nostalgic, even if it’s decades later.

    The Lion King is a particular classic – and now Disney has teamed up with ASOS to help you show off your love of the film.

    To conicide with the new remake, which is due to be released on 19 July, the online brand has created a range of summer clothes in amazing prints.

    Pieces are available across the women’s, men’s and plus size collections, featuring nostalgic Lion King motifs and characters.

    Key pieces include the Zazu-inspired printed knit jumper and cardigan, statement co-ord’s and the Simba-themed bucket hat and jumper.

    With prices starting at £8, we want everything.

    The good news is that you won’t have long to get your hands on it – it launches on 1 July.

    Let’s take a look at the collection:

    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN knitted jumper with Simba and Nala – £40 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN legging shorts co-ord in zebra print with logo embroidery – £22 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN shorts co-ord in jungle print – £25
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN mesh skirt co-ord in Zazu print – £25 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN revere shirt co-ord in jungle print – £35.00 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN oversized t-shirt in tye dye Timon print (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN Curve cropped shirt co-ord in sunset print – £35 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN oversized t-shirt – £22 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN Curve knot front t-shirt with timon print – £18 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN shorts co-ord in sunset print – £25 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN one shoulder bodysuit in jungle print – £22 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN unisex oversized cropped t-shirt with rainbow logo – £18 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN mesh top co-ord in Zazu print – £25 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN mesh skirt co-ord in Zazu print – £25 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN character print track jacket – £45 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN bandeau top co-ord in zebra print with logo embroidery – £16 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN revere shirt co-ord in jungle print – £35 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN unisex shirt in character print co-ord – £35 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN oversized long sleeve t-shirt in sunset print – £28 (Picture: ASOS)
    ASOS DESIGN X Lion King-
    Disney The Lion King x ASOS DESIGN oversized t-shirt with Rafiki front and back print – £22 (Picture: ASOS)

    MORE: What happens when a viral cat dies, and how can you cope when your pet passes?

    MORE: Bridesmaid drops out of wedding after bride refuses to let her wear a black see-through dress


    PRI_71181352PRI_71181352

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    a person sneezing due to hayfever
    Bless you (Picture: PeopleImages/Getty Images/E+)

    Today is supposed to be hell for the 18 million Brits who suffer with hay fever as the pollen count is due to soar.

    The Met Office has warned that grass pollen will reach its highest levels across most parts of the country, with the weed pollen count also expected to be high.

    This warning will stay in place until the weekend.

    As many of us brace for an uncomfortable few days, here’s what you need to know about whether or not hay fever can be bad enough to give you a nosebleed.

    Can hayfever cause nosebleeds?

    According to Better Health Channel, yes, nosebleeds can be caused by hay fever.

    As HowStuffWorks puts it: ‘The most common type of nosebleed is an anterior nosebleed, caused by very small blood vessels in the front of the nose that are easily damaged.

    ‘When they break, they cause a nosebleed. This can happen when you blow your nose very often, or when the nasal membranes are dry and irritated.’

    a person sneezing
    Yeesh (Picture: David Jones/PA)

    To stop a nosebleed, you should sit down, pinch your nostrils closed, and continue to apply preassure steadily until the bleeding stops, which should take roughly ten minutes.

    Don’t blow your nose, and don’t tilt your head back like you see in the movies.

    According to the NHS, you should see a doctor if:

    • a child under 2 years old has a nosebleed
    • you have nosebleeds regularly
    • you have a condition that means your blood can’t clot properly, such as haemophilia
    • you have symptoms of anaemia – such as shortness of breath, a faster heartbeat (palpitations), and pale skin
    • you’re taking a blood-thinning medicine, such as warfarin

    And you should go to A&E if:

    • your nosebleed lasts longer than 10-15 minutes
    • you’re swallowing a large amount of blood that makes you vomit
    • the bleeding started after a blow to your head
    • the bleeding seems excessive
    • you’re having difficulty breathing
    • you’re feeling weak or dizzy

    Hayfever set to rocket this weekend in misery for millions.Hayfever set to rocket this weekend in misery for millions.

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    Illustration of two women chatting and one standing alone
    It’s easy to feel like a floater in old friendship groups sometimes (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    If viral social media posts are anything to go by, keeping friendship circles small is highly preferable.

    While making lots of friends fast might’ve been a teenage endeavor, it seems a yardstick of adulthood is having a small established group of friends to hang out with regularly.

    With friendship pools dwindling in adulthood (usually beginning at 25), it’s easy to stick to a handful of the same people you’re used to seeing all the time.

    But for some people, this constant squad is missing. They catch up with mates every once in a while but have no one to continually nourish them with friendship.

    The term ‘background friend’ was coined by illustrator Riley, from Chicago, who self-identifies as such, calling herself a floater – someone who doesn’t fit in with the main group and is not ‘permanent’ with anyone within the squad.

    That means thinking about all of them often but worrying about seldom crossing anyone else’s mind.

    ‘I don’t have a “squad” or a group of homies to kick it with. I have me and that’s practically it,’ she says.

    A thread she shared on Twitter with these sentiments went viral, amassing half a million likes. So perhaps more of us are background friends than Riley may have expected.

    Riley explains to Metro.co.uk that it’s not inherently a negative thing to be a floater, but it can be alienating.

    She tells us: ‘The two years I was in college were super lonely, I didn’t have a group of homies to hit up concerts with or travel to festivals with.

    ‘I started befriending people who had a group of friends and would start to talk to other people in their group of friends. The common theme was that all these groups lived by each other and hung out all the time versus me living far and just connecting through the internet.

    ‘I went to events and festivals with some of these groups, but it was quickly apparent to me that I was not a permanent link in their friend circle. They liked me, they never did anything malicious, but I realised I was a floater, drifting in and out of their lives.

    ‘It made me feel very lonely knowing I was like an extra in their lives, a background character appearing occasionally and not contributing to the main plot.’

    Riley adds that having internet friends lulled her into a false sense of security, making her feel like she had lots of pals. But then she realised that she was seeing them in real life just once or twice a year.

    Desperate to be accepted and loved, she even let some of these groups ‘walk all over’ her which included paying for their things and giving stuff away that she wanted.

    Despite her bad luck, she’s hopeful that one day she’ll attract the right crowd.

    ‘Isolation really sucks and I sometimes get very sad, but most of the time I try to keep a positive attitude about it,’ says Riley.

    ‘I know that I’m a giving, thoughtful person and the opportunity to spread my positivity and love among all types of people/groups is a blessing.

    ‘All I want to do as a person is positively impact the world, whether it be through kindness or the art I create or more.

    ‘If that means that sometimes people will take my kindness but not return it as strongly, that’s okay. Not everyone feels like I do about the level of love in a friendship, and I can’t force them to feel it.’

    While most of us might not have a squad either, we probably have one or two close friends to see every so often.

    But when they’re busy or aren’t putting the effort in, it’s easy to crave contact. For that, there are options both online and offline.

    Firstly, you can try repairing your current friendships and have a frank discussion about your role within it/the group.

    Facebook groups are one such place that foster community and friendship. They can range from really niche ones such as Muslim female travelers to broader ones like ‘new to X city’.

    Despite the stigma that comes with them, friendship apps are a good way to make new connections.

    In real-life, organising group nights out and excursions can make you closer to the people around you such as those you work with or even in your circles. You might find other self-identifying background friends.

    And while it might be bad news to introverts, outgoing, extroverted people tend to be happier because they usually hold a positive, nostalgic view of the past.

    So while it might be difficult to change your personality, at least you can alter your attitude to past experiences (provided it’s not detrimental to your wellbeing).

    That might mean changing your perspective – you’re not a background friend, you’re someone who can form connections with lots of people. Embrace that.

    MORE: Lean On Me: I have lots of friends so why do I still feel lonely?

    MORE: It’s perfectly fine not to have a ‘best friend’

    MORE: Lean On Me: How do I go about becoming friends with my boss?


    modern-etiquette-i-dont-want-to-hang-out-with-people-from-work-6e19-0349modern-etiquette-i-dont-want-to-hang-out-with-people-from-work-6e19-0349

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    Illustration request - Future of Everything. In the future, we will all be bisexual
    Love languages can be spoken in any interpersonal relationships (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    When people remember things you told them and act on it, when they make time for you, or give you warm, encouraging words, they’re showing you love.

    Everyone has different love languages, and according to author Dr Gary Chapman, there are five main ways we do this.

    In his book he explored these avenues: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.

    Since then, his work has sparked many conversations about how we prefer giving and receiving love.

    So we asked people which ones they identify with the most and also spoke to relationship expert Bobbi Banks about what makes the five concepts so compelling.

    Which language speaks to you the most?

    Words of affirmation – These are reassuring words from your loved one. Like ‘you always make me laugh’ or ‘I love spending time with you’ to compliments like ‘your hair looks amazing like that’.

    Acts of service – This is when people do things for you, whether to make your life easier or just to make you happy. It is the epitome of ‘actions speak louder than words’.

    Quality time – This is about undivided attention from a loved one, focusing on you without distractions.

    Receiving gifts – It’s less about materialism and more about a person getting you something meaningful and thoughtful to make you feel appreciated.

    Physical touch – It can be a hug, a cuddle, holding hands, kissing etc. This is all about being assured physically that you’re safe, loved, and accepted.

    You can do a more in-depth quiz online, available for couples, singles, children and teenagers.

    Iman

    My love language is words of affirmation – for a stressed, anxious person it’s nice to know that I’m liked/loved because most of the time I think I’m annoying.

    Quality time and physical affection also rank highly on my list.

    In terms of how I love others, I think I give what I want to receive, so words of affirmation, quality time and physical affection.

    I also like giving others gifts, but I’m not too fussed about getting gifts myself.

     

    Becky

    I’m literally Yewande and Danny off Love Island. My boyfriend Jak is much more of a physical touch and cuddles kinda guy. Whereas I show my love through acts of service. I make him a packed lunch every day, make sure he has his dinner on the table, clean the flat etc.

    I love doing that and that’s me showing him I love him, making sure he’s happy and well-fed!!

    I’m not great at receiving physical touch and cuddles. Not sure why, when we first got together I did, but four years is a long time and it seems to have shifted. I’d prefer him to help out more or a thoughtful gift like flowers as a surprise!

    Promi

    Quality time and physical touch for sure, they’re a must. All the rest are bonuses for me.

    I can get sh*t for myself and do sh*t for myself, and I hardly have time to even breathe during school term so a midweek date or an entire weekend during school holidays feels like another world to escape into.

    For pragmatic people who are on the go, and for those who tend to overthink and worry, being present physically and emotionally is so valuable.

    It makes me feel at ease and has no monetary value. All the others require money and extra effort that modern inner-city adults can’t afford.

     

    Victoria

    I’ve practised mine on my parents and friends. For me it’s acts of service – this is the love language that prioritises having things done for you, whether big or small, giving a helping hand.

    So with my dad, that’s hanging out his work laundry – with my mum that’s cooking (doubling up on her quality time love language).

    Even for my dad (he’s 68), that can be ordering things from Amazon, booking his flights – even though he can do it himself. But it puts the biggest smile on his face.

     

    Yasmin

    Naturally, I think (and I’ve been told!) I gravitate towards acts of service. I will often sacrifice my own time to go on bizarre research questions to find answers to questions loved ones throw out, track down the perfect gift, surprise them by ironing their clothes or tidying their dorm room while they’re out at lectures.

    With my closest family, friends and loved ones, touch is super important to me to receive. My family are big huggers as are my friends and I’ll often ask for a cuddle from my fiancé or for him to hold my hand.

    My highest priority to give and receive is undoubtedly quality time.

    I’ll often say that I haven’t seen or spoken to someone in forever and receive a puzzled look because I’ve spent all weekend with them in a group situation or the whole week at work.

    But it’s the quality conversations, knowing the intimate details of how they really are and vice versa that I value.

    Animation of older woman kissing young woman's forehead
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Alex

    I show love by spending time with people and really listening to what they like, want and then using that information to show them that they are appreciated.

    As for receiving love, I definitely love quality time, spending moments with friends and partners, and physical touch to maintain the connection with people that I know and trust etc. I’m quite simple.

     

    Bobbi Banks, relationship coach

    The action of loving is different for everyone and understanding how you show and receive love is absolutely vital for a happy and healthy relationship.

    It is unrealistic to believe that your partner will miraculously know how to love you the way you want to be loved.

    This needs to be communicated and for that to happen you need to know yourself first.

    I have found that couples who know their love languages get to build a deeper connection, resolve conflicts easier and feel more satisfied with their partner.

    Having your emotional needs met in a relationship is crucial and speaking each other’s love languages achieves exactly that.

    This, I believe, applies to not only partners but family and friends too. Next time you don’t feel loved and appreciated ask yourself why.

    It will likely be because the other person is not speaking your love language, and this can easily be fixed with good communication and effort on both sides.

    MORE: How to say I love you in 25 different languages

    MORE: How parents affect our relationships with authority figures

    MORE: We feel rubbish about our relationships when compared to Instagram baes


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    How being unable to decorate the places we live is affecting us Metro illustrations (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)
    (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)

    What’s the secret to long-term happiness?

    Is it money? A great sex life? Never again burning your toast?

    It’s tricky to know the answer until later on in life, by which point you may have made some monumental mistakes in your pursuit of joy.

    So we’re glad Bupa’s saved us from learning the hard way by asking a bunch of older people (2,000 adults aged 55 and over, to be more specific) what they think are the secrets to a long and happy life.

    The obvious stuff makes the list – having a job you enjoy, being close with your family, having someone to love – but there are some unexpected keys to success there, too.

    Some people reccommended having a good gossip as a way to stay happy, others suggested a proper breakfast every day, and a significant portion reckon working in an office is a barrier to a wonderful life.

    The average age respondents said they realised the secret to a happy life was 49, so us youngsters have a way to go before we discover the truth about our existence. We can read through what they say helped, though, as a little cheat sheet to getting more joy in our lives.

    The 50 secrets to a happy life

    1. A loving partner
    2. Being close to family
    3. Laughing every day
    4. Doing regular exercise
    5. Getting out and enjoying nature
    6. Getting eight hours a sleep
    7. Owning a pet
    8. Having enough money to do what you want
    9. Having a job you love
    10. Playing with your children/grandchildren
    11. Having a hobby
    12. Having at least one really close friend
    13. Getting your five-a-day
    14. Living in the countryside
    15. A small act of kindness every day
    16. Reading every day
    17. Having lots of friends
    18. Having a good sex life
    19. Having breakfast every day
    20. Going on lots of little holidays
    21. Listening to music every day
    22. The Mediterranean diet
    23. Seeing lots of the world
    24. Looking after your appearance
    25. Working with people you get along with
    26. Making sure you get enough sun
    27. Having treats like chocolate and cake in moderation
    28. Avoiding alcohol
    29. Going on a big holiday every year
    30. Doing a crossword or Sudoku every day
    31. Doing puzzles
    32. Watching your favourite TV shows
    33. Getting up early
    34. Cooking every day
    35. Relaxing with yoga or meditation
    36. Eating whatever you want
    37. Having a lie in at least once a week
    38. Getting involved in the local community
    39. Doing things for charity
    40. Staying single
    41. Going to events like concerts or sporting events
    42. Going to the beach as much as possible
    43. Doing something craft-related such as knitting or crochet
    44. Not working in an office
    45. Giving someone else a compliment every day
    46. Having a good gossip
    47. Taking/looking at photos every day
    48. Painting or drawing
    49. Getting a compliment from someone else every day
    50. Playing a musical instrument every day

    Joan Elliott, managing director of Bupa Care Services, said: ‘We will all have our own theories on what makes for a happy and fulfilled life but it’s fascinating to get the insights of the older generation.

    ‘Overall there are a number of themes within our top 50 secrets to a long and happy life namely love, friendship, creativity, eating well and being outside.

    ‘Creativity appears to be especially important and perhaps this is because it stimulates the mind and allows us to express ourselves and release any frustrations.

    ‘Most people might think we’re happiest when we are younger but the research shows there is much to look forward to as we grow older – having more time to pursue hobbies is just one thing to be excited about.’

    MORE: What’s your love language and which ones are the most popular?

    MORE: Woman opens up about being a ‘background friend’


    How being unable to decorate the places we live is affecting usHow being unable to decorate the places we live is affecting us

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    Elf Sphynx cat Boo, who lost a third of his body weight
    He was always a playful boy (Picture: @adventuresofcatchild)

    Boo was a large lad when he first was rescued by Courtney Haney in 2014.

    Although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little junk in the trunk, cats of his breed are advised to weigh between 8 and 11 pounds to avoid health problems. Boo was originally 24 pounds.

    He has now lost a whopping 8 pounds – which is a third of his body weight – and according to his vets, he is now a healthy boy.

    Courtney adopted Boo from another owner who struggled to restrict his food intake. She told Metro.co.uk: ‘His original family could no longer keep him because their toddler was allergic. Because of that, they kept him secluded in a separate part of their house with food down 24/7.’

    He was always an adorable cat loaf, and was apparently ‘really lovable’ and ‘pretty much wanted constant attention and belly rubs.’

    Boo is a rare breed called an Elf, with a mix of Sphynx and American Curl. This gives him his unique turned-up ears alongside the classic Sphynx hairless coat.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BOxViu0A9BS/

    He lives alongside a Sphynx cat called Lamb and a dog called Penny Lane, and apparently they’re ‘partners in crime’.

    ‘After we adopted him, we put him and our other Sphynx on a feeding schedule,’ says Courtney. The two cats ‘get wet food twice a day and a few small scoops of dry throughout the day as well.’

    He also has an exercise routine to help him get out of his previous funk of not much interaction. Boo plays fetch, and also partakes in the classic cat activity of chasing a laser light to stay active.

    Having a more structured lifestyle has clearly been invaluable to the cat, Boo also loves some downtime too: ‘He will go right over to guests at our house and sit in their laps and everyone says they want to take him home. He gets along great with our other cat for the most part. They occasionally run through the house fighting with each other but that’s typical for all siblings.’

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BxgL3n1n9fV/

    It may seem like his life is pretty much all an Elf could need, but some people on the internet were intent on fat shaming him when Courtney first shared pictures of him.

    When she found a place where he’d be accepted for who he is (the Facebook group THIS CAT IS C H O N K Y), the love poured in.

    Over 10,000 people liked Boo’s progress pictures, and the comments were positive about his progress and his squishiness pre weight loss.

    One user said, ‘All I want is to bury my face in his soft round hippo tummy’ and another commented, ‘Why would they be mean to this glorious chonk?’ Others rightly pointed out that what he’s lost in weight, he’s gained in soft, strokable Sphynx wrinkles.

    It’s all been a happy ending for Boo, and we’re happy he didn’t let peer pressure get him down and lost the weight solely for himself. You can follow Courtney’s pet brood on their Instagram.

    Cat Week

    In honour of Catfest, we will be partnering with the festival to bring you seven days of the funniest, cutest, coolest and most amazing cat content.

    Until Saturday 29 June, read stories about all things cats, including kittens abandoned on rubbish dumps to fantastic cat art, and everything in-between.

    Catfest will include cat-themed literature and film plus live music, poetry and crafts. There will be rescue kittens, talks from cat experts, Instagram cats and an auction as well as cocktails, cake and much more. Tickets have sold out, but you can still get involved on social media.

    Part of the proceeds from the event will benefit Erham Rescue and International Trash Cat & Dumpster Dogs to help cats and kittens as well as street animals in need.

    Are you the owner of a fantastic cat? Then tweet us your cutest kitty pics @MetroUK and @MetroUK_Life for a chance to be featured!

    MORE: 16 stunning black cats who are looking for their forever homes

    MORE: Jeffree the cat helped young boy with Asperger’s cope with the sudden death of his father

    MORE: Animal charity offers students the chance to hang out with cats while they revise for exams

    MORE: What happens when a viral cat dies, and how can you cope when your pet passes?

    MORE: Extremely talented cat plays dead when faced with a finger gun


    Chubby sphinx cat Boo lost over half his body weight, going from chunk to hunk Picture: adventuresofcatchild METROGRABChubby sphinx cat Boo lost over half his body weight, going from chunk to hunk Picture: adventuresofcatchild METROGRAB

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    We do love a good cleaning hack, especially if it means we don’t have to faff around scrubbing.

    If you’ve already mastered the tricks for cleaning your oven racks, your glass, and getting rid of grease stains on clothes, it might be time to bring out the tools.

    No, not a new sponge. We’re talking about power tools. A power drill, to be more specific.

    When Melanie Smiley asked her husband Tim to clean the stubborn stains in the bathroom grouting, he decided to work smarter, not harder.

    Rather than getting down on his hands and knees and scrubbing for hours, Tim attached a toothbrush head to his drill, then used this makeshift cleaning brush to complete the job.

    It worked surprisingly well – so much so that we’re actually considering giving it a go.

    Melanie Smiley shares a hack with a toothbrush and a drill to clean the bathroom
    Genius (Picture: Melanie Smiley)

    Melanie shared a video of the trick on Facebook, writing: ‘At first I was shocked and my first thought was to yell at him. Then I saw it in action.’

    Take a look at the video above – watching the black grime disappear is deeply satisfying.

    The video was pretty popular on Facebook, with the post getting flooded with comments calling Tim a genius.

    Melania showed Tim all the praise and reported back: ”I’ve shown hubby all your messages and he is proud of himself.’

    As he should be.

    It’s worth noting that to replicate these effects you don’t need to worry about attaching a toothbrush to a power tool (it’s perfectly normal to be a bit tentative about adapting that sort of machinery).

    There are loads of products specially made to do this job, basically working as big electric toothbrushes to get rid of the need for manual scrubbing.

    Lakeland does a Sonic Scrubber for £16.99, while for bigger areas that need a good clean you can try the Turbo Scrub Brush from Curry’s.

    MORE: Ditching alcohol and not working in an office are the keys to happiness, says survey

    MORE: What’s your love language?

    MORE: Can bad hayfever give you a nosebleed?


    Drill to clean bathroomDrill to clean bathroom

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    Gorgeous but fat cat doing yoga in a garden during spring
    Does your cat need to shed some weight? (Picture: Getty)

    Is your feline looking a bit chunky?

    Cats are glorious in all sizes, but it’s important to look after your pet and make sure they’re at a healthy weight.

    According to International Cat Care, between 39% to 52% of cats in the UK are considered overweight or obese. For a cat to classify as overweight, it carries 10-19% more weight than is recommended for the breed, and if a cat weighs 20% more than the recommended weight, they’re considered obese.

    If have a small apartment and don’t have a garden for your cat to roam around in, don’t worry.

    There are plenty of easy and inventive ways to keep your house cat in tip top shape.

    And if you’re unsure how much your cat should weigh, chat to your veterinarian as there are various factors that could affect the answers.

    Invest in exciting toys

    If a cat isn’t in the mood to play with you, they probably won’t – but there are ways to entice them into playtime.

    Help them work up a sweat by investing in wand-shaped toys that have a distracting feature at the end, such as a mouse or feather.

    ‘You can keep your cat amused with toys, climbing towers or activity centres,’ a representative from Cats Protection tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘These can be bought or made – a cardboard box with holes cut into it or a ball of tin foil can be perfectly adequate.

    ‘Play is more fun if you get involved too – you can use fishing rod toys with feathers on a string to mimic their prey. Opportunities to exhibit hunting behaviour are often triggered by toys which move and attract the cat’s attention.’

    Another excellent option is a multi-level cat tower or a scratching post. Not only will your cat have a spot of their own, but it can also help them shed the excess weight and have something to do when they’re bored.

    Get them a workout buddy

    Sometimes all you need is another person (or in this case, cat) to help motivate you.

    If you only have one cat, join a local feline hangout group or see if any of your friends or colleagues have a friendly cat who might be in need of a new pal.

    However, do tread carefully when introducing the pair, as there’s a chance they won’t get on.

    Should that be the case, do not attempt to force your cat to socialise.

    Change their eating technique

    Cat eating food from a clear bowl and licking its mouth
    Feeding puzzle balls are a good way to change your cat’s eating technique (Picture: Getty)

    ‘House cats are given food bowls so it doesn’t take long for them to eat their daily ration or allow them to make use of their great senses,’ said a representative from Cats Protection.

    ‘Try using feeding puzzle balls to give part, or all, of your cat’s daily ration.

    ‘It’s best to let cats get used to this gradually, to ensure they have enough to eat and don’t become frustrated.’

    Create an exercise course

    Use boxes, pillows or other items lying around the house to create an exercise course where your cat has to get from one end of the room to the other.

    To incentivise them to run through the course, you could also place a treat at the finish line (but be careful not to use too many treats, given the purpose of the exercise is to get the cat to lose, not gain, weight).

    Take your cat to a private garden

    If you don’t have a garden of your own, it can be worth trying to find an outdoor space for your cat to explore.

    Some people opt for using cat leads and going for walks, however the RSPCA warns against doing so as it can cause your cat to feel stressed or agitated.

    To avoid this, ask a friend with a garden if you can pop over for the day and bring your cat with you.

    That way you can have a coffee with a mate while your cat gets an adventure in a safe, enclosed space.

    Also, if you live outside of the city in a green area with smaller, enclosed parks, that may also be another option. However, it’s good to visit the park on your own first to see if there are any potential dangers.

    MORE: Primark launches range of pet outfits – including a unicorn, hotdog or a bee outfit

    MORE: Students leave notes around campus begging people to stop feeding their university cat

    MORE: Cat gets ridiculous haircut that leaves him looking ‘like an accordion’


    Yoga obesicatYoga obesicat

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    Mixed Up is a weekly series that delves into the complexities of mixed-race identity.

    What does it mean to be part of the UK’s fastest growing ethnic groups? We talk to the people who know best about their lived experiences of being mixed.

    Straddling two or more cultures and backgrounds can be a beautiful thing, but it can also cause conflict and uncertainty.

    We’re keen to explore this liminal space and dig beyond the stereotypes to get to the heart of the mixed-race experience.

    Chelsea King is a writer and communications professional.

    She is estranged from her father – the source of her Caribbean heritage – and she wonders whether she would have a clearer idea about her identity if she had more of a connection to that side of her family.

    Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie Morris
    ‘My entire extended family is white, as were 99% of my peers and teachers and school’ (Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I have a grandfather from Belfast on my mum’s side. On the other side, I have a Jewish grandmother and a great-grandfather from St Kitts in the Caribbean,’ Chelsea tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘The Caribbean genes must be strong because they show in my features quite a bit considering how diluted they are.

    ‘My biological father is where my ethnic heritage comes from. I haven’t seen him since I was very young and it has been his choice not to be a part of my life.

    ‘My mum met Michael (who I consider my real father) when I was three, and I have been incredibly fortunate in that I grew up with both parents in the truest sense of the phrase.

    ‘While my dad and I don’t share blood, that doesn’t make him any less my dad. That’s a title you earn, not one you get automatically because you father a child.’

    Chelsea doesn’t feel any loss in the sense of family – her family unit provided her with everything she could have needed growing up. But in terms of her heritage, being the only non-white person in an entirely white family was isolating at times.

    ‘I grew up in a small town on the borders of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, called Kimberley. It’s an ex-mining town just a stone’s throw from Ilkeston, an area known for it’s BNP presence, so to say it wasn’t exactly diverse is a bit of an understatement,’ says Chelsea.

    ‘My entire extended family is white, as were 99% of my peers and teachers and school.

    ‘I considered myself white growing up because although physically I’m clearly not, it was all I knew.

    Chelsea as a baby
    ‘Aesthetically, I’m literally the black sheep of my family and friends and I have always felt like an outsider’ (Picture: Chelsea King)

    ‘I think of it as being a bit like being born in England, but growing up in Scotland.

    ‘If you’re surrounded by Scottish people all your life, you’ll have a Scottish accent. That doesn’t make you Scottish, but you’ll probably feel more Scottish than English, and you’ll certainly sound Scottish, especially if you’ve never really been around any English people.’

    It’s a sensible analogy, but bringing race into the equation makes things more complicated. Chelsea can see the influence of St Kitts in her features, hair, skin colour – but beyond that the connection isn’t there.

    ‘I don’t regret not having contact with my biological father for many reasons, but I do regret that I grew up with no connection to my Caribbean heritage,’ she explains.

    ‘Even though you could say I grew up identifying as white, the reflection in the mirror told a different story – aesthetically, I’m literally the black sheep of my family and friends and I have always felt like an outsider.

    ‘Whether that’s because of my heritage or not, it’s hard to say, but understanding your place in the world is harder when you don’t fully understand the parts that make you up.’

    Currently, Chelsea has no interest in trying to contact or build a relationship with her birth father, the relationship she wants to build is with a place, a culture.

    ‘I couldn’t ever want for better parents than mine, so I don’t see a time where I’ll pursue contact with my biological father as there’s no gap for him to fill,’ she says.

    ‘However, I’ll be going to St Kitts for my 30th birthday and I really hope that I’ll feel something when I’m there, or at least get a better understanding of a part of me that feels so shrouded in mystery and what being mixed-raced really means for me.’

    The shift in Chelsea’s understanding of her own identity has been significant. Now, her mixed-race identity is a vital part of who she is, and is something she never wants to shy away from.

    ‘Last Easter I decided I wasn’t going to straighten my hair any more,’ Chelsea tells us.

    ‘That was always the thing people said made it most obvious that I was mixed-race growing up and I don’t want anyone to be in any doubt about who I am.

    ‘The thing that I struggled with most as a child has become the proudest symbol of my mixed-race heritage as an adult.

    ‘When I moved to London, suddenly I wasn’t the black sheep any more.

    ‘I have also become more accepting of myself as a whole in the past 18 months.

    ‘Sometimes I’m going to excel at work, make my parents proud and my partner happy. Sometimes I’m going to be late, cock things up or get too drunk and behave like a moron.

    ‘For me, to be able to accept the rough with the smooth, I need to acknowledge all the parts that make me up – my personality, my experiences, my heritage.’

    Chelsea's parents
    ‘While my dad and I don’t share blood, that doesn’t make him any less my dad’ (Picture: Chelsea King)

    Growing up in a largely white area, Chelsea had to deal with a myriad of issues that her friends and classmates would never understand.

    ‘I always struggle with ethnicity boxes on forms, because what can I tick that covers everything?’ she asks.

    ‘That’s kind of a metaphor for society as a whole really because you’re expected to fit some sort of mould, but that’s just impossible when you’re mixed-race. There are too many contradictions and exceptions.

    ‘A huge issue for me growing up was the hair, always the hair!

    ‘My mum made sure she always told me I was beautiful, but there just wasn’t any real representation of darker women, especially with naturally curly hair like mine, either in popular culture or around me.

    ‘I hated my hair growing up. I wanted long, straight hair (preferably blond) because that was what all the beautiful women I knew had.

    ‘I used to brush my hair out in an attempt to make it look less “ethnic” – all this resulted in was a hideous bushy mess.

    ‘When I got a bit older I straightened my hair a fair bit, but when I wore my curls as they were meant to be, I noticed how hard it was to find decent products for hair like mine.

    ‘I certainly couldn’t just go to the nearest shop and buy a conditioner or shampoo, like everyone else could, It would mean a trip to specific shops where I knew they stocked the right products. That’s something that is only just changing now.’

    As well as the practical issue of not being catered to by shops and beauty suppliers, there was the issue of hostility and racism – overt and covert. Chelsea says it took her a while to figure out what some of these comments really signified.

    ‘My parents were always incredibly protective of me, and I think a lot of things went over my head, as I just didn’t recognise them as applying to me when I was younger,’ she explains.

    Chelsea as a little girl
    ‘I’m more than happy to talk about my heritage if I’m asked properly, without entitlement’ (Picture: Chelsea King)

    ‘But looking back now, the odd comment or instance will spring to mind – nothing very serious in isolation, but just the sort of thing that wouldn’t have happened if I was white.

    ‘For instance, I remember going to the cinema with two friends as a teenager, and every time someone of colour would come on screen, one of them would laugh and point, saying “look Chelsea, it’s you!”

    ‘At the time, it was mildly irritating, but now it makes me angry, and I’m angry at myself that I laughed it off and didn’t call it out.

    ‘For me though, the worse stuff is things that were innocent in intent – like people assuming my boyfriend is black or mixed-race, purely because I am.

    ‘Or when I was a waitress, customers would ask me; “where are you from then?” and then when I replied (sometimes bluntly) “Nottingham”, continuing with, “yes but where are you really from? Where is your family from?”

    ‘They wouldn’t ask that to someone who looked white.

    ‘Even though I know there’s no malicious intent behind that sort of stuff, it really grates on me because people are making assumptions and are acting like they have a right to know personal details about me, even if I clearly don’t want to give them.’

    Chelsea thinks it’s natural that there is curiosity around mixed-race individuals – purely because of the diversity of our experiences – but she worries about the consequences of fetishisation.

    ‘Whilst I’m happy there’s more representation in terms of fashion, beauty and media, I do also think there’s an element of it being “on trend”,’ she says.

    ‘I knew of girls when I was younger wanting mixed-race babies because they were “cute” and they’d talk about it like they were selecting a breed of puppy to buy.

    ‘I hope that the brands using mixed-race faces in campaigns understand the complexities of what it means to be mixed-race; we are beautiful, but we each also have a beautiful history and rich experience that is totally unique to each of us and should be respected and honoured.’

    Chelsea wants people to understand that words have power and should be used carefully. She doesn’t think ignorance is an excuse when it comes to using offensive or racist language.

    ‘The first thing I would like people to understand is the semantics,’ explains Chelsea.

    ‘I find the phrase “half-caste” incredibly offensive and I find it more offensive when people want to argue with and tell me it’s not, or complain that they can’t keep up with what terms they are supposed to use these days.

    Chelsea with her mum
    ‘My mum made sure she always told me I was beautiful, but there just wasn’t any real representation of darker women’ (Picture: Chelsea King)

    ‘If you don’t understand why “half-caste” is offensive, do a quick Google search on the etymology. And if you don’t know what term to use, ask.

    ‘It’s not hard, it’s like asking someone with a really long name what they’d like to be addressed as.

    ‘Secondly, you can ask questions, just don’t demand information. I’m more than happy to talk about my heritage if I’m asked properly, without entitlement.

    ‘If someone is interested in me and my heritage, that’s flattering, but demanding information without so much as a, “what’s your name?” will get my back up every time.

    ‘I want people to understand that I’m not one thing. I’m not black. I’m not white. I’m both and neither. I’m proud of every piece of the jigsaw that makes up my whole and I’m not going to pick between them.’

    What Chelsea cares about is her legacy. What will she leave behind, how can she help to unify and enrich the lives of the people around her?

    ‘When all is said and done, I would like for my life to have meant something,’ she says.

    ‘Too often in today’s climate, we stand on two separate sides and call names and shout louder until nobody can hear what the other is saying, because we’re all too eager to be right and prove the other side wrong.

    ‘But that’s not how we make change happen.

    ‘We have to listen to each other – really listen, and not just listen in order to dismantle the other side’s argument – and be prepared to move towards a better long-term future bit by bit.

    ‘My unconventional mixed-race background has put me in a position where I can see both sides of the fence, and I hope that I can use that in a really positive way, even if my contribution is tiny.’

    Chelsea wants more stories like hers to be heard. She plans on using her writing to raise awareness about what it means to be mixed-race and to reach the people who may still feel alone in the world.

    ‘We are so little understood and so little heard about, despite the fact that the number of people who identify as mixed-race is getting bigger and bigger,’ says Chelsea.

    ‘I can think of only one or two lead characters in books, films or TV series who are mixed-race and even then, the plot-line revolves around race.

    ‘I’m writing a novel at the moment and my lead character is mixed-race, but that isn’t all they are.

    ‘That’s why we need to hear more stories from mixed-race people, so our stories can evolve from being mixed-race to just being. But we need representation first.’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I’m so light-skinned people don’t believe I’m related to my black mother’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I worry about unspoken discrimination. Have you judged me before I’ve even said a word?’

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I was spat at in the playground – these days racism is more subtle’


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    Keani Babas wrote boyfriend of three years Peter Vincent is the sweetest
    Keani Babas wrote boyfriend of three years Peter Vincent is the sweetest (Picture: @keanibabas/Twitter, @_petervincent/Twitter)

    Taking off makeup is a chore at the best of times but when you’re drunk, it’s a whole mess.

    Most of us might even opt to go to sleep with it on but considering the horror stories, we really advise against doing that.

    One woman who was wearing fake eyelashes on a night out luckily had someone to help her take them off when she crashed out.

    Keani Babas, who is from Guam, revealed on Twitter that her boyfriend Peter managed to put her false lashes away for her, even labelling them left and right – handy for next use.

    So naturally, people think he’s a keeper.

    Image of fake lashes stuck to tissue with L and R written on top of it
    Peter’s sweet gesture won him a tonne of praise (Picture: @KeaniBabas)

    Keani shared an image of the lashes stuck to a tissue with L and R written on top of it.

    ‘I was drunk and took off my lashes so my bf stuck them on a napkin and labelled them,’ she tweeted.

    The post received almost 200,000 likes on Twitter and users just couldn’t help praising Peter for being intuitive.

    ‘Girl, he LOVES you,’ gushed one while another wrote: ‘keep him like he kept your lashes.’

    Others pointed out that lashes are interchangeable and it doesn’t matter which eye each is placed on.

    However, for some styles which fan out towards the outer edge, it is important to place lashes on the correct side.

    Others told the couple, who’ve been together for three years, to stick together.

    ‘Oh so y’all are getting married,’ one person responded. ‘Such a keeper it’s the small gestures that really get me.’

    Followers said Peter was a keeper
    Followers said Peter was a keeper (Picture: @KeaniBabas)

    It seems boyfriends not knowing what to do with their partner’s makeup and hoping for the best is a common theme.

    One woman revealed that her boyfriend didn’t know what to do with her false lashes so threw them away.

    Meanwhile, another took to putting them in two separate bags for fear of ‘cross contamination’.

    So innocent. So wholesome.

    While it’s certainly adorable to see what storage plans unknowing partners can concoct, reusing fake lashes too many times isn’t ideal.

    It depends on the kind of lashes you’re applying, but generally, animal hair lashes can be worn between 20-30 times while synthetic lashes can usually only provide around 3-8 wears.

    If you’ve applied mascara to your false lashes, you shouldn’t wear them too often as it can cause buildup, leading to infection.

    And if you do plan on using them again, sanitise (use a cotton bud with rubbing alcohol to clean) and store them properly.

    Or get your boyfriend to store them.

    MORE: Man dumps woman because she covered her acne with makeup and says he was catfished

    MORE: The next hot trend is blending your makeup with your boyfriend’s balls

    MORE: Why do men think they get to have an opinion on people wearing makeup on the train?


    Woman impressed by boyfriend who took off her false lashes while drunk and labelled them left and rightWoman impressed by boyfriend who took off her false lashes while drunk and labelled them left and right

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    Five women of all shapes and sizes posing together in lingerie from Ivy Rose
    ‘I am starting to feel worthy and doing this shoot gave me a huge confidence boost – to be surrounded by such beautiful women on the day who are also on this self love journey’ (Picture: Ivory Rose)

    Ivory Rose, the brand that specialises in creating lingerie for women with fuller busts, has unveiled its latest campaign.

    The aim of the photo project is to celebrate women of all shapes and sizes – it features five curvy ‘real’ women, none of whom are professional models.

    What’s more, none of the photos have been edited or retouched, with stretchmarks and body dimples all proudly – and beautifully – on display.

    The campaign is also a response to a recent YouGov poll, which found that 57% of 18 to 24-year-olds feel anxious about their body image.

    ‘For years I have had a lot of self-doubt over my body image and have not felt confident but now I have made progress,’ said 23-year-old Sophie, one of the women who took part in the shoot.

    ‘I am starting to feel worthy and doing this shoot gave me a huge confidence boost – to be surrounded by such beautiful women on the day who are also on this self love journey.

    ‘Not to have any of our photos retouched, especially for a lingerie photoshoot,  is a real statement and true testament to what Ivory Rose is all about.’

    Three women posing together, dressed in lace bodysuits - one in black , one in blue and the third in red
    None of the images have been edited (Picture: Ivory Rose)
    Two women posing together in black lingerie and each holding a sign. One says 'Ivy Rose', the other 'You can't Photoshop personality!'
    Founders of Ivory Rose, Frankie Mason and Aimee Law (Picture: Ivory Rose)

    Founders of Ivory Rose, Frankie Mason, 27,  and Aimee Law, 28, also decided to strip down for the shoot.

    The pair, both of whom have fuller busts themselves, started the brand after they struggled to find lingerie for women with DD cups and above that was both feminine and supportive.

    ‘With our brand being about real woman and all their curves, we wanted to revamp our website to showcase this,’ said Frankie.

    ‘People are all shapes and sizes and just because you are curvy doesn’t mean we want to hide away in our lingerie.’

    Ivory Rose lingerie sizes start from 30DD and go up to 48G, and are stocked in a range of online retailers including ASOS and Missguided.

    ‘With our lingerie being pretty and girly that can be worn every day, we wanted to promote real curvy fuller bust women loving themselves for who they are, which is why none of our photography is photoshopped,’ said Aimee. 

    MORE: Nurse becomes plus-size lingerie model after husband secretly enters her into competition

    MORE: https://metro.co.uk/2019/06/17/my-fat-body-is-my-own-business-nike-fatphobia-fat-shaming-9925805/

    MORE: Women tell us why they love Nike’s plus-size mannequins


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    Can minimalism/decluttering go too far?
    How much of your earnings goes straight to a landlord? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Ready for another instalment of ‘living in London is so expensive we keep questioning why we’re doing this to ourselves’?

    ‘Course you are.

    If the recent Northern editions of What I Rent haven’t sufficiently hammered home the despair of high rents in the capital, take a look at this infographic, which shows what percentage of people’s salaries goes on rent in different areas of London.

    Using data from gov.uk and ONS, rental site Howsy took a look at the average salary earned by residents of different boroughs of London, then compared this to the average spent on rent in the area.

    To be clear, the salary average is based on where people live, not where they work. People in Enfield might be working in Kensington, for example.

    But the percentage of salary that goes on rent is a fairly haunting statistic, especially considering the old-school rule of dedicating just 30% of your monthly income to renting a property.

    Not one borough in London has an average that meets that 30% recommendation.

    map showing percentage of salary spent on rent in areas of London
    You can click on this image to make it bigger (Picture: Howsy)

    The closest are Bromley and Bexley, which both see renters spending an average of 46% of their paycheck on rent. That’s thanks to a combination of a fairly standard monthly salary of £2,729 for residents of Bromley and £2,240 for residents of Bexley, combined with comparatively low rent – £1,250 a month and £1,026, respectively.

    The borough where people are paid the least have a higher percentage of their money going on rent, as you’d expect.

    The average monthly salary in Barking and Dagenham is £1,834, but the average rent is £1,193, meaning 65% of people’s pay is going straight to renting property.

    That budget isn’t as shocking as in Hackney, though, where on average renters are spending 83% of their salary to rent a place in the area.

    The highest earning and spending borough is Westminster, earning £4,485 a month and spending £2,709 on rent.

    We could really do with knowing where to work to earn the most, we reckon. If we can work there and live in Bexley we’d be able to bring our percentage way down.

    Average salary and rent in areas of London:

    Bromley
    Average monthly salary: £2,729
    Average monthly rent: £1,250
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 46%

    Bexley
    Average monthly salary: £2,240
    Average monthly rent: £1,026
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 46%

    Croydon
    Average monthly salary: £2,265
    Average monthly rent: £1,133
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 50%

    Sutton
    Average monthly salary: £2,202
    Average monthly rent: £1,114
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 51%

    Kingston upon Thames
    Average monthly salary: £2,644
    Average monthly rent: £1,355
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 51%

    Greenwich
    Average monthly salary: £2,667
    Average monthly rent: £1,392
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 52%

    Havering
    Average monthly salary: £2,133
    Average monthly rent: £1,135
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 53%

    Wandsworth
    Average monthly salary: £3,477
    Average monthly rent: £1,855
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 53%

    Merton
    Average monthly salary: £2,865
    Average monthly rent: £1,576
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 55%

    Lewisham
    Average monthly salary: £2,303
    Average monthly rent: £1,289
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 56%

    Redbridge
    Average monthly salary: £2,278
    Average monthly rent: £1,267
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 56%

    Richmond upon Thames
    Average monthly salary: £3,521
    Average monthly rent: £2,000
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 57%

    Islington
    Average monthly salary: £3,289
    Average monthly rent: £1,904
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 58%

    Harrow
    Average monthly salary: £2,318
    Average monthly rent: £1,359
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 59%

    Camden
    Average monthly salary: £3,602
    Average monthly rent: £2,117
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 59%

    Hounslow
    Average monthly salary: £2,146
    Average monthly rent: £1,296
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 60%

    Westminster
    Average monthly salary: £4,485
    Average monthly rent: £2,709
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 60%

    Tower Hamlets
    Average monthly salary: £2,899
    Average monthly rent: £1,762
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 61%

    Hammersmith and Fulham
    Average monthly salary: £3,276
    Average monthly rent: £2,005
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 61%

    Waltham Forest
    Average monthly salary: £2,470
    Average monthly rent: £1,532
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 61%

    Ealing
    Average monthly salary: £2,470
    Average monthly rent: £1,532
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 62%

    Lambeth
    Average monthly salary: £2,689
    Average monthly rent: £1,670
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 62%

    Hillingdon
    Average monthly salary: £2,004
    Average monthly rent: £1,245
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 62%

    Barnet
    Average monthly salary: £2,436
    Average monthly rent: £1,535
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 63%

    Enfield
    Average monthly salary: £2,110
    Average monthly rent: £1,357
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 64%

    Barking and Dagenham
    Average monthly salary: £1,834
    Average monthly rent: £1,193
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 65%

    Haringey
    Average monthly salary: £2,279
    Average monthly rent: £1,520
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 67%

    Southwark
    Average monthly salary: £2,433
    Average monthly rent: £1,705
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 70%

    Newham
    Average monthly salary: £1,895
    Average monthly rent: £1,413
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 75%

    Brent
    Average monthly salary: £2,059
    Average monthly rent: £1,582
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 77%

    Hackney
    Average monthly salary: £2,225
    Average monthly rent: £1,856
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 83%

    Kensington and Chelsea
    Excluded due to lack of current salary data

    City of London
    Average monthly salary: £3,345
    Average monthly rent: £2,189
    Percentage of salary spent on rent: 65%

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

    MORE: What I Rent: Billie, £800 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Walthamstow

    MORE: What I Rent: Claudia and Steve, £1,260 a month for a two-bedroom flat in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

     


    Can minimalism/decluttering go too far?Can minimalism/decluttering go too far?

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