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

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    Image of Nikesh Shukla and his new book The Boxer
    Author Nikesh Shukla took up boxing to deal with racism he experienced (Picture: Nikesh Shukla)

    When you’re the victim of a racist attack, there’s no right way to react.

    When writer Nikesh Shukla found himself being discussed by a group of drunk men pondering over whether to attack him, he stood frozen.

    Thankfully the men decided against assaulting him, but it left Nikesh reeling, wanting to unapologetically take up and own his space.

    He chose boxing as an outlet to work through the trauma of racism.

    That lived experience inspired the character in Nikesh’s second YA novel, The Boxer, who is attacked at a train station.

    The young Asian protagonist – whose sexual identity is a backdrop and not a trauma to be worked through – also takes up boxing in the aftermath of violence.

    Image of Nikesh Shukla
    Nikesh used his own experience of racism to tell the story of Sunny, a gay Asian teen living in Bristol

    ‘Something switched in me,’ Nikesh tells Metro.co.uk. ‘I shrank. I tried to make myself as small as possible.

    ‘All I wanted was the strength to get up from my seat and walk to the next carriage. But I couldn’t. I was stuck to my chair.

    ‘So boxing became my way of owning space, taking it up unapologetically and knowing that I had the strength to walk away when I needed to.

    ‘The main thing I wanted to write about was how the trauma of racism is carried in our bones, on our skin and in our minds.

    ‘This is a novel about depression and mental health and how much an incident that makes us feel less than human can make us sink into dark places.’

    Nikesh used his own experience of boxing to tell the story in the format of ten rounds in the ring.

    Before starting boxing, Nikesh worried he would encounter a hyper-masculine environment where he wouldn’t feel comfortable.

    He quickly grew to love the sport and realised it was the ideal space for his fictional character Sunny.

    Dealing with a disabled dad and his romantic feelings for sparring partner Keir, Sunny doesn’t become traumatised by his sexuality. Nikesh wanted it to be an accepted part of Sunny.

    ‘I don’t read about enough teenage South Asians from an LGBTQIA+ background,’ he says.

    ‘I wanted to ensure that Sunny being gay isn’t a thing that is also traumatic for him. I wanted it to be accepted and normal and celebrated by those close to him. Because that sort of representation is just as important.

    ‘My feeling is that I want to write South Asian characters that we know in real life but who are never seen on pages of books and on screen. I know Sunny. I’m friends with Sunny.

    ‘But Sunny isn’t ever written about. So I wanted my Sunny to feel like someone we have all come across in real life but hasn’t been given a chance to tell their story.’

    The aftermath of a racist encounter can have different results for different people but Nikesh wants anyone who’s been a victim to it to know a few things.

    ‘Remember, it’s not your fault,’ he says. ‘Do whatever you need to do to feel safe at the moment.

    ‘If you don’t feel like you can challenge the person or if you feel unsafe or if it is traumatic for you, do everything you can to be safe.

    ‘As soon as you can, record all the details on a voice memo, before it goes out of your head, and do report it. We need to know these things are happening.

    ‘And if you witness a racist encounter, don’t let it happen. Go to the victim and ask if they are ok. No one is telling you to get involved or fight back or be violent.

    ‘But a victim knowing you’re supporting them can do so much to help them deal with what is happening.’

    The Boxer is out 27 June and you can order it online through Amazon.

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘Racism made me feel sub-human. I used to pretend to be anything but black’

    MORE: As a black gay man, I am constantly reduced to outdated, racist stereotypes when online dating

    MORE: Black British men talk about sexuality, mental health, culture, and racism in new book Safe

    Nikesh ShuklaNikesh Shukla

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    The Loovre toilet created by Water Aid at Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset
    Fancy popping to the Loovre while you’re at Glastonbury? (Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

    Glastonbury attendees who fancy a more cultured festival experience than tipping pints on their own shoes and pissing in strangers’ tents are in luck.

    At this year’s festival there’s a loo with an art gallery, called the Loovre (get it? Like the Louvre in Paris, but it’s a toilet).

    The art gallery is set inside a snazzy toilet cubicle at Worthy Farm in Somerset. It shows creative versions of some of the world’s most famous pieces of artwork.

    But it’s not just designed to look cool. The Loovre is the creation of WaterAid, who hope the artwork will highlight the fact that one in four people across the world have no decent sanitation.

    The Loovre toilet created by Water Aid at Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset
    WaterAid created the mini gallery to highlight that one in four people worldwide don’t have access to clean, sanitary spaces (Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire)
    The Loovre toilet created by Water Aid at Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset. The art gallery is in a toilet cubicle displaying famous works with a twist. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 26, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Glastonbury. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
    There are parodies of Da Vinci, Botticelli, and more (Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

    That’s right, while you’re complaining about the less-than-pleasant portaloos at Glastonbury, there are people who struggle to have access to clean, safe spaces year round.

    The artwork inside shows Michelangelo’s David crossing his legs as he waits in a long queue for the toilet, Mona Lisa is shown holding it in, The Thinker is on the toilet, Frida Kahlo is framed in a bathroom mirror, and Botticelli’s Venus is being presented with sanitary products.

    There are also parodies of Picasso, Matisse, and Duchamp in the mini gallery.

    The Loovre toilet created by Water Aid at Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset
    Mona Lisa is showed holding it in (Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

    Tim Wainwright, chief executive at WaterAid, said: ‘This fun exhibition provides some entertainment and contemplation while using the convenience, as well as conveying a serious message: no-one should have their access denied to decent sanitation and clean water because of who they are or where they live.

    ‘One in four people – that’s two billion people across the globe – have nowhere safe or decent to go to the toilet.

    The Loovre toilet created by Water Aid at Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset. The art gallery is in a toilet cubicle displaying famous works with a twist. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 26, 2019. See PA story SHOWBIZ Glastonbury. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
    You can find the art gallery near the Cider Bus (Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

    ‘We are calling to join us as we fight this inequality and work towards a world where everyone, everywhere has access to these basic human rights.’

    If you fancy checking out the toilet art gallery while you’re seeing a bunch of live music, you will need to find it first. To be clear: this isn’t standard for all the portaloos at Glastonbury, and if you expect artwork inside every toilet you visit you will be sorely disappointed.

    To visit the Loovre, head to the Pyramid Stage and look for Cider Bus – it’s right there.

    MORE: Can you take wet wipes and make-up wipes to Glastonbury Festival or are they banned?

    MORE: How much punters actually spend to attend Glastonbury (and how much they save)

    MORE: Are plastic bottles allowed at Glastonbury – what are the plastic rules?

    Glastonbury Festival 2019 - Day 1Glastonbury Festival 2019 - Day 1

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    **ILLUSTRATION AMEND** It might be awkward, but it's vital for couples to discuss money (Abby)
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Here’s some cheery news for anyone looking to get out of the renting game and buy a home.

    According to research from Zoopla, a first-time buyer needs to earn an average of £84,000 a year to purchase a home in London.

    Before you get too miserable about that stat, it’s actually gone down over the past three years, the average income needed dropping by £3,300 thanks to a price stall.

    That isn’t the case across the UK though, as the average income needed to buy a home in major cities has increased by £4,500. Zoopla says that the average annual income for first-time buyers living in cities in the UK needs to be £54,400.

    It’s worth noting that’s the household income required, so maybe you can couple up to finally fulfill your dreams of jumping on the property ladder.

    To figure out the income you’d need to buy your first home, Zoopla analysed house prices across the UK and assumed that buyers would have a 15% deposit, rising to 25% in London, Oxford, and Cambridge.

    The figures stick to the recommended proportion of 30% of take-home pay going towards a mortgage, with no buyers borrowing more than four times their income.

    The areas requiring the lowest income to buy were Glasgow, Newcastle, and Liverpool, while the places where you’ll need to earn more are – you guessed it – London, Oxford, and Cambridge.

    Average salary needed to buy a first time home in 2019:

    • Liverpool – £26,100
    • Glasgow – £26,600
    • Newcastle – £25,500
    • Belfast – £28,800
    • Sheffield – £29,500
    • Nottingham – £32,900
    • Aberdeen – £33,700
    • Birmingham – £35,200
    • Leeds – £35,500
    • Manchester – £36,200
    • Leicester – £38,000
    • Cardiff  – £44,600
    • Southampton – £48,500
    • Edinburgh – £48,700
    • Portsmouth – £50,700
    • Bristol – £59,500
    • Bournemouth – £62,300
    • Oxford – £68,800
    • Cambridge – £72,000
    • London – £84,000

    Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla said: ‘First-time buyers are an important group accounting for more than one in three sales.

    ‘While the average household income to buy a typical home across UK cities has grown 9% since 2016, weaker price growth and recent price falls have led to a 5% reduction in the income to buy across the most expensive cities.

    ‘It will come as a modest relief for would-be buyers although the income to purchase still remains relatively high.’

    MORE: Map shows how much of your salary you’ll spend on rent in different areas of London

    MORE: What I Rent: Anthony and Alison, £765 a month for a three-bedroom house in Clifton, York

    Metro IllustrationsMetro Illustrations

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    Lindsay Collins could have gone blind after fillers were injected into an artery
    Lindsay Collins could have gone blind after fillers were injected into an artery (Picture: MEDAVIA)

    Lindsay Collins decided to have lip fillers done in September last year as a birthday treat.

    She couldn’t have predicted how badly they would go.

    Lindsay, a mum-of-four, spent £240 on fillers injected by an unlicensed beautician at her home. She’d bought herself the gift as a Botox and filler package deal, and trusted the practitioner would do a good job thanks to a friend’s recommendation.

    Lindsay’s top lip immediately had a blue tinge, but it was dismissed as bruising.

    In the space of a few days, her top lip had swollen to three times its usual size.

    A few days after the treatment, Lindsay's lip had tripled in size and turned blue
    A few days after the treatment, Lindsay’s lip had tripled in size and turned blue (Picture: MEDAVIA)

    Lindsay told Fabulous Digital: ‘My lip was swollen like it was about to burst, it felt like it was about to explode.

    “It felt like somebody pouring a boiling kettle of water over my top lip and gum.

    ‘I’ve given birth four times and I would rather do it again than feel that pain.’

    The mum was unable to talk, eat, or sleep thanks to the pain of her fillers gone wrong, and even struggled to drink water through a straw. She refused to leave the house for a month.

    Lindsay has been left with permanent scarring
    Lindsay has been left with permanent scarring (Picture: MEDAVIA)

    Lindsay went back to the beautician for help, and was initially told that her swollen lips were simply down to bruising. A few days later, when her lips were filled with pus, she was urged to go to A&E.

    She was prescribed a seven day course of antibiotics, followed by another week, and was told that the beautician had injected the filler into an artery. The fillers could have left Lindsay blind.

    Lindsay has since had the fillers removed from her lips by a registered nurse, but she’s been left with permanent scarring. The mum has also lost feeling in her lip, but has been told this may return.

    The Department of Health is investigating the case. Lindsay is taking legal action against the beautician.

    She wants her story to push for tighter laws on cosmetic treatments, to stop unregistered beauticians from injecting fillers.

    MORE: Woman’s lips went black and filled with pus after fillers went wrong

    MORE: MenTal(k) Health: ‘I wear my scars with pride for the LGBT community’

    MORE: Sitting down all day can cause ‘sloppy bottom’ (and it can affect your weight and health)

    Mum says dodgy fillers were more painful than giving birthMum says dodgy fillers were more painful than giving birth

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    Love Island 2019's Amber Gill, Danny and Anna
    Yewande’s closest girlfriends in the villa, Amber and Anna, were not at all pleased (Picture: REX)

    Watching a group of toned strangers compete for love while trapped in a Majorcan villa can be strangely elucidating about the human condition.

    For instance, we now know that fop-haired sandwich merchants shouldn’t dictate how surfer/models conduct their friendships. That even when Irish grid girls are open about sex, it’s not OK to impose sexual expectations on them. That the siblings of world famous boxers do not necessarily know how to make a cup of tea.

    On Tuesday, we learned that if you blatantly ditch a scientist you’ve been chasing for at least a week in favour of a model you’ve only just met, you will be hearing about it from her best friends.

    When Danny chose Arabella over Yewande in the most recent re-coupling ceremony, Yewande’s closest girlfriends in the villa, Amber and Anna, were not at all pleased. They were furious, in fact.

    When Yewande left the villa, to resume finding a cure for cancer, her besties absolutely made their wrath known. They cried, they yelled, they fumed. Amber confronted Danny straight on and Anna simply dismissed him from the conversation by repeatedly saying ‘boy, bye’ with a flick of her elegant hands.

    Amber and Anna had a real go at the new couple, despite their insistence that their ‘connection’ is ‘real’. When Danny and Arabella demonstrated this allegedly ‘intellectual’ connection with a dirty great snog, just metres away from the rest of the group and shortly after Yewande’s departure, it made Amber and Anna even angrier.

    Love Island 2019's Yewande Biala and Arabella Chi during re-coupling
    When Danny chose Arabella over Yewande, Yewande’s closest girlfriends were not at all pleased (Picture: ITV/REX)

    Viewers were split in their reaction to Amber and Anna’s behaviour, much like the islanders were. Was this a justifiable show of anger on behalf of a wronged friend and precisely what everyone concerned deserved? Or was it a childish outburst from two women who should know better?

    There are a few things worth considering here. First, that female anger is still a novel thing to see on prime time television and honestly it was brilliant to watch. To openly express wrath like that is rebellious. It goes against what we traditionally expect of women: that they be demure and likeable and feminine.

    It’s unsurprising to me that some fans didn’t like seeing two young women rage like that. Female anger makes people uncomfortable; they don’t know what to do with it.

    I was here for it. I appreciated the loyalty to Yewande implicit in Amber and Anna’s outrage. They saw – more than we did as viewers watching an edited snippet of the island experience – how Danny treated Yewande. They believe he did wrong by her and they made that known. I get where they’re coming from and I understand their vitriolic reaction.

    I have watched beloved friends of mine be treated badly and I have absolutely, privately raged about it. Truly, if I were stranded in a villa trying to find love and some guy lied to and then ditched my friend the way Danny did Yewande, I would be furious. I occasionally entertain little fantasies of telling the men who’ve treated my girlfriends badly exactly what I think of them.

    The girls of Love Island 2019 during the latest recoupling
    The contestants on this show do not have anything else to do with their time but obsess over their interactions (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

    I would secretly love to behave the way Amber and Anna did, but I never have. Perhaps I would do, if I’d had my phone confiscated, been put in a house with a dozen strangers and told what to do while I was in there.

    The other thing it’s worth remembering is that these people are not living normal lives right now. The elevated emotions in that villa are insane. The contestants on this show do not have anything else to do with their time but obsess over their interactions, their feelings and their almost-relationships.

    Disloyalties, manipulations and wrongdoings are elevated to gross misconduct. Of course they’re going to overreact; they’ve been meticulously primed for it. The whole Love Island process has been designed to make its participants emotionally unstable, their autonomy taken from them and their every movement filmed.

    Perhaps their anger was exaggerated, and perhaps it was extreme, even immature. But the sentiment was good: they believe their friend has been wronged and they stood up for her. They cared about a person and they made it known.

    Loyalty plays out like anger sometimes, when the person you care about is treated in way that you do not believe they deserved. Anger from women shouldn’t be immediately dismissed as hysterical or wrong. It’s OK to rage sometimes – especially if you’re locked in a Majorcan villa without anything else to do with your emotions. Would none of the four million people watching have behaved the same, in those circumstances?

    Yewande, for her part, bid Danny a stunning one-two punch of a farewell: ‘What goes around comes around, have a nice life,’ she said, and disappeared into the night. It was instantly iconic and we have no choice but to stan. I hope she gets out the popcorn and watches how Amber and Anna reacted to her departure when she gets home.

    I hope she realises that her girls have got her back. I hope she sees that even if she didn’t find someone to love romantically in that villa, she’s got fierce friends.

    MORE: How to balance time between your friends and new relationship

    MORE: The problem with women describing themselves as ‘guy’s girls’

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

    New Love Island bullying claims being looked at by OfcomNew Love Island bullying claims being looked at by Ofcom

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    At 18, after six months in a psychiatric unit, I first claimed disability benefits.

    A social worker helped me apply for supported housing, as well as for the benefits needed to cover my rent and cost of living.

    Because I was so young, I didn’t know much about the stigma that claimants faced. I knew about ‘the dole’ and state pensions, but the vitriol I faced about claiming disability benefit was shocking.

    Someone even reported me to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for ‘benefit fraud’, enraged that I didn’t have to work.

    Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk Labels: Scrounger / Nina Grant
    I became ashamed of telling anyone, even though I knew I was entitled to them (Picture: Jerry Syder/Metro.co.uk)

    People would call me a ‘sponger’ or ‘scrounger’ when I was open about receiving benefits. I became ashamed of telling anyone, even though I knew I was entitled to them.

    It got to the stage that I cancelled them. I was about to go to university and I was worried people would see me as a fraud applying to study full-time while claiming.

    I felt like asking all those who wrongly labelled me whether they would willingly live with severe mental health problems in exchange for ‘free money.’

    Because that’s what I had to do.

    Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk Labels: Scrounger / Nina Grant
    The impression that disability benefit fraud is rife not only makes it very difficult for people to be open about claiming benefits, it’s incorrect (Picture: Jerry Syder/Metro.co.uk)

    After graduating I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, which forced me back onto benefits. It’s five years on and I’m now too ill to work due to debilitating pain and fatigue.

    I knew I needed the benefits, but having to re-apply was a bitter pill swallow. I so wanted to be rid of the label that tormented me.

    People assume, especially when your illnesses are invisible, that you are scamming the system. When I read articles reporting on benefit fraud, the comments on them are full of people saying that their neighbour ‘gets a free car and there’s nothing wrong with him.‘

    The joke is that the motability scheme doesn’t give out ‘free cars’, but leases them in exchange for a large portion of a claimant’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP) allowance.

    The impression that disability benefit fraud is rife not only makes it very difficult for people to be open about claiming benefits, it’s incorrect: disability benefit fraud makes up only 1.4 per cent of overpaid benefits.

    Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk Labels: Scrounger / Nina Grant
    It took me a while, but I’m not ashamed of claiming benefits any more (Picture: Jerry Syder/Metro.co.uk)

    Younger people who have to claim disability benefits are particularly unfairly judged. Older people say, ‘I’m not a scrounger, I’ve paid in’ to justify claiming them.

    Just because we haven’t all had the chance to ‘pay in’ to the tax system before needing to claim benefits doesn’t make us scroungers or cheats.

    It also implies that people who are disabled from birth aren’t as deserving of disability benefits as those who claim later in life.This just isn’t fair.

    It took me a while, but I’m not ashamed of claiming benefits any more.

    In the last four years benefits have kept my heating on in cold weather, and helped me to pay for necessary items such as joint supports and mobility aids so I can be in less pain and participate more in society.

    Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk Labels: Scrounger / Nina Grant
    We need to change the narrative around benefits, because even I, as a disabled person, have bought into the lies (Picture: Jerry Syder/Metro.co.uk)

    I wish that the people who label me as a scrounger could see things from my perspective; that they could know the anguish that comes from not being able to work.

    I wish they would educate themselves about what it is like to be disabled. On average, disabled people face extra costs of £583 a month.

    We need to change the narrative around benefits, because even I, as a disabled person, have bought into the lies.

    It’s got to the point where I now feel guilty when I buy myself something nice. Benefit claimants are expected live a basic, austere existence, so where do I get off treating myself to the occasional luxury?

    There should be no stigma attached to being a benefits claimant, just as there never used to be such attitudes about living in a council house.

    I still feel a sting when I see the word ‘scrounger’ used for someone who claims benefits, not just because I have been called it, but because it devalues the human being behind the label.

    Even if we are unable to work, we still have a lot to offer to society and deserve your respect.


    Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity  positively or negatively  and what the label means to them.

    If you would like to get involved please email jess.austin@metro.co.uk

    MORE: My Label and Me: I ignore what people say about refugees like me

    MORE: My Label and Me: I am in a loving relationship with a married couple and that makes me a unicorn

    MORE: My Label and Me: I’ve got a PhD but people only see me as working class


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    Vegan alternatives to popular meat choices are all the rage right now, whether it’s KFC chicken or Ikea meatballs.

    Seeing the great interest in meat dupes, American fast food retailer Arby’s wanted to turn the concept on its head.

    So the sandwich chain has introduced ‘the Marrot’, which looks like a carrot but is made out of turkey.

    It hopes to start a new trend of ‘megetables’ as in food that looks like vegetables but contains beef, chicken, turkey, pork among others.

    ‘If they can make meat from veggies (and other stuff) we can make veggies from meat,’ said the brand in a video tutorial of the Marrot.

    The 'megetable' - a carrot made out of turkey
    Looks like carrot, tastes like carrot, but is made out of meat (Picture: Arby’s)

    Arby’s is certainly known for its multi-layer meat sandwiches which include venison, elk and duck.

    So the news that they’re making meat versions of vegetables won’t come as a surprise to most.

    What has surprised those who have tried the marrot is it’s similar carrot taste. Arby’s claims it also has all the nutritional value of the orange veg.

    Created by executive chef Neville Craw, the Marrot is said to have more than 30 grams of protein and boasts 70% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A.

    The chef told Insider about what led to the pseudo veg: ‘Creating the Marrot was really about staying true to our brand more than anything else.

    ‘We really focus on how to connect with our customers and how to bring the best thing to the table.’

    Insider reported that the meal had a ‘sweet maple taste with earthy, herb-filled undertones.’

    The 'megetable' - a carrot made out of turkey
    Not what it looks like (Picture: Arby’s)

    Strangely, the folks at the joint are adamant that they will never offer plant-based options for vegans and the like.

    ‘The chances we will bring plant-based menu items to our restaurants, now or in the future, are absolutely impossible,’ said chef Neville.

    It’s a bizarre move considering sales of plant-based food in the US went up by 8.1% during the past year, topping $3.1 billion (£2.4m).

    The vegan cheese global market is also estimated to be worth just under $4 billion (£3.1b) by 2024.

    So weird flex, Arby’s.

    While Arby’s has restaurants in locations around parts of the world, the UK is not on the list.

    But it’s okay, we’ll just continue eating vegan sausage rolls, faux cheese, and fried ‘chicken’.

    MORE: Are vegan meat substitutes actually bad for you?

    MORE: Former vegan says switching to a diet of raw meat gave her ‘the body of a 25-year-old’

    MORE: This woman who loves Greggs vegan sausage roll so much she wants to visit every store is all of us

    The 'megetable' - a carrot made out of turkeyThe 'megetable' - a carrot made out of turkey

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    a doctor preparing to give an injection
    HPV is more common than you think (Picture: scyther5/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    According to Cancer Research UK, roughly 8 out of 10 people will be infected with HPV – an infection which can increase a person’s risk of getting certain types of cancer – at some point in their lives.

    While not all types of HPV are linked to cancer, it’s still important to know the facts and how you can protect yourself against catching it.

    Here’s what you need to know about HPV and the vaccine against it, especially with smear tests reaching a 20-year-low earlier this year.

    What is HPV?

    HPV, or Human Papillioma Virus, is a term used to refer to a variety of viruses which infects the skin and cells lining the inside of a person’s body.

    Different strains of HPV can cause different things, with some strains being totally asymptomatic, and others causing genital warts or abnormal cells.

    HPV is passed on via skin-to-skin contact, which includes:

    • oral, vaginal and anal sex
    • sharing sex toys
    • and sexual touching

    There are over 100 different kinds of HPV, and 40 of these can affect a person’s genital area.

    It’s also common for HPV to be found in the mouth and throat.

    Of the 40 strains which affect the genital area, roughly 13 may cause cancer, and high-risk strains of HPV could also result in cancers of the anus, vulva, penis, cervix, and even some head and neck cancers.

    However it’s important to note that, while HPV is common, and not everyone who gets HPV will end up getting cancer.

    Often, your immune system will be able to fight off an infection of HPV before you ever know you had it.

    How can you get the HPV vaccine?

    In 2008, the HPV vaccine, which protects against some but not all types of HPV, was introduced into schools for girls aged 12-18 to get for free on the NHS.

    For those under 15, it’s given in two doses, and usually these doses are spread out over a period of six months to a year.

    a person preparing a vaccine injection
    Vaccines are important (Picture: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

    Girls 15 and over need three doses of the vaccine, and girls who have an allergic reaction to the first dose or are pregnant should not be given the vaccine.

    Even though the HPV vaccine is not free for boys in school or for cisgendered women over the age of 18, you can get the vaccine via private healthcare.

    However, it’s expected that from the 2019/2020 school year, 12 to 13-year-old boys will also be eligible for the free HPV vaccine.

    Men who have sex with men who are up to and including 45 years old are also eligible for a free HPV vaccine on the NHS at sexual health and HIV clinics in England.

    When it comes to preventing HPV, using condoms and dental dams won’t totally eliminate the risk of you catching it, but it will improve your chances of avoiding it.

    If you’re concerned that you may have HPV, or are due a smear test, contact your GP for more information.

    MORE: A bull’s eye rash means you should be immediately treated for Lyme disease

    MORE: No type of smoking is safe: cigarettes, heated tobacco, vaping all ’cause serious lung damage’


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    how noah saves
    Noah is a 21-year-old marketing manager earning £22,000 (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    There’s a lot of guilt, shame, and panic around the topic of money.

    You don’t have enough, you’re spending it ‘wrong’, and you’re kept awake by worries of what exactly will happen if something goes wrong and you need to rely on the measly £400 in your savings account.

    We need to get an open conversation going around money. It can have such a negative impact on our mental health, and our collective weirdness around money keeps us all silent, meaning those struggling might not ask for help.

    Our weekly series, How I Save, is part of that conversation.

    Each week we share how a different person saves and spends their money, then get some expert advice on how they (and we) can save better.

    This time we’re nosing around the personal finances of Noah (not his real name), a 21-year-old marketing manager living in Nottingham.

    How Noah saves

    I earn £22,000 a year. In my savings account right now I have £4,500.

    I’m saving for a new house!

    The main way I save is cutting down on monthly outgoings and watching what I spend on a day-to-day basis.

    I don’t really struggle with saving, but occasionally the need to impulse-buy gets the better of me.

    How Noah spends

    Monthly expenses:

    • £450 in rent
    • £119 in council tax
    • £56 electricity
    • £32 water
    • £37 phone bill
    • £61 TV, Internet, Phone (Sky)
    • £6.80 Life Insurance
    • £15 contents insurance
    • £34 professional studies
    • £7.99 Amazon Prime
    • £130 vehicle finance
    • £100 car insurance
    • £10 breakdown cover
    A hand holding some coins
    He’s always been good at saving (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    A week of spending

    Monday: Every Monday morning I like to treat myself to a coffee from the coffee shop near work – it’s a little tradition. I get a medium latte for £1.60.

    In the evening I spend 50p on a hazelnut chocolate bar. My partner loves this cheap hazelnut chocolate, so I swung by on the way home from work to buy her some.

    Tuesday: A new Sky remote for £20. Our remote had broken so we needed another one. I’m exactly happy about this expense but I don’t think my partner could survive without TV.

    I was hungry on the way home and got a Mars bar to last me – 60p. I enjoyed it and didn’t feel too guilty.

    I spend £23 on a public transport card for the week. I get public transport to work as it’s a lot cheaper than driving.

    Wednesday: £5 on a new screen protector, as my old one on my phone had lost its stickiness.

    £3.20 on a pot of coffee, as the office ran out so I replaced it.

    I go out for a few after-work pints with colleagues and spend £7.80 for two Hop House beers.

    Thursday: I spend £6.50 on street food. I feel a bit guilty about this one. The city centre had some food stalls and I had some for lunch rather than pasta from the previous evening.

    Friday: Sky movie rental, £4.80. Not a common purchase, but we’d seen a film advertised and rented it on Sky.

    Saturday: £35 on an Aldi shop, consisting of a lot of meals that can be cooked in bulk – this allows me to save some for work the following day.

    I also spend £24 on a pub meal. It’s our weekly tradition of having a meal out on a Saturday lunch, accompanied by an alcoholic beverage each.

    Sunday: I didn’t spend anything. It was a lazy day.

    Total spent this week: £132

    How Noah can save

    We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out how Noah could save better.

    Note: the advice featured is specific to one individual and doesn’t constitute financial advice. Especially on a London budget.

    You are, without a doubt, smashing it.

    To have one fifth of your annual salary in savings at the age of 21 is impressive. And proof that setting aside £200 a month builds up pretty quick.

    But the price for being this organised is that you have guilt pangs when you spend 60p on a chocolate bar.

    Main vice

    It’s travel. Notice you’re dropping over £354 a month – without petrol?

    If you’re using this to access your gig work, then it’s a net loss of £150 a month. What I’m saying is: give up on your hopes and dreams because they’re bleeding you dry.

    Buying on finance is a necessity for some, but we know it’s not the cheapest way to get yourself wheels.

    Where you’re going wrong:

    I have a suspicion that you’re naturally good with money (wonder what that feels like).

    So to everyone else: here’s how to hack yourself to be more like Noah, if you’re not on your own team.

    Schedule in some fun

    When you’re trying to save money, the first thought isn’t usually ‘I’m going to make sure I waste £15 a week!’ But it should be.

    Noah’s got some sweet routines going: a Monday morning coffee and one pub lunch. This adds up to £25.60 a week, but likely stops him impulse splurging on more treats. You’re not going to turn into a different person who suddenly can resist coffee for the next fifty years.

    Big food shops

    You know this. I know this. Everyone knows this. Acting on it isn’t always easy for the chronically disorganised.

    Large grocery shops save you so much more cash than buying out. Here’s just more proof for you. Open your eyes and your Tesco delivery account.

    Dream big (ish)

    First I laughed. Then I googled house prices of two bed flats in Nottingham. Noah could already set down a 10% deposit for a two bed flat in Nottingham. Having a achievable goal in mind = good shout. (Does not apply for London, obviously. Sorry)

    Spending plan:

    Yeah, I’m actually just going to leave this blank. You’re totally in control. Keep it up, Noah. For everyone else, here’s proof you can save money on an intro salary.

    How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing ellen.scott@metro.co.uk.

    MORE: How I Save: The 27-year-old PR in Leeds earning £32k a year with £5,000 saved

    MORE: How I Save: The 25-year-old writer who earns £23k a year and has £800 saved

    MORE: How I Save: The PR account manager in Nottingham who earns £24.5k and has nothing saved


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    Illustration of a woman sat on a sofa, cuddling her cat
    Cat cuddles could help your mental health (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Having a pet can be hugely beneficial for your mental health.

    They listen, they never judge and they’re always available for ample cuddles to make you feel better.

    On a more serious note, caring for a pet can also give you a sense of purpose – especially when you’re worrying about other aspects of your life. You walk through the door and there he or she is, loving you unconditionally.

    We asked six women to tell us how their cats have helped them through tough times and why it’s so great for your mental health to have a cat.

    Katie, 29, York

    Katie holding her cat, Fonzie
    ‘Just hugging him would make me feel better, and to be able to give so much love to such a tiny little thing was very rewarding’ (Picture: Katie)

    My cat’s name is Fonzie and I got him back in September.

    I’d never had a pet before so it was quite a change!

    A couple of months after I got him my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and my cat saw me crying a lot. He would always come and sit with me, like it was instinctive.

    Just hugging him would make me feel better, and to be able to give so much love to such a tiny little thing was very rewarding.

    I also feel generally less anxious about clients and deadlines with him around – I come home and he just relaxes me when he comes to the door!

    Soma, 35, London

    Soma's cat, Flower Daisy, a stripy black, brown and yellow cat
    ‘She helped me after I was bullied and was going through anxiety and depression’ (Picture: Soma)

    Flower Daisy is six years old and I’ve had her since September 2014, when a close friend asked me if I wanted to adopt her.

    She helped me after I was bullied and was going through anxiety and depression.

    Flower Daisy would come and sit on my lap every day when I was crying and going through burnout, it’s like she knew that I needed extra love and support.

    I obviously also saw a counsellor, but having her unconditional love definitely helped my overall recovery.

    She definitely helps with my anxiety too, as she keeps me calm.

    Eve, 43, Westport

    Cat standing on the edge of a bathtub looking at the camera with curiosity
    ‘I start most mornings doing my meditation while holding paws with her – this feels like an especially gentle way to ease into the day when she’s happy to oblige’ (Picture: Eve)

    Rainbow MagnifiCat has been so good for my mental health.

    Yes, there’s the added anxiety a cat can bring when out after curfew or bringing in mice etc., but that pales in the stress-relieving, heart expanding wonder she brings every day.

    I start most mornings doing my meditation while holding paws with her – this feels like an especially gentle way to ease into the day when she’s happy to oblige.

    Watching her nap and eat and go out has helped me get better at tuning into my own self-care needs and the times she jumps onto my lap demanding a fuss are simply additional mindfulness practices. Hearing her purr, feeling her fur as I stroke her and coming back to my breath and the present moment is what I call ‘Rainbow Appreciation Time’.

    She’s also made me more courageous – watching her climb or go back out after being chased in by dogs helps me access that braver part of myself.

    Sally, 29, London

    Wizard the black cat getting his chin stroked by his owner Sally
    ‘Even at my lowest, he loved me’ (Picture: Sally)

    When I went through a difficult breakup a couple of years ago, my life fell to pieces.

    I ended up moving around a lot and everything was very turbulent. It sounds mad but my cat felt like the only stable thing in my life at that point.

    Even at my lowest, he loved me. And it occurred to me that he wasn’t aware of what kind of mess my life was in; he just wanted to be with me.

    He was the only one who I didn’t have to feel guilty for not being ‘on form’ around.

    If I wanted to lie in bed all day, he would just lean his little head on my hand and nap with me. He needed me, and that gave me a reason to stick around.

    Although my life has completely turned around since then, when he trots to the front door after work it still brightens my day.

    And if I get anxious, the sound of his breathing is the only thing that really calms me down.

    Pam, 31, Brighton

    Two kittens, looking adorable
    ‘Often if I am having a bad day it’s like they can sense it and they come and cuddle up with me’ (Picture: Molly Christodoulou)

    I have a diagnosis of ADHD and borderline personality disorder, as well as a mild form of major depressive disorder and general anxiety. I am medicated for these, but I take a lot less medication than I used to. I also suffered from postnatal depression after the birth of my son three years ago.

    I have three cats, called Freddie, Lily and Kennedy. They are very supportive with my mental health.

    Often if I am having a bad day it’s like they can sense it and they come and cuddle up with me. I often find physical contact hard to get from other people, especially as I am not in a relationship, and the cats really make me feel like I’m not alone.

    Freddie especially gets very up close and personal if she can sense I need it, and she is very affectionate.

    It’s also important to look at how I have to take care of them. I often forget to keep any decent food in the house for myself, or get lazy with my Asda shop, but I can never make an excuse for not having cat food or not emptying the litter trays.

    Caroline, 40, Reading

    Close-up of Caroline's ginger cat's lovely face
    ‘I would thoroughly recommend pets for mental health, they give you comfort where people often fail’ (Picture: Caroline)

    I have suffered with depression since a teenager. I grew up with cats but when I first left home I was cat-less but luckily still had a cat at my mum’s.

    Fast forward a few years to my 30th birthday and I went to collect two rescue cats – Woody and Jessie.

    At the time I was in a happy relationship and my mental health status was steady.  However, in 2012 I split with my boyfriend and moved in with my mum until my flat was ready.  It was a tough time for me, I felt lost and scared of what was ahead.

    Moving in on my own scared me particularly with regard to my mental health – I was lonely and sometimes spent every night at home facing the same four walls – having the cats prevented me from feeling that way. Seeing two little faces at the top of the stairs when I got home from work made me remember that I have a purpose.

    Without them, I would never have settled as quickly as I did.

    Even in my worse episodes of depression they keep me focused and remind me that I am still needed. They seem to know when I need companionship or am upset.  They make me smile when the world looks bleak and sit with me when sleep is hard to come by.

    I would thoroughly recommend pets for mental health, they give you comfort where people often fail.

    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: 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’

    People tell us how their cat has helped their mental healthPeople tell us how their cat has helped their mental health

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    Pickle pizza
    Gherkin pizzas have been around a while and now they’re being offered at an American pizzeria (Picture: The Hunger Diaries/ YouTube)

    Pregnant women and controversialists, rejoice: gherkin pizza awaits.

    Gherkins – or pickled cucumber – have long been a favourite among expectant mothers, usually due to cravings brought on by lack of salt or electrolytes.

    Now someone’s putting them on pizza. QC Pizza pizzeria in Minnesota, U.S, to be specific. Naturally, people have thoughts.

    Much like Marmite, gherkins pickled in brine or vinegar tend to be either loved or hated.

    And now that they sit on a sacred staple – the humble pizza – some people are not on board.

    Though it’s not the first restaurant to offer it (Bier Halle in Glasgow’s city centre did it last year), QC Pizza’s cheesy meal has wowed and horrified people on Facebook.

    A video of the stuff received more than 50,000 comments and a lot of vomit emojis could be seen, though some did say they’d be happy to try.

    Minnesota seems to be a purveyor of weird goods as the pizza is inspired by their ham sushi.

    A local speciality, ‘Minnesota sushi’, is ham and cheese wrapped around a pickle.

    Understandably, Facebook followers weren’t feeling the salty vibes.

    ‘As a proud member of the pineapple on pizza society, I say we revolt against this monstrosity,’ urged one user while another shared the sentiment, saying: ‘I want to vomit! I enjoy pickles I just don’t want it on my pizza’.

    Some said they were veterans in the game before it became cool to hate on weird pizza toppings.

    They wrote: ‘That’s not a new concept! I’ve been doing it for years,’ and ‘New? I’ve been eating pickles on pizza since the early 80s’.

    A few pizza lovers said they enjoy both but not together.

    One person did wonder where the interest in fermented veg was suddenly coming from: ‘What’s the deal with the pickles?!’ they wrote.

    ‘There have been pickles like at least forever, but why people are completely in love with them these days and making new pickle foods etc. Where is this all coming from?’

    We’re not sure but some of are happy to see more pickle-flavoured things.

    MORE: You can now buy a vegan pizza with peanut butter as a topping

    MORE: You can now have aardvark on your pizza

    MORE: Lidl is selling a genius tray that lets you cook four pizzas at once

    Pickle pizzaPickle pizza

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    Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling
    J.K Rowling has continued to write new content as part of Pottermore (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)

    The world of Harry Potter is continuing to expand as more books are released today.

    They are part of a new series of shorts that will centre around the lessons that are studied by young wizards at Hogwarts.

    A statement on the Pottermore site said: ‘Prepare to delve deeper into the rich history of magic (be it our own Muggle history, or the magical world created by JK Rowling) with this new series of eBook shorts.’

    It also said that they would be ‘are a chance to absorb the colourful characters and curious incidents of the real history of magic in a more compact form’.

    As well as details about magic and history, they will also include sketches and manuscript pages.

    How to get the new Harry Potter eBooks

    The first two eBooks will be made available on Thursday 27 June, and will be published in English, French, Italian and German.

    They can now be bought for £1.99 each on Amazon, Apple, and Kobo.

    The four Harry Potter eBook covers
    (Picture: Pottermore/British Library)

    They are adapted from the Harry Potter: A History of Magic audiobook, which was inspired by a Harry potter exhibition at the British Library.

    It will give fans the chance to find out more about certain folklore and magic in the world of Harry Potter.

    Each of the four books will be titled ‘A Journey Through…’, with the first two releases being ‘A Journey Through Charms and Defence Against the Dark Arts’ and ‘A Journey Through Potions and Herbology’.

    MORE: Daniel Radcliffe’s ‘first autograph’ as Harry Potter sells for £2,600

    MORE: Zendaya is super excited for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway

    "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald" UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals"Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald" UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals

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    Barry the cat was found living under the floorboards
    Barry was found stuck under the floorboards (Picture: Mayhew Animal Home)

    Barry the cat is a sneaky little rascal. We love him for it.

    He was found by a couple underneath the floorboards in their home, having nicked bites of food and napped on their bed for days.

    When the couple, from North London, noticed food was disappearing, they suspected their home had a problem with mice or rats.

    Then they spotted long white hairs on their bedding and realised they might have a cat burglar on their hands.

    They kept an eye out for the furry intruder but never spotted a cat, only hearing the occasional meow.

    But after about a week of missing food and left-behind fur, the meowing became louder and more frequent, and the couple had to investigate. They realised that the cat hadn’t been popping in and out of the house but was actually trapped under the floorboards.

    barry the cat at mayhew animal home
    He was only found because he was sneaking food, getting fur on the bed, and meowing (Picture: Mayhew Animal Home)

    It turned out that the cat had been stuck in the floor for quite some time, and would enter the house through a hidden hole in the wall of the couple’s laundry room.

    The meowing had always seemed to come from under their feet, but because they couldn’t see the cat they assumed they must be mistaken.

    The couple weren’t sure what to do (we’d be a bit uncertain in that situation, too) so called Mayhew Animal Home for help.

    Animal welfare officers headed straight over and located the cat, a five-year-old white stray, by following the sound of his cries.

    barry the cat
    He’s been rescued by animal welfare officers who helped him gain weight (Picture: Mayhew Animal Home)

    They were able to lift up the floorboards and voila, the cat, now named Barry, popped his head out.

    Harry, who owns the property where the cat had become trapped, said: ‘Initially we thought Barry was merely a cheeky cat burglar, and although we never actually saw him, we wouldn’t have dreamed he’d get himself trapped and into trouble.

    ‘Thanks to fate and Tania’s excellent rescuing skills, we got to know Barry better than we expected, and we now have a real fondness for him.’

    It’s thought the cat had been trapped under the floor for approximately seven to ten days. As he only had access to tiny morsels of food, he was significantly underweight and extremely dehydrated.

    barry the cat having his chin stroked at mayhew animal home
    Barry loves chin strokes (Picture: Mayhew Animal Home)

    Animal welfare officer Tania was able to rescue Barry from his underfloor prison and take him into Mayhew for a full health check.

    After establishing there were no causes for concern, Barry was settled into a warm and cosy cat cabin and given a proper nutritional diet.

    Barry has already regained the weight he had lost, and is ready to find a forever home. He’s already been neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated so is ready to go.

    barry the cat with tania at the mayhew
    He’s now looking for a new home (Picture: Mayhew Animal Home)

    ‘Barry is a bit of a heartbreaker, from his sad story to his sorrowful eyes,’ says Tania. ‘He is a very special boy who is looking for love in a calm, quiet and comfortable home, where he can explore and indulge his natural curiosity in a safe and secure space.

    ‘He also loves to have his cheeks rubbed, and especially enjoys a little scratch under his chin!’

    Very cute.

    If you could give Barry a loving home, you can get in touch through Mayhew.

    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: Six women tell us how having a cat improves their mental health

    MORE: Meet Douglas – the cat who thinks he’s a dog

    MORE: Five ways to get your cat into shape

    Barry the catBarry the cat

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    A branch of Next on Oxford Street in central London
    The summer sale is almost here (Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images)

    The Next summer sale is a popular event for shoppers in the UK and it often sees people queue in the early hours of the morning looking to secure the best deals.

    Most stores usually open their doors at 5am on the day of the sale, with discounts on a range of clothing from menswear, womenswear and kidswear.

    Some of the deals at the Next sales can often include discounts of more than 50% as the clothing store looks to make space ahead of the new fashion season.

    If you’re planning to get up early and head to your local next, or your just looking to take advantage of some deals online, then here is everything that you need to know.

    When is the Next 2019 summer sale?

    Next is set to hold its 2019 summer sale on Saturday 6 July, according to reports, which would match last year’s sale which took place on 7 July.

    This means that the annual day of discounts is just over one week away.

    The clothing retailer usually holds sale days at various times each the year, with the winter and summer sales are considered to be among the biggest ones.

    Usually their are discounts for customers on both the next.co.uk website, as well as in store, with VIP members earning exclusive early access to the online sale.

    To be a VIP customer you need to have a Next credit account, and will have needed to have ordered from the Next Directory recently.

    You would then receive an email invitation offering you a slot in the sale, and you can check your status by logging into your Next account, which will show if you are eligible.

    MORE: Amazon announces date of Prime Day sale that’s bigger and better than ever

    MORE: There are some amazing products on offer in the Revolution Beauty sale

    Oxford Street Stores StockOxford Street Stores Stock

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    Despite female body hair being a tale as old as time, we still don’t see enough representation of it.

    From billboards to Instagram ads to Love Island contestants, not a bit of body hair can be seen.

    So we’re pretty pleased to see that a razor company has released an advert showing women with pubic hair – and they’re not shaving it off.

    Billie’s new campaign shows that body hair is natural and women should shave only if they want to, not because they’re expected to.

    The advert is about embracing all grooming choices.

    Ad campaign showing female pubic hair
    (Picture: Billie)

    Called Red, White, You Do You, the advert celebrates women of different colours, sizes and body shapes wearing swimsuits.

    The video also shows women with underarm hair.

    It comes a year after Billie’s Project Body Hair which was the first women’s razor campaign to show real hair being shaved, as opposed to gliding the thing on already smooth, hairless skin.

    Founder Georgina Gooley explained the reason behind the project, saying women should not feel shame to show body hair off.

    ‘From day one, Billie has maintained that shaving is a personal choice and no one should be telling women what to do with their hair,’ she wrote.

    Ad campaign showing female underarm hair
    The ad showed underarm hair too (Picture: Billie)

    ‘The fact is, we all have body hair – some of us choose to remove it and some of us choose to wear it proudly. Either way, we shouldn’t have to apologise for our choice.

    ‘When brands can’t even acknowledge that women have body hair, it’s a version of body shaming – it’s saying you should feel ashamed of having body hair.’

    Viewers of the ad have had mixed reactions. While the usual trolls have left offensive comments, others said it was empowering to see.

    ‘I’m so happy for the young girls growing up today, watching media do this and helping them accept as they come,’ wrote one person. ‘Thank you so so much.’

    Another chimed in: ‘Killing it’.

    They certainly are.

    MORE: The female experience includes so much pain we end up choosing it

    MORE: We’ve created an ad campaign that shows female body hair because there’s no shame in it

    MORE: We need to all stop being so repulsed by body hair this Januhairy

    Ad campaign showing female pubic hairAd campaign showing female pubic hair

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    reebok trainer cleaning
    Ready to get absolutely ruined as soon as you wear them again (Picture: Reebok/YouTube)

    There’s a reason that ‘box fresh’ is such a high compliment; it’s when you’re (just like new trainers) sparkly, shiny, and unaffected by the grime and grossness of the outside world.

    When that shine dulls, however, it’s not ideal – both in terms of you or your kicks.

    Many people clean their trainers by throwing them in the washing machine. Although it does work, you can be left with misshapen and oddly grey shoes.

    Similarly, the trainer whiteners you can buy in supermarkets and shoe shops simply cover the problem in a layer of Tipp-Ex style paint.

    Jumping on the cleaning craze bandwagon, Reebok’s hacks for getting your sneakers white once more have now gone viral.

    Better still, the routine uses items that you’ll already have sitting in your cupboards.

    From baking soda to nail polish remover, these products should help canvas or leather trainers look new.

    reebok trainer cleaning
    A soft toothbrush is good for getting into nooks and crannies (Picture: Reebok/YouTube)

    How to clean your trainers

    The items you need are as follows:

    • Baking soda
    • Washing up liquid
    • Hydrogen peroxide (which can be purchased from some pharamacies and hairdressing supply stores, as well as online)
    • An old, soft toothbrush
    • Nail polish remover
    • Cotton balls
    • A razor
    reebok trainer cleaning
    You can pick up hydrogen peroxide online (Picture: Reebok/YouTube)

    Then, you follow these steps:

    • Lie out your trainers ready to clean.
    • Then, create a mixture of water and five tablespoons of baking soda in a small bowl.
    • Squeeze out about one to two tablespoon of washing up liquid into the bowl and mix.
    • Add one to two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, and stir again.
    • Use your toothbrush to clean the shoe, dipping into the mixture as you go (not forgetting the tongue).
    • Use paper towel or soft cloth to wipe off any excess.
    • Moisten a cotton ball with nail polish remover and clean the midsole of the shoe.
    • Use a razor to get rid of any pilling on the inside of the shoe.
    • Pop your laces into the next load of laundry so they are just as clean as your shoes.

    Reebok experts said of the technique, ”You’ll be amazed as the dirt disappears!’

    MORE: Cat found trapped under couple’s floorboards is looking for a loving home

    MORE: Six women tell us how having a cat improves their mental health

    Hack for cleaning white trainersHack for cleaning white trainers

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    Leeno and Poncha using their inhalers
    Leeno on the left and Poncha on the right (Picture: Katja Krause/@fluff_twins)

    Leeno and Poncha the cats are brothers, and although they actually look pretty different, they have one big similarity – they both have feline asthma.

    And just like humans, they need inhalers to treat it.

    Together they raise awareness of the condition on their Instagram page, and they have already gained lots of fans, with more than 22,000 people following their account.

    Speaking to Metro.co.uk for Cat Week, owner Katja Krause explains: ‘I had my own account for a while and was mostly posting travel or wedding pics as we’re wedding and real estate photographers but I was sure if those cuties moved in with us, it will be spammed with cat pics.

    ‘I thought I should set up a cat account just for them. I had no idea how big the cats of Instagram community was but I’m so lucky we did it because all these cat people are just great.

    ‘We use it to raise awareness for feline asthma. We try to educate people about it and tell them what they need to look for in their cats and how it’s diagnosed and treated.

    ‘Some people went to the vet for asthma check ups and others ordered an inhaler instead of giving pills after talking to me. It’s great to be able to help more kitties.’

    Leeno and Poncha, the cat twins with asthma, as kittens
    Leeno and Poncha as kittens (Picture: Katja Krause/@fluff_twins)

    When Katja and her boyfriend Tobi, from Berlin, Germany, adopted them in October 2017 at 12 weeks old, they had no idea about their health problems – but they say it wouldn’t have made a difference.

    The brothers came from the same litter and although they aren’t identical, Katja and Tobi call them the Fluff Twins. For anyone being pedantic, most cats from the same litter are technically twins, triplets, quadruplets etc. as they are born at the same time.

    ‘We would have taken them anyway but we didn’t know they had asthma until they started to breathe heavily while playing and running around very quickly after moving in. Soon after, the first asthma attacks showed up.

    ‘First we thought they’re trying to throw up hairballs or something but it started to happen too often for this and it also sounded different. Much rougher and dry. I started to read a lot and soon got an idea about feline asthma.’

    The condition is fairly common, affecting 1% of all adult cats worldwide, but as with humans, it can be much more severe in some cats.

    What are the symptoms of feline asthma?

    • Wheezing
    • Rapid or difficulty breathing, or increased effort to breathe
    • Persistent cough or gagging, like that triggered by a hairball
    • Frothy mucus while coughing
    • Difficulty breathing after exertion
    • Keeping mouth open while breathing
    • Neck extended upwards and gasping for breath
    • Squatting with shoulders hunched, neck extended and low to the ground
    • Overall weakness and lethargy
    • Audible throat gurgling
    • Increased swallowing
    • Blue lips and gums

    More information is available on Blue Cross.

    Diagnosis took a long time as it relies on ruling out other conditions.

    Katja says: ‘The most exhausting (and also expensive) thing in the beginning was finding a diagnosis.

    ‘You have to do x-rays first, then an ultrasound of the heart (with echo), then a bronchoscopy with lavage (BAL) with narcosis to filter some liquids out of the bronchia that will be sent to a laboratory. If this doesn’t show any other signs for infections, it’s feline asthma.

    Katja and Leeno using the inhaler
    Katja and Leeno using the inhaler (Picture: Katja Krause/@fluff_twins)

    ‘We did additional allergy tests as well to see if it’s allergy asthma or bronchial. They’re neither allergic to pollen, dust or any food. So it’s bronchial asthma (where the airways are inflamed) for both of the twins.’

    The condition is lifelong and involves check ups and lots of medication.

    ‘It is what it is and they can’t help themselves so we need to do it. We love doing it to help them having a happy life. Giving them away was never an option.’

    Leeno playing with bubbles
    Leeno loves to play with bubbles (Picture: Katja Krause/@fluff_twins)

    The twins use an inhaler twice a day, with medication to widen their bronchia and an anti-inflammatory with cortisone.

    Taken through a tablet, cortisone can cause damage to other organs so inhaling it means it only goes to their lungs.

    They use the Aerokat, a device made especially for cats, with a mask to help give them the inhaler.

    Poncha and Tobi
    Poncha and Tobi with his inhaler (Picture: Katja Krause/@fluff_twins)

    ‘Luckily they knew clicker training already (we are teaching them tricks) so it was quite easy to get them used to the Aerokat,’ Katya says.

    Although Katya and Tobi want to give the twins the best treatment possible, making sure they get everything they need is expensive.

    ‘We need the daily treatments and x-rays of both every 6 months and sometimes also check ups via ultrasound.

    ‘If this wouldn’t be enough they have a very weak immune system. This means we’ve already had giardia, diarrhea, worms, stomach and bladder infections, gastritis, an eye infection and Leeno got stung by a bee, all in their first year.

    Poncha, one half of the Fluff Twins
    Poncha (Picture: Katja Krause/@fluff_twins)

    ‘We spent about €5000 (£4,473) on vet bills within their first year with us and this surely is a lot of money but we would have rather lived under a bridge than find them another home.’

    Katya and Tobi want to do everything they can to help Poncha and Leeno as they know that if they can’t afford treatment and they have to give the cats to a shelter, they are unlikely to find another home because of their health conditions.

    They are trying to raise money through a GoFundMe page to help with their ongoing treatment, as every month their medication alone costs €60 (£53.68) and the checkups across the year cost around €500 (£447.30).

    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

    Cat week - the cat twins with asthmaCat week - the cat twins with asthma

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    A 1 year old baby boy eating in his high chair
    Not all sugra-free baby foods are without sugar (Picture: Getty)

    Parents should monitor the amount of sugar in the baby food they give their children and opt for ones with more vegetables, says a new report from child health experts.

    Despite labels that say ‘no sugar’ on baby foods, there may be some elements of natural sugars such as honey and fruit juices.

    So the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) is warning mums and dads to be more careful with what they feed kids, in order to avoid giving them a sweet tooth.

    Children should also be introduced to bitter foods, the report encouraged.

    It’s hoped that this will protect against tooth decay, poor diet and obesity.

    Studio shot homemade purees
    Parents are advised to introduce children to bitter tasting food too (Picture: Getty)

    The key recommendations of the RCPCH report were that the Government should develop mandatory guidelines on sugar content for kids under the age of two.

    ‘The government should encourage reformulation of baby food, including commercial weaning foods, supporting greater exposure of babies to a wider range of tastes, rather than predominantly sweet flavours,’ it said.

    Researchers advised parents to give infants sugar in a natural form, such as whole fresh fruit, milk or unsweetened dairy products.

    Professor Mary Fewtrell, nutrition lead for the RCPCH, warned of the dangers of packaged baby foods.

    ‘Pureed or liquid baby foods packaged in pouches also often have a high energy density and a high proportion of sugar,’ she said.

    ‘If sucked from the pouch, the baby also misses out on the opportunity to learn about eating from a spoon or feeding himself.

    ‘Baby foods can be labelled “no added sugar” if the sugar comes from fruit – but all sugars have the same effects on the teeth and on metabolism.’

    She added that babies may have a preference for sweet stuff but they can be conditioned to love other flavours if they’re exposed to them.

    You can read the rest of the recommendations made by the organisation in the report.

    MORE: NHS spent £40 million removing children’s teeth rotted by sugar

    MORE: How much sugar is in your bottle of flavoured gin?

    MORE: Husband tells vegan wife she should eat meat as she’s pregnant, ‘for the baby’s health’

    A 1 year old baby boy eating in his high chairA 1 year old baby boy eating in his high chair

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    barbie vagina
    Do you prefer to be bare down there? (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    Some people like to be as smooth as a dolphin down there, while others prefer a full bush.

    There’s nothing wrong with either option, or any personal grooming choice in between, but whichever side of the scale you sit on you’re likely curious about people who are on the opposite end.

    Why do people choose to shave off their pubes? Is this the most popular choice? Or have we all reverted back to brazilian waxes?

    Handily for all us curious types, a new study looks into the reasoning behind people’s pubic hair choices.

    Researchers from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Flanders, Belgium, surveyed 4,422 Belgian people over the age of 15 all about their grooming habits.

    They found that 60% of respondents remove all or part of their pubic hair (meaning 40% keep it all natural).

    Women were more likely to remove their pubic hair than men, and the reasons for keeping everything smooth and hairless differed between the genders.

    For men, hygiene was a significant factor, while many women said they get rid of their pubic hair to feel more ‘feminine’.

    But for both, comfort during oral sex was ranked as the biggest motivator for getting rid of pubic hair, with 39.3% of men and 74.9% of women listing this as a reason.

    Dead vagina syndrome
    People listed comfort during oral sex as the most important reason to get rid of pubes (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Other reasons people choose to ditch the pubes included ‘I like to feel soft’ (chosen by 63.2% of women) and ‘my partner wants it’ (39% of women).

    Interestingly, the prevalence of going bare down there differs quite a bit between age groups.

    The people least likely to trim or shave their pubic hair were found to be men under the age of 30, while the women were least likely after the age of 60.

    Gay or single men are more likely to leave their pubes free and wild, and the same goes for straight, married women.

    Lesbian women tend to take the most care of their pubic grooming, according to the study.

    But before you go out and adjust your pubic hair to fit your age and sexuality, it’s worth noting that the same bit of research also points out the potential risks that arise when removing pubic hair.

    The research suggests that as pubic hair removal has become more popular, injuries in this area have become more common.

    The team wrote: ‘Complications related to PHR (pubic hair removal) are common and PHR may even be a risk factor for the transmission of minor sexually transmitted infections.

    ‘Although this implies that PHR is relevant for sexual medicine practitioners, there remains a lack of information on its prevalence and associated factors, information that could be helpful for educating men and women about PHR in an attempt to prevent sexual health-related issues.’

    Previous studies have suggested that shaving or waxing pubic hair can create small tears in the skin, which along with causing pain and irritation may make it easier for infections to spread.

    As ever, do what makes you feel good as long as you’re not causing yourself any harm. But if you are tempted to let your pubes grow out, know that there are a load of benefits to being furry.

    MORE: What happens to your vagina and vulva as you age?

    MORE: MenTal(k) Health: ‘I didn’t know you could get penis cancer until I was diagnosed at 46’

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


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    The tattoo and Lindsey with Dustin
    The tattoo and Lindsey with Dustin (Picture: Lindsey Norman)

    Dustin Marshall had a pretty unique idea when he came to asking his girlfriend Lindsey Norman to marry him.

    Instead of the traditional flowers, candles and getting down on one knee, the 32-year-old went for a tattoo on his bum and flashing it at her after a game of pool.

    Lindsey, 30, from Hertfordshire, explained: ‘He orchestrated it so he would get “seven-balled”, where the black is sunk when one player still has all seven of their balls on the table.

    ‘Our rule is you have to pull your pants down if that happens, so he just pulled down his trousers.

    ‘I looked over and said: “What’s that on your bum?”

    ‘He walked over to me and I could see that it said: “Will you marry meow?” with a picture of our cat.

    ‘I was completely shocked.’

    Before the proposal on 23 December last year, Lindsey and Dustin had talked about getting engaged but she had no idea he was actually planning something.

    Lindsey and Dustin with friends Jakki and Danny
    The couple,with friends Jakki and Danny, who knew about the plan (Picture: Lindsey Norman)

    She says: ‘I’d been dropping subtle hints for a while but I thought he wasn’t really picking up on them.

    ‘I thought we’d get married some day but just wasn’t expecting it then – or like that.’

    She was suspicious that something was going on as Dustin had insisted on sleeping in the spare room for a few nights before.

    The tattoo on Dustin's bum that he used to propose
    The tattoo and Lindsey’s ring (Picture: Lindsey Norman)

    He told her his back was sore – but she had no idea he was trying to hide the tattoo until the redness went down.

    On the night, Lindsey went for a meal with friends and then they headed to a friend’s house.

    The friend had a bar and a pool table in the back garden so Dustin and his friend started playing the game.

    When the black ball went in with seven of his balls on the table, as Dustin had set it up, he pulled down his trousers as the loser, but it was really so Lindsey could see the tattoo.

    Lindsey and Dustin, who proposed with a tattoo on his bum
    Lindsey and Dustin (Picture: Lindsey Norman)

    She laughs: ‘Once I realised what it said, his friend Danny passed the ring but I was crying so much, it was about half an hour before I gave him the answer.

    ‘I’m a bit of a crazy cat lady so that’s why he chose a picture of our cat Pinkie.’

    The pair were with lots of their friends and even Dustin’s mum but other than Jakki and Danny, who also designed the tattoo, everyone else had no idea he was about to ask her to be his wife.

    ‘Everyone was so excited and pleased for us when they realised,’ Lindsay said.

    Pinkie the cat who inspired the tattoo
    Their cat Pinkie, the inspiration for the tattoo (Picture: Lindsey Norman)

    The couple are planning to get married in August next year and have already started planning the wedding.

    Although she couldn’t wait to marry Dustin, Lindsay was worried about finding a dress, as a size 22.

    She said: ‘Jakki phoned up a local bridal shop and asked them if they would have dresses in my size that I could try on in the shop. They said they had loads in stock but when we turned up, they didn’t have anything.

    ‘They pinned dresses to me but it just wasn’t right and really wasn’t a nice experience.

    Lindsey trying on the dress on the Curvy Brides Boutique show
    Lindsey in her dress with Jo and Alison on Curvery Brides Boutique on TLC (Picture: Curvy Brides Boutique/TLC)

    ‘They were saying “imagine what it will look like” but I couldn’t because it wouldn’t even go over my arms.’

    Lindsay was put forward to appear on the TV show Curvy Brides Boutique on TLC, where Jo Cooke and Alison Law, owners of Curves and Couture in Essex, help plus size women find their dream dress.

    They offer dresses up to a size 40 and have them in stock for brides-to-be to try on.

    ‘I had a very clear picture of what exactly I wanted. We went in and both Jakki and I spotted one on a separate rail. I tried on a few and then I knew I wanted to try that one on and it was the one.

    ‘I wanted sleeves but Jo and Alison were able to help add those to my dream dress. It is everything I wanted and I can’t wait to get married in it.’

    Lindsey appears on Curvy Brides Boutique, which airs 8pm on Fridays exclusively on TLC.

    MORE: The reasons people choose to shave their pubes

    MORE: Leeno and Poncha are cat brothers who want everyone to know about feline asthma

    Man proposes to his girlfriend with a tattoo of their cat on his bumMan proposes to his girlfriend with a tattoo of their cat on his bum

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