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- 06/30/19--06:12: _Poignant moment but...
- 06/30/19--06:21: _Grandpa has the mos...
- 06/30/19--06:44: _London to get own v...
- 06/30/19--07:38: _Incredible pictures...
- 06/30/19--07:45: _Mum uses simple hac...
- 06/30/19--07:58: _Mrs Hinch fan uses ...
- 06/30/19--23:22: _This artist brillia...
- 07/01/19--00:17: _Woman who was terri...
- 07/01/19--00:35: _MenTal(k) Health: ‘...
- 07/01/19--01:09: _The body positivity...
- 07/01/19--01:49: _Wimbledon to serve ...
- 07/01/19--02:05: _These gorgeous new ...
- 07/01/19--02:15: _This vibrator has t...
- 07/01/19--02:52: _Restaurant launches...
- 07/01/19--03:14: _Mum baffled by scho...
- 07/01/19--03:42: _A third of women ‘w...
- 07/01/19--04:22: _Lidl launches power...
- 07/01/19--04:29: _Same-sex couple’s s...
- 07/01/19--04:58: _How to actually get...
- 07/01/19--05:18: _Dogs with Jobs: Wha...
- 06/30/19--07:38: Incredible pictures show what kids around the world eat in one week
- 06/30/19--07:45: Mum uses simple hack to get nightmare pen stains out of sofa
- 07/01/19--02:05: These gorgeous new Vans are inspired by Frida Kahlo’s artwork
- 07/01/19--02:15: This vibrator has the funniest review on Amazon
- 07/01/19--03:14: Mum baffled by school who sent home son’s ‘unhealthy’ lunch box
- 07/01/19--04:29: Same-sex couple’s simple candlelit proposal at home goes viral
- 07/01/19--05:18: Dogs with Jobs: What’s involved in training a police dog?
- Holding them down/li>
- Squeezing the paw
- Crunching paper
- Bowl bang and clash
Scott Van Gorder was delighted to attend his son Max’s wedding but admitted the day would be bittersweet after the death of his daughter, Vanessa.
Vanessa died in a car crash at Christmas a few years ago and the family were determined to pay tribute to her during the ceremony.
The family, of Pennsylvania, US, released stunning orange butterflies into the air as a symbol of resurrection and a representation of life.
Instead of flying away, the beautiful creatures perched on guests’ shoulders and clothes.
One picture, captured by wedding photographer Jessica Manns, shows how one butterfly landed perfectly on Scott’s finger.
In an emotional Facebook post, Jessica said: ‘That’s a real butterfly on his finger
‘This is probably the most emotional thing I’ve witnessed at a wedding.’
Another of the creatures complemented the bride’s hairdo by clinging to a strand of her hair.
Jessica said: ‘The belief that our loved ones can visit us in the form of butterflies is what gives strength to Scott and his wife Elizabeth, and it was made all the more obvious at Max’s wedding.
‘As they released the butterflies, they wouldn’t fly off.
‘They clung all over them and even stayed on their bodies the entire ceremony and well afterwards into cocktail hour.’
Bride Lydia also walked down the aisle with two of the butterflies clinging to her dress. They even got into the barn during dinner, delighting emotional guests.
Christian tradition views the butterfly as a symbol of resurrection, of life and hope. Many who have lost loved ones have thought of the winged creatures as embodying their spirit.
One of the many followers who applauded Jessica’s Facebook post shared a similar experience.
She wrote: ‘After my dad passed away we were sitting around the pool that he dearly loved and there was a blue and black butterfly that kept landing on me and let me hold it in my hand.
‘It was there most of the day and wouldn’t leave me.
‘It was just there that day, never seen it again. Call me crazy but I believe he [my dad] was trying to comfort me.’
7173447 'They wouldn't fly off': Groom releases butterflies at his wedding in honour of his sister who died in a car accident - and they clung to his parents, the bridal bouquet and even his new wife in emotional photos
Grandparents doing wholesome things is always a hit on the internet and Jim is no different.
The grandpa from Michigan, US, went viral as he struggled to hide his delight at hearing he’s going to a Lady Gaga concert.
Jim promised all his grandchildren that he’d take them to Las Vegas when they turn 21 so when graphic designer Whitney celebrated the milestone age, the family decided to plan their trip to Sin City.
Unbeknownst to Jim, they added in an extra as a treat for the wonderful granddad as his idol just happened to be performing.
Whitney tweeted a video of Jim’s priceless reaction – filmed by wife Mary Elizabeth – as he was told he would get to see Gaga in real life.
Whitney told Metro.co.uk: ‘He really loves Gaga.
‘He doesn’t care about literally any mainstream, current pop artists other than Lady Gaga.
‘But yeah, we were almost 100 per cent sure we wouldn’t be able to see Gaga, so when grandma told him, he knew pretty much right when she said “concert” because he doesn’t get nearly as excited about anyone else.
‘And his face pretty much says it all. I know it’s all technically for my birthday, but I’m just excited that he gets to see her in concert, he’s always wanted to.’
Whitney’s video blew up, gaining four million views, with a little help from singer Halsey who also shared it with her followers.
Now Twitter is on a mission to get Gaga to see it for herself.
In the video, Jim can be seen being asked to look through his calendar to the date of the concert. Telling Mary Elizabeth he’s busy during the day, Jim then realises where the conversation is going.
‘Gaga?’ he asks, full of hope. The adorable reaction was worth all the hassle to get tickets, Whitney said.
She said that scoring the tickets was no easy feat as the concert sold out pretty quickly. But with the superstar actress and singer releasing more tickets, Whitney and Mary Elizabeth were able to sort some out.
She said: ‘We both knew my grandpa would be overjoyed so I told her to record his reaction just because I wanted to see.
‘My sister in law and I both were crying laughing as soon as we saw the video. My whole family thinks it’s really funny.’
Grandpa's wholesome reaction at lady gaga concert tickets
If you fancy a trip to a film-inspired theme park, you usually have to meticulously plan a trip to Disneyland Paris, the UK’s closest attraction.
Not anymore – London is set to get its own version of the good stuff and it’s led by the film studio Paramount Pictures.
That means selfies with Don Corleone from The Godfather, saying hi to Bumblebee from Transformers and checking out Tom Cruise’s stunt locations from Mission: Impossible.
The plans for the park have been in the works for a while but came to a halt some years ago over disagreements on film rights.
Now, the park’s backers, London Resort Company Holdings, has signed a deal with ITV to bring Thunderbirds attractions to the venue.
Sadly though, we’ll have to wait until 2024 before it launches.
The London Resort will be based on Swanscombe Peninsula, between Gravesend and Dartford, boasting movie gimmicks on many of its rides on the 872-acre site.
You might want to grab your pals when it opens because the theme park will feature a 2,000-seat theatre, more than 50 rides and attractions, as well as a huge nightclub.
The exciting venture in the capital is set to create around 27,000 jobs for Londoners and alike.
And you can catch all the fun for a cheaper price than Disneyland Paris, as tickets are expected to be around £57 per person for The London Resort.
The folks bringing you the resort are also experienced in the area, with the new chief executive having been in charge of the Millennium Dome, now known as the O2.
‘The new partnership with Paramount is fantastic news for everyone,’ PY Gerbeau, the newly appointed chief executive, told Kent Online.
‘Now the best of Hollywood will be joining the best of British from BBC Studios and ITV Studios, to create amazing and unique experiences for the whole family.
‘I am delighted to join The London Resort and to play my part in helping to create a world-class destination to rival all others.
‘Central to that strategy is to partner with the best brands from across TV, film, music and entertainment.
‘Having Paramount on board is a major step towards realising that ambition.’
Can 2024 hurry up already so we can plan our day out to the resort?
Britain's Disneyland to open in kent
If someone photographed everything you ate in one week, what would it look like?
Lots of chocolate croissants and astronomical amounts of coffee?
To show what kids from around the world eat in a seven-day period, photographer Gregg Segal set up artistic shoots with children representing their country and the diet that goes with it.
Over the course of three years, Gregg visited countries such as the US, India, Malaysia, Germany, France, Italy, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil.
The photographer is documenting his findings in a book entitled Daily Bread: What Kids Eat Around the World.
In the images, the children can be seen lying in their national dress, with local delicacies surrounding them.
One of them is nine-year-old Kawakanih Yawalapiti, a member of the Yawalapiti tribe who live in Xingu National Park, a preserve in the Amazonian Basin of Brazil.
Another is Anchal, 10, who lives in a tin shack on a construction site in Mumbai with her family.
Photographer Gregg’s idea for Daily Bread grew out of his experiment into how much waste we produce.
He previously asked his family, friends, and neighbours to save all the rubbish they create in a week.
Gregg then pictured them lying next to all the waste, to highlight the extent of our gratuitous throwaway culture.
In the same way, he felt that journalling how much is consumed by some of the poorest groups in the world might make us more conscious of our dietary habits.
Here are the rest of the stunning images he has shot:
Incredible pics show what kids around the world eat in one week
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to have their decor tarnished by their little one.
While most would despair, this mum found a neat trick to get stains out of her sofa after her daughter took to it with a Biro pen.
What is this genius tip? Using tea tree oil.
Posting a picture of the sofa in a Facebook group, the mum had responses from others claiming the furniture had been ruined and that she would be best off usinbg a blanket to cover it.
In the image, it appears as if there are blue marks from a pen on the material of the armrest and seat of the sofa and the mother said it had happened after she left her daughter unattended, while putting her son down for a nap.
She wrote: ‘It’s the last time I leave the room while my toddler has a pen on hand – I was putting her baby brother to sleep.’
While some in the group joked that she should throw the child out, there was another less drastic solution.
Determined to try and fix the sofa the cleaning-savvy mum mixed up her own concoction with incredible results – and it only costs £2.09.
She posted unbelievable before-and-after photos on the Mums Who Clean Facebook group in which the stains had vanished.
The mum revealed how she used a combination of tea tree oil, water and a lot of elbow grease to get rid of the marks.
People were astonished with the transformation.
‘Tea tree oil in water,’ the mum wrote.
‘Sprayed it on the couch and used a scrub brush and scrubbed it.’
Unsurprisingly, other users were blown away with the mum’s stain-free sofa – and one revealed she would be storing the advice the future.
She wrote: ‘Thanks! My bub is four months and I’m sure I need this tip for the future.’
Tea tree oil trick to remove pen from sofa
A mum has figured out a nifty way to remove dog hair from her carpets – by using a pumice stone.
While the stone is usually used to smooth out rough feet by rubbing away dead skin, the cleaning fan found a way to use the stone to get rid of dastardly dog hairs.
Taking to the Facebook group Mrs Hinch Cleaning Tips – in honour of Instagram cleaning queen Mrs Hinch – she revealed her genius hack.
The mum posted a video of herself using the £2 pumice stone to clear animal fluff from carpets on her stairs.
In the clip she simply brushes her staircase with the stone and a bunch of fine white hairs gather in one place, making them easy to remove.
She wrote in a caption alongside the video: ‘Dog friends, which I believe are all of my friends, this might change your life.
‘I was at the tint shop a few weeks ago waiting for them to tint my new windshield.
‘A young lady was detailing another vehicle when she came over to talk to me. I think she was disgusted by my truck, as she should be.
‘You know all of those dog hairs that weave in and out of the carpet? The ones you can’t seem to get with the vacuum?
‘She showed me this… just a simple pumice stone. And then gave me hers. My life is now changed.’
Her post has amassed more than 115,000 likes and 71,000 comments from grateful Hinchers who thanked her for sharing the tip.
One person said: ‘OMG this has just made my day.’
Another commented: ‘I need to try this on my stair carpet as I have a cat and he’s always lying on it. Thanks for the tip.’
Other suggestions shared in the group for tackling pesky dog hair included a rubber broom and some damp rubber gloves.
It looks like we have another carpet saved by merry Hinchers.
Pumice stone to remove pet hair
It’s hard to slay your Insta game when there are so many brilliant accounts full of foodie finds, travel pics, memes and all the fun stuff that makes Instagram great.
But one artist from Melbourne, Australia, has opted for a pretty unique route to make his feed stand out.
Phil Ferguson crochets (as in makes things with yarn) enormous food items.
Instead of a scarf or jumper, Phil creates hats, ponchos and tops which feature fruits, vegetables, nuts and all the good stuff such as burgers, chips, desserts, all in crochet form.
His delectable goods have got him quite the online following too.
The 26-year-old spoke to Metro.co.uk about how he landed on the unique concept, something that grew out his university hobby.
‘I started my Instagram account five years ago,’ he explained.
‘I had the idea of crocheting food hats originally to perform in after I moved to Melbourne from Perth, I figured that if I uploaded the photos to Instagram I’d make new friends in a new city!
‘So once it took off, I kept up the making for as long as I have!’
Hats are the easiest to make for Phil. Some of the ones he’s made include a giant peanut, a strawberry, a sausage and a pretty impressive looking pretzel.
Outfits, however, can take weeks as opposed to the day or two of solid work that’s required of hats.
‘Sometimes I overestimate how fast I make things and realise it does take longer than I think!’ added Phil.
His unusual creations have attracted the attention of more than 130,000 followers on Instagram and it still amazes the artist how much people enjoy his wholesome content.
‘Everyone’s been really positive about it, I never would have thought years ago that this is what I would be doing at all and to maintain the audience I’ve had for so long is crazy!
‘I always say I’m super lucky but I guess I’ve done a lot of work as well.’
With 153 different masterpieces, Phil has found it tough to pick a favourite but tells us one is closer to this heart than the rest.
He said: ‘I will always have a sentimental attachment to my burger hat because that truly was the one that started this whole adventure and I feel like it’s the one thing everyone associates with me.’
Please enjoy more of Phil’s content:
Instagram dude crochets food items
A woman from Aberdeen has conquered her fear of swimming in the ocean – to become a professional mermaid.
Kirsten Waddle, 24, has been obsessed with the mythical sea creatures since watching Disney classic The Little Mermaid when she was a little girl.
It was the water-dwelling princess Ariel who inspired her alter-ego – Belle the Stonehaven Mermaid.
After attending a mermaid convention in London with her friend, the Cornish mermaid Scarlette Von Borowski, Kirsten purchased her first tail and vowed to beat her fear of deep water.
She joined a Scottish mermaid pod and took confidence in the strength and self-assurance of her fellow mermaids. She began regularly swimming in deep pools and her fears began to dissipate.
‘I remember watching The Little Mermaid 2 and just loving Ariel’s daughter, Melody,’ says Kirsten.
‘I’d always been amazed at Ariel’s tail, but I really identified with Melody – she was boisterous and a bit of a troublemaker, just like me.
‘I spent half of my childhood pretending I was a mermaid and playing mermaid-themed games, but I’d always been really afraid of the sea and deep water.
‘Somewhere along the line I’d developed anxiety about what was swimming underneath me in the sea – I even started to panic that there were sharks in my local swimming pool.
‘Nothing really changed until earlier this year, when I saw a photo of an old friend, Scarlette, wearing a gorgeous green tail on Instagram – I needed it to be a reality for me too.’
Kirsten was blown away by what she saw at the convention in London, and on her train journey back to Scotland she spent £80 buying her first tail.
Kirsten soon began working professionally as people began to hire her to make surprise appearances. But she still hadn’t taken the plunge and tried out the tail in the open ocean.
It ended up being an unforgettable moment.
‘I’d been swimming in pools in Glasgow for a while when Scarlette invited me to Cornwall to swim in the sea with her,’ she says.
‘I wasn’t sure if it would be scarier than the pool, but it ended up being better than ever!
‘I followed Scarlette’s lead and just got right in – the practice at the pool in Glasgow had built my core strength, and I just felt comfortable almost immediately.
‘Families on the beach even came over with their children to take photos – it was amazing.’
Kirsten Waddle who has conquered her fear of swimming in the ocean - to become a professional mermaid
MenTal(k) Health is a weekly series that focuses on the way that men look at health and beyond.
So far, we have spoken to mental health experts, cancer survivors, actors and nutritionists about what it means to be a healthy man every day.
This week, we speak to 28-year-old Richie Bostock, more commonly known as The Breath Guy, who tells us about how he ended up in his field of ‘breath work’ after his dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis five years ago.
According to the NHS, multiple sclerosis is a condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms.
These symptoms manifest themselves as problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance.
As a lifelong condition it can cause serious disability, but can also be occasionally mild.
It was this that led Richie to think about other forms of treatment, and ultimately ‘breath work’, the technique of using breath to improve mental, physical and emotional well-being.
Richie told Metro.co.uk: ‘I got into breath work purely by accident – or fate, if you believe in such a thing – because of my dad.
‘My dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the autoimmune disease, and like all autoimmune diseases there’s no magic pill to cure it.
‘It’s a thing you have to learn to deal with perhaps for a lifetime and I was always on the look out for various alternative therapies and lifestyle changes that might be able to help.’
In his research, he came across a man called Wim Hof.
Wim Hof, also known as The Iceman, is a Dutch extreme athlete who has been noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures, setting numerous Guinness world records for swimming under ice and prolonged full-body contact with ice, and withstanding extreme temperatures.
He still holds the record for a barefoot half-marathon on ice and snow.
Richie said: ‘Wim Hof created this method which ended up being called the Wim Hof Method, that is used to improve people’s health and well-being by using breath work to manage putting the body through extremely cold temperatures to shock the body’s environment.
‘It involves breathing techniques, cold exposure (such as using cold showers and ice baths) and it seems to be really effective for people who have autoimmune issues.
‘This caught my attention and I started to do a little more research and found out he does retreats in Poland in the middle of winter where you spend a week and you learn the techniques and do all the crazy stuff he does.
‘So I ended up going to Poland and spent a week doing the Method.’
In Poland, Richie definitely experienced extreme cold. They swam in ice lakes, hiked around in the snow bare foot and climbed a mountain just wearing shorts.
He said: ‘We hiked around in the snow bare foot just wearing shorts for two hours in -6 degrees. We even climbed the tallest mountain in Poland, the Rysy, just wearing shorts at -19 degrees of wind and snow taking us four hours to get to the top.
‘There were 25 of us – men, women, fit, not fit, young and old – and we all made it to the top and made it through the entire week and no one got as much as a sniffle.’
In all of the exercises, he was particularly drawn to the breath work side of the retreat.
He said: ‘The breath work was life-changing, and I remember the first session I ever did with Wim Hof.
‘Coming out of it was such a sense of clarity and confidence and belief in myself, and I remember thinking, “how crazy is it that not everyone knows about this” and people can feel this way doing a little bit of breathing.’
When he showed his dad the photos of his experience in Poland, and explained how the Wim Hof Method could help his MS, he was convinced that he should give it a go.
Richie said: ‘He started having cold showers everyday, he changed his diet in a big way which is very important for any autoimmune issue, and the progression of the MS just stopped in its tracks.
‘So that was pretty crazy for my family, and that’s when I started to research further into breathing.’
Richie was born in London and moved to Australia when he was two, growing up in Brisbane for most of his life.
For the last five years he’s lived out of Australia and traveled across the world and has lived in UK for more than two years.
Richie explains breath work as people taking it for granted since it’s something we all do.
H said: ‘The words “breath work” in itself can even be a little confusing for people because I think so many of us take breathing for granted as this thing that just happens.
‘When you put “work” next to breath or breathing, people tend to react strangely. Some people ask, “why, doesn’t it just happen? Why would I need to just work on my breathing?”
‘But, what people don’t realise is that breathing and the way that we breathe affects every single system and function in the body, whether that be the nervous system, the immune system, the endocrine system and even the digestive system.
‘Every one of those systems are affected and impacted by the way that you breathe.’
According to Richie, breath work is simply when you become aware of your breathing and work out how to use it or change it to create some physical, mental or emotional benefit for yourself.
On the spectrum of breath work, its simplest end there’s just learning how to breathe correctly.
He said: ‘So many of us just behave and breathe in ways that are functional.
‘Or even just learning the technique you you can do for just two to three minutes to help you when you feel stressed and to aid you to relax, or even to gain energy if you’re feeling tired and lethargic – that’s it at its simplest.
‘But on the other side it’s complex form is that you can use it as a form of therapy, believe it or not there are ways to breathe to access the unconscious mind to unlock emotional issues, mental blocks and limiting beliefs negative thought patterns.
‘So think of it as a talking therapy on rocket fuel, and then in between you have the traditional ways of breathing in meditation and yoga and various ways of breathing for athletic performance to help increase recovery times and even improve output and endurance.
‘Anyone can do it, as long you have a mouth, a nose and at least one lung then you’re good to go.’
Opportunities came to Richie with the rise of breath work, but the recent Sweatlife festival was successful, and some others coming this summer such as Wilderness Festival as well as having an online course on Fiit app.
He said: ‘What’s really cool is, since the term has grown the classes have become bigger and bigger and that collective energy is amazing.
‘Everyone supports each other, and that bigger group creates a bubble where everyone seems to have a great experience. Having had over 300 people in the room is really exciting.
‘The session we did was about changing the way your body reacts, creating new thoughts and perceptions to open new doors and possibilities for yourself.’
What is MenTal(k) Health?
MenTal(k) Health is a weekly series that speaks to men who have a lot to say on a range of health issues from mental and physical health to fitness, sexual health, and emotional intelligence.
If you know someone who might be great to speak to, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on twitter @AlexReads__.
Last week’s MenTal(k) Health with Kenny Ethan Jones and his experience with body image as a transman.
Keep a look out for next week’s feature of MenTal(k) Health.
I get it: you’re trying as hard as possible to be inclusive and ‘woke’ by talking about body positivity and why it’s a ‘one size fits all’ movement.
On this occasion, however, I’m going to need for you to take a seat and receive an education as to the true origins and intentions of the body positivity movement.
Earlier this week, Teen Vogue posted a series of Snapchats attempting to dispel the myths surrounding body positivity, its roots and the individual’s eligible for inclusion within the movement.
Under the ‘FACT’ title was written the following: ‘body positivity is about finding the worth in ALL people.’ Under the MYTH title was written ‘body positivity is JUST for fat girls.’
.@TeenVogue posted these to their Snapchat story this past weekend. I can't help but to think that it is targeted at the few fat folks who have been talking about body positivity on here this past week. I take serious issue with all of this. pic.twitter.com/to2t318cIb
— #LiveForLilPhil (@_iAmRoyal) June 24, 2019
The Snapchat videos led me to think that the person who created them exists in a smaller-bodied or privileged body.
Because at this point it’s widely known (especially within the plus size community) that the body positivity movement has its roots centred within the radical fat acceptance movement: a movement created by predominantly larger far women of colour and disabled women.
To me, body positivity means accepting my body with all its curves, rolls, lumps and bumps.
It means seeing my physical self as worthy: worthy of love, of existing, of being valued as much as the next body. It is radical self-love in the face of narrow beauty ideals.
The ‘radical’ part is important because body positivity has a subversive history.
It originated with the fat acceptance movement of the 60s, which aimed to combat anti-fat discrimination and to celebrate and inspire the validity and acceptance of fat bodies.
In the US, this resulted in the creation of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA), a non-profit organisation dedicated to combating size discrimination.
Body positivity then experienced a resurgence in the late noughties, as an increasing number of plus-sized bloggers, activists and influencers hopped onto social media to create safe spaces for fat women to appreciate and celebrate their bodies, without fear of judgement.
It provided us with a forum to discuss the complexities of marginalisation, and to celebrate diversity in all its forms, whether that be physical, sexual or racial.
In recent years, however, we’ve seen the body positivity movement monetised and politicised by brands and public figures, in ways that often result in individuals above a certain size being left out of the conversation.
The body positivity movement that we all recognise today does not centre fat people anymore: it has become simply another safe space for slimmer people to feel good about their bodies in a society that already does that for them.
I’ve spent the better part of my online career not only arguing with fatphobics on my rights as a fat person to exist and be eligible to receive the same respect and basic human decency as everyone else but also telling able-bodied, white, slim, privileged women that this specific movement cannot include them.
‘But shouldn’t everyone have access to self-love? Don’t ALL bodies deserve the right to celebrate their flaws?’ is the typical comeback I get.
They’re right! ALL bodies are worthy of love, and everyone deserves the opportunity to feel happy in their skin and talk about it… just not in this specific community.
What the #AllBodiesMatter crew fail to understand is that the simple act of ‘not’ being fat offers a world of privilege that fat people will never know in this lifetime.
Slimmer people can love themselves loudly, quietly or not at all, but they will almost always be seen as ‘normal’ in the eyes of society at large.
They will likely not experience overt or covert discrimination based on their size; neither will they face ongoing pressure to change their weight in order to be accepted.
Body positivity has always been about fighting the systemic oppression of fat people in society.
But now that movement has been diluted by people who for some reason, have an incessant need to be a part of the ‘trend’, which has resulted in the people who spearheaded the movement being pushed out altogether.
The body positivity movement that we all recognise today does not centre fat people anymore.
It has become simply another safe space for slimmer people to feel good about their bodies in a society that already does that for them.
This is not, or at least should not be, an #AllBodiesMatter situation. Of course, all bodies are equally important, and I hope that everyone reading this – whether they are a size six or a size 26 – feels good about themselves.
But body positivity is not about boosting the confidence of people with conventionally attractive and ‘acceptable’ figures. The world already does that for them.
Body positivity is supposed to be a political movement that fights the systematic oppression that fat people face on a daily basis.
It’s so much more than just ‘self-love’, so to decanter fat people from a movement that they created to include ‘everyone’ while fatphobia is still rampant in today’s society is pretty abhorrent, in my opinion.
As the movement has grown in popularity, its most prominent voices and values have changed to reflect a less radical and progressive point of view.
But the more we confront and challenge instances of co-option, the more power we can claim back.
STEPH YEBOAH COLUMN: The body positive movement is not for everyone
Eating strawberries and cream at Wimbledon is a quintessential element of British summertime.
And every year vegans have had to forego this seasonal staple because of the dairy – but that’s all about to change.
Vegan cream, ice cream and sorbet are now available at the All England Club throughout the two-week Championships – which is huge news for tennis fans who don’t eat animal products.
Now vegans can get the full experience of Wimbledon, without any of the guilt.
A few years back Peta handed out strawberries and vegan cream to tennis fans outside Wimbledon and the activists have wholeheartedly welcomed the move.
‘Peta first urged Wimbledon to offer strawberries and vegan cream in 2017, and we’re delighted to make a racquet about the new cruelty-free treat,’ said Director of vegan projects Dawn Carr.
Vegan cream is not only packed with flavour and kinder to animals and the environment but also a healthier alternative for tennis fans to enjoy in the heat.’
Can’t stomach the thought of dairy-free cream? Don’t worry, regular cream and ice cream will also be available across the venue – so now everyone has the choice.
It is estimated that around 27 tons of strawberries and 7,000 litres of cream are eaten by tennis fans during the tournament – so if even a relatively small proportion of fans opt for the vegan option, that could make a big difference.
With the number of people in the UK going vegan or reducing their animal product intake rising every year, this is a really progressive move from Wimbledon – and will be sure to keep hundreds of fans happy.
Wimbledon's vegan strawberries and cream
When Vans released their limited edition Harry Potter merch, the internet pretty much went crazy.
Now, the masterminds behind the shoes over at Vault by Vans have launched a Frida Kahlo inspired range of lace-up and slip-on trainers.
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who was known for her unique and colourful self-portraits.
She was a staple of Mexican culture establishing herself as a cultural icon, but also posing questions about gender, class and struggles in her own personal life.
So obviously we want to wear her work on our feet.
Some of her most famous pieces, including Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, have been carefully transferred onto the Vans shoes.
A magical collaboration awaits.
The Vans OG Sk8-Hi shoe features her Las Dos Fridas artwork which sees two versions of herself holding hands, a representation of her dual heritage but it’s also thought to symbolise her divorce from Diego Rivera.
The classic OG Slip-On comes with the Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird print, the self portrait that most people will instantly recognise.
And the Authentic Vans shoe comes with a watermelon print from her still life piece, Viva la Vida, which was reportedly made just eight days before her death in 1954.
The collection launched on the 29th June, online and at selected Vault by Vans retailers, so why wait?
For the discerning vibrator user there are many, many options available online.
Which is great, but can also make it difficult to know where to start.
But one woman’s review has bumped a dual purpose clitoral and g-spot to the the number one best seller position for Amazon sex toys, making it the clear and easy choice for anyone who wants their world mechanically rocked.
And if you give it a read you’ll understand why.
The woman in question wrote:
‘Having read everyone’s reviews, i had high expectations, but with the price being under 50 dollars, i wasn’t exactly going to be shocked if it was mediocre. A few friends of mine bought it recently, and told me of its power.
‘I was warned to take the day off, hydrate, and above all do some stretches. I thought they were being such drama queens.
It was delivered within 2 days of ordering, so it’s already off to a good start. Opening the very discreet box, instructions say 2.5 hour charge time. Not too bad, i plug this lil bad boy in.
‘While the kids are at school waiting for it to charge, killing time reading some erotica my friend and fellow queenie, recommended because i don’t have time to screw around waiting to get into “the mood”.
‘I have to get the kids in a few hours and i need to be ready to go when this thing is done charging. Tik tok b!tch, tik tok welcome to motherhood. “Patiently waiting” me is checking to see if the light has stopped blinking every 10 minutes like a crackhead waiting for his dealer.
‘After only and hour and a half, solid pink light.
‘I played with the settings on my hand to test this fine machinery out.The vibration for the g spot part is quite strong, i was impressed with with that even before use.
‘Next was suction. So many levels it was interesting to see the different patterns and strength. There are 10 levels for clitoral and 10 patterns for g spot.I’ve never used a clit suction type stimulator, so i have nothing to compare it to, but looked forward to it none the less.
‘Time to solo party.
I found placement for the clit a bit low for my body shape, it took me a few min to get everything where it needed to be. That was a bit time consuming and slightly frustrating.
‘But as with any new toy, its trial and error. I started the clit one on low, which i barely even felt. Unbeknownst to me it wasn’t lined up 100% ,So, me being me, i decide to go from zero to 60 in 3.5.
‘I hit the suction button setting to level 5 or 6 and hit the g spot button as well. And made a minor adjustment on suction placement.At least i think that’s what happened, Because I’m pretty sure i blacked out,
‘My legs went straight out like those goats who faint when scared.
‘I never came so fast and so hard in my life. I squirted, i have NEVER DONE THAT. (Luckily i put a towel down cause i hate wet spots)
‘I frantically tried to turn it off, but ended up hitting the buttons like a maniac, sending to even stronger suction and now variant pulses from the g spot vibrator. And came, again. Im pretty sure i levitated. It was an unending orgasm.
‘This time, my soul left me, and god himself said “child, it is not your time, go back to the lil pink light.” (Mind you, im agnostic.)
‘I’m brought back into my earthly body after managing to pull it off me throwing it across my bed, it falls to the floor, still buzzing happily away.
‘I shook for a good 5 minutes, i couldn’t get up off the bed if even wanted to. I stared at my ceiling dazed trying to remember who i am and what year is this.
‘I get up to clean up and realize in my seizure like orgasms, i hurt my hip and back. Im still hobbling 4 hours later
I did not stretch enough.
‘So in conclusion, this met and exceeded expectations. Hydrate, make sure you don’t have to do anything that involves decisions or brainpower for the rest of the day. And for the love of god, stretch like you are about to run the 500 meter dash.’
The review has been shared on Twitter and currently has over 10 thousand retweets. Many of which come from women who’ve invested in their own model and cannot wait for it to arrive.
The anonymous Amazon customer isn’t the only reviewer who had their socks knocked off by the toy, with 83% of reviewers giving it five stars.
That said, like all sex toys, it’s not one size fits all. Some reviewers complained about the size being wrong, the shape being a little out of sync with their body, and there are some issues with the toy’s buttons no longer working after a month.
If you’d like to see what all the fuss is about you can order it here.
Unfortunately for you, it was priced at $36 (£27) but since the surge in popularity it’s now $59 (£46).
sex toys comp
Strawberries and cream – the perfect combination. You can’t really go wrong.
But one chef thinks this classic British dessert needs an update – so he’s created Strawberries and Heinz Salad Cream to mark the start of Wimbledon – and we don’t know how to feel about it.
Heinz salad cream works really well on so many things. Namely, salad. But also chips, pizza, potatoes – the tangy, creamy sauce adds a lovely zing of flavour to loads of savoury dishes.
But does it work in a pudding? Could salad cream be the perfect addition to your plate of strawberries? This adventurous chef seems to think so.
Bernado Garea is the head chef at Elys Restaurant in Wimbledon. The establishment, which is part of the Elys department store, has launched the unconventional dish to celebrate the start of this year’s tennis tournament.
According to chef Bernado Garea, the sweet taste of Strawberries matches well with the tangy tasting notes of Heinz Salad Cream – offering something a little different for shoppers and tennis fans this year.
The sweet and sour dessert is available until the 14th July – so if you have adventurous tastes, this could be the perfect option for you.
People are often particular about their condiment choices – whether it’s about mayonnaise on chips, ketchup on spaghetti or mustard in you bakes beans – loads of us have weird and often intense opinions when it comes to sauces.
But salad cream with strawberries might just be the weirdest one we have heard yet. Or – it could be the next big thing in culinary circles. We will have to give it a try to find out.
Strawberries and Heinz Salad Cream
Parents who provide their children with a school lunch usually try to for a balanced meal if they can.
So, one mum who gave her a son a mixture of fruits, vegetables, dairy and carbs was shocked to learn that it was deemed ‘unhealthy’ by the school.
Laura Lee commented on a Facebook post where teachers were sharing the worst meals bought in by their students.
The food she had made for her son included celery and pepper sticks, grapes and hummus, sandwiches, cucumbers, and three mini cookies.
And yet, the latter fell foul with her son’s teachers.
She wrote on the post: ‘I thought it was pretty balanced – evidently not.’
Other parents swapped their own stories with strict school lunch guidelines.
Mum Christina replied saying: ‘That looks great and well balanced, my son’s drink got sent home because it was fizzy, it was sparkling water.’
Others wondered why school dinners contained sugary foods without complaints but parents couldn’t feed their children similar goods.
‘Amazing, when a child’s free school lunch can have syrup sponge and custard for a pudding,’ wrote one mum.
‘Not complaining as my child does have free school meals at the moment and to be fair they seem okay and she is having lots of veg and fruit but if the free school meal children can have cake and custard for afters then why can’t a packed lunch child (with a lovely lunch as above) have some cookies?
‘It’s not like it’s a chocolate bar!’
They also encouraged the mum to speak to the headteacher to provide an example of what an ideal meal might look like.
According to law, food served in some schools and academies in England must meet the school food standards so that children have healthy, balanced diets.
So there can’t be drinks with added sugar, crisps, chocolate or sweets in school meals and vending machines or more than two portions of deep-fried, battered or breaded food a week.
Learning how to wipe yourself after going to the toilet is something we generally get to grips with pretty early in life.
So it might come as a shock to learn that one in three women are wiping incorrectly after using the loo – and they’re putting themselves at risk of infection.
According to a new study conducted by Tap Warehouse, 33% of women admit to wiping ‘back to front’ post-toilet.
But this could actually be dangerous.
According to Dr Luke Powles from Bupa UK, ‘a woman’s urethra and anus are quite closely located, so it’s best practice to wipe from front to back.’
Otherwise you could be ‘spreading faeces from the anus to the urethra. Spreading bacteria to the urethra can lead to a urinary tract infection.’
Luckily, almost 70% of women are wiping the correct way – front to back – but that is still a really large proportion of women who are inadvertently putting their health at risk.
So if you’re in the back to front camp it’s definitely time to change your toilet habits.
The study also found that Brits love to peek-a-poo – to catch a glimpse of the toilet bowl before flushing. Two out of three people surveyed admitted to doing this.
Taking a cheeky peek is actually a good habit to ensure your bowels are healthy.
So, what should you be looking out for?
‘Anything that’s more solid and difficult to pass suggests constipation, whereas a poo that’s more liquidy and passes really quickly indicates a lack of fibre in your diet or a period of illness,’ reveals Dr Luke Powles.
If you do spot anything unusual like ‘the colour of your bowel movements being anything other than browny-green, and you’ve not eaten anything recently that’s an obvious cause of the colour change, this could be a sign of problems elsewhere in the body.’
Always talk to a GP if you have concerns.
‘If there are spontaneous, persistent changes in your stool, such as its consistency – how soft or hard it is, the number of times that you go to the toilet, or if you see blood in your stool,’ you should see a GP within two weeks.
While talking about your bowels might be a bit embarrassing, it’s worth a red face if it could protect you from a serious condition. So swallow your pride and get talking.
Lidl is seriously sorting us out for the summer. First, it was chairs for our cats and now it’s a bunch of power tools that are perfect for doing up the garden.
With the sun kindly deciding to pay the UK a visit, it’s ideal weather for a barbecue so you’ll want to nosy around Lidl’s new garden range.
The budget retailer’s Middle of Lidl promotion has launched this week and will be available until stocks last.
You can expect multi-purpose tools, spray guns, weed trimmers and more.
So no more excuses for leaving the garden in a tip.
If you’re passionate about saving space then you’ll enjoy the Parkside 4-in-1 Petrol Multi-Tool.
It’s a combination tool with four functions: lawn trimmer, strimmer, hedge trimmer and pruner. Do you need anything else, really?
But with great functions comes a great price. The contraption is slightly more expensive than the rest of the range, priced at £129.
For a similar product in other stores and online retailers, however, it’s between £130-£160. So it’s worth checking out the Lidl one.
Also in the new line is a Parkside Cordless Hedge Trimmer. The high quality, laser-cut blade comes with an aluminium guide rail and impact protection.
It also comes with an integrated wall hanger for space-saving storage, all for £49.99.
Plant parents will also be delighted with this Multi-Function Spray Gun Set which is one of the cheapest, at £3.99.
You could be watering your leafy babies using nine different settings.
It also has a complete connection set for 13mm garden hoses including a tap connector and an ergonomic grip. The maximum pressure is four bar.
And with all that extra rubbish being formed in the garden, you’ll want a waste bag. Good thing then there’s one available for £3.99.
Also available is a weed burner for £14.99.
Those who hate summer and just want to stay home all day might want to invest in a fan too, also part of the Middle of Lidl promotion.
You can pick up a three-speed Silvercrest Pedestal Fan for £19.99.
When fashion designer Laurent Hemphill returned home he was a little mystified as to why his boyfriend had put candles all over the place.
But the mystery was soon answered when Andrew, his partner of three years, got down on one knee and proposed to him.
The moment at their home in Atlanta, Georgia, was captured on camera and a tweet they shared quickly gained traction.
It went viral, with users appreciating seeing positive LGBTQ+ content online.
‘I said yes! yes, i want you to be my husband!’ Laurent excitedly wrote online.
‘Yes, I’m going to marry you! Yes, I want to spend the rest of my life with you! Yes, I want to have a family with you! Yes, I want to grow old with you. Yes, I’m all yours forever! I love you with every piece of my heart and soul!’
Laurent told Metro.co.uk a bit more about the special proposal.
‘Me and Andrew have known each other for three years,’ he said.
‘I knew the proposal was coming, but I didn’t think it would be so soon! My heart dropped when I walked into the room filled with candles.’
Online, followers loved the sweet and heartwarming gesture. One person wrote: ‘This is beautiful. Let love lead!’
Similarly, another said: ‘Congratulations! You may not even see this but your beautiful love has gotten a lot of attention and comments from many people. It’s not about the negativity but focusing on your happiness!’
Despite the sweet moment being adulated by more than 93,000 people, some left hateful comments.
Sadly, the couple was met with some homophobic comments which they were happy to ignore.
One person said it was ‘disgusting’ which sadly received more than 1,000 likes.
But Laurent and Andrew are paying no mind.
Laurent told us that instead of focusing on the hate, they’re channelling their energy into organising a spectacular wedding.
‘I’m very excited! The wedding will be the 4th October 2020 and it’s definitely going to be a big one.’
Same-sex marriage hasn’t been legal for long where Laurent and Andrew live. It was only legalised in the state of Georgia on June 26, 2015.
The couple now can’t wait to take advantage.
We hope it’s a grand wedding.
Las Vegas, the home of spinning roulette wheels, showgirls, parties, jackpot wins and newlyweds.
In Vegas, a bride in a gown can walk through a casino floor without anyone batting an eyelid – maybe a high five or two, but there’ll be another bride coming along in a minute.
But do not be fooled, it’s not like The One In Vegas, where Ross and Rachel stumble into a chapel and get hitched after a drunken night in the casino or like Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz’s characters in What Happens in Vegas. Despite the glitter, show tunes and neon lights – Vegas is a perfect spot for a couple who actually don’t want the spotlight but want something fun and low-key instead of a stuffy box-ticking day.
If you’re toying with the idea (which is probably why you’re reading this already), let us help you avoid bitter disappointment if you’re not organised. A Las Vegas wedding can save you a £30,000 bill for a UK wedding day. We stress the ‘day’ in that. That’s the average cost, according to Bridebook.co.uk’s National Wedding Survey 2018. Not to mention the friction of family politics, food you have to settle for and arguments over the seating plan.
A lot of people need to get married in a service at the registry office first before having them in their favourite venues anyway, so Vegas is a great place to get the deed done in style. Maybe that’s why the likes of Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner and even Countdown’s Rachel Riley have tied the knot here.
If you fancy getting hitched in Sin City, here’s how (speaking from experience):
Get your marriage license
You need to take a visit to the Las Vegas Marriage License Bureau before you do anything.
It’s not romantic at all, in fact it’s kind of like a little post office and can get particularly busy on holidays like Valentine’s Day and around Christmas so you’ve been warned. But, you have to get a marriage license to take to your ceremony, so it’s legal, and take these documents to give to your Nevada Marriage Officiant.
For this, you will need not just the $77 (£60) but also you will need to be the legal age, free to marry and not be related. You both have to visit the bureau and bring identification, like a passport.
It’s actually quick to apply online for your license before you go to the bureau as they make you fill it out on a computer anyway. So, if you apply online (super romantic) and fill out your details, you can join the queue straight away and they can bring up the application with your assigned number. It’s relatively pain free and takes 10 minutes overall (depending on how busy it is). The great thing about it is that generally the only people in the queue are people getting married, just like you, so it’s not a bad one to be in. But, it’s a drive away from The Strip – so not a place you can just stumble into from the casino – a sobering 10 minute Uber is what it takes.
Pick your chapel
There are so many chapels to pick from and they all have their own vibe. There’s some of the oldest chapels – like A Little White Wedding Chapel where Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas tied the knot, you can even go through the drive-thru (whatever floats your boat), or just seal the deal in a hotel chapel that doesn’t require you to go downtown. Or if you fancy something a little more hipster, there’s also Sure Thing. Elvis – if you want – can preside over your service (at a cost) at most establishments or you can get even more extra with a helicopter ceremony. The possibilities are endless and quite frankly, overwhelming.
The amount of cash that goes with a Las Vegas wedding is really dependent on your budget. Most of the ceremonies are done and dusted in a matter of minutes. We’re talking 10 minutes here – most of your half hour booking (which is standard time) is taken up with photographs and going through the business side of things – money and forms. Ministers take tips – the one at The Little White Wedding Chapel didn’t get paid but happily accepts tips suggested upwards of $60 (£45).
Most of the chapels have their own photographer which can be included in your package, but again they’re working for tips. Sure Thing is one of the only chapels to allow you to bring your own photographer, but this often carries a hefty price – one Vegas photographer quotes $400 (£310) while another $750 (£600) for half an hour. Yes, we are in the wrong job.
For a basic ceremony you can pay $75 and can add on flowers, and photographer if it fits your budget and tailor your package to you. Or, if you want something even cheaper – there’s a $50 (£45) option at A Little White Wedding Chapel. If it’s just the two of you, the photographer can also act as the witness.
Some weddings will cost you more depending on the size of your party too – so which room you choose at the various chapels and venues – whether it’s just two of you for an elopement or a huge party. You’ll need the right room and that comes with a price tag.
So, it takes a few minutes for your ceremony. You don’t even need to exchange vows. You could both just say ‘I do’. The beauty being that it’s really up to you. If you want to write a Bible’s worth of vows – you can do it (if you stick within your time slot). If you want to just say two words – that’s possible too. You don’t even have to walk up the aisle (I didn’t).
In Vegas, almost anything goes, 24/7 chapels still exist but to curb the mistakes and the biggest ‘beer fear’ the marriage license bureau closes at midnight. If you do end up thinking ‘why not’ after hitting the jackpot, it’s open seven days a week including holidays from 8am to midnight. So plenty of time to take the plunge.
Unlike in the UK, you don’t walk away from the end of the ceremony with your certificate (where they say I’m giving it to the head of the household and give it to the wife for all of the lols). No, your officiant has to file the paperwork at the Clark County Clerk’s Office within 10 days after your ceremony. You can then order the proof of marriage for $15 (£12). You can do this online, by mail or pick up in person if you’re still in town. Here’s your checklist.
And that’s it. The only thing left to do is to celebrate and where better than in Vegas? You can pick a VIP Wedding Package at Wet Republic where you can say that Tiesto or Calvin Harris were your wedding DJs. If sculpted men and women showering you with champagne (literally) in front of thousands of people when it’s just the two of you isn’t your vibe, that is ok too, there’s more low key options. Everywhere seems to have a wedding deal of sorts, even the Four Seasons. You can do everything to make your ‘big day’ memorable in a way that you can’t back home. Helicopter over the Grand Canyon? World class couples’ massage at ARIA? If you’re into really freaky shizzle – you could also dangle off the edge of the tallest building in Vegas. No? No, us neither. Either way, you’re all set. Las Vegas is actually your playground – you’ve just got to have the money for it.
**just a note – the saying ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ isn’t quite true. If you do actually legally marry – it is legally binding. Just giving you the facts!
Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas pose on a pink car after secret wedding (Picture: Instagram)
They’re on the front line of defence. Their far-reaching abilities allow us to find and control illicit items that are far beyond the detection of human abilities.
Police dogs can do incredible things. From tracking and apprehending dangerous suspects to sniffing out drugs, explosives and even child pornography, the dog unit are an essential part of Britain’s police force.
But how do we train them? How do these dogs go from small balls of fluff to Officers of the paw?
It all starts from conception.
Surrey and Sussex police dog unit picks the best bitch (female dog) and the best sire (male dog) and keep them specifically to be bred. That means she will not serve in active duty, just a life focused on producing no more than three litters.
Choosing the right mother and father allows breeders to focus on producing puppies with the right temperament, health and instinct to ensure that they have the best police dogs available.
However, they also look to adopt rescue dogs from up and down the country who fit their high standards of ideal canine characteristics.
Following the birth of the litter, human contact is kept to a minimum.
That may sound cruel, but what it actually means is that one or two people focus their attention on them, feeding, cleaning and giving the canine calvary whatever they might need.
Meet the pups
Metro.co.uk went down to Sandy Lane, Guildford to meet the latest recruits.
That’s right. Eleven lovely, fluffy puppies with floppy ears and big milk tummies. It was a good day.
Every dog breeder has a unique way to name dogs. Imagine naming upwards of three litters a year with just random names. Impossible.
Surrey and Sussex police dog unit are no different. While others use themes such as movie characters, music or space to name their dogs, this Guildford-based brand simply follows the alphabet. This litter was named with the letter ‘P’.
P litter is made up of six males and five females.
While working with the dog unit Metro.co.uk was given the privilege and pleasure of naming one of the future members of the force of paw and order.
So we chose Pax, meaning ‘peace-keeper’ in Latin.
His siblings were called Perry, Paws, Percy, Pippa, Panza, Pepper, Poppy, Petra and Phantom.
The 49 day test
Once they reach 49 days (7 weeks) old they are taken out of their kennel environment for the first time to meet the trainers.
These dog specialists will put the put the future paw-lice officers to the test, looking at their natural instincts to see if they have what it takes to enter the force.
Simon Boylett, dog trainer with Surrey and Sussex Police dog unit, says that keeping the dogs separate from human influence before the 49 day test gives trainers “a good indication” of whether a dog is cut out for police work.
He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘We need to know what this dog is like with very limited exposure to outside of the kennel block environment where it has been for the last five or six weeks, so it gives us a good indication of that dog’s natural reactions to things happening in the environment.
‘We do a 49 day test to see what their natural instincts are. When we go through the procedures so we’re testing them, asking [whether] this dog is going to be suitable for work or not.’
Those of you who have ever seen or met a puppy will know that the smallest thing can distract them. This could lead to disastrous results for our paw-lice academy cadets.
The assessment takes place in a room with minimal distractions. No one is allowed in or out during the test, except for Simon and the puppy, to allow the dog to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
For a litter the size of P litter, the test takes roughly three hours start to finish.
We were able to witness a demonstration of the test after the dogs had already been tried and marked.
The handlers are completely unaware of the name of the puppy they are trialling. This prevents bias and human connection and ensures that the future K9 is reacting solely on its own instincts.
‘These have had nothing,’ says Simon. ‘They have had none of this. This is the first time they have done anything like this.’
So what does the 49 day test consist of?
The first step is a simple one.
Does the dog follow you when you walk? The handler will simply stand up and walk away from the puppy and see how it reacts. While the dog unit look for independence in a dog, they also want the puppy to exhibit a strong will to follow their handler.
To replicate how they would react if under attack, Simon flips the dog onto his or her back and holds them gently, but firmly, in place and monitors their reaction. If the dog accepts that it has been pinned down and remains in place, it is seen as too submissive. Resisting being held in place is important for a future police dog as it shows dominance and independence.
During our simulation of the test, Simon chose not to hold the puppy down on its back as he had already done this before and did not want to place the dog under any unnecessary stress.
Another reflex and dominance test sees Simon take the seven week old dog’s paw in his hand and gently apply pressure for around 10 seconds. They want to check how reactive the dog is to being put in a submissive position.
Once the puppy is distracted or exploring the room Simon will grab an ordinary sheet of paper and scrunch it into a ball. He wants to see how the puppy reacts to this noise. The ideal police pup would be inquisitive and try to investigate what is going on.
The puppy is now interested in this mysterious noise-making object that the handler has, so the dog trainer will throw the paper ball across the room to see whether the dog will chase it. Trainers want to see whether the police pup will chase a non-human object across the room. Think of why your dog likes to play fetch? The game replicates the experiencing of hunting in the wild with the dog chasing and capturing it’s target. This is what Simon is looking for.
Simon waits for the little puppy to saunter off elsewhere in it’s bid to explore this new, if empty, environment. Once the dog is on the other side of the room, he throws a large metal dog bowl onto the floor. In its future line of work a police dog will deal with all manner of noises that suddenly occur. What his trainers don’t want is for the dog to exhibit fear or to rely on the officer for security. They want a dog that will go and investigate this loud noise immediately and confidently.
Another tool to test the dog’s chase instinct is by dragging a soft rag, very similar to a tea towel, around the room. They want to see not just if the dog chases it, but does the dog bite it. For obvious reasons, in a future front line police dog a strong bite instinct is fundamental.
Passing the test
Judging these pups correctly is vitally important. Choosing the dog that is not cut out for police work could not only risk the safety of the dog itself, but could have implications on the lives of the force and the public.
Simon takes a strict but fair and reasonable approach to passing the dogs based on the results of their examination.
He tells us: ‘We don’t want any to fail but we’ve got to be realistic and say that if this dog hasn’t got the right suitability or character for working for whatever reason.
‘I like going running but I’m never gonna be a marathon runner or an olympian, it’s about being kind to the dog and going ‘actually there is no point in putting this dog under stress or the pressure of work because it’s not suited for that role.’
What are Surrey and Sussex police dog unit actually looking for when they train their newest litter of dogs?
‘At this stage we are really looking for a confident sociable dog but also has that touch of independence as well,’ says Simon.
‘They are inquisitive so if something happens they want to go and investigate it, they will come to you readily, no nervousness and is confident.’
Out of the eleven pups tested, only one failed, Poppy.
‘She was quite needy so she was pretty much looking for me for guidance,’ explains Simon.
‘I was doing the assessments and she was quite whiny and whinge-y so she lacked that independence and she didn’t come across as strong.’
But don’t feel too bad for Poppy. Police pups that fail their initial exam get adopted by a suitable family selected from what we are certain is a very long waiting list.
What happens next?
Now comes the fun part.
Ten lucky pre-selected families will take home a puppy each to raise as their own for the next year.
They have frequent contact with the dog unit who offer up training advice and any tips for querying and confused families.
The puppies and their foster carers attend monthly training sessions at the dog unit in Guildford to help guide the new conscripts in the right direction. While in the care of the foster families, they will be socialised in a variety of locations to help their future potential police endevours. They visit train stations, parks, cities, fields and more!
If you’re thinking to yourself ‘I could never give back a dog I have raised since it was just a small pup!’. You’re not the only one.
The dog unit has started making sure that fosterers sign a contract promising that they will return the dog.
Teary goodbyes cannot be prevented, sadly.
Dogs with Jobs
Dogs are amazing, aren’t they? They’re adorable, they love a cuddle and they are man’s best friend.
But they are so much more than that.
Our new series, Dogs with Jobs, explores the roles of working dogs and looks at the impact they have on both society and the people they help
From Guide Dogs to Nuclear Detection Dogs, we will be meeting so many incredible dogs from all walkies of life.
Check our Facebook each Monday for a new Dogs with Jobs.