Articles on this Page
- 07/05/19--07:50: _Swingers festival t...
- 07/05/19--08:08: _Why do you fart dur...
- 07/06/19--00:04: _The late inventor o...
- 07/06/19--00:15: _Twitter is furiousl...
- 07/06/19--00:18: _Annie, 21, almost d...
- 07/06/19--00:46: _Photo series captur...
- 07/06/19--01:00: _My wife’s cancer di...
- 07/06/19--01:24: _If you live on a st...
- 07/06/19--02:00: _Strong Women: ‘Meno...
- 07/06/19--02:37: _Kissing is disgusti...
- 07/06/19--03:05: _Couple gives weddin...
- 07/06/19--03:34: _How to open champag...
- 07/06/19--04:06: _What and when is Fl...
- 07/06/19--05:32: _Why you and your co...
- 07/06/19--06:12: _Man who was bullied...
- 07/06/19--07:29: _Stranger Things mer...
- 07/06/19--07:32: _A Pokémon themed ba...
- 07/06/19--08:35: _Woman addicted to p...
- 07/06/19--09:22: _Can you really solo...
- 07/07/19--01:01: _Think before you ta...
- 07/05/19--07:50: Swingers festival thrusts its way into sleepy Worcestershire
- 07/05/19--08:08: Why do you fart during sex?
- going to the loo before sex
- taking an anti gas medication (check with your doctor first)
- eating fewer gas promoting foods, like beans, caulifower and cabbage
- avoid fizzy drinks which can make you gassier
- 07/06/19--00:04: The late inventor of the lawn flamingo becomes a Twitter icon
- 07/06/19--00:46: Photo series captures the wonder of cats standing on their back legs
- 07/06/19--01:00: My wife’s cancer diagnosis has changed the way I love her
- Wednesday 3rd July – Hawkins Terrace, Penicuik
- Thursday 4th July – Glasgow City Centre, Donald Dewar Statue and Dumfries City Centre, Queensberry Square
- Friday 5th July – Hawkins Drive, Leeds
- Saturday 6th July – Hawkins Place, Bilston, and Hawkins Crescent, Newport
- Sunday 7th July – Barry Island Pleasure Park
- Monday 8th July – Hawkins Close, Plymouth and Hawkins Road, Exeter
- Tuesday 9th July – Hawkins Close, Bognor Regis
- Wednesday 10th July – New Road, Brighton and Hawkins Way, Hailsham
- Thursday 11th July – Truman Brewery London
- Friday 12th July – London
- Saturday 13th July – Dreamland, Margate
- Sunday 14th July – Hawkins Road, Cambridge
- Monday 15th July – Hawkins Close, Manchester and Hawkins Street, Liverpool
- Wednesday 17th July – Dublin
- 07/06/19--02:37: Kissing is disgusting, but that’s the point
- 07/06/19--03:34: How to open champagne without a Wimbledon cork situation
- 07/06/19--05:32: Why you and your coworkers end up dressing the same
- 07/06/19--07:29: Stranger Things merch – from Nike to Lego to Demogorgon pool floats
- 07/06/19--07:32: A Pokémon themed bar is touring England
- 07/06/19--09:22: Can you really solo travel to Bali as a woman and how safe is it?
Hundreds of horny swingers have descended on a sleepy spot of rural Worcestershire this weekend for the biggest
sex friendship festival in Europe. Yum.
The festival, running from yesterday until Sunday, is based in the little hamlet of Upper Welland, two miles from Malvern.
Sounds like the perfect place to end your dry spell. Tell your Mum you went camping or something.
Malvern’s top claims to fame are its insta-perfect rolling hills and being the home of CS Lewis, writer of The Chronicles of Narnia.
Rumour has it Lewis once wrote an erotic novella called ‘The cougar, the whip and the boudoir.’*
*Sorry, this isn’t true. But it is funny.
Feedback from previous years describes the event as ‘friendly,’ ‘one of the best festivals I have ever attended’ and ‘three days of hedonistic fun that will blow your mind.’
It is not clear if ‘blow’ is meant literally or otherwise.
The event boasts bands, DJs, themed play areas and on-site catering.
There are even exclusive glamping venues. Ironically, Swingfields may be the only festival where you don’t have to shag in a tent.
The event began in 2013 and is professionally timetabled to make sure it is fun for all.
Ticket prices start at £105 for single women, with men and couples being charged more. Swingfields’ guide says the different ticket bands are to ensure a well balanced festival.
Sorry lads, they don’t want a sausage fest.
Festival goers are given wristbands to indicate what they are looking for sexually, despite it not officially being a sex festival.
Another strange quirk for a festival that definitely isn’t about sex, Swingfields has a ‘Swinging Glossary’
A Bull is a man looking for casual sex with a woman, who is ‘typically well endowed’, while single women are called a unicorn because they are so rare.
Full swap is when couples fully swap partners for sex, while soft swap is when couples swap partners but limit themselves to oral or heavy petting.
While the festival says it is LGBT+ friendly, the glossary says that in the swinging community being bisexual is ‘encouraged’ for women but that ‘bisexuality with men is typically not socially acceptable.’
There is a themed evening for dressing up as wild as you want.
Sponsors include ‘Libertine Travel – just pack shoes’ and ‘mrslovetube.com’, proud purveyors of gargantuan dildos.
Pack condoms, and possibly retrovirals.
No one enjoys a fart during sex.*
*Okay, some people do. But it’s quite a niche fetish.
It’s embarrassing, it breaks the moment and depending on the nature of your relationship (and what kind of odour we’re talking) it might put kibosh on your session.
But you might find that you’re actually more likely to fart during sex than you are during other activities. Why might that be?
It happens for different reasons depending on whether you’ve got a penis or a vagina.
Women who fart while being penetrated will probably do so because of pressure on her anus or her stomach.
Missionary position puts weight on the person on the bottom’s stomach, which can push pockets of air from the abdomen into a fart.
If that’s the cause, you could easily avoid it by having sex in other positions.
However some women will find themselves farting during sex because the penis inside her vagina is putting pressure on her sphincter or stimulating her anus.
If that’s the cause then you can experiment with different positions but it might be trial and error to find the one which is least farty.
Whatever genitals you have, the most common time to fart during sex is at the moment of orgasm.
When you climax, your muscles relax, which means that a fart you’ve been holding in (consciously or otherwise) will be released.
If farting during sex is killing the food, there are a few things you could try:
If you do all of that and you’re still farty during sex, then the best plan is to learn to learn into it.
Farting is a perfectly natural part of life and really not a big deal.
Some couples prefer to ignore the fart and carry on like nothing happened, a perfectly reasonable attitude.
Others find that giggling about it, naming the elephant in the room and then moving on is the better plan.
There’s no right or wrong way to deal with a sex fart, though it goes without saying that you should never shame someone you’re sleeping with for an accidental and totally normal biological function.
The late Donald Featherstone not only invented the plastic lawn flamingo in 1957, but he kept 57 of those beauties in his backyard.
Twitter user @sarahmcgbeauty has breathed new life into the iconic inventor’s legacy, with a viral tweet showing Donald ecstatically tending to his flock of plastic birds and then cheekily emerging out of them.
The tweet has racked up nearly 12,000 retweets and more than 56,000 likes.
Donald’s invention inspired a wave of kitschy Americana, making the flamingo a design icon. But flamingos weren’t the only love of his life.
I can only hope that one day I am able to live my life with as much purpose as Donald Featherstone, inventor of the plastic pink lawn flamingo. pic.twitter.com/Kl99ffX3Wv
— Sarah McGonagall (@sarahmcgbeauty) July 3, 2019
There was also his wife, Nancy, whom he dressed identically to. The trendy duo kept four wardrobes of matching couple outfits, sorted according to season and occasion.
This makes this the second time Donald has gone viral. In 2013, the duo were trending as ‘the couple who dressed the same for 30+ years.’ Talk about being cut from the same cloth.
While Donald passed away in 2015, his legacy lives on in a kitschy flash of pink.
As fourth of July celebrations carried on throughout the United States and beyond, one Twitter user just had to ask: how accurate is Tesco’s American food aisle?
On first glances, the photo shows what you’d expect: Hershey’s chocolate, beef jerky, bourbon BBQ sauce, Pop-Tarts and sour candy. There’s also some Compal red beans that aren’t American, but Portuguese, and some boxes of baking soda.
The tweet has clocked 7,335 likes and more than 3,000 comments since being posted yesterday. One user also asked what Brits thought of the UK food aisle in his local Florida supermarket.
But for many Twitter users, there was one ‘American’ product they couldn’t unsee: hot dogs in a jar.
Americans, I’m curious for your thoughts. This is our “American food aisle” in Tescos. Is this accurate to American food? pic.twitter.com/PAqcU8Vvkp
— 𝖊𝖒𝖔 𝖒𝖔𝖒 (@YasmineSumman) July 4, 2019
People took to the comments section to personally distance themselves from the ‘monstrous’ way of selling hot dogs, saying they’d ‘never seen it in their lives’.
Some were utterly confused by the jar method, saying: ‘but we have packages’ and ‘Hot dog in jars? You guys are serial killers’.
As for the hot dog brand in question, one Twitter user was quick to mention that he’d never even heard of Dino and his ‘famous’ big dogs.
Omg I'm sorry but I can't get over this monstrosity. I've never heard of Dino nor his Big Dogs, even when I lived in Brooklyn. He's totally lying. pic.twitter.com/UjXoQTGcz7
— Wagatwe Wanjuki 🇰🇪 (@wagatwe) July 5, 2019
So yeah, everybody drag Tesco.
Twitter users have also been sharing what the American food aisles look like in their country, yielding gems such as tomato-flavoured Fritos in New Zealand, vacuum-sealed hot dogs in Australia and Lidl’s attempt at ‘American Week’ in France.
Twitter is furiously debating the accuracy of Tesco's ‘America
Annie Lovegrove, 21, almost died after her mouth ulcer turned out to be a sign of a rare blood disease.
Annie was given antibiotics for the ulcer by a GP in January and then was diagnosed with tonsillitis.
After her Mum rushed her to A & E, she was diagnosed with ‘very severe’ Aplastic Anemia, a blood disorder where the bone marrow and stem cells do not produce enough blood cells.
Annie needed a bone marrow transplant from her sister. She also lost her hair and became infertile during chemotherapy. She has received more than 50 blood transfusions.
‘My advice for anyone with similar symptoms would be to not be afraid to go to the doctors and feel you are wasting their time, because if my mum hadn’t trusted her instinct then I wouldn’t be here sharing my story,’ she said.
Annie, an admin assistant, suffered extreme fatigue, bruising, high temperatures, loss of appetite, nausea, mouth ulcers and petechiae, which are small red dots all over the body.
Annie says she didn’t use her phone for more than two weeks and was continuously in and out of sleep because she was so weak.
Both her sisters were tested as willing donors and luckily 17 year old Millie was a perfect match.
‘As a family we were ecstatic that Millie would more or less save my life,’ said Annie, but added that it was ‘a tough process for Millie to go through, as she was also due to take an A-Level exam.’
The chemotherapy was needed to shut down her body’s immune system so the marrow wouldn’t be rejected. It made her infertile, so Annie froze fifteen eggs beforehand.
‘Finding out that the chemo would make me infertile was awful to hear,’ said Annie. ‘Having a family in the future is such a big deal for me.’
Losing her hair was also very hard.
She said: ‘When it first started happening I convinced myself it was just thinning until I was waking up every morning with clumps of hair on my pillow. I knew then I had to take control, so my mum shaved it off and strangely I felt better.’
The transplant was a success and Annie returned home from hospital six months later. She still needs ongoing treatment.
‘I can still reject the transplant within the next year so as much as I would like to go back to my ‘normal’ lifestyle I still have to take the next 10 months easy,’ she said.
The NHS recommends seeing a dentist or GP if your mouth ulcer lasts longer than three weeks, keeps coming back or becomes more painful and red, as it could be infected. Long lasting ulcers can be a sign of mouth cancer, and you should get them checked to be safe.
UK Near Death Tonsillitis Blunder
Cats are strange.
They do all sorts of weird things, like miaowing at a door for ages then deciding, when you open the door, that they don’t actually want to go outside.
Or refusing to eat their perfectly good food unless you swirl it around the bowl first.
Or ignoring their nice water bowl in favour of a puddle, the bathroom tap, or the glass of water you just poured yourself.
Cats are odd, and that’s part of why we love them.
One of their most wonder-inspiring odd behaviours is deciding to stand up on their back legs, whether to peek out of the window or reach for food.
Inspired by seeing his own cat’s Puss in Boots pose, Alexis gathered cats to pose for the camera. The results are pretty glorious.
Majestic. Which cat is your fave?
Love, Or Something Like It
In Love, Or Something Like It, our new Metro.co.uk series, we’re on a quest to find true love.
Covering everything from mating, dating and procreating to lust and loss, we’ll be looking at what love is and how to find it in the present day.
As a man I think it’s very easy to say the words ‘I love you’, to buy little gifts, to unload the dishwasher without being asked. Surely, me cleaning up my muddy trainers was enough to prove to my wife that I loved her?
But then my wife was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly these superficial gestures, the ones most men break out when they need to show a bit of affection, weren’t enough.
She was told that as part of her fight against the disease she’d have to have major bowel surgery and would be left with a colostomy bag for at least nine months, possibly for life.
I honestly couldn’t care less about what she would have to have done. The scars, the changes to her body, none of it mattered to me. I knew that I would love her no matter what she looked like, no matter how she felt, whatever it is. But as I found out a few weeks into this journey, she didn’t know this.
Whilst she worried about her cancer, how far it might have spread and what the outcome would be, she also worried that I wouldn’t look at her the same way. That I wouldn’t find her attractive or that I wouldn’t love her anymore.
Throughout all the doctor’s appointments, the hours spent waiting in hospital cafes, the surgeries and chemotherapy, the thing that hurt me most, that dug its way deepest into my soul, was finding out that my wife didn’t understand how much I loved her.
She had been worrying that I might walk away from it all, from her, just because of someone superficial change. She thought it would be that easy for me.
Her small admission of fear, amongst all the fears that she must have had at that time, hit me far harder than hearing the words ‘your wife has cancer’.
So I asked the nurses to teach me how to help her with all the things she would need to do, especially dealing with the colostomy bag. So that she would know it didn’t bother me.
The experience was emotional for both of us but I was taught how to give her the daily injections she needs for three weeks after leaving hospital. I was there for her appointments and 18 hour days in the hospital.
I wanted to be shown the things that she would have to do herself – not so that I could do them for her – so that she knew I was there and committed to being involved in everything her diagnosis brought with it.
Whatever your little display of ‘affection’ is, we all are guilty of thinking it’s enough to show the person who is central to our universe that we care. That they really are the only thing that keeps our world turning.
If I’m honest, it was only being faced with the possibility of losing someone, for whatever reason, that the complacency that had inevitably grown into our relationship showed itself.
Today my relationship with my wife is as strong as it ever was and I continue to make sure she knows I love her, properly, each day – I don’t flippantly say it on the phone, or casually as I walk out the door to work in the morning.
And I implore you to learn from my mistakes. Make sure every chance you get, that you show the person who you couldn’t envisage living without, how much they mean to you.
Physically tell them. Sit them down, look them in the eye and tell them not just those three easy words, but explain why you love them – why they are the only thing in the world you couldn’t live without. That no matter what may come around the corner in the future, you don’t care and you’ll be there.
Because one day, for whatever reason, you may be faced with the possibility that you can’t say it and that you’ve missed your chance.
Last week in Love, Or Something Like It: I’m marrying below my expectations and I couldn’t be happier
Write for Love, Or Something Like It
COPY Sat 29 June: Love Or Something Like It: true love when your wife gets cancer
If you happen to live on a street named Hawkins, something delicious your way comes.
To celebrate the launch of the third season of Stranger Things, Netflix is travelling around the UK to deliver free ice cream to anyone who lives in a destination related to the Hawkins name.
This all sounds a bit unrelated, so we’ll just pause to explain for a minute.
Hawkins is the town in which Stranger Things takes place, so that’s why Netflix is heading to Hawkins destinations.
They’re handing out ice cream because in Stranger Things 3 Dustin and Steve work in an ice cream parlour called Scoops Ahoy. The van that will hand out free ice cream will also be called Scoops Ahoy.
Hopefully that all makes sense. On we go.
Scoops Ahoy ice cream menu
Coke Float: Gluten-free – Coca Cola with vanilla ice cream
Cherries Jubilee: Dairy-free and gluten-free – cherry sorbet, dark sauce, glace cherries, and dark chocolate sprinkles
Banana Boat: Banoffee and vanilla ice cream, wafers, toffee sauce
July 4th: Cookie dough and vanilla ice cream, a cone hat, and red, white, and blue sprinkles
The van will be as 80s as the show, with pastel pinks, blues, and whites, but will be Stranger Things themed thanks to slightly unsettling melodic chimes and something sinister bursting out of one side of the van.
When it arrives in Hawkins locations, staff will hand out free ice cream. But the van will also tour other spots around the UK, serving up a menu of retro sweet treats including a Coke Float, Cherries Jubilee, a Banana Boat, and July 4th.
Keep an eye out for people wearing little sailor style outfits and paper hats so you can get your paws on a delicious snack.
The planned route for the Scoops Ahoy van
Strong Women is a weekly series that champions diversity in the world of fitness and sport.
Women are often bombarded with the message that in order to be fit and healthy you have to look a certain way.
But women of any age, race, size or ability can be strong, active and love their bodies.
This series aims to challenge the accepted norms of what it means to be a ‘strong woman’ and celebrate the brilliant, diverse women who are achieving incredible things.
Jo Mosely is 54, a paddleboard enthusiast and all-round outdoor fitness lover. She learnt to surf in her 50s after menopausal symptoms gave her serious anxiety and knocked her confidence.
What drove you to get involved with fitness?
Desperation! I was not sleeping and was feeling completely overwhelmed by life.
Bursting into tears in Tesco’s biscuit aisle with my sons was the final straw.
When I told a friend what had happened she suggested exercise might help and offered me an old indoor rowing machine that she no longer wanted. It all started from there.
What do you love about exercising outdoors and interacting with nature?
I love the sense of freedom and perspective that nature brings. The sun comes up and the sun goes down, the seasons change, life goes on whatever is going on in my world or what I am anxious about.
Getting wet, getting muddy, the sun on my back, the wind in my face. The quietly bubbling river and roar of the waves, the birds swooping overhead and the lambs bleating on the hills.
Spring blossom bursting into life, the crunch of autumn leaves as I run through the village.
The people I smile and chat to along the way and also the opportunity to be alone. Disconnected from the constant chatter of the world, yet deeply connected to my soul and my surroundings.
Big sea and moorland views, and tiny details as I notice a ladybird on a leaf.
I love that feeling of becoming friends with my body by moving it, inhabiting it, getting to know what I can do, being kind to and grateful for it.
Sometimes I’m moving hard and sometimes gentle. One day I may be standing on my paddleboard on a calm canal watching the baby ducklings in the sunshine.
Another, walking out through the grey, noisy North Sea with my bodyboard on a cold winter morning, pushing through the icy water as a wave hits my chest and the spray splashes my face.
I love knowing that right there, in those moments, I am completely me – mother, daughter, sister, friend, colleague, beach cleaner, Jo, 54, and herself again.
My worries fall away. I am joyful, purposeful, grateful.
I feel nourished and calmer and at the same more alive.
Tell us about the work you do to help against plastic pollution
Doing my two-minute litter picks each day adds an extra dimension to my exercise.
It is a way to combine the joy of moving with my love for the outdoors. My way of saying thank you.
It’s now become a habit. It feeds my soul as well as helps me stretch! It’s part of my own ‘wheel of wellbeing’ and my day feels a bit off if I haven’t done it.
I guess I’ve learned that whilst I can’t change the world, I can change the bit around me. I can make a difference, do something positive, right there and that motivates me.
I gain so much from nature, it’s the simplest way I can give back.
Why is it so important for women in their 50s to stay connected to fitness?
Fitness and exercise have been shown to help alleviate many menopausal symptoms.
Anxiety and sleeping problems have affected me the most. Moving, especially outside, help both hugely.
Women of this age also need to guard against osteoporosis and sarcaponia and again exercise is really important in that. My Mum had osteoporosis so I want to ward against that.
There are also the huge mental, emotional and social benefits.
Exercise clears my mind and rebuilds my confidence when I feel unsure. Sometimes just a smile and giggle at a kettlebells class reminds me that I’m not alone and I can handle the challenges I’m grappling with in life.
I want (and need) to keep working as I long as I can and being healthy will benefit me there.
I don’t want my sons to worry about me and I hope to be as independent as I can for as long as possible, just like my Dad is.
I’m also committed to making a contribution to my family, environmental issues and my community, and I need to be fit to do all that.
I think many older women are still affected by unhappy school sports experiences in the 70s and 80s. Memories of being told we weren’t good enough or feeling awkward in games.
My generation can struggle with putting our needs higher up the priority list and carving time to explore what exercise we really enjoy.
We are in the sandwich generation: working and caring for both our parents and our children. Our needs can fall down the list so so easily. I sometimes feel guilty that I’m putting my needs first.
How many brands use women in their 50s? Very few.
Campaigns like Breeze and This Girl Can are brilliant for showing older women moving, but most brands still focus on younger women or indeed women in their 70s and older.
Those of us in the middle are rarely seen. Role models do help.
I also believe that when we read how important exercise is for our wellbeing and the menopause, it can often be framed in uninspiring language.
Things like: “You must do this or this will happen.” “Make sure you do resistance training or you’ll lose muscle mass and bone density.” “Exercise to lose weight and get rid of your muffin top and bingo wings ladies!”
It becomes another thing we have to do because we aren’t “enough”.
Maybe if we focused on joy, confidence, friendship, accomplishment, enjoying our bodies as we are and being curious about what we might be able to do one day, it might all be a bit more appealing.
This is what I hope in my own small way to do – share the joy of moving the sea, canals & hills.
Why is it important for women to talk about how the menopause effects them?
I don’t think there is enough research or understanding of the impact of the menopause full stop, particularly on how it affects us as we exercise and our risk of injury or performance levels.
So much of the learning seems to be driven by women researching and asking and demanding change.
I think it’s important to talk and share, to help each other feel less alone and less anxious.
It’s easy to believe you’re the only one feeling worried or not sleeping or going through pain. We’ve got so much going on, breaking the taboo and silence helps hugely.
Being active helps menopausal symptoms greatly, but sometimes the symptoms can be exactly the things that make us feel like exercising is the last thing we want to do.
You have had to deal with a lot of grief in the last few years – how have you handled it?
I lost five friends who were in their late 40s and 50s in the space of six months.
They were friends from different areas of my life and some were obviously closer than others. One I had known since we were teenagers. That was perhaps the most raw and remains so.
I think of the lunch she and I shared with my Mum and how they are both now gone and it still moves me to tears.
What all my friends who died at that time shared was a sense of joy and individuality. They were creative and kind-hearted. If I bumped into them in the street, even after just a short chat, I’d come away smiling and feeling uplifted.
I think the best way I could get through it was by trying to live my life with more joy, purpose and gratitude. I fully grasped how none of us have a crystal ball and that we never know what’s round the corner.
I decided to worry less about what others thought or put off dreams until a mythical time when I would be “ready”.
I promised myself I was going to learn to surf and even if I never stood up, at least I had given myself the chance to try.
I wanted to be braver, to be inspired by their courage to live more fully and contribute more to the world.
Strong Women: Jo Mosely
Kissing is, by its very nature, absolutely revolting.
Mashing together your mouths, which you also use to chomp up food into little digestible pieces, is undeniably gross.
The thought of the germs alone is horrifying.
We’ve all heard of people not washing their legs in the shower, and spotted people sneaking out of the bathroom without giving their hands a quick scrub. Imagine what poor care they’re taking over their mouths.
You think everyone you meet brushes their teeth correctly? You think they swill with mouthwash? What about after lunch? Do they tongue scrape? What horrors are lurking in there?
A kiss is taking a gamble on another person’s health – whether they’re battling a nasty infection, have eaten something disgusting, or aren’t well-versed in dental hygiene. Awful.
Then you get to the actual ins and outs of kissing, and it’s just as gross.
A wet tongue sliding on top of someone else’s. The squelching sounds (you’ve heard them on Love Island and cringed, it’s the same off TV). Tasting what another person has eaten in the last few hours. Lips pressed against lips that can either sit there unmoving or be far too active.
Kissing is disgusting, and there are so many ways it can go horribly wrong.
So when a kiss goes well, it’s sort of a miracle.
Kissing is gross, and that’s the point. If you meet someone, smush your lips together, and despite all the awful things that could happen you actually enjoy it, that’s absolutely wondrous.
Kissing is disgusting because we need it to be. We need it to be awful so that we can use it as a comfortable barometer of our attraction to another human being.
Because if kissing inspires lust and joy instead of feeling deeply unsettled, you must really fancy this person. Or you’ve stumbled upon someone with seriously impressive skills.
We need the grossness of kissing to appreciate the moments when we can overlook the potential for awfulness and find something delightful.
There are so many ways in which a kiss can be bad: the pressure can be all wrong, they can bite when you don’t want them to, their tongue can move in ways comparable to a washing machine or a slug.
So when the universe lines up to make a kiss great, that’s something worthy of recognition.
A great kiss involves a lean in at the perfect moment. It’s soft at first, then deepens. You feel hungrily desired without the kiss tipping into a mauling. Their lips are irresistible, their tongue, lightly brushing yours, is a delight.
The pressure is perfect, either equal or one person seamlessly taking the lead. You’re no longer aware of the strangeness of putting your mouths together, because it just feels so good.
A great kiss is still disgusting if you pause to think about it, but it’s so enjoyable it makes you forget this fact. You don’t pause to think because you’re completely immersed, completely united in the moment. That’s the power of a glorious kiss.
And it’s not just about mechanical skill. Someone can kiss you with the exact same technique and inspire none of the fireworks. Kissing depends on connection and that magic spark to save it from ruin.
It’s the ultimate test of whether this is someone you should actually go further with – because invariably, a kiss you despise leads only to sex that is beyond awful, and a relationship that leaves so much to be desired.
When you meet someone whose intense makeout sessions make your skin tingle and your stomach flip, when their face in the morning inspires a need to lightly press your lips to theirs, when the taste of their mouth doesn’t make you gag, that’s something special and rare.
If they’re the right person – whether just for now, in this moment, or for far longer – the wonderfulness of the kiss will outweigh its disgusting qualities. And so we need kissing to be gross, so that we can recognise this magic when we find it.
Why does your sex drive increase in the summer?
One of the highlights of being there for someone’s wedding day is getting to see the happy couple kiss.
And the cake, of course.
But would you do a series of tasks to get the couple to smooch again for your entertainment?
One bride and groom think you should, apparently.
A post on a wedding shaming Facebook group shared the ‘kissing menu’ one couple handed out to guests, detailing what guests needed to do in order to watch the bride and groom kiss.
The menu read: ‘If you want to see the newlyweds kiss… a clink of the glass won’t cut it!
‘We’re going to make you work for this!
‘We have a list from which you can choose, for which you may need a little more booze!
‘The better the performance, the better the kiss!’
We can actually understand where the couple are coming from. It must be exhausting being asked to kiss again and again for every relative that comes your way.
But whether guests are bothered enough to do the challenges required is another thing. We’d probably give up the moment we were presented with the list.
The kissing tasks guests can choose from include answering newlywed trivia, providing an ‘exquisite example’ of a kiss for the couple to copy, providing advice for a long and happy marriage, and flipping a coin – if you get heads, the bride and groom will kiss, tails, you have to kiss another guest.
That last option could be quite handy if you’re single and looking to mingle, come to think of it.
As you’d probably expect, members of a wedding shaming group weren’t particularly positive about the concept of a kissing menu, calling it ‘gross’ and ‘cringe-worthy’.
One person, who had experienced a similar menu at another wedding, wrote: ‘Spoiler alert: no-one wants to see you kiss that bad.
‘Entire night went by without anyone using these cringe-worthy alternatives.’
They shared a menu they saw at a wedding, which included the option of getting your table-neighbours to sing a love song just to get a couple to smooch.
Bride gives guests a cringe ‘kissing menu’ to use if they wa
Before you pop bottles with wild abandon this summer, it’s probably worth asking how you actually, properly open a bottle of champagne.
You definitely don’t want a Wimbledon cork situation, after all.
Better to know now than to have a hurried Google search right when someone passes you their glass.
Also, better to know how to open champagne safely, rather than taking someone’s eye out with a flying cork.
So, how do you go about opening a bottle?
1. Remove the foil
This is your first step to greatness. Remove the foil covering the cork at the top. Don’t panic, you don’t need to get rid of every last scrap, just make sure you’ve got the bulk off.
2. Twist open the wire cage
Have a look at the cork and you’ll see a wire loop that’s all twisted up. Slowly twisting this will loosen the cage that’s holding the cork in place.
Keep one thumb on the cork while you gently twist it open.
3. Remove the cork
Now you’ve got a couple of options.
If you want to pop the cork in wild celebration, shake the bottle to stir up the bubbles, aim the cork away from yourself, your pals, or anything breakable, and use your thumb to push the cork out of the bottle. You might want to twist and wiggle it a little loose before doing this, so you’re not awkwardly straining to spray champagne everywhere.
But popping the cork isn’t necessary, and in most cases it ends up wasting quite a bit of your booze.
If you’re actually interested in drinking the champers rather than spraying it everywhere, you’ll want to gently ease out the cork.
Grip the body of the bottle in one hand, then use your other hand to hold the cork, with your palm on top.
Twist the bottle so you can see the cork slowly easing out. When it’s nearly out, simply pull the cork out gently, keeping a good grip so it doesn’t fly away with force.
Do all this with confidence and you shall look like wonderfully fancy. Just make sure you pour slowly so you don’t ruin this effect by giving people glasses full of foam.
Oh, and if you find yourself in need of opening a bottle of wine and don’t have a corkscrew to hand, there’s a hack for that:
How to properly open champagne
On your travels today you may notice some new wildlife flying around.
Nope, it’s not birds or bees, it’s flying ants. Today is the day known as flying ant day, when the small, usually-not-airborne insects sprout wings and take to the skies to mate.
Weirdly, it tends to be at its peak for one day only, which is why it’s called flying ant day.
At least that means we don’t have to deal with them year-round, and given that today is London Pride we might as well accept that love is love and ants have just as much right to find theirs as us.
If you’d like to know a little bit more about the day and why it occurs, we’ve got all the info.
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When is flying ant day?
Many people are reporting that flying ant day is today, but it tends not to happen on one specific day of the year.
Instead, around July or August each year (and usually after hot weather), the minibeasts will rise up and reproduce – often in huge swarms.
There tends to be one day that the swarms are in full force, but the mating can last for a couple of weeks in total.
What is flying ant day?
Every year, ants sprout wings when the newborn virgin Queens in the colony are looking for new mates (and to start their own colonies).
The Queens and young workers workers then sprout wings, and move away from their current colony to prevent cross-breeding, while other worker – male – ants also head off in search of another Queen.
If a Queen finds a worker to mate with, she will start her new colony and stay there for the rest of her life, with her wings falling off.
It’s a somewhat more depressing story for the workers however, as they usually die afterwards.
The insects are primed to know when the right timing is – with optimum weather conditions – so they all have the best time of finding a partner.
Although the swarms can be pretty annoying and may put a bit of a dampener on any picnics you’re planning, they’re actually very good for the environment.
The ants won’t bite you, and provide food for birds as well as keeping soil aerated and cycling nutrients. Rather than harming the bugs, simply try to keep doors and windows closed, or use screens on open windows.
Swarming ants (Formicidae) on a plant
You turn up for a big meeting only to find that the person you’re presenting is wearing all black with a pop of leopard print – just like you.
You’ll now have to make jokes about this not being the company uniform for the next hour. Great.
You look around your desk and see that everyone’s wearing a breton striped top with skinny jeans. Time for a #twinning pic, we reckon.
Or, the worst, you now need to create a schedule to wear that Zara dress, as four other people in your office have turned up wearing it on the same day.
Coworkers dressing near-identically is definitely a thing.
Sadly, there’s no scientific research into this culturally acknowledged phenomenon, but just a look through your Twitter and Instagram on a weekday will show it’s not a coincidence that only occurs in your office. Just spot all the ‘ha, we’re both wearing checked shirts with black jeans’ posts.
All over the place, people who work together often find themselves dressing in a similar way – or wearing the exact same thing.
Why does it happen?
There’s the practical, logistical side to consider first.
People who work together all experience the same things that influence the clothes they choose to buy.
They all live in the same area, meaning they have the same shops available. They’re probably all on a similar level of income, which will influence their budget. They see the same celebrities, the same catwalks, the same magazines, all trickling down to tell them what looks cool.
If your office has a dress code, that limits your options and makes twinning more likely, too. If you’re not allowed to wear shorts but jeans are okay, it’s not too surprising if everyone shows up wearing a slogan tee, jeans, and Stan Smiths on a Friday. If a particular day calls for smartness, you’ll all be wearing some sort of blazer. If it’s freezing in your office, no wonder loads of you have invested in the same cosy cardigan.
The likelihood of people at work dressing similarly is high, simply because they’re all living in the same cultural space, with the same clothing options available.
That’s the practical side of things, but there’s a psychological element going on, too.
Whether you consciously buy the same things you’ve spotted your desk buddy wearing or find yourself dressing in a fashion increasingly similar to your boss, it’s human nature to take your personal style closer to that of the people you work with. It’s all about creating a sense of belonging and togetherness.
Psychologist Dr Barry Cripps explains that coworkers start dressing similarly or wearing the exact same thing ‘because they want to be seen like everyone else in the organisation, fitting into the culture and maintaining their social identity within the group’.
Subtly copying your coworkers style is an attempt to fit in and show everyone that you belong, you’re the right fit, and so you’re doing a great job. You look like you belong, so you’re safer from getting excluded.
Counselling Directory member Dr Sarah Jane Khalid agrees, telling Metro.co.uk that there may be benefits to dressing alike when you’re part of a team at work.
‘It builds rapport and makes us feel safe,’ she says. ‘If there is a sense of conformity, then we feel able to identify ourselves in others, which feels safe and can bring a level of certainty.
‘As much as we like to think ourselves as unique and individuals we are also driven to fit in with a group.
‘This conformity is often driven by identification, this can bring the group together thus forming a sense of belonging and connection.’
Dr Cripps notes that dressing alike can reinforce the idea that you’re working as a team, allowing for better communication among the group.
But of course, while you and your boss might be wearing that exact same dress from & Other Stories on repeat, there will always be someone in the office who has a personal style that’s entirely their own.
There are so few nursing dresses out there it was bound to happen, but this is workplace twinning to the max. pic.twitter.com/YLpwEAcFGi
— JenJudson (@JenJudson) May 14, 2019
That might protect them from all those accidental twinning moments, but it can also reduce their sense of belonging.
‘Dressing differently could make the statement, “I am my own person”, “the organisation is not going to mould me into their way of dressing (and thinking)”,’ explains Dr Cripps. ‘This might upset management and detract from attempts to bond and strengthen social cohesion.’
But it’s not all bad news. Standing out can be handy if you’re no longer trying to just go unnoticed and be a small cog in the machine.
Sarah says: ‘If someone dresses differently, it may make them feel less of a part of the ‘in-group’ but it can help the person with personal branding, which can sometimes enable promotion in the workplace.’
So if you’re showing everyone you’re a team player, dressing like the people you work with is a good shout. But if you’re trying to send the message that you’re a creative rebel ready to bring up out-there ideas and take charge, it’s worth dressing a little differently to the group – whether that’s a sudden power suit or something more colourful in a sea of black.
But, as trite as it may sound, be yourself and dress for yourself.
A work uniform can make you feel like one big happy team, but it can start to chip away at your sense of self. Removing the decision of what to wear can be time-saving and game-changing, but you might find yourself missing the opportunity to show your individuality.
‘Research shows that letting people organise their own working environment increases productivity; similarly letting them dress how they like will keep most people happy,’ says Barry.
Dress for yourself in a way that makes you feel good. If that happens to be similar to the way everyone else in your office dresses, don’t stress – it’s perfectly normal. And if you’re sticking out like a sore thumb, keep going as long as you feel comfortable.
You’re just as likely to be liked by your colleagues for wearing a skirt everyone thinks is ‘so you’, as you are for styling that Zara dress in a way they’ll now copy. Do you.
why coworkers end up wearing the same thing
Growing up, Mahmoud Hassan was bullied for his vitiligo, a skin condition that caused patches of pale skin on his face and body.
At school he would be called ‘cow’ or ‘zebra’.
Now, at 25, he’s a model. Mahmoud has learned to love his skin, and views his patches as a work of art.
Mahmoud, from Helwan in Egypt, developed vitiligo when he was just 13. When he noticed the loss of pigment in his skin he found it difficult to deal with, worrying he would no longer fit in with his peers.
Mahmoud spent years trying to cover up his differences.
‘It was a really difficult time for me,’ he says. ‘I was embarrassed about it and did everything I could to hide it from my friends.
‘People around me at school and in public would shout ‘cow’ or ‘zebra’ at me because my condition causes light skin coloured patches around my body. I guess they think my skin looks the same as those animals.’
It took Mahmoud years to overcome his insecurities. Being given the opportunity to model made a huge change.
Now, he shares photos of his skin to inspire others to embrace what makes them different.
‘I now treat my body as if it’s a work of art,’ he explains. ‘Showing it to the public in a beautiful and creative way and stepping away from being that insecure ‘cow’.
‘I adore sports and I used to work as a sports advisor and parkour trainer for teenagers and now I’m a ski and snowboard instructor.
‘My vitiligo gave me the opportunity to become a fashion model and that has made me feel the strongest I have ever been before.
‘I want to use this to travel and spread the word that vitiligo is something beautiful, a piece of art and should be embraced.
‘Always be yourself. Truly express yourself from the inside you and you will be awesome from the outside. I believe that this is the secret to happiness.’
Vitiligo Work Of Art
If you’ve managed to recover from Stranger Things season three then we absolutely salute you.
Another series of wild rides has culminated, but it appears that the trend for everything to do with it has definitely not.
Stranger Things merchandise is popping off in a big way, as people covet the 80s imaging and nostalgia for a simpler time (minus the Demogorgon).
If you’re keen to rock garms like Eleven or have your home look like it was transplanted from Hawkins, here’s how.
Monopoly and other boardgames
We’re all a bit sick of Mayfair and Park Lane, so while not switch it up with new locations like Mike’s Basement and the Hawkins National Laboratory.
If you’re not a Monopoly fan, there are a whole load of board games that have been adapted to suit the show.
If you build it they will come is what they normally say. Hopefully this isn’t the case this time around, as you’ll be building a mini replica of The Upside Down.
The set has over 2,200 pieces, and has eight Stranger Things minifigures as well as countless accessories.
It’s certainly pricey, but the realistic notes of this set absolutely make it.
We’re essentially showing you these just to make you feel bad, as they’re currently exclusive to Target in the US.
They are extremely cool, though. You can get one that looks like an Egg-O Waffle, one that looks like a 3D Demogorgon, and even a ride-on Dart.
The collection also has a Barb Missing milk carton beach towel. RIP.
One of the more highly-anticipated collections relating to Stranger Things is the Nike one.
There are Hawkins High badged trainers (in retro Cortez and Blazer styles, of course), and plenty of PE kit vibes.
The tracksuit items look incredibly comfortable, and not too over-the-top to be obviously novelty.
With the amount of pool action season 3 has seen, it was only right for us to get ST swimwear.
H&M has everything from swimsuits, to trunks, to sliders. There’s also a very jazzy Hawkins pool sun visor to live your 80s dreams.
Wear jeans that are not only 80s inspired, but are emblazoned with pictures of all your favourite characters.
Better yet, team them with a matching denim jacket. Perfection.
The collection has all sorts, so if you’re not ready for double denim, you can still dip your toe in the look.
Nothing is more nostalgic than a Polaroid camera, and the company really rose to the occasion for this one.
The camera itself as simple as the models you know and love, and you can also get special film that’s framed with Stranger Things patterns.
This officially licensed Stranger Things product lets guests know exactly what they’re getting themselves in for when they enter your gaff.
Allegedly, the coconut husk it’s made of ‘is harder than the skin of the Demogorgon’, so you’ll be protecting your home from any green goo splashes you might have stepped in out and about.
Would any sci-fi show be complete without a range of Funko Pop figures?
Pictured is the Steve Ice Cream version, but all sorts of characters and outfits are available.
At the moment, they’re two for 18.99 too.
Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) is known for those curly locks, and although they’re normally not made of plants, this Chia Pet gives a pretty good representation.
You’ll get a pottery planter in the shape of Dustin’s face, which you then cover with seeds and watch grow.
Soon, you’ll have your very own green-headed Dustin replica.
Stranger Things merch (Nike and lego keep coming up on trends) [schedule Fri 6pm]
Pokémon Go has already taken over your commute, ruined friendships and even caused fights in Surrey, of all places.
The next step in Pokémon’s inevitable march toward world domination is taking over England’s nightlife.
The Pokébar, a Pokémon themed pop up bar, is touring England in November and December.
Tickets come with a Pokémon themed burger and drink. Burgers include a Pikachu with tortilla chips for ears and a vegetarian Bulb burger, named after Bulbasaur.
After years of being the only animals that you could hunt but not eat, the Pokemon’s days appear to be numbered.
Why not take a date, or two? Gotta catch em’ all!
If they really like it, they might ask about your fave (Pokémon) moves. Play it cool and say Hold Hands or Protect. Don’t say Hydropump, Horn Drill or Meteor Mash.
Cocktails include a Charizard Fireball, a Snorlax Blue Chill and an Ivysour.
Unfortunately they don’t sell any Gyradosaronno or a G and T (Gastly and Torchic). Maybe next time.
Local DJs will perform sets and there are prizes for the best fancy dress.
The bar will visit London (7 December), Manchester (9 November), Birmingham (30 November) and Liverpool (16 November) for one night only in each.
Pokémon has grown from the video games Red and Blue, released in 1996, into a worldwide phenomenon.
They are now the third most famous animals from Japan, after Shiba Inu dogs and harpooned whales.
A different pop-up bar came to London in May to celebrate the movie Detective Pikachu, which is still in cinemas.
A ticket for one person costs £35 at all of the sites except for London, where it costs £45. For that price, you could buy an actual real life pet and finally grow out of pretend animals.
Liverpool offers a group save price of £120 for two adults and two children and Manchester has a reduced price of £30 for children.
Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be purchased online.
Kristen Snider, a 28-year-old IT support specialist from Virginia, has spent more than £150,000 transforming her body, and plans to spend at least £25,000 more.
She describes herself as a plastic surgery addict, using cosmetic changes to deal with the extreme self-esteem issues she experienced when looking in the mirror.
Since Kristen was a teenager she hated the way she looked. She was often teased for her appearance, which worsened her self-confidence.
In March 2010, at the age of 18, Kristen underwent her first surgery: a breast augmentation with 550cc implants. She cried with joy when she saw the results, which spurred her to undergo further procedures.
Since then Kristen has had more than 20 cosmetic procedures, including a second breast augmentation, rib removal, two bum lifts, butt implants, three rhinoplasties (nose jobs), cheek implants, forehead implants, fat removal, and lip fillers.
Kristen receives criticism for her new appearance from family and friends, but she’s happy with the way she looks.
She argues that as no one is getting hurt by her surgeries, her choices should be respected.
‘I was frequently made fun of in school and that forced me to learn to not care what other people think of myself and my choices,’ said Kristen.
‘Being a perfectionist, ambitious and creative is a quick way to become a plastic surgery addict.
‘I never used to like what I saw in the mirror as I wasn’t happy with my body. I saw a lot that I didn’t like which I wanted to improve.
‘When I was 18, I was fairly small chested with a 32B bra size. I wanted to have a fuller chest, so I had my first breast implants which were 550cc, costing £5,800.
‘After surgery, I was so happy that I actually cried. It made me realise that if you’re smart about how you do it, you really can have almost anything done and achieve whatever look you want.
‘My first breast augmentation was the gateway which helped me catch the bug for more plastic surgery. The recovery wasn’t bad, and it proved that what I wanted was possible. The image of the ideal body that I had in my head could be achieved.
‘Two years after, I had a few procedures done to re-sculpt my face in June 2012. I had jaw contouring, chin contouring, a lip lift, rhinoplasty, cheek implants, forehead reshaping and a brow lift.
‘My first Brazilian butt lift was in December 2015 and I had another butt lift in December 2018 and I then had 500cc bum implants put in too.
‘I had a second rhinoplasty in January 2016, a second chin reshaping, jaw reshaping and a fat graft to my forehead in December 2017.
‘I have also had three lip augmentations in 2018, the three ribs removed in October 2018 and my current 1500cc breast implants done in January 2019 and I am now a 28L.’
Kristen acknowledges that she has an addiction to plastic surgery.
Her happiness with the results of her procedures has made her see her body as a blank canvas, open to whatever image she wants to create.
She’s spent more than £150,000 on her surgeries so far, and doesn’t plan to stop.
‘I view surgery as the tool to achieve the image I have of myself in my head,’ says Kristen. ‘I’ve always wanted extreme curves.
‘In the last nine years, surgery has opened the door for me to express myself through my image.
‘My family doesn’t like it as they’ve always been more conventional in what they consider attractive. They worry that one day this could kill me.
‘I get lots of stares from men checking me out and sometimes from women as well. However, living in Virginia, where people are very conservative, I occasionally get nasty glances and side eyes. I’m used to it though as I have a very thick skin – you have to when you do this to your body.
‘There are many procedures I’d still like to have in the future though. I’d like to have a rib narrowing procedure, implants in my hips and thighs, another breast augmentation to take me to 2500cc and more facial reshaping.
‘I’m constantly learning about new procedures and adding them to my list, so I’m sure the list will continue to grow.
‘We all have our own opinions on what is beautiful. We can’t try to push our ideals on others. I also believe that if you’re unhappy with something you should never settle, you should fight for a solution to make it work instead.
‘Surgical techniques are always improving so there’s a way to change almost anything. I think we should all focus on growing and evolving. Most importantly, be accepting of other peoples’ choices.
‘Be kind, all that matters is happiness.’
THIS PLASTIC surgery addict says her body is a ???CANVAS??? and has already spent over ONE-HUNDRED-AND-FIFTY-THOUSAND-POUNDS on perfecting her look - and even though her family fear her cosmetic obsession will KILL HER, she plans to spend at least another TWENTY-FIVE-THOUSAND-POUNDS and insists her looks don???t harm anyone. IT support specialist, Kristen Snider (28) from Virginia, USA, always hated the reflection she saw in the mirror and wanted to change so much of her figure since she was a teenage
When I told an older member of my family that I was travelling to Bali for a week by myself – with no connections in the country – she panicked. A lot.
After enduring some frantic calls from other aunties who heard the news I was exhausted from repeating: ‘It will be fine’.
I am a 27-year-old woman from the borders of East London and Essex – and while I act like I can handle anything – I did wonder if solo travel in Bali was the wisest of ideas?
After all, I’d never met anyone who has done such a thing before.
But as an extremely busy woman, single, with no children at the moment, I thought now would be perfect time to take on such a wild ride.
Ironically, it was far from rock and roll and it was everything I needed all at the same time, because the moment I stepped foot in Bliss Sanctuary For Women, I felt right at home – well a home in the middle of a secured jungle.
I was greeted by hosts Christiana and Dessy – in the Ubud branch – and secretly wiped a tear as I hugged them goodbye seven days later.
Others openly cried. And my departure was not an isolated incident. Every single time a woman left the villa, the others stood by the door and waved a very heart-breaking farewell.
Entrances are equally as emotive, and it was during mine that I realised I would definitely be returning.
The newest sanctuary in Ubud, uplands Bali — joins sister locations in Canggu and Seminyak — comprises five stunning rooms with wooden four-poster bed, Instagrammable outdoor bathroom, and marble floor.
I had no intentions of making friends in Bali – I thought solo meant solo – but the nature of the retreat meant that I formed a close bond with nearly a dozen women – staff, cooks, yoga teachers, masseuse and guests alike.
This is because all guests sit together while the kitchen staff lay on a feast — from seafood BBQs and grilled meat, extensive vegan and vegetarian options to traditional Balinese curries and salads.
You will struggle to taste Western food without judging. I know I did.
The occasion brings together women from all over the world, of all ages and backgrounds. I particularly befriended a white South African woman – my age – who lived on a yacht in the Red Sea and a 50-year-old Australian woman living in Canada who recently experienced becoming a widow and had decided – during the trip – to start dating again.
I also met a mother and daughter duo who stayed in what we called ‘the jungle duo room’ together as it has two beds. The villas has a strict ‘no children, no couples and no men’ rule.
My large walk-in shower and freestanding bath with organic toiletries including handmade soaps and bath salts and it all made it really difficult for me to want to leave the villa for some sightseeing.
But I did, thanks to the encouragement of the staff we helped us each evening by fixing an itinerary for the next day.
All we had to do was talk through our plans and ideas and they would make phone calls and arrangements with the tourist locations and personal drivers who would travel the depths of the islands just for us.
On some days, I travelled solo with my driver – like when I wanted to climb a Volcano at 2am – and other times I naturally grouped with other women in the villa who expressed a desire to hit the same spots as me.
But it was safe. At all times. I was provided tour guides and personal drivers – part of the package – who even worked as translators and at times felt like bodyguards. Additionally, Bali proved itself to be the friendliest place on earth, according to me.
I didn’t always go out. The day after hiking Mount Batur, I decided to focus on the wellness theme of the sanctuary and made use of the unlimited massages, treatments and yoga classes available to us all.
In short, my time at Bliss saw me being pampered by the pool, or filling my days taking photos, watching the sunrise at the beach and visiting culturally rich towns away from the tourist areas.The choice was all mine.
They ensured that our stay was not filled with distractions because – as discovered at the dinner table – every woman had a reason for being there whether they knew it to begin with or not.
I, for starters, made a huge decision to make some changes in my career and I have Bliss Sanctuary For Women to thank for that.
Before you leave, your host will ask you to write down a word to describe your stay. I wrote down a phrase in Spanish ‘inhala, exhala’ – because for the first time in a long time I took a deep breath and exhaled.
Bliss Sanctuary for Women, Ubud, Bali (Picture: Tobi Akingbade/Tobi Rachel Photography)
If you’ve been anywhere near the internet recently – or anywhere outside your own home, for that matter – it’s likely you’ve seen the Zara dress that’s gone viral. A floaty, white tiered midi dress printed with black polka dots, the £39.99 fashion hit has spawned countless articles in fashion magazines and newspapers and it now has its very own Instagram account too.
Hot4thespot is a self-described ‘safe space for the dress’ which invites its followers to submit photographs of people wearing the dress via direct message.
Some of the photos are sent in by people who own the dress, happily posing and knowingly in on the joke. Many, however, are of unsuspecting women in the street, snapped and shared without their knowledge and consent. Those who submit the photos are tagged but no credit, or thought, is given to the anonymous subject.
It’s not the first time an Instagram account like this has appeared. Leopardprintmidiskirt has gained almost 5,000 followers by sharing images of women wearing the equally popular Réalisation Par ‘Naomi’ skirt, while Thatcoat documented sightings of another of Zara’s viral sensations, a blue and white woven coat.
Photos on these accounts are often taken from afar, as the photographer surreptitiously captures the women as they cross the street, walk through the supermarket or hang out with friends. Occasionally faces are cropped out, blurred or covered with emojis but this attempt at protecting privacy means nothing when it’s already been violated, and I would know.
I’m someone who likes to dress my own way. I don’t think I dress in a particularly outrageous manner, but I get that my clashing outfits can sometimes draw looks from passers-by. I can deal with that, but all too often those looks turn into what people think are subtly taken photographs.
Too many times, I’ve looked up to see a young man in a car snapping away on his phone while his mates laugh, or someone quickly put their phone away when they know they’ve been spotted. Sometimes they don’t even care that I’ve seen them and just laugh, knowing they hold the power in the situation.
Let women meet their friends or go to the supermarket without fearing that they’ll end up the butt someone else’s joke online.
Feeling humiliated, I don’t have the courage to go up to them and question their behaviour or demand they delete the photos, so instead, I walk off, embarrassed and anxious about where the photos might end up.
I wonder whether they’ll share them online or send them on to more people. Once the photos are taken, I have no say over how they’re used or who sees them, leaving me in a vulnerable position.
Unfortunately, there’s not much I or anyone else can do about someone taking a photo without consent.
‘Despite what many people seem to think, there’s nothing in UK law to say that it’s illegal for strangers to take photos of others,’ Deborah Kitson, CEO of Ann Craft Trust, a leading authority on safeguarding, explains. ‘The law only comes into play if the photos can be classed as ‘indecent’ but there are risks associated with any image of anyone appearing online. People should always be consulted about the use of their image, and they should always give consent to it being used.’
Sadly, most people aren’t given the opportunity to consent and accounts such as Hot4thespot simply fuel the culture of seeing people in the street as fair game.
Women have enough to worry about when they’re in public; catcalling, up-skirting, being followed, being harassed, being grabbed or touched. They don’t need the added anxiety of wondering whether someone might be photographing them with the intent of sharing it with thousands of people.
Let women wear the same dress or coat as everyone else. Let them meet their friends or go to the supermarket without fearing that they’ll end up the butt someone else’s joke online.
Document sightings of THAT Zara dress on this hilarious Insta account