Articles on this Page
- 07/10/19--03:47: _The anti-water agen...
- 07/10/19--04:09: _Mum takes hilarious...
- 07/10/19--04:16: _How to celebrate Na...
- 07/10/19--04:42: _Woman asks her hous...
- 07/10/19--04:49: _Drunk dude puts inj...
- 07/10/19--05:26: _Should you read wor...
- 07/10/19--06:46: _We rank Ann Summers...
- 07/10/19--07:57: _‘Bridget Jones’ und...
- 07/10/19--08:19: _Co-op’s two pizzas ...
- 07/10/19--09:04: _You can pick up min...
- 07/10/19--09:46: _Wine experts say re...
- 07/10/19--22:21: _Singapore’s Changi ...
- 07/10/19--23:19: _Archie tops the lis...
- 07/10/19--23:42: _Woman’s eczema was ...
- 07/11/19--00:01: _My Label and Me: Be...
- 07/11/19--00:07: _How to be happy for...
- 07/11/19--00:32: _Woman’s online sex ...
- 07/11/19--01:00: _Grandma wears grand...
- 07/11/19--02:03: _How I Save: The 40-...
- 07/11/19--02:57: _Enjoy your hot girl...
- 07/10/19--03:47: The anti-water agenda has found a home on Twitter
- 07/10/19--04:16: How to celebrate National Piña Colada Day
- 50ml white rum
- 50ml coconut cream
- 100ml pineapple juice
- A pineapple to serve
- 07/10/19--05:26: Should you read work emails when you’re on holiday?
- Let people who you are in regular contact with know when you are going on holiday. Drop this casually into conversation and include it within emails. This way, people will know the dates you won’t be available. In the build up to going away, email people to let them know an alternate point of contact for while you’re on holiday.
- Provide a full handover for your manager and colleagues so they know what to expect while you’re away. Allow them time to check in with you on this before you finish for your break.
- Allow some time on your last day to go through all outstanding correspondence and deal with this before you finish – delegating if appropriate.
- Set your out of office to include points of contact for people to get in touch with while you’re away. Be sure to state that you won’t be contactable at all during the dates of your holiday. You may also want to consider including your first day back within the date range to provide some breathing space when you return.
- Schedule some time in your diary on your first day back specifically to respond to emails that accumulate while you’re away. Respond to messages that only need a quick response right away, and leave those that require a longer response until you’ve been through everything. Consider scheduling your emails to be sent later in order to reduce emails responses while you’re doing this.
- 07/10/19--06:46: We rank Ann Summers’ Wimbledon-inspired sex positions
- 07/10/19--09:46: Wine experts say red wine can actually be better if it’s chilled
- 07/10/19--23:19: Archie tops the list for the most popular baby names in 2019 so far
- 07/11/19--00:32: Woman’s online sex toy order goes embarrassingly wrong
- 07/11/19--01:00: Grandma wears grandson’s sex toys thinking they’re thermal socks
Drink more water. It’s good for you.
That’s a recommendation that pops up all over the place. It sits atop of our New Year’s resolutions, is plastered on post-it notes stuck to our computer screens, and is always the answer for a celebrity’s incredible skin and health (definitely not those super expensive facials and creams. Nope).
If you spend much time on Twitter, you’ll also have spotted the ‘drink more water’ tip all over your timeline.
Self-care bots will remind you to hydrate, while @drinkwaterslut has more than 139,000 followers thanks to tweets that advise you to ‘DRINK WATER NOW YOU STUPID B*TCH’.
We’ve reached the point of ‘drink water’ drowning. We all know very well that we should be drinking two litres or so a day, and yet we still seem to be thirsty for reminders in every medium… while also feeling overwhelmed by the repetitive messaging.
Now, the ‘drink water’ backlash has begun.
The @f*ckthirst Twitter account is one dedicated entirely to saying ‘actually, don’t drink water’.
It’s a joke, – something it makes very clear in its bio, lest anyone actually take their advice to ditch water seriously – knowing that drinking water is, of course, a good thing, but the reminders have become a little ridiculous.
To repeat: You absolutely should drink water, and the tweets on this account are not to be taken with any sincerity.
But for all those people out there who declare they hate water, their anti-water agenda has just found a spokesperson.
Tweets include absurd reasoning such as ‘if you don’t have to drink water you won’t have to pee, problem solved’ and ‘100% of people who drink water die’.
The account was only birthed this week, but already has over 4,000 followers. Clearly people like jokes about not drinking water.
The creator of @f*ckthirst is Julian, an 18-year-old student from Miami, Florida. He also runs an account called @duolingous, which sends threats to people to complete their language lessons on Duolingo.
‘I was inspired to create the @f*ckthirst account when I saw a bunch of other viral accounts that told people to drink water,’ Julian tells Metro.co.uk. ‘So I thought, why not make an account telling people to do the opposite.
‘I want to make people laugh by telling them to not drink water.
‘However it is obviously parody. I don’t want anyone to take the account seriously so I put disclaimers in the bio.
‘I think people love the account because some people are bored of basic accounts and want something different and funny.’
Julian’s account isn’t alone in firing back at the ‘reminder to hydrate!’ accounts. There’s another Twitter handle, @ReminderAlcohol, that advises followers to ditch water and drink booze instead (again, do not take this advice seriously).
If you’re tired of being reminded of your thirst or just truly despise drinking water, you’ll find plenty of support for your anti-drinking ways on Twitter.
The tide is turning on the obvious advice of hydrating from self-care experts and Twitter bots. The resistance has begun.
But seriously, do keep drinking water. It’s good for you.
This mum caught the picture picture showing the character of her three boys during a family outing.
Marika Daniels posted the picture of Levi, four, Logan, three, and Landon, 18 months, holding rubber fish.
She wanted to replicate a photo of the two older boys holding fish from the year before at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota.
She asked her sons to pose together and told them to hold the fake fish up to their face – but her youngest boy took it a bit too literally.
Landon put the fish in his mouth, while the other two held them in their hands.
Mum Marika was so busy trying to get the older boys to look at the camera, she didn’t even notice what Landon was doing until after she pressed the button to take the picture.
Marika posted the picture on Instagram and it quickly went viral, with people reposting it with the caption ‘Every family has that one kid’.
One person commented: ‘The little one with the fish in his mouth made me laugh! What a character!’
Another added: ‘Crackin me up. Boy mom life. I love it.’
Marika added that she can’t wait to bring the picture out when the boys are older.
She said: ‘I am actually excited for the boys to reinact this picture in their 30s… that’ll be hilarious!
‘Truly humbled at how many likes, shares, laughs, and smiles this picture has brought to so many people already.’
Kids posing with fish
Today is National Piña Colada Day, which is, of course, very important. Happy National Piña Colada Day, everyone!
Made with rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice (the name literally means ‘strained pineapple’ in Spanish), the cocktail has become a symbol of care-free, tropical fun.
But before we get too carried away with the celebrations, we first need to discussthat song; and the story it tells of a man reading a lonely hearts advert… because he’s bored of the relationship he’s currently in.
To repeat: this man already has a girlfriend! He’s a love rat, a f**k boy, a waste man! This is not a romantic song, folks.
The song’s first stipulation is ‘if you like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain…’.
What a bizarre combination of tastes to demand of a prospective partner. Piña Coladas are quite nice, sure (they’re no mojito)…but who enjoys getting caught in the rain?
Obviously it’s different if you get drenched at the beach by a tropical rainstorm – something which lends itself more to frolicking – but, for most of us, it’s going to happen while we’re trundling home from the supermarket, our shoes squelching against the pavement, on a dismal Tuesday evening. In Balham.
The chorus continues, ‘if you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain.’
Now hold on just a minute here: what the hell is wrong with yoga? Wouldn’t you want someone you intend to have sex with to be supple, flexible, and in tune with their own body?
Not to mention the implication that yoga is an activity for idiots — when studies show that it’s actually very good for your brain.
‘I didn’t think about my lady,’ the narrator admits, ‘I know that sounds kind of mean.’ It’s worse than kind of mean, mate. It’s monstrous. It’s unforgivable.
Rupert Holmes, singer of the Piñ a Colada song, it gives me no pleasure to report that I’m putting you on blast.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way: here are some fun things you can do to celebrate National Piña Colada day.
For all the cheapskates out there, if you download the Young’s pubs app, you can get a free Piña Colada.
In possibly the most niche promotional deal ever to have existed, the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Mayfair is offering your dog a free ‘Poochie Colada dogtail’ if you buy a human one for yourself. I’m sure your dog will love that.
Londis, meanwhile, are giving you the opportunity to win a bottle of Malibu Passion Fruit (that traditional Piña Colada ingredient) if you tell them a song you only know the chorus to. You could just say anything, really — how would they check?
How to make a piña colada:
Pulse your rum, cream, and pineapple juice in a blender with ice. Pour into a glass (or a hollowed out pineapple, if you’re feeling fancy) and top with a slice of pineapple. Done.
Coconut hand drawn watercolor, on a white background. Vector illustration.
Lauren French, from London, was heading off to the US, but she needed someone to keep her beloved houseplants alive.
She was just expecting someone to come in with a watering can so thought her housemate Jack would be willing to help.
But Jack went above and beyond with the plantsitting – sending her pictures of him dining with the plant, reading to it and playing card games.
Lauren and Jack live with two others, but with the others away too, Jack is the only one at home.
She knew that he was kind and considerate so thought he would be up to the task of looking after the five plants she has in her room.
She flew to New York last Friday and that evening, he sent the pictures.
She posted the pictures on Twitter and said: ‘I asked my housemate to look after my plants whilst I’m away for the next couple of weeks. He sent me these.’
The post had over 166,000 likes and 24,500 retweets and Lauren later added: ‘This blew up massively and people around the world have been exposed to the wonderful person Jack is.
‘The plants are doing great, btw!’
People were pretty impressed with his dedication.
One said: ‘Goal: Find someone that takes care of you like this housemate takes care of plants.’
‘That’s gold-level roommating,’ another said.
Though a few people did point out that the plant is looking a little dry (see those slightly droopy, shrivelled leaves) so Jack might have forgotten the main part of his task – watering.
At least the plant had a happy life.
Housemate cares for house plants
When you’ve downed a few drinks, Uber’s pretty much your best friend.
But one man who came across an unusual find on a night out, wasn’t calling it for himself.
Tim Crawley and his pals found an injured bird that was dehydrated and unable to fly. Too drunk to drive, they called the cheap and cheerful taxi service to help.
And the quick-thinking friends were able to save the baby Lesser Goldfinch.
The bird, later named Petey, was driven to safety to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah (WRCNU), U.S.
And Petey rode alone. We wonder what rating he gave the driver.
Tim told news channel Fox 13 that they weren’t seriously considering sending the bird alone to a local rescue at first.
‘At first, it was a joke, like, ‘”hey, maybe we should just call Uber!” Then we were like, “No, really. Why not? We’re paying them”.’
Christy Guynn was the driver on-call and she had some doubts at first but eventually obliged.
She told the channel: ‘I got there and there are three or four guys standing out in the yard and they’re holding beers,’ she said.
‘And I’m like, “oh no. These guys are going to get in my car and I hope they know they can’t bring their beer”.’
But when she found it was to help little Petey, she was in.
The WRCNU rescuers shared the story on their Facebook page, telling followers about the ‘unbelievable’ story.
‘What do you do when you find a sick, injured or orphaned wild animal, but you’ve “had a few too many?”,’ they wrote.
‘Well, this rescuer called an Uber driver!
‘Seriously, this little orphaned Lesser Goldfinch was the sole occupant of an Uber vehicle for a ride to WRCNU yesterday.
‘While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong.’
They ended the message, thanking the heroes for their speedy actions.
‘Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well!’
That’s what you call drinking responsibly.
METROGRAB Man calls Uber to help injured bird because he was too drunk to do it alone
It’s a big question: How exactly should you handle work emails when you’re not actually at work?
You could ignore them entirely, relying on your out of office to handle anything urgent. But then you risk missing something important, and have to wade through the sea of emails on your return.
Or you could keep an eye on your inbox in half-holiday mode, watching out for anything important and deleting the spam so you’re not overwhelmed when you head back to the office.
Or you could be really hardcore and ignore all emails while you’re away, then mass delete them when you’re back for the bliss on inbox zero. If you fall into this camp, you are braver than we are.
We’re told over and over that it’s important to have a work-life balance and shut off when we’re not on the clock, but smartphones can make that near impossible.
We can see the emails racking up, and whatever we do we’re guaranteed stress as a result. Either we choose to work when we shouldn’t be, or prepare ourselves for a whole lot of admin once we’re done. Or we end up doing so much work in preparation for going away that it hardly feels like we’ve been to the beach for a week.
Is one option better than the other? Is there a way to truly free ourselves from the strain of our office inbox?
Life Coach Directory member Chris Cooper reckons the key to getting a genuine break is preparing before you head away, and promising yourself you won’t look at your inbox at all when you’re not working.
That means having a clear out-of-office email that outlines not only who the sender should contact while you’re away, but also makes it clear that you absolutely will not be looking at your inbox for the next week or so.
To achieve a proper break at the weekends and evenings, it might even be worth setting up an out of office for these times, or adding your working schedule in your signature to warn people not to expect a response if they’re getting in touch after 5pm.
Life coach Chris Cooper's plan for handling your inbox when you're away:
‘If you work for someone else, use holiday time to unplug and disconnect from work,’ Chris tells Metro.co.uk. ‘The best way to do this is to plan a strategy for the build up to your holiday and your first few days back in the office.’
He recommends that if you often find yourself tempted to hit the emails when you’re away, it’s important to talk to HR or your line manager. You can give them a head’s up of when you’re leaving, explain that you’re really trying not to check emails while you’re away, and get reassurance that they won’t hit you with anything urgent when you’re not in the office.
Basically, it’s all about managing expectations and setting boundaries before you go.
Along that same theme of preparation, psychologist Rachel Lewis suggests using the day before you leave for holiday as an official admin day, getting everything ready for the period of time you’re off.
‘Don’t schedule any meetings and have that day as a ‘clearing the decks’ day,’ she tells us. ‘Make sure you deal on this day with all you can, delegate any necessary work to your colleagues or advise any others when you will be out of contact and for how long.
A break from working and accessing emails allows you to decompress and allows your attention to be directed more fully to other areas of your life
‘I would also recommend using a process called preventive planning, where you plan not just for what will happen, but for what ‘may’ or ‘could’ happen – for instance, what would happen if a project deliverable changes and is needed for while you are away; or what if your client calls unexpectedly and wants to discuss something? By looking at contingencies and taking a proactive approach you will be able to minimise your stress.’
Take her advice and make sure to keep that final day clear of any meetings or other responsibilities. We’ve all experienced the mad rush to get everything done before going abroad – make it easier for yourself and expect the day to be taken up by organisation and planning.
Rachel also advises leaving your laptop at home and taking your work email off your phone, to get rid of the temptation to peek in your inbox.
She explains that while you might feel like you have a handle on your stress by just checking your emails once a day or diving in just before bed, it really is important for holiday time to be completely removed from work – and that includes acknowledging your work emails in any way, shape, or form.
‘To be able to continue in a productive way, we need to recover and therefore a time away from work where you shut off is going to be better for mental health,’ says Rachel.
Chris agrees: ‘The holidays are a vital time to switch off from the stress we may feel while we are at work. It’s really important for our mental health to allow ourselves some downtime from work.
‘Not dealing with stress is a significant factor in burnout, which was recently reclassified as a syndrome by the World Health Organisation. The WHO are currently working on guidelines for dealing with stress in the workplace.
‘Due to technology, it’s possible to be connected with work at all times of the day, wherever you are. Therefore, it’s important to set boundaries, particularly when it comes to things like work emails.
‘If you choose to you respond to emails around the clock, people will come to expect you to do it. Doing this may also contribute to the stress of others who may feel a response is expected when you email them late at night or on a weekend.’
So if you can’t curb your email checking habits for your own sake, do it for the good of your workplace culture.
It’s natural to experience the temptation to check in, though. Blame it on a strange form of FOMO, causing you to simultaneously worry that you’re missing out on the exciting stuff happening back at work and that everything’s gone to sh*t while you’re away.
It’s key to rewire that thought process rather than beating yourself up every time you slip back into your inbox.
Clinical psychologist Dr Catherine Huckle explains: ‘Practise being mindful of your thought processes – notice when thoughts switch to work, make a conscious decision about whether you want to use some time thinking about work and if the answer is yes, put some boundaries around it (for example, when a goal is reached or when an amount of time has lapsed).
‘Notice if thinking about work is becoming repetitive and triggering unpleasant feelings, and if it is, switch your attention by distracting yourself or starting a new task.
‘In CBT we talk about the 2 minute rule – if you have been thinking about something for two minutes and have not made progress on solving the problem or discovered any insights, and if negative feelings are being triggered, that rumination needs to be interrupted by distracting or doing something different.’
If going cold turkey on the work emails feels impossible, don’t be too harsh in your self-criticism. If not checking your emails is causing you more stress than checking them would, it’s perfectly reasonable to adjust your plan.
Just make sure you maintain some boundaries, and don’t let your entire holiday get taken up with work.
Catherine says: ‘If you are becoming increasingly anxious about emails and finding it hard to disconnect from thinking about work, or your role demands that you stay in touch, ring-fencing a small amount of time each day might help.
‘It can be important to set yourself some guidelines for this – for example, I’ll delete any emails that I don’t need, I’ll diarise any new appointments that have come in, I’ll only respond to emails with a strict time pressure.
‘If work thoughts are bothering you outside of the time set aside you might gently remind yourself to postpone this thinking and then move your attention to something else.’
Whether you check your emails occassionally or manage to completely avoid them, you’ll likely still return to a digital pile-up of unread mail. Again, dealing with the sense of overwhelm is all about preparation.
Hopefully, your detailed out of office will have helped to reduce some of the emails arriving in your inbox, but to deal with the remainder and catch up on anything you’ve missed, it’s worth planning in a day that’s just for easing back into work.
Include this in your out-of-office timings so you’re not getting new work while dealing with the old stuff, and add to your diary that for this one day your only responsibility is dealing with admin.
‘Think of it as a phased return to work after your holidays,’ says Catherine. ‘This way, you will have given yourself vital recovery time, and the gradual return process will then enable you to deal with the emails before you have to engage fully in your day to day work.’
Or if you want to hit mass delete, just include one vital line in your out of office before you depart: ‘if the content of your email is important, please re-send on my return from leave’. If people know that you plan to delete all emails sent within a certain window, they’ll follow your instructions for the really important stuff.
Above all, remind yourself that your holiday isn’t just a time to work remotely. It’s a time to genuinely switch off, recharge, and look after your mental wellbeing. You’re supposed to return to work refreshed – give yourself the time and space to do that, and leave your inbox at your desk.
What's a better approach - ignoring all emails on holiday or trying to sift through them as you go?
The classic Wimbledon experience involves being bitterly disappointed by a British person who has failed to perform…so maybe we should be wary of looking to it for sexual inspiration.
And yet Ann Summers has done exactly that, unveiling a series of sexual positions with a tennis theme.
I have to confess: I’m skeptical. Is it really possible to conjure up new positions? Won’t people have already arrived at anything fun, either organically or through decades worth of articles in Cosmopolitan?
I decided I would test out each of the positions in order to rate how fun they are.
I then remembered that I’m single, and going through a bit of a dry spell, so I’ll have to settle for speculating on how enjoyable they might be, if only I wasn’t so desperately lonely.
Here we go, from worst to best.
Strawberries and Cream
I’m sorry but… this is just giving someone a blowjob? In fact, rather than being a kinky twist, this is probably the most generic way possible of sucking someone off (some of us have knee injuries!).
Am I losing my mind? Does Ann Summers think they’ve invented the concept of fellatio?
Again, shagging someone from behind is hardly revolutionary. And what in God’s name it has to do with tennis, I’ll never know.
If you can bear the thought of looking at your own grunting, sweaty, disgusting face during sex, Ann Summers have some tips for spicing this position up: ‘If you get off on the visuals, place a mirror on the floor between your legs. Watch as your partner enters you and get off on your very own, live action porn film.’
This is basically 69 but with the added benefit of being far more uncomfortable and impractical.
‘Being upside down means that your blood rushes to your head,’ Ann Summers says, ‘giving you a dizzying excuse to get lost in the moment and focus entirely on pleasure.’
That’s all very well, but passing out while you’re sucking someone off could pose some serious health and safety risks.
Whenever I see a sex position this complex, my immediate thought is ‘you’re just showing off.’
Look at this image. Does this look remotely pleasurable? Having to hold your leg up in the air like that, for upwards of five minutes?
Straining your palms against the floor? Would it even allow for a decent level of thrusting? If you want to go the gym, go to the gym.
I don’t know who needs to hear this but: sometimes it’s ok to just have missionary.
A position for the the lazy shaggers out there. According to Ann Summers, ‘this G-spot targeting position involves minimal effort and maximal pleasure.’
They also suggest, as a way of spicing things up, that you use your vibrator to stimulate your boyfriend’s perineum, ‘a small area, just before his anus…packed full of nerve endings’.
Just go for the anus, in my opinion. Anything else is a cop-out*.
*This is, of course, a joke. Enjoy the perineum without judgement.
Stereotypes around older people's sex lives are damaging their wellbeing
Bridget Jones may not have worn the sexiest underwear but the lass wore big old comfy ones.
And women who want to get their hands on similar undies have been turning to Amazon’s Sloggi Control Pants.
The high-rise women’s briefs have received thousands of five-star reviews from satisfied customers.
Happy shoppers have said it fits ‘snugly’ and offers light control while still being super comfy.
Hurrah, no more red marks around the waist and holding in your breath.
The underpants promises ‘timeless cuts for the light control double layered front parts forming a perfect tummy,’ it says on the website.
Perfect for bodycon dresses, the pants feature a special comfort waistband and a double-layered panel at the front for maximum control.
People are enjoying it so much, some of have them have referred to it as ‘the Rolls Royce of underpants’.
Others shared the sentiment, saying: ‘ I love these Bridget Jones-style knickers. They tuck everything in and they are very comfy to wear’.
‘I flipping love these undies,’ said another. ‘If you have an active job, these suckers will stay put. Mountain climbing, parasailing, skipping rope, running, scuba diving, hiking, (well, not scuba diving).
‘Super comfortable and well worth the price.’
Others stated that Sloggi, makers of the undies, know what they’re doing and said they would continue stanning the brand.
‘Sloggi never ceases to impress me,’ wrote one person. ‘Their control maxi pants are incredibly comfortable without being constricting and circulation cutting.
‘They do not quite provide a huge difference to tummy control, but you do feel slightly less bulgy.’
Some said that these are ideal for heavy flow periods or those with incontinence problems.
If all those positive words have got you itching to get your pair, it’ll set you back between £17.90 to £30.53.
It comes in three different colours and goes from size 10 to 26.
control pants with hundreds of reviews
We stan anything that nourishes us and saves us money.
So Co-op’s latest offer of pizzas and beer which offers to save us more money than we spend is music to our ears.
Customers can pick up two pizzas and a four-pack of Budweiser beer for just £5 which normally costs £10.60.
That means you’ll be spending £5.60 less than you normally would for the stuff.
Before you call your mate for a pizza night, you should know though that the only toppings available are Co-op’s Thin & Crispy Margherita Pizza and Thin & Crispy Pepperoni Pizza.
But you can mix and match so you don’t have to get two of the same flavours.
Those who aren’t too crazy for beer either can swap it for Diet Coke or normal Coca-Cola.
But Budweiser’s four-pack works out to be better bang for your buck as a normal set costs £4 (though it’s slightly cheaper at Asda, at £3.50).
The deal is launching in stores nationwide today (10 July) and is available until 6 August in Co-ops, Nisas and Costcutters around the country, so you have a bit of time to get your hands on them.
Anyone with a membership card will also get 5% back on pizza, while NUS card holders get an extra 10% off.
If Co-op’s flavours aren’t doing it for you, at least Asda has a two-in-one kebab pizza.
Perfect for when you’re drunk and can’t decide between a pizza and a kebab.
What more could you want?
METROGRAB Pizza deal for ??5
Prepare yourself, this could be the trend for kids this summer – M&S Little Shop.
The collectables offer starts today and offers 25 mini versions of some of the store’s most popular products – including Percy Pigs and a mini Colin the Caterpillar.
Every time you spend £20 or more on food, you’ll get a Little Shop pack, containing one of the 25 iconic minis.
You also get a collector’s card and a joke with each item.
The collectables are in concelead packets so you might have to do some swapping with friends to get the full set – but don’t worry, there will also be swap shops at 70 M&S Cafes across the UK or you can use the #mylittleshop on social media to see if someone out there has what you need.
To go alongside your products, you can also pick up mini accessories in stores including a replica cardboard Little Shop front complete with till and shopkeeper sign for £10, mini metal shopping basket and mini trolley for £3 each, a Little Shop apron for £3 and a must-have collectors album to keep collectables safe.
You might have heard about the scheme before – Katy Perry is a fan of Australian version – but M&S is launching it exclusively in the UK.
It’s sure to keep kids busy throughout the summer.
Say hello to Little Shop, where we’ve recreated our customer’s favourite M&S foods in mini. They’re in store to collect now and you’ll get one free for every £20 you spend at M&S Food. Learn more here: https://t.co/x8mi8gTufE pic.twitter.com/NzuK5rMjMw
— M&S (@marksandspencer) July 10, 2019
The full Little Shop range includes:
British large eggs
Seedless easy peelers
Jumbo cod fish fingers
Colin the Caterpillar cake
Cornish Cove mature cheddar
Plant Kitchen cauliflower popcorn
Taste Buds cheesy pizza
Collection Peruvian coffee beans
Freshly squeezed orange juice
Chicken tikka masala
Our Best Ever prawn sandwich
Sensitive washing up liquid
Our Best Ever steak pie
Perfect Pick strawberries
Balanced for You Scottish salmon
Made Without triple chocolate chunk cookies
M&S Select Farms semi-skimmed milk
Chicken, mushroom and rice soup
Despite everything you’ve been told, chilling red wine could actually make it taste better.
Research found that almost half of people in the UK have never even tried chilled red wine and only 8% actually prefer to drink it during the hotter summer months because they think it doesn’t coll you down like other drinks.
37% of those surveyed by Cono Sur Bicicleta said they prefer to drink rosé when it gets hot.
So for red wine drinkers, it’s good news – you can enjoy your Pinot Noir and still keep cool.
Leading British etiquette and wine experts have today revealed that red wine lovers should be drinking their favourite tipple chilled this summer, despite over a third of Brits thinking that chilling red wine is ‘wrong’, and 29 per cent think it goes against wine etiquette.
Philip Sykes, Principal of The British School of Etiquette says chilled red wine is a secret that many Brits are missing out on: ‘Many people think that chilling red wine is a faux pas but this is definitely not the case, it just depends on the type of wine. Lighter reds such as a Pinot Noir you would usually chill to between 10 and 15 degrees.
‘In Mediterranean countries, it has long been customary to drink the lighter reds slightly chilled and we in the UK are moving in the same direction. On a balmy summer’s day there is nothing better than placing a bottle of Pinot Noir in the fridge and enjoying a nice chilled glass of red wine. It’s not only perfectly acceptable but will also bring out the flavours beautifully.’
Master of Wine, Alistair Cooper, explained why it works. He said: ‘Enjoying certain red wines chilled shouldn’t seem like a strange idea.
‘If you think of the fruit characters you often encounter with lighter, fruitier styles of red wines, like Pinot Noir: strawberries, raspberries and cherries, they are all fruits that you’d enjoy on a summer’s day straight out of the fridge, and the same goes for the wine. Chilling the wine down really helps those fabulous fruit character to sing and shine.’
The good news is Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir, the UK’s number one Pinot Noir, has launched a clever new label that changes colour when the bottle has been chilled to the ideal temperature, to make it even easier to know how to serve your wine.
Someone pass us a glass.
Man pouring red wine in glass during dinner party
Speeding along those moving walkways may be fun, but it’s still feels like a lot of faff to get from the entrance of an airport to your gate.
You have to navigate your way through shops, duty-free perfume, and samples of booze, schlepping your bag, your jacket, and the excess magazines you picked up from WH Smith for your journey.
Singapore’s Changi airport has a far better alternative: a slide.
A video shows Yusuf El Askary coming across a slide down to his gate in terminal four. He scans his boarding pass, climbs in, then speedily slides all the way down.
It looks pretty fun. What a way to keep the excitement of travelling alive.
At the bottom of the slide sits the red Chandelier, built in 2018, which is basically a mini playground with climbing nets and poles. With that much entertainment, we wouldn’t mind if our flight was delayed.
Changi airport is often voted the best airport in the world, and honestly, we can see why.
The slide in the video above isn’t actually the biggest slide in the place. In terminal three there’s another slide which is 12 metres high and takes you all the way from level one to the third basement floor down. That’s the tallest slide within an airport.
While the slide in terminal four is free for anyone to use, the larger slide in terminal three does have a requirement of spending around £8 in any restaurant or shop in the airport – an easy task if you’ve forgotten to pack anything for your holiday.
All other airports, please take note. Replace all escalators with slides and you’ll have far happier travelers.
There\'s a slide in this airport that takes you right to your gate
Or we could blame Riverdale, but the timing does make it seem as though the name’s popularity is down to little Archie Mountbatten Windsor.
Nameberry has released their list of the most popular baby names of 2019 thus far, based on the names that have been viewed the most on their website – that’s why their list will differ from Babycentre’s, which sees Muhammad taking the top spot.
They found that Archie is the fastest rising boys’ name in the US in 2018, climbing back on to the official list of the top 100 baby names for the first time in 30 years. It has been a top 100 name in England since 2000, but the Duchess of Sussex’s choice has clearly had an impact across the pond.
For girls, the top name this year is Isla, overtaking Olivia to reach number one for the first time ever. It’s far more popular in the UK than in the US, where Isla is only at number 82.
There are some unusual entries to the popular names list this year, too, including Amias, Caius, Cassian, and Ambrose. Fancy. Let’s take a look at the top 20 lists below.
Nameberry's most viewed girls' names of 2019 so far:
Nameberry's most viewed boys' names of 2019 so far:
Close up of mother taking care of cute smiling baby on car seat in car
Grace Ridgway is raising awareness of just how much skin conditions can affect mental and physical wellbeing, after her eczema stopped her from leaving the house, driving, and even holding her boyfriend’s hand.
Grace, 23, began suffering from eczema as a toddler, which her parents controlled with emollient therapy.
Her condition wasn’t too serious until she started high school, when her eczema began to flare up on her upper lip and around her temples.
Over the years, the condition became more severe and spread to her hands. After having a patch test, Grace discovered that not only did she have atopic dermatitis, she also had contact dermatitis, meaning that she has allergies to certain substances that would flare up her eczema.
These include substances contained in perfumes and fragrance derived from citrus fruits.
Her skin became so raw and painful that everyday life became difficult. Everything hurt – driving, washing her hair, drinking.
At one point she locked herself a way for a year due to how her skin was affecting her confidence. She met her boyfriend, Jim, in 2017 and they began dating in February 2018, when Grace’s eczema was at its worst. She struggled to hold his hand as her skin was so painful.
But this year, Grace has found a routine that helps.
With emollient therapy and a biologic drug, Grace’s skin has begun to clear. Her skin condition isn’t cured, but for now the treatments are helping.
Grace wants to share her story to reveal the impact of eczema hits more than just skin deep.
‘Once you have eczema, you have it for life, and the condition can flare at any time,’ explains Grace. ‘I was always aware of the fact that I had eczema growing up, even when symptoms were not present.
‘I have always been conscious of fragranced products however did not keep up with my emollient therapy, typical teenager.
‘During secondary school I suffered with the condition on my upper lip and around my temples, and experienced bouts on my hands during the winter months.
‘It wasn’t until I began working part time at a local pub that the eczema on my hands became constant, and I was later given a patch test and discovered I had contact allergies.
‘Despite consistent attempts to manage my hand eczema with topical steroids, my condition persisted and eventually began to spread across my body.
‘Once I started secondary school and my eczema began to worsen on my hands and face, I became conscious of my condition and was careful about the products I used.
‘My eczema hugely affected my personal life and confidence; I went from being a young woman that loved makeup and buying new clothes to a person that lived in a shell, never applied makeup, rarely washed her hair due to the pain of the water hitting her skin, and was limited to cotton clothing.
‘I became a shadow of my former self and I am so happy that I am now beginning to find that person again.’
Grace has also found support in her partner, who understands when her eczema causes her distress.
She says: ‘In terms of intimacy, he is extremely understanding and often tells me that he doesn’t even see my eczema, which is lovely to hear.
‘There have been times when I haven’t been able to hold his hand or give him a hug due to the pain I’ve been in with my skin.
‘It also made it particularly difficult for him as he was very conscious of hurting me, but we have thankfully got through this difficult time together and are stronger than ever.
‘Suffering with eczema has limited my life in so many different ways; I have to be conscious of what I am eating, drinking, wearing, and the conditions that I live and work in.
‘There was a period of time that I couldn’t drive due to having little movement in my hands, and during this time had to be cared for mostly by my boyfriend and mum.
‘The simplest of tasks proved difficult, from washing my hair to lifting a drink to my mouth. When your condition rules such simple aspects of your life, it’s difficult to even think of doing anything further such as exercising or socialising.
‘For over twelve months I was reluctant to leave the house and unfortunately my friendships suffered as a consequence.’
Since regaining control of her skin, Grace’s life has transformed.
She’s got her confidence back and is able to socialise.
‘I lost myself whilst suffering with this chronic skin condition,’ says Grace. ‘I am so thankful that my current treatment approach has enabled me to re-establish my social life and begin to rebuild old friendships and discover new ones.
‘It is all about creating your own environment that suits your skin in order to better manage the condition.
‘Having clearer skin has given me my confidence back. I think that in suffering with my skin I came to accept myself more so than before.
‘Before my eczema flare ups, I would wear makeup every day and would hate the makeup-free face staring back at me, but now I have come to accept myself and the skin I’m in.
‘My relationships, both romantic and my friendships, have really improved since my skin has settled. It has meant I am able to leave the house, socialise and explore.
‘I am so very passionate about raising awareness of eczema and other skin conditions. I could never have imagined that it would impact my life the way it has and wish that I had the support of the medical professionals I do now.
‘The most important thing when you are suffering with a skin condition is to ensure that the professional help and guidance available is right for you.’
During my school years I was called ‘dopey,’ ‘cloth ears’ and ‘slow’. This wasn’t by bullies but by teachers who failed to recognise my lack of hearing.
Being called these names was humiliating and something I didn’t want to talk about, so I swept it under the carpet.
I regularly misunderstood situations and instructions and had to learn to survive. I would assess a scenario visually, piece together what was happening, using lip-reading to add context.
It’s how I had got by all my life and, as I have congenital deafness, I just thought that was the way everyone else heard, too.
I used to call my good ear my index ear as a child, in the same way you have an index finger. I was a bright kid but ended up in remedial groups because my deafness wasn’t identified until I was 13.
There is a long-standing correlation between deafness and assumed stupidity among educators throughout history, as evidenced in the common usage of the phrase ‘deaf and dumb’, until quite recently.
There are 8.3million of us who are hard of hearing in the UK. We inhabit a strange hinterland; not hearing, but not as deaf as the 50,000 capital ‘D’ or culturally deaf people who use British Sign Language.
As a result, hearing loss can be a very alienating and isolating experience.
When my daughter was born last year she had a hearing test within a few hours, but there were no hearing tests when I was born in Birmingham during the 70s.
After discovering my deafness, my response was to retreat into the visual world and language of cinema.
That sense of isolation and necessary emphasis on the visual has aided and shaped my career and world view as a film director. I’m drawn to characters who are outsiders and my last film ‘The Marker’ on Netflix was about a deeply solitary character.
In terms of work, I think there is a misunderstanding and fear about those labelled with non-visible disabilities such as deafness.
For example, I know myself and other deaf filmmakers have been passed over for work opportunities because people either don’t really see us as having a disability or don’t understand and fear what working with us might entail.
There is a kind of soft prejudice at work, rooted in fundamental misunderstanding.
When most commissioning editors are looking for crew with a disability they think of someone with a visual disability. Other types of disabilities such as deafness and mental health issues are complex and not straightforward for them to understand.
Austerity Britain, the rise of programmes like Benefits Street and what the UN has referred to as ‘social engineering at work in the UK’s welfare system’ has impacted how deaf people are perceived.
It’s created a new cynicism and suspicion of those of us identifying as deaf. In meetings, I can sometimes actually feel people thinking: ‘He doesn’t look disabled to me’.
That used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore.
I just remember that isolated undiagnosed little boy – to me they are the modern iteration of those ignorant teachers. Times change, but sadly lack of empathy does not.
These days I am very open about my label, as I know it makes me who I am and is an important part of my identity.
It’s actually a benefit at times and I enjoy retreating into a world of silence and my own solitude – it’s a very empowering experience (especially when the baby is crying at 4am).
I embrace it, zone out and explore my ideas and where they might take me.
That’s a wonderful gift for any artist.
In the words of the late great blind writer John Hull my deafness is ‘a gift, not one that I would have chosen, but a gift nevertheless’.
Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity — positively or negatively — and what the label means to them.
If you would like to get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org
My Label and Me: Deaf
OK, so you’ve got yourself a little comparison habit, have you?
You look at everything your beloved friends are achieving and of course, you’re happy for them. But just quietly, privately, and if you’re honest with yourself, there may be a nasty little feeling of jealousy sneaking in there, too.
Every time one of your mates posts faux-modestly about their latest cool achievement, you cannot help but compare and despair.
You’re not fully able to appreciate their lovely success without wondering why you couldn’t get such an excellent promotion/pay rise/book deal/job title/endorsement/shiny new triumph.
Often it’s not mean-spirited, exactly, it’s just addictive. You don’t mean to do it, you just do it, all the time. You scroll through Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat and it feels like all everyone’s doing all day is achieving, achieving, achieving.
You achieved something just last week, but it’s not enough to stave off the feeling that you’re somehow inferior to your friends and it’s not enough to stop you from saying nasty things to yourself. It’s going to be OK. Let’s talk through a few things to help you address your comparison habit.
Tell your ego to cool it
Comparing yourself to your friends (see also: strangers on the tube, strangers on the street and strangers on the television) is really just your ego acting out. It’s self-sabotage. Notice what your ego is doing and kindly tell it to behave.
Being self-aware is a great advantage, so do a little audit of your thoughts when you find out someone has done something great and gently try to re-calibrate. Boost your own ego, and tally up some gratitude, by thinking about some lovely things you’ve done in your life.
Enough with the self-loathing and the negative backchat to yourself. Try and change your inner monologue so you’re speaking to yourself compassionately, like you would someone you really care about. Catch yourself every time you think something cruel about yourself and try and replace it with a kinder thought.
P.S. Therapy is great.
Know that success is not finite
Success is not a finite resource. Just because your mate Sophie has a sexy new job title and your buddy Charlie just signed a lush new contract, doesn’t mean there is any less success available to you. It is not something that has to be divvied up amongst the population.
It’s actually kind of brilliant when successful people share their achievements and help make it possible for other people to do well. So have a little reality check: someone else’s success does not detract from yours and they have not made it any less possible for you to do well, if that’s something you’d like to do.
Be wary of the passive Instagram scroll
We’re all very quick to blame social media for our mental health problems, but it’s not quite so simple.
Studies suggest that passive social media use is bad for us because it encourages precisely this sort of comparison behaviour. We look at everyone else’s highlights reel and forget that they too have lows and indignities and challenges and moods and fights and flaws. We feel stupid and ugly and boring in comparison.
But when we use social media more actively, to post and like and engage with other people and their content, it has a more positive affect on us. So watch out for just idly sitting there looking at other people’s lives and maybe use social media more intelligently, more proactively and more positively.
Remember that you actually really like your friends
It’s a bit awkward, when you fall so far into a jealousy black hole that you forget your own allegiances and loyalties and feelings.
If you’re comparing yourself harshly enough to your friends that you’re forgetting to actually be happy for them when something nice happens, then you should probably just take a little breather and remember who they are and who you are.
You want to be the sort of person who’s happy for a friend when they do something great. It can be as simple as deciding to be like that, sometimes.
Your friends are actually probably delightful and deserve their successes, so find a way to remember you love them and you want that for them. Are they funny and sweet and supportive and kind? Then do not begrudge them their success – choose to revel in it. That way, you’ll have earned their celebration when you do something awesome.
Get yourself a nemesis
It’s very fashionable to have a nemesis or three – and potentially helpful, too.
Legendary feminist writer Roxane Gay often tweets about her multiple nemeses and how much her desire to be better than them compels her to fight harder for what she wants (at last count, I believe she has nine, including my favourite – her competitive scrabble nemesis).
She cherishes the rivalries she’s cultivated – most of which I believe she holds onto without the knowledge of the other person involved.
Roxane is wise – and she’s not the only one nurturing her rivalries. It’s become quite a Twitter trend to have secret online opponents to spur on your own ambition.
Just the other night, friends of mine were telling me how much their nemeses motivate them to be better at what they do. A deliberately constructed rivalry with someone worthy of your ire could be just what you need.
Focus your angry attention on someone outside your usual social circle, rather than competing with people you actually like. Nobody else needs to know about it, it’s just a secret, fiery grudge you have against one person, or for that matter, multiple people. Enjoy!
Lean On Me
Owning a sex toy is nothing to be ashamed of.
But when we order one online, we would like it to be packaged with some, erm, mystery.
We don’t need our neighbours knowing what we’re into, masturbation-wise.
That’s why when we order sex toys, we’re reassured by a brand’s promise of discreet packaging. If a brand doesn’t take your privacy particularly seriously, you’ll learn it the hard/embarrassing way.
Take the case of Holly-Ann Powell, who decided to order a dildo from online discount site Wish.
First, it came wrapped in plastic without a box, in a very distinct penis-esque shape. Not great.
Couldn’t they have at least put it in a box to conceal the fake testicles?
But when Holly-Ann unwrapped it, she discovered another way her expectations had differed from the reality of what she received.
The dildo was absolutely massive. Truly, it was huge. So long and girthy it might be tricky to actually use for sexual pleasure.
Holly-Ann shared photos of her online order gone wrong on Facebook, sticking the dildo – which also had a suction cup at the end – on her head for scale and comparing it to a previous sex toy purchase.
She wrote: ‘NEVER EVER ORDER A SEX TOY FROM WISH!!!
‘I’m mortified but absolutely cracking up! I was speaking to the girls the other day about sex toys etc and we were like, I wonder if wishes toys are like our usual LoveHoney, Ann Summers…
‘Never mind the toy itself this is supposed to be DISCREET! My poor post lady was bright red handing it over to me… SHAME ON YOU WISH.’
Holly-Ann, a married model, says receiving her order was pretty awkward.
‘Everybody’s probably had [an online shopping] disaster but this tops them all,’ she explains.
‘The postlady knocked on my door and she’d only introduced herself to me the other day.
‘She’s a lovely, older lady. She walked up the steps this morning and I thought ‘it can’t be..?’
‘Then she handed it over to me. She was bright red.
‘My dog was barking so I just looked at her, shouted ‘thank you’ really quick and shut the door.
‘The worst part about it was she was holding it by the balls and you could clearly tell there was a dildo in there.
‘She was holding it like a sword when she handed it to me.
‘She definitely knew what it was. I wanted the floor to swallow me up.’
While the sex toy may not be great for actual sex, it has provided plenty of laughs. Holly-Ann’s Facebook post has been shared more than 11,000 times, and has received 28,000 comments from people absolutely cracking up at Holly-Ann learning to avoid buying sex toys online.
One woman said the packaging was no accident: ‘The people that scan the products upon receiving wrap it like that to make it obvious and humiliate the person who purchased it. Only way I know is because I use to work for Amazon and would do the same thing.’
We’ve approached Wish to ask if all sex toys are packaged in this way, and will update this article if we hear back.
Holly-Ann decided to order the dildo from Wish after pals told her sex toys would be much cheaper online.
Holly-Ann said: ‘I was talking to my girlfriends about toys because my husband doesn’t always do or want what I want.
‘I do some modelling online, it’s quite discreet modelling. He doesn’t want everybody knowing his wife does explicit modelling online.
‘Obviously doing the sort of work we do online, you have to have toys and props.
‘I started to think ‘gosh, these toys are a bit expensive’. They can be really expensive in other stores.
‘Some of the girls I know said ‘have you tried Wish?’
‘For a six-inch dildo [on other websites] that is extra girthy, it can be £50.
‘I found this dildo for £7 on Wish.com. It looked exactly like the more expensive one, so I decided to give it a go.
‘I thought ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’
‘The dildo is very heavy and I can use it as a coat hanger pretty much.
‘Basically all their adult toys are under different names, they aren’t under ‘sex toys’ on the website. I didn’t know how big it actually was.’
sex toy comp
The words grandma and sex toys should never be used in a sentence together but unfortunately for one Japanese man, it’s a reality.
The blogger from Osaka learned that not only had his beloved granny found his sex toys, she had put them on too.
The sweet, innocent grandmother had gone into his room and grabbed two silicone vaginas, mistaking them for thermal socks.
Once the 21-year-old grandson saw her strutting around in the pink Fleshlight-style toys, he burst out in laughter. He then filmed his confused nan who was probably wondering why the ‘socks’ weren’t particularly comfy.
Apparently, Fleshlights, called ‘onahole’ in Japan, aren’t as easy to take off when they’re on the feet.
The hilarious clip naturally went viral on Twitter where the user, named @analKABAO, wrote: ‘When I was 21 years old, I did not think it would be possible to pull onahole from my grandmother’s foot’.
Not only did she wear the ‘socks’ around the house, the unsuspecting granny wore them to bed.
In what we imagine to be the most embarrassing conversation ever, the young lad had to get his grandmother out of bed and tell her what she was wearing.
He attempted to take off the ‘socks’, but Fleshlights being Fleshlights, they just stretched out and stuck to her feet.
After a few seconds of struggling, the sticky stuff eventually came off while the grandson guffawed throughout the whole thing.
Though they came off unharmed, they didn’t leave the owner untarnished. Understandably, he’s not so keen to use the Fleshlights again (we’re not sure if they’d already been tried in the past).
He offered the two masturbation toys to his Twitter users, saying they were ‘still warm’. Some folks did express an interest.
One person quipped: ‘Now it’ll have athlete’s foot’.
We can totally understand why the grandson would want to get rid of them.
It might be a while until he can look at an onahole again. At least foot fetishists have another use for Fleshlights.
I’m going to be straight up with you: This week’s How I Save is a little different to the ones we’ve seen before.
This week’s saver has a lot of money saved. £143,000, to be exact.
He’s in a very well-paid job, he’s older than our average How I Save saver, and he’s not experiencing those relatable struggles of wasting all his money on takeaways.
This is not a man who will provide a magic secret to saving up a load of money, beyond earning a lot of money. That’s important to know. If you’re on £25k, don’t compare your paltry savings to someone earning far, far more than that.
But in our mission to get everyone talking more honestly about their finances, we do have to hear from the wealthy people, too.
While we may not earn the same as he does, perhaps we can learn from some of his thrifty approaches to money.
If not, at least we get to marvel at someone with a lot more money than we have.
So, without further ado, this week for How I Save we’re diving inside the bank account of Ahmed, a 40-year-old business consultant living in Croydon.
How Ahmed saves
I earn £150,000 a year. In my savings account right now I have £143,000.
I also have a £110k investment in VCTs – that is locked in and not withdrawable without loss of tax benefits – I would attribute that to my higher level of business in the last two years.
I’m saving for financial independence.
By financial independence, I mean not having to work because of financial obligations; but choosing to work because I want to contribute to society or keep myself engaged in intellectual activity. This will come about with income from my assets outweighing the spend.
I do have a number of targets – targeting £750k in mine and my wife’s SIPPS by the time I am 70. Targeting £240k in Lifetime ISAs by the time I am 60, to pay for retirement from the age 60-70. Targeting £115k from current VCTs maturity for university fees of my two children by the time I am 50. Targeting £265k by the time I am 60 – for my children.
The main way I save is by putting my investments on autopilot. SIPP contribution and ISA contributions are automatic. I try to maximise the ISA investment every year.
I saved up the £143k mainly through spending far less than I earned over many years. I have maxed mine and my spouse’s ISA allowance since 2015. The saving is a result of our behaviour and buying things for appropriate value.
For example, I could afford private education for children – but I don’t think it is good value, so we don’t do that.
We don’t hesitate to shop from Primark or eat at McDonalds, etc. Paying for a premium brand gives us no joy. We don’t pay for private medical insurance either.
I have had periods of unemployment in my life when, again, we have not hesitated to cut costs to the bare minimum, apply for job seekers allowance, etc. We always strive to keep our costs below our earnings.
The high salary has been a factor in (high) value of the savings, but not on the existence of a saving.
Prior to 2015, I have had jobs paying on average £70k for the last eight years. I am the only fee earner in my house, then and now, although now my wife works on the business and earns a salary and dividends.
I have been contracting since June 2015. My gross business income has been over £100k since then. I ask for a rate rise every year: Over the last four years I have had rate increases of 11%, 13%, 5%, 4%.
I actually enjoy saving and watching my corpus grow – thankfully my spouse is similarly minded albeit just a tad more frivolous than me.
I do follow quite a few personal finance blogs and podcasts – and was first inspired in 2015 by Andrew Craig’s How to Own the World book.
When I was a child I read Rich Dad Poor Dad – and did follow some takeaways, especially buying luxuries last. For example, I bought a house in the UK before I bought a car.
How Ahmed spends
Monthly expenses: £2,800
A week of spending:
Monday: £2.75 – small cappuccino. I made a mistake. I thought I had a free coffee to redeem thanks to Vitality, so didn’t have coffee at home. But I hadn’t. So I bought a coffee at Cafe Nero.
I planned to have lunch home but my wife decided to venture out, so I went out for lunch, £6.95.
£3.50 for the train journey to London for an office meeting, then £1.50 for the bus from the train station to work. This is the cost of sales, as I am a contractor running a business.
It’s £5.30 to get the train back home.
Tuesday: I spend £6.95 on a Mexican takeaway box for lunch. It was a busy day so I couldn’t get home.
£3.50 for a train to London from work, £5.70 for the train home, plus £3 for two bus journeys to and from station to office.
I spend £63.25 on my share for a team dinner.
Wednesday: £1.50 for a bus home for lunch.
Thursday: I get a free Starbucks coffee thanks to last week’s Vitality activity.
I pay £1.50 to come home for lunch, then walk back to work.
For dinner I get a midweek takeaway for family, £8.50.
After a tiring game of volleyball I pay £2 for an orange with lemonade. It’s our first game this season, so it felt well deserved after burning a lot of calories.
Friday: Redeemed another free coffee from Vitality.
Registered for £45 subscription with a business incubation.
Paid £1.50 for a bus to come home for lunch, but took the bus back within 60 minutes, so the second trip was free.
I do a bulk takeaway order with friends for an evening meal, spending £21.30.
£100 goes to a client entertainment fund required for a team meeting.
Saturday: £13 for one and a half hours of parking at the airport, to pick up relatives arriving from abroad.
The weekly maid fee for Saturday is £18. I would spend more on this to keep the Mrs happy. I add another £18 to cover last week’s missed payment.
£9 for a prescription to treat an insect sting from playing outdoors.
Sunday: 99p for a pay-as-you-go SIM for a visitor, plus £5 for a topup.
I pay £1.25 for seeded brown bread. I had to down select this instead of Seed Sensations because it was £1.70.
Then it’s £1.50 for an hour of parking at a National Trust site, and 50p for tire inflation.
Total spent this week: £350.44
We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out what we can learn from Ahmed.
Note: the advice featured is specific to one individual and doesn’t constitute financial advice, especially for a London budget.
Where you’re going wrong
Usually I’d try and roast your habits, but I think we’ll skip this section. Ok, a quick one: what’s the point of a £150k salary when the only thing I could put in your entertainment category was a £1.50 parking ticket for the National Trust? BOOM.
How to copy Ahmed
I think we all were all hoping for a quicker fix than ‘spending far less than you earn over many years’. In the same way, it’s not going to be possible to only spend 32% of your salary if you scale that down to a starter wage.
Day to day, Ahmed’s actually packing less in takeouts, lunches, coffees and snacks than your average #HowISave diary, and sickeningly less in travel.
It’s oddly comforting that you can have £7,200 spare cash to work with every month and still dither over a 50p price difference in bread. Scrimpy mindset and high salary are the two biggest factors to those six digit savings.
However, there are good habits to scale down and copy.
The first being: ask for a raise each year. Because why the f**k not? Much as we love roasting people on this, cutting back on one coffee a week isn’t going to be the difference between financial ruin or not. Demand better pay and consider moving if you can’t see progression of your skills. Go you.
The second is to figure out if you can really, properly hide money from yourself. Then do it.
The main millennial saving goal, especially in London, is to buy a home. For a lot of people, this is sitting as a blocker in the way of more long-term plans of you chilling with a cocktail at 75.
If saving money for your vague future while you’re living in a cupboard in East London seems like a conflict of priorities, then start small. But get into the habit.
ISA: Individual Saving Account. Better interest rates than other saving accounts. There’s a max amount of money you can move in. Get penalties for touching. Great for hiding money from yourself.
SIPP: Stash of Pounds, Pennies, and Silver. (No, it’s Self Invested Personal Pension. Again, no touchy)
VCT: Venture Capitalist Trust: Investing in companies that invest in other, high-risk companies. Probably not a good place to put money if you want to touch it any time soon.
How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
How Amit Saves
The summer’s all about being hot – temperature and aesthetics wise.
You can live your best hot girl summer life with this Louis Vuitton volleyball… if you’ve got a spare two grand knocking around.
The leather ball features flashes of colour with lilac, orange, purple, and white panels.
And because you want people to know that it’s not any ordinary ball being thrown about, it comes with the classic LV monogram print emblazoned all over it.
Nothing screams rich like playing with a designer ball while you holiday in the south of France.
How the other half live.
It’s not as big as the name for it, the Giant, suggests as it’s 8.27 inches in height. The Louis Vuitton Giant Volleyball also comes with a net bag for carrying.
But of course, that also comes with the two-tone LV monogram print.
The net bag has a purple mesh body that’s secured to a black and white leather monogram carrying handle.
‘Pop colours and different-sized Monograms bring a playful quality to this Giant volleyball,’ reads the product description.
‘Leather and canvas materials create an upbeat patchwork of panels, in a playful interpretation of the iconic Monogram.
‘A highly collectable piece, it is perfect for games on the beach or as an ornament at home and comes with a bag in complementary tones, complete with matching Monogram detailing.’
Naturally, all that doesn’t come cheap. It’s available for $2,650 (£2,113).
Louis Vuitton even has a £470 beach towel to go with the look. We can only dream of spending that much on a towel. Or a volleyball.
beach, ocean and clounds on tropical island.