With four Olympic gold medals, a beautiful family, and even a couple of ducks to her name – Laura Kenny really does seem to have it all.
But as the world-beating cyclist sets her sights on Tokyo 2020, she reveals that balancing motherhood with elite sporting aspirations is far from easy – and the battle to get back to her best after giving birth was the hardest thing she has ever had to do.
In an age where women’s sport is the strongest it has ever been, Laura believes that now is the time to keep pushing for more role models, more sponsorship and more support – particularly for mothers.
With her prospective third Olympic Games right around the corner, Laura hopes to be able to play her part in inspiring the next generation.
‘I was always inspired by the people around me,’ Laura tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Growing up, my mum used cycling as a form of losing weight, so I always had her as a kind of role model, maybe without even knowing that I had her as a role model for a long time.
‘But just seeing her determination was empowering – she set herself a target to lose eight and half stone and she was going to do absolutely everything in her power to achieve that goal.
‘Since having my son, Alby, I wouldn’t say he’s an inspiration as such – but he is certainly my motivation. When I’m out there riding my bike – I’m doing everything for a reason now. I obviously still love what I do, or I wouldn’t carry on, but I’m doing it for him.
‘I want him to have so many experiences. The experiences that Jason and I have had have been so great. We’re really lucky in the fact that we’re in sport, and at as high a level as we are. It has taken us to so many places. I want him to have that now too.’
Laura had her first child, Albert Louie Kenny, in 2017 – and returning to peak fitness after the birth was incredibly difficult at first. But Laura always knew she would come back to cycling – it was never a doubt in her mind.
‘I never, ever considered walking away from sport after having a baby,’ she explains.
‘It’s funny, because when we first fell pregnant, I had this fear inside of me that everyone was going to think; why are you ending your career?
‘And I thought, how am I going to explain without them making me feel guilty? I knew it wasn’t the end of my career.
‘Obviously, I was going to have to leave my baby behind to go and train. But honestly, I always had in my head the certainty that I was going to carry on.
‘I have always had female role models and I think that played a big part in my mindset. Jessica Ennis-Hill actually helped me with exercising while I was pregnant and afterwards, and I knew it could be done. I thought if I can help any other mum in that situation, then that’s what I wanted to do as well.
‘There was never any point where I thought; I’m going to end my career. But I’m not going to say it was easy. Or that it was as simple as having the grandparents look after him so I can go and train.
‘I’m in a team sport, and lots of other female athletes who come back compete as individuals, so it’s a little bit easier – they don’t have to go on the camps. Whereas my training is really structured because I have to take part in team sessions. So it wasn’t easy.
‘The first six months was hell, just trying to get used to it – because you don’t sleep. You’re trying to get back to a professional level after having eight months off, it really was difficult.
‘And I really struggle to leave him. I don’t want to leave him. That’s not why we had a family – so we could get someone else to look after our baby? That was never what we wanted.
‘So now he comes to pretty much all of our races, we stay in our own hotel away from the rest of the team – it’s little things like that that have just really helped me in coming back to sport.’
‘I’m not bothered about whether he ever gets into a professional sport. But I am bothered about him taking part in sport,’ Laura tells us.
‘Because for me, growing up, that’s what it was about. We we did sport pretty much every day. And I just think it’s healthier.
‘I don’t want him to be stuck on his phone or in front of the TV. Everyone’s bad for that, I sit there on my phone, on Instagram or whatever. And I’m literally wasting hours of my life.
‘I’d much rather him be out, playing with the dogs, or the ducks we have in the garden, just anything outside really.
‘He’s already an outdoors kid. Seriously, he’s so messy. It’s unbelievable. He comes back in and I’m like, wow, you had a good day.’
When she isn’t looking after her child or making parenting decisions, Laura is training. And as the Olympics creep closer, her work rate is starting to ramp up.
‘Come October, it’s only four months left of qualifying for the Games. So pretty much every race that we do is important.
‘In terms of balancing my sport with motherhood – I think it’s only going to get worse. I don’t think I’ve experienced it at its worst yet, which is kind of scary.
‘I’ve been lucky, British Cycling are really supportive. So they’ve let Alby come to every single race I’ve done. There’s only been one time that we left him at home, and that was our decision to leave him because Jason was at home. But it was difficult. And it was only four days.
‘Now, pre-Olympics, we go in to a two-week holding camp. And then we fly out a week before we compete. And then we compete. So that will be like a month of not being with him. That’s going to be so hard.’
Every new mum faces pressure, but add to that the country’s hopes of bringing home another world title and it can quickly become overwhelming. Support, at home and professionally, is vital.
‘I can’t overstate how important it is for female athletes to have support after pregnancy. I probably would have quit otherwise because I always had in my head that I wanted to be a young mum,’ says Laura.
‘I had been to two Olympics. I had done what I wanted to do. And I just always knew that after Rio that was it – I wanted to start a family.
‘Had British Cycling not been supportive, I probably would have retired, because that was already my decision. I knew I would put that before my career.’
Laura is passionate about getting young people active and encouraging participation in sport – but she says that for parents, it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are simple, accessible and cost-effective ways to get your kids moving.
‘I think people think they have to take their children to clubs or stuff outside of school. Honestly, when we first started cycling, we would literally just go out on our mountain bikes. And it was fun, because we did it as a family. It wasn’t a club, so you didn’t have to sign up. You didn’t have to spend money because we had our bikes. And that was it.
‘I don’t think it’s always about getting children involved in teams. For me, it’s just about them getting off the sofa. So even if it is taking the dog for a walk, things like that are free. They say fresh air is free, and I completely agree with that. I just think they should be outside more.’
‘Girls aged 13 or 14 – that’s a really tricky age. We get out of doing PE by saying we’re on our periods, we fake a note from our parents – all because we don’t want to be seen in our P.E kits.
‘All of a sudden you’ve got all these hormones and you don’t want to be seen to look stupid. Even I felt like that and I started cycling when I was eight.
‘I remember there was this stretch of road along the high street. There was a group who used to sit on the corner. I said to my dad – I’m not going out today – because I knew they’d be there.
‘I didn’t want them to see me wearing a helmet. I mean, it’s ridiculous. Now I say it’s ridiculous, but when you’re 13 or 14, you don’t think like that.
‘We’re in an era where female sport has come to the front of everybody’s minds. The FIFA World Cup, the Netball World Cup, it’s televised now, which I think is absolutely unbelievable.
‘Cycling on the road side particularly, there’s still more to be done. But right here, right now, there are more female role models than there have ever been. I honestly think that’s so important for everyone – but especially teenagers and younger girls.’
I am Team GB
Toyota has teamed up with Team GB to re-launch the hugely successful participation campaign ‘I am Team GB’.
Inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes and the amazing efforts of local community heroes, Team GB has created ‘The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day’, which will take place on the 24thAugust.
Over the weekend, there will be hundreds of free and fun activities across the country, put on by an army of volunteers; the ‘I am Team GB Games Makers’.
To Join the Team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day sign up at: www.IAmTeamGB.com
Boris Johnson will have to work quickly if he wants to convince a nation that hasn’t voted for him that he can lead Britain through one of its most challenging periods in a generation.
This starts with unifying a country that is painfully divided along both party political and Brexit lines.
The institution that can create this unity is the NHS – if Boris can commit to protecting it. Its survival, at least in its current form, is far from guaranteed.
There’s ongoing speculation that it will be included in a bumper US trade deal, leading to privatisation, but support for the NHS is one of the few things that the vast majority of Tories and Labour, Remainers and Leavers, can agree on.
This makes it a political magic wand that Johnson will need to start waving soon.
He’s made it an early priority, using one of his first speeches as prime minister to announce ’20 new hospital upgrades’ and a commitment that ‘the money for the NHS really does get to the frontline’. There appears to be a big NHS rebuilding programme underway, to tie in with Johnson’s infamous Brexit bus pledge.
The NHS is one of the most emotive subjects in British politics, and understandably so. It is seen not just as an essential public service but an expression of national character.
It is a national treasure that is relied upon by both the poorest and the richest of Britain, and one of the few unifying factors in a divided nation.
Anxiety around the NHS’s future has been even more intense in recent months and years.
What some of them miss, however, is that the NHS is already privatised to a significant extent, with more than 10 per cent of the care budget spent on provision through non-NHS (ie. private) organisations.
These concerns are echoed even more loudly by vulnerable people I meet when volunteering on Britain’s streets with the humanitarian charity Who is Hussain.
The NHS is also one of our largest employers, with 1.5million workers on its payroll or, to put it another way, one in every 20 people employed in the UK currently works for the service.
This creates a significant constituency who are invested in its survival, not only out of social conscience but personal financial interest. I should know: I am one of them, and have been for a decade.
All of this makes talk of NHS privatisation as part of a Boris-Trump Brexit trade deal terrifying to many Brits.
What some of them miss, however, is that the NHS is already privatised to a significant extent, with more than 10 per cent of the care budget spent on provision through non-NHS (ie. private) organisations. They are fighting over the horse, not realising that it has already bolted.
There is broad cross-party support – with the exception of a fringe of the Conservative party – for the NHS to remain free at the point of use, and as taxpayers we seem happy to continue to foot the bill.
It seems then as if the NHS is headed not for privatisation but ‘virtualisation’. It will remain free and egalitarian in how it is received, but become increasingly privatised and multi-sourced in how it is delivered. What this means is that service levels will be maintained in the short term, but there is a risk that private suppliers will use their leverage to increase costs in the long term – it is this scenario that we must be protected against now.
Most Brits are OK with it, as long as that protection is there; that in X number of years these private suppliers can’t double or triple their prices overnight and force the NHS to pass on those costs to patients – this would be privatisation in all but name.
Some have an ideological opposition to anyone in Britain running public health services for profit, but studies show they are in the minority.
What we need as a country are guarantees that the NHS will not go the way of other industries, where private providers get a foot in the door by delivering genuine gains in efficiency, only to later increase their prices once the system is dependent on them.
Our national health cannot be held hostage by private companies. But it must also not be jeopardised by bureaucracy.
If Boris can strike the right balance, he will be remembered as the prime minister who modernised the NHS while at the same time protecting it. That is one of the few things that can secure his legacy among all Brits – whoever they vote for or, indeed, whether they vote at all.
That is to say nothing of the people like me for whom the NHS is not just a national institution, but our life’s work.
Dr Mohammedabbas Khaki is a senior associate at the General Medical Council and a trustee of Who is Hussain, a UK-based charity active in 92 cities across five continents.
In the battle for who’s doing the most housework, women are definitely winning… at the expense of having any time to themselves.
Women do more housework than men in 93% of British households, a study has revealed.
That’s still the case if both partners work full-time. Working women are five times more likely than men to spend 20 or more hours a week doing housework.
Men, in comparison, averaged fewer than five hours per week. So women are doing around four times as much work at home than men are. Cool.
In the 7% of households where women don’t outdo men on the cooking and cleaning front, this is because the woman earns more money.
But to repeat, in the majority of cases, even when the woman earns more money or has a more demanding job, she’s still more likely to pick up the bulk of the household chores.
The team from University College London analysed data from more than 8,500 different sex couples who were interviewed as part of the UK Household Longitudinal Study.
They only found two small groups where men’s contribution to housework was equal of more than that of their female partner’s – in 6% of all couples women were the clear breadwinners, and in 1% of all couples the man didn’t work and took on more than 20 hours of domestic labour.
Almost half of those surveyed were dual-earners, indicating that even when women work full days at the office, they begin a second shift when they reach home.
Professor Anne McMunn, who led the University College London study, said: ‘These results matter because this is extra work which women are doing for free – as housework is unpaid. We don’t think this is an active choice on the part of men to try to keep women down.
‘But even these days it still tends to be the case that if there is something which needs doing in the home, women just do it.
‘This has been described as a ‘second shift’ for women, who come home from work and start doing more in the form of household chores.’
‘Men still earn more than women, on average, and that gives them a little more leverage in terms of negotiating housework.
‘Things are not changing as fast in the domestic sphere as we might have thought, so we need to raise awareness and think a bit more about it.’
When you have dry, sensitive skin or a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, you’ll try all manner of pricey potions to soothe the pain.
What if a cheap body wash from Aldi could lend a hand?
For 85p, we reckon it’s worth a go.
A mum has headed to the Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK Facebook group to share her discovery, saying that Aldi’s 85p Lacura Body Wash and Foam Bath works wonders for her son’s eczema.
She wrote: ‘For anyone whose children have sensitive skin. Under 1£ ( think 85p) at Aldi my little boy has really sensitive skin/ezema. He used to use oilatum which was 5£ plus and this still stuff is just as good plus lasts him a while.’
It looks like she’s not the only one who’s seen positive results.
Another mum commented: ‘All my kids have sensitive skin as well as me and I have been using this for 2 years and never had any breakouts since using this it’s brilliant.’
While another said: ‘I use this for my 2 and I have to say my boy who has sensitive skin has really smooth skin and always use it now.’
The product itself is pretty much your bog-standard sensitive cleanser, made without artificial scents and allergens that can irritate the skin.
The wash is also designed to be cleansing without drying, and Aldi says it ‘helps to improve the skin’s protection barrier and maintain the skin’s natural PH.’
There are loads of similar products out there – look for anything designed for sensitive skin that’s moisturising, not drying – but the 85p price tag of Aldi’s makes it a tempting option.
The reviews online are pretty positive, too, describing the product as ‘better than Sanex’.
A happy customer wrote: ‘Perfect for my children. I find this is just right for sensitive skin.
‘Forget Sanex this is a fantastic dupe, very similar to the leading brand but smells lovely, moisturises the skin well & my youngest hasn’t had red blotches since using this.’
So if you have sensitive skin, like Sanex or similar products, but want to save a bit of cash, head to Aldi or order online. Even if it doesn’t work for you, you’re only out 85p.
No running, no offside rule, and plenty of laughs – it’s football like you’ve never seen it before.
Walking football is on the rise – and this is fantastic news. The slow-motion sport allows older people, people with injuries or people who have never played sport before, to get active, socialise and have all the fun.
We met up with a vibrant team who are based in Sutton. The group – who are mostly retired, say that getting back to football has given them a new lease of life and made them realise that they still have so much more to give.
‘When you reach 50, a lot of people think – OK, it’s over for you. But it’s literally just starting again. It’s like a second breath,’ says team leader Greg Dalmar.
‘My heart’s beating after playing just 20 minutes. It gives you a heartbeat again, and that’s so important.
‘One of our key players, Chris Taylor, he died in a skiing accident recently and we were all just devastated. So putting our Sutton shirts back on – it just brings all the emotions back. Whenever we wear these shirts, we are doing it with Chris Taylor in mind. We miss you Chris.’
Robert Lilly has been playing walking football ever since he retired. It says it has given his life direction when he needed it most.
‘It keeps the heart rate going really,’ says Robert.
‘Some of us finish working and we think – what the hell are we going to do with ourselves now? But in walking football I’ve found a purpose for myself and I’ve found a purpose for the guys I play with, and it’s just fantastic.
‘We’re all from different walks of life, some of us were bankers, some of us were architects, some of us were dustmen – where else would you bring such a varied group of people like that together?’
So how do you play it?
The team we filmed with got a little carried away and let themselves break into the occasional jog – but strictly speaking, you have to keep one foot on the ground at all times. Like speed walkers.
Each game is 40 minutes and you can only go for low-impact tackles – so leave your glory slides at the door.
How do you play walking football?
According to the official Walking Football website – there are key rules to follow when you play:
1. Six players each per side. Five outfield players and a goalkeeper.
2. Each game is 40 minutes long. 20 minutes per half.
3. No running or jogging, with or without the ball.
4. Low impact tackling only. No sliding tackles.
5. No off sides.
6. The ball must not be kicked or defected by any outfield player, or throw (by the goalkeeper) above head height.
7. All free kicks are indirect (i.e players cannot shoot direct at the goal. They must pass instead).
8. Goals can be scored from any outfield position. Goals cannot be scored direct from kick offs, kick ins, drop balls, goalkeeper’s kick, save or throw.
9. Three roll on, roll off substitues permitted per game. Substitutions can be made when there is a break in play, the ball is dead or the goalkeeper has possession of the ball.
10. Referee operates red, yellow and blue card procedures. Blue card indicates a two minute sin bin for a player.
11. Players are not allowed in the penalty area. If player enters in the penalty area deliberately or denies a clear goal scoring opportunity – a penalty is awarded to the attacking team.
12. If a free kick is on the penalty area line, the ball must be moved back two meters..
13. Outfield players are not allowed to hold onto walls (indoor matches) or barriers (outdoor matches) to block or shield the ball.
14. Goalkeeper must wear shirt or bib that distinguishes from outfield players.
15. Goalkeeper can receive back passes. He may either kick or throw ball back into play. Goalkeeper throws must be under arm.
16. Possession is given back to the goalkeeper if ball travels above head height whilst being deflected or saved by the goalkeeper.
17. Goalkeeper not allowed outside penalty area (except by momentum whilst making a save).
There are now seven professional walking football teams in London alone, just four less than Premier League teams – and popularity is booming.
But it’s actually not a new sport, it was first played in 1932, but it only really gained momentum in early 2014, which is why we are only just discovering how beneficial it can be.
We are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic and retired and older people are the most vulnerable.
Outlets like walking football provide an invaluable source of social connection that can vastly improve quality of life for people who might otherwise become isolated.
‘Walking football has brought people together, but it’s the people themselves that have created such valuable friendships,’ says Rod Noble, Better’s Community Sports Manager who runs weekly sessions.
‘When someone doesn’t show up for a training session, we have everyone asking about them, where they are and if they’re okay. They’ve even got their own WhatsApp group and go on holidays with one another!
‘It definitely opens up a new community among both older men and women. You have people who live down the road from one another who wouldn’t have even said hello, now they’re playing football, chatting for hours every week and seeing each other outside of sessions.’
What are the benefits of walking football?
There are absolutely loads of benefits, from the physical to the psychological and the social.
In older people it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke and improve blood pressure. You can also see positive changes in postural balance, blood pressure and resting heart rate, lowered cholesterol, improved blood sugar levels, bone density and improved reactions.
According to the national governing body for the sport, studies have shown that walking football can be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate hypertension.
There are also many psychological and mental health advantages to playing walking football – people report that they feel high levels of personal reward and satisfaction and reduced stress.
As we get older, many of us struggle with our balance, strength, stamina, weight and worst of all confidence and self-esteem, but walking football has the potential to make a significant impact in all these areas.
It builds body strength, improves muscles, stability and could help you lose some age-related weight. Your emotional health also gets a great boost – people who play regularly have found that their self-esteem goes through the roof.
So we know what we’ll be signing up for the moment we hit retirement age.
Why not encourage your grandparents to give it a go – it could help them improve so much more than just their fitness.
I am Team GB
Toyota has teamed up with Team GB to re-launch the hugely successful participation campaign ‘I am Team GB’.
Inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes and the amazing efforts of local community heroes, Team GB has created ‘The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day’, which will take place on the 24thAugust.
Over the weekend, there will be hundreds of free and fun activities across the country, put on by an army of volunteers; the ‘I am Team GB Games Makers’.
To Join the Team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day sign up at: www.IAmTeamGB.com
At the age of 18 I became the youngest person in the UK to have a pancreas transplant and it can be really hard to explain to someone who hasn’t had any experience with organ transplants what it’s truly like.
I have a rare and complex form of Brittle Diabetes, a variation of type one diabetes that can be extremely difficult to control and I’ve since been diagnosed with numerous other conditions.
It is right to say people can live a full, healthy life following a transplant, and I was ecstatic when the phone rang and I was told a new pancreas had been found for me.
However, there is a common misconception that once someone has had a transplant, they are cured for life.
This isn’t the case. Transplants are life-saving but they are a treatment rather than a cure and transplanted organs do not last forever – mine lasted just three and a half years.
Without a functioning pancreas, there isn’t a day where I don’t experience multiple symptoms, be that seizures, spasms, numbness, falls, sickness, dizziness or fatigue. I am mostly dependent on my wheelchair as I am unable to walk any kind of distance and fall over frequently.
Even if a transplant is successful, there are still the regular hospital appointments, blood tests, biopsies and daily medications to consider, and the side effects of those medications. You can never miss a dose of those medications, and there is always a risk of organ rejection or infection.
Every healthy day with a working transplant is a blessing. Mine gave me the chance to go back to school and do my A Levels, start my degree in psychology (which I have recently completed) and so many opportunities I never dreamed would be possible.
Yet transplant patients have to live with the knowledge that they are on borrowed time and the only certainty for most is that they will be ill again in the future. Most go back to square one on the waiting list for another organ with all the fear that brings, although for some a second transplant isn’t an option.
There are currently more than 6,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the UK, and due to a shortage in organ donors, someone on that list dies every day.
Being on the waiting list was an incredibly scary time for me. I’d jump every time the phone rang only for it to be just another spam call and there’s always that worry in the back of your mind that you won’t get the call in time.
In the last year, however, over 3,500 people received a life-saving or life-transforming transplant thanks to the generosity of over 1,400 people who became organ donors after their death.
I am forever grateful to my donor, and their family. There isn’t really a day that goes by I don’t think of them.
I wrote to my donor’s family after my transplant, and it was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve ever written.
Even though my transplant only lasted a short time, it gave me the time for new technologies and treatments to become available. I try and hold on to this as I will most likely need another transplant in the future.
It has also introduced me to the British Transplant Games. This year will be the second year, having taken silver in the archery in the 2014 Games in Bolton. I’ll be competing in archery, table tennis and swimming, which is one of the few sports I can do without risk of injury. Being in the water makes me feel free.
Exercise is so important for transplant patients to stay healthy and well and it has helped me get through some of the most challenging times in my life. Obviously I would love to win a medal this year but I haven’t been able to train as often as I would have liked.
It’s a common issue for transplant patients as your health can go up and down even if your transplant is still functioning OK.
For me the Games are more than winning.
Firstly, they highlight the need for a conversation about organ donation. Regardless of whether the UK adopts an opt-in or an opt-out law, the final decision on organ donation is made by loved ones. Families are far more likely to support organ donation when they know that is what you wanted to do.
They also give me a chance to come together with people who truly understand me and know what’s like to live on both sides of the transplant fence – needing one and living with one, and the unique challenges that come from both.
This time we’re following Mara (not her real name), a 26-year-old editor who says she ‘doesn’t really drink’.
So, just for some context: I’ve been ‘not really drinking’ for over a year now, which essentially means I’m not supposed to drink alcohol but will very occasionally.
I’m not supposed to drink alcohol because I’m on antidepressants, which shouldn’t be mixed with booze.
But also I realised a couple years back that my relationship with alcohol isn’t healthy. I was getting hammered to deal with social anxiety or to shut out negative thoughts, and could never have just the one drink. It was always loads of double rum and cokes, then shots, then more double rum and cokes so that I could be drunk enough to not be bothered about all the not great stuff going on in my head.
Then when I started drinking while also taking antidepressants I noticed that booze wasn’t helping at all. Instead, it often made me feel even worse. I remember having a pint with friends and then feeling my OCD completely take over. I had to get out of that pub ASAP.
So I shouldn’t drink, and I’ll usually turn down booze when it’s offered. But I still find myself drinking alcohol more than I’d like.
Anyway, that’s the context. Today I don’t drink any alcohol because I’m home all day and there’s no opportunity or reason.
Again, no booze! Well done, me.
I did have a tiny sip of a peach and passionfruit gin in the afternoon, but that was literally a tiny sip to see what it tasted like. I don’t think that counts.
It’s warm, sticky, and as my boyfriend and I have finished work for the day it feels like we should celebrate.
We stop in at Whole Foods to pick up some new green tea (exciting, I know), then passing the booze aisle see cans of a beer we both like.
I offer to get us a can each.
We don’t end up drinking it that day, though, so no alcohol today either.
Here’s where plans go a bit awry. I’m out with some friends for a night of bonding and chat, and start the night off being smart and sticking to a mocktail.
Then one friend gets a bottle of wine, and it feels rude not to share. I have a glass, even though I don’t actually like wine and would much prefer a cocktail.
We head back to another friend’s flat and there’s more wine. I’m not planning to drink any, but when I’m offered a white wine spritz with lemonade I say yes, obviously. That’s a way I can drink wine and actually enjoy it.
It’s interesting how much my tolerance has dropped from reducing my drinking. Back in my drinking days it would take me a while longer than everyone else to get drunk, and I’d need to have had at least four drinks before I’d even think about dancing.
Now I can have one drink and genuinely feel a bit tipsy.
After two white wine spritzes I can feel an alcohol induced headache and I feel just a tiny bit sloppy. I have an early start tomorrow but thankfully so does everyone else, so it doesn’t get any wilder. We all head home.
My boyfriend and I have a dinner reservation at 6.30pm, but we’re in the area with nothing to do at 5pm.
We head to a Brewdog, see the prices of the pints and dash right back out, then find a cosy pub instead. I get a pint of a beer that sounds drinkable (I don’t like beer, either) but only manage to sip down half.
No pub garden for me. I do drink a lot of cups of green tea throughout the day, though, and even treat myself to a kombucha in the afternoon. Naughty.
In the evening my boyfriend cracks open that beer we kept in the fridge, and I knock mine back while I’m cooking dinner.
My boyfriend and I go for another meal out, and this one’s a freebie.
We’re the only people in the restaurant. It’s very odd, and when the waiter presents us with a wine list and encourages us to order whatever cocktail we fancy, it feels rude to just stick to tap water.
I get a peach bellini. I finish that one midway through the meal and have another.
Yes, I do feel tipsy. Thankfully for some magical reason it doesn’t tip over into the bit where I’ve had a drink and start to feel awful mentally. I feel quite jolly.
If a glorious tan is your only takeaway from the hottest day of the year, then consider yourself lucky.
For many, increased perspiration caused by hot temperatures can result in uncomfortable thigh chafing.
It’s simple science – when one sweaty leg rubs against another sweaty leg, chafing can occur. So it can affect anyone, no matter what shape or size.
This unpleasant chub rub can result in red, raw skin which can bleed or turn into boils (in more extreme cases).
We’ve rounded up some of the best ways to both protect against chafing and tips on how deal with aftercare.
Buy anti-chafing clothing
Damp skin causes chafing so adding a layer of clothing for protection will stop perspiring legs touching, skin-on-skin.
Thankfully, the British high street offers a range of products to combat pesky chub rub.
Chafing bands, which resemble leg warmers for your upper thighs, can be worn discreetly under a summer dress, skirt or trousers. They usually come in nude or black so they can go unnoticed.
For more coverage, slipshorts (or bicycle shorts) are a great alternative. They’re smooth and designed to sit close against the skin, so they don’t stick out underneath clothing.
Try to stay dry
There’s no denying that trying to stay sweat-free in tropical temperatures is tricky, but the dryer your skin the less likely chafing will take place.
If possible, use a towel or tissues to pat perspiring thighs (if they are exposed). Alternatively, opt for lightweight clothes to cover the problem areas – linen and cotton are the best breathable fabrics for sweltering days.
Use a skin powder
Applying powder to skin will help combat excess sweating and there are various beauty products on the market that can help keep skin water-free.
Lush’s Underwear Dusting Powder is pretty much the adult equivalent of talcum powder. It’s packed full of ingredients such as cornstarch and kaolin which absorb moisture, so will leave skin feeling dry and smooth. The jasmine scent will also leave you smelling pretty great, too.
Anti-chafing balms are designed to create a waterproof barrier on skin. Simply apply anywhere that might see some rubbing.
These balms are particularly helpful if long-distance activities such as hiking, running or cycling cannot be avoided. But they’re are also well-worth applying before a walk to work on a hot summer’s day.
If the damage is already done…
It’s likely skin may have broken from chafing, so cleaning the area in question is of utmost importance, to prevent against possible infection. Do this with lukewarm water and using a gentle, fragrance-free soap.
Once chafing has happened, the trick is to stop thighs rubbing together to prevent any further damage. Applying soft bandages to each leg will help protect the troublesome area from further skin-on-skin rubbing.
Straight or gay, If you’re looking for a blowjob without all the hassle and commitment involved then this virtual blowjob app has your mini me’s sploodge written all over it.
CamSoda, an adult live streaming service based in the US, has launched Ep-Coc (insert puns here). It’s basically an online marketplace where guys can bid and receive on-demand simulated blowjobs – and yes, you can indeed choose how rough, long and rhythmic you want your blow to be.
If you want to get your mini badboy surrounded by someone’s virtual lips you’ll have to do two things: buy an automated masturbator (a male vibrator) and download an app that goes by the name of ‘Max 2’. Both work in unison to achieve the simulated blowjob of your life.
Once logged in, you can choose fellatio experiences from amateurs like the neighbour next door, or your favorite pornstar – everyone from Dani Daniels to Tori Black are up for grabs on livecam.
If you can’t decide on a girl or boy, the site has a handy algorithm which displays all the models on offer who have submitted digital BJs, along with their rating and the amount of likes they have received.
In the name of convenience, users have also now been given the chance to act as the app’s creators and are invited to ‘lick and touch their phone’s screen to record how they would give fellatio’ – that’s what the guys at TNW say, anyway.
This isn’t the first time the company has toyed with the art of the blowjob. Back in 2016, the creators took things further by offering punters the chance to do the same thing with a dildo that recorded a user’s ‘pressure suck’. Hilariously, all the data recorded would be stored in a blowjob file that users would then be able to distribute and download for a mere 250 smackers a blow.
Luckily the new offering is currently completely free of charge, but the company has recently admitted that it will start charging $0.99 at some point in the near future – maybe they’ll introduce a special starter pack, too?
Sadly women will have to wait a while to get their cunnilingus freak on as the technology is currently only available to men.
For guys looking to get their hands dirty in the work bathroom, you can check out all the models on offer through CamSoda. We’ll warn you now, it’s NSFW.
Shannon Wedley thought her dramatic weight gain during her first year at university was a result of an unhealthy takeaway habit, but it turned out to be something completely unexpected.
The 22-year-old, who was studying fine art at the University of Gloucestershire, initially didn’t think too much of her four stone weight gain.
But when her periods stopped suddenly, Shannon decided it was time to take a trip to the doctor.
She said: ‘As most students do, I adopted unhealthy eating habits like having regular takeaways and snacking loads.
‘However, I noticed I was gaining weight far quicker than I should have been. Before I knew it I had gained four stone in one year and watched my periods come to a halt.’
Following a number of tests, Shannon was told her symptoms were being caused by polycystic ovary syndrome – also known as PCOS – a condition that often affects how a woman’s ovaries work.
Many women with PCOS have cysts on their fallopian tubes, which contain immature eggs. Hormonal imbalances caused by PCOS can interfere with periods and the release of eggs from the ovaries, which can result in problems conceiving.
Despite there being no known cure, the doctors advised Shannon that losing weight may help her with the condition.
She said: ‘It was like a catch-22 as weight loss will help PCOS, but weight gain is also a symptom itself.
‘I stayed ignorant of what I needed to do and became depressed – even suffering panic attacks. By the end of uni three years later I had gained six stone.’
Rising anxieties about her appearance led Shannon to frequently cancel plans with friends and to stop applying for jobs that required a tight-fitting uniform.
Shortly after, Shannon suffered a miscarriage.
The tragic event prompted concerns from Shannon about her fertility. She consulted a gynaecologist who warned about her unhealthy lifestyle but told Shannon if her periods returned, she may be able to conceive.
She said: ‘Hearing this made me realise I had to be more proactive.’
On January 1st 2019 Shannon made it her New Year’s resolution to lose some of her weight.
Now, almost eight months on, the Gloucestershire graduate’s weight loss programme has gone from strength to strength, through a combination of healthy diet and HIT exercise sessions two to three times a week.
In total Shannon has lost around 10 dress sizes.
She said: ‘My confidence has improved so much, even the smaller things like picking an outfit every day are better.
‘It’s also so much easier to do day-to-day activities like walking up the stairs to my flat, which I would have struggled with before.
‘In terms of my PCOS – my periods have returned and my PCOS-related acne has cleared up.
‘I’m nearly at my goal of losing 100lbs by Christmas. I’ll also be getting married to Tom in August 2020 – picturing myself in my wedding dress will always motivate me to get to my goal.’
Pics from Jam Press (PCOS weight loss) Woman?s unhealthy uni lifestyle weight gain turned out to be Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which caused her to put on six stone, stopped her period and caused a miscarriage - but is now taking control of her health. Shannon Wedley, 22, a mail-order operator from Cheltenham, has always struggled with her weight and been 'chunkier' than her friends - but things went from bad to worse in her first year at uni. While studying Fine Art at the University of Gloucestershire in 2015, Shannon noticed her body was changing. She told Jam Press "As most students do, I adopted unhealthy eating habits like having regular takeaways and snacking loads. "However, I noticed I was gaining weight far quicker than I should have been. "Before I knew it I had gained four stone in one year and watched my periods come to a halt." Desperately worried about her health, Shannon visited her GP and was later sent for more tests which revealed she had PCOS. The hormonal imbalance disorder in women can cause weight gain, acne and difficulty getting pregnant, according to the NHS. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/) Although there is no known cure for PCOS, Shannon was advised to shed some of the weight she had gained to help her condition. She said: "It was like a catch-22 as weight loss will help PCOS, but weight gain is also a symptom itself. "I stayed ignorant of what I needed to do and become depressed - even suffering panic attacks. "By the end of uni three years later I had gained six stone." The rapid weight gain was having a serious effect on Shannon as she ballooned to 290lbs (20 stone 10lbs) and wore a size 26. Shannon also suffered a miscarriage with her then-boyfriend and now fiance, Tom, 22, a photographer, whom she met while they both studied at the same university. On top of this, Shannon also refused to apply for jobs which required tight-fitting uniforms and frequently cancelled plans with friends out of shame of being seen. After the tragic miscarriage, Shannon was worried about her fertility and went to see a gynaecologist who warned her about her lifestyle habits. Shannon said: "They told me if I lost weight my periods should return and I could conceive later in life. "Hearing this made me realise I had to be more proactive." Shannon made it her new years' resolution on January 1st 2019 to change her life and begin the 'Keto diet' - a low card, high-fat diet that is praised for its fast results. The graduate made a weight loss Instagram account for extra inspiration and healthy meal ideas, where she still shares her own body-transformation journey. Since then, Shannon has lost exactly four stone and now weighs 16 stone three lbs and wears a size 16 thanks to her new diet and HIT exercise sessions as the gym two to three times a week. She said: "My confidence has improved so much, even the smaller things like picking an outfit every day are better. "it's also so much easier to do day-to-day activities like walking up the stairs to my flat, which I would have struggled with before. "In terms of my PCOS - my periods have returned and my PCOS-related acne has cleared up. "I'm nearly at my goal of losing 100lbs by Christmas. I'll also be getting married to Tom in August 2020 - picturing myself in my wedding dress will always motivate me to get to my goal." ENDS.
If you’re looking for brand new content for the ‘gram, say hello to the city’s latest fix.
One of London’s most luxe hotels, The Berkeley, has just unveiled its brand new swanky bar, designed by the uber famous Irish interior designer Bryan O’Sullivan. For those of you that have never heard the name before, he’s recently been voted one of House and Garden’s top 100 designers – in other words, he’s a pretty big deal in the design world.
Of the capital’s brand new Insta space, think old school marble glamour, a snug fireplace that’s got date night written all over it, chic stone tables and a mural of whirling starlet faces hidden away in your very own private hole in the wall.
Oh and if its aesthetic resume isn’t already impressive enough, all the central materials used are casually taken from a 300-year old tree from the Fulbeck estate, Lincolnshire, that fell during the Great Storm of 2007. Because recycling is still on trend.
Yeah it’s super pretty, but it’s not just all about the space.
As with anything bar-related there’s a lot of booze, and here you’re guaranteed to find the good stuff. Wines and champs from France you’ve never heard of, along with under the radar and rare offerings from Japanese whisky maker Ichiro are all up for downing. The hotel even had the Scots make a rare whisky from 1972, the year the hotel opened. There are only two available though, so form an orderly drunken line before you try to snag the stuff.
Food wise, you can expect everything from the usual small plates including the likes of Cornish crab and lobster beignets, Iberico ham toast, chicken tulips and a load of oysters, because obviously.
To finish, girls and boys can get their Mad Men groove on and settle in The Snug (that perfect date spot we mentioned earlier) for private party galore. It even has its own sound system and call-for-service button. Advice: grab a Cuban cigar from the bar before you settle in.
And if someone catches your vision bar-side, continue the party upstairs in the room. Terraces come with great views.
The Berkeley is at Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7R. The bar is open from 4pm to 1am Monday to Saturday.
After spending the week sweating through the better part of your wardrobe, there’s no way you have trackpants, oversized jackets or bulky sneakers on the brain. Not a chance.
However, as fashion is a business rooted in forecasting, we bring you the second Reebok x Victoria Beckham collection.
The new line features women’s and unisex clothes including bomber jackets, form-fitting leggings plus fashion nods to Posh’s pre-Spice Girls dancer days with soft pink hues, a ballet headband and cropped sweatshirts.
It’s been hailed as ‘elevated’ streetwear which means absolutely nothing except that it’s in the realm of bougie athleisurewear, and you can bet it emanates that ‘£200 t-shirt’ energy. Here’s a video of angry hotties to prove it:
A summer heatwave can cause a number of problems for the average person – sleepless nights, sweaty backs, sunburn and so on, but the death of a beloved house plant needn’t be one of them.
As temperatures soar and people head outside to soak up the sunshine, house plants can be left neglected. Mainly due to the fact that proud plant parents are often left clueless on how to care for their greenery when it gets hot. Really hot.
But plant deaths are preventable.
Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when tending to shrubs during hot weather.
Keep them away from fans/air conditioning
Yes, fans and air conditioning systems work an absolute treat for us humans but when it comes to foliage, it’s a different matter.
It would be fair to think that putting a plant in front of a fan would stop it from overheating, but the reality is that this may actually cause it more harm. Air conditioning can dehydrate the air surrounding a plant and tropical plants in particular do not enjoy cold air on their leaves.
Keeping a fan in the same room as plants should be fine, just try to avoid placing plants directly into the line of fire.
For those looking to keep plants cool cool without a fan, it’s actually better to keep windows shut during the day and then open them at night when the temperature cools outside.
Don’t let plants sit in water
If your plant is looking a little parched, definitely give it a good watering, but make sure the plant isn’t left sitting in water at the bottom.
Leaving roots to float in water can cause them to rot and the wet conditions can lead to flies laying eggs in the soil. To protect against this, it’s best to pop a few pebbles at the bottom of a plant pot. This acts as a DIY drainage system.
Keep an eye out for bugs
House plants are likely to attract pests on particularly hot days, so it’s best to keep a look out for the telltale signs of a bug invasion.
The main thing to look out for is any cotton or web-like material on the leaves, as this could be an indication of mealybugs or mites, both of which could harm the foliage.
Neem oil, derived from the seed of the tropical neem tree, is best to deal with any unwanted pests. It’s often found in spray form and is readily available at most gardening shops.
Water them correctly
Firstly, be sure to water the soil rather than the leaves.
Blasting them with cold water may seem like a good idea on a balmy day, but it may shock the plant. Using room temperature water is a safer bet.
Also be sure to soak the soil in one go, rather than sprinkling for a few minutes. Then wait for around 15 minutes and see if the water has been absorbed, if it has then the plant might need more – so go in for another soak.
The best way to see if your plant needs water is to check the soil to see if it feels dry more than an inch down.
During a heatwave it’s best to check the soil every one to two days to avoid any expected casualties.
Get to know their own needs
If you have a few plants knocking around your home, it’s unlikely they are all the same type, so each will have different needs and requirements.
Take some time to research the conditions that are best suited to your various plants.
Some plants thrive in direct sunlight, some don’t. Others prefer a more humid room, and some need to be watered more often.
If need be adjust their positions around your room/flat/house, as this will help prolong their life.
Look out for warning signs
Look out for any sign of wilting, drooping or a change in colour, as these can all be cries for help.
It’s also possible to smother your plant with too much love. Drowning a plant in water, even in a heatwave, is not good. Orange spots or rust on the leaves are signs of overwatering.
Swanky favourite the Corinthia Hotel in London has just partnered up with celeb aesthetic doctor Barbara Sturm.
Why? Age defying facials, of course.
A legend in Hollywood – Kim Kardashian and the Hadid sisters, to Irina Shayk, Victoria Beckham Rachel Zoe, Nicky Hilton, Huda Kattan and Hilary Duff are all loyal disciples – Sturm will be setting up shop in the hotel’s underground spa: the ESPA life at the Corinthia, and get this, her treatment list includes its very own men’s facial.
While a facial might not be on most lad’s daily itineraries, there’s no denying that London’s polluted smog can prove pretty harsh on a man’s skin.
Everything from the city’s traffic fumes to people puffing away on cigarettes at your local bus stop can all have detrimental effects to the epidermis, including premature skin ageing, discoloration, dryness, dullness, and unnecessary roughness.
The solution? A facial, obvs.
Sturm’s facial has been totally customized to the specific needs and challenges male skin can face, especially in a grotty city like London.
Designed to cleanse, tone, soothe and comfort irritated skin, particularly after shaving, the Men’s Facial removes rough or dry skin to help promote skin regeneration, while also fighting the common and very visible signs of ageing, under the eye discoloration and puffiness.
Known especially for her non-invasive approach to skincare, one of the magic ingredients in Sturm’s potion portfolio is a natural anti-ageing plant extract that goes by the name of Purslane.
A clear winner for fighting the visible effects of inflammation, Purslane is what Harvard University has dubbed the ‘fountain of youth’ enzyme, delivering antioxidation, nutrition, and calming effects to the skin. And yes, the stuff is going to be massaged on to all of your pores.
If you’re skeptical, don’t be. Several studies carried out over the last decade have all proven the amazing health benefits of 90 minutes on the slab.
Aside from all the aesthetic pros, facials are great for relieving skin tension and increasing blood flow to the face (farewell drained puffy eyes) and can even help eliminate pesky skin nuisances like whiteheads and other forms of acne. Because you have to look your best on Tinder, guys.
It’s not all about the blokes though. Ladies can expect everything from instant glow, super anti ageing, brightening and clarifying facials on the menu, and there’s also one that has been specially formulated for darker skin tones too.
If you’re brave enough, you can also add a micro needling session to your treatment. It’s good for collagen production (the stuff that basically keeps you looking younger for longer).
To keep your skin looking fly for as long as possible, all the serums used are available to nab in the ESPA life spa shop. They’re not cheap, but hey, your skin’s worth it.
Post spa, head for the pool. It’s total Instagram goals.
Sweating sure has its perks. It’s the ultimate way of marking your territory with personal liquids (pee is so passé!) so nobody wants the gym equipment you’ve claimed.
There are drawbacks, sure, like not being able to make it through the commute without your back tears resembling a Rorschach test, but you get by.
Whether you’ve transcended beyond the stigma of being a sweaty mess, or you’re still drowning in your own pore prison, here are some dermatologist approved sweat hacks.
The future is linen
If your idea of a hot girl summer is sauntering about in a white suit made entirely of linen, now’s your chance to be both fashionable and functional.
‘Sweating can be reduced by wearing breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen, as they keep you cooler by absorbing the excess moisture on your skin,’ Dr Daniel Glass of The Dermatology Clinic London tells Metro.co.uk.
Try an aluminium chloride deodorant
Dr Sunil Chopra of London Dermatology Centre recommends reassessing the antiperspirant you’re using. Is it strong enough? Is a natural formula really going to calm the tides?
If you’re sweating profusely from your underarms, trying an aluminium chloride-based antiperspirant could be worth a try as the aluminum chloride forms a gel-like block that prevents sweat from travelling to the surface of the skin.
Surrender your chilli
Alcohol can be conducive to a good time, caffeine can help you masquerade as an energetic being and spicy food can present the opportunity to show off your fantastic culinary and cultural tolerance to your Tinder date. But all of these things are engineered to kill… your chances of not sweating through your shirt.
Dr Chopra suggests these three can act as triggers for excessive perspiration.
Peppers contain a natural chemical called capsaicin that sends signals to your brain of overheating, so you sweat. As caffeine is a mild stimulant, it speeds up processes in the nervous system, increasing the rate at which your body regulates temperature.
So some people might find themselves sweating after a cup of coffee. Alcohol can quicken your heart rate and widen the skin’s blood vessels, which causes you to perspire.
We know you adore these three things, so do with this information what you will.
Iontophoresis for the win
If all else fails, Dr Glass recommends you try a session of iontophoresis. The treatment is most frequently used on palms and feet, and involves passing a small electric current to affected areas through water. Fear not, the electrical current isn’t strong enough to give you a shock.
‘Iontophoresis can be a very effective treatment for hyperhydrosis in some cases,’ Dr Glass tells metro.co.uk.
‘If you buy your own machine, it can allow you to control your sweating without relying on medical professionals.’
The process has been found to be most effective if repeated weekly.
If you have a newborn, it’s likely that you’re extremely attuned to every single sound they make – awake or asleep.
Every gurgle and cough is either exciting or worrying, with hiccups being one of those falls somewhere in the middle.
One one hand, it’s adorable. On the other, you might be scared that it means something is wrong, or that your baby will become distressed by the involuntary contractions.
Since you definitely can’t give your baby a fright to make the hiccups go away, you’ll have to find a gentler way to do so,
What causes baby hiccups and what do they mean?
Baby hiccups – just like those that we experienced – are contractions of the diaphragm.
It normally starts when the diaphragm is irritated in some way, making it jerk downwards, and force you to bring air into your throat.
One study found that, in babies, this was caused by excess air getting into the stomach during feeding, although the exact purpose of them is unknown.
Anecdotally, you might notice that your baby gets hiccups when they’ve been overfed, eaten too quickly, or swallowed some air accidentally.
Hiccups in newborns are rarely anything to worry about. However, if they do happen regularly, and your baby seems distressed, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem.
How to stop baby hiccups
Prevention is generally better than cure, so here are ways to stop hiccups happening before they start:
Opt for smaller feeds so that the baby’s stomach isn’t getting too full. A general rule of thumb is to feed twice as often but with half as much.
If you hear gulping sounds, make sure your baby’s mouth is sealed around your areola or on the bottle teat.
Keep bottles at a 45 degree angle while feeding.
Burp your baby more often during feeding, going slower and ensuring baby is relaxed and comfortable.
Check that you have the right teat flow if bottle-feeding. If it’s too high, your little one’s stomach might fill up very quickly, or if it’s too low, they might try to compensate by sucking hardere and taking in more air.
If they’ve already started, the best thing you can do is keep your baby as happy as possible; rocking them gently and perhaps giving them a soothing rub on the back.
Eventually, they should go away themselves.
If you find that your baby is hiccuping for hours on end, seems very distressed, or get hiccups frequently, have a chat with your midwife, health visitor, or GP.
Now let’s face it: we all had fears of getting our locks chopped off when we were younger but for Owain Thomas, his fear was so real that he refused to go to the barber for…wait for it…10 years.
Despite constant pleas and the odd bribe from Owain’s family members (especially his mum and dad), the 14-year-old, who has autism, still said no to a buzz cut.
For those that don’t know, children who have autism can sometimes find it hard to cope with change, so anything as simple as a haircut can be a pretty big deal.
Owain spent years of his life dreaming of having a surfer dude hairdo, but because of his fears could never quite get the look he so desired.
Years of neglect took its toll on young Owain and his hair became so tangled that his mum spent hours trying to detangle it with spray and a comb. The result? A literal mesh of dead protein atop his noggin.
However, after a little white lie courtesy of his parents (they told him all his hair would fall out), Owain finally agreed to get the chop.
The lucky barber? James ‘Jim the Trim’ Williams, that’s who. After seeing Owain, James admitted that he wanted to save as much of the young boy’s hair as possible because it had become so tangled and damaged that it was like ‘peeling off a potato’.
After some very precise trimming, Owain was left with a slick new look cut blunt to make it appear thicker.
‘It was the first time I had come across hair like that as well.. I’d never seen it like that in person,’ said James.
‘It was obviously a challenge for me as well because I wanted to retain as much hair as possible underneath.
‘Most places would have tried to scalp him, but I wanted his hair to look alright afterwards.’
News of Owain’s dramatic transformation surfaced after James shared photos of the boy’s hair online where they received thousands of likes, shares and comments.
In response to the new look, Owain’s father Anthony who hails from Bridgend in Wales, said: ‘Jim did an excellent job.
‘For Owain to sit there and then go through with it was amazing to see – and he saved as much hair as he could.
‘It came off like an Easter egg wrapper.’
As part of Owain’s new haircare routine, he’s been given a load of special conditioners and shampoos to help strengthen and shine his tresses.
And just in case you’re wondering, he’s been booked in for a second appointment next month.
All we know is that we can’t wait to see the new pictures.
So you’re seeing someone. Not just in zesty, kaleidoscopic visions that appear while you sleep… this time it’s a real lifeform.
They’re made of hair, blood, guts and the sweetest of butts. The human aspect is cool and all, but humans do tend to have a particular date they arrived on earth. And this presents a quandary, or an opportunity. What do you give them for their birthday?
Things are new. You’re only just getting to know them, but you don’t want to give them an underwhelming pressie, and you certainly don’t want to give something OTT that will have them phoning the police.
Relationship coach Laura Yates tells Metro.co.uk: ‘When a dating situation isn’t a ‘relationship’ yet or at least if that discussion hasn’t been had, it can be tricky to know if two people are on the same page about the trajectory of where it’s going.
‘So best to keep these occasions like birthdays fun, light-hearted and low key!’
You heard her. Be cool.
Here are some tips from the experts on how to survive your unofficial flame’s special day.
Tickets to their heart
‘Treat your date to some tickets to something fun and exciting that you can enjoy together. Shared experiences help to build connection and a sense of togetherness in your relationship,’ love coach Vicki Pavitt tells us.
So if you like them, give a gift which means they’ll have to hang out with you. Tickets to a comedy night, musical, food festival or just the movies are a relaxed way of saying: I like you, but I’m not imagining what our babies would look like.
If you happen to be broke, you can also create DIY tickets offering a home-cooked dinner/a hug.
Speaking of DIY…
‘Don’t let the idea of gift giving overwhelm you, start small and keep it simple and inexpensive at first. Save the big ticket items for when you are more emotionally invested in the relationship,’ Vicki says.
Use this opportunity to show them that you care, and to exhibit your creative skills in a simple way. Knit a beanie, snap some nude polaroids and bind them together with your hair, or even spend the weekend crafting a blue egg because the internet told you to.
An opportunity to learn
Plan something to enlighten your chosen, but not yet betrothed, human.
Laura Yates says: ‘In this situation, it’s nice to show acknowledgement of the birthday in some way but to keep it light and low-key. This could be something like suggesting you do something fun or a bit different as a date.’
Doing something different means you can test your compatibility with a problem-solving activity. It’s their special day, but it’s also special because you now get to learn what the heck they’re really made of. Opt for an escape room, laser tag session, paintball battle, fitness class or even a cooking lesson.
If you’ve caught them day-dreaming about a travel destination, find a guidebook for that location or a travel related item like a vintage world map or a top-of-the-line portable charger. It’ll also delicately hint you’d like to be their adventure buddy.
Their desired booze
You probably learned their drink of choice on the first date. So go on, be a lazy turd, but a generous one.