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

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    Illustration of a woman drinking detox tea
    Friends don’t always trust you when you decide to drink less or quit drinking (Picture: Mmuffn for Metro.co.uk)

    In my twenties, I stopped drinking. For two years, I just nursed glasses of lemonade at parties and tried my best to deal with people’s confusing suspicion about it.

    Friends don’t always trust you when you decide to drink less or quit drinking, you see. They’re wary of you. It’s like they suspect you’re deliberately staying sober so you can catch them out doing or saying something stupid in their inebriated state.

    They feel betrayed somehow by your decision not to join in the drinking. That, or they just think you’re no fun anymore.

    The peer pressure is real when you decide not to drink for whatever reason. People would often foist a drink on me when we were out, or fill my glass with alcohol, insisting that I be part of the party.

    That included friends, even close ones. It troubled me and proved just how powerfully we’ve come to rely on alcohol for socialising.

    So, how do you manage your social life when you decide to cut down your drinking? How do you quit without losing your mates? And how do you manage the weird reaction you might get from people when you put down the booze?

    How to explain it

    Maybe you’ve stopped drinking for mental or physical health reasons. Maybe you need to address your relationship with alcohol.

    Whatever your reason, it belongs to you. You don’t have to explain to everyone why you’ve decided to quit drinking – you do not owe it to anyone – but it might be helpful to have a little spiel ready to go, anyway.

    It doesn’t have to be the whole truth, particularly if it’s tender for you. In good company, it should really be enough to say that you’re not feeling like drinking right now, you’re taking it slow booze-wise at the moment or you just don’t fancy a wine.

    Of course, if you’re feeling strong enough to be vulnerable, you can explain that you need a break from alcohol because you felt out of control, because your doctor recommended it, or because you’re testing out sobriety for a bit.

    You can be as brief as you like, and if someone presses you to tell them more, just say that you don’t want to talk about it. Good friends shouldn’t have objections to that.

    How to socialise without alcohol

    Once you’ve decided to stop drinking, you’ll start to notice how easy and lovely it is to have fun without it. We can get so dependent on alcohol as a social lubricant that we forgot how to socialise without it, but it can actually be refreshing and delightful.

    So, you could start by suggesting some activities where alcohol is not required. A walk in the park, for instance. Brunch, without the bottomless prosecco. Coffee dates. A sport of some kind, cycling, a swim, the movies.

    There are all sorts of wholesome activities that do not require alcohol and it’ll probably be freeing to be among your friends without needing that sip of a G&T.

    Your friends will probably enjoy it, too, because it can actually be a wholly lovely throwback to a time before alcohol complicated our social lives.

    You will ultimately have to get used to being the one who’s not drinking at an event where everyone else is if you want to be able to go to weddings, birthdays and celebrations.

    To survive that unscathed, you just have to be resolute, calm and committed to your new sobriety. Stay strong, lay into the soft drinks, work on knowing who you are without booze.

    The Gran Canaria Walking Festival, A winter adventure.
    So, you could start by suggesting some activities where alcohol is not required. A walk in the park, for instance (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    It might take time for this to feel normal and OK for you but stick at it. Keep accepting those invitations to social events and ordering those cranberry juices.

    There’s no reason to isolate yourself just because you’ve decided to say no to cider.

    Speaking of drinks – take delicious non-alcoholic drinks with you if you’re going to an event where booze will be supplied.

    Just as other people might BYO beer, bring along some fancy elderflower cordial or a lovely sparkling mineral water. You could also invite along a sober friend for solidarity and support.

    What to do if your friends get angry about it

    If your friends get angry with you for making the decision to stop drinking, then you need to think about the type of people you’re keeping in your life.

    Frankly, it’s pretty appalling if someone can’t handle your decision to quit drinking. If they give you a hard time about it, I’d be having a stern think about whether they belong in your life anymore.

    Real friends should listen to you, encourage you and support you in your decisions, even if that means they lose a drinking buddy.

    If the foundation of your friendship with someone is the shared act of consuming alcohol, then you should think about what this person means to you without a tequila in their hand and whether there’s anything worth salvaging outside partying together.

    If you lose a friend because you stopped drinking, how good a friend could they really have been in the first place?

    That said, if you’d like to keep a cranky friend of yours, you could try explaining your decision to them, if that’s something you feel comfortable doing. If they understand why you’ve decided not to drink, they might find it easier to get on board.

    If they’ve reacted badly, you could tell them it’s hurt you and you’d really appreciate it if they could try and be kinder about it.

    Challenge them on their behaviour, too. Asking someone straight-up ‘why does my not drinking make you uncomfortable?’ will either shut someone up or get them to assess their own reaction. Pour yourself a nice cold apple juice and talk it through.

    MORE: Dating as a recovering alcoholic presents a whole new set of challenges

    MORE: Spill It: How much booze a 26-year-old video journalist drinks in a week


    ILLUSTRATION REQUEST** Tea detoxes/ eating disorder piece (India Benjamin)ILLUSTRATION REQUEST** Tea detoxes/ eating disorder piece (India Benjamin)

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    Kids are sneaky, and if you turn your back for just a minute they’ll do something naughty.

    Let this be the lesson you learn from Sarah Power, 29, who popped upstairs for a few minutes then returned to find that her two-year-old daughter had pooed on the floor and covered herself in Sudocrem.

    As well as smearing the white cream all over herself, little Sasha also very kindly rubbed it into her mum’s living room furniture. Lovely.

    Sarah shared a video of the moment she found Sasha covering herself in Sudocrem, not long after she had done a poo on the floor, on The Motherload’s Facebook Group.

    She wrote: ‘Not only did my 2-year-old take a poo on the floor. I came downstairs to find her doing this!’

    Sasha covered herself in Sudocrem when her mum had left the room
    Oh dear (Picture: The Motherload)

    Thankfully Sarah says she was able to clean the Sudocrem off both toddler and sofa, with plenty of washing up liquid and hot water.

    She advised that if anyone else went through similar struggles, they might as well bin the cleaning cloths after wiping away the cream – ‘nothing is going to save them’.

    Sarah isn’t the first parent to face this mishap (and she won’t be the last). Her Facebook post was flooded with comments from other parents who related, hard.

    One parent wrote: ‘Are you even a parent unless you have a Sudocrem photo or in your case video?’

    Another helpfully advised locking away creams and anything that could cause a major mess – it’s simply not worth the risk of your kids finding a new way to destroy their surroundings.

    MORE: Toddler accidentally receives ‘Happy Birthday Loser’ cake

    MORE: Fitness blogger mum gets rid of breast implants and apologises for pushing an unrealistic body type


    Toddler poops on the floor then covers herself in Sudocrem when her mum wasn\'t looking for 2 minutesToddler poops on the floor then covers herself in Sudocrem when her mum wasn\'t looking for 2 minutes

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     Rude cartoon drawings on McDonald's see-through cups
    Not McDonald’s intention (Picture: Twitter/mao_kila)

    McDonald’s has been treating Japanese people to its McFizz soft drinks this summer (unavailable in the UK, sadly).

    The sweet summery beverages come in little transparent cups that are adorned with illustrations of a boy and girl kissing.

    You might be thinking ‘how cute’ or ‘how innocent’ but of course nice things rarely last very long.

    Some naughty folks have been making their own tweaks to the cups’ images, positioning them so an innocent kiss becomes quite rude.

    Tilting the cups to form some suggestive images and adding their own characters, the pictures have gone viral and entirely ruined the cups’ innocent intentions.

    McDonald's Mcfizz drinks
    What they’re supposed to look like (Picture: McDonald’s)

    The Mcfizz line includes Lemon Ginger, Blue Hawaii, and Blood Orange flavours.

    Instead of just admiring the design or putting it up on their Insta story with some sort of fitting hashtag, makeshift artists have added some sexual touches.

    In some of the illustrations, the boy character is seen humping the girl, getting fellatio, pinching her behind while winking (all consensually, we hope).

    But it’s not just heteronormative relations they’re adding as they’re repping same-sex couples too.

    In one of the images, boy McFizz is going down on another boy.

    And they’re matching so, you know, #couplegoals.

    Social media users have been appreciating the stuff with some saying ‘this is creativity’.

    Others are not so impressed: ‘This is why we can’t have nice things’.

    Here are the naughty additions to McDonald’s McFizz drinks:

    MORE: The McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets have arrived – here’s what they taste like

    MORE: McDonald’s new spicy nuggets slammed for ‘not being spicy’

    MORE: Mum left in hysterics after son draws a picture of a tulip that looks more like a vagina


    McDonald's Japan design failMcDonald's Japan design fail

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    sleep well
    Feeling worried about your sleep dreams? Don’t. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    If Freud is to be believed, every slip of the tongue or night terror is indicative of some sort of psychopathic tendency.

    There’s no denying, though, that when our subconscious shows something we didn’t want to see, it can create an uneasy feeling.

    Having a sex dream about your boss, for example, is a surefire way to never be able to look them in the eye ever again. You may ask yourself whether you’re actually attracted to the balding, spits-while-he’s-talking loudmouth that calls you ‘young lady’ in meetings. Surely your waking mind couldn’t be that different once your head hits the pillow?

    Or, worse still, you might have had a sexual dream about someone in your family, someone that contradicts your sexuality, or involving things you normally don’t like.

    This cognitive dissonance between two opposing sides of ‘yourself’ is definitely jarring. However, if you can put into perspective how much it actually reflects your desires, you should be able to get through it.

    Much of what is known about sex dreams is anecdotal. Although there have been studies into dreaming (including a recent one that found men have more erotic dreams than women) since it’s impossible to see inside someone’s head when they’re dreaming, researchers will always rely on what people are comfortable reporting.

    There is also the fact that some people don’t remember their dreams and some studies wait too long to collect results, meaning much of the content of the dreams has been lost.

    Delphi Ellis, a Qualified Therapist, Mental Health and Wellbeing Trainer and Mindfulness Practitioner who regularly deals with sleep-related topics said that the most common dreams she comes into contact through her work tend to focus on sleeping with a boss, having multiple partners, cheating or being cheated on, or take on a more disturbing tone and focus on sexual trauma.

    Illustration of two people lying in bed together
    Dreaming about someone other than your partner isn’t necessarily an indication you want to cheat (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Lauri Loewenberg, who has been a practicing professional dream analyst for over 20 years, says that she thinks that we’re all having a lot more sex dreams than we let on, and that cheating is by far what she sees the most from her clients.

    Would dreaming about cheating mean you have a secret desire to do so? Or does it mean you’re worried about your partner straying? Not necessarily, no.

    ‘Although sometimes dreams can be about a sexual fantasy or desire, sex in dreams is often about control. This is why in dreams you might be having sex with someone you never would in real life,’ Delphi tells Metro.co.uk.

    The meanings of sex dreams are different for everyone and they’re not always literal. You might have work-related sex dreams as a manifestation of worries about an upcoming appraisal, or dreams might even intensify during periods of increased hormones.

    Lauri tells us: ‘The dreaming mind uses the act of sex – which is two separate individuals joining together as one – to represent the connection or merger you are experiencing in waking life. This is why your dream lover may sometimes be someone you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole!

    ‘It’s not about a physical union you want but rather a psychological union you need. So having a naughty dream about that creepy coworker doesn’t mean you secretly want him but rather some quality he possesses.’

    How you should react to these dreams really depends on how it’s affected you, but figuring out their meaning is usually the first step.

    ‘Pinpoint that quality your sex dream partner represents then work on incorporating that into your own life or your own behavior,’ says Lauri, whether that’s the sales expertise of the coworker you had a sleeptime tryst with, or the caring nature of your bus driver you dreamed of.

    Delphi recommends keeping a dream diary to get a good idea of the patterns and themes that regularly crop up.

    She says, ‘Often once people recognise the meaning of why they have the dreams they do, the dreams take a different form or become less disturbing.’

    What your different sex dreams mean, according to Lauri

    Sex with an unknown man or woman

    ‘I call these the mystery lover dream. The thing you must keep in mind when figuring out your dreams is that everything and everyone in your dream is symbolic of some part of the self or something that affects the self.

    ‘That being said, an unknown man in a dream typically represents qualities we associate with that gender: assertiveness, being a go-getter, having “balls” and standing up for oneself.

    ‘An unknown woman will typically represent qualities we associate with the female gender: compassion, creativity, sensitivity, the ability to nurture, etc.

    ‘To dream of having sex with an unknown person of either gender suggests you are merging their respective qualities into your behaviour. For example, sex with an unknown man is about taking on a more assertive role or attitude. Sex with an unknown woman may indicate you are becoming more compassionate or creative.’

    Sex with a co-worker or boss

    ‘These dreams can make it very hard to go into work but remember, as embarrassing as these dreams can be, they are good for you because they are showing you – in their weird way – what you can do to improve yourself.

    ‘The boss dreams are most often about taking on that authoritative, decision making role somewhere in your own life.

    ‘The co-worker can be a little trickier to figure out. If the co-worker you are dreaming about makes your heart beat a little faster and your palms a little sweatier, well then… sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!

    ‘But if the thought of being intimate with that co-worker makes you cringe, then there is a simple formula to figure it out, and you can actually apply this formula to any sex dream.

    ‘Ask yourself what 3 words best describe your co-worker. Not his or her looks but rather his or personality. Now ask yourself if any of those qualifiers would benefit you in your life right now if you incorporated it into your behavior. For example, perhaps the co-worker you are dreaming of is the one that cracks all the jokes in the office. In that case, he may simply represent humour and that is what your subconscious wants you to merge into your own behavior or attitude. Lighten up, have a sense of humor about things.’

    Cheating on your partner or your partner cheating on you

    ‘If there is infidelity in your past, then these dreams reflect the distrust or guilt that is still there and are nudging you to continue to work on it rather than be complacent about it. But if there is no infidelity in your past and these dreams seem to be coming from left field, then you need to figure out what it is that feels like a third wheel in the relationship.

    ‘Usually it is work that is taking up too much of your or your partner’s time. But it could be anything such as golf, fantasy football or even a new baby that is causing you or your partner to feel “cheated” out of out of the time and attention they feel they should be getting. These dreams are shining a spotlight on the issue so you and your partner can figure out how to get more quality time together.’

    Sex with a celebrity

    ‘When it’s one of your favorite celebrities… well, duh! But if it is a seemingly random celebrity, such as one you are not a fan of or one you haven’t seen or thought of in years, rest assured there is good reason your subconscious chose him or her to cameo in your dream.

    ‘Celebrities in our dreams often represent some part of ourselves we want recognition and applause for.

    ‘To figure out what that is, use the same formula: what comes to mind when you think of that celebrity? Is it a song? The meaning for you may be in the title or the lyrics. Is it a movie or TV show? Then you may identify with that character or with the story line.

    ‘For example, I had a client who was having sex dreams about Lenny Kravitz. She wasn’t necessarily a fan so she couldn’t figure it out. I asked her what first comes to mind when someone mentions him to her and she said, The Hunger Games movies. Turns out, she was desperately trying to lose weight. Her dream was using Lenny to show her that, if she wanted to get down to the weight she was aiming for, she would have to incorporate hunger into her life… and that is not a healthy game to play.’

    MORE: How to ditch alcohol and keep your friends

    MORE: My Label and Me: I was branded a bitch for falling in love


    sleep wellsleep well

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    How I Save: the cab driver who earns £27,000 and has £20,200 saved
    How Peter, a cab driver, saves money in a week (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    None of us want to feel like we’re wasting all our money and saving nothing for the future.

    But while we know saving is a good idea in theory, it’s tricky to stick to our budgeting goals in practice.

    The awkwardness around talking about money doesn’t help. It means loads of us have no clue how to handle our money, but feel too uncomfortable to ask questions that we feel we should know the answer to – like ‘sorry, how much is a normal amount to be spending on food?’ or ‘do I need a credit card?’.

    Our weekly series How I Save aims to open up the conversation and make it easier to chat openly about how we spend and save.

    Each week we chat to someone about their finances, asking them to track their spending for a week and then giving them some expert advice on how they could save more money.

    Last time we followed a freelancer with an impressive £21,000 saved. This week we’re nosing around the finances of Peter (not his real name, as people can be mean about money), a 58-year-old cab driver living in Gateshead.

    How Peter saves:

    I spent 12 years in the Royal Navy as a Petty Officer Hydrographer, making charts of the seabed. Now I’ve been a cab driver for three years.

    I earn around £27,000 a year. I dictate how much I earn. If I work more I earn more. If I take time off I earn less.

    I work seven days per week, starting at 4.15am each morning and finishing around 5pm Monday to Friday, then 10pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday.

    I always take Christmas Day and Boxing Day off, and I had a weekend in Prague earlier this year.

    In my savings account now I have £3,200, but the bulk of my savings are in a stocks and shares ISA – there’s £17,000 in a Vanguard tracker.

    The main way I save is via a Vanguard Global Index Tracker. I have a direct debit set up each month, and add a lump sum each year once I know my tax liability.

    I’m saving for my retirement in nine years. My target is £300,000. I have budgeted £80,000 to £100,000 to buy a 50’ Beneteau yacht and have it moored in Gibraltar Harbour. With the remaining funds I intend to fill it full of rum and vitals and sail it round the Med with my wife until we are no longer fit enough to sail it.

    My struggle is that the stock market is too high, and squeezing from it the extra growth I require to hit my retirement target is an issue.

    To increase returns I recently bought a sweetie vending round which returns around 10% per month. I bought 10 sweetie vending machines, plus stock and sited for £1,000. They’re sited in garages, pubs, etc. Every three weeks I go round and top them up with product and collect the cash.

    They make £100 profit per month. It doesn’t sound a lot but it’s 10% monthly return. I may buy more of these, providing the income per hour is greater than driving a cab.

    I save or invest 69% of what I earn. When you work the equivalent of two full time jobs you don’t have the opportunity to spend.

    I believe that providing you’re fit enough to work, anyone can become wealthy.

    How Peter spends:

    My monthly expenses are fixed at £1,296.

    A week of spending: 

    Wednesday: I get a coffee from McDonald’s at 4.15am for £1.29 – the traditional start to my day.

    It’s my birthday, so I treat myself to a Greggs sausage sandwich, £1.85.

    In the evening I spend £2.75 on a pint in Wetherspoons. I did say it was my birthday, didn’t I?

    Thursday: I start the day with a 98p sausage roll.

    At 6pm I have two pints (£5.50 total). I’m beginning to detect a disturbing pattern here – a diet of Greggs and lager.

    Friday: I get a McDonald’s coffee free with six stickers.

    It’s funny that recording what you buy changes your behaviour. I have brought some fruit to work to avoid Greggs.

    Saturday: £1.29 on a McDonald’s coffee.

    I have brunch at mother’s so no need for Greggs.

    I spend two hours in the Metrocentre (Europe’s largest indoor shopping centre) and never spend a penny. It’s not that I’m tight, it’s just that I obsess about my goal.

    Sunday: A £1.29 McDonald’s coffee in the morning, three pints of lager for £9.30 in the evening.

    Monday: I get a sandwich for £3.20.

    During a better than average bin dive at McDonalds, I salvage enough stickers for a free coffee.

    Tuesday: I start my morning at 4.30am with a McDonald’s coffee, £1.29.

    Total spent this week: £28.74

    How Peter could save better:

    We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out how Peter can save better (and what we can learn from his spending).

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

    This is intense, really intense.

    Working 71.5 hours a week (not including the hours you spend changing vending machines and blogging) is intense. I’m not going to lie: the future bit with the yacht in the Med sounds really fun but wow, the journey to get there is intense AF.

    I hope that the combo of sea air calling you and regimented Navy background is enough to see you to your goal.

    By the sounds of it, I assume you’d rather have started a bit earlier and not have to work quite this much? The takeaway lesson to readers isn’t to leave your retirement planning to your 50s. But we’re a generation of bingers: maybe this is where we’re all heading?

    Where you’re going wrong:

    I’m glad you added some fruit into your routine: as you’re not doing anything wrong until something goes wrong.

    £29.39 is an impressively restrictive weekly budget. But let’s flip this. 100% of your free money is spent on coffee, beer and Greggs. We’re talking a lot of beige for someone who wants to plunge into a fully active lifestyle at 70.

    Main vice

    You’re a bit addicted to your goal. You’ll probably make it to Gibraltar and immediately start trying to drop people off at the airport by 50 foot yacht. How are you prepping to break the ten year habit?

    Budget

    So you’re saving £1,000 a month off your salary each month. I’m not going to screw with that.

    But let me address your competitive side: save more money by bringing in lunch from home. Include some green things. Take the time you would have spent queuing in Greggs and go outside and stretch your legs. You’re going to need them.

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

    MORE: How I Save: The 40-year-old business consultant in Croydon with £143,000 saved

    MORE: How I Save: The manager who earns £35K and has £1,000 saved towards a deposit on a house

    MORE: How I Save: The 23-year-old editorial assistant in London earning £19.5k with £700 saved


    PRI_79323115PRI_79323115

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    Woman calls out her influencer sister for 'hike' photos that were actually in their garden
    Wait, that’s their garden (Picture: @carlysos3/Twitter)

    You can never expect your siblings to hold back when it comes to telling you what they think.

    Unfortunately for one woman, her sister decided to tell thousands of people.

    Casey Sosnowski’s sister Carla called her out on social media when she posed in the outdoors after a ‘hike’.

    Except it was a staged photoshoot in their garden in Florida, U.S.

    Donning athletic wear, Casey shared the image, with an inspirational caption obviously, to her thousands of Instagram followers.

    Carla being the ever so humbling sibling then took to Twitter to reveal the truth, that the photos had been taken in their (massive) back yard.

    After being outed, Casey had no choice but to update her caption.

    Initially, she wrote: ‘Nature is the ultimate healer to all our problem’.

    People were none the wiser until Carla wrote: ‘My sister said she was going hiking…..this is our backyard.’

    Naturally, that tickled many more users than the initial pic shared on Instagram.

    Many were also fascinated by the size of the garden. One person wrote: ‘Oh, you rich rich?’

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B0uIG_jAKg0/

    Carla even added a behind the scenes shot showing the picture being taken. In that image though Casey is seen with a different top.

    But we all know that’s probably because it takes about 450 pics until you get that one perfect one.

    While it would’ve been great drama to watch Casey kick off, she was pretty understanding about the whole thing.

    She told Insider: ‘I thought it was funny. I’m a pretty chill person overall so it didn’t bother me, and then it blew up and I was like “whoa”.’

    Some of us, however, definitely would’ve ended up kicking our siblings in the shins had that been us.

    Or stealing their clothes, whatever.

    MORE: Does Instagram’s new ‘no likes’ model signal the death of the influencer?

    MORE: Ice cream seller charges double for every ‘influencer’ who asks for a freebie

    MORE: Why are people using Facebook to pretend to be baby boomers, cows, influencers, and possums?


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    Kitten called King smiling at camera
    Little kitten called King, after Stephen King, of course (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)

    Literary nerds, do you have pets named after your favourite writers?

    Then you’ll love these eight kittens.

    The kittens had a sad start to their life as they were abandoned in a cemetery.

    To fit the dark circumstances of their discovery, their rescuers, the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in Old Windsor, gave them all gothic names.

    The octet, all from different litters, were found by a member of public before they were brought into the Berkshire-based centre.

    Now they’ve been suitably named Edgar, Poe, Shelley, King, Bronte, Oscar, Daphne and Dante.

    Grey kitten named Oscar looks up at camera
    Oscar, named after Oscar Wilde (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)

    As all of the kittens were too young to be away from their mothers, they’ve been hand-reared by staff and volunteers as well as having a full check over by the charity’s veterinary clinic.

    They have no idea how the kittens all came to be together in the cemetery but believe they’ve been abandoned by their mothers.

    This normally happens during warmer months and sees rescue centres, like Battersea, take in more pregnant cats and kittens, during ‘kitten season’.

    Daphjne and Shelley pose side by side
    Daphne and Shelley named respectively after Daphne du Maurier and Mary Shelley (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)

    ‘We definitely see more kittens appearing at our centres during the warmer months, but none have come in quite such mysterious circumstances than our cemetery kittens!’ said Georgia Randall from Battersea Old Windsor.

    ‘Although we may have named them after gothic writers famous for their love of terror and the macabre, these kittens are anything but.

    ‘They’re all extremely cute, and all such wonderful characters that they’d make an excellent addition to any home.’

    However, while these kittens may be looking forward to brighter futures, many rescue centres feel the strain of kitten season every year.

    This is a problem that’s easily preventable, explains Georgia.

    Edgar and Poe posing conveniently next to each other
    Edgar and Poe posing conveniently next to each other (sadly no kitten was named Allen) (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)

    ‘Kittens are undoubtedly cute, but every year we see so many come into our centres who were found as strays, without a mother, or just brought in as their owners have no time for them.

    ‘I’d urge all cat owners to ensure that their cats are neutered to prevent any unwanted litters.’

    If you’re interested in rehoming a cat, please visit the Battersea website.

    In case you need convincing, here are some glorious pictures of these eight kitties:

    Black kitten bronte
    Beautiful Bronte (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)
    Daphne by herself
    Daphne loves the camera (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)
    Edgar by himself
    Edgar too (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)
    King kitten sleeping
    This is what King looks like when he’s asleep (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)
    Oscar and Dante having a snooze
    Oscar and Dante having a snooze (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)
    Oscar and Dante awake
    Oscar and Dante awake (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home)

    MORE: These are the top cat names in 2019

    MORE: 16 stunning black cats who are looking for their forever homes

    MORE: These five adorable elderly cats are looking for a new home


    eight kittenseight kittens

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    Subway veggie meatball sub
    Look at that saucy goodness (Picture: Subway)

    Attention, plant-based pals.

    If you’ve ever headed into Subway and had a real hankering for marinara sauce, only to remember that meatballs are made of, well, meat, you’re in for some glorious news.

    Over in the US, Subway is finally testing out a vegetarian version of their meatball sub, made with plant-based faux meat created by Beyond Meat.

    Yes, that is a lot of meat in a sentence about something meat-free.

    Basically, the vegetarian version of the sandwich will have meat-free, vegetarian versions of meatballs, smothered in marinara sauce and nestled in a cosy bread bed.

    It’s not vegan, though, as the sandwich includes both parmesan and provolone cheese.

    Subway does have a vegan option (the veggie patty), but if you’re desperate for your fake meat to come in ball form, dairy-free people will be out of luck.

    In further bad news, the veggie meatball sub, called the Beyond Meatball Marinara, isn’t yet available in the UK.

    For now it’s being tested in the US, and will only be available for a limited time starting in September.

    It’s safe to assume that if it’s a smash success, Subway would likely expand the offering to all its stores. So let us cross our fingers and hope our American vegetarians rush to queue up so we can one day have a taste.

    MORE: People are queuing for hours to eat at the ‘Slutty Vegan’

    MORE: Should vegans bother having a go at eating a plant-based keto diet?


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    Photoshoot of plus sized asian women
    Very glam (Picture: Linda Blacker)

    Plus-size models are barely represented on the glossy pages of a high fashion magazine, much less diverse faces.

    In an attempt to rectify that, body-positive author and coach Michelle Elman organised a photoshoot showcasing curvy Asian women.

    Teaming up with photographer Linder Blacker, the pair enlisted the help of other British ladies from different parts of Asia, of various ages and skin tones.

    The glam squad dressed up in breathtaking ball gowns and posed like badasses.

    It was all in an attempt to ‘show the fashion industry what they are missing,’ says Michelle.

    Photoshoot of plus sized asian women
    ‘Asian women are just as beautiful and fashionable as any other’ (Picture: Linda Blacker)

    ‘We wanted to demonstrate that Asian women are just as beautiful and fashionable as any other race and we deserve to be included,’ Michelle told Metro.co.uk.

    ‘It was incredibly empowering. We were all discussing our own experiences of living as a plus-size Asian and it was really comforting to know that whilst we all felt like this in isolation, we weren’t alone and this was a very much mutual feeling.

    ‘I hope people start to notice when Asian women are left out of fashion campaigns and the media.

    ‘I hope this shoot brings to their attention how great a problem it is and how ever-present this erasure is.

    ‘I hope it also has made people realise that Asian is a very broad category and that we all don’t look the same and we shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into one body type because like every other culture, people come in all shapes and sizes.’

    Michelle and Linda recruited people for the photoshoot who they found on social media.

    Bishamber Das and Kat Henry are plus-size bloggers and were on the radar of the photoshoot organisers.

    The rest were found through social media and volunteering.

    Linda had a great time shooting the pictures.

    ‘The shoot day went so well,’ she told us.

    ‘I knew exactly the image I wanted to capture on the day, as I already had the image in my mind.

    ‘The key aim was to make this shoot look like it could have been from a glossy magazine so that when people saw it, they would see how beautiful these women looked in front of the camera and understand that they too should be represented in the media.

    ‘All the ladies were a pleasure to work with, and I know it was extremely empowering for all the models involved. I feel very honoured to have worked with Michelle to bring this campaign to life!’

    More shoots like this, please.

    MORE: Is it too much to ask for a dating app to put plus-sized women first?

    MORE: Plus size models call for body inclusivity in protest outside London Fashion Week

    MORE: Woman slams plus-size clothing website for using ‘stick-thin’ models


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    Illustration of woman and man sharing a cuppa and a hug
    Why are so many people cohabiting (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Boris Johnson and girlfriend Carrie Symonds are leading the UK’s fastest-growing couple trend – cohabiting.

    They may be the first unmarried couple to live at Downing Street but they’re joined by 3.4 million British people who are living together outside of wedlock.

    The Office for National Statistics revealed in a report on Wednesday that the latest figures show a 25.8% increase in cohabiting in the last decade.

    The new prime minister has received flak for his decision to cohabit with Carrie. How odd that Boris Johnson might be judged for his choices, It’s almost like he’s the leader of the country.

    All political shade aside, cohabiting is certainly a popular choice for the rest of us.

    We asked some couples why they find living together so appealing while they feel ‘meh’ about marriage.

    Charlie, cohabiting for a year

    ‘We’re polyamorous, so marriage isn’t really an option for us. We’ve been living together for over a year, first as his house and now at mine. It’s just the two of us living here, but intentionally with two spare rooms so we could potentially think about children or moving in other partners if that situation arose.

    ‘I think marriage isn’t valued anymore as much as it was. We’re not religious, and we trust each other. I don’t believe my belongings are his, and his are mine. If we split, he’d take his stuff and I’d take mine.

    ‘We don’t have the attitude of sharing everything, so there’s no need for an arrangement that would mean we would have to split all our stuff down the middle if we were to break up.

    ‘We’re quite independent – both writers, so wouldn’t want to take each other’s names.

    ‘Additionally, it would sort of imply that I was more important that his girlfriend or he was more important than mine if we chose to get married.’

    Rae, nine months of cohabiting

    ‘I’ve been living with my boyfriend for nine months and I certainly would never marry him!

    ‘I’ve been married three times – (10 years, seven months, 23 years) and me and marriage just don’t get on. I hate the feeling of being trapped because of a piece of paper.

    ‘A lot of people find the actual wedding costs excessive so they buy or rent somewhere first, then marry. My son rented for 10 years before he brought and married his wife. I think I put him off marriage for life.

    ‘Marriage is so yesterday, it’s the kiss of death. I don’t know many couples that are happy, I think if you know you can walk away to find a better day, the mind relaxes and you find a way to work things out rather than think  “s*hit, I’m trapped in this”.’

    Lauren, cohabiting for four years

    ‘I met my partner doing what we love, volunteering for a Libertarian movement and the creation of a new country in Europe.

    ‘Both being Libertarian, we are not fond of how much control the government has on the everyday life of people.

    ‘As marriage is more of a religious sentiment for most people (we are not religious) and marriage is merely a signed paper issued by the government, we have no interest.

    ‘However, we are both from different countries; I am British and he is Czech, therefore, if Brexit was to happen, we may have some problems in the coming years and may be forced to marry just so we can stay together, which is sad.

    ‘I think Boris is getting flak because there is a portion of the population who are traditional, religious or both.’

    Natalie, 18 months of cohabiting

    ‘We have been together for seven and a half years. For us, living together was always a much more meaningful and important step than getting married.

    ‘It took us a long time to do it because we met when we were both pretty young and happy living with friends, and then work commitments meant we had to do long-distance for a little while.

    ‘Moving in together has really taken our relationship to the next step – we share our lives properly and fully, which is amazing – even doing the boring stuff like chores and bills together has made us closer, and we’ve learnt so much about each other and what we both want.

    ‘For the moment we have decided that marriage isn’t for us. Neither of us really believe in the premise of it (the archaic, patriarchy stuff mainly).

    ‘We know that we want our future to be together, we know we want to buy a property and start a family – we don’t think we need to be married to do any of that. It wouldn’t add anything to our lives that we don’t already have, apart from the tick-box seal of approval from society.’

    Emily, cohabiting for three and a half years

    ‘We have moved around quite a few places together trying to find our feet and for jobs, we finally settled now in Kent.

    ‘We aren’t getting married as it just isn’t on the cards right now, firstly because of money… weddings are so expensive.

    ‘I think we would rather use that kind of money on moving to a bigger place or a new car or something if we were able to save up that much.

    ‘There is so much pressure, I’m 28 and he is 30, everyone is always asking when we will be the next couple to announce a pregnancy or get engaged.

    ‘Not everyone understands that you don’t have to go through life in a specific order and ticking boxes of “life achievements”.’

    Sara-Aisha, 17 months of cohabiting

    ‘We talk about getting married all the time (he’s asked me my taste in rings etc) but we have spoken about it and we want to get a mortgage first before we spend money on a wedding.

    ‘We are really lucky that we love our flat and it’s not that expensive for London (as an old boss of mine is the landlord) so we aren’t in a rush, we were planning to buy this year but now waiting to see how Brexit plays out, with prices going up or down etc.

    ‘We choose to live together because of our age and seriousness of the relationship, he’s 33, I’m 27, and we wouldn’t want to be living in a house share or with other people.

    ‘Also if I didn’t live with him I wouldn’t ever see him due to my work schedule.’

    Aiofe, cohabiting for a year

    ‘Me and my boyfriend got together after he moved into my apartment share – so slightly different!

    ‘But we will be moving out together on our own in Oct after seven months of dating. As we’re so new, marriage is something down the road in two years time but we’ve agreed its something that’s still both important to us.

    ‘I’m an only child so I’m doing it more for my parents rather than myself.’

    MORE: Couples are taking ‘make or break’ holidays after just three months together

    MORE: Dating trends: They’re truly not that deep

    MORE: Henry the VIII-ing – the dating trend wrecking lives since 1525


    How Dry January can improve your sex lifeHow Dry January can improve your sex life

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    relaxed british blue shorthair cat on a colourful background
    Should you give your cats CBD? (Picture: Getty)

    It’s International Cat Day, and as with any other day, we all want our cats to be happy, relaxed and stress-free. Could CBD be the answer?

    Everyone and their mum is talking about the benefits of CBD (cannabidoil). It’s vaped, shoved in croissants, and touted as a cure-all for migraines, insomnia, arthritis, and loads more.

    Of course all that hype would eventually filter through to our pets. A quick search for ‘cbd for cats’ reveals a load of brands jumping on the trend, selling ‘purrrrrre CBD oil’ that is claimed to reduce pain and anxiety in our feline pals, as well as vets and cat owners debating its potential benefits.

    There’s currently no scientific research into the benefits of CBD for cats, likely because there are far bigger fish to fry in the medical field (we might want to focus on definitively proving the benefits for humans first).

    This means that in the UK, there are no CBD products that are officially authorised for veterinary use.

    That doesn’t stop CBD proponents from marketing their products as happening to be handy for cats.

    David Barcly, the founder of UK CBD oil brand CBD Armour, says he’s seen lots of customers giving their cats CBD, with positive results.

    He says that around 20% of his customers have reported giving CBD to their pets.

    ‘CBD for use with pets is a debate that’s raging at the moment,’ he tells Metro.co.uk.

    Happy sleeping ginger cat
    CBD is claimed to help reduce anxiety and pain (Picture: Getty)

    ‘There have been several scientific studies looking at the effects of CBD on dogs, but virtually nothing when it comes to felines. Much more clinical research is needed.

    ‘But what we do have is lots of anecdotal evidence from customers who are giving their cats CBD oil.

    ‘They’re using it as a dietary ‘supplement’ in the same way humans are – to treat a range of ailments, most typically anxiety.

    ‘There are many, many YouTube testimonials where owners have given their cat CBD and it’s helped to instil a less manic, calmer behaviour in their pet. It’s also said to aid sleep.

    ‘And while you have to keep an open mind about YouTube testimonials, as you may not always be getting the full story, other cat owners have given their pet CBD oil to help with the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.’

    He’s not wrong. All over the internet are stories from happy cat owners who say they’ve given their cats CBD and been able to treat stress, anxiety, or the pain caused by chronic conditions. One cat owner says CBD has helped to treat their cat’s seizures.

    It’s worth explaining that CBD oil is very different from marijuana, and that no one would recommend giving cats straight up cannabis.

    You should never give your cat a drug that would get them ‘high’ as it can be extremely distressing for them.

    CBD oil doesn’t give you a high the way smoking weed does, as it doesn’t contain THC… so does that mean it’s safe?

    Black and white cat by door
    There’s currently no research into the benefits of CBD for cats (Picture: Getty)

    Unfortunately, until research is done, we can’t know for sure. If you choose to try out CBD oil for your cats, you would be doing so entirely off anecdotal evidence and with unknown risks.

    Caroline Allen, Chief Veterinary Officer at the RSPCA, raises concerns around people attempting to medicate a cat’s real issues.

    ‘We are not aware of any studies which shows proven benefits of CBD oil for pets,’ she tells us.

    ‘If you have any concerns about your pet’s health, we would always advise owners to contact their vet.’

    That’s important to note. If your cat seems as though they’re unhappy, stressed, or in pain, the vet should be your first port of call. There could be an underlying issue that you’re not aware of, and attempting to cover up the symptoms will leave something serious untreated.

    If you’ve spoken to your vet and they’ve given an okay to try CBD – whether for pain management or for stressful situations such as travel – there are still precautions to take before you start dropping oils into your kitty’s food bowl.

    As with any supplement you add to your cat’s diet, you could find it makes them ill or unsettled – which is why David recommends introducing CBD slowly, tracking your cat’s reaction, and stopping immediately if you notice any negative effects.

    It’s absolutely vital to keep a close eye on dosage. A cat is much, much smaller than a human (in case you hadn’t noticed), and thus would require a much smaller amount of CBD than you’d give a human.

    To deliver the dose, you could attempt to apply a drop directly into a cat’s mouth – but we’d only recommend attempting this if you have the sort of chill feline who won’t scratch you to shreds. You could also try adding some drops to your cat’s bowl of water or to their food.

    CBD oil can have quite a strong scent and taste, so if your cat absolutely refuses to consume it, it might not be the most feasible option, or you may want to use it only for stressful situations such as travel or heading to the vet.

    There are other cat-relaxing options out there, from plug-in aromas to soft surroundings. If your cat is especially anxious, stressed or in chronic pain, and the go-to treatments haven’t done much, CBD might be worth giving a try – just chat to your pet’s vet first to make sure you’re not missing a more obvious solution.

    ‘If CBD can help animals as it clearly seems to be helping humans, then that can only be a good thing,’ says David.

    MORE: RSPCA is looking for people to cuddle cats and rabbits

    MORE: How to keep cats cool in hot weather

    MORE: Eight kittens were found abandoned in a cemetery and now they’ve been given gothic writer names


    Gato relajadoGato relajado

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    Lidl Wagyu burgers
    They certainly are deluxe (Picture: Lidl)

    Back in August last year, we all rejoiced that Lidl had brought out their Wagyu beef burgers, for a fraction of the price of what you’d normally pay.

    Packs of two of the exceptionally juicy burgers were just £3.49, when you could normally expect to pay upwards of £500 for a kilo of the Japanese meat at the butcher.

    Considered to be the caviar of the beef world, Wagyu beef is reared to exacting standards, with some of the cows fed special diets to ensure they get a level of fat marbling.

    While this is all well and good for the cows, it also means you’ll get extremely tender meat, as the fat cooks down and keeps things moist.

    Back when they first launched, Joshua Smith, Head of Meat Buying at Lidl UK, said, ‘We decided to launch our Deluxe Wagyu Beef Steak Burgers on National Burger Day to give customers a delicious reason to celebrate.

    Lidl Croll bun
    Pop it in a Croll (Picture: Lidl_

    ‘We’re passionate about giving our customers the ingredients to create their own high-end foodie experiences from the comfort of their own homes.’

    So, if you want to impress the barbecue snobs at your next garden party, these might be the exact thing for it.

    The burgers are still £3.49 for two, and are available from today until stocks last.

    You’ve probably seen how quickly Lidl’s limited edition things go, so it might be worth stocking up just now.

    If you’re feeling super ritzy, you could also pair the burgers with Lidl’s Crolls, which are a buttery hybrid of roll and croissant. Why not go full hedonism after all?

    MORE: ‘Cut red meat and eat more veg to save planet’, experts warn

    MORE: Three cups of coffee a day increases risk of migraine


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    Jeffrey Mackey who has cerebral palsy pictured by himself and with his friends at a water park
    Little sweethearts (Picture: Makaila Ryan/Twitter)

    Parents of disabled children always need to be alert.

    One mum who took her son with cerebral palsy to a water park was conscious of his muscles getting tired.

    When Andrea Mackey’s son Jeffrey, six, found it hard to walk as his condition had flared up, she was ready to help him.

    But she was pleasantly surprised when two five-year-olds nearby aided to his rescue.

    It was his two buddies Raya and Kane who, instead of running straight to the pool, walked patiently side by side.

    Jeffrey’s cerebral palsy – which affects movement and co-ordination caused by a problem with the brain – means he has to slow down sometimes.

    While he is normally very energetic, being cold tires his muscles out.

    Mum Andrea worried about him feeling left out as his friends played but thankfully the mini squad stuck together.

    ‘Jeffrey is a tough kid. We push him and support him in whatever he wants to do. We keep him as active as our four other kids,’ Andrea told Yahoo.

    ‘When he gets cold, his muscles get tighter and it can make it difficult for him to move or walk.’

    ‘Instead of Raya and Kane running past him to keep going down the slide, they stopped and noticed that he wasn’t moving as fast. The more he stopped they didn’t run by him, they just kept helping him.’

    Andrea’s daughter Mikaila filmed the touching moment and shared it on Twitter where it was liked more than 500,000 times.

    People were moved and replied in the only way they do when things get emotional, with gifs.

    Others wrote: ‘Precious,’ and ‘bless his heart and how lucky is he to have such special friends. I’m crying real tears’.

    Andrea added: ‘As a mum, it was heartwarming. It reassured me that he will always have people to look out for him.

    ‘Even if I’m not there, there will be someone as young as five to look out for him. It put my heart at ease.’

    We need more kids like these.

    MORE: Six family-friendly events to take the kids to before summer is over

    MORE: Amazing moment girl, 10, with cerebral palsy walks independently for first time

    MORE: Cute video shows young boy feeding his granddad who has dementia


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    Dog at the vet after eating chocolate
    It can make dogs really sick (Picture: Getty)

    Easter may be over, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t chocolate lying around the house.

    You probably already know that dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate. But you might be wondering whether it’s one of those rules that doesn’t matter if you break, like ‘red and green should never be seen’ or ‘no dessert until you’ve eaten your dinner’.

    It’s not exactly something you’d try out to see, but if your dog has snaffled some of your chocolates, you need to know how quickly and strongly you should respond.

    Here, we have an ultimate guide of why it’s bad for pups to eat the sweet stuff, and what you should do if it happens.

    Why is chocolate dangerous to dogs?

    Chocolate is harmful to dogs because it contains theobromine.

    The effects of theobromine are similar to coffee as it is a stimulant. If it is eaten by a dog in large quantities, it can cause vomiting, increased heart rate, internal bleeding, agitation and seizures.

    Where in humans this is easily metabolised, dogs aren’t able to do this, meaning it builds up in their bodies and becomes toxic.

    Some dogs also find that the cocoa butter, lactose, and sugar included in chocolate gives them an upset stomach.

    With the advent of new types of sweets, too, there are also other chemicals that could harm your pet. For example, a dog died this year after eating brownies that contained the sweetener xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs.

    Dog with chocolate
    No matter how cute they are, it’s better to keep them away (Picture: Getty)

    How to know if your dog has been poisoned by chocolate?

    Depending on how much chocolate your dog has eaten, you may not see any signs at all.

    If your dog is large or has eaten a small amount of chocolate, they may simply have the same symptoms we experience during food poisoning; for example, vomiting and diarrhoea.

    If the situation is more severe, you may see that they have extreme thirst, muscle rigidity, agitation, hyperactive behaviour, excessive panting, pacing and seizures.

    These symptoms tend to show between four and twelve hours of when your dog first ate the chocolate.

    What to do if your dog eats chocolate

    Even if you think it might not be serious, if you know or suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, call your vet right away.

    You can tell them what you think they’ve ingested, and they can work out based on the size of your dog whether it’s serious.

    It also all depends on which type of chocolate they ate, so try and keep a note of this. Cocoa powder, for example, will likely be more toxic than white chocolate.

    There’s no cure for theobromine poisining, so if the vet needs to treat your pooch, they’ll likely induce vomiting. In some cases, they may put the dog on a drip to try control their hydration and heart rate.

    They may also give the dog activated charcoal to try and soak up what’s in their stomach.

    Essentially, time is of the essence, so call the vet sooner rather than later. This way, if they do need treatment, it can be as effective as possible.

    It’s worth noting, too, that if you’ve got any sweetie stores in the house, it’s best to keep them out of pup’s reach. £10 for a dog-proof cupboard lock could save you thousands of vet fees and a whole lot of heartache if anything bad happens.

    For those who can’t resist their dog’s calls for treats, most pet stores will sell dog-friendly chocolate chips.

    MORE: Extraordinary puppy born with six legs finds loving new home

    MORE: Lidl bring back their famous Wagyu beef burgers


    Veterinarian checking a dog with stethoscope in a veterinary clinicVeterinarian checking a dog with stethoscope in a veterinary clinic

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    The home in Osaka, Japan has 13 different platforms
    The home in Osaka, Japan has 13 different platforms (Picture: ShinkenchikuSha)

    This home in Japan is as confusing to look at as it is impressive.

    The house, in Osaka, Japan, is a property with 13 different levels. But it’s not just a tall tower block – from the outside the house looks like a traditional two-storey home.

    And inside, you can see all 13 floors at the same time.

    Puzzled yet?

    Each platform is separated by small steps, and each has a height difference of only 70cm. This means that rooms feel distinct and are each on different levels, but aren’t actually far apart.

    The floors can also act as shelves and mini platforms for storage.

    The house in Miyamoto is the creation of Tato Architects, who designed the home for a family of three who wanted to feel close to each other no matter where they were in the property. Mission accomplished, we say – this is an extreme take on open plan living.

    Each platform is just a small height distance apart
    Each platform is just a small height distance apart (Picture: ShinkenchikuSha)

    From the bathroom you can spy the kitchen, from the kitchen you can spy the living room, and there are no walls separating each section so family members can easily call out if they need each other. We doubt there’s any texting from the living room to the kitchen in this place.

    Walking in you’ll be in a storage area for coats and bikes, with view of two sides of floors spiraling upwards, meeting at a central living area, and then splitting off into roof terraces.

    Each platform is made using steel beams and corrugated metal panels, with some suspended from the roof.

    Along with the unusual design, the decoration is pretty special.

    The house in Osaka from the outside
    What the house looks like from the outside Picture: (ShinkenchikuSha)

    There are glorious hanging plants and trees, a bathtub in the kitchen, a platform just for rocking chairs, and tiny stools and tables to play around with perspective.

    The team at Tato Architects said: ‘The client requested that the members of the family can feel close to each other regardless of where they are in the house.

    ‘Private rooms were not needed because they feel that it is lonely to withdraw into one’s own space, and storage space was also unnecessary because they did not want to tuck things away.

    ‘By using this combination of two spirals, we were able to create multiple paths inside the house that allow different room compartments and changes in the circulation, equipping the house to be able to accommodate changes in the lifestyle of the client.’

    Pretty snazzy, right?

    the house in osaka, japan before the home was decorated
    The house before it was decorated (Picture: ShinkenchikuSha)
    Some of the platforms are suspended from the roof
    Some of the platforms are suspended from the roof (Picture: ShinkenchikuSha)
    The spiral design allows for an open, connected feel
    The spiral design allows for an open, connected feel (Picture: ShinkenchikuSha)
    the home in osaka designed by tato architects has a bathroom at the top, leading to roof terraces
    The bathroom at the top of the house (Picture: ShinkenchikuSha)
    The family has filled the home with plants and cosy furnishings
    The family has filled the home with plants and cosy furnishings (Picture: ShinkenchikuSha)

    MORE: Idyllic property with waterfront views on the market for £1.6m

    MORE: What I Rent: Ben and Emma, £1,100 for a one-bedroom flat in West Norwood, London

    MORE: You can now check out if your landlord is dodgy before renting a home


    7325287 Bizarre 13-platform home that shows off EVERYTHING in the house at once7325287 Bizarre 13-platform home that shows off EVERYTHING in the house at once

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    Steph Houghton stands with two teenage girls
    31% of girls say they have avoided out-of-school activities or sports as a direct result of period poverty. (Picture: Always)

    The England Lioness team captain Steph Houghton has backed a new campaign calling for an end to period poverty.

    A study among school girls, conducted by Always, found that girls experiencing period poverty are missing out on extracurricular activities – including sports – because they can’t afford period products.

    ‘It’s really sad to hear that period poverty is not only affecting girls’ education, but it is also stopping them from taking part in the activities that they love,’ says Steph.

    ‘It was in after-school clubs that I found football and being part of a squad really helped build my confidence, introduced me to a new group of friends and shaped my future.’

    The study found that 31% of girls say they have avoided out-of-school activities or sports as a direct result of period poverty, with 21% saying they lack confidence because they don’t take part in such groups or clubs.

    One in four girls have found themselves in an embarrassing public situation due to their period with no means of getting the necessary protection, with 27% refusing to leave the home altogether because they can’t afford products.

    Steph Houghton sits on a school bench with three teenage girls
    25% of girls won’t visit the gym or participate in any sports when they’re on their period. (Picture: Always)

    As well as polling girls, a study of 1,500 adult women was also conducted to understand what impact attending clubs and out-of-school activities has later in life.

    It found more than a fifth of women believe they have been held back due to the fact they couldn’t always participate in extra-curricular past-times.

    22% believe they now lack teamwork skills because of this and three in 10 believe it affected their ability to socialise.

    Always is now partnering with UK Youth, a nationwide network of youth organisations, to try to tackle the problem. For every pack of Always and Tampax purchased in participating retailers, the brands will donate a product to UK Youth or an after school club.

    ‘A lot of the young women and girls who come through the doors of local community organisations in the UK Youth Movement struggle with confidence,’ says Anna Smee, CEO of UK Youth.

    ‘When barriers like period poverty are removed, young people can focus on their personal development and education instead of worrying about how to get through each day.

    ‘We are delighted to be partnering with Always on this initiative to support young women, enabling them to grow in confidence and have an increased sense of wellbeing.’

    The study also found that 25% of girls won’t visit the gym or participate in any sports when they’re on their period, and 60% of girls with access to free period products at school have needed to use this supply.

    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


    #EndPeriodPoverty Steph Houghton 4-02af#EndPeriodPoverty Steph Houghton 4-02af

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    Squat jumps are hellish. There’s no denying it.

    The burn of the squat coupled with the explosive cardio of the jump is enough to get your heart pounding and your lungs burning.

    It won’t feel nice while you’re doing it – but squat jumps are a fantastic full-body move that could really make a difference to your strength and fitness level.

    Throughout this Staying Active summer series, fitness experts Elia and Amanda – both qualified instructors at Flykick – will be on hand to show you how to do each challenge and give you their top tips.

    Our daily challenges are perfect to try at home, at the gym or in the park. They are designed to get you moving every day.

    Check back every day to see what the next challenge is – you could even film your progress to make a record of how far you’ve come.

    The aim is to be active every day for six weeks over summer. Today’s challenge will test different muscle groups and help to improve your muscle performance.

    These daily challenges can be done on their own, or you can include them in larger workout – it’s totally up to you. As long as you’re moving, that’s what matters.

    Two women in sports kit jumping up in the air
    You want to land softly and with control. (Picture: Getty)

    We know doing the same fitness routine every week can get really tedious, trying a new challenge every day will keep your fitness fresh and fun – and you might even learn some new moves.

    How to do squat jumps

    Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.

    Lower yourself into a regular squat, sink your bum low and keep your head and chest high. Then engage your core and jump up explosively – aiming for height.

    Land softly and immediately lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep.

    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


    Urban runners crew training in the cityUrban runners crew training in the city

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    glossier popup shop
    Finally, a Glossier popup shop will make its way to London (Picture: Glossier)

    At long last, a Glossier popup shop is coming to London.

    It’s hard to believe we once lived in a time when you couldn’t order Glossier products to the UK.

    Back in the heady days of 2016, we dreamed of Cloud Paint and Generation G, but were unable to get our desperate paws on the stuff. Then in 2017 the brand launched online in the UK, and we bulk-bought to our heart’s content.

    The only downer was that we couldn’t try out the products before committing.

    Well, soon that shall change.

    Glossier has confirmed that at some point in the future (yeah, they haven’t been very specific) they will be opening up a popup store in London.

    This is very exciting, as their stores in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York are hugely popular and Instagrammable – all millennial pink, mirrors, and plants. Even the staff uniforms are cool, as everyone wears pink jumpsuits.

    glossier popup
    Glossier’s stores are always millennial pink and filled with plants (Picture: Glossier)

    All this means that not only will we be able to try out products before we buy them, and pop in and get what we fancy without having to wait for delivery, but we’ll also get to hang out in the world of Glossier rather than just gazing longingly at Instagram.

    Glossier have kept the announcement extremely mysterious, simply confirming that a popup in London is on its way, but not announcing where, when, or exactly what it will be.

    What we’d predict, however, is a perfectly decorated pink shop with all the skincare and makeup classics you’ve always wanted to sample, plus some exclusives just for us Londoners.

    When Glossier opens up a temporary store, they usually introduce some limited edition bits that you can only grab if you visit. In Boston, for example, Glossier sold notebooks, flags, pens, enamel pins, and baseball hats.

    The moment we find out more details about the upcoming popup we will of course let you know, but any diehard beauty fans would be well advised to keep some holiday time to head to the popup whenever and wherever it is. Those queues are going to be massive. And very dewy.

    MORE: Sweat-proof makeup tips for summer beauty routines

    MORE: Little girl tries to copy mum’s makeup look, ends up stained pink for days

    MORE: Glossier’s new Brow Flick pen is the perfect partner for Boy Brow


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    A woman doing yoga on a mat in her bedroom
    Yoga can help to restore your body after a plane journey. (Picture: Getty)

    Plane travel has to be the worst part of going on holiday.

    When we’re not stressing about the environmental impact, we’re dodging germs or trying to block out the dulcet tones of a screeching baby.

    And don’t even get us started on the jet lag. Whizzing through time-zones is great for your tan, but less great for your energy levels. And it can knock you out for days.

    When you get home from a holiday you want to keep that vacation buzz going for as long as possible, so get ahead of the jet lag drowsiness and shake off stiffness with some energising yoga moves.

    We asked Catherine Annis, yoga teacher at triyoga Soho for her top recommended poses for jetsetters this summer:

    Effortless rest

    One of the most restful positions, effortless rest pose allows us to rest consciously.

    Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor approximately hip distance apart, head supported if this is more comfortable. Focus on breathing, the sense of the ground coming up to meet you and give your body time to arrive.

    Take some time to settle. Imagine your body dropping into the earth in the new place.

    Gradually sustain your exhalations – this stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and encourages rest and relaxation, soothing body and mind after the journey.

    Spinal curl ups

    If you’ve been sitting for a long time, it’s helpful to take the spine into the opposite movement pattern.

    Whilst lying on your back, tilt your pelvis under and gradually peel your spine off the floor, beginning at the tail and articulating through the vertebrae, working up through your lower and middle back, until you are resting on your shoulders.

    Pause here for a moment to see how it feels to let the weight drop through your shoulders (mini massage) before gradually curling back down to the floor.

    Repeat a few times.

    Supine leg stretches

    Begin some simple stretches to stimulate blood flow and reduce fluid retention.

    Raise one leg up and gently bring the thigh towards the chest.

    Hold the back of the thigh or the calf and ease open the knee as far as it will comfortably go, gradually stretching the back of the leg.

    Continue bending and stretching each leg a few times, moving slowly, exploring until the movements feel easier and more elastic.

    At the very top of the movement, you could experiment with flexing the toes to bring them towards your face to mobilise the ankle.

    Child’s pose

    Kneel with your knees apart and bend your body forwards over your thighs to bring yourself into to child’s pose.

    A woman doing a yoga pose on a mat
    It’s important to mobilise your spine after sitting for so long (Picture: Getty)

    Bring the hands under your forehead to support your head and sink the front of your body onto your legs and allow the back of your body to soften and melt. Stay here for a few simple breaths.

    Close the eyes and notice how your body responds to the movement of your breath. Continue to visualise yourself sinking into the ground, becoming more familiar with this new space.

    Downward dog

    Gradually unfold into a downward dog position.

    Plant your hands into the ground and reach your sitting bones up to the sky behind you, until you’re resting on your hands and feet in an inverted V-shape position.

    If stretching feels good, unfurl yourself into it. Imagine moving like a cat, reaching through your spine, all the way from sitting bones to crown of the head.

    Reach along the front of your spine as well as the back and include a conscious stretch all the way through your arms, into the heels of the hands and back through your body into your feet, ankles and heels.

    If it feels good, reach each heel down to the ground alternately to stretch the backs of the ankles and the soles of the feet.

    Legs up against the wall

    This is a wonderful pose or exercise to do for tired or swollen legs when coming off a flight.

    Elevating the legs promotes lymphatic drainage from excess fluid build-up. Set up a comfortable space around a wall with your hips raised on a pillow and as close to the wall as possible, then slowly start walking your feet up the wall until your body is in an L-shaped position.

    Organise your legs into a comfortable position – they can be slightly bent if that feels good.

    Now focus on your breath – try elongating your breath, taking a deep, slow inhale through your nose and a deep, slow exhale through your nose.

    Try to stay in the pose for five minutes.

    Savasana

    End your practice with Savasana ‘corpse pose’, which is possibly one of the most restorative poses you can do.

    This continues to help you connect to ground and is great to help re-centre the mind and the body after the altitude and high speed of a flight.

    Lie down flat on your back on the floor, head face towards the ceiling, palms open and facing upwards by the side of your body.

    Shift your hips from side to side until you find your weight balanced equally and a slight natural curve in your spine. Make sure you feel warm, comfortable and supported.

    Close your eyes and rest here for at least five mins.

    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


    The morning stretch is importantThe morning stretch is important

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    Illustration of woman running wearing headphones
    Feeling low? Apathetic? Sore? You might be burnt out. (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    Fitness burnout can be different for everyone who experiences it – but it should always be taken really seriously.

    Burnout is sneaky – it can be hard to notice the signs. When you workout a lot it’s normal to feel tired, right? It’s normal for your body to ache, right? It’s normal to cry after a session… right?

    We have already written about the dangers of over-exercising and how to spot the signs. But severe exhaustion, emotional volatility and a sudden apathy towards fitness are all red flags that you could be heading towards burnout.

    But if it’s different for everyone, how do you know what’s a normal level of tired and what’s burnout? We asked fitness lovers who had been through it to tell us exactly how it felt for them.

    ‘It happens to me in stages,’ explains personal trainer Temi.

    ‘First I notice that I’m not so bothered about going to the gym. I really love the gym and training, and it’s a big hobby of mine, but when I’m suffering from burnout I start to slack – and that’s different from feeling low or sick.

    ‘The next stage is when I do workout, I don’t enjoy it. I slack off or skip exercises in my workout. And I don’t feel good after. I feel fatigued, irritable.

    Vitamin pills 'could help you remember your dreams', scientists claim picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk
    ‘I just felt like I couldn’t run any more. My legs felt heavy and my mind was foggy.’ (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    ‘The final stage of burnout for me is active avoidance of the gym. I become unbothered about missing multiple sessions – either at the gym or at home.

    ‘I don’t want to go, and I tend to want to do something completely opposite to my usual training style — I’m a weight lifter, so my main training style is resistance with medium/heavy compound lifts for 8-10 reps.

    ‘When I’ve got burnout I’ll switch to higher amounts of cardio than is typical for me, or nothing at all.

    ‘To recover, I usually continue with the cardio and time off until I feel that drive and energy to get back into the gym.

    ‘Sometimes I’ll speak to other PT friends of mine and get them to write me a program. Removing myself from my own training and just being able to follow something also helps.’

    And it isn’t only gym bunnies who are affected by burnout – runners can experience it too. Even season runners who are used to the rigours of long-distance training.

    ‘When I was training for my fifth marathon in 2017 I know I had burnout,’ explains Joanne.

    ‘I had trained up to about 16/17 miles from January to March, and then suddenly my body and mind just wasn’t in it anymore.

    ‘My love for running turned into a hatred – despite needing it for my mental health. I was getting upset whenever I went out running, and my body just shut down.

    ‘I just felt like I couldn’t run any more. My legs felt heavy and my mind was foggy.

    ‘Every run stopped being enjoyable, I was crying on a lot of them – even the long runs which I’m normally okay with, and I resented putting my trainers on. I even went and brought new trainers to see if that would help.

    ‘I remember I was about to set off to do a long run (17 miles or so) and I just burst into tears to my now husband, and said I can’t do it anymore. I couldn’t believe I was giving up.

    Illustration of distressed woman with hand over her face
    ‘For me, burnout felt like a combination of insomnia, low self esteem and pure exhaustion.’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Normally he would talk me out of it and say you can do it, knowing a run would help, but he knew this time I had to stop and told me I shouldn’t do the race.

    ‘I hate giving up, but he could see I wasn’t happy at all, with my running or mentally. I wanted to run again and feel like me, not like a zombie. I think I almost over-trained my body because I wanted to beat my marathon time way too much, I became obsessed with it.

    ‘I ended up deferring my marathon entry to the following year and completing it. I’m sure it was because my mental health was just so bad but also me putting too much pressure on my body to do the miles and to beat my time.’

    How to spot the signs of burnout

    You’re sore for days after the workout. We all expect a little of muscle pain after an intense workout, but normal pain lasts two to three days. If the pain lasts beyond the three days, it’s a good sign you are burnt out.

    You’re moody. We are less tolerant of everything when we are tired. Even small thing can make us angrier then normal.

    You can’t lift as heavy as usual or maintain a steady pace of cardio.

    You can’t stop eating or you are constantly wanting to refuel. We don’t listen to our bodies when they are telling us it’s just too much.

    Dorota Maslewska, master trainer at Virgin Active

    ‘I burnt out about four years ago,’ says Mel, a personal trainer and fitness instructor.

    ‘I was teaching six classes a week, working with a PT twice a week and getting up first thing in the morning to get additional workouts in.

    ‘I wasn’t resting enough between workouts, my sleep pattern was poor and my diet was all over the place so I had no energy.

    ‘This all boiled down to lack of experience – thank god I became a PT the following year – and pressure to look good because of my job.

    ‘How could I train others if I wasn’t in the “right shape” for a fitness professional? Thank god I educated myself through continuous education

    ‘For me, burnout felt like a combination of insomnia, low self esteem and pure exhaustion!

    ‘I lost the ability to focus and when I found out I couldn’t train due to an injury, I felt very low and for someone who suffers from depression, that wasn’t good at all.’

    If these stories sound familiar – it might mean you have have burnout, or you’re close to it. There are ways to help yourself before you get to that lowest point – it’s all about spotting the signs and listening to your body.

    We asked Dorota Maslewska, master trainer at Virgin Active for her advice on how overcome fitness burnout.

    ‘Burnout happens to the best of us. I know plenty of people who have hit a similar wall,’ explains Dorota.

    How to deal with fitness burnout

    Try something new to switch up routine or get a workout buddy. If you still want to get your heart rate up – go for a long walk or ride a bike through the park. Low intensity workouts are still very effective.

    Figure out why it happened and look at the goal you are currently trying to achieve.

    It will help you to find the solution if you take a detailed look at your activities over the past four weeks and assess how it can be tweaked. Is your goal realistic? Seek some professional help from a personal trainer or other fitness professional.

    Monitor your progress. Every improvement matters. Whether It’s small or big, slow progress is better than no progress and you can understand how your training regime is impacting on these changes to your body.

    Balance is the key. If you cancel all social events just so you can train , most likely you will experience burnout.

    Rest is part of the program. It is one of the most important days. Your muscles need time to repair themselves and get stronger.

    Make sure you sleep enough. It is recommended that you have eight hours sleep a day. Sleep helps keep your mind and body healthy and allows your body to repair.

    Look at your diet. Are you fuelling your body in the right ways to maintain your training?

    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


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