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

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    Dior is selling reusable glass straws for £120
    Dior is selling reusable glass straws for the bargain price of £120 (Picture: Dior)

    Hello and welcome to today’s edition of ‘fancy brands selling ridiculous things for ridiculous prices’.

    This time around it’s Dior doing some general silliness, in the form of their own box of reusable straws.

    These are not any old reusable straws, mind you. While you can buy all sorts of reusable straws – collapsible ones, straws made of bamboo, metal, glass, rose gold toned – for around £10 online, these straws are Dior straws, and thus cost £120 for a box of six.

    Yes, that’s £20 per straw. Bargain.

    The straws are quite pretty, to be fair.

    They’re each made of glass and painted by hand in gold tones – either entirely gold or with a lovely gold spiral down the length.

    They also come in a snazzy box, complete with the Dior logo. We imagine you’d take the entire box wherever you went, so you can show off about your designer knowledge while also being smug about saving the environment.

    Luxury fashion house Dior started selling reusable straws made of glass
    Pretty, right? (Picture: Dior)

    Will your purchase of the most expensive reusable straws around actually save the earth?

    Probably not, no.

    Saying no to unneccessary plastic is always a good idea, but individual action won’t do much unless we can convince major corporations to jump on the sustainability wagon, too.

    Plastic straws only make up less than 1% of ocean waste in the world.

    Every little helps, but when major brands offer reusable straws as proof that they’re doing their bit, think of it as a plaster on a major leak in their ship. It’s easy to win points for environmental efforts with pretty products that place the onus on the consumer, which provides a lovely distraction from all the waste corporations create in production.

    In short: Ask not why you should pay over £100 for some designer straws, but what else Dior is doing to combat the climate crisis.

    And seriously, if you want some reusable straws that look nice, there are loads around for far cheaper. Just make sure you give them a proper clean after use.

    MORE: Designer creates jumpsuits you can easily pee in without getting totally naked

    MORE: McDonald’s ‘unrecyclable’ straws still better for the environment than plastic

    MORE: Environment crisis won’t be stopped unless we improve access to contraception


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    Lidl reusable fruit and veg bags
    Lidl launches reusable fruit and veg bags (Picture: LIDL)

    You know the drill when it comes to buying loose fruit and veg.

    You fumble around with those slippery little plastic bags, find a bit of food that doesn’t look bruised, and pop it in the little bag, only to rip that bag open at home and chuck it away.

    Those bags are, in all honesty, absolutely pointless. You could just as easily put your apple straight into the trolley and just make sure to wash it when you get home.

    But if you’re desperately keen to have a little bag to tote around your fruit and veg, rejoice, for Lidl is here to answer your prayers.

    Lidl is introducing some snazzy new reusable bags for fruit and veg, available for 69p for two.

    Next time you buy some loose veg, you can also pick up the bags, then just remember to bring one (or both, if you’re getting a load of healthy treats) with you next time.

    It’s all part of Lidl’s determination to cut down on plastic use.

    Lidl reusable fruit and veg bags Provider: LIDL
    They cost 69p for two (Picture: LIDL)

    The bags are quite cute, too, with drawstring openings so you can keep your precious produce nice and secure.

    Georgina Hall, head of corporate social responsibility at Lidl, said: ‘Ever since we opened our doors in Great Britain, 25 years ago, we have been strongly committed to finding ways to reduce our plastic waste.

    ‘We’ve made changes – big and small – over the years to help contribute to this.

    ‘Today’s announcement is the next step, and one which we hope will help customers shift to a truly reusable option.’

    Lidl’s hoping to reduce plastic packaging by 20% by 2022 and make sure that all of its own brand packaging is recyclable, so this the introduction of fruit and veg bags is just one small step of many.

    Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have also ditched plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetables, so you really have no excuse for those flimsy plastic things.

    Exciting times for eco-friendly vegetable fans.

    MORE: Dior is selling reusable straws for £120

    MORE: Amazing Japanese home has 13 floors you can see all at once


    METROGRAB Lidl reusable fruit and veg bagsMETROGRAB Lidl reusable fruit and veg bags

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    A bride and groom, with faces covered by emojis
    Wait until you see the bottom half (Picture: That’s It I’m Wedding Shaming)

    Wedding fashion is subjective, but there are certain fashion faux pas that most people agree on.

    For instance, it’s an unspoken rule that guests shouldn’t wear white, unless it’s part of the theme.

    More often than not the attention falls on the bride and her dress, however, at this wedding it was the groom who stole the show – and for all the wrong reasons.

    The unknown man has been savagely shamed for his choice of attire in a private Facebook group called That’s It I’m Wedding Shaming, where a photo of the happy couple were posted.

    The bride wore a dreamy dress with the top half featuring pink detailing under delicate lace, while the groom’s look was a bit more controversial; he styled his pristine white shirt and tie with beige over-the-knee shorts, long white socks and white and silver trainers.

    It’s unclear where the wedding was held, but it is believed to be somewhere in America.

    Bride and groom on their wedding day, with the groom wearing beige shorts, long socks and trainers

    ‘He was doing so well in the top half, what happened?,’ one person commented on the photo.

    Another person claimed he was disrespecting his bride: ‘ I will never be okay with shorts at a wedding, like seriously?

    ‘I can’t think of a situation where that’s appropriate, especially when the bride has clearly put in her effort to look nice…it’s just disrespectful!’

    While another said: ‘He’s dressed like my grandpa.

    ‘I don’t think she looks bad for a low budget wedding but he looks like garbage.’

    Some of the other users suggested that perhaps the groom had been in a hurry when getting dressed or been preoccupied with other tasks.

    ‘When you have to mow the lawn at 2 and a wedding with three,’ wrote one person.

    Someone else wrote: ‘Did he just wrap up panting [sic] a house?’

    One user was less disturbed by the choice of trousers and more focused on the footwear.

    ‘The shoes are so horrible,’ they wrote.

    ‘I don’t let my old dad wear those sneakers to a bbq, never mind a groom at a wedding.’

    Several people also said that the groom resembled a ‘toddler’.

    ‘I don’t hate it…although if I squint, it does look like she’s dragging along a toddler,’ wrote one person.

    To protect the identity of the couple, emojis were placed on their faces by the person who uploaded the photo.

    Shorts or no shorts at a wedding – what do you think?

    MORE: Bride who broke her leg in four places has it snapped into place by bridesmaid

    MORE: Bride gets diarrhoea from ‘health shakes’ and ruins £12,000 wedding dress

    MORE: Is wearing white as a wedding guest really that bad?


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    Rachel Pighills after being struck down by illness
    Rachel lives in constant fear and pain (Picture: PA Real Life/collect)

    At any moment Rachel Pighills could be ‘internally decapitated’ and instantly dead.

    The 33-year-old has a rare condition called atlantoaxial instability, which causes excessive movement between the first and second vertebrae of the neck, which hold the skull in place.

    This means that each time she turns her head to the left, Rachel’s spine partially dislocates. Each time this happens she increases her risk of paralysis, and one wrong move could cause total dislocation, or ‘internal decapitation’, which would result in her death.

    Rachel, who has a 12-year-old daughter, is forced to wear a neck brace to prevent this from happening. She’s now trying to raise £135,000 through GoFundMe to get surgery from an expert in Barcelona, who’s one of only three surgeons in the world who is able to fuse her neck and skull.

    The mum also has cervical medullary syndrome caused by brain stem compression, which causes excruciating headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.

    Doctors believe her atlantoaxial instability is caused by a connective tissue disorder.

    Rachel lives not only in constant pain, but in fear of paralysis and death. She’s desperate to get help.

    ‘I feel like I can’t do anything,’ says Rachel. ‘I go to work for a few hours a day, come home and lie horizontally on the couch. I do not do anything else.

    ‘I’m a determined person and I have to try and do what I can. I know I can’t give up.

    ‘In May 2019 I spoke to a specialist based in Barcelona who said my case is severe and I’m at risk of internal decapitation. Turning to the left causes my cervical spine junction to partially dislocate and I could die instantly if it fully dislocates.

    ‘My neck has become too unstable to support the weight of my head, meaning I have to take extreme care.

    She must wear a neck brace to prevent her spine and neck from total dislocation
    She must wear a neck brace to prevent her spine and neck from total dislocation (Picture: PA Real Life/Collect)

    ‘I can only wear my neck brace for four hours a day, because of the risk of muscles wasting away, which will be even more dangerous.

    ‘I try and avoid turning from side-to-side. I can’t move to the left side.’

    The surgery wouldn’t ‘cure’ Rachel, and she might still experience pain and other symptoms. But the operation would remove the decapitation risk and save Rachel’s life.

    Rachel has been living in fear for two years.

    Back in 2017 she was perfectly healthy, able to run around and play with her daughter and go horseriding.

    In August of that year she started taking a new medication for an overactive immune system. She experienced sudden vomiting, lost two stone in six weeks, and was hospitalised three times in the space of a month or so.

    Even when she stopped taking the medication, the symptoms continued. An MRI ruled out a tumour, which led to Rachel being diagnosed with Addison’s disease, a rare disorder of the adrenal gland that means someone doesn’t produce enough cortisol and aldosterone.

    Rachel was given steroids to treat this, but continued to lose weight.

    ‘I was having tremors in my hands, caused by adrenaline, I was exhausted all the time and would just fall asleep at any moment,’ she explains. ‘It got to the point where I could not drive my daughter to school in case I fell asleep at the wheel.’

    Offered no other diagnosis, Rachel assumed she must have Addison’s disease, until in August 2018 she hit her head on the back of a ceiling fan and her symptoms worsened.

    Rachel and Guy before illness
    Rachel and Guy before she was struck down by illness (Picture: PA Real Life/collect)

    She said: ‘A week after that I went into adrenal crisis due to water retention and was admitted to hospital. It happened again a week later and I was back to hospital.

    ‘After I returned home I was in constant pain. My head felt really heavy on my shoulders and I would get dizzy and lightheaded.

    ‘I started researching myself and came up with postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) which is an abnormal increase in heart rate that occurs after sitting up or standing, causing dizziness amongst other things.’

    From there followed more tests, doctors visits, and finally an official diagnosis of PoTS.

    Then in May 2019, a neurologist also diagnosed Rachel with Chiari malformation, a condition that causes the lower part of the brain to push down into the spinal canal.

    ‘I posted my MRI scan in a Chiari malformation Facebook group and people were commenting, saying Chiari was the least of my problems,’ said Rachel.

    ‘The dizziness was getting worse. It felt my head was too heavy for my neck. At work I would have to prop up my head with my hands. It felt like an enormous weight. I couldn’t hold it myself.

    ‘I was getting really bad headaches. The worst was at the bottom of my head. It felt like something was pushing and going to pierce through my head. Sitting up would be agony.

    Rachel's MRI scan
    Rachel’s MRI scan (Picture: PA Real Life/collect)

    ‘It would last for hours. It was totally debilitating. I could not physically stand up. My legs would just give way and in the end we had to hire a mobility scooter for me.’

    In June Rachel saw another neurologist, who diagnosed her with platybasia, a flattening of the skull base, and basilar invagination, an infolding of the base of the skull, which occurs when one of the vertebra migrates upwards.

    She paid £1,300 for a private upright MRI scan and asked for the images to be sent to Dr Gilete, a top neurosurgeon in Barcelona. He diagnosed her with atlantoaxial instability – where the vertebrae holding her skull in place become unstable and dislocated, hydrocephalus, which is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain, scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and cervical medullary syndrome, which is caused by brain stem compression.

    Luckily, a private health policy she has through work has covered a lot of her costs, but Rachel has still spent almost £2,000 of her own money on consultations.

    She is now looking to raise £135,000 to cover an operation in Barcelona, her accommodation for an estimated six week stay while she recovers and transport.

    ‘I will have to have two operations,’ Rachel explains. ‘The first will remove the odontoid bone which is compressing my brain stem and the second a week later will fuse my skull and neck together.

    ‘I will have a three week stay in hospital and then three weeks in an apartment with nurses.

    ‘I just want to have it done as soon as possible.

    ‘No one really knows what’s caused it. I still wonder if it’s connected to my reaction to the new medication I took for an overactive immune system.

    ‘I feel I have missed out on so much. I can’t go to my daughter’s assemblies and parents’ evenings. I tried to go and was walking to a classroom when my legs gave way and I fell into the printer. If I’d banged my head it does not bear thinking about what might have happened.

    ‘I hardly sleep. I can’t go out really. A trip to the supermarket is a day out for us.’

    If you’d like to donate towards Rachel’s surgery, you can do so through GoFundMe.

    MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘Living with an invisible illness destroyed my confidence’

    MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘I spent 10 years living with OCD before I realised I was ill’

    MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘I was born with half a heart but it won’t hold me back’


    Woman\'s condition means she could be internally decapitatedWoman\'s condition means she could be internally decapitated

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    Motivational work quote
    When did office decor get so aggressive? (Picture: Getty Images)

    I remember exactly when I realised how much I hated burnout culture – it was when the vegetables told me to ‘hustle harder’.

    Those were the words carved into cucumber at a WeWork water cooler, shared on Twitter. It was followed by photo evidence of ‘Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done’, again on a cucumber at another shared workspace.

    Putting aside the obvious question (cucumbers, really?) – just when did office decor get so aggressive?

    I’ve worked in offices with punchbags and vintage boxing memorabilia on the walls. Increasingly common nap pods and ‘chill’ areas, whilst seemingly benign, only exist because we are stressed enough to need them.

    And these sit alongside ‘work harder’ slogans beamed directly from a Tory MP’s wettest dreams. To date, my ‘favourite’ remains ‘smash today in the face’, which I saw scrawled along a co-working office wall.

    These slogans aren’t just silly. They celebrate the kind of overwork that destroys people’s mental health.

    Each word validates and amplifies that guy on LinkedIn who ‘only talks to winners’ or the woman on Instagram who gets up at 4am to smash some Deepak Chopra-inspired meditation before work.

    I’m not shaming these people. I understand the urge to style yourself as the hardest-working mutt in a dog-eat-dog world – after all, today most of us have faff-all job security.

    Illustration of a man sat with his head in his hands at the doctor's office while the female GP sits in front of him with her hand on his shoulder comforting him
    After a year or so of ‘smashing today in the face’, the day started smashing back (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    The safety net of decent pensions and affordable housing has long gone and if Brexit doesn’t take your job then the robots might, so let’s hustle.

    There’s just one problem: this work harder approach is killing us. Today half a million people in the UK suffer from work-related stress and are facing burnout – what the World Health Organisation defines as ‘chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’.

    According to government figures 14.3 million work days are lost due to stress, depression and anxiety

    I can relate. After going freelance, I became one of those people who starts early, finishes late and eats deadlines for breakfast.

    For a while I thought holidays were a waste of time, weekends were for work and taking time off was for people who couldn’t hack the pace.

    However, after a year or so of ‘smashing today in the face’, the day started smashing back.

    The symptoms of burnout include chronic stress, being exhausted and feeling ineffective – and I had them all. It was horrible.

    Instead of celebrating people dedicated to the 24/7 grind, we should ask the words they really need to hear from the water cooler cucumbers: ‘Are you OK?’

    When you’re feeling like that, the ‘hustle harder, be your best self’ philosophy is worse than useless.

    Because if you’re ‘living your dream’ and it’s not making you happy, then the problem is you. Right?

    After a course of counselling and support from some incredible friends, questions like this now look stupid. But they didn’t when I felt trapped under the duvet, terrified of the day ahead.

    To avoid more people getting ill, we need to cancel burnout culture. These slogans are a symptom of a wider problem of people working too hard because they feel they have to.

    We can change this.

    It starts with creating workplaces where people feel more able to talk about their mental health, where they can be honest about daily setbacks rather than feel like they constantly have to smash through them. All workplaces should invest in training employees in Mental Health First Aid.

    The government needs to get involved too. For instance, they could look at banning on zero-hours contracts, which exploits workers, or step in to provide regulation around overtime.

    As more and more of us work remotely, companies must ensure their employees feel supported and do not become isolated. This could involve investing in mentorship schemes, which would ensure younger employees always have an adviser to turn to and can help keep employees in the workforce.

    And together, we need to kick-start this change by calling out the empty and stupid slogans that promote overwork.

    Instead of celebrating people dedicated to the 24/7 grind, we should ask the words they really need to hear from the water cooler cucumbers: ‘Are you OK?’

    MORE: Burnout is officially recognised as an illness by the World Health Organisation

    MORE: Mental health sufferers like me will only thrive once employers step up and support us

    MORE: I had difficulty describing my mental health symptoms and it led to the wrong diagnosis


    Inspirational and motivational quotes and sayings. Stay Positive, Work Hard and Make it Happen.Inspirational and motivational quotes and sayings. Stay Positive, Work Hard and Make it Happen.

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    Lotus Biscoff Topping Sauce 1kg Squeezy Bottle
    Drool (Picture: Amazon/Lotus)

    Grab some ice cream, a spoon, or simply open your mouth wide enough for a funnel, as it turns out you can buy a massive bottle of Lotus Biscoff sauce online right now.

    Yep, on Amazon right now there are listings for a squeezy bottle of Lotus Biscoff sauce weighing in at 1kg.

    That’s a saucy topping that tastes just like those rather excellent Lotus biscuits or that seriously addictive Biscoff spread you can pop on toast, biscuits, or eat by the spoon.

    The front of the bottle has a photo of ice cream drizzled with the stuff, so we assume that’s how Lotus wants us to eat this magical creation, but there’s really nothing stopping you from squeezing the bottle’s contents directly into your mouth. We won’t judge.

    So, the good news is that this exists.

    The bad news is that it’s not that easy to get hold of.

    After Money Saver Online shared news of the sauce on their Facebook, the Lotus Biscoff bottle has repeatedly been out of stock on Amazon, where it’s just £9.99.

    At the time of writing, Amazon says there’s one bottle available – but you may have to be patient and refresh the page regularly to hit buy while it’s in stock.

    You can, however, buy a bottle for £7.95 from JM Posner, or find bottles ranging in price from a tenner to £54 on Ebay. Fantastic.

    Don’t panic too much if you aren’t able to get your greedy paws on a stash.

    There are loads of other Lotus Biscoff products you can get pretty easily, including ice creams and dunking pots.

    MORE: Let’s ditch motivational quotes and the burnout they inspire

    MORE: Lidl introduces reusable fruit and veg bags to cut down on plastic waste

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


    1KG bottle of Lotus biscoff sauce1KG bottle of Lotus biscoff sauce

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    Balloons float over the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the first ever Thursday mass ascent at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Ashton Court, where hundred of balloons are hoping to fly over the weekend ahead of predicted storms over the UK. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 8, 2019. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
    Hot air balloons rising above the Clifton Suspension Bridge — easily one of the top five most impressive bridges…in the whole of England! (Piicture: Ben Birchall/PA)

    Bristol is a really lovely city, with great architecture, lots of trees, and far fewer white people with dreadlocks than its reputation would suggest.

    It’s the city of Massive Attack and Portishead, Tony Benn and Banksy, Effy from Skins and, also, Tony from Skins, pastel-coloured houses perched atop gorges and people who talk like pirates.

    There’s also a pub on a boat that sells disgustingly strong cider for, like, £3 a pint. In conclusion, Bristol is a good city.

    If the above wasn’t enough to sell it to you, it also hosts the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta…which is happening right now. To celebrate, here are some of the oddest hot air balloons on display this year in the Paris of south-west England.

    By which I mean Bristol.

    Darth Vader

    A Darth Vader shaped hot air balloon floating over Bristol
    Duh-duh-duh, duh duh-duh, duh duh-duh (that’s supposed to be the evil Star Wars music, FYI) (Photo: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

    This Star Wars-themed balloon graced the balloon fiesta just yesterday, causing Mark Hamill to tweet, ‘there’s nothing quite like a giant floating #DarthVader balloon to distract from reality & raise your spirits.’

    Imagine emerging from a psytrance rave to see this bad boy flying overhead. You’d think you’d lost your damn mind.

    Also, guys, Darth Vader was a pretty bad bloke. Maybe we shouldn’t be celebrating him, and his evil ways, with a hot air balloon – just saying.

    An adorable bear…of some kind

    A koala bear rises over Bristol gorge
    A cute-ass bear balloon (Photo:  Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

    Who is this plucky little fellow?? A little bear of some kind? A koala? He’s eating a leaf, which seems very koala-like behaviour.

    Whatever he is…he’s adorable.

    A different, less likeable bear

    a bear balloon rises over Bristol
    (Photo: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

    Whereas the koala (?) bear above is profoundly charming, there’s something about this one that doesn’t sit right with me.

    Is there something a little smug in his expression? Does the sash he’s wearing lend him an officious air?

    He looks like he’s on his way to break up a party. A real jobsworth.

    Keep this bear the hell away from me.

    A scary panther

    A panther balloon takes off at Ashton Court estate in the first ever Thursday mass ascent at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol.
    A panther balloon looking incredibly vicious (photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire)

    Why are most of these balloons so evil looking? Are the organisers purposefully trying to prang out Bristol’s (substantial) stoner population?

    This panther does look pretty cool, though. Just evil…and incredibly insistent.

    Anyway, here’s to to Bristol, and its balloon fiesta. Mine’s a disgusting, vinegary, lukewarm pint of scrumpy!

    MORE: You can buy a massive 1kg squeezy bottle of Lotus Biscoff sauce online

    MORE: Let’s ditch motivational quotes and the burnout they inspire


    Annual Bristol International Balloon FiestaAnnual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

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    An illustration of a woman masturbating
    Your vagina is not a place for steam (Picture: Ella Byworth/ metro.co.uk)vagin

    We hope to one day live in a world where we don’t have to say this: please don’t steam your vagina.

    Vagina steaming is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination.

    It’s been around for yonks in holistic health circles who believe they have to ‘cleanse’ the ‘yoni’ by shoving hot air up there, but has been massively popularised thanks to celebs praising its claimed benefits.

    Gwyneth Paltrow mentioned vaginal steaming on Goop (home of other brilliant advice such as using a spray to get rid of vampires and walking around barefoot to treat depression) and Chrissy Teigen shared a photo of herself squatting over a special steaming stool.

    Have a quick Google and you’ll find endless articles about vaginal steaming, varying in accuracy, and if you take a browse through Etsy you’ll find products expressly for the purposes of shooting steam up your nether regions, from herbal infusions for the water to special ‘spa’ towels with vulva shaped holes.

    What is vagina steaming?

    Pretty self-explanatory, but vaginal steaming involves steaming your vagina the same sort of way you’d steam your face when you’re bunged up.

    You have a bowl of steaming hot water and you sit over it so the steam is pointed directly towards your genitals.

    Does that sound like a bad idea? It is! We’ll explain why in a bit.

    Are there vaginal steaming benefits?

    Fans of the treatment claim that vaginal steaming ‘cleanses the uterus’ (the steam would have a hard time getting in there), detoxes the vagina, rebalances hormones, tightens the vagina, reduces cramps, and even provides people with more energy.

    All evidence points to these claimed benefits being total nonsense.

    What are the risks of vaginal steaming?

    And not only is there no scientific backing to suggest that vaginal steaming is beneficial in any way, but aiming steam at your vulva can be harmful… and yet people are still doing it.

    This week a case was reported in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada which detailed a woman who was left with severe second-degree burns on her genitals thanks to vaginal steaming.

    The journal reports that the 62-year-old woman was seeing a traditional Chinese doctor, who advised her to try steaming at home by mixing a herbal medicine with a pan of boiling water and then sitting over it for 20 minutes.

    She decided to give the treatment a go as she was suffering from a vaginal prolapse and believed that steaming could be a way to avoid surgery.

    After trying it out for a second time and feeling quite uncomfortable, the woman went to doctors for a second opinion. They found that she had second-degree burns. The woman still had to have surgery to treat her vaginal prolapse, but had to wait for the burns to heal first.

    Evidently – despite all the articles and experts saying that vaginal steaming is not a wise idea – people are still going ahead and trying to treat their vagina with steam.

    Clearly we need a reminder of why you definitely shouldn’t do such a thing. Let’s have at it.

    illustration of vagina injury
    Vaginal steaming can cause a lot of damage (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    First off, let’s get rid of the idea that steaming is an effective way to ‘clean’ the vagina.

    The vagina (the internal bits of the genitals, that you can’t see) does not need to be cleaned. It’s a magical part of the body that takes care of itself, maintaining its perfect pH balance to keep good bacteria there and kick bad stuff out. The vagina is perfectly capable of looking after itself, and anything you do to attempt to clean it will end up disrupting that process and likely leave you with an infection.

    ‘It’s a myth that the vagina needs extensive cleaning as it is designed to clean itself with natural secretions,’ Dr Vanessa Mackay, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘The vagina contains good bacteria, which are there to protect it. If these bacteria are disturbed it can lead to infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush, and inflammation.

    ‘Steaming the vagina could affect this healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels and cause irritation, infection (such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush) and inflammation.’

    Water of any sort shouldn’t go into the vagina as alongside disrupting the vagina’s healthy bacteria, it also wrecks the vagina’s natural lubrication.

    If you’ve ever attempted to have sex in a pool or shower, you’ll know that water definitely doesn’t make your vagina wetter. Instead it dries it out, leaving the vagina more at risk of cuts, irritation, and discomfort.

    Even steam produced from plain old water would disrupt the vagina’s delicate ecosystem, but most steams will incorporate some sort of herbal remedy – which can cause even greater irritation.

    We repeat: the vagina does not need to be cleaned internally, ever. If you’re wondering how to clean your genitals, it’s very simple. Use warm water only on the outside bits, the vulva. That’s it.

    So even lukewarm water used internally would be bad for the vagina. If you then heat it up to the point of steam, you’re facing even more risks.

    You could get severely burned, as demonstrated by the woman we mentioned above. That would cause a lot of pain and discomfort and require an embarrassing trip to the doctor.

    Heating the vagina isn’t a good plan because it really should be kept at its normal, happy temperature of 37C. If you warm up your vagina you’re making it a lovely hotbed for bad bacteria, causing yeast infections. The heat will also make your vagina itch.

    So that’s all the bad stuff that vaginal steaming will bring… what about the good stuff?

    Sorry, but there is none.

    While sitting down for 20 minutes and doing nothing could reduce stress, the actual steaming of the vagina has no scientifically proven benefits.

    The vagina doesn’t need to be ‘detoxed’ – as we mentioned, it looks after itself – but steam of any sort wouldn’t do anything to rid you of ‘toxins’.

    Steam up the vagina cannot alter your hormones. It could perhaps temporarily reduce cramps in the same way a hot water bottle on your tummy does – warmth relaxes the muscles – but it will not provide a radical change. Steaming definitely cannot treat a prolapse, which requires surgery. Hot water or steam will do nothing to tighten the vagina. The warmth will probably make you sleep, rather than providing you with energy.

    If you’re experiencing an issue with your vagina, whether that’s discomfort or worries about how it feels, looks, smells, tastes, don’t faff around with steam and herbal treatments you found online. Go to your GP or a gynaecologist and get checked over.

    Attempting a vaginal steam will do you no good, it could do you harm, and it could cover up a problem that has a far simpler explanation than your vagina needing some herbs.

    MORE: Your vagina is the easiest target for influencers to sell you self-hate

    MORE: It’s normal to be anxious about your vagina, but a spa isn’t the answer

    MORE: What happens to your vagina and vulva as you age?


    SEX INJURIES FEATURES: Cervix bruising, vaginal microtears, semen allergy metro illustrationsSEX INJURIES FEATURES: Cervix bruising, vaginal microtears, semen allergy metro illustrations

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    A scene from Fleabag which features Phoebe Waller Bridge as Fleabag and her best friend Boo (Jenny Rainsford) sat in their guinea pig cafe
    Fleabag with her best friend Boo and their guinea pig (Picture: Amazon Prime)

    Fleabag has given the world some truly amazing things.

    Aside from laughs and sexy priests, people fell in love with the main character’s failing business venture turned smash success: the guinea pig café.

    If you were disappointed by the lack of guinea pigs at the Village Café in Highgate – the venue used for the TV show – you needn’t be any longer, for the Fleabag café finally exists in the real world.

    There’s a catch: it’s not in the UK.

    A two-day pop-up has been installed across the pond in Los Angeles, California, by Amazon Studios (who manage the US release of the show) and it looks exactly like you’d imagine.

    There are real life guinea pigs – several, not just one like in the show – and lots of guinea pig art, as well as a replica of the bronze statue that Fleabag stole from her dad’s girlfriend to give away as a prize at her sister’s awards event.

    Sadly, we have bad news.

    The pop-up, known as Hilary’s Café, opened yesterday and will only run for one more day: today – from 10am to 6pm on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    Not all hope is lost.

    Remember, the UK is eight hours ahead and the flight takes around 11 hours.

    If you’re a die-hard fan, quickly pack your bags and head straight to the airport.

    The address is 7924 Melrose Avenue – run.

    Should you not fancy forking out cash for a flight, you could just visit a pet shop and have a cup of coffee afterwards, while watching Fleabag.

    MORE: You can buy a massive 1kg squeezy bottle of Lotus Biscoff sauce online

    MORE: Subway is testing out a meatless version of their meatball sub

    MORE: Lidl bring back their famous Wagyu beef burgers


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    Costa coffee cup
    Costa drinks are getting smaller and more expensive (Picture: iStock/Getty)

    Be warned, coffee fans: if you ask for your usual medium latte from Costa Coffee, you might get less than you expected.

    That’s because Costa is changing up the sizes of their cups, reducing them in size while the prize increases by 10p.

    So yes, you’re getting less for more money.

    The good news is this isn’t a nationwide change… yet.

    Costa tells Metro.co.uk that they’re trialling the new cup sizes ‘across a small select number of stores within four different regions – Hampshire, Gloucestershire, South Yorkshire and Birmingham’.

    Costa says that each region varies slightly in terms of price, but they will all have the new cup system.

    Let’s break down those new cups, as this could get confusing.

    What you knew before as a ‘small’, a cup which held 12 fl oz, is now called a ‘medium’.

    The old 16 fl oz ‘medium’ is now called ‘large’.

    The old ‘large’, which held 20 fl oz is now ‘extra large’.

    There’s also a new cup, holding 8 fl oz, which will be called ‘small’.

    So each cup distinction moves down a size. Make sense?

    Costa coffee cups surrounded by coffee beans
    A latte has increased 10p in price while reducing in size (Picture: Getty Images)

    But while a small, medium, and large coffee is now smaller than before, the prices haven’t shrunk to match. Instead, they’ve increased.

    The old small late cost £2.15, but the new smaller one costs £2.25. The old medium cost £2.45, now the smaller medium costs £2.55. You can see where we’re going with this, but to continue: the old large was £2.75, the new large is £2.85, while the new extra large (which is the size you would have paid £2.85 for) is £3.05.

    So if you wanted to have a 16 fl oz latte. you once would have paid £2.45, but would now pay £2.85.

    As the cup changes haven’t been rolled out yet, we’re bracing for backlash. But Costa claims the new cups are a result of customer feedback, and say they’re listening to concerns.

    Costa told Metro.co.uk: ‘Following customer feedback around cup sizes available in Costa Coffee, we are trialling a range of new cup sizes across a small select number of stores within four different regions – Hampshire, Gloucestershire, South Yorkshire and Birmingham.

    ‘Each region varies slightly, both with cup sizes available, which range from 8oz to 20oz – named: small, medium, large and extra-large.

    ‘Every store within the trial now serves a new smaller 8oz cup, which is in line with growing coffee trends we have seen across the industry.

    ‘Prices within three of these regions have also changed to reflect the range of cups on offer and differ depending on region.

    ‘Following initial feedback from customers we are issuing those stores involved with in-store communication to provide customers with clear information around the changes to both cup sizes and price.

    ‘We are gathering customer feedback as we go and look forward to sharing more information from the trial in the coming months.’

    MORE: Drinking booze or smoking before bed will ruin your sleep more than coffee, says study

    MORE: Bride’s ‘coffee-stained’ wedding dress doesn’t go down well


    Costa Coffee cups shrinkCosta Coffee cups shrink

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    A tray featuring Meatliquor meals such as a burger, nachos with cheese, a hot dog, hash browns and dips
    Burgers for 24 hours – the ultimate dream (Picture: Meatliquor)

    Does the idea of burger for breakfast, lunch and dinner sound like a dream come true?

    It will soon become a reality as Meatliquor, the franchise that has 11 restaurants across the UK, will be hosting a 24-hour burger celebration so you can stuff your face with as much meaty goodness as your heart desires.

    The event is being held in honour of National Burger Day. It will start at 11.30am on 22 August until the following morning – although technically the burger extravaganza will actually run for 39.5 hours, as the venue doesn’t close until 3am on the Friday.

    Chefs will be serving up special breakfast burgers in the morning (from 5am to 11.30am) and there’s something for everyone; meatlovers can enjoy the pork sausage patty with bacon, mushrooms and egg, while the veggie burger consists of mushrooms, halloumi and egg and the vegan option features mushrooms and hash browns.

    You can guzzle down your grub with cocktails throughout the 24 hours too, as the venue has secured a special licence for the occasion. That being said, please drink responsibly.

    The drinks menu includes tipples such as the English Breakfast Martini, which is made with Bombay Sapphire gin, Vermouth blend and topped with a bacon-dusted pickled quail’s egg.

    If you’d rather go alcohol-free, the team recommend the Stiegl Grapefruit Radler.

    Meatliquor’s staple dishes will also be available including the Dead Hippie, which features two French mustard-fried beef patties, minced white onion, lettuce, pickles and cheese, drizzled with Dead Hippie sauce (we’re not quite sure what’s in it but we’re hoping it’s not what it says on the tin).

    For those who don’t like beef, there are also several chicken burgers to choose from.

    Don’t like burgers? Go for buffalo wings, black bean chilli fries or add your own ingredients to a grilled hot dog.

    Either way, go forth and eat.

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

    MORE: Dad who had a headache for a month told he has just one year left to live

    MORE: Toddler accidentally receives ‘Happy Birthday Loser’ cake


    Screen Shot 2019-08-01 at 10.39.56-15adScreen Shot 2019-08-01 at 10.39.56-15ad

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    Doctors had told Mollie Wincott, 22, that her three-year-old daughter Mia might never be able to walk.

    The little girl suffers from Joubert Syndrome, a genetic brain development disorder which hinders her ability to walk and speak.

    Mia was also born with two holes in her heart, which meant she had to stay in intensive care when she was a baby.

    Despite all odds, the toddler took her first steps yesterday and the moment was captured on video by her proud mum.

    Mollie, who lives in Andover shared the footage on Twitter and the story has since gone viral, with over 8,400 retweets and nearly 100,000 likes.

    In the video, Mia can be seen pushing her bright pink walker and enjoying a little walk through the family’s kitchen.

    Her mum tweeted: ‘My daughter is non verbal and non mobile, she has recently been diagnosed with a rare malformation of the brain called Joubert Syndrome, today she walked for the first time with her new barbie pink walker.

    ‘My heart is bursting!’

    ‘Mia has had a walker for a long time but she never paid it any attention until I painted it pink. When I went to show her, she was so happy and did a few steps,’ she told the Andover Advertiser.

    Mollie, who works as a charity worker, has been blown away by the response on social media.

    ‘I was worried people may be cruel but every single response and message has been so kind,’ she said.

    ‘People have been messaging me from the other side of the world.’

    Speaking about her daughter, Mollie explained that Mia has been ‘poorly’ from the moment she came into the world, but is still the ‘happiest little girl’.

    Mollie said: ‘The doctors told me when she was younger that they didn’t think she would ever walk.

    ‘They still said to me when she got her diagnosis that they couldn’t predict it.

    ‘Mia has been poorly ever since she was born. She’s had two holes in her heart and stayed in intensive care as a baby.

    ‘She has been through a lot but has been incredible throughout it all. She is the happiest little girl.’

    We’re not crying, you are.

    MORE: Toddler poos on the floor and covers herself in Sudocrem the moment her mum leaves the room

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

    MORE: Dad who had a headache for a month told he has just one year left to live


    Mum films daughter's first steps THIS is the incredible moment an Andover mum recorded her disabled daughter walking for the first time. Mollie Wincott, 22, was told by doctors they didn't think three-year-old Mia would ever be able to walk.Mum films daughter's first steps THIS is the incredible moment an Andover mum recorded her disabled daughter walking for the first time. Mollie Wincott, 22, was told by doctors they didn't think three-year-old Mia would ever be able to walk.

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    You may not believe it but there are more important things than your phone…

    Phones are important – how else could you exchange thousands of WhatsApps with your friends all day, share stories on Instagram AND fire off angry tweets while not even looking where you’re going? (Well, until you walk into a lamp post, that is…)

    Okay, they also bring genuine benefits, like allowing us to stay in touch with each other as never before and maintain long-distance friendships that might have previously withered. But it seems we’ve crossed a threshold, and that our old master-servant relationship with the trusty ‘dog and bone’ got twisted at some point in the last few years.

    Rather than seeing phones as a useful tool for our real, offline lives, we’ve let them take over.

    This isn’t quite like Frankenstein’s monster – it’s much more subtle than that. Monsters are ugly, so scare people off. Phones, by contrast, lure us in with fancy handsets and the offer of convenience, before monopolising so many aspects of our existence that they begin calling the shots.

    If you’ve ever been in a bar with a low battery and no charger, and felt the beads of sweat on your brow, you’ll know what we mean.

    In partnership with Direct Line life insurance, provided by AIG, we’ve come up with some of the ways you could be valuing your phone over your life, and how you might be thinking about changing that view today.

    First off, holidays. People have always shared mementos of their trips with friends, but back in the old days the best you could hope for was a slightly out of focus photo and a destination postcard.

    Now it’s hourly Instagram updates, Facebook selfies of other tourists taking selfies, and shaky videos showing hundreds of smartphone zombies all heading to the same ‘bucket list’ spot they saw on social media.

    Actual experiences, like the feeling of warm sand between your toes and the taste of that first beer opened on a sunny patio, are all sacrificed for a few likes.

    Phones are now a regular part of our social lives…

    And what about the traditional trip to the pub? It’s no longer as simple as a one-on-one drink with a friend; normal conversations have turned into a bizarre ritual where we try to second guess our companion… they’ve got their phone out and stopped talking, should I look at mine too? They’re putting theirs away, so I’ll slip mine back in my pocket… Nope, still going, just time to send another message.

    And it’s not just our social life that our phones now dominate.

    Worried about your health? You can now use apps to monitor your resting heart rate or work out exactly how much sleep you’re getting. The fact that nothing is better guaranteed to raise your heart rate or keep you up all night than your phone, doesn’t seem to feature in our calculations.

    Need to check on your finances? Install an app that links with your card to provide live updates on exactly how you’ve frittered away your money – a perfect activity for when you wake up in a haze after a big night out.

    Phones are great, but it’s time we reminded them who’s boss.

    Late night phone use is guaranteed to disturb your sleep

    It’s unlikely any of us truly value our phones over our life (despite evidence to the contrary), yet while nearly all 20 to 35-year-olds have one, and just 21% of us are covered by life insurance*, it’s telling us a different story. That’s around  10.2 million people who are missing out on potential life cover.

    Most people get life insurance after major life events, like buying a house, having children, or getting married. Who knows, you could even hand your partner the policy when you exchange your vows?

    Okay, maybe that’s going too far…­­­­­­­

    In all seriousness though, there are loads of advantages to getting life insurance that even the most comprehensive phone bundle couldn’t come close to offering. Payouts can be given that could cover the cost of a funeral, outstanding bills like car loans and credit cards can be potentially paid off and mortgage repayments or childcare could be covered.

    So, take a break from the virtual world and start paying for something that really matters…

    *SOURCE: (TPT18 IPA TouchPoints 2018)

    How does Direct Line life insurance work?

    What are the basics?

    You pay a monthly premium over the policy term, which pays out a lump sum if you die or are diagnosed with a terminal illness.

    How much are the payouts?

    It depends on the policy, your age and lifestyle. Although, what you want to pay and your payout amount is agreed at the start of the policy.

    What’s the difference between a level and decreasing policy?

    A level policy is where the payout remains the same during the length of the insurance; the latter sees it reduce over time and is often used to cover an outstanding repayment mortgage.

    How much will it cost?

    Cover starts from £5 a month, depending on your age and lifestyle, and monthly payments always stay the same, allowing you to budget. If you’re an existing Direct Line customer, you’ll also get a 7% discount.

    Who decides what policy is best?

    You. Direct Line life insurance products are sold on a non-advised basis only. This means staff will not give personal recommendations – customers decide which policy will work best based on their personal circumstances.

    What can I add to my cover?

    For an additional fee you can add Critical 3 Cover. If you are diagnosed with cancer or have a heart attack or stroke, you’ll be paid out a sum of money as long as you survive for 14 days after diagnosis.

    How many claims are paid out?

    99% of life insurance claims were paid out in 2018 by AIG, which is the company that provides policies sold by Direct Line.

    Click HERE to find out more.


    6 friends at a pub with phones6 friends at a pub with phones

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    When we think of ‘everyday’ things they are usually boring, like doing the shopping, commuting zombie-like to work or – nowadays at least – shouting at the TV when the news comes on.

    How about something a little more exciting then…like daily prize draws for whopping cash prizes?

    For £10 a month, 32% of which goes to charity, People’s Postcode Lottery gives you the chance to be among thousands of winners every week.

    There’s £30,000 on offer for every ticket in one winning area on Saturday and Sunday, and £1,000 daily for players in 20 selected areas. Then every month, participants in one location share an incredible £3 million.

    September draws will be extra special, with £30,000 prizes announced every day from September 7 to October 4.

    But enough patter, let’s hear from three winners about what it feels like – plus the charities who have benefitted from some of the £450 million raised by players so far.

    ‘Psychic’ builder who says he predicted his own bumper win

    ‘Physic’ York builder Mark with People’s Postcode presenters Jeff and Daryl

    Part-time medium Mark Brookes, 55, says he felt sure his postcode was going to be a winner – before he scooped a spectacular £359,514 in the £3 million draw for June.

    The father-of-four, from Huntington in York, played with two tickets and so received two cheques, each worth £179,757.

    Mark, a self-employed builder, even came close to predicting the exact amount he would get for each prize.

    ‘I actually wrote down three amounts on a piece of paper that I thought I’d win,’ he said. ‘Two were low but then I wrote down £178,201 and I just thought that figure was the one.’

    Now the lucky dad’s looking to the future again – with plans to use some of the winnings to allow his wife to retire and the rest to cover deposits for his children’s homes.

    Golden gran! Delight for pensioner, 87, as she bags £30,000 after years of ill health

    Joan, from Amersham, bagged £30,000 after years of ill health
    Joan, from Amersham, bagged £30,000 after years of ill health

    Jean Balchin, 87, had been in and out of hospital for three years when she scooped £30,000 on People’s Postcode Lottery.

    The grandmother, from Amersham, Buckinghamshire, was ‘ecstatic’ about the win, which she called a ‘fantastic morale boost’.

    Jean said she had begun to believe that ‘nothing could go right’ until her July jackpot, which she plans to use to treat her loyal daughter to a holiday.

    ‘My daughter Sarah has been incredible at taking care of me after I had my two big operations, so it would be nice to treat her for a change and pay for her, her husband and my granddaughter to go on holiday,’ she said.

    ‘Early next year, once I’m a bit better, I’d also love to go on a cruise, so that’s something to look forward to. I feel like I’m on the road up now, rather than the road down.’

    ‘We’re on top of the world!’ Husband and wife can’t wait to help their daughter buy a house as they bag £30,000

    Lucky Worsley winners John and Karen with their £30,000 cheque

    John and Karen Liever announced their plans to help their daughter onto the housing ladder within seconds of hearing they’d won £30,000.

    The couple, from Worsley near Manchester, opened their door to find lottery ambassador Danyl Johnson with the giant cheque on August 1.

    John said: ‘I’m on top of the world! It’s fantastic to win for both us and the family. ‘My daughter and her husband have been looking to buy a house for a long time, and I can help them out which means everything to me.’

    The 65-year-old, who was one of four local winners, spoke of his satisfaction that charities would benefit as well, saying: ‘I’d pay for that alone’.

    Celebs getting behind the lottery

    People’s Postcode Lottery comes with some heavyweight celebrity endorsements, including David Attenborough, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Brian Blessed.

    Eight-times Wimbledon winner Roger Federer is also signed up as an international ambassador alongside George Clooney, who said he’s ‘never seen anything like it’.

    If you’re a lucky winner, you could be visited by TV presenters Jeff Brazier and Matt Johnson, singer Danyl Johnson, or former radio host Judie McCourt.

    They aren’t the only winners! Three of the good causes helped by lottery players this year

    Every subscription to People’s Postcode Lottery helps raise money for charities both in the UK and across the world.

    Here are three of the good causes that have benefited from lottery funds in 2019.

    Fulfilling Jak’s dream: £17,500 for cancer charity founded in courageous teenager’s memory

    Jak’s mum, Allison, (left) with lottery ambassador Fiona and a supporter

    Jak Trueman always thought of others, even arranging for flowers to be sent to his mother, grandmother and girlfriend a day after he died from a rare form of blood cancer in 2015.

    So the teenager would no doubt be delighted at the £17,500 grant raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery for the charity created in his memory.

    The money, which came from the Postcode Community Trust, helped the Team Jak Foundation open a new and improved centre for families affected by cancer in Livingston, West Lothian.

    Overseen by Jak’s mother, Alison Barr, it supports 160 local families, fulfilling his dream of creating a place where children could relax away from the trauma of treatment.

    Lottery Ambassador Fiona Phillips said after a visit to Jak’s Den: ‘I came away feeling inspired by Allison and her drive to help people, and am so glad that the funding raised by Postcode Lottery players is helping them to support even more families.’

    That was worth shelling out on! Two player-supported wildlife charities welcome osprey chicks

    Aila the osprey feeding her two chicks

    Two charities supported by the lottery welcomed osprey chicks in July this year, giving a huge boost to efforts to conserve the protected species.

    The Woodland Trust, which has received more than £10 million thanks to support from players, watched as a female named Aila produced three eggs, of which two hatched.

    Her daily life with mate Louis in their nest high above the 2,538-acre Arkaig Community Forest is being broadcast to the public via a webcam.

    The Scottish Wildlife Trust has also seen two ospreys born at Loch of the Lowes near Perth. Ranger Sara Rasmussen said: ‘Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is vital to helping our team keep a close eye on these birds, and share their inspiring story with the public.’

    Helping the blind to see again: Nearly 500 people receive cataract surgery from African charity supported by players

    Community eye health worker Mai Mai greets a woman during his duties

    A player-supported charity that tackles blindness in Africa has helped hundreds of people regain the gift of sight.

    Sightsavers carried out nearly 500 cataract operations and screened 30,000 people for eye conditions between January and March 2019 in Mozambique alone.

    Its sight-saving treatments can lift whole families out of poverty by allowing breadwinners to earn a living and send their children to school. 

    The charity, which operates in Mali and Nigeria, trains up community eye health workers like Mai Mai who carry out the initial screenings and then refer people for treatment. 

    He said: ‘To see people seeing their family again… The smile that they bring to me is an enormous joy.’

     

    How does People’s Postcode Lottery work… and how can I sign up?

    Players pay £10 a month for the chance to win a daily prize of £1,000 for every ticket in 20 winning postcodes and a monthly £3 million jackpot for one local area*.

    On Saturday and Sunday, every player in one winning postcode will get a cheque for £30,000.

    September draws will be extra special, with £30,000 prizes announced every day from September 7 to October 4.

    There are also smaller prizes for players in 1,000 winning postcodes on the weekend – £10 per ticket on Saturday and £20 on Sunday. You can buy a maximum of three tickets for each draw.

    Those taking part must be over 16 and living in England, Scotland or Wales – Northern Ireland isn’t covered. Winners are notified by email, text, phone or email depending on the prize.

    For the big winners, a lottery ambassador will visit you in person!

    *Maximum ticket prize is 10% of draw proceeds up to £400,000. As the estimated proceeds for September are £1.835 million, the maximum ticket prize will be £183,500.

    Get your subscription by August 22 to play in the September draws by visiting https://www.postcodelottery.co.uk/play

    Gaming is fun but for a few, it may become a problem. If you’re worried about yourself, or someone you know, visit the Gamble Aware website for assistance. https://www.begambleaware.org/

    For terms and conditions visit https://www.postcodelottery.co.uk/policies/terms-and-conditions

    People’s Postcode Lottery manages multiple society lotteries promoted by different charities and good causes.

     


    'Physic' York builder Mark with People's Postcode presenters Jeff and Daryl-077d'Physic' York builder Mark with People's Postcode presenters Jeff and Daryl-077d

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    Harry Potter fan posing with wand at Trafalgar Square
    Some very cool customers indeed (Picture: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

    Today is #bookloversday, which has got us thinking.

    Literature is an all-time great art form that enriches our lives and gets to the thorny truths of what it means to be human – and yet, in the context of dating apps, it seems few things make people swipe left harder than someone makes a big deal about reading.

    To find out whether this is indeed the case, we spoke to serial dating app users and asked them whether promoting your love of the written word is counter-productive if you’re trying to get laid or find love.

    After rigorous research, we discovered the truth, including that there are two main types of annoying book people on dating apps.

    Type one: People who like bad books

    ‘Harry Potter is a no, YA [young adult] fiction is a no, anything basic as f*** is a no,’ Moyra, 24, tells Metro.co.uk.

    But why are these kinds of book such a turn off?

    ‘Because if that’s what you’ve chosen to represent you as a person, it tells me that you’re basic and also probably very earnest,’ she adds.

    ‘And I’m a snarky bitch who doesn’t want to crush your spirit.’

    Hayley, 25, agrees that mentioning Harry Potter or young adult fiction is a huge turn-off.

    ‘When someone makes it a key part of their personality,’ she tells us, ‘it suggests a really infantile worldview.

    ‘Also, it’s twee, and tweeness isn’t hot. It’s simply not sexy to tell me you’re a Hufflepuff.’

    Offering a male perspective, John, 28, echos similar opinions.

    John said: ‘If someone mentioned Harry Potter or YA, I would absolutely swipe left.’

    All of this would suggest you should give mentions of Harry Potter, along with any other books aimed at a younger audience, the hard swerve.

    Anna, 23, is concerned about what might happen if she gets into bed with a Potterhead.

    She said: ‘I kind of need to know if you’re a Potterhead…because we would not work out.

    ‘Like, what if you called me a “filthy little mudblood” in bed?’

    In the interest of balance, we spoke to a fan of the magical series and not even she would mention her love for all things Gryffindor on a date.

    ‘I love Harry Potter, and actually think Harry Potter bashing itself is basic and twee,’ she says.

    ‘Just accept that it’s a seminal piece of work. But, to be honest, any mention of a specific book is too intense.

    ‘Because as much as I love Harry Potter – I wouldn’t feel the need to open with that on a date.’

    Type two: People who like good books, but in an annoying way

    Many of the people I spoke to rolled their eyes while talking about men who reference authors like Chuck Palahnuik, Charles Bukowski or Jack Kerouac.

    ‘Most people on dating apps who go on about literature don’t even like reading, in my view,’ Hayley tells us.

    ‘They just like showing off about how they read “difficult” books.

    ‘There’s a whole ‘high literature’ vibe that’s often combined with people bragging that they would never watch Love Island.’

    Anna also believes people only add a book to their bio because they want to appear intelligent.

    Anna agrees: ‘Bitch, we’ve all read and enjoyed a book before.

    ‘People on dating apps mostly mention the books they think make them appear smart (the “white boy classics”) but this isn’t your CV, son – I don’t care what literature inspired you this early on.’

    Meanwhile, Moyra will quickly dismiss people if they include ‘try-hard’ references.

    ‘If it’s a try-hard reference like DFW [David Foster Wallace] or Hunter S. Thompson, I’m like…get to f***,’ she said.

    However, she argues that pretentious men on dating apps are making fewer literary references now.

    Apparently, the new way to show off is through namedropping film directors or music, which is like ‘catnip’, or talk about philosophy.

    Is talking about reading ever acceptable?

    Most of the people we spoke to objected to discussing literature or specific genres, rather than referencing it in general.

    In fact, many of them said they find an enjoyment of reading actively appealing.

    John said: ‘As a bookish bloke, it can be a handy conversation starter – in a “oh, what’s the best thing you’ve read recently?” sort of way.’

    Meanwhile, Mike argues that some forms of literature could indicate that someone is progressive or has good values.

    He said: ‘If they’re talking about books written by women or people of colour, or queer lit, that would be a plus.

    ‘If someone said James Baldwin, that’s a yes.’

    Harry Potter lover Natalie has by far the most positive take on the issue.

    She said: ‘I don’t think it’s lame to say that you enjoy reading.

    ‘Reading is hot. I read a lot, and I would hate to date someone who doesn’t want to hear about every book that I’m reading in minute detail.

    ‘So if they say they love reading or they’re a book nerd – that would probably make me want to swipe right.’

    So maybe talking about reading on a dating app is fine, in small doses.

    As with most things in life, just don’t be a dick about it.

    It’s probably safer not to be too specific but if you must reference a certain book, it’s probably more appealing if it’s a contemporary choice – as this shows you actually have an engaged interest.

    And, whatever you do, avoid talking about which Hogwarts house you would be in.

    MORE: Are adults still using colouring books to improve their mental health?

    MORE: How to get the new Harry Potter eBooks and learn more about lessons at Hogwarts

    MORE: Do you need to explicitly ask someone’s permission before sending them nudes?


    Should you talk about literature on dates?Should you talk about literature on dates?

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    The Heinz Saucy Sauce bottle and fries on a table
    It looks so creamy (Picture: John Nguyen/Heinz/PA Wire)

    Chip lovers, rejoice.

    The dip of British dreams has finally been announced: the Heinz Saucy Sauce – which tastes like a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise – is on its way.

    You will no longer have to ask the server for both dips, only to mix them together yourself and make a mess at the table.

    The hybrid sauce was launched in the US last year, though Americans know it as ‘Mayochup’.

    Through a Twitter poll, Heinz quickly found out that UK consumers also wanted a taste of the good stuff, as thousands of Brits called for it to become available on our side of the pond.

    Unfortunately, Mayochup is already a trademark brand in Europe, which is why our version of the product is called Saucy Sauce, but our version sounds, er, saucier – so who cares.

    The wait is almost over – the semi-orange goodness will be in stores on 23 August.

    As we all know, it’s very hard to get a good ketchup to mayo ratio, so what can we expect from the Saucy Sauce?

    ‘We know consumers who mix their own Saucy Sauce at home have their personal preference on the mixing ratio,’ Heinz responded to a Twitter user who asked about the ratio.

    ‘We have perfected the ratio of the two sauces for a delicious, out of this world taste.’

    This isn’t the first release from Heinz this year.

    In April, the brand released the Creme Egg Mayo, which many people first thought was a prank.

    Heinz clearly isn’t afraid to push the boundaries.

    MORE: Meatliquor to stay open for 24 hours so you can have a burger whenever you want

    MORE: Costa is making cups smaller and bumping up the prices

    MORE: You can now visit the guinea pig café from Fleabag


    Heinz Saucy SauceHeinz Saucy Sauce

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    Tamara Tulum has spent thousands on lip fillers
    Tamara has spent thousands on lip fillers (Picture: tamaratulum/ Jam Press)

    Tamara Tulum is a big fan of big lips.

    She loves to have a massive pout so much that she regularly gets large shots of fillers, then shares the results on her Instagram.

    Tamara thinks Kylie Jenner’s lips are ‘too small’ – just to give you a sense of how inflated we’re talking.

    The 22-year-old, from Sweden, says she was always happy with her natural lips, but fell in love with how they looked with a load of filler.

    So far she’s spend £2,054 on fillers.

    Tamara Tulum in 2016 before getting lip fillers
    Tamara before getting fillers (Picture: @tamaratulum/ Jam Press)

    Her lips have attracted her a load of followers and fans.

    A quick scroll through her Instagram and you’ll find comments from men declaring they ‘can’t get enough of those lips’ and calling Tamara’s pout ‘perfect pink lips’.

    She also tags most of her selfies with #biglips, so clearly her pout is quite an important part of her personal brand.

    ‘I am inspired by myself,’ says Tamara. ‘Not by Kylie, no, her lips are too small.

    ‘I feel like Bratz.

    Tamara Tulum lip fillers
    Tamara says theres no such thing as ‘too big’ (Picture: @tamaratulum/ Jam Press)

    ‘They don’t make kissing that much better, really. But it does feel good.

    ‘I have nothing to improve, nor have I ever had any problems with my natural lips.’

    Tamara admits that she might be addicted to lip fillers, but has no plans to stop plumping up her mouth. When it comes to limits, she says there’s no such thing as ‘too big’.

    When asked if she one day hopes to have the fullest lips on the planet, perhaps officially recoginised by the Guinness Book of Records, she says simply: ‘We will see’.

    Fair enough.

    MORE: Mum says dodgy fillers that could have left her blind were more painful than childbirth

    MORE: Mum who lied to get NHS nose job told daughter to get plastic surgery


    Big lip lover - ?Kyle Jenner?s lips are too small? ? this hot Swedish lip obsessive describes her expensive cosmetic obsession.Big lip lover - ?Kyle Jenner?s lips are too small? ? this hot Swedish lip obsessive describes her expensive cosmetic obsession.

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    Illustration of a woman holding her baby bump, with flowers a pair of children's shoes and a balloon that says 'baby' in the background
    ‘Active women are less likely to experience problems in later pregnancy and labour.’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    When you get pregnant your first thought will likely be that you need to start being careful. Really careful.

    You’re now carrying your most precious cargo inside your own body – so no more tequila slammers, or running red lights because you’re late for work – that’s a given.

    But just how careful do you need to be? Pregnancy is nine months, give or take, and that’s a long time to completely wrap yourself in cotton wool – particularly if you’re used to a busy, active lifestyle.

    Fitness lovers often want to know the safest way to workout when you’re pregnant – and one of the first questions is around cardio. You know, the heart pumping, sweat dripping stuff – running, cycling, rowing – can you still do it when you’re pregnant?

    We asked Rosie Stockley, fitness professional and founder of Mamawell, for her expert advice.

    Should we be doing cardio in pregnancy?

    ‘Is it safe to raise our heart rates? The answer is a resounding YES – if your pregnancy is “normal” and your doctor has advised that exercise is fine for you.

    ‘Always make sure you take note of how your body is feeling before and during exercise, keep hydrated and take regular breaks.

    illustration of bloated woman smiling
    ‘It is worth taking some advice from a professional on what to avoid.’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Cardiovascular exercise that safely raises the heartbeat contributes to general health, promotes better sleep, can reduce the possibility of gestational diabetes, can reduce constipation and help with aches such as back and leg pain.

    ‘The NHS states: “Exercise is not dangerous for your baby – there is some evidence that active women are less likely to experience problems in later pregnancy and labour”.

    ‘Even more reason for us to be keeping our energy levels up and making time for some exercise.

    ‘The NHS recommends starting gently and “Increase this gradually to at least four 30-minute sessions a week”.’

    What about the rule about your heart rate not going above 140BPM?

    ‘This rule was specified many years ago but has now been disproved, with The Mayo Clinic stating: “If you exercised regularly before pregnancy, there’s no need to focus on your heart rate for exercise during pregnancy”.

    ‘When pregnant, your resting heart rate (RHR) is raised, therefore likely to be higher during exercise, so the heart rate monitors on cardio machines do not provide an accurate reading of intensity.’

    How do you know what is the right intensity?

    ‘The NHS recommend being at level 12-14 on the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion which equates to “somewhat hard”.

    ‘This can be measured easily when you work out, by doing the talk test: You should be able to speak normally at all times, although be slightly too out of breath to break into song.

    ‘If you work out in the gym, it is worth taking some advice from a professional on what to avoid, particularly after 16 weeks.

    ‘There are so many exercises you can still do, so you just have to find the ones that feel great on you and your body and give you a safe and energising workout.’

    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


    Pregnant Caucasian woman exercising on treadmill in gymPregnant Caucasian woman exercising on treadmill in gym

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    Andreas Michaelas lifting weights in the gym
    ‘During my competitive time I had more 30 British records for various weight classes and age groups.’ (Picture: Andreas Michaelas)

    Games Makers are the incredible volunteers that will help to facilitate the nation’s biggest annual sports day this summer.

    Led by Team GB – the national fitness event will take place on the 24th August and will feature a wide range of free and fun activities to get people of all ages and abilities active.

    But it wouldn’t happen without the help of the Games Makers – dedicated fitness enthusiasts who will be sacrificing their time to make the day as brilliant and inclusive as possible.

    We spoke to some of these inspirational volunteers to find out why they’re so passionate about making their communities more active.

    Andreas Michealas is a former Team GB weightlifter from Crumpsall, Manchester, and is passionate about bringing sport to his local community.

    What is it that you love about sport?

    I love the community sport can build around itself. Bringing communities that wouldn’t normally interact with each other together with a common interest.

    I got into an old strong man sport of Strand-Pulling, the old chest expanders when I was three years old with my Dad.

    He worked in the Greater Manchester Police so I didn’t get to see him much other then in the gym. So I started harassing him in the gym, according to him, and I haven’t stopped since.

    These events are a brilliant way for community volunteer based sports clubs to get some support from the larger entities like Team GB. This helps them get publicity to the wider public of which they would have not received otherwise.

    Personally I think it enriches the community, it gives people a place to come along and socialise while having a bit of fun doing the sports they love.

    Andreas Michaelas lifting weights in the gym
    ‘I love the community sport can build around itself.’ (Picture: Andreas Michaelas)

    Tell us about your achievements in Team GB

    When I was a competitive weightlifter I competed for GB from 2000, until 2010 when I retired.

    I represented GB at five European Championships in Norway, Bulgaria, France and Germany. I medaled at the European Promotion Cup in Italy, winning a silver in my weight class and we got a team bronze in 2005.

    I was on the Beijing Olympics pathway with the Team GB Passport scheme at the time and was the weightlifter for the Official Video Game. Unfortunately due to nerve damage from an injury I was unable to go to the actual games.

    During my competitive time I had more 30 British records for various weight classes and age groups, until my younger brother came along and broke all but one which stood for 10 years.

    I now work in the sports development world, having worked with British Weightlifting as their North Development Manager and now work with British Wrestling to help develop the sport.

    Why do you think more people need to be active?

    People need to be more active as sedentary lifestyle are starting to have a negative effect on health.

    As we’re all working desk-based jobs it’s hard to keep our bodies moving the way they should.

    To help alleviate those problems doing a bit of sport to help loosen your back off from a day in the office is always good.

    It is very important to get young people into sport too. We run a NHS Healthy Schools Project from Barton AC with help from four National Governing Bodies of Sport and having done observations of children’s movement patterns.

    Today’s children cannot move how children from 20 years ago could move. Due to this, children are complaining of pain that a 30 or 40-year-old would complain about, like lower back pain.

    So it is very important to get children active to make sure they do not fall into bad habits from a young age that would be really difficult to get out of at a later age. 

    I Am Team GB is a brilliant example of a way to use the inspiration that the GB Olympic teams have given the public to inspire people to join a sport or club, and of course it is free!

    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


    Andreas Michaelas 1-3d5aAndreas Michaelas 1-3d5a

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    If you love water slides and roller coasters, you’re probably going to be a big fan of this water coaster.

    As the name would suggest, a water coaster is like a roller coaster… but with water.

    This one in particular is pretty snazzy. It’s called the Cheetah Chase, and it has two parallel tracks so you can race your pals to the finish line, with the force of the water pushing you along at high speeds.

    The Cheetah Chase has some elements to make the experience far more thrilling than your usual water slide.

    It’s made up of more than 1,700 ft of track, and starts with water jets firing you off for launch.

    Once you get going, there are steep hills, flying saucer bits (you know, when you go round a big bowl), and dark tunnels to slip and slide through in a raft for three people.

    Holiday World, the water park where the Cheetah Chase is based, say that the water coaster promises a ‘faster and tighter ride with stronger g-forces’ and ‘maximum curving speed and centrifugal force’. That’s theme park speak for ‘you will go fast and it will be fun’.

    The highest blast takes you to 27 feet and there are five rocket blast sections.

    Don’t rush to buy plane tickets for the park in Indiana, as the coaster isn’t ready for you just yet. Cheetah Chase is set to open to the public in 2020.

    Take a look at the pictures below and imagine speeding around that bad boy.

    The Cheetah Chase water coaster lets you race your pals to the finish line
    The Cheetah Chase lets you race your pals to the finish line (Picture: Holiday World)
    Water coaster. Who will be the fastest? Race against your family and friends on the world's first launched water coaster!
    It has more than 1,700 ft of track (Picture: Holiday World)
    cheetah chase water coaster
    Water will propel you up the steep bits (Picture: Holiday World)
    Holiday World Cheetah Chase water coaster
    And yes, there are steep hills and big blasts (Picture: Holiday World)
    Water coaster with flying saucer dish elements
    Flying saucer elements help you pick up speed (Picture: Holiday World)

    MORE: Take a look at the new roller coaster with the world’s tallest and fastest dive of 250ft

    MORE: Is it safe to do cardio when you’re pregnant?

    MORE: Drayton Manor roller coaster ‘breaks down’ leaving customers stranded 100ft in air


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