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

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    An afternoon tea featuring the Branston Pickle tea
    The Branston tea (Picture: Branston)

    Branston Pickle and cheese is a combination we’re all used to.

    The acidic pickle cuts through the creamy cheese and it just works.

    But what about Branston and tea? That might take a little more persuading.

    To celebrate Afternoon Tea Week, which starts tomorrow, the brand has created a brew infused with the spread.

    They teamed up with Quinteassential founder and tea designer Bernadine Tay to create the special recipe.

    The tea is a drink that can be paired with cheese – as a non-alcoholic alternative to red wine.

    To create the perfect pairing, Bernadette focused on achieving a similar pH level to cheddar cheese – between 5.1 and 5.4.

    The recipe uses the recently launched Branston Smooth Pickle to help it dissolve in the water.

    It’s paired with fruit tea, black tea as well as orange, apple, lemon and celery leaves.

    Bernadine Tay said: ‘Every cheese lover knows that a cheese sandwich with Branston Pickle is an ideal pairing.

    ‘The Branston Pickle-infused tea marries both cheese and pickle to celebrate one of the nation’s favourite occasions – afternoon tea.’

    The Branston tea recipe

    Branston Lovers Tea Recipe (for one 500ml teapot)

    1 fruit teabag (should contain hibiscus)

    1 black teabag (any breakfast tea blend)

    2 heaped teaspoons of Branston Smooth Pickle

    3 thin orange slices

    4 apple slices

    1 slice of lemon

    Small bunch of celery leaves

    Boiling water

    2 heaped teaspoons of honey (optional but recommended)

    Method:

    • Mix all ingredients and add hot water before allowing to steep in the teapot for approximately 5 – 7 minutes. Strain the mixture into a cup.
    • To serve hot, serve immediately in small teacups or shot glasses and sip with a cheese and pickle sandwich.
    • To serve iced, leave to infuse for longer till cooled. Add ice and serve in a long glass with a stick of celery for an interesting savoury iced tea option.

    Tips: No milk, no sugar.

    MORE: How do British Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha?

    MORE: Unfortunate ASOS trousers with brown tie-dye streaks make it look like you’ve pooed yourself


    Branded_Landscape_Small-Chunk-1-2-1900x1515-be84Branded_Landscape_Small-Chunk-1-2-1900x1515-be84

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    An outdoor furniture set which only cost £22 (photo: Facebook/Extreme Couponing and Bargains Group UK)
    Jamie’s outdoor furniture set, which only cost £22 (Photo: Facebook/Extreme Couponing and Bargains Group UK)

    Here’s some inspiration for anyone who’s broke but still likes good interior design: Jamie, a mother-of-two from Wales, has constructed this rather snazzy outdoor seating arrangement, and you won’t believe how much it cost.

    £22. No, there’s not a zero missing there. No, we’re not lying to you. Given that you can buy similar garden furniture sets for upwards of £100, it’s an undeniably impressive achievement.

    So how did Jamie manage this? First of all, she got the disused wooden pallets for a mere £8. After she’d assembled these, she coated them in black paint from Wilko, which only cost £14.

    Finally, for the finishing touch, she decorated the couch with a selection of £2 charity shop cushions.

    Jamie posted the finished arrangement on a Facebook group, ‘Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK group,writing ‘Made from pallets cost me £22 to make and the cushions are from a charity shop £2 each they cost more then the bench and table’. The post quickly garnered 11,000 likes and almost 2,000 comments.

    Commenters on Facebook impressed by the furniture (photo: Facebook/Extreme Couponing and Bargains Group UK)
    Commenters on Facebook impressed by the furniture (photo: Facebook/Extreme Couponing and Bargains Group UK)

    Many of the group’s members expressed admiration, or envy, for Jamie’s skill. One astonished user wrote: ‘wish I was good at DIY – stunning, I’m very jealous’, while another exclaimed, breathlessly, ‘amazing you must be very good at wood work’.

    Many others expressed their intention to make a similar furniture set of their own. ‘I need a step by step video to see how these are done!’ one member demanded, while another enquired: ‘how long did it take to make?? i really wana do this but its finding time’ [sic].

    Congratulations to Jamie for both her thriftiness and design flair.

    MORE: Someone has made Branston Pickle infused tea and we’re not sure if it’s terrible or brilliant

    MORE: How do British Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha?


    METROGRAB mum shares outdoor corner couch and table that cost ??22 to makeMETROGRAB mum shares outdoor corner couch and table that cost ??22 to make

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    A bowl of whole grapes
    Cut grapes up before you give them to kids (Picture: Getty)

    Laura Lou Chambers faced every parent’s worst nightmare when her daughter started to choke.

    She’d given four-year-old Olivia a bowl of grapes and decided not to cut them up.

    But Olivia got one stuck in her throat and was struggling to breathe.

    Luckily she was ok but Laura wants to warn other parents to cut up grapes for their little ones.

    Posting on Facebook, Laura said: ‘Last night Olivia nearly died.

    ‘And it was my fault.

    ‘I made her and Oscar a snack, handful of grapes and some dried cereal.

    ‘It was the first time since hearing about that poor child who died chocking on a grape that I didn’t cut them in half.

    ‘I figured- she’s almost 5, she isn’t the kind of kid to shovel food and choke, and I was rushing to finish cleaning the house.’

    Laura said the kids went upstairs while she continued hoovering but when she switched it off, she heard Olivia struggling at the top of the stairs.

    The post continued: ‘I knew in an instant what had happened. I ran to her. She couldn’t breathe.

    ‘She had gone to chew a grape and it had shot to the back of her throat, gone down and got wedged.

    ‘I turned her over and hit her as hard as I could between the shoulder blades and still nothing. She was looking me dead in the eyes and her lips turned blue as she couldn’t breathe.at.all.

    ‘Jamie finally managed to perform some manoeuvre on her that sent this grape pictured flying across the room.

    ‘I lay here now watching her sleep I’ve cried most the night & my heart hurts as I look at her chest where there are still nail indentations from where she clawed at her throat for air.’

    Laura posted the story on Facebook to warn other parents of the dangers and to remind them to cut grapes and similar foods up so children don’t choke.

    ‘PLEASE let this be a reminder to all the parents out there – my life nearly changed forever last night all because of my carelessness,’ she said.

    MORE: Someone has made Branston Pickle infused tea and we’re not sure if it’s terrible or brilliant

    MORE: Thrifty woman impresses Facebook with a DIY outdoor furniture set made for just £22


    Small bowl of organic green grapes on rustic woodSmall bowl of organic green grapes on rustic wood

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    The picture of the bridesmaids and bride
    The dresses were criticised (Picture: That’s It I’m Wedding Shaming/Facebook)

    When everyone you know is getting married, you want your big day to stand out.

    Sometimes it’s good to break with tradition slightly.

    One bride decided to ditch the standard bridesmaid dresses in favour of purple jumpsuits.

    But they haven’t gone down well in a Facebook wedding shaming group.

    The two bridesmaids wore the purple strapless jumpsuits with pleats down the middle.

    Posting the picture in That’s It I’m Wedding Shaming, one person said: ‘Shaming the bridesmaid’s [jumpsuits].

    ‘They look like purple vulvas at first glance. Bride said she picked them out.’

    Other people in the group agreed that they didn’t like the outfits, with one describing them as ‘life size tulips’ and another calling them ‘heinous’.

    Others pointed out that the bridesmaids’ nipples could be seen through the jumpsuits, with the original poster adding: ‘I couldn’t tell if they were nipples or darts/seam.’

    Others said they quite liked them and some did notice one big selling point – the jumpsuits do have pockets.

    Pockets are a dream for most bridal parties as it’s the perfect place for your phone, some confetti and a snack to keep you going through the speeches.

    Of course, jumpsuits might seem like an unusual choice but they are becoming a more popular wedding trend.

    Google searches for the trend peaked last summer and have continued to be popular throughout this wedding season.

    High street store Monsoon sold a range of bridesmaid jumpsuits this season, as well as smaller jumpsuits for younger girls.

    The jumpsuit is a more comfortable and quirkier take on the traditional floor length dress – just make sure the whole bridal party goes to the bathroom together. You’ll all need someone to zip it up.

    MORE: Mum warns parents to cut up grapes after four-year-old daughter nearly dies eating a whole one

    MORE: Unfortunate ASOS trousers with brown tie-dye streaks make it look like you’ve pooed yourself


    Bridesmaids look like purple vulvasBridesmaids look like purple vulvas

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    We’ve all been there – the new heels you bought are beautiful but an hour into the night out, your feet are aching.

    You might have seen the roll up ballet pumps and other solutions to give your feet a break at the end of the night, but with a tiny cluthc bag, most options are too bulky.

    Enter the Aftersocks.

    Yes, someone has created socks that you can literally roll up into a pocket but they come with a reinforced sole so your feet don’t get hurt.

    The sole is so chunky, it can even protect your feet from Lego (i.e. the most painful thing you can walk on).

    The socks have been launched on Kickstarter and are already 568% funded, raising over £26,000.

    The creators say Aftersocks ‘have been thoughtfully designed and crafted with an underside constructed from PVC and extra soft layers of cushioning that hug the contours of your feet.’

    The Aftersocks will help sore feet when you don't want to wear heels all night
    They come in three colours and three sizes (Picture: Aftersocks)

    No longer stumble from bar to taxi in bare feet – these prevent your feet getting dirty or injured.

    Once you get home, you can wash off the sticky dancefloor feeling, just like with normal socks.

    Creators Monika Trojanowska and Joel Bijlmer were inspired to create the Aftersocks after a night out where Monika’s shoes were hurting and she didn’t have a back up.

    They explained: ‘The next day we started thinking of a product that we could develop to solve this well known problem.

    ‘We figured out that it had to be useful, portable and stylish at the same time. After nine months of developing, going back and forth with different solutions and designs, we finally created Aftersocks.’

    The socks are available in black, gold and silver and cost £14.10 for three pairs.

    They come in sizes small (2-4), medium (5-7) and large (8-11).

    There’s just 12 days left to back their Kickstarter before they start to develop the product.

    MORE: Bride chose purple jumpsuits for her bridemaids – but people say they ‘look like vulvas’

    MORE: Mum warns parents to cut up grapes after four-year-old daughter nearly dies eating a whole one


    These socks with reinforced soles are the perfect compact solution to sore feet at the end of the nightThese socks with reinforced soles are the perfect compact solution to sore feet at the end of the night

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    Donatella Versace and the t-shirt that has been pulled
    Donatella Versace and the t-shirt (Picture: Getty/Sina Fashion/Weibo)

    Versace has apologised and pulled a range of t-shirts after a Chinese actress cut ties with the brand because of how they described Hong Kong and Macao.

    The places are both former European colonies that were returned to China in the late 1990s – but the Italian fashion house described them as independent countries.

    On the t-shirts, the brand listed cities where they have stores, alongside the country each city is in.

    It listed Hong Kong as being in Hong Kong and Macau as being in Macao.

    Both Hong Kong and Macao are semi-autonomous territories that have separate identities, but they are controlled by China.

    The brand was accused of challenging China’s territorial integrity at a sensitive time.

    Protesters in Hong Kong are have taken to the streets all summer, motivated in large part by a desire to protect their way of life from interference by the central government in Beijing.

    The t-shirt labelled Hong Kong and Macau as countries
    The t-shirt that has now been removed from stores (Picture: Sina Fashion/Weibo)

    In response to the t-shirts, the studio for actress Yang Mi, who had been a brand ambassador for Versace, said in a Weibo (a popular social media platform in China) post that it had sent notice to Versace to terminate their contract.

    The post said: ‘The motherland’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are sacred and inviolable.’

    Versace apologised in a post on their own Weibo page and said that the  shirts had been removed from all sales channels and destroyed.

    ‘It’s our company’s negligence and we express deep apology for the impact it caused.

    ‘Versace reiterates that we love China and resolutely respect China’s territory and sovereignty.’

    Versace is not the first foreign company to face flak over how it describes Hong Kong.

    China has pressured international airlines and other companies to describe the city as ‘Hong Kong, China’ on their websites, rather than just as ‘Hong Kong’.

    MORE: These incredibly compact socks with a reinforced sole will solve your end-of-the-night sore feet problems

    MORE: Bride chose purple jumpsuits for her bridemaids – but people say they ‘look like vulvas’


    Versace apologises for t-shirt that said Hong Kong and Macao are countriesVersace apologises for t-shirt that said Hong Kong and Macao are countries

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    Villa Maria, New Zealand. Wine Down at the Custard Factory, Birmingham.
    People prefer to spark up conversation with someone in a bar over wine than meeting for coffee

    Being able to talk to your partner is considered one of the keys to a successful relationship. If you’ve got communication nailed, then you’re laughing. Sitting down together, setting the world to rights and making plans is often the best part of the day and the one we’re rushing home to enjoy.

    New Zealand’s most admired wine brand, Villa Maria, owes its success to key conversations. Its newly launched campaign, The Value of Conversation, explores what we appreciate most in communication and how the chats we have help shape the path of our lives and relationships, preferably accompanied by a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc of course!

    As the world leans on apps for dating in the hope of meeting Mr or Mrs Right, it might come as a shock to learn that actually more people (46%) have met their loved ones in real life, whether that’s through friends, down the pub or just out and about, compared to 14% of people hooking up online.

    While there seems to be more of a spark in person, 1 in 4 people admit that speaking to a stranger makes them nervous. This is perfectly natural. Putting yourself out there is tough at the best of times, and it seems that the golden oldies have one up on millennials, as 65% of those aged 75 and above have no qualms about chatting to a stranger compared to just 24% of 1990s babies.

    So, has the cat got our tongue? Not so fast. Even though confidence appears to wane through the generations, we’re still lusting after that ‘love at first sight’ moment. Over 3.1 million Brits would prefer to meet their ‘one’ in real life but worry about knowing the right thing to say. When you’re used to chatting to friends and colleagues online, people can find it hard to let their guard down or even know where to start. The right setting is also important, with over 11 million people feeling more comfortable approaching someone in a bar over wine than over a coffee.

    Making eye contact is a telltale sign of a good chat

    It’s a good tip to remember that we put high value on eye contact when talking to someone. Is there anything worse than someone preoccupied by what’s going on through a window as you pour your heart out over a glass of wine? While 35% of people believe that eye contact is a huge tell-tale sign as to whether a conversation is going well, nearly half of Brits (48%) believe that listening is the true key to a good chat. Those who think nothing of picking up the phone in the middle of a conversation are considered especially rude by 32% of UK adults. So make sure you hit silent mode before your next date.

    When it comes to being the one to speak up, us Brits can find ourselves dancing around topics that we find difficult or awkward. We find it especially hard to talk about money with our family and friends, perhaps because it’s one of the taboo subjects that just isn’t considered polite to talk about in public. But behind closed doors with our partners, it’s still a tough one; 1 in 4 people find it the most difficult, but coming close second is sex (24%).

    Talking about what happens in the bedroom gets people all kinds of hot under the collar. But, for all their stereotypical bravado, men actually find it harder to talk about than women (24%), while 27% of women think that the state of their finances is more challenging.

    There’s nothing like catching up with good friends in person

    As we’ve said, communication is key to a thriving relationship. But it’s not just lovers’ conversations that play a pivotal role in our lives, but friends too.

    Villa Maria founder Sir George Fistonich told us that he got creative with his ‘business meetings’ with his pals as he roped them into helping him get his company off the ground, and it was in these conversations that he was able to make one of the most important decisions.

    ‘When I first started the company, I didn’t have any money, so I had my mates coming round and helping me, and I would pay them with a bottle of wine and a BBQ,’ Sir George explained.

    ‘My wife would say, “you’re sitting there drinking with your mates!”, and I would say “no – we’re having a business discussion on how we are going to work the following day”. Interestingly, too, it was in one of these business meetings – around the fire with friends – where the name Villa Maria was thought up.’

    So who knows where a conversation could take you. Let’s raise a glass of wine to more in depth chats, deeper connections with our loved ones and talking about the important stuff.

    ‘****** insert video *****’

    Villa Maria's Value of Conversation

    Let’s raise a glass to more great conversations

    The founding of Villa Maria hinged on a pivotal conversation between Sir George and his father, and conversations have continued to play a crucial role in making Villa Maria one of the most successful family-owned wineries in the world. Villa Maria thinks it’s time to celebrate the value of conversation in our lives and remind the world of the pleasure of taking quality time out with friends, colleagues, loved ones – or even strangers – over a glass of wine, while celebrating something truly invaluable: conversation.

    Throughout the summer, you can expect a whole host of chatter from Villa Maria and Metro – we’ve been asking the nation what makes conversation so special to them, uncovering our secret likes and dislikes, and taking the time to sit down with experts in their fields and pick their brains about what they feel is so special about the Value of Conversation.

    All of this, along with series of expert talks (over a glass of Villa Maria wine) will delve into four important aspects of conversation, which you can explore here over the coming weeks. So, grab a glass of wine and a friend, sit back, and enjoy!

    For more information about Villa Maria wine visit: https://www.villamariawines.com/


    Villa Maria, New Zealand.Wine Down at the Custard Factory, Birmingham.Villa Maria, New Zealand.Wine Down at the Custard Factory, Birmingham.

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    Laura Kenny headshot
    ‘The amount of times I woke up in the middle of the night and just though – is he still alright? Is he still alive?’ (Picture: Team GB/Toyota)

    When you’re a new mum, returning to exercise will probably be the last thing on your mind.

    But when you feel physically and mentally ready, a gentle return to physical activity could be the best thing for you and your baby.

    Olympic gold winning cyclist Laura Kenny knows exactly how it feels to struggle to get back to fitness after pregnancy.

    For Laura, her first baby, Albert, came just after the Olympic games – and stepping away from the sport she adores was a wrench at first.

    ‘When I was pregnant I had to make the decision of when I was going to stop riding my bike,’ Laura tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Which was tricky. You go from riding every single day, to saying – right, this is going to be it.

    ‘The decision was, in a way, made for me.

    ‘I had spoken to my doctor and he said that my abs, as much as they were splitting open, they were doing all the protecting for a long time – even when my baby was on the outside of them. But on the road, there’s a lot more that you have to think about.

    ‘I am on the road with cars, and as much as I would like to say that I’m confident and that it’s fine, I can’t control the decisions other people make.

    ‘One day out there just put me completely off and I just thought – I’m done. I was five months pregnant at that point so it wasn’t anywhere near as long as I thought I was going to keep riding for. I had ideas that I would still be riding at eight months down the line.

    ‘But I just didn’t feel confident any more. I didn’t want anything to happen to either of us. So I just decided to continue training in my garage on my stationary bike.

    ‘I watched so many episodes of One Born Every Minute! I just went through this phase, I was honestly obsessed with it.’

    When you’re pregnant, it can be hard to know how much exercise is safe for you and your baby. Laura had the best doctors and professionals around her to guide her in her training so she could keep working, safely, until she wanted to stop.

    ‘I continued to workout in the gym, up until around eight months. For the last five weeks I didn’t do anything other than walk the dogs,’ she explains.

    Laura Kenny poses outside
    ‘I breastfed for six months, so trying to cluster feed him so I could cycle was really difficult.’ (Picture: I Am Team GB/Toyota)

    ‘I was just in so much pain at that point, my back and my knees were hurting – it was all just such a lot heavier for my small frame. But up until then I was on the cross trainer.

    ‘That was one of the hardest things to get my head around – the fact that I suddenly couldn’t do three or four hours on the road.

    ‘Once I had Alby, I had six or seven weeks barely doing anything. I did do some light exercises in the gym. Our physio came round to look at my stomach muscles – to see how far they had split open and what exercises we could do together to try to improve them.

    ‘Jess Ennis-Hill was also a real help, she basically had a whole book full of exercises to do after giving birth –  with little drawings and everything.

    ‘After six weeks – that was when I did my first ten minutes on the bike. The hardest thing was really leaving Alby inside. As much as I would try and do it when he was asleep, but that wasn’t always possible.’

    And there are other things to thing about when you’re a new mum. Finding time for fitness can be hard when you’re literally the source of your child’s sustenance.

    ‘Also breastfeeding was tricky,’ says Laura.

    ‘I breastfed for six months, so trying to cluster feed him so I could cycle was really difficult. He was the hungriest baby ever and he was only going about ten minutes without wanting to have food.

    ‘Trying to go out and come back and not feel disgusting and sweaty for him – that was tricky. It definitely got harder when I started to go out on the roads.

    ‘If I would go out, even for an hour, I would feel guilty. Because he was so young, it wasn’t like I had had a year off with him.

    ‘As athletes, our maternity leave is when you’re pregnant. Afterwards, there’s nothing really holding you back from training, so you sort of just have to get on with it.

    ‘The first long road ride I did was when he was three months old. That was hard.

    ‘The whole time I was thinking – I just hope he’s OK. And he was just at home with Jason and my mum, so of course he was OK, but you can’t help but feel guilty for leaving them.’

    The guilt was one thing, but another hurdle was the physical challenge. Pregnancy and birth changes your body – even when you’re an elite athlete. And starting out on the road to return to your pre-pregnancy fitness can be incredibly daunting.

    ‘The last thing I had done before getting pregnant was the Olympics,’ Laura tells us. ‘So I was comparing myself with the best I had ever been.

    ‘Coming back and feeling like an hour of cycling was hell – was so hard. I messaged my sister and told her – I can’t do this. But she said – this is the hardest it’s ever going to be. You’re always going to be better than this, this is your bottom.

    ‘And she was right because every day, I started to feel more and more like myself. It took time though. It took until last December for me to really feel myself again. So that was a good year and a half to feel really back to my peak, elite level.

    ‘I went to the World Championships after six months, so I got back into the team fast, but to get to the level I really wanted to be at – that took longer.’

    How to get back into fitness after a baby

    Don’t give up.

    That first session, or the first week – that is as hard as it’s going to get.

    Your muscles have memory, so if you start getting back into the swing of things, if you did it before, it will come back to you. And it will come back surprisingly quick.

    Keep going, but take it slow. Don’t throw yourself back into things immediately, but take small steps and you really will feel better by the end of it.

    Laura Kenny, Olympic gold medalist 

    Laura thinks it’s vital for new mums to look after their mental health as well as their physical health – and the two often go hand in hand.

    ‘When you have a little one, you think you have to be there for them 24/seven. And it is 24/seven, of course.

    ‘The amount of times I woke up in the middle of the night and just though – is he still alright? Is he still alive? It sounds stupid but that’s how you feel because you’ve never been in that situation before.

    ‘When I went out an did my first ten minutes on the bike – it gave me time to be me. It sounds terrible or selfish, but it was the best thing to just go out there and be me for ten minutes.

    ‘It just gives you head space, it gives you freedom, and I think it made me a better mum for doing it.

    ‘There are a lot of times when you will feel stressed, anxious, like you have no idea what you’re doing – getting out and having that time just made me so much more relaxed and calmer around him.

    ‘All of a sudden you stop worrying about things. You stop worrying about his feeding, his sleeping – because you’re not thinking about it literally every minute of the day.

    ‘As much as I know I should encourage people to get outside and be active, but even if it’s just taking ten minutes to read a book.

    ‘As a mum – do what makes you feel good.’

    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


    1905_Toyota_LauraKenny_10453_LR-a9271905_Toyota_LauraKenny_10453_LR-a927

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    Jumping lunges are a fantastic lower body burner.

    This move is all about stability and explosive power – so, how long can you keep them going?

    Learning to lunge jump properly will help to tone and strengthen your glutes and thighs while also working on your core.

    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.

    Athletic Woman Doing Lunges
    Make sure you land softly every time. (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 jumping lunges

    Start with with feet shoulder-width apart.

    Take a big step forward with your right leg, keeping your arms by your side. Lower down into a lunge.

    Jump up, quickly switching the position of your feet in mid-air so your right leg moves back behind you and your left leg comes forward.

    Propelling your arms up while you jump will help you get more height and power.

    Gently land back on the floor in a basic lunge position with the opposite leg forward.

    Repeat this movement pattern, switching legs on each jump – and see how long you can keep going.

    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


    Athletic Woman Doing LungesAthletic Woman Doing Lunges

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    A dog with a tray of food on a hotel bed
    Your dog could be getting a lot of pampering (Picture: Hotels.com)

    If your pooch loves being pampered, this could be the perfect job – the Canine Critic.

    Booking website Hotels.com is looking for their first ever doggy reviewer to test out pet-friendly hotels across the world.

    The winner will enjoy 10 nights in dog-friendly hotels – and their owner gets to come too, of course.

    Travelling with your pet has become increasingly popular as Hotels.com research reveals reviews of dog-friendly hotels have increased by 62% in the past two years.

    A dog in a bath robe on a hotel bed
    The winner will get to review 10 hotels across the world (Picture: Hotels.com)

    The site now has a new category in its annual Loved by Guests awards: Best for Pets to help pet-owners find the best place to stay for them and their furry friend.

    To get your pets paws on the Canine Critic prize, you need to enter between today and 25 August, through the Hotels.com Instagram page.

    You need to upload a picture or video of your dog, tagging @hotelsgotcom and including the hashtag #CanineCritic.

    Liz Oakman, Senior Director and General Manager EMEA, from Hotels.com Brand said: ‘We love our pets more than we love our other half at times, so it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a huge increase in travellers wanting to take their furry plus one on holiday with them.

    ‘At Hotels.com, we want to make sure you find the paw-fect place to check into, so we’re excited to add a Best for Pets category to our Loved by Guests awards – but it doesn’t stop there.

    ‘Our hunt for a Canine Critic is our way of ensuring our pet friendly hotels really are up to ‘scratch’ with a four-legged expert’s ‘paw of approval.’

    MORE: Daily Fitness Challenge: How many jumping lunges can you do?

    MORE: Versace apologises for t-shirts labelling Hong Kong and Macao as countries


    Hotels.com - Canine Critic Campaign, London, 12th August 2019Hotels.com - Canine Critic Campaign, London, 12th August 2019

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    A compilation of three photos showcasing various afternoon tea experiences including Xu, Cinnamon Bazaar and Brasserie of Light, all located in London
    Fancy a quirky cuppa? (Picture: Xu/Cinnamon Bazaar/Brasserie of Light)

    Afternoon Tea Week is here and we’re craving a cuppa.

    This year, skip the traditional Earl Grey and scone, in favour of something a little different.

    We’ve rounded of some of the quirkiest experiences in London, including a CBD-themed tea, a Mean Girls-inspired pink tea, and a glittering drag-themed tea where dishes are served in a cosmetics case.

    Although the annual event will run from 12 August until 18 August, many of the experiences will be on offer for longer, so don’t worry if you can’t make it down this week.

    Farmacy, Notting Hill

    High Tea laid out on a table at Farmacy in Notting Hill
    Want some CBD with that tea? (Picture: Farmacy)

    Farmacy first arrived in west London in 2016, with a menu that is completely ‘plant-based and free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals’.

    The restaurant also has its own farm in Kent, where it grows vegetables, fruits and herbs.

    Speaking of herbs, Farmacy has taken an unusual spin on its afternoon tea by offering a ‘High Tea’ with one key ingredient taking the spotlight: CBD.

    Munch on sandwiches made with gluten-free charcoal bread, mushroom and spinach quiches, and rose water and prosecco jelly before digging into the brand’s own CBD-infused chocolates.

    Available Friday to Sunday from 3.30pm to 5pm and you’ll need to reserve a table.

    Price: £42 per person.

    Belmond Cadogan Hotel, Chelsea

    Afternoon tea at Cadogan's created by Adam Handling and inspired by designs from Matthew Williamson
    An artistic afternoon (Picture: Tim Green)

    The afternoon tea at the Belmond Cadogan Hotel is downright artistic.

    We’re not just saying that; chef Adam Handling has modelled his dishes on British designer Matthew Williamson’s colourful interior pieces.

    The designer has also created three original designs for the tea caddies, inspired by India’s Rajasthan region.

    As for the food, it’s a luxurious affair that includes mushroom and truffle eggs, chicken liver gougére (a French choux pastry), traditional sandwiches made with freshly-baked bread and filled with everything from Valley Smokehouse smoked salmon and dill crème fraîche to rocket or roasted chicken. And of course, plenty of delicate sweet treats from the pâtisserie chefs.

    Pair with three different tea blends including Maharaja’s Breakfast, Jasmine Rose Garden and Exotic Earl Grey.

    Open every day of the week from 1.30pm to 5.30pm.

    Price: starts from £55 per person.

    Cinnamon Bazaar, Covent Garden

    The afternoon tea put together on a table at Cinnamon Bazaar in Covent Garden
    Indian influences reign here (Picture: Cinnamon Bazaar)

    Celebrity chef Vivek Singh and chef Tamal Ray, who was the runner-up in BBC’s Great British Bake Off 2015, have put their brilliant minds together to bring you a spicy afternoon tea inspired by their family roots in Kolkata, West Bengal.

    Instead of cucumber and cream cheese, sandwiches are filled with Kolkata fish, tomato chutney cooked in turmeric, chilli and mustard oil, with a side of Chicken Kathi ‘spring rolls’.

    Vivek’s signature chaat – a savoury Indian dish – will also be on the menu, alongside Tamal’s Pani Puri – semolina shells filled with spiced chickpeas, mint and tamarind water.

    Other delights include Papdi chaat (crisp wheat chaat with yogurt, tamarind and coriander chutney), as well as cinnamon cream macarons, pistachio cake with rose meringue and bhaapa doi – Bengali yogurt with mango curd.

    Keeping with the theme, Cinnamon Bazaar will also have a selection of Indian teas on offer.

    Open daily from 3pm to 5pm.

    Price: starts from £25 per person.

    Xu Teahouse, Soho

    The Xu Teahouse Chinese and Taiwanese-inspired afternoon tea laid out on a wooden table
    Who said afternoon teas have to include scones and clotted creams? (Picture: Xu Teahouse)

    Give your taste buds a tickle with this Taiwanese afternoon tea.

    You won’t find any scones or clotted cream here, but don’t be too disappointed because the menu sounds amazing.

    From Char Sui Girolles puffs to sweet potato taro dumplings, to fried peanut mochi, Taiwanese pineapple cake and almond milk and Hawthorn berry jelly, you’ll be spoiled with moreish dishes.

    There will also be an exclusive tea list, with some leaves that are ‘rarely enjoyed outside of Taiwan’.

    The Xu Afternoon Tea Ceremony will run on a daily basis from 12pm to 5pm.

    Price: starts from £32 per person.

    Brasserie of Light, Marylebone

    The afternoon tea at W Hotel on a table that looks like it's floating in a pink cloud with a bottle of Laurent Perrier on the side and two glasses
    Don’t forget to wear pink (Picture: W Hotel)

    ‘On Wednesdays, we wear pink’.

    The now infamous line spoken in Tina Fey’s cult classic Mean Girls has taken on a whole new meaning at Brasserie of Light in Marylebone.

    Start by devouring shredded Asian vegetable rice paper rolls, feta fennel and red pepper puffs and lobster, mango and avocado cocktails, before you dig into the sweet treats.

    From passion fruit and butterfly meringue to mini pies, all of the desserts, apart from a chocolate bubble dessert, are made in various shades of pink.

    Dubbed the Pink Pegasus, the tea also includes a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé.

    Don’t forget to wear something pink for the experience, unless you want to risk hearing: ‘You can’t sit with us’.

    The event will run from 14 August to 5 October, every Wednesday – obviously – and Saturday.

    Price: £65 per person.

    W London, Leicester Square

    Close-up of a drag themed afternoon tea with 'bronze pearls', 'clotted night cream' and other glittery tidbits
    You’ll get to explore three shelves filled with glittering delights (Picture: W London)

    The sparkling world of drag has been the inspiration for the afternoon tea at The Perception at W London in Leicester Square.

    Chefs have taken the theme very seriously; the dishes will be served in a pink cosmetics case and guests are invited to unpack the shelves within, with each containing different treats.

    On the first shelf, you will find Red-Lip Sync – chocolate-flavoured sponge with vanilla icing topped with ruby sparkle and rose essence pipette, and Ageless Queen, a cinnamon and lemon custard crème with a violet aroma sugar pot.

    Delve deeper and you will find mini sandwiches baked with turmeric, sumac and chlorophyll, stuffed with soft cheese and smoked salmon, as well as a Karamel Kiss lip gloss made from salted caramel. Pucker up, because you really can use it like a regular lip gloss.

    To keep the mystery alive, we’re not going to reveal what’s on the final shelf.

    Known as ‘What’s The Tea?’, the experience is available every day from 1pm to 5pm.

    Price: £39 per person, £44 if you add a glass of prosecco.

    Como The Halkin, Belgravia

    COMO's afternoon tea laid out on a table
    Each dish is paired to a tea (Picture: COMO)

    Will it be tapas or tea?

    Never mind choosing one, because at Como The Halkin you can have both.

    The afternoon tea dubbed Ametsa has incorporated a Spanish twist.

    Classic finger sandwiches and scones have been replaced by Iberico ham croquettes, eggs and waffles, Catalan cream, smoked pineapple and chocolate with churros from the Basque region, located between France and Spain.

    Each dish is also paired with a special tea, and there’s a new cocktail menu with tea and botanical flavour, too.

    Available every day from 2.30pm to 5pm.

    Price: £34 but there’s a special 25% offer this week, which brings the price to £25.50.

    MORE: If you want to find love, learn how to make the perfect cuppa

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

    MORE: Celebrate A-Level results day with a free KFC snack box


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    The white and black Zara spotty dress and the new black and white version
    The original cult Zara dress and the new black with white spots version (Picture: Zara)

    It’s not even lunch time and you’ve probably already spotted THE dress.

    The spotty black and white Zara dress has become the must-have item this summer.

    The £40 floaty midi dress has been spotted everywhere and even led to the creation of the Instagram account @Hot4thespot, where people share all the places they’ve seen the dress.

    It’s been praised for being comfortable and perfect for every occasion, from the office to a night out.

    And now, the dress comes in the reverse pattern – rather than white with black spots, it’s not available in black with white spots.

    The darker version is great for heading into autumn and winter but it still has the same shape that seems to flatter almost everyone.

    There is a catch though – the black version is currently only available from Zara in Australia, where it costs $99 (£55).

    Zara launch black version of THAT polka dot dress
    Perfect for autumn and winter (Picture: Zara)

    Hopefully the new version will appear in UK stores soon.

    The new version has already proved to be popular in Australia as it has sold out in some sizes.

    The original white with black spots version is still available on the Zara website so you could always customise your own colour.

    While you’re waiting for the new version, keep your eye out for this other Zara dress that’s also proving popular.

    The asymmetric white poplin dress with puffed sleeves is priced at £29.99 is similarly floaty and feminine.

    It’s sold out in every size but is available in black and hopefully they’ll have more of the lighter version back in stock soon.

    Keep your eyes on the Zara website.

    MORE: Travel website is searching for dog critic to rate the best pet-friendly hotels

    MORE: Laura Kenny’s top tips on returning to exercise after having a baby


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    Illustration of two people lying in a bed together
    My entire identity was wrapped up in being in a relationship  (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Don’t worry babe! It hurts now, but you’ll feel so much better in the long run – I promise.’

    ‘Hun you’ll look back on this part of your life and actually feel incredibly grateful that this happened!’

    Above are a couple of examples of the types of advice we are used to receiving from our loved ones during times of heartbreak and extreme pain, due to the breakdown of a relationship.

    Above also lies a couple of examples of times in which I secretly wanted to drop kick my loved ones in the throat for being so insensitive. Could they not see my heart was literally breaking in front of them and that I would never feel the sweet sweet taste of happiness and love again?!

    I went through my first ever breakup from my first ever relationship at the grand age of 25 and it felt like my entire life had stopped.

    As someone who always found dating and being romantically liked by others difficult, I naturally assumed that the relationship I was in was ‘The One’ and that this was it; we had already shacked up, so it was only natural for a long term commitment and a family to be on the cards eventually. 

    The relationship was amazing – we never encountered arguments, I was treated amazingly throughout and we hardly disagreed on things.

    So when he dumped me out of the blue in 2017 without any reason as to why, it took me an incredibly long time to get my head around coming to terms with the loss. 

    Naturally, I did what most people do in these scenarios: I blamed myself, I blamed how I look, cried constantly, in public and in private, I had multiple panic attacks and I assumed my life would be over. I told myself I would never find love or be happy in any other aspect of my life again so long as I was alone.

    At the time I was still blogging on the side as a hobby alongside working at a law firm and as soon as the breakup happened, several awful things also happened at once.

    I had to move out of our gorgeous flat and go back home to my parents, I lost my job a month later, my depression reared its ugly head and I ran out of money and was living off of Universal Credit for six months. 

    I still couldn’t see that the breakup was a blessing within the sea of unfortunate events happening around me because I was so fixated on the relationship being amazing and me being happy, even though I was somewhat unhappy in my career, I was hardly seeing my friends and had stopped working on my personal growth.

    I had become comfortable because I was happy and in a relationship, which meant that I stopped working to my fullest potential in other areas of my life. I was content, right? Why did I need to grow?

    The most important thing to me at the time was having that relationship because it had been the one thing I had craved and the one thing I had been missing for most of my adult life. My entire identity was wrapped up in being in a relationship and as it was my first and I had so much love to give, I have it all to the other person, completely ignoring myself.

    As soon as the relationship was secured, everything else in my life took a backseat and retrospectively, it’s quite a difficult thing to have to admit. 

    Steph Yeboah
    We become part of a couple, leaving no room for personal development, which leads to life becoming somewhat stagnant (Picture: Kaye Ford)

    It’s pretty common though, I think. It’s so easy to settle and forget other areas of your life when you finally achieve the one thing you’ve always wanted. You hear about people in new relationships who are sometimes ignoring their friends for months at a time in favour of spending time with their partners.

    You hear about people rejecting job offers or slacking at work because their relationships are more important. We become comfortable and settle because we have achieved the one thing that our hearts desired, but the bad thing about that is that it leaves no room for us to grow as people and achieve our goals.

    We become part of a couple, leaving no room for personal development, which leads to life becoming somewhat stagnant: a fact you aren’t able to appreciate until you’re out of the situation. 

    In my case, it has taken me two and a half years to finally understand how stagnant my life had become. After the breakup, I was a broken woman with no partner, no money and no job, but the one thing that kept me sane was attending to my blog. In the six months of job searching, I continued writing as a form of self-care and kept commissioning photoshoots with my Universal Credit money. 

    I finally found a job in PR who were impressed by my blog and the skills I had gained within it. From there, I was promoted and this helped dramatically with my self-esteem. I was still trying to work through my depression and heartbreak and used my blog and social media as a way of dealing with the trauma.

    Through that, other opportunities arose with my writing and blogging and I continued to work hard. None of this would ever have happened if I were still in that so-called ‘perfect’ relationship. 

    The fact of the matter is: breakups can be good for us. It can serve as an emotional catharsis, allowing us to finally let out those emotions we’ve been holding in, or let go of that relationship that has been doing us more harm than good.

    Breakups allow the truth to finally surface, whether it be your own truth, or the truth of others and how they feel about your relationship.

    In my case, I eventually learned the power of not settling for less, and it taught me that my self-worth does not come from being loved by another person. Being loved by another person is a beautiful, precious, and amazing feeling.

    But it does not validate your existence or give your life meaning. I realised my true potential and self-worth as a creative. I was able to rediscover myself and do all the things I’d wanted to try.

    There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and there’s always something better that results from it. Either you will be reborn with the wisdom gained from the experience.

    Pain is inevitable when you lose an investment of the heart, but if we choose to learn from it and see the loss as an opportunity to become better, you will see how breakups are not as bad as you envisioned.

    If I ever see him again, maybe I’ll thank him – for making me come to terms with my insecurities, for allowing me to regain autonomy in my life, for making me more resilient. In short, for forging me into a stronger, better person.

    MORE: Are we moving towards a society where everyone is polyamorous or in open relationships?

    MORE: How Love Island helped to heal my broken heart

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


    sleep-e353sleep-e353

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    Have you ever felt that joy-zapping funk when you’re on the plane home from a fun-filled holiday? It’s remarkable how you didn’t bat an eyelid at the busy check-in queue on the way out as you dreamed of your first Prosecco, but when you’re in a humid airport on the returning leg, even the whirr of the fan gets on your nerves.

    Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s perfectly natural and who could blame you? After a week of late nights, delicious meals and lazy days by the pool, getting back to the grind isn’t exactly alluring.

    Normal life with its busy (and expensive) commutes, irritating colleagues, bursting inboxes and never-ending bills on repeat is so far removed from lunches by the sea and breathtaking views that you’ve fallen in love with.

    Why can’t we do that every day? Sometimes, we can feel a little bit hard done by when returning to the rat race. But fear not, there are ways that you can help yourself.

    Here are five tips to help you get back into the swing of things:

    Get ready to come home before you’ve even left

    This might seem counter intuitive. Who wants to think about coming back before they’ve even stepped on a plane? But this will get you in the right zone and keep that holiday spirit a little longer. All you have to do is create a little shopping list for yourself so that you’ve got some basics waiting for you. That way, you don’t have to hit the supermarket when you’re jet lagged. Instead, you can come home, put your favourite comfies on while the kettle boils and settle down for a cup of tea. Pick up some bread that you can pop in the freezer, grab some Arla Cravendale, fresh milk that’s filtered to last up to 3 weeks unopened (with nothing added!), and some butter. You will want to have a good clear out so you don’t come home to nasty surprises, too. If time isn’t on your side, think about having a cleaner come in for a spruce so that you come home to clean sheets and a fresh start; no one wants to wrestle with bed sheets after a long day of travel. Trust us, you’ll feel smug when you kick back with your brew.

    Take it easy

    There might be mountains of washing to get through, and a to-do list that’s been building while you’ve been topping up your tan, but it doesn’t need to all get done at once. Be good to yourself by planning an extra day in if you can where you can readjust to time zones if you need to, but also get the washing sorted, get the meal prep nailed and continue your new daily ritual – a siesta! If you need to go straight back to work then maybe try flying mid-week so that when you return to your desk, you’ve only got a few days to endure in the office.

    Time for a change

    When your daily life fails to get you excited – because you’re bored of motorway gridlocks, tepid drizzle, spreadsheets and uninspiring ready meals – know that you can change it all. Life isn’t always a holiday and we need to be OK with that. At the same time, life can give you the satisfaction you crave, and your holiday can be the springboard you need for fresh ideas. Take a notebook away with you to jot down ideas. With lots of relaxation time, you could dream up the next steps for your goals; whether that’s a change in career, learning a new language or even just changing the layout of a room and giving it a lick of paint. Start small so everything’s achievable and who knows? You might find yourself raring to return home and get started.

    Plan your next adventure

    When it comes to holidays, it’s never too much, too soon. Holidays are a great time to chill out and unwind and just do you. You are the number one in this scenario. What better time to think about where your dream destinations are? Put that Instagram scrolling to good use by going through your saved locations and start plotting as you soak up the rays; once you’ve got the travel bug, it’s hard to shake. It always helps to get back to normality when there’s more to look forward to, even if it’s just a weekend away, or catching up with old pals.

    Exercise

    Getting the heart pumping and working up a sweat isn’t always about torching calories. Exercise is one way to ease anxiety and release any stress you might feel just thinking about hitting the tarmac. When you’ve been horizontal for the best part of a fortnight, getting those trainers on might not sound appealing, but those endorphins will make you feel good and up for a challenge – not to mention offset all those meals out. Whether it’s taking the dog for a walk, or following a quick yoga session in your living room, just get moving. You’ll feel a sense of achievement and smugness too.


    woman with steaming cup of teawoman with steaming cup of tea

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    Woman dancing and flipping her hair
    Figure 8 Fitness is inspired by Latin dance. (Picture: Getty)

    One of the worst things about working out is how boring it can be.

    Squats, lunges, sit-ups, yawn. We do it because we know it’s important – but wouldn’t it be better if we could find a way to make fitness really, genuinely fun?

    Figure 8 Fitness could be the answer. It’s the home workout that brings passion, flair and fun to your living room – and promises to tone your entire body. Bonus.

    Created by a fully fledged Latin ballroom dancing professional, Laana Kunitz, the Figure 8 workout has been popular for years, and fitness fans are still loving it.

    So how does it actually work? Well, all you need is access to YouTube and a bit of clear floor space in your living room or your bedroom, and you can let your inner Latin spirit fly free.

    Although it’s dancing – the key focus of this workout is your core. Your abdominal muscles. So if you’re after a six-pack or a flatter tummy, this could be a good place to start.

    It incorporates three-dimensional core exercises that target your core muscles, all of them, from your transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal oblique, external oblique, and even your back.

    The workout has your core working forwards, backwards, rotational, and side-to-side to really engage those muscles that are difficult to target.

    But, unlike a brutal set of crunches, you won’t even realise that you’re working your core because you’ll be so distracted by the music, the movement, and getting the steps right. That is the beauty of dance.

    Two women Working Out While Watching Instructional Video
    You can give it a try anywhere – you just need space and somewhere to watch the videos (Picture: Getty)

    The Figure 8 name comes from the movement that you make with your hips during the workout – they swing side to side like a pendulum, you circle your spine, then your hips hit invisible corners while you rotate your core.

    ‘Use your obliques to pump your hip corner and take it back,’ explains Laana in one of her YouTube videos. She then adds the footwork, and once you’ve got the core movement down, you’ll be feeling the benefits in no time.

    What are the benefits of Figure 8 Fitness?

    You can do it from home

    It’s an incredibly accessible workout because you can do it from home at a time that suits you – so you don’t have to lug your gym kit to work or get up at 5.30am to run to the gym.

    It’s ideal if you have young children or travel a lot with work – you can even do it in a hotel room on your summer holiday.

    It’s simple

    You don’t have to be a professional Latin dancer to get your head around these moves. Even if you’re lacking in natural rhythm, you’ll be able to keep in step because it’s really pretty basic.

    No complicated equipment or weights are needed, and you don’t have to be really fit either – anyone at any stage of their fitness journey will be able to give it a try.

    You have access to support

    When you sign up to Figure 8 Fitness, it means you will also have access to the Facebook group for members, so you can chat to other enthusiasts and ask any questions you might have about the programme.

    Stronger stomach muscles

    If you’re aiming for abs, but don’t like crunches or sit-ups, this workout is ideal. Tone your core muscles without having to do endless, punishing moves – Laana even calls this workout a ‘tradmill for your abs’.

    Overall fitness

    As well as being an effective standing core workout, Figure 8 will also get your heart pumping and burn calories.

    The key thing to remember is to just keep going.If you’re struggling with a particular step – who cares? You’re in you’re living room! Improvise and keep your feet moving.

    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


    Mixed race dancer practicing in studioMixed race dancer practicing in studio

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    The outdoor furniture that cost £22 made from pallets
    The £22 garden furniture created from pallets (Picture: Facebook/Extreme Couponing and Bargains Group UK)

    We’ve still got a few weeks of summer left – so make the most of it.

    If you want to create a lovely space in the garden but are short on cash after splashing out on a summer break, there’s an easy solution – free pallets.

    People are getting creative with the free wood often given away by businesses after they’ve used them for deliveries.

    One mum created an outdoor sofa for just £22 using pallets.

    Others have used them to create elaborate garden bars, coffee tables, fencing and even toy kitchens for kids.

    So if you have some basic DIY skills, you can put the pallets together to create whatever works for you.

    But the key thing is finding pallets to start your project.

    It's Amazing what you can make out of old wood pallets!…Shared by Paul in our Money Saving Group 👉 https://fave.co/2xAs6ZZ

    Posted by Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK on Thursday, July 25, 2019

    There are places where you can buy pallets – you can pick some up on eBay for example, but they can cost around £6 per pallet and when you have a whole sofa to construct, it soon raises the budget.

    Try looking for free ones instead – some businesses will want to recycle the wood they don’t need but you need to be quick as they can all disappear pretty quickly. You probably also need a way to get them all home.

    Gumtree and other local trading sites are a good place to start. You might need to pick them up from a few different places to get enough for your project but you can find lots of people listing them in most areas.

    Another Great Palette Transformation in our Money Saving Group! 👉 https://fave.co/2xAs6ZZThanks to Billie-Jo for Sharing!

    Posted by Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK on Sunday, August 4, 2019

    Businesses also list them on Facebook so search around and check local buy and sell groups.

    There’s even a free pallets Facebook group, where businesses and individuals can post about what they have or what they need.

    Of course, if you spot some pallets locally, it’s worth asking if you can take some but never take them without permission.

    Even if some of the pallets are broken, you can use them for smaller parts of your creations.

    Once you have secured your pallets, you need some tools, paint and furnishing to finish them off.

    Have a look around your house to see what you can find – it’s a great way to use up leftover paint or fabric. You could also use old sheets or curtains to cover padding for seating.

    Some pallet building fans bought cushions in sales or charity shops to keep the cost down.

    Happy building!

    MORE: Zara launches a black version of that cult spotty summer dress

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    METROGRAB mum shares outdoor corner couch and table that cost ??22 to makeMETROGRAB mum shares outdoor corner couch and table that cost ??22 to make

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    This New NARS Cosmetics lipstick looking like a pink dick
    What do you see? (Picture: Vanessa Redmond/NARS)

    If you’ve ever shopped for a discreet sex toy then you’ve probably come across the lipstick shaped vibrator: it’s inconspicuous and functional.

    But of course, the lipstick part isn’t real and all of us just use it to get off.

    And while NARS new lippy, looks explicitly like a pink dick, it is what it says on the tin; their new line of lipsticks, After Hours.

    The beauty brand isn’t venturing in the sex toy industry, the cosmetics just happen to look a lot like fleshy peens.

    NARS debuted the look on Instagram where users couldn’t help but notice the likeness to the male form.

    And the video certainly didn’t help. The advert showed time-lapses of each product coming together which pretty much looked like a veiny dick solidifying into makeup (neat trick).

    Alas, it was lipstick all along. We’re not sure about the rationale behind the advertising but they certainly went for a sexy vibe.

    And while we all appreciate this latest bit of ‘things that look like rude bits’ we have to warn you, please please don’t use an actual lippy as a sex toy.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B1CqDjMA-Xp/

    Clearly, the marketing folks knew what they were doing as NARS Cosmetics captioned their Insta image with: ‘When the nudes keep you up all night. Reach the dawn with Morocco Lipstick, a warm cinnamon.’

    What they meant was, obviously, reach for the new bit of makeup to impress your nude pic recipient, and not that you should reach the product for some self-pleasure, though makeup can totally be about self-love.

    This New NARS Cosmetics lipstick in a pink colour
    The final product doesn’t look like a d*ck, don’t worry (Picture: Vanessa Redmond/NARS)

    And social media users are totally feeling the item (and its associated sexiness).

    One person commented ‘Very clever NARS. Solid advertisement.’

    Another shared the sentiment saying, ‘Holy crap! SLAY IT SIS!! Best advertisement ever seen!!’

    Someone else wrote: ‘Ummmm, thought it was something else. Great advertisement.’

    Anyway, we’re calling the stuff lipdick.

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    Vagina blimp flying over Edinburgh farmland
    Fanny will be flying just outside Edinburgh on a farm (Picture: Sandy Young/PA Wire)

    Edinburgh City Council and Edinburgh Fringe Festival organisers have come under fire for claims they banned the use of a vagina illustration and vagina blimp in the Scottish city.

    Elvie, a women’s health and wellness brand, intended to host an educational pop-up at the festival to highlight female incontinence problems.

    This included a booth which featured a large illustration of female genitals, accompanied by the phrase ‘The P*ssing Booth’, to be set up on the Royal Mile – one of the main streets of Edinburgh – outside St Giles’ Cathedral.

    However, founder and CEO of the brand, Tania Boler, claims festival organisers banned the use of the illustration. This was followed by a decision from the city council to then ban the use of a 19ft vagina blimp that Elvie planned to fly in the same spot.

    Elvie has now started a petition urging the council to #LetFannyFly and the blimp is currently flying on a farm just outside the city.

    ‘At this year’s Fringe Festival we’d planned a campaign involving an educational pop-up, billboards, and a blimp in the shape of a vagina,’ Tania tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘As one of the most open-minded arts festivals in the world, we assumed that the Fringe would be comfortable, but we were proved wrong and were told that any use of vaginas on the Royal Mile was “not suitable”.’

     

    An illustration of Elvie's booth at Edinburgh Fringe festival
    A mock-up of the Elvie booth, which features an illustration of a vagina (Picture: Elvie)

    Tania added: ‘Incontinence is an issue that affects 1 in 3 women. If this was another health condition, it would be considered an epidemic and the subject of activism across the country and the world.

    ‘But because wetting yourself is seen as a taboo, people don’t talk about it and women feel a sense of embarrassment and fear judgement.

    ‘As a result, research shows that three quarters (72%) of women never seek treatment.

    ‘The time for brushing this issue under the rug is dead, we have shout about from the rooftops if we want to see real change.’

    The petition, which was launched two days ago, has so far been signed by 1,000 people.

    ‘Our beautifully crafted and loveable 19ft blimp, Fanny, is currently grounded and lonely in a field just outside Edinburgh,’ it reads.

    ‘Join us in petitioning the Council to lift the ban and allow Fanny to fly and fulfil her destiny.

    ‘Fanny needs YOU!

    ‘You can help us get Fanny soaring today by signing this petition and using the hashtag #LetFannyFly to spread the word.

    ‘Show her that we are not ashamed of female body parts or talking about women’s health issues, least of all at the largest and most celebrated arts festivals in the world.’

    Metro.co.uk has approached the Edinburgh City Council and Edinburgh Fringe Festival for comment, and this article will be updated once a reply has been received.

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    ElvieÕs giant blimp, named Fanny_#LetFannyFly campaignElvieÕs giant blimp, named Fanny_#LetFannyFly campaign

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    Alex with the cast
    Alex is sporting a cast (Picture: Edith Allen Sanctuary / SWNS)

    An adorable baby deer who was found abandoned with a broken leg is now sporting a bright pink cast.

    Little Alex was discovered limping through downtown Asheville, North Carolina, USA, last month.

    Rescuers believe the beautiful fawn was separated from her mother and hit by a car, which snapped her right back leg just below the hip bone.

    The two-month-old was taken in by Edith Allen Wildlife Sanctuary in Asheville, NC, which is home to eight other abandoned baby deer as well as birds, chipmunks and squirrels.

    Alex was fitted with the colourful cast and prescribed two weeks of house rest.

    Co-founder of the sanctuary Gwen Landt, 60, said: ‘It was heartbreaking to see.

    ‘Alex kept trying to run.

    Alex was found abandoned
    She was found abandoned with a broken leg (Picture: Edith Allen Sanctuary / SWNS)

    ‘She had a broken leg but she wanted to stand up.

    ‘Wild animals are amazing when it comes to pain – they keep persevering through it all.’

    Three weeks later, Alex is still in her cast – a purple one this time.

    ‘We built her a special box so she can stand up and get a bit of exercise,’ Gwen said.

    ‘She can’t run yet but I do believe in time we will be able to release her.’

    Gwen has dedicated her life to looking after real-life Bambis – fawns who have lost their mothers and are left to fend for themselves in the wild.

    She said: ‘They are here because their mothers were killed or they were chased by dogs or they were found in a river.

    ‘These animals may look adorable but their background stories are really not sweet.’

    Alex with her cast
    She’s being well looked after (Picture: Edith Allen Sanctuary / SWNS)

    She added that she hoped she could inform people when to pick up animals and when to leave them in nature.

    ‘We are trying to teach people when and when not to interfere with baby animals,’ she said.

    ‘There are signs to look for.

    ‘When the mama is taking care of her baby, she leaves it in the ground and it curls up like a little croissant so the mother can go off and find food.

    ‘She leaves the baby because it doesn’t have any scent for a predator to detect.

    ‘People often come across the baby deer and they think, “oh, it doesn’t have a parent, I’ll rescue it”.

    ‘But they should wait to see if the mother comes back.

    ‘I don’t think humans realise the impact they have on wildlife.

    ‘We are taking over every place that animals have to live.

    ‘We are building homes and putting up shopping centres and destroying their natural habitat.’

    Gwen has run the sanctuary since 2009 with her husband David, 68, and her daughter, Jocelyn, 24.

    They aim to release fawns back into the wild as soon as they are capable of surviving without human help.

    Gwen said: ‘When we find a little baby, we see what the injuries are, we bottle feed them and we get them back on their feet again.

    ‘They move into the barn with other fawns.

    ‘They are loving animals, they start licking and caring for each other.

    ‘When the fawn gets weaned off the bottle totally, we take them to a location for a soft release.

    ‘Everyday they are walked up the mountain and taken back to the barn in the evening.

    ‘Eventually you leave the barn door open and they don’t come back.’

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    Drawing of someone writing an email on their laptop
    How exactly should you finish an email? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Email is a hellish necessary evil.

    If you read your electronic mail 42 times before getting the *right* tone then don’t worry, you’re not alone.

    It’s hard to know when to end with ‘cheers’ or just ‘best’. Obviously, we all reserve ‘happy to chat further’ for when someone has royally pissed us off.

    But whichever one we use, we’re showing little bits of our personality.

    And one helpful person on Twitter has illustrated just which bits we’re putting forward to the world with the sign-offs we choose.

    Student Julia Burnham, who attends the University of British Columbia, Canada, came up with a handy guide to show us what’s what, using the alignment system.

    The Canadian claimed that ‘regards’ is aligned with ‘lawful evil’, ‘sincerely’ is the ‘true neutral’ while anyone who is chaotic good probably uses ‘cheers’.

    So, what does your sign off say about you?

    FEMAIL CHASING PERMISSION PLEASE RUN PAST LEGAL TAKEN FROM TWITTER
    Only anarchists use ‘ciao’ (and probably Italians) (Picture: Julia Burnham/Twitter)

    Thousands of people flocked to Julia’s post to reveal their own styles and which it aligns with.

    Others added their own ones and its associations.

    “”Happy to chat” is a declaration of war,’ quipped someone while another wrote: ‘”As per my last email” = I’m livid’.

    If you think that you’re none of these things because you don’t even bother with a sign off then you’re wrong because it aligns with ‘natural evil’.

    Julia admitted that she felt seen by her own chart, adding that she was ‘neutral good aspiring to be a lawful good’.

    What is the alignment system?

    According to the alignment system, a person’s general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment: lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, neutral, chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, or chaotic evil.

    Lawful Good

    A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. They combine a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. They tell the truth, keep their word, help those in need, and speak out against injustice.

    Neutral Good

    A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. They are devoted to helping others.

    Chaotic Good

    A chaotic good character acts as their conscience directs them, with little regard for what others expect of them. They make their own way but are kind and benevolent. They believe in goodness and right but have little use for laws and regulations.

    Lawful Neutral

    A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs them. Order and organisation are paramount to them. They may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or they may believe in order for all and favour a strong, organised government.

    Neutral

    A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. They don’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality.

    Chaotic Neutral

    A chaotic neutral character follows their whims. They are an individualist first and last. They value their own liberty but don’t strive to protect others’ freedom. They avoid authority, resent restrictions, and challenge traditions.

    Lawful Evil

    A lawful evil person takes what they want within the limits of their code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. They care about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life.

    Neutral Evil

    A neutral evil person does whatever they can get away with. They are out for themselves, shedding no tears for anyone wronged.

    Chaotic Evil

    A chaotic evil character does whatever they want to. They are unpredictable. They are ruthless and savage when they need to be.

    Loads of Twitter users revealed their own styles, adding new ones to the system.

    Some people took the opportunity to reveal some of the more bizarre sign off they’ve seen.

    One person wrote: ‘Once I sent a guy an email at 11pm and he got pissed that the notification woke him up so he signed off his angry response with “no regards” – where does that fit in?’

    Wild.

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    How exactly should you finish an email? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)How exactly should you finish an email? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

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