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

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    Woman holding her cat who loves chilling in the fridge
    Spot the kitty (Picture: Tumblr)

    Our cats are into weird things but we love them for their quirks.

    With the weather hotting up our feline friends need a way to cool down.

    And Talia the cat has found the perfect way to do that. The cute black and white kitty jumps into the fridge every time her human Christine opens the door.

    Naturally, owner Christine’s biggest fear is that she’ll close the door without realising the adventurous cat is hidden inside.

    So one day when she absent-mindedly opened and shut the device, she was alarmed after not being able to locate Tali.

    But Christine knew the fridge was a good place to search.

    And of course, hiding behind a jug of water was a delighted Tali, enjoying the breeze.

    She’d only been in there a few minutes and casually walked out as the door was opened.

    Cat gets locked in fridge, isn't even mad
    Tali out of her natural habitat – the fridge (Picture: Tumblr/i-remember-there-was-mist)

    ‘Talia loves the fridge,’ Christine explained on her Tumblr page. ‘I don’t know why, but every time we open it, she bolts for it and jumps in.

    ‘She crawls into the back and nestles into the smallest corner she can.

    Cat chills in fridge
    There she is (Picture: Tumblr/i-remember-there-was-mist)

    ‘Today I wasn’t watching the fridge and just opened it and closed it. And then I looked around and realised that Tali had been in the kitchen and now she was nowhere in sight.

    ‘So immediately, I throw open the fridge door and there she is, hanging out in the back, content as can be.’

    Cat peering into a bath tub
    She loves water too (Picture: Tumblr/i-remember-there-was-mist)

    Tali is unlike other cats too as she loves water. The four-year-old barn cat usually jumps in with Christine when she’s having a shower.

    ‘She loves to hop in the shower with us and cries for us to turn on the sink while she’s lounging in there. Nothing makes her happier than when someone pets her with wet hands.’

    Tali in a bathroom sink
    Oh Tali (Picture: Tumblr/i-remember-there-was-mist)

    ‘I think she simply jumped in for the same reasons most cats would — to get into a place they’re not supposed to be,’ Christine explained further to Bored Panda.

    Or maybe she’s just clocked that the fridge is where all the fresh food is kept.

    Smart kitty.

    MORE: Put some time aside, there’s a homeware section for cats and dogs on Made

    MORE: Woman reunited with missing cat after 11 years

    MORE: Why do cats hate water?


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    Peter adding the finishing touches to the wedding cake and the finished cake
    Peter adding the finishing touches (picture: Mercury Press)

    Forget the vows or the speeches – the best bit of the wedding is the champagne and cake, right?

    Well imagine turning up to a wedding with this centrepiece.

    This intricate eight foot long wedding cake weighs over seven stone.

    Make sure you have a strong table for this one – we don’t want a repeat of this great wedding cake collapse.

    This cake, created by Peter Roberts, of Liverpool company Centre Attraction Cakes, took an entire week to make, using 100 eggs, four stone of flour, four stone of butter and three stone of sugar.

    The whole thing is covered in seven stone of icing.

    It’s based on the Marble Church in Bodelwyddan, Wales and features figurines not only of the happy bride and groom but of bridesmaids and six groomsmen.

    The wedding cake from the side
    It’s certainly impressive (Picture: Mercury Press)

    Baker Peter said he can’t reveal the identities of the couple who got to cut the cake but he said they were astonished with the finished spectacle.

    He said: ‘This was one of the most stressful cakes I have made to date and there were a lot of early mornings to get it finished on time.

    ‘I felt relieved when I finished it – I had a few other cakes going on at the same time I was making this one so it was all hands on deck to get it finished on the last minute.

    ‘The cake was eight foot long, reinforced with dowelling, with seven stone of icing and royal icing and so many baked sponge cakes I was seeing them in my sleep.’

    The whole thing cost £1,500 and it took five people to carry it into the venue.

    This wasn’t the first time Peter had created stunning edible sculptures, as he has previously made several large scale cakes including a horse and carriage.

    The wedding cake from the front
    It features figurines of the whole wedding party (Picture: Mercury Press)

    But this was the first time he had been asked to base a cake on such a detailed architectural structure – with the stained glass windows hand painted and the leading painstakingly piped using royal icing.

    The church cake, which at its highest point reached around eight foot in height, was transported by Peter and four family members but when it reached the wedding venue, the cake was too large to fit on a tiny table provided by the staff – and so they had to add an extra large table to hold it.

    Peter said: ‘The venue boss was so hysterical about the table situation but we managed to calm her down and sort it out.

    ‘For me, my job is all just about taking your time and not getting stressed about it – I’m quite a relaxed person which makes the whole cake-making process easier.

    ‘However, it was such a relief to get it all set up and finished that after I left the venue I did need a stiff drink!’

    MORE: Cat who loves chilling in the fridge gets trapped for a few minutes but isn’t even mad

    MORE: How to reduce waste and help the planet when you’re travelling on a plane

    MORE: Bride wears amazing black wedding dress for ‘goth and punk-infused’ big day


    7 STONE of icing on this wedding cake7 STONE of icing on this wedding cake

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    The couple on their wedding day
    The couple on their wedding day (Picture: Darren Yates)

    Married couple Darren and Katherine Yates from Birmingham have unfortunately had a hard time trying for a baby.

    Katherine, 39, who met Darren while they worked for West Midlands Police, has suffered seven miscarriages.

    Shortly after, the couple had a surprise wedding at a cinema where they told guests that they were watching an advanced screening of a movie in which the bride and groom had cameo roles.

    They both have children from previous relationships plus one son together but hope to add another child to their family.

    But devastatingly, almost every pregnancy has resulted in tragedy.

    And now to offer some solidarity to his wife, Darren, 45, is creating a calendar of other women who have had similar experiences to Katherine.

    He has a few people signed up but is on the lookout for more people who’ve shared a similar fate. The funds from each calendar sold will then go to a miscarriage charity.

    Katherine at the hospital
    Katherine has had a few near-death experiences (Picture: Darren Yates)

    Darren told Metro.co.uk about the heartache they’ve faced together.

    ‘Last year, on Father’s Day (of all days), Kat had a miscarriage and nearly died again. During the night, she collapsed in a pool of blood in the bathroom, as well as several times throughout the night.

    ‘At one point, I remember putting a massive clot into a plastic bag which I thought was the unborn baby, but wasn’t sure.

    ‘I remember her sitting down, her eyes rolled back, and she wasn’t breathing. It was the most traumatic experience ever.

    ‘To see your wife collapse unconscious and lose so much blood was heartbreaking. I thought she was going to die.

    ‘Her breathing was shallow and my heart just sank. I honestly thought I was losing my wife, my best friend and soul mate.’

    Darren thanks the ambulance service for guiding him through the frantic calls.

    Katherine and Darren at the park
    Katherine and Darren have children from previous relationships and one child together (Picture: Darren Yates)

    Katherine had to have several blood transfusions but thankfully survived the ordeal. Shortly after the incident, Katherine even returned to her work with youth group Girl Guiding.

    ‘She was putting on a brave face for the girls despite the agony and upset that was happening within,’ said Darren.

    ‘We have since tried for another baby, but after seven miscarriages, the trauma is just too much. We have both decided it’s no longer meant to be.’

    ‘With this in mind, we knew there was a story to tell so we have both decided to work on a ‘Calendar Girls’ type of calendar to raise money for a miscarriage charity.

    ‘However, we thought it would be a fabulous idea if all the budding models had experienced miscarriages. It would make the calendar more meaningful with a story to share. It’s about raising awareness as well as funds.’

    Katherine at the hospital
    ‘After seven miscarriages, the trauma is just too much’ (Picture: Darren Yates)

    Darren is taking inspiration from British comedy Calendar Girls which is based on a true story of a group of middle-aged Yorkshire women who produced a nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia Research.

    He also has health issues of his own explained that Katherine does it all and is even his carer.

    ‘Kat is also my carer and looks after me. I have fibromyalgia (widespread chronic pain), syringomyelia (cyst on spine), arthritis, spine disease, as well as generalised anxiety disorder.

    ‘My wife is a remarkable individual with a heart of gold but has had more heartache than most. She always puts others first.

    ‘Some days can be so challenging as I can’t walk too far, and won’t leave the house alone.’

    Katherine has one son, Liam, from a former relationship.

    Katherine's son Liam (17) and Darren's son Charlie (4) and daughter Emily, (16)
    Darren’s daughter Emily, (left), Katherine’s son Liam (16) and in centre Charlie, who is Katherine and Darren’s only child together (Picture: Darren Yates)

    But his dad walked out when he was seven, leaving Katherine to be a single mother. Until she met Darren.

    Husband Darren tries to put a smile on her face no matter what. He even got Ed Sheeran to send a video to cheer Katherine up.

    He is now putting together the calendar to show that his wife is not alone.

    If you would like to get involved or know anyone who does, please get in touch with Darren via his Twitter page.

    MORE: Mum and daughter suffered 16 miscarriages between them

    MORE: Woman who had eight miscarriages fell pregnant with miracle baby days before her husband had a vasectomy

    MORE: After a miscarriage will I ever find the bravery to try to get pregnant again?


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    Couple cutting their Buckfast-themed cake on their wedding day
    Not your average wedding (Picture: SWNS)

    Weddings are about the couple, their lives together and their quirks.

    One couple preparing for their nuptials had no problem incorporating their personalities into their cake. For Kelly Robertson and Steven Ball, the choice was clear.

    They decided to have a Buckfast-themed cake. The caffeinated tonic wine was the dessert of choice as 36-year-old Kelly and 38-year-old Steven wanted to inject some humour at their wedding.

    The whole affair bucked trends as Kelly also wore a black wedding dress and strutted down the aisle to the sound of AC/DC’s Back in Black.

    When the couple, from South Lancashire, went to the reception in a rugby club, they were astonished to see how their wedding cake turned out.

    From the front, it looked traditional – clad in white icing decorated with flowers, silver ribbon and a ‘Mr & Mrs’ sign on top.

    But turned around, the white icing parted over dark green icing, featuring three edible Buckfast labels.

    And of course, they came with two mini Buckfasts which the couple happily knocked back.

    ‘My partner and I really like Buckfast and I joked that we should get a Buckfast cake,’ explained Kelly.

    ‘My sisters just laughed it off, but they went away and spoke to a lady and said she could make a Buckfast cake.

    ‘I was like “no way, go for it”.’

    Buckfast-themed wedding cake
    It looks normal from the back (Picture: SWNS)

    She thought it was a bit of a laugh, but was thrilled when big sisters Alix and Nikki came through on their promise.

    Project worker Kelly added: ‘I was taken aback and blown away by it,’ adding that it tasted ‘amazing’.

    The booze-themed cake was also-suitable for the children at the wedding including her sons Joshua, 14, and Joseph, aged six.

    Kelly added: ‘One of my sisters joked about putting Buckfast through it, but we’ve got a lot of kids in my family so I said don’t.’

    Her husband, who works as a civil engineer, shares Kelly’s sense of humour.

    ‘Steven loved it as well.’ added Kelly. ‘The two of us like Buckfast and he was right up for it. It’s an acquired taste but it’s got to come from the fridge.

    ‘I do like my classic rock music too. Steven and I have our own way of doing things.

    ‘It injected a good bit of humour into the day.’

    MORE: Bride wears white underwear to wedding as couple get married in truck before wrestling in mud

    MORE: Girl got marijuana-themed birthday cake after store staff misheard mother saying ‘Moana’

    MORE: Woman uses Tinder and Facebook to find the town her dad loved and spread his ashes there


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    Brunch Avocado Toast
    Avocado on toast anyone? (Picture: Unsplash)

    Love brunch? Good, because the London Brunch Fest is returning to the Truman Brewery for two days next weekend, Saturday 31 August and Sunday 1 September.

    The capital’s brunchiest restaurants (yes, that is indeed a thing) will be serving up everything from avo on toast to slow cooked beef benedicts.

    This year’s big headliners include Millennial favourite, Avobar who will be serving up, you guessed it, avocado boats topped with salmon and poached eggs, along with Brother Marcus who will dish out all things ‘Yummy Mummy’ – falafel, tabouleh, aubergine with lemon, parsley and beetroot tahini.

    Other worthy shoutouts go to the Aussie guys and gals at Brickwood. Their ‘The Bomb!’, banana bread with cacao cream, salted peanut butter and pecan brittle, topped with shaved Tim Tams, is definitely worthy of a place on your dessert list.

    You can also get waffles from Waffle On – think poached rhubarb and lots of strawberries piled on a golden crispy waffle – but it might require an extra visit to the gym.

    New on the line up this year is Sweet Street. It’s essentially a room dedicated to the sweet side of brunch only.

    The cookie monsters at Naked Dough, the Vegan ice cream experts of DAPPA, cake queens Butter Believe It and Smith and Sinclair, purveyors of the finest boozy cocktail confections, will be calling the space home. Pack an extra stomach.

    Speaking of booze, there’s lot of it. A dedicated Bloody Mary Bar masterminded by the team at Longbottom & CO will be on hand to make sure you’re fueled until the early hours.

    Prosecco will be thrown out by the lads at Bubble Bros (they will have plenty), and if coffee is more your kind of thing, Origin Coffee will 100% be there to sort that niggling caffeine fix out.

    In addition to all the food and drink, there’s a packed schedule of talks, workshops and demos planned, all to the sounds of some resident DJs bustin’ out tunes – because, atmosphere.

    Tickets to the brunch shindig cost £12.50 and cover two sessions that take place on both Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 10am and 1:30pm  and 2pm to 6:30pm (5:30pm on the Sunday).

    The ticket includes entry as well as access to all the talks and discussions taking place on the main stage.

    Food, is sadly, not included, though for every ticket and meal sold, a meal will be donated to the charity, Magic Breakfast. A very good reason to treat yo’self.

    Follow @londonbrunchfest on Instagram for more updates and further additions.

    MORE: A Nando’s festival is coming to London and it boasts a glorious PERi-PERi brunch menu

    MORE: Top ten best places to have brunch in London

     


    brenda-godinez-k4116JZ07S0-unsplash-65edbrenda-godinez-k4116JZ07S0-unsplash-65ed

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    Various green house plants beside the window
    Plants are being prescribed to help people with mental health problems (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    We love houseplants and know they have lots of benefits – from air purifying to just making your rented flat feel a little more homely.

    And now GP practice in Manchester is prescribing plants to help people with anxiety, depression and loneliness.

    The idea is that patients get herbs, veg and pot plants to care for and they then bring it back to the surgery to transfer it to the communal garden.

    The new scheme – believed to be a first in the country – gives patients a chance to join in with further gardening and social activities. It’s based on the idea that spending time in green spaces can help to lift your mood.

    It’s been launched by Cornbrook Medical Practice in inner-city Hulme, where many patients live in flats and may not have access to gardens or greenery.

    Augusta Ward, 31, a medical secretary at the practice, said: ‘The plants we will be giving people are mainly herbs – things like lemon balm and catmint, which all have mindful qualities.

    ‘Having something to care for brings so many benefits to people – especially for those who may not have a garden or be able to have pets.

    ‘The plant is then a reason to come back to the surgery and get involved in all the other activities in our garden and make new friends.’

    The idea is backed by the city’s health commissioners, who want to promote community support or ‘social prescribing’ as one of the holistic ways to improve well-being in the city.

    Many of the plants for the scheme have been donated or have been funded through the social enterprise group Sow the City.

    Dr Philippa James, one of the surgery’s GPs, said: ‘I’ve seen how our patients relax in the garden – and how they then get involved in wider events like picking litter, which all adds to pride in our area.

    ‘There’s a lot of evidence now about how two hours a week in a green space can lift mood – and then that too has physical, mental and emotional benefits. That’s something we need to harness.’

    Dr Ruth Bromley, GP and chair of Manchester Health and Care Commissioning, a partnership between Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group and Manchester City Council, added: ‘So much of what keeps people happy and well isn’t medical.

    ‘That’s why ideas like this one are so wonderfully effective, building on what is best about our communities and supporting patients close to where they live.’

    MORE: Husband is looking to create ‘Calendar Girls’ of women who had miscarriages for wife who’s suffered seven times

    MORE: How to turn your tiny paved yard into a beautiful garden


    Pot plants display on the windowPot plants display on the window

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    Revellers and performers at the Notting Hill Carnival 2019
    The party is underway as the Notting Hill Carnival kicks off (Picture: SWNS)

    It’s August Bank Holiday weekend and that means that London’s biggest annual street party – the Notting Hill Carnival – is underway.

    The event kicked off on Sunday with family day – featuring the children’s parade and family-friendly activities ahead of the full party kicking off on Bank Holiday Monday.

    As usual people are set to attend the event in their thousands – meaning that public transport around the area is set to be busy.

    If you’re heading down to the carnival though, what’s the best way of getting there?

    We’ve got all the information you need.

    What’s the best way to get to Notting Hill carnival?

    Anyone planning to go to the carnival is advised not to drive to the event as roads around the carnival route will be closed and parking will be very limited.

    If you’re coming from further away than the capital then the advice is to drive into London but park further away and use the tube or walk for the remainder of your journey.

    Revellers and performers take part in the first day of Notting Hill Carnival 2019
    The first day of the event is aimed at families (Picture: SWNS)

    The best way to get to the carnival over the weekend will be by London Underground – with the nearest Tube stations including Holland Park, Shepherd’s Bush, High Street Kensington and Queen’s Park.

    Latimer Road, Notting Hill Gate, Royal Oak and Westbourne Park are also nearby but Tube stations in the area will be subject to certain restrictions across the weekend as follows:

    • Holland Park will close at 6pm on both days
    • Ladbroke Grove is closed on both days
    • Latimer Road will close at 11:30pm on both days
    • Notting Hill Gate will be exit-only from 11am-7pm on both days. Circle and District line trains will not stop here between 11am-7pm on both days. There is no interchange between the District and Circle and Central lines all day on both lines
    • Royal Oak will be exit-only from 11am to 6pm on both days and will close at 6pm
    • Westbourne Park will be exit-only from 11am-6pm both days and will close at 11:30pm

    What are the Notting Hill road closures?

    Notting Hill Carnival 2019 route
    The route for the carnival looks a little like this (Picture: Notting Hill Carnival app)

    Westminster City Council has advised that several roads in the area are closed from 6am on Sunday 25 August until 6am on Tuesday 27 August.

    Some of the roads affected include Alfred Road, Botts Mews, Bridstow Place, Durham Terrace and St Stephen’s Gardens.

    A full list of road closures and other details for residents can be found on the Westminster City Council Website.

    MORE: Notting Hill Carnival 2019: Sound systems guide, who’s playing and where to find them


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    The process of creating the pizzadilla
    It’s quite a process (Picture: Twisted Food)

    We’ve seen some interesting food mix ups in our time but this one is up there with the most elaborate.

    The deep fried BBQ chicken stuffed pizzadilla from Twistedfood.co.uk has got people talking.

    Yes, it’s bbq pulled chicken, encased in cheese and tortillas to make a quesadilla (so far, so delicious).

    But when you think the video is coming to an end, it continues.

    The recipe then recommends slicing the quesadilla, dipping it in egg and breadcrumbs and deep frying each slice.

    It sounds heavy, right?

    But wait. There’s more. Once all six deep fried slices are completed, the video recommends placing them back on the plate and adding pizza toppings to the whole thing.

    Oh and it comes with a dip too.

    The whole video lasts three minutes and 10 seconds and honesty, we’re exhausted just watching that, never mind attempting to make this concoction.

    The whole thing involves 33 different ingredients but apparently only takes 45 minutes.

    This hefty meal serves six people and it’s probably a good idea to share because we’ve no idea about the nutritional content of each slice.

    The video of the meal was posted on Twitter by Yashar, who said: ‘I’m calling the FBI.’

    The tweet has gone viral with over 80,000 likes and 16,800 retweets.

    One person pointed out the shear quantity of washing up you would face afterwards.

    Jason said: ‘Chicken spice: 8 bowls, spatula, tongs

    ‘Baking sheet, 2 forks

    ‘Baked chicken mix: 5 bowls, spatula, tongs

    ‘Cake pan, dutch oven

    ‘Dressing: 8 bowls, spatula Cutting board, knife

    ‘Breading setup, 3 dishes, pan, spoon Pizza pan, spoon

    ‘Serving platter

    ‘Minimum 2 dishwasher loads.’

    The whole thing didn’t go down with with most people.

    One joked: ‘This would actually help you lose weight, as your burn a lot of calories over the 12 hours it takes to prepare.’

    Carol B added: ‘Trying to kill a loved one? Here’s a simple 500 step 5 million calorie tortilla pizza that will send them straight to the other side.’

    Another added: ‘There’s a difference between experimenting and Frankensteining.’

    Yeh, this is absolutely the Frankenstein’s monster of food stuffs and we’re a little terrified.

    MORE: There’s a whole festival dedicated to brunch food next weekend – and the menus look amazing

    MORE: Couple celebrate their wedding with a Buckfast-themed cake and then neck the drink


    People are horrified by this deep fried bbq chicken layered taco with a pizza on top http://twistedfood.co.uk/deep-fried-bbq-chicken-stuffed-pizzadilla/People are horrified by this deep fried bbq chicken layered taco with a pizza on top http://twistedfood.co.uk/deep-fried-bbq-chicken-stuffed-pizzadilla/

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    Kevin Robinson at Manchester Pride on Saturday with his ileostomy bag on show
    Kevin at Manchester Pride on Saturday (Picture: Twitter/@unicornkx)

    Kevin Robinson, 29, has lived with Crohn’s disease since he was 14.

    In 2015, his large intestine was removed and he was given a stoma – a hole in the tummy where waste is diverted into an ileostomy bag.

    For years, he hid his ileostomy bag and avoided tight fitting clothing or anything that would make it visible.

    Earlier this year, Kevin told his husband he wished he could wear a crop top to Pride but didn’t want his bag to be on show.

    But with his husband Aaron’s support, he realised it didn’t matter and he decided to show off his bag at Manchester Pride this weekend.

    Kevin, from West Yorkshire, told Metro.co.uk: ‘I lived with Crohn’s disease since I was about 14, which caused my lots of confidence issues throughout my teenage years and early 20s. After lots of drugs and treatments failed to stop its progression, I was offered surgery to remove my large intestine in 2015.

    ‘Sometimes it can be a temporary solution, but my condition was so bad that I had to have everything taken out which means I’ll give with my ileostomy bag for the rest of my life.

    ‘I also had emergency surgery last year when I had complications, which meant I had to have some of my small intestine removed, too.’

    Although Kevin says he’s never ashamed of his bag, he felt it was difficult to talk to strangers or new people about it so he tried to avoid letting people he didn’t know see it.

    He adds: ‘Poo is always a bit of a taboo subject, so showing my bag means talking to people about the way I’m different, and about poo, which can be pretty scary when talking to new people as you never know how they’ll take it.

    ‘It means I also choose clothes which conceal it further, as it can show up pretty obviously if I wear tight-fitting clothes. I guess that’s maybe even moreso in the LGBT community which, although mostly really supportive, can have some shallow areas too and there’s sometimes pressure to confirm to certain body types.’

    But as Pride approached and Kevin started shopping for something to wear, he was aware there were certain things he liked that he was avoiding because of his bag. When he spoke to his husband about it, he decided it was time to embrace it.

    ‘I remember seeing a crop-top and saying I really wished I could wear it, but never could,’ he explains. ‘But my husband Aaron really encouraged me to do it. He told me that my bag was even more reason to wear it, and reassured me that I’d look great in it.

    ‘Because my illness really affected my confidence in the past, and stopped me from putting myself out there, and made me scared to expose myself in a way… I felt I wanted to be empowered to do everything that it stopped me doing.

    ‘Pride is about being who you are, being true to your authentic self, and celebrating the differences that we might hide of play down in other parts of our lives. That message really inspires me, and I had an amazing weekend because of it, but I also felt it resonated with my bag and my body.’

    On Saturday at Pride, he put on his new pink crop top and went out with his bag on show. Despite it being a huge deal for Kevin, he said that most people barely even noticed.

    He says : ‘Honestly, the reaction on the day was… not that much. Close friends were really encouraging and all said how amazing I looked, and how brave I was for showing my bag. But I can’t think of any reaction I noticed from anybody else. And that’s pretty great.

    ‘Because at Pride difference is normality. The fact I wasn’t especially noticed or treated different was really empowering, and gave me confidence that it was normal and cool.’

    Kevin posted a picture of himself on the day on Twitter and people were really supportive. The tweet had almost 6,000 likes and hundreds of messages.

    ‘The reaction to my tweet has been genuinely overwhelming and humbling. From peers in the LGBT community, to people saying they respect my decision, those with similar conditions, or those treating them… it’s been humbling to hear that a simple photo has touched people.

    ‘I didn’t intend for it to reach people outside of my friendship group, but I’m pleased that it has if it can help reduce stigma, or give people confidence that the stigma isn’t there.

    ‘To people like me, I’d say that first you need to feel confident in yourself. Every part of us makes us who we are, shapes us, and your bag is a big part of who you are, it has shaped you, so celebrate that.

    ‘And when you’re comfortable with yourself, take the step to get it out more. Feel confidence and empowered to go to swimming, to wear a crop-top, to talk to people.

    ‘And congratulate yourself when you do, remind yourself that you’re gorgeous and amazing because of your bag, not in spite of it.’

    MORE: People are horrified by this deep fried BBQ chicken layered taco with a pizza on top

    MORE: How to turn your tiny paved yard into a beautiful garden


    Man shows off ileostomy bag at prideMan shows off ileostomy bag at pride

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    A branch of the post office
    Will the Post Office be open on Bank Holiday Monday and will you receive any mail? (Picture: Getty Images)

    We don’t want to suggest the year is going quickly or anything, but it’s the last Bank Holiday today until the Christmas break comes along in December.

    Yes, the August Bank Holiday is here, giving folks across the country a well-earned break from the usual Monday morning rush – and in this case make the most of a late summer heatwave.

    Which means some of the UK’s essential services might be operating different hours, with supermarkets up and down the country opening their doors at different times and the majority of banks closing their doors completely as their staff enjoy a day off.

    But what about the Post Office? Will they be open as normal on the bank holiday and will the post be delivered as usual?

    Here’s what you need to know.

    Is post delivered on Bank Holidays?

    Like other workers, the postmen get a day off today with no post being delivered or collected in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    A message on the Post Office website confirms this, saying: ‘We deliver and collect your mail on most days of the year, including Saturdays.

    A postman delivers letters to a house
    The postmen are getting a day off today (Picture: Getty Images)

    ‘However we don’t usually deliver or collect on bank and public holidays.’

    Despite this, there will still be collections and deliveries in some parts of Scotland.

    You can find out whether yours is one of those receiving mail today by checking the official Post Office website which has a list of the relevant postcodes that will still be able to send and receive mail.

    Is the Post Office open on Bank Holidays?

    Most branches of the Post Office will be shut on the bank holiday, with the official website confirming this.

    However, the site doesn’t confirm which branches will be shut and which might be staying open – so your best bet is to check with your local branch for further information.

    Some post office branches inside convenience stores may be open also, but once again you’ll need to check with your local branch to see whether this is the case.

    MORE: UK should get four more bank holidays to take us to EU average


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    Adele making use of the Sky Couch bed
    The upgrade is available on certain Air New Zealand flights. (Picture: Facebook/@TheRealMummy)

    Long haul flights with young children aren’t exactly fun. The discomfort of economy seats alone are usually enough to ensure that none of you are going to get any rest.

    But one mum has discovered that there’s an ingenious and affordable way to make long flights with the family much more comfortable – and the upgrade only costs $200 (£104). A steal.

    Adele Barbaro shared the details of the upgrade on her Facebook page, describing how she paid the relatively small fee for a flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles, which meant she could turn her entire row into a bed.

    No more waking up with a crick in your neck and cramp in your thighs – the Sky Couch allows you to stretch out across all three seats, so you can all get some proper shut-eye.

    This clever travel hack is available on certain Air New Zealand flights. The Sky Couch seats are essentially the same as economy seats, but they come with an additional footrest which can fold upwards to form a bed-like surface.

    Man and baby lying down on Sky Couch bed
    It costs around £104 each way for each additional Sky Couch option. (Picture: Facebook/@TheRealMummy)

    ‘If there is two of you travelling, you can purchase a third seat at half price and you will get the entire row to yourself,’ explained Adele in her Facebook post.

    ‘The leg rests all rise to meet the chair in front and create a completely flat, large play or sleep area. Paul and Harvey had a bed and so did Chloe and I.

    Little boy watching film on plane with feet up
    Adele said the upgrade was basically as good as Business class. (Picture: Facebook/@TheRealMummy)

    ‘It’s the next best thing to business (but way cheaper) and perfect for long haul flights with young families. And we all slept.’

    Adele’s post has already attracted more than 30,000 comments on Facebook with other parents loving the idea, or sharing their own stories of experiencing it with their families.

    ‘Oh we’ve had this before and we LOVED it,’ said Kirsty.

    ‘It was just us and one baby – a MUCH better option than the bassinet seats as I could lie down and feed and both me and baby could sleep (while his dad binge watched movies! Haha!)’

    Some expressed frustration that this option wasn’t more widely available.

    ‘I wish every airline would allow this as it would be very handy when traveling to Ireland which is two flights first one 14hrs and second one 8hrs but unfortunately they won’t let us use them,’ said Edel.

    The upgrade is currently available on Boeing 777 and 787-9 aircrafts with Air New Zealand, and prices depend on demand, availability and destination.

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    MORE: What order are you supposed to apply your skincare products?


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    Dog helps clean up plastic pollution
    Loli and Trish on the beach (Picture: Trish Brewster/ Caters)

    Loli the Weimaraner helps to cut down on plastic pollution by playing fetch with it all and bringing it back to her owners.

    On her daily walk, she picks up at least enough to fill one bin bag.

    This very good doggo even fetches rubbish from the sea when she’s out in her owners small boat.

    Her owners, Trish Brewster 54, and Yan Balewicz, 60, from started picking up bits of rubbish from the beach near her home in Glenelg, Scotland, when they walked her and soon she started copying them.

    Trish, from York, is now sharing their story to help inspire other owners to start collecting plastic as if Loli, now 13, can do it, anyone can.

    She said: ‘It doesn’t matter where I am, I can’t walk past a piece of plastic without picking it up and over the years Loli has noticed this and now she helps find rubbish that I wouldn’t otherwise notice.

    ‘Loli will run off down the beach and come back with plastic bottles for us to take home and recycle.

    ‘There’s a lot less rubbish in our area now we’ve started collecting everything and anything we see as waste.

    ‘Loli very intelligent dog and she loves helping both me and Yan collect the rubbish.

    PIC BY (PICTURED: Loli dragging a tent in from the water, the tent was left as litter) This intelligent Weimaraner has cracked down on plastic pollution after copying her owners by collecting rubbish across UK beaches. Pooch Loli now spends her entire walk collecting waste in a bid to help her owners, Trish Brewster 54, and Yan Balewicz, 60. Loli collects atleast one bin bag full of rubbish every day while on the beach front at their holiday home in Glenelg, Scotland. But Loli doesnt stop at just collecting plastic waste on land, she also collects rubbish while shes out at sea in her owners small boat. Trish, from York, is now sharing their story to help inspire other owners to start collecting plastic as if Loli, now 13, can do it, anyone can. SEE CATERS COPY.
    Loli dragging a tent in from the water (Picture:Trish Brewster/ Caters)

    ‘After most walks we have atleast one bag full of plastic and other waste, a lot of it is netting that has washed up from the sea.

    ‘Loli’s favourite thing to do is go out on the boat and look out for dolphins.

    ‘But if she spots some rubbish such as balloons or netting along the way, she’s the first to jump in and retrieve it.’

    Trish says it’s shocking how much plastic is dumped across the UK and hopes Loli’s story inspires other owners to take action.

    She added: ‘We’ve seen seals dead on the beach due to plastic pollution and it’s heart-breaking.

    ‘I absolutely love animals and to see that humans are causing them so much harm by simply not recycling or using less plastic is awful.

    PIC BY (PICTURED: Loli on the beach) This intelligent Weimaraner has cracked down on plastic pollution after copying her owners by collecting rubbish across UK beaches. Pooch Loli now spends her entire walk collecting waste in a bid to help her owners, Trish Brewster 54, and Yan Balewicz, 60. Loli collects atleast one bin bag full of rubbish every day while on the beach front at their holiday home in Glenelg, Scotland. But Loli doesnt stop at just collecting plastic waste on land, she also collects rubbish while shes out at sea in her owners small boat. Trish, from York, is now sharing their story to help inspire other owners to start collecting plastic as if Loli, now 13, can do it, anyone can. SEE CATERS COPY.
    Loli on the beach (Picture: Trish Brewster/ Caters)

    ‘We do our bit by ensuring the beaches near our cottage are as clean as they possibly can be but it’s going to take more than just me, Loli and Yan, a retired engineer, to make any drastic changes across the country.

    ‘People should know better than to leave plastic waste anywhere near our oceans.

    ‘If Loli can do her bit by collecting waste then there’s no reason why everyone else can’t help.’

    Since Trish began collecting rubbish six years ago she has recycled over a 1000 bags of waste.

    She said: ‘It has become a bit of a habit nowadays and it does drive Yan crazy at times.

    ‘We can be on the boat and I’ll spot something floating in the distance and regardless of what direction we are going in, I will ensure it’s not left in the sea.

    ‘It makes me proud that Loli has begun copying us and is now actively helping us to live in a cleaner area.’

    MORE: Mum reveals upgrade hack that lets you turn economy seats into a giant bed for long haul flights

    MORE: Man shows off ileostomy bag at Manchester Pride because he says the day is about being who you really are


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    As the nation’s most stylish person I am officially declaring the separation of evening wear and day wear no more. Deceased. Done.

    The whole idea of saving clothes for best is an error, not just because it promotes the idea that we can’t wear glamorous garments at any time of the day, but also contributes to the constant storing of clothes in your wardrobe for no apparent reason, gathering dust and contributing to the ailments of fast fashion’s impact on the environment.

    If you climb aboard the fashion time machine, the concept of evening wear and day wear was coined in the 15th century as a signifier of class and social rank, which still has unfortunate resonance today.

    We often judge class or occupation based off the clothes that people are wearing, or how they look gracing the streets, which isn’t just unnecessary, but still pushes this idea that you have to look polished to be respected or to be successful in the world.

    But the thing I have a bigger issue with is the idea that we can only wear decadent pieces in the evening or for special occasions. Because of this mind-set people up and down the country are missing out on just feeling absolutely sensational every waking moment by wearing THAT outfit to pop to the shops.

    clothes rail with different outfits
    It’s all about the confidence (Picture: Jamie Windust)

    The rules around fashion, specifically womenswear, are not fit for purpose. The mild yet impactful policing of our visual presentation based on what we have to do that day is restricting and imposes boring, binary fashion rules, one below the knee pencil skirt at a time.

    My favourite example of how breaking the fashion ‘rules’ can be liberating is what I wear on a Monday.

    As a freelancer and annoying millennial with one of those ‘portfolio’ careers I can often choose where I work and when I work but Monday is still a chore.

    However, throw a boot on and power suit, or a stiletto and a bejewelled high neck dress, your day is truly transformed.

    For me I adore the power of fashion and the way that it truly changes my mood.

    It doesn’t have to be a ball gown if you don’t fancy it – just reach into the section of your wardrobe subconsciously titled ‘save for best’ and throw whatever you can find on. Experience the rejuvenation that a viscose blend can give you. It really is that simple.

    The whole idea that we have to wait to wear our ‘best’ is just bloody boring and mild self-torture. Why spend your hard earned money on pieces that you’re just going to have sit in the wardrobe and maybe wear once or twice a year?

    Wear it to the doctors! Wear it to the food shop! Wear it to take the bins out! Go wild, babes.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B0JjTtxAh1s/

    We are purchasing more and more fast fashion every single day. In the UK we buy more clothes per person than any other country in Europe.

    The high street is full of garments that are manufactured in dubious conditions and sold for prices that encourage mass buying.

    If we are to stop this, we firstly need to really analyse our spending habits when it comes to fashion and really engage more with vintage, sustainably sourced independent brands and recycling initiatives where we can take our tatty tops and allow them to flourish into a new pair of hot pants.

    And, as many of us have wardrobes full of fast fashion, we must now make sure we are utilising that wardrobe for every hem it’s got.

    Often when we go shopping for clothes with an event or ‘day’ in mind we end up buying statement pieces that we treasure as a relic of our own fashion history.

    For example, in my wardrobe I have my graduation dress firmly pressed and hung as a reminder of that day.

    All I’m saying here is: instead of swiping past that dress every time you go to grab your favourite trousers, why don’t you just throw the dress on (or your equivalent)?

    It’s really that simple – and trust me, it will really elevate and boost your mood. In the words of our lord and saviour, Mr Gok Wan, ‘It’s all about the confidence’.

    When you actually stop caring about what other people think about what you’re wearing and start to dress to empower yourself, rather than impress other people, a lot of your wardrobe will look very different.

    Yes, you may have an increase in people asking where you’re going, but you can sit back and gleefully reply with a smile ‘to get a pink of milk’ as you strut away in your wedding dress.

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    MORE: New Look is wrong to slash prices – consumers no longer want fast fashion

    MORE: I made a 16th century shirt and it taught me about the crisis of fast fashion


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    Groom shamed for having 'disgusting' nails on wedding day (Picture: Facebook)
    People are pretty grossed out. (Picture: Facebook)

    People usually try to look their best on their wedding day – so you would think that having a shower and washing your hands would be the bare minimum requirement before walking down the aisle.

    Which is why so many people were appalled after a close-up photo of a groom’s hands showed that his nails were absolutely caked in mud and grime.

    The image, which was shared on a wedding shaming group on Facebook, was meant to show off the couple’s brand new rings, but their diamonds were overshadowed by the filth under the groom’s nails.

    People just couldn’t understand how such a fundamental cleanliness issue could have been neglected on such an important day.

    ‘Like, did he even shower before the wedding???’ asked one incredulous Facebook user.

    Groom shamed for having 'disgusting' nails on wedding day (Picture: Facebook)
    ‘Did he even shower before the wedding?’ (Picture: Facebook)

    ‘I just can’t with these men who can’t be bothered to make an effort even ONE TIME for the person they are promising to spend their life with,’ added another. ‘$20 says he’s not wearing a suit or tux, and whatever he is wearing does not fit properly. I feel bad for his bride.’

    In the picture, the bride displays painted nails and the bouquet of flowers suggests it was a pretty fancy occasion – so how come the groom failed to get the memo?

    A couple of people speculated that the muddy nails could just be the tip of the iceberg for this shower-shy newlywed.

    ‘If his nails look that bad, what does the rest of him look like?!?’ said one.

    ‘Oooh boy. I would not want to have sexy time with him. Infection city!’ added another.

    But maybe this couple are so deeply in love that the little things – like basic hygiene – just aren’t important.

    We just hope he didn’t get too close when he was cutting the cake.

    MORE: Mum reveals upgrade hack that lets you turn economy seats into a giant bed for long haul flights

    MORE: Man shows off ileostomy bag at Manchester Pride because he says the day is about being who you really are

    MORE: Loli the dog fetches plastic rubbish from the beach to help her owners recycle it


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    Literal cake joy. (Picture: Yann Couvreur/Instagram)
    Literal cake joy. (Picture: Yann Couvreur/Instagram)

    Everyone loves cake. It brings us joy. Its bring us life. Its bring us meaning. But nobody loves it more than Yann Couvreur.

    The French pastry hunk currently has three shops in Paris and is considered one of the city’s top patisseries alongside the likes of Pierre Hermé (CC: macarons), Jacques Genin, Claire Damon and Cedric Grolet.

    Yann has two major passions in life. The first, is of course, pastry. The second is his adorable pet fox, which if you want to see more of, you can on Yann’s Instagram page – he’s got 230,000 Instagram followers, so yeah, huge deal.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BwgmP-cnkH8/

    Eclairs, pretty tarts and Paris Brest are Yan’s specialty when it comes to all things baking.

    If you’re a Couvreur virgin, your cherry is about to pop, and big time. Just look at how gorgeous this strawberry thing is!

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxy2sguCWbw/

    You want to put the whole glorious fruit and cream filled thing in your mouth, don’t you?

    Good, because next week, the cake hot shot will be hosting a residency at swanky Mayfair gaff, Claridge’s.

    The menu will include everything from a dark chocolate eclair, a drool-worthy lime and shisho tart, and of course, his signature Paris Brest.

    The action will take place in the hotel’s classy AF foyer where you can buy and gift wrap everything you see on the trolley.

    Bonus, if you are going for afternoon tea, Couvreur’s treats are, amazingly, part of the deal. Advice: make sure your phone’s battery is fully charged.

    Though the residency obviously won’t be a permanent fixture in the hotel (sigh), rumour has it that after the preview, Couvreur will be opening his very own London store.

    When is it opening, you ask? Sadly, no date has been set for Couvreur’s opening in London. But rest assured, our little birds tell us it will be very, very soon.

    Watch this space.

    MORE: Baker creates incredible 8ft tall wedding cake that weighs seven stone – and cost £1,500

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    MORE: 11 naked wedding cakes to fall in love with


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    Aerial View over Bielefeld
    Fake city? (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    Now that we’ve got your attention, yes, a German city is offering one lucky guy or gal €1 million (£908,245) to anybody who can prove that it does not exist.

    The little town in question is Bielefeld, which, apparently lies roughly 250 miles west of Berlin.

    Why are they giving away so much dollar? Well it all dates back to a little conspiracy, and we all know just how much the internet loves those.

    The conspiracy theory can be traced back to 1993 when a computer scientist who went by the name of Achim Held joked that he did not believe the little town of Bielefeld ever existed.

    From a simple joke was born a satire.

    As the rumour, or joke, of a town that never existed began to circulate, things got a little out of hand and so the ‘Bielefeld conspiracy’ was developed.

    The three part theory asks three simple questions:

    1. Do you know anybody from Bielefeld?

    2. Have you ever been to Bielefeld?

    3. Do you know anybody who has ever been to Bielefeld?

    Deutschland, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bielefeld, Alter Markt, Patrizierh?user
    Pretty city Germany. (Picture: Getty Images/Westend61)

    If you answered no to all three questions, the theory has been proven: The place simply does not exist. Mind boggling, right?

    According to our friend Google, Bielefeld is a city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Region in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and has a population of about 341, 730.

    The city has born several of the country’s great minds, including psychiatrist Christian Friedrich Nasse and the early expressionist painter Hermann Stenner. It also has a really pretty castle that was made for Instagram, too.

    Though the city clearly does exist, the theory has become a point of pride. The town said there are ‘no limits to creativity’ for anyone who wishes to prove that it doesn’t actually exist. That’s a positive for you, but be warned, your theory must not contain any loopholes whatsoever.

    If your theory is successful however, you’ll get to cash in your cheque for €1 million and the world will be an even better place – for you, anyway.

    Good luck.

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    Michele had a wedding themed birthday party
    Michele on her ‘wedding day’ (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    When you’re single and your Facebook feed is filled with nothing but engagement updates, it’s hard not to think ‘when will it be my turn?’

    But one mum was so tired of waiting for her big day, she decided just to marry herself at a wedding-themed birthday party.

    To celebrate her 36th birthday, Michele Plum invited her friends and family to her ‘wedding’ – despite not even dating anyone.

    While many were baffled that she was ‘marrying herself’, Michele claims it was done to celebrate that she is content on her own and show she doesn’t need a partner to be happy.

    Michele walked down the high street wearing her extravagent bridal dress while on her birthday night out while pictures capture her in it in bars and even grabbing a late night takeaway.

    In the invitation to ‘Michele’s wedding’, she wrote: ‘I’m 36 on the 16th August this year and have made it all this way without marrying anyone! Well done me!

    ‘So, seeing as I have no intentions to do so for real, I want to have a wedding.

    Michele in her dress on the high street
    Michele bought her dress in a charity shop Kennedy News and Media

    ‘Please come in your best s**t bridesmaid dresses, your own wedding dress, cheesy suit, or as Elvis. Whatever.’

    Michele, from Horsham, West Sussex, said: ‘It was certainly the sort of wedding I’ve always dreamed of.

    ‘What’s better than to be surrounded by all my friends and family in a huge polyester gown?

    ‘And I don’t even have to go home and live with a man for the rest of my life.

    ‘We met at a pub in Brighton with virtual reality booth. It all went beautifully.

    ‘The message behind this is that I’m independent and strong. I’ve tried to teach my daughter that she doesn’t need a partner if she doesn’t want one.

    ‘With hard work, enjoying life and having good friends and family, you don’t need to be dependant on someone else.

    ‘I’m happy now, but I never say never because you never know who’s going to come into your life.’

    After years of watching her friends and family settling down, Michele realised she only enjoyed weddings for the dresses and party, so she decided just to enjoy the things she loves.

    Michele said: ‘When I go a wedding now, I just love the dress and the fact they get a big party.

    ‘That’s the bit about marriage I like – not the having to live with somebody for the rest of my life bit.

    Michele in her dress on the high street
    She said she loves weddings because of the dresses and party – so she wanted to embrace those things (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    ‘The idea came from a lady down in Brighton who married herself a couple of years ago. I thought that was brilliant and so funny.

    ‘Plus the fact all my friends were getting married and having babies.

    ‘A couple of my lesbian friends got married in recent years, and my younger brother. But there’s babies everywhere.

    ‘I became a single mum in my early twenties. I’ve done all the hard parenting stuff and now I’m free.

    ‘My life’s brilliant. I have no intention of settling down.’

    After running the eccentric idea by her best friends, party-loving Michele decided on her wedding day theme.

    A month before, she dragged a few of her friends to a local charity shop, where she discovered a treasure trove of bridal attire.

    Michele said: ‘I told a couple of my friends my idea and they agreed I should do it, that it was really funny.

    ‘I bought my dress from the St Catherine’s Hospice shop in Horsham. They’ve devoted the whole upstairs to bridal dresses. It’s set up really nice.

    ‘I went in there with my friends and we tried on a bunch of wedding dresses.. We had a right laugh but none of them were cheesy enough.

    ‘I told the women there we wanted something more ridiculous. She said they had some round the back that they didn’t think people would buy, so they save them for Halloween. They were proper Miss Havisham style.

    Hands wearing rings with drinks
    Michele’s married friends had drinks in solidarity (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    ‘I tore one of the bags open and gasped. That was it – it was the one.

    ‘It’s very pale pink, has all these sequins on and my friend said I look like Ariel from The Little Mermaid when she gets married at the end.

    ‘I’ll be wearing it again at every possible opportunity – I might get it out for Halloween and you never know, if I ever do get married, I might wear it for that.’

    After finding her perfect dress, she set up a Facebook event to invite guests – and some family members were a little confused about the identity of her future husband.

    Michele said: ‘I made a Facebook event titled ‘Michele’s Wedding’. I had all these people messaging me saying ‘oh my god, who are you marrying?’

    ‘My family didn’t get it at all and thought I was being really weird.

    ‘I was at a wedding the other day and my distant cousin said “I heard about you marrying yourself”.’

    Despite a few concerns, her guests loved the day and even her daughter loved it.

    Michele said: ‘My daughter has taken it in her stride, she’s used to me being a bit wild.

    ‘She was there when I was walking up the high street in a wedding dress, on her phone, pretending she couldn’t see me.

    ‘She’s used to her mum being a bit quirky – she can be a bit like that as well.’

    MORE: This German city will give £900,000 to anybody who can prove it doesn’t exist

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    I have spent almost my whole life writing horoscopes.

    Aged eight I became obsessed after I saw something about horoscopes on TV and went about collecting all my family’s star signs and I became a professional astrologer aged 23.

    I had the worst year of my life at university and astrology saved me – my health, my love life and my degree in Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ancient Civilisations. I began to study it seriously then people started asking to see me, leading to appearances on TV and columns for magazines in Australia, Japan and the UK.

    When I started out you didn’t need a professional qualifications but now there are plenty of courses available to train, including one I teach at the Sun Sign School. Astrology does take a long time to learn but after a while it becomes second nature.

    Today I use software that shows all the modern planets and asteroids, to see what was happening last week, last month and last century – by studying past patterns you can predict what will happen. Before that, I used to sit down with a pen and paper, piles of books and a calculator and figure it all out.

    I interpret what I see by looking for clusters of planets and asteroids in just one zodiac sign, and that tells me that drama is going to happen. The sign itself tells you the nature of the drama: there’s a lot happening in Virgo in the last week of August and first week of September, and as Virgo rules health, expect to see things about the NHS.

    A beginner's guide to astrology

    Astrology: the study of how the stars, planets and other cosmic objects move, the relationship between them and how these influence human live and the world around us.

    Horoscope: an astrological chart or diagram depicting the positon of sun, moon and planets at a particular place and time.

    Houses: the term used to describe the 12 divided segments of the zodiac. Each house is ruled by a different zodiac sign.

    Moon sign: this represents your emotions and is the next most important influence in the Zodiac after your sun sign

    Natal chart: also known as a birth chart, this is a map of your life and shows who you are and who you will become, according to the universe.

    Retrograde: the term used to describe when a planet looks as though it is ‘moving backwards’ in relation to the earth (from an astrological, not scientific, point of view)

    Rising sign: also known as your ‘ascendent’ it is the sign that was ‘rising’ up over the horizon in the east at the time of your birth

    Sun sign: also known as your star sign or your sign of the Zodiac

    The whole planet is about to transform as we enter the New Age of Aquarius in time for Christmas 2020. The last time we saw patterns like this, it was the end of the Roman Empire.

    We’re currently seeing an astrological pattern for Aries and Libra, which we last saw in the 1930s, and I know what that is about – radical money changes. We’re seeing a pattern for Pisces not seen since the 1960s, too, and that’s about love.

    In astrology, if the time, place and date of birth is accurate, then you should have a hit rate of between 75 per cent and 100 per cent for astrology prediction, with personal charts or world events.

    The only time I feel like I ever got it wrong was with Donald Trump’s election win, so I was not surprised to find doubts being cast over the birth date he gave out.

    People always want to know about love, sex, money and career. I predict that for a sign like Cancer, January 2020 will bring the most important choice about their love lives in 248 years.

    Women want to know ‘Is he coming back?’ and I often have to say ‘You’re better off without him’ even though they are furious with me.

    Know anyone aged around 29 who is going through a break up? If she is going through what astrologer’s call her Saturn Return, and it’s in her Seventh House, the relationship is well and truly over.

    I’ve seen astrology hit a bull’s-eye so often I don’t care what sceptics say.

    Illustration of the Zodiac signs
    The cycles of astrology itself show that we’re going to see a revival of horoscopes as they used to work in the 17th century (Picture: Getty)

    Their usual argument – that one-twelfth of the population can’t possibly be sharing the same experience, on the same day – is pretty silly when you realise a basic weather forecast tells every Londoner that they will be suffering a hot, sleepless night or a heatwave tube meltdown. That’s shared experience!

    Sun sign astrology – which is the basis of basic horoscopes you read in magazines, say – is just like weather forecasting.

    It’s general, it’s broad, but it’s useful and accurate. All you Sagittarius and Gemini people out there reading this are had massive financial change cycles in July (and I include our new Prime Minister Boris Johnson in that!)

    Different astrologers use different techniques. I factor in asteroids in my predictions while several of my colleagues don’t, and there are various astrological factors, such as transits and solar return charts, that some astrologers may focus on more than others. However, we all tend to end up making the same predictions as long as the birth time and date is accurate.

    Sceptics don’t understand that deep down, science supports astrology. There is a part of Quantum Mechanics called the Multiverse Theory or Many Worlds Theory which actually allows for a parallel universe where horoscope predictions come true.

    The interest in astrology is growing, too. The cycles of astrology itself show that we’re going to see a revival of horoscopes as they used to work in the 17th century (when William Lilly predicted the Great Fire of London) and as far back as Ancient Rome (when Emperor August put the zodiac sign Capricorn on the coins). Powerful old wisdom and knowledge is coming back.

    The standard of astrologers has also skyrocketed since it became a university subject and we’re now seeing graduates writing horoscopes – it’s become better researched and better written.

    I believe more and more women of us are turning to it because in the hands of professionals, it works. It’s reassuring, good advice.

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    MORE: Horoscopes aren’t real. So why am I obsessed with astrology app The Pattern?


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    Couple who only eat fruits pictured together and separately posing with exotic fruits
    This couple have been living on a fruit-only diet for four years (Picture: MDWfeatures / @flavours_of_light)

    A couple claim to have cured themselves of a series of illnesses thanks to taking on a fruitarian diet.

    Ali Reza Khorasany, 28, and Daniella Siira, 22, are both wellness consultants living on a raw vegan fruit-based diet.

    Ali used to suffer with constipation, excess wind, bloating, fat, acne, dark circles, dehydration and fatigue, while Daniella had eating disorders, anxiety and digestive issues.

    After meeting on Instagram in 2017 they have gone on to live their fruitarian life and claim they could feel the benefits after just two weeks.

    Ali and Daniella, who live between Europe and Asia, believe it is the optimal human diet while air, water and sunshine help with welbeing.

     Ali before (left) and now (right looking smaller)
    Ali before (left) and now (right) (Picture: MDWfeatures / @flavours_of_light)

    In Asia, they find that the quality of fruit is much higher and they enjoy exotic fruits such as durian which isn’t available in Europe. When at home, the pair get sustenance from ripe bananas and dates.

    Ali said: ‘A raw vegan fruit-based diet is a high carb diet in which you consume predominantly raw living fresh whole fruit with some tender leafy greens, nuts and seeds in relatively smaller quantities.

    He has been on a fruit-only diet for four years, believing it to be superior to an ordinary vegan diet.

    Previously he was a body builder and although he has lost a lot of muscle, he says he feels healthier than ever before.

    He said: ‘Before, I was bodybuilding full time, seven days a week eating processed foods, and a lot of meat, dairy and eggs. I felt constipated, gassy, bloated, dehydrated, foggy and ugly from all the skin problems and body odour.’

     Ali preparing a meal.
    98% of their meals are fruit, the rest juices and salads (Picture: MDWfeatures / @flavours_of_light)

    Eating 98% fruit and the rest juices and salads, Ali and Daniella say it works for them but might not be for everyone.

    Daniella said: ‘We do not preach nor do we have the proof, the evidence or science and research everyone wants from us to show this is a very healthy way to live. All we can hope is that people try, experiment and see for themselves.

    ‘We depend on spotty ripe bananas and dates for a staple caloric source when home.

    ‘Just like the way normal people eat pasta, potatoes, rice and corn as a staple. We also do have access, thanks to technology and trade, to imported fruits so always have a lot around from Spain, Portugal and Turkey as well as some exotics, albeit extremely expensive.’

     Daniella with some fruit stuffed in the back of a car
    Living in Asia part time helps them eat more exotic fruit like durian (Picture: MDWfeatures / @flavours_of_light)

    Daniella also understands that it’s a different way to live.

    She said: ‘It takes practice to be able to eat this way in today’s world.

    ‘I had issues with anorexia, binge eating, over-exercising, digestive issues, and anxiety before. Through the change of diet, my whole being has changed and improved.’

    She explained that as fruit contains a lot of water and cooked meals are denser, they need to eat a lot of the stuff for energy.

    How healthy are fruitarian diets?

    Fruitarian diets have been heavily criticised and go against what the NHS recommends.

    While eating fruits and vegetables should be part of your five-a-day, it is medically unsound to rely solely on fruits.

    The NHS recommends a well-balanced diet which includes oily fish, pulses, dairy or dairy alternatives, starchy foods like rice, pasta and potatoes, in addition to five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

    Ali and Daniella in a selfie
    Ali and Daniella met on Instagram and bonded over their shared values (Picture: MDWfeatures / @flavours_of_light)

    ‘It may seem absolutely insane and not sustainable. But it is when we change, adapt and try it out for ourselves and we realise the simplicity and sustainability of it all.

    ‘The process of changing one’s diet should be taken step by step, so the body, mind and spirit can adapt.

    ‘I have fruits to thank for so much it makes my heart full of gratitude thinking about it.’

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    Woman kneeling on a yoga mat stretching
    It’s all about the pelvic floor and core strength. (Picture: Getty)

    We all want to be having better sex.

    Whether you want to be more adventurous, more athletic, more sensual – or whether you just want more full stop – there is almost always room for improvement when it comes to your sex life.

    And why not strive to have the best sex you can possible be having? We’ve already talked about how yoga can help to improve your sexual performance – but Pilates is also an incredible tool to help you spice things up.

    Pilates instructor Vanessa Blair, from Gear Hungry, explains how Pilates can help you tone your pelvic floor, strengthen your core and improve your body’s alignment – all factors that can have a big impact on your sex life:

    Breathing

    When I state that all exercises, not only Pilates, start with breathing, most people roll their eyes.

    However, their mindset changes when I ask them to take a deep breath and then exhale. Nine times out of 10, their chests will rise, their stomach stays centred, and their exhale lasts only three seconds.

    Great exercise (and great sex) requires the body to experience optimum oxygen flow that ignites the senses and hugely improves stamina and endurance.

    A woman in a meditative pose on a bed
    Breathing correctly helps to keep you focused and in the moment. (Picture: Getty)

    For your first exercise, take a cross legged position with a cushion under your hips to create space. Sit tall and try not to curl the shoulders over.

    Breath through the nose an inhale that is slow and focus on your abdomen. Your belly should rise as the oxygen travels down to your core.

    Make your exhale longer than your inhale and watch your belly fall.

    Focusing on breathing during sex not only heightens your senses but works to increase stamina.

    Many find that their sex is prolonged by altering their breathing and their senses heightened as they are more ‘present’ in the moment.

    Focus on the pelvic floor

    After the breathing, it is no surprise that our focus turns to the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is at the base of the abdomen and attached to the pelvis.

    Many are confused as to whether they are contracting the correct muscles when participating in pelvic floor exercises. I always advise to act as though you need to go to the toilet but choose to hold it in instead. It is these muscles that you need to work in order to strengthen your pelvic floor.

    Sit in a comfortable seated position and engage your pelvic floor muscles for up to five seconds at a time. Relax for up to eight seconds and repeat.

    This can be completed in rounds of 10 and I suggest practicing this up to three times a day. Always remember to breath and ensure that your shoulders and upper body in general is relaxed.

    If you experience pain during sex, then pelvic floor exercises can greatly reduce this.

    A stronger pelvic floor can also increase sensation throughout sex and ease any discomfort.

    Hip raises

    Hip raises are fantastic for Pilates beginners and pros alike.

    Lay on your back with your knees bent and your legs shoulder-width apart.

    Woman doing hip raises in a gym
    A strong bum will help you with the more athletic sexual positions. (Picture: Getty)

    Tuck your shoulders underneath your heart space with your arms by your side and your palms down to the ground. Before you do anything, breath!

    Pilates really enforces the concept that your body is your own and everything is connected. Focusing on your breathing presents the opportunity for your mind intelligence to sync with your body intelligence.

    After a few moments, engage your core. Image your lower abdominals are contracting to meet your upper abdominals. On a big inhale, raise your hips to engage the glues, hold for three and slowly lower on an exhale.

    Hip raises maximise the pelvic floor muscles whilst strengthening the core and glutes. The exercise also works on balance which can hugely pay off in the bedroom.

    Scissors

    Pilates strongly improves your concentration and I encourage anyone who is taking my class to acknowledge where their mind goes throughout the session. It is inevitable that it is likely to wander at times, so do not avoid it. Simply acknowledge it and bring it inwards.

    An increased concentration span drives focus, and this can work wonders throughout sex.

    In order to improve concentration, I often include moves throughout a class that require participants to multitask.

    Lay on the floor with your shoulders tucked under your heart space. Engage your core and life your legs three inches above the floor.

    Bring your right leg up towards your head whilst your left is still hovering above the floor. Once you have reached as close to your head as possible, slowly release the right leg down and repeat on the left side.

    Alternate as appropriate.

    The scissor exercise trains the body to support its own weight whilst engaging the core and driving concentration.

    All three of these aspects align with the fundamentals of great sex. This exercise also improves balance so positions that were maybe not within your reach can easily be obtained over time.

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