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- 08/29/19--00:00: How to deal with a friend who makes offensive comments
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Scientists have found a gene that allows people to thrive on just a few hours of sleep each night.
Rather than encouraging us to all be jealous of people in possession of this gene, researchers believe the mutation may be helpful for developing drugs to treat dementia, heart disease, insomnia, and life threatening illnesses linked to lack of sleep.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, found more than 50 families who require less than six and a half hours of sleep to be perfectly fine the next day.
They were able to look at these families and isolate a gene mutation which they believe is responsible for this superpower.
It’s thought the need for little sleep is due to a gene called ADRB1 (catchy), which was found to have the same mutation in all members of a family who required less than six hours of sleep a night – some of whom were fine after just four hours of sleep a night. Their longer-sleeping relatives didn’t have the same thing.
When scientists altered this gene in mice, they slept for 55 minutes less than regular mice – which suggests that yes, this gene is related to not needing as much sleep.
Further analysis showed that normal ADRB1 neurons were more active during wakefulness and dreaming, or REM (rapid eye movement). They were quiet in the rest of sleep.
What’s more the mutant neurons were more active than normal ones – likely contributing to the short sleep behaviour.
Of course, far more research will be needed before we’ll see any potential benefits from this discovery. But the scientists behind the study are pretty excited about what they found.
On average, those with the little sleep gene required two hours less sleep a night than someone without it.
Senior co-author Professor Ying-Hui Fu said: ‘Sleep is one of the most important things we do.
‘Not getting enough sleep is linked to an increase in the incidence of many conditions including cancer, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.’
Senior co-author Professor Louis Ptacek said: ‘It is remarkable we know so little about sleep, given the average person spends a third of their lives doing it.
‘This research is an exciting new frontier that allows us to dissect the complexity of circuits in the brain and the different types of neurons that contribute to sleep and wakefulness.’
So you’ve got yourself an offensive friend: someone who thinks it’s OK to say something racist, sexist or just plain wrong.
This is a tough one to tackle, because it’s going to require either willful ignorance on your part or a bit of courage.
You can try to ignore what this person is saying for the sake of harmony and this will probably be your instinct, because we do all like to please people – and confrontation is hard.
My policy is that we can’t let friends get away with saying offensive things because that’s the most insidious way those sentiments become normalised and sneak into our everyday vernacular. We have to be vigilant about our integrity, even if it’s at the pub or a BBQ.
Remember that saying: the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.
Be brave and set a higher standard of behaviour for the people you know.
What to do if your friend is being racist
If a friend or acquaintance of yours has said something undeniably racist, it’s really important that you don’t just let it go – more so if there is someone present who could be personally hurt by the comment.
Letting someone get away with a racist comment implies that it’s OK they said it. Racism is never acceptable and we have to keep the people we associate with accountable for their words.
Tell your friend that you think they’re being racist, say it offends you, say you wish they wouldn’t speak like that. How else will this person ever know to stop, unless someone they care about pulls them up on it?
If this is a stupid acquaintance, you can afford to be straightforward about finding their comment offensive. If this is someone you cherish, such as a close friend, maybe start by making sure they understand the implications of what they’ve said.
You may get caught in an argument if you speak up – racists don’t tend to take kindly to being called out – in which case, calmly stand your ground. If you feel like you’re in danger, remove yourself from the situation.
And if this sort of behaviour continues, have a pretty urgent think about whether you’d like to have a racist friend.
What to do if your friend is being sexist
The same rules apply here.
If someone you know has been openly sexist, call them out for it.
Perhaps they thought it was allowed because they felt it was funny. As their mate, you really need to make sure they know it’s not OK.
If it’s presented as a punch line, just point out that you don’t find it amusing. Don’t give them your laughter and if you can, explain why you’re not laughing.
A powerful eye roll is a nice start, but saying out loud that you do not appreciate this kind of language is better.
If it’s a straight-up insult, tell them that you don’t want to be spoken to like that. However, the power dynamic can be a bit tricky if you’re a woman trying to confront a man, so only speak up if you feel safe enough to do so.
It’s especially important that other men point out that sexism isn’t OK, because a lot of dudes rely on the complicity and support of their mates to get away with saying offensive things about women.
What to do if your friend is being homophobic, biphobic or transphobic
Same again: if you feel like it’s possible, please, please speak up.
Every time someone gets away with a remark that offends the LGBTQ+ community, it only strengthens that person’s resolve to keep saying things like that.
If this is a social situation and someone has said something nasty, even under the guise of a joke, don’t let it go uncorrected.
Simply find a way to tell this person, whether it’s one-to-one or in a group scenario, ‘I find what you just said deeply inappropriate’.
The best possible scenario is that you convert this homophobe into an ally.
Make them understand why it’s cruel and unacceptable to speak about LGBTQ+ people dismissively, mockingly or ignorantly. If they’re any good, this person will rethink their stance and learn to be better.
What to do if your friend is saying awful things all the time
If your friend is regularly being offensive – or, to be honest, just says something particularly heinous one time – I would recommend that you think about why you want to keep them in your life.
The best friends are the ones who share our values, so if you’re serious about integrity, kindness and tolerance, ask yourself whether this person belongs in your social circle.
If they routinely offend you or someone you care about, or simply say things you find abhorrent, then follow through on your intuition and stop spending time with them.
The more of yourself that you give to them, the more you’re endorsing and enabling their bigotry.
Consider the company you keep, what it says about you and what kind of ally you’d like to be.
Why figuring out your arguing style is the key to a healthy relationship
This week Metro.co.uk is taking a look at astrology, what it is and why we believe it. In a crossover with our weekly series, My Label and Me, we hear from 12 different signs of the zodiac on what they mean to the people who follow them.
Aries (21 March – 19 April) – Hannah Siddiqui
When I was in school I was always the kid who had to be in charge of the group projects. As soon as I was placed into a group setting, the other kids would look towards me to tell them what to do – even without me saying anything. This is exactly what being an Aries is like.
As the leader of the zodiac and ruler of the first house, we are ambitious beyond measure and our leadership qualities practically seep through our pores. Our drive may be big, but our love is even bigger.
When an Aries wants something (or someone) they’ll stop at nothing until they get it, even if it comes at their own emotional expense. Especially as their love, passion and drive for life can often be taken for granted by those who don’t fully understand it.
My advice to a fellow Aries – don’t let anybody dull your fire. You were born to shine.
Taurus (20 April – 20 May) – Miranda Reyes
The stereotype hardly lies. The key to a Taurus’ heart is undoubtedly their favorite takeout, a new mud mask, and a marriage pact. The Taurean soul is a notorious devotee of food, aesthetics, stability, and the finer things in life – devotions I thoroughly see woven through my core.
I’m selective when I make my art, often sticking to the same color palette and theme while ensuring aesthetic sharpness and statement. I take pride in my self-care regimens, and I love to spend my evenings with white wine, online shopping, and my favorite sushi takeout.
Comforted by the stability of our closest relationships and the promise of long-term plans, I see my Taurean heart when a connection sparks on a first date and I’m already imagining living with this person in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in a city.
I see my Taurean heart when someone wins it, loyalty overflowing, and I am too stubborn to ever let them go.
Gemini (21 May – 20 June) – Mimi Stringfield
The constellation Gemini takes its name from the Latin word for twins. As a result, those born under a Gemini sun are perceived to have a heightened internal duality. Two faces. Inherent untrustworthiness.
These traits are imprinted on us based simply on the date and time we were born.
Growing up, I loved being a Gemini because I liked the sound of the word and the excitement of having a birthday in the earliest days of summer, just after the school year had finished. As I became more invested in the astrology community, I discovered a lot of ire toward Gemini suns.
I started to second-guess things I’d always liked about myself – was my adaptable nature just chronic unreliability? Was I outgoing and fun or just overbearing and loud? A deep existential crisis loomed, but a lesson followed.
What being a Gemini has taught me is that perception is everything. Other people’s understandings of the traits associated with my sign don’t have to colour my own.
Ultimately, we have no definitive way of knowing whether western astrology is real or just several thousand years worth of confirmation bias, but I still love my whimsical, versatile, curious Gemini nature. I can’t imagine being any other way, and I wouldn’t ever want to.
Cancer (21 June – 22 July) – Georgina Bunney
The first thing most people associate with the star sign of Cancer is emotion. We feel deeply, sometimes obsessively, and our loyalty knows no bounds. We are creative, competitive, and independent.
For a long time I felt weighed down by my ability to feel everything so intensely, I had difficulty in childhood finding friends who wouldn’t take advantage of my sensitivity and devotion.
When I downloaded my birth chart, at the age of 19, I realised these attributes that I thought were a curse for so long are actually an incredible gift.
Astrology doesn’t exist to boost our ego; it helps us understand our true selves, and in turn we become more self-aware. One example is that cancers can be emotionally manipulative, and realising this has helped me form and maintain healthier relationships.
I have astrology to thank for a huge part of my journey to self-love, acceptance and happiness, and I am proud to be a Cancer.
Leo (23 July – 22 August) – Erin Slaughter
The dramatics, passion, creativity, and loyalty associated with Leos are definitely a fit with my personality. An example: as a kid I would often force my parents to sit through ‘concerts’ of me dancing and singing along to CDs in my bedroom, complete with costume changes.
However, my rising sign is Pisces and my moon and Venus are in Cancer, and these feel like important signifiers of my personality, too. I feel that my chart’s balance of fire and water signs help explain why I’m always living between extremes: trying to navigate between extroverted and introverted impulses, and often having an ‘all or nothing’ attitude when it comes to my relationships, work, life plans, and current emotional state.
There are some Leo characteristics I wish I had more ofpride, confidence, etc. and I sometimes wish I didn’t have so much of the sentimentality and emotional sensitivity associated with Pisces and Cancer.
Whether astrology is ‘real’ or not, and whether or not someone sees themselves in the stereotypes of their sign, I think it serves an important purpose in giving us the tools and vocabulary to understand ourselves and each other in a deeper way.
Virgo (23 August – 22 September) – Carlie Gabrelcik
Everyone thinks that being a Virgo means being super neat and organised. For me, that’s not the case.
I’m a mess, all of the time. I do, however, call it my ‘organised mess’ because what looks like chaos to everyone else makes perfect sense to me. My bedroom could be completely torn apart, but I could tell you exactly where a hair tie or a pen is within that mess! I also wouldn’t really consider myself to be critical of others, but I am absolutely highly critical of myself.
Virgos do tend to get called out for having the ‘let me just do it, because I know I’ll do it the right way’ mindset, which absolutely fits me. Even if I’ve asked someone to do something, I typically stop them halfway through or end up redoing it myself after they’ve finished the task.
I think you’ve got to look at your entire birth chart, or at least your ‘big three’, to really see yourself in astrology (I’m a Gemini moon, Aries rising), but you can certainly figure out I’ve got some heavy Virgo personal placements after meeting me!
Libra (23 September – 22 October) – David Atkinson
Since I was young, I’ve always been described as sensitive, wearing my heart on my sleeve. I loved clothes, I used to pick outfits for myself before I could walk (yes, from the pram) and all of my childhood photos and poses confirm that I have always been what we would now describe as ‘a bit extra’.
Living in a society that doesn’t exactly encourage those qualities in boys, this wasn’t always easy and these traits of mine became a source of embarrassment. What a relief it was in my teenage years to discover that these qualities are all common in my star sign: Libra. Maybe it wasn’t just me! Maybe it wasn’t something to be fixed or ashamed of!
I grew up in a small town on the outskirts of Glasgow and often felt isolated, so discovering astrology was my first experience of feeling a part of something bigger.
Later, when I came to terms with the fact I am gay, I discovered it again within the LGBTQ+ community, who also tend to hold horoscopes in high regard.
I think that horoscopes are great because it gives you a framework within which you can get to know yourself. I believe that’s the reason why it is so important to people from marginalised communities, or anyone who feels ‘other’. We’re trying to understand ourselves in a world that hasn’t always made space for us.
If you asked me how Libra I am, the only answer I could reasonably give is extremely. Even the less complimentary aspects are true to my personalityindecisive to a fault, hating conflict but knowing this allows me to work hard to counter act it, even though sometimes that’s incredibly hard.
And if Libras are also said to have a great aesthetic, and be one of the most romantic signs, who am I to argue with the stars?
Scorpio (23 October – 21 November) – Ellie Tweedley
The imagery conjured up by just the name ‘Scorpio’ and the classic traits associated with the sign can be misleading.
Despite the sometimes unwelcome tendency towards jealousy and manipulation, Scorpios are also passionate, loyal, intuitive and brave. I think my fiery and stubbornly opinionated personality when I was growing up has always led me to identify strongly with the inherent characteristics of my astrological sign.
However, as I age into my mid-twenties I also think a lot of that may have been hot-headed youth and passion. I now find myself to be much more balanced, still heatedly debating a topic I feel strongly about, but also much happier to take a back seat in decision making.
I no longer identify as strongly with astrology and this is because of the ‘black and white’ notion of having certain traits (or not) based solely on your birthday. In my view it fails to see the complex web of life experiences, human connections and host of other factors that shape our behaviours.
Sagittarius (22 November – 21 December) – Shannon Elliott
‘You know, maybe you’re just too much for people, and you should try and tone it down so more people like you.’
If you’re a Sagittarius like me, you’ve likely heard something along those lines many times before. Yet, the beauty of being a Sagittarius is knowing this and not changing. We know and love who we are! We are Sagittarians!
Those of us born under the sun sign of Sagittarius are often described as optimistic, independent, adventurous, and outgoing. Life as a Sagittarius is typically described as one big party.
What people don’t know about us is Sagittarius is a feeling sign. We are the last fire sign of the zodiac and are the only fire sign amongst the ‘universal’ signs, meaning we care a lot about our communities and other people.
We love to be cheery and happy to keep everyone else’s mood lifted, so much so that people assume we don’t go through problems of our own. That’s far from the truth, because Sagittarians just bury their problems under their positivity and humor.
I love being a Sagittarius. I love meeting other Sagittarians because we have an energy that most people can’t match. Going through life with Jupiter’s luck on our side is a blessing, and if you’re a Sagittarius, don’t let anyone ever dim your light.
You’re not too much, you’re just enough.
Capricorn (22 December – 19 January) – Samantha Nock
Capricorns have the reputation of being cold, hard, capitalists; or at least they are rumoured to be driven by money and power.
I feel like in the astrology world we are seen as boring individualists that are stringent supporters of tradition. I would like to set the record straight and say that this is just not true.
For me, I’m definitely driven and meticulous. I’ve worked hard since I was a teenager to get to where I’m at… but I like to think I’m not cold and conventional. I feel like I have a never ending amount of love that I choose to share with people close to me in many very non-traditional ways.
I don’t really care for upholding socially normative values and want to live my life in a good way that centres my communities, the people I care for, my kin, myself, and the land.
I have a lot of other Capricorns in my life and while we get our work done, we love hard, and we are deeply, deeply funny. I will personally fight anyone who disagrees with me on this.
Aquarius (20 January – 18 February) – Isaiah H
Before I started studying Astrology, I was in a frenzy to discern what being an Aquarius meant to me as a teenager. I frequently visited newspaper horoscope sections, which aimlessly told me how I would find love this week or that luck would come my way.
Ironically, an Aquarius knows that love and luck aren’t usually associated with our sign.
Google had strong but brief definitions – rebellious, a leader, quirky and eccentric. With the negatives stating we were cold, emotionless, detached, unlovable. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll find many who would fit with the latter definitions, but then again, wouldn’t a lot of us?
Studying astrology now, I understand that your sun sign is just a small part of your full natal chart in understanding yourself as a person, but it is still important. With the sun in Aquarius, it is known as being in detriment. This means the ego (ruled by the sun) has trouble in expression – hence quirky!
I find it fun as astrology becomes more mainstream, a lot of my conversations with new people start with ‘what’s your sign?’ It’s even more humorous to see their opinions on Aquarius. ‘Oh my god, so you’re like weird right?’ or ‘my ex was an Aquarius and you guys are such demons!’.
It takes everything in me to stay composed. You can’t hold bias on one sign due to your past experiences, Sharon.
I think the biggest stigma associated with Aquarius is that we’re void of feeling. We’re not detached, cold or emotionless. In fact, we feel everything on a level our peers fail to comprehend.
It just takes those of us with this sign in our charts time to process the emotions we feel in a logical way, without crying fits or bursts of anger. We may sound monotonous when discussing our feelings, but that’s only because we have rationalised them already, felt them the way we have needed to and moved on.
The experience may still be emotional for us, but we’ve been able to set that aside so it can be discussed and dissected from different perspectives.
Knowing what I do now, I thrive on the fact that I am an Aquarius. The fact that I am able to create change, find the calm in chaos and view things on a level most don’t usually access. To be an Aquarius is to accept difference, firstly in ourselves and ultimately in others. This is what makes us unique, and sets us apart in life.
You can follow Isaiah on Twitter
Pisces (19 February – 20 March) – Jessica Lindsay
When you think of a fish, you tend to think of wetness, and possibly forgetfulness. They’re not exactly desirable traits, but they’re the ones us Pisceans have been blessed with since we were but fry (that’s a baby fish).
Both the best and worst thing about being Pisces is that you feel everything so relentlessly that it’s quite hard to be a member of the real world. Even if I’m not literally trying to float around the ocean or sit in the bath for four hours, that’s where I’d rather be most of the time.
That can lead to a real ‘poor me’ attitude, and then onto ‘pour me another drink’, as the astrological fish turn to sadness and substances to escape the mundane realities of the day-to-day.
Channelling this other-worldly side of ourselves, however, is a way to make beautiful stories, paintings, sculptures, poems, and more.
Although we can’t walk away from having to hoover and go to work, we can take our innate knowledge as the oldest sign in the zodiac, and give all the other young’uns a look into our (very active) minds.
You can follow Jessica on Twitter
Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity — positively or negatively — and what the label means to them.
If you would like to get involved please email email@example.com
Saving money is tough.
What makes it harder is our unwillingness to chat openly about money – what we earn, the help we receive, and how we manage to budget so we can save as much as possible.
Our weekly series, How I Save, aims to open up the conversation and make it entirely normal to talk about your finances.
We all struggle with money sometimes, and there shouldn’t be any shame in it. Being honest and open about the reality of personal finances could help people knock bad habits and get back on their feet.
Each week we take a look at how a different person spends and saves their money – so we can either learn from their wisdom or their mistakes.
Last week we followed a PR executive earning £23,000 a year with £1,443 saved towards a house deposit.
This time we’re with Mike (name has been changed to protect his privacy and his DMs), a 28-year-old entertainment publicist living in Hertfordshire.
How Mike saves:
I earn approximately £85,000 a year.
In my savings account right now I have £22,500 after just under two years of saving and investing.
I’ve saved this much money by streamlining my monthly outgoings and being savvy with my spending rather than indulging. I also use someone else’s Netflix account. Very important.
I’m saving for a house deposit… or maybe a brand new car… No, no a house deposit.
The main way I save is making my money untouchable and almost forgettable. Seeing it grow also plays a large factor. Talk to a financial or investment consultant and they will give you invaluable advice. I have a percentage of my money in a very low risk fund (using Charles Stanley Platform) but I can see it grow every week which motivates me to save more.
As an entrepreneur it was incredibly difficult for me to budget appropriately while saving and had a really rocky 12 months before. I furiously networked with professionals who specialise in wealth finance to learn more. I was never good at saving money and there was always something I had to buy.
I ended up streamlining my monthly outgoings and then analysing what was a necessity and what was just pure indulgence. I started doing online shops as I found they did better deals and I was never tempted by picking up random things I walked by. The seasonal aisle was always a killer. This resulted in me saving an extra £30 a month.
Simple things such as having one takeaway a month rather than two added an extra £20 to my account and actually walking (yes, walking) to shops and friends’ houses saved money in the long run on fuel costs.
I got a British Airways Amex card which allowed me to travel to Australia and America in the last 6 months for a fraction of the cost as all the money I spend I use my Amex and pay it off each month. It is a really good deal if you use it properly and don’t abuse it.
I had an iPhone which I paid £65 a month for, which is just ludicrous when you think about it. When my contract ran out rather than getting the new phone that has just been released I moved over to a sim only contract and pay £15 a month for exactly the same tariff.
This was approximately two years ago and when I started saving I put half of it into a saving account and the other half into a funds investment account. Very low risk so I wouldn’t see my money disappear. When I started to see it grow I got addicted to saving and as I earned more money through my job I would save more without thinking about it.
Due to the nature of my job, socialising plays a big part and not spending when you are surrounded by people who have a lot more money than you is hard as they expect you to keep up with their pace. However stick to your guns and you will be laughing in no time.
I used to struggle with saving because I would constantly try to live other people’s lives by indulging in the newest shiniest thing, going to places that I actually didn’t have much interest in.
The perks of running my own business has allowed me to work from home most days which helps when wanting to save. But if you’re doing the same, don’t underestimate the power of communication! Even if it’s just for one drink.
No matter what your salary is there are always deals and opportunities out there that can benefit you and help you save in the long run. Think long term not short term.
How Mike spends:
A week of spending:
Monday: I prepare myself every week so there are days that I don’t spend anything (especially when I’m working at home).
I went into London for a meeting which meant a return ticket cost £12.50. Rather than getting an underground ticket I normally walk as most places are within 20-30 minutes of walking distance.
I have my meeting and buy a drink which costs £4.20. Head back home and don’t spend anything for the rest of the day. I always try to organise my meetings to fit into one or two days so I don’t spend a fortune on train fares.
Tuesday: No money spent as I was at home all day and the shopping arrived the weekend before.
Wednesday: I meet a few friends for a drink in the evening and spend £22.50 on drinks. I bought the first round and then everyone else had my back for the evening!
I then spent £6.20 on a taxi because my bed was calling me. I would normally walk.
Thursday: No money was spent! I did browse a few Amazon deals and got tempted but I actually forgot about them.
Friday: My partner and I grab our monthly takeaway. We decided on a curry this time and it cost in total £19.80. I paid £10 towards this.
Saturday: My single friends are heading into town to see where the night takes them. I join them for one drink as it’s next to where I live, and this cost me £3.80.
Sunday: We saw my parents for lunch and they very kindly footed the bill.
Total spent this week: £59.20
How Mike could save:
We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out how Mike can save better (and what we can learn from his spending).
Note: the advice featured is specific to one individual and doesn’t constitute financial advice, especially for a London budget.
Disciplined. Sage. Wise. Probably known to leave a party slightly too early.
We might not all have £22k in savings yet, but it’s good to know that the key to financial success is something we’re all already doing (Netflix thievery).
Pshhhh, at a push… that one drunk taxi? At just 6 purchases in one week, you’re not giving me much to work with. You’re a finance angel babe.
Where you’re going right:
You’ve hit some excellent money habits that anyone can copy. Hiding money from yourself is a really good one.
For anyone reading: replicate by shifting money immediately out your account, putting a lock on it and pretending it never happened.
Setting a limit for splurgy purchases is also a great tool to curb impulse spending (though with an £85k salary to play with, you could probably sneak in a second takeout).
The bit where you stay home to avoid spending money is pretty extreme, but hey, if it works!
You don’t really need us, Mike. Unless it’s for some extra cashback.
If your income (after tax, pensions etc) is around the £4-4.5k a month mark, then your spending is an absolutely ridiculously low 5% of your income. Carry on.
Maybe make one reckless purchase a week. Just to make everyone else feel better about themselves.
How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How I Save: Matt
Name a better duo than Instagram and food pics.
The social media app has changed the way we document our meals, working on a simple premise – the bolder, the better.
Baker Lauren Ko makes the most Insta-worthy food. Her pies are perfect, geometric in design and delicious in taste (so we hear).
Lauren, from Seattle, U.S, makes pies that are inspired by the inedible (probably a geometry book) but all her unconventional pies are ready to eat.
Architecture, string art, textiles and everyday groceries are some of the things that inspire the baker who does it full time.
Her website Lokokitchen is so aesthetically pleasing, that it’s attracted the attention of culinary big wigs Martha Stewart and Oprah.
Lauren’s Instagram account is sure to soon become your fave.
‘I started the Instagram account as a fluke,’ Lauren tells Metro.co.uk.
‘I felt like I was becoming that friend and posting too many food photos to my personal account, and needed a separate holding place to store images of things I was cooking and baking for fun.
‘I had no intentions of it being anything beyond a digital photo album, but my first post, which happened to be a pie, garnered something like 600 likes.
‘As a regular nobody, this completely blew my mind. In that vein, I simply continued posting pies and tarts, and the account continued to grow against all expectations.’
As gorgeous as the final product may be, the pies take a lot of work.
The process varies greatly depending on the flavours and designs. Pies and/or tarts can take Lauren anywhere from one to eight hours to make.
That’s not always active time as the dough requires chilling at each step and pies bake for quite a while too.
The humble baker says: ‘I don’t think they are perfect, but I enjoy the process of making them!’
Inspiration can hit at any time for Lauren, who’s always on the lookout for new patterns.
‘I take inspiration from patterns I see in life: textiles, architecture, clothing, anything that draws my eye with its patterns and colour. The internet always helps too! I keep a Pinterest board of interesting ideas for future projects.’
Please enjoy more perfect pies from Lauren’s collection:
Why should adults get to have all the fun when it comes to ordering drinks by the pool?
One little girl didn’t have time for all the grown-ups to sort her cold drink out so she had to get the job done herself.
Myla Anderson was holidaying with her family in Dubrovnik, Croatia, when the three-year-old became thirsty.
Unfortunately, her dad, Ben, and mum, Sophie, forgot to pack the milk for the sassy youngster.
Keen to satisfy her milky cravings, Myla simply marched up to the bar and ordered her own drink.
She was filmed waiting patiently for the bartender to sort her out.
Her amused dad recorded the whole affair and dropped it on Twitter, where people were tickled by her confidence.
‘My daughter is actually something else,’ Ben wrote online.
The hilarious moment took place as the family were sunbathing by their hotel pool. Myla’s two other sisters were there but not brave enough to walk over to the bar.
‘We said we didn’t have any in the baby bag so she had a strop and stormed out of the pool and over to the bar,’ Ben explained.
‘She climbed up onto the barstool and, according to one of the ladies at the bar, asked the bartender for a bottle of milk very politely.’
The bartender, obviously worn over by the adorableness, played along and told her they could only offer glasses, not bottles.
The three-year-old then obligingly replied: ‘A glass is fine.’
Ben added: ‘The bartender was so good with her, gave her the milk and helped her down off the barstool and didn’t charge us for it, and Myla strutted back to the pool looking all smug because she’d got what she wanted.
‘I can’t stop laughing at her facial expressions the more I watch this back.’
Neither can we.
Podcaster Tolly wrote on the Twitter thread: ‘She looks like you have both betrayed her, and I fully get it and support her’.
Others said Myla was an ‘independent black woman’, ‘a kween’ and a ‘go-getter’.
‘Make it a double…I’ve had a day,’ one person captioned the video.
We could all do with channelling Myla’s confidence.
Little girl orders milk at the bar Picture: @Iambenanderson METROGRAB
The top baby names from last year have been revealed, and there are some familiar themes.
So if you have a little one on the way, you might want to steer clear of the names at the top of these lists if you’re going for originality.
Oliver remained the most popular name for boys in England and Wales for the sixth year in a row, while Olivia is still the most popular name for girls – for the third year in a row.
There is just something about these two names that parents can’t seem to get enough of.
With the growing trend for vintage names, it’s no surprise that Ada has returned to the top 100 names for the first time since 1924. Delilah, Ayla and Margot made their first ever appearances in the list and Zoe and Felicity also made the cut.
The most popular boys names 2018
Sophia and Grace replaced Poppy and Lily in the top 10 names for girls.
On the boy’s side, Arthur was the only new entry into the top 10 names for boys in 2018, replacing Jacob.
Grayson, Rowan and Tobias entered the top 100 for the first time, and Sonny and Dominic also made an appearance.
The good news is that people are being more original and deviating from this list, with just 45% of babies being given a name from the top 100 lists in 2018, down from 67% in 1996.
The most popular girls names 2018
‘The growth in the use of technology assistants in our homes may help to explain why the number of baby girls named Alexa has more than halved compared with 2017,’ explains Nick Stripe, Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, Office for National Statistics.
‘Arthur surged into the top 10 boys’ names for the first time since the 1920s, and Ada jumped into the girls’ top 100 for the first time in a century too, both perhaps inspired by characters in the BBC TV drama Peaky Blinders.’
He also went on to suggest that despite Oliver’s six-year reign over the boy’s list, their were the first signs that other male names are creeping up to challenge this dominance.
The stats also showed that mums aged over 35 tended to prefer more ‘traditional’ names, compared with those under 25 who, were more likely to choose more ‘non-traditional’, shortened or hyphenated names.
Since the birth of David and Victoria Beckham’s daughter, Harper in 2011, the number of girls named Harper has increased, rising 831 places to be ranked the 27th most popular name for girls in 2018.
You can find the full lists of the most popular names at the Office for National Statistics.
A portrait of a newborn baby
If you’re looking for some baby name inspiration, look back in time.
Old-fashioned names have been on the rise for a while – but now names from the early 20th century are increasing in popularity.
For girls, names like Florence and Ivy which were popular in the early 1900s, are now back in the top 20 names for girls, after falling out of the list for decades.
Arthur surged into the top 10 boys’ names for the first time since the 1920s, and Ada jumped into the girls’ top 100 for the first time in a century. Both names haven’t appeared in the top 100 list since 1924.
Of course, traditional names like George, William, Edward and Elizabeth have consistently featured in the top 100 since the early 20th century.
But it seems its only names from the 1900s and 1920s that are surging in popularity. New parents are avoiding names which were common for new babies in the 1940s and 1950s.
Kenneth, Roger, Keith, Terence and Barry were all in the top 20 names for boys in 1944 but none are in the top 1,000 in 2018.
The names Christine, Jean, Ann, Susan, Janet, Maureen, Carol, Pauline, Joan and Pamela were all in the top 20 in 1944, but none are in the top 1,000 names for girls in 2018.
Even names that were popular 10 years ago are starting to fall out of favour.
Compared with 2008, only Oliver, Harry, Jack and Charlie have remained in the top ten names for boys. None of the 2018 top 10 names for boys featured in the top 10 between 1944 and 1984.
Olivia, Amelia, Emily and Grace were the only names to feature in both the 2008 and 2018 top 10 names for girls. None of the top 10 names for girls in 2018 appeared in the top 10 before 1994.
The Office for National Statistics, who put together the list of the most popular baby names every year, said: ‘We cannot say for sure why this is happening. However, new parents may associate names which were popular in the 40s and 50s with their own parents or grandparents, and therefore be less inclined to choose them.
‘In contrast, it is unlikely that new parents of today will have living memories of those born in the early 1900s, which may contribute to the revival in popularity of these names.
‘While some names for girls are making a return, other names that were popular at the start of the 1900s are now considerably less popular.
‘In 2018, there were fewer than three girls named Gladys, or Marjorie – names that had been in the top 20 in the early decades of the 1900s. However, these names were still in the top 100 in the 1930s and 1940s respectively, which means they are still likely to be within living memory.’
We’ve put together the list of the most popular baby names for 1900 so if the trend continues, expect to see more if these cropping up in the list next year.
Top baby names for boys in 1900
Top baby names for girls in 1900
Babies sitting on floor playing with blocks
Smiley pup Chupey had a hard start to life, being born into a litter that was sent to a rescue centre, and having liver problems.
That hasn’t stopped him smiling his way through life, however. In fact, the way he was born means he’s permanently smiling.
The almost two-year-old dog was rescued by 28-year-old Kaley Carlyle as a baby in October 2018.
Kaley has been rescuing dogs for around five years, and says: ‘A woman who had previously brought me a litter of puppies which had seizures came back to me again with another littler of three puppies – two were healthy and one was really different and looked a bit like a wolf.’
That wolf-like dog was Chupey, who’s named on the Mexican folklore creature, the Chupacabra, as Kaley believes he hugely resembles a coyote or wolf and smiles like a hyena.
Cheeky chappie Chupey, who is almost two years old, has a permanent grin due to a birth defect which caused his lips to not be able to cover his teeth.
‘I had to make a deal with the lady, agreeing that she spayed the litter’s mum and in turn I’d take in the puppy that was different to the others, who was Chupey.
‘We couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him at first, he had a different physical appearance to most dogs because he’s hairless, his ears are inside out, he has little beady eyes and of course his teeth are always on show, giving him his smile.
‘It turned out that he had bad liver problems, which made him really exhausted all the time and he would even sleep for around 23 hours per day – and he only weighs 2st 5lbs.’
The radiologist, from Georgia in the US, put Chupey on special food to help his liver problems, and he’s now fighting fit.
Due to his lack of fur, he has to wear sunscreen when it’s hot and has an array of cute outfits to flaunt when it’s cold to keep him warm.
They also found out that Chupey isn’t in fact a mythical beast, with a special dog DNA test showing that he is, in fact, a fun-loving pitbull and rottweiler cross.
Despite having obstacles, Kayley hasn’t let Chupey’s health issues be a drawback to him, with his happy attitude and enviable spirit earning him thousands of followers on social media.
Kaley added: ‘My favourite thing about Chupey is his attitude – he always wants to be part of what you’re doing and does a little shimmy dance when he’s excited.
‘He’s also insanely cuddly – if you get out a blanket he comes running straight away and will bark at you until you let him under.
‘I think people need to give special needs dogs a chance and look at the dogs that aren’t as beautiful and striking as the rest.
‘I hope I can encourage people to look at dogs differently and understand that personality is more important than looks.’
Pic by Mercury Press - (Pictured: Chupey as a puppy.) - A furless special needs rescue dog is melting hearts online - because he\'s constantly smiling like a HYENA. Cheeky chappie Chupey, who is almost two years old, has a permanent grin due to a birth defect which caused his lips to not be able to cover his teeth. Doting owner Kaley Carlyle, 28, had been rescuing dogs part time for five years before she came across wolf-like Chupey as a newborn pup in October 2018. SEE MERCURY COPY.
At first glance, you may not think Sydney has much to offer in the way of nightlife.
Sure you’ve got the Opera Bar, with its stunning panorama, and plenty of beach and waterside eateries to enjoy a meal or drink at, but where are the hipster hangouts that you find in Melbourne?
As it turns out, they’re underground.
Sydney is full of hidden, speakeasy-style bars. If you didn’t know they were there, you could quite easily walk right past, having no idea that a quirky saloon was concealed behind an unassuming door or down a slightly unappealing stairway.
Unlike the USA, Australia did not have a nationwide prohibition, so it’s unsurprising then that many of these small bars have taken on an American theme.
One of these is Shady Pines Saloon in Darlinghurst. Accessed down a dodgy looking alley, once inside, moose heads adorn the walls and you’ll find an incredible selection of whiskies and whisky-based cocktails. The signature drink is whisky and apple, which goes down easily.
American rock and country blasts out through the speakers, and it’s easy to lose a few hours (or more) in this cosy saloon. In the Central Business District (CBD) is the sister bar – The Baxter Inn.
Baxter’s has a serious whisky collection. The bar runs the full length of the long narrow room, and bartenders use a library ladder to reach the many bottles on offer.
Even the most particular whisky drinker will find something to please, with almost 800 varieties available and a whisky room for the true connoisseurs. Here you’ll find a collection of exclusive and rare whiskies sourced from all over the world.
As with Shade Pines, the entrance to the Baxter Inn is concealed in a small courtyard off a laneway, where you’ll also find the back entrance to the Barbershop. As you might expect from the name, the ‘front’ of this bar is, in fact, a fully functioning barbershop, where gentlemen can enjoy a range of services, including a hot towel shave or a beard trim. What the Baxter Inn offers for whisky lovers, the Barbershop offers for gin fans, featuring gins from Australia to Sri Lanka and plenty in between.
In Sydney’s oldest neighbourhood, the Rocks, you’ll find the Doss House, which at one time actually was a speakeasy of some kind.
The bar is located in the basement of a heritage building built in 1844, which was at different periods, a Chinese opium and gambling den, a cobblers and a dosshouse (hence the name). I have to admit I had no idea what a dosshouse actually was – but it was essentially a cheap lodging for the homeless and poor.
The basement bar has four rooms, and unusually for this style of bar, an outdoor courtyard. On display is a beautiful ornate opium pipe – a throwback to the bar’s former life.
The Doss House is another great choice for whisky aficionados, with a great selection on offer and excellent whisky based cocktails, including their signature – The Dusky Scotchman made with a 10-year-old Laphroaig, Branca Menta (a bitter amaro liqueur) saline and honey.
If you’re not a big drinker or fancy something a little more refreshing, PS40 is an interesting alternative. This secret bar also doubles as a soda factory, where they make and bottle a range of delicious soft drinks using plenty of Australian native ingredients.
In the corner of the bar is the lab, with a huge 500-litre stainless-steel tank. This is where the magic happens.
At the bar, there are five sodas on tap. Four signature drinks and one that changes seasonally. Highlights include the bush tonic water, made with lemon myrtle and native lemongrass, and the smoked lemonade, which is made with water provided from a nearby smoke-house.
The sodas can also be paired with spirits, for those wanting an alcoholic beverage. There’s also a medicinal themed cocktail menu.
Certain bars require a password or code to enter. That’s the case for Door Knock.
Located by the sandwich shop on Pitt Street, head down the stairway next door, and make your way along a corridor before reaching a door with a brass pineapple knocker. Knock three times and you will be welcomed inside.
Full of bare timbers and greenery, the bar feels like a cosy cabin. The unusual cocktail menu includes ingredients such as carrot and cardamon honey and spiced berry port compote. You’ll also find a great selection of biodynamic wines.
At the other end of the spectrum is Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern. While also a basement bar, the style couldn’t be more different. Vinyl seats, an unusual display of artefacts hang from the bar including a bra and a horse head mask.
Owner and barman Charlie Lehman wears a pair of denim dungarees and little else, with a beautifully groomed beard as he takes us through the drinks menu which includes a ‘shit tinnie’ (a tin of beer) for $6, a range of cognacs and whiskies and the signature cocktail, Sazerac on tap.
While it’s common for speakeasy bars to be located underground, this is not always the case.
Old Mates Place is a rare speakeasy rooftop bar, with an outdoor terrace and lovely views of the city. Head up four flights of stairs (or take the lift) and you’ll find yourself in a beautifully decorated library-style bar, complete with floor to ceiling bookcases. Climb the stairs to the next level and the roof terrace awaits.
Possibly the favourite of all the bars I visited, Old Mates Places offers a bit of everything, including an extensive drinks menu, delicious cocktails infectiously enthusiastic bar staff. If you’re hungry, you can order one of their delicious Philly cheese steaks and there’s even a veggie version.
Head out of the central business district and there are plenty more speakeasy’s to be found across the city. Sydney’s speakeasies may be harder to find, but once you do, the service and drink selections make them easily the most exciting and interesting bars in the city.
Where to stay and how to get there:
Where to stay:
Stay in the funky Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour, one of Sydney’s coolest hotels, located in a converted 19th-century wool store. There’s even a complimentary happy hour in the foyer’s Lo Lounge bar, so you can start your evening before heading off on your hidden bar crawl.
Rooms start at $223 (non-refundable ‘best available everyday’ rate).
Situated equidistant of both The Doss House and The Baxter Inn/The Barber Shop, Mantra 2 Bond Street is perfectly located for an evening of speakeasy exploration. Featuring self-catering apartments and penthouses and a heated rooftop pool with harbour views.
Executive Studio apartments are priced from £125 ($226 AUD) per night.
Where to eat:
For dining with a view, head to Altitude Restaurant at Shangri-La Sydney, which serves contemporary Australian cuisine overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.
How to get there:
Fly London to Sydney with Qatar Airways via Doha from £1,208.22 in economy or £5,398.02 in Business.
Hayley Lewis - A Lovely Planet - Speakeasy - Door Knock-4bc4
Is honey vegan?
We know that vegans don’t eat anything that’s been made from animals, animal products or created unethically.
Honey has been a bit of a grey area. And that’s because of the bees.
In the same way that some people on a plant-based diet don’t eat avocado, some also don’t eat honey, because both are harvested using bees.
The insects create honey for themselves, not for humans.
Commercial beehives have been set up to replicate bees’ natural habitat in order to be able to take honey on a mass level.
When humans give the bees a sugar substance to replace the honey taken, it lacks essential nutrients they need and can affect their lifespan.
This means many vegans believe honey is unethical to consume.
How do bees make honey?
Bees extract nectar – a sugary liquid from flowers – using their tube-shaved tongue and store it in their extra stomach, or ‘crop’.
While the nectar sloshes around in there, it mixes with enzymes that transform its chemical composition.
When a honeybee returns to the hive, it passes the nectar to another bee by regurgitating the liquid into the other bee’s mouth. This regurgitation process is repeated until the partially digested nectar is finally deposited into a honeycomb.
Of course, that’s not the same consistency as the stuff you put on your pancakes and the like.
Bees work extra hard to fan the honeycomb with their wings in an effort to speed up the process of evaporation.
When most of the water has evaporated from the honeycomb, the bee seals the comb with a secretion of liquid from its abdomen, which eventually hardens into beeswax.
That’s a lot of work and these hardworking bees haven’t consented to have their labour capitalised by humans. Unfortunately bees can’t talk in human language or sign contracts, so we can’t know if they’d be up for giving us honey in exchange for goods.
What do bees eat?
The long shelf-life of honey makes it so desirable for bees as they can consume the stuff for winter months when it’s harder to make.
But when worker bees are utilised for honey production, their natural diet is swapped for sugar water.
According to the Natural Beekeeping Trust, this isn’t the same as their natural source of sustenance, honey.
On its website it says: ‘Beekeepers take as much honey as they possibly can and substitute sugar water as winter feed.
‘Sugar water is seen as equivalent to honey. Yet it is anything but.
‘Honey contains many dozens of micro-nutrients that are not present in sugar water. It also has a higher acidity.
‘Photomicrographs of the stomachs of bees fed on sugar water look very different from bees fed on honey. Whereas the latter are plump and shiny, the former are small and shrivelled.’
Why do vegans not eat honey?
Some vegans don’t eat honey for the reasons mentioned above and the fact that certain beekeeping ways are killing the population.
Bees make significant contributions to the environment and vegans feel they should not be coerced into catering to human palettes, especially if this involves poor treatment.
Queen bees may have their wings clipped to prevent them from flying away.
Selective honeybee breeding is negatively impacting other nectar-gathering creatures which can destroy the environment.
The artificial insemination process for queen bees (who lead the worker beers) sees them being made forcibly pregnant which many vegans don’t agree is right.
Thankfully, we live in 2019 and those who are keen to add that dollop of honey to their porridge and such can use vegan alternatives.
honey dipper and bread
It’s one of those things we’ve been told over and over, in sex education classes, doctor’s appointments, and so on: the average menstrual cycle is 28 days.
The idea that’s the norm makes loads of people worry that there’s something horribly wrong if they don’t fit to that time schedule.
But it turns out that a 28 day cycle isn’t the standard at all. In fact, it’s fairly rare to have one.
New research released by Natural Cycles and UCL found that only 13% of women actually have a 28 day menstrual cycle.
The average cycle length is actually 29.3 days.
We know, that doesn’t seem like a massive difference. But it just goes to show the lack of research and education going on around periods that for so long what’s considered common knowledge hasn’t been correct.
This study is one of the biggest bits of research on periods, well, ever. The app was able to analyse data from over 600,000 menstrual cycles and quiz 124,648 women from Sweden, the US, and the UK.
They found that having a menstrual cycle that doesn’t fit into that rigid 28 day expectation is totally normal, so there’s no need to panic.
As we mentioned, only 13% of cycles were 28 days in length. 65% of women had cycles that ranged between 25 and 30 days, with 29.3 days the averaged out length.
While this data might prevent us worrying about if our periods are normal, it does raise new concerns.
When people track their own fertility and plan to have sex in the ‘safe’ window to avoid pregnancy, they may be miscalculating.
This study shows that ovulation doesn’t consistently occur on day 14 of a cycle, so basing your likelihood of conceiving on a standard 28 day cycle could mean you’re days off.
That puts you at a risk of pregnancy. And in the opposite scenario, women who plan to have sex when they believe they’re most fertile might be missing that window.
Basically, it’s wrong to assume that everyone will stick to the same 28 day cycle, and predictions and recommendations can’t be based on that flawed assumption. We have to look at the individual.
Professor Joyce Harper, from the UCL Institute for Women’s Health, said: ‘Traditionally, studies have concentrated on women who have approximately 28 day cycles and these studies have formed our understanding of the menstrual cycle.
‘For the first time, our study shows that few women have the textbook 28 day cycle, with some experiencing very short or very long cycles.
‘We also demonstrate that ovulation does not occur consistently on day 14 and therefore it is important that women who wish to plan a pregnancy are having intercourse on their fertile days.
‘In order to identify the fertile period, it is important to track other measures.’
How to remove a stuck menstrual cup
A rare name might mean you don’t find many personalised keyboards but it also means you’re unique.
Parents love going for unusual monikers for their babies so they can stand out.
In the interest of protecting kiddos with the most unusual names, ONS only reveals names that at least three babies have.
In the latest data, from 2018, there were 1,342 rare names. Of course, we’re not going to list all of them.
So we’ve picked one name from each letter that stood out to us (omitting letters for which there are no names).
Expectant mums and dads, you might want to write these down if you want a name that few others have.
Girls' names given to only three babies in 2018
Boys' names given to only three babies in 2018
If you don’t want people butchering a unique name you’ve carved out for your child, perhaps you’d be more interested in the more popular ones.
We hear that baby names from the early 1900s and 1920s are making a comeback in 2019.
But if you insist on any of the names mentioned, remember that there are at least three children out there with the same moniker.
One thing we’ve noticed from the list is that some of the names are traditional but spelled in an unconventional way.
Lucas becomes Louces. That’s one way to stand out with having to reiterate your name three times before someone gets it right.
So, back to the drawing board?
Thinking about baby names
On the online answers platform Quora, over 552,000 people are followers of the dermatology subtopic, with over 8,000 for eczema and 3,600 for psoriasis.
Recent questions include ‘How do you cure atopic dermatitis (eczema) permanently?’ and ‘Does atopic dermatitis/eczema regress by itself with/without treatment?’ which seem fairly innocuous in themselves. After all, haven’t most of us looked to Dr. Google at some point or another?
The misinformation in the answers, however, is troubling.
‘None of these crazy creams and crap that don’t work anyway,’ come the replies, along with classics such as ‘bleach in the bath can improve eczema symptoms’ and ‘drink raw potato juice’.
While funny to read, these tips – largely from untrained individuals – can be seen as legitimate from the desperate people living with skin conditions that affect their day-to-day lives extensively. If you’ve been struggling with a severe, itchy flare-up that simply won’t go away, you may actually start considering using industrial toilet cleaner in your bath – despite common sense telling you otherwise.
It’s not just on answers websites, as even celebrities have to find out the hard way. When Kim Kardashian asked for recommendations for her psoriasis earlier this year, her replies were flooded with people telling her they’d ‘cured’ theirs by cutting out dairy or having oils injected into their skin.
I think the time has come I start a medication for psoriasis. I’ve never seen it like this before and I can’t even cover it at this point. It’s taken over my body. Has anyone tried a medication for psoriasis & what kind works best? Need help ASAP!!!
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 24, 2018
Given how personal and misunderstood skin conditions from acne to contact dermatitis can be, the advice people are giving – even if it worked for them – may not work for you, and could actually be harmful.
Dr Sarah Shah, a dermatologist who also founded London’s Artistry Clinic, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Not everything you read online can be reliable, which is why it is good to visit a doctor or dermatologist to discuss your skin concerns. This way an expert can see you face to face and advise you the best care and products based on this.’
Another concern, raised by Dr Max Malik, dermatologist and owner of The Cosmetics Clinic, is the link between social media and advertising: ‘We’re often following advice that is shared as part of an advertising deal or to promote a certain brand’s treatments, rather than medically-based advice that is bespoke to that particular patient’s concerns.
‘There is a big difference between cosmetic claims and actual medical treatments. They are not the same thing, even over the counter ‘treatments’, for example, for acne are not the same as prescription medicine from a specialist.’
#SponCon may be all fun and games when it comes to yoga pants and eyeshadow, but not so much when you need help from a medical professional rather than a blogger. We now know that influencers are required to label any sponsored content as such, but the rules are murky about what they can then say about products.
For example, the ASA forbids ads that make claims that aren’t backed up or that are exaggerated. If those claims are about personal use and how a product worked for them, though, there isn’t technically any misleading information, even if it might not be correct for everyone.
Looking specifically at corticosteroids – creams and ointments commonly prescribed by doctors for conditions like eczema – and their online reputation, Dr Shah states: ‘People do tend to avoid using steroids purely because of the negative reputation surrounding them, such as the side-effects if not used correctly.
‘However, with extreme skin conditions such as eczema, steroids can help alleviate the itching and inflammation of the skin.’
Reports on Topical Steroid Withdrawal, which is a condition that occurs when steroids are used improperly and stopped improperly, include people’s stories of ‘curing’ their conditions through eschewing medical (or non ‘natural’) remedies.
Despite the fact normal topical steroid use shouldn’t cause adverse affects, blame is placed on the drug rather than a lack of understanding of how they’re used.
Steroids – along with other medication such as Isotretinoin for acne – are only to be prescribed by doctors and dermatologists. Not only are they not to be taken lightly, discontinuing use should be treated exactly as you do with other medication, rather than done on a whim because of what someone said online.
Dr Malik says: ‘Steroids should always be discussed with a pharmacist if they are bought in a chemist (these will only be mild) or a doctor if they are prescription. I would advise anyone not to buy any kind of medicine on the internet, no matter how cheap it seems.’
On the flip side, just because you see something is natural, homeopathic, or simple, this isn’t always synonymous with effective.
‘In this digital age I see more and more patients coming in to my clinic, having previously looked to the internet for skincare advice,’ says Dr Malik.
‘On one hand, it is admirable to see patients taking an interest in their skin and making informed decisions regarding their skin health.’
However, he claims that ‘by looking to the internet for skincare advice we’re often inadvertently putting our health at risk and worsening existing symptoms rather than treating them.’
Some of the odd ‘life hacks’ Dr Malik and Dr Shah’s patients have taken on board include the old toothpaste-on-a-spot trick, and people believing they only need SPF when the sun is out.
Both mentioned, too, that people are overly keen to exfoliate, which can be counterproductive.
Dr Shah says: ‘While some might think the more you exfoliate the quicker you get rid of dead skin cells, in actual fact exfoliating on a daily basis strips your skin of its natural oils. This can cause irritation to the top layer of the skin.’
Dr Malik has even seen people who believe they can ‘scrub acne away’, but advises those suffering with it or other skin conditions: ‘There are so many factors that are important and it is essential to see a specialist who can suitable advise on the correct course to take.’
As your parents likely asked you when you were a child, ‘if your friends jumped off of a cliff, would you follow them?’, it’s important not to blindly follow anything you see friends or influencers post, particularly when that advice could damage the biggest organ you have; your skin.
The Body Shop beauty advent calendars for 2019 are bigger and better than before.
Summer may not be over, but Christmas is already on the tip of retailers and beauty-lovers’ tongues.
We’ve already had a peek inside and one beauty advent that has caught our eye is the The Body Shop’s Dream Big This Christmas Ultimate Advent Calendar (£99).
Officially available from 9 September, but available online now for a limited time only, The Body Shop Dream Big This Christmas Ultimate Advent Calendar is one of three Boy Shop advents up for grabs for the Christmas countdown.
It goes without saying that it’s beautifully packaged and brimming with beauty favourites, trumping previous offerings from the British beauty brand.
Inspired by the lanes of Brighton where the first Body Shop store opened back in 1976, the advent’s illustrated exterior and interior resembles store fronts of the popular seaside town.
Father Christmas doesn’t appear, rather Mrs Claus, who dons her long barnet as a beard. The attention to detail is very much appreciated – female artist, Helena Perez Garcia has sleighed it.
Worth £249.50, inside you’ll find 25 days of beauty goodies both deluxe and full size for £99, from the brands most luxurious skincare ranges, including bestselling Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask and Drops of Youth Youth Concentrate Sheet Mask.
This year The Body Shop’s advent calendars celebrate the achievements of women who dream big, as each day there will be a new discovery as you learn how 25 inspirational women used their dreams to change the world.
Plus, The Body Shop have teamed up with Plan International UK, a charity that’s passionate about children’s rights and equality for girls to donate £250,000 for over 1,000 girls in Brazil and Indonesia for skills training.
The Body Shop Christmas advent calendars will be available in-store and online at thebodyshop.com from 9 September.
Beauty advent calendar 2019: The Body Shop Ultimate Advent Calendar
Rejoice, people who love caffeine and sugar but hate the taste of actual coffee, for the Pumpkin Spice Latte is (nearly) back for its annual autumnal jaunt.
Starbucks has revealed when the Pumpkin Spice Latte and all its iterations will be available for purchase once more, and it’s super soon.
The Pumpkin Spice Latte will be available from UK stores from 5 September onwards, to be more specific.
And because global warming is a thing and it’ll likely still be too hot to enjoy a flaming hot latte, Starbucks is kindly offering a range of iced pumpkin spice options, too.
For the first time ever, UK customers will be able to get hold of not just the traditional Pumpkin Spice Latte, but also the Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte (same thing, but iced), a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino, and an Iced Pumpkin Spice Cold Foam Macchiato.
If you’re suddenly struck by confusion over the difference between an iced latte and a ‘cold foam macchiato’, don’t stress – we’ve investigated this further and the macchiato involves less milk.
All of these – as well as all your regular coffee preferences – will be available from Starbucks locations across the UK from 5 September onwards. No news yet on when Pumpkin Spice Latte season comes to an end, but it’s usually around Christmas, to make space for Eggnog Lattes and the like.
If, somehow, you have managed to exist in this world without knowing what a Pumpkin Spice Latte actually is, let’s take a look at Starbucks’ description.
They say: ‘With a combination of Starbucks Espresso Roast, pumpkin pie flavoured sauce and steamed milk, topped with heavenly whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves – the PSL is set to get you craving cosy afternoons and wooly jumpers.’
Cool. So coffee, milk, and the taste of autumnal spices.
Vegan PSL fans can happily enjoy a vegan version of the latte with the option of a vegan sauce and milk alternatives including almond or oat. Just make sure to remove the whipped cream, too.
Those desperately eager to drink orange-tinted coffee can sign up for a Starbucks loyalty card or use the mobile app to try a Pumpkin Spice Latte before it officially appears on menus. You lucky and basic souls.
Over in the US PSL fans are very excited about the launch of a brand new Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew, which isn’t an option over in the UK.
But the good news is that it’s pretty easy to hack your own. Just ask for a cold brew coffee with a dash of milk and that pumpkin spice flavoured sauce. Easy.
When Pumpkin Spice Lattes are out
Model Teddy Quinlivan, who transitioned to present as a woman at 16, has become a model for Channel.
In doing so, the 25-year-old becomes the first openly transgender model to advertise for the luxury brand.
Teddy, from Boston, U.S, was involved in the fashion house’s Summer Look beauty campaign.
But it’s not her first time working with them – Teddy has done two shows with Channel but in ‘stealth mode’ whereby her trans identity was secret.
Teddy presented as a cisgender woman in previous works but was not openly trans.
It’s not her first time modelling for a major name either as she boasts runways with big labels such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
Teddy has also modelled for Milk Make-Up, Redken and Maison Margiela fragrance.
Speaking to her 97,000-strong Instagram followers, she said she was delighted to be working with Channel.
She wrote: ‘When I came out I knew I’d stop working with some brands, I thought I’d never work with the iconic house of Chanel ever again.
‘But here I am in Chanel Beauty Advertising. I am the first openly trans person to work for the house of Chanel, and I am deeply humbled and proud to represent my community.’
Teddy also had some inspirational words to share with her fans, reminding them to trust their worth.
‘The world will kick you down, spit on you, and tell you you’re worthless,’ she continued.
‘It’s your job to have the strength to stand up and push on, to keep fighting, Because if you give up then you will never experience the tears of triumph.’
Chanel’s decision to work with a transgender model comes as other fashion brands are also making small steps in the same direction.
Valentina Sampaio recently became Victoria Secret’s first openly transgender model.
Let’s hope other brands take note.
TEDDY QUINLIVAN BECOMES FIRST OPENLY TRANSGENDER MODEL TO FRONT CHANEL BEAUTY CAMPAIGN
For a nation that doesn’t know what to do with itself when it gets hot, we need more summer activity options.
So when we heard news of a possible new waterpark coming to the U.K, we got excited.
Named The Elysium Waterpark, the theme park – inspired by Indiana Jones – is said to be the UK’s biggest.
Where will it be? We hear you ask. We know London can’t host a 75 acres park with giant waterfalls, so off to Bournemouth, it will go.
Good news, you can make a beach weekend trip of it.
Named after the Greek concept of the afterlife, Elysium will include a tropical water park, featuring large water slides, rapids and swimming pools.
And of course after all that fun you’re going to have, you’ll probably want to relax.
Good thing that Elysium comes with a wellness and beauty spa that offers facilities including a sauna, hammam spas, massage and beauty treatments.
‘Elysium will be the most extraordinary, luxurious and largest indoor waterpark in the United Kingdom,’ it reads on its website.
‘Standing alongside other stunning world-class venues across the world, Elysium will look to deliver the ultimate water park paradise and more.’
The park is said to feature wild rides that offer VR technology.
Concept artwork of the park shows that there will be lots of wildlife, including an indoor jungle.
You can also expect a lagoon area featuring 5 Waves technology, which creates five different surfing wave levels.
There will also be dining options as well as hotels and eco-lodges in the area.
At the moment, the website only lists the plans and has published images to go with it but we don’t have a date for its launch though it is expected to be some time around 2023.
But before that can happen, the park will need to get planning permission.
Costa Acodrinesei – the man who invented it – is hopefuly that his brain-child will come to be.
He told Bournemouth Echo: ‘It’s a very big vision but I know we can do it. It will be like something out of Indiana Jones’.
We can’t wait.
UK's biggest waterpark, Elysium Waterpark
Having a baby is beautiful – but it’s not easy.
Beyond the actual labour process, it can take a while for your body to heal, all while you’re trying to keep a tiny newborn alive.
And when your social media feeds are filled with images of people bouncing back after birth, it can make new mums feel under pressure to get back to their pre-baby bodies.
A survey by underwear brand Knix found that over 56% of women experience postpartum depression and 76% of women feel pressure to ‘bounce back’ post-birth, while 90% of postpartum women received comments about their bodies post-birth
So they created this new photo series to show what life is really like after giving birth.
They received hundreds of submissions and eventually selected 250 for the series, including pictures from celebrities Christy Turlington Burns and Amy Schumer.
The pictures are open and honest, depicting everything from breastfeeding to the way giving birth has changed a new mum’s body.
The project was inspired by Knix founder and CEO Joanna Griffiths, who became a mum in April.
Joanna wanted more pictures showing the reality of life postpartum as she says her social media feeds were filled with diets and workouts as she struggled with the challenges of breastfeeding and recovering in the weeks after the birth.
She wanted to share the message ‘you are perfect as you, you are supported, and you are seen.’
Knix said: ‘The Life After Birth Project believes it’s time the conversation changes and we instead support and empower women through this chapter.’
When it’s coming to the end of the month and you’re down to your last few pennies, going to an ATM can be a bit bleak.
But this one offers a beautiful treat.
Instead of making you face your bank balance, this cash machine gives you access to gin – and best of all, it’s completely free.
The Automated Transport to the Marvellous (ATM, get it?) from Hendricks has popped up in Bermondsey, London, but only for four days.
Once you find the ATM, you can use it to enter the secret bar.
There, you’ll be met by bank manager Alf, who’ll provide you with Hendrick’s infused with rose and cucumber.
You need to book tickets online for a 45-minute slot but be quick as the event started yesterday and runs until Sunday.
Hendrick’s Gin ambassador Sasha Filimonov said: ‘Things are rarely what they seem in our unusual world of Hendrick’s Gin and our ‘ATM (Automated Transport to the Marvellous)’ will provide peace from the pound into a world more peculiar.
‘Curious? Join us for an unconventionally captivating and uniquely Hendrick’s experience – one that’s oddly infused with rose and cucumber of course.’
You can find the ATM at 6 Crucifix Lane, London, SE1 3JW.
The event is the second in a series of Hendrick’s portals. The first – a laundrette – ran on 18 August and the third is due to appear soon, so keep your eyes peeled for something that isn’t quite as it seems – there could be free gin behind it.
Hendrick's free gin