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

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    My morning routine must consist of three things for me to function: coffee (yes, I’m one of those ‘don’t talk to me before caffeine’ types), a vigorous tooth brushing session, and a read of my horoscopes for that day.

    Before you label me a crazed oddball, think about your own process of waking up for the day. Do you check the news to see whatever atrocities have gone on overnight?

    Maybe instead you get your traffic alerts to your phone to prepare for the nightmare commute that lies ahead? Some people even enjoy hearing breakfast radio presenters chirpily hyping them up for the day ahead. To me, they’re the crazy ones.

    Horoscopes give me a sense of control in an otherwise spiralling schedule of emails and push notifications. That said, it’s oversimplifying it to say that ‘control’ is the only reason I (and millions of others) love horoscopes.

    It also amounts to feeling ‘seen’ in some way, with apps like The Pattern and Co-Star using a full birth chart to get deep into my psyche and work out what makes me tick.

    Even the simple sun sign horoscopes you find in the back pages of most newspapers can help you feel less alone in whatever it is that’s going on for you.

    Perhaps your boss is being mean to you, or you’ve got a doctor’s appointment coming up. That little piece of guidance may not be from a life coach, but it’s the equivalent of a note left in your lunchbox by your mum saying ‘you can do it’.

    I couldn’t tell you exactly when I got into astrology, but my earliest memory of it is probably Mystic Meg’s appearances on the National Lottery. When Anthea Turner flippantly came back to camera after Meg’s predictions, exclaiming ‘see, it’s all down to Mercury’ before releasing the balls… Damn, I felt that.

    It was never about whether it was true. It was about fun, escapism, and shiny black wigs paired with fantastic velvet capes.

    As I got older, however, and started having the regular existential crises most millennials are associated with, I avoided the people handing out ‘meaning of life’ leaflets by train stations, and instead opted to delve deep into what the stars had in store.

    Illustration of a girl holding a gold fish to show she is a Pisces
    They’ve helped me tap into my dreamy Pisces side and stop berating myself for needing alone time (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Once you start to look more at the complexity of astrology – over and above things like ‘you’re a Capricorn so you must be ambitious’ – you see that it’s not just based on your sun sign, and everything from the minute to the exact place you were born can define where you fit in terms of your rising, your moon, your Venus, and all the rest of it.

    Much like those who revel in doing their Myers-Briggs tests (I’m INFP, by the way) or finding out their love language, the classification astrology can give you is comforting.

    Not only that, but the ways they’ve helped me tap into my dreamy Pisces side and stop berating myself for needing alone time have been invaluable. If The Pattern pops up on my phone telling me to slow down or rest, it’s always at a time when I’m burning the candle at both ends.

    It keeps me in check, too, warning me that sometimes I can give to receive or wallow in self pity for a little too long to be endearing. In ways that my own friends will fail to call me out, the stars will always give me the Aisleyne Horgan Wallace ‘check yourself before you wreck yourself’ dressing down I deserve.

    Personally I don’t alter my plans or avoid people because of the way we align, but you better believe I avoid signing contracts during a mercury retrograde, and even sceptics like my dad (who works night shifts at a train station) says that he’s noticed changes in the way people behave on nights out depending on the moon and stars.

    You can easily look at me and see a blue-haired 20-something that’s clutching on to meaning any way I can. But astrology isn’t some hipster fad – in fact, it’s older than a whole load of religions.

    To be exact, the first records of divination through the stars goes back to around 1800 BC, with the kind of horoscope many people follow today coming about around the 1st century BC.

    From the Babylonians to the Ancient Greeks, there have been forms of horoscopes. From India to Mesoamerica there were (and are) ways of predicting happenings based on the stars.

    So, while you don’t have to choose to follow them, to outright dismiss them as mumbo jumbo is misguided.

    If you can allow people to peacefully follow their own religions – whether that means fasting, refraining from certain activities, or just having hope that there’s an afterlife – you should really have no problem with people using the stars to get guidance.

    We live in a big old universe, and whether you rely on astrology, religion, or being an aggressive empirical science-bro to stop your brain combusting from the weight of it all, that is fine by me.

    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

    MORE: Horoscopes are rubbish…right? I followed mine for a month to find out

    MORE: No, millennials are not adopting pets because we’re scared of responsibility – some of us just don’t want kids

    MORE: Someone’s turned your quarter life crisis into a fun party game


    Horoscope series for PlatformHoroscope series for Platform

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    The mermaid scale feature wall from wallpaper samples
    The amazing wall (Picture: Katie Blackbourn)

    Creating an amazing bedroom for your kids without spending a fortune is hard – but one mum has come up with an amazing hack.

    Along the same lines as the patchwork sample feature wall, this mum has created a mermaid style wall using free wallpaper samples.

    The whole look cost just under £18 – £14.99 for some paint, £1.99 for wallpaper paste and £1 for a small mirror.

    Katie Blackbourn picked up the samples from high street stores, as well as using some old bits she had lying around.

    She then made a template shape out of card to create the scales and traced around it on each sample, before cutting them all out.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B1wTEJanCI8/

    It does take a little bit of patience but Katie said a few hours for a few nights gave her enough to create the wall.

    She painted the wall underneath using Dulux Feature Wall paint in Proud Peacock, before lining up the scales on in a diagonal pattern on the wall and sticking them on with wallpaper paste.

    She added the small circular mirror to complete the look.

    Katie posted the picture in the Extreme Couponing and Bargains Facebook group and people loved it.

    The post received over 17,000 likes and 2,400 comments.

    Katie said her daughter loves the wall and added: ‘I am simply an NHS Credit Controller with a passion for art and design. I never expected this to get so much interest.’

    After seeing how popular her idea was, Katie now plans to post more content on her Instagram.

    She also suggested that the design could be adapted with different colours like oranges and golds for a fish theme and added that it would look great in bathrooms too.

    What a great idea!

    MORE: Astrology isn’t a hipster fad, it helps me live my life

    MORE: This ATM is actually a secret passageway to free gin


    69536633_10216695492511969_7949525826813296640_o-e72069536633_10216695492511969_7949525826813296640_o-e720

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    Glossybox 2019 Advent Calendar
    There are some pretty big brands in here (Picture: Glossybox)

    It may feel far too early to start thinking about Christmas, but if you want to get one of the coveted beauty advent calendars, it’s a necessity.

    The reveals are already coming thick and fast, with plenty of them starting to be sold over the next month.

    So, the days of heading to the shops on November 30 to see what’s left in the chocolate aisle are very much over. However, the spoils of those who plan ahead are much better.

    Glossybox’s offering last year was one of the hottest on the market, and the newest one is expected to sell out in record time.

    It features 25 products from the likes of Dermalogica, NYX, and Tarte, with around a £370 value.

    Glossybox has revealed the goodies in their 2019 Advent Calendar
    Better than a bit of chocolate (Picture: Glossybox)

    What it will cost you depends on whether you’re a subscriber or not, and Glossies (those who already sign up to the company’s monthly boxes) will get it for cheaper. For them, it costs £70, while it’ll be £80 on general sale.

    Glossybox Managing Director, Andy Wood says, ‘We’re very excited about this year’s advent calendar. Just like our monthly subscription boxes, the advent calendar has been carefully developed from the customer feedback we received last year.

    ‘We’ve introduced a wider product selection alongside introducing some new and exciting brands. You don’t want to miss it. I would recommend GLOSSIES ordering early as our other Limited Editions have sold out in record-breaking time this year’.

    Pre-order opens on September 6, but you must be a Glossybox subscriber to get in early. General sale is from September 27.

    Here’s what you can expect.

    Glossybox 2019 advent calendar product list

    NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP 

    Ultimate Shadow Palette – Warm Neutrals / Full Size / RRP £16.00

    CHLOÉ Nomade

    Eau de Parfum / Deluxe Mini / Worth £7.20

    GLOSSYBOX

    Blending Sponge / Full Size / RRP £10

    NUDESTIX

    Cream Lip & Cheek Pencil / Full Size / RRP £20.50

    THE BODY SHOP

    Hand & Nail Cream / Full Size / RRP £5

    LUXIE, Inc

    Concealer Rose Gold Brush / Full Size / RRP £12.60

    LASPLASH COSMETICS

    Wickedly Divine Eyeliner / Full Size / RRP £12.60

    MUA MAKEUP ACADEMY

    PRO/BASE Primer Oil with Gold Flakes / Full Size / RRP £4

    MITCHELL & PEACH

    Flora No.1 Bath Oil / Deluxe Mini / Worth £8.05

    SLEEK MAKEUP

    Matte Me – Birthday Suit / Full Size / RRP £4.99

    LIVING PROOF

    Perfect Hair Day (PhD) In-Shower Styler / Deluxe Mini / Worth £5

    WINKY LUX

    Uni-brow / Full Size / RRP £15

    DR. DENNIS GROSS SKINCARE

    Professional Grade IPL Dark Spot Concentrated Serum / Deluxe Mini / Worth £23

    3INA MAKEUP

    The Cream Eyeshadow 313 Light Brown/ Full Size / RRP £12.95

    CURAPROX

    BE YOU Candy Lover Toothpaste / Deluxe Mini / Worth £3.10

    NUDE BY NATURE

    Touch of Glow Highlight Stick / Deluxe Mini / Worth £9

    RITUALS

    Rituals of Sakura body cream / Deluxe Mini / Worth £8.41

    DR.PAWPAW

    Original Clear Balm / Deluxe Mini / Worth £3.95

    AVANT SKINCARE

    Pro- Intense Hyaluronic Acid Illuminating Day Cream/ Full Size £98

    BARRY M COSMETICS

    Blusher Quad / Full Size £5.99

    DERMALOGICA

    Daily Superfoliant / Deluxe Mini / Worth £17.50

    KAT VON D BEAUTY

    Tattoo Liner Liquid Eyeliner / Deluxe Mini / Worth £6.18

    STEVE LAURANT

    Lip Tint / Full Size / £17.33

    NAILS INC

    Nail Polish – Golden Days Ahead / Full Size / £11

    TARTE COSMETICS

    Park Ave Princess™ Chisel Palette (Limited Edition) / Full Size / £40

    MORE: Mum creates amazing mermaid scales feature wall for just £18

    MORE: This ATM is actually a secret passageway to free gin


    PRI_82269621PRI_82269621

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    Young student in front of her classmates in the classroom drawing on a whiteboard
    It’s almost time to get back in the classroom (Picture: Getty)

    August is drawing to a close, which means summer is almost over.

    Families across the UK are already preparing for the start of the school year, as are retailers with back to school sales pretty much everywhere.

    Once they’ve picked up the uniforms, pens, pads and brand new rucksacks, many will also enjoy a final ice cream or BBQ this weekend, as it’s set to be the last one before the children return to their desks.

    So when exactly does the new term begin and when is the next half term break?

    When do the summer school holidays end?

    Most schools will welcome students back on Wednesday 4th September, but this can differ depending on the area you live in.

    To be on the safe side, you can check details for each school district on Gov.uk, or alternatively contact your child’s school.

    Five children standing in front of a computer at school
    Check the exact dates with your child’s school if you’re unsure (Picture: Getty)

    When is the next half term break?

    Don’t get the holiday blues just yet – the next half term break is less than a month away.

    It will start on Monday 21 October and run until the following week, on Tuesday 29 October.

    Once again, this can vary depending on the school, so it’s always best to double-check dates with the school.

    After that, there are no more breaks until Christmas time.

    MORE: How to do a sustainable back to school shop

    MORE: Wearing a school uniform is a lesson in respect

    MORE: Sainsbury’s has just announced a discount deal on its school uniforms


    gettyimages-102487474-612x612-eb23gettyimages-102487474-612x612-eb23

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    Gin and tonic spill it Spill It: How much a 52-year-old customer service advisor drinks in a week
    Gin and tonics are this interviewee’s tipple of choice (Picture: Getty)

    When it comes to drinking, the only real benchmark we have are our friends.

    So, if your mates happen to be six-pints-on-a-weeknight people, your habit could seem mild in comparison.

    Similarly, if you’re a student or a young person and going out is a priority, it’s hard to quantify your drinking habits to those of the general population.

    On this week’s Spill It – a weekly series where we ask people to come clean with their drinking habits – we have a middle-aged customer service adviser. Although she likes a drink, this tends to be in the form of a sneaky G&T (or three) in front of the soaps of an evening.

    That is until she hits a festival with her pals, where it all gets a little bit messy.

    Thursday

    It’s been a heavy day at work. I also found out my uncle is in hospital with chest problems… Any excuse!

    Got home, shattered. Did the necessary like the dinner and the laundry and just as Emmerdale is coming on I pour myself a G&T. I don’t do measures, I use a glass juice tumbler and pour about an inch of gin into it, then he fill it to the top with ice and tonic.

    I am a very slow drinker so by the time I go to bed at 11.30pm I have had what I suppose would equate to 4 large ones. I don’t feel drunk, just nice and relaxed and ready for my bed.

    Units: 8

    Friday

    Another very busy day and more of the same. The bar opens at seven in my house as always.

    A bit more relaxed about watching what I am drinking because it’s not a ‘school night’. Stayed up late watching TV, so had two more drinks than I would normally have. Again G&Ts.

    Units: 12

    Saturday

    Had a lovely long lie in and then pottered about at my leisure. I then had a two-hour nap in the afternoon. Chilled out in the evening watching a movie with my hubby.

    I only had three gins all evening.

    Units: 6

    Sunday

    Today was always going to be a boozy day. I am going to ‘Party at the Palace’ – a music festival – and there are four of us going.

    The T’s and C’s are very clear that no drink is allowed to be brought in, so of course myself and my friend have challenged each other to see how much ‘contraband’ we can successfully smuggle in. My genius idea was to buy a cyclist’s bladder pack, which I strapped it to my tummy (the plan was to tell security that it was a colostomy bag if I was searched). It went like a dream! Sailed onto the site complete with a full litre of gin attached to me. My friend also managed to get a 70cl bottle in.

    Throughout the day we all drank the lot (between four of us). Bearing in mind I am a menopausal 52-year-old housewife and mum, you would think I would know better!

    Units: Around 20

    Monday

    Thank god no work today, and it’s just as well I am off because I am mega hungover. I spent most of the day in my jammies watching daytime TV on the sofa. Emmerdale came and went & I could not look at a G&T, let alone drink one.  Had an early, drink free night.

    Units 0

    Tuesday

    Back to work and my routine.  Did the usual after work.  Had my standard four G&Ts, and a nice relaxing evening.

    Units: 8

    Wednesday

    More of the same. Writing this is making me realise what a creature of bad habits I actually am. Only had three tonight as I was knackered and went to bed earlier than normal.

    Units: 6

    Total units this week: 60

    Total units in a week recommended by the NHS: 14 units (for anybody regardless of gender).

    Spill It is a weekly series out every Friday. To get involved email jessica.lindsay@metro.co.uk.

    MORE: Mum creates amazing mermaid scales feature wall for just £18

    MORE: Gamblers Anonymous saved my life


    Gin and tonic spill itGin and tonic spill it

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    Beth throughout her journey with bowel cancer
    Beth was incredibly fit she was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 35 (Picture: Beth Hewitt)

    When Beth Hewitt spotted blood in her poo, she knew it could be a sign of something serious.

    Working as an occupational therapist, she knew the signs of bowel cancer – but at 35, she thought she was too young and there would be a simple explanation.

    Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, affecting 42,000 people every year but it is much more common in older people, with 90% of cases being people over the age of 60.

    Her doctor told her it was piles – enlarged blood vessels around her bottom – and she was prescribed steroid cream, which she applied every day.

    For months, she went back and forth to the doctor – but she was told again and again it was just haemorrhoids.

    Eventually, after pushing for a referral and eventually going private, Beth was diagnosed with bowel cancer, eight months after her symptoms first appeared.

    Beth Hewitt who was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 35
    Beth, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 35 (Picture: Beth Hewitt)

    Luckily it as in the early stages and Beth’s cancer was treated and cured with surgery but she wants others to know and act on any symptoms, no matter what age they are.

    Beth, from Hereford, told Metro.co.uk: ‘I want to show that you’re never too young. It happens to people who are older but younger people can have bowel cancer too.

    What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

    • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
    • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
    • A pain or lump in your tummy

    Bowel Cancer UK

    ‘The whole time I was scared by the idea that it could be cancer. I was searching for things to tell me it wasn’t cancer and even when I saw the doctor I would just ask things like “could it be something more serious?”’

    The mum-of-two noticed a little blood in her poo, which was something she hadn’t seen before.

    Beth in the gym lifting weights
    Before her diagnosis, Beth would do CrossFit (Picture: Beth Hewitt)

    She said she had some blood after the birth of her youngest daughter – but she was two and Beth felt that this was different.

    But she also didn’t want to get too worried as she knew it could be something common and treatable causing the bleeding.

    She says: ‘I became poo obsessed because it kept happening. But I was 35 and I was the fittest I had ever been.

    ‘I was going to CrossFit, I eat a clean diet, I have never smoked and I rarely drink. I just didn’t think it would be cancer.

    Beth lying on the sofa
    Beth was diagnosed after eight months of bleeding (Picture: Beth Hewitt)

    ‘I would never ignore anything so when it had been a few weeks, I went to the GP, who just told me it was piles and gave me steroid cream.’

    The bleeding continued and Beth was becoming more concerned but she had no other symptoms and she was still treating it as haemorrhoids.

    Eventually, Beth went back to her doctor in tears again and explained how the bleeding was still happening.

    The doctor agreed to refer her for a sigmoidoscopy, where a camera is put in the front part of her colon.

    Beth at hospita
    Beth at the hospital (Picture: Beth Hewitt)

    Now worried that it could be more serious, Beth and her husband decided to tell his parents, who offered to pay for Beth to be seen privately.

    Beth decided to accept their offer and was seen a few weeks later. Her private doctor decided to carry out a full colonoscopy.

    Almost immediately after starting the procedure, the doctor realised there was a problem.

    She explains: ‘He found three polyps – small lumps in the bowel – and he was able to remove two of them during the procedure but there was a third that he just couldn’t get off.

    ‘At that stage, he told me it was either a very nasty polyp or it was cancer.’

    Beth recovering from surgery after she was diagnosed with bowel cancer
    Beth recovering from surgery (Picture: Beth Hewitt)

    A piece of the polyp was sent away to be biopsied and five days later, Beth was told it was bowel cancer.

    She says: ‘By then, I think I knew it was cancer so I was a bit upset but I was just thinking about what happened next.’

    Luckily scans showed that it hadn’t spread and Beth was told it was stage one cancer.

    She says: ‘My surgeon told me that he doesn’t see young people and when he does, it’s not caught early.

    ‘I didn’t have any other symptoms – it was only because the tumour sat very low in my rectum that it was causing bleeding.’

    Beth in hospital after her bowel cancer diagnosis
    Beth in hospital (Picture: Beth Hewitt)

    Beth had surgery on 4 April to remove 18 cm of her rectum and a temporary ileostomy bag was fitted. She was told the surgery was curative and she didn’t need further treatment.

    She says: ‘I was facing something that kills many people and then all of a sudden, it’s like, your surgeries cured you and you can just live a relatively normal life.

    ‘It was hard – for the first three or four weeks, I was walking like an old lady as it was quite major abdominal surgery. It was uncomfortable. I just thought I’m never gonna go back to the gym.

    Beth showing her stoma. She had a temporary ileostomy fitted
    Beth showing her stoma. She had a temporary ileostomy fitted (Picture: Beth Hewitt)

    ‘Having an ileostomy bag was hard too – I was quite conscious of it. When you got clothes on and it’s a tight-fitting, you can like you can see that it’s full and it’s my empty.’

    Beth is now back at the gym, doing lighter exercises, and she’s back at work. She’s waiting on her temporary ileostomy being reversed.

    ‘I was incredibly lucky that it was found so early on. I feel like I have a second chance,’ she says.

    Beth is working with Bowel Cancer UK to raise awareness ahead of their Walk Together events in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff in September.

    Walk Together is a series of sponsored walks bringing people together to show support for those undergoing treatment, remember loved ones and help stop people dying from bowel cancer.

    MORE: Glossybox has revealed the goodies in their 2019 Advent Calendar

    MORE: Woman gives birth then goes into menopause after bowel cancer diagnosis at 35 weeks pregnant


    Mum who was told she had piles for eight months actually had bowel cancer at 35Mum who was told she had piles for eight months actually had bowel cancer at 35

    0 0

    Aimee and Tyler Morrison grew their own flowers on their wedding day
    It took Aimee and Tyler a year to plan their wedding flowers (Picture: SWNS/Jake Webb Photography)

    Flowers are a big part of the wedding day but when you want bouquets, buttonholes and decorations, it can be costly.

    When Aimee and Tyler Morrison, both 25, started to plan their wedding, they decided to save money by growing their own – and they reckon they’ve saved around £1600 by doing so.

    The couple, from Salisbury, grew poppies, dahlias, Cosmos, and sweetpeas, as well as plenty of wildflowers, including blue cornflowers.

    They estimate they spent around £400 on seed trays, pots, compost, manure, flower food, a greenhouse, seeds and dahlia tubers to create everything they needed for their big day.

    The couple added that their allotment will also continue to bloom for years to come.

    A green-fingered couple rented an allotment to grow all their own flowers - for their WEDDING. See SWNS story SWBRflowers. Tyler and Aimee Morrison spent a year growing colourful blooms which adorned the guests, tables and venue at their nuptials. Their flowers decorated the buttonholes of the groomsmen's suits and even the confetti was made out of dried petals from their plot. They grew poppies, dahlias, Cosmos, and sweetpeas, as well as plenty of wildflowers, including blue cornflowers. Their countryside wedding venue was filled with bouquets, table arrangements, and a floral arch of 20 different types of pink, white, purple and yellow flowers. And they had enough left over to dry some out and press them - so that they could be showered with a confetti of their own petals as they walked out of the ceremony. The couple grew all the flowers themselves in an allotment they took on just twelve months before their wedding on August 10 after almost nine years together.
    Aimee with some of the floral decorations (Picture: Jamie Wolfeld / SWNS)

    With the flowers they grew, they created bouquets for Aimee and six bridesmaids, buttonholes for Tyler and three groomsmen, table decorations, a flower arch (with the frame made by Tyler) and even some confetti from dried petals.

    The couple wanted a more sustainable wedding day so by growing their own, they could make sure their flowers hadn’t been flown from overseas.

    Aimee told Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s always been a dream to become somewhat more self-sustainable or at least learn how to grow our food and getting n allotment seemed the perfect place to start.

    A green-fingered couple rented an allotment to grow all their own flowers - for their WEDDING. See SWNS story SWBRflowers. Tyler and Aimee Morrison spent a year growing colourful blooms which adorned the guests, tables and venue at their nuptials. Their flowers decorated the buttonholes of the groomsmen's suits and even the confetti was made out of dried petals from their plot. They grew poppies, dahlias, Cosmos, and sweetpeas, as well as plenty of wildflowers, including blue cornflowers. Their countryside wedding venue was filled with bouquets, table arrangements, and a floral arch of 20 different types of pink, white, purple and yellow flowers. And they had enough left over to dry some out and press them - so that they could be showered with a confetti of their own petals as they walked out of the ceremony. The couple grew all the flowers themselves in an allotment they took on just twelve months before their wedding on August 10 after almost nine years together.
    Tyler at the allotment (Picture: Jamie Wolfeld / SWNS)

    ‘Shortly after getting the allotment, my cousin mentioned growing some flowers on her plot for the wedding, which sparked the idea for us to grow our flowers. We also had hoped to save some money and give the day a more personal touch. We also wanted our flowers to be British grown without the air miles attached to them.’

    The couple had no experience with gardening and as they didn’t have any outdoor space, they decided to get their allotment to have somewhere outdoors to enjoy.

    They took out the allotment in June last year and started growing their flowers soon after.

    A green-fingered couple rented an allotment to grow all their own flowers - for their WEDDING. See SWNS story SWBRflowers. Tyler and Aimee Morrison spent a year growing colourful blooms which adorned the guests, tables and venue at their nuptials. Their flowers decorated the buttonholes of the groomsmen's suits and even the confetti was made out of dried petals from their plot. They grew poppies, dahlias, Cosmos, and sweetpeas, as well as plenty of wildflowers, including blue cornflowers. Their countryside wedding venue was filled with bouquets, table arrangements, and a floral arch of 20 different types of pink, white, purple and yellow flowers. And they had enough left over to dry some out and press them - so that they could be showered with a confetti of their own petals as they walked out of the ceremony. The couple grew all the flowers themselves in an allotment they took on just twelve months before their wedding on August 10 after almost nine years together.
    Aimee and Tyler started growing their flowers in February (Picture: Jamie Wolfeld / SWNS)

    Aimee added: ‘The allotment has become a practical but also a relaxing garden. Over the past year, we have had to learn a lot and we’ve found that we have both taken an interest in different elements of gardening.

    ‘I took an interest in learning about the flowers and Tyler about soil health and garden pests.’

    The dried flower confetti
    The dried flower confetti (Picture: Aimee Morrison)

    With their wedding booked for 10 August this year, the couple planned out what would be in bloom around the time, as well as thinking about what would be suitable for the vision they had for the day.

    ‘We spent a lot of time researching what flowers would be best to grow for an August wedding.

    ‘We also took into account which flowers would be best for cutting. We thought about flower height, vase life and if they would grow again once they were cut come again.

    The flower arch they created
    The flower arch they created (Picture: Aimee Morrison)

    ‘There are some good books out there with lots of advice for beginners.

    ‘There’s also an amazing community of gardeners on social media platforms like Instagram which were extremely useful. #growwithzoe has been a lifesaver.’

    Once they had a plan in place, they started sowing their first wedding flower seeds in February

    ‘Over the months we nurtured a lot of seedlings that we hoped would become our wedding flowers.

    People throwing the dried confetti
    Even the confetti was from their allotment (Picture: Jake Webb Photography)

    ‘To be honest, we were completely winging it and grew an excess of flowers thinking most of it either wouldn’t germinate or would die before getting it in the ground.

    ‘In fact, we ended up with more than we knew what to do with, but the good thing about allotments is you can share what you have too much of.’

    Not only were the flowers much more personal, but the couple saved hundreds of pounds.

    aimee and Tyler on their wedding day with some of their flowers
    What a beautiful wedding (Picture: Jake Webb Photography)

    They kept costs down by growing from seed and buying things second hand.

    ‘The soil on our plot is heavy clay, so to ensure everything grew well, we spent money on compost, sand and manure.

    ‘We found a second-hand glass greenhouse on eBay for £40 which we love and was helped with seed germination.

    ‘We also spent close to £100 on seeds and tubers. However, with a little love and care, we can keep these tubers and collect seeds for next year.

    ‘We did a rough estimate and compared to what other florists charge, ours would have cost just over £2000 for everything we had.’

    And now the couple hopes to use the flowers for other weddings in the future.

    What a blooming great idea.

    MORE: Brother and sister share wedding day and manage to save £5,000 each

    MORE: Woman throws wedding-themed birthday party because she’s sick of seeing friends get married


    Couple cut the cost of their wedding flowers by growing them all themselvesCouple cut the cost of their wedding flowers by growing them all themselves

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    The new Galaxy buttons
    These look amazing (Picture: Tesco)

    Attention, chocolate lovers: Galaxy has just released some new caramel buttons – and we need to try them ASAP.

    The caramel crunch Galaxy buttons cost £1 for a 93g bag and are currently available in Tesco.

    They’re described as being a ‘silky smooth chocolate pleasure with crunch caramel pieces’ and are suitable for vegetarians.

    Instagram account MyJunkFoodDiary recently reviewed the caramel buttons, writing: ‘Well, they lasted all of 5 minutes…

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B1mbuKfgs1A/

    ‘Nice work @galaxyuk – these are deliciously moreish! Does what it says on the tin, really – silky smooth Galaxy chocolate buttons, with small crunchy bits – my guess is the crunchy caramel bits are the same stuff used in the crunchy caramel M&Ms which, in this smaller format, is much kinder on your teeth.

    ‘Hopefully the inclusion of a ‘flavour’ means there’s more to come! I’m thinking nuts? Cookie pieces? Any takers?!’

    Other people have also been sharing pictures of their own packets online, to say how much they love them.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B1Rpj_7lAjF/

    This release comes after Galaxy announced it will also be launching boxes filled with nothing but Galaxy Truffles.

    Galaxy decided it was time to offer customers the truffles once again after they removed them from Celebrations tubs back in 2011.

    The truffles feature the same velvety truffles encased in Galaxy milk chocolate, each wrapped individually in foil – this time in new colours.

    Sarah Mellor, Galaxy Brand Director said: ‘We are extremely excited to be launching Galaxy Truffles in the UK this year and to be entering the all year-round gifting market for the first time as a brand.

    ‘For so many, Galaxy Truffles were part of a much-loved festive tradition and we are thrilled to be answering the undeniable demand, reinventing this favourite, now available all year round, as the perfect gift to bring pleasure to the next generation of Galaxy fans.’

    MORE: Glossybox has revealed the goodies in their 2019 Advent Calendar

    MORE: Mum creates amazing mermaid scales feature wall for just £18


    Tesco Is Selling Galaxy Caramel Chocolate Buttons And They're *So* Cheap Picture: Galaxy METROHGRABTesco Is Selling Galaxy Caramel Chocolate Buttons And They're *So* Cheap Picture: Galaxy METROHGRAB

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    Guy on Tinder realises he's messaging roomates
    Everyone on Tinder loves hiking pics, but they don’t like copy and paste lines (Picture: @asapswivel)

    Tinder users will likely know that plenty of wannabe lotharios copy and paste their opening lines, but it’s normally fairly hard to catch them out.

    That wasn’t the case for Trenton, however, who was busted when he sent the same chat-up to two girls who lived together.

    Sharing on Twitter, the Kansas singleton captioned screenshots of the exchanges with ‘i’m deleting tinder’.

    The screencaps showed him using the exact same line on two girls – both about pick up ‘limes’ – and getting the exact same seemingly-positive response.

    When he realised they’d both send him the same thing back, he questioned this, and was met with a YouTube link to the popular Vine ‘and they were roommates.

    Guy on Tinder realises he's messaging roomates
    Chat up line one (Picture: @asapswivel)
    Guy on Tinder realises he's messaging roomates
    Chat up line two (Picture: @asapswivel)

    To the second girl, he replied ‘Okay not gunna lie the weirdest thing just happened.

    ‘I haven’t been on Tinder for a few days so I sent that out to a couple of girls and you gave the literal exact response as another girl.

    ‘Not trying to sound like a player or whatever but I’m tripped out.’

    That was when the YouTube link was sent.

    It didn’t end there, either, as Trenton’s tweet has now received over 413,000 likes and 73,000 retweets.

    Off the back of his new found notoriety, the player has become the playee, and he’s now been receiving chat up ‘limes’ from girls who recognised him on the dating site.

    He also managed to get the Snapchat contacts of both the roommates, so perhaps this is the start of the newest hot social media throuple.

    Watch this space.

    MORE: Attention, chocolate lovers: You can now buy Caramel Crunch Galaxy Buttons

    MORE: Couple saved £1600 on wedding flowers by growing their own at their allotment


    Guy on Tinder realises he\'s messaging roomates Picture: @asapswivel METROGRAB https://twitter.com/asapswivel?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1166411659746914309&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thesun.co.uk%2Ffabulous%2F9822556%2Ftinder-lad-used-same-chat-up-line-two-women-caught-out-roommates%2FGuy on Tinder realises he\'s messaging roomates Picture: @asapswivel METROGRAB https://twitter.com/asapswivel?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1166411659746914309&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thesun.co.uk%2Ffabulous%2F9822556%2Ftinder-lad-used-same-chat-up-line-two-women-caught-out-roommates%2F

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    The Yorkie and KitKat bars
    These new bars sound amazing (Picture: Nestle)

    Nestle is launching two new chocolate bars: a brand new KitKat and a new Yorkie, too.

    The new chocolate bars come with more fruit, nuts and cereal as well as more protein and fibre.

    So, what’s coming?

    Well, you’ll soon be able to find a Raspberry & Hazelnut KitKat Chunky and an Oats, Apple And Cinnamon Yorkie on the shelves, forming a new ‘MORE’ range from Nestle.

    The KitKat Chunky MORE will go on sale from next week while the Yorkie MORE will follow before the end of the year.

    The new KitKat bar
    The new KitKat bar (Picture: Nestle)

    The KitKat consists of the familiar, crispy KitKat wafer combined with a thick layer of real fruit and hazelnut pieces all coated in smooth milk chocolate.

    And the Yorkie is all about crunchy oat clusters, crisp apple pieces and a hint of cinnamon; again coated in milk chocolate.

    Each bar has 30% less sugar than its traditional counterpart, contains ‘real fruit’ and more protein.

    The new Yorkie bar
    The new Yorkie bar (Picture: Nestle)

    The new Yorkie MORE is also a source of fibre.

    The launch is another step, Nestle says, its ongoing work to innovate and develop its confectionery to provide better choices.

    Alex Gonnella, Nestle UK’s marketing director, said: ‘We are proud of these latest innovations.

    ‘Whether it is fruit, nuts or oats; the fibre or protein they provide; this range does offer more and is our next generation of chocolate bars with 30% less sugar. Most importantly, both of them taste fantastic.’

    The range will start to appear in stores from this month, with a larger rollout being planned for later in the year.

    MORE: Ben & Jerry’s launches new Chocolate Cherry Garcia low calorie ice cream

    MORE: Cadbury offers four-in-one chocolate bar to ‘unite’ India


    MORE_Range_16x9-0dc2MORE_Range_16x9-0dc2

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    Woman meditating
    We are constantly comparing ourselves to other people who falsely advertise their omni-cheer online (Picture: Getty)

    Seeing as many on Instagram are self-proclaimed life coaches nowadays, it’s hard to scroll without ingesting at least one inspirational quote from the positive thinking movement.

    But, I’m left feeling anything but inspired.

    If there’s one thing guaranteed to put me in a bad mood it’s the ‘good vibes only’ culture. ‘Good vibes only’ is just ‘man up’ by some other name. Another way of telling us what to feel, regardless of how we’re feeling. Another instruction to bury the negative, hide the sadness and ignore our emotions.

    Research this week apparently found that optimists live longer, but as with most of these studies, I remain sceptical… even if it’s bad for my health.

    Banning negative thinking in the pursuit of happiness is counter-productive and, dare I say, delusional. Because life doesn’t work that way. We need negativity to build resilience, strength and character. By its very definition, positivity would not exist without the negative. Bad things happen. Bad thoughts happen too. If we ignore their existence, we fail to develop the tools to deal with them in a healthy way.

    So when winter comes, instead of shivering in the snow as we ‘visualise’ and ‘manifest’ warmer weather, we just put on a coat.

    Positivity has become consumable. Brands are capitalising on the ‘feel good’ phenomenon and we are lead to believe that products will further assist us on our ‘journey to success’ if they have some god-awful inspirational quote written across it.

    Selling happiness is not a new concept. From the mid 20th century, advertisers sold the idea that ‘you must look like this to be happy and successful’, and we grew wise to their ways. But I now find myself being told I must think a certain way instead.

    *Illo Request for Ella* Ali Pantony: What I've learned from having my heart broken
    I’m ok with bad vibes, because they make the good times even better (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    There is a distinction between having good mental health and being happy. Denying negative emotions is not healthy. Accepting their existence and developing the skills to be able to manage them, is.

    No one can be happy all the time. We are constantly comparing ourselves to other people who falsely advertise their omni-cheer online. Which, of course, is going to leave us feeling inadequate. Even the body-positivity movement makes me feel like I should feel ecstatic about my thighs. I’m indifferent about them, and I’m fine with that.

    I get it. There are a lot of bad things happening in the world and it can sometimes feel like too much to bear. But bad things do happen. Negative feelings are just as valid as positive ones. Ignoring the existence of painful experiences, information or emotions is not helpful because they are a fundamental part of human life.

    Denying the existence of our problems is a temporary fix and heals nothing. You can’t positive think your way out of student debt, an unhappy relationship or poor health.

    I see an endless conveyor belt of influencers pushing the idea that ‘visualisation’ and ‘positive meditation’ are the tools required to get the job you want, the partner you want, even the sodding pair of shoes you want. Maybe it’s a northern thing, but where I’m from if you want something, you work hard to achieve it, and accept that there will probably be a few obstacles along the way. It’s all about how you deal with the obstacles.

    I love cynics, pessimists and sceptics. They make me feel real.

    The people telling you they manifested their success by putting positive vibes out into the universe are probably the ones with Daddy’s money in their back pocket and a godmother who knows someone who can pull some strings.

    Just before sitting to write this piece, I stumbled across an Instagram post that perfectly summarises the culture I’m referring to. It read:

    ‘Delete, unfollow, unfriend, block, erase and disconnect from anyone and anything that robs you of your peace, love and happiness. Not just on social media, but in real life too, You don’t need to be around people who don’t see and appreciate your value.’

    Feel free to block me for saying this, but that’s some utter narcissistic b*llocks. It reads like a Donald Trump manifesto. You can’t simply deny the existence of the people who don’t believe in you, don’t appreciate or value you. Otherwise your world will turn into an echo chamber of self-delusion.

    We need people in our lives who challenge us, call us out, doubt our capabilities so that we strive to do better. Every single person I love has at some point robbed me of my peace, love and happiness. That’s what people do. How are we going to build healthy, stable relationships if we follow instaspam self-help guidance to cut people out all the time?

    I love cynics, pessimists and sceptics. They are the people who make me laugh the most and let me know it is ok to not feel ok all the time. They make me feel real. Feel human. They have also helped me see sense and kept me from pursuing irrational and unrealistic endeavors.

    At the lowest points in my life it has been these people who have helped me through. The ones who have sat there, listened to my barrage of negativity and said, ‘Yep, that’s sh*t,’ then shared their own tales of woe to make me feel a little less alone in the world. Because they allowed me to moan, I didn’t need to wallow. Besides, mathematically speaking, two negatives make a positive anyway.

    When you go through a rough time, that’s when you find out who your fair weather friends are, and who will stay by your side through the storm.

    So I’m ok with bad vibes, because they make the good times even better.

    MORE: People who post inspirational quotes ‘have lower levels of intelligence’, study finds

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

    MORE: I love my small boobs and refuse to be photoshopped


    Woman doing meditation near the ocean beach.Woman doing meditation near the ocean beach.

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    amanda and Jimmy the greyhound who found her breast cancer
    Amanda and Jimmy (Picture: PA Real Life)

    When Amanda Evans-Nash’s dog Jimmy started jumping up and pawing at her chest, she pushed him away.

    But when she brushed her hand over the spot he had been sniffing at, she left a lump.

    She’d never noticed it before – but when she got it checked out, she was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.

    Amanda, 50, of Prestwich, Greater Manchester, said: ‘My cancer was very sizeable, aggressive and already spreading.

    ‘Who knows what the outcome of my story would’ve been if it wasn’t for Jimmy and his persistent sniffing that morning?

    ‘Now, all I want to do is raise awareness. A lot of people don’t even realise that there’s more than one type of breast cancer.

    ‘Breast cancer charities are already perceived as being oversubscribed to, but there’s still such a long way to go with research – particularly with the form of the disease I had.’

    Earlier this year, US firm BioScentDx, released a study which showed that dogs – known to have smell receptors 10,000 times more accurate than humans – could sniff out blood samples from people with cancer with almost 97 per cent accuracy.

    Amanda and greyhound Jimmy (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
    Amanda was lying in bed when Jimmy started jumping on her (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Back in June 2017, Amanda she was lying in bed with her left arm raised above her head and Jimmy jumped up beside her, before persistently sniffing around her breast and armpit area.

    She said: ‘He just wouldn’t leave me alone. It was really tickling me, so I reached over with my right hand to gently push him away – and when I did, I felt a lump under my left nipple.’

    To her horror, when she examined herself in the mirror, the lump was clearly visible.

    The next morning saw her GP, who told her it could simply be a cyst, but referred her to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Scotland, near where she was living at the time.

    Told it would be around two weeks before she could be seen, she went into work and told her boss, who kindly helped her to call local private hospitals, before landing an appointment that day at 1pm at the BMI Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow.

    ‘By 6pm I had been diagnosed with breast cancer,’ she said.

    ‘My husband Graham had been waiting for me in a different room, but when I got the diagnosis. I felt numb.

    ‘I could barely look at him for fear of breaking down. When I came back into the room, he gave me this look as if to say, “So? Any news?”

    ‘All I could do was shake my head.’

    She was referred back to Ninewells, where a biopsy confirmed she had triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer, an uncommon form of the disease.

    Amanda with her Jimmy, who she says saved her life, when he found a breast cancer lump
    Amanda says Jimmy saved her life (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Her main tumour was the lime-sized growth she had originally felt, but another smaller one was also found at the top of her breast and the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.

    ‘After my diagnosis, I cried solidly for about two days, but I have always tried to see the positive, and use humour to get through,’ she continued.

    ‘And eventually, I realised that sinking into my pyjamas and watching Jeremy Kyle all day wasn’t going to get me better.

    ‘So, I thought to myself, “Right, enough crying. Let’s beat the b****r.”‘

    Amanda has 18 weeks of chemotherapy, which ended in November 2017, followed by surgery in January 2018.

    As the treatment had shrunk her tumour, she did not need a mastectomy, instead having a wide local excision, where just the lump and some healthy tissue around it was cut away.

    Amanda with bruising on her breast (PA REAL LIFE/COLLECT)
    Amanda with bruising on her breast (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Doctors also removed 29 lymph nodes and sent them away to be biopsied, to find out if the cancer had spread any further.

    And as she waited for the results, she had six weeks of radiotherapy, which finished in April 2018.

    Thankfully, Amanda was given the all clear, after results showed her lymph nodes were cancer-free.

    ‘I still have some pain in my breast, because of all the scar tissue, but apart from that and some aching in my joints, which I’m told can be a side-effect of chemo, I feel amazing,’ she said.

    In May, as a way of repaying the care she received and to raise money and awareness, Amanda and some friends took part in Walk the Walk’s annual MoonWalk, which sees thousands of men and women take to the streets and walk 26 miles through the night in specially decorated bras.

    ‘We called our team The Pinky Promises because during treatment, my two little cousins made me pinky promise to be brave, to do what the doctors said and not to cry,’ she added.

    Feeling healthy once more, Amanda has nothing but praise for the pooch who saved her life.

    ‘It still astonishes me how I could have missed the tumour, but Jimmy found it,’ she said. ‘He’s ten years old now, and we got him from a greyhound rescue centre we used to volunteer at. He was always my favourite, so I was delighted to be able to bring him home.

    ‘Now, I want to get people talking. Far too often, people will say they had no idea there were so many types of breast cancer.

    ‘Triple negative, especially, which is what I had, has a long way to go as far as research is concerned. It is more difficult to treat, as you can’t use hormone treatments, and it only makes up around 15 per cent of breast cancer cases, according to Cancer Research UK, so it is relatively rare.

    ‘But the more people talk, the more they will survive.’

    The MoonWalk London 2020 takes place on Saturday 16 May.

    MORE: Mum’s bowel cancer symptoms dismissed as piles for eight months because she was ‘too young’

    MORE: Husband shaves off wife’s hair following cancer diagnosis in poignant photoshoot


    Dog sniffed out tumour in woman\'s left breastDog sniffed out tumour in woman\'s left breast

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    Fanta Black Orange is coming for Halloween
    Fanta Black Orange is coming for Halloween (Picture: Fanta)

    We know summer isn’t quite over yet – but we’re already looking towards Halloween.

    and to celebrate the spooky season, Fanta is launching a jet black version of the blood orange flavour.

    Yes, to confuse your taste buds, the drink will be darker than dark, but still tastes like citrus.

    The new flavour has been named Fanta Dark Orange.

    The blood orange flavour was launched for Halloween last year but this year the brand has taken the spooky twist even further.

    Renowned artist Noma Bar has also collaborated with the brand to design a new look which features a Fanta inspired werewolf.

    It’s available in two litre and 500ml bottles, in stores nationwide from September but it’s a limited edition so make sure you get your hands on a bottle before Halloween.

    Dee Woolcott, Senior Brand Manager for Fanta Great Britain, said: ‘Halloween is a huge moment in the year and to celebrate, we wanted to launch a new, fun version of Fanta that is delicious, but with a scary twist. So, the only question is – dare you taste the dark?’

    If you’re a fan of the citrus flavour and dark drinks, you can also try Diet Coke clementine. Yes, Coca Cola has already skipped Halloween and gone straight to Christmas.

    The festive flavour is a standard Diet Coke with a touch of the citrus flavour.

    You’ll have to wait until mid-October to try it and it’s only available until the end of the year.

    MORE: Nestle launches brand new KitKat and Yorkie bars

    MORE: Jimmy the greyhound saved his owner’s life after sniffing out a cancerous tumour in her breast


    Pumpkin Glowing At Moonlight In The Spooky Forest - Halloween ScenePumpkin Glowing At Moonlight In The Spooky Forest - Halloween Scene

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    Lucky Voice karaoke wedding
    This could be you but you’re single and can’t sing (Picture: Lucky Voice)

    Singing and dancing is an integral part of most weddings, but Lucky Voice wants to make it even more so.

    The famed karaoke company, that has venues throughout London, is merging marriage and crooning to your favourite tunes with their new ‘marryoke’ package.

    Brides and grooms will get to sing their vows to one another in the presence of a minister at the Islington location, before serenading each other with a selection of carefully curated wedding classics such as Bruno Mars Marry You and The Dixie Cups Chapel of Love.

    They’ll be able to push the room’s ‘thirsty’ button throughout, whereby free-flowing champagne will be delivered to their private booth, and can also choose a wedding cake to be ready and waiting upon arrival.

    Lucky Voice karaoke wedding
    What bops will you belt out on your wedding day (Picture: Lucky Voice)

    From there, they cross the road to the Islington Town Hall and make it official, before heading back for even more singing.

    You can then warble your way through their specially created wedding playlist, including such wedding bangers as John Legend’s All of Me and Adele’s cover of Make You Feel My Love.

    The bride and groom will have two hours to party in a booth that fits 25 people, after which they’ll likely be all karaoke-d out.

    The plans are in the works to make this an actual package, but the first couple to try it out will be getting it all for free. Engaged couples need to email luckyvoice@redlionpr.com and explain why they feel they should be chosen. I’m sure sending in a little duet won’t do any harm to your cause.

    Thomas Mc Auley, Brand Manager at Lucky Voice explains ‘We’re on the hunt for a karaoke-loving couple to win our Marryoke package and sing their nuptials to one another at Lucky Voice. They’ll experience the full wedding package and be the first ever couple to have a karaoke wedding’.

    If that sounds like your idea of heaven, you better get entering.

    MORE: Fanta is launching a jet black version for Halloween

    MORE: Dad invents app that locks kids’ phones until they message their parents back

     


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    Some of the new glitter-free cards and wrap
    Some of the new glitter-free cards and wrap (Picture: M&S)

    M&S has just made it a little easier to have an eco-friendly festive season.

    It might seem like a little while away, but with September just days away, Autumn is almost here and you’ll be planning your Christmas shopping in no time.

    Although we love a little bit of sparkle at Christmas, glitter on cards and gift wrap means it’s harder to recycle.

    Glitter is also a microplastic that can be harmful to the environment.

    So this year, Marks and Spencer has committed to going glitter-free.

    All greeting cards, wrapping paper, tags, gift bags, calendars and cracker will now be widely recyclable, in a bid to reduce the impact of microplastics on the environment.

    All designs which previously featured glitter have been replaced with innovative paper patterns or minimal foils to maintain the festive sparkle.

    The store has also committed to making its entire year-round range of cards and gift-wrapping products will be 100% glitter-free by the end of 2020.

    Paul Willgoss, Director of Food Technology at M&S, said: We know reducing single-use plastics is as important to our customers as it is to our business, so removing glitter from our cards and wrap range will make it easier for them to celebrate Christmas in a more sustainable way. This is a step in the right direction as we continue working on our plans to completely remove glitter from the range next year.’

    Putting glitter on flowers and plants and single use packaging for food products has also been banned.

    To further encourage customers to recycle more, M&S has added clear back-of-product recycling instructions to its Christmas wrapping paper rolls with helpful tips, for example removing tape and any add-ons such as bows.

    And most of the cards that used to come in plastic packaging, now come in cardboard boxes.

    MORE: Nestle launches brand new KitKat and Yorkie bars

    MORE: Fanta is launching a jet black version for Halloween


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    The little girl coloured her face in purple marker
    Oops (Picture: SWNS)

    A mum says she has ‘proof’ kids are ready to go back to school after her daughter got so bored she coloured in her own face with a purple marker.

    Jade Perry shared photos of her daughter Skyla-Rae Muttram covered in the purple marker, alongside the caption: ‘how long is it until they go back’.

    The mum-of-three shared the image after five-year-old Skyla covered every inch of her face purple.

    The photo has been liked more than 500 times since it was shared on Facebook by Jade, from Plymouth.

    Skyla-Rae with her purple face
    Skyla-Rae with her face covered in purple (Picture: Jade Perry /SWNS.COM)

    Jade said that Skyla-Rae was supposed to be in her room colouring on paper, when her younger brother told her mum that she had drawn over her face.

    She didn’t know whether ‘to laugh or cry’.

    She said: ‘I have twin boys too so when one of the boys came and told me. I called her down from her room, where I’d trusted her to do her colouring in.

    ‘I burst out laughing, she looked like Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.’

    Skyla-Rae told her mum that she was trying to look like the Disney character, Vamperina, who is all purple.

    She added: ‘I tried to tell her off but how can you stay mad at that face. Apparently, she wanted to be Vamperina.’

    Jade said she desperately tried to remove the marker as they had a family trip to Woodlands booked the following day.

    ‘I was willing to try everything,’ she said.

    ‘It took a good couple of days to come off. Baby wipes, multiple showers and baths. One woman on Gossip Girls suggested washing up liquid so we tried that too.’

    It eventually came off with lots of scrubbing.

    MORE: Instagram’s ‘good vibes only’ culture is unhealthy – the world needs more cold realists

    MORE: Nestle launches brand new KitKat and Yorkie bars


    INDI-GO BACK TO SCHOOLINDI-GO BACK TO SCHOOL

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    May - a cat who fell from the eleventh floor - and her X-ray
    May fell from the eleventh floor (Picture: SWNS)

    A kitten was abandoned by her owners after falling out of a window on the eleventh floor.

    Despite surviving the 120ft fall, seven-month-old May had to be rehomed because her owners couldn’t afford the vet bill to fix her broken pelvis.

    May’s owners took her to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home after the fall, where staff rushed the kitten to a clinic.

    An expert veterinary team performed emergency surgery to realign her pelvis which was fractured in several places.

    May after her fall
    Her pelvis was fractured in several places (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home /SWNS)

    X-rays from before and after the operation show May’s fractures completely healed and her skewed spine straightened.

    May went to stay with a foster carer to allow her to recover in a home environment after the procedure, which left her with no lasting damage.

    The whole ordeal has not phased May, who was back on her feet just days after the surgery.

    Cattery team leader at Battersea, Rosa Steele, said: ‘May’s swift recovery is verging on miraculous considering how far she fell.

    May after the fall
    Her owners couldn’t afford the vets bills (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home /SWNS)

    ‘It’s not often that we hear of cats who have fallen from eleven storeys high, however cats climbing to great heights or jumping out of windows and injuring themselves is not unheard of.

    ‘Owners who live above ground floor level would do well to remember to keep their easily accessible windows shut if their cat has an adventurous nature, or at least create a barrier to prevent their pet from exploring further if there is a danger of them falling out.’

    The lucky kitten has now been rehomed after catching the eye of Collin Goodhew and his family, from Berkshire.

    Collin said: ‘After we brought May home, we tried following Battersea’s advice and keeping her in one room so that she could get settled in, but after a few days it was clear that she desperately wanted to explore the rest of the house.

    ‘She likes to follow me from room to room and tries to climb everything – including the gap down the side of the bed.’

    May in bed
    She’s now happy in a new home (Picture: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home /SWNS)

    While it is not certain, May’s injuries would suggest that the tiny kitten landed on her feet.

    Cats have an innate ability to orient themselves as they fall in order to land on their feet, and often end up with only pelvic or jaw injuries despite dropping massive distances.

    Due to their lightweight frame and fur, cats will only reach a maximum of 60mph when in freefall – half the 120mph terminal velocity of an average person.

    As a result, as long as the cat has a long enough drop to right itself, they tend to survive falling distances that would be fatal to other similar-sized animals – known as high-rise syndrome.

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    A kitten's bad day turned worse when she was abandoned by her owners after falling out of a window - on the eleventh floorA kitten's bad day turned worse when she was abandoned by her owners after falling out of a window - on the eleventh floor

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    Claire says she has faced depression after a double masectomy
    Claire has been depressed since the mastectomy (Picture: Claie Almey /SWNS.COM)

    A mum of three has told how living without breasts after a double mastectomy has ‘destroyed’ her sex life and her confidence, and left her needing counselling.

    Claire Almey, 42, hasn’t had a sexual relationship with her fiance Jon, 40, in over two years, saying she doesn’t feel sexy or feminine after her operation.

    She had surgery to remove her 34D breasts after being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in July 2017, and is now in remission.

    But the treatment means she’s had to wait two years for new boobs, and might have to wait another 12 months for a reconstruction.

    She’s speaking out to give others hope and show they are not alone.

    Claire said: ‘I don’t feel like a woman any more, I’m just nothing. My fiance and I haven’t had a sexual relationship since the operation.

    ‘I’m just living in limbo until my reconstruction, but it’s been over two years now and they still haven’t set a date for the surgery.

    Claire after the surgery
    She says her sex life has been destroyed (Picture: SWNS)

    ‘I feel that I can’t move on with my life until that happens, and it’s just been awful.’

    Claire first started dating fiance Jon 12 years ago, after a mutual friend set the pair up in 2007. The couple share two children together, and were excited to tie the knot when they got engaged in 2013.

    The engaged pair had a regular sex life before her mastectomy, which she said played a big part in their relationship.

    Claire’s own mother had died of breast cancer at the age of 59, and when Claire found a lump in her left breast in December 2016, she immediately went to the doctor.

    Multiple appointments at Burton Hospital proved her instincts were right when doctors diagnosed her with grade two lobular breast cancer.

    Lumps were found in both breasts and the brave mum underwent a double mastectomy in July 2017.

    Claire with Jon
    Claire and Jon had a healthy sex life before the surgery (Picture: Claie Almey /SWNS.COM)

    Following her surgery, Claire then had lymph nodes on her left side removed before undergoing a course of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and endocrine therapy.

    As Claire required radiotherapy after her mastectomy, the mum had to wait a whole year after her radiotherapy treatment ended in March 2018 to discuss her reconstructive surgery.

    The wait is needed because radiotherapy affects the elasticity of the skin and doctors have to give the body time to recover before assessing if the skin is of a good enough quality to support an implant.

    Claire eventually met with plastic surgeons in June 2019 to discuss her reconstructive surgery at the Nottingham Breast Institute where specialists will use fat and skin from her stomach to make two new breasts.

    But now she said she has joined a 12 month waiting list, she is still waiting for a date, and said her mental health has suffered as a result.

    Claire said: ‘I suffer from quite bad depression and anxiety as a result of my mastectomy.

    Claire after the surgery
    It may be another year before Claire can have her surgery (Picture: Claie Almey /SWNS.COM)

    ‘I don’t like going out to places or having my photo taken any more,’ she says.

    ‘We haven’t been on holiday as a family in two years now because of how anxious I get being around other people, constantly thinking they’re looking at me.

    ‘I feel like I look horrendous and I’ve had to have counselling because of how low I feel.

    ‘We’re waiting until I have my reconstruction to get married as I can’t imagine walking down the aisle like this. I just want to feel a little bit of normal, like I used to.

    ‘Jon has been my rock throughout this, he’s so supportive and has been incredible in helping me, but our sex life is just non existent now because I don’t feel like a woman should do anymore.

    ‘I don’t feel sexy or feminine. Jon says he doesn’t care, but I can’t get my head around it.’

    A spokesperson for University Hospitals of Derby and Burton said: ‘Breast reconstruction is an option for women who have had a mastectomy after they’ve recovered from other treatments.

    ‘The type of reconstruction and timeline varies as everyone’s journey through cancer is unique depending on their diagnosis, treatment and recovery.’

    Mr Stephen McCulley, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Nottingham University Hospitals, said: ‘Breast reconstruction is a highly complex procedure particularly when using microsurgery techniques to build breast from parts of the body like the tummy skin and fat.

    ‘Nottingham University hospitals are one of the country’s leading centres for breast reconstructive surgery.

    ‘We aim to ensure that patients are operated on in a timely fashion, with the needs of each individual at the very heart of everything we do.

    ‘Surgery by our highly-trained clinicians can take up to ten hours to complete for the most complex cases. This can make scheduling challenging, but we endeavour to provide the best possible experience and outcomes for our patients.’

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    MASTECTOMY TRAUMA - Mum left on anti-depressants after double mastectomy destroyed her sex lifeMASTECTOMY TRAUMA - Mum left on anti-depressants after double mastectomy destroyed her sex life

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    CBD for piles/hemorrhoids
    As with anything, however, you need to speak to a doctor before trying (Picture: Getty)

    Although plenty of research still needs to be done on the efficacy of cannabinoids on illnesses and ailments, a vast amount of those who use CBD do so to alleviate symptoms (41% according to a recent survey).

    Some take it as they believe it helps their mental health, while others have claimed to see results for conditions such as epilepsy.

    A brand new one, however, is using the cannabis-derived product to relieve piles.

    One mum shared on Reddit that it had ‘saved her butt’ after she gave birth and suffered with severe hemorrhoids. From there, plenty more people have been saying the same thing.

    The new parent explained how she suffered with piles following the birth of her baby until discovering CBD, in post titled ‘CBD Saved My Butt (literally)’.

    In it, she said: ‘I had my first baby in July. 3-4 weeks post-partum, I develop excruciating hemorrhoids (they sure don’t tell you it could happen!).

    ‘I’ve had them before, little external ones. This was not like that. They were internal and external, the internal one was huge. I did not know such inflammation could occur.’

    She goes on to explain the difference after trying CBD: ‘Within 2 days I was able to go to the bathroom without crying. I was in pain, but nothing like the pain-coaster I had been on. The CBD absorbed and actually reached the internal hemorroid. My inflammation began to decrease, as did my pain. I can almost recognise my bottom again.’

    The poster used an unscented lotion that had the CBD compound in it, and found what she called ‘sweet heavenly mercy lawdy oh sweet relief’.

    Another person replied talking about their own experience of using the oil for hemorrhoids, saying: ‘It was absolutely incredible. I applied it, noticed the inflamed area hurt less within 10 minutes, then went to take a shower about 45 minutes later and when I went to wash (ahem..) back there, all the swelling had gone and I was completely back to normal.’

    It’s unclear why and how CBD appears to work this way, and it’s important to ensure you always speak to your doctor before trying anything new rather than simply relying on personal anecdotes.

    David Barcly, MD of UK brand CBD Armour says: ‘There have been reports of CBD being a very responsive anti-inflammatory. So one can understand why people would consider using it in this manner. It would be beneficial to have some official research into this.’

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    Mumsnet user says CBD \'saved her butt\' and cured her of pilesMumsnet user says CBD \'saved her butt\' and cured her of piles

    0 0

    illustration of woman in calm yoga pose
    ‘The goal is for you to start feeling better: calmer, more comfortable, more optimistic, more zen.’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Anxiety can affect anyone. And it can strike at any time.

    These days, we’re all much more open about our mental health, but many of us still need help finding strategies to help when the symptoms hit hard.

    Anxiety can leave you feeling fearful, upset and overwhelmed. It can also manifest physically with headaches, stomach problems, muscle shakes and panic attacks. Not pleasant.

    If you’re struggling with anxiety on a regular basis you should talk to your GP about treatment options, because therapy and medication can be extremely effective. But there’s no harm in trying some simple methods out at home too. Yoga can be a huge help.

    We asked Canada-based yoga expert Kelsey Ravlich, for her top tips on using yoga to combat anxiety symptoms.

    ‘We’re all well-acquainted with the word anxiety, and the feeling. It’s an unfortunate and increasingly prevalent part of our modern lives,’ explains Kelsey.

    ‘Like many conditions, anxiety exists on a spectrum. It can manifest as a tiny stomach knot when your boss says, “come in and close the door behind you,” or it can rear its ugly head in the form of more chronic, debilitating issues that require medical intervention.

    Illustration of an upward dog yoga pose
    Yoga can help to steady your breathing and distract your mind. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Fortunately, there are an incredible number of resources available to help us bring ourselves back down to earth when we feel stressed, returning to a more relaxed physical, emotional, and mental space.

    ‘One tool which has gained much traction in the last decade or so for alleviating anxiety symptoms is yoga.’

    Yoga for anxiety symptoms

    ‘I’ve put together my go-to list of four yoga poses and one breathing exercise to combat anxiety.

    ‘Each of these poses can be held for as long as 10 minutes, but ultimately should be maintained for at least five deep inhales and exhales.

    ‘The goal of this practice is for you to start feeling better: calmer, more comfortable, more optimistic, more zen. If you have access to yoga props or blankets, feel free to incorporate those as well – this is all about what makes you feel good.’

    Child’s pose (Balasana)

    As this pose is a forward bend and mild inversion, it is wonderful for releasing tension and letting go.

    Feeling your forehead against the mat and allowing for your weight to press into the floor really allows you to give away some weight.

    It also gives you a great opportunity to breathe into the back body, since it’s being stretched – particularly your adrenal glands, which become very overworked in the case of anxiety.

    How-to:

    Start from a hands and knees position with knees directly under the hips and wrists directly under the shoulders.

    Open your knees wider than hip distance apart, and bring the big toes to touch.

    Send your hips back to sit on your open feet (or as close to your feet as possible) and walk hands forward until the forehead comes to rest on the floor.

    In-bed child’s pose bonus: If your hips are feeling tight and it’s challenging to bring them all the way back to meet your heels, slide a blanket in between your hips and heels.

    A pillow underneath your forehead is also a great, cozy way to help shorten the distance to the mattress or the floor.

    Bridge and supported bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

    Bridge pose is by nature a heart-opener, and by opening up space around the heart, you take focus away from a stressed mind. Bridge allows you the combination of an uplifting backbend with the calming, quieting effect of a heart-opener.

    Illustration of bridge yoga pose
    ‘Ensure that your knees are hip-width distance apart and pointed directly up at the ceiling.’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    How-to:

    Begin by lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.

    Ensure that your knees are hip-width distance apart and pointed directly up at the ceiling. Arms should be directly by your side, palms pressing gently into the floor.

    Gently engage the glutes, press your feet into the floor, and begin to lift your hips into the air. This part is not necessary, but to further open your heart, you can walk your hands towards each other underneath your hips and clasp them together.

    Either hold the pose here, or make it dynamic by continuing to return your hips to the floor and then back into the air. You can make this pose feel a bit more supported by placing a block underneath your sacrum.

    In-bed Bridge Pose bonus: Slide a pile of pillows or a stack of books underneath your sacrum and make this endorphin-releasing backbend even more delicious.

    Reclined bound angle pose (Baddha Konasana)

    Fair warning: this pose is good for pretty much anything and everything, and only gets better with more pillows, blankets or any other props you have around.

    When we’re anxious, we often take quick, shallow breaths from our chests instead of from our diaphragms. This can further increase anxiety symptoms.

    Sometimes, simply sitting down and shifting our attention to breath can make all the difference. Plus, since this is a great hip-opener, you’ll be more focused on the level of relative discomfort of your hips after sitting all day long.

    Be gentle with yourself as you encourage each inhale and exhale to be slightly fuller, deepening this stretch.

    How-to:

    Begin by setting up your base tower of pillows, meaning one or two stacked on top of each other and one perpendicular across to create a T shape.

    Take a seat in front of the pillows and bring the soles of your feet together, creating a basic bound angle pose.

    From here, keeping your feet together, lean your torso backwards onto your pillow palace and allow your arms to rest at your sides or on your hips. Enjoy that epic feeling of hips opening.

    Legs up the wall pose (Viparita Kirani)

    When you don’t feel like bending forward or backward, this is the pose for you. In Sanskrit, this pose is called Viparita (which means “inverted”) Karani (which means “in action”). Therefore, this pose self-proclaims its ability to invert our daily actions of sitting and standing.

    Illustration of woman doing yoga
    ‘There is no non-awkward way to get into this one.’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    There are many benefits to inversions: when you put your legs up the wall with your pelvis elevated, lymphatic fluids and others that can lead to things like swollen ankles and aching knees actually flow into your lower belly.

    This refreshes your body from the hips down, ultimately releasing quite a bit of stress as well.

    How-to:

    There is no non-awkward way to get into this one.

    Place your feet against a wall and use that leverage as well as your hips to wiggle towards the wall until your hips are resting against it.

    Straighten out your legs so that as much of your heels, calves, hamstrings, and glutes are against the wall as possible.

    If you aren’t happy with where you end up on the wall, you can always shift your hips closer or further away it.

    Four-part breathing

    Life happens out of our control, and sometimes you’re going to need something to relieve your anxiety in a place where you can’t exactly throw your feet up against a wall.

    That’s where yogic breathing exercises come in. Four-part breathing, sometimes called square Breathing, is easy to remember and can be done anywhere.

    How to:

    Start by bringing your attention to your breath and take one mindful inhale and exhale. From that exhale, your four-part breathing begins.

    Inhale a large belly breath in through your nose to the count of 1-2-3-4. When you get to the top, lock in that breath and hold it for a count of 4. Then slowly release that breath through your nose, now exhaling on a count of 4. Finally, hold at the bottom of that exhale, when you have no air left, for a count of 4.

    Repeat this three times at minimum to begin to notice a calming effect.

    ‘There are an incredible number of yoga poses for almost anybody and any body.

    ‘These are a few favorites that can add a moment of stillness and help to ground you before starting your day, before bed to help bring on a good night’s sleep, or even in the bathroom at work.

    ‘Most importantly, know that you are not alone in your anxiety. Reach out, ask for help when you need it, try these poses, and begin your path towards feeling better.’

    Need support? Contact the Samaritans

    For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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