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

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    Jess and Allie with Daisy and Oliver
    Jess and Allie with Daisy and Oliver (Picture: Cancer Research UK)

    Allie and Jess were sisters who shared almost everything – so when Jess was diagnosed with a type of thyroid cancer, she had to make a very difficult decision.

    Jess, now 40, decided to keep her diagnosis from her sister because Allie’s partner Igi was seriously ill with a different type of cancer.

    Jess supported her through his quick decline, his death and his funeral before telling her that she had also had treatment.

    Luckily, Jess made a quick and full recovery – but just a few years later, Allie, now 32, was diagnosed with the same cancer as her sister.

    With Allie anxious for her children who had already lost their father, Jess was by her side offering support and sharing her experience of her own illness.

    Now the sisters have matching scars and last year, they celebrated the births of their babies just weeks apart.

    Allie told Metro.co.uk: ‘Jess always helped me greatly through everything again and again.

    ‘After Igi died, being told I had cancer was so scary but Jess had gone through it and she was able to support me’

    Initially, Jess was diagnosed completely by chance. She has an autoimmune condition called Grave’s disease that causes an overactive thyroid. It runs in their family but Allie was tested and does not have the condition.

    In 2012, Jess’ medication stopped working and she opted to have a thyroidectomy, where the gland is removed, to treat it.

    During the operation, doctors found two tumours on the gland and Jess was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

    The sisters with their new babies
    The sisters with their new babies (Picture: Cancer Research UK)

    Jess explains: ‘I had no idea about the cancer before the operation. I was given the all clear at the same appointment that I was told that I’d had the cancer and so it was over before I even knew it started.

    ‘It was serendipitous that I’d chosen the surgery because if I hadn’t, the other option was the radioiodine. If I’d gone for that, they wouldn’t have discovered the cancer as early.

    ‘It was a shock just to hear the word cancer, especially when you’re not expecting it. I had gone in just to have a follow up for my surgery, so I wasn’t expecting anything other than him to say it’s all fine.’

    Despite the shock, Jess knew she was lucky, especially as her brother-in-law Igi was seriously ill and was diagnosed with rare T-Cell Lymphoma.

    Allie explains: ‘Our daughter was born in May, and halfway through June, he just presented some really odd symptoms.

    Symptoms of thyroid cancer

    • a painless lump or swelling in the front of the neck – although only 1 in 20 neck lumps are cancer
    • swollen glands in the neck
    • unexplained hoarseness that does not get better after a few weeks
    • a sore throat that does not get better
    • difficulty swallowing

    Cancer Research UK

    ‘He had a very swollen arm so I made him go to the doctors and he sent him to the hospital to have checks.

    ‘They ran all sorts of tests over the next couple of months. They couldn’t find what was wrong, but they came up with different ideas.

    ‘He ended up being in hospital for quite a long time, and he wasn’t able to get out of bed, or do any of his self-care anything. Eventually, they found the cancer – it was a rare T-Cell Lymphoma.

    ‘They started him on chemo the day after they gave him the diagnosis but his body just too weak. He had a respiratory arrest, and he never came out to the induced coma after that.’

    Igi died at the age of just 30, just days after his diagnosis.

    With everything that happened to Igi, Jess didn’t tell Allie about her condition until after the funeral.

    She explains: ‘It wasn’t the right time and it wasn’t until after the funeral that I confessed to her.’

    Luckily, Jess didn’t need any further treatment but was regularly monitored to check it hadn’t returned.

    Daisy and Oliver
    Daisy and Oliver were born just weeks apart (Picture: Cancer Research UK)

    Although Allie was devastated by Igi’s death, she tried to carry on with life and watched their children grow, with the help of her family including Jess.

    But the sisters were brought even closer when Allie was diagnosed with the same cancer as Jess, three years later.

    Despite Jess’ diagnosis, Allie thought the pain in her neck was just a slipped disc.

    She explains: ‘I didn’t have symptoms of cancer – I had some nerve problems because I had a herniated disc in my spine. And so they gave me an MRI just to check that out. On that, they saw that I had some growths on my thyroid.

    ‘Even though Jess had been diagnosed, I never thought it would happen to me too because I don’t have Grave’s disease.’

    After Igi’s death from cancer, Allie worried about what would happen to her children if she also ended up seriously ill.

    She explains: ‘There was a bit of panic. The first thing I thought of when I thought of cancer was death and I didn’t want to leave my three kids without parents.

    ‘But the doctor that I could have gone 35 years longer with the same cancer and been in the same sort of state of health. It’s very slow-growing, and they just take it out of you.’

    Like her sister, Allie had a thyroidectomy to remove her thyroid and the tumour.

    They will both need to take medication for the rest of their lives to help their bodies cope without the gland.

    Allie says: ‘It isn’t always straight forward as you’re relying on synthetic hormone medication to control your metabolism. It affects so many things – your energy levels and ability to metabolise food for example. You can eat very little and still put on weight.

    ‘It can also affect your mental health. We have to take these for the rest of our lives.’

    Jess and Allie with Daisy and Oliver
    Jess and Allie supported each other through Igi’s death and both being diagnosed with cancer (Picture: Cancer Research UK)

    Although they both have check-ups, they are both doing well and last year, they gave birth just weeks apart.

    Jess had her third child Daisy on 20 March and Allie had her fourth child Oliver on 6 May last year.

    But after losing Igi and both having cancer, the sisters want to raise funds and awareness.

    This year, they ran the Race for Life for Cancer Research UK.

    Race for Life is a series of events that takes place across the year. Join your local event at raceforlife.org and make a difference in beating cancer.

    MORE: Diablo the porcupine and Fig the sausage dog are the best of friends

    MORE: Dunelm launches super cute sloth themed bedroom collection

    Jess and Allie, recent-2521Jess and Allie, recent-2521

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    Picture of Burgundy Hermès flip flops
    Would you pay £330 for flip flops? (Picture: Hermès)

    We know that high-end brands have a penchant for selling very ordinary things for extraordinary prices.

    For reasons unknown to us, some companies also really enjoy appropriating working-class culture and packaging it up as fashion.

    The latest fashion retailer to be mocked on the internet is boujee french label, Hermès.

    The brand hasn’t offended any groups, but has instead puzzled folks with its flip flops – up for sale for an astonishing £330.

    Now, we’re all for a durable pair of shoes that will stand the test of time, but who on earth is forking out this much for some rubber sandals?

    Obviously, the answer is rich people, and Hermès knows its crowd.

    The leather goods – marketed for men – come in three different colours with the company’s ‘H’ logo embroidered on the strap, and the brand name emblazoned across the top of each sandal.

    Because if you’re going to wear such pricey shoes, you want people to know about it.

    French designer Hermès £330 sandal
    That means one sandal costs £165 (Picture: Hermès)

    On the Hermès website, it describes the expensive summer staple as featuring a ‘foam sole’ with a ‘calfskin lining’ and ‘technical straps’.

    However, people are failing to see how they are any different to ordinary flip flops.

    ‘Normally I find these things very entertaining and laugh and roll my eyes but I’m genuinely confused by this,’ wrote one person on Facebook.

    ‘They are literally flip flops. No ostrich feathers, diamantè studs or appropriation of the stylish working class. Just some flip flops.’

    Another person quipped: ‘Could cost $10, but actually costs $485 from Hermès’.

    ‘Probably still get blisters off them,’ joked another.

    If you’re in need of some flip flops and aren’t in the mood to go bankrupt, then might we suggest visiting a local supermarket, retailer or beach-side shack? You can find the same stuff, but at a much cheaper price tag.

    We have contacted Hermès to learn more about the rationale behind the shoes and how popular they are (if at all). This article will be updated when a reply is received.

    MORE: Rainbow heels are this season’s hottest fashion trend – so where can you get them?

    MORE: People are mocking Topshop’s high-cut swimsuit for looking ‘the wrong way round’

    MORE: People are mocking Fashion Nova’s barely-there cropped jacket on Instagram


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    Split image of Payton Wilson and of her black elasticated trousers
    Payton found the tampon in the pocket of her new trousers (Picture: Mercury Press)

    When Payton Wilson decided to wear her new trousers to work, she wasn’t expecting to find a bloody surprise inside of them.

    The 20-year-old lab worker from Washington, US, had bought the trousers from Walmart – a popular supermarket chain in the US – and the first time she wore them, she noticed a lump in one of the pockets.

    It turned out to be a used tampon, wrapped in a piece of paper.

    In an odd coincidence, Payton works as a phlebotomist (person who draws blood from patients) and was going through blood samples when she found the tampon.

    ‘I was sitting at my desk going through blood samples when I noticed I had a lump in my pocket but I didn’t remember putting anything in there,’ she said to The Sun.

    ‘I looked in my pocket and it was a crumpled up piece of paper so I initially thought it was a note, but as I unfolded it I saw blood and it was a used tampon.

    ‘I was absolutely mortified. Who in their right mind would do that?

    ‘I don’t know if it was a prank or why someone would do that but it’s not justifiable in any way, it was absolutely disgusting.’

    The bloody tampon, wrapped in a piece of paper from a notebook
    The tampon was wrapped in a piece of paper from a notebook (Picture: Mercury Press)

    Because of her line of work, Payton was wearing rubber gloves at the time.

    She said: ‘If someone else had bought them and wasn’t wearing gloves, who knows the kind of diseases they could have caught from it.

    ‘I had washed all the trousers before I’d worn any of them, but from now on I’ll be checking the pockets of every item I buy before I even take it off the rail.

    ‘I never want to go through that again.’

    She also went back to Walmart to explain the situation and the team apologised, as well as offered her a gift card worth around £40.

    Metro.co.uk has contacted Walmart for a comment and this article will be updated once a reply is received.

    MORE: Sisters who developed the same cancer celebrate the birth of their miracle babies just weeks apart

    MORE: Tattoo artist creates nipple tats to breast cancer survivors but the images keep getting deleted from Facebook

    MORE: Lonely man says he can’t get a date because he’s blind – after 50 women ghosted him

    Woman finds tampon in pocket of new trousersWoman finds tampon in pocket of new trousers

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    Paul and Joanne outside Coral
    Paul and Joanne celebrated at Coral (Picture: Paul Seymour /SWNS.COM)

    A married couple have marked 35 years together by celebrating their Coral wedding anniversary at their local Coral bookies.

    Paul Seymour, 60, decided to treat his wife, Joanne, to a date at their local bookmakers to celebrate the milestone.

    The maternity clinic worker took Joanne along to their local Coral in Kent, with a bottle of champagne and a £200 betting budget on 28 July, the day of their anniversary.

    Paul said the inspiration to hatch the plan came from the couple’s tendency to gamble, and how his mum used to work at the store, which his dad regularly visited.

    The couple are known for pulling stunts on big occasions – after arranging for a Dalek to be their best man when they renewed their wedding vows in 2014.

    Five years ago, the Doctor Who super fans wowed their 80 guests when a Dalek wearing a bow tie whizzed down the isle to deliver Joanne’s wedding ring.

    Paul says he wanted to come up with another quirky way of celebrating their next big occasion.

    Paul and Joanna on their wedding day
    They’re celebrating their Coral wedding anniversary (Picture: Paul Seymour /SWNS.COM)

    He said: ‘We always try to be a little bit different. We like to gamble and we visit the Coral regularly so I thought why not.

    ‘We try to stick to themes and I couldn’t think of anything else for our Coral anniversary.

    ‘But I thought why not, it’s close to my family and we both like to have a bet every now and again.

    ‘We spent about three hours in there. We took a bottle of champagne and raised a glass outside, we weren’t allowed to drink inside.

    ‘We managed to have a few small wins and actually come out £200 up.

    ‘All in all it was a great day and a fitting way for us to celebrate.’

    Joanne said Paul is a romantic at heart and prone to do the unexpected.

    She says she ‘couldn’t stop laughing’ when she find out what Paul’s big plan was.

    Paul and Joanne outside Coral
    Joanne couldn’t stop laughing when she found out about Paul’s plan (Picture: Paul Seymour /SWNS.COM)

    She said: ‘It was surprising and unique and very typical of my husband, who is prone to doing the unexpected.

    ‘I must admit I couldn’t stop laughing, the lady in the shop was really nice, and she produced a bottle of champagne that Paul had dropped off earlier.

    ‘He did give me some money to put a bet on and we did win, but it didn’t last long as we went out for an expensive meal the same evening.

    ‘He is really romantic – unlike me and I love him to bits. I wouldn’t swap his eccentricity. He keeps me happy and we do laugh a lot.’

    Paul and Joanne married in 1984 after meeting on a blind date set up by friends a year earlier.

    At the time Joanne was a trainee midwife and Paul was an undertaker, but now they both work in the maternity ward at Darent Valley Hospital.

    Joanne is a midwife and Paul is a hospital porter and the pair are never far from each other’s sight.

    Paul says he’s already started planning ahead to the couple’s Ruby wedding anniversary in five years time.

    MORE: Lonely man says he can’t get a date because he’s blind – after 50 women ghosted him

    MORE: Dunelm launches super cute sloth themed bedroom collection


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    Zoe in hospital
    (PA Real Life/Collect)

    Pilates instructor Zoe McKenzie has always been fit and healthy, but in 2016 she began experiencing pain while weeing.

    The 27-year-old from Essex felt excruciating pain every time she went to the toilet.

    Though she kept feeling the need to pee, she could only pass around 300ml of urine a day – far less than the 800 to 2,000ml considered to be normal, according to the US National Library of Medicine.

    At the time Zoe believed the symptoms to be of cystitis, a bladder inflammation often caused by an infection.

    A year later she was diagnosed with Fowlers Syndrome, a rare condition in which the urethral sphincter – the muscle that keeps people continent – can’t relax.

    That means her bladder muscles are essentially ‘clamp shut’, leaving her unable to pee normally.

    Zoe is now reliant on a catheter which is held in place by an inflated balloon in the bladder and emptied with a valve.

    She has also had Botox injections in her bladder and is on the waiting list for a sacral nerve modulator to be inserted, which uses small electrical pulses to correct the messages running along nerve pathways.

    Zoe at the beach with a heart monitor she was required to wear for some hospital tests
    Zoe at the beach with a heart monitor she was required to wear for some hospital tests (PA Real Life/Collect)

    ‘It’s such a little-known condition – is having that feeling of being desperate for the loo, to the point where you almost feel a bit nauseous, all the time and being unable to go,’ said Zoe.

    ‘I say to people “imagine if you just stopped being able to pee one day? What would you do?”

    ‘I’d be desperate for the loo, but unable to go. It was absolute agony.’

    Zoe working out
    She had to give up her job as a pilates instructor (PA Real Life/Collect)

    The condition worsened for Zoe before her diagnosis and she had to give up teaching pilates and her physiotherapy jobs.

    After being diagnosed, by which point she could not pass urine at all, Zoe had no choice but to start self-catheterising – inserting a tube into her bladder to empty it.

    ‘I would have to force the catheter in, which would cause these horrible spasms,’ she said.

    ‘It made things really difficult, day-to-day. I wouldn’t want to go out, as some public loos would be tricky to self-catheterise in.

    ‘Some people can do it standing up, but I found it easier to sit down, which is impossible in toilets where the floor is unclean, or there’s a gap at the bottom of the cubicle.’

    Zoe and her boyfriend Dejan
    Zoe was living in Australia with her boyfriend when she first experienced the pain (PA Real Life/Collect)

    ‘Every night I would have to keep getting up to catheterise before limping back to bed in agony, trying but failing to sleep as my body kept telling me I was desperate for the loo.’

    She continued self-catheterising for another year until eventually giving up.

    By speaking out about her condition, she hopes to normalise catheters

    ‘People may find their body image hugely impacted, or even things like their sex lives,’ says Zoe. ‘Catheters can make sex pretty impossible.

    ‘But the way I see it, I don’t have a choice.

    ‘I really hope we can break taboos and start talking about things like catheters.’

    She has set up an Instagram page raising awareness as well as a new venture called Actively Autoimmune, which makes exercise more inclusive.

    ‘I have a “Can’t Wait” card for toilets which I hate using as you inevitably get stared at when you’re cutting a toilet queue, so I’d really like it if people were a bit more mindful of invisible illnesses.’

    MORE: Woman with rare condition that means she sees words as pictures and her autobiographical memory means she can remember every day of her life

    MORE: Woman’s rare condition means she could be ‘internally decapitated’ at any time

    MORE: Woman loses all her finger and toenails to mystery condition


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    daisy the ragdoll cat has a penis marking on her head
    Oh, sweet Daisy (Picture: Facebook/The Mini Kitty Commune)

    We’ve all* experienced the embarrassment of someone doodling a penis on one of your belongings, only to carry it around unaware while people chuckle.

    *Well, I hope that’s a common experience, otherwise my school was just very odd.

    Now imagine if rather than your notepad, that penis doodle was on your face.

    Hopefully that will give you some sympathy for sweet Daisy, a ragdoll cat with some, um, ‘unfortunate facial markings’.

    We’ll be blunt. Daisy has a dick on her face.

    The ragdoll cat has lovely fluffy white and grey fur, with some distinctive brown patches on her face. One patch quite clearly forms the shape of a penis, with the testicles sitting just above her eyes and the shaft ending with her little pink nose.

    cat with penis shape markings
    Daisy has a penis on her face. See? (Picture: Facebook/The Mini Kitty Commune)

    Oh, sweet Daisy.

    You might imagine that such hilarious markings would mean Daisy would be snapped up by adopters in a hot second, but, alas, she’s still looking for a home.

    The Mini Kitty Commune rescue centre in Sydney, Australia, posted on Facebook searching for a loving home for little Daisy, explaining that while ‘some say she has unfortunate facial markings’, they just call her ‘unique’.

    ‘Beautiful Daisy is ready for adoption,’ write the centre. ‘Daisy is nine years old and ready to spend her time snuggling on anything warm, [and is] happy to watch the world go by.

    daisy the ragdoll cat with penis marking on her face
    Shes friendly and loves to snuggle (Picture: Facebook/The Mini Kitty Commune)

    ‘She is very easy going and doesn’t want for much, she loves company of humans but has also been around other cats so will do well after correct introductions.’

    Daisy is very friendly despite having lots of people laugh at her little face, and likely is entirely unaware that her markings look like a penis, so is free of all those neuroses and insecurities a human in her predicament would experience.

    All she needs is a loving home where she’ll get plenty of affection.

    And let’s be real, if you’re after Instagram fame, this cat is a winner.

    The only bad news is that Daisy is all the way in Sydney, so you’ll need to be based there to adopt the kitty.

    If you’re available and interested, contact the shelter through Facebook.

    MORE: Cat rescue shelter inadvertently selling ‘bottle’ that’s actually a massive bong

    MORE: The ‘sheep cat’ with curly hair is taking over Instagram

    Cat with penis shape markings on her faceCat with penis shape markings on her face

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    Shona Cobb
    Disabled people shouldn’t have to face so many problems when getting around (Picture: Shona Cobb)

    Many of us rely on public transport to take us from A to B, to work, or to social events. It’s a vital part of many of our daily lives – but when you’re disabled, public transport can be terrifying and daunting.

    I’ve built up my confidence as a powerchair user when it comes to using trains, buses and taxis over several years, and I always thought I’d planned for every worst case scenario. But what I wasn’t prepared for was getting stuck on a train platform for several hours due to the nightmare combination of a broken lift and a broken train.

    Disabled people shouldn’t have to face so many problems when getting around, yet disability equality charity Scope’s recent research found that two thirds of disabled people who had used public transport in the last year had experienced problems relating to their impairment. For me, even a simple trip to the theatre ended in a horror story.

    I was travelling into London to see a musical with my mum and all was going well until we pulled into St Pancras. The lift for the Thameslink platform we were on had been broken just several days before, a regular occurrence for this lift, but we’d been told it had been fixed.

    We got off the train and headed over to find it was in fact still broken. This was frustrating, but we could quickly jump back on the train and head to the next station where we’d be able to continue our journey.

    Shona Cobb
    The incident left me questioning whether I even wanted to do the journey into London again (Picture: Shona Cobb)

    Time went by, however, and the train had not left the station. About 20 minutes in, people started leaving the train, and soon we were all instructed to, as it became apparent the train had broken down. We weren’t too concerned at first, but soon, my mum and I were the only passengers left on the platform.

    There were plenty of staff around, but no one seemed to have any idea what to do with me. I asked about emergency procedures, but the advice remained the same: I’d just have to wait for the train to be moved. Time was creeping towards the two hour mark, and this is when I really pushed for them to find a way to get me off the platform. I felt it unfair we were potentially going to miss our show simply because they were unprepared for a disabled person being in this situation.

    What was most concerning to me was how myself and other disabled people would get off the platform in an emergency such as a fire.

    Eventually staff came up with an ‘idea’, and it was presented as such, rather than a set of emergency procedures that were already in place. My powerchair would be taken up the several sets of escalators, something that made me incredibly anxious due to its value and the simple fact that it’s my independence. Meanwhile, I would be taken up several long flights of stairs in an automatic evacuation chair.

    The first person who used the chair to take me up the stairs did the best job, and it was a pretty smooth ride. However, the next person truly had no idea what they were doing, and so I was jolted around aggressively, leaving me in increased pain throughout the rest of the day. This paired with the lack of communication and staff talking over me really made me question how safe I was.

    No one should have to feel unsafe, but disabled people do. In fact, Scope’s research has found that over half of all respondents felt scared on public transport and 79 per cent were anxious about their travels. And who can blame us for feeling this way?

    By the time we reached the top, I just wanted to leave. We just about made our show, but the incident left me questioning whether I even wanted to do the journey into London again. 

    Experiences like these can really knock your confidence, and I’m never surprised when a disabled person tells me they are too scared to use public transport. This might be a worst case scenario situation, but I face barriers every single day when using buses, trains and taxis.

    My journeys are often disrupted due to broken lifts, I have to leave far earlier than I’d like to – to compensate for any issues I might experience – and sometimes I won’t be able to get on the first, second or third bus when travelling in London due to buggies in the wheelchair space. 

    It’s rare for me to use public transport without any problems, and that leaves me feeling deflated and disappointed that in 2019 we still have not made anywhere near enough progress to allow disabled people to live the life they want to.

    Find out more about Scope’s campaign here.

    MORE: You’re not being ‘helpful’ when you touch disabled people without asking

    MORE: Queer Eye is about embracing who you are but it’s failed the disabled community

    MORE: Disability comes with an extortionate and shocking price tag


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    Leia Clancy and Ed, who share a one-bedroom flat in Elephant & Castle
    Leia and Evan share a one-bedroom flat in Kennington (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    We’re nosy, you’re nosy, and thus we all like looking around other people’s homes – from the books artfully stacked on their coffee tables to the corners of the bathtub crowded by empty shampoo bottles.

    Our weekly series, What I Rent, fulfills our endless need to snoop around, but it does have aims bigger than feeding our curiosity.

    Namely, we want to create a proper picture of what renting actually looks like in the UK.

    That means the reality of renting, rather than flattering real estate pics, from the absolute bargains to those places that make you question why anyone is still paying to live in London.

    Last week we made Londoners weep by heading up to Halifax, where Charlotte and Jon pay £247.50 a month each for a two-bedroom flat.

    This time we’re back in the city with Leia, 28, and Evan, 30, a couple both working in executive search who rent a one-bedroom flat in the Kennington/Elephant and Castle area.

    Leia and Evan in their dining room in Elephant and Castle
    They pay £1,600 a month between them in rent (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    Hi, Leia! How much do you and Evan pay to live here?

    We pay £1,600 a month in total for rent, and bills are about £150 between us each month. The vast majority of that is council tax. Cheers, Lambeth.

    And what do you get for what you pay?

    We have three rooms: a kitchen/diner/living room and a double bedroom, plus the bathroom.

    Do you have a good deal?

    Yes. We pay a little bit more than we could but we still think we have a great deal.

    Location was a key factor and we save money because we are so central and can both walk to work in 30 minutes.

    We were both getting tired of living in older properties with mice and single glazing so wanted to live somewhere newer too; this was refurbished just before we moved in so we are the very first people to live here.

    freshly baked muffins in a one bedroom flat
    Yes, those are freshly baked (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    How did you find this flat?

    We found it on Rightmove – it was the first and only property we viewed and we immediately wanted it. We had actually booked to see one in Battersea first but the estate agent didn’t show up… That one was above a Papa John’s so it’s probably worked out for the best.

    We’ve lived here for 18 months.

    Are you happy with the area?

    We’re really happy here. Living in Kennington/Elephant and Castle makes it incredibly easy to get pretty much everywhere in London.

    The area also has some great restaurants, cafes and pubs, although our favourite local did close down last month: The Walcot, RIP.

    We’ve also just discovered the Walworth Garden; a hidden gem that deserves to be shared with the world.

    The only downside for us would have to be our two local Tescos. They are both absolutely shocking.

    Do you feel like you have enough space?

    It may surprise people but yes, we really think so. We don’t hoard belongings so it always feels pretty spacious for the two of us. We’ve even squeezed in 25 people for Thanksgiving dinner before.

    note board in leia and evan's one bedroom flat in elephant and castle
    Leia and Evan don’t have a dog… yet (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    What’s it like living together?

    We moved in together after about nine months of dating and several years of knowing each other.

    It was an effortless transition and living together is great so long as you remember not to fuss over the small stuff. Why argue over the occasional floordrobe or how much toilet paper gets used when you get to wake up to your favourite person every day?

    How have you made the flat feel like home?

    There are lots of meaningful things around the flat; champagne corks from different special occasions, a photo of Dele Alli celebrating Spurs’ 3-1 win against Chelsea, and a framed cross stitch of our family motto.

    It also helps that we’ve decorated a little. We have maps of our home cities (London and Pittsburgh) in the bedroom and prints of two of our favourite places in the living room too – the Peak District and Santa Barbara.

    And you might notice that we have photos of our family dogs, Bell and Coco, in the bathroom. Leia saw this in a Frank Lloyd Wright house we went to visit recently (Kentuck Knob) and insisted that we do it too.

    Leia and Evan's family dog photos in the bathroom
    But they do have pics of their family dogs in the bathroom (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    Are there any issues with the flat you have to put up with?

    Not anything major. Although a weird quirk is that all the taps are hooked up backwards and do the opposite to what they’re supposed to.

    Also the flat can be a little too good at trapping heat in the summer and Evan misses American style air conditioning.

    Do you have any plans to move again? What would you be looking for?

    We just renewed for another 18 months! That said, we do dream of having somewhere with a spare bedroom and a garden so we could get a dog. Ideally multiple dogs. We haven’t named them already or anything.

    Have you considered buying a place?

    Nope. It’s expensive and would mean compromising on location and walking to work, something we both really value. Also….Brexit.

    Fair. Let’s have a look around.

    Leia and Evan's hallway in their one-bedroom flat in Elephant and Castle
    The couple moved in together after nine months of dating (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Leila Clancy, Elephant & Castle
    The living room, kitchen, and dining area (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Leia and Evan in the living room of their one-bedroom flat in Elephant and Castle
    The pair say they have plenty of space (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    the kitchen, dining area, and living room
    The key is not holding on to too much stuff (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    leia and evan, elephant and castle
    Note the lack of clutter (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    plants on the windowsill in leia and evan's one-bedroom flat in elephant and castle
    They’ve made the flat their own with prints, photos, and plants (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Leila Clancy, Elephant & Castle
    Spot the prints of some of their favourite places (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Leila Clancy, Elephant & Castle
    The little ‘reserved’ sign is v cute (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    books arranged by colour in one-bedroom flat in elephant and castle
    Yes, those books are arranged by colour (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    corks marking special occasions
    Corks to mark special champagne occasions (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Leila Clancy, Elephant & Castle
    From the dining area you can see the kitchen (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Leila Clancy, Elephant & Castle
    Complete with a breakfast bar (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    paper rolls above the oven in elephant and castle what i rent
    Spontaneity is key (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Leila Clancy, Elephant & Castle
    Now for the bedroom and bathroom (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    the bedroom of leia and evan in elephant and castle
    There are plenty of cushions, which we appreciate (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Leila Clancy, Elephant & Castle
    And a jazzy headboard (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    'hate with reason' embroidered message on bedside table
    Read into that embroidery as much as you wish (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    the bedroom in elephant and castle
    Very tidy, no? (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    map of London in leia and evan's rented flat in elephant and castle
    A map of the area (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    photos of leia and evan
    Photos of the couple are dotted all around (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    Leila Clancy, Elephant & Castle
    There’s lots of storage space, luckily (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    the bathroom of leia and evan's rented property in elephant and castle
    Finally, the bathroom (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    bathroom products in leia and evan's rented flat
    Oh hey, squeegee (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    bathroom of leia and evan in elephant and castle
    Look at all those robes! (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    dog photos in the bathroom
    There are those dog pics we mentioned (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    robes hanging in the bathroom
    Truly, we’re impressed by the robes (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
    toothbrushes in what I rent Leia and Evan elephant and castle
    Here’s what you’ve been waiting for (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

    What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property in London.

    How to get involved in What I Rent

    What I Rent is Metro.co.uk's weekly series that takes you inside the places in London people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what's normal and how much we should be paying.

    If you fancy taking part, please email whatirent@metro.co.uk.

    You'll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!

    You'll also need to be okay with sharing how much you're paying for rent, as that's pretty important.

    MORE: What I Rent: Jes and Adam, £550 a month each to share a two-bedroom flat in the Northern Quarter, Manchester

    MORE: What I Rent: Caspar, £1,100 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Brixton

    MORE: What I Rent: Tessa and Rob, £1,400 a month for a two-bedroom flat in Muswell Hill

    What I RentWhat I Rent

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    Hilarious photo show's dog's terror at seeing her toy in the washing machine
    Gracie, Cookie, and her friend Cuba (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Gracie the Golden Retriever was having a wonderful day, until disaster struck.

    The seven-year-old pooch had her favorite chew toy, named Cookie, cruelly snatched from her grasp and placed into a terrifying spinning machine.

    Cookie, who has been Gracie’s BFF for around five years now, went whirring around in this evil machine, and her owner had the audacity to photograph the pup’s shock and horror.

    In all seriousness, Gracie’s owner Jessica Bernhardt, 48, had simply put Cookie in the wash, but ended up bursting into laughter when she spotted her dog’s stunned expression and took a quick snap.

    Forlorn Gracie waited an hour for the cycle to finish before being reunited with her beloved toy, and promptly snatched her back into her safe and sound jaws.

    Hilarious photo show's dog's terror at seeing her toy in the washing machine
    Shooketh (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Since mum-of-two Jessica shared the funny picture of shocked Gracie on Instagram it’s gone viral racking up more than 4,000 likes and comments.

    Jessica, from Hamburg, Germany, said: ‘Cookie the toy was looking a little bit dirty and in need of a wash, which is why I put it in the washing machine.

    ‘Gracie trotted into the kitchen and looked very surprised when she realised where her favourite toy Cookie was. As soon as I saw her expression I found it very funny, it made me laugh so much.

    ‘Cookie usually carries it everywhere with her – she’s had it for five years – so obviously missed her while she had a wash.’

    All’s well that ends well, but it ends even better when there’s a cute dog photo to go with it.

    MORE: What I Rent: Leia and Evan, £1,600 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Kennington

    MORE: For disabled people like me public transport is terrifying

    Kennedy News and MediaKennedy News and Media

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    What have you really achieved so far today?

    Can you remember the first task you did when you sat down at your desk this morning?

    To answer those questions, you probably need to look at your to-do list.

    People use a huge range of methods and different things work for different people.

    Laura uses a whiteboard, literally rubbing things off as she completes them. She works on a weekly cycle, hoping the board is empty by Sunday so she can have some family time.

    Robyn uses a paper day diary. She explains: ‘It means I can be specific about when things need to be done, schedule follow-ups etc.’

    Some use apps – Trello, Google Docs or just the Notes app.

    Another person explained they use a detailed Excel spreadsheet. They said: ‘It is updated daily (and works best out of everything I’ve ever tried). I use filters to find what I need easily, and to categorise order of importance.’

    Others prefer pen and paper. Stephanie said: ‘I have used apps before but find writing it down physically on paper and placing it on my bedside table (or a place I look at every day) is better.’

    Studies have shown that writing things in longhand over typing them does help you remember them better, but writing what you need to do on your phone means that you always have it with you and you can sync it between devices.

    I’ve tried so many methods but few have stuck. I over-plan, underachieve and find myself getting overwhelmed and demotivated.

    Currently, I’m trying to keep a very straight forward (though I do have dreams of creating something Instagram worthy) bullet journal, to try to remind me what to do each year, month, week and day.

    It involves a blank notebook – creating an index, a yearly, monthly and weekly planner and then a page for each day. I use a key to code what stage different tasks are at and split them into work and life on each page.

    If tasks aren’t completed, they are migrated to the next page.

    But no matter what I do, I never complete everything and lots of tasks just get moved from each day. Sure, it might be that I’ve taken too much on, but is my to-do list hindering rather than helping?

    Making your to-do list an efficient method that makes you remember everything but doesn’t become a chore in itself is a bit of an art form.

    Illustration of a woman holding a phone
    Some people keep their list digital (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Neuro-linguistic programming expert Rebecca Lockwood explains why to-do lists are a good idea: ‘It’s important to have a to-do list so you can stay on track of what you are working on and not become distracted with something else, like scrolling on Facebook.

    ‘Having a daily to-do list to work towards will keep you focused and on track to achieve the things you are working on.

    ‘It enables you to have quick wins and keep your blinkers on and focus on what you are doing daily. This will help keep you motivated to achieve the next check off and keep you moving in the right direction.’

    Writing these lists gives your brain a workout and helps you to see things more clearly.

    Rebecca adds: ‘By writing your to-do list down you are activating the neuro-pathways in your brain and also a cluster of neural-networks in your brain called the reticular activating system.

    ‘This will then enable you to begin to notice opportunities that arise that will help you achieve your goals and work on your to-do list, it will keep you more focused and motivated giving you quicker wins and opportunities to celebrate your success.’

    But you need to make these lists achievable – a list with more incomplete than completed items at the end of the time period you set makes you feel like a failure.

    Dr Alison Watson, undergraduate business programme team leader at Arden University, explains: ‘The biggest mistake people make with to-do lists is that they over-plan.

    ‘This can lead to demotivation and items being transferred over to the next day. The feeling of being overwhelmed and underachieving can creep in.’

    Often we write what we would like to do rather than thinking about what is actually achievable. And when you aren’t realistic about what you can actually do that day, prioritising the most important items becomes more difficult too.

    Dessy Ohanians, MD Corporate & Certificate Programmes, London School of Business and Finance, adds: ‘Often, people don’t prioritise properly as they make their list whilst they’re writing it.

    ‘As they write their list, new thoughts occur to them and they add new tasks them haphazardly. Better instead to write a draft list, give it some consideration, and then re-write it with each task prioritised into a relevant place on your list.’

    Creating an efficient to-do list isn’t just about what is on the list – you need to think about when you write it, how you write it and way you organise it.

    Some list fans had some handy tips to get the most out of your list.

    now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring
    Learn to prioritise your tasks (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    Vik Turbine explained: ‘I also do a ‘done list’ at the end of the day to see where my time has went if I don’t get all the things done.’

    Natasha Woodford adds: ‘Always prepare your to-do list last thing the day before. This way you know what you’re to get started on as soon as you walk in.’

    There is some evidence that writing your list at night is a good idea. An (admittedly small) study last year showed that writing a to-do list before bed can help you get to sleep, for example.

    So how can you really get the best out of your to-do list? Experts agree that they work if you limit the tasks and review them regularly.

    Business coach Linda Davies Carr, from The Master Fixer explains: ‘We know that writing down goals makes a huge difference and you’ll have a significantly higher chance of achieving them and writing down your to-do list is exactly the same principle.

    ‘So carve out five minutes at the end of each day and write down on paper, three to six tasks you need to achieve the following day. No more than six.

    ‘Then take five minutes to review the list in the morning and get to work. Don’t overthink it, keep it simple and get it done.

    ‘I’d recommend crossing out the task in a big black marker – the sense of achievement will motivate you to keep going.’

    And when it comes to prioritising, you need to be strict. Really think about what must be done that day, rather than what you would like to do that day.

    Professional organiser/declutterer Lizzie Grant, founder of Simplify Stuff, explains her method: ‘Put the three most important things at the top of your daily to-do list or star or highlight those items on your list.

    ‘To decide which three items make the cut, ask yourself which tasks have to be done that day? What tasks will have negative consequences if you don’t do them today? Which items will make you feel better having done?

    ‘Prioritise those three items so you ensure they are completed that day. If you have time, try to complete them as early as possible in the day and try not to move on to any other tasks before you have done so.

    ‘If you find it hard to get motivated to tackle your to-do list, put a couple of five-minute tasks at the beginning of your list to ease you in – the feeling of being productive can spur you on to tackle the bigger tasks on the list.’

    Whether you find you love a post-it note or never put pen to paper, the key to an efficient list is being realistic.

    Set your goals for each day and if there’s too much on the list, leave some of the items for tomorrow.

    Now go forth and write your to-do list. At least I can tick off ‘write to-do list article’ on mine.

    MORE: Meet the millennials who have already planned their own funerals

    MORE: Untrained and overworked: The hidden lives of Facebook group admins

    Why failure is good for youWhy failure is good for you

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    Illustration of woman sat in wheelchair in front of another woman, sat at a table
    For many people with disabilities, finding support is life-changing, giving them greater independence and a better quality of life (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Sometimes people ask me if I have a carer – a question which I find highly inappropriate, ableist and offensive.

    Still, let’s clear this up: I live alone in London, but I do have a young woman who works for me. I don’t call her a carer, she is my personal assistant – a much more fitting job title as she assists me and allows me to be as independent as I can be in a disabling world. She doesn’t care for me – that’s the responsibility of my mother, who makes me chicken soup when I’m sick.

    The idea that I’d need someone to ‘care’ for me, as one would do for children, doesn’t match the reality of my situation. She doesn’t just help out physically, she also helps me run errands and stay organised. She’s more like my confidant – we even go for drinks together.

    In order to pay her, I receive 15.5 hours of Direct Payment support package a week. This is a government-funded scheme that allows the person in need of additional support to source their own PA, rather than being assigned a carer by a local authority. It’s an important distinction – I want my PA to work for me.

    It took me a long time to reach out and ask for support and I felt like I’d failed by asking for help. But the truth is I’m a better, happier, much more confident and safer person because of my PA. 

    For many people with disabilities, finding support is life-changing, giving them greater independence and a better quality of life. However there seems to be a shortage of these much-needed workers.

    Over 1.45 million people work in the sector at the moment, but it is predicted that we will need 650,000 more workers by 2035 to keep up with the rising numbers of people aged 65 and over.

    I survived without having a PA for a long time, but now that I have her I am truly thriving.

    Figures from the Department for Health and Social Care show that 96 per cent of care professionals feel their work makes a difference to people’s lives, yet we do not have enough people doing this work to meet the crucial demand.

    I survived without having a PA for a long time, but now that I have her I am truly thriving. I was once ashamed of this need, as I saw it as a sign of weakness. Admitting that I had support fed into those negative stereotypes of disabled people being different, and incapable of living like everyone else – it felt like we could never be equal productive members of society. 

    Now I don’t have any shame in it at all, I just wish everyone who needs this kind of support were able to access it. 

    Attitudes have to change and there needs to be a greater understanding of disability as a whole. Inclusion within every aspect of society is vital such as education, employment and the media. Only then can one fully comprehend and empathise with the needs of the disabled community.

    Once this change occurs and disabled people are treated equally and are valued, there would in my view be more people eager to become support workers as they recognise that an inclusive society is a better society for everyone.

    Furthermore, austerity has impacted the disabled community for years and thus made it near impossible to access vital funding such as direct payments. The Government needs to stop financially targeting the disabled community and recognise that investing in us actually makes economical sense in both the short and long term.

    Give the man a rod and he can go fishing… give a disabled person the support they need and they will thrive and contribute towards society.

    To become a care worker you don’t need a degree or prior experience but you do need to have empathy and compassion, be patient and a good listener. You need to see disability in a completely different way most people do – through negative stereotypes and poor representation delivered through media.  

    We need people with the unique ability to do this to be encouraged to move into such a rewarding job, not scared away from it.

    MORE: Stop referring to people with disabilities as ‘inspirational’ – my body does not define me

    MORE: Queer Eye is about embracing who you are but it’s failed the disabled community

    MORE: Disability comes with an extortionate and shocking price tag


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    Picture of Luna the dog smiling
    Luna without the dentures (Picture:  Anna Carolina Lima )

    Our doggos never fail to entertain us, whether they’re photobombing important moments or faking a broken leg to get snacks.

    While they might be a nuisance in the moment, our four-legged friends provide brilliant material for story-telling.

    One grandmother who lost her false teeth will probably tell everyone about the time the dog ate them.

    The cheeky pet, Luna, belongs to Anna Carolina Lima, who adopted the dog from the streets of Brazil and gave her a loving home.

    When Anna went to visit her grandma one day, she brought Luna with her.

    The two got along so well that Anna decided to leave the dog with her gran while she shopped.

    While Anna was away, her grandma went for her nap, taking out her dentures as she usually did.

    The old woman put her false teeth under her pillow but little did she know that mischievous Luna was watching the whole thing.

    Luna with dentures she stole
    Luna with the dentures (Picture: Anna Carolina Lima)

    Curious as ever, Luna grabbed the false teeth while the gran slept and had some fun.

    While the humans looked for the teeth everywhere, Luna ran off with the teeth and put them in her mouth.

    Cue hilarious pictures.

    Luna grinning with false teeth in her mouth
    You’re not slick, Luna (Picture: Anna Carolina Lima)

    The fun had to stop once Anna realised that a missing false set of gnashers could only mean one thing.

    After hours of searching, they pointed their attention at the dog who, of course, was amused by everyone’s search.

    She didn’t put up much of a fight and swiftly returned the set to the owner.

    Luna pictured with her owner Anna
    Anna rescued Luna from the streets of Brazil

    Apparently, dogs nicking teeth is a regular occurrence, according to Facebook users who commented on the story.

    ‘We own a denture clinic and dogs love eating dentures,’ attested one commenter. ‘I remember when mum’s dog was running around with our mum’s teeth in her mouth,’ said another.

    Let’s just hope they all gave the dentures a deep scrub.

    MORE: Bow tie-wearing dog ‘sings’ his heart out while playing piano

    MORE: Hilarious photo shows dog’s terror at seeing her toy in the washing machine

    MORE: Diablo the porcupine and Fig the sausage dog are the best of friends

    dog denturesdog dentures

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    The Boots Beauty box has £40 of free makeup
    These are all the products you can get in the beauty box (Picture: Boots)

    If your makeup bag is looking a bit empty, we have some good news – Boots is offering a load of makeup for free.

    Yes, you can get this box of seven full-size products, worth £40, for free.

    The box includes:


    • Garnier Tissue Mask
    • Maybelline Great Lash Mascara
    • NYX Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipstick
    • L’Oreal Color Riche Matte Addiction Lipstick
    • Sleek Makeup Matte Lip Cream
    • Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Polish
    • Rimmel Ultimate Kohl Kajal Liner


    You need to spend £20 on makeup to get the gift but it might be worth stocking up on some products to hit the minimum spend.

    The box is available in-store or online when you buy items from a range of brands, including L’Oreal, NYX, Pixi, Rimmel, Barry M, No7 and Maybelline.

    It even includes buying a new Beauty Blender, so you can keep a new one aside for when you need it.

    The boxes will only be available for a limited time so you better be quick.

    Of course, another way to save on makeup and beauty products is advent calendars.

    The countdown to Christmas calendars might seem pricey but when you add up the cost of all the items, it often works out cheaper.

    Boots announced the No7 calendar would include £173.50 worth of products for just £42.

    There’s already a waiting list so you can get 24 hour early access as last year, it sold out in just three days.

    There’s also a chance to win one of seven golden tickets, which gives you a chance to win £700 worth of No7 items.

    MORE: Liberty’s launches its luxury beauty advent calendar and it’s even bigger this year

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


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    Siblings will troll you unprovoked.

    If you so much as ask for a glass of water, they’ll remind you of all the horrible things you’ve done to them in the last three months.

    But brothers Max and Noah Tingle’s relationship is unlike the usual sibling set-up.

    Elder brother Noah goes to extreme lengths every day to put a smile on Max’s face.

    The 17-year-old dresses up in different costumes each afternoon when 12-year-old Max returns from school. Noah does it come rain or shine, because he wants to form some sweet memories before he goes off to college.

    The outfits have ranged from a clown, to Minions, to Santa, superheroes, and more.

    The family from Louisiana, US, are all accustomed to Noah’s creative shenanigans and have been filming the routine daily.

    Now Noah is known and loved by the community as they eagerly anticipate what he’ll wear next.

    The family also posts the costumes on Facebook page The Bus Brother, which has amassed 12,000 followers.

    Noah Tingle and his brother Max
    Noah started to dress up to make his little brother Max laugh (Picture: Noah Tingle)

    Noah tells Metro.co.uk: ‘One afternoon I asked my mum when Max was going to get off the bus.

    ‘When I realised I had just a few minutes I ran into my room and put one of the most embarrassing outfits I could find so that I could greet him getting off the bus.

    ‘The next day I decided to do it again and then again and again.’

    Their mum started filming each occasion and putting them on Facebook, where users lapped it up.

    Soon they had a loyal following and dropped a new video daily.

    Noah dressed as a balloon from a car dealership
    The costume ideas have been iconic (Picture: Noah Tingle)

    But of course, that meant a new costume idea.

    ‘The first few videos I just put on stuff we had around the house,’ said Noah.

    ‘Since my mum was posting videos on her Facebook page, friends were offering their costumes for us to use. So many people were messaging her and commenting and wanting to give us a costume.

    ‘Now we have people from all over the country and world actually mailing us costumes.’

    Little Max gives big bro Noah a piggyback
    What a cute relationship (Picture: Noah Tingle)

    Max and his school friends are now used to seeing Noah out on the front porch as their school bus arrives at their home.

    When it first happened, it caught Max totally off guard.

    ‘At first, Max was confused and embarrassed,’ says Noah. ‘He didn’t really know what was going on. After a few days he was used to it and it didn’t bother him any more. Now he just laughs at me and enjoys it.’

    Aww, siblings who get along. We love to see it.

    MORE: Identical twin sisters diagnosed with identical breast cancer within weeks of one another

    MORE: Brothers, 8 and 11, crowned World and European Scrabble champions

    MORE: Woman uses Twitter to search for brother she never met, finds him living 30 minutes away


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    Dad turns adorable Precious Moments figurines into terrifying monsters
    Who wouldn’t want these on their mantelpiece (Pictures: Keith Busher / @preciousmutator)

    You’ve probably seen them in somebody’s home, perhaps next to sign reading ‘live, laugh, love’. The Precious Moments depict sweet scenes like weddings and christenings, acted out by cherubic stone children.

    However, you’ve certainly never seen Precious Moments like this before, as artist Keith Busher has turned the concept on its head.

    It all started when he bought a few of the figurines for $10 at a thrift store, and started customising them with his kids as something to do. The designs change the angelic sculptures into ghosts, ghouls, zombies, and horror movie villains, with imagery from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other creepy classics.

    From there, Keith’s creations have become more and more gruesome and detailed, and he now sells them online under the moniker Precious Moniker.

    He uses epoxy clay and paint to recreate the figurines, taking cute sheep and remaking them into skeleton demons.

    The Art Of Keith Busher: Precious Mutations
    It really is cool (Picture: Keith Busher / @preciousmutator)

    The Canadian artist told TODAY Home about his hobby, saying: ‘About seven years, we were a bit house poor.

    ‘I was looking for an inexpensive hobby to distract our kids from the amount of TV they were watching. We wanted to find something crafty that they could do, so we decided to try and upcycle items into interesting things.’

    Although it was initially a way to keep his kids amused, they’ve since lost interest in this spooky upcycling. Keith, however, has certainly not, and now he’s made around 250 of them, and sells them on Etsy and Instagram.

    The Art Of Keith Busher: Precious Mutations
    Keith says inspiration just comes to him (Picture: Keith Busher / @preciousmutator)

    Alongside his ‘real job’ as a welder and carpenter for a theatre set design company, he purchases the pieces second hand and gets to work,

    ‘I take a look at each piece. They may sit on my shelve for a few months at a time before I am inspired,’ says Keith.

    ‘It could be the way the character is standing or just the awkward situation they are in; something will click in me.

    The Art Of Keith Busher: Precious Mutations
    Baaaaa-rains (Picture: Keith Busher / @preciousmutator)

    ‘It tends to lean more to the dark (side). I am not 100% sure why, but I have always enjoyed villains and creatures and monsters and mythology.’

    Despite this darkness, however, they gruesome figurines are made by Keith to bring joy.

    ‘I hope people smile. I hope they laugh. I hope they don’t take it too seriously,’ he said.

    ‘I want it to make people look at things a little differently for themselves, and then they can take it and apply it to real-life situations.

    ‘If they’re stressed and if they’re dealing with something that is tough, they can ask: How can I look at this maybe a little different? How can I change it so I can see it from a different point of view? Hopefully, I solicit someone to have more of an imagination, not only for these dolls, but for their own lived experiences as well.’

    MORE: Boots is giving away free boxes of makeup worth £40

    MORE: Hilarious photo shows dog’s terror at seeing her toy in the washing machine


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    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: A model prepares backstage for Adeam fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery II at Spring Studios on February 9, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)
    Pearl embellishments are set to be big (Picture: Getty)

    Nails have been a hot topic this summer, whether it be the new French rainbow manicure or the recently coined lipstick-shape.

    Now September is here, it’s time to get excited about the new nail styles set to be big for autumn.

    Most of the autumn trends give a nod to the popular summer looks, but push them one step further.

    Here are some of the biggest nail art ideas and colour trends for autumn, that will no doubt be dominating our Instagram feeds over the coming months.

    Tonal manicures


    We’ve seen tonal nails plastered over our Insta feeds this summer – a look where each nail is painted a different colour.

    The trick with tonal manicures is that each shade should belong to the same colour family.

    This autumn will see a continuation of the popular summer nail trend, but we’re bound to see bright colours swapped for more muted shades and deeper autumnal hues such as burgundy and grey.

    In terms of logistics, a good way to do it is to opt for the darkest colour on the thumb and go lighter towards the little finger.


    Animal flourishes


    For the past two years or so, animal has been one of the most lusted after prints for clothing (just think back to the Reformation leopard print skirt).

    This season, we’re expecting to see animal print expand to the nail art industry.

    But rather than taking up the whole nail (which may be a little too much Cruella de Vil for some people) delicate animal accents are set to be a key trend. Think nude base and animal tips or half nude half animal.

    Tortoiseshell is predicted to be a particularly popular design this autumn – perhaps due to its warm tone.

    How to create tortoiseshell nails:

    1. Apply a base coat

    2. Apply a layer of brown polish

    3. Apply a thin layer of yellow polish on top

    4. Apply dark brown dashes – you can use your regular polish brush, as the dashes or splodges don’t need to be precise

    (Picture: Shoreditch Nails)

    5. With a clean brush, smudge the dashes

    6. Apply black dots

    (Picture: Shoreditch Nails)

    7. Smudge those with a brush, too

    8. Apply a top coat


    (Picture: Shoreditch Nails)


    Twists on the French mani


    Earlier this year, the French rainbow manicure was all anyone could talk about, and this twist on the signature style will be sticking around for the rest of 2019 too.

    The key with this trend is to experiment, whether that’s with colour or shape.

    Colorful, angular tips that run down the side of the nail have become increasingly popular on Instagram and are something we expect to see a lot more of.

    Being a playful take on such as timeless nail design, the updated French manicure (whatever style you choose) should look good on all nails, be them natural or acrylic. Just be aware that the longer the nail, the more space you have to experiment with the tips.


    Polka Dot


    This summer, a £39.99 Zara dress proved that we can’t get enough of polka dots, and the good news is that they’re sticking around for the chillier months too.

    Spotty nails are set to be big for autumn 2019, with celebs such as Ariana Grande sporting the look earlier this year.

    If you’re painting nails at home, don’t be afraid to experiment. Different sized spots tend to look the best – this will also make it easier as nails don’t need to be uniform. Try using the blunt end of a toothpick to create the circular shapes.


    Negative space


    Within the world of beauty we’re often told less is more, and that certainly is the case for this autumnal nail trend.

    Expect to see more and more cutouts and negative space (basically, where there’s no nail polish).


    Negative space is often used for effect, like to make another part of the nail stand out with a quirky print or for a colour block design.


    Pearl embellishments (3D nails)


    This season, nail art is entering a new dimension – quite literally.

    Embellished 3D nails are set to be more and more in demand, especially when it comes to pearl accessories.

    For a more muted look, nude nails with press-on pearl appliqués look super feminine and sophisticated. Those looking for a more dramatic style could opt for a metallic nail polish and glue the pearl embellishments on top.


    Accented tips


    We’ve seen a lot of rainbow and pastel tips this summer, with a variety of playful variations.

    Accented tips are set to be big this autumn too, as lighter colours are swapped for deeper hues and metallic flourishes.

    Just remember to keep the base of the nail clear or nude so that all the attention is on the tip.

    MORE: The rainbow French manicure is the new summer nail trend to know about

    MORE: Girl could be left permanently scarred after spilt nail glue burned her skin

    MORE: Rainbow heels are this season’s hottest fashion trend – so where can you get them?

    Adeam - Backstage - February 2019 - New York Fashion Week: The ShowsAdeam - Backstage - February 2019 - New York Fashion Week: The Shows

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    Quality Street, Roses and Heroes are shrinking again - but the price is the same
    Yes, the now annual ‘our tub of sweets is smaller’ tradition is here (Pictures: Getty/Amazon)

    The tub of sweets is an important part of Christmas.

    You finish your dinner, crawl to the sofa and declare you can’t eat another thing until someone shakes a tub of sweets at you 20 minutes later.

    But over the years, you might have noticed some changes.

    No, we’re not just talking about the loss of the Toffee Deluxe (RIP), but the tins themselves.

    Over the years, they’ve got smaller and smaller and as Christmas is a time for tradition, it’s happening again in 2019.

    This year, tins of Quality Street are shrinking from 698g to 650g, while Heroes and Roses both go from 660g to 600g.

    The price of the tubs varies and most supermarkets have them on offer in the run-up to Christmas, but you’ll still be getting fewer sweet treats.

    In the last 10 years, the tins have shrunk by 45%.

    According to Mail Online, tins of Roses weighed 1,100g in 2009 and tins of Quality Street weighed 1,200g.

    Of course, there are still bigger tins available at a higher price.

    A Nestle spokesperson said: ‘Quality Street is back for 2019 with a refreshed range for a new season and we will be introducing the full line-up next month.

    ‘As ever, we have Quality Street available in lots of different formats, shapes and sizes this year including the 650g tub and much larger tins for those who want even more to share with friends and family.

    ‘Final prices are set by individual retailers but, as usual, Quality Street will be regularly on promotion in the run-up to Christmas.’

    A Cadbury spokesperson added: ‘We have reduced the RRP on the Roses and Heroes tubs from £8.59 to £8.09 to reflect the change in weight. However, as always, retailers are free to set their own prices.’

    MORE: Boots is giving away free boxes of makeup worth £40

    MORE: How to write a more efficient to-do list


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    illustration of diary
    How to maximise your holiday in 2020 (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Summer officially ends on 23 September, but it already feels like the colder months are upon us – so it’s time to look ahead to next year.

    Now is the perfect time to start thinking about holidays in 2020 and there’s some excellent news: There’s potential to take 32 days off work next year, with only 15 days of annual leave.

    Let’s break that down.

    Next year, Easter Sunday falls on the 12 April and is sandwiched between two bank holidays, so booking off the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before Easter, as well as the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after Easter will give a grand total of 16 consecutive days off (including weekends). That’s all with just eight days off leave used up.

    But the good news doesn’t stop there.

    Christmas is when most people like to take some time off and the festive season in 2020 could be merrier than ever – with the potential for 16 consecutive days off work (including weekends), with just seven annual leave days.

    This is due to the fact that Christmas Day and Boxing Day fall on a Friday and Saturday in 2020, meaning that one of the bank holidays is carried forward to the following week (December 28). The dates to book off are 21, 22, 23 and 24 December as well as the 29, 30 and 31 December. This means New Year’s Day for 2021 is a Friday and the weekend follows.

    For people who receive 25 days annual leave, this means there are still 10 days of annual leave to play with for the rest of the year.

    It might be worth putting those requests in as soon as possible, as chances are those dates will get booked up ASAP.

    Happy holidaying.

    How to make it work:

    To make this super simple, we’ve bolded the days you need to book off to get those big chunks of time off.

    Over Easter

    • Saturday 4 April – weekend
    • Sunday 5 April – weekend
    • Monday 6 April – book off
    • Tuesday 7 April – book off
    • Wednesday 8 April – book off
    • Thursday 9 April – book off
    • Friday 10 April – Bank Holiday
    • Saturday 11 April – weekend
    • Sunday 12 April – Easter Sunday
    • Monday 13 April – Easter Monday Bank Holiday
    • Tuesday 14 April – book off
    • Wednesday 15 April – book off
    • Thursday 16 April – book off
    • Friday 17 April – book off
    • Saturday 18 April – weekend
    • Sunday 19 April – weekend

    Consecutive days off: 16

    Holiday used: Eight days


    Over Christmas

    • Saturday 19 December – weekend
    • Sunday 20 December – weekend
    • Monday 21 December – book off
    • Tuesday 22 December – book off
    • Wednesday 23 December – book off
    • Thursday 24 December – book off
    • Friday 25 December – Christmas Day
    • Saturday 26 December – Boxing Day
    • Sunday 27 December – weekend
    • Monday 28 December – Bank Holiday
    • Tuesday 29 December – book off
    • Wednesday 30 December – book off
    • Thursday 31 December – book off
    • Friday 1 January – New Year’s Day
    • Saturday 2 January – weekend
    • Sunday 3 January – weekend

    Consecutive days off: 16

    Holiday used: Seven days

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

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    Apparently we should be putting dark chocolate on our roast lamb
    Would you brave the unconventional combination? (Picture: Getty)

    Move over mint sauce – new research has found the best seasonings for lamb and they’re pretty unconventional.

    The study looked at the molecular make-up of the meat to the find foods that share similar compounds.

    The findings are pretty tasty.

    The research showed dark chocolate has the greatest similarity as it shares a number of similar notes to cooked lamb, due to its strong and bitter flavour. Coffee and mackerel also rank highly for enhancing its flavour.

    Other compatible foods include cheese (particularly brie), grapefruit and shrimp.

    But there were some familiar findings too, as potatoes proved to also complement the popular meat.

    The study also showed that reaching for a glass of red wine to go with your lamb dinner may not be the best option.

    Instead, it found that other alcoholic drinks, such as whiskey and saké, shared more in common with the cooked meat. It found that both drinks have an aroma containing cocoa and almond notes – two flavours not typically found in lamb.

    Food scientist and flavour expert Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart commented on the unusual findings of the study and stated that being experimental with lamb could have the best pay off, gastronomically.

    He said: ‘While many of these ingredients are common in cooking, people can often be afraid to put bold flavours together.

    ‘This research shows that the traditional pairings of rosemary or mint may not be the best food to bring out all of the flavours lamb has to offer.

    ‘People can therefore afford to be a bit bolder in their choices.’

    MORE: All the ways your dark chocolate habit could be good for your health

    MORE: I’m a vegetarian who slipped up and ate meat – and that’s OK

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


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    Mum shares heartwarming message about helping other mothers
    Shelby Beck from Wisconsin shared a post about kindness that went viral (Pictures: Facebook)

    One mother has shared an important, heartwarming message with other parents – that asking for help is something not to be ashamed of.

    Shelby Beck, from Wisconsin, shared an interaction she had with a fellow mum on Facebook back in August and the post has since gone viral.

    Shelby shared her story of a day when she was sitting outside with her toddler. She was approached by another mother, who shyly asked her if she could borrow some suncream for her own child. The mother profusely apologised for the request.

    The encounter prompted Shelby to take share her thoughts on social media.

    The post read: ‘This morning while at the park I noticed a mama playing catch with her toddler as she swayed back and forth, patting the tush of the newborn tucked tightly against her chest.

    ‘A while later I glanced up to see her approach me. She shrugged her shoulders and quietly said “I’m embarrassed to even ask, but do you happen to have sunscreen we can use?” As if she was somehow ashamed that she forgot to pack sunscreen today.’

    Shelby Beck and her family
    Shelby Beck and her family (Picture: Facebook)
    Shelby Becks daughter
    Her daughter (Picture: Facebook)

    Shelby went on to direct her message towards the mother she met in the park, and fellow mothers, saying there should be no shame in asking for help and that everyone should strive to assist parents in need.

    ‘Dear fellow mamas, Please ask me if I have sunscreen,’ her post continued.

    ‘Ask if I have baby wipes, diapers or even extra snacks. Ask me if your toddler can sit down and play with us while you find a shady bench to nurse your newborn. Hand me your phone and ask me to take a picture of you with your sweet babies — we all know mamas aren’t in enough photos.

    ‘Ask for help. Ask for love. Ask for anything. Even though we are strangers, please ask me. It’s not easy being responsible for little humans but it’s easier if we help each other out.’

    Shelby Beck's Facebook post
    Shelby’s heartwarming post (Picture: Facebook)

    The touching post was soon shared more than 300,000 times and was met with a plethora of positive comments.

    One person replied: ‘Beautiful and the world needs more of this.’

    Another said ‘Amazing and so HEART WARMING what this random act of kindness on Shelby’s part has started..Proves that one act can start a fire.’

    The wave of responses prompted Shelby to reply to her initial post, sharing the kind words she had received from the general public.

    She said: ‘I’ve received sweet messages from people all around the world sharing stories of kindness and love.

    ‘What more proof do we need that regardless of where or how we live, we’re all in this together.’

    MORE: Back to school quotes and memes to inspire kids this week

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    MORE: Family of pregnant mum who disappeared with sons beg her to ‘come home’


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