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

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    Sarah, Chris and Emma all have lupus
    Sarah, Chris and Emma all have lupus (Picture: Sarah Heney/Chris Clarke/Emma Rae)

    Sarah Heney had been back and forth to her GP time and time again – she had headaches, was feeling run down and now had joint pain in her ankles.

    ‘I thought it was just part of being middle-aged,’ she explains.

    But after over a year of things being dismissed as ‘nothing to worry about’, another trip to see the doctor about the pain in her ankles led to a lifechanging moment.

    Looking back through her notes, the GP was worried that all these minor things could be connected.

    He referred her to a rheumatologist and, after a year-long series of tests and examinations, Sarah was diagnosed with lupus.

    The condition affects around 50,000 people in the UK but most people have never heard of it.

    Lupus is in the news right now after Kim Kardashian revealed that she had tested positive for lupus antibodies.

    BGUK_1710602 - ** RIGHTS: WORLDWIDE EXCEPT IN UNITED STATES ** Los Angeles, CA - Kim Kardashian tests positive for lupus antibodies and rheumatoid arthritis amid health battle on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Kim was stressed out upon receiving potentially troubling news from her doctor during the reality show's season premiere. After undergoing a blood test to determine the cause of some painful physical symptoms she'd been dealing with for some time - swollen joints, headaches, general fatigue- the KKW Beauty founder got a call from Dr Daniel Wallace with her results. "Your antibodies are positive for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis," Wallace explained, before going on to list a handful of the illnesses' corresponding side effects, joint pain and exhaustion among them. Still, the doctor made sure to remind her that these test results alone don't necessarily confirm the actual presence of either disease. "Sometimes you can get false positives in these screenings," he said, and they scheduled a follow-up appointment for Friday of that week. Post-phone call, an immediately tearful Kim told Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Kris Jenner: "I'm freaking out." The women, who'd appeared for moral support, could understand her anxiety. "You don't know," Kylie acknowledged. "That's the scariest part, is you just don't know." Kris urged the group to 'stay really positive until we get some results,' but Kim was still understandably apprehensive and struggling with uncertainty in the interim. "You know, you really do get in your head and think about the worst possible things that can happen," she admitted. "So, for the next few days it's gonna be really hell???living, wondering what I have, what's going on and how to fix this." A teaser at the end of the hour-long show revealed Kim waiting for her tests results the following week. *BACKGRID DOES NOT CLAIM ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE ATTACHED MATERIAL. ANY DOWNLOADING FEES CHARGED BY BACKGRID ARE FOR BACKGRID'S SERVICES ONLY, AND DO NOT, NOR ARE THEY INTENDED TO, CONVEY TO THE USER ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE MATERIAL. BY PUBLISHING THIS MATERIAL , THE USER EXPRESSLY AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND TO HOLD BACKGRID HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH USER'S PUBLICATION OF THE MATERIAL* Pictured: Kim Kardashian BACKGRID UK 8 SEPTEMBER 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: E! Entertainment / BACKGRID UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
    Kim Kardashian tested positive for lupus antibodies and rheumatoid arthritis (Picture: E! Entertainment / BACKGRID)

    The test does not mean she has been diagnosed with the condition, but it is an indicator that something could be wrong. She is still awaiting the results of further examinations.

    Selena Gomez also has the condition and had a kidney transplant in 2017 because the disease damaged her organ.

    It is a condition that affects people in many different ways, as it is caused by the immune system attacking the body, causing inflammation to the skin, joints and organs.

    There is no cure but getting diagnosed early can help sufferers manage the condition.

    Sarah Heney with her stepdaughter and son-in-law who were running London Marathon for Lupus UK
    Sarah Heney with her stepdaughter and son-in-law who were running London Marathon for Lupus UK (Picture: Sarah Heney)

    For many people, the first signs are the same as many other conditions but common things include achy and swollen joints, fatigue, an unexplained fever and a rash called a butterfly rash that appears across the face.

    Kim Kardashian had tests because she was complaining of pain in her hands.

    For Sarah, the road to diagnosis was a long one but it was also joint pain that made her doctor realise something was seriously wrong.

    Now 55, she first started experiencing symptoms in her mid-forties.

    She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I was going to the doctor all the time and I seemed like a hypochondriac, but I’m really not.

    ‘It was just for things like headaches, chest infections and then joint pain. They’d all been dismissed as just minor things but one GP had a lightbulb moment and ran some blood tests.

    ‘I was lucky because it can take much longer than that for someone to realise and lots of GPs don’t know much about lupus.’

    Sarah Heney with a cupcake for Lupus UK
    Sarah raising awareness for Lupus UK (Picture: Sarah Heney)

    After she was referred, Sarah spent another year and a half going to hospital appointments and during that time, her symptoms got much worse.

    Sarah, from Edinburgh, Scotland, adds: ‘My hair was falling out by the handful, I was having lots of rashes, I had a dry cough, joint pain everywhere and severe nausea, among a whole host of other symptoms.

    ‘I developed a reaction to certain types of light so any time I went anywhere with fluorescent lighting or low energy bulbs, I would feel really ill.

    ‘I had a fever a lot of the time and the fatigue was off the scale – I would fall asleep wherever I sat down.’

    After a year of tests, in 2010, Sarah was told the news she had lupus and immediately started on medication, including hydroxychloroquine, a drug originally developed to treat malaria.

    Sarah explains: ‘I had a steroid injection and that helped straight away and the drugs helped a lot but they heavily suppress your immune system, which means I often get serious infections – I have had kidney infections, pneumonia and sepsis.

    ‘I was also given steroids, which help but have awful side effects like weight gain.

    ‘The medication really helped but sometimes the side effects are almost just as bad as the condition.’

    Sarah’s condition is managed with medication but she still has flares and she had to give up her job as a marketing manager in 2012 because of the impact of her condition.

    Sarah Heney and Chris Clarke who both have lupus
    Sarah and Chris Clarke who also has Lupus (Picture: Sarah Heney)

    She explains: ‘They were so great and tried to hard to help me but it as just too difficult. I had a whole grief process with that because my job was a huge part of my identity.

    ‘Now it still impacts me every day but some days are worse than others. Some days I just can’t get out of bed and I just accept that.

    ‘I’m careful to pace myself to do the things that are important to me but it is hard for people to understand that one day I am fine to go out and the next day I can’t do the thing we had planned.’

    Most people living with the condition are female – 90% are women and just 10% of lupus patients are men.

    Chris Clarke has lupus
    Chris now (Picture: Chris Clarke)

    Chris Clarke, who was diagnosed in 2012 at the age of 18, says that although he has received a huge amount of support, it can be isolating being a man with the condition.

    Now 25, he was diagnosed by chance when he developed a rash after playing rugby.

    He was training to join the military and trying to improve his fitness when the typical ‘butterfly rash’ across the nose and cheeks appeared.

    Chris, from Glenrothes, Scotland, went to his doctor, who prescribed antibiotics but after they finished the rash remained and he was feeling more unwell.

    He was referred to a dermatologist who took a skin biopsy and carried out other tests until in June 2012, he was told he had lupus and started treatment.

    He says: ‘I had never heard of it and I was taken back a bit because all my plans had to change.

    ‘I wasn’t able to join the military and I had to cancel a three-month-long trip to America.’

    Although upset, Chris focused on getting his condition under control and his severe symptoms calmed down.

    He was monitored by doctors to see how the lupus was affecting him but in 2015, he got a phone call just as he was heading off on a family holiday to say his kidney function had declined to 35% and he needed an urgent hospital appointment.

    Lupus affects each person differently and in some cases, like Chris’, it can attack the kidney.

    Chris was given medication to try to stop the kidney damage but unfortunately, it continued and last year, he had to start dialysis when his function declined to 4%. A dialysis machine works by processing the waste and excess fluid from the body – something the kidney usually does.

    Chris Clarke at a Lupus UK stand
    Chris works with Lupus UK to help raise awareness (Picture: Chris Clarke)

    Although he was able to do it himself at home, Chris had to give up work and move back in with his parents.

    In April this year, he was placed on the transplant waiting list and just four weeks agoing on August 15, just before 3 am, he got a call to say they had a suitable kidney for him.

    He explains: ‘It was such a surreal moment. I was trying to wake up my parents and explain to them we needed to go to Edinburgh right now, while I was still on the phone to the hospital.

    ‘I had the transplant later that morning and it all went really well. It is very tragic that someone had to pass away for me to get this but I am so glad to have been given this chance.’

    What is lupus?

    Lupus is a long-term autoimmune condition causing inflammation to the joints, skin and other organs.

    According to the NHS, there’s no cure, but symptoms can improve if treatment starts early.

    Lupus symptoms:

    • Joint pain and stiffness
    • Extreme tiredness that will not go away no matter how much you rest
    • Skin rashes – often over the nose and cheeks

    As well as the 3 main symptoms, you might also have:

    • Weight loss
    • Swollen glands
    • Sensitivity to light (causing rashes on uncovered skin)
    • Poor circulation in fingers and toes (Raynaud’s)

    Chris doesn’t know how his lupus will continue to impact him but is focusing on recovering and raising awareness for the condition.

    He says: ‘I have always been a positive person so I just try not to let it affect me too much.

    ‘It can be hard being a younger man when I go to support groups and they are all older women but I am an open person so I realised I could just chat with anyone.

    ‘I am on the Lupus UK contact list and I am one of the only men on there. When newly diagnosed people get in touch, I try to help them by telling them about my experience and have even met up with some.’

    Emma Rae has also been helped by the support network of online and real-life groups set up for people living with lupus.

    Emma was just 17 when she was diagnosed. Previously a keen hammer thrower, she had noticed that she wasn’t moving quite as well for about a year before diagnosis, but it wasn’t until Christmas 2017 that she realised something was really wrong.

    Emma Rae who has lupus
    Emma says she still enjoys going out with friends but has learnt she needs to pace herself (Picture: Emma Rae)

    She explains: ‘I had what just felt like really bad flu but it didn’t go away. I felt so unwell I barely remember anything from that time.

    ‘I had really bad swelling and pain in my joints but I was told it was just a virus.

    ‘I just kept going back to the doctor until eventually they did the lupus blood test and it showed that I had the antibody. A kidney biopsy also showed that there was damage to my kidneys.

    ‘I had never heard of lupus so had no idea what it was but I felt so poorly, being told that they had found something was actually a huge relief.’

    Emma started treatment and says that the very next day, she felt much better.

    Emma’s condition improved and although she got tired very quickly and suffered some pain in the evenings, she felt life was getting back to normal.

    Last year, she decided to move to Aberdeen for university, but a few months in, she found living in halls, looking after herself and the stress of studying caused a flare.

    Now, she is much better and is working as a nursery nurse while living with her parents and applying for Geography courses closer to home.

    She explains: ‘I was on immunosuppressant drugs so was picking bugs up in halls and I just found it really hard.

    ‘I decided to move back home and try to get my condition back under control.

    ‘I’m doing much better now and have decided to reapply for university in Dundee next year, which is closer and I can live at home and travel every day.

    ‘I want to show that this condition doesn’t stop me going out and enjoying things with friends but I know I have to pace myself. It’s so important to be positive about it.’

    MORE: What is lupus, which Kim Kardashian has tested positive for?

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘Lupus gives me severe fatigue and joint pain – rugby is an escape from all of it’

    Three people reveal what it's like to live with lupusThree people reveal what it's like to live with lupus

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    The work fridge is a wonder – how long has that cream cheese been in there? Where’s that can of Coke you put away for later?

    If you work in a communal space then chances are someone has nicked something of yours from the work kitchen.

    So to stop all those food thieves, welcome the COMBiSAC bag.

    This is a purpose-built bag with a combination lock to secure your food and personal items from cheeky co-workers who help themselves, flatmate or siblings.

    Leaving a locked bag in the fridge might seem a bit drastic but no one wants to pay for a second lunch because someone’s stolen your first.

    Tamoy Carter is the man behind The COMBiSAC bag which is in the production phase.

    He and his wife are hoping to raise the funds for it on their Kickstarter page so they can roll it out country-wide.

    At the moment they’re charging £12 for the stuff which comes in one size – 27cm by 37cm and can hold a large bottle of drink.

    Anyone who makes a pledge on the Kickstarter will also get a 33% discount.

    The bag that stops your colleagues from nicking your lunch, comes with a lock
    We need this bag (Picture: Tamoy Carter)

    Tamoy, from London, had the idea at his workplace where he realised the universal inconvenience of having food stolen.

    He explained to Metro.co.uk: ‘It all started when I witnessed colleagues’ frustration at work after their milk and other food items would go missing from the office fridge.

    ‘I also read about other office workers frustration as a result of their food items going missing from the fridge or being meddled with.

    ‘This resulted in various warning notes being left on items or on the fridge trying to deter the perpetrator.

    ‘I quickly realised that people all over the world were experiencing the same problem not only in workplaces but also students at universities and people generally using shared spaces.’

    He shared the idea with his wife and together they worked on making the bag, with the aim of making it lightweight and easy to carry around.

    The bag isn’t waterproof and will need airflow coming in to stop the food from spoiling.

    The code can be reset anytime too (in case brazen folks manage to crack it).

    And while many may choose to use it for food, it could be used it for cosmetics or any valuable items they may want to leave in a public place.

    Very handy.

    MORE: People share the smelly and noisy foods they want banned from the office

    MORE: Enjoy this truly horrifying story of raw unseasoned chicken being cooked at an office lunch

    MORE: Workplaces should offer lunchtime spinning and yoga classes to ‘tackle obesity’

    The bag that stops your colleagues from nicking your lunchThe bag that stops your colleagues from nicking your lunch

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    Examination techniques in orthopaedics branded soft porn with women being examined in their underwear
    The textbook and one of the pictures (

    You know when you do to the doctor with a finger injury and have to strip down to your underwear? We’ve all been there, right?

    No us neither, but that’s what one medical textbook shows.

    Advanced Examination Techniques in Orthopaedics features models including Page 3 girl’s Leilani Dowding and Jade Cartwright inexplicably wearing underwear to have their bones examined.

    The book, which was first published in November 2002 by Greenwich Medical Media, was spotted by neurologist Kate Ahmed, based in Sydney, Australia.

    She tweeted some pictures she took of the book and said: ‘If you don’t think women in medicine have problems – check out the required textbook for orthopaedics at one Australian med school.’

    The images were called ‘soft porn’ by Caroline Criado Perez.

    Another person said: ‘This is revolting and frightening. What woman wants to be a patient of a male doctor trained with this sort of material?’

    Kate pointed out that it suggests women are objects to be leered at and makes it hard to reconcile an appropriate doctor-patient relationship with images like this’.

    If you don?t think women in medicine have problems - check out the required textbook for orthopaedics at one Australian med school.
    One of the images in the book (Picture: Kate Ahman/@duskywhalerkate)
    If you don?t think women in medicine have problems - check out the required textbook for orthopaedics at one Australian med school.
    A woman having her fingers examined (Picture: Kate Ahman/@duskywhalerkate)

    Cambridge University Press, who acquired the book, along with the other publishing assets of GMM, said they considered the images to be inappropriate and requested that they were replaced for the second edition, published in January 2014.

    A spokesperson said: ‘We accept that some of the images are still out of place given the subject matter.

    ‘A new, third edition is currently being prepared and the images will be reviewed again to ensure that are appropriate and relevant to the material – a medical textbook about the clinical examination of muscle, nerve and joint function.

    ‘To demonstrate examination techniques effectively the reader needs to be able to see skin, muscles and bony features were appropriate. Photos of patients with the medical conditions under discussion are also used where appropriate.

    ‘The book is widely used and has been well-reviewed in academic journals. It is for this reason that a new edition is being produced.’

    Kate responded: ‘The problem is that the books are both still available and used. They perpetuate the stereotype that women are sexual objects for powerful men to use. They jeopardise the doctor-patient relationship, and erode trust in male orthopaedic surgeons.

    ‘The books also promote a ‘boys club’ culture where male surgeons bond over the ogling of attractive women, even when this is most inappropriate, as in the case of the vulnerable patient. This culture makes orthopaedics a very unattractive speciality for women surgeons.

    ‘We know that fixed gender roles and objectification of women are the kindling for misogyny and violence against women. We know that doctors play an important role in identifying and managing vulnerable women. This makes these images completely inappropriate – in both editions.

    ‘It would be most appropriate to stop distributing such damaging material. Further editions should have representation of male patients, female doctors, and there should be no attempt to titillate. Women patients should be appropriately dressed.

    ‘This is an opportunity to reflect and educate. Time is up for sexism in medicine.’

    MORE: You can get a bag that locks up your food to stop colleagues nicking your lunch

    MORE: What it’s like to live with lupus


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    The Pretty Little Thing bodysuit
    The Pretty Little Thing bodysuit (Picture: Olivia Freeman)

    We love online shopping but when you can’t try before you buy, it doesn’t always go to plan.

    This student says that the pink stretch satin cup bodysuit she ordered from Pretty Little Thing had pubic hair and skidmarks on the crotch.

    Olivia Freeman ordered a pink garment online from the website for £18, but when it arrived, the protective sticker on the crotch was loose.

    Taking a closer look, 22-year-old Olivia, from Dorchester, Dorset, says she found a brown mark and hair underneath

    She said: ‘I opened it and was mortified, it was just vile.

    ‘In the crotch area the sticker was not even attached, with hairs stuck to it. They were blatantly pubes, little black curly ones.

    ‘Then I noticed the brown skid marks where someone had obviously tried this on after not wiping properly.’

    She returned the bodysuit and asked for her money back.

    She also wrote to Pretty Little Thing on Twitter, explaining that the bodysuit was for her holiday and she was running out of time to order another one.

    Olivia said: ‘All they said on Twitter was sorry, if you send it back we’ll refund you.’

    She ordered two more bodysuits instead but says they weren’t suitable either.

    The Baby Blue Lace Cup and Panel Satin Bodysuit had a hole in it and her nipple was left poking out.

    ‘I loved them both, then discovered that there was a hole right on my nipple on one of them,’ she said.

    ‘My actual nipple was poking out of the top.’

    Olivia has sent the second bodysuit back to Pretty Little Thing as well.

    Pretty Little Thing has been approached for comment.

    MORE: Medical textbook featuring women having bones checked wearing underwear branded ‘soft porn’

    MORE: You can get a bag that locks up your food to stop colleagues nicking your lunch


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    The Aldi heated clothes airer
    The Aldi clothes airer is £28.99 (Picture: Aldi/Getty)

    With the summer over, drying your clothes is about to get a whole lot harder.

    Tumble dryers are expensive to run and blasting your heating to dry the wet washing hanging up everywhere isn’t a great idea either.

    Aldi has a solution – a clothes airer that is heated.

    Granted these have been around for a while but this one is going to be on sale for a great price.

    The heated clothes airer costs just £28.99 at Aldi, which is much cheaper than the £40 they sell for elsewhere.

    The airer goes on sale tomorrow but you can pre-order it online now, with free UK delivery.

    Of course, it will still use some electricity but it is cheaper than running a tumble dryer. These airers cost around 4p per hour to run and are kinder to your clothes.

    It features 20 separate heated bars and is big enough for sheets and towels, so you can still have that freshly washed feeling even when it’s wet outside.

    The dryer can be folded away so it won’t take too much space in your home.

    It comes with a three-year guarantee so you can get a replacement if anything goes wrong.

    It already has five-star reviews from people who have managed to get one.

    One said: ‘This is a great way to dry clothes in rainy weather. Leave on all night and the clothes will be dry in the morning. Stores easily too.’

    MORE: Student says Pretty Little Thing bodysuit had pubic hair and skid marks on the crotch

    MORE: Medical textbook featuring women having bones checked wearing underwear branded ‘soft porn’

    aldi clothes aireraldi clothes airer

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    Ms Monopoly is a new version of the game
    Ms Monopoly is a new version of the game (Picture: Hasbro)

    There’s a new version of Monopoly where women get more money than men to teach kids about the gender pay gap.

    Makers of the game Hasbro said they want to celebrate female empowerment.

    It’s the first time in the history of the game that a new character appears on the front of the box.

    Ms Monopoly is a real estate mogul, with a coffee cup labelled with ‘boss’ while the traditional Mr Monopoly stands behind her.

    Instead of investing in property, players buy things invented by women, like WiFi, chocolate chip cookies and solar heating.

    The aim is to celebrate everything from scientific advancements to everyday accessories – all created by women.

    Other new additions include updated tokens – a white hat, watch, barbell, glass and jet plane.

    The traditional jail, taxes and chance cards remain so it’s still easy to pick up the rules.

    The company said that as part of the launch, they gave $20,580 (£16,688), which is the amount of Monopoly money featured in the game, in real money to young female inventors and entrepreneurs to help them with future projects.

    Who got the Monopoly money?

    • Sophia Wang, a 16-year-old from Connecticut invented a device that can detect sinkholes before they occur, and after two years of work, her prototype is now 93% accurate. She is hoping to get it patented and in the hands of communities in Florida that are vulnerable to sinkholes.
    • Gitanjali Rao, a 13-year-old from Denver came up with an invention that helps detect lead in drinking water so that individuals can do the test themselves and get results sooner. Her goal is to create an inexpensive, easy to use, portable device so that people all around the world can use it.
    • Ava Canney, a 16-year-old from Ireland, invented a spectrometer that measures the amount of dye in candy and soda. After studying the harmful effects of additives in our food, Ava set out to help people make educated decisions about the toxins they put into their bodies.

    Jen Boswinkel, Senior Director, Global Brand Strategy and Marketing, Hasbro, said: ‘Through the introduction of Ms Monopoly and the money these young women have received to invest in their future projects, we want to recognize and celebrate the many contributions women have made to our society and continue to make on a daily basis.’

    The game hits shelves in the US in mid-September and hopefully, we’ll see it in the UK soon.

    MORE: Aldi is selling a heated clothes airer for just £28.99 and it’s perfect for drying clothes in cold weather

    MORE: Student says Pretty Little Thing bodysuit had pubic hair and skid marks on the crotch


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    Elizabeth Briggs, 76, reunited with her teddy bear.
    72 years after he gave her comfort during childhood heart surgery, teddy bear George is back in Elizabeth’s arms (Picture: SWNS)

    You’ll never forget your favourite soft toy.

    For Elizabeth Briggs, 77, that toy was a teddy bear named George.

    George held a special significance for Elizabeth because when she underwent pioneering childhood heart surgery in 1947, it was George who gave her comfort.

    Elizabeth was just five years old when she had an operation to repair a duct in her heart.

    Her grandmother bought her a new teddy bear at a church sale, who she named George and kept with her for her six-week stay at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.

    Elizabeth went on to make a full recovery and live a healthy life, but George was packed away, lost after she returned to her family home in Enfield, north London.

    But 72 years later, the bear was found again when Elizabeth’s brother, Trevor, was doing a clearance of the house.

    George was returned to Elizabeth at the Aden Court care home in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, where the 77-year-old is currently recovering from a stroke.

    Elizabeth Briggs, 76, reunited with her teddy bear.
    George had been stashed away for years (Picture: SWNS)

    Elizabeth said: ‘The operation was quite scary when I was five years old and George helped me through it all.

    ‘He had every bandage, bedpan and injection that I also had when in hospital. The nurses and doctors got him a small bedpan too.

    ‘I am so happy to have him back and now he can help me recover again like he did all those years ago.’

    Aden Court manager Lisa Boyd said: ‘Elizabeth was overjoyed to be reunited with her bear, George.

    ‘Elizabeth hasn’t been with us very long but she’s already so settled and George was the icing on the cake for her.

    ‘He has pride of place in her room and we’re sure he will provide comfort as she continues her recovery from her stroke.’

    MORE: Woman chops her wedding dress and dyes it green so she can wear it all the time

    MORE: Man bumps into his doppelgänger at a wedding and they’re wearing the same outfit


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    kfc weddings - bride and groom kissing in front of kfc menu
    Who doesn’t want fried chicken on their wedding day? (Picture: KFC)

    Fancy making your wedding finger lickin’ good?

    KFC is here to help.

    Well, if ‘here’ means Australia.

    KFC Australia has announced plans to launch fried chicken themed weddings, offering six couples the chance to have their special day catered by KFC for free.

    That’s right, there’s a competition for Aussie couples to get freebie fried chicken for their wedding day. What a dream.

    Any couple who’s planning to get married before May 2020 is invited to apply. The winners will get a full-on KFC wedding, meaning freshly cooked Kentucky Fried Chicken for 200 guests, KFC decorations, a KFC themed celebrant, and even a photobooth to capture all those special memories.

    The chicken will be served in the classic buckets from a food truck, so perhaps not the fancy sit-down dinner your mother in law was hoping for.

    couple holding KFC on their wedding day
    We’d recommend giving guests hand wipes (Picture: KFC Weddings)

    Couples will need to provide the venue and, well, every other part of the wedding (the dress, the flowers, the rings, and so on). Oh, and alcohol isn’t included, so you’ll need to sort that out yourself.

    But if you’re a fan of deep-fried meat and fancy saving a few quid on the catering, it’s probably worth trying this.

    All you have to do to apply is fill in a form explaining why you want a chicken-y wedding. From all the entrants, six lucky couples will be blessed with the honour of KFC catering.

    Don’t panic if you’re not a winner, though, as your KFC wedding dreams aren’t dead.

    groom feeds bride kfc on wedding day
    True romance (Picture: KFC)

    The brand does offer catering for any event, although prices aren’t listed anywhere on the KFC UK site. Your best bet is getting in touch with KFC as early as possible to arrange plenty of buckets for everyone on your guest list.

    Make sure you complete the occasion with a fried chicken bouquet. That’s a must.

    ‘KFC Weddings is our response to all the couples we’ve heard of who have popped the question in one of our restaurants or who have created their own version of a KFC Wedding,’ said KFC on their website.

    ‘We’ve seen everything from KFC banquets to chicken bouquets. And with so many people wanting us to be part of their big day we just had to create KFC Weddings as a service for all couples ready to tie the knot.’

    MORE: Woman chops her wedding dress and dyes it green so she can wear it all the time

    MORE: KFC brings back ‘spiciest ever’ Piri Piri Inferno Bites

    MORE: KFC tests out vegan plant-based ‘chicken’ nuggets and wings

    7450223 KFC launches a wedding day service7450223 KFC launches a wedding day service

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    Going through school and university, I’d never have classed myself as lonely. I always had people surrounding me and someone to hang out with at the weekend.

    Friday nights out, weekend shopping trips and sleepovers filled my teenage years. But as education faltered away and the real world came looming, this slowed down.

    I first realised I was lonely when I overheard a conversation between some girls talking about being a bridesmaid for their best friend.

    I’ve always wanted to get married, and listening to them I let my mind wander, imagining my future wedding day.

    I thought over my friendship group, and that’s when I realised I didn’t have anyone I could ask to be my bridesmaid.

    I realised I didn’t have anyone I could ask to be my bridesmaid (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

    I have no collection of besties, or even a single person that I’m close enough with to ask them to be heavily involved in what is meant to be the happiest day of your life.

    This realisation really got to me and I was saddened by it. It was only made worse when I had rubbish days, feeling the urge to rant and talk it over with someone, only to scroll through my phone contacts to find I didn’t have anyone to confide in.

    Lacking those close people who you can share good and bad news with can be really hard.

    Stereotypically, a lonely person is old, but I am one of the many young people who has started to identify more with this label. I am constantly trying to push my boundaries, even if it means feeling uncomfortable.

    I can form conversations, go out and have a laugh and be engaging.

    Lacking those close people who you can share good and bad news with can be really hard (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

    On the surface, I might seem like a confident extrovert, but it is the deeper connections and long-lasting friendships I struggle with.

    I’ve lived in the same town since I was born and even during university I didn’t move away.

    I feel like my steadiness should have ensured enduring friendships, but it feels like my friends have moved on. They’ve moved abroad, or have got married and had kids.

    In the past four years, I have felt increasingly isolated and I place part of the blame at social media’s feet.

    In the UK there are an estimated 45 million social media users, which is about 67 per cent of the entire population.

    Seeing people’s shiny, polished lives and friendships on Instagram only makes me question why I can’t have that too (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

    With the click of a button you can connect with anyone and it takes away the need for real human contact and interaction. You’re never going to have the same bond and connection over the internet as you do in real life and it’s that that I miss.

    To be honest, seeing people’s shiny, polished lives and friendships on Instagram only makes me question why I can’t have that, too. I’m lonely, so I turn to Instagram, and then I come off feeling worse.

    I never thought I would be lonely at this age, and it’s something I am trying to change every day. It’s a situation that only I can resolve but it’s difficult.

    I’m fortunate in that I’m in a relationship with someone who is a constant and I can spend my time with, but I need friendships.

    I’ve started online friend-dating in the hopes that I might find some good matches. So far it’s not been too bad, I’ve started speaking to some great sounding people.

    But I’m yet to meet anyone in real life. Whether this is my inner self telling me I’m fine as I am, or my worry that new people won’t like me, I’m not sure.

    For me, it’s not just about finding anyone, but those whose interests I share and can form long-lasting relationships with.

    Hopefully one day I’ll know who to contact when I have great news to share.

    You can read Rhian’s blog here, and follow her on Instagram here


    Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity  positively or negatively  and what the label means to them.

    If you would like to get involved please email jess.austin@metro.co.uk

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    Illustration of a woman standing in front of her boss, who is holding up a cup of tea
    Dealing with conflict at work is never easy (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    If you work in an office, chances are you actually spend more time with your colleagues than you do some of your loved ones.

    Studies show that having genuine, good friends at work makes us better at our jobs, more intuitive, more creative and – despite all the chats we have by the biscuit tin at 3pm – more productive. We also tend to take fewer sick days.

    Work friendships are like any other relationship, though; they’re susceptible to conflict and tension. If you have a fight with your best mate at work, you can’t exactly take time away from them, like you might if you had a fight with someone in your usual social circle.

    You’ve got to keep turning up at the office to do your job, potentially just metres away from the person who’s made you angry.

    An office feud is tricky to navigate because you’ve got a certain obligation to continue to be your best work self (which is ideally quite composed). So, what do you do if you fall out with your best mate at work?

    Keep it to yourself

    Office gossip can get salacious, real fast. Do not contribute to it by bitching about your friend. It will only get back to them, involve other people and end up reflecting on you badly.

    If you’ve got a conflict going on, try to keep it between you and the one other person who’s involved.

    Getting other people in on the whole thing is messy and unprofessional, so try to be discreet and deal with your fight quietly, maturely and as quickly as possible.

    Resist the temptation to badmouth your colleague as it’s the best hope you have of stopping them from doing the same.

    Discuss it face to face

    If you’ve just had a spat at work, the first thing to do is walk away and compose yourself. Take a little time to cool off and calm down, so you don’t escalate things.

    When you’re feeling capable of a measured conversation, try and get a chat in face-to-face.

    An illustration of two people, a man and a woman, arguing
    Take a little time to cool off and calm down, so you don’t escalate things (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Keep the angry texts and passive aggressive emails to a minimum – ideally, zero.

    For a start, those sorts of things are rife for misinterpretation and we can say all sorts of things we don’t mean from behind a keyboard.

    But also, perhaps even more importantly, you do not want to create a paper trail of your conflicts.

    You’re angry, sure, but you have to maintain some semblance of professionalism here and that includes protecting yourself a little.

    You do not want any petty back and forth between you and your mate to be preserved in email history, passed on to one of your superiors or brought up out of context.

    Get it together and suggest a chat in person, preferably outside office hours and outside the office. Have a little think beforehand and plan what you want to say.

    Know when to talk to HR 

    It’s very much worth saying that some complaints need to be escalated. Especially if they violate the decency, integrity and equality your workspace believes in.

    It doesn’t matter if this person is your close mate – if they’ve attacked you based on your gender, sexuality, race or disability, then it’s worth considering whether you should approach someone from HR.

    If you’re just annoyed because someone stole your favourite pen or spoke over you in a meeting, deal with it yourself.

    However, if it’s workplace harassment, then you should involve HR, who are specifically trained and employed to deal with things like this.

    If someone threatens you, sexually harasses you, says something inappropriate about you or makes you feel unsafe, then it’s perfectly reasonable and in fact advisable to report it.

    Also if you need to, talk to a friend or mentor about it and quietly book yourself a meeting with the right people.

    Illustration of a woman sat at her laptop (only her hands visible) with a cup of tea
    Go to HR if they violate the decency, integrity and equality your workspace (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Listen properly

    One of the most important things you can possibly do, when trying to resolve a conflict, is listen.

    You probably have a lot of opinions right now and you’re desperate to unload them but it’s so important that you actually stop to listen to your friend.

    Your objective here is to identify your problem and solve it, with as little fallout as possible – not to air all your grievances and move on with your life.

    Say things like ‘I hear you’ and ‘I get why you would feel that way’ so that your friend feels heard.

    It’s a courtesy and a gesture towards reconciliation, if you genuinely try to understand where the other person is coming from.

    It takes two to tango, so you probably have a little culpability here and could do with facing it. Apologise if necessary and try moving on from the whole thing.

    Decide that you want to resolve this conflict, rather than going into this wanting to win or defeat the other person. It will make a huge difference to the tone and outcome of this conversation.

    Repair the friendship

    If you successfully resolve your conflict and you’re ready to be mates again, do something nice. Go out for Wagamama at lunch or book in Friday night drinks.

    Get your friendship back on track and celebrate that you successfully navigated a workplace conflict.

    It might take a little time to get back to total comfort with each other but gently work at it until you’ve got your best work buddy back.

    If you can’t resolve it, by the way, you’re going to have to find a way to maintain professional decorum. Be polite and courteous if you can’t be close and friendly then downgrade this person from your work BFF back to a colleague.

    Always conduct your professional interactions calmly and get on with your job – after all, that’s what you’re here to do.

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    Why does everyone want a goth girlfriend?
    Are you a proper grownup? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Feel like you’re failing at being a proper, independent adult?

    Don’t panic – you’re not alone… as long as you’re under the age of 26.

    A new survey suggests that British adults don’t become truly independent until the age of 26, blaming the economy, spending longer in education, and difficult reaching traditional markers of adulthood, such as buying a home.

    More than 2,000 adults over the age of 25 were polled about when they felt they had all their adulting stuff nailed, with the majority believing they don’t become full-on adults until they’re 26.

    This backs up previous research that suggests adulthood doesn’t really start until after 25.

    Those surveyed say it’s harder than ever for young people to grow up and fend for themselves, pointing to a lack of education about basic life skills in schools.

    Despite the legal age of adulthood being 18 in the UK, six in ten of those surveyed don’t believe this is the real age of being a grown up.

    38% of those polled said they still rely on their parents or guardians.

    The research also came up with 50 signs ‘independence day’ had been reached, so you can go ahead and tick off as many as you can to check you’ve succeeded at adulthood.

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    The survey was carried out by the National Youth Board for the National Citizen Service (NCS) – a programme to help 16-17 year-olds build confidence, independence and learn life skills.

    Nuala McNally, who sits on the board, said: ‘There are a number of factors which may contribute to young people finding independence later now than ever before.

    ‘It’s much harder for us to leave our parents’ and guardians’ homes for the first time, meaning less opportunity to put practical skills such as budgeting.

    ‘In addition, a lot of us are choosing to stay in education longer, which is great as more people are academically investing in their future.

    ‘However, it means we have less ‘real world’ experience.’

    Top 50 signs of being independent:

    • Being financially independent from your parents/guardians
    • Moving out of your parents’/guardians’ home
    • Managing your own bills/outgoings
    • Buying your own property
    • Having a job
    • Being able to budget
    • Having control of your own bank account
    • Paying rent
    • Having savings
    • Paying your own mobile phone bill
    • Planning and going to do your weekly food shop
    • Doing your own clothes washing
    • Spending your money on household goods e.g. hoover, mattress
    • Booking your own doctors/dentist appointment
    • Being self-motivated
    • Owning your own car
    • Buying your own clothes
    • Going on holiday without your parents/guardians
    • Making your own dinner
    • Voting
    • Being confident at taking on any task without help
    • Sorting out your own car problems
    • Travelling alone to a foreign country
    • Passing your driving test
    • Having a baby
    • Having no problem saying ‘no’ to people
    • Buying your own towels and bedding
    • Being comfortable challenging other people’s opinions
    • Being confident talking to new people
    • Navigating public transport alone
    • Having life insurance
    • Not having a curfew
    • Knowing how to do a meter reading
    • Confidently being able to cook a roast dinner
    • Having a credit card
    • Being able to change a light bulb by yourself
    • Being happy to go out for a meal alone
    • Having family and friends come to you for advice
    • Getting a pet without asking anyone’s permission
    • Being able to buy alcohol
    • Dressing weather-appropriately without anyone telling you to
    • Volunteering by myself
    • Being able to mow the lawn on your own
    • Buying toilet paper
    • Having sex
    • Owning a host of cleaning products
    • Hosting dinner parties
    • Being able to bake a basic cake without looking at a recipe
    • Putting up a tent by yourself
    • Having your own social media accounts

    MORE: How to get over an argument with your office bestie

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    Norwegian Artist Jan Hakon Erichsen regularly spends the best part of a day making an elaborate sculpture… only to smash the thing to pieces.

    After going viral for a video where be bursts balloons using bizarre methods, Jan has been destroying uncooked pasta.

    The 41-year-old, from Oslo, says he didn’t ‘choose the spaghetti life’ but rather it chose him.

    In his latest video, an ‘encore’ to the balloons, Jan is seen shredding pasta with a shredder, a hat made of wood, his bare head, his hands, more wood, his back, chest and a rolling pin.

    Smashing is the theme for all of Jan’s creations. He’s been obliterating balloons and pasta for his YouTube series Destruction Diaries.

    The anxiety-inducing videos are accompanied with a deadpan humour from Jan that’s made him a hit online.

    Hey, anything can be considered art if it inspires a reaction.

    Jan Hakon Erichsen smashing uncooked spaghetti with a hat made of a wooden plank
    Sir, what are you doing? (Picture: Jan Hakon Erichsen)

    Jan tells Metro.co.uk that he works as an artist full-time, meaning he has to come up with all the ways you could possibly break uncooked pasta with just your body and a bit of wood.

    He says: ‘I make short destruction videos heavily influenced by early performance and video artists. I’m trying to fuse that with the energy of the viral videos of today.

    That’s going to hurt (Picture: Jan Hakon Erichsen)

    ‘The different videos take everything from ten minutes to half a day to set up. Usually, it´s somewhere or in-between that.’

    As with all intricate creations online that require a lot of effort, Jan’s designs have been called ‘extra’.

    Sure, Jan (Picture: Jan Hakon Erichsen)

    But with 500,000 followers and Instagram and a further 50,000 on Twitter, he’s struggling to see the haters.

    ‘I’ve become quite immune to negative comments, but I still thoroughly enjoy all the positive feedback,’ Jan says.

    ‘Haters gonna hate as they say, so not worth my time thinking about that.’

    We can only imagine what he’s got planned next. Eggs, maybe? Or bubble wrap?

    If you enjoyed the pasta video, here’s Jan popping some balloons:

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    Cadbury chocolate close up
    Flavour options include lemongrass, marshmallows and popcorn. (Picture: Getty)

    Do you have aspirations to be the real-life Willy Wonka? Do you dream of chocolaty flavours that you wish existed?

    Now you have the chance to bring your ideas to life as Cadbury is calling on customers to design their next chocolate bar.

    The chocolate manufacturer is launching its second annual Inventor Competition, giving chocolate obsessives the chance to create their dream product and next addition to the Cadbury Dairy Milk family.

    If, like us, you’re sick of fruit ‘n’ nut and bored of basic caramel, get stuck into the design tools online and let your creativity run wild.

    When you enter the competition, you can choose from more than 90,000 different flavour combinations – including basil, Dijon mustard, tomato and edible glitter.

    If you want to stick to slightly more conventional flavours, there is also hazelnut, fudge, cookie dough and honeycomb.

    Go sickeningly sweet or wickedly spicy – it’s completely up to you, and you can choose to include up to three flavours of your choice. You also get to name your creation.

    But it won’t be easy to make the cut and see your design hit the shelves. All admissions will be put through a tough judgement process, with entries assessed on both taste and creativity.

    Three candidates will then be invited to the Cadbury Chocolate Centre of Excellence in Bournville, where they will work with chocolate experts to make their designs a reality.

    The three bars will be made available in UK shops for a trial period of three months and chocolate lovers can then vote online for their favourite.

    The winning bar will be added to the brand’s Dairy Milk range.

    Last year’s winning creation was Choca-Latte by Callum Clogher, which features milk chocolate, coffee cream and digestive biscuit pieces.

    But if you’ve got big ideas you’ll need to be quick – you only have until the 30th September to submit your creations. So get to work.

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    how I Save: Jenni
    Jenni was recently made redundant (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    The need to save a certain amount of money by a certain age is pretty scary.

    You’re supposed to have three months worth of wages in case of an emergency. You should be saving for a house. If you’re not saving a third of your paycheque each month you’re doing everything wrong.

    There’s a lot of pressure and it can feel overwhelming, especially as so many of us have never been taught the basics of managing our money.

    To open up the conversation around saving and provide a realistic look at how much real people actually have saved, we launched a weekly series called How I Save.

    Each week we have a look around someone’s personal finances, tracking a week of spending, nosing around their saving habits, and seeing what we can learn from how they handle their money.

    Last week we spoke to a 26-year-old project manager with £6,000 saved after buying a house.

    This time we’re with Jenni, who’s also managed that savings goal of buying property and now owns a home.

    Jenni is a 29-year-old writer and personal finance blogger (she writes about money at Can’t Swing a Cat) from Manchester. We’re looking at her money situation just four weeks after she lost her main source of income.

    How Jenni saves:

    I was earning £28,000 a year as a communications manager but a few weeks ago I was made redundant from my job. I now make very little.

    In my savings account right now I have £4,000.

    I saved this much money by transferring between £300 – £500 into my savings account every payday to remove the temptation to spend too much. I’m not too strict though and sometimes dip into it to pay for unexpected nights out or new clothes.

    Alongside my job, I sometimes made £50 to £300 a month from my blog and by writing for other websites.

    I do most of my food shopping at Aldi, cook meals in bulk, and freeze them to last for ages. I track my spending in Starling and Monzo. I switch bank accounts regularly to make the most of the bonuses for new customers.

    I was saving for an emergency and I’m so grateful to my past self!

    I now struggle with saving because I no longer have a job and regular income. I’m hoping to change this by making my blog more profitable and increasing the amount of freelance writing I do for others. I bought my own home in 2017 but it’s expensive to live alone as I don’t have anyone to split my bills with.

    woman looking at her online banking on a laptop
    After being made redundant, Jenni is trying to earn more money through her personal finance blog (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Shutterstock)

    How Jenni spends:

    Monthly expenses:

    • Mortgage and bills: £750 a month
    • Phone and internet: £35
    • Netflix, Amazon Prime, Audible: £25
    • Contact lenses: £18
    • Gym: £21.99
    • Mortgage overpayments: £120
    • Transport: £80

    Monday: I ride my bike, visit my parents and work from home. This doesn’t cost any money.

    The chain on my bike has been really noisy lately so I order some bike lube off Amazon for £5.54.

    Tuesday: I meet a friend for pizza. I suggest somewhere that’s not too expensive but still manage to spend £35 on pizza and drinks. Now I’m no longer working full time, I don’t need an £80 monthly pass for the tram anymore. I buy a return ticket for £4.20 instead.

    Wednesday: I ride my bike and spend the rest of the day working.

    The bike lube I ordered wasn’t very good so I order a different one for £5.89.

    I reduce my gym membership from £21.99 a month to £12.99 a month by switching to a gym outside of the city centre and opting for off-peak hours. I also contact my mortgage lender to drop my overpayments and pay the absolute minimum.

    Thursday: Another day of riding my bike and working in my kitchen.

    The second bike lube didn’t do the trick so I start wondering if I need a new chain.

    I spend £20.16 in Tesco. I did a huge Aldi shop at the start of the month, cooked loads of meals and froze them for later. I’m a bit bored of them so I buy pizza, fruit and stir fry ingredients.

    I have coeliac disease and can only eat gluten-free bread, which tends to be expensive. Today my favourite bread rolls are half price so I buy 24 of them. I annoy my parents by turning up unannounced and piling dozens of bread rolls into their freezer.

    Friday: In September there’s a money blogging event in London I’d like to go to. I check train prices and it’s £50 for a return. There’s no way I can justify the cost of a hotel when I no longer have a full-time job, so I’ll leave my house at 6am and get back late that night.

    Saturday: It’s my cousin’s wedding day and I’m relieved it’s in Manchester. I feel bad giving a gift of just £20 but I’m sure the couple will understand.

    My Uber rides cost me just £9 altogether because I split the fare with my parents. After the ceremony, there’s a free bar and my glass of prosecco is kept topped up. Now I feel really bad about not giving a bigger gift.

    When we sit down for the meal, there’s wine on the table. When the free drinks eventually run out, I somehow still manage to spend £30 at the bar.

    Sunday: I wake up with a hangover. I spend £8 in Tesco on sweet potato fries, cheese, Lucozade, and a few other miscellaneous items.

    Total spent this week: £187.79

    How Jenni can save:

    We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out how Jenni can save better (and what we can learn from her spending).

    Note: the advice featured is specific to one individual and doesn’t constitute financial advice, especially for a London budget. 

    Jenni, thanks for sharing your money diary in a month where it’s all gone a bit tits up. It’s important to see and honestly, not as worrying as when people optimistically lurch into freelancing with no savings. Which is terrifying. Nobody do that.

    You’re ahead with the whole home-ownership thing and past-Jenni has done you a solid by saving so much. Power on. We can smash this.

    Main vice: peer pressure

    Some fun problems: kicking into freelancing is a big social shift. You’re going to need to see people.

    Avoiding spending money whilst doing so isn’t easy. Evening drinks and going out is scripted into our culture, but look for other things to do with friends that don’t cost money rather than cutting yourself off.

    For anyone reading this: it’s your job to do a sense check with your own social circle. It’s why you should all talk about money a bit more.


    Until you’ve established a rough wage, it’s just a case of riding your savings. If you’ve previously been able to lock down £500 a month in savings while buying a house, you don’t many pointers from us.

    At your current rate of spending, you have bought yourself two months wiggle room. Which is good base.

    You’ve got this.

    How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing ellen.scott@metro.co.uk.

    MORE: How I Save: The 28-year-old entertainment publicist earning £85,000 a year with £22,500 saved

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    Shannon visited her GP numerous times and was told she could have an STI, be pregnant or be constipated before a large tumour was located on her ovary. AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: DOCTORS assumed this woman?s stomach pains were CAUSED BY AN STI but later discovered a MASSIVE TUMOUR on her ovary that was so rare she only had a ONE PERCENT chance of developing it. Personal trainer Shannon Menger (20) who was born in Missouri, USA, but is currently living in Auckland, New Zealand, started to experience stomach pains at the beginning of January 2019 which occurred roughly once a week and left her unable to move. In the weeks after, Shannon started feeling noticeably tired but assumed it was due to waking up at five am for work. Along with the pains and tiredness, Shannon also had irregular periods, so she saw her doctor but was turned away as they weren?t sure what was wrong. Shannon went to see her doctor five times between January and March and was told it could be pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection. In February she noticed her stomach had become hard, which Shannon initially thought was because she was bulking, so it could be weight gain. However, it felt unusually firm and there seemed to be a lump under the skin in the pelvic area, but Shannon?s GP sent her home with laxatives believing it was constipation. A week after being prescribed laxatives and seeing no improvement, Shannon had an ultrasound which revealed a mass on her ovary. Despite the shocking revelation, doctors were hopeful it would only be a cyst but Shannon went to hospital for blood tests and within a few hours she was told she had stage 3B immature teratoma of the left ovary, a rare cancer which required her to have surgery within hours to remove the large tumour. Shannon then had to start chemotherapy a week later and completed four cycles across 12 weeks. After finishing chemotherapy on June 24, 2019, Shannon was back in the gym on July 8 as she gradually got back into her fitness reg
    Shannon went to her doctor multiple times and was told her stomach pain was likely due to pregnancy, an STI, or constipation (Picture: MDWfeatures /Shannon Menger)

    When Shannon Menger, 20, started to experience intense stomach pains, her doctor dismissed her symptoms as being caused by an STI.

    Shannon, born in Missouri but living in Auckland, New Zealand, began experiencing extreme stomach pains that left her unable to move back in January 2019.

    Along with pain that made her unable to move, Shannon also felt exhausted and had irregular periods.

    The personal trainer went to see her doctor five times between January and March and was told the issue was likely due to pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection.

    By February, Shannon noticed that her stomach felt hard and had a lump under the skin. Again she was dismissed by her doctor, who sent her home with laxatives to treat what they assumed was constipation.

    A week after being prescribed laxatives and seeing no improvement, Shannon finally had an ultrasound, which revealed a large mass on her ovary. Blood tests confirmed that she had a stage 3B immature teratoma on her left ovary, a rare cancer that required her to have surgery within hours.

    A week later Shannon had to begin chemotherapy, completing four cycles across 12 weeks.

    Shannon in hospital prior to her surgery
    The personal trainer had to have surgery and chemotherapy to remove the large tumour on her ovary (Picture: MDWfeatures /Shannon Menger)

    Shannon said: ‘I felt tired for about a month or two before I was diagnosed but I just assumed it was the 5am starts catching up with me. In March, I noticed my stomach felt hard, like there was a lump in it and it was starting to hurt even when walking or moving.

    ‘I was trying to bulk and put on muscle mass at the time, so when my stomach was getting bigger, I just assumed it was because I was eating more. I thought the tiredness was from being a personal trainer, waking up early and working late. I thought maybe my stomach pains could be a gut health issue or that my body was reacting to me going vegetarian at the time.

    ‘I went to the doctors at the end of 2018 as my periods were irregular, but then I went back when I started getting the pains. However, they couldn’t figure out what it was, and I went about five times within two months. They thought it could be pregnancy or an STI, so they tested for both and it was neither, so I was sent home.

    ‘When I went back after noticing my stomach feeling hard, they gave me Tramadol and laxatives, saying it could be constipation. I returned the following week and was finally sent for an ultrasound which was when they saw the lump on my ovary.

    ‘Everything happened so fast so I wasn’t really thinking about the surgery, however I knew I would make it through, so I wasn’t too worried. I did have a moment before surgery though where I had a small freak out because I’d hoped they could do keyhole surgery rather than open up my stomach and leave me with a huge scar, but the tumour was so big they had to cut me open.’

    Shannon had surgery to remove the tumour on 30 March, followed by eight hours of chemotherapy each day for a week.

    Shannon is working out three times a week now but still feels the side effects of chemotherapy
    After completing chemo Shannon is back on track with her fitness Picture: MDWfeatures /Shannon Menger)

    The treatment made Shannon feel weak and nauseous, but the fitness fan refused to let that hold her back. Just two weeks after completing chemotherapy she was back in the gym, training three times a week.

    ‘At first it was frustrating to go from lifting more than my body weight to then barely being able to do body weight exercises, but I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t going to get back to where I was if I didn’t put in the work to get there,’ said Shannon.

    ‘It was important for my mental health to get back into exercise and it’s definitely helped me get my energy back. I’m now two months post chemo and I’m feeling pretty much back to normal apart from my brain being slightly slow.’

    Shannon now shares her fitness journey online to show others the power of physical fitness and the impact it can have on your mental wellbeing.

    ‘I’m now training three times a week for about an hour each time, focusing on strength training,’ she says. ‘I’m a lot less worried about life’s issues now and feeling more positive.

    ‘I’m currently cancer-free and have monthly blood tests at the hospital as well as scans twice a month to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. I will have a lot of check-ups for the next five years to make sure it’s under control, but so far so good!

    ‘It’s important to stay positive, regardless what hand you’re dealt because today’s pain will be tomorrow’s strength. There’s always something to be grateful for and you can always find a way out of whatever struggle you’re in.’

    MORE: Cancer sufferer who planned her own funeral completes Great North Run

    MORE: Baby’s patch of eczema turns out to be rare childhood cancer


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    A pregnant woman who only eats fruit is hoping her unborn child will follow the same diet.

    Anne Jensen, 23, experienced muscle weakness and hair loss due when on a vegetarian diet, so gave up dairy, eggs, and cooked food to become a fruitarian.

    When she was 19, the mum-to-be from Denmark was living in France and eating food rich in dairy.

    But it left her with muscle spasms and lethargy which made Anne feel like she ‘couldn’t cope’.

    After much research, she began a fruitarian, or a raw vegan, diet.

    Now Anne, who is 25 weeks pregnant, wants her child to eat the same things as her, such as a diet of melons, bananas, and salads made of spinach, lettuce and tomatoes.

    Although her meals usually consist of these staples, Anne says she had the odd cooked meal as it helps with nausea.

    Though she does struggle with morning sickness, she is convinced that being fruitarian has kept her energy levels up as she prepares to bring a new life into the world.

    Once she gives birth, she plans to listen to her body to work out what sort of diet is best for her, but hopes she can go back to fruitarianism full-time.

    What does Anne eat?

    Breakfast: A ‘monomeal’ – which is made up of just one kind of raw fruit or vegetable – such as three melons, or half a large watermelon.

    Lunch: A smoothie, with one of her favourite recipes entailing blending five bananas with around 10 dates, fresh berries and water.

    Dinner: A fresh salad made up of spinach, two romaine lettuce heads and tomatoes, as well as a mango, orange and strawberry juice.

    Anne's food including oranges and bananas
    Anne’s food supply (PA Real Life/Collect)

    ‘I’d love to raise my child as a fruitarian, but I can’t do that if I’m not following the diet myself,’ she said.

    ‘I am planning to breastfeed as long as the baby wants to do so. I know that is the main source of calories for the baby and will introduce food slowly alongside it. I will just wait and see what is best for my baby.’

    Anne eating a mango wth her hands
    Anne hopes her child will also embrace the fruitarian life (PA Real Life/Collect)

    ‘Most of my friends are fruitarian too and agree that it’s the healthiest choice, and my loved ones are very supportive.

    ‘But people online, who don’t understand the raw vegan diet, have been critical, telling me I should be drinking cows’ milk while pregnant to give my baby everything it needs.

    ‘I believe cows’ milk is for cows’ babies, though, and that humans can get all the nutrients they require from plants.’

    What does the doctor say?

    Dr Daniel Atkinson, Clinical Lead of Treated.com, said: ‘The biggest issue with a fruitarian diet is how restrictive it is, because it excludes key nutrients and vitamins like B12, which you can only get from animal sources.

    ‘While whole fruit is healthy, juiced fruit tends to have high sugar concentration, and consuming lots of it might increase the risk of gestational diabetes.

    ‘Anaemia is a common issue during pregnancy, and a fruit-heavy diet isn’t rich in iron which might mean you’re more at risk of developing anaemia.

    ‘If you are pregnant, it’s better to speak to your doctor or health visitor before making any drastic changes to your diet.’

    Anne, who has lived all over the world, but is currently based in Aarhus in her native Denmark, has been eating some cooked vegan meals while pregnant, for the baby.

    Once her child is born, she plans to return to a 100% raw vegan eating plan.

    Anne showing her baby bump
    She is 25 weeks pregnant (PA Real Life/Collect)

    When she turned 12, Anne became a vegetarian after seeing her friends make the switch plus the poor treatment of animals.

    After working as an au pair in France, she began to develop some health problems.

    She explained: ‘I was living with a family there and eating what they ate, which was different to my diet back home – lots of cheese, lots of cream and lots of processed food.

    ‘I think my body just couldn’t cope. I began to get all sorts of health issues. My muscles would shake, my hair would fall out and I’d feel so tired and sluggish.’

    Anne hopes to encourage others to consider a fruitarian diet and is convinced it has improved her health tenfold.

    She is also passionate about the environmental benefits of her approach.

    Anne and Grant with fruit
    She and her partner Grant are both fruitarians (PA Real Life/Collect)

    ‘Nothing I eat is in plastic packaging, and there’s very little waste,’ she said. ‘I think it’s better for the planet to be a fruitarian.

    ‘You also save lots of money, as you aren’t buying treats like takeaways, meals out, or even the odd chocolate bar and can of cola.’

    MORE: Fruitarian couple say their diet of nothing but fruit means they don’t have to brush their teeth

    MORE: Couple who only eat fruit say they feel healthier than ever before

    AD FEATURE: Fruitarian, flexitarian or… WHAT? Why a traditional balanced diet is the winner

    Pregnant fruitarian womanPregnant fruitarian woman

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    Metro Illustrations
    Spinning or Netflix? That is the question. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Skipping a workout can make you feel rubbish.

    There’s the guilt, the feeling that you’re not going to hit your targets and of course you miss out on those sweet, sweet endorphins.

    We’ve written before about how to motivate yourself to work out regularly – but there are times when skipping the gym might just be the best thing you can do for your body.

    Rest and recovery is a vital part of any fitness regime in order to avoid burnout or injuries, so it’s important to know when it’s best to sack off that weights session and head home for a night on the sofa instead.

    Training hard can be a great way to relieve stress, release endorphins and make you feel better. But there are times when smashing your session could actually be causing your body negative damage, increasing your stress levels and affecting your ability to recovery, and cope with stress.

    ‘Heavy exercise taxes the body, with very intense exercise causing cortisol (the stress hormone) levels to rise significantly, studies show,’ explains Tiina Hoffman, exercise physiologist and master trainer for Firstbeat.

    ‘The heart will also be beating fast, blood pressure will be elevated and rapid breathing will all tax the cardiovascular system.

    ‘Under normal conditions; with sufficient food, sleep, hydration and rest – these are all perfectly fine for most individuals. However, there are times when this could cause problems to individual well-being.’

    If you’ve had a stressful day

    Heavy exercise further stresses the body, elevating the heart rate significantly and even releasing more cortisol, the stress hormone. Long term elevated cortisol can lead to lower immune function and bone density, increased weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease.

    Heavy exercise late into the evening can also affect your body’s ability to slow down into ‘restore mode’, meaning you won’t be able to recover as much overnight.

    Easy exercise, such as a light evening walk or stretching, is usually a much better alternative after a stressful day – this also will help to prepare you for a good night’s sleep.

    If you’re hungover or before a drinking session

    After a heavy night out, your sleep quality will be seriously compromised.

    ‘Just having as little as one unit of alcohol in your system at bedtime can delay the onset of restorative sleep by around one hour,’ says Nigel Stockill, Performance Director at Firstbeat.

    ‘Having just two large glasses of wine (approximately six units) late in the evening and sleeping for six hours means you may not get any restorative sleep at all, and therefore won’t recover overnight.’

    The general stress level of the body and the heart will also be high as it is dealing with removing the toxic alcohol. So, after a big night out you should definitely skip that heavy workout.

    If you’ve had a terrible night’s sleep

    If you have slept poorly, you will not be recovered.

    In most cases it is best to skip the heavy session, focus on your pre-bed routine and get a solid night’s sleep and workout the next day.

    Some people may still wish to train, but it is important to consider lowering the intensity and focus on getting a good sleep the following night.

    If you have done heavy gym sessions the previous days

    Heavy training sessions really take their toll on the central nervous system (CNS). If you have taxed the CNS severely the previous few days, it may be best to rest if you are tired, sore and not feeling 100%.

    Even if it is in your diary to train your legs, it is important to listen to your body and adjust the training plan if needed, e.g. if your body is sore or very fatigued after previous training.

    Illustration of three women doing a plank
    Having alcohol in your system may mean you won’t get any restorative sleep overnight. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Of course, skipping a workout for any reason shouldn’t be cause for major stress or worry. We’re all human and sometimes we just don’t feel like it – which is completely fine.

    You don’t always need a legitimate, export-endorsed reason for a night off – the best results come when you actually want to workout, so forcing it isn’t always the best idea.

    MORE: Cadbury is asking customers to design its next chocolate bar

    MORE: What’s the best fitness equipment to use at your desk?

    MORE: What is the best time of day to workout?


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    Logan pictured with Shannon
    Shannon Walsh is raising her son, Logan, without enforcing gender stereotypes Picture: MDWfeatures / Shannon Walshshanno)

    Stay-at-home mum Shannon Walsh, 23, and her husband Jon, 28, have agreed to give their son the freedom to dress however he likes.

    Two-year-old Logan regularly wears dresses and colourful hair bobbles, and is encouraged to wear what he likes without worrying about what gender a piece of clothing is designed for.

    His parents’ choice to raise him without the constraints of gender has attracted criticism from people who say this style of parenting is ‘disgusting’, but Shannon and Jon refuse to be put off.

    Shannon, from West Sussex, says Logan picked out his first dress, a My Little Pony outfit with a tutu, when he was a toddler.

    Shannon says: ‘In its simplest form; we just let our son be who he is, without telling him ‘this is for girls’, ‘that is for boys’. So, for example, many people think dresses are only for girls, however, our son chose a dress in a charity shop and I bought it for him – he loves wearing dresses.

    ‘He’s also chosen clothes stereotypically associated with boys. We don’t assign genders to the clothes he wears – they’re just clothes. The same goes for toys, roleplay, hair, décor etc.

    ‘It’s not really something we think about – we just let him make his own choices with no persuasion from us or society.

    A picture of Logan wearing colourful bobble. MEET THE MUM who lets her TWO-YEAR-OLD son wear DRESSES and GROW HIS HAIR LONG so that he can ?be who he is? despite receiving criticism from online trolls who call her parenting ?DISGUSTING?. Stay-at-home mum, Shannon Walsh (23) who lives in West Sussex, UK, along with her husband, Jon (28), have agreed to give their son, Logan (2), the freedom to be whoever he wishes to be and to dress the way he wants to without the pressures of society?s preconceived gender norms. When he was a toddler, he picked out a dress from a shop and ever since then, Shannon has continued to buy him dresses to wear whenever he chooses them. She wants to quash the misconception that a person?s choice of clothing, hairstyle, toys or colours should not be limited to a specific gender. Logan?s interests vary from playing with cars, getting muddy and pretending he?s a fireman to wearing colourful bobbles and playing with dolls, which he pretends to breastfeed. The first outfit he chose for himself was a My Little Pony dress with a tutu. Shannon, who follows a child-led attachment parenting approach, has made it her mission to give her son the freedom to choose to live the way he wants to without enforcing gender stereotypes. She also strongly believes in the benefits of breastfeeding until natural term weaning, so she will continue to breastfeed Logan until he no longer wants to. She is also a breastfeeding advocate for new mums and for the mums who breastfeed their child at an older age. She has no maximum age or end goal when it comes to breastfeeding her son and being seven months pregnant, she plans to tandem breastfeed her two children. While she has received backlash over her somewhat unconventional parenting philosophy, she wants to raise her son to be open-minded and non-judgemental whilst also allowing him to feel confident and happy in his own skin. She has received comments from strangers that letting her son own dolls mak
    Logan often wears dresses and colourful hair bobbles (Picture: MDWfeatures / Shannon Walsh)

    ‘Logan’s never been told by me or Jon that something is specifically for boys, because in our minds, nothing is only for one gender. We don’t create these imaginary boxes that everything must fit into.’

    While family and friends have been supportive, Logan has been the focus of some rude comments.

    One person told Shannon that Logan having a doll made him ‘a wussy’, while another said his pigtails and brightly coloured clothes made him look ‘like a gypsy’.

    Shannon and Jon won’t let that push them off course. They believe that their approach to parenting will make Logan a more understanding and less judgmental person, and would recommend all parents ditch the gender stereotypes.

    ‘I think it’s important because it allows them to be themselves 100% It gives them the opportunity to explore the world without feeling embarrassed by what they like,’ explains Shannon.

    Logan pictured showing his long hair and dress.
    Shannon’s approach has been called ‘disgusting’ by critics (Picture: MDWfeatures / Shannon Walsh)

    ‘They don’t have to hide or pretend not to be interested in something that’s ‘not meant for this gender’ like so many children do. We’ll do it exactly the same with our second baby, and any others that follow.

    ‘It means children don’t grow up feeling that they can’t be interested in certain things, they can be authentic without conforming to stereotypes that people have made up for them.

    ‘I feel it gives Logan more creative freedom; it allows him to have a huge range of interests and hobbies that some children wouldn’t necessarily experience if they’re being raised to think pink dollies are only for girls and big diggers are only for boys.

    ‘It gives him confidence to do what he wants to do. I believe it’ll help him grow up to be more open-minded, confident and supportive of other people.’

    The children in Logan’s class aren’t at all bothered by his clothing choices and haven’t made any negative comments.

    The mum believes that the lack of criticism from Logan’s peers shows that gender neutrality is the way forward.

    Logan pictured in a dress
    Shannon wants to show other parents that gender neutral parenting is the way forward (Picture: MDWfeatures / Shannon Walsh)

    ‘It’s as we get older and have society and older people forcing their stereotypes on us that we start to believe them,’ Shannon says.

    ‘These children that are Logan’s age don’t care whether you’re a boy or a girl, they don’t care if you’re wearing a skirt or trousers, or if you like cars or princesses.

    ‘Online, I have had one woman messaging me telling me I am a disgusting parent for trying to force my son to be a girl because he had his hair in a ponytail and wasn’t wearing typical ‘boy colours’, i.e. he was wearing pink and yellow.

    ‘Most of the time, when I receive silly comments like these, I will either just delete the comment/message and move on, or if I feel like a comment needs a response, it tends to be a question as to why they feel the way they do?

    ‘Why do you think a sheet of fabric sewn a certain way is only for girls, or why do they feel like hair, which is natural on everyone’s head, is meant to be cut short to be considered okay for a boy?

    ‘I challenge their beliefs and will prompt them to do some research – people my age don’t tend to know that only about fifty years ago, pink was the colour for boys and was considered masculine, while blue was considered more delicate and feminine.

    ‘Also, that dresses were originally worn by both boys and girls, especially in childhood because it made nappy changes and potty training easier.

    ‘You had easier access to nappies, they were able to sit on the toilet without the additional pressure of pulling down trousers and everything.

    ‘Logan calls himself a boy; he knows he has a penis, he knows what he likes and dislikes, he knows that it is okay to want his face painted like a unicorn because why should it be only girls who can enjoy mystical creatures, pink or glitter.

    ‘He also knows, sadly, that some people are small minded, but he doesn’t care. When people mistake him for a girl because he is wearing something pink, or because he has a ponytail with a really cute bobble in, he doesn’t care.

    ‘He might do when he’s older, but I am hoping that the way I am raising Logan to be confident in himself, that he will continue to not care and know that Logan is Logan, and Logan is loved beyond measure.

    ‘Thankfully, those who have said nasty comments to me about the way I raise him are not heard by Logan himself, and when he has been present, he was far too young to know what was said at all.

    ‘I want to make people aware that gender neutral parenting isn’t an extreme method of parenting at all, it’s very simple and it’s something that just makes sense.

    ‘Let your child be happy, regardless of their hobbies and interests. It’s about being less judgmental and teaching your child to do the same.’

    MORE: All the times you definitely shouldn’t work out – according to the experts

    MORE: Woman’s tummy pain dismissed as constipation turns out to be a massive tumour in her ovary

    MORE: Pregnant fruitarian who only eats raw fruit and veg hopes her child will follow the same diet


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    Family's message in a bottle containing ashes, a note and money in a bottle and throws it into the ocean, and a picture of the woman who found it holding the bottle
    The bottle which travelled 1,000 miles (Picture: EminentShenanigans)

    A grieving family who wanted their son to have ‘one last adventure’ put his ashes, a note and some money into a bottle and threw it into the ocean.

    Loved ones of Brian Mullins, 39, a tow truck driver from Texas, felt the best way to commemorate his life was to let him be free.

    Mum Darlene explained that he was an avid fisherman but was never able to go ocean fishing before he died this spring.

    It seemed fitting to let his ashes go into the open waters and wash away.

    The bottle ended up travelling from Texas to a beach in Florida, on a 1,400-mile journey.

    The note, complete with $4 (£3.25), reached the hands of Sergeant Paula Pendleton of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

    The Mullins family hoped the finder would use the money to give them a call and explain where it ended up.

    After Paula lost her own husband this year, she was left in tears seeing the note and needed a moment before she could place the call.

    Picture of bottle which washed up at the beach
    Sergeant Paula Pendleton found the bottle (Picture: EminentShenanigans)

    In pictures shared on Imgur, the note can be seen, reading: ‘Hello, this bottle contains the cremation ashes of my son, Brian, who suddenly and unexpectedly passed on March 9, 2019.

    ‘More than anything, he longed to be free, so I’m sending him on one last adventure. This bottle was launched from Destin, Florida.

    ‘If you find it, please call or text me and let me know. I have left $4 to cover the call. Feel free to add your own note, then kindly set him free once again.

    ‘My son was 39 years old at the time of his passing and he was deeply loved. Please keep him travelling. Blessings.’

    Picture of the letter
    It contained a letter from Brian’s mum and daughter (Picture: EminentShenanigans)

    A second note from Brian’s 14-year-old daughter reiterated the same message.

    She wrote: ‘It has struck our whole family pretty hard and, so far, it has been a very hard road. But, like my granny said, he loved to be free. So, that’s exactly what we are doing.’

    Reading the messages made Paula think of her own husband who passed away after falling ill last year, aged 50.

    She said: ‘I sat in here, in my patrol car, and cried like a baby’.

    Paula holding the bottle at the beach
    Paula who lost her husband a year ago was touched to see the note (Picture: EminentShenanigans)

    Determined to continue Brian’s journey, she put the contents back inside and is sending the bottle out to the Gulf of Mexico.

    ‘I am putting the note back into the bottle with Brian’s ashes and delivering it to a friend who is a charter boat captain,’ she texted the Mullins.

    ‘He has offered to bring Brian way out into the Gulf so he can continue his adventure. But, before that, I want you to know he got to do a ride-a-long with a deputy before drifting out once again.’

    Safe travels, Brian.

    MORE: World’s oldest message in a bottle found half-buried in beach

    MORE: Disney bans grieving father from having Spider-Man on son’s grave

    MORE: Photobomber flashed her breasts as grieving family posed for snap at beauty spot

    Family leaves ashes, a note and money in a bottle and throws it into the ocean, woman in florida finds itFamily leaves ashes, a note and money in a bottle and throws it into the ocean, woman in florida finds it

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    Iyanna Carrington, 17
    Iyanna was a little shocked to see her baby grinning in the womb (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Pregnant Iyanna Carrington, 17, had a bit of a surprise when she went for her 24-week scan.

    No, we’re not talking about the baby’s gender.

    Iyanna was gazing at her unborn child’s ‘beautiful’ face when suddenly her daughter appeared to flash a ‘scary’ smile with wide open eyes.

    While the 17-year-old mum was understandably ‘scared’ by the appearance of the baby’s ‘demon’ face, her midwife reassured her that the scan was perfectly normal and the baby is healthy.

    Thankfully Iyanna is able to laugh at her baby’s momentarily terrifying appearance, joking online that she already loved her ‘devil baby’.

    Iyanna, from Richmond, in Virginia, US, said: ‘I’d never seen anything like it. I was going to see whether she was a boy or girl.

    ‘I love this devil baby so much already.

    Iyanna Carringtons devil baby scan
    The baby appeared to smile and widen her eyes during the scan (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    ‘They showed her face and she looked normal, then the nurse confirmed she was girl, but I knew that deep down already.

    ‘Then they put it back on her face and she was just looking right at me like that.

    ‘I said “she looks like a ghost” in the doctor’s office and the doctor said “yeah, that’s very [normal]”. She looked a bit crazy.

    ‘Most babies hide from the camera. She looked towards straight at me and she scared me a bit because the room was dark.

    ‘I don’t know why she looked like that. Some people from the internet thought she was fake, but that’s my real life baby there.

    ‘The dad was there too. He was shocked by the news that she was a girl, because he has two sons and he thought it would going to be another boy.

    ‘We were just laughing at the scan. You can see her little nose on [the other image]. You can tell she’s beautiful really.’

    MORE: Pregnant fruitarian who only eats raw fruit and veg hopes her child will follow the same diet

    MORE: Grieving family’s note in bottle swims from Texas to Florida

    MORE: Man ‘wanted to die’ after after rare illness caused belly to swell up like he was pregnant


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