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

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    Sheldon, 49, at his 26-year-old girlfriend's university graduation
    Sheldon, 49, at his 26-year-old girlfriend’s university graduation (Picture: MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen)

    A couple with a 23-year age gap was so inspired by their own story, they started a business to allow others to find older and younger lovers.

    CEO Sheldon Owen, 49, and professional digital marketer, Shanice Rivers, 26, are business partners and have come up with an age-difference dating app.

    The couple, from California, got engaged this year after meeting three years ago while Shanice was visiting the state.

    With a whirlwind engagement, they are now planning on getting married in 2020 and have already decided to try for a baby soon after their wedding.

    After talking to different people looking for ‘real love’ who were tired of apps like Tinder, they came up with a dating app targeted specifically for age gap couples like themselves.

    They have now set up an Instagram account based on their app and a website.

    After chatting with other successful relationships and discovering that age gap relationships have a high success rate, they decided to start their venture.

    Through Sheldon’s connection with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn, they managed to raise over £80,300 ($100,000,000) for the app.

    Sheldon pictured with his fiance Shanice.
    The couple are now engaged and want other similar couples to embrace their love (Picture: MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen)

    Sheldon explained: ‘Our journey as an age gap interracial couple has been interesting, to say the least. Most of the negative feedback we received has come from complete strangers.

    ‘Both of our families support our relationship and think we make a great couple. However, society, on the other hand, seems to have a different opinion.

    ‘We get two types of ignorant judgments one is based on our age gap and number two is based on our interracial relationship. Neither bothers us, because we are in love and we hope to have a family together soon.

    ‘Shanice is an old soul and is extremely mature, while I am a youthful forty-nine-year-old with a great attitude towards life.’

    Sheldon pictured with his fianc?e Shanice. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA: MEET THE businessman and woman with a TWENTY-THREE-YEAR age gap whose FAIRYTALE romance inspired them to create an AGE GAP DATING APP which they hope will BREAK negative stigma around age gap love and rival apps like TINDER. CEO, Sheldon Owen (49) and professional digital marketer, Shanice Rivers (26) from California, USA, met in 2016 at a restaurant in Marina Del Rey where she was visiting. Their instant connection meant that it was love at first sight for them and they quickly had their first date just 24 hours later. They soon became exclusive and while planning their future, they got engaged in 2019. Despite their families feeling sceptical in the beginning, they have witnessed the love between them and have given their blessings. With a whirlwind engagement, they are now planning on getting married in 2020 and have already decided to get pregnant soon after their wedding. In summer 2019, after talking to different people looking for ?real love? who were tired of hook-up apps like Tinder, they came up with the idea of launching a dating app targeted specifically for age gap couples like themselves. They have now set up an Instagram account based on their app and a website. After doing thorough research on various successful relationships and discovering that age gap relationships have a high success rate, they decided to give the people what they want. Through Sheldon?s connection with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn, they have managed to raise over ?80,300 ($100,000,000) in funds to make the venture happen. MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen
    The app will be launched in the next few months, aimed at those who want a person five years or more older or younger than them (Picture: MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen)

    The app, dedicated to the age gap community, will be called iagegap and is hoped to be rolled out globally.

    Any relationship with five years between them is considered having an age gap, according to Sheldon and Shenice who surveyed 1,000 people that agreed.

    ‘We have clearly identified a niche market in the dating industry, and we happen to be the ideal poster children for an app like this to exist,’ added Sheldon.

    ‘When you take this survey into consideration, one can argue that age gap relationships have existed broadly in the world for years, but for some reason, society has made it taboo. Our goal is to change that negative stigma.

    ‘We also learned that age gap relationships exist in many cultures and races, therefore we felt that iagegap.com was a great name to embody the full spectrum of our goal, which is to connect real people looking for real love, regardless of their age differences.’

    The iagegap Instagram page is live and the app is in its coding stage, set to launch in 2020.

    Sheldon continued: ‘We are an educated couple working on making a better life for ourselves and we have been blessed in many ways, including the obvious blessing of meeting each other.

    ‘If a couple like us can randomly meet and become extremely happy; then why not build a better dating experience dedicated to helping other people find their soulmates?’

    MORE: Woman, 25, hid 30-year age gap with her partner from her parents until she was in labour with his son

    MORE: Teen, 16, who fell for 58-year-old man insists their 42-year age gap doesn’t matter

    MORE: Lesbian couple with 37-year age gap get married


    Age Gap Couple Launch Dating AppAge Gap Couple Launch Dating App

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    Quality Street are doing pick and mix tubs at John Lewis, so you can fill your boots with your fave chocolates
    Feel free to send a tin of Metro Streets to our office (Picture: Nestle)

    Pretty much the only downside to a big tub of Quality Street is the fact that sometimes you’re left with ones you don’t like.

    Fans of the Green Triangle or the Purple One will know only too well the disappointment of being left with only Orange Creams in the bottom of the tin. A true Christmas tragedy.

    Now, however, you can make the tin work for you, heading to John Lewis’s new station to pick and mix your favourites.

    The idea launched last year, but it’s back again in time for Christmas 2019, and this time there are some special new features and options.

    Whereas last year you could pick three or more flavours to make up your perfect Quality Squad, this time you can go full throttle and opt for just one flavour in your personalised tub.

    Quality Street
    Which are your favourites? (Picture: Photolibrary RM)

    And that’s not all. John Lewis have an exclusive sweet this year, which is a milk chocolate crispy truffle bite with a praline and cereal centre. Yum.

    They’ll be covered with black and gold wrapping, to match John Lewis’s Christmas colours.

    Gift food buyer Rachel Costello said: ‘This year we’ve gone even bigger with an exclusive sweet.

    ‘In addition, for the first time, customers can choose to ‘pick and don’t mix’ to ensure there are no chocolates left languishing at the bottom of a tin!’

    There are different price points depending on what you’re after. For a personalised tin (for example, John Street or Jane Street) filled with goodies is £15.

    If you just want your standard tin filled with whatever Quality Street your heart desires, that’ll be £12. A normal mixed tin is £7.50.

    Alternatively, for the eco conscious among you, you can bring in a tin from a previous year and fill that up with whichever sweets you want for £10. You’ll just have to find a new spot for your nan’s sewing kit.

    To get Christmas treat ready, simply head to any of the 17 John Lewis stores in the UK.

    MORE: Couple with 23-year age gap launch dating app for others who want older or younger lovers

    MORE: The Martini Bikini is here for the braver among us and it costs £472


    Quality Street are doing pick and mix tubs at John Lewis, so you can fill your boots with your fave chocolatesQuality Street are doing pick and mix tubs at John Lewis, so you can fill your boots with your fave chocolates

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    Black little girls smile and walk through a field
    Looks Like Me is the only UK talent agency for underrepresented children (Picture: Helen Marsden)

    BAME representation in advertising is at an all time high, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

    According to the 2018 Ethnicity in Advertising report commissioned by Lloyds Banking Group, Black, Asian and minority-ethnic people continue to be underrepresented as the sole or main protagonist of UK ads.

    Just 7% of adverts feature someone from a BAME group in the main role, and this lack of meaningful representation has an impact.

    Selma Nicholls was so affected when her young daughter started asking why she didn’t see people who looked like her on TV, that she started her own business to help improve diversity and representation.

    Selma started the Looks Like Me talent agency for underrepresented children, with the aim of creating content so that her daughter, and others like her, no longer had to feel different.

    ‘“Mummy, she’s beautiful… And she looks like me,” said my three-year old daughter Riley-Ann, excitedly pointing at the screen.

    ‘Captivating her attention was Quvenzhané Wallis, a young black actress playing Annie in the remake of the classic Eighties musical,’ Selma tells Metro.co.uk.

    Selma headshot
    ‘Everyone deserves to be positively and authentically represented’ (Picture: Josimar Senior)

    ‘That moment, four years ago, prompted a sigh of relief and a spark of inspiration. My daughter, still only in nursery, had recently begun coming home and asking for straight hair and lighter skin – just like her favourite cartoon characters.

    ‘Watching Annie, Riley-Ann had for the first time identified with a positive image of a young black woman on screen.’

    Selma set up her agency in 2015 with the support of Virgin StartUp and it is now the only child talent agency in the UK that champions improving diversity in media.

    She says that many ethnic minority children have an overwhelming majority of white role models on screen, which doesn’t reflect the world around them. This is what she hopes to change.

    ‘The issue of diversity is also personal,’ explains Selma. ‘When I heard my daughter doubt herself, I drew on my experience as a producer and I went into full producer mode, thinking: “What is the solution? What can I do to help her and other children to grow their mindsets and know that every child is beautiful in their own right?”

    ‘Everyone deserves to be positively and authentically represented. Diverse and inclusive teams contribute to making this happen.’

    Selma sold her house and her car to kickstart her business. She then secured an initial funding loan of £7,000 from Virgin StartUp to turn her entrepreneurial dream into reality.

    Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, placing children in campaigns for the likes of Next, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

    ‘We are born in a diverse country, why not reflect this?’ asks Selma. ‘No one can deny that the industry has become more diverse, it’s much more inclusive and that’s only growing and reflecting the diverse country that we live in.

    ‘We’re taking everyone with us. It’s a beautiful thing.’

    Black little girls smile and walk through a field
    ‘We’re taking everyone with us. It’s a beautiful thing’ (Picture: Helen Marsden)

    Selma doesn’t only believe that representation is important for people from BAME groups. She says diversity is a good thing for the industry as a whole.

    ‘They represent cultural and community stories that they can relate to. Audiences resonate with authenticity,’ she says.

    ‘I remember saying that people may not believe in my idea. It’s a massive leap from sharing it with friends to pitching to Virgin, but once I did it was such smooth sailing.

    ‘A message for other would-be founders out there: For any woman who has doubts; whether it’s because they’ve got a family or childcare to think about, whatever else it may be, I strongly believe, speaking from experience, that there are really supportive networks out there.’

    Virgin StartUp has announced a public pledge to commit to 50/50 funding target for women and men entrepreneurs by the end of 2020, becoming the first business funder in the UK to make this promise.

    The new programme of women-led initiatives will support Virgin StartUp’s 50/50 ambitions and encourage more women founders, like Selma, to start and thrive in business.

    ‘After more than three years of hard work, Looks Like Me will be entering a global partnership deal with Getty Images,’ says Selma.

    ‘I’ve been working so hard, for so long, and to know now that I’ve got a global partner that is so proud to work with us is amazing.

    ‘We’re also going to dedicate a platform to female photographers so that they can be visible, and work can be seen.’

    MORE: What is unconscious name bias and why is it so damaging?

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘Being mixed-race is like being a fly on the wall – it’s crazy what people feel comfortable saying’

    MORE: There isn’t enough awareness about sickle cell trait – and that’s a problem


    Looks Like Me compLooks Like Me comp

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    Matalan has revealed its Christmas pyjamas range and no, it’s not too early.

    The retailer’s seasonal bedtime line is a favourite in the city of Liverpool where it runs out fast.

    And putting its popularity to good use, Matalan is raising money for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Charity.

    Also included in the newest line are baby grows, pet outfits, bed socks, sleep eye masks and mugs.

    It’s available for adults and children, boasting plenty of colour and Alder Hey’s signature Oli the Elephant character.

    This year’s colourful onesie is available in navy and 100% of the profits from the #TogetherForAlderHey campaign go to the organisation.

    The campaign is being endorsed by Matalan’s celebrity brand ambassadors Mark Wright, Denise Van Outen, and Lydia Bright.

    Matalan Christmas PJs shown on women of various ages
    Chic and charitable (Picture: Matalan)

    Patients from the hospital have also featured in the campaign advert, which is the sixth time Matalan has partnered with them.

    Abigail, aged 10, six-year-old Jonah, Lenny, one, Oscar, 19 months and Poppy, four, have all done a fab job advertising the stuff.

    Fiona Ashcroft, CEO Alder Hey Children’s Charity said: ‘We are so excited about this year’s #TogetherForAlderHey campaign.

    ‘Since 2014 Matalan has raised a staggering £2.7m for Alder Hey which has gone to fund a range of activities and projects that are designed to enhance and improve the lives of our amazing young patients.

    Celeb ambassadors Mark Wright and Denise Van Outen modelling the PJs (
    Celeb ambassadors Mark Wright and Denise Van Outen modelled the PJs (Picture: Matalan)

    ‘This includes the funding of specialist medical equipment, a range of programmes and special projects such as our ward musicians, our onsite magician and the play specialists we have on every ward.

    ‘Our ground-breaking ward-based chef programme ensures we are delivering healthy and nutritionally balanced food to all our patients when they need it most.

    Matalan Christmas PJs shown on girls and dog
    It also includes a matching pet outfit (Picture: Matalan)

    ‘Their support has also recently enabled us to complete our £6m appeal to build a new research and education facility and we remain committed to supporting cutting edge research at Alder Hey.’

    Taking their support of the charity further, Matalan is also sponsoring Alder Hey’s 5K Charity Fun Run and encouraging runners to turn up in their PJs.

    You can buy the PJs in-store or on the Matalan website.

    Go on then, chic and charitable.

    MORE: Asda is selling orange flavoured After Eights so we’re already looking forward to Christmas

    MORE: Instagram star creates incredible high fashion pics – and they’re shot in her bedroom


    PRI_85588653PRI_85588653

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    Illustration of a woman and a man having coffee at a table across from each other
    Are you ready to possibly give up the friendship as it stands? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    So you’ve got a secret: you’re a little bit in love with one of your friends.

    It happens to the best of us and it’s extremely common – and why shouldn’t it be?

    Friendship is a glorious thing, built on chemistry and trust. It’s so easy to accidentally fall in love (maybe you’re not ready to use that word – shall we say have a crush?) with someone you already feel close to.

    It can be excruciating to carry around those feelings, not knowing whether you can ever tell that person. You are not alone: so many people end up head over heels for their mate.

    The question is, what are you going to do about it? Here are your options.

    Stay quiet about it

    Is the subject of your crush already in a relationship with someone else?

    In that case, I’d recommend keeping your feelings on the down-low. It’s disrespectful to the person your friend is with to go ahead and confess your feelings.

    It’s potentially only going to cause chaos and confusion for your friend, too. Not to mention that you could make things extremely awkward between the pair of you and even potentially risk losing or wounding your friendship.

    I wouldn’t ordinarily suggest bottling up a feeling, but you do have to respect your friend’s monogamy. If you can possibly bear it, keep quiet on this one.

    Wait it out till a more appropriate time.

    Be bold and tell them

    If your friend is currently single and you are too, then try to find the courage to tell them how you feel. You need to work out your intentions first, though.

    Do you actually want to be with this person?

    Do you want to exchange your friendship for a romantic relationship, please and thank you?

    Are you ready to possibly give up the friendship as it stands? You might not be able to revert to what you had, once your friend knows how you feel. Romantic feelings can change things between people, as can unrequited love.

    If you are serious about being with this person and you’d genuinely like to give love a chance, then yeah, you’ve got to find a way to tell them.

    You have no hope of a happy romantic ending unless this person knows how you feel. If you’re both romantically available and you’d like to be brave and honest (as we should generally try to be, especially when it comes to friendship and love), then declare your feelings.

    It could be in person, if you’ve got that kind of courage, or by text, if it helps to have that little bit of space between you.

    Illustration of a woman and man standing together, her hand on his chest
    Is this person important enough for you to keep them in your life in whatever capacity they’re willing to be? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Find an honest, simple way of saying it, like ‘Listen, I think I have feelings for you’ or ‘I’ve been feeling recently like maybe I want us to be more than friends’. If they’re a good friend, they should treat this whole conversation tactfully and sensitively.

    Even if they don’t reciprocate your feelings, they shouldn’t make you feel exposed or frightened. You’re hoping for a kind response – or, obviously, preferably, a declaration of love in return.

    If you don’t get what you want, you have to decide if you can continue with the friendship. Is this person important enough for you to keep them in your life in whatever capacity they’re willing to be?

    Or is it too painful for you to be around them, when you wish you could be together?

    Protect your heart and do what feels right for you, but remember, having a gorgeous friendship with someone is not always a consolation prize.

    It is entirely possible for you to work this out and stay close as friends – trust me.

    Share your secret feelings with someone else

    If you can’t tell the person you adore how you feel – either because they’re currently in love with someone else or because you haven’t found the strength yet – that’s fine, but I wouldn’t keep it entirely to yourself.

    It can be an enormous relief to share a secret with someone. Choose a friend you genuinely trust not to tell anyone and confess your feelings.

    It’ll make you feel less alone – plus, if they know your friend too, they can help you work out what the chances are that they feel the same way.

    Maybe your secret-keeping friend has an opinion on the likelihood of you two getting together, maybe they’ve noticed a chemistry or maybe they can give you the hard truth that they don’t think it’s going to happen.

    Just don’t select a gossip as your confidant here, because you don’t want to lose control of this situation and have your friend find out how you feel from someone else.

    If that conversation is going to happen, it’s best to be present for it.

    Move on with your (love) life

    If you don’t think there’s any chance your friend will return your feelings or if there’s something else precluding you from being together, then you need to find a way to move on.

    I know, you can’t force your heart to feel a certain way. It’s extremely difficult to extinguish feelings, particularly if you’re in love, but it is possible to distract yourself while you get over it.

    Why don’t you try seeing someone else? Download a dating app, ask someone out, choose a particularly attractive diversion?

    If you’re feeling too tender for that, just spend more time with your other friends. You may need a little space from your crush for a while, because each time you see them you’re probably counting more ways you like and/or love them.

    Just gently take a little time away, hang out with other people and remind yourself who else you have around you.

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

    MORE: The dos and don’ts of lending and borrowing money from your friends

    MORE: How to deal with a friend who makes offensive comments


    Love Or Something Like It: Alex Cooper sober datingLove Or Something Like It: Alex Cooper sober dating

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    Pennywise Frappuccino
    Don’t worry. It’s strawberry. Not blood (Picture: Starbucks/IT)

    Halloween junkies – your time of year is almost upon us. Which means all the best horror movies are coming out right around now.

    To celebrate the imminent release of the much anticipated second installment of Stephen King’s IT, Starbucks is releasing a seriously gory-looking drink. And we are desperate to try it.

    The Frappuccino has been inspired by IT’s nightmare-inducing baddie – Pennywise. Because who doesn’t like their coffee with a side of terrifying clown demon?

    The limited edition drink was actually debuted in 2017 – when the first IT movie was released – but now it’s back and customers are excited.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B2kza-hhgjJ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    And we can’t blame them. It sounds really delicious.

    It has a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino base with strawberry puree dripping down the sides (tastier than blood – but the visuals are similar). There’s also the option to blend in a vanilla scone – because why wouldn’t you want to do that?

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B2h7d0jgFwl/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Starbucks is yet to confirm whether the IT Frappuccino will be coming to the UK – those lucky Americans get all the best stuff – but we will update this article if they let us know.

    In the meantime, ordering a vanilla Frapp with strawberry puree will get you the same thing – then all you have to do is unleash your inner spooky clown, and you’re all set.

    MORE: You can get a free pint of beer at any Young’s pub today because it’s their birthday

    MORE: Adding a slice of lemon to your drink might mean it’s not vegan

    MORE: Dog goes vegetarian and refuses meat after eating pieces of a BBQ


    for website onlyfor website only

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    M&S Christmas food - Christmas Colin the Caterpillar, vegan pigs in duvets and the brie en croute
    Christmas Colin the Caterpillar, vegan pigs in duvets and the brie en croute (Picture: M&S)

    We love Colin the Caterpillar – a birthday cake staple.

    And now he’s having a Christmas makeover.

    M&S is releasing a version for the festive season with Colin wearing a Santa hat and covered in festive snowflakes, holly leaves and candy canes. He’s even wearing red shoes for the season.

    It’s still delicious chocolate inside so a great alternative to a yule log or for those who aren’t a fan of Christmas cake.

    The cake is a little pricier than then standard Colin, which costs £7, as this one is £10, but it is Christmas after all.

    Festive Colin is part of the M&S Christmas food range and the store has revealed 19 other treats that will be available in the run-up to the big day.

    With 99 days and counting until Christmas Day, today M&S Food finally reveals its much-anticipated Christmas collection for 2019 – over 170 delicious new creations, designed to help you create your most stress-free Christmas yet!

    The range includes the Perfect Turkey and Perfect Roast Beef to make Christmas dinner a little easier as you just pop them in the oven for a few hours.

    There’s also lots of vegan Christmas products, including a full vegan Christmas dinner and ‘no pigs in duvets’ – plant-based sausages wrapped in pastry.

    This year’s collection also includes an even larger selection of gluten-free products including mince pies, Christmas pudding and a selection of party food.

    For the run up to Christmas, there’s a Cornish cheese advent calendar so those who prefer a creamy treat over a chocolate one can count down to 25 December.

    The Brie En Croute is also a cheese-lovers dream with a brie wrapped in pastry for you to dip.

    Pigs in Blankets have had a spanish makeover with specialist Spanish pancetta around chorizo sausage with a blossom honey glaze.

    For dessert, there’s a trifle or Christmas pudding with sticky toffee flavours and to drink, you can have a clementine gin liqueur snow globe.

    And as well as everything sounding delicious, M&S is making Christmas more environmentally friendly. They’ve removed glitter from all greeting cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, calendars, crackers and flowers this Christmas, and all Christmas puddings have moved from black plastic into widely recyclable plastic bowls.

    The Christmas food range will launch in stores from 25 September with more products coming in the next few weeks.

    Let’s take a look at some of the range:

    Brie en Croute, £10 (Picture: M&S)
    Brie en Croute, £10 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Cherry & Chocolate Ice Cream Gateau, £15 (Picture: M&S)
    Cherry & Chocolate Ice Cream Gateau, £15 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Christmapolitan, £10 (Picture: M&S)
    Christmapolitan, £10 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Christmas All Wrapped Up, £5 (Picture: M&S)
    Christmas All Wrapped Up, £5 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Christmas Gin Scottish Smoked Salmon, £5 (Picture: M&S)
    Christmas Gin Scottish Smoked Salmon, £5 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Christmas Rainbow Cake, £15 (Picture: M&S)
    Christmas Rainbow Cake, £15 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Clementine Gin Liqueur Snow Globe, £15 (Picture: M&S)
    Clementine Gin Liqueur Snow Globe, £15 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Festive Handcrafted Sausage Rolls, £5 (Picture: M&S)
    Festive Handcrafted Sausage Rolls, £5 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Filled Butternut Squash (Picture: M&S)
    Filled Butternut Squash (Picture: M&S)

     

    Milk Chocolate Ho Ho Ho, £3 (Picture: M&S)
    Milk Chocolate Ho Ho Ho, £3 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Woodland Yule Log, £15 (Picture: M&S)
    Woodland Yule Log, £15 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Plant Kitchen No Pork Pigs in Duvets, £3.50 (Picture: M&S)
    Plant Kitchen No Pork Pigs in Duvets, £3.50 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Prawn Sliders, £7 (Picture: M&S)
    Prawn Sliders, £7 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Sticky Toffee Christmas Pudding, £10 (Picture: M&S)
    Sticky Toffee Christmas Pudding, £10 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Sticky Toffee Trifle, £12 (Picture: M&S)
    Sticky Toffee Trifle, £12 (Picture: M&S)

     

    The Perfect Roast Beef, £25 (Picture: M&S)
    The Perfect Roast Beef, £25 (Picture: M&S)

     

    The Perfect Turkey, £60 (Picture: M&S)
    The Perfect Turkey, £60 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Trifle Flavour Cream, £15 (Picture: M&S)
    Trifle Flavour Cream, £15 (Picture: M&S)

     

    Vegan Root Vegetable Tarte Tatin, £10 (Picture: M&S)
    Vegan Root Vegetable Tarte Tatin, £10 (Picture: M&S)

    MORE: Matalan launches its Christmas pyjamas and it’s supporting Alder Hey Children’s charity

    MORE: Quality Street have pick and mix tubs at John Lewis, so you can fill your boots with your fave chocolates


    M&S Christmas foodM&S Christmas food

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    angry pirate
    I’d be pretty angry too, after this (Picture: Getty)

    Fun things you can do on Talk Like A Pirate Day: Talk like a pirate.

    Not fun things you definitely shouldn’t do on Talk Like A Pirate Day: The Angry Pirate sex move.

    That’s right, the anticipated international day is here once again, and once again we’re having to remind people to keep it clean, and to keep their nasty pirate antics out of the gutter.

    Each year, people get their scallywag and ladlubber on, and participate in the tradition that has been going since 1995.

    There are all sorts of promotions – more so in the US – and some workplaces do charity days where you can don a hook and eye patch for a good cause.

    One worrying thing has come out of all this pirate love, however, and that’s the Angry Pirate.

    Angry pirate sex position
    The angry pirate is all to do with the eyes and legs (Picture : Metro.co.uk)

    What is the angry pirate sex position?

    Firstly, it’s not exactly a position. Secondly, we’re specifically advising you not to do this, so this explanation is simply for informational purposes.

    We wrote about it last year, in response to Holly Hagan bringing it up on the show Five Star Hotel, but it appears to have reared it’s ugly pirate hat once again.

    Basically it’s when a man is being given a blow job (to get really technical, that’s when someone else is stimulating the penis with their mouth), and decides that when he ejaculates, he’s going to aim his semen into one of his sexual partner’s eyes.

    Then when the man’s sexual partner expresses rage or shock – which they likely will – the man kicks them in the shin. The whole idea is to make the sexual partner walk around grumbling and winking… like an angry pirate.

    What are the risks of the angry pirate?

    Well, obviously the first risk is that, without your sexual partner’s consent, it could be considered sexual misconduct or even assault.

    If they’ve explicitly asked you to do this to them, then that’s another story (hey, whatever shivers your timbers). However, breaking the trust of someone who’s giving you oral sex is more than just rude – it’s abhorrent.

    If you do have consent, be aware that sexually transmitted infections can be passed through the eyes, and you should still take all the normal precautions when jizz is involved.

    Talk Like A Pirate Day is all fun and games. Let’s keep it that way.

    MORE: M&S Christmas food collection includes a festive Colin the Caterpillar and 19 other amazing treats

    MORE: Starbucks is selling a Pennywise-inspired Frappucinno to celebrate IT Chapter Two


    Aye Eye Matey!Aye Eye Matey!

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    Umbrella blocks WeWork office
    Umbrella blocks WeWork office door for two whole days. (Picture: NeerajKA)

    News broke yesterday that WeWork CEO Adam Neumann served up tequila shots and an in-office concert of ‘It’s Tricky’ by Run DMC to staff after explaining why he laid off 7% of his team.

    All the while, there’s been another villain on the WeWork scene… a black umbrella.

    Tech workers were unable to enter their WeWork office on Monday thanks to an umbrella lodging itself at a highly accurate, highly inconvenient angle.

    WeWork leases buildings and divides them into office spaces to sublet to members who use an app to book ready-made offices or desks. They also get access to front-desk service, trendy lounges, conference rooms, free coffee and other services.

    As is the case during most comical disasters, the social media watched as these people tried to find a solution to get back into the space they had booked.

    Since being tweeted about on Tuesday, the umbrella has gone viral with nearly 25,000 retweets.

    The four workers who shared the space were baffled, but also amazed by how the umbrella had fallen into a ‘geometrically perfect’ arrangement. They proceeded to jiggle the door, attempt to pick it up, and then insert fingers and even coat hangers.

    They soon contacted WeWork management, who were similarly stumped for a solution.

    ‘Defeated, we all pulled out our laptops. We had one Mac charger and one iPhone charger between the four of us. WeWork put us in an empty office downstairs and we entered exile,’ Mike Ponticelli, the umbrella owner, told to Vice.

    Now this is what we call a team-building opportunity.

    The tweet of course led to Twitter confidently donning their cyber capes in a bid to get these tech workers back at their desks.

    Some tips that poured in included using a magnet and shattering the glass.

    While none of the suggestions from these heroic netizens played out, the chaos did come to a halt on Tuesday night.

    An engineer, sent by WeWork, cut through the floor of the office above, draping wire through to the umbrella to pry it loose. While the workers were able to finally re-enter their office the next day, a ‘gherkin’ sized hole now remains in the ceiling.

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    Umbrella blocks WeWork office door for daysUmbrella blocks WeWork office door for days

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    Gif of Captain Jack Sparrow saying 'wet again'
    Mood (Picture: Giphy)

    International Talk Like a Pirate Day is making people horny because that’s just who we are as a race, savvy?

    Every year on 19 September, people put on their best Jack Sparrow accent, sorry Captain Jack Sparrow, impression as a homage to the scurvy seadogs.

    The parody holiday has been a tradition since 1995 and encourages people to talk and dress like the sea plunderers of yesteryear.

    And of course, there’s porn for that.

    In unsurprising news, the annual celebration sees an increase in searches on porn websites.

    Adult website xHamster told Metro.co.uk that every year sees a spike in related searches, with a 100% rise between 18-19 September last year.

    xHamster revealed that the top result is for anything to do with pirates, a close second is adult film Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge. They are currently putting together a comprehensive list for us once the day is over.

    Well, there are still some hours left before the end of the sacred holiday and plenty of time for people to decide to get rambunctious with a pirate.

    So, XXX marks the G-spot – it’s time to get into your best pirate gear (or just use your imagination). And ahoy me orgasms.

    People are searching for pirate-related porn today Picture: PornHub
    Not surprising that people are searching for the most esteemed pirate – Captain Jack Sparrow. Results from 2019  (Picture: xHamster)

    The porn website also revealed to Metro.co.uk that among the top searches are swashbuckler classic Pirates of the Caribbean, adult film Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge and its main star, porn star Jesse Jane who takes the lead role of Jules Steel.

    Of course, a bit of Hentai makes the cut. And top of the popular Japanese porn subculture is Space Pirate Sara. Horny folks are also interested in pirate lesbians and orgies.

    Over on Pornhub, they also report an increase in interest on the holiday.

    They are yet to update the results for 2019 but last year saw an upward trajectory of 367%.

    People are searching for pirate-related porn today Picture: PornHub
    Pornhub’s top searches for last year (Picture: Pornhub)

    The popular website also revealed that men are 41% more likely to search for pirate-related porn compared to women.

    Popularity of the stuff is much higher with millennials between the ages of 18 to 35.

    And it seems older folks are not as engrossed, with visitors over 45 years old being 30-40% less likely to search when compared to all other age groups.

    To those participating, let’s hope you find some treasures.

    MORE: Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day – please don’t do the angry pirate sex move to celebrate

    MORE: 17 women tell us about their worst oral sex experiences

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


    giphy-2a71giphy-2a71

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    Rachel and Whatsapp chat
    Woman confused why boss won’t give reference finds an embarrassing drunken voice note. (Picture: RachaelCal190)

    Have you ever left a job on good terms, then wondered why you couldn’t score a reference off them later?

    One hospitality worker has just learned why she didn’t get her ex-boss’s tick of approval in an entirely brutal way.

    21-year-old Rachael Calvert had a new role lined up, but only needed one last thing: a letter of reference.

    After requesting one from the manager of the restaurant she previously worked at, she got word that she wouldn’t be receiving any such reference.

    The Edinburgh-based student soon discovered that it all came down to a single voice note. A drunken voice note.

    In a group Whatsapp chat including her previous co-workers and boss, Rachael can be heard shouting ‘bye f*****s, bye f*****s’ and then signing off with a cheeky cackle.

    Rachel noted that she sent the playful voice message as a joke, because she had a good relationship with her former colleagues. It was just the general manager who didn’t share the bond, or the joke for the matter.

    She shared her ordeal with Twitter on Tuesday night, including the recording which has since amassed nearly 40,000 likes.

    Twitter users have gone on to kindly offer Rachael a personal reference.

    Others chimed in to comment on her iconic laugh, with some saying ‘I do the same laugh when I’m drunk, it’s how I tell that I’m smashed’ and another mentioning her giggle reminded them of the cackling crone from Snow White.

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    Woman confused why boss won't give reference finds embarrassing drunken voice noteWoman confused why boss won't give reference finds embarrassing drunken voice note

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    Most of us who begged our parents for a treehouse did not get the slice of outdoor heaven we wanted.

    But one dad didn’t even bother taking it outside, instead building a majestic structure indoors.

    Dad-of-four Jared from Washington grabbed $500 (£400), a toolbox, and got to work, creating an incredible homemade treehouse in the basement.

    And it took the mechanical engineer eight months.

    The lavish contraption boasts a rope bridge and a pulley system to bring the fort to life.

    It’s the ultimate solution to rainy days when the kids are stuck inside (a common occurrence due to Washington weather).

    Dad-of-four takes building indoor treehouse for his kids
    Caution: Dad at work (Picture: Caters)

    Jared masterfully built the indoor treehouse in the basement of his home in Maple Valley for his sons.

    The fantasy fort was constructed from unused wood from his neighbour, repurposed into a small room, ladder, rope bridge and even a bucket on a winch.

    With most of the wood costing nothing, the total cost of the dream build was only £400 for tools and other materials to finish the treehouse.

    The resourceful dad explained: ‘This was made for my children in order to give the kids something fun to spark their creativity when they were playing.

    ‘I always wanted to build cool forts with wood as a kid but they never ended up how I had imagined.

    Toddler in pirate costume entering treehouse
    A treehouse fit for a king (or a toddler, whatever) (Picture: Caters)

    ‘As a dad with a hobby of woodworking and background in engineering, I can finally build the things I always wanted to play with as a kid.’

    Though it’s impressive to most of us, Jared thinks there’s always new bits he could add.

    He continued: ‘I’m not sure I will ever feel like it’s completed because there are always new ideas that we have and features we want to add.

    Treehouse built in basement
    Plenty of roaming space (Picture: Caters)

    ‘The kids love playing on it and like that it can become whatever they want it to be.

    ‘Sometimes they start to get used to having a treehouse in their playroom and assume everybody does, but whenever friends or other kids come over, it becomes brand new to them again.’

    Lucky kids.

    Our dads could never.

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    Dad-of-four takes 8 months to make treehouse for his kidsDad-of-four takes 8 months to make treehouse for his kids

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    Vegan children
    This kid loves being vegan so much he’s turned into a lettuce (Picture: Getty)

    More and more people are hailing a plant based diet as good for the body and the environment.

    It’s thought that, in the UK, around 7% of adults have gone vegan at one point or considered doing so, and there are around 600,000 vegans across the country.

    This isn’t controversial. After all, who wouldn’t praise a diet free from animal cruelty and factory farming?

    That is until you talk about vegan children.

    Many people, when they hear of vegan children are horrified. They remember horror stories, such as the couple whose child almost died of malnutrition due to the restrictive vegan diet she was placed on.

    Or, they might hear inflammatory studies and talking points, such as UCL Nutrition Professor Mary Fewtrell’s claims that vegan diets are damaging children’s health.

    As with any issue relating to parenting, particularly when food is concerned (remember Turkey Twizzlers?!) there’s bound to be conflicting information. But are these scaremongering stories, or is veganism actually unsafe for children?

    10 tips for surviving Veganuary
    Are you a vegan parent? (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

    Is a vegan diet suitable for children?

    Absolutely. With the caveat that – exactly as any parent does – you have to ensure your child is being fed the right things so they get the right nutrients.

    When your baby is first born, they’ll either be breastfed or have formula. There are no formally recognised vegan formula milks available in the UK, but they don’t contain dairy (most get their protein source from soya or vegetables). The animal-derived ingredient in most formulas is lanolin, which is used for vitamin D and comes from sheep’s wool.

    In general, it’s best (especially in the early months) to get advice from your health visitor or midwife, as they should be able to advise you on what’s best for baby.

    Once you begin introducing solid foods, which is from about six months onwards – you can trial certain alternative milks, cereals, bread, and potatoes. Essentially, the foods you’d normally mash up and give to a baby, just without the meat.

    how to fuel your body for an ultra marathon
    There are plenty of healthy and tasty meals that don’t contain animal products (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Be careful, however, to ensure that they’re getting the vitamins and minerals they need. The Department of Health already recommends that all children aged 6 months to 5 years are given vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day. For children on a fully plant based diet, however, iodine and B12 are also recommended.

    Protein is where some people fall down when it comes to veganism, but there are so many alternatives to meat that have plenty of it. Nut butters, beans, chickpeas, lentils and hummus, tofu and soya mince are just some examples.

    Many of these foods – as well as the many vegetables you’ll be feeding your child – are also great sources of iron and calcium. If you feel you need to top up the intake, however, look for food specifically high in these nutrients or milks and breads that are fortified.

    As with any aspect of parenting, the best thing to do is to ask for help when you need it, and the medical professionals around you should be able to advise you of the best ways to make sure your little one is getting the most from their diet.

    Is it safe for women to be vegan while pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Just like feeding a vegan child, it’s perfectly safe to be pregnant or nurse while vegan.

    As long as you’re eating a balanced and healthy diet throughout, there are no issues with the fact you’re not consuming animal products.

    If you have been taking vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements as part of your vegan diet, continue taking them while you’re pregnant and breastfeeding.

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    Are vegan diets suitable for children?Are vegan diets suitable for children?

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    Megamansion has underground scuba tunnels
    This Kansas mansion has underground scuba tunnels (Picture: Crown Realty)

    There’s a megamansion for sale in Kansas.

    Equipped with the incredibly extra title of ‘The Spirit of Avalon’, the 17,755-square-foot property is home to a 35-foot-tall grotto and a 30-foot-tall outdoor waterfall, plus waterfalls and scuba diving tunnels. Now that’s one new way for your teenage children to sneak their future lovers in.

    The Lake Quivira estate is selling for $11.8 million (£9.4 million), which is a steal considering it cost an eye-watering $30 million (£24 million) to build in 1992.

    A mega-mansion in Kansas that comes with waterfalls, grottos and its very own network of underground scuba tunnels could be yours for a cool $11.8million. This unique property, which was "inspired by the legends of King Arthur", loos like something out of a fantasy novel but sits just 10 miles from the center of Kansas City. The 17,755-square-foot property, which is being listed by Katie Casey of Crown Realty, consists of a main house with three floors, seven bedrooms and 14 bathrooms as well as a guest house. The home also features several commercial-grade kitchens, a butler's pantry, a two-story office, library, conference rooms, a recreation room with billiards and a projection screen media center, a wine cellar, multiple wet bars, a heated garage and multiple living and entertaining spaces. The 14.9-acre lot also boasts three waterfalls, pristine landscaping, medieval statues and an abundance of wildlife. But most incredibly there is a network of scuba diving tunnels carved more than 30 feet deep into the mountain beneath the house. The subterranean sanctuary also has a series of grottos and popup holes scattered around the property in which one enters. Inside, there is a hot tub, steam room and wet bar, along with treasure chests, faux fossils and exotic fish. The owner, Lyn Shaw, built the house with her late husband, Dennis Langley, who worked in the natural gas business. 13 Sep 2019 Pictured: fantasy themed mansion in Kansas called the Spirit of Avalon. Photo credit: Cown Realty / MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342
    The Kansas property comes with waterfalls, grottos and its very own network of underground scuba tunnels (Picture: Crown Realty)

    Oh, and just because we know this is a pre-requisite for most, yes, it does indeed come with a butler’s pantry. Thank heavens.

    There’s also a dual-story study, a library, conference rooms, a heated swimming pool, a sauna, wine cellar, a heated garage (um, why?) and a projection screen.

    Megamansion has underground scuba tunnels
    Peep those epic stained glass windows (Picture: Crown Realty)

    As the name of the estate was inspired by a the legends of King Arthur, the house is decked out in several antique-style features, including stained glass windows, wooden dragon carvings, and a totally non-creepy lectern straight out of Salem.

    Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

    The property happens to be owned by Lynette Shaw, the wife of the late Dennis Langley, who was the former speechwriter for US Senator Joe Biden.

    She’s said to be downsizing to a smaller property, which makes perfect sense given the sheer scale of this modern-day castle.

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    Megamansion has underground scuba tunnelsMegamansion has underground scuba tunnels

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    Japanese snow monkey
    This striking shot of a Japanese Snow Monkey is in the running to be named the funniest animal photo of the year (Picture: Roie Galitz)

    What ever happens to the footage that doesn’t quite make it into Planet Earth, or the portraits that don’t grace the cover of National Geographic?

    Well, it turns out there’s an awards scheme for skillfully snapped photographs of animals being hilarious, cheeky and downright dirty.

    Thousands of photographers from all over the world have submitted their finest captures for the 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. 40 finalists have just been announced.

    Now in its fifth year, the competition supports The Born Free Foundation, a charity that works to preserve and protect wildlife in its natural habitat.

    The winners are set to be announced on 13 November. And, as you’ll be able to see after a quick scroll, the animals are the true winners here.

    chimpanzee in Gombe Stream National Park
    A cheeky chimpanzee in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania (Picture: Thomas D. Mangelsen)
    Austrian marmot
    Austrian marmot or charismatic church preacher? (Picture: Martina Gebert)
    Birds in Croatia
    ‘I said: Can you hear me?!’ voiced the bird to its mate (Picture: Vlado Pirsa)
    Two sea otters
    Just a couple of sea otter mates, having a laugh (Picture: Andy Harris)
    Two lioness
    We are not lion about the irony here (Picture: Adwait Aapale)
    Male chimp
    This daring chimp is basically every single male on Instagram (Picture: Ryan Jefferds)
    red squirrel holding dandelion seeds
    A teeny tiny red squirrel makes a secret wish… (Picture: Geert Weggen)
    Bird flying
    Is it a bird, is it a plane? (Picture: Bob Carter)
    Gentoo penguin
    Surf’s up for this Gentoo penguin (Picture: Elmar Weiss)
    Rhino peeing
    A big old rhino marks its territory in Nairobi National Park (Picture: Tilakraj Nagaraj)
    Young brown bear
    This young brown bear has had enough (Picture: Eric Fisher)
    The common blue damselfly
    The common blue damselfly strikes a sassy pose (Picture: Kevin Sawford)

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    High Angle View Of Man With Dog On Bed
    ‘Animal companions seemingly broke through much of the male socialised barriers’ (Picture: Getty)

    We love dogs. They’re loyal, comforting and boundlessly loving. But do we love them more than we love the people in our lives?

    A new study suggests that this may be the case for some men.

    Research by US psychologist Dr Chris Blazina suggests that many men find their relationship and attachment to their dog to be more secure than their closest human relationships.

    In the research Dr Blazina analysed a number of studies to further understand how bonding with a pet can enrich men’s lives.

    In one nationwide study in the US, men were asked to compare their closest human and animal companion on how secure their bond felt.

    In 62% of cases an attachment with an animal companion was labelled as ‘almost always’ a secure one.

    Only 10% of men labelled their closest human companion in the same way. The most common classification for a human bond was ‘sometimes.’

    Suggesting that men have closer emotional bonds with their pets than with the humans in their lives.

    ‘One study I did found that as men get older – middle age and beyond – their dogs took on an even more significant role,’ says Dr Blazina.

    Dog licking older man
    ‘Research suggests that social support networks really shrink as men age’ (Picture: Getty)

    ‘Middle aged men reported relying more heavily upon their animal companions for emotional support.

    ‘This was important because research suggests that social support networks really shrink as men age – to about the size of a postage stamp; men have their significant other and their dogs.’

    Dr Blazina started looking into the relationship between man and canine after his own beloved dog passed away and he experienced intense grief.

    ‘When I started grieving the loss of my old friend part of that process was to understand why Kelsey was so important in my life,’ he explains.

    ‘One of the realisations was grief involving people was a lot like grief with an animal companion.

    ‘We build an attachment, we deal with loss, and we try to preserve some parts of our bond. The later part is sometimes referred to as a continuing bond.’

    Dr Blazina believes that owning a dog could be a crucial tool in helping to break down the emotional barriers that many men face in modern society.

    ‘I realised my story was not unique. Animal companions seemingly broke through much of the male socialised barriers that others could not,’ he explains.

    ‘It was a special bond that needed more exploration and understanding.’

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    MORE: The 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards will improve your Friday

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    METRO GRAB - with permission from Xpertagents Ltd You could live in this eight-bedroom former church INCLUDE LINK - https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-73172740.html Picture: Xpertagents Ltd
    It is genuinely huge (Picture: Xpertagents Ltd)

    Thinking of getting your foot on the property ladder and want to go big?

    This ridiculously epic, eight bedroom former chapel is on the market. And we want to move in immediately.

    There’s also a former morturary that comes with it… but we’re not sure we’re sold on sleeping in there.

    The building is incredible. Think breathtakingly high ceilings, stained glass windows, it even comes with an organ. Your mid-week dinner parties could be about to get a touch more majestic.

    METRO GRAB - with permission from Xpertagents Ltd You could live in this eight-bedroom former church INCLUDE LINK - https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-73172740.html Picture: Xpertagents Ltd
    There’s high ceilings – and then there’s this (Picture: Xpertagents Ltd)

    The historic site is located in the heart of up-and-coming commuter town Margate – and it has the potential for two large houses or six large duplex apartments. Subject to planning permission. So you can move all your besties in.

    The former Chapel is considered to be one the area’s most interesting historical buildings.

    METRO GRAB - with permission from Xpertagents Ltd You could live in this eight-bedroom former church INCLUDE LINK - https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-73172740.html Picture: Xpertagents Ltd
    Don’t know how you would find curtains to fit this though (Picture: Xpertagents Ltd)
    METRO GRAB - with permission from Xpertagents Ltd You could live in this eight-bedroom former church INCLUDE LINK - https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-73172740.html Picture: Xpertagents Ltd
    You’re just minutes from the seaside (Picture: Xpertagents Ltd)
    METRO GRAB - with permission from Xpertagents Ltd You could live in this eight-bedroom former church INCLUDE LINK - https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-73172740.html Picture: Xpertagents Ltd
    This of the parties you could have (Picture: Xpertagents Ltd)

    Better still, it’s just minutes from sandy beaches at Westbrook bay and Margate main sands. It’s also really close to Margate Old Town, which boasts an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and the Turner Centre.

    The Chapel is on the market for £550,000 without planning – £800,000 (with planning for six apartments). If you have a morbid streak and just fancy buying the mortuary it will set you back between £225k-£250k.

    So if you fancy watching Netflix at the alter – now might be the time to start saving a deposit.

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    You could live in this eight-bedroom former churchYou could live in this eight-bedroom former church

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    Picture the scene. You’re sitting in a cute restaurant and your brunch has just arrived.

    Sourdough topped with vibrant smashed avocado dotted with fresh red chilies, a poached egg oozing just slightly with a sunset orange yolk – it’s picture perfect.

    Depending on your level of shame, you might preface what you’re about to do with a bashful comment; ‘sorry to be that guy,’ or, ‘it’s got to be done,’ before whipping out your phone and taking a birds-eye shot of your plate.

    There’s no denying that Instagram has changed the way we consume food. For many of us, the aesthetic has overtaken the values of nutrition and taste as we strive to show the world just how perfect every single element of our lives is.

    Our eternal quest for virtual validation affects the meals we order, the restaurants we choose to go to, what we cook for dinner at home – maybe even the ways we think about food.

    But, while you may roll your eyes as your dinner date spends eight minutes getting the perfect snap of your rapidly cooling vegan burgers, it’s not necessarily an entirely bad thing.

    Search #foodporn on Instagram and you will pull up more than 200 million posts. Clearly, there is a serious appetite for food pics. We love sharing them and we love scrolling through them. It’s comforting, inspiring and, admit it, those cheese-pull boomerang videos are borderline arousing.

    But beyond the superficial pleasures, are there any wider benefits of scrolling through images of other people’s dinners into the wee hours?

    Ryan Carter is a personal trainer and nutritional therapist with 390,000 followers on Instagram. He shares simple, healthy meal ideas for people to try at home and thinks there are huge educational benefits for people who can access his advice online, for free.

    ‘There is so much content out there, which is great to feast your eyes on. It provides both education and inspiration for food ideas, recipes and tips,’ says Ryan.

    ‘Anything which can add value to people’s lives is a benefit in my opinion. Instagram has allowed me to share my own passion for cooking by showcasing recipes, my philosophy of nutrition and my lifestyle based on my journey.

    ‘Instagram allows you to engage with your audience and have a more personal experience. They can interact with you directly and engage, which is revolutionary. I have connected with some amazing people, made good friends from around the world, even meeting some of them in real life.’

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B0gvxfMpBs6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    But Ryan does admit that the focus on food on Instagram may have some dangers. He thinks that it’s all too easy to be taken in by powerful, addictive messaging online, and when it comes to diet, that can quickly develop into problematic or disordered eating patterns.

    ‘From diet trends to calorie comparing, fear mongering to fierce arguments and trolling – it can lead to all kinds of insecurity issues,’ he explains. ‘This not only affects our diet and the food we eat, but also our personal well-being, as well negatively reinforcing our relationship with food and ourselves.’

    It’s a view that is shared by Sophie Bertrand, a registered associate nutritionist at Rhitrition clinic.

    ‘Some of the clients I work with feel pressure in regards to sticking with certain portion sizes and eating in a certain way,’ explains Sophie. ‘We must remember that everyone is unique, and a lot of these foodie accounts are not a clear representation of ones diet.

    ‘I would suggest that if the accounts you follow are having a negative impact on the way you eat – unfollow them – and stick to those that inspire you and promote anti-diet and positive messages around food.’

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B0c-adHhwho/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    ‘It all comes down to us,’ adds Ryan. ‘How we interact with social media and the modern day tools at our disposal. Whether we empower ourselves with the correct information, or give social media all the power.’

    But how much power do we really have to step away from the pervasive influence of Instagram? Even if we log out, influencer culture has impacted the way food is presented to us in the real world as well as online.

    In the notoriously competitive restaurant market, chefs and owners know the value of a viral dish.

    A recent study found that 13% of Londoners choose to go to a restaurant based on how ‘Instagrammable’ it is, so it’s a commercial no-brainer to cater to this need by providing attractive plates of food in an enviable setting.

    Employed well, this use of Instgram-focused marketing can be invaluable in helping new and emerging businesses build an avid following.

    BOB’s Lobster started as an upmarket food truck, serving seafood extravagance on casual paper plates – quite literally on the street. Instagram quickly became the tool that helped to establish them in a tough marketplace.

    ‘Lacking many of the tangibles and branding references of a traditional restaurant, we have always been obsessed with the things that we could control, such as quality, fun and visual presentation,’ explains the founder of BOB’s Lobster, Rob Dann.

    ‘The plates we use in the restaurant are a specific white that enhances the food… I’m assured.

    ‘From the very first day launching the food truck, we served our dishes with branded greaseproof paper or framed by a branded wet wipe. Even now, with a permanent restaurant, we have retained some of these details specifically for social media purposes.’

    Rob has even created a special #foodporn menu, which features ahi tuna tacos; sashimi grade tuna in a ponzu dressing, spiked with wasabi guacamole and chipotle crema in crispy wonton taco shells.

    Their most famous dish is the lobster mac ’n’ cheese, which uses native lobster tail, a lobster bisque béchamel and three cheeses. They even think about which cheeses to use to achieve the perfect cheese pulling shot.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B1yuxw6HTPe/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    ‘Finally, six months ago, after much appeal, we got a lobster emoji!’ Rob enthuses.

    For Rob, Instagram has been invaluable – his restaurant had no marketing budget, and the power and call to action that social media has provided has been unbelievable.

    ‘Everyone is a restaurant critic and everyone is your marketing agent,’ explains Rob. ‘Everyone is on it, including landlords and agents, and I’m sure our Insta presence was a factor when we were invited to open our first permanent site in London Bridge.

    ‘Instagram has also facilitated countless other opportunities and collaborations with incredible brands such as Laurent-Perrier, Royal Ascot, Lulu Guinness, Penguin Publishing, Borough Market, to name but a few.’

    In the mission to keep customers excited in an over-saturated market, chefs and their marketing teams are tying themselves in knots to come up with wild and wonderful edible creations. Because there is no advertising tool more powerful than going viral.

    Remember the perfect rolls of ice cream from a few summers ago? Freakshakes? Or KFC’s brand new glazed doughnut chicken sandwich? These creations aren’t devised for their superior taste or flavours – they’re made because they can guarantee a line of Instafoodies queueing out the door to get their #CheatDay content.

    Dominique Ansel is the creator of the world-famous Cronut. The legendary invention is a croissant-doughnut pastry, and arguably one of the very first viral food sensations – but that was never the intention.

    ‘When we launched the Cronut we were just kind of at the beginning of the world of Instagram,’ Dominique tells Metro.co.uk. ‘It wasn’t what it was today. So the growth and popularity of this product was pretty much organic.

    ‘There was talk on social media, but it was covered in the papers, magazines, on TV and word-of-mouth.’

    It was the spring of 2013, and just three days after the Cronut was launched there was a queue of more than 100 people outside Dominque’s New York bakery, all desperate to get their hands on one.

    ‘For me, Instagram is a great tool to talk about the new things we do and why we do it,’ says Dominique.

    ‘It’s not a platform that should only be used to sell. You have to use it as a way to engage and share with other people.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B19P769nOeJ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    ‘When I hear about chefs creating food specifically for social media – that is not something I would ever want to do. I don’t work this way.

    ‘I create food for my guests first, for my customers. I want to make sure that they like the food, that they enjoy it. And if there is interest on social media because people like it, that’s great – but that’s never the aim.’

    Dominque, who is opening a second London bakery in Covent Garden later this year, thinks Instagram can be brilliant for the food industry, when used properly. He says it’s important that taste and quality is always the priority for food professionals.

    ‘I don’t think social media will change this industry entirely. Because ultimately, if you love food – then you love food. People will come back and eat your food if they love how it tastes, not just because it looks pretty on the plate.’

    There is a tendency to make snap judgements about people who compulsively Instagram everything they put in their mouths. We get a little thrill of superiority by accusing others of being vapid and shallow.

    But sharing pretty pictures of your food isn’t always just an exercise in validation hunting.

    Emma is food and fitness blogger who will stop at nothing to get the perfect food snap for the ‘gram. She fondly remembers the time when she dropped her phone in her acai smoothie bowl as she stood up to get better lighting.

    ‘I was fuming,’ Emma tells Metro.co.uk.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BuTECF1HSfj/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    ‘For me, I do it because I actually just really like looking at pictures of food. This is a bit of a weird thing to say – but I think food can look really attractive. It’s food porn, and I’m into it.

    ‘I wouldn’t necessarily pick food because I think it might look good, but I do really enjoy taking pictures of the food I eat. I like the textures and the colours.

    ‘It’s not necessarily about the Insta likes, it’s about the good memories – the tasty looking brekkie I wish I was eating when I’m stuck at my desk eating boring cereal.’

    Instagram has one billion monthly active users and is the most used social media site behind Facebook. As long as Instagram’s popularity endures, our obsession with the visual is unlikely to wane.

    Chefs and restaurant professionals will have to find a way to balance aesthetics with taste in order to appease a customer base that increasingly cares about both.

    Because, as the old saying goes – we eat with our eyes.

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    MORE: How meditation and mindfulness can improve your fitness and sports performance


    Instagram has changed the way we eatInstagram has changed the way we eat

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    blue margarita
    (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    Drinking is a big part of British culture for many. However, for those with certain religious beliefs or health concerns, it’s something that’s simply not an option.

    Each week, we look at how different people in the UK navigate this murky world of drinking, and how they organise their social life around an alcohol-centric schedule.

    This week’s Spill It spiller is a 25-year-old creative who previously didn’t drink. It’s been about two months since she first tried alcohol, and she’s currently getting to grips with how much gets you drunk, and how much drinks cost in the capital.

    She tells us: ‘Right now I lack alcohol knowledge and will pretty much drink whatever’s delicious (I don’t like beer or wine).’

    Let’s see her week in booze:

    Sunday

    It’s Hackney carnival but I’m at work all day so I miss it. I’ve been invited to Pxssy Palace (an inclusive space) with some friends.

    I work from Sun – Thurs so really shouldn’t go out on the lash but, hey, it’s still the weekend for most. Drinks are expensive AF. I order a coke and rum (£7?? For real?).

    I’m gonna need more alcohol to keep up with these fabulous party-goers. My mate buys me a gin and tonic. I get two more afterwards.

    I’ve got a surprisingly high tolerance to alcohol despite only drinking for two months.

    Units: 4

    Monday

    I go home after work because I’ve been out every night for the past few weeks, just need to relax for a bit. Also haven’t been paid yet this month so don’t want to spend much.

    Units: 0

    Tuesday

    I’ve been invited to a press event for a new food and fashion range, drinks are free (yay). They have four different flavours of gin. I try every flavour (can you tell G&T is my fave?).

    Can’t remember how many I had exactly, either three or four (most likely three). Had a sip of boyfriend’s drink so that might be why I say four.

    Units: 4 (if we round up the extra sip)

    Wednesday

    Go home after work because two. days. til. payday.

    Units: 0

    Thursday

    I’m going to a launch party after work, meeting fellow creatives. Drinks have been sponsored by a popular rum brand. I have one and a half of these rum slushies. STRONG AF. I’m getting too drunk, so I take it slow.

    Have a rum and coke later and then another (but at half a glass, pour the rest out in the bathroom because I’m getting too lit).

    Units: 6 (again, rounded up)

    Friday

    I go for dinner with my boyfriend but stick to soft drinks (they have a BYOB policy at the place and we’re okay with Coke).

    Units: 0

    Saturday

    I go to a themed party with friends in Hoxton. Try tequila for the first time – an overpriced Blue Margarita (it’s okay, wasn’t as strong as people said tequila would be lol, but was mixed with other things to be fair).

    Then a gin and tonic, coke with spiced rum, and then another gin and tonic.

    Units: 4

    Total units this week: 18

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

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

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    Spill It: What a 25-year-old who\'s just started drinking drinks in a weekSpill It: What a 25-year-old who\'s just started drinking drinks in a week

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    new pillow bra designed to fight cleavage wrinkles
    The product has caused quit a stir (Picture: sleepandglow.com)

    Women already have enough on their plate when it comes to challenging beauty standards – but that hasn’t stopped one company from launching a product for something we didn’t even know was a thing: cleavage wrinkles.

    The ‘pillow bra’ – designed by anti-aging company Sleep & Glow – claims to ‘fight skin creases and cleavage wrinkles when sleeping on the side’.

    Give us a break, please.

    The product, which sits between the boobs as a sort of make-shift pillow harness, comes in at an eye-watering $69 (£55).

    Sleep & Glow have even gone as far as to describe the product as a ‘must have’ for ‘ladies with gorgeous forms’ – completely ignoring the fact that a boob crease often naturally occurs when someone lies on their side BECAUSE OF SIMPLE GRAVITY.

    The pillow bra was first spotted on Instagram by journalist Olivia Messer – who proceeded to tweet: ‘What – and I cannot stress this enough – the f*ck is going on.’

    Naturally, people have been quick to weigh in on the uncomfortable-looking underwear – including a number of celebrities.

    Dawn French tweeted a photo of the advert, simply saying: ‘I don’t understand anything anymore…’

    Whereas Jameela Jamil, who also tweeted a photo, raised the important question: ‘Where are the contraptions for the wrinkles on balls?’

    You can now buy a pillow designed to 'fight cleavage wrinkles'Picture: sleepandglowMETROGRAB
    Designed to help fight ‘cleavage wrinkles’ (Picture: sleepandglow/Myles Goode)

    Olivia’s original tweet has now gained more than 24,000 likes, with plenty of users quick to vent their outrage.

    One Twitter user replied: ‘I can’t sleep often, but none of those sleepless nights have been the result of me worrying about cleavage wrinkles. My breasts are confined the majority of the day, I’m not about to wear this stupid contraption at night too.’

    While another shared their thoughts: ‘I’m somewhat convinced that is just a thong that some drunk lady accidentally put on that way.’

    Whereas one simply said: ‘Let my boobs spoon each other at night without judgment ffs’

    Our sentiments exactly.

    We have contacted Sleep & Glow for a reaction to the criticism. We will update this article if we hear from them.

    MORE: Victoria Beckham finally launching beauty line and might as well take all our money now

    MORE: Cult Beauty launches its first-ever advent calendar

    MORE: I’m a sexual health nurse and want you to stop apologising for your pubic hair


    You can now buy a pillow designed to 'fight cleavage wrinkles' Picture: sleepandglow.com METROGRABYou can now buy a pillow designed to 'fight cleavage wrinkles' Picture: sleepandglow.com METROGRAB

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