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

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    A young woman on the couch and with sage tea on the hand (image: Photographer: feyyazalacam/Getty Images)
    It will no longer be possible to advertise detox diet teas on Instagram (Picture: feyyazalacam/Getty Images)

    Instagram has introduced a new set of rules regarding the promotion of diet products and cosmetic surgery.

    The new rules come in two parts. First of all, diet-related adverts of any description (including anything from detox tea’s to cosmetic procedures) will only be shown to users over the age of 18.

    Second: any product which, in Instagram’s words, ‘makes a miraculous claim about certain diet or weight loss products, and is linked to a commercial offer such as a discount code’ will be banned outright.

    The debate surrounding diet ads on Instagram has raged for a number of years.

    Remember Jameela Jamil telling Kim Kardashian to ‘F**k off’ and calling her a ‘terrible and toxic influence on young girls’, on account of her advertising a weight-loss lolly?

    Or, later, when she described the Kardashian’s as ‘double agents for the patriarchy’?

    The last year has seen an intense period of activism for Jameela.

    An eating disorder survivor herself, she has called out a number of unscrupulous ads, as well as founding ‘I Weigh’ — an Instagram account dedicated to promoting body positivity and ‘radical inclusivity’.

    A professor at Harvard even credited Jameela with having done more to expose the fraudulent claims of the detox industry than the FDA (the US Food and Drugs Administration.)

    Having worked closely with Instagram in drawing up these new guidelines, it looks like her efforts are finally starting to pay off.

    ‘Facebook and Instagram taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online sends an important message out to the world,’ Jameela said.

    ‘I’m thrilled to have been able to work towards this with them, alongside a host of other experts who shed light on the danger of these products.’

    Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager said: ‘We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media.’

    If one thing’s clear, it’s that some form of action was needed. A 2017 survey suggested that Instagram is the worst app for user’s mental health, and it has also been linked to eating disorders and body image issues.

    Whether or not these measures alone will be enough to improve this situation remains to be seen, but they seem like a step in the right direction.

    MORE: Instagram has changed the way we eat

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

    MORE: Jameela Jamil distances herself from body positivity as she’s called out for ‘diet destroyer’ shoot with no plus-size clothes


    Sage tea with woman hand and woman lipsSage tea with woman hand and woman lips

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    27-year-old influencer met 54-year-old boyfriend on Instagram when he mistook her for friend's niece
    Despite their 27-year age gap, the couple are thriving (Picture: MDWfeatures / Sophia Spallino)

    This week, we reported on a couple with a 23-year age gap who were working on an app for daters who wanted something similar.

    For this couple, however, there’s no need for anything niche. They simply used Instagram to find their partners.

    Sophia Spallino, 27, from Louisiana, already had a presence on the platform, and had around 22,000 followers on Instagram.

    Her influencing life tended to focus mostly on fashion and spirituality, and the target market was predominantly women. That’s why, when 54-year-old Robert Croak began following her, she was slightly bemused.

    As it turned out, Robert (the owner of Silly Bandz) had begun following Sophia after mistaking her for a friend’s niece. When he showed his friend a screenshot of her profile, however, and realised there was no connection, he decided it was safe to get in touch.

    He sent her a DM in November last year saying how much he liked her account, and the rest was history. From there, the couple began FaceTiming every day, and Sophia ended up flying 1,100 across the US to Ohio for their first date.

    ‘Since I Googled Robert and FaceTimed him so often, I immediately felt safe when he picked me up at the airport for our first dinner date,’ said Sophia.

    27-year-old influencer met 54-year-old boyfriend on Instagram when he mistook her for friend's niece
    Sophia and Robert are planning marriage now (Picture: MDWfeatures / Sophia Spallino)

    ‘He leaned over the table and asked if he could hold both of my hands. I remember him saying, ‘We are finally here (in person) with each other, and the nerves are gone.’

    ‘Later that evening, he asked if he could kiss me; I remember closing my eyes, taking in the moment, and he said, “Give me your eyes.”‘

    She called their first kiss an ‘intense moment of pure connection’, and they’ve rarely been apart since that first date.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B0lLJlNlpbS/

    According to Sophia – who describes herself as an ‘old soul’ – the best trait Robert has is his heart, and the gentle way he treats everyone around him – including animals.

    Robert says of Sophia: ‘She is talented, creative, and smart. People don’t give her enough credit and she doesn’t give herself enough credit, but I am helping her see her true self – a brilliant woman.

    ‘My friends would have been shocked if I were with someone with less than a ten-year age gap. I just have a young spirit…

    ‘Attraction should be based on compatibility, not society’s antiquated thoughts regarding the criteria for what a loving relationship should be. I love Sophia to the moon and back. Anyone who sees us for a minute will know it.’

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B1bU2BPBaqw/

    Although they don’t agree with these ‘antiquated thoughts’ on their 27 year age gap, the pair did initially decide to keep their relationship a secret from family and friends.

    Sophia would blur out Robert’s face on her Instagram posts, and it wasn’t until six months into their relationship that she introduced her new beau to her parents, saying that they were ‘hesitant’ until they knew it could work long term.

    Work long term it has, however, and now everyone around them is overjoyed they’ve found happiness.

    ‘Everyone was just so excited we are happy; that kind of happy makes other people happy. We talk about the future all the time.

    ‘Within the next two years, we plan on engagement, marriage, and a baby. Just one. We both want just one.’

    It’s lovely to see a couple defying norms and having a great time doing it.

    MORE: Using your phone on the toilet is giving you piles

    MORE: Spill It: What a 25-year-old who’s just started drinking drinks in a week


    Sophia and Robert pictured on a beach. MEET THE FIFTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD MAN who followed a woman HALF HIS AGE on INSTAGRAM and after a month of FACETIMING each other they had their first date where she travelled over ONE-THOUSAND MILES and have been together ever since. In November 2018, serial entrepreneur and business owner of Sillybandz, Robert Croak (54) from Ohio, USA, came across a young social media influencer, Sophia Spallino (27) from Louisiana, USA, on Instagram who he thought was one of his friends? niece. He took a screenshot of her picture and sent it to his friend, who told him she wasn?t his niece. So, he followed her on Instagram and sent her a message admiring her efforts as a budding influencer. While Sophia was initially taken aback by him approaching her due to his age, they connected instantly and before they knew it, they were Facetiming each other for hours every day for a month. They both then felt ready to meet up and Sophia travelled over 1,100 miles by plane to his hometown to meet him for their first date. After a successful first date, they became inseparable and are now planning on getting engaged, married and becoming parents within the next two years. MDWfeatures / Sophia SpallinoSophia and Robert pictured on a beach. MEET THE FIFTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD MAN who followed a woman HALF HIS AGE on INSTAGRAM and after a month of FACETIMING each other they had their first date where she travelled over ONE-THOUSAND MILES and have been together ever since. In November 2018, serial entrepreneur and business owner of Sillybandz, Robert Croak (54) from Ohio, USA, came across a young social media influencer, Sophia Spallino (27) from Louisiana, USA, on Instagram who he thought was one of his friends? niece. He took a screenshot of her picture and sent it to his friend, who told him she wasn?t his niece. So, he followed her on Instagram and sent her a message admiring her efforts as a budding influencer. While Sophia was initially taken aback by him approaching her due to his age, they connected instantly and before they knew it, they were Facetiming each other for hours every day for a month. They both then felt ready to meet up and Sophia travelled over 1,100 miles by plane to his hometown to meet him for their first date. After a successful first date, they became inseparable and are now planning on getting engaged, married and becoming parents within the next two years. MDWfeatures / Sophia Spallino

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    The new galaxy caramel mcflurry
    We can’t wait to try it (Picture: McDonald’s)

    Attention, fast food lovers: McDonald’s is introducing a new McFlurry to its ice cream range: The Galaxy Salted Caramel McFlurry.

    It sounds amazing, we know.

    The new McFlurry features chunks of Galaxy chocolate and salted caramel sauce mixed into their signature whippy ice cream.

    The ice cream will be available to order in stores and through the McDonald’s app from next Wednesday, 25 September.

    However, this new ice cream won’t be a permanent addition, sadly.

    It’s only around for eight weeks – so you better act fast if you want to get your hands on it.

    The new Galaxy McFlurry will sit alongside the Mars, Twix and Malteser ice creams, and will be McDonald’s’ first ever salted caramel dessert.

    The new Mcflurry
    Doesn’t it look amazing? (Picture: McDonald’s)

    But this doesn’t make it any more expensive than usual, don’t worry – as a mini version of the ice cream costs 99p and a regular version is just £1.39.

    And, from next week, McFlurries will be coming in new packaging to save 300 tonnes of plastic from going to landfills.

    The new McFlurry pot will be made from carton board, which is recyclable – however there will still be plastic spoons for now.

    But of course, if you wanted to be extra helpful you could always carry your own metal spoon around with you from home.

    MORE: Spill It: What a 25-year-old who’s just started drinking drinks in a week

    MORE: Instagram has changed the way we eat


    McDonald's Is Bringing Out A Galaxy Salted Caramel McFlurry - But It's Not Around For LongMcDonald's Is Bringing Out A Galaxy Salted Caramel McFlurry - But It's Not Around For Long

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    Quorn's new wrap
    The new range is meat-free (Picture: Quorn)

    Vegetarian brand Quorn has released a new lunchtime range featuring wraps and sandwiches.

    The sandwich range features ‘chicken’ and stuffing, ‘chicken’ salad, ‘ham’ salad and a Ploughman’s, while the wraps include sweet chilli and caeser. Yum.

    Both the wraps and the sandwiches will be priced at £3.29 – but we don’t actually know when they’ll be rolled out yet.

    The sweet chilli wrap
    The wraps come in sweet chilli and caeser (Picture: Quorn)

    According to Quorn, the range will be coming ‘soon’ in selected universities that have a McColl’s store on campus, and then it will come out in other stores later.

    But bad news for some – the wraps and sandwiches aren’t vegan, so don’t accidentally try one if you’re totally animal product-free.

    But if you are looking for a new vegan lunch, Selfridges has just launched some new vegan sushi.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B2BRGm2JfiP

    While they of course don’t use actual meat and fish, it looks and apparently tastes just as good.

    The sushi comes from Ima, a family run plant-based brand, which has launched its own range in the store.

    The menu, which will rotate monthly, will set you back £6.99 and features a katsu tempeh beetroot burrito, a tofu firecracker rice sushi and avocado and fresh veg black rice rolls.

    And, what’s also amazing is the fact all the vegan sushi is packaged in 100% biodegradable packaging because, as Ima says, 640,000 tonnes of abandoned fishing equipment is thrown into the oceans every year.

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

    MORE: Holland & Barrett launches £3.99 lunch meal deal where everything is vegetarian or vegan


    Attention: Quorn is now doing wraps and sandwichesAttention: Quorn is now doing wraps and sandwiches

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    Morning sex illustration
    We hate to interrupt – but are you guys using protection? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    When it comes to sex we all know how important it is to be safe.

    Contraception – particularly condoms – can help to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. We all know this.

    But, despite being taught some form of sex education from a relatively early age – many people don’t seem to be taking the risks of unsafe sex seriously enough.

    New research has found that two thirds of Brits have never been tested for an STI. Never. Not once.

    The study, conducted by Lelo, also found that one in ten have lied about how long its been since having an STI test, and a quarter admit they never use a condom when sleeping with a new partner for the very first time.

    This… is worrying.

    ‘We found these figures incredibly shocking, especially when we consider that many sexually transmitted infections are symptomless, which highlights the importance of testing even when you feel fine,’ said Kate Moyle from Lelo.

    ‘Left untreated, some STIs can impact more long term health, such as future fertility and the ability to get pregnant.

    ‘With this in mind, it seems the risks really do not outweigh the benefits of using condoms which are the most reliable form of contraception for protecting against both unwanted pregnancy and STI’s, which when used correctly don’t detract from the enjoyment of sex.’

    It comes down to honesty and embarrasment. We’re all so shy talking about our sexual histories that we end up lying.

    But by saving your pride, you could be putting your health, and the health of your lovers, at risk.

    Men are nearly twice as likely to lie about wearing condoms than women (15% vs 8%).

    Londoners have the worst track record with 29% admitting lying about using condoms during sex and saying they did, even when they didn’t (vs a national average of 12%).

    25% of sexually active adults surveyed, revealed they have lied about how many sexual partners they have had, with 18-34-year-olds being the worst culprits.

    The figures have been released as part of Sexual Health Week to raise awareness about the realities of unsafe sex.

    MORE: McDonald’s launches Galaxy McFlurry with salted caramel sauce

    MORE: Influencer, 27, met boyfriend, 54, on Instagram when he mistook her for friend’s niece

    MORE: Instagram has banned adverts for toxic diet products


    Once a cheater always a cheaterOnce a cheater always a cheater

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    Greggs to charge for paper bags
    The bakery chain has left many unhappy (Picture: Greggs)

    Greggs has been pleasing crowds recently with news of its autumn menu and hot evening meal deals – but its latest announcement has left customers raging.

    The popular bakery chain announced it will now be charging 5p for its paper bags.

    The decision has been met with angry backlash from customers, with many pointing out that the government levy only applies to plastic bags – which the chain previously phased out.

    Others were also keen to stress the poor quality of the paper bags currently on offer.

    One customer took to Twitter to express his outrage saying: ‘I know it’s only 5p but imagine how many people have been charged. In a nutshell, you’re taking the proverbial.’

    Another said: ‘The bags are cheap rubbish and no one should be charging for paper bags!’

    Greggs has replied to customers on Twitter, saying: ‘To further reduce our environmental impact we’ll be charging 5p for our paper bags to encourage customers to use their own reusable bags.’

    The bakery chain also says that all profits from the bags will go towards the Greggs Foundation – a charity which supports good causes in local communities.

    Another customer commented on this element: ‘It’s great that they donate the charge to good causes but it would be nice if customers had the choice over whether to pay. It’s not legally compulsory so they shouldn’t act like it is.’

    Greggs follows in the footsteps of supermarket giant Morrisons, which introduced 20p paper bags earlier this year.

    But other high street food competitors such as Pret and Costa currently do not charge for paper bags.

    The news comes after the chain announced it will be staying open until 9pm, to serve its new £4 evening meal deal.

    MORE: Greggs is launching a hot evening meal deal for £4

    MORE: Greggs is launching its autumn menu imminently and it includes a spicy chicken bake

    MORE: Environmental charity gives away 10,000 planting kits to help Londoners get started with gardening


    Greggs to charge for paper bagsGreggs to charge for paper bags

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    Playing with Lego could provide good job security
    Playing with Lego could provide good job security

    Kids everywhere have been invited to ‘Rebuild the World’ with Lego but will that really help them learn the jobs skill of the future?

    Lego has been around for over 70 years but until now they’ve never had a tagline. There’s never been any equivalent of ‘Just Do It’ or ‘Think Different’, there has only ever been… Lego. But now that’s all changed and Lego has unveiled its very first catchphrase, as ‘Rebuild the World’.

    To promote their new slogan they’ve roped in everyone from musician Mark Ronson to 19-year-old David Aguilar, who managed to build his own prosthetic arm from Lego Technic elements. Although, as ever, the real appeal is seeing what kids and adults can create for themselves, with a new promotion to rebuild London and other UK landmarks using Lego bricks.

    You can see the first fruits of that initiative in these photos but there will also be special Rebuilder Workshops held in London, that will set building challenges for children and their parents to reimagine the world around them.

    There’s also a new TV ad that, instead of promoting individual sets during children’s TV, will be shown at primetime, between programmes like Britain’s Got Talent and The Great British Bake Off. But what’s at the heart of the campaign is Lego’s desire to promote itself as a practical tool for children’s development, and not purely a source of entertainment.

    Lego points towards a World Economic Forum ‘Future of Jobs Report’, where 70% of UK business leaders agreed that creativity was one of the top three skills needed for the modern job market. Which shows a greater belief in its virtues than similarly polled parents, where only 48% believed creativity will become a more important human skill in the future.

    ‘A lot of the jobs that kids are going to have in the future don’t even exist right now’, vice president of design Matthew Ashton told Metro.co.uk. ‘We’re told that 20 years from now 65% of the jobs will be something we can’t even guess at. So the more that we can prepare kids, by teaching them to be creative and solve problems through communication and through play, will help them become more resilient and able to think outside of the box.’

    In the coming years automation will become a serious problem for more than just factory workers, as advances in artificial intelligence threaten to take more and more jobs away from human employees.

    ‘Creativity and play in general kind of get deprioritised a little bit with kids’, says Ashton. ‘It’s like, “Do your homework and your chores and you can have five minutes play before you go to bed”. And actually, those moments of playing and being creative are doing so much for that child that may not be obvious in the moment and I think that’s why we need to help to create that space.’

    ‘Even me growing up… my mum and dad are both really creative people. My mum would’ve loved to be an interior designer or something, my dad was great at technical drawing and things, but they came from a background that was like, “Oh you need to get a proper job because being creative is not going to make you any money”, adds Ashton. ‘But in reality I think some of the more creative things are in fact more important for the future’.

    Birmingham’s Bullring gets a Lego makeover
    Birmingham’s Bullring gets a Lego makeover

    It’s not uncommon to find engineers and architects extoling the virtues of Lego, and how it helped inspire them as children, but Ashton is keen to give examples of how it can do the same in other creative industries.

    ‘I met Hans Zimmer, the composer, and he was like, “You would not believe the impact that Lego had on my life”. He said, at the time, it was one of the only things that he could concentrate and focus on, with everything else going on in his life. So there’s people like that that I would never have imagined being inspired by Lego but who turn out to be great advocates.’

    There is an unexpectedly judgemental element to the tagline Rebuild the World though, with the implication, perhaps not unwarranted, that there’s currently something wrong with it.

    ‘Kids generally see the world in a really positive light and we just want to do whatever we can to keep them in that mindset, to encourage them to be creative, and if at the end of the day that does help them have the confidence to do things that may potentially change things in the world, in the future, then that’s something we’d be very proud of’, says Ashton.

    You may have seen Matthew Ashton on the Lego Masters TV show
    You may have seen Matthew Ashton on the Lego Masters TV show

    Given his role at Lego though, which involves overseeing 250 designers from 40 different countries, we can’t help but ask how he deals with the personal responsibility of influencing the lives of millions of children.

    ‘It’s a really positive thing but it’s also a pressure I feel every day of my job’, says Ashton. ‘I was so inspired by Lego as a kid and want to make sure that the kids of today are equally inspired.

    ‘I think we are one of the few brands that can really make a difference in people’s lives and the way they look at the future. And the biggest responsibility I have on my shoulders is to find a way to build their confidence through the products we create and the experiences we give them. That’s my aim.’

    Of course, the aim of anyone at Lego is to… sell more Lego, something the company has been remarkably successful at in recent years. But with children spending more and more time on phones and tablets it’s clear that Lego recognises the increasing difficulty in prying them away, as evidenced with lines like Hidden Side – which uses the AR features of smartphones to make sets more interactive.

    ‘We want to figure out how to marry those two things together – Lego and digital devices – so they become greater than the sum of their parts, so that it enhances the whole experience and gives kids a new way to play that is a little bit unexpected’, says Ashton. ‘Because that’s one of the things we try to do with product development, to make sure that what we create is always clearly Lego but there’s a surprise element that’s delivered in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.’

    All of which begs the question of whether Lego itself will still be around in 20 years, in what will undoubtedly be a very changed world.

    ‘It will as long as I’m alive!’ laughs Ashton. ‘It’s something I will do everything in my power to ensure – and I’m sure everybody else at this company will too – that we’re always providing the right play experiences for kids that are always relevant, always fun… but stimulating too’.


    Playing with Lego could provide good job securityPlaying with Lego could provide good job security

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    The cat and rabbit together
    Aren’t they adorable? (Picture: Caters News)

    An adorable cat is best friends with the bunny his owner rescued, and the pair are completely inseperable.

    Milton Torres, from Austin, Texas, found a rabbit on the side of the street in late August and decided to take it home.

    The bunny, now named Curbie, quickly became friends with Milton’s cat Cinemark, who has been with Milton for eight years and is also a rescue pet.

    Cinemark and Curbie are now inseparable and spend most of their time cuddling up together and playing around the house.

    Cinemark and Curbie cuddling
    Cinemark and Curbie are both inseparable now (Picture: Caters News)

    Milton, who is a salesman and publisher, said: ‘I am pretty sure Curbie was abandoned because he is not a wild rabbit and he’s also potty trained.

    ‘I was driving by and I saw him on the side of the street, he wasn’t moving and I didn’t even know if he was alive.

    ‘I made a U turn and found that he was okay, probably just terrified.’

    According to Milton, the friendship between the two started as Cinemark likes to ‘clean’ other animals up with his tongue.

    The cute pair together
    They love cuddling up together (Picture: Caters News)

    Milton said: ‘Cinemark loves cleaning other animals and Curbie doesn’t mind having him do that, so I think that’s how their friendship started.

    ‘They spend most of the time together, sometimes they also cuddle up together before sleep.’

    MORE: Greggs is now charging 5p for paper bags and customers are furious

    MORE: Using your phone on the toilet is giving you piles


    PIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Cinemark the cat with Curbie the bunny) - An adorable cat has bonded with a bunny his owner rescued, and the two are now inseparable.Milton Torres, from Austin, Texas, found a rabbit on the side of the street in late August and decided to take it home.Little did Milton know that the animal would immediately become friends with kitten Cinemark, who has been with Milton for eight years and who is also a rescue pet.SEE CATERS COPYPIC FROM Caters News - (PICTURED: Cinemark the cat with Curbie the bunny) - An adorable cat has bonded with a bunny his owner rescued, and the two are now inseparable.Milton Torres, from Austin, Texas, found a rabbit on the side of the street in late August and decided to take it home.Little did Milton know that the animal would immediately become friends with kitten Cinemark, who has been with Milton for eight years and who is also a rescue pet.SEE CATERS COPY

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    Car mad groom uses new wife's dress to clean his car tyres in wedding pics
    Dress = £1,500. Car = £50,000. Being shamed online for your photos with them = Priceless.

    Most brides are worried that the train of their dress might get muddy on the walk to the venue. Not this one, though.

    A couple’s wedding picture has gone viral, as the bride lets the groom take the train of her dress and use it to clean his car tyres.

    The beautiful lace on the mermaid style gown is bunched up by the woman’s new husband while she’s still wearing it, and wipes all over the blackened rims of a red sports car.

    Although it’s quite clearly a photo opportunity, it ended up causing quite the ruckus online, and was shared to a wedding shaming group online, where users were more than happy to express their disgust.

    The post was labelled ‘when you marry a car guy’, with the responses rolling in shortly after.

    One commenter called the post ‘tacky’, while another claimed that it filled them with ‘a rage I hadn’t anticipated’.

    It wasn’t as if the commenters didn’t know it wasn’t a photo op either. One said ‘staged or not, it’s not funny or entertaining at all’.

    Another said ‘this is the dumbest thing ever’. So far, so shamed.

    That said, there were some who saw the funny side, with many of those on the side of the newlyweds even saying it was something they could see them and their partner doing.

    The identity of the bride and groom was kept hidden, but it’s obvious from the posted photo that it was a consenting joke between both parties.

    What do you reckon, though? Is it still a weirdly staged photograph? Or simply a way for them both to show their love of cars?

    Do you have an incredible wedding story to share? Get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@metro.co.uk

    MORE: Adorable bunny and cat are best friends and they’re completely inseparable

    MORE: Greggs is now charging 5p for paper bags and customers are furious


    https://www.facebook.com/groups/thatsitimweddingshaming/https://www.facebook.com/groups/thatsitimweddingshaming/

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    Anna and Jamie and their announcement
    The announcement was amazing (Picture: Anna McLaren/SWNS)

    A couple announced their pregnancy in the best way – with their own fake movie poster complete with a release date, reviews and announcement of who would be starring as mum and dad.

    24-year-old Anna McLaren and Jamie McDonald, 25, made the funny poster for a film called ‘The Announcement’ and said it would be ‘coming March 2020’.

    The pair included a blurb on the poster which joked the ‘film’ was ‘from the people who brought you “a recently updated relationship status”‘.

    Picturing the pair in bed – with Anna snacking on junk food and Jamie reading a pregnancy manual – it said the movie was ‘based on a true story’.

    The pregnancy announcement
    This is a film we’d like to see (Picture: Anna McLaren / SWNS)

    The ‘poster’ also included a five star review from the grandparents, but a one star review from ‘the neighbours’ of which said ‘kept us up all night’.

    The couple, from Blackpool, weren’t trying for a baby, and only found out when Anna took a pregnancy test to reassure a pal who was doing the same.

    She was in Spain on a girls holiday at the time, so the poster review from ‘everyone’ said: ‘Only you would find out in Benidorm’.

    The couple said the announcement has been dubbed ‘the best ever’ by their pals.

    ‘It was my idea because I wanted to do something that everyone will remember and talk about for a long time’, said sales manager, Anna.

    ‘I am only going to be pregnant for the first time once so I wanted to make sure I tell everyone about it in a memorable way.

    ‘We had fun doing it and we’ve had such a good reaction. People seem to love it. Everyone has said it’s the best announcement they’ve ever seen.

    Anna and Jamie
    The couple are super excited to become parents (Picture: Anna McLaren/SWNS)

    ‘We just wanted to have a laugh and didn’t want to do a boring post with just the scan photo, everyone else has already done that.’

    Anna and bricklayer Jamie have been in a relationship for a year and although haven’t been trying for children, ‘can’t wait’ to be parents for the first time.

    She found out she was pregnant by chance while on a girls-only holiday to Benidorm in July.

    She only took the pregnancy test which confirmed she would be having a baby to reassure her friend, who was nervous about taking a test alone.

    Anna said the last thing she expected was a positive result, but after doing a couple more tests phoned Jamie to tell him the good news.

    She said: ‘I only did the pregnancy test off the cuff because my friend didn’t want to do one on her own.

    ‘I was massively shocked. I had no idea it was going to happen. As soon as we had it confirmed we couldn’t wait to tell everyone we knew.

    ‘We are really excited. I never pictured myself as a mum but I can’t wait. Jamie is so loving and he will make the best dad. All of our friends and family are really happy for us.’

    Anna had scans at the hospital and then created the original announcement to put on Facebook.

    They enlisted the help of a friend who took a picture of them in bed.

    The ingenious design features Anna surrounded by snacks to soothe her pregnancy cravings while a worried dad-to-be, Jamie, reads a guide on ‘Pregnancy For Men’.

    Anna and Jamie will find out the gender of their first child in February next year, before the baby is due on 21 March.

    MORE: Adorable bunny and cat are best friends and they’re completely inseparable

    MORE: How playing with Lego could help prepare your child for the future job market


    A couple who are parents-to-be have announced their pregnancy with a hilarious movie-style poster to reveal the due date. See SWNS story SWTPpregnancy. Proud Anna McLaren and Jamie McDonald (pictured) have rolled out the red carpet ready for the arrival of their firstborn child. The pair, from Blackpool, Lancs., found out Anna was pregnant in July and have let their loved ones know they?re expecting in their own special way. Their first born is due on March 21 next year and to let the world know the good news - they created a mock-up poster of a film with a March 2020 release date.A couple who are parents-to-be have announced their pregnancy with a hilarious movie-style poster to reveal the due date. See SWNS story SWTPpregnancy. Proud Anna McLaren and Jamie McDonald (pictured) have rolled out the red carpet ready for the arrival of their firstborn child. The pair, from Blackpool, Lancs., found out Anna was pregnant in July and have let their loved ones know they?re expecting in their own special way. Their first born is due on March 21 next year and to let the world know the good news - they created a mock-up poster of a film with a March 2020 release date.

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    caroline calloway at the shorty awards in New York city
    Calloway’s issues lie more with ineptitude than outright dupery (Picture: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Shorty Awards)

    The current American media landscape is currently like a game of white woman whack a mole: when one incompetent former it-girl is expelled, another two crop up.

    This week, recurring characters Lauren Duca and Caroline Calloway reprised their roles as the cartoonishly millenial anti-heroines of social media.

    The former is a love-to-hate journalist who found fame after a viral essay on the Trump administration, and viral interview in which she went head-to-head with Fox New’s Tucker Carlson.

    The latter is a love-to-hate influencer, who found fame after a viral thread documented her disastrous attempts to host ‘creativity workshops’ for $165 per ticket.

    Both have been the subject of recent journalistic deep-dives: Calloway’s previous collaborator and confidant Natalie Beach has written about her close and largely toxic relationship with her for The Cut.

    In it she reveals that she had ghostwritten social media captions for the Instagram personality and that Calloway had faked part of her now-near 800,000 strong following by buying followers.

    Meanwhile, over at BuzzFeed an in-depth piece reported that students of Duca’s ‘The Feminist Journalist’ course at NYU had filed a formal complaint against her.

    It was alleged she would incessantly discuss her personal life in class, would spend more time meditating than actually teaching and more worryingly, that she ‘consistently targeted’ one student in particular who didn’t speak English as a first language.

    Tales of white snake oil saleswomen regale us on a near weekly basis; Duca and Calloway – alongside women like Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and New York socialite Anna Delvey – are perfect examples of why ascribing privilege to white men alone is a fallacy.

    This is by no means either of the women’s first scandals. In a March 2019 Jezebel article, Duca was accused of anonymously trolling colleagues during her time at Huffington Post and fat-phobic tweets were resurfaced.

    Calloway scored a $500,000 advance in 2013 that her publisher ultimately canceled after she decided not to write it. Her publisher demanded she repay her advance, but she claimed to have spent $165,000 of it.

    Perhaps this is why Branden Miller’s iconic character ‘Joanne The Scammer’ continually professed that she was a ‘caucasian woman’. Branden, a black man in drag, could never get away with the shenanigans ‘Joanne the Scammer’ – a wealthy white woman with a snarl and a fur – could.

    Tales of white snake oil saleswomen regale us on a near weekly basis; Duca and Calloway – alongside women like Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and New York socialite Anna Delvey – are perfect examples of why ascribing privilege to white men alone is a fallacy.

    White women too have been emboldened to pull several fast ones. Whilst Duca and Calloway’s issues lie more with ineptitude than outright dupery – for which Holmes and Delvey are either facing or doing jail time – it’s hard to separate them from the ongoing con economy.

    Duca has managed to exploit the current pseudo-feminist climate and turn adeptness for one-liners into profiles in the New York Times and on the Today show, awards for excellence in journalism and various television show appearances.

    Calloway has taken advantage of a young cult-following and an ability to flip her messiness into the ‘authenticity’ so wanted from influencers. Both have grossly misrepresented themselves to the extent of their abilities being grossly overestimated, and it’s all blowing up in their faces very publicly.

    The women are no doubt all victims of sexism – their notoriety and the various think pieces and hysteria surrounding them are in no small part because they’re women. But their whiteness is what allowed them to be able to pull off these various ‘scams’ in the first place.

    The line between ‘scammer’ and ‘inspiration’ is increasingly thin.

    Theranos’ board was entirely white, male and old and Holme’s status as a ‘hot, young, blonde’ no doubt played a part in their support. Lauren Duca has been dubbed the Caroline Calloway of journalism, who has been dubbed Anna Delvey of influencers.

    It is hard to think of a woman of colour who could be the Calloway of anything – how would she be permitted to fail upwards so easily to begin with? Mediocrity isn’t a luxury we are permitted in a world that requires us to work twice as hard. We have to prove ability.

    White women, especially middle class, educated, conventionally attractive, able bodied ones, are able to leverage their position and take advantage of the system in the same way as their white male peers.

    It’s why it grates when white women refer to white men as ‘white men’ with a disparaging eye roll, as if it somehow negates their own privilege.

    ‘You’re being so f*cking hard on me, Scaachi,’ Duca said in a standout exchange from her profile. ‘And I really, really, really, really would ask you if you would be grilling a man in this same way.’

    In the binary view of the world some women can afford to have, privilege is something you have if you’re male and don’t if you’re not. She is aware of how being a woman can impede her, but not how being white has protected and – more importantly – projected her into the public eye.

    Both Calloway and Duca were internet famous, NYU alumni who were awarded legitimacy at a much slower rate than men more mediocre, but wouldn’t have been taken seriously at all if they were black.

    The line between ‘scammer’ and ‘inspiration’ is increasingly thin. A couple of years ago, Calloway, Duca, Delvy and Holmes could have easily been in conversation together on a panel at an exclusive yet ‘empowering’ women’s private members club event, waxing-lyrical about breaking the glass ceiling without getting into the nitty gritty of how they intended to do so.

    Debate still rages on about whether they are feminist icons – they are never simply deemed frauds, phoneys, criminals as women of colour would immediately be cast.

    Their whiteness doesn’t mean that they aren’t still disenfranchised as women. But the fact that for many women like Duca and Calloway, the worst fate they’ll face is being ‘cancelled’ says a lot about their positionality.

    The truth is, had they been black women, they would have never even gotten started.

    MORE: The Caroline Calloway and Natalie Beach friendship dynamic is destructive, but totally addictive

    MORE: Dark skinned women are now being celebrated, but don’t blame us for scepticism

    MORE: Our hobbies must be protected from the culture of the side-hustle


    11th Annual Shorty Awards - Arrivals & Cocktail Hour11th Annual Shorty Awards - Arrivals & Cocktail Hour

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    illustration of two women
    The survey featured more than 9,000 women (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Women have a lot to deal with on a daily basis – from the gender pay gap to unrealistic beauty standards, but a new study has revealed the countries making women’s rights a priority.

    The 2019 Best Countries List from the US News & World Report has taken into account human rights, gender equality, income equality, progress, and safety of 80 countries – and ranked them.

    The sample size was pretty generous too – with more than 9,000 women taking part in the survey.

    Overall, Nordic nations have proved the best places to live in the world if you’re a woman.

    Sweden bagged the top stop, with gender equality ranking at 9.6/10 and income equality at an impressive 9.9. The Scandinavian nation also scored a perfect 10 for progressiveness – which makes sense considering education and healthcare are free.

    Following close behind was Denmark, which topped the 2018 list last year. It may have slipped down from first place, but there are still high scores across the board with gender equality at 9.1 and income equality at 10/10.

    Canada won third place at the 2019 rankings – moving up three spots from last year – with safety scoring a 9.8 and gender equality at 9.1.

    Fourth place was taken by Norway, which is unsurprising considering the country has a long tradition of working for women’s rights and gender equality. Both of which scored well, with human rights coming in at 9.9 alongside income quality at the same score.

    The Netherlands ranked sixth best country to live in as a woman. It scored perfect 10s for gender equality and human rights.

    Finland followed behind in seventh place with pay equality and safety scoring top marks at 9.6 each.

    Meanwhile, south of the equator Australia and New Zealand picked up eighth and ninth place respectively – but surprisingly New Zealand only had a score of 7.3 for gender equality.

    Germany held onto its 10th position from 2018, with an inspiring 9.8 for progression.

    10 best countries to live in if you’re a woman

    1. Sweden
    2. Denmark
    3. Canada
    4. Norway
    5. Netherlands
    6. Finland
    7. Switzerland
    8. Australia
    9. New Zealand
    10. Germany

    Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the UK didn’t make the top ten. It placed at number 13 behind Belgium and Luxembourg.

    If you’re planning a post-Brexit move – these countries are well worth considering.

    MORE: Ms Monopoly is the new version of the board game where women make more money than men

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    MORE: Dictionary adds ‘they’ as a gender pronoun for first time


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    I fell for him in a tidal wave of giggles, kisses, and inside jokes. He made a playlist for us on the first date. We joked that our attraction was less like a slow freight train and more like the TGV.

    Shortly after, he went out with his friends and realised he wished to be single. I stoically granted his wish.

    Three days later, I got text confirmation that the gift I’d ordered for him had arrived at his place. The lump in my throat grew large, not because the rejection stung deeply, but because I was angry with myself.

    Brenda Olmos smiling and holding a piece of cake
    I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been disappointed (Picture: Brenda Olmos)

    How, after such a short time, was I offering him more kindnesses than I offered myself? How could I repeatedly put him before me, his needs and concerns above mine, and his well-being ahead of my own?

    Men have gifted me some of life’s sweetest moments – supported me through family illnesses, career changes and the occasional very bad period. But I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been disappointed.

    Their mother is paying their rent. They’re between jobs (again). Their stay at their ex-girlfriend’s house is ‘just temporary’.

    I’ve spent my twenties giving people I’ve dated the benefit of the doubt before they did the work to earn any benefits, and I’m tired of opening my heart over and over with nothing to show for it but fresh ‘Hello, how are you’s’ in my DMs.

    I first saw the term ‘man-ban’ on Twitter. With my latest break up still fresh in my mind, I decided that on the brink of my 30th birthday, I not only needed but deserved a ban on men.

    Brenda Olmos wearing a top that says relentless on it
    I had to face up to whether my own company could be enough (Picture: Brenda Olmos)

    These were the rules are: no dates. No apps and no swiping. No waiting for good morning texts and no obsessing over when and where the next interaction would be.

    And best of all: no unmet expectations.

    That’s not to say the thought of a man-ban didn’t scare me. I had to face up to whether my own company could be enough. Was I fun on my own? Would I like myself when no one was liking me? And were there are any corners of my heart that could be reserved for self-love?

    By three weeks into my man-ban, I was learning that the attention of men was like my morning coffee: sweet, soothing, and seemingly necessary. I started to realise that I needed the attention of men to fill up the empty spaces in my day. What was there to do if I wasn’t engaged in witty text banter? Who would FaceTime me on my lunch break?

    I am now three months into the ban. Practically speaking, banning men has freed me up to focus on my work, or plan my next trip away. I do nice things for myself that I always wished men would – I buy myself flowers instead of buying surprise gifts for others.

    I listen to my friends’ stories of dating disappointments and I am thankful that my heart is not available for discouragement.

    Brenda Olmos in her graduation gown smiling
    My heart is also recently broken, and I’ve never given it time to properly heal from all the heartache that came before (Picture: Brenda Olmos)

    Emotionally, I am learning to speak my truth to men who approach me. Recently, I danced with a handsome Cuban who asked for my number and my romantic heart fluttered.

    Then I remembered: my heart is also recently broken, and I’ve never given it time to properly heal from all the heartache that came before. I gently told him, ‘I so appreciate your interest, but I am currently avoiding emotional and physical interactions with men.’

    He was obviously disappointed but moved past it and twirled me on the dance floor anyway.

    In my previous relationships, I’ve fallen hard, loved hard, planned hard. I have been in hot pursuit of the man who will show me the appreciation I crave, but never considered that the love I want is an inside job.

    I have never looked in the mirror and seen a woman who is lovable and worthy. I have never basked in my self-made, financially stable, well-educated and successful greatness. I have never been the object of my own affection.

    Brenda Olmos wearing her doctor's uniform
    I, without the admiration of a man, can satisfy all of my heart’s desires (Picture: Brenda Olmos)

    There’s a quote by Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert that lines the walls of my internal monologue: ‘When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, [Brenda]. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.’

    My hope is that, in ending the pursuit of love, if only for a while, my kindest affections would be redirected from the person in my text messages to the person in the mirror.

    That true love, or something like it, is a feeling of enough – pretty enough, smart enough, desirable enough. That I, without the admiration of a man, can satisfy all of my heart’s desires, and that feeling will be accessible to comfort me in my loneliness.

    And while loneliness makes me fearful, it doesn’t scare me as much as the thought that I’ve spent the last decade building my professional and personal resume in hope of someone hiring me as their wife, hoping that my qualifications meet their standards.

    Perhaps we could all benefit from a man-ban to have the time to ask the hard questions: would I swipe right on me? Would I plan solo trips, would I speak kindly when I’m not at my best? Would I show up for myself unconditionally?

    True love means making a map of my loneliness and traveling joyfully on its roads without the hopeful illusion of who may be around the next turn.

    The only person I expect to see on the road is myself. Almost 30, crushing my personal and career goals, dancing on weeknights, buying flowers for my kitchen table: lovely, smart, satisfied, and alone.

    Last week in Love, Or Something Like It: It’s hard to meet people who understand what it means to be demisexual

    Write for Love, Or Something Like It

    Love, Or Something Like It is a new series for Metro.co.uk covering everything from mating and dating to lust and loss, to find out what true love is and how we find it in the present day.

    If you have a love story to share, email rosy.edwards@metro.co.uk

    MORE: Writing anonymously about my love life makes rejection easier to bear

    MORE: My cats have taught me more about true love than any man

    MORE: What heartbreak taught me about love


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    Noriko Kishida will go down in history as changing the face of women’s sport in Japan through bravery and determination.

    In 1989 Tokyo, women’s rugby was almost unheard of, so when Noriko and her friends formed a team, they faced ridicule and hostility from all angles. They defied the social conventions of 80s Japan, pushing back against the critics to become incredibly successful.

    Despite their humble beginnings, they soon became one of the strongest sides around and many of them were selected to represent their country in the Women’s World Cup.

    ‘I started rugby when I was 37 years old,’ Noriko tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Since then, rugby has always been an important part of my life.

    ‘It is a sport that not only makes me feel a sense of belonging in society, but also helps bring me and my friends together from all around the world – from different countries – to play a sport that we all have passion for.

    Liberty Fields team smile in the mud
    ‘For the world to work to its fullest potential, it’s crucial for men and women to co-exist together’ (Picture: Guiness/Liberty Fields)

    ‘We are a network of men and women who are closely connected by rugby, demonstrating the multifaceted elements of the sport.’

    Noriko’s team, Liberty Fields RFC, played at an incredibly high level despite having no coach, no doctor and very little support, instead relying on what they did have – a team.

    Balancing training with jobs and families, they set a new level for women’s sport in Japan, showing what you can achieve with grit, determination, and an unbreakable spirit.

    ‘For the world to work to its fullest potential, it’s crucial for men and women to co-exist together, to have equal opportunities, and to have the same chance for success,’ says Noriko. ‘Even in moments of doubt, I always remind myself the importance of believing in yourself and what you stand for.

    ‘It is important to combat prejudices and support the ongoing fight for equality, which all men and women are entitled to.’

    When Noriko looks back at that time, it’s impossible to ignore the misogynistic treatment that she and her teammates were subjected to. But she knew this fight was too important to give up on.

    ‘Back in the 1980s in Japan, the sexual harassment of women was a given; it was the norm and became a part of our existence,’ she says. ‘Typically, men expected women to be archetypal: young, pretty, submissive and willing to quit their jobs for a life of marriage.

    Liberty Fields team cheer after a game
    ‘A strong woman is someone who’s independent, compassionate, inspirational to others’ (Picture: Guiness/Liberty Fields)

    ‘We were confined by tradition and patriarchal constraints.

    ‘A particular challenge within this environment was proving that rugby is a sport for women as well as men. At the time, women’s teams in any sport were not considered official, nor taken seriously by sporting associations, which led us to form our own organisation, Liberty Fields.

    ‘We made the impossible, possible and the legacy still lives on through the GUINNESS documentary.’

    The story of Liberty Fields RFC has been immortalised in a five-minute mini documentary and TV advert that shines a light on their story.

    ‘As a team of strong women, we were driven and motivated by the philosophies and beliefs behind Liberty Fields, helping us rise above the challenges that we faced,’ explains Norika.

    ‘Being aware that our actions were (and still are) having a significant impact on society, fuelled our desire for change in the world of sport and how women were perceived in rugby.

    At the time, women’s rugby teams weren’t recognised as official – so Norika’s team founded their own organisation to legitimise their efforts. But Norika knows the battle is far from won.

    ‘There isn’t a doubt that we’ve already come a long way regarding women in sport, however, with time there also comes more challenges that we must strive to overcome,’ she tells us.

    ‘One test for women is to continue to uphold our physical as well as mental strength when times get tough. Sometimes, it is easy to give into external pressures, but with strong willpower and belief, we will continue to make more important changes for women in the world of sport.

    ‘For me, a strong woman is someone who’s independent, compassionate, inspirational to others, and not affected by the pressures of society.

    ‘A strong woman is also someone who maintains her own character and natural beauty, not succumbing to the falsities that the world of social media often projects onto young women and men.

    ‘Finally, she is someone who is not afraid to feel, not influenced by negative energies and follows her dreams to pursue the life or career she wants.’

    Strong Women

    Strong Women is a weekly series that champions diversity in the world of sport and fitness.

    A Sport England study found that 40% of women were avoiding physical activity due to a fear of judgement.

    But, contrary to the limited images we so often see, women of any age, size, race or ability can be active and enjoy sport and fitness.

    We hope that by normalising diverse depictions of women who are fit, strong and love their bodies, we will empower all women to shed their self-consciousness when it comes to getting active.

    Each week we talk to women who are redefining what it means to be strong and achieving incredible things.

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘I was struggling to cope with my husband’s MS – mountain biking brought me back from the brink’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘I had heart failure at 27 – so a workout for me is walking to the shops’

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


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    cahoots is recruiting a manager for a week
    Do you have what it takes? (Picture: Cahoots/Inception Group)

    Anyone who has ever dreamed of owning their own bar (and raking in the profits) could be in for a treat – all thanks to popular London bar Cahoots.

    To mark the launch of its second Soho site, the Tube-themed bar is giving someone the chance to own the new drinking den for its opening week.

    The crowned ‘Head Scoundrel’ will play a crucial part in the decision making for the new boozy hot spot – including staff uniforms, menu, interior decoration and live entertainment.

    If that wasn’t enough, the top dog will be treated to all the profits from the week they are in charge.

    They will also be able to invite 50 of their nearest and dearest to a free 1940s-style launch party.

    cahoots is recruiting a new owner
    The owner will calling the shots during opening week (Picture: Cahoots/Inception Group)

    What’s more, the week-long owner will able to choose the venue’s signature Tanqueray No. ten cocktail – which will be free for the owner for life. They will also be honoured with a permanent plaque at the new venue – which can be found opposite the original on Kingly Street.

    The sister site – Cahoots: The Ticket Hall & Control Room – is set to be spread across two levels and will boast a 1940s-inspired ticket hall on the ground floor, as well as an immersive control room downstairs.

    Those who think they have what it takes can apply on the company’s website with their personal details and their argument as to why they should be chosen.

    Just be sure to apply sooner rather than later, as no doubt there will be some stiff competition.

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    Cahoots Wants You - Main Image-8e01Cahoots Wants You - Main Image-8e01

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    Samantha Kelly with her dog Jessie
    Samantha Kelly had all her dogs involved in her wedding day (Picture: Andrew Mackin Photography/Mercury Press)

    When Samantha Kelly, 33, got engaged to Ronan, 32, she knew she’d need her eight rescue dogs to be involved in her wedding day.

    The business owner, from Ireland, had already owned three dogs when she got together with Ronan five years ago. Over the course of their relationship, they’ve added five more disabled rescue dogs to their family.

    On the big day, all eight dogs – Papillion Louisa, disabled 12-year-old Jack Russell Pal, eight-year-old Pomeranian Jessie, 12-year-old Springer Spaniel Jack, 12-year-old Lily, chihuahua Toby, eight-year-old Pomeranian Bonnie, and former stray staffie cross Barney – were all involved with important roles to play.

    17-year-old Louisa, who’s blind, served as Samantha’s bouquet for her walk down the aisle at the family’s country estate home, Loughanmore Court in County Louth, while the others each had their turn to take a trot in front of the guests.

    All the dogs were well behaved and a big hit with the 100 human guests in attendance, even patiently posing for the wedding photos.

    Samantha said: ‘Our eight dogs are our family, so like with family we wanted them there on our wedding day.

    ‘We don’t want to have kids, we prefer dogs – they are literally our children.

    ‘All our 100 guests loved having the dogs there.

    ‘Everyone thought the wedding was pretty amazing, even the priest who married us has two rescue dogs, so he thought it was pretty cool too.’

    Samantha and Ronan met through family friends, dating for five years before Ronan proposed on a cruise around the Mediterranean.

    Samantha Kelly with her husband Ronan and dogs
    All of the rescued dogs have disabilities (Picture: Andrew Mackin Photography/Mercury Press)

    The couple have adopted their dogs from all over Ireland, building their gardens to work for the dogs’ disabilities, providing 24 hour care, and even hiring a nanny for the pooches when they go out for a date night.

    Samantha said: ‘I had just three dogs when we got together, but Ronan loves dogs too so we ended up getting the rest.

    ‘I started about 10 years ago when we got Louisa, she is now 17, on the day I carried her down the aisle.

    ‘In total now we have saved eight dogs’ lives – we tend to adopt older dogs with problems as they are harder to rehome.

    Samantha Kelly's eight dogs
    The couple plan to turn their home into a dog-friendly wedding venue for other animal lovers (Picture: Mercury Press)

    ‘The dogs we rescue we got because their owners no longer wanted them or their owners had died, they would have been put down if we hadn’t rescued them.’

    The couple also have five rescue sheep and three ex-battery hens, which they keep as pets.

    Following the success of their wedding, which was celebrated in tipis in the garden, Samantha and Ronan now plan to turn their home into a dog-friendly wedding venue for other animal lovers.

    We’ll be waiting until cats are allowed, too. Even if that bouquet replacement might be a tad scratchy.

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    ullenka kash lettucetti raw vegan spaghetti bolognese
    Behold lettucetti (Picture: Ullenka Kash)

    First the foodie influencers attempted to replace pasta with courgetti, and we, as a society, allowed this.

    Supermarkets began selling their own shredded courgette next to their fresh tagliatelle. Restaurants offered a courgetti swap for anyone cutting carbs.

    Courgette is not pasta. We know this. And yet we let courgetti happen.

    So is it any wonder that another food influencer has decided to make ‘lettucetti’ a thing?

    Lettucetti is the creation of Ullenka Kash, a health coach, mum, and influencer with more than 126,000 followers on Instagram. Ullenka only eats raw fruit and veg – nothing else – and lettucetti is one of her many raw vegan versions of popular meals.

    As the name probably gives away, lettucetti is just… shredded lettuce. Top that with sauce (a raw, meat-free and dairy-free sauce, to be clear) and it’s a tiny bit like spaghetti bolognese… apparently.

    A variation on Ullenka’s raw, vegan spag bol (Picture: Ullenka Kash)

    Ullenka shared this creation on Instagram, where it was swiftly slammed by people who took offence to the YouTuber referring to the dish as ‘Raw Vegan Lettuce Spaghetti a’la Bolognese.’

    One woman wrote: ‘This. Is. A. Salad’.

    Another commented said: ‘This is a war declaration against all Italian culture and everything pasta represents for us.’

    The comments section of the Instagram post also features a lot of angry Italian and vomit face emoji. Of course.

    Despite the backlash, Ullenka continues to refer to her shredded salad leaves as lettucetti and the variations of raw mushroom paste as a bolognese sauce.

    But she tells Metro.co.uk she is not ‘trying to replace pasta with lettuce’.

    Ullenka kash eating lettucetti
    Ullenka eating lettucetti (Picture: Ullenka Kash)

    ‘I am making a lot of raw vegan versions of popular foods, to make familiar what’s unfamiliar,’ Ullenka tells us. ‘To follow high raw vegan lifestyle successfully, you’ve got to get a bit creative, with your dinners especially.

    ‘Eating chopped lettuce topped with chopped tomatoes every day seemed not satisfying enough.

    ‘I started to make lettuce rolls, lettuce sushi etc. Lettuce became my base for many different meals. I discovered how many things I can actually do with it!

    ‘One day I wanted something quick and filling, so just decided to blend all of my add-ons and make it very simple – just lettuce and sauce.

    ‘Since I cut lettuce into stripes, it reminded me a lot of a spaghetti! So I started to call it spaghetti salad or lettucetti or bolognese salad etc.

    Lettucetti is just shredded lettuce topped with a raw vegan 'sauce'
    Lettucetti is just shredded lettuce topped with a raw vegan ‘sauce’ (Picture: Ullenka Kash)

    ‘I am not Italian and spaghetti for me is a symbol of pasta with sauce, something that you can spin on fork and enjoy a tasty bite easily.’

    Ullenka explains that her version of spaghetti bolognese isn’t supposed to taste like spaghetti bolognese. It does ‘remind’ her of the dish, though.

    ‘For someone who doesn’t eat meat, who doesn’t eat typical vegan cooked food, it does taste Italian, Mediterranean and has the saucy satisfying taste,’ she explains. ‘I made this recipe very spontaneously, without the intention for it to taste exactly like a Bolognese sauce does.’

    Since all the outrage, however, Ullenka says she’s working on making her sauce taste more like the original.

    While she claims lettucetti isn’t a replacement for pasta, she does suggest people try it when craving spag bol on a raw vegan diet.

    Ullenka kash eating raw vegan version of spaghetti bolognese
    Ullenka and her family have been following a raw vegan diet for five years (Picture: Ullenka Kash)

    ‘I used to love it and I just can’t (don’t want to) eat regular spaghetti,’ Ullenka tells us ‘I remember how heavy in the stomach spaghetti feels. Well, this is not happening with my version of it.

    ‘I can eat any amount that I want and keep a flat stomach and great energy.’

    Ullenka has served the meal to her friends and family, who she says absolutely love it. She’s been feeding her children a raw vegan diet in 2014, claiming that meals of chopped vegetables and entire watermelons have ‘healed’ her daughter’s eczema and her son’s autism.

    As you’d expect for someone who believes a raw vegan diet can ‘heal’ autism (a claim with no scientific backing and that suggests autism is something to be ‘cured’), the case of lettucetti is not the first time Ullenka has been criticised online.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B0GTYkNIa3b/

    After claiming to have treated her daughter’s eczema and son’s autism with a fruitarian diet, Ullenka began to share recipes and guides online before writing an eBook, The Fruit Cure, and offering fans a ‘Healing Program’ to help them make the transition to an entire raw diet.

    Ullenka is used to people calling her ‘dumb’ online but is happy to ignore the criticism and keep making and sharing meals that she enjoys – lettucetti included.

    ‘I do not respond to all of the comments,’ Ullenka tells us. ‘The discussion is pretty hot. I tell them how I truly think and feel about it.

    ‘I accept that some people will not agree with me and may continue to be upset. We are often afraid of something we don’t know or don’t understand.

    ‘To me the way I use the word “spaghetti” is an eponym, not the direct meaning of the term spaghetti. Each invention has its fans and haters, those who doubt or critique.

    ‘But I continue to be myself and I enjoy what I do – I am just planting the seeds and go to the next place.

    ‘I am helping people to find solutions for their health issues and one of my methods is to use “replacement” meals during the transition time in their diet, which helps to satisfy cravings but also to make the change slowly, so the body has time to heal.

    ‘Replacement meals are a great way to change old habits and to open up to try new things. I make apple fries, sweet potato fries, lettuce spring rolls, lettuce sushi, no-chicken soup, all kinds of things that people know, but they seem to keep having issues if they continue to eat the original.

    ‘With replacement meals they find a way to let go of old and introduce the new. After some time, we change the way we think and it is much much easier.’

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

    MORE: Selfridges launches vegan sushi that looks and tastes like the real thing


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    Dawn Winfield-Hunt, 54, from the Isle of Wight, food shopping in her wedding dress
    Dawn wanted to make the most of her wedding dress, so she decided to wear it every weekend (Picture: Caters News)

    After Dawn Winfield-Hunt, 54, tied the knot with her husband Steve, 57, she couldn’t bear to box up her wedding dress and never see it again.

    Dawn decided to make the most of her gown, which she bought from a charity shop, by creating a bucket list of things to do while wearing it.

    So far she’s sailed, done a charity colour run, gone paddleboarding, attended a music festival and even done her weekly food shop, all while wearing her wedding dress.

    Dawn says her husband would now find it ‘odd’ if she wore jeans and a top on a weekend.

    Of course, all that wear has made the dress a little dirty (especially after the charity colour run and a muddy festival), but Dawn isn’t bothered. She plans to wear the dress every weekend for the first year of being married.

    A newlywed has created a bucket list to complete whilst wearing her wedding dress after refusing to box it up after her big day
    Dawn isn’t afraid of getting the dress, which she originally bought from a charity shop, dirty (Picture: Caters News Agency)

    Dawn, an office manager from Ryde, Isle-of-Wight, said: ‘It will have stains and tears, but it is just like to the lines on our faces from laughing or crying, each one will tell a different story.

    ‘At the end of the year I will be able to look at the state of my dress and remember all the good times.

    ‘When I was at Buckingham Palace, a random man asked to take a photo with me and of course I agreed as it isn’t every day, they see someone in their wedding dress outside the Queen’s palace.

    ‘I didn’t think twice when doing the colour run, I wanted my dress to have as many colours as possible.

    Dawn Winfield-Hunt, 54, from the Isle of Wight, paddle boarding in her wedding dress
    She’s worn the dress paddle-boarding, sailing, and to a festival (Picture: Caters News)

    ‘Other people running couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw me in my wedding dress, they were shocked to see me crawling on the floor and covered in multicoloured paint.

    ‘I loved every second and I would do it again in a heartbeat, it felt good knowing I had put my dress to good use by raising money for charity.’

    Dawn didn’t plan on wearing her dress so many times after her wedding, but when she wore it to a barbeque her friends absolutely loved the idea.

    Seeing how happy the dress made her friends and husband, she decided to wear it every weekend.

    ‘The dress was so beautiful I didn’t want to box it up like I did when I first got married many years ago,’ Dawn says.

    Dawn Winfield-Hunt, 54, from the Isle of Wight, at a festival in her wedding dress
    Dawn has washed her dress just twice so far (Picture: Caters News)

    ‘Random people always smile when they see me in it and they often congratulate me as they must think I am taking a detour from the ceremony to my reception.’

    So far she’s washed her dress in the bath just twice, but that hasn’t cleared up the stains and marks from all her adventures.

    She plans to keep wearing the dress and having fun until her anniversary, when she’ll give it one last hurrah before boxing it up.

    ‘I have started organising a charity ball next year and that will be the bucket list finale and then I will finally box it up with hundreds of memories,’ Dawn says.

    ‘I plan on setting up a GoFundMe for those who are from overseas and would like to donate money for the homeless and mental health charity but I am yet to decide which one.’

    MORE: Woman wears old wedding dress through 3k charity run where people throw paint

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

    MORE: Bride destroys £999 wedding dress in sea and sand for ‘trash the dress’ photoshoot


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    Abigail and Vincent
    Vincent is facing open heart surgery (Picture: Lee McLean/SWNS)

    A mum faces seeing her baby son undergo major surgery after discovering he has a serious heart condition, despite doctors previously reassuring her that he was perfectly healthy.

    19-year-old Abigail Hetherington was devastated after finding out that her baby Vincent has two holes in his heart.

    She feels she was ‘completely failed’ by the NHS after medics allegedly missed several opportunities to diagnose the life-threatening defect during her pregnancy.

    Abigail said doctors probed for abnormalities during multiple foetal medicine 4D scans as her brother has Cornelia De Lange Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder.

    Her baby was also checked on by GPs and paediatric nurses multiple times who told her all was normal, according to Abigail.

    Vincent was born on 19 July at Burnley General Hospital but it was not until he was eight weeks old that his mum realised there was a major problem.

    He had been taken to an out-of-hours GP with a tummy bug but was then rushed to Royal Blackburn Hospital where doctors found a murmur and diagnosed him with two holes in his heart.

    Abigail and Vincent
    Abigail feels she has been failed by the NHS (Picture: Lee McLean/SWNS)

    Vincent will now have to undergo open-heart surgery at Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool which is likely to take place between four and six months old.

    Abigail says she has lost complete faith in the NHS system and with Burnley Hospital and says the defects should have been detected during multiple ante-natal scans.

    She also feels GPs and health workers failed to act after raising concerns about Vincent’s breathing and feeding in the first few weeks of his life.

    Abigail, from Accrington, Lancs. said: ‘It’s been absolutely awful, I was told I had a perfectly healthy baby and I trusted the fact that he was ok.

    ‘I came home and went to an out-of-hours GP surgery because he had a tummy bug, next thing we were shipped to hospital.

    ‘The doctor said ‘you’re aware of his heart murmur aren’t you?’ as if I already knew!’

    Vincent was allowed home on Wednesday, 18 September.

    He will be monitored until 21 October, when the family see a specialist and, if he has gained enough weight, they will arrange his surgery.

    Abigail sitting on the sofa
    If the defect had been spotted earlier Abigail would have had a chance to prepare (Picture: Lee McLean/SWNS)

    Abigail added: ‘I feel like I have been abandoned, the NHS has completely failed me.

    ‘It is causing me quite a lot of anxiety, I can’t leave him in a room on his own, I’m always worried something might happen.

    ‘I feel like I can’t even enjoy my time with my baby.

    ‘I have never left him alone for more than five minutes, it’s going to be hard to hand him over for surgery for four hours and then longer when he is in intensive care.’

    Her mum, Christina Hetherington, 38, said if Vincent’s condition had been picked up by doctors, it would have prepared Abigail for the news.

    ‘We are extremely upset and traumatised at this sudden shock and are struggling to understand why this has not been detected during Abigail’s pregnancy, given the fact that she had multiple foetal medicine 4D scans to look for any kind of abnormalities,’ she added.

    ‘The reason for these extra scans is because Abigail’s brother John – my son – has a genetic disorder and while scanning to see if Vincent had the same disorder, we feel the heart defects should have been detected.

    ‘This would have prepared Abigail and the rest of our family both mentally and emotionally before he was even born.

    ‘Instead we are now suffering absolute shock and upset when we had been reassured by Burnley General that we had a perfectly healthy baby.

    ‘I understand mistakes can sometimes be made but when multiple people on numerous occasions have been looking for abnormalities and have had chance to pick up on this, we feel that this is complete negligence.

    ‘We have lost complete faith in the NHS system and feel we cannot trust that we are in safe hands.’

    Acting chief executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Prof Damian Riley, said: ‘We respect our patients’ right to confidentiality and are unable to comment on individual cases.

    ‘However, we are happy to liaise directly with the family regarding their concerns.

    ‘We would urge the family to make contact with our customer relations team. This will enable us to investigate, and discuss concerns, answering any questions they may have.’

    MORE: Woman with tongue cancer gets a new one using skin from her arm

    MORE: Scaredy-cat is rescued by firefighters after getting stuck in a wall


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    Illustration of a couple hugging
    Hey babe, wanna play a game? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Whether you’re in the first flushes of a relationship, are still just texting, or know each other inside out, it’s always fun to play a little question game.

    Whether it’s ‘would you rather’ or ‘have you ever’, there are likely still things about your partner that you don’t know, and using a game is a great way to find out.

    Particularly if you’re long distance or want to spice things up, asking questions to your boyfriend or girlfriend can help you connect with them on a deeper level, and start off conversations that might not have happened without a little prompt.

    If you want to find out more about your partner’s sexual desires and fantasies, we’ve got a selection of questions and conversation starters that you can use at any time.

    Even if not all of the questions apply to you or your partner or are appropriate for your relationship, you can pick and choose to get them having fun. Some are more on the flirty, suggestive side, while others are somewhat risque.

    Illustration of naked couple in bed together
    Questions can be asked in or out of the bedroom (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Happy asking.

    1. What’s your dirtiest sexual fantasy?
    2. How many people have you slept with?
    3. Where’s the weirdest place you’ve had sex?
    4. What’s your favourite part of my body?
    5. Have you ever had anal sex?
    6. If you could choose what I was wearing right now, what would you choose?
    7. Where on your body is your favourite place to be touched?
    8. When was the last time you had a dirty dream?
    9. If you could have sex anywhere in the world, where would it be?
    10. When did you first had sex?
    11. What’s the best sex you’ve ever had?
    12. What’s your favourite position?
    13. Have you ever been caught having sex?
    14. Do you watch porn?
    15. What kind of porn do you watch?
    16. How often do you masturbate?
    17. Name a sex position you’d like to try
    18. Do you prefer to give or receive?
    19. What was your best orgasm ever?
    20. Have you ever been skinny dipping?
    21. Have you ever slept with someone you work with?
    22. If we were out for dinner and I said I wanted to have sex right now, what would you do?
    23. Have you ever sent nudes of yourself?
    24. If you could sleep with any celebrity, who would it be?
    25. Would you/have you had group sex?
    26. What’s the most sex you’ve had in a day?
    27. Are you loud or quiet during sex?
    28. Have you ever tried using food during foreplay?
    29. Have you ever made a sex tape?
    30. What’s the first thing that sexually attracts you to someone?
    31. Would you say you have any fetishes?
    32. When it comes to BDSM, how far have you gone/would go?
    33. What’s your favourite toy?
    34. Do you ever read erotic fiction?
    35. Have you joined the mile high club?
    36. Do you think you could take off my underwear with no hands?
    37. Would you say you’re kinky?
    38. Do you enjoy shower sex?
    39. Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever masturbated?
    40. Do you like to be spanked?
    41. What was your most embarrassing sexual experience?
    42. Have you ever fantasised about someone else during sex?
    43. If I ever caught you masturbating, would you stop or would you finish?
    44. Have you ever had an inappropriate crush?
    45. Have you ever cried or fallen asleep during sex?
    46. Do you prefer eye contact or not during sex?
    47. Do you like to kiss during sex?
    48. Do you get tired after sex?
    49. How many positions do you think you’ve tried?
    50. What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without sex?
    51. How high is your sex drive?
    52. What’s a surefire way to turn you on?
    53. Sex with lights on or lights off?
    54. Do you like dirty talk?
    55. Have you had sex in a car?
    56. Do you prefer to take control or be submissive?
    57. Do you prefer one night stands or longer term sexual partners?
    58. Do you prefer to be on top or bottom?
    59. What would you like to do more of in bed?
    60. What’s your favourite time of day to have sex?
    61. Rough or romantic?
    62. Quickie or marathon session?
    63. What’s your favourite part of foreplay?
    64. Would you dress up for me in bed?
    65. What’s your favourite place to be kissed?
    66. Do you like sexting?
    67. What’s the best thing about our sex life?
    68. What’s the shortest time it’s ever taken for you to have an orgasm?
    69. And the longest?
    70. How would you make me have an orgasm?

    MORE: Woman wears her wedding dress for adventures every weekend for a year

    MORE: A raw vegan influencer is trying to make ‘lettucetti’ a thing and people are outraged


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