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

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    Hannah holds hands with fellow daters as she gets to know the other attendees at Silent Dating
    It’s all fun ‘n’ games at Shhh Dating in London (Picture: Hannah Berry George)

    If you’re single and human then, like me, you’re probably sick of online dating.

    RSI from too much swiping is a thing.

    And there are countless men and women who tick all the boxes but there’s just no spark when you meet them in person, yet you sit through two hours of polite small talk before someone is brave enough to make an exit.

    So I put the feelers out to try something different – and silent speed dating is what came back.

    Shhh Dating landed in London in 2017 and has been treating random strangers to awkward close encounters ever since.

    Founder Adam Wilder had the idea when he was doing the long-distance thing with his girlfriend. There were moments when they would Skype and just silently ‘be’ with one another. It often made them feel closer than words could.

    The daters at Shhh Dating silent dating event getting involved in games
    Those ice breaker games can get quite extreme (Picture: Hannah Berry George)

    So he came back to London and set it up. At the first event, everyone found a match – so he decided to do more.

    Situations that other people often find uncomfortable are my jam so I went along with the vague hope of not just enjoying myself, but maybe making a meaningful connection.

    I try not to drink on first dates – no one wants to end up on a dull second because of the mistaken belief that the first was incredible because…booze. I had one pre-game drink (thanks to a challenging day) but chose not to bring a bottle to this BYOB event.

    As we start to gather, I migrate to the table where there is water and, more importantly, sweets. There’s nothing like breaking the ice with a Haribo in hand.

    Like a 1950s dance, the women swirl together on one side of the room, the men on the other. One bold chap breaks ranks and strides across the room to initiate some awkward chat. Two women, who are obviously friends, stick together like glue, cradling their bottle of rosé between them.

    At the heart of this event is the silent dating part. Just like speed dating, there’ll be rows of chairs facing each other down long tables where we will sit, staring deep, intently and uneasily into a complete stranger’s soul.

    But when it comes to kicking things off, Adam’s no fool. Much to my chagrin, he doesn’t just throw us into the lion’s den.

    Instead, a few light bonding games come first – much as you would expect at the beginning of a drama class. We start with some basic walking around the room in random directions, before moving onto eye contact and then handshakes – all light fun to get people warmed up and more open to embracing what we’re all here for.

    Light giggles ricochet around the space and one woman makes frequent eye rolls at me when our paths cross – it does, after all, feel a bit silly. But the more comfortable you are the easier it is and, as I live for making a tit out of myself, this suits me just fine.

    In fact, you can’t wipe the Cheshire cat grin off my face.

    Hannah gets involved in ice breaker activities at Shhh Dating
    Hannah takes dating very seriously (Picture: Hannah Berry George)

    At the end of each exercise – which last no more than a minute or so – we do a lil’ namaste to one another before we search for our next encounter. As the evening progresses, the games get more hands on.

    I’m beside myself with gleeful competitive spirit and find myself wrapped in arms when we play a game where we have to hold the hands of two different people at any one time, only letting go of one to find another.

    Then there’s a rather jarring period of standing on one side of the room and walking to the other if whatever shameful claim to fame Adam has called out has applied to you. Awkward, but I guess it helps to pick out the more adventurous among us.

    There’s one man who has caught my eye – but the other girls are beelining him so I leave them to it. I’m not here for that sort of competition.

    Eventually, even I get slightly weirded out when we have to stand in a circle and let the person behind us massage our shoulders while we massage the person in front – in my case, both men. Call me crazy but, in my experience, strange men coming at me from behind is normally a fight or flight situation.

    Shhh Dating's Silent dating event got awkward when Hannah was involved in a group massage
    Hannah looking in her element as it gets all rather hands on at Shhh Dating (Picture: Hannah Berry George)

    However, the group is bonding over shared experiences – exactly what ringmaster Adam is aiming for. We break to take sips of water or gulps of wine before we settle down to the main event: eye-gazing dating.

    Each of us wears a numbered sticker and are handed a dating ‘card’ and pen.

    As we settle into our seats – men on one side of the table, women on the other – and Adam tells us to ‘just be in the moment’, the sound of a toilet flushing just outside the room provides some unexpected ambient noise. It’s a poignant moment. I can’t help thinking it’s symbolic of my love life.

    We then sit in silence simply looking into each other’s eyes, as Wonderwall plays in the background. I didn’t expect Liam Gallagher to be providing the soundtrack to the silent dating – but then I don’t expect he’d have meant for it to be used this way either.

    It sounds simple. But it is not. And it’s obvious which guys are comfortable with it and which are not – the latter fidgeting and making silly facial expressions to relieve their palpable anxiety. It’s sweet, but a turn on it is not.

    However, in the disarming moments where they settle, like a captured animal accepting its fate – even for a split second – there’s something quite beautiful that touches me irrevocably.

    I think about how the world would be a nicer place if we all did this – made genuine, non-sexual connections – on a daily basis. I also consider how many people I would date on sight but rule out when they open their mouth.

    The first rule to eye-gazing dating: keep your eyes closed (Picture: Hannah Berry George)
    The first rule to eye-gazing dating: keep your eyes closed (Picture: Hannah Berry George)

    At the end of each ’round’ the women, quaintly, get up and move along one seat to their next ‘partner’. And each make a note of the previous number and write any notes alongside.

    One guy has the face of a cute puppy and I want to rescue him, even though I’m not a dog person. Sometimes, I stare so hard that their face dissolves to one prominent eyeball.

    I find my notes after the evening and, reading back over them, I am reminded there was one guy I thought I’d like to look deep into my soul. But then my mind drifts to domestic homicide. He could murder me. So I put him down as a ‘no’. Another I noted looked at me quizzically like I might have killed someone (I haven’t).

    Adam tells me there were an incredible 67 matches within the group of about 30-35 looking-for-love hopefuls. And, though there was no one who took my fancy enough for me to make a match, I am glad someone saw fit to rescue the puppy.

    Shhh Dating sells itself as ‘London’s favourite alternative dating event where we forget the blah blah and get right into it’ – and it is certainly something different to try if you’re bored of the mundane BS we have to endure in our quest to find love.

    But I start to wonder if the kind of men I fancy would ever come to an event like this. Then I think, is that such a bad thing? Perhaps it’s just that I am usually attracted to the wrong sort of men.

    Maybe it is time to try something different after all.

     

    Shhh Dating costs £25 and happens every month. You can book it here.

    Hannah Berry George is a writer and director. Find more from her at hannahberrygeorge.com or on Twitter and Instagram @veryberrygeorge


    PRC_86187724PRC_86187724

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    Luxury Property Show, La Zagaleta, Marbella
    Gorgeous (Picture: The Spanish Estate Agent)

    In the last year, our series What I Rent has shown the reality of renting, making Londoners and other city dwellers weep at what our northern counterparts are paying for their homes.

    A lucky few have even managed to own a property.

    The rest of us, however, can only dream while we attempt to save away a few quid by skipping lattes.

    Part of that fantasy is looking at beautiful houses and thinking ‘just imagine living there’.

    If you’re someone who enjoys teasing (torturing) yourself like this then you’ll be happy to look through the most luxurious homes in the world.

    The Luxury Property Show, happening in Olympia London through 31 October to 1 November, is showcasing the fanciest properties in the world.

    The show, which will bring together property investors, buyers and sellers, has released images of twelve of the best from the UK, Spain, France, Portugal, United States and more.

    Here are the some of the most luxurious homes in the world:

    Legend Hill resort in Black River, West Coast of Mauritius, £750,000

    Three-bedroom villa benefits from the resort’s two restaurants, spa, fitness club, music room, kid’s corner and concierge service
    This home comes with its own spa (Picture: Sotheby’s)

    This large, three-bedroom villa benefits from the resort’s two restaurants, spa, fitness club, music room, kid’s corner and concierge service. For sale with Sotheby’s for £750,000.

     

    El Tossal, Alicante, Spain, £1.9m

    Luxury Property Show, El Tossal, Alicante, Spain
    Underfloor heating you say? (Picture: Seasun Property)

    This modern villa with sea views features six bedrooms and bathrooms, a fireplace, swimming pool, underfloor heating and garage. For sale with Seasun Property.

     

    Lake Brienz near Interlaken in Switzerland

    Luxury Property Show, Lake Brienz near Interlaken in Switzerland
    Not yet for sale (Picture: Florens)

    Opening in 2021, this waterfront development, surrounded by untouched nature, benefits from panoramic views. One to four-bedroom apartments are for sale with Florens.

     

    La Zagaleta, Marbella, £12.8m 

    Luxury Property Show, La Zagaleta, Marbella
    Imagine the house parties (Picture:The Spanish Estate Agent)

    A contemporary style villa featuring nine bedrooms and bathrooms, private terrace, gym, bar and landscaped gardens. For sale with The Spanish Estate Agent, £12.8m.

     

    Dordogne, France, £1.1m

    Luxury Property Show, Dordogne, France
    Wow, 17 bedrooms (Picture: Beaux Villages)

    This 19th Century chateaux is set among 15 acres of secluded land and features 17 bedrooms, nine bathrooms, 11 reception rooms and swimming pool. For sale with Beaux Villages as part of the Manoirs et Chateaux collection, £1.1m.

     

    Southampton, New York, £25.7m

    Luxury Property Show, Southampton, New York
    Oh, New York (Picture: Corcoran)

    This oceanfront, Mediterranean-style home encompasses 10 acres of land and Atlantic Ocean views from most of the principal living spaces.

    With six bedrooms, six and a half bathrooms, library, formal dining room, heated swimming pool and tennis court, the house encompasses 7,250sqft of indoor living space across two levels. For sale with Corcoran, £25.7m.

     

    Buena Vista Park, Gibraltar, £2.5m

    Luxury Property Show, Buena Vista Park, Gibraltar
    One for the eco-conscious (Picture: Brian Francis & Associates)

    Incorporating the latest environmentally friendly technology including solar panels and water reclamation gardens, the villa features four bedrooms and bathrooms, a private terrace and swimming pool. For sale with Brian Francis & Associates, prices start at £2.5m for four bedrooms.

     

    Seattle, Washington, United States, £600,000

    Luxury Property Show, Seattle, Washington, United States
    To be finished in 2022 (Picture: HayesDavidson)

    Set for completion in 2022, this urban luxury property development features views of the Seattle skyline. For sale with Virani Real Estate Advisors, prices start at £600,000 for one-bedroom.

    Praia da Luz, Algarve, Portugal, £2m 

    Luxury Property Show, Praia da Luz, Algarve, Portugal
    Paradise in Portugal (Picture: Portugal Best Invest)

    Encompassing 4,700sqft of indoor living space, this luxury villa features four bedrooms and five bathrooms, as well as a private garden and swimming pool. For sale with Portugal Best Invest, £2m.

     

    Vila do Conde, Porto, Portugal

    Luxury Property Show, Porto, Portugal
    You get a 10-bay garage and even a wine cellar (Picture: Francisco de Almeida Dias)

    Featuring five bedrooms and eight bathrooms, as well as four dining and living rooms, two kitchen spaces, wine cellar, laundry and 10-bay garage, this single-story villa combines contemporary architecture with an ultra-luxurious furnished interior.

    The property also features a pool, covered patio and private gardens. For sale with LUXIMO’S Christies.

     

    Water Canal Villa located alongside the Dubai Water Canal, Dubai, £7.6m

    Luxury Property Show, Dubai Water Canal, Dubai
    Of course, it comes with its own home cinema (Picture: Dubai Water Canal)

    Featuring six bedrooms, a home cinema, gym and swimming pool, residents can soak in the canal views from the property’s spacious viewing decks and terraces. For sale with Sobha Realty. Water Canal Villa prices start from £7.6m.

    And there you are – the most exquisite houses we’ll never be able to afford. Anyway, off to cry now.

    MORE: Three-bedroom house in Birmingham goes on sale at auction with a starting price of £1

    MORE: Dolce and Gabbana’s villa in Sicily is up for sale for £5.8 million

    MORE: An entire private island in Florida is up for sale, and it’s absolutely stunning


    World's most luxurious properties revealedWorld's most luxurious properties revealed

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    A Quick Ting On authors
    ‘I created this series to provide a safe space that can celebrate, pay homage and explore culture’ (Picture: Alicia Canter/The Guardian)

    Publisher and writer Magdalene Abraha has created the first non-fiction book series centred on topics of cultural relevance to the black British community.

    From food to theatre, to business, to hair and politics – A Quick Ting On (AQTO) will cover the breadth of black culture in Britain today, and each book will be written by a young, black debut writer.

    ‘I’m looking forward to all of them – they are all equally relevant and powerfully written by amazing folks,’ explains Magdalene.

    ‘It’s important as it’s a series that in many ways represents our everyday conversations, the things we think about often, and so what better time than now?’

    The series was inspired by conversations Magdalene would regularly have with her friends. She has created and carefully curated the book series to celebrate and pay homage to all things culturally relevant to the communities that black Brits will recognise.

    ‘I actually knew most of the writers already,’ says Magdalene when asked about how she approached the selection of authors. ‘So I didn’t really have to find them, I just WhatsApped them.’

    The first eight books cover everything from grime music to Afrobeats, plantain to the black British power movement.

    ‘I created this series to provide a space, a bookish safe space that can celebrate, pay homage and explore culture,’ says Magdalene.

    ‘It’s about the everyday conversations that we have about art, music, hair, history politics and food. I think that’s why it’s important, it it’s a vehicle to archive our everyday conversations in our language.

    Magdelene Abraha
    ‘I hope A Quick Ting On provides a space to explore topics that are important to us’ (Picture: Magdalene Abraha)

    ‘The inspiration was the constant conversations I have with friends (shoutout to my WhatsApp group chats).

    ‘Essentially, most of my conversations with friends are on politics, history, music, art, food, in my case always hair.

    ‘In these everyday conversations, really interesting things are revealed about experience and culture and I thought a book series would be a brilliant way to archive what is important to us.

    ‘I hope A Quick Ting On provides a space to explore topics that are important to us, both from a researched perspective but also anecdotally.’

    A Quick Ting On: Meet the authors

    The A Quick Ting On Collective consists of:

    The creator, publisher and writer Magdalene Abraha

    Award-winning cultural producer Tobi Kyeretmateng

    Plus-size model and influencer Sophia Tassew: A Quick Ting On Bamboo Earrings

    Writer and award-winning business owner Tskenya- Frazer Sarah: A Quick Ting On Black British Businesses

    Writer and social commentator Chanté Joseph: A Quick Ting On: The Black British Power Movement

    Mathematician and Model Zainab Kwaw-Swazy: A Quick Ting On: The Black Girl Afro

    Writer and curator Christian Adofo: A Quick Ting On: Afrobeats

    Writer, social commentator and youth worker Franklyn Addo: A Quick Ting On: Grime Music

    Writer, illustrator and youth worker Rui Da Silva: A Quick Ting On: Plantain

    Magdalene says that the most important thing was to launch the series with people who are passionate and personally connected to what they are writing about.

    ‘That is exactly what we have with the collective,’ says Magdalene. ‘Our authors are a truly special group of individuals who represent the ethos of AQTO so brilliantly.

    ‘I want people to take away a combination of getting to know the authors, as well as learning more about the stories and the subjects they will delve into.

    ‘I also urge people to look into the authors, who are all doing amazing things in their fields at the moment.’

    A Quick Ting On will launch in October 2020.

    MORE: Why is it so difficult to call out racism?

    MORE: How to become a more sustainable parent

    MORE: How to get an effective workout in just 15 minutes


    AQTO authors compAQTO authors comp

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    conkers
    Conkers could be the natural laundry tab alternative you’ve been looking for (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    Autumn is finally here and with the seasonal change comes a load of conkers.

    And pumpkin spice lattes, but that’s a different conversation.

    While conkers may be great fun to smash together, playing with them can feel a bit wasteful. You can’t eat conkers, after all, so you either have to put up with conkers littering the pavements or chuck them directly in the bin.

    Well, perhaps not. One woman has another eco-friendly option.

    Ecobrick trainer The Watercress Queen has taken to Facebook to share how she makes use of ubiquitous autumn conkers by turning them into laundry detergent.

    Unfortunately, this little DIY trick isn’t as simple as just bunging conkers in your washing machine. But it’s worth the effort if, like us, you’re bothered by the idea of plastics and chemicals polluting the sea thanks to our laundry.

    Plus, the trick could save you quite a bit of money if you happen to live near a park covered with conkers free for the taking.

    The Watercress Queen writes on Facebook: ‘I have used nothing but conkers for over a year now. As a family we love it.

    ‘No smells, no chemicals, no palm oil, no plastic. And best of all free other than my energy.’

    METROGRAB - Woman shares how to make laundry detergent using conkers From @The Watercress Queen/Facebook https://www.facebook.com/newforestaquaponics/posts/1628977417238559
    The Watercress Queen’s stash of chopped and dried conkers (Picture: @The Watercress Queen/Facebook)

    So, how do you transform those freebies into something that can be used to clean your clothing?

    First, you’ll need to collect a load of conkers. That’s the fun bit, as you can get kids involved in a conker collecting mission or ask pals to hand over any conkers they find on the way to meet you.

    Once you’ve got a good stash, you need to finely chop the conkers then dry them so they are rock hard. The Watercress Queen uses a dehydrator for this, but explains you can use an oven on low heat. Once the conker pieces are totally dry they will keep for as long as you need them.

    Now take 40g of the dried conkers and put them in a 500g jar or container, then fill this jar with boiling water and soak for between 10 to 30 minutes.

    Sieve into another jar – the liquid is your first batch of laundry detergent.

    You can soak those conkers again a second and third time. Each time you do the liquid will look a little thinner, and you’ll notice the nice woody, soapy scent will disappear by the third go. When your conkers are all used up they’ll turn from yellow to white.

    The Watercress Queen recommends using the liquid from your first soak for your dirtiest washing, using the whole lot if you have an especially dirty load and half for a normal wash.

    You can use the entirety of your second batch for a regular wash, and use the third lot of liquid for towels or anything that only needs a light wash.

    The used conker pieces can then be added to your compost so you don’t need to clog up your bins.

    The Watercress Queen explains that she collects her conkers in autumn so she has plenty of chopped up and dried pieces for the rest of the year, making the liquid as she needs it. Each batch of liquid will last for around a week – just pop it in the fridge and give it a stir before using.

    The environmental activist always makes sure to plant conkers whenever she makes the laundry detergent ‘as a thank you to the earth’.

    ‘I have now finished preparing my washing powder,’ she wrote on Facebook. ‘8 kilos of conkers – picked up from only three trees and we didn’t pick them all up by a long way. We have planted 20 conkers as a thank you to the earth.

    ‘This will give me three washes a day for a whole year. I have been using them for towels for a whole year already and nothing but conkers for 2 months now. Our clothes don’t smell of anything and are super soft.’

    The trick works because chestnuts, like soapnuts, contain a natural soap-like substance called saponins, which work to remove stains and dirt and add a fresh scent to clothing. Some people also use conkers as a natural shampoo.

    People also say that spiders hate the smell of conkers and thus won’t infest your house if you put conkers by every window. There’s no scientific evidence to back this up, but it’s worth a go if you’re collecting conkers anyway.

    We’ve heard that mint leaves will keep spiders at bay, too.

    MORE: Ketchup might be the answer to getting rusty furniture squeaky clean

    MORE: Mum uses 99p tile cleaner to remove red lipstick stains from her grey carpet

    MORE: How often should you be cleaning your mattress and how do you do it?


    Woman shares how to make laundry detergent using conkersWoman shares how to make laundry detergent using conkers

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    Climate change could impact coffee production in a bad way (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Whether you crave cappuccinos, love lattes or go mad for mochas, coffee is an important part of a lot of our daily routines.

    But a new warning has said the damaging effects of climate change could impact coffee production in a very bad way. So much so that the everyday hot beverage could become a rare, luxury item in years to come.

    Factors such as extreme temperatures, increased humidity and pests are all having a negative impact on the Arabica bean grown in Peru, warns Fairtrade.

    Catherine David, head of commercial partnerships at Fairtrade, has said that if more isn’t done to help coffee farmers then the quality of the coffee will fall, lowering production numbers and potentially prompting prices to increase.

    What’s more, due to limited terrain, experts have predicted that up to half the land currently used to grow coffee will become unusable by 2050 -if changes are not made.

    With coffee being an integral part of most people’s lives, it’s time to start thinking about how to make the habit more sustainable.

    There are a number of ways that consumers can help reduce their coffee carbon footprint, by focusing on areas such as usage and wastage.

    Buy a reusable cup

    This is the most obvious way to make your coffee routine instantly more sustainable.

    Investing in a reusable container will save hundreds, maybe even thousands, of throwaway paper cups.

    There are a plethora of different models on the market, ranging in size and design. Overall, it’s best to opt for a product that is durable and one that can be recycled when it comes to the end of its life.

    Despite the UK government rejecting a 25p ‘latte levy’ on single-use cups in 2018, lots of cafes now offer a discount for those who bring their own.

    Switch from one-time-use capsules

    We’ve all seen the devastating images of plastic floating in the oceans, often trapping or tangling marine life.

    The coffee industry uses a lot of plastic and we as consumers need to do our bit to change that by reducing the demand. Buying sustainable, plastic-free products should be top of the agenda.

    Coffee capsules are made of plastic but what’s more, they are one-time-use. These pods are often non-recyclable, or very difficult to recycle.

    For those finding it difficult to make the switch, there are some sustainable products on the market, such as Gourmesso’s compostable pods, which are certified by the Rainforest Alliance and work in most standard single-serve machines.

    how to make your coffee habit more sustainable
    Make your coffee sustainable as well as Instagrammable (Picture: Natanja Grun/Unsplash)

    Compost used coffee

    Composting is an organic way of recycling food waste and, when carried out correctly, can stop the production of harmful greenhouse gases such as methane.

    Surprisingly, coffee can actually offer many benefits to green-fingered enthusiasts.

    Not only do coffee grounds add nitrogen to soil but they can also act as a barrier to keep slugs and snails away from plants.

    Ditch the dairy

    Scientists have said that ditching meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet.

    Plant-based alternatives to milk have proved popular over the past few years with many coffee shops offering almond, oat, cashew and soy milk and more. Just be aware that many still do have a carbon footprint due to the fact that nuts and other products are flown from across the world.

    In terms of going green, ordering a black coffee is probably the safest bet.

    Get a reusable filter

    Not only do paper coffee filters create a waste problem but they are often bleached with chlorine or oxygen – which is bad news for the environment.

    Why not upgrade to a device which has a reusable filter built in? Or invest in a product designed to trap the solids without a filter. Genius.

    When buying coffee, look for sustainability certifications

    As a consumer, choosing Fairtrade coffee means you are supporting farmers with any challenges they may face. These coffees ensure a fair living wage, which means farmers can build a better quality of life for their family and community but also they can invest in growing better quality beans.

    It’s also worth keeping in mind that organic coffee is produced without any artificial chemical substances – meaning it’s far better for the planet, too.

    MORE: Why are Costa giving away free coffee and how to claim yours

    MORE: This nail varnish smells like coffee and changes colour with your mood

    MORE: Woman rescues 500 abandoned avocado stones to do her bit for the environment


    coffee-date (2)-0278coffee-date (2)-0278

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    Costa Coffee cups
    The Costa Coffee deal is only available on Tuesday October 1 (Photo: Getty)

    Costa Coffee is gifting customers a free beverage today for one day only.

    Whether you’re an Americano lover or more of a hot chocolate kinda person, the coffee company has you covered.

    What better way to celebrate International Coffee Day today – which celebrates the coffee farmers, roasters, baristas and cafes who make it possible to enjoy the beverage – than with a free coffee?

    Why is Costa Coffee giving away free drinks?

    Costa wants to end the ‘stigma’ around self-serve coffee experiences and celebrate its machines, commonly found in supermarkets, petrol station and corner shops.

    Costa Express machine
    There are over 8,500 Costa Express machines in the UK (Photo: Costa Coffee)

    Customers can pick anything from the menu and personalise it with fancy syrups and special milk without paying a penny.

    How can I claim my free Costa coffee?

    All you need to do is head to one of the 8,500 participating Costa Express machines nationwide to claim your free drink.

    And for those loyal customers with the Costa Coffee Club app, an extra bonus is in store.

    If you scan your code when claiming your freebie, you’ll be entered into a prize draw with the top prize being free Costa coffee a year.

    However the deal is only valid on October 1 until 00:15am on October 2, so you’d better get a shift on.

    MORE: Coffee will become a ‘luxury item’ if climate change continues

    MORE: Best coffee machines for 2019


    Composition with cups of Costa Coffee coffee and beansComposition with cups of Costa Coffee coffee and beans

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    The winter warmer (Picture: Getty/Harrods)

    Investing in a good winter coat for those darker and colder days is a logical move – but one brand has taken winter dressing to a brand new level.

    Despite being known for its timeless trench coat, Burberry has just thrown a new item into the mix, and it’s got people talking.

    The winter warmer in question is a half blazer, half puffa coat hybrid.

    The red puffa half can be worn over the tailored camel coat as a sort of mullet skirt, or it can be removed and worn as a separate piece.

    Burberry is selling a half blazer half puffer coat
    The piece has got people talking (Picture: Harrods)

    If that wasn’t enough of a talking point, the unique garment is priced at £2,690.

    According to the Harrods website, where the piece is on sale, the wool coat ‘presents a youthful approach to fine Italian tailoring’.

    What’s more, it’s also available in a different design – with a tartan wool coat on top and a green puffa underneath.

    Burberry is selling a half blazer half puffer coat
    It’s also available in a tartan and green style (Picture: Harrods)

    Naturally the arrival of the versatile coat has prompted lots of discussions online.

    On user on Twitter said: ‘Why? Why did someone do this to 2 perfectly good coats?

    While another Tweeted: ‘I wouldn’t pay $37.90 for that coat.’

    Another brought up a practical use for the garment: ‘If I hadn’t seen the price, I would 100% assume it’s a coat aimed at teachers who have to do outdoor recess duty in the winter.’

    Others had their own theories surrounding the logistics of the coat, with one user saying: ‘It’s just photographed that way so you can see both the puffer vest attachment and the coat underneath. It’s not actually meant to be worn that way.’

    Another user asked an important question: ‘Does this mean my 20-year-old Burberry trench is out of style?’

    Metro.co.uk has reached out to Burberry to find out the truth about this coat and will update this article if we hear back.

    MORE: M&S launches a reversible coat – giving you two winter warmers for the price of one

    MORE: Brits urged to prepare homes for ‘worst winter in decades’

    MORE: How to prepare your plants for cold weather


    Burberry is selling a half blazer half puffer coat hybrid for almost ?3,000Burberry is selling a half blazer half puffer coat hybrid for almost ?3,000

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    Costa coffee ilo
    Coffee lovers have been left dissapointed (Picture: Costa)

    Caffeine lovers have criticised coffee giant Costa after promising free coffee but failing to deliver the goods.

    The chain announced last week it would be giving out free cups of coffee, tea or hot chocolate from more than 8,500 participating Costa Express machines across the country.

    The PR stunt was designed to show that drinks from the machines could be just as good as barista-made coffee. But customers were left disappointed today when many of the Express machines ran dry.

    One customer took to Twitter share his experience, posting a picture of the line he had stood in for half an hour, only to find out the machine had run out of coffee.

    He said: ‘Well it’s run out now. No free coffee for me. After a half hour wait.’

    Another user commented: ‘Free Costa day is a great idea until they run out of cups at 07.55.’

    Others agreed with this sentiment, with one tweeting: ‘Great idea – the reality is that the Sainsbury’s Local in Euston had already run out of cups by 07.25. Such a shame when objective is to create positive brand associations.’

    Irritated customers were also quick to point out that the lack of coffee meant they would be heading to Costa’s rival, Starbucks.

    One social media user said: ‘Went to the Co-Op in Waltham Abbey and the machine was out of service… useless! From now on I will be using Starbucks for a better service!’

    Another added: ‘Same happened for me. Almost a riot. Went to Starbucks machine which costs, but did my drink as no queue.’

    A Costa Coffee spokesperson said: ‘There has been a phenomenal response to our Costa Express Free Coffee Day and we’ve received lots of positive feedback from our customers.

    ‘Given the popularity of the giveaway, we’re working at speed with our partners to ensure our machines are fully stocked for the day.

    ‘With 8,500+ machines in the UK, people looking to get their free coffee can locate their nearest Costa Express machine using our outlet locater.’

    It seems Costa’s promise of ‘free’ coffee has left quite the bitter taste.

    MORE: How to make your coffee habit more sustainable

    MORE: Coffee will become a ‘luxury item’ if climate change continues

    MORE: This nail varnish smells like coffee and changes colour with your mood


    Swindon, United Kingdom - March 10, 2013: Costa Coffe Logo on a take a way cup. Costa Coffee is a British coffeehouse company founded in 1971 by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa, as a wholesale operation supplying roasted coffee to caterers and specialist Italian coffee shops.Swindon, United Kingdom - March 10, 2013: Costa Coffe Logo on a take a way cup. Costa Coffee is a British coffeehouse company founded in 1971 by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa, as a wholesale operation supplying roasted coffee to caterers and specialist Italian coffee shops.

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    Pit bull photo shoot
    A rescue dog received her own pregnant photoshoot (Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography)

    An adorable dog was treated to her own maternity photoshoot after being rescued in early September.

    The two-year-old pit bull, who goes by the name of Mama Pickles, was found wandering the streets alone, heavily pregnant.

    The animal control officers who found the lovable canine proceeded to get in touch with her registered owners, only to hear that sadly they did not want her anymore.

    Mama Pickles was soon snapped up by Pits & Giggles Rescue – a non-profit organisation which specialises in caring for pregnant dogs and their puppies.

    Pits & Giggles Rescue also photographs the dogs and their offspring, to give the four-legged friends the exposure they need for adoption.

    Lauren Casteen Sykes, a volunteer and photographer for the organisation, told Bored Panda: ‘When Pits & Giggles reached out saying that they just brought in a Mama from the shelter that was the proudest, happy and caring little thing, we wanted to take photos to keep those precious moments.’

    Pitbull's maternity photoshoot Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography supplied to metro.co.uk
    Strike a pose (Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography)

    As soon as the camera was pulled out, Mama Pickles went into full-on diva mode and showed everyone how to work a camera – even when her enormous belly kept getting in the way.

    Pitbull's maternity photoshoot Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography supplied to metro.co.uk
    The two-year-old posed for her shoot (Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography)
    Pitbull's maternity photoshoot Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography supplied to metro.co.uk
    Working all the angles (Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography)

    ‘She’s quite the model. Her legs are certainly too short for the runway, but she was really loving all the attention and affection,’ Lauren said.

    ‘Seeing Pickles sticking her tongue out, wagging her tail, and just being overall content was the most rewarding part. I could not thank the board and volunteers of Pits & Giggles enough that saved this sweet mama.’

    Shortly after the heartwarming photo opportunity, Mama Pickles gave birth to eight beautiful female puppies – which of course prompted a follow-up mother and baby shoot.

    Pitbull's maternity photoshoot Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography supplied to metro.co.uk
    Eight girl puppies (Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography/THE LUXURY COLLECTION)
    Pitbull's maternity photoshoot Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography supplied to metro.co.uk
    Mama and her daughters (Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography/THE LUXURY COLLECTION)
    Pitbull's maternity photoshoot Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography supplied to metro.co.uk
    Proud mother (Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography/THE LUXURY COLLECTION)

    Photos from the wholesome shoot were soon posted online and were met with lots of positive responses.

    One Facebook user said: ‘They’re all so adorable and so precious, I hope she gets a loving forever home.’

    Another replied: ‘This is real beauty! I’m so glad she didn’t have to give birth in a shelter.’

    In a few months time, Mama Pickles and her pups will be put up for adoption.

    Let’s hope they all get the happy ending they deserve.

    MORE: Microchip law loophole that is helping dog thieves get away with it

    MORE: Swimming pool allows dogs so pets can splash around with their owners

    MORE: Your dog can now make money travelling around the UK as a ‘furrfluencer’


    Pitbull's maternity photoshoot Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography supplied to metro.co.ukPitbull's maternity photoshoot Picture: Enchanted Hills Photography supplied to metro.co.uk

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    Emma Gibbons
    Emma Gibbons now that she has been in remission for five years (Picture: Emma Gibbons)

    I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma at 18. After countless GP appointments and hospital visits, my first feeling was one of relief.

    We finally knew what was wrong and I could be treated. It was only once the news properly sunk in that I realised what this meant – the risks of it not being treatable, harsh treatment and awful side effects.

    I instantly thought of poor cancer patients you see on TV and realised, ‘that’s me’.

    I had seven rounds of chemotherapy across six months, the side effects of which were terrible. Not only was I sick, weak and incredibly tired, I also became unrecognisable.

    The identity I’d spent years shaping – my fashion sense, long hair and makeup – went out the window. I had no hair, no eyebrows and a body pumped with steroids.

    While friends were dressing up for nights out, I was applying moisturiser to my bald head – oh, the glamour.

    I tried to take control by getting a haircut so I didn’t have to watch my long hair fall out. I posted a selfie of my new look and received supportive comments like ‘you look lovely’ and ‘so brave’. But without the diagnosis news I know reactions would have been along the lines of ‘what on Earth has Emma done?’.

    Nevertheless, comments of support did help.

    I woke up one morning devastated to see clumps of hair on my pillow and the floor

    I was surprisingly OK with cutting it short but once hair started falling out, that’s when it hit. Towards the start of treatment I experienced terrible side effects while at home so was admitted to my local hospital.

    It was this stint at my local that made me appreciate being treated on the specialist Teenage Cancer Trust unit in London.

    Emma Gibbons
    A cleaner came in and exclaimed: ‘where has all this hair come from?’ I was so embarrassed (Photo: Emma Gibbons)

    I woke up one morning devastated to see clumps of hair on my pillow and the floor. After not eating for days due to a mouth of ulcers, it felt like the rubbish icing on top of my crappy cake.

    A cleaner came in and exclaimed: ‘where has all this hair come from?’ I was so embarrassed that I apologised for causing a mess. Looking back, I feel a fool for apologising. I was sorry – but for myself, not for their workload.

    When I returned to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit, my youth support coordinator offered to shave off the last strands. I was sad to see it go but I was also relieved to no longer watch it fall out. As she turned off the razor with a smile and warmth in her eyes, she told me I looked beautiful and I thought ‘you absolute liar’.

    While in hospital I was too tired to bother with my appearance so wore whatever I felt comfortable in. Having ballooned from steroid treatment, that usually meant baggy tops and tracksuit bottoms.

    One day I travelled home on the train, absolutely exhausted after a cycle of chemo with the thought of bed at the forefront of my brain. It was halfway home that I realised I didn’t have my wig, had no makeup on and was dressed like a slob – a far cry from how I would normally present myself.

    I wasn’t myself.

    Whenever I was home and seeing friends, that’s when I’d put the effort into dressing up. I wore skirts and dresses, put makeup on and styled my wig.

    I wanted to hang out as Emma – not the sick friend. These little things transported me back to feeling more like myself again.

    Emma Gibbons
    I let the treatment, the side effects and the tiredness take over and over time I became my illness (Picture: Emma Gibbons)

    If I could go back and do one thing, it would be to make more of an effort to look and feel like myself, especially while at the hospital. I let the treatment, the side effects and the tiredness take over and over time I became my illness.

    Those moments when I took the time to dress up and put some make up on while at home was when I felt less like a cancer patient and more like the 19-year-old fashion-obsessed girl I really was.

    But that’s me. To any teen going through chemo, I want to say: be sure to remember that your body is going through a tough time, your health and your well-being are the most important things.

    Do not feel pressured into looking a certain way – if you want to put on makeup do it but if you don’t feel up to it, don’t. Don’t do these things for anyone other than yourself.

    We live in a highly media saturated world, bombarded with what we should look like, how we should dress and what bodies we should have.

    The thing to remember is that every person is different and instead of trying to shape ourselves to look like someone else, we should spend the time accepting our own bodies and embracing our own unique identities because that is what makes us, us.

    I have been in remission since November 2013, so almost six years now. Being back in good health means everything to me.

    It means I have the energy to do all the things I dreamed about doing while sat in hospital, it means I can live my life with a new perspective having realised just how valuable it is.

    Having been through an illness at a young age has opened up my eyes to how precious time really is and I don’t want to waste any of it.

    Emma backs Teenage Cancer Trust’s new #StillMe campaign, which is shining a light on the impact that cancer and treatment can have on young people’s body image, confidence, and self-esteem. For more information visit teenagecancertrust.org/stillme


    During chemo-8c36During chemo-8c36

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    Snowstorm wedding Picture: Jaime Denise Photography
    Sean and Brittany’s perfect autumnal wedding was hit by a record-breaking snowstorm (Picture: Jaime Denise Photography)

    Sean and Brittany Tuohy had spent 11 months planning the perfect autumnal wedding.

    They booked a venue in Spokane, Washington, for a Saturday in September, hoping for those gorgeous red and brown leaves falling from the trees to provide a backdrop to their special day.

    They checked the weather forecast well in advance. Each time Brittany looked, the forecast said it would be 23 degrees celsius and sunny.

    But if there’s one lesson every bride has to learn, it’s that a wedding never goes exactly according to plan.

    On the day of the wedding, the weather in Spokane wasn’t mild and sunny. Instead there was a record-breaking snowstorm, with heavy winds and plenty of ice.

    Snowstorm wedding Picture: Jaime Denise Photography
    Photographer Jaime managed to capture some incredible pictures in just 10 minutes (Picture: Jaime Denise Photography)

    Bad luck, considering it had never snowed on 28 September in Spokane before. And this wasn’t just a light smattering of snow – this was full-on winds swirling, snow hammering down, guests slipping on the ice sort of weather.

    Sean and Brittany had planned to tie the knot outside among the fallen leaves, but that plan had to change quickly.

    The couple moved their wedding ceremony inside to take place on a stage intended for the reception.

    Snowstorm wedding Picture: Jaime Denise Photography
    Yes, the bride was absolutely freezing cold (Picture: Jaime Denise Photography)

    But they made sure to stick outside for a while for photographer Jaime Denise Fletcher to take some truly incredible wedding pictures.

    Jaime had to work quickly so the wedding party wouldn’t freeze or faceplant into the ice. She covered her camera with a scarf and speedily took a hundred photos of the couple kissing and playing in the snow.

    The end result is stunning – and the couple definitely have a wedding day to remember.

    Bride Brittany told CNN: ‘There were times I told my friends I wanted a winter wedding. … I didn’t plan for it, but I guess Mother Nature just knew.’

    Snowstorm wedding Picture: Jaime Denise Photography
    Jaime was stunned that the wedding party was still up for playing in the snow and posing for photos (Picture: Jaime Denise Photography)
    Snowstorm wedding Picture: Jaime Denise Photography
    Brittany said she had secretly always wanted a winter wedding (Picture: Jaime Denise Photography)
    Snowstorm wedding Picture: Jaime Denise Photography
    It’s definitely a wedding day to remember (Picture: Jaime Denise Photography)
    Snowstorm wedding Picture: Jaime Denise Photography
    And the photos are gorgeous (Picture: Jaime Denise Photography)
    Snowstorm wedding Picture: Jaime Denise Photography
    Congrats! (Picture: Jaime Denise Photography)

    MORE: Indian couple have the most magical Bollywood wedding at Disneyland Paris

    MORE: Woman dresses up as a bush to discreetly capture sister’s wedding proposal

    MORE: Black bear photobombs couple’s wedding pictures


    Snowstorm weddingSnowstorm wedding

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    Baby girl necklace spelling mistake
    Just FYI, a ‘baby girl’ diamante necklace is a hot trend right now (Picture: PrettyLittleThing)

    Typos happen to the best of us.

    But we’d always assumed that while a grammatical error in a Whatsapp message is easily missed, any proper products with words on them must go through enough rounds of checks that no mistakes can slip through.

    Apparently this assumption is wrong.

    Just one day after a man questioning Primark for how it managed to miss an ‘i’ on its Friends T-shirt, a woman has called out PrettyLittleThing for sending over a necklace that reads ‘bbby girl’ instead of ‘baby girl’.

    That’s definitely not how the cool kids are spelling the term, to be clear, as on the PrettyLittleThing website the necklace is clearly shown with an ‘a’ jewel rather than a third ‘b’.

    prettylittle thing baby girl necklace with typo
    Wait, that’s not what Bella was after (Picture: Bella Worlock/PrettyLittleThing)

    Ring girl Bella Worlock shared the mistake on Twitter, writing: ‘Ordered this from @OfficialPLT and this turned up instead .. putting 3 Bs on it. This a sick Saturday morning joke or what.’

    PLT’s customer service team were speedily on the case, replying: ‘Hey Isabella, I’m sorry your order arrived like this doll. Please can you drop us a DM with your order number and we’ll sort this out for you. – Olivia.’

    We’ve reached out to PrettyLittleThing to find out what happened next, and will update this article if they respond.

    FYI, ‘baby girl’ necklaces are making a comeback recently, with loads of style influencer types wearing them (just usually without the spelling mistake).

    Is it finally time for the return of early noughties fashion? We reckon so.

    Dig those pink velour sweatpants out of your wardrobe, grab your lipgloss, and get ready to wear satin ties as belts.

    Oh, and if your necklace arrives with a typo, we vote that you just go with it. Pretend a bbbygirl is no mistake, but a new term that’s even trendier than the VSCO or e-girl labels. If you’ve got enough glitter hair gel and confidence, people will believe whatever you say.

    MORE: Burberry is selling a half blazer half puffa coat hybrid for almost £3,000

    MORE: All Pandora jewellery is currently 3 for 2 – there’s Christmas sorted

    MORE: Justin Timberlake tackled by notorious prankster at Paris Fashion Week outside show with wife Jessica Biel


    Baby girl necklace spelling mistakeBaby girl necklace spelling mistake

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    Kristel Tracey is about to become a mum for the first time.

    She hates the idea that mixed-race families or interracial relationships are some kind of utopian ‘cure’ for racism.

    ‘It annoys me if people lazily assume that mixed-race relationships or children are evidence of the absence of racism – whether their own or in wider society,’ she says.

    ‘Being in a mixed-race relationship, or raising a mixed heritage family, does not absolve anyone from the ability to hold problematic attitudes or remain completely ignorant of the realities faced by those living at the sharp end of a society riddled with structural racism.

    ‘That whole “I can’t be racist because I have mixed-race kids” thing is tired – we all need to check our privileges or blind spots and put the work in.’

    Kristel’s dad is black Jamaican and her mum is Polish, Swiss and English. They met as teenagers in the 1970s.

    ‘My dad moved from Jamaica to NW London as a child in the 1960s, while my mum was born and bred in London to a mixed-European family. My maternal grandfather was one of around 200,000 displaced Polish troops who settled here after WW2.’

    Kristel doesn’t love the term ‘mixed-race’, but she uses it – while acknowledging its flaws – for lack of a better alternative.

    ‘It’s an imperfect term,’ says Kristel. ‘I know some people aren’t comfortable with it, or prefer to use alternatives (often on the basis that “race” is a social rather than scientific construct).

    ‘It’s crazy to think that in the not-so-distant past our very existence was seen as an abomination, yet today people of mixed heritage are the fastest-growing minority group in the UK.

    ‘That isn’t an excuse for complacency, and racism is still very real and ever-present, but it’s a nice big middle-finger to the eugenicists at least.’

    (Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk) Mixed Up, Natalie Morris
    ‘As a teenager, I remember being really conscious of trying to have a balance of white and non-white friends – I didn’t want to look as though I was “picking sides”‘ (Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

    Kristel says that none of her grandparents, on either side, were particularly thrilled by her parents’ union, but they came around eventually.

    ‘My parents had a really good run of it and were together for more than 30 years, but are now happily divorced,’ she explains.

    ‘A lot of their disagreements seemed to stem from fundamental differences in how they wanted to raise a family, and culture played a big part. My siblings and I were often in the middle of that tug-of-war.

    ‘On one side you had my dad with his West Indian style, tough love. On the other, you had my mum with her more laissez-faire approach to discipline.

    ‘I think my dad also found it a bit frustrating that my mum couldn’t empathise with some of the things he came up against as a black man. At the same time, my mum was definitely subject to a lot of patriarchal nonsense from him.

    ‘Basically, they had very different world views.

    ‘Seeing that dynamic has definitely made me pretty pragmatic and maybe a bit unsentimental. Love across culture and colour lines can be wonderful, but there also needs to be mutual respect and understanding of where you’re both coming from – especially if you plan to bring children into the picture.

    Baby Kristel with her dad
    ‘I think my dad found it a bit frustrating that my mum couldn’t empathise with some of the things he came up against as a black man’ (Picture: Kristel Tracey)

    ‘You can come at things from different perspectives but it’s so important to try to make sure you’re on a similar page.’

    This is particularly pertinent for Kristel as she is due to give birth – at some point this month – and will be welcoming her first child with her partner, who is also mixed-race.

    ‘My partner is Italian and Moroccan,’ says Kristel.

    ‘We’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how to raise our child with a really assured sense of self in a world that still largely likes to see things in binaries, and a country that seems to be regressing in its attitudes to who gets to claim Britishness.’

    Kristel says that people in her life are already curious about how her unborn offspring might identify, and what they’ll look like.

    ‘We just want to raise them to understand as much as they can about all aspects of their heritage, but not feel as though that has to define who they are, or what’s expected of them.

    ‘That’s easier said than done though – the fact is, most people struggle with questions of identity at one point or another. I’m curious to see how our child will navigate that, and I hope to create an environment where they feel they can talk to us about it openly.

    ‘I hope they’re able to embrace the richness and diversity of their heritage and family history, rather than feel overwhelmed by it.’

    Kristel knows what it’s like to grow up feeling somewhat out of place. She says that feeling can stem from the way other people perceive you.

    ‘I think a lot of the difficulty comes from a disconnect between how you might identify and how others identify you, which totally varies according to the room you happen to be in,’ she says.

    ‘As a mixed-race person, there can be a lot of external judgement or assumptions made around the “type” of mixed-race person you are, and which side you identify more with, based on pretty superficial stuff – the company you keep, the people you date, the type of music you like, the way you talk etc.

    ‘I’m too old and have less f***s to give nowadays, but I definitely tussled with this growing up.

    ‘For example, as a teenager, I remember being really conscious of trying to have a balance of white and non-white friends – I didn’t want to look as though I was “picking sides” or be accused of being a “coconut”.

    Baby Kristel with her mum
    ‘Being mixed-race will have afforded me access to spaces or privileges that come with being seen as embodying blackness in a more “palatable” form’ (Picture: Kristel Tracey)

    Kristel doesn’t often experience racism in open, overt ways, but she says she feels it in all the little things, all the time.

    ‘It’s microaggressions, comments that make me feel uncomfortable, feeling hypervisible or invisible in certain spaces,’ she says.

    ‘It’s stuff like – not getting into clubs when you’re in a non-white group, being followed around shops by security guards, walking into a village pub and being gawped at as though you just landed from Mars, or feeling undermined or underestimated in professional settings.

    ‘Sometimes it’s hard to put a finger on exactly why – is it because of my race, class, gender or a combination?’

    She says it is the slipperiness of this kind of covert racism that makes it so hard to identify, and even harder to call out.

    ‘Racism in the UK is often insidious and hidden under a thin veneer of politeness,’ Kristel tells us.

    ‘It’s terribly inconvenient to point it out, which is why those who do are often silenced, shouted down or told to “stop playing the race card”.

    ‘It makes it difficult and daunting to speak up about it, even when you broach it “politely” – look at this furore with Naga Munchetty as one example.

    On the other side, Kristel has no problem acknowledging her privilege as a mixed-race person with some white heritage. Something she things more mixed-race people should be willing to do.

    ‘I have no doubt that being mixed-race in a world that judges you according to your proximity to whiteness has also had a bearing on my experiences,’ she explains.

    ‘Colourism is real, and I know that being mixed-race will have afforded me access to spaces or privileges that come with being seen as embodying blackness in a more “palatable” form.

    ‘I’ve felt it most overtly when it comes to dating as a woman, where I’ve experienced being fetishized or exoticised for my mixed heritage while darker-skinned friends have been overlooked or outright disrespected.

    ‘I find it particularly wild that some of the most ardent deniers or unapologetic perpetrators of colourism I’ve come across have been dark-skinned, black men.

    ‘I don’t really understand why some people are reluctant to talk about colourism or acknowledge its existence.

    ‘It’s healthy to check our privileges or try to unpick the harmful things we’ve internalised, whatever that might be – whether that’s based on gender, race, class, being able-bodied, cis-hetero or any other factors.’

    Baby Kristel
    ‘To me, Jamaican culture feels like a warm hug and a belly laugh’ (Picture: Kristel Tracey)

    Kristel says she has had significantly more exposure to the Jamaican side of her heritage growing up, and she says it was a comfort to be in those spaces after spending large portions of her upbringing in majority white areas.

    ‘I’m really close to my Jamaican grandmother and spent a lot of time with her growing up, so she’s had a pretty big impact on me. To me, Jamaican culture feels like a warm hug and a belly laugh.

    ‘Despite being as white as I am black, I’ve never seen my whiteness as something I can really “claim”. I think the way you look as a mixed-race person can have a pretty dramatic impact on the way you’re received by wider society.

    ‘I’m not white-passing, and the one-drop rule is alive and kicking, so I’ve always felt more comfortable in black or multicultural environments.’

    The “one-drop” rule is the archaic historical principle of racial categorisation originating in the US in the 20th century that said that one drop of ‘black blood’ meant a person was black.

    But this isn’t the only reason why Kristel doesn’t have the same level of connection with her European heritage.

    ‘My Polish grandad passed away when I was young and I didn’t spend much time with my maternal grandma,’ she explains. ‘There are so many questions I wish I could’ve asked them, instead of having to fill in the blanks between the fragments I’m able to extract from my mum and aunts.

    ‘I’ve been to Poland and Switzerland, but aside from a love of cabbage-based food and appreciation of Swiss efficiency, I can’t say I’ve felt much of a personal connection as I might like to.’

    Kristel doesn’t agree with the idea that being mixed-race has to feel isolating.

    ‘We’re either assumed to bridge gaps or to exist within the gaps,’ says Kristel. ‘I’ve personally found it incredibly enriching – I appreciate every aspect of my ancestry that led to me being right here, right now and honour that by trying to live as fully as possible.

    ‘Being mixed-race is just one aspect of my identity, albeit a significant part.

    ‘I also love that there is no easy way of generalising or defining a singular mixed-race experience or identity; instead, there are a wealth of stories shaped by the cultures we’re formed of and exposed to, our families and friends, where we grew up, who we grew up with, the way we look etc.

    ‘I see that ambiguity as a positive, offering so many unique insights and perspectives and demanding nuance in a world where it is all too often absent.’

    Mixed Up

    Being mixed-race is so much more than just black and white (Pictures: Jerry Syder)

    Mixed Up is our weekly series that gets to the heart of what it means to be mixed-race in the UK today.

    Going beyond discussions of divided identity, this series takes a look at the unique joys, privileges and complexities that come with being mixed-race - across of variety of different contexts.

    The mixed-race population is the UK's fastest-growing ethnic group, and yet there is still so much more to understand about the varied lived experiences of individuals within this hugely heterogenous group.

    Each week we speak to the people who know exactly how it feels to navigate this inbetween space.

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I have a really unusual mix – I love that no one can ever guess where I’m from’

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

    MORE: Mixed Up: ‘If white people love hip hop, why the hell can’t we love rock music?’


    Mixed Up, Natalie MorrisMixed Up, Natalie Morris

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    Room 311 at Read House
    Spend a night in the most terrifying hotel room in America. (Picture: Read House/MEGA)

    While some folks are still gripping onto summer and some are feverishly prepping for Christmas, there are a few of us who only have eyes for Halloween.

    In the spirit of the spookiest time of the year, one of America’s most haunted hotel rooms has just reopened for the first time since a $28 million makeover.

    The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee is home to room 311. The room has a grisly past, involving a woman named Annalisa Netherly who was brutally killed by her lover during the 1920s.

    Room 311 at Read House
    The hotel has just undergone a $28 million makeover.(Picture: Read House/MEGA)

    The room has since been said to be haunted by a female spirit who ‘hates men, particularly those who smoke.’

    Over the years, guests have encountered bouts of paranormal activity in the room, including unexplained noises, running water, flickering lights, and of course, shadowy figures.

    General manager Ken Merkel said: ‘After reading all accounts of haunted Room 311, we knew the best thing to do was to restore the room to make Annalisa Netherly comfortable – with no modern amenities – and we are excited to welcome new guests to share her room.

    ‘Room 311 looks and feels like Annalisa’s room in the 1920s. There is an AM radio that does not work, a vintage claw foot tub, an original pull chain toilet, antique furnishings and distressed hardwood floors – just like it would have been in the early twentieth century – and no television.’

    You can now stay in the most terrifying hotel room in American, which is haunted by a female ghost who hates men. The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee has reopened for the first time following a $28million renovation, just in time for Halloween. Chillingly, guests can even stay in the infamous room 311, which is were Annalisa Netherly was brutally murdered in the 1920s. According to the legend, Annalisa was washing in her bathtub when her jealous lover barged in and began slashing her with a knife. She was so savagely stabbed that she was almost decapitated in the attack. Over the years, several guests have reported paranormal activity in the room, including unexplained noises, flickering lights, running water, shadowy figures and more. The haunted room is known by many locals who have experienced paranormal activity of their own. It is also claimed that Annalisa hates men, particularly those who smoke. It is unclear who exactly Annalisa was but many believe she lived in the hotel room and worked as a high-class prostitute, while the murderer is believed to be her husband or a jealous customer. However, another legend says that she once took a gentleman suitor to her room but he later directed his attention to another woman. This supposedly left Annalisa heartbroken and she actually took her own life. Either way, she certainly isn't fond of men. "After reading all accounts of haunted Room 311, we knew the best thing to do was to restore the room to make Annalisa Netherly comfortable - with no modern amenities - and we are excited to welcome new guests to share her room," said general manager Ken Merkel. "Room 311 looks and feels like Annalisa's room in the 1920s. There is an AM radio that does not work, a vintage claw foot tub, an original pull chain toilet, antique furnishings and distressed hardwood floors - just like it would have been in the early twentieth century - and no television. 'The Read House Haunted Room 311 Experience' package is for the adventurous at heart. I can't wait to hear how guests are received!" Room 311 is also known for housing Al Capone while he was traveling through Chattanooga on his way to his federal trial in Chicago for tax evasion. The windows of the room were secured with rebar to prevent his escape. During the renovation, The Read House reinstalled this unique feature so guests could get a glimpse of what it looked like during that time. It has been said that Annalisa was not a fan of Capone's cigar smoke. 01 Oct 2019 Pictured: room 311 at the Read House hotel. Photo credit: Read House / MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342
    It’s got a lovely tub. We wouldn’t close that curtain (Picture: Read House / MEGA)

    The no-TV feature makes perfect sense, who needs a bit of Netflix when you’re the star of your own haunting?

    To stay in the room, it’ll be a devilish $666 (£543) for the package, which includes an overnight stay, valet parking, a decanter of gin (you’ll need it), breakfast and $100 dining credit at the hotel’s Bridgeman’s Chophouse restaurant.

    For those less enthused by sleeping spooky, the hotel offers free daily tours of the room.

    You can now stay in the most terrifying hotel room in American, which is haunted by a female ghost who hates men. The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee has reopened for the first time following a $28million renovation, just in time for Halloween. Chillingly, guests can even stay in the infamous room 311, which is were Annalisa Netherly was brutally murdered in the 1920s. According to the legend, Annalisa was washing in her bathtub when her jealous lover barged in and began slashing her with a knife. She was so savagely stabbed that she was almost decapitated in the attack. Over the years, several guests have reported paranormal activity in the room, including unexplained noises, flickering lights, running water, shadowy figures and more. The haunted room is known by many locals who have experienced paranormal activity of their own. It is also claimed that Annalisa hates men, particularly those who smoke. It is unclear who exactly Annalisa was but many believe she lived in the hotel room and worked as a high-class prostitute, while the murderer is believed to be her husband or a jealous customer. However, another legend says that she once took a gentleman suitor to her room but he later directed his attention to another woman. This supposedly left Annalisa heartbroken and she actually took her own life. Either way, she certainly isn't fond of men. "After reading all accounts of haunted Room 311, we knew the best thing to do was to restore the room to make Annalisa Netherly comfortable - with no modern amenities - and we are excited to welcome new guests to share her room," said general manager Ken Merkel. "Room 311 looks and feels like Annalisa's room in the 1920s. There is an AM radio that does not work, a vintage claw foot tub, an original pull chain toilet, antique furnishings and distressed hardwood floors - just like it would have been in the early twentieth century - and no television. 'The Read House Haunted Room 311 Experience' package is for the adventurous at heart. I can't wait to hear how guests are received!" Room 311 is also known for housing Al Capone while he was traveling through Chattanooga on his way to his federal trial in Chicago for tax evasion. The windows of the room were secured with rebar to prevent his escape. During the renovation, The Read House reinstalled this unique feature so guests could get a glimpse of what it looked like during that time. It has been said that Annalisa was not a fan of Capone's cigar smoke. 01 Oct 2019 Pictured: room 311 at the Read House hotel. Photo credit: Read House / MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342
    The room is designed with a 1920s feel (Picture: Read House / MEGA)

    Room 311 has also housed another interesting guest over the years.

    While traveling through Chattanooga on his way to a federal trial in Chicago, American gangster Al Capone stayed in the room. During his stay, the windows of room 311 were barred to prevent him from making a run for it.

    The latest renovation saw the reinstallation of this feature so that today’s guests could have more of a historical experience, or, you know, not be able to escape from the supernatural forces at play.

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    Step inside the most haunted hotel room in America - where a woman was hacked to death by her jealous lover.Step inside the most haunted hotel room in America - where a woman was hacked to death by her jealous lover.

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    When Kelsey Brewer was admitted to hospital, husband Jared took her place for a maternity photoshoot
    When Kelsey Brewer was admitted to hospital, husband Jared took her place for a maternity photoshoot (Picture: Kennedy News/Kiana Smither)

    When Kelsey Brewer was too poorly to attend her maternity photoshoot, her husband Jared Brewer refused to miss out on the milestone.

    He decided to step up and take Kelsey’s place, posing with his belly serving as a baby bump, to cheer up his poorly wife and document an important moment in their relationship.

    Thankfully photographer Kiana Smither, who happens to be Kelsey’s sister, wasn’t bothered by the last-minute switch up. She managed to take some genuinely brilliant photos for the mum-to-be to enjoy.

    Kelsey, 24, was admitted to hospital on 18 September with pre-eclampsia and thus had to miss the maternity shoot that Saturday.

    Jared saved the day by posing at the waterfall at Elkhorn Creek near Frankfort, Kentucky, exactly where Kelsey had planned to have the photos taken.

    Jared posed in the waterfall where Kelsey hoped to have her maternity photos taken
    Jared posed in the waterfall where Kelsey hoped to have her maternity photos taken (Picture: Kennedy News/Kiana Smither)

    He kept the plan secret so he could eventually surprise her with the photos.

    When Jared finally shared the photos, they ended up receiving thousands of comments.

    Jared said: ‘She started crying [when she saw the pictures] – it brought tears to her eyes and made her happy.

    ‘I wanted to make her laugh a little bit – I knew she would appreciate the shoot because she needed a good laugh.

    Jared's belly served as a baby bump for the paternity photos
    His belly served as a makeshift baby bump for the paternity photos (Picture: Kennedy News/Kiana Smither)

    ‘She’d been in the hospital for the past week and had been miserable. She’s very photogenic and loves to take pictures and wasn’t able to.

    ‘I never in a million years would have imagined they would have went viral like they did – it was kind of unreal to me.

    ‘It took us all by surprise – we were just trying to do something nice for my wife and then all the positive reaction that came from it was pretty cool.’

    Baby Kash was born on Saturday, six weeks early. He will be in the neonatal intensive care unit for five days or so to make sure he’s healthy before heading home.

    Jared lovingly cradling his belly for a paternity photoshoot
    Kelsey loved the end result (Picture: Kennedy News/Kiana Smither)

    Jared said Kelsey has been in a lot of pain but she’s in a stable condition.

    The photos definitely helped to cheer her up while she was in hospital.

    Kelsey said: ‘It was just completely unexpected and it made me laugh and brought tears to my eyes. I really appreciated the thought that went into it.

    ‘Everybody is just tickled to death that he did it.

    ‘I’ve already got a couple [of the pictures] picked out that I’m going to have framed and I’m definitely going to cherish those forever.’

    KELSEY AND JARED WITH THEIR NEWBORN SON KASH WHO WAS BORN SIX WEEKS EARLY ON SATURDAY
    Kash was born on Saturday, six weeks early (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

    Photographer Kiana, 22, also enjoyed creating the picture set – although she had a hard time editing the photos because she was laughing so much.

    Kiana said: ‘During the shoot I was dying – it was so funny. I laughed the entire time.

    ‘Every time I asked him to do something he did it perfectly. If he was trying his own little looks I would just make him more excited.

    ‘I’ve never come across a guy being willing to be so dramatic. Jared’s always been really goofy. He’s always had that personality and he’s always willing to do anything.

    ‘My husband, who’s his best friend, was there too and cracking up, and I felt like the more we laughed the more Jared got into it.’

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    Dad stands in for wife in pregnancy photoshoot when she\'s sickDad stands in for wife in pregnancy photoshoot when she\'s sick

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    The Winter Forest covered in fake snow and pine trees
    Just imagine the pictures (Picture: Jeff Moore)

    Now that we’re done and dusted with summer we can truly relish the festivities of winter.

    With cold weather comes lots of twinkling lights, shiny decor and bedazzled Christmas trees. And lots of drinking.

    Putting all that together is the pop-up festival Winter Forest, happening in London.

    Broadgate Circle, opposite Liverpool street, will turn the huge pedestrianised space into a snowy pine tree paradise.

    You’ll be able to neck mulled drinks, pop into Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club and Distillery winter terrace, and who knows, Father Christmas might even make an appearance.

    Of course, you can expect delicious food to warm your belly from restaurants including Italian trattoria Nyoke and Portuguese favourites Bar Douro.

    All these exciting festivities will make you say ‘summer who?’.

    Two women chilling at the cosy christmas winter festival
    This could be you (Picture: Jeff Moore)

    You can also expect live music, quiz nights, technicolour artwork, and a free light exhibition.

    Not only will you be able to enjoy great warming meals and delicious seasonal drinks, but you’ll be helping a good cause too.

    The Winter Forest will make donations to charity Centrepoint, which provides housing and support for young people.

    Front shot of winter forest covered in fake snow and twinkling lights and christmas trees
    And it’s in aid of a charity (Picture: Jeff Moore)

    The folks at Broadgate Circle are raising money for Centrepoint on the ground via donation buckets, fundraising events and through their retailers.

    It’s the second time they’re working closely with the charity and have also set up a JustGiving page to help them out.

    If all that’s got you raring to go then put down the dates in your diary. The Winter Forest events will be running from 6 November to 20 December.

    It’ll be open seven days a week (Monday-Saturday 12-11pm and Sunday 12-7pm).

    We can’t wait.

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    The Winter Forest: A Festive Wonderland at Broadgate CircleThe Winter Forest: A Festive Wonderland at Broadgate Circle

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    This picture taken on September 27, 2019 shows an Boeing 737 NG / Maxof Irish Low Cost compagny Ryanair after taking off from the Toulouse-Blagnac airport, near Toulouse. (Photo by PASCAL PAVANI / AFP)PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty Images
    £5.99? Start packing your suitcase (Picture: Getty)

    Summer is officially over. The weather has turned, the nights are drawing in, we are wearing tights again.

    It’s sad, but the best thing to do to cheer yourself up is to plan your escape. And, thanks to Ryanair – escaping the UK has never been cheaper.

    The budget airline has just announced a giant sale with a million seats available at a reduced price. You could even get a flight for as little as £5.99.

    So, if your need for autumn sunshine outweighs your concerns about your carbon footprint – get booking.

    Jetting off to France is one of the cheapest options. You can get from London to Biarritz, Toulouse or Nimes for just £5.99.

    A flight to Rhodes costs just £8.99, Or you could get to Alghero in Italy for £9.99. Other Italian destinations that cost the same include Pisa, Pescara and Nantes.

    Athens will set you back £17.99, or you can get to Agadir in Morocco for £19.99. That’s less than a slap-up meal and a glass of wine.

    But you’ve not got long to book. The sale is only running until Sunday, 6 October with flights available from October 2019 through until May 2020.

    So make that ‘girl’s trip’ WhatsApp group now, there’s no time to waste.

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    FRANCE-AVIATION-TRANSPORT-RYANAIRFRANCE-AVIATION-TRANSPORT-RYANAIR

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    A heartbroken sign on a Brexit march
    There’s no question that the Brexit vote and the ensuing political turmoil triggered my anxiety and depression (Picutre: Isabel Infantes/AFP)

    Cast your mind back to the damp morning after the 2016 Brexit referendum, and no matter whether you voted leave or remain, you’ll remember it felt like something momentous had happened.

    It comes as no surprise that the British Medical Journal has released new research outlining how ‘political events take a serious toll on mental health.’ The report cites a man who suffered Brexit-triggered psychosis, whose mental health totally disintegrated in three weeks. The researchers found that those with existing psychological vulnerabilities may be at risk.

    There’s no question that the Brexit vote and the ensuing political turmoil triggered my anxiety and depression.

    As ‘snowflakey’ as it sounds, the 2016 referendum opened my eyes to the fact that Britain was now irrevocably shattered in two, and I saw just how much fear and loathing bubbled beneath Britain’s surface. We became Remainers and Brexiteers. In one night our identities shifted.

    Uncertainty continues to dominate. This has meant, at least for a lot of people my age, putting our lives on hold.

    ‘We’ll do it after Brexit,’ we say. Or ‘let’s see what happens if there’s no-deal.’ This is no way to live. I believe a lack of stability absolutely contributes to poor mental health and questions over where I can or can’t live, whether my (pitiful) savings will be worth anything, or whether I’ll ever be able to travel freely again, dominate.

    The morning after the vote, my world swam. I remember walking through Lambeth which had the highest remain vote in the country (79 per cent) just staring at people. My community felt raw, like somebody had pulled at a dust cover and revealed an ugly statue.

    I felt startled that in this multicultural neighbourhood, anyone at all would vote to leave a wider community. A community with things like the European Court of Human Rights, EU airline safety regulations and the introduction of new rules to tackle tax avoidance.

    But as we all know now, Brexit feels like it’s about so much more than simply leaving the EU.

    A lack of stability absolutely contributes to poor mental health and questions over where I can or can’t live, whether my (pitiful) savings will be worth anything, or whether I’ll ever be able to travel freely again, dominate.

    The jingoistic narrative betrayed the age divide. At gatherings, jeering baby boomers made jokes about ‘winning’. I know one person who cannot bear to talk to his father because he is called a ‘sore loser’.

    Brexit has introduced tensions that didn’t exist before. Millennials have always been called feckless, but now there’s an extra spicy element. Leavers brag about leaving, which can feel feel like they’re asserting control over us.

    To anxiety sufferers or those who experience depression, this level of control and incessant hectoring when we turn on the news, attend panel discussions or simply go to a party, can feel claustrophobic and intense.

    This isn’t just a ‘snowflake issue’. Hard facts back up that there are reasons to worry. Jo Cox was assassinated in the name of ‘putting Britain first’, and the Home Office noted that there were ‘spikes in hate crime following the EU referendum and 2017 terrorist attacks.’

    I’ve seen rising panic among friends.They stress because they might need to leave the life they’ve spent years building, moving ‘home’ when home is London, or panicking about not finding work. Their fear made me furious. And, whichever way you look at it, the main result of Brexit is more negative energy being pumped into society.

    With every news report there’s another story about lies, deceit and political instability.

    My loss of confidence in my own country shook my roots. I began to lose faith in democracy and question the political order. I doubted our leaders and was always angry. This anger turned to frustration which turned back to anger which lead to an incredible sadness that nothing I did or said would matter. No vote I cast or march I went to would make a difference.

    Turning off the news and disengaging as far as I’m able (as a journalist) has helped. I’ve also tried to adapt a more ‘go with the flow’ attitude. Reminding myself how lucky I am is crucial. Even if Brexit happens, it’s unlikely that my life will be hit as hard as people in industries more likely to be affected, such as hospitality or agriculture.

    And the biggest, most positive lesson I’m taking away from Brexit is this: Now Britain’s true divide has revealed itself, when the time comes to rebuild our society we’ll know its flaws. We can start again, with all those sores and pain out in the open. And we can mend.

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    BRITAIN-EU-POLITICS-BREXIT-DEMONSTRATIONBRITAIN-EU-POLITICS-BREXIT-DEMONSTRATION

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    uno braille edition
    Uno is launching a new Braille edition (Picture: Uno)

    Ready for some actually pleasant news?

    Mattel has announced the launch of brand new Uno Braille.

    That’s right, there’s now a version of the classic high-drama card game Uno that has braille, to allow sighted and visually impaired people to play together. Hooray.

    Designed in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind, Uno Braille has Braille on the corner of each playing card to indicate the card’s colour, number, or action, so blind people, too, can make quick judgement calls on the cards they pick up to destroy their enemies.

    The new edition also features Braille on the packaging for clear identification, and directs players to a special site where they can find instructions for the fame in Braille readable files for download. Players can also access voice-enabled instructions through Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

    Uno braille edition
    Players can access voice-enabled instructions, too (Picture: Uno)

    Ray Adler, Global Head of Games at Mattel, said: ‘With the launch of UNO Braille, we’re making a real impact on a community that has been underserved by providing a game that both blind and sighted people can play together.

    ‘We are proud to have UNO Braille on-shelves and to be making UNO more accessible and inclusive to even more families.’

    Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, added: ‘UNO Braille is doing more than making this beloved game more accessible. It’s also helping promote the importance and normalcy of braille by putting it in places people might not expect, and integrating it into the play of blind children.

    ‘The fact that a blind person is now able to play a classic game of UNO straight out of the box with both blind and sighted friends or family members is a truly meaningful moment for our community.

    ‘I look forward to enjoying UNO Braille with my own family and I know that blind people across the nation will embrace this important and exciting step toward more inclusion and accessibility.’

    Lovely, right?

    Now let’s organise a games night specifically for the purposes of making our grandma cry in defeat.

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    Uno braille editionUno braille edition

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    Fit grandma posing with grandchildren
    Grandma-of-four says men can’t help but flirt with her (Picture: Media Drum World)

    A grandma who works as a pilates instructor says she’s always being pursued by younger men – and she thanks her raw diet for her youthful glow.

    Grandmother-of-four Alejandra Labastida-Shapiro, 55, has been living a healthy lifestyle since she was ten years old, when she went on runs with her dad.

    Now, the gran lives on a raw and organic diet, using natural remedies and medicinal herbs to avoid sicknesses and injuries.

    Considering her body to be a temple, Alejandra works out regularly to stay in shape and is very disciplined with her diet, avoiding processed foods.

    All that hard work has paid off as she is often mistaken as her 32-year-old daughter’s sister.

    Looking fabulous comes with lots of male attention, with many younger men hitting on Alejandra at the gym.

    She’s even received flowers from a secret admirer.

    Alejandra pictured in a bikini on a beach at the age of 55.
    Alejandra, 55, enjoying a beach day (Picture: MDWfeatures / Alejandra Labastid)

    ‘I always was involved in sports and believe our body is the temple where our soul resides,’ Alejandra said. ‘So I had been for years studying and practising better and more effective ways to reach that goal.

    ‘I teach that “age is just a number” which is true if you have the right care in your lifestyle and with positive thoughts.

    ‘I keep a balance in my active training and recovery time. Before I used to think by doing cardio was more than enough to keep my body healthy, but injuries and studying different formats taught me that our muscles have different abilities and motions.’

    Alejandra doing a plank at the gym
    She’s been living a healthy lifestyle since the age of 10 (Picture: MDWfeatures / Alejandra Labastid)

    Alejandra goes beyond just exercising. She also teaches the importance of a balanced diet and positive outlook.

    She says: ‘I can still do activities that most people of my age can’t and enjoy life doing things with my loved ones. I have to admit that today I need to take care more about what to eat than before, otherwise, I gain weight easier.

    ‘You are what you eat, so I avoid processed food and sugar. Mostly I eat raw and organic and avoid putting chemicals in my body.

    ‘I try to avoid medication. I prefer to use herbs, natural remedies or homeopathy than any other medication. Our bodies have amazing power to heal.’

    Alejandra, who also has four grandchildren, says that her lifestyle has helped her keep up with them and join in fun activities.

    Getting hit on has now become part of her life.

    Alejandra pictured with her daughter.
    Alejandra is always being mistaken for her daughter’s sister (Picture: MDWfeatures / Alejandra Labastid)

    She added: ‘Men are really surprised when they see me. Whenever I teach classes or I’m in different places, guys will give me compliments.

    ‘Even on social media, I receive compliments about how I look on Instagram.

    ‘A couple of times I’ve received flowers from strangers; I’m married so I right away say my status.’

    Alejandra pictured in a bikini.
    Goals (Picture: MDWfeatures / Alejandra Labastid)

    Alejandra encourages others to be nicer to themselves if they fail to stick to a healthy lifestyle, encouraging them to start again when they can.

    Her advice is simple: ‘Drink a lot of water, be positive; l always try to find the good side in everything and more importantly, be yourself, be authentic.’

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    Gran says younger men always flirt with her thanks to raw dietGran says younger men always flirt with her thanks to raw diet

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