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- 10/02/19--05:12: _Dad whose picky eat...
- 10/02/19--05:20: _Cadbury releases Ca...
- 10/02/19--06:01: _How to make sure ta...
- 10/02/19--06:38: _Woman buys house ne...
- 10/02/19--07:36: _Dad turns toolbox t...
- 10/02/19--08:02: _The Yacht Week is h...
- 10/02/19--08:12: _There’s now a speci...
- 10/02/19--09:38: _Best Mean Girls Hal...
- 10/02/19--22:07: _Disney launches new...
- 10/02/19--22:08: _Swimmer photombombs...
- 10/02/19--22:31: _Mum shares genius t...
- 10/02/19--23:51: _Why you should get ...
- 10/03/19--00:31: _My Label and Me: I’...
- 10/03/19--00:42: _Exhibition aims to ...
- 10/03/19--01:18: _2020 wedding trends...
- 10/03/19--02:38: _You can get a Buddy...
- 10/03/19--03:15: _Taco Bell is giving...
- 10/03/19--03:25: _Will Smith drops Fr...
- 10/03/19--03:27: _Trio use spy camera...
- 10/03/19--04:42: _How I Save: The dis...
- 4am: Colston starts work delivering organic food for Abel & Cole
- 6am: A breakfast drink
- 9am: A protein bar
- 11am: A nourishment drink
- 12pm: Another protein shake after an hour at the gym
- 4pm: Weetabix or Cheerios
- 7-8pm: Two tins of spaghetti (warmed in the microwave) and toasted rolls or toast with peanut butter, followed by a yoghurt and sometimes a chocolate bar
- 10/02/19--05:20: Cadbury releases Caramilk Philadelphia cream cheese
- 10/02/19--06:01: How to make sure taking a break actually benefits your relationship
- 10/02/19--08:12: There’s now a special spongy tool to soak up semen after sex
- 10/02/19--09:38: Best Mean Girls Halloween costumes and where to get them
- 10/02/19--23:51: Why you should get the flu jab even if you’re young and healthy
- 10/03/19--00:31: My Label and Me: I’m living my best fat life
- 10/03/19--00:42: Exhibition aims to redefine what it means to be a black man
- Crowdfunded weddings and requests for financial contributions from guests (blame Brexit-inspired budgets)
- Aisle procession dances captured on video
- Group activities for guests, such as laser quest, zorbing, and cocktail making
- Pets! Plan for kittens in flower crowns and dogs acting as ring bearers
- Less of a focus on religion
- More personalisation and unique touches
- Brexit bans and Boris bans – couples will specify that no chatting about politics will be allowed
- Mixed-gender bridal parties
- More environmentally-conscious weddings
- City weddings
- Weddings at stately homes and castles
- Surprise touches for brides and grooms
- Buddymoons – those are honeymoons where friends tag along
- 10/03/19--03:15: Taco Bell is giving out free Doritos Locos Tacos in the UK on Friday
- Rent: £703.35
- Council Tax: £62
- Gas & Electric: £26 (we’re with Bulb so it’s a fixed price each month)
- Phone: £45
- Spotify: £9.99
- Adobe programmes: £29.95
When dad Colston Hughes, 32, went to a party as a teenager, he took a lunchbox with him containing food he could eat. He didn’t have any food allergies or dietary requirements – he just couldn’t stomach eating anything that had been cooked.
As the only person there with a lunchbox, Colston realised he was different.
The food delivery driver from Dursley, near Gloucester, hasn’t eaten a meal made from scratch for 29 years.
Colston has been living on a diet of crisps, toast, tinned spaghetti, and desserts. Cooked meals make him physically sick, thanks to the taste and texture, and he hasn’t been able to consume them since he was two years old.
As a baby, anything he was fed would be vomited out within minutes. Growing up, he quickly learned to make food for himself that he could keep down, which included tinned goods, cereals and snacks.
He also developed a need to ensure none of his food was touching, a habit he describes as symptomatic of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).
At school he’d offer his free school meal to his sister and only eat her pudding. The lack of food meant he was hungry for most of his life.
‘I got used to eating one meal a day for four to five years, I was so used to it that I didn’t realise my body had gotten used to being hungry,’ he tells Metro.co.uk.
Today Colston still struggles with his dietary preferences, but is at a healthy weight and tries to be active.
But he worries for his three-year-old daughter Holly, who shows signs of ARFID, commonly referred to as ‘picky eating’.
Colston's daily diet
‘Spaghetti has to be Heinz, always the shaped ones perhaps because I had it lots in childhood, then a yoghurt,’ says Colston. ‘And then I’ll maybe have a chocolate bar.
‘My food can’t be touching. I’ve tried it mixed but soggy toast tastes different, it’s the texture.
‘I also can’t use a knife and fork. I eat my spaghetti shapes with a spoon.
‘For weekends, I have Weetabix for breakfast and then maybe go the shops and buy crumpets or croissants. For lunch, I have crackers with butter or peanut butter and then two packets of crisps. For dessert, a cake of some sort or doughnuts or cupcake/muffin, or yoghurt and chocolates. Dinner is the same on weekends as weekdays.’
Colston tells us: ‘When I was little, my mum would go to the chippies and I would just eat crisps, I was always skin and bones.
‘With cooked meals – the taste, the texture, the smell, the look, it makes me feel sick. I’ll never know how the nation’s favourite food is chips, they feel absolutely horrible. I don’t mind the smell of the chip shop though.’
Now married and a dad of four, Colson weighs around 11 to 12 stone, having put on three to four stone since meeting his partner, April.
Colston finally went to see a doctor for help two years ago. They suspected he had ADHD but didn’t say much about his diet, referring him to the mental health team. He didn’t pursue further treatment as life got in the way.
He felt the impact of his diet mostly in the morning, when it took an hour to get out of bed as he was so drained. Since taking nourishment drinks and going to the gym, he feels much better.
But this hasn’t ‘cured’ Colston’s issues – his dietary restrictions still affect both him and his family.
‘Our house is like a circus,’ he adds. ‘When we go out for meals, it’s not spur of the moment because I only eat dessert so I have to eat before we leave, which is a bit stressful when the missus wants just us two to go out for a romantic dinner.
‘It’s always had a strain on me growing up and dating. Luckily she’s understanding.
‘When we first started, I didn’t mention it, wanted her to like me first. Unfortunately, she’s a feeder so she would get angry if I didn’t eat. I told her about my eating after a year.’
Colston has to cook meals for his children, and says he’s getting better. He recently mastered cooking up a full English breakfast.
But his daughter Holly hasn’t been eating those specially cooked meals, raising concerns about her own dietary restrictions.
Doctors told Colston and April that Holly has some signs of autism. They’ve noticed that the three-year-old is also particular with her meals and often throws up if she’s given food that she doesn’t want.
Colston insists this can’t be a copycat act, as he’s always eaten his meals away from Holly so she doesn’t imitate his habits.
‘My biggest issue is Holly,’ says Colston.
‘She can eat french fries (not chips) and spaghetti hoops (I can’t eat hoops, just the shaped ones). She eats peas, sweetcorn and ham, which I don’t.
‘I’ve never liked meat, I’ve cooked it but don’t feel or like the look of it. It does look appetising, I can’t remember what it tastes like.
‘Astonishingly, Holly’s eating habits started when my partner was pregnant. My wife couldn’t eat anything.
‘Holly tried spaghetti and liked it and soon she started eating the same as me.
‘If it was anything else, she would be sick.’
April’s diet returned to normal after Holly was born, but Holly continued to be a picky eater. Though Colston worries for his daughter, he also feels a connection to her as a result.
‘Part of me loves her eating habits,’ he says, ‘It’s a bond that only we share. The other part worries, the mental side of it can really get you down.
‘But ultimately she’ll never be on her own because I’ll be there.
Breakfast: Usually crisps, but Colston has managed to give her Cheerios.
Lunch: Crackers and ham (or with butter). Ham is the only meat Holly eats but she has phases where she won’t eat bread. She also has fruit yoghurts for lunch.
Dinner: Rice and sweetcorn – Holly won’t eat the fish fingers served with this. She has a glass of whole milk because doctors said she would be underweight without it.
‘If she’s hungry, she tells us but doesn’t always know so we will take her to the kitchen and she picks out what she wants. She’s the same as me, she was a sickly baby, and has strong reflux, especially now that her tonsils are swollen (we’re waiting to have them taken out).
‘I’m at the stage where I’m not going to change too much but when it comes to Holly, I will try to eat better with her so she’s not scared.
‘For me, it’s more about helping her.’
Another thing Holly struggles with is brushing her teeth with toothpaste, which Colston experiences too, being repulsed by the minty taste.
All the sugar he’s consumed over the years has affected Colston’s teeth, something he doesn’t want his daughter to have to face.
Colston says: ‘I really don’t like mint or toothpaste, I didn’t brush when I was a kid as I would be sick in the morning so I avoided it but now I’m doing it and I’m teaching the kids too.
‘Holly hates brushing with toothpaste too but loves brushing with water. I try to get her to use it but luckily she doesn’t eat as much sugar as me.’
For his whole life, people have said he’s a fussy eater but Colston believes there’s more to his diet. He’s tried to get help for it and ‘get closure’ but to no avail.
The family’s hometown is small and has few mental health specialists.
Colston feels that doctors in the area are ‘years behind’ everywhere else. He wants more help understanding and dealing with ARFID.
‘I know it’s a condition – my main food is beige food,’ he says. ‘I’m just figuring out I may have a mental health condition. I just want someone to say “there’s nothing wrong with you”, I want the closure of knowing I didn’t make it up.’
What is ARFID and how can you treat it?
According to Beat, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is a condition when a person avoids certain foods or types of food, having restricted intake in terms of overall amount eaten or both.
A person might be very sensitive to the taste, texture, smell, or appearance of certain types of food, or only able to eat foods at a certain temperature. This can lead to sensory-based avoidance or restriction of intake.
They may have had a distressing experience with food, such as choking or vomiting, or experiencing significant abdominal pain.
Treatment for ARFID is usually best tailored to the needs of the individual.
Most often, treatment can be delivered in an outpatient setting. It commonly involves family-based treatment (for young people), cognitive behavioural therapy, behavioural interventions such as exposure work, and anxiety management training.
Sometimes medication may be suggested, most often to help with anxiety. The person’s physical health should also be monitored and managed, for instance by their GP or a physician or paediatrician.
Treatment may also involve nutritional management through support from a dietician, and help with sensory problems.
Dad hasnt eaten a cooked meal in 29 years
The chocolate that had Australian shoppers clambering over each other in 2017 has returned in a surprising new form.
Caramilk, a caramelised white chocolate block created by Cadbury, was released in 2017 on a limited run in Australia after a 23-year hiatus. The popularity of the golden chocolate sent people into a frenzy, with bars being re-sold on eBay for up to ten times the price.
And the cult-favourite just returned to Australian stores today. Little did Cadbury fans know, the chocolate bar was only the beginning.
Overnight, Australian supermarkets have started selling the latest hybrid product from Cadbury: a Caramilk-flavoured Philadelphia cream cheese.
Unsurprisingly, it’s back to 2017 again with shoppers from all over the world vying to have a taste.
‘Okay I don’t live in Australia so how can I get my hands on some Caramilk!!’ said Twitter user @Amy_Monks
While the product has been drawing fans, some aren’t convinced.
‘Saw that caramilk/philly cheese abomination while at woolies and was equal parts disgusted,’ said @Yonception.
The new product is available for $4 (£2.18) at Australian supermarket chain Woolworths.
So how can you eat it?
There’s the obvious use: slather it all over your bagel of choice. You might want to hold the smoked salmon, unless you’re a tastemaker of chaos, in which case, go ahead.
But as the packaging suggests, it’s a ‘cream cheese perfect for caramel baking creations’. Use it to as frosting for your latest batch of cupcakes, or stir it into a creamy cheesecake.
Caramilk, in chocolate form, has already been used in creative recipes for cookies, shortbread, fudge, doughnuts, macarons and even a burger.
The original chocolate version of Caramilk has already sold out in several stores, according to shoppers.
‘This is extremely popular and despite our best efforts, some of the stores run out of Caramilk much sooner than anticipated,’ wrote @Woolworths on Twitter.
Caramilk cream cheese
When we heard that Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott may have broken up, we were more than a little upset.*
*Don’t judge us, our lives are empty and celeb relationships are all we have.
But then came a glimmer of hope; reports that the parents of icon Stormi Jenner may not have properly called it quits, but that they’re just taking a break.
Now, your own experiences will influence your reaction to this news.
You’ll either breathe a sigh of relief, reassured that all is well in the Jenner camp, or you’ll go straight to the ‘well, they’re doomed’ reaction.
Taking a break often acts as just a stop on the road to a breakup, deployed when a relationship is already past repair.
Does taking a break ever actually work? Are there ways that you can make a break benefit your relationship, rather than just serving to delay the inevitable split?
We spoke to some experts to outline the basic rules for making a break work to its maximum potential.
Of course, even the most perfectly planned break won’t fix a relationship that’s absolutely awful and built to fail, but these are steps to ensure taking a break isn’t pointless.
Decide on an objective
Why are you taking a break? What exactly are you hoping to get out of it?
If the answer is ‘I hate them so much and need them to get out of my face’, a break probably isn’t the right option… you need a breakup.
Don’t decide to do a temporary split in the heat of the moment, without proper thought.
Be clear with each other about what this break is actually for, whether it’s to have some time to reflect alone, get some distance, or allow for personal healing.
Stephanie Tumba, the managing director of Celest Connections and Matchmaking and the author of 100 Dates and a Wedding tells Metro.co.uk: ‘When one agrees to “pause” the relationship, one must use that period to turn it into a strength, trying to understand what is wrong with the relationship and how to change things.
‘This break in a couple should be considered as a moment to make a thorough reflection on the couple but also a self-criticism.
‘Decide the objective of the break and the lines of reflection. Finish as many times as possible with the phrase, “After the break, I would like us to …”‘
Oh, and make sure a break is what you both really want, and isn’t just being used as a way to end things. This isn’t something to be taken lightly – Stephanie says that only 10% of couples actually survive a break and get back together.
Be clear on how much time you need
Again, if you think you need years apart, you’re in need of a breakup rather than a break.
But once you’ve worked out the objective of your break, it’s worth clarifying how long you want it to last. Do you need a day? A week? A month?
Jessica Leoni, a sex and relationship for Illicit Encounters (a dating site for affairs, so Jessica knows about relationships gone wrong) recommends taking ‘clean break of a week with no contact’, while Stephanie says a break should be between one and three weeks, but it really is up to you to decide what’s best for your relationship.
Don’t rush things, even if your partner needs longer apart than you do. If they need additional time to do important work, you don’t want to cut that short.
Outline the sex side of things
This is a big one.
Unless you want a Ross and Rachel situation, you need to be entirely upfront about the sexual exclusivity of a break before you take it.
Set up some ground rules. Will you remain exclusive throughout the break? Can you go on dates with other people? If anything happens, do you need to tell each other?
Yes, this bit is awkward, but ironing it all out now will save you from pain in the long run.
Determine the rules of communication
Again, this is all part of working out what your break is for and what you’re hoping to get out of it, but you absolutely must discuss how much communication you’ll have during your time apart.
Going contact-free can be helpful, but that needs to be agreed from the get-go. You don’t want to be sending your partner messages that go unanswered – that will only inspire paranoia and despair.
Stephanie says: ‘The break does not forbid to keep in touch, but it is necessary to ensure that one does not suffer having the impression that the other is having fun. A weekly call, just to maintain the proximity and reassuring the other party, is not a bad idea.’
Plan a meeting for the end of your break
Put it in your diaries and make sure it happens. This is essential, either to get the relationship back on track or get proper closure and call it quits.
You can go for a phone call if you want, but an in-person chat is usually best.
Stephanie recommends choosing a neutral space where you can discuss your relationship freely, or booking in a session with a couples’ therapist to guide you through the process.
Be prepared for what happens next
When you go into a break, you have to be ready for the possibility that the relationship just isn’t going to work.
Explore alone what you would need for the relationship to continue and establish at what point you’ll say enough is enough.
And don’t rush too quickly back into the swing of things. You took a break for a reason. If you decide to stay together, make sure you’ve sorted out those niggling issues and are returning to a relationship that brings you joy.
‘If you are both fully committing to making it work, by all means resume physical contact,’ says Jessica. ‘But don’t return to the destructive patterns which caused the break in the first place.
‘You both need to indicate why you think the break was necessary and how you are going to put things right.
‘If you still don’t want to see your partner after a week of non-contact, the signs are not good. Absence should make the heart grow fonder. If there is no longing, you should seriously consider a clean break after a week apart.’
How to stop saying sorry
We know grandparents double as the best babysitters. They can be trusted, they dote on children and most importantly, they’re free.
Occasionally they might be good cat or dogsitters or even de facto plant parents. One woman who knew her parents would have no qualms looking after her pet decided to move in next door.
Charity worker Gail Randall wanted to make sure her tortoise Shelley had enough grass to play on, so she bought a property next to her parents.
The 39-year-old moved in with her partner Lisa to the semi-detached property in Plymouth.
Conveniently for them, parents Janet, 57, and Ken, 69, are only ten feet away so when Gail and Lisa are away, their pet has carers and plenty of space to roam.
The set-up seems to be working brilliantly.
The two couples say they love living so close together, even if Gail still regularly raids her parents’ fridge.
Parental privileges Gail is privvy to include free personal security over the house, oven space during Christmas, taxi service and on-call garden maintenance.
Gail said: ‘Lisa and I were looking to get onto the property ladder, and mum and dad were helping us find our first house so I could move out.
‘One day, mum told me the house next door was for sale as a joke, but then I started thinking about it seriously.
‘Luckily my parents are quite good so they weren’t as intrusive as we thought they might be.
‘My dad, however, will only come in the house if we let him in, even if we are at the window waving him in he won’t enter until we go to the door and let him – he’ll just keep knocking.
‘Dad always does our gardening as well, it’s like a free service – we’ll come home and see our hedges trimmed and the grass cut.
‘We always pop next door if the shops are shut, it’s like a little personal tuck shop where we can go and get milk or bread.’
Gail added that sometimes the tortoise wanders over to the other side and has to be returned by Janet or Ken.
Though Gail and Lisa like the perks of having parents next door, they also return the favour when they can.
‘It’s actually quite nifty,’ continued Gail. ‘We don’t even have our own WIFI because we connect to my mum’s which can be a little awkward when our friends come over and we’re asking next door for the password.’
Although living just feet away from your in-laws might be too much for some, Lisa, a volunteer coordinator, says she loves being so close to Gail’s family.
She said: ‘They’re both great, I was a little curious at first living next door to my partner’s parents because of our own privacy but they really haven’t overstepped the mark.
‘If anything, they’re less intrusive than we would like them to be.’
Mum Janet says she also indulges in using the neighbour’s washing machine sometimes.
She said: ‘I was really happy when they said they were going to move and although I initially meant it as a joke at first.’
One of the biggest positives, they say, is being able to look out for each other, they don’t have to worry about noisy neighbours or anti-social behaviour because they are their own unit on their road.
Gail added: ‘It’s really comforting living here, I feel at home because its where I grew up.
‘My partner and parents get on really well, I’m very lucky in that respect so it’s quite perfect how everything has slotted in to place.’
woman buys house next to parents so they can look after her tortoise
We love a good DIY project, especially if it means saving money.
New parents may want to pay close attention to this particular creation: a nappy changing station crafted from a toolbox cart for just £160.
When David Pike, 44, from Detroit, was tasked with picking up some baby furniture, he decided to flex his creative muscles.
The mechanic and father of four headed to Home Depot to buy a £160 Husky Tool Cart, then set about turning it into the ultimate baby changing zone.
He added a metal side shelf, wire baskets for storing nappies and other essentials, then some foam pipe insulation around the top’s metal lip so his twin babies wouldn’t be scratched by the cart while being changed.
He also installed some built-in LED lights for those nighttime nappy changes.
Once the twins are old enough not to need changing, the station can be repurposed as a tool trolley for David’s workplace, MotorCity Mechanic.
That’s a far more budget-friendly option than getting a fancy changing table that you’ll only chuck out once your babies grow.
In an article for CafeMom, David explained that his wife wasn’t initially onboard with the DIY plan, but his creativity won her over.
He wrote: ‘Why a tool cart? My day job for the last 25 years has been a mechanic.
‘My other job is being an automotive Youtuber making videos about the cars I worked on all day.
‘So, my life is 24/7 cars, cars, and more cars. Eventually, it spills over into my family life.
‘Fortunately for me, my loving wife and kids fully understand and have accommodated me and my all things automotive lifestyle. For that reason I truly am blessed.
‘After testing the waters with a picture of one I found online and getting shot down before I could get the words out, I knew I needed to tread softly and go with another tactic: delay.
‘The longer I waited to pick something out the more likely she would be more like, “Whatever, just find something and find something now”.’
David decided on using a tool cart after considering that any baby-specific furniture he bought would likely need to be listed online once it was done with, just to make some of the money back.
He chose to go with something he knew could be useful after the babies are grown up. David says the end result is ‘the most practical diaper changing table you can find’.
‘After its job of helping to keep babies’ nether regions spick and span is complete its new calling would be the garage to help out with making more videos and fixing more cars,’ David explains.
‘Over the last few weeks of getting to use it, my wife’s thoughts about “that crazy idea” have changed.
‘She sees what I see, and she gets it. I can’t help but think that she had a plan as well. “Let him find something that he thinks is the greatest thing ever and that way he will be more than happy to change diapers!”‘
Dad turns toolbox into nappy changing station
The folks behind summer-debauchery staple The Yacht Week are looking to hire two people for ‘the best job ever’.
The company, who also runs The Ski Week, are recruiting two creatives to travel the world in 2020, capturing all that they experience with stunning photo and video content.
The successful applicants will get to travel through Croatia, the Caribbean and Greece during summer and Austria, Japan and Canada during winter, documenting the mayhem on the official @theyachtweek and @theskiweek channels.
Your expenses will be fully covered, and you’ll also get paid a salary of £15,000, have access to Jacob Riglin’s The Photography Masterclass and one-on-one mentorship from a ‘leading industry professional’.
Is your camera your favourite travel companion? Would you like to change your job description to Best Job Ever? 🙌🏻
To find out more head to https://t.co/osFYr981BH – g'wan, change your life TODAY!
🎥 @mattglpitman pic.twitter.com/TVUR8fkjFJ
— The Yacht Week (@theyachtweek) September 26, 2019
There’s even an option to take on a sponsored L3 Diploma in Content Production.
All you’ll need is a passport, to be over 21 and to of course have the required content skills.
‘In order to thrive in this unique working environment you need to be creative, laidback and know how to get the right shot under ever-changing circumstances,’ the website reads.
‘The pace is fast, no two days look the same and the need to be proactive, whilst maintaining a smiley positive outlook, is key.’
You can apply now until November 1, 2019. If you’re shortlisted, you can expect to carry out a series of task-based assignments between November 1, 2019 and January 31, 2020.
To apply, fill in your portfolio link, social media handle and a short bio at theyachtweek.com.
The Yacht Week is looking to hire someone for the 'best job ever'
There’s a new intimate trick set to save people time post-coitus. It’s called the come&gone, and it’ll clean up your sex-related mess.
We’re not talking about the kind of the emotional mess that might come with a roll in the hay, like unmet expectations and catching unwanted feels. We’re talking fluid.
Instead of turning to fistfuls of tissues and a wad of baby wipes to deal with the cum drip, you can turn to come&gone’s medical-grade sponge.
‘The ninja roll off the bed, penguin walk to the bathroom, and camp out on the toilet just wasn’t fun. Gobs of toilet paper later, I still couldn’t get it all out. Not to mention my sheets?!’ said company founder Frances Tang.
‘That’s why come&gone was created. We’re on a mission to ban the dripping, forever.’
The soft material sits on a stick, which you then insert into the vagina. Dab, dab, dab – and you’re free to get to work, face the cold hard light of day or simply roll over for a cosy cuddle. A simple ejac and evac.
If you’re still a little unsure, check out the brand’s rather graphic instructional video involving a creamy doughnut.
‘I used to dread quickies because I never had enough time to clean up after (and then the minute I put my clothes on, it all starts dripping out),’ writes reviewer Lani.
‘With come and gone I don’t have to worry about this and I no longer feel squishy for half the day!!!’
The product currently retails at $10 (£8) for a 10 pack. Unfortunately, the come&gone happens to be single-use, so it’s not exactly eco-friendly.
come&gone cleaning device
On October third, Aaron Samuels asked Cady Heron what day it was. And thus the date became iconic.
Mean Girls Day takes place on this date every year and gives us the chance to make grool references to the cult classic more than we do any other day.
Since its release 15 years ago, the teen comedy has been ubiquitous (yes, we’re all old). And whenever the spookiest night of the year surfaces, out come all the fetch Regina George, Cady Heron, Gretchen Weiner and Karen Smith get-ups.
With so many epic one-liners and immediately recognisable looks, it’s no wonder so many people choose to go as a character from the film.
You have your choice of secondary characters too, who make it easy to look like you gave your costume some thought without actually working on it too much.
All you need is a hoody to go as Damien, some eyeliner and black attire for Janis and of course, pink for The Plastics.
There’s just so much to work with.
Here are some Mean Girls costumes to wear on Halloween:
The Plastics’ Santa costume, £40.99, Fun
If you want to be as authentic as possible and go for a red leather skirt like The Plastics then Missguided has one for £12.
Regina George costume, £6.99-£10.99, Fun
You could create this look by cutting holes in your white vest and wearing a purple bra too.
Regina George’s Halloween costume £35.99-£40.99, Fun
Of course, you can be meta and dress up the same way Regina Goerge does for a Halloween party.
Regina on a Wednesday, Pink cardigan, £10.54, Yesstyle
A Little Bit Dramatic t-shirt, £13.96, 8Ball
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that on Wednesdays we wear pink. While you can raid your wardrobe for anything that resembles millennial pink, there are also options available to buy online.
Damien, blue hoody, £12, Boohoo
This is by far the easiest and most subtle ode to the film. Pull the hoody up, draw the strings and pair it with a sign that says ‘she doesn’t even go here’. Hey presto, you’ve got yourself a Halloween look.
Cady’s Halloween costume, £20.46, Amazon
We all died of second-hand embarrassment when Cady walked in dressed as a zombie bride while everyone else went as sexy cats and the like. But this outfit is still pretty universal.
Get some fake teeth, a bloody liquid and some white face paint. We recommend you don’t go for Mexican themed make-up though (can you say appropriation?).
Gretchen Weiner’s Halloween costume, £29.99, Fancydress.com
Cat ears, £4, Boohoo
She tried to make fetch happen and there was none for Gretchen Weiner but sexy cat costume, which the character wore to the party, has endured throughout the years.
Janis Ian, £21 denim jacket, Boohoo
Hair clips, £8.50, Topshop
Janis is pretty easy to dress as, you need plenty of eyeliner, some gel/oil to matte down the hair and some clips to bring the look together. Oh but it has to be all black.
Regina’s mum, £18, PrettyLittleThing
Blonde wig, £9.78, Light In The Box
She’s the cool mum that wants to know all the ‘jams’ youngsters are listening to and offers condoms to her daughter.
And of course, you should honour Amy Poehler’s brilliant portrayal of Regina’s mum.
Ms. Norbury, £13.99, DQT
This look might not be instantly recognisable but Tina Fey (who made the films) bejazzles her waistcoat with many many pins and badges (sounds familiar now doesn’t it?).
This look is perfect if you want to be relevant but subtle.
Karen, £12.99, eBay
Though this bag isn’t worn by Amanda Seyfriend’s character in the film, it’s a shout-out to her classic line. You don’t need to put too much effort in for Karen. You could simply wear pink, touch your boob and predict the weather.
One thing is certainly clear, the Mean Girls love isn’t going to die down any time soon. And we’re totally grool with it.
While we’re a solid three months away from the big day, Christmas seems to be on the shopper’s agenda.
Of course Disney has leapt in to get a piece of the (mince) pie.
They’ve just released a new range of Christmas baubles, that are slightly different to your regular red Harrods balls and snowmen.
This year, you can spruce up your tree with the balloon-lifted house from Up, a powerful Captain Marvel figurine, a cheeky Mushu from Mulan or an adorable Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Of course the Disney traditionalists are well catered for, with classics like Toad from Wind in the Willows and the Cinderella Carriage.
There’s even something for those who are a little more spooky than festive, with The Nightmare Before Christmas being immortalised in bauble form.
There’s even a figurine to top your tree with, instead of the usual frocked-up angel or shining star.
Explore the entire range at Shop Disney, prices range from £7.50-£35. If there’s any excuse to whip out the tree in October, this might just be it.
Disney Christmas baubles
Animals are easy to forgive as it’s not their fault they stumbled onto a ceremony.
But when it’s a whole human being photobombing the special day, it’s a bit harder to laugh it off.
One couple who had booked out a beach certainly didn’t want any onlookers getting in the way.
And yet, a woman who’d just finished a dip in the ocean stood around watching the whole procession.
Not only did she watch on, but the swimmer in blue also managed to be photographed behind the couple’s first picture as man and wife.
Ouch. At least she didn’t get in the way of the shot holding up her phone.
Sharing the images on Reddit, poster Calego wrote: ‘They put up yellow police tape all around the beach for this wedding, yet somehow this random lady in the blue swim suit STILL felt the need to stand HERE of all places and watch the whole thing.’
Users on Reddit obviously had a laugh. ‘She was their something blue,’ joked one person while another quipped: ‘That feel when you come out of the sea and find a wedding occupying your sun lounger’.
Others noted how risky beach weddings can be.
One person shared their experience of attending one, saying: ‘Beach weddings are such a gamble, sure they can look nice but I’ll never forget my friend’s beach wedding.
‘They had scouted the site in the winter but come summertime, when the ceremony was scheduled, it was a full-blown beach party out there.
‘I’m sitting there, unable to hear a word of the ceremony over the crashing waves and the people yelling (in fact, I didn’t know it was over til they kissed), and the whole time there was a pot-bellied man in speedos standing essentially where the woman in the blue bikini is, right behind the bride and groom.
‘People were throwing footballs, frisbees, it was ridiculous. Very poorly planned.’
Something to think about if you’re planning to have your nuptials by the seaside.
Sometimes parents just need one sweet moment of peace and quiet.
If that takes a little white lie, who can blame them? Dealing with hyperactive kids all day is exhausting, and sometimes you’re just too tired to carefully explain to tiny humans why you need them to just sit and watch TV for an hour.
One mum has shared the genius way she gets her children to stay still.
Jessica D’Entremont, a mum who shares her parenting journey on Instagram to spread awareness of sensory processing disorders, needed her children to stay still for a few minutes.
The family had had a busy day, with Jessica’s daughters ‘about to start freaking out’ after a day of shopping, crowds, and noise.
The mum’s approach was pretty brilliant: She bought them glow in the dark pyjamas, then told her kids that they needed to lie still and quiet under the lights to ‘charge’ them – otherwise they wouldn’t have the light energy to glow later on.
Et voila: the kids patiently lay down under the lights for as long as necessary.
Jessica, from Poughkeepsie, shared her wisdom on Facebook, where it was shared more than 100,000 times.
After the comments praising the trickery flooded in, the mum shared an update, writing: ‘To expand on the trickery I’ve started putting the pjs back into their drawer when they get dressed in the morning……unexposed to light all day they dim and do not glow in the dark when they tried to test me last night until they laid down again. Reinforcing the need to lie quietly under the light before bed.’
It’s a benevolent lie, really. Having a makeshift meditation session before bed is a great way to relax and decompress – even if the kids don’t know that’s what they’re doing.
‘I’m not even sorry,’ wrote Jessica.
We reckon she can get away with it for a while longer. Just delete the evidence of the scheme going viral before those children turn into teens.
Do you have a brilliant parenting hack you’d be up for sharing? Get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.
Mum comes up with genius way to get kids to stay still
Winter is coming and everyone is sick. It’s time to think about getting the flu jab.
The coughers, the sneezers, the snifflers. They’re stood behind you on the tube, they’re sat next to you at work, they just shook your hand in a meeting.
Coughs and colds are part and parcel of the changing seasons, but flu is different. Flu is caused by different viruses and can be much more serious – and people die every year from complications like bronchitis or pneumonia.
We know what you’re thinking. Sure, flu can be serious, but not if you’re young, healthy and fit, right?
Well, not exactly. Complications from the flu can develop in anyone. 17,000 people in the EU die from flu annually – and not all of them are older or vulnerable. It’s less likely if you’re young and healthy, but it does happen.
Experts have also warned that a stronger strain of flu – known as Aussie flu – is set to hit the UK this winter.
This type of flu apparently has worse symptoms than normal flu and carry a higher risk of complications, so health professionals are recommending that people take extra precautions.
It’s also important in order to stop the spread of the illness. Even if catching flu yourself might do nothing worse than leave you housebound for a week, if you pass it on to a vulnerable family member, neighbour or colleague, the consequences for them could be much worse.
‘Although flu is generally more dangerous in at-risk groups, it can sometimes cause serious illness and even death, in previously healthy people,’ explains Dr Clare Morrison, GP and medical advisor at Medexpress.
‘This can happen if it leads to pneumonia, for instance.
‘Therefore I recommend that everyone has a flu jab.’
The at-risk groups that Dr Morrison is talking about includes people who are aged over 65, pregnant women, carers of the elderly and people who already have a serious medical condition.
‘Flu vaccination reduces the risk of influenza and reduces the risk of flu-related complications if you do get it,’ says Dr Morrison. ‘It’s free for children, elderly, and those in at-risk groups such as diabetics, and asthmatics.’
Those who don’t fall into any of the high-risk groups still have a responsibility to limit their exposure to the illness – to stop people from becoming seriously unwell.
A US study found that young, low-risk adults getting the flu vaccination helps to protect older, at-risk groups.
The study, published recently in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, suggests a link between the flu vaccination rates of young adults and lower flu risk for older adults.
‘This indicates that older adults were less likely to be diagnosed with the flu if they lived in communities where younger, healthy adults received the flu vaccine,’ says the study’s author Glen Taksler, PhD.
It’s what’s known as community immunity.
What are the risks of the flu jab?
There’s a common misconception that getting the flu jab will give you the flu. You might feel a little bit achy or have a mild fever for a day or so after getting the jab, but the NHS says that more serious side effects are rare.
One thing to be wary of is an allergic reaction to the jab – but again this is very unlikely.
‘It’s rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction to a vaccination. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes,’ reads the NHS website.
‘The person who vaccinates you or your child will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.’
Where can you get the flu jab?
The flu vaccination is available free of charge on the NHS for vulnerable and at-risk adults and children. So you can just book an appointment with your GP.
If you don’t fall into one of these at-risk groups, you can pay for the flu vaccine privately.
The NHS website says that flu jabs can cost up to £20 – but think of what you’ll save on Lemsip and tissues.
You can get the winter flu jab at Boots for just £12.99, all you have to do is book an appointment online and you can pop in during your lunch break.
When is the best time to get the flu jab?
Basically… now. The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to the end of November.
You can still have it later in the winter, but it’s best to get it earlier to minimise your risk of getting ill.
Nurse places bandage on female patient
I am fat. I almost always have been and probably will be forever.
Growing up, the word ‘fat’ was terrifying. The only times I heard it was when it was loaded with venom and designed to hurt – a three-letter word with the purpose to threaten you into changing what you look like.
At school, I would always be the first to make the joke about my size to avoid being the butt of someone else’s. I adopted this ‘fat funny friend’ persona as an armour to do battle in the world. So, if anything, I was called out for being too loud or even over-confident, rather than for my size.
As a result, no one at school ever really called me fat, or at least not to my face. Instead, this word was used as ammunition at home and a catalyst for the yearly summer holiday weight-loss project.
It was only once I left drama school a few years ago, that I started to reclaim the word ‘fat’ for me and my body. As I began to look for work, I found that I was ‘too big’ to play the ‘normal parts’ – but ‘not big enough’ to be ‘the fat girl’.
Around the same time, I also started to tap into the online fat community and discovered other artists who were making works about fatness and their bodies. It genuinely blew my mind that people could be fat and happy.
I had consistently been fed a rhetoric by the media and people around me that fat people were just lazy and unhealthy – that they could never be happy in their bodies and not want to change them. But these bloggers and artists and other people across the world were taking up space in their glorious fat bodies without the want or need to change.
For so long, I pictured my fat body as temporary and so never made it a home. I never bought it expensive clothes, but instead splashed out on things I aspired to squeeze into. I didn’t touch it, feed it or love it properly, but focused on how little time I could spend in it. So, once I realised there was a world where this didn’t have to be the case, my mindset began to change.
I can’t pretend this happened overnight – that I suddenly clapped my big fat thighs together and everything was over – because it definitely wasn’t like that. Rather, I began joining the conversation, learning more about the Fat Activist Movement and then started to make my own work around it. This quickly snowballed into writing a one-woman show about my experiences of living in a fat body, subtly called FATTY FAT FAT, and taking up space publicly as a fat person.
This process effectively forced me to ‘come out’ as fat in big way.
Living in a fat body is inherently political; everyday actions are met with confrontation, criticism and aggression.
Our capitalist culture is force-feeding us the idea that we are the before photo you should be scared of, that we are unlovable and that we don’t deserve to be treated fairly by our healthcare system. Some days it’s harder to ignore than others, especially as we live in a day and age where you can’t complete your commute without seeing a diet pill advert or the latest Cancer Research campaign.
I have had to work really hard to take ownership of, and some days even love, my label of fat. It’s not easy or linear, and the bad days often feel worse because it feels like you are letting the side down, but for me it’s about knowing only I have the right to decide what my body is or isn’t.
Ultimately fat is a descriptive word just like any other, and it’s one I’ve chosen to describe me and my body.
Although it is complex for a lot of people, the more we untie it from the connotations it’s been given, the freer we are to go and live our best fat lives.
Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity — positively or negatively — and what the label means to them.
If you would like to get involved please email email@example.com
A new exhibition that aims to redefine black masculinity is opening in celebration of Black History Month.
Curated by artist and multimedia storyteller Jonah Batambuze, the experiential exhibit is called The Black Male Is ________, and features authentic, diverse stories about black men.
‘Throughout our lives, black men appear invisible in mainstream society unless connected with negativity,’ Jonah tells Metro.co.uk.
‘The goal of the exhibition is to expose people to more complex stories about black males, contrary to what they may have seen in the media.’
Jonah says the exhibition is fully inclusive and features work by a diverse range of artists, including art, panel discussions on mental health and black fatherhood, and music.
‘I want to inspire children and adults to dream and to know it’s okay to be unapologetically black,’ says Jonah.
‘Black masculinity to me is something that is fluid and whatever we want it to be. Hence, the concept of the exhibition.
‘For example, It’s okay to be an artist rather than an athlete. And, it’s okay to show sensitivity instead of restricting our emotions.’
Jonah thinks it’s important for black men to create their own expectations of themselves and stop trying to live up to other people’s ideas of who they are.
‘I want people to understand that there are many different layers associated with being a black male. And, as much as some people may think we’re all the same, we are entirely different.’
Jonah’s exhibition is about reclaiming the narrative of black men and chipping away at archaic, damaging tropes.
‘For too long, The story of the black male has been mistold by others,’ he says.
‘This inaugural exhibition provides a platform for black males and our allies to control the narrative and banish outdated stereotypes.’
The Black Male Is ________ will be held at Not Just Another Store in Shoreditch On 10 October.
Black male comp
Planning a wedding in 2020?
Well, you’d better read up on all the big trends for the year ahead.
Handily enough, we’ve chatted to Bridebook.co.uk founder Hamish Shephard for his predictions of the things that will be big next year, from the flowers to the food (and, of course, the wedding dresses).
So, what can you expect to see plastered all over Instagram and Pinterest in the next 12 months?
Proposal and engagement trends
2020 is a leap year, meaning you can expect to see more women proposing. Yes, that tradition is still alive and well, despite it being perfectly okay for women to propose on any day they fancy, not just 29 February.
Vloggers going mainstream (just look at the YouTubers popping up on Strictly Come Dancing) has caused YouTube proposal videos to become more popular. That trend will continue next year – keep an eye out for people recording the entire emotional moment they propose and then documenting every stage of wedding planning.
Wedding dress trends
Designer Phillipa Lepley says 2020 will see a rise in ‘princess’ dresses. We’re talking dramatic, feminine, and oh-so-pretty gowns with big skirts, trains, and veils.
Expect to see cathedral length veils (the ones that fall to the floor) and high-necklines.
To bring those old-world dresses into the new year, brides will add personal touches and edgy accessories. Think leather jackets, bejewelled headbands, tattoos, or pastel-dyed hair.
Embroidery will be a big trend, especially unique designs with personal messages. Phillipa Lepley says one bride wanted her dog’s paw prints embroidered into her gown, while a few have asked for their new initials to be hidden within the embroidery.
Strapless gowns are still on the outs in favour of detailed shoulders and sleeves, and brides will be after simple, clean designs that feel timeless. Hamish also predicts a surge in regal style dresses with ruffled collars, long sleeves, and plenty of tulle.
More brides are also opting for a second wedding dress for the evening (remember The Duchess of Sussex’s second, sleeker dress for her reception? That’s your inspiration) or gowns that can totally transform for a radically different look.
‘Bridal fashion is fairly cyclical. Around 10 years ago the boho relaxed-bride trend took off in a big way, and that was followed by the rise of slinky, more fitted dresses without trains or too much ‘fuss,’ says Hamish. ‘Then after the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lace dresses became the popular choice.
‘Now we are seeing designers return to dresses with larger skirts which have real wow factor, but the modern millennial bride is adding a touch of cool so the look isn’t too dated. What started off as the odd pair of converse is now evolving to a prevalent, slightly rebellious and quirky accessorising trend.’
Wedding flower trends
Lavender Green Flowers predicts a move towards more informal, relaxed bouquets that are totally bespoke and left a little rough around the edges to look natural.
You’ll spy lots of botanicals and leafy greans as well as more unusual foliage, rather than your standard bunch of roses.
Sustainability will play a big factor, as more brides are putting this first when planning their big day.
And expect bold colours. While 2019 has been all about dusty, muted blush tones, next year will be packed with hot pinks and fuchsias.
Wedding food trends
Get ready for more vegan and free-from menus in 2020. The ‘chicken or fish’ dinner is dying a death.
‘The rapid growth in vegetarian and veganism, especially in the millennial generation, has led to an increase in such foods being served at weddings,’ Hamish tells us. ‘Even couples who aren’t themselves vegans are more empathetic than ever before, and they are keen to cater for guests with all dietary requests.’
Couples are also going to choose more informal eating arrangements, such as grazable snacks, buffet tables, and dedicated food stations, so you won’t be lumped with a stuffy three-course dinner.
Gin will continue to be the tipple of choice, with G&T stations and personalised gin cocktail menus. Speaking of cocktails, you’ll find more couples creating their own signature drinks, alongside personalised canapés and desserts, too.
Hamish also thinks there’ll be a rise in the number of American style pre-wedding day rehearsal dinners.
Wedding decor trends
If 2019 was all about wedding smoke bombs, expect 2020 to feature balloon walls and wedding wall art murals – all carefully chosen to provide great backdrops for guests’ wedding snaps.
There’s going to be a real move to escapism and fairytale touches (blame our current political hellscape), with chandeliers under trees and pergolas with hanging fairy lights.
You’ll spot lots of indoor furniture being moved and set up outside, so don’t be alarmed if you see a full sofa hanging out in a field.
And, of course, you’ll see loads of fruit as decoration. Lemons are a big deal.
General wedding day trends
Time for the quick-fire wedding trend round.
Other things predicted to be big at weddings in 2020 include…
Do you have an amazing wedding story you’d like to share? Get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.
It’s a truth universally known that Elf is the best Christmas movie (okay fine, it’s not a unanimous agreement, but still, the Will Ferrell classic is pretty top-tier).
Every year during the festive period, Buddy the Elf graces our television screens, making us chuckle at his sunny disposition and enthusiasm for all things Christmas.
If you’re looking to impart Buddy’s festive cheer upon your household then you’re in luck because there’s a wreath for that.
Online marketplace Etsy is offering a Buddy the Elf wreath which is sure to welcome and possibly terrify your guests.
With the big day now two months away, you may start piling up the ornaments to jazz up your place. What better than Buddy’s face to welcome the season?
Created by the Esty store CustomDesignPress, the £63 wreath seems to be a hit with customers.
Designer Erica has warned folks interested in copping one that there is a four to six-week wait as it’s so high in demand.
Over on social media, people are a bit less keen.
The look of unadulterated joy on Buddy’s face is a bit unsettling to some.
One person wrote on Facebook: ‘This would scare the crap out of me. I think I would just turn and leave’ while another echoed the sentiment saying: ‘If I saw this on someone’s door, I would leave immediately.’
While some were a tiny bit weirded out their love for Elf triumphed the uneasy feeling.
Twitter user @Courtbeeee wrote: ‘Terrifying but I love it’ while @momof4_loveit said: ‘OMG I need this’.
If this is something you’d like to display on your door to tickle your guests, then you can order your own on Etsy.
As we say, the creators are inundated at the moment but the wreath is available to pre-order. Get those orders in now so you can put it on display before Christmas.
Buddy the elf wreath
Tomorrow, Friday 4 October, is National Taco Day.
We could suggest you celebrate this momentous occasion by making your own tacos at home, or heading to a local restaurant to experience authentic Mexican cuisine.
But we reckon you should just pick up some free food instead. Screw culture, eat carbs.
Handily enough, Taco Bell is marking the day not only by adding a new taco option to their UK menu, but is also giving the creation out for free.
Yes, pals. If you go to a Taco Bell branch tomorrow – we repeat, Friday 4 October 2019 – you can get your greedy paws on a free lunch or dinner.
The freebie on offer is the snazzy new Doritos Locos Tacos, which have been in the US for a while and are now finally coming across the pond.
This is a special taco, because its shell is made of Tangy Cheese Doritos. Hence the Doritos bit of the Doritos Locos Tacos.
Inside that crunchy shell sits seasoned beef, shredded lettuce, and cheddar cheese.
If this description makes you salivate, you might as well schedule a visit to Taco Bell tomorrow so you can try the new menu item without paying a penny.
Simply head to any Taco Bell restaurant in the UK (you can find your nearest one online) and ask for a Doritos Locos Tacos. Mention the National Taco Day deal if you get blank stares or are told to hand over some cash.
If you want anything else, you will of course need to pay. But just the tacos should make a nice lunchtime treat.
The deal is first come, first served and supplies are limited, so make sure to head down early. Don’t hold off so you can enjoy a taco as a late-night drunken snack (the best way to enjoy them), as they are likely to have run out by the time you head to the pub.
If you do miss this particular offer and still want to try the new taco, from tomorrow you’ll be able to buy the Doritos Locos Tacos Box for £5. This contains a Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme, two regular tacos, fries, and cinnamon twists.
What a time to be alive.
Will Smith is no longer making trouble in his neighbourhood but is instead venturing into the fashion industry.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air legend has been known for his iconic style throughout the years, notably during the NBC sitcom that shaped the 90s.
If you found yourself admiring the sartorial choices featured on the show, including Will’s uniform for his elite private school, then good news.
The actor slash musician has just dropped his limited-edition line of Fresh Prince merch, Bel-Air Athletics.
Soon you could be donning the jazzy inside-out jacket sported by Will on the show.
Also among the line are Bel-Air Academy tracksuits, unisex hoodies, socks, shirts, and a custom basketball with the school crest.
Just in case people weren’t aware that you’re a Fresh Prince stan, some of the T-shirts come with drawings of Will Smith playing basketball.
Will teased fans throughout the year, breaking the news on the Ellen Degeneres Show and later revealing details on Instagram.
On 1 October, the mega Hollywood star officially launched the line.
The collection includes 26 items in total and is available now until 14 October. Prices range from £6 (for a car freshener) to £88 for the Academy track jacket which can be worn on either side, with navy on one side and printed colours on the other.
British fans of the show are in for a bit of a wait as shipping takes six to eight weeks. So sit tight, folks. If you’re buying loads of items then the company may separate your order depending on availability, but at no extra cost.
Fans on social media are excited. One person wrote: ‘Bel-Air Athletics?! I’m listening,’ while another said: ‘I’m not a hooper but that Paisley Shooter Sleeve kinda fire. I’m gonna think about these t-shirts and those shorts’.
Others are considering whether they should grab it while it lasts: ‘Very much debating dropping $ on the new Fresh Prince gear’.
You can shop Bel-Air Athletics on Will Smith’s website.
Unfortunately, the limited-edition line does not feature the biggest fashionista of the show, Hilary Banks. But we can only dream.
Fresh Prince of Bel Air fashion line
A missing dog has finally been found after three women decided to get creative with their search.
Zena – a Bosnian rescue dog – escaped through an open door at her foster home, back in April.
The news of the lost puppy reached Shelly Spiller, Amanda James and Hazel Richards – the trio behind the Bristol and Somerset Missing Dogs Facebook group.
Following several confirmed sightings of the two-year-old terrier-cross, the women decided to take matters into their own hands.
The threesome set up night patrols in Blaise Castle Park, with a supply of meaty treats to tempt the runaway back.
After a month passed without success, the three women decided to launch a GoFundMe page to raise £500 to buy a specialist wildlife camera.
The dedication didn’t stop there. They also chipped in a few hundred pounds of their own money, to put towards some night-vision goggles.
After successfully raising the money, the trio planted treats in the park and installed cameras to see what the pooch was up to.
Shelly said: ‘We soon realised she wasn’t a fan of things like fish, tuna, mackerel or anything fishy really.
‘So we switched it to meats and fresh wet food. We didn’t buy tinned goods. She was living like a fox so that wouldn’t have been any good.
‘It was quite expensive in the end. We must have spent about £500 which came out of our own pocket. But after we changed the food we had to look at changing the traps.’
The first trap they installed was too small for Zena to enter, so they had to make a larger version.
After four months on the run, the dog was finally found – being lured into a cage filled with liver and garlic sausage, butcher’s tripe, Swedish meatballs and biscuits.
The adventurous mutt is now staying at an animal rescue centre, where she will remain until she is ready to be fostered again.
Shelly added: ‘I just can’t believe we actually managed to catch her. But we wouldn’t have stopped until we did.
‘Because she is a rescue dog her first instinct was to bolt off. She had only been with her new foster family for two weeks.
‘The key was being as quiet as possible. At the beginning we were out there until 2.30am to 3am in the morning.
‘But once we got the cameras installed we were able to watch the trap from one of our houses, as we live nearby.
‘Sometimes we would have to do another late night as the WiFi router would run out. We had to keep topping that up every three or four days.’
She added: ‘There are going to be people who will say “why did you spend months searching for her when she had only been with her foster family for two weeks?” but I just think animals shouldn’t be dismissed.’
‘In our eyes every animal deserves to be warm, fed and comfortable.’
Our weekly series How I Save aims to take an honest look at how people spend and save their money.
Why? Because we’re all so uncomfortable chatting about money that we’d rather be in a constant state of sheer panic and shame than just ask someone what an ISA actually is.
Each week we ask someone to track their spending for a week and share how much they have saved up in their accounts right at this moment, all to get a better sense of the reality of people’s personal finances. Then we give them some expert advice they (and we) can learn from to save more effectively.
It’s tricky to know if we’re on the right track with our saving if no one will openly say how much money they’ve got, after all.
Last week we saw a lesson in what not to do in the form of a 28-year-old accounts manager splashing her cash on cocaine and croissants.
This week we have a more sensible saver who’s struggling to put away cash on a low salary. Rachel (not her real name, as people can be nasty about money stuff) is a 25-year-old marketing assistant living in North London. She’s also disabled and uses mobility aids including a wheelchair, which she says makes her outgoings add up.
How Rachel saves:
I earn £18,500 a year. In my savings account right now I have £1,036.74
I’m saving for nothing. I just need back-up because money is a massive worry for me.
The main way I save is transferring £100 each month and dipping in only when desperate
I struggle with saving because I don’t earn that much and live in quite a pricey area of London. I don’t want to live my life never enjoying being able to buy stuff for myself or socialising because of money.
I’m also disabled which means my monthly costs can be more than an average person as I have to use taxis quite a lot and really heavily on my car to travel.
How Rachel spends:
A week of spending:
Monday: Breakfast and lunch for work, £4.32, petrol for £29.
Tuesday: I bought food for breakfast, lunch and dinner that day, so total spent was £6.40.
Wednesday: Lunch is £3.76. I buy some makeup bits for £6.
Thursday: £25 on clothes, £25 on a record, £4.62 on lunch at work, and £8.97 on food for the evening (with enough to make for lunch the next day.
Friday: £3.49 on beer.
Saturday: £9.50 on coffee for myself and for my housemates.
Sunday: £7.79 on a takeaway for dinner.
How Rachel could save:
We spoke to the experts over at money saving app Plum to find out how Rachel can save better (and what we can learn from her spending).
Here’s what they said:
Okay Rachel, let’s go.
First of all… take a deeeep breath. You’re not alone in finding money stressful, but you’re being brave in talking about it openly with us. We applaud you!
And what’s more, you’re doing a GREAT job with what you have. In fact, you’re pretty much a budgeting guru. We know a lot of people who will be very jealous of your self-discipline.
Let’s talk a bit about your savings. You say you need backup. Well, you’ve already saved over £1,000, which would cover you in case of an emergency. Give yourself a big pat on the back for that.
Now you can set a new goal – for something exciting, like a holiday, home deposit, or a treat for yourself. With that goal in mind, you can start to feel positive about your saving, rather than it being a source of stress. Set up a new savings account for this goal, so your emergency savings stay separate.
Putting aside money into a different account, as you do, is the perfect way to save when money is tight (auto-saving apps like Plum could help you with this!) Start slowly increasing these amounts by a few pounds each time. You’ll hardly notice the difference, but you’ll be amazed by how much you’ve saved in a few months.
It’s hard to see any places where you could be saving money on essential items. You’re smashing it. Bravo!
As for non-essentials, your budget needs to be pretty tight if you want to keep setting aside £100 a month. This week you spent £76.78 on drinks, clothes, records and makeup. Don’t panic – this is not bad at all.
If you set aside a specific amount for non-essentials, however, you’ll know you won’t have to scrimp at the end of the month. Then you can have peace of mind when you spend.
Another good way to save money can be by switching your energy tariff. By the looks of it though you’ve got a great deal with Bulb right now (nice one! but make sure you keep reviewing this.
And don’t forget…
Our main advice to you would be: have faith in yourself.
You have good money habits so don’t begrudge yourself the odd treat, you’ve earned it!
How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How I Save: Becky