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

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    dunelm teddy bear duvet set
    The dreamy duvet set (Picture: Dunelm)

    When the colder months set in, it’s increasingly difficult to pull yourself out of bed in the morning.

    But one furniture store is making things a whole lot harder, by offering a product designed to keep you snuggled up for longer.

    Enter Dunelm’s Teddy Bear fleece bedding set.

    The intriguing Teddy Bear collection, features pillowcases, fitted sheets and duvet covers – with potential for your bed to be fully fleeced-up.

    There are eight colours to choose from, including lavender and blush as well as leopard and star prints – so there’s something for every taste.

    dunelm teddy bear duvet set
    Maximum comfort, minimum spending (Picture: Dunelm)

    The retailer claims its Teddy Bear collection ‘is crafted from sumptuously soft textured fabric for maximum comfort.’

    Sounds very inviting.

    If that wasn’t tempting enough, prices start at £4 for a pillowcase and go up to £30 for a king size duvet cover.

    Those looking to go the extra mile can even invest in the teddy bear cuddle cushion, which offers support for the waist and back – ideal for sitting on a chair or bed.

    If the glowing customer reviews (across the whole range) are anything to go by, it seems anyone looking to get their hands on the teddy bear products may have to be prepared to fight off other shoppers.

    One customer said: ‘It was like being cuddled by clouds.’

    Another agreed, saying: ‘Absolutely love this. So soft and warm. Just makes you want to snuggle down. Good quality.’

    Those looking to give their loungewear a Teddy Bear makeover can also check out Dunelm’s slippers and dressing gowns.

    You can never be too comfortable, after all.

    MORE: Mum transforms old shower curtains and duvet covers into new clothes for her whole family – saving over £800

    MORE: Woman who plans to marry duvet gets cold feet after being called ‘duvet lady’

    MORE: M&S launches an all-in-one duvet that you never need to change


    Dunelm launched teddy bear fleece beddingDunelm launched teddy bear fleece bedding

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    cubes of fudge
    Eating this could be your job (Picture: Getty)

    Ever wanted to eat food for a living?

    Well, one confectionery company is making dreams a reality.

    Yorkshire-based sweet subscription service STIRRD is recruiting a professional fudge taste-tester.

    The business is looking for someone to join them as their first Chief Chewing Operator (CCO) – yep, that’s the official job title.

    The role will involve taste-testing a number of sweet treats straight off the production line, to ensure they are of a high enough standard. So the right candidate will need to have an excellent palette and, of course, a sweet tooth.

    STIRRD says it’s ideally looking for ‘a passionate confectionery connoisseur with a sophisticated palette to join the team and aid the development of its good-for-the-soul flavours.’

    The chosen candidate will collaborate with the development team on some of the company’s upcoming seasonal products, including salted maple and mince pie fudge.

    They will also get the day off on 16 June – aka National Fudge Day.

    But it’s not just fudge the individual will be feeding back on. STIRRD’s boxes include a range of chocolates, honeycombs, caramels, marshmallows treats and more – so no doubt they will have to be sampled too.

    There’s also potential for the hire to feature in the company’s upcoming video campaign.

    STIRRD has stressed that pay is negotiable dependent on experience – so if you’ve ever eaten fudge and commented on it, you’re in with a chance.

    It can hardly come as a surprise that this quirky job has a quirky application process, too.

    Anyone looking to apply will need to fill out a short form and write about their ‘experience of chewing’ in 100 words or less.

    Good luck!

    MORE: The Yacht Week is hiring two people to travel the world for the ‘best job ever’

    MORE: Company rejected job applicant for posting bikini photo on her public Instagram account

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


    This company is looking for a professional fudge testerThis company is looking for a professional fudge tester

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    A doctor preparing to give an injection
    The NHS says the jab is the single best defence against what can be a serious illness (Picture: Shuttershock)

    The NHS has launched its biggest ever campaign to vaccinate millions against the winter flu.

    The health service is offering 25 million people the flu jab to prepare them for the colder months ahead.

    For the first time, the vaccine had been extended to all primary school children.

    Here’s what you need to know about the winter flu jab.

    Who can get the flu jab?

    The free vaccine is available to a number of people for a variety of reasons.

    Those who are over the age of 65, pregnant women and frontline health care and social workers are eligible.

    An elderly couple in winter
    Elderly people are among those offered free vaccinations (Picture; Christopher Furlong/Getty)

    People with underlying health problems – such as chronic respiratory, heart, kidney and liver diseases – are also offer the jab for free.

    This year primary school children of all ages will be able to be vaccinated, including children who are aged two and three. This came into effect on August 31.

    Children over the age of six months but under two-years-old with long-term health conditions are also eligible.

    What are the side-effects of the flu jab?

    After receiving the flu jab, people may get a slight fever and slight muscle ache for a couple of days.

    To ease the discomfort, the NHS advises to continue to move your arm periodically to avoid it getting stiff.

    A doctor giving an injection
    The flu jab will ease pressure on urgent care services in winter (Picture: Andreas Rentz/Getty)

    Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can also be taken, but pregnant women should talk to their GP before taking ibuprofen.

    Where can the flu jab be given?

    The vaccination is available at all GPs, some local pharmacies and at midwifery services for pregnant women.

    The best time to have the flu jab is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to the end of November.

    However if you miss this timeframe don’t worry, you can still have the vaccine later in the winter months.

    MORE: Why you should get the flu vaccine even if you’re young and healthy

    MORE: Deadly flu outbreak could spread in 36 hours and kill 80,000,000 people, experts warn


    The NHS says the jab is the single best defence against what can be a serious illness Picture Shuttershock-5797The NHS says the jab is the single best defence against what can be a serious illness Picture Shuttershock-5797

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  • 10/04/19--06:57: What is ‘sex brain’?
  • An illustration of a brain pulsating on a purple background
    Does your head feel fuzzy? (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    Have you ever taken a moment to consider why we refer to great sex as mind-blowing?

    What you’re describing is an experience that affected you to such a degree that not only did it do amazing things to your body, but it also influenced your mind.

    In other words: it gave you ‘sex brain’.

    There are a variety of feelings you might experience, such as having a fuzzy head, having difficulty putting together a coherent thought or even the urge to say something you otherwise would take more time to consider (such as I love you).

    When you’re having sex, it triggers certain parts of your brain and slows down other parts.

    Neuroscience has shown that the limbic system, which controls your physical urges, lights up while you’re between the sheets, which is why you find it harder to make decisions on anything that isn’t related to your impending orgasm.

    When you have a clear head, you will think about the potential consequences of your actions, but if you’re mid-foreplay or mid-sex, your brain will push these thoughts aside because sex brain is telling your mind and body that it’s a good idea, because it’s so pleasurable.

    As the expression goes, ‘how can something that feels so good be so wrong’.

    For instance, you might have sex with someone you wouldn’t normally consider, such as an ex or someone who is in a relationship.

    You’re so focused on the physical and emotional response that the hormones in your brain are giving you that your brain is (partially) unable to make sound decisions.

    ‘When we have sex a flood of hormones and neurotransmitters are released throughout our bodies, affecting the reward centres of the brain,’ Dr Shirin Lakhani, intimate health specialist and owner of Elite Aesthetics in Kent, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Dopamine is released and this helps us to feel giddy, energetic and euphoric. Oxytocin is also released during sex, which promotes bonding and affection.’

    When oxytocin – also known as the ‘cuddle’ hormone – is released, it influences your mind with feelings of love, bonding and general well-being. On a physical level, it  also affects your uterus, especially during pregnancy where it helps start contractions and lowers your stress levels.

    The dopamine, which regulates your body’s movement, attention span and emotional responses, plays its part, too. It’s also released when you take certain drugs, such as ecstasy, and gives people such a high that it can be highly addictive.

    Flooding your bloodstream with dopamine during sex is completely healthy but the addiction element is still there.

    The hormones can alter your thinking and actions, and many people go on ‘auto-mode’ without actively considering what they’re doing.

    Does it feel good to push your body closer? Do you feel the urge to nibble on your lover’s shoulder, even though you’ve never – consciously – thought about it before?

    Dopamine, along with oxytocin, is letting your urges call the shots, and you’re filled with pleasure because of it. That being said, the logical side of your brain is still there, but has switched off for the time being.

    And while hormones induce bonding feelings, it doesn’t mean this will always lead to slow, sensual or romantic sex.

    Hate sex can trigger the same physical response, alongside a boost of adrenaline – which is also released when you’re angry – and serotonin, a happy chemical.

    External factors can affect your sex brain as well, such as how you’re feeling before you start having sex.

    ‘A study by The Journal of Sexual Medicinei n 2017 examined brain activity before, during and immediately after female orgasm,’ Dr Sarah Welsh, who works with the condom brand Hanx, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘It found that brain activity was heightened during orgasm, with increased activity in several parts of the brain, suggesting the brain is heavily affected during sexual activity, as well as the body.

    ‘Oxytocin helps regulate cortisol, the stress hormone, which can in turn induce calmness and improve stress symptoms. Other studies have found that sex can lower blood pressure, improve memory, and help with pain symptoms. The activity and increase in blood flow around the body is to thank for this!’

    Sex and masturbation can be great stress-relievers, but hormones can only do so much.

    The hormones will give you a temporary boost of emotions, but if you’re already experiencing feelings such as stress or anxiety, this could work its way through the sex brain.

    Let us explain: say you’re having sex and everything feels great, when suddenly you remember the anxiety you felt when you were at work earlier that day – this can break through the fuzziness that we mentioned earlier and your ‘active’ thinking once again takes charge.

    Just as there is sex brain, there is also post-orgasm brain.

    The orgasm releases another shot of oxytocin from the brain’s pituitary gland, as well as endorphins (which are also released during exercise) and you’ll feel relaxed, happy and sleepy.

    Just because you’re influenced by hormonal compounds, you’re not ever completely at the mercy of them – meaning there is no excuse to be cruel or unkind to someone (or cheat) because of it.

    Sex brain only does so much – the rest is all you.

    MORE: There’s now a special spongy tool to soak up semen after sex

    MORE: People tell us about the time they had sex with a colleague

    MORE: Women want their ideal partner to have an average penis, not a big one – why?


    SEX_BRAIN001-859aSEX_BRAIN001-859a

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    The Cadbury orange twirl on a pink background
    People are distraught (Picture: Cadbury)

    If you were as excited as we were about the Cadbury Twirl Orange release, brace yourself.

    The limited-edition product has only been on shelves since 23 September and it already seems to be sold out in certain areas.

    The orange chocolate-y goodness only costs 65p per two-finger pack, so we’re not all that surprised that they’re hard to find, but some disappointed shoppers claim it isn’t just hard to find – but nowhere to be seen.

    Many have taken to social media to express their frustration and to demand answers.

    However, it does exist and some lucky shoppers have managed to find the product which, apparently, is absolutely scrumptious.

    One shopper even begged Cadbury to keep it on as a permanent addition and tweeted: ‘Just tried one of these beauties! Please keep them PERMANENTLY! They are better than Terrys Chocolate Orange.’

    ‘They are quite delicious. Yummers!,’ tweeted someone else.

    People are so desperate to try it, some are even signing up to a waiting list at a local corner shop that is waiting on more deliveries.

    Meanwhile, others are seizing the opportunity to profit from their good fortune.

    One man jokingly suggested that he’d been told the product is ‘like gold dust’ and he’s willing to sell his bar for £50,000.

    With stocks low and people rushing to the stores to get theirs, it could always be a good back-up plan, right?

    ‘The reaction to the launch of Cadbury Twirl Orange has been incredible and the product is in very high demand,’  a Cadbury spokesperson told The Sun.

    ‘The limited edition bars have been available from September 23 in selected convenience stores across the country and will also be available in Co-op, Morrisons and Spar nationwide from next week while stocks last.’

    We’ve contacted Cadbury for a comment (and to find out where we can all score some more gold dust).

    MORE: Confectionery company is hiring a professional fudge taste-tester

    MORE: BrewDog launches a 50% beef, 50% vegan burger and it’s got people talking

    MORE: Taco Bell is giving out free Doritos Locos Tacos in the UK on Friday


    twirl-featured-image-af08-504ctwirl-featured-image-af08-504c

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    Four women from the Wallis family sat at a table together
    The Wallis family celebrated Christmas yesterday (Picture: Hull Daily Mail/MEN Media)

    Most of us have just finishing packing our summer clothes away for another year, but one family celebrated Christmas yesterday – 11 weeks early.

    Head of the family, David Wallis – a ride operator – was joined by 22 of his relatives for a festive dinner, complete with crackers and hats.

    The Christmas feast took place at the Millhouse restaurant and bar in Skidby and saw an impressive turnout with David’s eight granddaughters and three grandsons all huddled around the table.

    While the date for the gathering may seem crackers to most people, there was a sweet reason behind it.

    Every year, for the past seven years, the family has met for an early festive dinner because David manages an Ice Maze ride for a living, which always runs during the festive season.

    Two people from the Hull Family at dinner
    David and his wife (Picture: Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)
    The Hull family
    Family photo (Picture: Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)

    Early October – just before Hull Fair begins – is the only time of the year the Wallis family are all in the same place at the same time and the annual meal means David doesn’t have to miss out.

    ‘We do it every year,’ David told Hull Live.

    ‘We all travel for the fairgrounds and we do the length and breadth of the country and this particular fair, Hull Fair, is when we are all together, all of my kids and grandkids, so we decided because at Christmas time we are usually open, we will have a meal here.

    ‘There was only one of us missing but she will probably make it up for Hull Fair.’

    The 23-strong family hopes the tradition will continue for years to come.

    MORE: You can get a Buddy the Elf Christmas wreath which is both terrifying and hilarious

    MORE: Disney launches new line of Christmas baubles including Captain Marvel and the Up house

    MORE: Lindt is launching a milk chocolate Lindor with white chocolate centre for Christmas


    Family celebrate Christmas 11 weeks earlyFamily celebrate Christmas 11 weeks early

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    The McRib is on a pink background with the McDonald's logo in the background
    It was last seen in the UK in 2014 (Picture: Twitter)

    McDonald’s can’t seem to stop treating its customers to new and innovative products.

    Last week, it was announced that the UK would soon get the chance to try an Indian chicken burger with a naan bun and over in Canada, people can munch on the recently launched PLT (Plant Lettuce Tomato) – a plant-based burger.

    The fast food chain is now at it again, but this time it’s all about that throwback feeling.

    Please say hello, once again, to the McRib.

    It has been reported that the product will make a grand return to 10,000 locations on Monday 7 October – but sadly, these are all in the US.

    The burger – which is filled with a pork patty, drizzled in Western BBQ sauce – first launched in 1981 and has been making sporadic appearances on menus across the globe every couple of years.

    We last saw it in 2014 when it was added for a limited time of five weeks, and before that we’d waited 12 years (why do you tease us so, McDonald’s?).

    The McRib is so popular that it has even inspired its own website, dubbed McRib locator, which includes sightings of the rare item.

    If social media is any indicator, there are many people who love the dish but also a fair few people who loathe it.

    One person suggested that it’s the hype, not the flavour, that fires people up:’…“McRib is back!” has basically become a meme.

    ‘I don’t think people actually like it.’

    Someone else said: ‘I need to know who keeps asking for/buying the McRib bc like??? Why is it always back, where’s my turtle coffee, where’s my white chocolate mocha??

    ‘Those popcorn chicken things they had??? [sic].’

    Others were upset that the product isn’t available in more of the chain’s stores.

    ‘I’ve lived on this earth for 20 god damn years and never had a chance to taste the forbidden fruit,’ wrote one person.

    However, as always, there are those who are ecstatic at the prospect of once again getting their hands on the saucy goodness.

    ‘IT’S MCRIB SEASON!!!!!,’ tweeted one person.

    Someone else said: ‘Omg- the #McRib is coming back, I can’t wait.’

    Now, for the big question: will it be brought back to the UK, too? We asked McDonald’s but unfortunately there appears to be no plans in place for it to be re-launched here.

    You could always buy some ribs and chuck it between two burger buns?

    MORE: Confectionery company is hiring a professional fudge taste-tester

    MORE: BrewDog launches a 50% beef, 50% vegan burger and it’s got people talking

    MORE: Taco Bell is giving out free Doritos Locos Tacos in the UK on Friday


    PRI_88381812PRI_88381812

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    Group fitness a workout in the park
    Need more motivation? An Army sergeant might do the trick (Picture: Getty)

    Motivating yourself to work out is notoriously difficult. Sometimes what you need is a real kick up the arse.

    An old-school, Army sergeant grilling might just do the trick. Don’t worry, you don’t need to enlist – the professionals at Military Fitness can give you an Army workout without moving into barracks or getting a buzz cut.

    Head coach is Grant King, and he served in the British Army for eight years. He’s pulled together a simple workout you can try in your living room.

    Group working out in the park doing a high plank
    A solid warm-up is key to an effective workout (Picture: Getty)

    ‘All you need for this workout is a space to perform a burpee, water, and lots of motivation,’ says Grant.

    ‘To challenge yourself, have a pen and paper ready to record your scores (how many reps) to give you a personal goal for round two.’

    Warm-up

    20 sec – Jog on the spot 

    20 sec – High knees

    Run on the spot, knees up to waist height.

    20 sec – Mountain climbers

    Holding the high plank position, make sure the shoulders are in line with your fingertips, move one knee in line with your elbows, once there alternate movement until you are at a running pace.

    20 sec – Alternate leg swings

    Raise one leg infant of you, keeping leg straight as possible, use the opposite hand to guide that leg up to keep balanced. Keep alternating legs.

    20 sec – Alternate quad stretches

    Grab hold of the laces part of your trainer, keep your knees together, push your hips forward, feel the stretch, hold for a second, change sides. Keep alternating.

    20 sec – Forward big circles with your arms

    Make big circles with your arms, biceps brushing your ears, palms brushing your legs.

    20 sec – Squats

    Legs slightly shoulder-width apart, push the hips back, bend at the knees keeping the back upright, lower your body till you break parallel on the quads.

    From there, push down with your feet raising your body to the standing position.

    20 sec – Jump squats

    Perform the squat as above, when you are in the lower position, explode up making the feet leave the ground.

    20 sec – On the spot sprints

    Sprint on the spot, as fast as you can, making sure to also use your arms.

    Group of People Exercising in the Park
    Push yourself on the second round (Picture: Getty)

    Eight-minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible)

    10 burpees

    From a standing position, crouch down, placing hands either side of the feet, jump back to the high plank position.

    Lower the body fully to the ground, raise the body back to a high plank position, jump the feet in line with the hands landing on your heels, jump up making sure the hands are above the head and the feet leave the ground.

    15 press-ups

    Hands slightly wider than shoulder-width, feet together, hold the high plank position.

    Lower the body until the shoulders are lower than the elbows.

    Once there, push down with your hands raising your body back to the high plank position.

    20 squats

    Legs slightly shoulder-width apart, push the hips back, bend at the knees keeping the back upright, lower your body till you break parallel on the quads.

    From there, push down with your feet raising your body to the standing position.

    30 Mountain Climbers (each leg)

    Holding the high plank position, make sure the shoulders are in line with your fingertips, move one knee in line with your elbows, once there alternate movement until you are at a running pace’

    2 minute rest

    Tabata

    • High Knees
    • Lunges

    Tabata is 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds rest.

    Do eight rounds. So, you will complete eight rounds of high knees followed instantly by eight rounds of lunges.

    3 minutes rest

    Repeat the AMRAP and Tabata again trying to keep the same energy and intensity in round two.

    Good luck and happy sweating!

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

    MORE: These sex positions give you the best cardio workout

    MORE: The hottest fitness trends for 2020


    We can jump higherWe can jump higher

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    As I met his eyes over the dustbins, he said: ‘I love you,’ and my heart sank as I forced out a lie: ‘I love you too’.

    When my first boyfriend uttered those words, I felt only fear. Following years of childhood sexual abuse, I was convinced that I was incapable of feeling real love.

    My abuser manipulated me into loving him and this twisted love forged my understanding of romance.

    Hannah dressed in a stripey scarf and glasses
    To protect myself, I maintained a facade of happiness (Picture: George Douglas)

    As I grew up, I associated love with pain. I did not think that I deserved genuine love. This was exaggerated by the intense PTSD symptoms I wrestled with, including extreme emotional detachment and paranoia.

    To protect myself, I maintained a facade of happiness to keep everyone around me at arm’s length and trusted no one – including myself.

    The abuse also broke down any self-esteem I had built up. As I grew into my teenage body, I treated myself as a sexual object by ignoring my needs and desires and focusing entirely on my partner.

    I was convinced that the only worth my body had was in the pleasure it gave other people. The concept of love never even crossed my mind.

    With my first boyfriend, I grew to love him as a person but I never touched upon the depths of ‘true love’ that he expressed to me.

    Instead, because I thought love meant immersing yourself in another person, I let his life swallow me up. I prioritised his interests, adopted his style and built my life around his needs.

    When I ended the relationship I was done with romance. Love, I thought, was for those brave enough to share their soul with another – I couldn’t fathom ever gathering the courage to do that.

    I rebuilt my walls and settled into a pattern of casual, emotionless sex. I found a thrill in no-strings relationships but the process was starting to do more damage than good, thanks to my utter lack of self-respect.

    Things finally started to change when I met my current partner four years ago. I had joined a dating app and he was the first person I swiped right on.

    Hannah wearing a yellow dress, standing in front of colourful surboards
    I wanted to feel love for him, but I knew I had to love me first (Picture: George Douglas)

    We had immediate chemistry and I thought he was the perfect fit for a friend with benefits.

    As I had just moved away from the city he lived in, we started with texting all day, every day, for two months before we finally met. On our first date, we clicked instantly but I kept my guard up and went in expecting nothing more than a one night stand.

    However, from that first night together, the instant connection was unlike anything I had experienced before and his knack for making me giggle like a maniac put me at ease.

    Before long, we were in a relationship. I was utterly enthralled by him but I maintained my walls because I expected my heart to be broken sooner or later.

    Opening up to him was far from easy. Even though I could talk about anything, I had no trust or respect for myself. I wanted to feel love for him but I knew I had to love me first.

    I started by writing down everything I was feeling, whether it was in a journal or mashed together in terrible poetry. Expelling the dark emotions I felt helped me clear my vision.

    I read every self-help book I could get my hands on and identified the unhealthy thinking patterns I had developed.

    Breaking down those barriers felt like coming up for air after a lifetime of being buried beneath waves of grief and sadness.

    Hannah standing in front of a white brick wall with a blue heart drawn on it
    I began the process of tearing my walls down to their deepest foundation (Photo: George Douglas)

    I will be working on this for the rest of my life but examining my own psyche has been a powerful experience. I no longer feel trapped by my emotions or terrified of what I am feeling. I have built something beautiful – unreserved self-love.

    My partner has played a huge role by constantly reminding me that our relationship was a safe space to be vulnerable. In time, I learned to trust and let him in.

    I was still wary of his love but I did allow myself to reciprocate, even if I made him tell me he loved me three times before I trusted it.

    We moved a lot slower than the average couple but the years we spent building a foundation gave us everything we needed to find true love in one another.

    For the first time I feel hopeful in a relationship. I no longer bury my emotions to protect myself – I see strength in the intimate vulnerability we have curated together. Instead of fearing the future, I imagine one full of love.

    For too long I denied myself even the slightest whisper of love. The abuse I’d endured as a child had cocooned the idea of love in fear and distrust.

    But I’ve unearthed a part of me I never knew existed, one that finds courage in expressing emotions honestly and openly.

    Nowadays I see the love shining out of every photo my partner takes of me – even the ones where he tries to capture the inside of my nostrils – and I surrender to it completely.

    True love is not a fairy-tale. It is equal parts vulnerability and strength.

    It’s not a sacrifice of one person for another – it’s the enhancement of two lives through a connection built on mutual trust, respect, and honesty. It’s not meant to be painful or tragic, it’s meant to be restorative, beautiful and full of hope for the future.

    And it’s certainly not the nightmare love my abuser bestowed on me.

    Finding a love like the one I have feels unreal. Sometimes I catch myself staring at my partner in disbelief, not because I am shocked that someone chose to love me, but because I am proud of learning to choose love, and to know that I deserve it.

    I opened my heart and love flowed in and planted deep roots. I have no regrets because, despite living with the lifelong impact of childhood abuse, I know I’m capable of true, uninhibited love.

    Finding it was painful but I did it.

    Last week in Love, Or Something Like It: My Italian wife taught me how to show love

    Write for Love, Or Something Like It

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

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

    MORE: Online dating can be fun as a widow

    MORE: My wife’s cancer diagnosis has changed the way I love her

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

     


    Illo request Love Or Something Like It Hannah Stevens: true love after you've been abused (copy card)Illo request Love Or Something Like It Hannah Stevens: true love after you've been abused (copy card)

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    illustrations of woman sat on the edge of a bed
    PMDD is an entirely different beast to normal PMS (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Premenstrual syndrome is the worst, isn’t it?

    Your hormones are working overtime with the specific mission of messing you up, and your mood is all over the place. You’re bloated, you’re craving sugar, you’re easily offended and you spend hours in tears wishing you’d never been born. You spend most of your time trying to think of the most effective way to kill yourself, or how you could die in a convenient, blameless accident. Your mind is totally black, and your insides are hollow.

    Right?

    OK, that’s not true for everyone, but statistics suggest that one in 20 women feel so bad when their bodies are premenstrual that their thoughts are less about snacks and more about suicide.

    If you’re feeling like your PMS is more severe than it should be, it might not be ‘just you being dramatic’ – you may have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

    PMDD is a lot more severe than PMS, and is often defined as an endocrine (hormonal) disorder rather than a mental disorder. It’s thought to be more prevalent in women who have pre-existing mental health struggles, such as severe depression or anxiety.

    ‘It’s important to differentiate between PMS and PMDD,’ says psychotherapist Helena Lewis. ‘PMDD is a recognised medical condition. No one knows what causes it, but changes in hormones are often to blame, and sometimes genetics play a part.

    ‘PMDD is a more severe form of PMS, and carries more severe symptoms, which usually occur in the second half of the menstrual cycle.

    ‘These symptoms include severe fatigue, mood changes, anxiety, depression, crying and emotional sensitivity, lack of focus, paranoia, memory loss, headaches, fainting and insomnia.’

    Kerry used to suffer horribly from PMDD until she found a solution to manage the hormonal attacks.

    ‘I would have a week of feeling suicidal, anxious, depressed and generally crazy,’ she told Metro.co.uk. ‘Then when the hormones had subsided I’d feel guilty for how I behaved. The cramps were total agony, I felt nauseous and would vomit, and just generally feel miserable.’

    Lou Pemberton also suffered similarly – PMDD is far more desperate than PMS.

    Lou said: ‘I felt trapped in a brain that made me feel like I should die. I constantly felt like something awful was about to happen. It was exhausting, terrifying and relentless. I also got flu-like symptoms, headaches and lethargy. For me the depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation are the worst symptoms.’

    Both Kerry and Lou tried a lot of different treatments to try to stem the horror before they found an option that worked, and their solutions were both radically different (of course, we all have different hormonal balances and reactions, so everyone will have different reactions to treatment).

    ‘I have the mirena coil and so far I’ve had no periods on it! No periods = no PMDD,’ says Kerry. ‘I was nervous before trying it, as all other hormonal medication I had tried made me feel worse – but so far I’m really pleased with how the mirena is working.’

    For Lou, her solution was a lot more invasive after she was found to be treatment-resistant. She says: ‘I am four months post-surgery from a total hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy (removal of my uterus and both ovaries). This was a very last resort treatment.’

    Lou found solace and support with fellow PMDD sufferers in online communities and says that ‘social media has been a lifeline’ for her: ‘There is a wonderful, supportive PMDD community out there.’

    Lou suggests anybody who’s concerned about PMDD to visit IAPMD. If you’re suffering from PMDD symptoms, such as:

    • Feeling suicidal
    • Feeling hopeless
    • Having problems with your sleep
    • Breast swelling and tenderness
    • Pain in your muscles and joints

    …don’t leave it any longer before you visit a health professional. There’s a great, supportive community online at Vicious Cycle, and women with PMDD are sharing their tips and suggestions on Twitter. Mind has more information about the symptoms and causes.

    Yes, this absolutely sucks, but there are solutions and you’re not alone.

    Need support? Contact the Samaritans

    For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

    MORE: This is what it’s like to suffer from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – ‘I had contemplated suicide’

    MORE: Severe PMS has stopped me from living my life to the full

    MORE: How do hormones affect our mental health?


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    Harrods Beauty Halls
    The new Harrods Beauty Hall features a beauty edit from 40 world-leading skincare brands (Picture Credit: Harrods)

    Get ready to go hard on skincare.

    Luxury London department store Harrods has unveiled the second phase of the redevelopment of its Beauty Halls, and it comes in the form of a brand new 9000 sq ft skincare emporium.

    The new hall includes a vast range of beauty edits from Eve Lom cleansers to Barbara Sturms’ top-notch Hyaluronic acid wipes and Bioeffects EGF serums.

    Iconic skincare favourites from La Mer to La Prairie feature alongside the launch of European exclusives from Japanese brand Clé de Peau Beauté, hyped for its world-class technology and pioneering research into skin science.

    On-trend natural, non-toxic and substantially sourced skincare brands (Darphin, Votary, Tata Harper) are also part of the lineup, along with the addition of Doctor led skincare brands created by some of the worlds top physicians: Dr Brown for RéVive, Dr Perricone for Perricone MD, Dr Yannis Alexandrides for 111Skin and Dr Sebagh for his namesake brand

    Harrods Beauty Halls
    All in those Art Deco details (Picture Credit: Harrods)

    In addition to the beauty edits, a huge gadget zone stocks everything from lifting and firming tech from NuFace and glow pros from Beauty Bio Science and Foreo.

    Design-wise, it’s an Art Deco knockout for the ‘gram. Think bright, super-white clean lines, marble pillars and illuminated skylights juxtaposed against the sparkle and glam of cult beauty lines, shards of glass and the deep greens and plush golds of Harrods branding.

    Speaking of the new opening, Annalise Fard, Director of Beauty said: ‘We have created an innovative and immersive shopping experience that is unmistakably Harrods and makes the Beauty Hall the ultimate beauty sweetshop.’

    The sweetshop comes with magic mirrors, private consultation rooms and if you head up to the fourth floor, a wellness clinic headlining holistic treatments from experts Dr Costas Papageorgiou for New York Dermatology Group and Dr Marwa Ali.

    Advice: buy an extra large Christmas stocking and start saving, now.

    MORE: What order are you supposed to apply your skincare products?

    MORE: Exfoliation benefits, tips and best skincare products


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    Sophia Badger is walking from London to Rome to raise funds and awareness in the face of serious tragedy.

    In the summer of 2018, two of Sophia’s friends took their own lives. Now she is undertaking this mammoth challenge

    ‘Their deaths came as a huge shock. It was the kind of news that you can’t quite believe, and it stops you in your tracks,’ Sophia tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘You mull over the last time you saw or spoke to them and wonder if you could’ve been in touch a bit more often and been there, been available, to lend an ear. You’re left with lots of questions that will never get answered. Lots of “whys” and “what-ifs”.

    Sophia at Grand Saint Bernard Pass
    (Picture: Sophia Badger)

    One was a friend Sophia met at university, and the other a friend she met during a work sabbatical travelling in Central America.

    The pair didn’t know each other, but they passed away about six weeks apart. Like Sophia, they were both in their mid-30s, with so much of their lives left to live.

    ‘Their deaths were incredibly tragic and we lost them both far too soon,’ she says.

    ‘Suicide produces a very challenging form of grief. You don’t really want to believe it, and you struggle to understand it. But my own experience pails into insignificance compared to that of the families of my two friends.

    ‘The past year has been incredibly challenging for them, day in and day out. And that will continue for the rest of their lives.’

    Champagne vineyards in France
    Champagne vineyards at dawn in France (Picture: Sophia Badger)

    The idea to do something substantial to honour the memory of her friends came to Sophia at the height of her grief, but it helped her realise that she needed to do something positive.

    ‘I was at the memorial service of one of my friends,’ says Sophia.

    ‘The celebrant did a fantastic job of channelling our energy away from all of those unanswerable questions to remembering the person that we had lost. Remembering her outgoing character, adventurous spirit, and charitable work, rather than the way in which she passed away.

    ‘Driving home after the service I was filled with the feeling that I wanted to do something to raise awareness about mental health and raise money for a mental health charity.

    ‘I had often given thought to doing a long walk or an overland horseback adventure, but never quite found the right time to actually commit myself to anything.

    The Roman bridge in Pont Saint Martin
    The Roman bridge in Pont Saint Martin, Italy (Picture: Sophia Badger)

    ‘By the time I pulled up outside my house, I had more or less decided that I was going to walk to Rome, following a medieval pilgrimage route called the Via Francigena which I’d read about a few years previously.

    ‘I decided that I would do it to raise money for the mental health charity Mind.’

    Sophia is half Italian, so her once-in-a-lifetime walk has also been an eye-opening journey into her heritage as well. She says the trip has also been an incredible physical challenge, crossing the Alps, the Jura Mountains, and the Apennines, and walking for days through wheat and rice fields, all solo.

    Tellaro, Ligurian Coast, Italy
    Tellaro, Ligurian Coast, Italy (Picture: Sophia Badger)

    Sophia has already raised more than £10,000 for Mind, money that will help to change lives. But what she wants to achieve is bigger than just money.

    ‘I’m learning a lot about myself and the places that I pass through, and having my eyes opened by the life stories of locals and other walkers that I meet along the way.

    ‘Mind has told me that the money I have raised so far will allow them to answer more than 1,200 calls to their info line, which provides advice and support to people experiencing a mental health problem.

    ‘But raising money is just one aspect of what I hope to achieve though.

    ‘It’s so important that we have conversations about mental health, to open up and share our experiences and ask for help when we need it. So often we keep what’s going on with our mental health to ourselves.’

    Sophia aims to use her journey to start these conversations. To let people know that it’s OK and normal to not feel OK, and that no-one needs to go through a mental health problem alone.

    ‘What I’ve noticed is that when someone opens up it has a domino effect,’ says Sophia. ‘It’s an amazing thing to see, suddenly people understand that they aren’t alone in the way they think or feel, and there’s a huge amount of comfort they take from hearing someone else’s story.’

    The village of Lods in the Jura Mountains France
    The village of Lods in the Jura Mountains (Picture: Sophia Badger)

    Before embarking on her walk, Sophia also visited a number of huge companies including Google, O2, GoCompare and Shell, to help them start those conversations and to raise awareness about mental health both inside and outside the workplace.

    ‘Mental health is something that we all have, every day, just like physical health. It’s not something to be scared of, and it’s something that we should all feel comfortable and capable of talking about in the same way that we talk about our physical health.

    ‘Historically there has been a lot of stigma around mental illness, which has made this incredibly challenging.

    ‘That’s changing, and we’re in the midst of a huge movement to raise awareness and start those all-important conversations that will help to normalise mental health problems. But there is still some way to go.

    One in four people experience a mental health problem each year, but so many people find it difficult to talk about. That’s what Sophia is hoping to address.

    Views across Lake Geneva
    Views across Lake Geneva (Picture: Sophia Badger)

    ‘Sometimes you can see the look on someone’s face drop when you say the words “mental health”, she says.

    ‘That might be because they’re uncomfortable talking about it, or they don’t understand it, or they have certain preconceived ideas about it.

    ‘Poor mental health is all around us, and the people experiencing that poor mental health need others to be understanding, to provide support systems, and to not make them feel isolated and alone.’

    Need support? Contact the Samaritans

    For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

    To fund her trip, Sophia has been using Airsorted to rent her flat our while she is away, which takes care of her rent and her bills and allows her to focus on raising vital funds.

    ‘I’ve been walking for three months now, and it hasn’t been cheap,’ she explains. ‘Every penny that people donate goes directly to Mind and doesn’t fund my walk in any way. And that’s as it should be.

    ‘Without Airsorted I don’t think I would’ve been in a position to do the walk, so using their services has been a real game-changer.’

    Sophia is due to reach her final destination Rome in the next couple of weeks.

    Strong Women

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

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

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

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

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

    MORE: ‘I caught a flesh-eating parasite in the Amazon jungle – doctors told me it could eat away my face’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘My rugby team fought for equality in Japan – but the fight against prejudice isn’t over’

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


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    Glenlivet Whisky get on the Tide Pod Challenge bandwagon
    Just pop one in your mouth, bite, and swallow (Picture: Glenlivet)

    Ever felt like pouring yourself a glass of whisky was just too much effort?

    You have to lift the bottle! Unscrew the lid! Tilt it above a glass, which you’ve likely had to retrieve from a cupboard!

    It’s enough to make you need a drink.

    But thank the alcohol gods, for now there’s a solution: whisky cocktails in capsules. Like Tide Pods, but actually intended to be consumed.

    Why, you may ask?

    We truly cannot answer that. It doesn’t appear that people have been on their knees begging for such a creation.

    And yet Speyside distillery The Glenlivet has swooped in to offer their Capsule Collection, which they describe as ‘glassless cocktails’.

    We define glassless cocktails as just taking a swill straight from the bottle, but potato, potato.

    The capsules do have a purpose, even if it is a bit muddy. They’re meant to be better for the environment, as rather than having booze packaged in glass bottles, the capsules hold 23ml of whisky in a casing made from seaweed extract.

    You just shove the whole thing in your mouth, bite, enjoy that mouthful of whisky, then swallow the fully biodegradable capsule. If you don’t fancy swallowing a bit of seaweed stuff, you can just chuck it in your compost.

    The Glenlivet partnered with Tayēr + Elementary to come up with three different capsule cocktails, themed around the three flavours of citrus, wood, and spice. Then they worked with Notpla to create a sustainable packaging option – the capsules.

    The capsules are going to be served at Tayēr + Elementary throughout London Cocktail Week. Presumably once you’ve scarfed down a couple you can then enjoy a normal cocktail in a glass; one that doesn’t require you to hold what appears to be quite a large shot of booze in your mouth in one go. Some of us like to sip.

    The reaction to the poppable capsules has been… mixed.

    Some have compared the cocktails to jello shots while others are making the inevitable Tide Pod challenge references. Many have gently let Glenlivet know that if you make little capsules of booze, someone will put one in their butt. This is likely to be the case.

    MORE: Quiz: How well do you know classic cocktails?

    MORE: A self-service cocktail bar has launched in London

    MORE: The heatwave cocktail guide: London bartenders advise what to drink


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    Holly Wellington
    My diagnosis has totally, wholeheartedly, changed how I feel about myself (Picture: Joylon Holroyd Photography)

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February this year – it came as a huge shock.

    I’d just turned 25, had recently finished recording an album with my band Ishmael Ensemble and was starting work on my solo record.

    When they told me I basically had a panic attack. I was convinced they’d made a mistake and swapped my petri dish accidentally.

    I’ve never said the words ‘I have cancer’ because I don’t identify as a person with a disease. Words are really important, and mantras can be hugely impactful.

    If you work on loving yourself and say to yourself ‘I’m amazing’ everyday then that becomes who you are. 

    Cancer is never something that I wanted or identified with, it’s an external thing which grew inside me, so I only ever said I’ve been ‘diagnosed’ with cancer to cement that distance.

    I’ve had to work hard to make my experience as positive as possible – even dressing up in glitter and my shiniest clothes to go in for chemo.

    Holly Wellington
    I’ve worked so hard to love myself throughout this process (Photo: Holly Wellington)

    I have been calling my healing process my ‘dragon transformation,’ as although I have always had strength, the courage that I have developed in the face of my diagnosis is making me even fiercer.

    I find all the imagery associated with dragons really powerful, and I love the idea of a fire growing inside me, sprouting wings and being fierce.

    I want to change people’s perception of cancer and disease. Yes, it can be scary and challenging, but it’s also been the making of me.

    Before I found out I took fitness and health really seriously but found it difficult to appreciate my body. Then when I began chemo my body started to change, my hair fell out and I couldn’t work out anymore.

    It made me appreciate who I am on the inside so much more, and realise how amazing and beautiful my body is. Being able to cope with this treatment and shrink a tumour, I know my body has had to go through something so huge and I feel really proud of it.

    A year ago, I was someone who may have seemed confident on the outside, but on the inside my self-doubt was eating away at me.

    My diagnosis has totally, wholeheartedly, changed how I feel about myself.

    As an artist and musician, I used to base all of my worth on what I created, which was a really unhealthy outlook as I put myself under so much pressure. I went through periods of not being able to create anything as I was scared it wouldn’t be good enough. I was sabotaging myself.

    Holly Wellington
    Holly Wellington is taking part in Teenage Cancer Trust’s #StillMe campaign (Photo: Jack Liley)

    Having to face cancer made me realise that I’m more than my art; I’m a fun loving, free spirited, human being. But that being said, I’m so lucky to have had art and music in my life during treatment.

    Being able to perform and express myself is so cathartic, it means so much to stand there on stage singing out with my bald head proud of my healing process.

    A couple of weeks ago I got the all-clear, which was incredible.

    As my tumour was on the larger side I’m going to have radiotherapy every day for four weeks starting soon, and I’m also in discussion about having a double mastectomy and reconstruction – I don’t know what I’m going to do about that yet but I will listen to my body and make the right decision.

    Two days after getting the all-clear I was back in the studio recording an exciting record with my band.

    I’ve worked so hard to love myself throughout this process, whatever state I’m in or whatever I’m able to do.

    Now, with a lot of emotional work behind me I am much more in touch with myself and ready to continue the process of working on my solo album. I’m feeling so elated about life because I really believe anything is possible.

    Holly stars in 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.


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    Woman transforms son's room into a Toy Story theme for under £100
    Kerri’s son Coby is obsessed with Toy Story (Picture: Kerri Rundle)

    Look, we’re easily impressed by any DIY transformation.

    You covered your bathroom in mosaic, all by yourself? Incredible.

    You managed to turn a staircase into an Instagrammable spot? For £50? You are amazing.

    But this transformation is something that’s definitely worth our wonder.

    Kerri Rundle, 27, wanted to give her son’s dull bedroom a full-on makeover.

    Her son, Coby, is a massive fan of Toy Story, having fallen in love with Pixar after watching the second film at Christmas.

    When rewatching the film ‘for what felt like the 500,000th time’, Kerri noticed the main character Andy’s room, painted with clouds, and was inspired.

    coby's room before Woman transforms son's room into a Toy Story theme for under £100
    Coby’s room before (Picture: Kerri Rundle)

    She decided to turn Coby’s room into a Toy Story themed replica of Andy’s, all while sticking to a strict budget of £100.

    Rather than spending a load of money on official Toy Story wallpapers, Kerri created a cloud print herself, finding downloadable stencils online and then sponging on white paint.

    She hand-painted the Toy Story logo, adapted to read ‘Coby’s Room’, with tester pots of paint picked up from B&Q.

    Kerri started by painting the walls sky blue and stencilling on clouds
    Kerri started by painting the walls sky blue and stencilling on clouds (Picture: Kerri Rundle)

    To add even more Toy Story magic, the mum bought film stills from Amazon for £2 each, then popped them in frames that cost £6 for four.

    Then it was time to add in Toy Story bedsheets (£13 from Asda) and a toy box (£20), lamp (£24), and alien cushion (£7) from Dunelm. Plus a £5 fleece throw from Tesco and a £5 cushion she found on Facebook marketplace. Told you this makeover was impressive.

    Kerri told latestdeals.co.uk she’s now saving up to put in wood-effect linoleum floor and top it off with a Toy Story rug she’s seen on Amazon.

    Woman transform's son's room into a Toy Story theme for under
    Everything was done for a total of £100 (Picture: Kerri Rundle)
    Woman transform's son's room into a Toy Story theme for under £100 Picture: Kerri Rundle
    All Coby’s toys help (Picture: Kerri Rundle)

    In total the DIY project cost Kerri £100.

    Coby absolutely loves it, and we can see why – with all those toys it’s like going to bed inside the film.

    Kerri said: ‘Coby loves it so much and looks forward to going to bed every night! I am in absolute love with it and I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out.’

    Coby in his new toy story themed room
    Coby now looks forward to going to bed (Picture: Kerri Rundle)

    Have you done an amazing DIY project you’d like to share with the world? Get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@metro.co.uk.

    MORE: When I was diagnosed with cancer I told myself every day how amazing I am

    MORE: If you liked the Tide Pod challenge, you’re going to love these whisky cocktail capsules

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘Two of my friends took their own lives – now I’m walking 1,000 miles to raise awareness’


    Woman transform\'s son\'s room into a Toy Story theme for under ?100Woman transform\'s son\'s room into a Toy Story theme for under ?100

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    afternoon tea at maybourne hotels
    This season’s most fashionable afternoon tea lineup (Picture Credit: Maybourne Hotels)

    London’s swish The Berkeley hotel has given its super Instagrammable Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea a very fashionable makeover to celebrate the highlights of the AW19 collections.

    Newbies strutting their stuff down the finger sandwich runway include Molly Goddard’s finale dress (think Killing Eve’s Villanelle) alongside the Jacquemus micro handbag that went viral all over social media.

    This season also features Moschino as a a velvet pistachio and mascarpone cream delice with salted crumble base, casually topped with a one-million dollar bill and Richard Quinn’s floral gown and latex boots re-imagined as a legs akimbo pecan chocolate sponge topped with white chocolate and framboise mousse.

    Fendi storms the show as a lemon sablé biscuit piped with super glossy royal icing celebrating Karl Lagerfeld’s buttercup yellow raincoat from the designer’s last collection for the Italian fashion house.

    Emilia Wickstead’s red velvet gown, inspired the Godfather, comes in the form of a red croustillon-covered choux bun, filled with uber rich Gianduja crémeux and roasted macadamia nuts, and topped with whipped ganache and a pretty red sugar bow. Spoiler: it’s intense.

    Total fendi chic in biscuit form at maybourne hotels
    Total fendi chic in biscuit form (Picture Credit: Maybourne Hotels)

    The most ‘grammable of the bunch is Molly Goddard’s pink showstopper: a neon netting fantasy made with spun sugar encasing a cinnamon financier filled with Pink Lady apple mousse and apple compote; along with the cute almond and blackcurrant flavoured  Jacquemus ‘Le Micro Chiquito’ handbag.

    Fashion insiders, including model Erin O’Connor were invited by Head of Pastry of the hotel, Mourad Khiat to try out the tea and in their honour, will have an on-trend piece from their own wardrobe whisked up in cake form.

    Jacquemus ditches the runway for cake
    Jacquemus ditches the runway for cake (Picture Credit: Maybourne Hotels)

    For this month, O’connor has chosen the iconic Schiaparelli dress she modelled nine months pregnant at the designer’s show at The Royal Opera House in Paris.

    Sandra Choi, Creative Director of Jimmy Choo, follows in the model’s footsteps with the Mahesa knee high boot embellished with the interlinked ‘JC’ monogram for November’s edition.

    Post tea, head upstairs to the rooftop pool, cocktail in hand watching the world go by.

    Bliss.

    MORE: Fashionistas assemble, you can now have a Karl Lagerfeld-themed afternoon tea

    MORE: The best afternoon tea in London: The Ritz, Fortnum And Mason, Sketch, Sanderson Hotel, Claridge’s and more

     


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    jessica lange in american horror story
    Who’s been a sloppy little witch bitch? (Picture Credit: FX)

    Best. News. Ever.

    If you’re glued to your screens watching the latest installment of Ryan Murphy’s cult favourite, American Horror Story, we have some awesomely depraved news for you: an AHS-themed Halloween party is coming to the Queen of Hoxton.

    Featuring all the ghouls, perverts, mass murderers, circus freaks, vampires and serial killers we’ve all come to love over the years, the bash features live music courtesy of the sweaty beats of House, Disco, Funk, Latin, Afro, Dub and carnival beats, along with some killer seasonal booze and food.

    In keeping with the bar’s outrageous shindigs, dressed up entertainers will include an undead versions of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan wreaking havoc with Justin Bieber’s mum (who still doesn’t love you) and the Kardashians, who will be leading over an international cult of clowns, villains and Coachella goers – think season six of the show.

    Then there’s hell itself, which comes courtesy of a ‘Donald Trump Dungeon of Dirty Delights’. Expect erotic arm massages, neon face painting and a fortune teller poised to reveal all your deadliest fantasies. Good luck.

    Tip: if you want to score a free shot, look out for some of the night’s trashiest celebs. Spot one lurking in a dark corner with a pack of playing cards, draw a joker, and you’re guaranteed a night filled with all the delights of vodka.

    Dress code? Be prepared for the end of the world.

    If all that seems a little intense for your coven, head to sister joint, the Book Club for a special ‘Surprise, Bitch’ (ah how we love Madison) drag quiz night with none other than season three’s AHS icon, Myrtle Snow.

    Hosted by Felix le Freak (AKA Myrtle), questions will cover everything from the show’s most tense scenes, terrifying characters and ghost gimps. Cocktails and trashy tunes are also part of the deal.

    Whichever one you choose, it’s a good excuse to play dress up and get totally sloshed.

    Happy Halloween!

    MORE: Best Mean Girls Halloween costumes and where to get them

    MORE: 8 horrors on Netflix to watch in October ahead of Halloween


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    metro illustrations
    What makes you happy? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    We’d all like to be a little happier.

    Deep down we know that true happiness probably comes from working through our issues, being nice to other people, finding a job that fulfills us, and getting rid of those massive worries like financial insecurity and climate change.

    But that’s quite a lot of work, so we’d rather focus on quick, simple wins that people claim are the secrets to joy.

    So, what can we do today to make ourselves happier?

    According to a new bit of research, we should be singing in the shower and forgiving our enemies. Easy.

    Bupa Care Homes commissioned a survey of 2,000 adults to celebrate Silver Sunday, a nationwide event taking place on Sunday 6 October to help tackle loneliness (as loneliness doesn’t make you happy, FYI).

    This Sunday a load of Bupa homes will open their doors to host activities including roast dinners, pub quizzes, dances, and Mad Hatter’s tea parties. If you’re in need of something to bring some cheer to your day, you can check if a home near you is taking part.

    But in the meantime, we can learn from what those who were surveyed said are the keys to happiness.

    As you might expect, a lot of people said social connection is pretty important (handy, considering this survey is promoting that exact thing), as well as looking after your physical wellbeing and taking part in relaxing activities.

    How many things are you ticking off?

    The 40 secrets to happiness, according to the survey:

    1. Laughter
    2. Having a good relationship with your family
    3. Being fit and healthy
    4. Getting enough sleep
    5. Seeing your loved ones regularly
    6. Financial security
    7. Having a partner
    8. Getting regular exercise
    9. Being able to laugh at yourself
    10. Making others happy
    11. Eating healthily
    12. Being able to forgive yourself for your own mistakes
    13. Being polite
    14. Having a close friendship group
    15. Having a hobby
    16. Going on holiday at least once a year
    17. Being able to forgive others
    18. Falling in love at least once
    19. Having a pet
    20. Being kind to strangers
    21. Travelling the world and experiencing other cultures
    22. Spending time with the kids
    23. Living close to your family
    24. A good cup of tea
    25. Being a regular reader
    26. Feeling like part of a community
    27. An occasional tipple
    28. Saying hello/good morning/good afternoon etc to strangers
    29. Getting your five fruit and vegetables a day
    30. Knowing your neighbours
    31. Cooking/baking
    32. Having a successful job
    33. Indulging yourself in snacks/sweet treats
    34. Singing in the car/kitchen/shower
    35. Doing charitable work
    36. A busy social life
    37. Dancing
    38. Mum’s cooking
    39. Calling home once a week
    40. Painting or drawing

    MORE: When I was diagnosed with cancer I told myself every day how amazing I am

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘Two of my friends took their own lives – now I’m walking 1,000 miles to raise awareness’

    MORE: Sex doll maker creates replicas of dead partners to combat loneliness: ‘I’m providing comfort’


    Why it's okay to put your happiness firstWhy it's okay to put your happiness first

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    ???Star Wars??? Le Creuset Collaboration - officially greatest cookware in galaxy Provider: Le Creuset
    Officially the greatest cookware set in the entire galaxy (Picture: Le Creuset)

    If you’re the biggest Star Wars nerd who has a sweet, sweet cooking fetish, posh homeware brand Le Creuset is dropping a collection inspired by the cult sci-fi classic.

    Hitting stores just in time for Christmas and in the lead up to the release and December premiere of new movie Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the epic collab features eight kitchen collectibles including the Darth Vader Dutch Oven and Millennium Falcon Trivet.

    Available to buy from 1 November, lovers of the galactic fantasy drama can also get their lightsabers on a $450 (£365) Han Solo Carbonite Signature Roaster, a throwback to Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

    Too much? Opt for some super cute mini cocottes. At just $30 (£24) you can rustle up a feast (think cute Christmas starters) in the bellies of adorable cast iron R2-D2s, C-3POs and BB-8’s.

    For those more Dark Side than angelic Jedi, the Darth Vader Dutch Oven and Death Star trivet were made for the universe’s most evil and diabolical Sith Lords.

    Major highlight goes to the Tatooine Round Dutch Oven. It’s so rare that people all over the world will have to enter a special ballot to get their hands on one.

    Retailing at a bank account busting $900 (£730), only nine of the fancy pots are available to buy worldwide and can be bidded on the Le Creuset website.

    May the force (and your bank balance) be with you.

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    METROGRAB ???Star Wars??? Le Creuset Collaboration - officially greatest cookware in galaxyMETROGRAB ???Star Wars??? Le Creuset Collaboration - officially greatest cookware in galaxy

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    Aldi's Cuthbert the Caterpillar vs the M&S Colin the Caterpillar
    Spot the difference (Picture: Extreme Couponing and Bargains/Marks and Spencer)

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    So Marks & Spencer must feel very flattered by all the cakes that look quite a bit like their iconic go-to for office birthdays, Colin.

    The original Colin the Caterpillar was launched in 1990, and in the years that have passed a bunch of supermarkets have taken note of his massive success.

    Sainsbury’s sells a caterpillar cake called Wiggles for £6, while Tesco offers a £6 Curly the Caterpillar.

    The latest lookalike on offer is from Aldi.

    Aldi’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake is a chocolate sponge cake rolled up with chocolate buttercream and surrounded by a solid chocolate shell. He has a white chocolate face with milk chocolate eyes, little sugar shell chocolates dotted along his body, and white chocolate shoes.

    The wildly different original Colin the Caterpillar is a chocolate sponge cake rolled up with chocolate buttercream and surrounded by a solid chocolate shell. He has a white chocolate face with milk chocolate eyes, little sugar shell chocolates dotted along his body, and white chocolate shoes.

    Aldi sells a ripoff of colin the caterpillar called Cuthbert
    Here’s what Cuthbert looks like sliced up (Picture: Extreme Couponing and Bargains)

    So… they’re quite similar.

    Except, of course, for the price. While Marks & Spencer’s Colin costs £7, Aldi’s Cuthbert is £4.99, making him quite the bargain.

    Unfortunately, you might find Cuthbert tricky to find. He’s not currently available online and is only being trialled in a few stores across the UK – although if he’s a hit, we reckon he’ll be rolled out nationwide.

    Oh, and by the way, Marks & Spencer is entirely aware of the copycat caterpillar cake.

    After someone tweeted them a picture of Cuthbert on Aldi’s shelves, M&S responded with the classic gif of Spiderman confronting an impostor Spiderman. The only appropriate response.

    In terms of taste, we haven’t yet been able to get our paws on a Cuthbert, so can’t tell you whether he’s better than his rival, Colin.

    We do know that Colin is married, has kids and is mega successful, so if anyone’s feeling jealous, it’s going to be Cuthbert.

    We think the only option is to spend the weekend tracking both caterpillars down and doing a massive taste test. It’s for science.

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    Aldi sells a ripoff of colin the caterpillar called CuthbertAldi sells a ripoff of colin the caterpillar called Cuthbert

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