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

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    The Lovehoney sex toy advent calendar
    Have a very merry Christmas (Picture: Lovehoney/Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    If you’ve never thought about Christmas as a sexy holiday, this might change your mind.

    Lovehoney has released its 2019 advent calendar and it’s filled to the brim with erotic treats to ensure Christmas comes over and over throughout December.

    If you bought last year’s calendar, you will notice that some items are repeated – such as the blindfold (which is purple instead of gold), the feather (red instead of purple) and the standard butt plugs – but classics are classics for a reason.

    The biggest item is the We-Vibe Unite couple’s vibrator, but we’re also intrigued by the silver bullet, the massage oil and the three hot rocks.
    The sex advent calendar from Lovehoney, with the contents in front - including butt plugs, a blindfold, a vibrator and more
    The calendar is themed for couples (Picture: Lovehoney)

    Having a sexy December will set you back £100, but the calendar is worth more than double at £229 with 24 doors for you to explore.

    Just as the company did last year, Lovehoney has selected the items based on in-house research among its customers.

    A survey of 3,000 people revealed that more than half wanted to use sex toys with someone else, while 56% were keen for more variety in the bedroom (there are nipple clamps included, so you’ll definitely get that).

    ‘Our research shows that Christmas is the most passionate time of the year for couples,’ said product director Bonny Hall.

    ‘We have carefully picked the very best products available from Lovehoney for people to enjoy in the build up to the big day.

    ‘You can open them together daily throughout December or blitz them all in one go for a feast of sexual fun.’

    Although it’s specifically targeted to couples, you can just as easily buy it for yourself or invite your casual lover(s) over for a bit of festive f***ing.

    If you’re really feeling the joy, why not try some Santa role playing, too?

    Everything inside the Lovehoney 2019 advent calendar

    Pocket Rocket Vibrator

    Vibrating Cock Ring

    Massage Oil

    Blindfold

    Bullet Vibrator

    Head Stroker

    Role Play Dice

    Kegel Balls

    Jewelled Butt Plug

    Double Cock Ring

    Candle

    Finger Vibrator

    Hot Rocks x 3

    Nipple Clamps

    Anal Beads

    Massage Guide/ Game incorporate product

    2 x Satin Restraints

    Feather Tickler

    Vibrating Ring

    Satin Toy Bag (Large)

    P-Spot Toy

    Bondage Game – incorporate products

    Stroker BIG

    Rechargeable Silicone Vibrator

    MORE: What is ‘sex brain’?

    MORE: How to have feminist sex

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


    The Love Honey sex toy advent calendar will make sure you have a very merry ChristmasThe Love Honey sex toy advent calendar will make sure you have a very merry Christmas

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    Illustration of a couple hugging
    Brits go on 18 dates before finding the one (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    We know it’s too early to start talking about Valentine’s Day, but if you want to be loved up by the 14th February, you need to take action. Today.

    New research from Barclays suggests that Brits hoping to find love in time for Hallmark’s favourite holiday will need to start going out on dates today – because that’s how long it takes to get coupled up.

    The bank has revealed that we will go on a total of 18 dates before meeting a long-term partner.

    So, if that’s one date per week, you would need to start your search on 7th October in order to find love by V Day. Talk about a deadline.

    So if you want to have a significant other to exchange soppy cards and drink lukewarm Prosecco with by February, get swiping right and open up your DMs because Cuffing Season is officially open.

    This trend is supported by research from dating app Hinge which found that men are 15 per cent more likely to look for a relationship in the colder months than any other season, while women are five per cent more likely to.

    It makes sense. Autumn is the perfect time to snuggle up with a partner on the sofa, binge all the great new Netflix releases and generally shun all outdoor activity until Christmas party season kicks off.

    But settling down with your autumn cuddle buddy doesn’t come cheap.

    Barclays also found that the average spend per date is a whopping £92.50 per person. So single Brits are set to spend £1,665 each through the Cuffing Season in order to find ‘the one’.

    Maybe it’s time to start taking your dates to Wetherspoons instead of Groucho?

    Tips to keep your costs down on dates

    Set a budget: Dating can be expensive, particularly in the early stages when the pressure to impress is on. For the sake of your finances, it’s important not to get carried away.

    Before going out, set yourself a realistic budget for the evening based on how much you can afford to spend.

    Stick to your budget: Even with the best intentions, it is easy to get carried away with spending once you are out and enjoying yourself.

    Consider taking your budget for the date in cash, so you can keep track of how much you have to spend, and to discourage you from going over.

    Bag a bargain: If you are planning on going out for a meal or to see a film, look for money-saving offers that you can use to keep costs down – there is often a deal to be had – or perhaps you could swap a night out for a night in instead!

    Keep on top of your finances: The best way to ensure you aren’t spending more than you can afford is to always know how much money you have to spend.

    Honesty is the best policy: Money can be an awkward topic to chat about at the best of times, let alone with someone that you are dating – but you don’t want to be putting yourself under financial pressure because you want to avoid the topic.

    If you are keeping a closer eye on your finances, let your date know and suggest a different activity that’s more within your budget. Cutting costs doesn’t mean cutting the fun, and they will probably be grateful about saving a few pounds themselves.

    Jo Harris, Millennial Finance Specialist at Barclays

    It’s also important to remember that relationships aren’t the be-all-and-end-all. And there are plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day even if you’re free and single.

    So, obviously, it’s up to you. But if your deepest desire is to be presented with a wilting red rose in February, then you had best get a move on.

    MORE: Christmas has come early as Lovehoney launches sex toy advent calendar

    MORE: Woman quits job as funeral director to become a professional mermaid earning £100 an hour

    MORE: Artist creates brilliant paintings of the Queen by using her boobs as brushes


    Sex and dating illosSex and dating illos

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    Curtain being shut with hanger
    Before and after (Picture: Shutterstock: Rick Klau)

    We all know the feeling when a rubbish set of curtains in a hotel room lets in all the light in the world.

    Travelling, whether luxury style or slumming it, means living your best, stress-free life. And yet when you finally lay your head down to rest for the day ahead, the curtains so often do a poor job of blocking the sunlight.

    Even the fanciest hotels sometimes have transparent blinds or gaps in their curtains which can make it difficult to rest.

    So one savvy traveller has come up with his own hack (or rather regurgitated an old hack he saw) which ensures no rays get into the room.

    Rick Klau, from California, managed to make ‘blackout curtains’ using only a clothes hanger.

    The trick involves using a clip-on hanger normally used for skirts, dress and trousers. Rick simply pulled the two sides of the curtains together and sealed them with the hanger.

    The nifty method has impressed many a social media user as his tweet went viral, amassing almost 400,000 likes.

    In the post, he wrote: ‘I don’t remember who posted this on Twitter a few years ago, but whoever you are: you have improved every night I’ve spent in a hotel since.’

    People were delighted by the tip and said they’d be trying it out next time they were staying at an establishment.

    Others noted how annoying it is to be awakened by light: ‘All those times I’ve awakened to that unbelievably annoying “crack of light” that pierces my brain and makes me want to throw things…’

    Rick’s video prompted other Twitter users to share their own travelling tips and advice.

    One person replied: ‘My hotel hack is if you ever need an extra phone charger, ask the front desk if they found one. They have a box full.’

    Another said: ‘My hotel hack is that you can literally put any card in the slot that turns on the electricity, so you can leave the room with your device charging inside.’

    But we don’t recommend this one, considering its environmental impact and our commitment to travelling and living eco-consciously.

    The rest of the tips were so savvy that even Elon Musk enjoyed them. The entrepreneur wrote on the tweet: ‘Great list of hotel hacks in this thread!’

    Some things to remember next time you travel.

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

    MORE: Eco-tourism: How to have a sustainable city break

    MORE: How to reduce waste and help the planet when you’re travelling on a plane


    Man's genius hotel room hackMan's genius hotel room hack

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    Instagram app
    Instagram has just rolled out a new way to shut the bullies up. (Picture: iStock Editorial)

    An estimated 5.43 million young people in the UK have been the victims of cyber bullying. In a bid to combat online abuse, Instagram has released a new in-app feature that will allow users to restrict the interaction they have with bullies.

    The new ‘Restrict’ feature enables you to swipe on a user, placing them on restrict. This means that you will no longer see their comments, unless you specifically tap on ‘See Comment’.

    Nobody else will be able to view the comment, except for the bully who posted it.

    You won’t receive any notifications from these restricted accounts, and any messages from the user will remain in Message Requests.

    Even if you choose to open the message, the user will not be able to tell whether you’ve opened it, or when you were last active on the app.

    ‘Bullying is a complex issue, and we know that young people face a disproportionate amount of online bullying but are reluctant to report or block peers who bully them,’ Instagram said in a statement.

    So why are some users reluctant to block their aggressors? Well, as we know, some bullies just don’t back down.

    Users who are blocked are still able to retaliate outside of the platform, and even create multiple accounts to continue their taunts.

    The Restrict tool will mean that users can ‘quietly’ protect their account. The bullies won’t even know what you’ve done.

    It’s just been rolled out to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month in the US, but the feature will be available worldwide.

    Instagram has also introduced a ‘Create Don’t Hate sticker’ in Stories, which encourages users to post about how they’ve used their creativity to call out bullying.


    Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and other Apps on iPhone screenInstagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and other Apps on iPhone screen

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    Illustration of three couples having sex on a bed
    Ever cheated on your significant other? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it turns out that cheating is fairly common among couples.

    A recent study has revealed that more than half of women and men have cheated on their significant other. Not only that, but many of them apparently feel happier in their relationships after having cheated.

    Don’t go digging for clues of cheating just yet – the findings were released by Illicit Encounters, an extra-martial site, meaning that most of the people polled are likely already having an affair or looking to do so.

    However, it’s no secret that cheating happens. So, to find out more about why people are unfaithful, we asked six women and men to share their tales with us – here’s what they said.

    Ruby, 49

    ‘I had an affair with a married work colleague.

    ‘When you wear a uniform and work nights dealing with traumatic incidents, you tend to get closer to colleagues than you might normally do.

    ‘We started dating (because it wasn’t just a sex thing) and within a month or two it developed from walks and beautiful sunsets into nights away and adventurous sex.

    ‘He moved in with me, but because of his two young children he went back to his wife after a month or so. I was totally heartbroken.

    ‘I also once met his wife, who told me that he would come back to me because he loved me, not her – but he didn’t. Their marriage lasted a few more years and then he left her for someone else.

    ‘About 15 years later, we met up again on a sex site and rekindled that sexual flame, it was great fun. He was still married.

    ‘It’s now been a year since we had sex and I honestly don’t think I would go back again. My husband had an affair with a colleague, so I see that as a little bit of rough justice and karma biting me on the bum!’

    Laura*, 37

    ‘I’ve been having an issue with a guy who lied to me about his marriage having ended.

    ‘We initially got together after a few drinks at an industry event and after that chatted via messaging apps every day. He told me that he wanted to take me on dates and such, but it never transpired.

    ‘We got together again at another industry event and a day or so after I got an anonymous message telling me to check his wife’s Facebook, as she has a photo of them together on it. On holiday. The holiday he went on with his ‘mum’ while we were chatting.

    ‘It’s taken me months to finally let it all out to him with regards to his lies, but I finally told him this week (due to fear about work-related stuff, our community is very close and chatty) that I was fed up with his lies as it was causing me mental damage. No apology from him yet. And I doubt there will be one.

    ‘He should be glad I’m not the type who would approach his wife.’

    Jules, 37

    ‘I don’t love my husband, it’s sad but it’s true.

    ‘I married him because he is a good father and provider, I never felt real love for him. We start off with the best intentions, but marriage isn’t what you expect. I don’t like the word affair, it’s a Victorian term, it’s more friendship than affair.

    ‘I’ve had it all, a three-year romance and one-night-stands.’

    Edward*, 29

    ‘This girl started working at my office and I thought she was super hot.

    ‘One night, I asked her to hang out and we ended up at a club where her boyfriend works.

    ‘We got trashed on free drinks that her boyfriend (the barman) gave us and afterwards, we got a cab back to hers – he stayed at work – and I smoothly vomited all over her carpet.

    ‘After that ordeal, I still ended up handcuffed to her bed post. She returned into the room after ‘getting ready’, sporting a latex nurse outfit and a whip.

    ‘I felt bad for her boyfriend, but I was very young at the time and not as bothered as I would have been now. I’m not sure if she ever told him about it.

    ‘We didn’t have sex again, but she did suck me off once.’

    Patty*, 25

    ‘Two years ago, I met up with my French exchange in Paris.

    ‘We used to have a romantic relationship when we were teenagers.

    ‘He’s married now, and spent the whole time talking about how he loves to cheat on his wife. He said he married her so she could stay in the country (I think she’s Russian).

    ‘I was shocked by his openness but spent the entire evening flirting with him. I had zero intention to do anything with him, but there was so much sexual chemistry.

    ‘After plenty of red wine, I suggested we head off. As he walked me to the train station, he grabbed my hands and we kissed – it was pretty f***ing hot, but it felt very wrong in my gut.

    ‘I spent the next day crying about it and he kept messaging, telling me we should meet at his place during his lunch break.

    ‘We met up for lunch instead, and I told him how unhappy I was with what we did. He got defensive and said “if you wanna call my wife, go for it” and put his phone next to me. He then told me how much he loves lying, how he doesn’t dream, and how he likes to f*** his wife’s friends.

    ‘After lunch we said our goodbyes and messaged a bit but I have now totally cut him from my life.’

    Samantha, 47

    ‘I’m having an affair because my marriage lacks intimacy – we are more like best friends.

    ‘I’m currently dating a man outside of my marriage that I met on a cheating site. It’s very casual and he is also married.

    ‘I’ve loved every second of having sex outside of my marriage, I don’t know how to say no to temptation; and I don’t feel guilty. I recommend having an affair. It gives you so much confidence.

    ‘But if I went back in time, I would still marry my husband.’

    *Names have been changed.

    MORE: What is ‘sex brain’?

    MORE: How to have feminist sex

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


    Midweek orgyMidweek orgy

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    Sarah Ivens, author of the book Forest Therapy, on how to bring the healing benefits of the outdoors into your home once the weather cools down
    Sarah Ivens, author of the book Forest Therapy, on how to bring the healing benefits of the outdoors into your home once the weather cools down

    The days are getting shorter and the weather is damp and miserable… but Mother Nature can still do her magic if you invite her inside to hibernate with you.

    Every year it’s the same: the slump we all feel when we’ve packed away our swimsuits, pulled frayed Ugg boots out of the back of the wardrobe and started stockpiling Netflix series in expectation of many a weekend trapped inside, too lethargic and chilly to wander the pathless woods or make it to the coast.

    It’s depressing, even more so because we know it would do us good to be outside.

    I became interested in the power of connecting with nature after experiencing forest bathing (shinrin-yoku, as it’s known there) in Japan a decade ago, where this wellness movement began in the 1980s, formulated by the government to cut soaring rates of depression and anxiety.

    I immediately incorporated the practice into my own life, getting out into the great outdoors as much as possible, immersing my senses in nature, being mindful instead of distracted by my phone as I breathed deeply and slowed down.

    Forest Therapy by Sarah Ivens
    Forest Therapy by Sarah Ivens – Seasonal Ways to Embrace Nature for a Happier You

    The uptick in my positivity and energy was striking and it prompted me to spend 12 months researching the reasons I felt so much better, a study that became my book Forest Therapy.

    I was overwhelmed by science and statistics that proved nature is the biggest, best – free! – boost we can give our mental and physical health.

    One study published in the Public Library of Science Journal showed that people immersed in nature for four days were 50% more able to solve problems creatively than those stuck indoors.

    Researchers at the University of Essex discovered that just five minutes of physicality in a green space lifted spirits and self-confidence, unlike exercising in a gym.

    Mother Nature even makes us kinder, according to a paper published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, encouraging us to look outwards instead of being self-obsessed, feeling gratitude and looking at the bigger picture.

    Luckily, we don’t have to abandon the benefits of nature just because it’s dark and gloomy outside. Here’s some simple tricks for seasonal well-being.

     

    Screen savers

    Research shows that even looking at pictures of nature reduces mental fatigue and increases positive thinking.

    Switch your phone lock screen and laptop screensaver image to your favourite nature photo, frame artwork from favourite beauty spots and buy yourself a nature-themed colouring book.

    Just looking at a green scene decreases the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which helps us to calm down.

    A nature-themed colouring book is a way to flood your mind with images of nature while engaging in the relaxing art of colouring
    A nature-themed colouring book is a way to flood your mind with images of nature while engaging in the relaxing art of colouring

    Flower power

    Focusing on small details from the natural world enables our brains to switch off from work worries and think more creatively, so keep plants on your desk, treat yourself to a bunch of flowers for your bedside at weekends, hang air plants in your bathroom – these little nods to nature will boost general happiness and change our mental gears.

    Botanical baths

    A warm bath soothes muscles, induces comfort, relieves cold symptoms and helps us sleep better and adding woody essential oils to your tub for a true ‘forest bath’ boosts the medicinal benefits. Studies show valuable antibacterial, antifungal chemicals emitted by trees called phytoncides make their way into the bottle to help us feel our best.

    Aromatherapy Associates new Forest Therapy Bath & Shower Oil blends 22 of nature’s most healing ingredients – including Pink Pepper for respiratory health, Juniper Berry to cleanse the mind, Cypress to bring a sense of calm – for a bountiful phytoncide immersion, whatever the weather is playing at.

    Forest therapy bath and shower oil brings the botanics of the woods into your bathroom
    Forest therapy bath and shower oil brings the botanics of the woods into your bathroom. Even better if you’ve got a plant on the side of your bath

    Blue sky thinking

    Daydream. Pay attention to the world outside your window. Look at the birds nesting, clouds floating, leaves falling. Mediate on how they move and change as you wait for the kettle to boil in the morning. Studies show a brain observing nature is more open to reflect, wander and be creative.

    Animal magic

    Become a Doctor Doolittle. Autumn and winter is when birds really need human help, so invest in a bird feeder and good quality food to hang on your balcony or in your garden, investigating what is best for the birds in your area and your commitment level. Daily interactions with wildlife will remind you to feel awe and thankfulness that you are part of something bigger than yourself.

    Cultivate calm

    Fill your home with plants and cultivate cuttings yourself to deepen the effects of your horticultural therapy (Picture: atelierstellaceramics / Instagram)
    Fill your home with plants and cultivate cuttings yourself to deepen the effects of your horticultural therapy (Picture: atelierstellaceramics / Instagram)

    Turn your fingers green with some inside gardening. Horticultural therapy is real and even indoors in the colder months, the benefits of growing and nourishing plants from cuttings and creating new life inspires mindfulness and contentment. Spider plants and succulents can be grown from cuttings all year round – or make the most of the winter sun and turn a bright windowsill into an indoor herb or tomato garden.

    If propagating plant babies is a step too far, invest in some houseplants with abundant foliage instead. Birds nest ferns and palms fill your space with green while Pinterest favourite Pilea peperomioides are full of personality and have lush green circular leaves that are so satisfying to look at.

    Book worms

    Reading words that evoke the long, balmy days of summer or a fresh spring meadow can help you feel less soggy and groggy as the rain continues to pour. If poetry is your thing you can’t go wrong with William Wordsworth or Wendell Berry. If you like a longer read, powerful books about Mother Nature include A Honeybee Heart has Five Openings by Helen Jukes, Wild Sea by Joy McCann and The Lives of Bees by Thomas D. Seeley.

    Brush with nature

    Using colours from nature in your home can create a home full of good vibes, so pick up a paint brush on a dreary afternoon. Blue is peaceful and perfect for areas of relaxation, green – the quintessential colour of nature – promotes feelings of health and harmony in community spaces, while lavender is calming and restful, perfect for the bedroom and a great night’s sleep.

     

    Sarah Ivens is the author of Forest Therapy: Seasonal Ways to Embrace Nature for a Happier You, Piatkus Books.


    Fill your home with plants and cultivate cuttings yourself to deepen the effects of your horticultural therapy (Picture: atelierstellaceramics / Instagram)Fill your home with plants and cultivate cuttings yourself to deepen the effects of your horticultural therapy (Picture: atelierstellaceramics / Instagram)

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    Dollar note saying 'will you go out with me' and 'will you marry me?'
    So cute (Picture: Jfreak7/Reddit)

    When a Reddit user asked followers about the single biggest thing a dollar had given them, no one expected a heartfelt story.

    After all, most of us don’t consider $1, which is roughly 81p, to be all that significant.

    Yet for American Jason W, the small note gave him everything he is grateful for in life – his wife and kids.

    Jason shared the story on the subreddit, explaining how his love story started with a pack of chewing gum bought for a dollar.

    He began by offering up some background information and wrote: ‘Back in Junior High School, I liked a girl and flirted with her quite a bit.

    ‘One time, during a band trip, we stopped at a gas station and she bought me a pack of gum.

    ‘I tried to pay her back $1 but she refused. So, I slipped the $1 in her pocket. She then slipped the dollar in my backpack and so began the back and forth with the $1 bill.

    ‘We found silly ways to give it back and forth. I mailed it to her house. She stuffed it in a gum wrapper and offered me a piece.

    ‘I then decided that I would ask her out on this $1.

    ‘I wrote, “Will you go out with me” on it and put it in a note and gave it to her. She said yes (of course, it would be a terrible story otherwise, I suppose).’

    This adorable love story doesn’t just end with two high school sweethearts.

    Jason and his partner continued their romance well into adulthood.

    Of course, the dollar then became a sentimental piece of their history. So, four years later, when Jason wanted to get down on one knee, he had to bring out the dollar.

    He said: ‘I still had the same dollar kept away. On our anniversary, I wrote “Will you marry me” on the bottom of the dollar.

    ‘We have been married for 15 years and have three awesome kids. We still have that dollar stored away.’

    Let’s hope it’s framed somewhere.

    MORE: A mum’s heartwarming message about helping other mothers has gone viral

    MORE: Girl’s heartwarming love story is a reminder to always shoot your shot

    MORE: Woman shares how she transformed her carpeted staircase with just £50 worth of products


    The story of a dollar and how it made a familyThe story of a dollar and how it made a family

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    Fat bears
    Katmai National Park is running their annual Fat Bear Week (Picture: @KatmaiNPS)

    We allow all kinds of crap to define our ideas of attractiveness, with the main culprits being social media, the devil of comparison and those dang changing seasons.

    Summer might have escaped us, but think back to what you might have been doing as it started: panicking about whether you were toned enough to have a Hot Girl Summer. (Hint: you were ready all along.)

    It turns out that we’ve got a pal in the animal kingdom who isn’t all that different from us. Except that they’re busy piling on the pounds, not losing them, and they do so in winter, not summer.

    Oh and it’s all for survival, not for the Instagram creds.

    Katmai National Park, located in southern Alaska, is currently in the grisliest part of their annual Fat Bear Week.

    In a post titled ‘River, river in the Fall, who’s the fattest bear of all?’, Katmai called upon the public to decide which of the bears in their park are the thiccest of the thicc.

    The national park is famed for its brown bear population, with around 2,200 of them inhabiting the area.

    Now in its fifth year, the 2019 contest kicked off on 2 October. Bears go gut-to-gut each day, with people voting on which bear they deem the fattest by liking the corresponding image on the Katmai Facebook page.

    The most publicly-celebrated rotund one will advance to the next round. On 8 October, one bear will be named ‘Fattest Bear’.

    Here are some of the contestants. Steady yourself for some stunning winter glow ups…

    We’ve got the ladies:

    In round two it's all about the ladies. The sexy single sow is pitted up against the 7 time working mom. 854 was busy…

    Geplaatst door Katmai National Park & Preserve op Woensdag 2 oktober 2019

    The bubs:

    Round 4 of Fat Bear Week features the competition's Jr. league. They may be young but they have worked to almost double…

    Geplaatst door Katmai National Park & Preserve op Donderdag 3 oktober 2019

    And a couple of handsome fellas:

    Welcome to Fat Bear Week Round 1! Today's first match-up features a nervous nelly vs. a cool customer. Known as the head…

    Geplaatst door Katmai National Park & Preserve op Woensdag 2 oktober 2019

    As we can see, there’s some big bear energy emanating from these heckin’ chonkers.

    The before and after images show the bears at their svelte summer weight, compared to their whopping winter weight. It’s an epic weight gain that’s all about strategy.

    ‘Large amounts of body fat in brown bears is indicative of good health and strong chances of survival. The bears need stores of fat to help them survive their Sleeping Beauty impersonations,’ reads a news release from Katmai.

    ‘During winter hibernation, which can last for up to half of the year in their den, a bear could lose up to one third of its body mass.’

    If you think you’ve got an eye for spotting a fat bear, cast your vote at the Katmai National Park Facebook page.


    Fattest bear competitionFattest bear competition

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    Puppy which looks like a pig all grown up
    Glow up (Picture: @pigletpuppy/Instagram)

    We interrupt your day to bring you a puppy piggy hybrid that will automatically make you say ‘aww’.

    Okay, so this adorable pooch isn’t actually the result of a dog and pig who got rambunctious, it’s a wee puppy who just happens to look like a little porker.

    And he’s aptly been named Piglet.

    The young doggo is also deaf and blind which makes him all the more sweet.

    Pastel-coloured and puppy-eyed, Piglet is a Dachshund Chihuahua mix.

    He is the product of two dapple coloured parents and dapple-to-dapple breeding results in a 25 per cent chance of each puppy being ‘double dapple’, giving Piglet the rare look.

    But this double dapple pattern is linked to congenital ear and eye defects that may result in partially or completely deaf and blind puppies.

    That explains Piglet’s health status. Unfortunately for the youngster, he didn’t have the best start in life either as he was born in a home with 37 other different breeds where he couldn’t get the attention he needed.

    Thankfully he was adopted by his now-owner Melissa Shapiro, from Massachusetts, who now uses Piglet to teach children about differences in animals.

    Puppy named Piglet sleeping
    Look at that face (Picture: @pigletpuppy/Instagram)

    Melissa explained to People why she chose to give him a forever home: ‘It was quite a decision to make. He is a lot of work and he is like a full-time job, taking care of a little disabled baby.

    ‘But he’s so cute, and we couldn’t give him away at that point.’

    Now Piglet lives comfortably with six other canine friends. But when he first arrived at the apartment, it took him some getting used to, especially as he had been born in a hoarding situation.

    ‘He was so anxious, he was screaming constantly,’ added Melissa. ‘He would play, then go to sleep, but when he wasn’t doing either of those, he was screaming. I couldn’t leave the house the first month I had the dog here.’

    Puppy named Piglet grown up
    All grown up (Picture: @pigletpuppy/Instagram)

    Not only does he entertain his humans, Piglet has been doing a lot of good work.

    With the help of a year three teacher, Piglet now helps to teach children about special needs pets at a school in Plainville.

    Lots of dogs
    Spot Piglet (Picture: @pigletpuppy/Instagram)

    Pupils even started a programme called Piglet State of Mind, encouraging themselves to think more positively. The initiative is now used in schools around the country, according to Piglet’s website Pink Piglet Puppy.

    You can gander through the site to see the adventures of Piglet who is quickly growing into an adult.

    MORE: Adorable dog’s face looks very human and people can’t get enough

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

    MORE: Woman reunited with her deaf dog five years after he went missing


    Puppy named PigletPuppy named Piglet

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    James Martin running
    ‘I want to stop anyone feeling as I did for much of my life; unable to talk because they do not believe anyone is interested or wants to help’ (Picture: James Martin)

    James Martin has struggled with mental illness for large parts of his life, and now he wants to take his own experiences and turn them into something more positive.

    James will be running 84km every week to represent the 84 British men who take their lives each week. That’s 12km every day – and the aim is to get people talking and raise vital funds with Mo Running.

    Last year, James ran 6km a day for Movember to start vital conversations about men’s health – especially mental health, and he was shocked by how much impact that had. Now he wants to take it a step further.

    ‘On these runs, I got talking to people and was amazed about how much more people (especially men) were able to open up when we were shoulder to shoulder rather than face to face.

    ‘I spoke to more than 75 people last year and I wanted to do it again. I had found a way to connect with people on this topic and I wanted to use the opportunity while I could.

    ‘Men are very bad at opening up and I wanted to raise awareness that there are ways to help them do this; be in situations where they are more comfortable, such as exercise, and by “reaching in” and asking them the right questions.’

    James says that he almost became a statistic when he was at his lowest in 2010. He considered taking his own life. So he know exactly how hopeless things can feel, and why support and resources are so crucial.

    ‘I have been there and I know how hard it is and the pain that goes along with it,’ says James. ‘In my darkest hour, tortured by my feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy and loneliness I did not think that I could talk to anyone, including my wife and family because I “knew” that it would be proof that I was not a man and that I was just a weak, good for nothing, less-than-human.

    ‘I had worked out my suicide plan and it was only through good fortune and the intervention of my wife, family and a brilliant GP, that I am still here today.

    ‘I am now in the very fortunate position of being able to tell my story to raise awareness and hopefully persuade those in a similar situation to ask for help as well as friends to check in on their mates if they think something is wrong.’

    James Martin
    ‘I had worked out my suicide plan and it was only through good fortune and the intervention of my wife, family and a brilliant GP, that I am still here today’ (Picture: James Martin)

    Last year saw a 13% increase in male suicide and there is still a significant stigma attached to mental ill-health.

    Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, and under-funding for mental health services leaves those with illnesses facing huge waiting times.

    ‘This has to change and we need to get parity between physical and mental health, says James. ‘We have no problem saying that we are going to see a physiotherapist if we have injured a muscle, but how many of us would freely admit to seeing a psychotherapist when we have a problem in our brain?

    James thinks the tiredness and physical exhaustion is going to be the hardest part of his challenge, but he knows the mental side will be tough too.

    ‘Last year, with 6km a day, was hard but this is double the distance every day. I started running two years ago and now run around four times a week, so it is going to be a big step up.

    ‘I am training, so I feel good at this stage. However, I know it is going to be tough.

    ‘The mental side is also going to be hard. Most of the runs are going to be at work or at home, and there are only a small amount of routes to take so it may be a little monotonous at times.

    ‘Added to that is the fact that I am not a social runner, as I use running as my headspace and mindfulness. It gives me peace and a time where I can escape my ever chattering brain.

    ‘During the challenge, I am going to be running with people and talking with them. It is a challenge for me.

    ‘The good thing though is that I will be talking to people about a subject that is important and that in itself will give me solace. It may be that one of those conversations will help someone realise that it is OK and good to talk.’

    James is hoping that his epic month of running will raise awareness about male mental health and help people feel empowered to get the help they need.

    ‘I want to stop anyone feeling as I did for much of my life; unable to talk because they do not believe anyone is interested or wants to help,’ explains James.

    ‘I want to get people talking about this; mates talking to mates, husbands and wives talking to their significant men, sons and daughters speaking to their dads, and dads talking to their children, colleagues checking in on each other at work and teammates putting bravado aside.’

    James even has some practical advice for people if they’re worried about a man in their life.

    ‘If you know someone is acting differently or suspect that something is not right, don’t shy away but put an arm around the shoulder and say: ‘I am here for you”.

    ‘Get the men in your life talking. My target this Movember is to talk to 150 different people, and I hope this will inspire so many other conversations.’

    James is raising money and looking for sponsorship to help him hit his target of £10,000 for the month.

    MORE: Eco-tourism: How to have a sustainable city break

    MORE: If you want to find love for Valentine’s Day you need to start dating someone today

    MORE: Deaf and blind puppy named Piglet teaches kids about special needs pets


    James Martin 2-a75bJames Martin 2-a75b

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    A witch flying on a broom with a background of people kissing
    Your legs form part of the broom (Picture: DNY59/Getty)

    Halloween isn’t a particularly sexy holiday – blood, guts and gore don’t usually go hand in hand with getting freaky in the sack – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be.

    After all, watching a scary movie with someone while you hold their hand could easily lead to friskier behaviour.

    And with all those Halloween parties coming up, we’re bound to see ghouls, goblins and other gruesome characters hooking up in dark corners.

    So, for those who want to spice things up this month, we give you: the Halloween witch – a sex position that is hauntingly pleasurable (and magical, too, because – orgasms).

    The Halloween witch: sitting

    The sitting witch is pretty much reverse cowgirl, but with a twist.

    Ask your partner (the man or a woman wearing a strap-on)  to lie down on the floor, before climbing on top of them, with your bum facing towards their face.

    Your lover should keep their legs together in a straight position – in this scenario, they form the witch’s broom.

    Then, rather than sitting down in the traditional riding position, lift yourself up and squat on top of your partner, while still keeping them (or the toy) inside of you.

    Bounce up and down, while carefully leaning forward and holding on to your partner’s legs – voilà, you’re doing the sitting witch.

    The Halloween witch: standing

    This one is more complicated and a more apt name for it would be the Halloween wizard, as the woman is the broom in this scenario.

    Tell your partner with the penis – plastic or real – to stand about a foot away from a wall and place a bar stool or similar furniture piece in front of them.

    It needs to be high enough that it reaches up to the dick and be sure to put a pillow on top of it (you’ll thank us later).

    Once the scene is set, it’s time to get into position.

    Start by standing in front of your partner, then lean your body forwards on the stool. Your partner then needs to grab your legs to hold you steady, and each leg should be on either side of their hips. Imagine that your bodies are in the shape of a cross.

    Then, reach out towards the wall and brace yourself against it as your partner slowly – and carefully – penetrates you.

    This is a very tricky position, so if you have a bad back or don’t have a suitable chair, use your bed instead.

    It’s exactly the same, but you lie across the bed, while your partner does you from behind, but while standing on the floor. Once again, keep your legs straight on either side of the other person’s body, so that it appears as if they are riding a broom.

    To make it really witch-like, we suggest a little cackle now and then, too.

    The Hogwarts witch or wizard

    Potterheads will appreciate this one.

    Get yourself in the sitting witch position, but add a few props.

    The person on the floor will have a wand (butt plug) and can pop this into the other person’s bum, gently playing with them during the sex.

    Yelling out magic spells is optional, but we’d stay away from ‘Avada Kedavra’ – it might give the wrong impression.

    You could also role play by putting on merchandise from different houses and enact the naughty moment a Gryffindor gets steamy with someone from Slytherin. Or pop on some Harry Potter porn or even one of the movies from the franchise.

    If you’re more Practical Magic than Potter, have some midnight margaritas instead – or enact a scene from Hocus Pocus.

    MORE: What is ‘sex brain’?

    MORE: How to have feminist sex

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


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    Chicken tikka curry on a plate with yellow rice
    You could be eating this for a £1 (Picture: Elmlea)

    It’s National Curry Week but we Brits don’t need a whole holiday to indulge in some delicious Asian cuisines.

    And the only thing better than a mouth-watering, fresh meal is a super cheap one.

    So chef Miguel Barclay, author of One Pound Meals has come up with some easy recipes to help you commemorate the special week, and you know, save some money.

    While it might be tempting to saunter down to your local Indian, Miguel’s recipes are more economical and ethical as they make use of leftovers in the kitchen.

    But if you don’t like making your own dish then you can always pop down to Shoreditch in London where the chef will be serving the stuff, for just £1.

    Miguel is working in partnership with brand Elmlea – an alternative to traditional cream – to raise money for Fareshare, a charity against hunger and food waste.

    So if you’re around the capital on 9 October, you could be treated to a £1 chicken tikka masala, a korma or Thai green curry.

    Cheap as chips (no chips available though).

    Chef Miguel Barclay posing with the food he cooked
    Chef Miguel has partnered up with pouring cream brand Elmlea to celebrate National Curry Week (Picture: Elmlea)

    We caught up with Miguel who told Metro.co.uk how he came up with the concept of meals for a quid.

    He explained: ‘Initially it was a game I used to play, I used to pretend I was working, but really I had a spreadsheet open and I was planning what I could make that evening for one pound. I used to pick up the ingredients on the way home and cook it that night.’

    With the earth creating catastrophic amounts of waste, Miguel also noted that it’s imperative we’re more mindful of how much we throw away, starting with food.

    ‘If you throw away half a packet of something then it technically cost you double. That’s how I think about it. For example, it’s all very nice to pick up a huge pack of peppers for a cheaper price but the price per pepper is actually really expensive if you end up throwing half of them away.’ 

    But of course, it’s not always possible to eat everything that’s slightly gone off.

    Miguel explained that it’s about using your initiative.

    ‘I’m confident in the kitchen so primarily I use my senses: What does it look like? What does it smell like? There are more dangerous items like chicken that you shouldn’t take any risks with, but with other items such as vegetables it’s pretty easy to tell.’

    We’ve got recipes below if you fancy trying your own hand at making the stuff.

    Chicken korma recipe

    Serves 4

    Chicken korma
    Chicken korma (Picture: Elmlea)

    Ingredients

    • 20g butter
    • 1tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 onion, finely sliced
    • 3cm thumb sized piece ginger, finely grated
    • 3 large garlic cloves, finely crushed
    • 8 cardamom pods, seeds crushed
    • 1tbsp mild curry powder
    • 1tsp ground turmeric
    • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 3cm chunks
    • 1 chicken stock cube, dissolved in 300ml boiling water
    • 3tbsp ground almond
    • 300g Jasmine rice, to serve
    • 100ml Elmlea double
    • Pinch caster sugar
    • Handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

    Method

    1. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry for 10mins until starting to soften. Add ginger, garlic, cardamom, curry powder, turmeric and chicken to the pan and fry for 5mins until the chicken is sealed.
    2. Add the stock and ground almond, bring to the boil and simmer for 15mins until the chicken is cooked throughout.
    3. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to packet instructions.
    4. Remove the lid and stir the Elmlea double through the chicken and simmer for 5mins until thickened.
    5. Season to taste with a pinch of sugar and salt and serve with rice and a sprinkle of coriander.

    Miguel Barclay's Elmlea chicken tikka masala recipe

    Serves one (multiply for more)

    Ingredients 

    • 1 chicken thigh (de-boned and de-skinned)
    • 3 tsp tandoori Curry Powder
    • 1 medium White Onion
    • 1 garlic Clove
    • handful Fresh coriander
    • 1 pot Elmlea Double
    • 1 tsp Flaked Almonds
    • 200g tomato Passata
    • Pinch turmeric
    • sunflower Oil
    • ½ mug Basmati rice

    Method

    1. Rub the chicken thigh (deboned and de-skinned) with 1tsp of tandoori curry powder (red in colour), sunflower oil, salt & pepper and leave to marinade for between 30 minutes & 3 hours.
    2. Pan fry the chicken over a medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side until cooked in the middle and slightly charred. Remove from pan and rest for a few minutes then chop into 1 inch cubes.
    3. Make the sauce by pan frying and seasoning very thinly sliced white onion in a splash of sunflower oil. Handy tip: use a mandolin on the thinnest setting for a fine slice.
    4. After a couple of minutes sweating in the pan, add thinly sliced garlic and continue to fry for a minute or two until it starts to brown.
    5. Add the curry powder and fry for 30 seconds before adding 200g tomato passata and a splash of water. Leave to simmer for a few minutes.
    6. Add the ground almonds and check seasoning. Simmer for five more minutes before stirring in a splash of Elmlea Double.
    7. To combine all ingredients, add the chicken and transfer to a bowl, before finishing with a splash more Elmlea Double and a sprinkle of sliced almonds.
    8. While the curry sauce is cooking, prepare the basmati rice by adding 1/2 mug of rice to 1mug of water, a pinch of salt and a pinch of turmeric to a saucepan and boiling with the lid on for about 10 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and stir in chopped coriander.

    Thai green curry

    Serves 4

    Thai green curry
    You can whip up this Thai green curry (Picture: Elmlea)

    Ingredients 

    • 1tbsp vegetable oil
    • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
    • 3 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
    • 4cm thumb-sized piece ginger, finely chopped
    • 4-5tbsp Thai green curry paste
    • 2 kaffir lime leaves
    • 1 lemongrass, cut in half lengthways
    • 400ml can coconut milk
    • 1tbsp fish sauce
    • 1 aubergine, cut into 3cm chunks
    • 2 courgettes, cut into 3cm chunks
    • 300g Basmati rice, to serve
    • 100g sugar snap peas
    • 100ml Elmlea single
    • 1 lime, cut into wedges
    • Handful Thai basil leaves

    Method

    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
    2. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and fry for 10mins until starting to soften.
    3. Add the Thai green curry paste, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass to the pan and cook for 2mins until they release their aroma.
    4. Add the coconut milk and fish sauce and season to taste with salt. Mix through the aubergine and courgette, cover with a lid and simmer for 15mins until the vegetables have softened.
    5. Meanwhile, cook basmati according to packet instructions.
    6. Once the vegetables have cooked remove the kaffir lime and lemongrass and stir through the sugar snap peas and Elmlea single.
    7. Serve the Thai green curry over rice with a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of Thai basil.

    MORE: Pasta lovers assemble as London finally gets its very own Italian food hall

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    MORE: Artificially intelligent bin aims to cut down on food waste


    Miguel Barclay x Elmlea - Chicken Tikka Masala-f3beMiguel Barclay x Elmlea - Chicken Tikka Masala-f3be

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    CBD chocolate advent calendar on a colourful background
    It won’t get you high (Picture: Getty/James Ware)

    If traditional chocolate advent calendars are no longer appealing, there is another option you could try this Christmas.

    There is currently a crowdfunding campaign that aims to release a CBD chocolate advent calendar which, according to the person behind the project, is the first of its kind in the world.

    The product, due to launch on 15 October, will feature 24 doors filled with ‘premium milk chocolate containing 10mg of CBD’, and is intended to promote wellness.

    As with all CBD products in the UK, the handmade chocolate contains less than 0.2% THC – the ingredient which causes the psychological effects that you’d get from marijuana – meaning you won’t get high from it.

    The crowdfunding is two-fold; James Ware, who launched it, aims to raise £11,000 in total and each person who donates £25 or more will receive a calendar of their very own by 1 December – but only if the total is reached.

    Otherwise, you’ll get refunded.

    You could also order in bulk, if you fancy a discount, with 10 calendars for £202, meaning you’d pay £4.80 less per calendar.

    However, you must be over 18 years old to be able to place an order.

    ‘CBD is the product of the moment,’ James tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘I was driven to create the calendar by the craziness of the Christmas countdown and wanting to help people solve for some winter wellness.

    ‘I hope that it can really add to advent and helps ensure people have a very mellow Christmas.’

    MORE: Christmas has come early as Lovehoney launches sex toy advent calendar

    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


    World's first CBD chocolate advent calendarWorld's first CBD chocolate advent calendar

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    From prison escapes to the apocalypse (complete with zombies), escape rooms often have unusual themes that add a bit of extra flair to the experience.

    Most are harmless fun, but then there are those themes that are slightly… questionable.

    On 26 April 1986, an accident occurred at a nuclear power station just outside Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (now Ukraine). It became known as one of the biggest disasters in recent history: Chernobyl.

    Now, a company known as The Riddle Within is set to launch Chernobyl: 10 Seconds To Midnight – an escape room where you are trapped inside the control room of the power plant.

    The description on the company’s site reads: ‘Solve a series of problems and tests, as the clock ticks down towards the critical moments and try to avert the explosion.

    ‘Can you stand the pressure as the core destabilises and tips towards the point of no return? Will you escape a hero or is history destined to repeat itself?’.

    The event is likely to cause upset with some people, as the real incident resulted in 31 deaths, although the United Nations has estimated that 4,000 people have died since then, as a result of radiation exposure.

    This isn’t even the first Chernobyl-themed escape room.

    In Greece, there’s an event known as ‘Terror in Chernobyl’ and there’s another version in Frankfurt, titled ‘Stalker’.

    The London escape room – which opens in January 2020 – will not only emulate a man-made disaster, but there are also two options for you to choose from – a ‘family-friendly’ experience (yikes) – or a ‘higher intensity’ one.

    Those who aren’t easily offended can nab tickets from £20 per person.

    In addition to the Chernobyl event, the company has also launched ‘Flight 338’ – an escape room that takes place in a decommissioned jet plane.

    We have approached The Riddle Within for a comment regarding the Chernobyl theme and this article will be updated once we hear back.

    MORE: Eco-tourism: How to have a sustainable city break

    MORE: This national park wants you to vote for its fattest bear

    MORE: Man shares the story of a dollar and how it gave him a family


    Chernobyl escape room coming to LondonChernobyl escape room coming to London

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    Bailey's salted caramel cupcakes
    Get in our belly (Picture: Tesco)

    Cupcakes? Good. Hot chocolate? Good. Baileys? Gooooood.

    Tesco is combining the three and we’re thanking our lucky stars.

    The supermarket is kindly offering two products: salted caramel cupcakes and a hot chocolate cake (complete with tiny marshmallows) with a Baileys flavour.

    Originally introduced in 2018, the hot chocolate cake is a new take on last year’s boozy counterpart – the Freakshake cake – but now, it has a chocolate twist.

    The chocolate sponge – which serves 16, perfect for intimate Christmas parties – is filled and topped with Baileys-flavoured frosting and finished with edible decorations, and will set you back £13.

    The caramel drizzled cupcake goods, available in a pack of nine, will be yours for a cheap and cheerful price of £4.

    Winter has never looked so good.

    The Baileys cake from Tesco's
    This could be yours (Picture: Tesco)

    You can buy the delicious sweet stuff in Tesco stores or online now.

    If you don’t have a local store (or don’t want the environmental guilt of ordering a small food delivery), fear not – because other popular supermarkets also store it.

    Asda will offer it in-store from 10 October, with Morrissons and Sainsbury’s following suit in November.

    Bargain hunters might find it worth the wait, as Sainsbury’s is offering the hot chocolate cake for a pound cheaper, at £12 (every little helps).

    And to anyone under 18 who thinks they can get drunk off cupcakes, think again.

    You still have to be above the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages, even cake-filled ones.

    MORE: Little girl writes letter to Tesco CEO to demand pockets for girls’ school trousers

    MORE: Types of cakes are being ranked and people are outraged that fish cakes have been included


    Tesco salted caramel Bailey's cupcakeTesco salted caramel Bailey's cupcake

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    An illustration shows a woman sitting at her desk
    Mentors are a huge help in the workplace in many ways (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    According to the British Dyslexia Association, 10% of the UK is thought to be dyslexic.

    Yet dyslexia is still wildly misunderstood.

    Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects reading and writing. It is not a learning difficulty because it has zero effect on intelligence.

    How people experience it, like with anything else, can vary greatly. And, as things currently stand, it is something that you live with for life.

    Although the exact cause is still a medical mystery, we know so much more about how we can help those with dyslexia.

    An illustration shows USB ports and a plug socket and switch at the back of a head next to a bar that reads: downloading
    While some with dyslexia may be slower to read or write, it has no effect on their intelligence (Pic: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Dr Daryl Brown is the headmaster at Maple Hayes Dyslexia School. Daryl is the son of Dr Neville Brown who developed a unique morphological approach to literacy learning which is used at the school.

    The method uses picture icons to attach meaning to morphemes, or word segments.

    Using synthetic phonics, students are taught to build up pronunciations for unfamiliar written words by translating letters into sounds and blending the sounds together.

    So, when it comes to dyslexia, he knows his stuff.

    Here’s Daryl’s 7 tips on how to support people with dyslexia in the workplace:

    Mentor

    Make sure they’re aware of who to go to if they find they are struggling – but don’t leave it until there’s a problem. Break the ice with a regular meeting just to make sure everything is going OK. It doesn’t have to be formal, a few minutes chat at the right time can stop a minor difficulty escalating to a disaster. Make that chat part of the routine, the mentor should be proactive but discreet.

    Ask

    Each dyslexic will have come up with their own strategies. Ask them what they are – often what helps a dyslexic will also benefit others. They may also have different ways of doing things and looking at things. Take advantage of their expertise.

    Visualise

    An illustration shows a guy sat at his desk at work, book open in front of him, surrounded by pie charts
    A picture speaks a thousand words and makes life a hell of a lot easier for dyslexics (Pic: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Use visual prompts in presentations and paperwork, like simple clipart images or colour coding to distinguish between key background information. Colour code for mandatory and advisory, much like road signs. Use the same prompts for all your presentations. Remember that complicated images and photographs will be distracting, so don’t have them on the same Powerpoint slide as the information you want to be remembered. 

    Standardise

    Stick to the same format for paperwork/forms so it’s easy to find/enter information. Organisations often have different forms for different purposes and for different departments. 

    Use larger/bold print for important information. Use the same font for the paperwork and right justify rather than full justify large amounts of text. The visual pattern of the different line lengths will help the dyslexic keep track of where they are on the page.

    Organise

    Don’t attempt long tasks. Have tasks broken down into stages that can be ‘ticked off’. What needs to be done by the end of the day, the end of the week, and so on.

    Make sure time is set aside to complete them. This is good time management but dyslexics often also have organisational difficulties and operating a routine (like having a school timetable) with structured blocks of time will certainly help.

    Minimise

    An illustrations of a desktop computer reads: computer says no
    Too many visual distractions in the workplace can get in the way of focus and productivity (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Have a clearly defined work area with minimal distractions. Many dyslexics will struggle to maintain concentration when there is background noise or if there are visual distractions like display screens. Make sure the work area is only for that purpose and go somewhere else for a break.

    Plan

    Extra time will be needed to work through written material – reduce this by giving out information before the meeting, give a bullet point list with key information, identify the keywords that may be difficult – this may include people’s names and business names.

     

    What are the signs of dyslexia?

    According to the NHS, signs of dyslexia usually become apparent when a child starts school and begins to focus more on learning how to read and write. A person with dyslexia may:

    • read and write very slowly
    • confuse the order of letters in words
    • put letters the wrong way round
      (such as writing “b” instead of “d”)
    • have poor or inconsistent spelling
    • understand information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that’s written down
    • find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
    • struggle with planning and organisation

    But people with dyslexia often have good skills in other areas, such as creative thinking and problem solving.

    Maple Hayes Dyslexia School in Lichfield is rated Outstanding by Ofsted, with a glowing report on its provision for the most vulnerable in society. Daryl studied Geology at Oxford and completed his teacher training at Birmingham University. He then returned to Oxford to complete a doctorate in Geology before returning to Maple Hayes to teach. He has a Master’s degree in the Psychology of Specific Learning Difficulties and took on the role of headteacher of the school in 2001 to help his father. Alongside Dr Brown senior, he has been working on the Dictionary of Morphemes and, through their studies, the duo have already mapped out around 49,800 words formed from 3,713 morphemes.


    All the damage you're doing by holding in your pee at workAll the damage you're doing by holding in your pee at work

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    Split image of Laura Lee's two cats
    Felines are evil (Picture: Laura88Lee)

    It’s no secret that some cats just hate other cats – they probably don’t even like you, their human, all that much.

    The general disdain that felines have for each other is often attributed to their territorial nature and the fact they’re not always trained to socialise with other pets.

    Just a few days ago, we witnessed the latest example of feline-on feline-hate, which has led us to believe that perhaps this inter-cat aggression might just be for giggles.

    Los Angeles beauty blogger Laura Lee has posted security footage of her cat, Boo, swiftly pushing his sister, Peach, into the pool – now that’s cold.

    As children, we’re taught poolside rules such as no running, no peeing and certainly no pushing.

    Considering most cats haven’t had the luxury of swimming lessons in their youth, we’ll wager that this particular puss might not have been fully aware of its actions.

    That is, until Laura posted damning evidence that Boo’s attack might have been a revenge-fuelled crime.

    It could also be part of an ongoing argument between the two felines; in a second video, Peach can be seen dishing out a feisty butt bite.

    The original footage has racked up nearly half a million likes and over 115,000 retweets, with people loving the cattiness of it all.

    ‘Dayuuum, you’re dealing with some sinister felines!,’ wrote one person.

    Someone else said: ‘I love how the one cat comes out of the pool running after the other cat like “Your ass is MINE mother …..!”.

    One person also shared a gif from the fateful Lion King scene where Scar lets go of Mufasa’s paws, and the latter falls to his death.

    We’re hoping these feline siblings are able to patch things up. The world is watching.


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    Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men blowing the Shofar at the Western Wall
    Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar (Picture: EPA)

    The festival of Yom Kippur – the most important day in the Jewish calendar – is looming, bringing with it the 25-hour fast which takes place following the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) celebrations.

    It begins at sundown on Tuesday evening and runs through until Wednesday night, with the majority of those observing the festival refraining from food and drink, and spending the day in prayer.

    So what time does the festival begin and end – and why does it start at sundown?

    Here’s what you need to know…

    What time does Yom Kippur start?

    Yom Kippur is due to start in the UK on Tuesday evening at 6.08pm when fasting begins.

    Worshippers in synagogue on Yom Kippur
    Many people will spend the entire day in synagogue

    Over the next 25 hours those fasting are not allowed to eat or drink anything at all, and that includes water.

    The fast ends on Wednesday night at 7.07pm.

    Why does the fast begin at sundown?

    A group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish worshippers in silhouette
    The fast will begin at sunset (Picture: Getty Images)

    The fast begins at sunset – as with the Sabbath and other Jewish observances – as it goes by the dates in the Hebrew calendar as opposed to the Gregorian calendar, which traditionally begin and end at sundown.

    This means that the start times of the Sabbath and festivals vary throughout the year, depending on when they fall – with those in the winter months starting and finishing as early as 4pm and those in the summer months not beginning until closer to 9 or 10pm.

    Yom Kippur can also vary depending on what time of year it is.

    In the Hebrew calendar, the festival falls on the 10th day of the month of Tishrei – which can correspondent with dates either in September or October in the Gregorian calendar.

    Why do people fast on Yom Kippur?

    A group of ultra-Orthodox men praying in synagogue
    The day will be spent reflecting on the past misdemeanours of the year (Picture: Getty Images)

    Those celebrating the festival refrain from food and drink in order to spend the day repenting for sins and wrongdoings they may have committed in the past year and promising to do better in the coming year.

    The idea is to start the Jewish New Year with a clean slate, with all previous misdemeanours forgiven by God through prayer and repentance on the day.

    As well as fasting, people also abstain from bathing, wearing perfumes and lotions and wearing leather, while marital relations are also prohibited.

    The day starts on Tuesday night with a special service called Kol Nidre, and ends with the concluding Neilah service on Wednesday, after which there is a festive fast-breaking meal.

    There are no hard and fast rules about what to break fast with – some people start with something small like a glass of water and a slice of honey cake (traditionally eaten at New Year), while others prefer to have a large meal.

    Others may also begin preparations for the Sukkot festival, which begins at sundown on Sunday night.

    It’s a busy old month for sure.

    Is anyone exempt from fasting?

    An ultra-orthodox Jewish man performs the Kaparot ceremony ahead of Yom Kippur
    Some also take part in ceremonies such as Kaparot, involving a live chicken, prior to the festival (Picture: Getty Images)

    There are some exceptions to the fasting rule – young children below Barmitzvah or Batmitzvah age (13 for boys and 12 for girls) do not have to fast, while it’s generally discouraged if you are pregnant or have a medical condition such as diabetes.

    Anybody who might otherwise endanger their health by fasting – especially if they are under doctors’ orders to do so – should not fast either.

    In the case of a medical emergency a person must break their fast, but if someone breaks it due to feeling unwell and afterwards feels well enough to resume fasting they should do so.

    A person who needs to take medication during the day is permitted to take it if not taking it poses a risk to their health.

    MORE: Rosh Hashanah 2019: How to wish someone a Happy Jewish New Year in Hebrew


    Rosh Hashanah preparations in JerusalemRosh Hashanah preparations in Jerusalem

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    Couple stop at McDonalds after their wedding.
    They’re lovin it… and each other (Picture: Paula Webster Mottram)

    We all know what longing feels like. A cavernous emptiness. An insatiable calling. A magnetic pull to another time, place, or loved one.

    Sometimes, it’s a deep hunger, a craving for a meal at your local Maccy’s.

    Perhaps you’ve encountered this at the end of a big night, or when you’re en route to work and catch the whiff of a salty McMuffin.

    Or if you’re anything like husband-wife duo Reuben and Hayley Szekely, this is a craving that has hit you right after you’ve said: ‘I do.’

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B3RJU07BU1e/

    The loved-up, hungry couple were on the way to their wedding reception at The Old Hall Hotel in Buxton when they stopped at the Rawtenstall McDonald’s for a cheeky cheeseburger and box of nuggies.

    They even got the meal on the house, with all the staff rather keen to serve the dressed-up pair.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B3RI3Eoh8qV/

    Fortunately, their wedding photographer was along for the ride, and managed to seamlessly capture the young couple living their fast food fairytale.

    ‘The staff at McDonald’s were amazing! Everyone in the restaurant had their phones out taking photos. I think we made their day!’ photographer Paula Webster Mottram said in an Instagram caption.

    ‘But what a fun couple. I just LOVE it when couples want to do something out of the ordinary.’

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B3RJansB9dM/

    Hayley, 22 and Reuben, 25, will set off on their Roman honeymoon in two weeks, where we imagine they might be dining on slightly fancier fare.

    So, raise a cheeseburger to the happy couple.

    These two aren’t the first to welcome the golden arches into their special day. In 2017, a newly-married couple enjoyed their first meal as husband and wife at Maccy’s, and in 2018, a bride handed out 400 cheeseburgers to her 450 wedding guests after a six-course meal.

    If you have a brilliant wedding story to share, get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk


    Couple stop at McDonalds after their weddingCouple stop at McDonalds after their wedding

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    Cordeillan-Bages looks magical lit up at dusk
    Cordeillan-Bages looks magical lit up at dusk

    There is something undeniably magical about a stay at a French chateau.

    It is the stuff of Disney movies and dreams – and Chateau Cordellian-Bages fits the bill for both.

    A beautiful gold-stone turreted chartreuse (country mansion) set in a gorgeous wine-growing estate in the Haut-Médoc, a charming part of France a 40-minute drive from Bordeaux, it is exactly the sort of ‘chateau chic’ you hope for when you plan an escape to the chateau.

    As the sweeping drive takes you to the entrance through acres of vineyards – the chateau owners produce some of the region’s finest wine – you can’t help but feel a little like visiting royalty.

    Château Cordeillan-Bages is more than just the chateau itself – it is part of a remote, gold-stone hamlet restored by the Cazes family in 1989, nestled between two hectares of vineyards in the Médoc region just south of Pauillac on the left bank of the Gironde estuary.

    The gold-stone chateau Cordeillan-Bages
    The gold-stone chateau Cordeillan-Bages with its cute turrets and charming gardens

    The chateau is famous for a wine beloved to those in the know – the fifth growth Grand Cru Classe, Chateau Lynch-Bages – and is one of the most famous vineyards in all of the Médoc region, but there’s plenty more to do in this lovely part of France.

    Cycling the beautiful countryside, horseriding, bikes and hikes in the extensive 19th century forests, drives through medieval towns and villages and more than 150 miles of white sandy beaches on the nearby Atlantic coast.

    Away from the vineyards, surfing and watersports are a big deal and with such a long coastline accessible, beaches are uncrowded and peaceful.

    There’s also an annual wine marathon, the Marathon des Chateaux du Médoc, that takes place every September. This may be the only time the term fun-run really applies – you’ll run 26.2 miles alongside people dressed as giant wine bottles with 20 wine stops en route that fuel runners with wine, steak, oysters and cheese as they pass through the vineyards of the Médoc.

    Le vibe

    Relaxed but elegant. We pulled up next to a line of Ferraris parked outside the hotel and felt slightly out of place in our little car – but we needn’t have worried. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, no matter what wheels you arrive in.

    The interior of the hotel combines French art de vivre with interiors designed by Milan-based architect, Anne-Monique Bonadéi, designer accents and walls adorned with contemporary works by Pierre Alechinsky, Emilio Perez, Tan Swie Hian, Antoni Tapies and Gérard Titus-Carmel.

    The laid-back atmosphere extends to the grounds, where you can relax by the outdoor pool or sunbathe on the terrace overlooking the vineyards. This is the spot to grab a glass of Lynch-Bages as the sun sets ahead before heading in for a Michelin-star dinner in the hotel.

    Les rooms

    The rooms are a neat blend of modern design cut with traditional chateau flourishes. There’s a transparent glass wall that frosts over for privacy and nice big shower heads. From all of the 28 rooms you’ll be treated to some sort of greenery for a view — be it the courtyard or the front garden filled with ornamental magnolia trees. Oak cupboards and Danish lighting finish off the peaceful, earthy design.

    The rooms have a soothing blend of contemporary and traditional design with a little Danish design flair
    The rooms have a soothing blend of contemporary and traditional design with a little Danish design flair

    What to do

    Wine is the natural choice – of course, you must tour the vineyards of the chateau and beyond. Elsewhere though, there’s much more to do. Oyster tasting is a highlight in the Médoc region. You can simply rock up at La Petite Canau farm to discover how the region’s refreshing oysters are cultivated once they’re transported from Brittany while enjoying the wide skies that stretch across the farm.

    During the tour and tasting, there’s the chance to learn about the logistics behind oyster farming. This particular farm is essentially a weight-gaining farm for the oysters, packing them with enough nutrients to make them plump and meaty.

    Different farms favour different flavours which can be achieved through the salt levels of the water they’re soaked in, which is why the oysters of La Rochelle are particularly salty compared to those in the Médoc region. It’s certainly an alternative date location—sipping wine and eating oysters as the sun slowly sets.

    In 2010, the Cazes family renovated the village of Bages which is peaceful pit stop out of the hotel grounds.

    Cycling through the vineyards and through the country paths is ideal for getting around and seeing the local area and some of the world’s most famous vineyards – Chateau Latour, Mouton Rothschild and Lafite Rothchild are all just minutes away from the hotel.

    A short distance from the hotel, you’ll reach the centre of Pauillac, with its wine library and the largest estuary in Europe, the Gironde, where you can gently cruise along the waters.

    Festivals and events happen all summer long here, including the festival of the cinema Les Vendanges du 7ème Art and winegrower presentations.

    In August, the House of Tourism and Wine hosts a rendez-vous for lovers of music, gastronomy and wine in an idyllic setting on the estuary.

    The food

    The château, which has the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the Medoc, welcomed young Michelin-star chef Julien Lefebvre to lead the way in 2017, at the age of 35. His passion for sourcing natural produce draws in crowds of curious gastronomy lovers to try his contemporary French haute-cuisine.

    One of the dishes at the Michelin-starred restaurant t Cordeillan-Bages
    One of the dishes at the Michelin-starred restaurant at Cordeillan-Bages

    During the early summer months, the Pauillac region is famous for its asparagus and strawberries with local producers harvesting their crops, so expect the freshest ingredients.

    We tried the eight-course tasting menu which started with a decorative pre-amuse bouche on a winding bark-like ornament stippled in canapés.

    Next came a modest batch of Laurent Hullot’s asparagus with caramelised morels followed by line-caught meager, a succulent fish served with Noilly Prat sauce.

    The tasting menu ended with two spectacular creamy desserts. The pastry chef, Antonin Billot, has somehow managed to achieve the ideal level of sweetness without going too overboard, making two desserts easy as pie.

    Or pop out to Café Lavinal, which is awarded the Bib Gourmand status, for a bistro lunch. Because there’s no such thing as too many oysters. Or too much wine!

    Chef Julien Lefebvre creates stunning dishes that look too good to eat - though that didn't stop us
    Chef Julien Lefebvre creates stunning dishes that look too good to eat – though that didn’t stop us

    Don’t miss

    Sipping wine dating back to 1989 for dinner is a norm in a place like Château Cordeillan-Bages. Wine tasting in 18th-century wineries and vineyard picnics are also on the agenda.

    Book a tour at Ormes de Pez winery for an introduction to the process of producing wine in the Medoc.There’s a tasting session at the end of the tour – and in case you’re a wine-tasting noob, there are tips on how to swirl the glass to draw oxygen from the air into the wine. Ormes de Pez has enough acidity to give it a really good swirl, bringing out a very warm and masculine flavour.

    Château Lynch Bages (Red: Cabernet Sauvignon 75%, Merlot 15%, Cabernet Franc 10%) has maintained a particularly strong following for its succulent richness, especially when aged.

    The winery was closed in 2017 in preparation for a comprehensive renovation of its wine-making facilities by American Architect Chien Chung Pei and is scheduled to reopen its doors in 2020.

    Another essential is the luxury picnic, a new concept by the hotel that gives guests a portable gourmet meal to enjoy between chateau stops or cycling trips.

    The Bages Box comes in medium-sized mason jars to contain the heat and make it easy to dine al fresco amid sun-dappled vineyards. And in style, bien sûr.

     

    You can book or find out more about Château Cordeillan-Bages at cordeillanbages.com or find them on instagram here

    GETTING THERE

    Fly into Bordeaux.

    Harvest offer: Chateau Cordeillan-Bages is offering 50% off a second night between 14 October and 10 November.

    Room rates start at €244 based on two people sharing and include buffet breakfast each morning.


    Cordeillan-Bages looks magical lit up at duskCordeillan-Bages looks magical lit up at dusk

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