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

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    Split image of two egg dishes from Eggslut and The Table Cafe
    Oh, eggy goodness (Picture: Eggslut/The Table Cafe)

    It’s International Egg Day so naturally we are celebrating with an ode to eggs.

    Poached, fried, boiled – this versatile ingredient is a staple during most morning meals, including the traditional weekend brunch.

    Didn’t have eggs this morning? Not to fret, we’ve put together a list of the best places in London to gorge on delicious dishes. From scrambled goodness at the newly-opened Eggslut to Middle Eastern-inspired treats at The Good Egg, prepare to salivate.

    On the other hand, if you hate eggs (how, why, no) look away now.

    The Good Egg, Stoke Newington

    A birds-eye view of a table with a frying pan in the middle of the shot, filled with an egg dish from The Good Egg
    Eggs for everyone (Picture: The Good Egg)

    Get here early or bring water to sip on while you stand in the queue.

    The Good Egg has that hipster-vibe, with Middle Eastern vibes that will make you wish you’d added date jam, pickled cucumber and mango amba to your favourite breakfast dishes sooner.

    Another favourite is the Iraqi aubergine pita, filled with eggs, fried aubergine, tahini, mango amba, dak dak, pickles and zhoug. Get a flatbread, honey and za’atar starter while you wait.

    It’s a very low-key joint, with an open kitchen and a mixed crowd, including dogs. There’s also a site in Soho.

    Eggslut, Notting Hill

    A bun filled with scrambled eggs, chive and fried onions from Eggslut
    Our mouths are watering (Picture: Eggslut)

    Originally from Los Angeles, Eggslut is all about comfort food, but with an inventive spin.

    The classic breakfast sandwich is a must but you’l struggle to keep the scrambled, lush contents from spilling out. Spice things up with the ‘Fairfax’; eggs, chive, cheddar cheese, caramelised onions and sriracha mayo.

    There’s the added benefit of knowing that you can eat comfortably, because these eggs come from cage-free hens.

    Guaranteed Insta-goods.

    Après Food Co, Clerkenwell

    An egg dish from Aprés Food Co with poached eggs, sausages, vine tomatoes, bacon and more
    It’s all about nutrition at this joint (Price: Aprés Food Co)

    Nutrition meets good cooking at this brunch spot.

    Think of it as healthy food that isn’t all about kale. There’s no gluten or refined sugar used at the café, and owners Catherine and Danny use Fairtrade products wherever possible.

    The menu isn’t overtly egg-inspired – sorry – but the Aprés Eggs is worth the trip to Clerkenwell, a plate full of organic tomatoes, onion, red pepper and spinach sauce, cooked with fresh coriander, organic lemon juice and cayenne pepper, topped with a poached egg, feta cheese and probiotic yoghurt.

    Down with an organically-grown wheatgrass shot because, what else?

    The Table Café, Southwark

    A dish with portobello mushrooms and a dripping egg at The Table Cafe
    So lush (Picture: The Table Cafe)

    Beware of queues at The Table Cafe, as it can get busy with the pre-Tate crowd.

    The black pudding and bacon eggs Benedict is extremely good, as are the hash browns, and even though they’re way overpriced, the juices are super fresh and make you feel like you’re keeping scurvy from the door.

    In general, a light and airy vibe for a civilised brunch.

    Eggbreak, Notting Hill

    Egg, yoghurt and dill dish on the site at Eggbreak
    Fancy something a bit different? (Picture: Eggbreak)

    If it’s eggs you’re after, and eggs alone, this is the place.

    From Turkish eggs to burrata and truffle scrambled eggs to lamb hash with a fried egg or smoked tofu Benedict, it’s all eggs everywhere.

    The bread selection is excellent too; cornbread, rye, pitta, sourdough, Challah (kosher, breaded loaf) and gluten-free. Obviously served with eggs.

    How many times can we say eggs in one paragraph? A lot.

    Crispin, Spitalfields

    A fried egg with prosciutto and french fries at Crispin
    It’s all about fried goodness (Picture: Crispin)

    Crispin’s interior might be all about minimalism, but the food certainly isn’t.

    The restaurant is the brainchild of Scotchtails – makers of ‘artisan’ Scotch eggs in Hackney and coffee experts, Lundenwic in Aldwych, meaning you’re guaranteed a tasty egg dish and great coffee to boot.

    Go for a millennial classic – avocado on sourdough, poached egg, chilli salt, chives and lime – or why not try the poached eggs with brown butter hollandaise, kale, smoked salmon or coppa ham.

    Another delight is the three cheese and onion toastie, stuffed with a fried egg and Berkswell fromage.

    Rovi, Fitzrovia

    Eggs with parsley, dill and a tangy orange sauce
    Yes, please (Picture: Rovi)

    Fancy posh eggs made by a celebrity chef?

    Israeli-English chef Yotam Ottolenghi has recently opened a new restaurant in Fitzrovia, aptly named Rovi, with Middle Eastern marvels on the menu.

    You’ll quickly learn that this isn’t your average brunch: sample green shakshuka with a duck’s egg and toasted focaccia or munch on jalapeño cornbread with scrambled eggs, avocado and tomato.

    To be enjoyed with a fruit kombucha, fresh juice or a Bloody Mary.

    Hawksmoor, Seven Dials

    A dish from Hawksmoor with mushrooms, eggs, black pudding and a large piece of bone marrow
    How about some bone marrow with those eggs? (Picture: Hawksmoor)

    We’re cheating with this one, because Hawksmoor isn’t actually a brunch spot – but we’re making this exception with good reason.

    Meat-eaters, this is where you will make your home.

    Start by choosing a large cut of something (Porterhouse, perhaps) and add two fried eggs, maple bacon and finish off with the pièce de résistance, a large grilled bone marrow.

    If you’re feeling really greedy, there’s also the option of half a native lobster with garlic butter. Either way, you’re not leaving hungry.

    MORE: An ode to eggs, the single greatest food in the world

    MORE: Are you haunted by this DIY craft video of an egg getting bigger?

    MORE: Nowhere near John Lewis? Get tins of your fave Quality Street at B&M for £4.99


    Where to get the best eggs in LondonWhere to get the best eggs in London

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    Scented candles in different colours on a jazzy background
    Are you clued-up on candles? (Pictures: Shutterstock/Getty)

    It’s that time of year again – the temperature drops, the rainy weather sets in and all you want to do is snuggle up inside with a nice scented candle.

    But, the nation’s love of candles could be harming the environment, as well as causing damage to our bodies, due to the dangerous toxins they release.

    In a positive move, earlier this year, Michael Gove (who was the Environment Secretary at the time) said that candle manufacturers will be told to reduce emissions in their scented candles.

    Thankfully not all candles are harmful – so it’s good to get to grips with what’s what.

    Why are candles dangerous?

    It all pretty much comes down to one ingredient.

    Most scented candles contain paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum, coal or shale oil. When it’s burnt, paraffin wax releases toxic compounds into the air, including acetone, benzene, and toluene – all known carcinogens.

    So not only are they damaging the environment but our health, too.

    One study at South Carolina State University found that paraffin wax candles give off harmful fumes linked to lung cancer and asthma, although researchers said it would take years of regular use for it to be a significant health risk.

    Sadly, the bad news doesn’t stop there.

    Paraffin candles also produce a fair bit of soot – the black stuff caused from flickering flames – and when the soot is airborne it can be inhaled.

    These particles can find their way into the deepest depth of the lungs, as well as the lower respiratory tract and alveoli, according to a study published in MSD Manual – and this doesn’t sound too healthy.

    Despite the risks, brands tend to use paraffin because it’s cheaper than other types of wax. It also helps to create a stronger-smelling fragrance than natural waxes.

    Back in March, Douglas Booker of the National Air Quality Testing Services (NAQTS) shared his thoughts with the Daily Mail, and said: ‘When scented candles are burned, they give off tiny particles, so small that you could fit a thousand of them across a single human hair.

    ‘The problem with particles this small is that they can get into the bloodstream, and they have been associated with both short- and long-term health problems, including asthma and cardiovascular disease.’

    Are all candles toxic?

    The short answer is no, which will be music to a lot of people’s ears – the trick is to opt for natural candles, made from renewable resources.

    Soy wax candles are a great alternative as they don’t contain toxic pollutants and produce significantly significantly less soot than a paraffin product. These candles do not burn as hot as paraffin wax candles, but they burn slower and so will usually last around 30-50% longer.

    It’s worth pointing out that while soy candles might seem like an eco-friendly option, they are still a by-product of the soybean industry – which has growing concerns around deforestation and its use of pesticides and fertilisers.

    Beeswax candles are another option. They can help clean the air while they burn as it’s said they release negative ions – which clears pollen, mold spores, bacteria and viruses. They also tend to burn for longer than both paraffin and soy candles. Although – as the name suggests – these candles would not be suitable for vegans.

    Some other wax products are also made from minerals and vegetables, and tend to release fewer particles into the air when they burn. High street brands like Jo Malone use these types of ingredients in their candles, but they often come with a hefty price tag.

    It’s also important to be aware of how candles are made to smell nice.

    Natural fragrances are created with essential oils – derived from plants and flowers – whereas synthetic fragrances are man-made, usually from petroleum-based chemicals. This means you’re once again exposed to dangerous toxins.

    Nathalie Allard, founder of organic candle company Petits Rituels, said: ‘For essential oils, there are no dangers (as long as you don’t inhale them in their concentrated form).

    ‘Once natural oils are inhaled into the body they re-modulate themselves and work in a friendly way.’

    Who is at risk?

    Three decorative candles isolated on white background
    It’s important to know how different types of candles affect you (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    Anyone who burns a scented candle, or is near a scented candle, could be a risk of inhaling the particles emitted.

    The chemicals released from paraffin candles can be especially harmful to people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma.

    Emma Rubach, head of health advice at Asthma UK, told Metro.co.uk: ‘Scented candles could cause people with asthma to cough, wheeze or even have a potentially life-threatening asthma attack as strong scents from perfumed products could be a trigger for an estimated 2.5million people with asthma in the UK.’

    ‘Although we don’t yet know exactly which chemicals or fragrances are most likely to trigger people with asthma, our advice is for people to avoid them if they notice they cough more or get symptoms such as breathlessness around scented candles.

    ‘While it’s difficult to avoid candle scents, you could tell your friends and neighbours about how they affect you and ask them not to use them when you are around. You could also try using battery-operated tealights if you want to create a calming atmosphere without the risk of triggering an attack.’

    What to do if you love candles?

    Knowledge is power.

    When buying new candles, check the list of ingredients.

    Look out for an unscented candle or a wax that has been scented with essential oils, rather than a synthetic fragrance.

    Also don’t be fooled by ‘natural’ labelling. Industry experts have said candle companies only need to include 51% of natural ingredients to call a product ‘natural’ – the rest can be synthetic.

    Burning candles for less time is a good way to reduce the amount of particles sent into the air and keeping a room well-ventilated will also help.

    MORE: Aldi launches range of Bake Off dessert inspired candles – and there’s a Jaffa Cake one

    MORE: Poundland launches new cocktail inspired scented candles for £1 each

    MORE: Is blowing out candles on a birthday cake actually really unhygienic?


    Are scented candles bad for your health?Are scented candles bad for your health?

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    Sleep illustration
    Bet you wish you were as relaxed as this guy. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Sleep is one of those things that’s necessary for absolutely everybody, while also being pretty hard to understand to understand or find for some.

    Insomnia is an ever-present spectre for some, while conditions like sleep paralysis, sleep apnea, severe snoring, or night terrors pervade the lives of others.

    Given that sleep can affect everything from your weight, to your concentration, to whether or not you get heart disease or have a stroke, it’s no surprise we’re all looking for ways to sleep longer and better.

    The first step in that is understanding the importance of sleep, and what an optimum night’s shut-eye entails. Here are all your main questions answered.

    How much sleep do we need?

    You may have heard the old saying that eight hours a night is ideal. While that’s good guide timing, there isn’t an exact right amount that suits everyone.

    The amount of sleep you need varies with your age and life circumstances.

    Sleep expert Neil Stanley says: ‘Individual sleep need is like height – we are all different and it is to a large degree genetically determined.  Anywhere between about four and eleven hours can be considered normal but getting just one hour less sleep a night than you require can have measurable effects on your physical and mental health.’

    The Sleep Foundation recommend about seven to nine hours a night for an adult or young adult, but this can be affected by anything from how stressful your days are, your health, and the stimulants you eat or drink throughout the day.

    As you get older, you also start to need less sleep.

    Stanley advises that you work out what’s best for you. If you feel tired every day that means you aren’t getting enough hours.

    How the sleep cycle works

    It’s not just about the amount of sleep you’re having either, but the amount of quality sleep and sleep cycles.

    Sleep researchers generally divide sleep up into five stages.

    Stages one and two are ‘light sleep’, stages three and four are ‘deep sleep’, while stage five is REM.

    Light sleep occurs when you first nod off. It usually involves lots of movement, and is easy to wake from.

    When your body is finally comfortable you will fall into deep sleep. Your brain switches off and your body does a bit of maintenance.

    This includes secreting a growth hormone to repair damaged cells, cleaning your blood with your kidneys, and strengthening your immune system.

    Image of a bedroom with an illustration of a person in a blue t-shirt and purple trousers sitting on top of the bed with their back turned to the reader
    Doesn’t that bed just make you want to snuggle up? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    What is REM sleep and how do you know you’re having it?

    REM sleep – also known as deep sleep is probably the most vital and restorative parts of a good forty winks.

    Rapid Eye Movement sleep occurs from around 90 minutes after you first fall asleep and is characterised by a few things that make it different from the previous four stages.

    Firstly, this tends to be the time that you have dreams, and your heart rate, breathing, and eye movements will begin to look and sound more like they are in your waking state.

    Up to around 23% of your sleep time is REM sleep, but it’s fairly difficult to know if you’re having it unless you’re checked by a doctor.

    They’d hook you up to a Polysomnography, which would measure your vital signs to work out how much REM sleep you’re getting. This will only tend to happen if there are real concerns about your wellbeing and sleep quality.

    Some fitness trackers can also give you rough estimates of your sleep quality, but much of this tech is fairly new so shouldn’t be relied on exclusively.

    Why is REM sleep important?

    As touched on earlier, this is the point during your sleep cycle where the most goes on in terms of restoration and rejuvenation of your body.

    Some of the benefits of REM sleep include:

    • cell regeneration
    • increasing blood supply to muscles
    • promoting growth and repair of tissues and bones
    • strengthening the immune system
    • helping your memories be processed and stored in your brain

    What happens when you experience sleep deprivation?

    While it would undoubtedly be easier if we could get everything done night and day, with no need for sleep.

    That’s not the case, however, and the effects of sleep deprivation can actually be devastating.

    Alongside the fact that you won’t get the benefits of sleep mentioned above, sleep deprivation can cause various things depending on how long you’re awake.

    To start off with, you’ll likely feel irritable and tired, with effects like severe drowsiness and inability to focus growing over the course of days. At this point, you’re much more at risk of accidents when driving, working, or even doing simple daily tasks.

    Over time, lack of sleep can lead to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, as levels of hormones dip or rise and cause changes in your body.

    How to get to sleep

    This may be the trickiest one of all, as different people find that different methods work for them. The first thing to do, though, is ensure you have the right conditions for sleep.

    Sleeping in a dark, quiet room with as few distractions as possible is best. Consider your body temperature, too, as being too hot or cold can hinder sleep.

    Then consider your bedroom routine, being careful to avoid blue light from phones and other devices before bed. Some recommend a warm bath an hour or so before bed too.

    As well as this, keeping regular bed times and wake up times and avoiding caffeine should help regulate when you get tired.

    If none of these things are working, you can try the many sleep apps available online designed to lull you into slumber. From there, if you still can’t drop off, you should see your GP.

    woman sleeping on desk
    We don’t recommend sleeping at your desk. (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    Which sleep position is best?

    The most common sleep position is the foetal position, with 41% of adults drifting off this way. Strictly there’s no ‘best’ sleeping position, but rather ones that work best for different people.

    Sleeping on your back reduces pressure on your muscles and joints, and can also reduce acid reflux. This is considered the ideal position as long as you don’t have sleep apnoea or snoring issues (as your tongue could block your airways and make things worse).

    If you do have either of these issues, sleeping on your side with your legs and arms relatively straight is ideal.

    Pregnant women are recommended to sleep in the foetal position to increase blood flow and stops your uterus pressing on your liver. Just make sure not to ball yourself too tightly.

    For all of you who sleep on your front, you may be sad to know that there aren’t many benefits of this. Still, if you must, it’s advised that you sleep with your forehead against a soft pillow and facing forward, so you have room to breathe but also don’t have to crane your neck.

    What is sleep paralysis?

    Sleep paralysis is a temporary inability to move or speak that happens when you’re waking up or, less commonly, falling asleep, according to the NHS.

    It’s essentially when your body is in REM sleep while still awake, and is often seen in people who have been deprived of sleep, who have irregular sleeping patterns, or who have a condition called narcolepsy.

    Although you’re awake, your body is briefly paralysed, after which you can move and speak as normal. Hallucinations during sleep paralysis are also common. This can last from a few seconds to several minutes.

    Sleep paralysis doesn’t cause you any harm, but being unable to move can be very frightening. Some people have sleep paralysis once or twice in their life, while others experience it a few times a month or more regularly.

    It can affect people of all ages, but it’s more common in teenagers and young adults. Men and women are equally affected.

    What is sleep apnoea?

    On a base level, this condition involves breathing stopping and starting while you’re asleep.

    • making gasping, snorting or choking noises
    • repeated waking
    • loud snoring

    During the day, you may also experience:

    • tiredness
    • lack of concentration
    • mood swings
    • a headache when you wake up

    If you suspect you have sleep apnoea, the best thing to do is visit your GP. You’ll likely be referred to a sleep clinic, and treatments if you are diagnosed include a CPAP machine to improve breathing, or a gum shield to ensure your mouth is open.

    MORE: Where to get the best eggs in London

    MORE: This male model’s ferocious strut at Paris Fashion Week is going viral


    Sleep illustrationSleep illustration

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    A Flora packet on a trans flag background
    The company parted ways with Mumsnet (Picture: Upfield)

    Mumsnet, the forum where people share tips, tricks and stories about parenthood, has once again come under fire for anti-trans rhetoric on the site.

    Following an investigation, Upfield – which among other brands owns the butter product, Flora – has decided to cut all ties.

    Flora had been known as a ‘Mumsnet Rated’ on its label, a move that was called out by someone on Twitter yesterday.

    The user tweeted tagged Flora in a tweet and reminded the brand of its commitment to upholding ‘diversity and inclusion’ as per the company’s human rights statement.

    This prompted Upfield to look into the matter and based on its findings, part ways with Mumsnet.

    ‘We’ve investigated. We are wholly committed to our values, which include treating everyone equally, so have made the decision to no longer work with Mumsnet,’ Upfield told The Drum.

    Following the announcement, Mumsnet replied to the news.

    ‘Mumsnet will always stand in solidarity with minority communities,’ a representative said.

    ‘We don’t tolerate transphobic comments and will delete any when they are flagged to us. But we do also believe strongly in free speech.

    ‘The discussion of gender self-id and what that might mean for very hard-won women’s rights, as well as the rapidly growing number of children exploring gender identity issues, is contentious.

    ‘We know some people would like us to simply censor this entire debate but a similar number think we censor too much. We’re committed to allowing respectful discussion of an issue that is of particular interest to parents.’

    The recent development follows the incident in April this year, when trans activist Stephanie Hayden won a case against Mumsnet as the High Court ordered the site to reveal the name of a user who had abused her online.

    Upfield is also not the first company to end its partnership with the site – Birdseye is reported to have parted ways with Mumsnet, too.

    Metro.co.uk has contacted Mumsnet for further comment.

    MORE: Roller derby and its wonderful inclusivity sets an example for all sport

    MORE: My advice to the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK: Have fun and ignore the trolls

    MORE: Miss Trans Queen India crowns its third winner – and the prize is cosmetic surgery


    Vector modern transgender flag backgroundVector modern transgender flag background

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    Allie and Ty's Beyonce Wedding
    Friends and family weren’t surprised by the nods to Bey (Picture: @Fergyonce)

    How much do you love Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter? Would you even know that that was her full name?

    These were questions posed to Ty by his then-girlfriend Allie all the way back in 2015.

    You see, Allie is what’s known on Twitter as a ‘stan’ – essentially a superfan – of the Lemonade singer, and wouldn’t accept anything less than a working knowledge of the difference between Sasha Fierce and Yoncè.

    As a jokey little activity, Allie wrote out an exam paper for Ty to complete, asking him everything from Bey’s full name to lyrics from her songs.

    On the paper, it sarcastically said that Ty needed to get 60% to avoid being dumped by Allie, and thankfully he made it to 80% so they could continue heir relationship.

    The post went viral, with over 12,500 likes, and a whole host of responses, from amusement at them having a laugh to some not being able to understand the clearly sarcastic nature of the test. The joke appears to be on the haters, however, as the couple recently tied the knot in a ceremony with a Beyoncé theme running throughout.

    ‘We’ve been together 7 years,’ Allie told Metro.co.uk.

    ‘We’re super similar in some ways but very different in our musical interests. We’re always pranking and joking around with each other, so he wasn’t surprised about the Beyoncé exam one bit.’

    The couple were hanging around with friends when Allie decided to play around and see how well he knew his pop culture. Despite being a lighthearted thing, though, many people took it way too far.

    Allie says: ‘He wrote his answers using his hand as a hard surface, so he gets so much flack about his handwriting. The weirdest part for him was that the Internet thought it was some super serious issue – we both got death threats from it which was so bizarre to us.’

    Allie and Ty's Beyonce Wedding
    Do we peep a Lemonade reference in those flowers? (Picture: Tracy Brewington Photography)

    It didn’t stop Allie loving Beyoncé, though, and it certainly didn’t hinder their partnership. Ty is ‘not involved at all on social media’, so managed to avoid the worst of it, and seems more than happy to play along with the fandom, too, .

    ‘I’m such a Bey stan so I’m always bringing her up,’ says Allie.

    ‘He has to deal with a lot when it comes to me talking about Bey but he knew what he was getting himself into when we first started dating. He’s good at tuning me out.’

    Allie and Ty's Beyonce Wedding
    Single Ladies was the only “do not play” (Picture: @Fergyonce)

    It was only natural that Beyoncé featured in their wedding. Allie and Ty got married on 5 October this year, on their 7th anniversary.

    ‘He gave me a Beyoncé limit in terms of how many songs we could play,’ says Allie, but apart from that, there were plenty of other nods.

    ‘The wedding was about us as a couple, but Bey influences were there throughout the night. My wedding party and husband walked to Halo, I created video interludes inspired by Bey concerts, my mom made Beehive candles (for Beyhive), and ironically enough my new last name starts with a B so we had a giant cake topper with the letter B.

    ‘Obviously for our name but I always tells my husband it’s for Bey.’

    Allie and Ty's Beyonce Wedding
    The groom walked down the aisle to Halo (Picture: Tracy Brewington Photography)

    Being a stan is really no joke, and Allie says that Ty wasn’t remotely surprised at the Beyoncé elements given her previous history:

    ‘He has seen how much Bey inspires my work ethic and drive, so he realizes it’s a lot more than just loving someone’s music…

    ‘The night was about us as a couple and not just Bey so we had such an amazing time.’

    The guests felt the same, with Allie commenting, ‘Guests weren’t surprised at all – every single person who knows me was expecting a lot of Bey elements to my wedding.’

    But, she did point out, ‘Single Ladies was on our “do not play list” for our DJ.’

    He liked it, and he put a ring on it.

    MORE: Where to get the best eggs in London

    MORE: How much sleep you need, and all your bedtime questions answered


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    Hollie Doyle is a Flat Jockey. At just 23, she is set to break the record for annual Flat wins achieved by a female jockey in a calendar year – with 92 victories under her belt for 2019 so far.

    Racing is in Hollie’s blood. It is all she has ever known. And she’s happy that old stereotypes about female jockeys are finally being put to bed.

    ‘I was born into racing really,’ explains Hollie. ‘Dad rode on the Flat and over jumps and my mum rode in Arab racing.

    ‘My Grandma bred Arabs and raced them too, so I have always been around horse racing. My Dad had point-to-point horses when I was really young. I have not looked back or been interested in anything else, ever.’

    Up until recently, female jockeys were still relatively rare, but it’s changing quickly. And Hollie thinks archaic attitudes are changing too. She knows female athletes are more than capable of excelling at the elite level.

    ‘There may have been times where trainers have been a bit shy towards using me because I am female,’ Hollie tells us.

    ‘Perhaps people were quite old fashioned beforehand, which is why women had fewer opportunities – but I think the approach to female jockeys has changed massively now.

    ‘People are realising that, if given the opportunity, female jockeys are just as good as men.

    ‘You have got to have your own mindset too. If you go into the game thinking: “I am not going to do well because I am a girl and I am disadvantaged”, you won’t be helping yourself. It is the wrong way to go about it.

    ‘There are many successful female jockeys on the scene at the moment and this is only going to increase.’

    Being a jockey is a dangerous game, and Hollie has had her fair share of falls, breaks and bruises. But she knows that’s just part of the deal and she doesn’t let fear put her off her game.

    ‘I have broken quite a lot of bones over the years, but the worst for me is the head injuries I’ve had.

    Hollie racing
    ‘After every fall I have had, I have been there the next day to try and get back on track’ (Picture: Mark Cranham/focusonracing.com)

    ‘You might look physically fine but mentally you are not. Even though I felt fine at the time, a head injury did effect me for quite a while and it was very frustrating that I couldn’t ride and was missing out on races.

    ‘I got kicked in the face and lost my teeth and, at the time, I was quite relaxed about it and remember thinking to myself; “oh whatever you can get new teeth”.

    ‘But I have only just got everything fixed now, it took over a year – which felt like a long drag. I was very busy racing, so I probably wasn’t the best patient for a quick fix.’

    The psychological impact of injury hits Hollie harder than the physical. Racing is her life, so when she can’t do that for any period of time, she feels at a loss.

    ‘It is not great as a jockey getting knocked back and put on the sidelines,’ she says.

    ‘We are so busy day-to-day that we don’t really know what to do with ourselves when we have time off, so it’s a case of getting back as soon as you can when you have a bad fall.

    ‘I think after every fall I have had, I have been there the next day, no matter what has happened, to try and get back on track as quick as I can.

    ‘It’s great that we have the Injured Jockey Fund to help and support us as jockeys when we need it too. If we didn’t have that I think that things would be very different. There have definitely been a few occasions where I have had to pull myself up from feeling low after injury.’

    Hollie Doyle
    ‘Being a strong woman is about staying focussed and not letting setbacks bring you down’ (Picture: Dan Abraham/focusonracing.com)

    But, despite the low moments, Hollie’s sheer love for the sport keeps her pushing on. When your day job produces that much adrenaline, it’s not hard to see where the appeal comes from.

    ‘A lot of the love for the sport that you experience as a jockey is the thrill that you get from riding in races,’ says Hollie. ‘Although a lot of it is down to lifestyle too.

    ‘It is not your usual nine-to-five job, it is a lifestyle, and you don’t even think of it as going to work every day, even though it is very hard.

    ‘I just love horses too, so it is great that I have a job where I can work with them every day.’

    Looking to the future, Hollie’s dreaming big and wants to continue her successful streak.

    ‘I just want to keep riding as many winners as I can and keep improving,’ says Hollie. ‘I am looking forward to QIPCO British Champions Day to end the season, it is great to be surrounded by jockeys and horses at the top of their game.

    ‘I’m yet to ride my first group winner, so that would be a good goal to set and I am hoping to achieve that in the next year or two.’

    So, what does Hollie think makes a strong woman? It’s all about the ability to bounce back and keep fighting.

    ‘I think that you have to be resilient,’ she says. ‘I think being a strong woman is about staying focussed and not letting setbacks bring you down, whether that is mentally or physically – resilience is key.’

    Hollie is currently lying 13th in the Flat Jockey Championships. The Champion Jockey will be crowned at QIPCO British Champions Day on the 19 October at Ascot.

    Strong Women

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

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

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

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

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

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘Two of my friends took their own lives – now I’m walking 1,300 miles to raise awareness’

    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’


    Strong Women: HollieStrong Women: Hollie

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    The dating game can be hard enough, what with brutal trends like ghosting and a competitive romance culture where every crush has a rival one swipe away.

    Throw the fact you’re Christian in the mix too and things can get interesting.

    I’m a 27 years old, straight and female, with a strong Christian faith. So strong, in fact, that my faith is integral to everything I do, believe, think and feel. It’s the foundation of my values, morals and it informs every decision I make in life. Intense, eh?

    Jessica Evans wearing a green dress and smiling
    I would bring my faith up when it felt natural and didn’t force it into conversations (Picture: Jessica Evans)

    When I’ve told people I’m dating that I’m a Christian, some have been put off – and understandably so.

    The connotations around the word are that I’m boring, old-fashioned, deluded, dowdy, self-righteous and hypercritical. Non-believers can sometimes see the church as a judgmental, harmful religious place, and think that Christians live on some kind of superior morality.

    When you’re in the fragile, early days of getting to know someone, let alone trying to start something romantic, this is the last thing you want them to conjure up.

    I would bring my faith up when it felt natural and didn’t force it into conversations. I’ve had positive experiences dating both Christians and non-Christians and have been in love a few times with people of different faiths and beliefs.

    However, a few atheists I dated found it ‘naive’ that I believe in God. One date told me I had been brainwashed.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the question I would get asked by guys the most was ‘what are your thoughts on sex before marriage?’ Or rather, ‘when can we have sex?’ When I gave them my answer most men ran away. (Not literally… at least not all the time anyway.)

    I believe sex works the best within the safe place of marriage. For me, sex isn’t just a physical and emotional act, but a spiritual one that exceeds a certain level of intimacy. I can’t ever just see sex as ‘no strings’, which means I’ve never had a one night stand.

    Sometimes I’ve wondered if I missed out on that sexy as hell, raunchy one-night stand you see in the movies. Is it ever as fun as that? I guess I’ll never know – but personally, I’ve found not having one-night stands very empowering.

    Jessica Evans wearing a spotty dress and laughing
    Sometimes I’ve wondered if I have missed out on that sexy as hell, raunchy one-night stand scene you see in the movies (Picture: Jessica Evans)

    There’s a misconception that Christianity is full of rules and holds you back from living the best life you can have but for me, my faith is full of freedom.

    There are boundaries but these boundaries are rooted in love – just like you have certain boundaries in a relationship. You wouldn’t cheat on your partner because you love them, for instance.

    Dating as a Christian in a secular society definitely has its challenges but I wouldn’t want to be in love any other way.

    I met my now boyfriend within the first couple weeks after I moved back to my hometown Liverpool, after years of living away in London. I’d just got out of a relationship and wasn’t interested in anything serious, so I wanted to keep things light and have fun dating people on Tinder.

    However, I knew shortly after meeting him it was going to be anything but light. We fell for each other pretty quickly.

    He isn’t Christian, and when I told him I was he told me he thought I had been indoctrinated! I laugh as I write that.

    We have a mixed-faith relationship: my faith is extremely personal to me and we work together in peace and private.

    He holds pretty liberal views and even though we occasionally have disagreements in what I call ‘a clash of world views’, on the whole, we’re a good match and very much in love (which always helps).

    The tough bit? When I see him stressed or hurting, it’s hard not to reach out and pray for him. It feels like I’m fighting my instincts. All I want to do is put God in the centre of our relationship, particularly in those moments.

    He is very supportive and I still pray when I’m around him. He understands what being a Christian means to me and in times where I’m finding it difficult to make a decision, he will often say to me, ‘Let your faith guide you’.

    It always helps and ultimately, that respect he has for my faith is one of the reasons why I love him. Although we don’t always agree, there is a huge amount of respect between us for each other’s values and beliefs.

    Being in a mixed-faith relationship has taught me that although there’s compromise along the way, with the right person, there’s also a great deal of love, patience, kindness and learning.

    Like it says in 1 Corinthians 16:14, ‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.’ And that’s what we try to do.

    Last week in Love, Or Something Like It: Abuse convinced me that true love was all about the other person’s pleasure

    Write for Love, Or Something Like It

    Love, Or Something Like It is a brand new series for Metro.co.uk, published every Saturday. If you have a love story to share, email rosy.edwards@metro.co.uk

    MORE: For non-binary people like me, true love means loving myself first

    MORE: A woman fell in love with a homeless man, picked him off the streets and changed his life

    MORE: 11 people open up about how they found out they were being cheated on


    ILLO REQ FOR ELLA Love Or Something... Jess Evans on dating as a ChristianILLO REQ FOR ELLA Love Or Something... Jess Evans on dating as a Christian

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    Drug dealer offers cocaine dose or another drugs in plastic bag, drug addiction on party concept, selective focus, toned; Shutterstock ID 734845696; Purchase Order: -
    Recreational drug use isn’t just a personal risk, it is contributing to the destruction of our planet (Picture: Shutterstock / DedMityay)

    What is the most blatant hypocrisy in the climate change movement? Recreational drug use.

    It has been revealed that London does more coke than Berlin, Barcelona and Amsterdam combined – with 23kg consumed on a daily basis to the value of £2.75million, according to a study by King’s College London.

    I’m shocked at how normalised we’ve allowed this habit to become. People get up in arms about their sweet potatoes coming in plastic wrapping but then don’t think twice about about snorting coke on the weekends.

    It’s easy to bash people for their moral inconsistencies but if you’re an environmentalist fighting the good fight, you have to be tough on yourself.

    Recreational drug use isn’t just a personal risk, it is contributing to the destruction of our planet.

    ‘Narco-deforestation’ is devastating – throughout Central America, drug traffickers cut down rainforests to cultivate coca plants (which is used to make cocaine).

    Then there is a second wave of deforestation as the drug is hiked up in price and gives a juicy profit to those making it, who in turn buy bio-diverse forests and transform these into agricultural land – so they can make more cocaine.

    In Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala alone, drug trafficking is responsible for up to 30 per cent of annual deforestation, a study in the journal Environmental Research Letters revealed in 2017.

    These numbers are terrifying and sickening in equal measure. Would you still take coke if you could see the rainforest fires burning every time you snorted a line?

    It’s an age-old adage but it’s true: Fairtrade cocaine is not readily available. There is no organic, farmer’s market, low carbon version of the drug. People who do coke and claim to be environmentalists are hypocrites, because they’re engaging in one of the most environmentally-destructive activities there is – purely in the pursuit of hedonistic pleasure.

    I’ve witnessed the ultimate irony – my coked-up climate change activist mates ranting at me about the state of the planet.

    The argument in favour of recreational drug use usually runs along the same lines: ‘I’m taking a risk here. It’s my health and my possible run-ins with the law’.

    I can see why this is an attractive way to justify it, but you need to think about your actions in terms of their environmental impact – as with meat or flying.

    The recent Extinction Rebellion protests have helped put climate change into sharp focus, but it’s always worth re-stating: drastic action is needed to halt the climate emergency. It’s in the hands of individuals – mine and yours – not just government’s or those of corporations.

    All cocaine users, even just weekend warriors, have to take responsibility for the wider impact of their habit. Supply feeds demand, so you’re a culprit regardless of how often you do it.

    We all need to sacrifice personal pleasure in order to do our bit for the planet and cocaine use can’t slip under the net.

    Swap out that juicy steak for a lentil curry, take the train down to Cornwall instead of flying to Ibiza, stop placing your midnight order. The fact it makes you feel good is not a good enough reason to ruin other people’s futures.

    I’ve witnessed the ultimate irony – my coked-up climate change activist mates ranting at me about the state of the planet. Actions speak louder than words. They’re never going to convince anyone doing that, they’re just going to feel like death the next morning.

    It’s all very well if you’ve gone down to the protests and held a placard this week, but if you’ve forgotten about it by Friday night and picked up a gram of coke, you’ve not done your bit.

    Set strong positive example and don’t take cocaine.

    MORE: Boris Johnson, right now we ‘crusties’ are the most united thing in Westminster

    MORE: Extinction Rebellion needed to close London’s roads to make our point

    MORE: I’ve created a label to stop you from chucking good food away


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    Vanessa Ifeoma in her living room at her home in Belfast
    Vanessa owns a two-bedroom house in Belfast, Northern Ireland (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)

    In our new series, What I Own, we’re taking a look inside the homes people choose to own instead of rent.

    Home ownership is still held up as a major milestone while renting is often seen as millennials just throwing their money away.

    With What I Rent we’ve been exploring the reality of renting, to help people get a better idea of what’s ‘normal’ (paying £750 a month for a studio flat in London, apparently).

    Now with What I Own, we want to take some of the mystery out of the process of buying a home – how much it actually costs, how it differs from renting, and how on earth people manage to save up enough for a deposit.

    Our first instalment focused on Edison, a 48-year-old interior designer who bought his studio flat in Pimlico after years spent renting the ex-council property.

    This time we’re in Belfast with Vanessa, a 29-year-old freelance photographer who owns a two-bed terraced house and lives with her dog, Heidi.

    Vanessa Ifeoma with her dog Heidi in her living room at her home in Belfast
    She had to pay just £5,100 for her deposit (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)

    Hey, Vanessa. Why Belfast? 

    I’m from Belfast, and living back here for the first time since I left for university in 2008. Most recently I was living in Dublin for nearly two years, and then did an office job in Belfast from January up until August when I was made redundant, so I’ve taken it as an opportunity to explore my passion and see if I can make it work for as long as I can realistically do so.

    I was originally planning to move back to Belfast around this time, and only moved up sooner because of a sudden job opportunity.

    I love Dublin, it’s a great city, but it’s crushingly expensive. I couldn’t even have a pet because landlords typically say no.

    The redundancy is unfortunate but ultimately I feel more settled here. My street is quiet enough not to be disturbed by noise in the evenings, but just off a main road and close to supermarkets and loved ones. I’ll maybe leave in a few years for a bigger family home with my boyfriend, but for now It’s the perfect spot for me.

    The big question: The deposit. How much was it? 

    I was saving while living in Dublin but it was so disheartening because I thought I’d need a fortune of my own to combine with someone else’s in future to secure a deposit.

    Moving to Belfast lessened that pressure a lot due to more affordable housing. By the time I went to speak to a mortgage advisor they told me I could buy with only a 5% deposit and I cried on the spot.

    The deposit for my home was only £5,100. I had about £2,000 saved from living in Dublin, and was fortunately able to live rent-free with my mum from January to June so I saved as much as I could. That gave me all I needed for the deposit. I did an ad for some drink last year that got renewed and so that gave me enough for an Ikea run and some tins of paint.

     Vanessa Ifeoma's spare bedroom at her home in Belfast.
    Paying off her mortgage is £409 a month (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)

    And how much does the house actually cost?

    The sale completed for £102,000. It’ll end up more expensive in the long run than if I had put down a 15% or 20% deposit, but for now I’m just happy to have a place of my own.

    My monthly mortgage is £409. This is relatively high, again due to the fact I only put down a small deposit, but it’s manageable and much cheaper than the rent for my box room in Dublin.

    Bills are probably an extra £100? For gas, electricity and insurance, then Netflix and internet… Let’s say £120! I just pulled that number out of nowhere. How am I still alive?

    How much did you earn while you were saving for the deposit? 

    I moved back to Belfast in February for a great job paying £26,000, I believe. That gave me enough to live on while saving as much as possible, which made the vast bulk of the deposit.

    How was the process of getting a mortgage?

    Honestly it was a lot less daunting than I thought it would be. The paperwork was handled by the mortgage broker and they basically told me what needed done when and what other things I might need to consider. Finding the property I wanted was harder.

    Vanessa Ifeoma's living room area at her home in Belfast.
    Vanessa has made the house her own with some truly glorious interior design – and plenty of paint (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)

    How did you find the house?

    I was searching PropertyPal.com daily, setting a price limit within my possible budget to see what was out there.

    I viewed a bunch of houses, some gorgeous bad boys that would end up getting bid WAY over my budget.

    This one I loved because it was spacious, clean, and very close to city centre and my boyfriend’s and mum’s houses. I already knew the area well and mercifully was able to get the sale closed before a bidding war broke out.

    I moved in in June.

    How have you made the house feel like home?

    Lashing paint everywhere. All the walls were a nice bright white when I moved in, so I painted living area, the dining room, both bedrooms…I haven’t done anything to the kitchen or bathroom as I’m very much out of money but after renting for 11 years I wanted to do everything I couldn’t do before. Pictures everywhere. Dark walls. A pet!

    Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 3/10/2019 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Vanessa Ifeoma's living room area at her home in Belfast.
    She’s a freelance photographer, so obviously all the artwork on the walls is brilliant (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)

    Have you had to spend a lot more on things for the house?

    Not really, to be honest. So much of my stuff comes from Facebook Marketplace. I got my dining table and chairs for £80. I could go crazy and take out a loan to fit a new kitchen more in my style and do up the bathroom and all but I’m trying to employ some common sense in myself. If I can’t afford it it’s not getting done.

    And you have a dog! Did you have to make many adjustments to make the house work for your pet?

    Heidi the disgraceful labrador. I got her very soon after moving home. My mum loves dogs but isn’t able to care for one due to her work hours and health conditions, so she was happy to have her about while I lived at home and brought her here with me after.

    Honestly the only real adjustment I’ve had to make is installing a baby gate at the kitchen entry so she doesn’t go berserk in the whole downstairs while I’m out. I learned my lesson after a few of my plants met an untimely demise.

    Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 3/10/2019 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Jars of sweets in Vanessa Ifeoma's dining room area at her home in Belfast.
    Anyone who has jars of sweets in their home is a hero in our eyes (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)

    Do you feel like you have enough space?

    Loads of space. I have my spare room listed on Airbnb which has been a lifesaver after my redundancy, it’s nice to have other people in the house as well you know? It’s cosy.

    I might want to move to a bigger space in future if I have a family but I don’t feel any particular desire for a house where I have to summon my children from the east wing for luncheon. Right now it’s just me and Heidi and the occasional guest.

    Does owning pose any problems you didn’t have when you were renting?

    The side of my bath was leaking before and I couldn’t get my old neighbour landlord to come and fix it for me. Raging.

    But other than that no not really. Owning a house comes with the fear that if anything goes wrong for me financially I could lose my home. Renting is the fear that everything could be going perfectly and then your landlord ups the rent by 30% for the craic, or tells you their niece is ‘coming back from australia’ and you’re getting kicked out in 30 days.

    There is fear as a homeowner but the rental situation is worse. I have no complaints, I’m incredibly fortunate.

    What are your property plans for the future?

    It probably won’t be my forever home, but sure, who knows the future?

    My boyfriend also owns his own place which has an additional bedroom and a big back garden which Heidi loves. I’d say when we move in together it’ll be into his place. See how I said when, not if. Hope you’re reading this, Terry.

    Hey, Terry. Thanks for reading. Shall the rest of us have a look around?

    anessa Ifeoma's hallway at her home in Belfast.
    Welcome in (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's living/dining room area at her home in Belfast
    Here’s the living room (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
     Vanessa Ifeoma's living room area at her home in Belfast.
    Artwork and plants (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
     Vanessa Ifeoma's living/dining room area at her home in Belfast.
    We’re big fans of the seating options (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's living room area at her home in Belfast.
    More sweets! Invite us round! (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's dining room area at her home in Belfast.
    Also, a moment of appreciation for Vanessa’s cushion collection (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
     Vanessa Ifeoma's living room area at her home in Belfast.
    And her frames (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
     Vanessa Ifeoma's dining room area at her home in Belfast.
    There’s a lovely dining area (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's dining room area at her home in Belfast.
    Which is just by the kitchen. Hey, Heidi (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma with her dog Heidi in her kitchen at her home in Belfast.
    The kitchen (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 3/10/2019 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Vanessa Ifeoma's kitchen at her home in Belfast.
    Yes, she has those little dumpling steamers. Yes, we’re impressed. (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's kitchen at her home in Belfast.
    That’s an oven glove, FYI (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
     Vanessa Ifeoma's kitchen at her home in Belfast.
    Points for the matching kettle and toaster (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's kitchen at her home in Belfast.
    And the fancy knife set (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
     Vanessa Ifeoma's main bedroom at her home in Belfast.
    Here’s Vanessa’s bedroom (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
     Vanessa Ifeoma's main bedroom at her home in Belfast.
    Aren’t the colours great? (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
     Justin Kernoghan Vanessa Ifeoma's main bedroom at her home in Belfast.
    And of course there’s more excellent artwork (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's main bedroom at her home in Belfast.
    Some sleek storage space (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's main bedroom at her home in Belfast.
    (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's spare bedroom at her home in Belfast.
    There’s a spare bedroom, too, which Vanessa often rents out on Airbnb (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's spare bedroom at her home in Belfast.
    Spot the colour scheme running through this house (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
     Vanessa Ifeoma's bathroom at her home in Belfast.
    Finally, the bathroom (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's bathroom at her home in Belfast.
    Complete with more pops of pink (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's bathroom at her home in Belfast.
    We’re impressed by anyone who has a toilet roll holder instead of just balancing it on the back of the loo (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)
    Vanessa Ifeoma's bathroom at her home in Belfast.
    A wooden toothbrush box rather than your average mug (Picture: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress/Metro.co.uk)

    How to get involved in What I Own

    What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people's properties, to take an honest look at what it's like to buy a home in the UK.

    If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email whatirent@metro.co.uk.

    You'll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates! You'll also need to be okay with sharing how much you've paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that's pretty important.

    If you're renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you'd like to get involved just email whatirent@metro.co.uk.

     

    MORE: What I Rent: Urszula, $1,000 a month for a four-bedroom house in Glendale, Queens

    MORE: What I Rent: George and Ross, £800 a month for a two-bedroom flat in Leicester

    MORE: What I Rent: Michael and Zoë, £1,100 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Clapton, Hackney


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    Terminally-ill Myles Harrison, 27, married the love of his life Liz Harrison, 29, as part of his bucket lost after friends and family paid for the whole ceremony!.See SWNS story SWPLwedding. A dying man has married the love of his life in a bucket-list wedding after friends and family donated the entire ceremony. Myles Harrison, 27, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 18 but recently his condition worsened and doctors said there was nothing more they could do. The news spurred Myles into action, and now he has finally tied the know with his fiancee Liz, 29, in a stunning ceremony Castle Hill in Filleigh, Devon, which was all donated by well-wishers. It was was organised by wedding planner Louise Hedges and the venue, car, photography, cake, music and honeymoon were all given to them free of charge.
    Myles Harrison proposed to his girlfriend after being told his condition was terminal and there was nothing doctors could do (Picture: Becky’s Photography /SWNS.COM)

    Myles Harrison, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 18.

    When his condition worsened and doctors said there was nothing more they could do, Myles knew it was time to finally get married to the love of his life, Liz, 29.

    The couple tied the knot in a bucket-list wedding at Castle Hill in Filleigh, Devon, with the entire ceremony donated by friends, family, and local businesses.

    The big day was organised by wedding planner Louise Hedges and the venue, car, photography, cake, music and honeymoon were all given to them free of charge.

    It was learning that his condition was terminal that spurred Myles into finally popping the question, which he did at North Devon Hospice’s bedded unit in Barnstaple.

    Myles said: ‘We’re at the point where unfortunately there’s nothing that can be done. I’ve always wanted to marry Liz, ever since we got together I knew she was the one.

    Terminally-ill Myles Harrison, 27, married the love of his life Liz Harrison, 29, as part of his bucket lost after friends and family paid for the whole ceremony!.See SWNS story SWPLwedding. A dying man has married the love of his life in a bucket-list wedding after friends and family donated the entire ceremony. Myles Harrison, 27, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 18 but recently his condition worsened and doctors said there was nothing more they could do. The news spurred Myles into action, and now he has finally tied the know with his fiancee Liz, 29, in a stunning ceremony Castle Hill in Filleigh, Devon, which was all donated by well-wishers. It was was organised by wedding planner Louise Hedges and the venue, car, photography, cake, music and honeymoon were all given to them free of charge.
    The entire ceremony was donated by friends, family, and local businesses to make the day as special as possible. (Picture: Becky’s Photography /SWNS.COM)

    ‘It was so great at the hospice that I decided it would be a great place to do it. I went down on one knee and proposed to Liz.’

    The hospice nurses came in after Myles had popped the question with champagne, flowers and strawberries and organised a photoshoot on the balcony to celebrate.

    The couple had no plans at all for their big day, with the focus remaining on Myles’ ongoing treatment.

    But Louise Hedges stepped in to give the couple the best wedding she possibly could, entirely free of charge.

    She organised everything within just two weeks and the couple made it official on 11 August.

    Terminally-ill Myles Harrison, 27, married the love of his life Liz Harrison, 29, as part of his bucket lost after friends and family paid for the whole ceremony!.See SWNS story SWPLwedding. A dying man has married the love of his life in a bucket-list wedding after friends and family donated the entire ceremony. Myles Harrison, 27, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 18 but recently his condition worsened and doctors said there was nothing more they could do. The news spurred Myles into action, and now he has finally tied the know with his fiancee Liz, 29, in a stunning ceremony Castle Hill in Filleigh, Devon, which was all donated by well-wishers. It was was organised by wedding planner Louise Hedges and the venue, car, photography, cake, music and honeymoon were all given to them free of charge.
    The couple tied the knot in August (Picture: Becky’s Photography /SWNS.COM)

    Included in the special day was hair styling, makeup, gorgeous photography and videography, a proper wedding cake, a wedding breakfast and an evening buffet, ice cream for guests, transport to the venue, a photobooth, a dance floor and DJ, drinks at The Donkey Bar and a honeymoon at Lane Barton Dream Cottage in Devon.

    Both Myles and Liz are huge rugby fans, so season ticket holders at Exeter Chiefs and their rugby heroes also recorded a special video message for the couple.

    Myles said: ‘How on earth they managed to sort everything out and do what they did in such a short period of time – they are amazing, amazing people.

    Terminally-ill Myles Harrison, 27, married the love of his life Liz Harrison, 29, as part of his bucket lost after friends and family paid for the whole ceremony!.See SWNS story SWPLwedding. A dying man has married the love of his life in a bucket-list wedding after friends and family donated the entire ceremony. Myles Harrison, 27, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 18 but recently his condition worsened and doctors said there was nothing more they could do. The news spurred Myles into action, and now he has finally tied the know with his fiancee Liz, 29, in a stunning ceremony Castle Hill in Filleigh, Devon, which was all donated by well-wishers. It was was organised by wedding planner Louise Hedges and the venue, car, photography, cake, music and honeymoon were all given to them free of charge.
    They even had a honeymoon, free of charge (Picture:  Becky’s Photography /SWNS.COM)

    ‘We can’t believe what they’ve done and how much they’ve improved our lives.

    Liz added: ‘It was a dream day and more, more than we expected.

    ‘It is amazing what they have managed to arrange in such a short space of time, and at such a very difficult time for us.

    “It is absolutely incredible and I want to say a huge thank you, particularly to Louise and everyone at North Devon Hospice.’

    The businesses who donated their services to the wedding:

    • Jo Cadogan Hair Stylist
    • Becky Payne Photography
    • Jane Dare from Eye Do Make Up
    • Wedding cake – Twice as Nice
    • Centre Pieces – Best Day Ever
    • Chair Covers – North Devon Party Celebrations
    • Wedding breakfast and evening buffet -Baker George, South Molton
    • Ice Cream – Hockings
    • Wedding Car – South West Wedding Cars
    • Photobooth – R&L Booth Fantasia
    • Videographer – R&L Digital Media
    • DJ – Devon Sound n’ light
    • Dance floor & Backdrops – M&R Marquee’s
    • Balloons – Partylicious Devon
    • Ceremony Music – Sorrelli Strings
    • Projector & Screen – Neondells Eye Catcher
    • Bar – The Donkey Bar
    • Honeymoon – Lane Barton Dream Cottage in Devon
    • Nicola at Marshmallow Nails and Beauty

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

    MORE: Superfan who gave her boyfriend a Beyoncé relationship test marries him in Bey themed wedding

    MORE: ‘Door knob’ wedding ring is being mercilessly teased online

    MORE: The Annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest crowns its winner

     


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    Two street kitchen volunteers
    The first ever Streets Kitchen in Clapham.(Picture: Steve Jurado)

    As homelessness continues to rise in the capital, a growing network of grassroots groups are taking matters into their own hands.

    Steve Jurado, who works as a creative director and lives in Clapham, decided to take action on homelessness after hearing an announcement on the London Underground telling members of the public not to give money to people begging.

    While homelessness has risen over 150% since 2010, homelessness in the capital has reached record highs this year, and deaths are up 20% in England and Wales from last year – the Transport for London announcement said that begging was ‘illegal’ and asked people ‘not to encourage this behaviour.

    ‘I felt like it was such a cold thing to say, a cold thing to teach us as a society,’ Steve tells Metro.co.uk, ‘so I actively went against that sentiment, and started to engage with homeless people as a result.’

    Channeling his feeling that this ‘othering’ of people experiencing homelessness was inhumane, Steve and his wife Gem Porter, an events producer, started serving free meals in Clapham Common.

    Their kitchen has been reliably feeding anyone who needs it every Tuesday since early last year.

    Guests to the kitchen have been steadily rising – when they started, some weeks they served fewer than ten meals; now, most weeks it’s around 25. Over 300 local community volunteers have joined the Facebook group, looking to get involved.

    Steve says that since hearing the TFL announcement and starting to meet more people experiencing homelessness, he’s realised that ‘it’s very easy to think that because there are so many of us bearing witness to homelessness, that someone else is doing something to help’.

    Instead, he says, ‘we all need to be showing solidarity and connection on a human level – it’s not a case of charity’.

    Steve and Gem started the community meal with the support of a group called Streets Kitchen, one of a number of rapidly-growing groups working on homelessness.

    Born out of a squat five years ago, Streets Kitchen is a group set up to support the homeless community with food, essential supplies such as clothes and menstrual products, and information. It’s run by volunteers – many of whom have experienced homelessness themselves – and the founding principle is ‘solidarity not charity’. People all over London have been using their guide to start street kitchens in their own community.

    Streets Kitchen isn’t only about providing sustenance for the homeless, says founder Jon Glackin, and it’s definitely not about ‘charity’.

    Jon tells us: ‘As a charity you’re handing down support, like you’re ‘better’ than the other person. We act in solidarity, we work with mutual aid, we work together – we recognise that we’re a community who can work together to resolve issues.’

    Streets Kitchen poster saying 'solidarity not charity'.
    Streets Kitchen poster (Picture: StreetsKitchen)

    Streets Kitchen works in partnership with The Outside Project – an LGBT+ group that launched at London Pride in 2017 and created the UK’s first LGBT+ homeless shelter and community centre. As well as providing practical support that centres the needs of LGBT+ people experiencing homelessness, they organise weekly socials with films, popcorn, fizzy pop and hot chocolate.

    Another organisation aiming to meet the varied needs of different groups of people experiencing homelessness is Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK).

    Like Streets Kitchen, RCK aims to build solidarity with homeless communities by building networks of people committed to providing reliable sources of support. Founded in 2015, the organisation has groups in London and northern France – in Calais and Dunkirk, RCK serves 2000 meals a day to refugees fleeing war, persecution, and poverty, from places like Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Eritrea.

    In East London, Bob Trafford helps to run a twice-weekly RCK street kitchen. The group of around ten local volunteers serve up to 100 meals each week in Hackney and Bethnal Green, and in the process have nurtured a sense of community.

    Bob, who co-founded the East London RCK, says: ‘Solidarity essentially means: there is a problem – widespread poverty forcing people onto the streets, and we want to stand with the people that are in the jaws of that problem, stand right next to them, and fight that problem together in some small way, instead of standing somewhere else, handing down charity to them from some other place’.

    As well as the food and other essentials, Bob says the RCK group is about ‘greeting people with a smile, listening, sharing food, and music, and breaking down some of the barriers that get erected between people when it comes to the issue of homelessness’.

    Migrants and refugees in London experiencing homelessness face compounded challenges. The services that might be on offer may be inaccessible for people who don’t speak or read English, or those who have English as an additional language. And many migrants have ‘no recourse to public funds’ status – meaning that can’t access basic support such as housing or benefits.

    Shaunna Rushton, a volunteer with Streets Kitchen, is part of a growing campaign to fight in solidarity with the homeless around issues such as ‘no recourse to public funds’. This year she started organising with the recently-launched Labour Homelessness Campaign – a group of Labour Party members and homelessness campaigners pushing for the Labour Party to take a strong stand on homelessness.

    Shaunna says: ‘I got involved with Streets Kitchen and the Labour Homelessness Campaign because – as a human and a Londoner – I felt an urgent need to show solidarity with those experiencing poverty and exclusion in our painfully unequal society’.

    The Labour Homelessness Campaign had a motion passed at the Labour Party conference this year. Among their demands are an end to the criminalisation of homelessness – people sleeping rough often receive fines and other sanctions for simply existing on the streets – and an end to ‘no recourse to public funds’ status for migrant rough sleepers.

    ‘As someone who campaigns around homelessness, what really makes me hopeful is that I see more and more people, groups of people, rallying together alongside homeless people, being led by them,’ says Shaunna.

    Group of volunteers at Streets Kitchen in Clapham.
    Streets Kitchen in Clapham is now busy every week. (Picture: Steve Jurado)

    Part of this increasing solidarity has included more direct action linked to the homelessness crisis. Last year, Streets Kitchen activists and allies occupied an empty corporate-owned building to open a community shelter, and just yesterday,activists occupied a tunnel beneath Parliament that was barricaded shut to stop homeless people sleeping there.

    Bob says that he hopes more people will resist society’s dehumanisation of people experiencing homelessness, and show active solidarity.

    ‘The alternative is what we see every day,’ he says, ‘and it’s shocking that we’re learning how not to look at homeless people, or interact with people who are in need.

    ‘You come out of the station and hear a voice and by the time someone has asked you for some change, you’ve already said “Sorry, I’ve no change”, and you haven’t even looked around.’

    Bob says communities need to wake up to the fact this ‘automated’ interaction is in fact ‘really shocking, actually kind of terrifying’.

    Jon from Streets Kitchen is hopeful that things are changing.

    Through the strengthening network of grassroots groups organising around homelessness, Jon and activists like him hope more Londoners will rally around the crisis on our streets.

    This Sunday, a coalition of groups – including Streets Kitchen and The Outside Project – are hosting an event to help do just that. Shock to the System: a community response to homelessness, held at Union Chapel in Islington, is an open event for everyone concerned about the rising homelessness crisis, and will include panel discussions, performances, and a documentary screening – all with the aim of fostering solidarity with those on our streets.

    ‘I believe that people are beginning to understand homelessness once more,’ says Jon, ‘people are realising that it’s close to them, that many of us are just a paycheck away from it – Londoners have always been showing solidarity, but sometimes people just don’t know how to help.’

    MORE: Mum who bragged about being a ‘kept woman’ reveals she was homeless for three months

    MORE: Homeless woman filmed singing opera in subway station ‘should be performing on stage’


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    illustration of woman stretching in bed after a good night's sleep
    Safe in the knowledge that no spiders entered her mouth (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Have you ever heard the old wives’ tale that you swallow eight spiders in your sleep over the course of your life?

    Turns out you’re not alone, as a poll from US firm Mattress Advisor and OnePoll suggests.

    They tested the knowledge of 2,000 Americans to see just how much they know about the science of sleep and whether certain myths hold truth, and found that a lot of people really believed many myths.

    While the spider myth isn’t anything to worry about, those that focused on how much sleep you need and how to get there mean that people could actually be damaging their health.

    Here, we go through the most common misconceptions around the land of nod.

    Drinking alcohol before bed helps you sleep

    A whopping 32% of those surveyed believed that a nightcap was the key to a good night’s sleep.

    This is likely due to the fact that many of us have had a boozy night and slept like logs, struggling to wake up in the morning (except perhaps if tempted by a cooked breakfast).

    However, just because you feel dead to the world, doesn’t mean you’re getting the quality sleep you need to regenerate, which contributes to your tiredness the next day.

    Irshaad Ebrahim from The London Sleep Centre said: ‘Alcohol may seem to be helping you to sleep, as it helps induce sleep, but overall it is more disruptive to sleep, particularly in the second half of the night.

    ‘Alcohol also suppresses breathing and can precipitate sleep apnoea.’

    Image of a bedroom with an illustration of a person in a blue t-shirt and purple trousers sitting on top of the bed with their back turned to the reader
    Tried to drink your way to a good bit of kip did ya? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Watching TV/using a smartphone/tablet/computer helps you fall asleep

    Watching something boring on your laptop or phone might seem like a good way to lull yourself to sleep.

    Almost a third of respondents (30%) believed so anyway, but they couldn’t be more wrong.

    In fact, the blue light emitted by these devices actually has the opposite effect, as the blue light emitted from screens affect the brain’s ability to produce melatonin, which tells the body when it’s time to sleep.

    Far better to read a book or simply be alone with your thoughts before bed.

    The older you get, the less sleep you need

    Just because your granny gets up at the crack of dawn doesn’t mean she needs less sleep. 29% of respondents believed this, however.

    In trials, when older people were asked to sleep as much as they could, they averaged less than younger adults tasked with the same.

    Those running the study were keen not to state that this meant that older people definitively needed less sleep, though, and instead concluded that there was no way to state whether it was a  decreased ability or need to sleep.

    Essentially, sleep needs differ from person to person, and there’s no need to assume that you can stay up all night as soon as you hit pension age and not feel the effects.

    Some people don’t dream at all

    25% of those asked believed that some people simply have no dreams whatsoever, which may be due to the fact that they don’t remember them.

    Studies show that, while not all people know they’ve had a dream, dreaming happens in all people during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) period of deep sleep.

    One that looked at people with RBD (a condition where they move and speak in their sleep) found ‘the observation of speeches, facial expressions and behaviours while sleeping, unbeknownst to the dreamers, suggests that dreaming production is universal, while dreaming recall is variable.’

    Sleep illustration
    Off in dreamland (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    You can train your body to function on less sleep than needed

    In the age of the bio-hack, everybody’s trying to spend less time doing more things.

    As if your body is simply a Rubik’s Cube that need to be solved, that has also moved into the sleep sphere, with almost a quarter believing they can train their body to need less sleep.

    For most people (up to 99% according to some research), getting less than six hours a night can have consequences – from lower testosterone levels to insulin resistance to cardiovascular disease.

    Those who ‘naturally’ need less sleep tend to have a mutated gene called hDEC2, which essentially predisposes them to being ‘short-sleepers’.

    So, that’ll be all the entrepreneurs who do interviews saying they get three hours a night and everyone else is a lazy loser. Don’t worry, needing a full night every night is perfectly normal.

    Working out at night makes it harder to fall asleep

    ‘Pumping iron’ or ‘feeling the burn’ hardly conjure images of rest and relaxation. This may be why 23% of people think exercise is bad for falling asleep.

    It is actually true that over-training can lead to insomnia, but researchers agree that moderate exercise can work wonders for your sleep cycle, with those who do around 30 minutes of exercise finding that they sleep longer and better the same night.

    Why this is isn’t completely clear, but it’s thought that it may have something to do with body temperature and endorphins released during exercise.

    You can “make up” for lost sleep over the weekend

    Having an early alarm in the week may mean that you’re keen to make up for lost time at the weekend with a big old lie-in. While we’re not going to stop you, it doesn’t actually help at all.

    A study this year from the University of Colorado tested the theory that you could make up for sleep lost during the week, and found that it wasn’t the case.

    Assistant Professor at the university, Christopher Depner, said: ‘Catch-up sleep does not appear to be an effective strategy to reverse sleep loss induced disruptions of metabolism.’

    woman sleeping on desk
    There’s no way to biohack your sleep cycle (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    Falling asleep with wet hair will give you a cold

    Given that colds are a virus, going to sleep with wet hair or dry hair will have no effect whatsoever on whether you get one.

    Apologies to the older members of your family, who have definitely told you this at one point or another.

    An hour of sleep before midnight is worth more than two after

    A whopping 23% of people believe this myth, which probably came from parents who wanted their kids to go to sleep on time.

    While those who are ‘early birds’ and go to bed earlier are shown to be more successful, there shouldn’t be a direct correlation between sleep times and quality of sleep.

    There are caveats, in that you need to make sure you have some semblance of circadian rhythm. For example, you won’t get effective sleep in a light room, as your body assumes this is wake-up time.

    It also only makes sense if you’re actually getting around eight hours of sleep (or less if you’re one of these mythological short-sleepers). You can’t simply go to bed at 3am, get up at 7am, then be confused at why you’re tired.

    The brain is inactive during sleep

    Those who sleep walk or sleep talk will know concretely that the brain is very much active at night.

    Some things that your brain is doing in the night is logging the memories of the day before, clearing out toxins, and moving the more important short-term memories into the part of the brain that stores long-term memories.

    One study even found that you’re able to make decisions in your sleep.

    You swallow eight spiders per year while you sleep

    This is probably the funniest one of all, and it’s even funnier that 20% of people really believe that spiders are queuing up waiting for you to drift off and claim your mouth as their home.

    While we’re awake or asleep, we’re breathing and have a heartbeat, which creates vibrations alerting spiders of danger (at least the ones that live in the UK). The old adage is true that ‘they’re more scared of you than you are of them’.

    Spider expert Dave Clarke told the BBC: ‘Most predators won’t tackle anything bigger than themselves because they are likely to come off worse

    ‘Spiders are highly sensitive to both vibrations and heat so are unlikely to stumble across a human unawares. They are just not interested in us at all really.’

    Another flaw in the story includes the fact that there would really be no way to report having swallowed a spider in your sleep, given you’d be asleep when it happened. Wouldn’t it wake you while crawling on your face to get to the mouth?

    Essentially, while it’s not impossible that someone might swallow a spider in their sleep, it’s a pretty rare event, and not anything to keep you awake.

    MORE: How much sleep you need, and all your bedtime questions answered

    MORE: Sleeping for nine hours or more each night is linked to dementia


    They key to a good night's sleep is to make your brain feel safeThey key to a good night's sleep is to make your brain feel safe

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    A few years ago, the term ‘plant-based’ might have confused you.

    Those two words, often found in an Instagram bio and almost always followed by the seedling emoji, probably made you wonder whether the person attached to it was a part-human, part-flora lifeform.

    In 2019, it’s become common practice for influencers to use this term to align themselves – and their brand – with veganism. The #plantbased hashtag has been used 24 million times on Instagram, and not just for the love of a holistic lifestyle, but for business. The UK plant-based market reached a total value of £443 million in 2018.

    In a playground of posers, these plant-based Instagrammers aren’t always genuine. Recently, I met a woman at a dinner party who tucked into every meat dish brought to the table. This was no big deal, until she followed me on Instagram and I saw that she proudly bore the plant-based insignia on her profile.

    Odds are you also know someone who preaches the benefits of clean eating, but enjoys a vastly different lifestyle offline.

    Fortunately, there’s a new league of influencers who make no attempt to parade themselves as beacons of health. They’re upfront about who they are and what they eat – and that is sweet, sweet junk.

    Oozing chocolate. Mountains of sour lollies. Rainbow bagels overflowing with cream cheese. Such visuals are the cornerstone of Instagram’s increasingly popular junk food accounts: the snackfluencers.

    Picture: junkbanter
    The gloriously calorific feed of @JunkBanter (Picture: @junkbanter)

    Accounts like @JunkBanter, @CandyHunting, and @JunkFoodGuru have attracted hundreds of thousands of followers by posting about ‘rare’ snacks such as honey cornbread and blackberry jam ice cream, cucumber-seasoned crisps, fried Cheeto deviled eggs, and chicken and waffle flavoured cereal.

    @JunkBanter’s bio simply reads: ‘Dumb captions on dumb food pics.’ These are influencers who aren’t conforming to the formulaic, stylised Instagram aesthetic that appears to take foodies from blogging in their basement to a cookbook publishing deal. It’s a visual that screams: come as you are, but make sure you’re slathered in chocolate and dipped in sugar.

    Scrolling through these feeds will never conjure feelings of guilt over skipping that post-work gym session, or for not thinking that a green smoothie counts as dessert. It’s here that you can truly embrace a bit of gluttony without shame.

    Kev, a UK-based snackfluencer, sees his Instagram @KevsSnackReviews as a safe space on a platform where people are often pressured to look a certain way.

    Kev tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I hope people don’t feel bad for eating what they love. Even though I post a lot of junk foods I see them as inspiration for something nice to treat yourself to, or as a gift idea for someone.

    ‘I don’t believe in diets myself, everything in moderation is my motto.’

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BzqnVvdn7FS/

    Kev credits the popularity of his Instagram to the swell in snack releases. In the past three years, he’s seen the interest in his junk food account and other similar accounts grow.

    ‘I think people have always loved new snacks and sweets but now they’re discovering you can find out about them very quickly thanks to Instagram,’ he explains.

    The admin worker, who can’t go past a good old Wispa Gold, sources his supply of the more niche, foreign snacks from import-based companies such as A Taste of the States and GB Gifts.

    He tells us: ‘Aside from those, I’m often on the hunt in supermarkets, local market stalls and discount stores – it’s surprising what interesting sweets you can find in places like Poundstretcher!’

    New York-based snackfluencer duo, Dario Torres and Taylor Trachtenberg, have made a living sourcing rare junk food from all over the world. Earlier this year, the couple developed a snack-selling business off the back of their successful Instagram account @TheSuperSnackStore.

    Each week, they make nearly £790, finding their customers from an eclectic mix of pop-up stores, online orders, and home deliveries. Some of their followers make regular purchases – usually weekly – and spend between £59 to 79 on snacks alone.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B2DEImPnY31/

    Taylor tells us: ‘On a weekly basis, our sales grow exponentially. A majority of our customers are looking to spend hundreds at a time. We don’t just sell snacks, it’s an experience for the consumer. These are only snacks you can get if you take a trip across the world.’

    The Super Snack Store’s treasures include white peach Fanta from Japan, tiramisu Oreo thins from Korea and strawberry jelly and ice cream flavoured soda from the United States. Taylor’s personal favourite are the Triple Cheese Cheetos from Japan.

    ‘These have flavours that are not like your ordinary cheesy Cheetos,’ he says. ‘They have a strong naturally cheesy taste layered to pack a punch that won’t even stain your fingers. These chips take the regular OG Cheetos to a whole new level.’

    Most of these snacks won’t be around for long. They’re limited edition, which of course only increases the allure and the hype. We’ve seen shoppers pay ten times retail price for the rare Caramilk, and people becoming ‘highly distressed’ over the scarcity of orange Cadbury Twirls. Therein lies the climbing appeal of Instagram snack accounts.

    We can only hope that when the next innovation in calorific eating comes to a store near you – could it be a McDonald’s cheeseburger doughnut? A pickle-flavoured cake pop? – you’ll be ready. Or better yet, you’ll know a snackfluencer who can hook you up.

    MORE: Where to get the best eggs in London

    MORE: This male model’s ferocious strut at Paris Fashion Week is going viral

    MORE: YouTuber asks people to decorate his room using a Twitter bot


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    An illustration of a pregnant woman
    Some bleeding can be normal in pregnancy (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    It’s natural to be worried when spotting blood in your underwear during pregnancy.

    But sometimes a little bleeding during pregnancy isn’t actually a cause for concern.

    That’s why it’s important to read up on the difference between normal bleeding – known as spotting – and signs that something could be going wrong.

    And of course, always talk to a doctor if you’re pregnant and panicking about any of your symptoms. Experiencing any bleeding during pregnancy is something that should be urgently discussed with a medical professional.

    How much bleeding is normal during early pregnancy?

    During early pregnancy, usually the first 12 weeks – known as the first trimester – many women experience some light bleeding which is called spotting.

    This type of bleeding often happens around the time your period would have been due.

    According to the NHS website, this is when the developing baby plants itself in the wall of the womb.

    Spotting can be caused by cervical changes. Pregnancy can cause changes to the cervix, and some women may experience light bleeding after sex.

    The blood is usually pinkish or sometimes brown, and you may see it when you wipe after going to the toilet or you may see small amounts of blood in your underwear.

    Usually the spotting lasts for a day or so, though for some women it can last longer.

    There should not be enough blood to soak through pads or underwear.

    Baby in the Womb
    You should always speak to your midwife if you are worried (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Many of us associate cramps with something wrong during pregnancy, too – but this can be normal, too.

    Remember that your body is going through loads of changes – you have a little human growing inside of you.

    Does bleeding mean miscarriage?

    A little blood or spotting, as explained above, doesn’t automatically mean you are having a miscarriage.

    Extreme amounts of blood – enough to soak through the underwear – can be a sign of miscarriage.

    Bleeding accompanied with severe cramps that last for longer than a few hours are a cause for concern – and you should speak to your GP or midwife immediately.

    Miscarriage in early pregnancy is common, with it affecting around one in five pregnancies.

    What causes a miscarriage?

    If a pregnancy ends before the 24th week, it’s called a miscarriage.

    Most miscarriages are not because of anything the mother has done, but due to an issue with the development of the baby.

    It’s thought that most miscarriages are caused by abnormal chromosomes in the baby, which are genetic ‘building blocks’ that guide the development of a baby.

    illustration of a pregnant woman smiling
    Try not to panic (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    If a baby has too many or not enough chromosomes, it will not develop properly.

    Miscarriages can also occur as a result of problems with the development of the placenta, long-term health conditions in the mother, infection, issues with womb structure, or a weakened cervix.

    Experiencing a miscarriage can be a one-off, and many people who experience one will go on to have healthy pregnancies.

    About one in 100 women experience recurrent miscarriages (meaning three or more in a row) and many of these women go on to have a successful pregnancy, too.

    There’s no evidence to suggest that miscarriage can be caused by:

    • a mother’s emotional state during pregnancy, such as being stressed or depressed
    • having a shock or fright during pregnancy
    • exercise during pregnancy
    • lifting or straining during pregnancy
    • working during pregnancy – or work that involves sitting or standing for long periods
    • having sex during pregnancy
    • travelling by air
    • eating spicy food

    What are the signs of of a miscarriage?

    This can include bleeding – including blood clots – from your vagina, discharge of fluid from your vagina, or discharge of tissue from your vagina. It also includes not experiencing the symptoms of pregnancy any longer, such as morning sickness or breast tenderness.

    There is also a chance of an ectopic pregnancy, which is when a fertilised egg implants outside of the womb, usually in the fallopian tube.

    This can cause bleeding and is dangerous because the fertilised egg can’t develop properly outside of the womb, the egg has to be removed, which can be done through an operation or with medicines.

    What colour is your blood during a miscarriage?

    Blood during a miscarriage can be pink, red, brown, or near-black. Red blood is fresh and is leaving the body quickly, while blood that looks brown or black has been in the uterus for longer.

    Bleeding may start as light spotting and become heavier, or it can appear as a sudden gush of blood.

    What are the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy?

    Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy tend to develop between four and 12 weeks of pregnancy, but can happen later.

    Symptoms alongside bleeding can include tummy pain low down on one side, pain in the tip of the shoulder, discomfort when peeing or pooing and vaginal bleeding or a brown, watery discharge.

    These symptoms can be signs of a stomach bug, but they should be checked out regardless.

    It’s so important to remember that bleeding can be normal, and many women experience it, yet go on to have perfectly healthy pregnancy.

    So if you spot it, don’t panic, but do get checked out as soon as you possibly can.

    It’s always best to be safe.

    MORE: Woman makes DIY air freshener with a sanitary pad

    MORE: Mum who bragged about being a ‘kept woman’ reveals she was homeless for three months


    Why pregnant women have been turning their toilet seats blueWhy pregnant women have been turning their toilet seats blue

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    Georgina Pantano in hospital during iloprost week
    Georgina has diffuse systemic scleroderma, a rare condition that causes the hardening and tightening of skin alongside affecting the internal organs (Picture: Georgina Pantano)

    Since Georgina Pantano, 34, was diagnosed with diffuse systemic scleroderma – a rare condition that causes the hardening of the skin and issues within the organs – every part of her life has changed.

    Her condition has made it difficult for the former beauty therapist, who had to quit her job after experiencing symptoms, to eat, breathe and walk.

    The illness causes her near-constant pain and regularly puts her in hospital. There is no cure.

    Georgina was diagnosed just a few weeks before her 27th birthday, after experiencing a year of cold hands that turned blue while she worked at a salon, swollen fingers that felt sore and stiff, aching in her wrists and forearms, and severe pain in her hips.

    She went back and forth to her doctor but was dismissed as a hypochondriac or told that her pain was simply due to repetitive strain injury as a result of cutting hair.

    georgina before scleroderma
    Georgina before being diagnosed with scleroderma (Picture: Georgina Pantano)

    Then came the breathing problems, which left Georgina waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air. Her skin turned red and inflamed, as if she had sunburn, and pus-weeping ulcers developed on her fingers.

    Soon her hands were stiff, curled, and excruciatingly painful.

    ‘Doing simple things like getting dressed was a real struggle,’ Georgina tells Metro.co.uk. ‘My skin was tightening, I was losing mobility. I could feel weakness and fatigue in my muscles.

    What is scleroderma?

    Scleroderma is an uncommon condition that results in hard, thickened areas of skin and sometimes problems with internal organs and blood vessels.

    Scleroderma is caused by the immune system attacking the connective tissue under the skin and around internal organs and blood vessels. This causes scarring and thickening of the tissue in these areas.

    It’s thought scleroderma occurs because part of the immune system has become overactive and out of control. This leads to cells in the connective tissue producing too much collagen, causing scarring and thickening (fibrosis) of the tissue.

    There are several different types of scleroderma that can vary in severity. Some types are relatively mild and may eventually improve on their own, while others can lead to severe and life-threatening problems.

    There’s no cure for scleroderma, but most people with the condition can lead a full, productive life. The symptoms of scleroderma can usually be controlled by a range of different treatments.

    NHS

    ‘I felt excruciating pain, especially when it got cold. I could barely move.

    ‘It was extremely frightening as I had no idea what was going on.

    ‘Looking back, it’s crazy to think how much pain I put up with.’

    georgina in the car before a massage
    Scleroderma has made Georginas skin tighten and harden, making it difficult for her to fully open her mouth (Picture: Georgina Pantano)

    The lack of answers in the UK led Georgina to travel to Poland, where her mum was born, to talk to more medical professionals.

    Georgina remembers: ‘My train of thought was have a few simple tests done, I could then take these results back to my doctor in the UK and be given the medicine needed to fix the issue, then get on with life as normal.

    ‘I was so wrong.’

    In Poland Georgina was told that she had scleroderma, and that the condition had spread internally through her lungs and oesophagus. She need to have chemotherapy every three weeks for the next year.

    At the time she was diagnosed, Georgina had no knowledge of scleroderma, an incurable, debilitating chronic illness that has effects that go far beyond outward appearance.

    Scleroderma causes painful ulcers to develop on Georgina's hands and fingers
    Georgina’s fingers are often covered with excruciatingly painful ulcers (Picture: Georgina Pantano)

    ‘It’s my lungs that were affected first and most of my digestive system including my oesophagus and then my bowel,’ she says. ‘As well as my body on the outside being affected which involves skin tightening and hardening to my face, arms and legs, I have oint stiffness, pain through out my body, causing reduced and restricted mobility, muscle weakness and chronic fatigue.’

    The hardening and tightening of the skin around Georgina’s face often means she’s unable to open her mouth widely enough to eat, while the inflammation, pain, and hardening of her lungs and throat make breathing an immense struggle.

    Her hands and wrists are in constant pain, making it difficult to use them day-to-day, and physical contact can be excruciating.

    ‘I tend to use my elbows to push myself up but the constant friction of doing this can cause ulcers to develop on my elbows, which then makes things harder and more painful,’ Georgina says.

    Georgina pantano's skin is so tight she struggles to close her hand into a fist
    Georgina’s skin is so tight she struggles to close her hand into a fist (Picture: Georgina Pantano)

    ‘Brushing my teeth is difficult. I find it hard just holding the toothbrush because of the stiffness in my hands. Small things like unscrewing the toothpaste lid are tricky, and because my mouth can not open wide anymore due to tightening of the skin and muscles I have to use a baby toothbrush just to be able to get the toothbrush inside my mouth. Getting to the back teeth is very difficult and always painful.

    ‘Turning taps is really difficult and can be extremely painful on my fingers, especially when I have flare ups of digital ulcers, joint pain and overall sensitivity to the skin.

    ‘The tiniest knock is agony – so that is literally doing most things throughout the day.

    ‘Scleroderma has affected my oesophagus, so the muscles in my throat no longer work efficiently, meaning when I eat food can get stuck in my throat very easily. I suffer from a lot of vomiting when certain foods don’t go down properly.’

    Her illness has visible symptoms, – including sore, red skin, swelling and stretching of the face, and blistered hands that she cannot close into a fist – which means she sometimes receives looks and negative comments.

    georgina pantano using a wheelchair
    Georgina sometimes needs to use a wheelchair to get around (Picture: Georgina Pantano)

    Of course, other parts of her illness are invisible, and so her disability is often dismissed.

    Georgina sometimes needs to use a wheelchair or walking stick, but not always. Scleroderma also affects her bowels, meaning she needs to use disabled toilets, and receives judgement from people who don’t think she ‘looks’ unwell.

    Georgina believes that scleroderma isn’t commonly understood, and hopes that by speaking openly about her story she’ll change things for others struggling.

    ‘When I was diagnosed I felt very overwhelmed,’ she says. ‘I couldn’t really process the information to begin with.

    ‘Being told I had an incurable, life changing condition was something I never thought I’d hear. I was very much in denial and angry to begin with.

    ‘To look at me you can barely see that anything is wrong. This was something I found really hard to come to terms with at the start and I still get frustrated at times because it almost feels like I live in chronic illness limbo. I don’t fit into what is mostly thought of as ‘disabled’.

    georgina pantano doing lung function test
    Georgina doing a lung function (Picture: Georgina Pantano)

    ‘It can be difficult to get across how an illness that isn’t immediately visible can so debilitating.

    ‘There have been a few times were I’ve had to deal with dirty looks for parking in a disabled parking space using my blue badge.

    ‘Unless I have my walking stick or wheelchair I look like I’m taking advantage, when I’m honestly not.’

    Following a year of chemotherapy, Georgina has had to undergo multiple treatments to reduce the symptoms of diffuse systemic scleroderma.

    She currently has regular infusions of Iloprost, a drug that relaxes arteries and improve blood pressure, and takes daily suppressant drugs, steroids, painkillers, and medication for severe acid reflux.

    The 34-year-old also needs to go into hospital for regular checkups, scans, and lung function tests, as well as managing flareups when they occur.

    Georgina is grateful to have an incredibly supportive family
    Georgina is grateful to have an incredibly supportive family (Picture: Georgina Pantano)

    It’s important to note that while treatments can reduce symptoms and Georgina’s levels of pains can change day-by-day, there is no cure for scleroderma – it’s a chronic condition that causes her constant pain.

    Georgina tries to stay positive and keep going with the treatments that seem to help.

    ‘With my skin getting tighter and tighter we had to stretch everything out again and get me walking properly again,’ she explains. ‘These sessions were complete agony but worth it in the long run. My skin felt like it was shrinking and hugely affected my mobility.

    ‘Now I have weekly deep tissue massages. The tension and stiffness can change from week to week but it always helps and with the increased blood flow it really helps to keep my skin as supple as possible.

    ‘I’m extremely lucky to have such a strong support network around me. My family and friends have always been amazing and have never made me feel self conscious about anything when I’m with them. They make sure I never miss out on anything and will think of ways to adapt so I can join in.

    Georgina pantano in hospital
    She’s now sharing her experiences with scleroderma on Instagram to raise awareness of the rare condition (Picture: Georgina Pantano)

    ‘It’s the little things that I get most self conscious about – like my hands, with them being less mobile and if I’m on my own I get an inner panic whenever I need to handle money, for example. It’s something so simple but when I get to the till I always have a inner panic, I struggle picking out coins from my purse and I’ll most likely drop something and struggle picking it up again.

    ‘My grip is terrible because I can’t completely close my hand into a fist so things just drop out of my hands all the time. Being extra slow with packing I panic that people are watching. I don’t even look at anyone in the queue because I feel embarrassed.

    ‘I can get very self conscious in the supermarket- unable to pick tins, bottles because of my grip and stuff hands. I am unable to carry too much as I physically don’t have the strength. Just very short trips to the shop will completely exhausted me.

    ‘Then there’s technology – I can’t use touch screen like everyone else. It’s meant to make life easier… well, not for someone with scleroderma The curved fingers don’t help. Also because of the ulcers I get on my finger joints using my knuckles can be extremely painful.

    ‘I try to push through my insecurities and tell myself it’s what going on in my head that’s the toughest part I feel really self conscious, especially when eating is involved. I’m constantly panicking something might not go down right and will get stuck or that I look strange because I can’t open my mouth normally.’

    dog moses, who gives so much comfort and happiness-f0f0
    Georgina with her dog, Moses (Picture: Georgina Pantano)

    ‘Meeting new people sometimes makes me feel quite anxious, the question – ‘so what do you do?’

    ‘At the beginning I would get myself so worked up about this because my life was no longer ‘normal’, unable to work because of an invisible illness but looked absolutely fine.’

    Georgina now shares her experiences of scleroderma on Instagram in an attempt to raise awareness of the rarely discussed condition and provide support to others suffering.

    ‘I’m happy to talk about living with scleroderma to whoever wants to listen,’ she tells us. ‘Raising awareness is so important to help improve understanding.

    ‘You can never judge a book by its cover, and living with this illness has definitely made me more compassionate and empathetic towards others.

    ‘I hope being more open and honest can help spread that compassion and understanding.

    ‘I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t been a tough journey mentally. I’ve definitely had my ups and downs and times I’ve been so low, feeling so physically and mentally exhausted I just wanted to give up.

    ‘I decided this illness would not beat me. I’ve been determined to keep as strong and positive as I possibly can.’

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    MORE: How I Save: The disabled marketing assistant earning £18,500 a year and living in London

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    Georgina Pantano - sclerodermaGeorgina Pantano - scleroderma

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    19 year old Jade Pinner screaming about her job at Tesco in a TikTok video (Jade Pinner's howl of despair (Image:Jade Pinner/ Jam Press)
    Jade Pinner’s howl of despair (Picture: Jade Pinner/ Jam Press)

    Last month a 19-year-old named Jade Pinner uploaded a video to TikTok, and in the process gave to the world a deranged and profoundly chaotic gift.

    Her blood-curdling scream is the rage of anyone who’s ever had to work a service job; anyone who’s ever had to fight the impulse to tell a rude customer to ‘shut up’ and, instead, treat them with the obsequiousness that the industry demands.

    Whether the video is a joke or not (Jade has claimed to be performing a ‘character’), it nonetheless perfectly encapsulates the existential dread of heading to work without having slept.

    Towards the end of the clip, Jade disintegrates, spitting and snarling; she appears on the verge of tears as she punches invisible enemies, ducking from blows that never come. It is a masterpiece – and she is a hero.

    But not everyone saw it that way. In fact, a lot of people seemed to identify so strongly with the identity of ‘customer’ that they took it as a personal attack.

    ‘Not a great advert for Tesco,’ some sniped, as though that was ever Jade’s intention.

    Several people even directly tagged Tesco in the post, asking why they employed her.

    Thankfully, Jade didn’t lose her job, because it turns out she had already left the company several months prior. But lots of people wanted her to get fired.

    We don’t know how Tesco would have responded if Jade had still been working for them, but the whole thing raises some disturbing questions about the relationship between social media and the workplace.

    It’s difficult to predict which posts will go viral and the potential fallout if they do. Most of us have posted stupid things on social media, without ever imagining it will get back to our bosses.

    But sometimes it does, and sometimes it’s a problem.

    Take Angela Gibbins, for instance, who last year lost her job at the British Council after accusing Prince George of being a symbol of ‘white privilege’.

    Commenting on Facebook, Gibbins wrote: ‘White privilege. That cheeky grin is the (already locked-in) innate knowledge that he’s Royal, rich, advantaged, and will never know any difficulties or hardships in life.

    ‘Let’s find photos of 3yo Syrian refugee children and see if they look alike, eh.’

    Not only was she fired for this post, she lost a subsequent attempt to appeal the decision.

    Another high-profile example in recent years was Justine Sacco who lost her job as a PR executive after tweeting an AIDS joke on a long-haul flight to South Africa: ‘Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just Kidding. I’m white!’

    Her tweet went viral while she was still in the air, meaning the whole world knew that she’d lost her job before she found out – an eventuality which was eagerly anticipated with the hashtag #hasjustinelandedyet.

    But you don’t have to cause an international scandal to get in hot water as a result of your social media presence. It’s now a common workplace occurrence, to varying degrees of severity.

    To find out more about this disturbing phenomenon, we spoke to a bunch of people who have been fired, or narrowly avoided it, for stuff they posted online – some more innocuous than others.

    Scott

    ‘I used to work for a shoe shop in their warehouse on Sundays. Once I asked for the weekend off so I could go to a music festival.

    ‘They said no because everyone else had asked for that weekend off, too. So I pulled a sicky and went anyway, but not before having a pretty detailed rant about it on Twitter which included the company name – “f*** ___”.

    ‘After I got back from the festival, I received a letter through the door informing me I was being pulled in for an investigatory meeting, as a result of posts on social media. I called up HR to see what they had, and had to listen to them read all of my tweets aloud.

    ‘I realised I was bang to rights and handed in my resignation… I was not required to work my notice.’

    Luke

    ‘Once I got in trouble because I’d just started a new PR job and someone asked me on Twitter how it was. I replied “Not too shabby” – you know, about as British an answer as you could get. It’s not even negative.

    ‘But I was hauled into the managing director’s office the next morning and given a b*llocking. They warned that this could paint the agency in a negative light – which made me realise I didn’t want to work for them.’

    Ali

    ‘I got fired from a low-level social marketing job when I erroneously posted something funny I found in the staff fridge: a Marmite and Mango smoothie (which was a publicity stunt for April Fools’ day).

    ‘I later realised it was embargoed by the PR company we rented our office from, and subsequently, a big newspaper pulled out of an exclusive.

    ‘They didn’t sack me straight away, though: I got the news at Heathrow airport after returning from my honeymoon.’

    Gemma

    ‘A colleague at my old job logged into my work computer and found my Twitter, which was completely anonymous at the time. I mean, the avi was a picture of Pingu.

    ‘Anyway, he decided to collate a little montage of my most damning tweets for our bosses to see.

    ‘It was stuff about how I’d been drunk at work and also some incredibly vague and harmless comments I’d made about a project we’d worked on.

    ‘They fired me, and the worst thing was that it happened at a particularly vulnerable time.

    ‘I’m fine now but at the time I had so many tweets about being depressed and suicidal, which my colleague must have read and still decided he wanted to get me fired.

    ‘Some people are truly dickheads.’

    metro illustrations
    What you post online can come back to bite you (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Payzee

    ‘A few years ago, while I was working for a record label, I’d been taking the piss out of my best friend on Twitter, when my manager rang me and asked me to explain my tweets.

    ‘They were rather crude but also, at the end of the day, personal jokes between me and my friend. My boss was really angry about it and called me into a meeting.

    ‘I got in serious trouble and had to discuss every single one of my tweets (which contained words like “dick” – among other things).’

    The sad thing is, if you do get in trouble at work for a social media post, you probably don’t have a leg to stand on.

    These days most job contracts have a clause related to social media conduct and prohibitions against bringing the company into disrepute, which can be applied extremely elastically.

    Paddy O’Connell, a data protection and media lawyer with Wiggin LLP, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Whilst many people assume their social media activity is private and separate from their work and essentially none of their employer’s concern, you can definitely get fired as a result of social media posts.’

    Paddy says that it’s hard to specify exactly what to avoid, as companies operate to different standards: ‘The important thing is to make sure you carefully read your employer’s policies on social media use and avoid anything that would contravene them.’

    What about if you have been fired? Do you have any recourse? Paddy tells us: ‘If this happens, you should check your companies staff privacy notice and any other relevant policies to ensure that you were made aware that this type of monitoring would occur’.

    Ultimately, it’s boring advice but it’s best to err on the side of caution. My mum, having stumbled across my Twitter, once sent me the ominous message: ‘you need to remember that anyone can read this. You’re not down the pub having a cosy chat with your friends.’

    As annoying as this was – she was probably right.

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    TescoTesco

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    What should you wear for Halloween?
    Are you more spooky or silly? (Picture: Getty)

    It’s that time of year again, when you wake up and it’s dark and you get home from work in the dark.

    Although the official end of summer is never something most people look forward to, it does have a few benefits – one being Halloween.

    On All Hallow’s Eve, half the country dress up and hit the streets, either trick-or-treating or heading to the nearest sweaty bar to kiss someone in a Shrek costume.

    That’s the only difficult bit about Halloween; choosing what to wear on the big day.

    What is appropriate for a Wetherspoons? How spooky should you actually go? The real questions.

    Thankfully, we’ve got you. Instead of asking yourself these, simply take our quiz.

    All you need to do is pick an answer for each, acting on instinct (whatever you’re instantly drawn to basically). From there, you’ll need to get the wigs and makeup in order, but we’re sure you can manage.

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    Share your results

    Try again

    MORE: What it’s like to get in trouble at work because of social media

    MORE: Excruciatingly painful skin hardening condition scleroderma leaves woman struggling to eat or breathe


    Quiz: What should you dress up as for Halloween?Quiz: What should you dress up as for Halloween?

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    Two childhood sweethearts have married in an adorable staged wedding ceremony
    Frankie Miller, nine, and Aubrey Butterly, eight, asked their friends to pose as bridesmaids and groomsmen for the fake wedding photoshoot (Picture: Dana Lee Photography LLC / Mercury Press)

    Is it weird to rope kids into the wedding industrial complex before they hit puberty?

    Perhaps – especially considering child marriage continues around the world.

    But children aren’t likely to be thinking deeply about concepts like heteronormativity and whether love can really last forever – and if they’re determined to have a fake wedding with a pal, you’ll have to go along with it.

    Such is the case of Frankie Miller, nine, and his ‘girlfriend’ Aubrey Butterly, eight, who have stubbornly declared that they will one day get married for real. They met at kindergarten three years ago and have been inseparable ever since.

    To display their love, they decided to tie the knot in an unofficial ceremony (don’t worry, this wedding is not actually legally binding, as that would be wrong) at a community college in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

    The pair wore full on bride and groom attire and dragged in seven of their closest friends and family members to act as bridesmaids and groomsmen for the photos.

    Frankie’s mum Nicole, 38, said: ‘After they met, Frankie came home and told us all about Aubrey.

    ‘He always referred to her as his best friend in the whole world.

    Frankie and Aubreys wedding guests enjoy the festivities
    After sharing pizza the kids danced and posed for photos (Picture: Dana Lee Photography LLC / Mercury Press)

    ‘One day, Frankie started referring to Aubrey as his girlfriend.

    ‘He was so matter of fact about it, it was incredibly sweet.

    ‘I don’t know if they’ll end up getting married when they’re older, but for now we just want them to have fun and experience all the amazing adventures life will bring.

    ‘That’s exactly what this shoot was about – making precious memories.’

    On their first Valentine’s Day together, Frankie went out and bought a toy unicorn, one fake rose and one real rose for Aubrey. When asked why, the young romantic explained to his mum that the real rose would die one day, but Aubrey would be able to keep the fake one forever.

     Frankie and Aubreys wedding guests enjoy the festivities
    After unofficially tying the knot, it was time for cake (Picture: Dana Lee Photography LLC / Mercury Press)

    Three years after they met, Frankie, who is from a Catholic family, had his first Holy Communion in May.

    He was having his photos taken by professional snapper Dana Smith for the celebration when he asked whether she’d be able to take photos of him and Aubrey all dressed up when they were older.

    Dana and Nicole fell in love with the idea and, together with Aubrey’s mum Amanda, came up with the idea of a mock wedding.

    The kids enjoyed pizzas together before getting into position for the photos.

    After posing for pictures they enjoyed their own wedding cake.

    There was one tradition that had to be kept though: the wedding cake.

    Aubrey’s mum Amanda, 35, a registered nurse and mum-of-two, said: ‘We just wanted the children to have fun and while some of the snaps were staged, most were just taken while they played together.

    ‘They absolutely loved spending the day playing dress up.’

    MORE: Quiz: What should you dress up as for Halloween?

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    TOTS TIE THE KNOTTOTS TIE THE KNOT

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    couple on a sofa
    What do you look for in a home? (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    When you’re looking for somewhere to live – whether that’s renting or buying – what do you actually look for?

    Are you bothered about storage space? Do you need a nice living room? Are high ceilings essential (…are you very tall?)?

    Or is it all about the location, location, location? Are you only bothered about the price? Will you be put off by a strangely shaped living room or having a bathroom with massive windows?

    It turns out that alongside the expected stuff, like number of bedrooms, toilets, and garden size, British people prioritise some interesting things when looking for a property.

    A poll of 2,000 homeowners and renters found that a spacious living room is more important than having a modern kitchen, for example, and local shops are a bigger priority than having loads of storage space.

    Brits on the lookout for a new home also keep an eye out for the nearest pub, the quality of the insulation, and just how much decorating will need doing.

    Oh, and internet speed is really important, which makes sense considering how many of us need to work from home, rely on wifi to make up for cheap phone data plans, and watch hours of Netflix and can’t stand buffering.

    30 most important things British people look for in a new home:

    • Number of bedrooms
    • Garden size
    • Off street parking
    • Size of the bedrooms
    • Spacious living room
    • Local shops
    • Nearest school
    • A garage
    • Storage space
    • Double glazing
    • The amount of decorating which needs doing
    • Safety record of the area
    • Amount of traffic on the street
    • A modern kitchen
    • Nearest bus stops
    • Where the sun hits the garden
    • Separate dining room and kitchen space
    • Energy efficiency of the property
    • Number of toilets
    • Cracks in the walls
    • Nearest park
    • The décor
    • Having an en-suite
    • Broadband speed
    • Wi-Fi
    • Fast internet connection
    • Quality of insulation
    • Age of the roof
    • Nearest pub
    • The flooring condition

    Charles Davies, MD ISP at Hyperoptic, said: ‘The results show an interesting change in home-movers’ preferences in recent years.

    ‘Brits rely on the internet so much nowadays for everything from entertainment, to working and keeping in touch with others.

    ‘The rise in flexible working and the number of people working from home is likely to have had an influence on homeowners needs, such as speedy broadband.

    ‘It’s interesting to see how WiFi is in the same list of priorities as parking and garden sizes.’

    Well, a garden is nice but you can’t use it to find out if you’re a VSCO girl, can you?

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    couple-on-sofacouple-on-sofa

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    Reyn Spooner debuts their annual Hawaiian Christmas print for 2019
    Adorable (Picture: Maguire Steele)

    Not long until you hear the sound of sleigh bells and Dean Martin singing that ‘the weather outside is frightful’.

    For some of you, though, it’s not going to be a White Christmas at all, despite that being what we associate with the festive season here in the UK.

    Of course, not everybody lives in places that have cold weather at Christmas, and plenty of people head off to visit family and friends in warmer climes too.

    Whether people still have turkey (or nut roast) is totally up to them, but it’s simply impractical to wear the standard Christmas jumper when the mercury rises.

    That’s where the Reyn Spooner brand comes in. The Californian and Hawaiian brand make all sorts of Hawaiian shirts and surf-friendly clothes, and bring out the big guns come the festive season.

    Reyn Spooner debuts their annual Hawaiian Christmas print for 2019
    The patterns also come as dresses (Picture: Maguire Steele)

    Each year they release a limited edition Christmas collection, and the 2019 drop is certainly Christmassy.

    The veritable treetop stars are their shirts, which on first inspection look like your standard Hawaiian number. However, when you look closer you’ll see that it’s actually Santa chilling on the beach, and those palms are actually spruces.

    These patterns come as dresses and children’s outfits, which is great news for any family who wants plenty of cheesy matching outfit pictures.

    If these are a bit loud for you, you can opt for a hibiscus print in more wintry colours, or a t-shirt with a tiny surfing Father Christmas on the breast pocket.

    Reyn Spooner debuts their annual Hawaiian Christmas print for 2019
    Now that’s a team photo (Picture: Maguire Steele)

    For t-shirts, prices start from $44 (£35), and for shirts you’re looking at £106 (£84) for adult sizes.

    Everything’s made with Spooner Kloth™, a blend of cotton and spun poly that the brand call ‘amazingly durable, wrinkle free and breathable’.

    Of course, they’re not just for warm weather, and I’m sure your family would love to see you rocking around the Christmas tree in one anywhere.

    The idea for the festive Aloha shirts came from Reynolds ‘Reyn’ McCullough back in 1983, when he realised at a party that there weren’t a number of options available for men.

    From there their Christmas shirts took off, and they regularly sell out, with some people even collecting the garments.

    If you want to get your hands on one, you can do so here.

    MORE: Quiz: What should you dress up as for Halloween?

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    Going tropical for Christmas? You need these festive Hawaiian shirtsGoing tropical for Christmas? You need these festive Hawaiian shirts

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