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- 10/13/19--01:41: _Bar Fox: 3 cocktail...
- 10/13/19--02:00: _Losing sensation in...
- 10/13/19--03:03: _How long does it ta...
- 10/13/19--04:47: _You can now get che...
- 10/13/19--05:23: _Harry Potter-mad co...
- 10/13/19--07:03: _What is the meaning...
- 10/14/19--00:32: _Poundland is sellin...
- 10/14/19--00:52: _The best thing my f...
- 10/14/19--01:00: _Acclaimed photograp...
- 10/14/19--01:16: _Woman only has sex ...
- 10/14/19--02:04: _Woman accidentally ...
- 10/14/19--02:30: _Polyamorous triad w...
- 10/14/19--02:49: _If Black History Mo...
- 10/14/19--03:09: _Incredible photosho...
- 10/14/19--03:45: _Shoppers think this...
- 10/14/19--04:42: _The best Christmas ...
- 10/14/19--04:44: _Fashion Nova is sel...
- 10/14/19--05:32: _Woman who shared vi...
- 10/14/19--05:47: _Woman roasted onlin...
- 10/14/19--06:48: _Eris the dog has be...
- 10/13/19--01:41: Bar Fox: 3 cocktails to drink at London Cocktail Week
- 10/14/19--02:04: Woman accidentally dyes her hair pink using a Lush bath bomb
- 10/14/19--03:45: Shoppers think this Halloween latex scar looks like a vagina
The Cocktail Village at London Cocktail WeekLondon Cocktail Week wraps up today – that means there are hundreds of bars serving hundreds of cocktails we are dying to try (but would die trying them all) and only have today to do it.
If you haven’t been down yet, the epicentre is at Brick Lane, with 40 pop-up stands hosted by various brands at The Cocktail Vilage, but there are bars across London taking part.
What better way to spend a rainy Sunday than working your way around 40 mini cocktails bars drinking cocktails that cost £6 each?
The Village is covered and there are food trucks and DJs too. Open midday til 11pm – see you there.
Here’s three we will be targeting…
1 The UK’s favourite cocktail – the Pornstar Martini – with a twist
It’s true – the PSM was recently voted Britain’s most beloved cocktail, ahead of the mojito (in 2nd place), the espresso martini (in 7th) and the classic martini (in 8th). There were some surprise entries on there – Sex On The Beach and Woo Woo, which made us feel like it was 1994 all over again – but today, it’s about the Pornstar.
Passoa – the passionfruit part of the Pornstar Martini – have a pop-up stand at the Brick Lane cocktail village where they will be serving Pornstars with a twist, using the familiar recipe we all know and love but throwing a few curve balls in there just for fun.
2 A non-alcoholic Negroni
Because it’s cool not to drink alcohol now, don’t you know. Find a non-alcoholic Negroni at the Nogroni bar (see what they did there) in the cocktail village made with Seedlip, the very lovely if eye-wateringly expensive (when you’re as addicted as we are) alcohol-free botanical drink, mixed with alcohol-free/NA (non-alcoholic) aperitifs by Seedlip’s sister company Æcorn aperitifs.
Perfect if you’re AF but fancy a night out or for a break between the hard versions elsewhere.
3 Glenlivet’s scotch pods
Remember the Tide pod debacle? Kids were scoffing tide pods, thinking it was a fun dare, then getting really sick.
Now Glenlivet have released scotch pods – literally little squishy pods of scotch – especially for LCW and some have got their knickers in a twist, saying it’s irresponsible to serve consumables in the same form as detergent. Well, many dodgy substances come in bottles too and we manage to tell the difference. Let the fun police step aside and let us at the Glenlivet stall before someone changes their mind and Glenlivet bottle it, literally.
It seems our cocktail Capsule Collection has caused a bit of a stir – we wanted to reassure you The Glenlivet is committed to producing safe, responsible & delicious products for adults. Our seaweed capsules are a limited London Cocktail Week release & are not available elsewhere
— The Glenlivet (@TheGlenlivet) October 7, 2019
Festival passes are on sale now at DrinkUp.London and for just £10 drinks enthusiasts can toast to the city’s best spirits, award-winning bars, pop-ups, unlimited £6 cocktails, parties and more.
The Cocktail Village at London Cocktail Week
I used to have a vagina many would be jealous of.
I was hypersensitive and an orgasm – or five – was never far away. With my own hands, I could climax within minutes and even a clumsy sexual partner could bring me over the edge.
Then a silent torturer reared its head and took that special power away.
First I experienced intense periods of pins and needles in my pelvic area, followed by a change in vaginal sensation.
As time went on, I noticed sharp pains inside my vagina whenever I became aroused, and during sex I found penetration more and more uncomfortable. I even had to stop using tampons.
I’d read about studies showing that doctors often do not take female pain as seriously as male pain, and I was terrified that my symptoms would be brushed off by my GP. I had never heard of anyone dealing with symptoms like mine, so I kept quiet and hoped it would eventually go away.
One year ago, I plucked up the courage to discuss it with my gynaecologist who did a very gentle pelvic exam and later determined that I had vaginismus, a condition that causes involuntary contractions in the muscles around the opening of the vagina, which can make penetration painful or, in some cases, impossible.
My doctor stressed that diagnosis only comes as a result of excluding all other possible conditions. Like many chronic pain issues, it is difficult to properly diagnose. This news made me feel as though it was all in my head and I was at a loss for what to do next.
While I waited to be referred to a specialist physiotherapist, I knew I had to start healing on my own.
Losing the intense connection I had with my body felt like a part of me had been torn away, like a part of my identity had disappeared inside the trickery of my own vagina. I had been betrayed by the one body part I had always found reliable.
I had to take a break from being physical with my partner. I knew that reconnecting with myself first was far more important than trying to force penetrative sex before I was ready. I could not find pleasure with another person until I had recovered my own.
Unfortunately, there is no medication to magically fix the condition. It all comes down to psychology and physiotherapy.
My gynaecologist thought that my condition was probably related to past sexual traumas, so I decided to try reconnecting with my body through pleasure. I found self-pleasure to be a powerful tool for my psychological and physical recovery because it helped me to reclaim my body.
To start with, I had to take a break from being physical with my partner. I knew that reconnecting with myself first was far more important than trying to force penetrative sex before I was ready. I could not find pleasure with another person until I had recovered my own.
I spent a lot of time horizontal in bed with various forms of vibrators. I explored every inch of my body, rediscovering erogenous zones and a newfound love for my vagina.
While my symptoms have not disappeared, I am learning how to manage them better and to use relaxation to ease any discomfort. I am still waiting to see a specialist physiotherapist but I have already made progress and I am hopeful that I will return to my orgasm glory days in the future.
The condition can feel incredibly lonely. Few people want to talk publicly about how your vagina is too painful to enjoy sex and those who do are few and far between.
This is clearly a symptom of our wider social issues, which continues to devalue female pleasure and prioritise the male orgasm. While erectile dysfunction gets a global stage and fundraising to match, conditions that affect people with vaginas are all too frequently ignored, misdiagnosed or treated with disbelief. I refuse to acquiesce to this trend any longer.
To combat this, we have to become our own advocates so that we can raise awareness of condition such as vaginismus and improve diagnostic rates.
I hid the condition and my symptoms from my partner for a long time before I finally stopped prioritising their pleasure over my comfort. It’s time for all people with vaginas to do the same.
Although it is a frustrating condition to live with, in some ways it has been positive. Enduring the discomfort and pain has reminded me to maintain a strong connection with my body and sexuality, especially because pleasure is far more intense when the physical and the psychological are in sync.
I have to work harder to orgasm, but I am more in touch with my body and sexuality than ever before. At least now I know that although vaginismus is a pain in the vagina, it is not a death sentence for pleasure.
Woman's orgasm face
Thousands of runners are out on the streets this morning for the Manchester and London Royal Parks respective half marathons, which both kicked off at 9am.
Frankly, we’re just proud if we make it out of bed for that time on a Sunday morning…
Whether you’re training, participating, or just wondering when the runners will make it across the finish line, keep on reading to find out how long it takes to run a half marathon.
What distance is covered in a half marathon?
A half marathon covers 13.1 miles (21.1 kilometers).
How long does it take to run a half marathon?
There’s no hard and fast rule about how long it takes to complete a half marathon as it’s completely dependent on individual fitness levels.
However, according to Runner’s World, it takes UK runners an average time of 2 hours 2 minutes and 43 seconds.
This breaks down into an average time of 1 hour 55 minutes and 26 seconds for males and 2 hours 11 minutes and 57 seconds for females.
To put this into perspective, this is approximately three minutes longer than Eliud Kipchoge’s record-breaking full marathon time of less than two hours.
Beginners tend to have a slower time, with most taking around 2 hours and 20 minutes to 3 hours to complete the race.
How long does it take to train for a half marathon?
Once again, this will vary based on how experienced you are, but as a rule of thumb, it requires around three months of dedicated training.
Super experienced runners might be able to undertake the challenge in as little as six weeks, but many train for longer if they want to beat their personal best.
Beginners are recommended to undertake a 12 week training schedule, and many choose to run smaller 5k races as part of their training.
Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon - Photocall
If you’ve ever pulled a Christmas cracker and wondered how the tradition could be improved then we have the answer for you.
Two words: cheese, crackers. That’s right, instead of a pack of tiny screwdrivers, this year you can crack open a gift of savoury goodness.
Courtesy of food blogger Annem Hobson from So Wrong It’s Nom – who revolutionised the game with her sell-out cheese advent calendar – you can now enjoy the stuff inside a cracker for the first time ever.
The Cheese Cracker will be available nationwide from Sainsbury’s, Ocado and ASDA, for the absolute bargain price of just £3.
Cheese lovers will be treated to two flavours – Ilchester Cheddar Cheese made in the West Country’s Mendip Hills and Ilchester Red Leicester – with a smooth and slightly nutty taste.
Also included inside the cracker is one personal-sized jar of Tiptree Tomato Chutney and five mini oatcakes.
And what’s a Christmas cracker without a party hat and a joke? Not a very good one. So of course So Wrong It’s Nom is packing a few of their cheesiest jibes.
Emma Garvey, Cheese Buyer for Sainsbury’s, said: ‘We’re always looking for distinctive products to offer our customers, especially at Christmas when people are on the lookout for something new and special.
‘We’re excited to be introducing the Cheese Cracker this year, to cater to cheese aficionados nationwide.
‘The cracker makes for the perfect addition to a festive feast and we can’t wait to hear the response from our customers.’
Clearly they know their audience as the Cheese Advent Calendar went down a treat in previous years.
The Cheese Advent Calendar costs £8-£10 (dependent on retailer) for 24 pieces of individually wrapped cheese, with seven varieties available including a limited-edition surprise cheese.
Two Harry Potter enthusiasts felt such a magical connection they decided to theme their entire wedding around the wizarding world.
Royal Mail worker Kayleigh Holcroft, 29, from Greater Manchester, knew pharmacy dispenser Amy, 27, was the one when they bonded over the world-famous wizard on their third date.
Being true Potterheads, they spent £5,000 on their spell bounding big day, which included broomstick rides and wand duels.
The couple, from Leigh, began dating in 2017 when Kayleigh wore a Harry Potter top to their third date.
Two years later, it was only natural that their wedding ceremony, held at Bolton’s Smithills Hall last month, featured nods to their early fantastical connection.
Amy explained: ‘We are both obsessed with Harry Potter – we were both already into it when we met two years ago.
‘When Kayleigh proposed, I thought straight away “we have to have a Harry Potter wedding”.’
Amy and Kayleigh’s guests watched the couple produce rings from the chapter of The Half Blood Prince ‘The Unbreakable Vow’, sign their marriage certificate with quills, and receive gifts including a talking Sorting Hat.
And when they crept away from their guests, their photographer ensured they could live out their wildest Hogwarts fantasies with some help from some Photoshop special effects – despite having never seen the films.
Thanks to a bit of computer wizardry, the pair could be seen flying through the air on broomsticks, casting spells at Voldemort, preparing to enter a Floo Powder portal and hiding from giant spider Aragog.
Luckily, self-confessed Hufflepuff Amy said most guests were on board with their quirky theme.
She added: ‘Most of our friends were on board with the theme – we even got Harry Potter gifts including a talking sorting hat.
‘I have been reading and re-reading the books since I was a child, I have probably read it more times than I can count.
‘My favourite characters are McGonagall and Tonks – I like Tonks because I’m a Hufflepuff and she makes us interesting, and McGonagall because she is a role model.’
Meanwhile, Kayleigh’s favourite characters are Luna Lovegood and Bellatrix.
Photographer Joe Hague revealed he had never seen Harry Potter but was happy to take part in the unique opportunity.
He said: ‘From a photographer who has never seen a Harry Potter film, this was going to be both exciting and daunting.
‘I wanted to make the photographs realistic whilst making them magical with lightning, broomsticks and Harry Potter baddies thrown in too, photoshopping the various effects really made the photographs come to life.’
HARRY POTTER WEDDING
Today (Sunday 13 October) marks the beginning of Sukkot, otherwise known as the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles.
It’s a busy time of year in the Hebrew calendar as many important holidays and festivals fall between October and December.
So what is Sukkot, how is it celebrated and what greetings can you share?
Find out here.
What is Sukkot?
The festival of Sukkot begins five days after the end of fasting for Yom Kippur, and lasts for seven days.
It celebrates the gathering of the harvest and commemorates the sheltering of the Israelites in the wilderness when they left Egypt.
The main objective of the holiday is to build a Sukkah, an outdoor booth which provides shade while allowing those inside of it to see the sky.
These should be made up at least three walls and a roof made of unprocessed foliage such as bamboo or pine branches.
Once built, families eat all their meals inside the Sukkah.
Some may choose to sleep there, although in the chilly October temperatures many simply eat there, spending the rest of their time at home.
The festival begins with two days of Yom Tov, where it is forbidden to work, followed by four intermediate days known as Chol Hamoed.
During these days, normal work and activities may be resumed but eating (or living) in the Sukkah continues.
The seventh day, known as Hoshanah Rabbah, offers a final chance for repentance, in a special synagogue service in which seven circuits are made by worshippers.
What is the meaning of Sukkot?
The word sukkot is the plural form of sukkah, and translates as ‘booths’ or ‘tabernacles.’
Sukkot greetings and quotes
If you would like to wish someone a happy Sukkot, simply say ‘Chag Sameach’ which translates as ‘happy holidays.’
You can also say other greetings which allude to times of joy and celebration, such as ‘Moadim l’simcha.’
A common response to this is ‘Chagim u’zmanim l’sasson’ (‘holidays and seasons for rejoicing!’)
Samaritans celebrate "Sukkot" in Nablus
So long as Potterheads live, Harry Potter fever will never truly die.
But usually, you get something tangible for your money – a cute replica, an experience, memories or furniture to show your guests that you stan Gryffindor.
Poundland’s latest Potter offering is something a little more quirky, and a little less real – an invisibility cloak.
Except, as its name suggests, the cloak is invisible meaning you can’t see it. Therefore it’s non-existent.
Don’t worry though, the budget retailer isn’t just exploiting people’s enthusiasm for all things Harry, they’re actually offering the ‘cloaks’ for free.
So, in essence, you get to come away with a free hanger. Neat.
As part of their largest Halloween offering, Poundland’s latest venture comes in the form of a purple card with the words ‘invisibility cloak FREE’, which is handy as there’s no fabric to help you work out what it is.
Poundland trading director Tim Bettley said: ‘We intended to trial this item last year but couldn’t find it in the distribution centre.
‘But now we’ve found it, we think our customers will see the value, if not the cloak.’
Also included in their range for the spooky season are Skull Tealight Holders, Trick or Treat Loot Bags and Pumpkin Candy Buckets.
But if you’ve really got your eye on the invisibility cloaks, you’ll have to run down to one of six stores that are stocking them.
It will be available at London Stratford High Street, Salford City, Bristol Galleries, Byker Retail Park (Newcastle), Leeds Lands Lane, Birmingham Corporation Street.
Let’s hope it doesn’t sell out.
Poundland Is Selling Invisibility Cloaks For Free
The best thing my wife and I ever did, along with having our two boys, was adopt our beautiful daughter. Nothing compares to the happiness and meaning she has given to our lives.
During this National Adoption Week, the simple message is this: If you have room in your home – and more importantly in your heart – to consider adopting a child who needs a loving family, we want to hear from you.
At every time in every age there have been children in need of care from people other than their biological parents. Because of the impact of drug and alcohol misuse, social and economic deprivation, violence, abuse and mental health issues – 2019 is no different.
‘Looked-after’ kids is one of the biggest oxymorons in public life. Too many children in care are neglected of the love and the attention they need to flourish.
Right now, there are children in desperate need of a new start. Most are under five years old.
In London, there is a particular need to find homes for children described as ‘hard to place’. This includes children from our diverse communities, in sibling groups of two or more, as well as those children with disabilities or special needs.
Giving these children a new start will not only enrich their lives and your own, it contributes to making our society a better and more loving place. Across the country, we are enduring the related crises of loneliness, depression, drug abuse and violent crime.
The need is pressing, children are waiting and the Government is not making adoption any easier
Creating space for larger and more loving families through adoption will help us tackle this.
Don’t believe the myths about who can adopt. The profile of adopters is evolving.
Your own background – ethnicity, class and religion – do not matter. In the year ending March 2018, 400 children were adopted by single adopters and a further 460 by same-sex couples.
You do need an open mind and an open heart, and to be prepared to make a long-term, loving commitment to a child who above all needs stability and understanding. If you tick these boxes then what comes next is down to you.
The assessment process with your agency offers time to think things through and consider the realities of the needs of the children, as well as enabling the adoption agency to assess whether you will make a good adopter.
The need is pressing and children are waiting. And the Government is not making adoption any easier.
Its decision to scrap the Adoption Register for England this year was baffling. The register had made it easier for children needing homes and adopters to meet.
In its final year, the Register linked up 275 children, who had waited months without a match, to find permanent families. I am one of many in Parliament who will scrutinise the Government’s performance and the results of the new regional adoption agencies.
In the meantime, it is vital that everyday citizens who can volunteer to adopt make sure the gap is filled.
Adopting a child is challenging but agencies can provide a range of training and support to adoptive families. This week Coram Ambitious for Adoption – the first regional adoption agency in London and part of the oldest children’s charity – is holding its first Celebrate Success event to welcome adopters from across the capital.
It will launch new resources produced by The Adoptables, a group of adopted young people to help others to learn how to tell their story.
I hope the stories you read today will show how people from all walks of life are becoming adopters and may inspire you to join us.
Yes, adopting a child will be one of the toughest things you will ever do, but it will be among the most rewarding too.
We need good people of every background, religion, age and ethnicity to start the process of adopting a child who needs a safe and loving home.
People's Vote Campaign Holds 'Wind Is Changing On Brexit' Event
British documentary photographer and photojournalist Martin Parr will be giving fans a glimpse into the early days of his career with the arrival of his new book, Early Works.
Focusing on shots taken between 1970 and 1984, the book delves into Martin’s early black and white photography – before he moved to colour in the early 80s.
Martin tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I’m very fond of my black and white work from way back.’
‘I thought it would be a good idea to put all the highlights from my black and white career into one volume and also to find the newer pictures that we’ve come across in the contact prints that we have liked.
‘It’s like a compilation of the very best black and white work that I took, before I changed to colour in 1982.’
The new book features a number of familiar photos from his early days of photography, including his first major body of work The Non-Conformists.
‘The black and white Non-Conformists is like a celebration of a town called Hebden Bridge, and its surrounding areas and it’s very much like catching up with my childhood as I was brought up in suburban Surrey and then went to stay with my grandfather in Yorkshire.
‘I really enjoyed that sense of community, that wasn’t really there in Surrey. So I think when I moved to Hebden Bridge – that sense of community was there in that town, and that was one of the things I was trying to portray.
‘So it was like a celebration. When I moved to colour, the work became more of a critique of society.’
‘I think black and white photos are more melancholy. I think it was easier to do the celebration in black and white and easier to do the critique in colour.’
Beaches and coastlines are a common theme across Martin’s work. Not only do they appear in his upcoming book but they also featured heavily at his Only Human exhibition, which ran at the National Portrait Gallery, earlier this year.
‘I have always been fascinated by the beach, ever since an early age,’ he says.
‘I come from a family of bird watchers so we didn’t get seaside resorts, we went to marshes and creeks and estuaries – so I was immediately hooked. I remember going to Brighton as a kid and then – when I went to Manchester Polytechnic – I visited Blackpool resort and since then I’ve become addicted to beaches – not only in this country but the world over.
‘My favourite resort in the UK is Tenby and I liked it so much I went and bought a flat there, with a view over the sea.
‘I could just sit and watch the sea, it’s better than watching the TV, it just keeps on giving.
‘Anyone who gets tired of watching the sea doesn’t deserve to be alive. That’s a bit dramatic isn’t it?’
The new book not only documents Martin’s travels across the UK but features shots taken in India and China in the mid-1980s. In total, readers can expect more than 20 previously unseen photographs with people at the heart of them – in true Parr style.
‘I’m interested in people, in observing and documenting,’ he says. ‘Of course, life has moved on, photography has moved on, I’ve moved on – the world has changed. I’m trying to keep up.
‘If I get 10 really good shots a year, I say it’s a pretty good year. And to achieve that I’ve taken nearly half a million.’
And what makes a great photo for Martin?
‘It’s the moment when everything comes together and there’s some kind of tensional point, or contradiction of ambiguity illustrated.
‘And the other thing is, to articulate that is very difficult, which is why I’m a photographer and not a poet. But you know it when you see it, kind of thing,’ he explains.
Almost 50 years on from the start of his career – and with advances in technology – it’s fair to say that a lot has changed in the world of photography.
‘It’s first gone from analogue and all those horrible chemicals to digital. But also the introduction of the smartphone.
‘Everyone has a camera all the time with them and we are all shooting constantly. It’s the biggest democratic art form in the world and that in itself is an achievement.
‘Photography sounds so simple and straightforward but, in fact, it is quite difficult to find your vision, to find something that’s new and unique to yourself.
‘There’s a lot of bad photography too, remember, we don’t know how many millions of photos will be uploaded onto Facebook today alone, let alone Instagram or anything else.
‘Most of them won’t be any good – which is good news for us photographers who take it more seriously.’
It’s no secret that Martin has always been a fan of English photographer Tony Ray-Jones. More specifically, it was Ray-Jones’ different way of looking at the world that has influenced Martin over the years.
‘When I was at college someone came in and talked about Tony Ray-Jones and I was completely smitten and it suddenly made me realise what was possible and what I could do myself and that therefore is very inspirational,’ he says.
‘I think he took this spatial way of looking. He was as much interested in the spaces between things as the subject itself but that hadn’t really twigged in the UK because we were too narrative-driven.
‘So I’ve always been a fan of his and I recently did a project where I went through his old contact prints and looked at the pictures that he overlooked and put those into this show, along with his iconic pictures. We are also doing a show which has the iconic photos. And then we’ll show the new prints that I have discovered when I looked through the contact prints.’
The exhibition opens the same day as Parr’s book is released, on October 16, and is set to mark the important contribution that Ray-Jones (and his legacy), has made to British documentary photography.
So with a book launch and a sister exhibition on Ray-Jones running alongside it, what’s next for the acclaimed photographer?
‘This year I’m doing a book, in the next month or so, about selfies and people taking selfies – that’s a modern trend – 20 years ago it didn’t exist. And now, as you know, it’s everywhere. You can’t avoid selfie takers, especially if you go to anything remotely touristy.
‘It’s a new phenomenon, it’s interesting to look at and you actually have the benefit of looking at people and looking at the thing they are photographing all in one viewfinder.
‘More and more people use instant photography and that’s good news for photographers as people are keen to see what we get up to.’
Early Works by Martin Parr comes out on 16 October 2019 and is available to buy online.
IRELAND. County Leitrim. Manorhamilton sheep fair. From 'A Fair Day'. 1981.
A woman who experiences excruciating pain during sex manages to do it once a year with her husband.
Former care assistant Natalie Bricker was diagnosed with Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder in 2018, a condition that causes severe pelvic pain every time she is aroused.
The 35-year-old from Delaware, U.S, avoids sex with her husband Robert Bricker, 38, as she experiences agonising muscle spasms in her pelvis.
The condition is so severe that it can last up to four days, leaving her bed-bound and unable to walk.
Natalie experiences spontaneous genital arousal at least once a day which causes painful spasms in her vaginal wall and rectum.
Despite the pain it comes with, Natalie has annual sex as she worries about the impact the condition is having on her marriage.
She said: ‘Every time I feel pleasure or arousal, my muscles contract, and spasm, and when I orgasm my pelvic muscles go into spasm.
‘Whenever I get aroused my body goes into fight or flight mode. The pain becomes worse and worse. It makes even walking painful. Afterwards I get so itchy.
‘It’s difficult because you feel aroused and you want to do something about it, but when you do the pain is so intense.’
Natalie can’t masturbate either as it results in sharp stabbing pains around her clitoris. At times, she’s also had to resort to holding an ice bag on her privates.
Her main concern though is her relationship with her husband Robert.
‘My relationship with my husband has been difficult and I have a lot of insecurities,’ she explained.
‘Because we don’t have intercourse often I do have insecurities about whether or not he would cheat on me.
‘He’s a good man, he married me knowing the issues I have and the barriers that it creates for sex.’
The couple normally has sex once or twice annually but Natalie has to have a few drinks before going through with it.
She said: ‘It hurts, it feels like I’ve been hit by a truck.’
Natalie believes her condition stems from a car accident in 2002, during which she believes she injured her pudendal nerve, which is responsible for carrying messages from the external genitalia.
Although she appeared uninjured, Natalie experienced recurrent thrush and sex with Robert began to cause pain.
Natalie suffered with the condition’s symptoms for more than a decade before she was officially diagnosed with pudendal neuralgia in 2014.
A few years later, she was forced to give up her job as a care assistant.
‘I was so fatigued and I would have intense pain every time I had a bowel movement.
‘I was taking a strong painkiller at work to deal with it and if I had to go, the pain and the anxiety would set in. I began to have panic attacks.’
Since her diagnosis, Natalie has undergone several treatments to help relieve her pain as well as seeing a pelvic floor specialis
Now, the condition has gotten somewhat better as she can go for a daily walk and run errands.
She now dreams of having a family but says her chronic condition has made their path to parenthood more difficult.
If it doesn’t work, they may consider fostering or adopting. To help them deal with their life together as well as how to become parents, the couple is also in counseling.
Robert added: ‘I married Natalie when I knew we would have these issues because I am an eternal optimist.
‘I love her so much and I didn’t want to give up the opportunity to be with her forever.
‘I have hope that we’re always one doctor away.’
A woman was shocked to find her hair had been dyed bright pink after using a Lush bath bomb – and she can’t get the colour out.
Gabbie, from Leeds used a ‘Luxury Lush Pud’ for a relaxing evening soak in the tub, but had no idea what she would see when she got out.
The 19-year-old got out of the bath to dry her hair and realised it looked a little bit rose, but it was only when she blow dried her locks that she found her hair had turned totally pink.
And the worst thing is she had spent £60 colouring her hair blonde just the day before.
Gabbie says she has tried every trick in the book, but the pink is just refusing to budge.
‘I got out of the bath and went to dry my hair when I realised it had rose tinges.
‘I started to blow dry my hair and realised my hair was peach with pink and purple tones.
‘The colour won’t come out.
‘I’ve been told to let it fade out naturally as using head and shoulders and fairy liquid could affect my bleached hair.’
So she’s stuck with the pastel look, which in all honesty looks like it could’ve been on purpose.
Gabbie has complained to Lush and says they offered her a bottle of shampoo to help remove the colour, but customer service told her that she shouldn’t have gone in the bath while the bomb was ‘still fizzing’.
‘I’ve emailed Lush and they’ve offered me a bottle of shampoo to help get it out, though they tried to accuse me of getting in the bath while the bomb was still fizzing which is completely untrue.
‘They also asked for my receipts before they would help me and I had to prove I’d purchased it.’
The Luxury Lush Pud bath bomb costs £4.95 on Lush’s website – so if you want to give your hair a super quick dye job, it might be worth giving this a try.
Lush has been contacted for comment.
Woman shocked to find her hair had turned bright pink after using a Lush bath bomb - and she now can't get the colour out
A polyamorous ‘throuple’ with three children want to add more kids to the family and are open to taking more lovers in the future.
Technician Cody Kurkowski, 28, from Ohio, and dance teacher Kayla, 27, are high school sweethearts with three children.
In 2016 Kayla started chatting to call centre representative, Katherine Zepernick, 27, on Facebook and immediately felt a connection.
Soon they arranged a coffee date, inviting Cody along, and the three of them hit it off, eventually becoming a throuple.
The following year they officially became a polyamorous triad.
Three months after becoming exclusive, Katherine moved in with Kayla and Cody and they became a family.
In that time, Kayla gave birth to their third child, the first one to be parented by all three adults.
The other kids, the oldest of whom is five, know about the nature of their relationship. Cody, Kayla and Katherine who plan to marry in 2022 also want more children.
And while they’re committed to each other, they are not opposed to the concept of an open triad, meaning that they could each date other people.
‘There have been bumps and learning curves in the road just like any relationship, but we’ve always done everything we can to make our family work,’ says Katherine.
‘It was love at first sight for all of us. There was a special feeling we got that we knew meant there was something special between us.
‘To us, polyamory gives you the ability to construct the relationship structure that really works for you. A triad formation is what is working for us right now.
‘We don’t have any plans to change that in the future, but we also aren’t against expanding our tribe in the future. But we are happy how we are now.’
The throuple is an open triad, which means they can date separately, dyadically, or as a triad. However, with young kids and busy work schedules, they just about have enough time for one another.
In January 2019, Cody and Kayla both proposed to Katherine with candles, flowers and balloons ready for her when she came home from work.
Before the proposal, Cody and Kayla wrote a joint letter to Katherine’s parents detailing their plans to get their blessing.
Katherine added: ‘The three of us do our best to be open and honest, demonstrating that no relationship is perfect, but with enough work and dedication we’ve made it last.
‘Everybody deals with jealousy, but it usually means there is a deeper issue that is causing the reaction. It takes a lot of self-evaluation and will to do a lot of self-reflection.
‘Communicating your feelings with your partner about jealousy is important so that you don’t start to take anything out on them.’
The triad plans to have two to three more children in the future and hope to open a bed and breakfast in Colorado.
Since being open about their relationship on Instagram, the triad have gotten some criticism. Most, however, assume that Katherine is Cody’s sister.
‘We know that polyamory isn’t for everybody, but we do think that more people should know it is an option if you feel like it’s right for you,’ explains Katherine.
‘It isn’t just a sexual thing either. That’s one of the first questions we get.
‘We get a lot of confused looks from strangers, but people usually keep to themselves with their opinions for the most part.
‘We just want to be able to let people know that polyamory isn’t a threat to monogamy, which is something we’ve run into a lot just being out with our relationship.
‘We are all feminists and are bringing our children up to be inclusive and open people and we’re very proud of that.’
Polyamorous Family of Six
I sharply remember the first time I met someone who was black and gay. She was living in a house that was on the route I walked to school.
I had passed her most days over four years of walking to school; I saw her taking out the bins, chatting on the phone, gardening. We would sometimes smile at each other, in a way that Black people in a white country sometimes do.
One day however, I remember seeing her kiss a woman goodbye, at the front of her garden gate. I was 15 and it stopped me in my tracks.
I remember so clearly – even if I could not articulate it – that what was shocking to me was not that she was kissing a woman, or that she was Black, but it was the combination of the two. I, a Black queer kid myself, had not realised it was possible.
I do not blame myself for this – there are many reasons why young Black kids do not see queerness as a possibility within them.
Colonisation flattens out histories and possibilities. Representation is minimal for Black people in this country, and is often very repetitive. Racism continues to present us as two dimensional versions of who we are.
But also, if I’m completely honest, history and the present had never shown me explicitly that the two could exist: That you could be both Black – and in whatever way – not straight.
As it stands, when Blackness is involved, straightness and cisness is too. What this does is create an ahistorical approach to our history
In school we had learnt of the occasional explicitly gay figure like Alan Turing, or even had an English teacher speculate about Shakespeare’s sexuality, but when it came to October – the one month of the year my school would attempt to make an effort to teach Black history – sexuality and gender was left out of the conversation.
Not just left out, but at one point noticeably erased.
James Baldwin was put up on the wall for Black literature, yet the bio written had nothing about his sexuality, despite that being such a major part of his canon.
As a kid, Black History Month can sometimes feel like a time in school where you are hungry to learn. For once you see an authority figure (your teacher), giving information that includes people like you.
So often the exchange of knowledge in schools is that a white person (your teacher), tells you important things that another white person (someone in history) did, and you (the non white person) listen.
Although we often see Blackness and queerness as an axis of ‘multiple oppression’, what learning about our history enables us to do is to flip that lens.
I refuse to believe that this does not have prolonged effects on how and who we view as carriers of knowledge.
So when Black History Month comes along, or when a teacher decides to bring Blackness into a class, it is natural that the importance of who is featured and how the lessons are taught feels greater.
But as it stands, when Blackness is involved, straightness and cisness is, too. What this does is create an ahistorical approach to our history. It does a disservice to the richness and complexities that Blackness holds.
And I believe this great affects young Black LGBT+ people’s aspirations, possibilities and health.
Statistics show that LGBT+ people of colour experience higher rates of mental health issues and discrimination than our white community members. It is clear to me that we must be tackling this from all sides – including our history.
Whether that be talking about examples of gender non-conformity in precolonial African religions, or the genius writings of Black queer figures like James Baldwin or Alice Dunbar Nelson.
Or whether it be the significant contributions queer Black people have made to political movements, like Lady Phyll of UK Black Pride or Patrisse Cullors of the Black Lives Matter movement.
It’s so important people recognise that so many Black people throughout history and the present have not left out or hidden their queerness in order to create change, but rather used or connected with their queerness to do it.
Learning this gives hope and power and shows that these two things are not at odds, rather in constant conversation.
Black LGBT+ people have throughout history contributed to countless moments, and have often been at the forefront of many liberation movements, and I do not believe this is by chance.
Although we often see Blackness and queerness as an axis of ‘multiple oppression’, what learning about our history enables us to do is to flip that lens. It lets us see how holding both Blackness and queerness gives us a resilience and unique perspective to understand the world, and make change.
Black history is rich – it is important. It needs uncovering, but only when all of the history is shown.
Educators and historians and those imparting knowledge onto others have a responsibility to do so with care, and accuracy.
If only the straight parts of Black history is shown, then that is not history; it is inaccurate, and it is an inaccuracy that comes with danger.
Young Black LGBT+ kids deserve role models, possibilities, and the ability to reflect and connect with their history.
It is the responsibility of those in positions of power and privilege in education to give them the tools for this reflection.
Sixteen men and women who have been diagnosed with cancer have taken part in a stunning photoshoot for Stand Up To Cancer, giving an honest and unfiltered look at the disease.
The project, called ‘Defiance’, aims to showcase the gritty and raw realities of cancer.
The people in the pictures have all embraced scars and changes to their bodies, big or small, as a show of strength against the disease.
Shot by photographer Ami Barwell, the project is a follow up to her ‘Mastectomy’ series in 2017. This year, Ami has broadened this series beyond mastectomy scars, to reflect a diverse range of experiences.
‘To me, “Defiance” is an act of rebellion,’ explains Ami. ‘Cancer isn’t pretty, it can be dark, painful and destructive. But we aren’t playing to cancer’s rules. These people are strong, beautiful and, most of all, defiant.’
Ami’s mastectomy series was inspired by her mum who had breast cancer twice – so it is a subject that it very close to her heart.
‘I wanted to raise as much awareness for breast cancer as possible, showing women baring their scars in a series of gritty and honest portraits,’ she explains.
‘I received an overwhelmingly positive response, with emails from women worldwide explaining how my photographs had inspired them and given them strength. For many, these were the first photographs they’d seen showing women post-mastectomy as beautiful, sexy, strong and amazing.
‘I knew I had to carry on raising awareness with Stand Up To Cancer and empowering people through my photographs.’
Deborah James, from London, featured in the shoot. Deborah has stage 4 bowel cancer and is known on social media as ‘Bowel Babe’.
‘I’m living with stage 4 cancer, but you wouldn’t know it if you saw me walking down the street,’ says Deborah. ‘For me, it’s about not being defined by my cancer – I want to be seen as the woman I was before and yes, sometimes I do still want to look sexy.
‘Doing this shoot for Stand Up To Cancer has been so empowering. My scars have affected my confidence at times, but I’ve learnt to appreciate my body for what it is – strong and resilient.’
27-year-old Tasha Jilka, from Leicester, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2010, and it has affected her face and nose.
‘I was diagnosed with cancer just before my 18th birthday and this massively impacted my confidence. My cancer has completely changed my face, so it’s not something I can hide away from,’ she explains.
‘I’ve had to build a thick skin over the past nine years and now I use my face as a symbol of strength, something that shows everything I’ve been through. I’m standing up to cancer by embracing my new normal every day, which is why I was so pleased to be a part of the “Defiance” series.’
Mark Douglas (Doug), from London, is living with thyroid cancer said.
‘I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 30 and the psychological impact it had on me and my family was huge,’ says Doug. ‘I have a scar on my neck from surgery, but the main physical change for me has been how it’s altered my voice, which is almost like an invisible scar.
‘I was thrilled to be a part of this project for Stand Up To Cancer, because this disease comes in all shapes and sizes and I want show others that we can all be defiant in our own way.’
Stand Up To Cancer funds life-saving cancer research. To date, the campaign has raised more than £62 million, funding 52 clinical trials and projects, involving over 11,000 patients.
Stand Up to Cancer photoshoot
We humans are complex, sophisticated creatures who will never stop finding amusement in things that look like genitals.
And the latest thing being enjoyed by people with their minds in the gutter is a latex scar.
While you might think, ‘cool, nice Halloween costume’, others are thinking, ‘yep, that’s a vagina.’
The facial costume accessory, being sold at Home Bargains, is causing folks to do a serious double-take.
Followers of a Facebook group had a good old laugh at the fleshy number, which comes with a bloody slit, made to look like a scar.
Posted on the Spotted Newton Abbot group which is followed by those from the Devon area, the picture racked up plenty of comments.
Some didn’t notice it at all until it was pointed out by others.
Commenting on the festive prop, one person wrote: ‘Glad you said it’s Home Bargains, I thought it was Ann Summers’.
Meanwhile, others wrote things like: ‘Must admit my first thoughts were not Halloween related,’ and ‘I’m not the only one. I thought I was being a pervert’.
And of course, some people had puns. One person wrote: ‘Stop fannying around’.
Not everyone enjoyed it though. Some people said it should be taken off shelves. One said: ‘Disgusting! It should be removed from the shelves. Young kiddies just think it’s a deep wound but adults know what it looks like.’
In the same vein, another said: ‘Shop assistants should have reported this to their manager’.
Tough crowd. But lets remember that there’s nothing disgusting about vaginas.
Shoppers think this halloween costume looks like a vagina
Where summer means late-night sessions in pub gardens, winter will see most people head to a seasonal event with glittering lights, copious amounts of mulled wine and jolly entertainment.
This year, we give you our biggest list ever of Christmas markets across the UK – from London to Cornwall, up to Wales and back to Norfolk.
Whether it’s a family-friendly experience you’re after (like feeding reindeer or visiting Santa’s Grotto) or eating German sausages and drinking beer with your mates, we’ve got you covered.
Christmas is looking very jolly.
Held annually in Hyde Park, the Christmas extravaganza that is Winter Wonderland will open at the end of November.
As always, there will be lots of mulled wine and cider, German beer tents and bratwurst with sauerkraut, as well as rides, live entertainment and – of course – the Christmas market.
The number of stalls hasn’t been confirmed yet, but if it’s anything like previous years, you’ll find everything from Christmas tree ornaments to fudge and homemade toys.
If you’re mainly in it for the shopping, try to go earlier in the day – it gets very crowded at night.
When: 21 November, 2019 to 5 January, 2020
Where: Hyde Park, London
Spirit of Christmas fair
What this market lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for in product selection.
Spirits of Christmas fair has over 900 independent boutique traders, and you can pick up pretty much anything: jewellery, clothes, home décor, furnishings, as well as baby or children’s gifts.
Expect excellent quality and originality; each seller has been selected by an expert team (they’re not elves, we checked).
No holiday event is complete without food and drink; sample gins, get your parents some organic olive oil, treat yourself to truffles and caviar or purchase puddings for the family. Other delights include selections of wine, tea, Cornish cheeses and hand-made hampers.
It’s not all about shopping – join the Winter Workshop and learn how to make festive floral creations or explore a tasting session.
When: 4-12 November
Where: Olympia, London
Chelsea Physic Garden Christmas fair
As far as magical surroundings go, Chelsea Physic Garden is towards the top of the list regardless of the season – but the annual Christmas fair is a treat for locals and tourists alike.
Shop from 100 independent retailers, swing by Santa’s Grotto, make yourself something nifty with the Crafty Christmas Creations team or learn how to wrap presents like a pro with Jane Means.
Trinkets-wise, don’t be surprised if you head back with bags filled with homeware from Batterbury, a jumper or five from BAKKA knitwear and festive confectionery from Dee’s Luxury Rum Cake and Cocoa Runners.
When: 22-24 November
Where: Chelsea, London
Blenheim Palace Christmas market
For a regal shopping experience, take a day-trip to Blenheim Palace in Woodstock. It’s a two-hour ride by car, but the scenery will be worth the trip.
The market is nice – with small wooden chalets in front of the palace – but the real treat is the Illuminated Light Trail.
Grab yourself some mulled wine or cider, before embarking on a walk in the Tunnel of Light, with its 100,000 pea lights, the woodland Laser Garden (the kids will love this one) and the scented Fire Garden. You might just meet Santa and his elves on the way and there are carousels, too.
When: 22 November to 15 December
Where: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
Duke of York Square market
Partridges weekly fine foods market in Chelsea will get a makeover this Christmas.
On 7 December, swing by to pick up all the holiday flavours your heart (and stomach) desires. From luxurious champagne truffles to traditional gingerbread biscuits, smoked salmon. spiced chutneys and fresh fruit liqueurs, you’ll find plenty of ingredients for the big day.
Treat yourself to a hot chocolate and go for a stroll around the neighbourhood to listen to carol singers or catch a complimentary horse and carriage ride.
You can pick up presents too, as 70 stores in the area are offering special discounts on the day.
When: 7 December
Where: Duke of York Square, Chelsea
Haddon Hall artisan market
Held at Haddon Hall, a Tudor home in Bakewell, this artisan market – dubbed Mercatum – won’t disappoint.
You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into another era with medieval decorations at every turn and a choir singing in the Banqueting Hall.
Peruse and purchase soaps, candles, fine art and jewellery, but don’t miss the Elizabethan gardens.
For those who fancy a VIP shopping experience, there will be a special pre-sale on 12 November, but you’ll have to shell out £25 for a ticket (the usual price is £5.50).
When: 13-17 November
Where: Haddon Hall, Bakewell
Holkham festive food fair
Live cooking demonstrations by chefs from Charlie’s Norfolk Food Heroes, sample tastings and local products up for grabs – Holkham’s annual festive food fair doesn’t hold back.
The event is back for its third run and the list of traders is impressive: Moon Gazer Ale from Norfolk Brewhouse, handmade dishes from Brockleyby’s Pies, speciality brews from Norfolk Coffee Company, raw butter and raw milk brie-style cheese from Fen Farm Dairy and macarons, meringue kisses and marshmallows from Mrs A’s Bakes.
We could go on, but you get the picture.
Other experiences include wreath-making classes, with greenery plucked from Holkham park and a live performance by Diva Opera.
When: 14-15 December
Where: Holkham Hall, Norfolk
Lincolnshire festive food and gift fair
What to expect? It’s all in the name, really: food and gifts galore.
The annual event is organised by the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society with 150 exhibitors selling local produce. Get the (apparently) famous pork pies, speciality cheese, fudge and chocolate or pick up a bottle of wine and locally-distilled gin.
It’s very family-friendly with plenty of free activities like Christmas storytelling, crafts, pottery and baking.
Santa is taking a break from his busy schedule to make an appearance too, as will his reindeer (little ones can feed them).
When: 30 November to 1 December
Where: Lincolnshire Showground, Lincoln
Padstow Christmas festival
Skip the physical gifts this year and treat someone to a day of food instead.
At Padstow Christmas festival, you’ll get to eat, drink and learn how to make the ultimate Christmas dinner with a little help from the pros.
Paul Ainsworth, Nathan Outlaw, Rick Stein, Atul Kochar, Brian Turner, Phil Vickery and José Pizarro – they’ll all be there to give you tips and tricks, as well as demonstrate how to make mouth-watering seasonal dishes.
Nab some treats from the 100 artisan food and drink traders (just take it easy on the booze-y samples), listen to live music and have a merry time.
Come back two days later for the Santa Fun Run.
When: 5 December
Where: Padstow, Cornwall
Westfield Christmas market
Where better to get some shopping done than at a shopping centre?
Westfield might not seem like your most festive outing, but its inaugural outdoor market begs to differ. Held at both of its sites, there will be small food and drink stalls, a Santa’s Grotto and other Christmas treats.
OK, it’s not the most magical of settings but on the upside, you can easily escape the cold by popping inside (where you can take advantage of the many discounts).
It’s also open up until 24 December, meaning there’s no need to panic if you want to pick up a last-minute gift.
When: 20 November to 24 December
Where: Westfield White City and Stratford City
Abergavenny Christmas fair
Have yourself a very Welsh Christmas during the first week of December.
Sure, it’s quite a trip if you live down south, but the small town is charming and has plenty to offer at its street food market, held at night.
Sing carols, roast some chestnuts or buy culinary delights from artisan Welsh producers.
When: 8 December
Where: Market Hall, Abergavenny
Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm market
Fancy something a bit different? Head down to Cornwall to experience a festive market at a working cyder farm.
This is the third run for Healeys’ event, with lots of activities planned for grown-ups and kids alike.
It’s all about local produce, such as food and drink (jams, juices and cyders, of course), as well as arts and crafts. If you live locally, why not get yourself a freshly-cut Christmas tree?
While you shop, send the kids off to take a tractor ride around the orchards or visit the family-friendly farm to pet donkeys, pigs, goats, ponies and shire horses.
Finish off with a Sunday roast at The Old Bottlery with carols in the background, sung by local choirs.
When: 16 November to 22 December
Where: Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm, Cornwall
Christmas in Leicester Square
Sometimes you just want a market that screams festive.
Christmas in Leicester Square is big, loud and – as you might expect – full of tourists. It’s smack-bang in the middle of Central London, which means you’ll have to wrestle the theatre and cinema crowds, along with the clubbers out for a jolly good time.
Look beyond the chaos to enjoy the multi-cultural vibes, the seasonal shopping from 30 different traders and the entertainment, courtesy of Underbelly.
The latter is held in the Spiegeltent and the schedule is packed with everything from drag stars to jazz shows and swing dancing lessons.
When: 8 November, 2019 to 5 January, 2019
Where: Leicester Square, London
Buyagift sustainable market
If there was a theme for 2019, it might very well be sustainability.
Thankfully, there’s now also a Christmas market for it – Buyagift is hosting a one-day event focused entirely on how to make the holiday season more sustainable.
Join a minimal-waste workshop and learn how to upcycle jumpers with Fast Fashion Therapy, make your own soaps with Bottega Zero Waste or a terrarium with Little Drop of Green.
There’ll also be mindfulness sessions, including yoga and meditation with Frame, as well as talks from ‘sustainability influencers’.
As for the market, find scents, skincare, conscious fashion and jewellery from Bodycare, Sunday, Buff Natural and more.
When: 1 December
Where: Clapton, London
Edinburgh Christmas Market in Snow
If we said, ‘to infinity and beyond’ or, ‘there’s a snake in my boot’, you’ll immediately know the Pixar classic we’re referencing.
Such is Toy Story fever. Since its 1995 release, we can’t get enough of Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear and their gang of mischievous toys.
You might have even dressed up as your fave character from Andy’s bedroom for Halloween.
But now Fashion Nova is adding a whole new level of sexiness to the much-loved toys… a level that no one really asked for.
You’ll be sure to turn heads with these three provocative outfits being sold online with the fashion retailer.
The Infinite And Beyond Six-Piece Costume Set comes in different bits and bobs so you can dress as a raunchy Buzz.
Buzz’s outfit – the Space Cadet Ranger Toy Costume – includes a colour block bra and pants in green and white, long sleeve gloves, a backpack space pack, a purple accent belt and matching glasses.
The entire thing will set you back £55.75. If you want to complete the look with thigh-high boots, you’ll need to fork out another £39.82.
To go as Woody, you’ll get a cowboy-esque plaid shirt, high-rise panties, a garter belt, and bandana, again for £55.75.
Meanwhile, the alien outfit – complete with a metallic bodysuit, gloves, alien headband, and pantyhose – comes at the same price.
Each costume can be accessorised with boots, lip paint and beyond.
So, while ‘sexy Woody’ might not have been your initial choice for a Halloween get-up, at least it’s all available on one website.
Minimum effort for a highly recognisable outfit. Perfect for lazy animation stans.
Fashion Nova is ruining your childhood with these Toy Story costumes
Siliana Coelho filmed a video of herself writhing in pain because of her sickle cell – and the clip quickly went viral on Twitter.
The 21-year-old from Ealing, London filmed the clip in the middle of an agonising sickle cell crisis and the footage amassed 33,500 retweets, and reached 1.7 million people.
In the video you can see Siliana crying out and writhing with pain, which is common for people experiencing a sickle cell crisis. The disease makes her red blood cells form into abnormal shapes and get stuck, causing life-threatening blockages and complications.
I suffer from Sickle Cell and most people can’t even imagine what it feels or looks like. This is what I and others go through. Please share it and raise awareness for it, that‘s all I want🥺❤️ pic.twitter.com/NyqT3pCzBW
— Siliana (@ANGOLANCVNDY) October 6, 2019
She hopes that by putting her pain on the internet for everyone to see, she will inspire more black people to donate blood.
‘The pain of a normal sickle cell crisis is like your bones are being broken with hammers, it pulsates with you blood,’ says Siliana.
‘In that video I had the crisis in my chest, which is one of the worst. I felt burning and hot, and like my chest with being crushed with a pile of bricks. It was like being stabbed in the chest in time with your heartbeat.’
Siliana says that sickle cell effects every area of her life.
‘The hardest thing about living with sickle cell is that I’m constantly in pain,’ she explains.
‘I don’t have a moment to not feel anxious or paranoid. Because the condition is so unpredictable, you never know what to expect.’
At the moment, Siliana is suffering with hearing and vision problems as well as knee pain because of the lack of oxygen that impacts her vital organs.
‘It effects your mental state, you have no life,’ she says. ‘I’m constantly sick in hospital, constantly wondering when is the next time I’ll be back in hospital.
‘I’m unable to work because I can’t even hold a stable job. I’m in hospital every two weeks. Who will have me?
‘Then your love life. It’s hard to date. You always think: “Who is going to love me with this condition?” Because I’m constantly sick.
‘You don’t feel that confidence or even wanting to date when you’re so sick.’
Siliana, like many sickle cell patients, needs regular blood transfusions just to stay alive. She receives eight units of blood, every six weeks, at Hammersmith Hospital.
She said she shared the video to raise awareness of the disease and inspire more black to donate blood.
Blood needs to be well matched but the shortage of black blood donors makes it harder to find blood for black patients. In fact, NHS Blood and Transplant needs 40,000 new black blood donors over the next three years.
The shortage of black blood donors makes it harder to find the best matched blood for black patients, and that puts black people them at risk of serious transfusion reactions.
‘I am shocked and overwhelmed by the reaction to the video,’ says Siliana. ‘I never thought it would reach this many people. I wanted people to see what the pain is really like.
What is sickle cell?
Sickle cell is a disorder of the haemoglobin in the red blood cells.
Haemoglobin is the substance in red blood cells that is responsible for the colour of the cell and for carrying oxygen around the body.
People with sickle cell disorder are born with the condition, it is not contagious. It can only be inherited from both parents each having passed on the gene for sickle cell.
The main symptoms of sickle cell disorder are anaemia and episodes of severe pain. The pain occurs when the cells change shape after oxygen has been released. The red blood cells then stick together, causing blockages in the small blood vessels.
These painful episodes are referred to as sickle cell crisis. They are treated with strong painkillers such as morphine to control the pain.
Over time people with sickle cell can experience damage to organs such as the liver, kidney, lungs, heart and spleen. Death can also result from complications of the disorder.
Treatment of sickle cell mostly focuses on preventing and treating complications.
‘When you say you have sickle cell people say, “it’s such a shame”, but they don’t know how bad it really is. I wanted people to see what it looks like.’
She also wants to make sure people know just how much they are able to help people like her through the simple act of donating.
‘Plenty of people do not realise the power they hold with just donation their own blood,’ says Siliana. ‘There have been crucial times where I’ve needed blood. If no one donated, I don’t know where I would be.
‘It went viral overnight which was very shocking to me. I’ve tried to like and reply to the replies but there have been so many, about 1,500 replies. A lot of people were asking how they could help and I have said they can donate blood.
‘I feel there’s a lack of awareness about blood donation in the black community and we need to do more to help the community. We also need more billboards and posters, especially in the communities where there are more black people.’
Become a blood donor
Register today and book and appointment by calling 0300 123 23 23, downloading the GiveBloodNHS app, or visiting www.blood.co.uk
Siliana’s worst crisis came in February 2018. The sickle cells blocked the blood vessels in her lungs, damaging lung tissue, and cutting the oxygen flow.
She developed Acute Chest Syndrome – which is potentially fatal – and needed an emergency red cell exchange and three weeks in hospital.
‘I was struggling to breathe – I would definitely have died without blood donors,’ said Siliana. ‘That was the scariest one I have had.
‘Although the condition is often invisible, it affects us severely. Sickle cell should be categorised as a condition along with cancer and diabetes. Because it is terminal and fatal.
‘There needs to be more care, love and compassion towards it.’
Siliana is studying biomedical science at university and wants to work in a sickle cell unit when she graduates.
Despite it being the ultimate fashion faux pas, it seems some people just can’t resist wearing white to a wedding.
Yet another bride has fallen victim to a rogue guest, who decided to show up in a dress that most definitely breaks the wedding guidelines.
Not only did this woman wear a tight, off-white midi dress and a white blazer to the big day, but she also decided that it would be a good idea to pose with the bride – while holding a bouquet.
A photo of the pair was shared on Reddit’s wedding shaming thread and people are savagely roasting the guest for her choice of clothing.
‘That’s tacky as f*** to do that,’ wrote one person.
According to the photo caption, the guest is a ‘popular Hungarian Instagram girl’ and doesn’t think her dress of choice is white.
Some people agree that it appears more off-white, but that it was still inappropriate for the guest to wear it and that it was ‘in the spectrum of white’.
‘Technically she isn’t wearing white (but still in the white area category and tacky AF),’ wrote one user.
‘Her coat/blazer though is white. The dress looks good and definitely not wedding appropriate.’
Someone else said: ‘There are some shades of light pink/light blue/light yellow that I wouldn’t even wear to a wedding because they could look close to white in pics, let alone off white.
‘The only exception would be if the bride wanted everyone in white. I did attend a wedding once where that was requested but I assume that isn’t the case here.’
Another person wrote: ‘It’s linen. And WAY too close to white to wear to a wedding without looking like an insecure narcissist screaming for attention.’
Others were more upset at the fact the guest was holding what appears to be the bride’s bouquet in the photo.
It’s possible that she caught the bouquet when it was thrown or that the bride asked her to hold it, but people had no time for this behaviour.
One person said: ‘I wonder why she’s holding the bouquet like that. Is she showing off her lines or something? Making sure we see the whole outfit?’
‘But did she steal the bride’s bouquet?,’ asked someone else.
The bride doesn’t seem to upset but then again, who knows what’s hiding behind that smile.
Wedding guest wears white to wedding and holds the bouquet
A long-nosed dog has gone viral after her owner shared photos of her impressive 31-centimetre nose.
One-year-old Eris, a Borzoi Sighthound, is thought to have the longest snout in the world.
Her owner, Joey Kidd-Kambourian, 26, often struggles to take his four legged friend for a walk without being constantly stopped by strangers.
Eris now has 102,000 followers on Instagram and even has her own merchandise.
Joey, a jewellery designer, from Ohio, said: ‘I got Eris in July 2018 and my life has been quite the whirlwind since.
‘We actually started Eris’ Instagram as a scrap-booking project with the intentions of having a place for us to look back on her growth and have a favourite picture from each day.
‘It’s been wild to watch it grow in the way that it has.
‘Whilst there are other dogs that are a bit longer than her in general, I definitely think she could be in the running for the world’s longest nose.
‘I don’t think there is anybody tracking this record at the moment though… but it would be great for Eris if they did!
‘Sighthound dogs have always been a fascination for me, and Borzois are incredibly gracious as a breed.
‘Walk with Eris can take a very long time in the day; We get stopped a lot as people want to ask questions or know what kind of dog she is.
‘She’s got a really big personality, and a lot of our neighbours know who she is, and she loves saying hello!’
Joey wanted a Borzoi Sighthound due to their calm and friendly nature, but also for their lack of health issues too which are common with larger dogs.
He added: ‘They’re a very quiet breed – for example we can count the number of times Eris has barked on one hand – and they’re incredibly sweet.
‘Borzoi’s also have the size of some of the larger breeds without having many health issues.
‘They’re so light on their frame that joint problems are fairly rare, as are heart issues from what I can tell; they really do seem like a perfect breed.’