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

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    Illustration of a woman with blond hair, dressed in a blue and orange skirt looking over towards two women (one blonde, one brunette) drinking coffee and chatting
    You felt like they’d get on, so you hung out together and now, if you’re honest about it, you wish you hadn’t (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    OK, so you introduced a friend to one of your other friends and now you think they like each other more than they like you.

    You felt like they’d get on so you hung out together and now, if you’re honest about it, you wish you hadn’t because you’re feeling a little left out.

    They’re spending time together without you and you sometimes feel like turning up to one of their clandestine catch-ups and yelling ‘Who introduced you to each other, you ungrateful weasels! Love me!’

    But you don’t because you’re actually a very nice and sensible person, which is precisely why both these people should like you the most.

    It doesn’t feel very nice to imagine that these mates of yours are secretly whispering about how much they prefer one another to you but it’s going to be alright, I promise. Let’s talk this through.

    Remember, friendships are not monogamous 

    Truly, don’t get too carried away fantasising that these pals of yours sit around gossiping about you, or scheming about how they’ll get you out of their lives so they can be together forever. For a start, that’s just not how friendship works and you know it.

    The lovely thing about friendship is that we actually have the capacity to make many friends, not just the one. Our hearts have room for more than one friend thankfully.

    These are not romantic partners we’re talking about, so there’s been no promise of monogamy or exclusivity exchanged between you. There is no betrayal here – they’ve done nothing wrong by you.

    Presumably you have more than two friends? Great, go and see them.

    Sweet thing, it is extremely unlikely they even bother talking about you. Maybe you come up sometimes in a casual ‘isn’t she great’ kind of way but otherwise I promise they’re talking about other things: their lives, their loves, their careers, their brunch-related decisions.

    The point is that they get on well, they have chemistry, they like each other and there is actually no reason for either of these friends to cancel their subscription to your friendship just because they get on.

    So long as you’re still being the kind, interesting person they decided to like in the first place, you have no reason to fret. There’s room for you all in one another’s lives.

    You are not going to get bumped out of your position as buddy. Just make sure you continue to invest in these friendships in your usual lovely way, so they know that they matter to you.

    If you think you might have done something truly terrible – bad enough to warrant these people working together to cut you out of their lives – then I suggest you think about what you did and make amends.

    It’s OK to feel left out

    Alright, so all of that said, you still feel left out. Let’s deal with that.

    It’s a little bit infantile, but still, I get it. Adult people are absolutely capable of feeling excluded, especially when their mates hang out together without them.

    The best tactics here are really going to be transparency, love and distraction. So, if you’ve got the courage to be vulnerable, you could start by saying to one or both of your mates that you’re feeling a bit excluded.

    It’s not shameful to admit that, it’s perfectly fine. A little text expressing that you’d love to hang out with them, either individually or together, is a nice way to go.

    You could add that you know it sounds silly but you’re feeling a bit weird and you’d appreciate a little extra TLC. You can be proactive about organising things for you all to do.

    Three friends smiling with a backdrop of mountains behind them
    Did someone say Greek island getaway? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    You can also make the conscious decision to come at this with love, instead of jealousy or envy or insecurity. Choose to ignore those petty, unpleasant feelings and embrace being kind and generous and sweet with your friends.

    Every time you feel the instinct to be narky or mean (to yourself or others), mentally catch yourself and redirect your energies into feeling grateful to have these people in your life.

    If none of that works then it’s time for a little distraction. Now might be a nice time to reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in ages, message a potential new friend or hang out with other people.

    Actively remind yourself who else you have in your life by hanging out with people you like – people other than the two friends who are now seeing each other all the time.

    Presumably you have more than two friends? Great, go and see them. If not, make some new ones. I also recommend gentle soothing activities like Netflix and Deliveroo, napping, reading, bubble baths and cookies. When in doubt, do something nice for yourself.

    Three is the magic number

    Have you thought about how this might, in fact, be a delightful development? Previously, you would have kept them separate but now you can all spend time together and there are three of you, which means you’re halfway to being the main cast of Friends.

    Now that two of your favourite people actually like one another, it means you can do things as a group, which has that rather pleasant effect of making you feel loved and welcome and like you belong in the company of other human beings.

    Make the most of it – do something nice together, hang out all three of you (did someone say Greek island getaway?).

    You can have brunches and dinners and walks and wines and movie nights – and! You can finally play card games that require more than two players. Frankly, I fail to see the problem here.

    MORE: So you want to get a friendship tattoo? Read this first

    MORE: How to tell your friend she’s being a ‘mean girl’

    MORE: It’s perfectly fine not to have a ‘best friend’

     


    modern etiquette: I don't want to hang out with people from workmodern etiquette: I don't want to hang out with people from work

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    Emma at the finish line with her friends
    ‘I took each obstacle as it came and I loved it, we had such a good laugh’ (Picture: Peachysnaps)

    A determined woman managed to complete a gruelling 10k endurance race – with a severely broken ankle – by wearing a hi-tech peg-leg.

    Emma Tysoe, 43, from Leamington Spa, was supported by a team of friends and runners when she took part in the Wolf Run event earlier this month, navigating a series of man-made and natural obstacles over a seriously demanding course.

    Adventure-seeker Emma broke her ankle in June when she fell awkwardly while bouldering and spent a week in hospital waiting for surgery to insert two screws into her foot.

    Emma wearing her peg leg in the race
    ‘I got so depressed that I couldn’t do anything – I was in a big, black hole’ (Picture: Peachysnaps)

    When she was sent home to recover under strict instructions not to bear any weight, she became so fearful of crutches that she didn’t move for three weeks.

    ‘I tried crutches but I kept falling over and injuring myself,’ says Emma. ‘I became too scared to move, so I literally just stayed on the sofa all day, every day, apart from when my husband took me out at weekends in a wheelchair we hired.

    ‘I got so depressed that I couldn’t do anything – I was in a big, black hole.

    ‘I had 10 weeks with my leg in a cast ahead of me, followed by several more weeks wearing a special boot, and time has never moved more slowly. I just couldn’t get my positivity back.’

    Emma was gutted at the thought of missing the Wolf Run – a quarterly event that she hasn’t missed since 2014. So she was willing to try anything to get through the course – even with her dodgy ankle.

    Emma during the race
    ‘I’m so glad I did it. It was an amazing day and I had an incredible sense of achievement’ (Picture: Peachysnaps)

    ‘If you complete four Wolf Runs in a year, one in each season, you get Alpha Wolf status,’ explains Emma. ‘This year was going to be my fifth in a row as an Alpha Wolf and I was really upset that I’d lose my status.

    ‘I was telling my friend that I was going to cancel, and he persuaded me to give it a go. Having something to aim for really kept me going.’

    Emma completed the run wearing an iWALK2.0, which is a special hands-free crutch that enables people with lower leg injuries or illnesses to stay mobile.

    It’s a medically-approved device and it basically functions like a hi-tech peg-leg, allowing users to walk freely and reclaim the use of their arms and hands.

    ‘A friend of mine is an amputee and he’s used the special crutch before. I decided to get one and it completely changed my recovery. And it had a real impact on my mental well-being.’

    On the day of the race, Emma was nervous but the sound of people cheering her on kept her motivated.

    Emma training with her crutch
    ‘Having something to aim for really kept me going’ (Picture: Emma Tysoe)

    ‘I took each obstacle as it came and I loved it, we had such a good laugh,’ she says. ‘I brought a speaker with me so we could listen to music as I knew it would take a while to get round. It was hard going uphill and navigating ropes but I just kept going.’

    Against the odds, Emma made it over the finish line in just under six hours and clocked up her 23rd Wolf Run in five years.

    ‘It was an incredible day and my determination to finish combined with the support I received along the way kept me going,’ says Emma.

    ‘I’m so glad I did it. It was an amazing day and I had an incredible sense of achievement. It was just what I needed to boost myself back up mentally.

    ‘You’re almost back to normal when you’re wearing the crutch, you’ve got the use of your legs back and you can just get on with and enjoy your life.’

    The iWALK2.0 was first invented by a Canadian farmer who broke his foot but still needed to work. He was annoyed that there weren’t any better alternatives to crutches, so he took to his workshop and built something for himself.

    MORE: How I Save: The 24-year-old blogger and consultant with £75,000 saved

    MORE: Mum creates Harry Potter themed bedroom for her son for £150

    MORE: Your pet could earn £50 an hour by comforting people with anxiety


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    PIC BY CATERS NEWS (PICTURED Young mum Charley 22 (RIGHT) and Wynter 10 months (LEFT)) A mum-of-two has slammed rude strangers who gave her disgusted looks after cellulitis left her daughter with a BLACK EYE. Charley Finch, 22, was woken up at 3am by her five-month-old daughter, Wynter, sobbing in her bedroom. Assuming she was just hungry, the stay-at-home mum went to make her a bottle when she noticed the left side of her daughters face was swollen. SEE CATERS COPY.
    Mum Charley received dirty looks when taking her daughter to hospital, due to cellulitis making the five-month-old look like she had a black eye (Picture: Caters News)

    Mum-of-two Charley Finch, 22, has called out strangers who give her ‘disgusted looks’ after cellulitis left her daughter with a black eye.

    Charley was woken up at 3am by her five-month-old daughter, Wynter, sobbing in her bedroom.

    Assuming she was just hungry, the stay-at-home mum went to make her a bottle when she noticed the left side of her daughter’s face was swollen.

    In the morning Wynter had a completely black eye. Charley rushed her to A&E, where she had to assure doctors that she had not hurt her baby.

    Wynter was given a series of blood tests, which revealed she had cellulitis, a skin infection that causes swelling.

    What is cellulitis?

    Cellulitis is a skin infection usually caused by a bacterial infection.

    The bacteria can infect the deeper layers of your skin if it’s broken – for example, because of an insect bite or cut, or if it’s cracked and dry.

    Sometimes the break in the skin is too small to notice.

    You cannot catch cellulitis from another person as it affects the deeper layers of the skin.

    It can make the skin look red, hot, and blistered as well as causing pain.

    Despite her daughter’s diagnosis, Charley says she continues to receive disgusted looks from people who see Wynter’s face and think that her parents have assaulted the child.  .

    Charley, from Shifnal, Shropshire, said: ‘When I looked at Wynter in the middle of the night I noticed that her face was swollen, but thought her twin brother may have accidentally hit her.

    ‘I made her a bottle in case she was hungry and then she went back to bed, but in the morning I noticed her face was completely bruised.

    ‘I text my auntie for advice, because I didn’t know what to do, and then decided to take Wynter to A&E because I knew something wasn’t right.

    Wynter 5 months old with cullulitis which looks like a black eye
    Charley woke up to find Wynter’s face was red and swollen (Picture: Caters News)

    ‘I was crying to the doctors, telling them it was a bruise and not to talk to social services, but after some blood tests they told me it was cellulitis.

    ‘She needed strong antibiotics and to have further blood work done a week later and thankfully within a week she had recovered.

    ‘I felt so humiliated taking her into shops whilst she was recovering and tried to hide her as much as possible, but people kept on looking at us in disgust.

    ‘I can only assume that because her infection made her look like she had a black eye, people thought me and my partner had given it to her – we were even getting disgusting looks in the A&E waiting room.

    ‘We even cried because we felt so bad.’

    After photo of Wynter 5 months old with cellulitis which looks like a black eye
    Charley is speaking out to urge people not to judge too quickly (Picture: Caters News)

    Charley is speaking out to explain that conditions such as cellulitis can cause symptoms that appear concerning, and that strangers shouldn’t assume the worst without asking questions

    She said: ‘A mother’s instinct is always right and I strongly believe you know your baby more than anyone.

    ‘If they aren’t well or something is a little different then it’s best checking it out – you’re better safe than sorry.

    ‘It’s a shame that we were so heavily judged when all that happened was my little girl being sick, but at least she got all the help she needed.

    ‘Hopefully by sharing our story it will raise awareness for what cellulitis can look like and also stop people from judging before they know the full story.’

    MORE: Someone’s recreated the entire Friends Central Perk set out of Lego

    MORE: Woman completes 10k obstacle race with hi-tech ‘pirate leg’ after breaking her ankle

    MORE: How I Save: The 24-year-old blogger and consultant with £75,000 saved


    PIC BY CATERS NEWS (PICTURED Young mum Charley 22 (RIGHT) and Wynter 10 months (LEFT)) A mum-of-two has slammed rude strangers who gave her disgusted looks after cellulitis left her daughter with a BLACK EYE. Charley Finch, 22, was woken up at 3am by her five-month-old daughter, Wynter, sobbing in her bedroom. Assuming she was just hungry, the stay-at-home mum went to make her a bottle when she noticed the left side of her daughters face was swollen. SEE CATERS COPY.PIC BY CATERS NEWS (PICTURED Young mum Charley 22 (RIGHT) and Wynter 10 months (LEFT)) A mum-of-two has slammed rude strangers who gave her disgusted looks after cellulitis left her daughter with a BLACK EYE. Charley Finch, 22, was woken up at 3am by her five-month-old daughter, Wynter, sobbing in her bedroom. Assuming she was just hungry, the stay-at-home mum went to make her a bottle when she noticed the left side of her daughters face was swollen. SEE CATERS COPY.

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    People wearing pink in support of Breast Cancer Now's wear it pink day
    Wear it Pink has raised over £33 million for breast cancer research so far. (Picture: Supplied/Breast Cancer Now)

    October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this Friday October 18 is Wear it Pink Day.

    In Mean Girls, it might have been Wednesdays that were the day to wear pink, but this week the Breast Cancer Now charity are asking you to wear pink on Friday in honour of their Wear it Pink day.

    But what is Wear It Pink Day and how is it linked to Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

    What is Wear It Pink Day 2019?

    Around 55,000 women and around 370 men have their lives affected by breast cancer every single year and 11,5000 women and 80 men die from the disease annually. That equates to the devastating statistic of nearly one death every 45 minutes from breast cancer.

    Wear It Pink Day brings together thousands of people across the nation to support and promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the aim to raise money for charity and show solidarity and support for those affected by breast cancer.

    The day encourages people to wear something pink (or a whole outfit) and support the Breast Cancer Now by raising money for the charity.

    model wears head to toe pink at paris fashion week
    Do as the fashion set did during Paris Fashion Week a embrace wearing top-to-toe pink (Picture: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images)

    Talking about Wear it Pink day, Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley who supports the charity said: ‘Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink day is a cause that’s really close to my heart, as my beautiful mum Cath sadly died from breast cancer seven years ago.

    ‘When she died, it felt like my world collapsed around me. She was such a positive person, and, in her memory, I am really passionate about helping Breast Cancer Now to make a difference to the lives of all those affected by breast cancer, now and in the future.

    Actress Lisa Riley wears pink as she gets out of a pink taxi
    Lisa Riley is a proud supporter pf Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink day (Picture: Supplied/Breast Cancer Now)

    ‘I love wear it pink day as it brings together thousands of people all over the UK to have fun, but also to fundraise for Breast Cancer Now, helping the charity to fund world-class breast cancer research and support, for people like my mum.’

    How can Wear It Pink help the fight for breast cancer survival?

    In April 2019, Breast Cancer Now merged with Breast Cancer Care to create the UK’s first comprehensive breast cancer charity.

    Breast Cancer Now works to support and fund nearly 450 of the world’s best researchers across the UK and Ireland to further research and understanding of breast cancer and its causes and treatment.

    The charity currently funds around a third of all breast cancer research happening in the UK and last year the charity responded to nearly 7 million breast cancer support requests.

    Since launching in 2002, Wear it Pink has raised over £33 million for breast cancer research.

    To help support Wear it Pink day, offices and schools ask people to make a donation and wear pink for the day and people also hold pink-themed bake sales, raffles and parties – with all the money raised going towards Breast Cancer Now. For some Wear It Pink fundraising ideas and to register visit wearitpink.org

    The charity hopes to raise enough money with its annual Wear it Pink days and other fundraising activities to ensure that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live.

    How should you check your breasts for lumps or irregularities?

    Discussing the importance of being breast aware, Addie Mitchell, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Breast Cancer Care, wants women to know there is no right or wrong way to check your breasts.

    'It’s about looking and feeling regularly so any changes can be spotted quickly,' she said. 'The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment may be.

    'Whatever your age, being aware of all the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is crucial – it’s not just a lump to look out for. Other changes could be a nipple becoming inverted or a change in texture of the skin.

    'While most symptoms won't mean breast cancer, if you notice anything unusual for you get it checked out by your GP.

    'Anyone with questions can call Breast Cancer Care’s nurses free on 0808 800 6000 or visit breastcancercare.org.uk.'

    MORE: Get yourself Vans with boobs and nipples for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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


    Supporter photox2-f8c5Supporter photox2-f8c5

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    Marie and Tony in their four seasons garden, and the view from above, which looks like an owl with eyes at the top
    Marie and Tony in their garden, and the view from above (Picture: SWNS)

    Back in 1982, Marie Newton decided to take up gardening as a hobby.

    Now 37 years later, Marie and her husband Tony, both 71, had transformed the small patch of land around their home in the industrial heartlands of the Black Country into a stunning oasis that is filled with different colours as the seasons change.

    Over the years, the couple has spent over £15,000 adding over 3,000 plants, including 450 azaleas, 120 Japanese maples and 15 juniper blue stars.

    As spring changes to summer, summer to autumn and autumn to winter, the garden, in Walsall, West Mids., remains filled with different colours and it is nicknamed ‘four seasons’ on account of its year-round appeal.

    Now, the space has previously won awards, including Britain’s Best Garden and it even attracts tourists from all over the world.

    The couple, who have four grown-up children and four grandchildren, spend two hours a day lovingly maintaining the plants and bushes.

    Marie Newton in the 4 Seasons Garden in Walsall, West Midlands
    Tony and Marie Newton in their garden (Picture: Tristan Potter / SWNS)

    Marie said: ‘There are over 3,000 plants in our garden, so many I can’t even count.

    ‘It’s an all-season garden so in autumn you see brilliant reds, oranges and yellows and in the spring the colours are equally as vivid and vibrant.

    ‘Autumn is my most favourite seasons for the garden.

    ‘There will be azalea and Acer leaves along with the evergreen conifers.

    The 4 Seasons Garden in Walsall, West Midlands, where the autumn leaves are joining the beautiful apricot shade begonias
    (Picture:Tristan Potter / SWNS)

    ‘It has been very satisfying to use so many skills and to have done every task ourselves.

    ‘All but two of all the plants in our garden have been planted by us.

    ‘What is rather pleasing is an aerial photograph appears to show the face of an owl in the garden. This was never intended but a very lovely accident.’

    The 4 Seasons Garden in Walsall, West Midlands from above. They accidentally made it look like an owl
    They even accidentally made the garden look like an owl (Picture: Tristan Potter / SWNS)

    Old pictures from the 1980s show just how much work the couple have done to transform their muddy lawn and broken rockery into the wondrous creation it is today.

    As the garden has grown, it’s even featured on several unofficial tourist trails in the Black Country and they estimate about 14,000 people from 48 different countries have come to visit it.

    Marie added: ‘Some Chinese students came to visit our garden and told us that it was used as an example in one of their lectures.

    The 4 Seasons Garden in Walsall, West Midlands
    The garden has colour all year round (Picture: Tristan Potter / SWNS)

    ‘We spend around two hours a day in the garden but it can be more or less depending on the weather.

    ‘There is always something to do or a flower or shrub to tend. It has become quite an obsession.

    ‘We have grown some of the flowers ourselves from the seeds that have dropped from the other flowers.’

    Tony and Marie Newton in their 4 Seasons Garden in Walsall, West Midlands
    Tony and Marie spend at least two hours a day in the garden (Picture: Tristan Potter / SWNS)

    Retired GP Tony added: ‘First we made it child-friendly for our kids but as the years went by we moved on to planting and growing our own flowers and plants.

    ‘There has been a lot of trial and error to get the garden way it is now.

    ‘A lot of our plants are now 30 years old or more.

    ‘We’ve got a vast amount of colour and plants all year around. We try and add to the garden every year but at this time of year it is simply glorious.’

    MORE: Why you should wear Wear It Pink this Friday and how it can help the fight for breast cancer survival

    MORE: Skin infection cellulitis makes baby look like she has a black eye

    MORE: Woman completes 10k obstacle race with hi-tech ‘pirate leg’ after breaking her ankle


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    Illustration of two people lying in bed together
    The dark mornings can affect your circadian rhythm (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    It’s getting to that time of year when we’re heading off to work in the mornings in the dark and getting home in the dark, too.

    Despite this being somewhat depressing (except for the fact it signals Halloween and Christmas are coming), you may have noticed that it also makes it harder to drag yourself out of bed when your alarm goes off.

    Part of this is down to the body’s circadian rhythm, which is a roughly 24-hour body clock controlled by the hypothalamus in your brain, which signals when you should be tired and when you should be awake.

    Although this is normally hard-wired, darkness can affect it, with our eyes sending a signal to the hypothalamus that it’s night time and therefore time to produce more melatonin (the sleep hormone).

    Thankfully, there are ways to effectively trick your brain into more quality sleep and help you feel less tired during these drizzly autumn and winter days – thus making it a bit easier to wake up and get out of bed in the morning.

    We spoke to Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight’s resident sleep expert, to find out how you can beat the heavy-eyed morning commutes at this time of year.

    ‘Everything we do during the day – every choice we make –  affects the cleanness and purity of our sleep,’ says Dr Nerina.

    Clean sleep is simply sleep that is ‘unmuddied’ by the noise of the day. When we get this kind of clean sleep, we wake up feeling refreshed, invigorated and looking forward to the day ahead.’

    According to Dr Nerina, clean sleeping each night for between seven and 10 days will give you a more energised outlook upon waking, so sticking to these routines is key.

    Here’s what to do if you’re struggling to get up now that it’s dark outside.

    woman sleeping on desk
    Finding yourself tired all through winter? (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    Eat breakfast

    There are many great reasons to eat breakfast (including because hash browns exist), and one of them is that it helps you sleep in the evening.

    ‘People who eat breakfast have less difficulty falling asleep, wake up with more energy and are less inclined to hit the snooze button,’ says Dr Nerine.

    ‘Eating breakfast within 30-45 minutes of waking up stabilizes your blood sugar levels and speeds up your metabolism. If you can, try to include some protein and vary your breakfasts to keep you motivated.’

    What a great excuse for all the avocado toast haters out there.

    Have some early morning ‘you time’

    It may seem counter-productive, but getting up a little bit earlier than normal can actually be beneficial.

    Rather than waking up and running off to work, allow yourself that extra time to warm up for the day ahead.

    Dr Nerina advises: ‘Use this time to think about what you have to look forward to that day. Smile and count your blessings. You’ll soon realise how valuable this early morning you time is. You might even start to look forward to it.’

    Avoid checking your phone first thing

    We’ve chatted before about how blue lights from phones and other devices can disrupt your plans to get to sleep at night.

    But did you know they can also screw up how you wake up, causing stress to your brain and stopping the gradual awakening process?

    Not only this, says Dr Nerina, but ‘if you go to bed knowing you’re going to be straight up and into work mode you’ll be far more inclined to roll over when the alarm goes off’.

    Sleep illustration
    Autumn cosiness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when the alarm goes off (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Don’t rely on caffeine

    ‘Don’t talk to me before I’ve had my coffee’ – recognise that phrase?

    As catchy as this might be, it’s a vicious cycle of wakefulness and tiredness that can stop you getting clean sleep you need.

    ‘Caffeine blocks the action of melatonin which helps us sleep and increases the number of times you wake up during the night,’ says Dr Nerina

    ‘Try to avoid any caffeine after 3pm, never have caffeine before your breakfast and if you’re really serious about becoming a bright-eyed morning person, cut it out completely.’

    Wind down in the evening

    Failure to prepare is preparing to fail, and this is particularly pertinent when it comes to sleep.

    Dr Nerina recommends having a solid sleep routine, but says ‘this doesn’t necessarily mean going to sleep earlier, but it does mean starting to wind down earlier in the evening.

    ‘A perfect way to do this is with a hot bicarbonate of soda bath 60 to 90 minutes before bed. Add two big mugs of bicarbonate of soda to comfortably hot water. Immerse yourself completely for 20 minutes.

    ‘The bicarbonate neutralises the skin’s acidity, softens dry skin and is a good aid in detoxification. Don’t use soap or shampoo as the chemicals will reduce the effect. Rinse off and go to bed soon afterwards. You will feel very tired, sleep well and find it much easier to get up in the morning.’

    Exercise

    Although cold and damp weather can make you want to curl up under your duvet rather than do bicep curls, research suggests that exercise is exactly what you need to sleep longer and better.

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

    So, around 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day has way more benefits that just being able to get up stairs without being out of breath.

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    Becca Jones today. Cancer survivor Becca Jones ,21, is learning to project a positive body image after a doctor during her treatment told her she had ? abit of a steroid face. See National News story NNbody A young cancer survivor is learning to love herself again after a cruel doctor said she had a ?bit of a steroid face?. Becca Jones was just 16 when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, an aggressive disease which requires years of treatment. At first, she delayed going to a GP because she was looking after children at her Church's holiday club. But just four hours after her blood test, doctors told her mum to take Becca to the hospital.
    Cancer survivor Becca is learning to love the way she looks (Picture: Becca Jones /SWNS.COM)

    A young cancer survivor is learning to love herself again after a doctor said she had a ‘bit of a steroid face’.

    Becca Jones was 16 when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, an aggressive disease which requires years of treatment.

    At first, she delayed going to a GP because she was looking after children at her church’s holiday club.

    But just four hours after her blood test, doctors told her mum to take Becca to the hospital.

    As well as fighting cancer, it was also the beginning of a long battle over her body image.

    The very first thing Becca asked was: ‘What about my hair?’

    Becca on steroids
    Becca was told she had a steroid face (Picture: Becca Jones /SWNS.COM)

    She said: ‘Cancer and hair loss was such a big association for me, and I worried about how I’d look to other people.

    ‘But the most difficult thing for me was the weight gain.’

    Becca said she was having an assessment when her mum asked if it was normal to have increased hunger.

    She said: ‘[The doctor] looked at me and he said, “you’ve got a bit of a steroid face”.

    ‘I’d not even noticed it. I was horrified. I was so taken aback by it when I looked in the mirror as I then felt like a chipmunk.

    ‘It’s definitely had a lasting impact. As someone who always had problems with dieting and body image and weight loss and weight gain, I’m very conscious of my face and whether I look like a chipmunk.

    Becca today
    She became very conscious about her weight (Picture: Becca Jones /SWNS.COM)

    ‘Whenever someone makes eye contact, I always wonder whether they’re thinking that I look odd.’

    After her treatment with the Teenage Cancer Trust’s unit in Southampton, she quickly lost two-and-a-half stone.

    She said: ‘As I haven’t always had the most positive body image, I had to remind myself that the weight loss wasn’t a healthy situation.

    ‘Before my diagnosis I was really active and going to the gym all the time, but during my weight loss I was feeling really weak and helpless, as I felt like there was nothing I could do about the changes.’

    Once her intensive chemotherapy finished, Becca needed another two years of ‘maintenance treatment’, taking tablets daily.

    She said: ‘I was able to go back to college during this time but that was tough in some ways. Losing my hair really affected my confidence as it makes up a big part of how you look.

    Becca Jones while undergoing cancer treatement , giving her what one doctor called 'steroid face'. Cancer survivor Becca Jones ,21, is learning to project a positive body image after a doctor during her treatment told her she had ??? abit of a steroid face. See National News story NNbody A young cancer survivor is learning to love herself again after a cruel doctor said she had a ???bit of a steroid face???. Becca Jones was just 16 when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, an aggressive disease which requires years of treatment. At first, she delayed going to a GP because she was looking after children at her Church's holiday club. But just four hours after her blood test, doctors told her mum to take Becca to the hospital.
    Becca Jones while undergoing cancer treatement , giving her what one doctor called\’steroid face’ (Picture: Becca Jones /SWNS.COM)

    ‘I didn’t realise how badly it would affect me. I didn’t mind having no hair or wispy hair as much when I was at the unit, but I wore a wig to college.

    ‘I took it off at one point and someone said: ‘Why don’t you keep it on for a bit longer.’ I think they meant if I was unsure about taking it off, but it had taken courage to take it off and it knocked my confidence.’

    One day, Becca took off her wig and a pal said she ‘loved’ her hair.

    She said: ‘It gave me such a boost and I remember it even now.

    ‘My hair grew back really differently and curly, and my friends all told me how much they loved my curls.’

    Now 21 and starting a new job as a physiotherapist in a Canterbury hospital, she is taking part in the Teenage Cancer Trust’s campaign Still Me.

    She said: ‘People don’t really understand the mental health impact of cancer.

    ‘While a lot of people understand the turmoil of cancer, the physical impacts, it can drastically change how you feel about yourself as a teenager.

    ‘Even though we’ve had cancer, we’re still the people we used to be.

    ‘We’re almost better as we’ve made it through adversity.’

    Kate Collins, chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust, said: ‘People like Becca are sharing their experiences of how they coped and this will do so much to help other people facing similar issues.

    ‘We’re really proud and grateful she is part of our #StillMe campaign.’

    MORE: Skin infection cellulitis makes baby look like she has a black eye

    MORE: How to avoid getting jealous when your friends hang out without you


    A young cancer survivor is learning to love herself again after a cruel doctor said she had a ?bit of a steroid face?A young cancer survivor is learning to love herself again after a cruel doctor said she had a ?bit of a steroid face?

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    HIV Testing poster
    ‘The clash of trying to observe cultural norms while navigating an emerging queer identity was a deeply isolating experience’ (Picture: GMFA)

    Brilliant new images for an HIV testing campaign aim to encourage gay and bisexual South Asian men to test for the virus, and amplify diverse voices in queer spaces.

    Me. Him. Us. is the groundbreaking HIV campaign from GMFA – the gay men’s health project – and it is returning to London and across the country this month.

    The campaign’s predecessor was targeted for black gay and bisexual men, but this time the aim is to increase representation of South Asian men specifically.

    The campaign was created by and stars a team of passionate South Asian gay and bisexual men who are looking to make positive and effective change in their communities.

    They say there is a chronic lack of representation of South Asian gay and bisexual men in health campaigns.

    Being South Asian and same-sex attracted can be a delicate balancing act,’ says Alexander Leon, one of the campaign’s project leads.

    HIV Testing poster
    ‘We educate our community while showcasing some of its less celebrated members’ (Picture: GMFA)

    ‘For me, the clash of trying to observe cultural norms while navigating an emerging queer identity was a deeply isolating experience.

    ‘It seemed impossible to stay true to my authentic self while maintaining a meaningful relationship with my loved ones whose culture or religion sometimes dictated intolerance.

    ‘What’s more, as I began to come into my own as a gay man, it became achingly evident that there was meagre representation of South Asian gay and bisexual men in LGBTQ+ social spaces and media.’

    Alex says that the new campaign highlights an important inequality faced by gay and bisexual South Asian men, but that’s not all.

    ‘It’s an ingenious double whammy,’ he adds. ‘We educate our community while showcasing some of its less celebrated members.

    ‘Me. Him. Us. is important because it delivers a crucial message on HIV prevention to a demographic who sorely need to hear it.’

    He says that the choice to place campaign ads in LGBTQ+ social spaces around the country sends a clear message to any South Asian men feeling isolated by the combination of homophobia and racism: ‘You, your identity, your life and your choices are valid.’

    Ian Howley, Chief Executive of LGBT HERO, the parent organisation of GMFA said: ‘It’s important that South Asian men have a platform to create personal and social change in our community.

    ‘For far too long, these men have been an afterthought, or used in a tokenistic way. This version of Me. Him. Us. puts South Asian gay and bisexual men front and centre of a national campaign. That’s really important.

    HIV Testing poster
    ‘For far too long, these men have been an afterthought, or used in a tokenistic way’ (Picture: GMFA)

    ‘Me. Him. Us. will continue to work with black, South Asian, and other minority groups within our community to create effective campaigns that highlight the inequalities these men face while increasing representation within our community and in the wider population.’

    This campaign is so important because South Asian gay and bisexual men are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV, and at a later stage too.

    It’s important that we increase the need for frequent testing for HIV and STIs for South Asian gay and bisexual men,’ adds Ian. ‘At LGBT HERO we recommend that all sexually active men, no matter their background, are tested for HIV at least every six months.’

    Since the campaign was launched this week, Alexander has been blown away by the overwhelmingly positive reaction:

    ‘It’s been so heartening to see the reaction online to the campaign,’ Alexander tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Gay and bisexual South Asian men are so rarely represented in the media, whether LGBT-specific or mainstream, and I’m so honoured to be a part of a campaign which is pushing the envelope on diversifying representations of same sex love.

    ‘The message of the campaign is landing.

    ‘HIV testing and awareness is profoundly important to our community, and with campaigns like Me. Him. Us catering to specific sub-sections who are particularly at risk, the message is going to those who need to hear it the most.’

    MORE: Woman completes 10k obstacle race with hi-tech ‘pirate leg’ after breaking her ankle

    MORE: Couple spends 37 years and £15,000 transforming beautiful garden that now attracts thousands of tourists

    MORE: Skin infection cellulitis makes baby look like she has a black eye


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    Fake bacon at waitrose
    Your vegan Full English awaits (Picture: Waitrose)

    Vegans who miss bacon and want an alternative to satisfy old cravings may be interested in facon – fake bacon.

    Waitrose has launched its first own-label facon to cater to those on a plant-based diet.

    You can now get your hands on smoky streaky slices made from seitan (which is made from gluten, the main protein of wheat).

    Waitrose is hoping to encourage non-meat eaters to grab the stuff for a vegan fry-up or a facon sandwich.

    The latest addition to the vegan has is said to have a rich earthy flavour and it’s been cured in maple syrup to add a hint of sweetness.

    The move from Waitrose & Partners comes after an increase in demand for top-quality vegan products.

    Waitrose reported that sales for the overall vegan category are up 35% compared to last year.

    And specific searches for vegan bacon on Waitrose.com have seen a 94% increase.

    So good news for anyone who’s been looking for it, your reward awaits.

     

    Vegan Laksa Noodles
    Vegan Laksa Noodles are also part of the new range (Picture: Waitrose)

    Other new additions to the vegan range include a mushroom & roasted garlic ravioli.

    There will also be three new vegan ready meals: vegetable laksa noodles, Goan vegetable curry and a roasted butternut squash vegetable bowl ‘Gill Sans’.

    Simona Cohen-Vida, vegan product developer at Waitrose & Partners said: ‘Making delicious, innovative and great quality vegan products is a huge part of what we do.

    ‘Our vegan bacon strips have been carefully smoked to get a deep rich flavour and the spices used with the seitan makes them perfect for frying.

    ‘Try them in a sandwich with lashings of tomato sauce or pop them on top of your favourite vegan burger for the ultimate Friday night feast.’

    The vegan bacon streak should hopefully revolutionise the Full English. Because let’s face it, some folks are getting vegan versions of the classic so, so wrong.

    MORE: Vegan’s anger at replacing bacon with carrot in BLT Morrisons sandwiches

    MORE: Banana peel could become new alternative to meat for vegans missing pulled pork or bacon


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    Cinderella's ball gown in the Selfrdige's Christmas window
    Cinderella’s ball gown (Picture: Matt Writtle)

    There are few things that signal Christmas is nigh: the Coca-Cola advert on the telly, mince pies in the office/home, and stores getting all the tinsel out

    And none do it like Selfridges.

    The department store goes all out every year during the festive period as keen shoppers await the spectacular displays in the windows.

    But the wait is over for this year as Selfridges has just unveiled its Christmas 2019 views and it’s looking very futuristic.

    ‘Future Fantasy: A Christmas For Modern Times’ is the theme across all its store windows in London, Birmingham, Manchester and even online.

    Gone are the days of the red Santa Claus we know and love because Selfridges has given the old man a makeover.

    He is now a metallic silver.

    Each window is either a symbolic representation of a well-known fairytale (or an element from them), but reimagined in a new way.

    You can expect to journey into the Enchanted Forest, meet Rapunzel, the Princess and the Pea, and marvel at Jack and the Beanstalk.

    Santa Claus wearing silver
    Santa’s got a brand new look (Picture: Matt Writtle)

    Also included in the windows are forest creatures, Goldilocks, a magic doorway, wardrobe, and mirror.

    Selfridges hopes to usher in ‘the next generation Christmas’ – an interplay of old and new.

    But there was a lot of work behind each window – at the London store alone, it has taken a multi-specialist team of over 500 hours to plan the display over the past year

    More than 100 people put together the windows, working non-stop rotated shifts for the past 10 days.

    What goes into Selfridges windows

    • Over 85,000 Christmas baubles, with many reused from existing displays
    • Snow globes across all stores each contain over 40kg of biodegradable confetti
    • 13,000 paper decorations hung across the stores’ ceilings
    • A giant 1.5 tonne, 13 meter-high mirrored Christmas tree hangs in the Oxford Street store’s central atrium – it will come alive through a dazzling lighting show projected on its surface
    • Over 100 metres electric cabling was used to install the handrail atrium decoration framing the giant Christmas tree
    • 5km of handrail garland installed around the store
    • Over 100 bespoke mirrored Christmas trees in London alone
    • Over 15,000 metres of LED lights decorate the dense spruce foliage and handrails inside and outside the London store

    So get your cameras out, it’s going to be pretty Instagram worthy.

    Here are some of the windows on display:

    The Selfridges Christmas Window
    Each window displays the fantastical (Picture: Matt Writtle)
    The Selfridges Christmas Window
    You may recognise some fairytale favourites (Picture: Matt Writtle)
    The Selfridges Christmas Window
    Or elements from childhood classics (Picture: Matt Writtle)
    The Selfridges Christmas Window
    Can you guess the inspiration behind this one? (Picture: Matt Writtle)
    The Selfridges Christmas Window
    Or this? (Picture: Matt Writtle)
    The Selfridges Christmas Window
    A giant’s foot (Jack and the Beanstalk) (Picture: Matt Writtle)

    MORE: Costa’s Christmas menu and festive cups are here

    MORE: The best Christmas markets for 2019 so you can get your festive trinkets


    SELFRIDGES UNVEILS ‘A CHRISTMAS FOR MODERN TIMES’_8-e23eSELFRIDGES UNVEILS ‘A CHRISTMAS FOR MODERN TIMES’_8-e23e

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    Bodhi at the summit. See SWNS story SWNYadventure; Meet the curious cat who hikes, bikes, paddleboards and even goes SKIING with his devoted owner. Adorable Bodhi has completed a three-day biking tour through the Canadian Rockies, been cross-country skiing and wears his own life jacket when he goes paddleboarding. Owner Michelle Gagnon, 50, calls Bodhi her "adventure cat" and has been teaching him a host of adrenaline-packed pursuits for the last ten months. "An adventure cat is a term I made up 18 years ago when I got my old cat Bugaboo,??? said Michelle, a retired hiking guide, of Canmore, Alberta, Canada. "An adventure cat comes along with you on adventures whether that means he's sitting in a bike basket or walking alongside you or sitting on your shoulders." Bodhi, 14-month old Maine Coon cat, has a robust build, weighing a staggering 16 pounds (7.3kg) ??? about twice the size of the average tabby. Maine Coons are classified as the largest domesticated cat breed and are one of the oldest natural breeds in North America. They are native to the state of Maine, where it is the official state cat. Michelle explained that training a cat to cope with the great outdoors can be a difficult feat as felines like to feel in control of their environment. "Cats have this real desire to keep themselves safe and they have a very high instinctual survival mode," she explained. "They have to be in control of everything and training a cat is about getting them used to everything outside, like wide open spaces and walking on sidewalks. "I'm putting in lots of hours in training and getting Bodhi to walk as much as possible. "He is now way better with wide open spaces and walking on a trail and understanding that wildlife moves around him." Michelle got Bodhi in December last year and immediately began taking the puss cross-country skiing. "I didn't know how I was going to train him in the winter time but I just decided to take him cross-country skiing.
    Bodhi the Maine Coon loves to join his owner on adventures Michelle Gagnon / SWNS

    If your cat is a total couch potato, you’re going to look upon them with dismay as they lounge on the sofa after reading about Bodhi.

    Bodhi is known as an adventure cat, for good reason. The 14-month-old Maine Coon absolutely loves venturing outside the house, joining his owner for everything from a three-day biking tour through the Canadian Rockies to a paddleboarding trip (he wore his own life jacket, don’t worry).

    Owner Michelle Gagnon, 50, has been teaching Bodhi all sorts of adrenaline-packed pursuits for the last ten months.

    Michelle, a retired hiking guide, of Canmore, Canada, said: ‘An adventure cat is a term I made up 18 years ago when I got my old cat Bugaboo.

    ‘An adventure cat comes along with you on adventures whether that means he’s sitting in a bike basket or walking alongside you or sitting on your shoulders.’

    Training a kitty to become an adventure cat takes time, effort, and patience.

    Thankfully Bodhi is a bit of a natural, but he still required some help from Michelle.

    She said: ‘Cats have this real desire to keep themselves safe and they have a very high instinctual survival mode.

    Bodhi hiking. See SWNS story SWNYadventure; Meet the curious cat who hikes, bikes, paddleboards and even goes SKIING with his devoted owner. Adorable Bodhi has completed a three-day biking tour through the Canadian Rockies, been cross-country skiing and wears his own life jacket when he goes paddleboarding. Owner Michelle Gagnon, 50, calls Bodhi her "adventure cat" and has been teaching him a host of adrenaline-packed pursuits for the last ten months. "An adventure cat is a term I made up 18 years ago when I got my old cat Bugaboo,??? said Michelle, a retired hiking guide, of Canmore, Alberta, Canada. "An adventure cat comes along with you on adventures whether that means he's sitting in a bike basket or walking alongside you or sitting on your shoulders." Bodhi, 14-month old Maine Coon cat, has a robust build, weighing a staggering 16 pounds (7.3kg) ??? about twice the size of the average tabby. Maine Coons are classified as the largest domesticated cat breed and are one of the oldest natural breeds in North America. They are native to the state of Maine, where it is the official state cat. Michelle explained that training a cat to cope with the great outdoors can be a difficult feat as felines like to feel in control of their environment. "Cats have this real desire to keep themselves safe and they have a very high instinctual survival mode," she explained. "They have to be in control of everything and training a cat is about getting them used to everything outside, like wide open spaces and walking on sidewalks. "I'm putting in lots of hours in training and getting Bodhi to walk as much as possible. "He is now way better with wide open spaces and walking on a trail and understanding that wildlife moves around him." Michelle got Bodhi in December last year and immediately began taking the puss cross-country skiing. "I didn't know how I was going to train him in the winter time but I just decided to take him cross-country skiing.
    Bodhi loves going for hikes (Picture: Michelle Gagnon / SWNS)

    ‘They have to be in control of everything and training a cat is about getting them used to everything outside, like wide open spaces and walking on sidewalks.

    ‘I’m putting in lots of hours in training and getting Bodhi to walk as much as possible.

    ‘He is now way better with wide open spaces and walking on a trail and understanding that wildlife moves around him.’

    Michelle got Bodhi in December last year and immediately began taking him cross-country skiing.

    Bodhi paddleboarding. See SWNS story SWNYadventure; Meet the curious cat who hikes, bikes, paddleboards and even goes SKIING with his devoted owner. Adorable Bodhi has completed a three-day biking tour through the Canadian Rockies, been cross-country skiing and wears his own life jacket when he goes paddleboarding. Owner Michelle Gagnon, 50, calls Bodhi her "adventure cat" and has been teaching him a host of adrenaline-packed pursuits for the last ten months. "An adventure cat is a term I made up 18 years ago when I got my old cat Bugaboo,??? said Michelle, a retired hiking guide, of Canmore, Alberta, Canada. "An adventure cat comes along with you on adventures whether that means he's sitting in a bike basket or walking alongside you or sitting on your shoulders." Bodhi, 14-month old Maine Coon cat, has a robust build, weighing a staggering 16 pounds (7.3kg) ??? about twice the size of the average tabby. Maine Coons are classified as the largest domesticated cat breed and are one of the oldest natural breeds in North America. They are native to the state of Maine, where it is the official state cat. Michelle explained that training a cat to cope with the great outdoors can be a difficult feat as felines like to feel in control of their environment. "Cats have this real desire to keep themselves safe and they have a very high instinctual survival mode," she explained. "They have to be in control of everything and training a cat is about getting them used to everything outside, like wide open spaces and walking on sidewalks. "I'm putting in lots of hours in training and getting Bodhi to walk as much as possible. "He is now way better with wide open spaces and walking on a trail and understanding that wildlife moves around him." Michelle got Bodhi in December last year and immediately began taking the puss cross-country skiing. "I didn't know how I was going to train him in the winter time but I just decided to take him cross-country skiing.
    He also enjoys paddleboarding (Picture: Michelle Gagnon / SWNS)

    He walked behind her in the snow then curled up on Michelle’s shoulders as she skied down.

    Michelle’s shoulders are a ‘safe spot’ for Bodhi, so he knows he can always climb up there if he gets tired on a hike.

    He’s keen to try anything new and thrives on adventure.

    ‘He has done stand up paddleboarding,’ says Michelle. ‘He wears a little life jacket when he’s on his paddleboard.

    ‘He has gone a couple of big bike tours and we have biked some of the most scenic roads of the Canadian Rockies.

    Michelle Gagnon with Bugaboo last year. See SWNS story SWNYadventure; Meet the curious cat who hikes, bikes, paddleboards and even goes SKIING with his devoted owner. Adorable Bodhi has completed a three-day biking tour through the Canadian Rockies, been cross-country skiing and wears his own life jacket when he goes paddleboarding. Owner Michelle Gagnon, 50, calls Bodhi her "adventure cat" and has been teaching him a host of adrenaline-packed pursuits for the last ten months. "An adventure cat is a term I made up 18 years ago when I got my old cat Bugaboo,??? said Michelle, a retired hiking guide, of Canmore, Alberta, Canada. "An adventure cat comes along with you on adventures whether that means he's sitting in a bike basket or walking alongside you or sitting on your shoulders." Bodhi, 14-month old Maine Coon cat, has a robust build, weighing a staggering 16 pounds (7.3kg) ??? about twice the size of the average tabby. Maine Coons are classified as the largest domesticated cat breed and are one of the oldest natural breeds in North America. They are native to the state of Maine, where it is the official state cat. Michelle explained that training a cat to cope with the great outdoors can be a difficult feat as felines like to feel in control of their environment. "Cats have this real desire to keep themselves safe and they have a very high instinctual survival mode," she explained. "They have to be in control of everything and training a cat is about getting them used to everything outside, like wide open spaces and walking on sidewalks. "I'm putting in lots of hours in training and getting Bodhi to walk as much as possible. "He is now way better with wide open spaces and walking on a trail and understanding that wildlife moves around him." Michelle got Bodhi in December last year and immediately began taking the puss cross-country skiing. "I didn't know how I was going to train him in the winter time but I just decided to take him cross-country skiing.
    Michelle thinks of Bodhi as her child (Picture: Michelle Gagnon / SWNS

    ‘One was two-days long and the other was three-days long. I made him a special basket for the front of my bike. We did 100km a day.’

    Their joint adventures mean Bodhi and Michelle have a special bond.

    ‘Bugaboo was definitely my baby and when he died last November, I felt like I had lost a child,’ she says. ‘Now Bodhi is like my next child.

    ‘I want him to have positive experiences on all of our adventures and build his confidence. You have to make it interesting for them.

    ‘I try not to use treats as then they just want more treats. I try to use a lot of positive encouragement.’

    MORE: Cat abandoned with heartbreaking note saying owners ‘can’t afford’ him anymore

    MORE: How to wake up when it’s dark outside


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    illustration of breasts
    Itchy boobs are very rarely a cause for concern. (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    Ever been in bed when you’ve noticed an itch on your breast you just can’t get rid of?

    Or maybe you’re at work when your boob feels urgently itchy, and you have to go to the bathroom to adjust your bra and give yourself a good scratch in the process.

    Having especially itchy boobs is common and totally normal. An itch on the breasts usually happens for the exact same reason as an itch in any other area – a stimulation of nerve endings.

    But at some point in the world of urban mythology, someone started spreading the rumour that having mildly itchy boobs means you obviously have breast cancer. Cue everyone with the tiniest sensation in their chest area having a massive worry meltdown.

    Dr Clare Morrison, GP and medical advisor at Medexpress, tells Metro.co.uk that itchy boobs are rarely anything to panic about.

    It’s true that itching in the breast can be a sign of breast cancer – inflammatory breast cancer, specifically, which can cause redness, inflammation, pain, and swelling – but this is pretty rare. There are other causes of itching that are far more likely.

    ‘Itchy boobs are far more likely to have a non-threatening explanation,’ Dr Clare tells us.

    ‘Itchy boobs occur when there is irritation of the skin. This may be due to swelling or inflammation of the breasts, such as in pregnancy, premenstrual changes, or hormone medication, including contraceptives.

    ‘It may also be due to skin complaints such as dermatitis, dry skin, sunburn, or allergies.

    ‘Like the rest of the body, the skin of the breasts is subject to any skin disorder, such as dryness, eczema (also known as dermatitis), psoriasis, allergies, insect bites and infections.

    ‘Itchiness of the exposed parts of the breasts and upper chest can be caused by sunburn, and sun allergy.’

    woman holding her own breasts while wearing a pink bra
    Check your breasts regularly (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    Alongside skin conditions, having itchy breasts can be a result of chafing due to activity (going running with a badly fitting sports bra might cause your boobs to jump around quite a bit) or a bra made from synthetic materials that aggravate the skin.

    Dr Clare adds: ‘Itchiness between the breasts is commonly caused by excessive heat and sweating. This may lead to sweat rash, pimples, and yeast infections.

    ‘It’s important to wear a bra that fits properly and feels comfortable.’

    ‘Underneath the breasts, the trapped moisture encourages skin infections, which can be bacterial or fungal. An itchy rash occurring between skin folds like this, is known as intertrigo.’

    So if you’ve got itchy breasts, what next?

    Your first port of call is to account for any of the obvious reasons we’ve just mentioned before you ring the doctor.

    Is your bra uncomfortable and poorly fitting? Have you just done a sweaty workout? Do you have dry, irritated skin in other areas? Are you breastfeeding?

    If none of these things apply, it’s worth keeping track of itching and noting down how often it occurs – as well as pondering if this has been a longterm experience or something that’s a sudden change.

    If your itchy boobs come on suddenly, last for a long time, come with other symptoms, and aren’t clearly down to any of the things we mentioned, it’s then time to talk to your doctor so they can give you a proper checkup.

    ‘If the itch persists through different stages of the menstrual cycle, and doesn’t respond to simple measures, do think about the possibility of something more serious, such as breast cancer,’ says Dr Clare.

    ‘The concern is greater if only one side is affected, if the problem has come on out of the blue for the first time ever, or if there are risk factors such as a family history of breast cancer.’

    ‘Go to the doctor if the itch is accompanied by more worrying symptoms such as a lump, dimpling of the skin, nipple inversion, or pain.

    ‘Also seek medical attention if the itch doesn’t respond to simple treatment.

    ‘Occasionally an itchy breast can be a feature of inflammatory breast cancer. This is a serious, aggressive cancer that has spread from the underlining breast tissue to the skin. Tumours that do this, have a poorer prognosis than other types of breast cancer.

    ‘If you notice any persistent changes to the breast skin, it’s important to get them checked out by your GP.’

    Pagets disease of the breast – which looks like eczema of the nipple but is in fact breast cancer – is extremely rare.

    And again, just because your itchy breasts don’t have an obvious cause, that doesn’t automatically mean you have cancer.

    You could also have an infection, such as thrush, which can cause similar sensations, or be experiencing a hormonal change.

    If your doctor has given you the all-clear and your itchy boobs are more annoying than worrying, there are some simple things you can to do reduce the need to scratch.

    The key, of course, is avoiding whatever is causing the problem, whether that’s cheap bras, strong perfumes, or sunburn.

    Make sure to wear a well-fitting bra, use moisturiser, and chat to a GP or dermatologist if you’re struggling with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.

    And finally, well done for being aware of the sensations of your boobs. Combine that with regular checks and you’re doing great.

    How to check your breasts:

    Check your breasts regularly and get to know what’s normal for you.

    If you notice any changes, talk to your doctor.

    To check your breasts, look at them and feel each breast and armpit and up to your collarbone. It can be easier if you do this in the shower or bath, by running a soapy hand over each breast and up under each armpit.

    You want a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hands, keeping fingers flat and together and moving in a circular motion.

    Signs of breast cancer to watch out for

    Women are advised to start checking their breasts in their 20s. A lump definitely isn’t the only thing to watch out for, but if you don’t know what else you need to be aware of, here’s a very simple guide:

    Change in breast size or shape

    Boobs are wonderful things that come in all shapes and sizes. But if yours starts to change outside your menstrual window or pregnancy, then it might be a warning sign. Keep checking them so you know what they look like regularly and are able to chart any changes.

    An inverted nipple

    Some people are born with inverted nipples…but if yours suddenly starts to go inwards or changes shape in any way, it might be worth having checked out.

    Redness, rashes or skin sores

    We all get rashes from time to time but if you develop one anywhere on the boob or around the nipple that won’t go away, visit your GP.

    Nipple discharge

    If liquid comes out of your nipple without squeezing it, get it checked.

    Indentation

    A dent of any size isn’t normal.

    Swelling under the armpit or collarbone

    Often you can get swelling under the armpit around your period but if it doesn’t go away when your period does, get it checked.

    Change in skin texture

    If the skin around your nipples become dimply or start to resemble orange peel, get it checked out.

    Constant pain

    Boobs can feel sore but they shouldn’t ache all the time.

    A growing vein

    Normally, you can’t see veins on your breasts so if one does become apparent and seems to be growing, head to you GP as it might be a sign of a tumour blocking a blood vessel.

    A lump

    It’s the most common sign but not the only one. If you can feel a lump on the inside (it doesn’t have to be visible), get it checked out. Make sure you…or your partner (as good a reason as any) regularly feel your boobs for any lumps.

     

    MORE: 10 women from the same family who all had breast cancer celebrate getting the all-clear with a charity calendar

    MORE: Why you should wear Wear It Pink this Friday and how it can help the fight for breast cancer survival

     


    Why you get itchy boobs (it's nothing to worry about)Why you get itchy boobs (it's nothing to worry about)

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    Naked faced couple before photoshop
    The man and woman before photoshop (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Every time we come across photo exhibits that show what attractiveness around the world looks like, we marvel at how different beauty norms are.

    In the past, photographers, journalists, and designers have asked people around the world to demonstrate their perception of beauty.

    Now a grooming company has commissioned research into what constitutes fashion in countries around the world, 27 specifically.

    The folks at Groom+Style wondered how people in different countries identify style when they focus solely on a human face.

    So they shared plain headshots of a woman and man with fashion photographers, designers, and Photoshop experts around the world and asked them to conform their photos to what they felt was the latest fashion trends in their country.

    The results are pretty interesting. From excessive jewellery, body paint, and extravagant accessories to plain-faced and muscular, it’s interesting to see what is peak fashion.

    Below are images from the 27 countries and their ideal looks. Which one do you like best?

    United Kingdom

    What does fashion look like in 27 countries. Designers worldwide retouch headshots based on current trends in their home country ?Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only,? as the late, great French fashion designer Coco Chanel once put it. ?Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.? Every country defines style in its own unique, ever-changing way. Most of us barely even notice our tastes and ideals being inspired by what we see around us. The team at Groom+Style decided to take a closer look at just what those definitions of style are around the world. Specifically, they wondered how people in different countries identify style when they focus solely on a human face. They shared plain head shots of a woman and man with fashion photographers, designers, and Photoshop experts around the world and asked them to make them look stylish and fashionable based on their knowledge of the latest trends in their country.
    The ideal look in the UK, apparently (Picture: Groom+Style)

    India

    Fashion in india
    High Indian fashion (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Mexico

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Beauty in Mexico (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Turkey

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Polo tees are in, in Turkey (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Qatar

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Cool hats (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Finland

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Unique eyeshadow look(Picture: Groom+Style)

    Serbia

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Very professional (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Albania

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    They like windswept hair (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Costa Rica

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Very smart (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Bosnia

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    They’re into their gendered colours (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Germany

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Arguably the hottest (Picture: Groom+Style)

    UAE

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Regal (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Belarus

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    The cigar is a nice touch (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Egypt

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Tiny face is all the rage (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Malaysia

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Futurisitc (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Australia

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    A day at the races? (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Israel

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Chris Pine is that you? (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Hong Kong

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Looks like famous faces have been plastered on (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Ukraine

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Short dyed hair is having a moment in Ukraine (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Russia

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    The creators of this look said they were inspired by Ariana Grande (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Lithuania

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Septums piercings are big there (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Croatia

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Another smart look (Picture: Groom+Style)

    South Africa

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Pretty 1920s (Picture: Groom+Style)

    U.S

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    That’s a big smile (Picture: Groom+Style)

    France

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Oh France (Picture: Groom+Style)

    Namibia

    Man woman's face showing what fashion looks like in different countries in the world
    Possibly our favourite look (Picture: Groom+Style)

    MORE: 28 images from largest crowdsourced photo exhibition show life for millennials in modern Britain

    MORE: Acclaimed photographer Martin Parr gives glimpse into his early career with new book

    MORE: Dad-to-be steps in to pose for maternity photoshoot when pregnant wife gets ill


    PRI_90274085PRI_90274085

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    Mum in a lion king costume and Black widow costume for bus stop costumes 2019, dressing up every day in October
    Two of the costumes from this year – Lion King and Black Widow (Picture: busstopcostumessacramento)

    The school run isn’t exactly fun – it’s hectic and everyone is tired after a long day.

    But one mum is determined to make picking up her four sons a bit more fun this month as she says she wants to show them how to be confident and to spread happiness to others.

    In the build-up to Halloween, Carrie Motley, from Sacramento, California, is dressing in a different costume each day to meet her kids after school.

    Carrie, who has been carrying out the tradition for the last six years, has a whole range of ideas from the Cookie Monster to the Golden Snitch from Harry Potter and she makes every costume herself.

    Her four boys Ryan, 16, sean, 14, Kyle, 11 and Cade, eight, initially weren’t fans of the costumes but now they embrace their mum’s dressing up and even join in sometimes.

    Carrie explained: ‘I think my goal to build courage and confidence has definitely worked with my kids! They have even said so. I know I got lots of strange looks and questions, lots who wouldn’t make eye contact, the brave ones who talked to me always seemed to enjoy the process more after chatting.’

    She picked up the idea from a friend in Virginia who started the costume-a-day idea the year before.

    Julie Mudrick started the idea when she noticed her son Luke was ‘taking life a little too seriously’ and she wanted to make him laugh.

    Now, which one of these are you going to copy for Halloween?

    These are some of our favourites so far this year:

    The Cookie Monster

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B3GRxTvn_hi/

    The Golden Snitch

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B3LiQqpn1Qb/

    Princess Fiona from Shrek

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B3NtqYFHTei/

    Black Widow

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B3fsotjHZor/

    The Lion King

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B3mz4DVHM-C/

    MORE: Edited photos show what fashion looks like in 27 different countries

    MORE: Is having itchy boobs a sign of breast cancer?

    MORE: Waitrose adds vegan bacon to its stores for the first time


    (Picture: Busstopcostumessacramento)(Picture: Busstopcostumessacramento)

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    Acupressure mat
    The mat provides pressure points in your back and can relieve pain and tension (Picture: Yogi Bare)

    So many of us are anxious. Really anxious.

    And I don’t mean in a – normal level of worry about work deadlines, or giving a presentation – kind of anxious, I mean full-blown, clinical anxiety with all the fun physical and psychological effects that come with it.

    We’re all looking for ways to feel better, and the first thing to do if you’re worried about anxiety is speak to your GP, who will be able to prescribe a range of treatments from CBT to talking therapy to medication.

    But there are things you can do alongside traditional medical treatments to alleviate your symptoms. Including trying out acupressure.

    Acupressure is an ancient Chinese therapy – and an acupressure mat is basically like a much less intense bed of nails that applies pressure to points on your back as you lie on it.

    Close up of massaging woman's neck at the spa.
    Acupressure is said to help with pain, injuries, relaxation and sleep (Picture: Getty)

    It’s said to offer physical rehab for pain relief, muscle repair and injury recovery, but it’s also meant to be good for mental relaxation, deep sleep and meditation.

    This is where the anxiety part comes in.

    A major study in 2015 found that depression, anxiety and stress can be positively impacted by acupressure.

    Subjects were given treatment three times a week for four weeks and the results were positive. It was found to significantly reduce depression, stress and anxiety.

    What is acupressure?

    As the name suggests, acupressure works by applying pressure to various points of the body whereas acupuncture uses needles.

    Acupressure restores balance to the body’s energy flow (qi) by manipulating the body’s meridians.

    The term ‘Meridian’ refers to the set of pathways that flow through body, acting as a mode of transport for vital energy.

    This energy effects everything from mood to health and wellbeing.

    Applying enough pressure on specific points of the meridian lines can stimulate the brain and even work to provide drug-free pain relief.

    Sarah Brown, acupressure practitioner and health specialist at LastVerdict

    In a 2016 study on rats, acupuncture was again found to be effective for reducing anxiety. The researchers suggested that it impacts how the body triggers the fight-or-flight response.

    Researchers do concede that we don’t know enough about how acupressure could impact different kinds of anxiety – including panic attacks and phobias – but the results are positive nonetheless.

    Acupressure mat works in a similar way to acupuncture – stimulating energy, vitality and a sense of well being in the body.

    The gentle pressure of the mat allows the body to relax and release endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller. When using the mat you’re meant to feel a sense of elation, happiness, energy and calm.

    Which sounds great to be honest.

    ‘The benefits of acupressure holds no bounds,’ explains Sarah Brown, acupressure practitioner and health specialist at LastVerdict.

    ‘There are literally hundreds of acupressure points around the body that address a countless number of body conditions. Even if you do not fully commit to believing in the benefits of acupressure, everyone is often in agreement that it serves as a great source of relaxation.’

    Sarah says she has seen a rise in people using acupressure for migraines and period pain, and it can also help to boost the immune system and aid in digestion.

    ‘Acupressure can combat anxiety as it ignites the nervous system in order to produce chemicals that work to provide pain relief, whilst stimulating the part of the brain that regulates emotions,’ explains Sarah.

    ‘The quickest “acupressure point for on the go” when anxiety hits, is to sit in an upright position and place your thumb in between your eyebrows quite firmly.  Circle the thumb whilst breathing in through the nose and out through your mouth.

    ‘As you inhale, your stomach should rise and fall. Ensure that you are not breathing into the chest. As a few minutes pass, see if you can make your exhales longer than your inhales.

    ‘Practicing this action will relax the nervous system and reduce a speeding heart rate.

    ‘I recommend using an acupressure mat in-between professional sessions, and it is wise to remember that they do not focus on one part of the body, but stimulate several points at one time.’

    To get the maximum benefit, Yogi Bare suggests that you lie on one of their mats (which come with an optional pillow) for 20-40 minutes, several times a week.

    It can become part of a mediation or yoga practice.

    Tips for using an acupressure mat

    The mat will feel uncomfortable to lie on, so take the time to find the right position for you. You may also wish to experiment with lying on a towel until you find the right level of sensation.

    The spikes have a rounded tip, so can’t hurt you, however people with sensitive skin, haemophilia or psoriasis should use the mat with caution.

    The Acupressure Mat will allow your body to start breaking down toxins so please remember to drink water after use.

    Yogi Bare

    Acupressure is a great option for people who want the benefits of acupuncture, but aren’t keen on the needles.

    Acupressure is non-invasive and considered to be really safe. The only risk is the possibility of temporary heaviness, aching, or tingling at the point of the acupressure administration – but we can handle that.

    Yogi Bare’s mat costs £19.99 and the pillow is £12.99 – so you can turn your living room into a calming wellness centre for a really affordable price.

    MORE: Gay and bisexual South Asian men launch HIV test campaign to help diversify LGBTQ+ spaces

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    What is an acupressure mat - and could it help your anxiety?What is an acupressure mat - and could it help your anxiety?

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    An image of a woman on a dating app
    These are the top rated dating app profiles (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    It turns out that women who pose in bikinis and men who cuddle dogs in their dating app photos have the best chance of landing a match, according to a new study by Eharmony.

    The research compiled a range of profile pictures and asked people to rate them in terms of confidence, attractiveness, friendliness and dateability.

    To ensure results were fair, the same female and male model were used across 18 separate scenarios.

    While bikini shots were rated as the most attractive female profile picture, preferred by one in five men, photos featuring a dog scored highest for dateability among both men and women. This suggests that while bikini photos might spark initial attraction, showing a caring, responsible side pays off in the long term.

    Similarly, men photographed with a baby or child rank highly for all categories – demonstrating that revealing a paternal side has a positive impact on overall desirability.

    In terms of male attractiveness, close-up shots came top, while bare-chested shots came bottom, with one in five agreeing this type of photo was their least favourite profile pic. Men also lost out when they featured a woman in their profile pics.

    How people found out they were being cheated on
    Topless pics for men are a big no (Picture: Erin Aniker for Metro.co.uk)

    It turns out that for each additional profile photo uploaded, men increase their chances of getting responses to their messages by 10% and women by 8%.

    The research also indicates that attractiveness and confidence are intrinsically linked as both categories gave similar results in regard to which photos seem the most compelling.

    Rachael Lloyd, relationship expert at Eharmony, said: ‘Our photography experiment suggests women who pose in bikinis are considered the most attractive but not necessarily the most dateable.

    ‘Similarly, men who pose topless on dating apps –- be it in swimming trunks or gym shorts – are likely to see a drop in interest from women.

    ‘With this in mind, I think both men and women need to think carefully about the type of relationship they want to attract before they pose in beachwear. It’s great to be body confident, but if you’re serious about finding love – is being semi-nude the best signal to send?

    ‘On a brighter note, both genders do well when they pose with pets, which suggests they have caring, nurturing traits.

    ‘At Eharmony, we screen all our profiles for nudity, cartoon faces and even swearwords. We want our like-minded singles to enjoy a really supportive and empowering experience.’

    Dating terms and trends, defined

    Breadcrumbing: Leaving ‘breadcrumbs’ of interest – random noncommittal messages and notifications that seem to lead on forever, but don’t actually end up taking you anywhere worthwhile Breadcrumbing is all about piquing someone’s interest without the payoff of a date or a relationship.

    Caspering: Being a friendly ghost - meaning yes, you ghost, but you offer an explanation beforehand. Caspering is all about being a nice human being with common decency. A novel idea.

    Catfish: Someone who uses a fake identity to lure dates online.

    Clearing: Clearing season happens in January. It’s when we’re so miserable thanks to Christmas being over, the cold weather, and general seasonal dreariness, that we will hook up with anyone just so we don’t feel completely unattractive. You might bang an ex, or give that creepy guy who you don’t really fancy a chance, or put up with truly awful sex just so you can feel human touch. It’s a tough time. Stay strong.

    Cloutlighting: Cloutlighting is the combo of gaslighting and chasing social media clout. Someone will bait the person they’re dating on camera with the intention of getting them upset or angry, or making them look stupid, then share the video for everyone to laugh at.

    Cuffing season: The chilly autumn and winter months when you are struck by a desire to be coupled up, or cuffed.

    Firedooring: Being firedoored is when the access is entirely on one side, so you're always waiting for them to call or text and your efforts are shot down.

    Fishing: When someone will send out messages to a bunch of people to see who’d be interested in hooking up, wait to see who responds, then take their pick of who they want to get with. It’s called fishing because the fisher loads up on bait, waits for one fish to bite, then ignores all the others.

    Flashpanner: Someone who’s addicted to that warm, fuzzy, and exciting start bit of a relationship, but can’t handle the hard bits that might come after – such as having to make a firm commitment, or meeting their parents, or posting an Instagram photo with them captioned as ‘this one’.

    Freckling: Freckling is when someone pops into your dating life when the weather’s nice… and then vanishes once it’s a little chillier.

    Gatsbying: To post a video, picture or selfie to public social media purely for a love interest to see it.

    Ghosting: Cutting off all communication without explanation.

    Grande-ing: Being grateful, rather than resentful, for your exes, just like Ariana Grande.

    Hatfishing: When someone who looks better when wearing a hat has pics on their dating profile that exclusively show them wearing hats.

    Kittenfishing: Using images that are of you, but are flattering to a point that it might be deceptive. So using really old or heavily edited photos, for example. Kittenfishes can also wildly exaggerate their height, age, interests, or accomplishments.

    Lovebombing: Showering someone with attention, gifts, gestures of affection, and promises for your future relationship, only to distract them from your not-so-great bits. In extreme cases this can form the basis for an abusive relationship.

    Microcheating: Cheating without physically crossing the line. So stuff like emotional cheating, sexting, confiding in someone other than your partner, that sort of thing.

    Mountaineering: Reaching for people who might be out of your league, or reaching for the absolute top of the mountain.

    Obligaswiping: The act of endlessly swiping on dating apps and flirt-chatting away with no legitimate intention of meeting up, so you can tell yourself you're doing *something* to put yourself out there.

    Orbiting: The act of watching someone's Instagram stories or liking their tweets or generally staying in their 'orbit' after a breakup.

    Paperclipping: When someone sporadically pops up to remind you of their existence, to prevent you from ever fully moving on.

    Preating: Pre-cheating - laying the groundwork and putting out feelers for cheating, by sending flirty messages or getting closer to a work crush.

    Prowling: Going hot and cold when it comes to expressing romantic interest.

    R-bombing: Not responding to your messages but reading them all, so you see the 'delivered' and 'read' signs and feel like throwing your phone across the room.

    Scroogeing: Dumping someone right before Christmas so you don't have to buy them a present.

    Shadowing: Posing with a hot friend in all your dating app photos, knowing people will assume you're the attractive one and will be too polite to ask.

    Shaveducking: Feeling deeply confused over whether you're really attracted to a person or if they just have great facial hair.

    Sneating:When you go on dates just for a free meal.

    Stashing: The act of hiding someone you're dating from your friends, family, and social media.

    Submarineing: When someone ghosts, then suddenly returns and acts like nothing happened.

    V-lationshipping:When someone you used to date reappears just around Valentine's Day, usually out of loneliness and desperation.

    You-turning: Falling head over heels for someone, only to suddenly change your mind and dip.

    Zombieing: Ghosting then returning from the dead. Different from submarineing because at least a zombie will acknowledge their distance.

     

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    An open letter to the Instagram fitness model my boyfriend dumped me forAn open letter to the Instagram fitness model my boyfriend dumped me for

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    two women walking arm in arm down the street
    Menopause lies in many of our pasts, presents and futures… (Picture ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

    Not to sound dramatic but chances are menopause has or will impact you or someone you care for.

    Menopause is when someone with a vagina stops having periods and is therefore something that a significant portion of the population will have to deal with sooner or later.

    With that in mind, and to celebrate World Menopause Day, now’s as good a time as any to learn when menopause usually begins and how long it typically lasts for.

    At what age does the menopause start?

    Stephanie Taylor, Managing Director of pelvic healthcare brand Kegel8, told Metro.co.uk: ‘Typically, a woman can expect to hit the menopause between the ages of 45 – 55, with the average age being 51.

    ‘That said, it’s important for women to understand that the menopause isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing which can make it difficult for them to know if they’re going through it or not.’

    She pointed out that many women experience menopause earlier than that, adding: ‘In the UK, 1 in 1,000 women will experience premature menopause; where a woman’s oestrogen levels decrease, and periods become infrequent or stop altogether, before the age of 45. The cause of early menopause is not known, so if you start to notice any symptoms, consult your GP.’

    On the subject of how long menopause typically lasts, Stephanie said: ‘On average, women can expect to experience symptoms of the menopause for around four years, although some have been known to last as long as 12 years.’

    According to the NHS, the severity of the symptoms people going through menopause will experience will vary, and symptoms often begin months or years before the menstruation stops altogether. This is known as perimenopause.

    Stephanie said: ‘The menopause (and perimenopause which predates it) is highly complex; there is so much more to it than the well-known symptoms of night sweats, memory loss and hot flushes but in most cases, these are the signs women think they should be looking out for. That’s why other, subtler or seemingly unrelated changes to the body – like dry skin, incontinence, toothache, vaginal dryness or late-onset allergies – can end up being dismissed.’

    She also highlighted the importance of people going through menopause not suffering alone.

    She said: ‘Menopause is a confusing time for many women experiencing the changes that come as a result of falling oestrogen levels. During this time, it is important that women don’t feel embarrassed and seek help if they are struggling with their symptoms and are concerned about the impact on their physical and mental health.’

    In March, Metro.co.uk spoke to Ebony, who was going through the menopause herself at the time. When asked what she wanted women to understand about menopause, she said: ‘This is a time when we should shamelessly take care of our personal needs.

    ‘We sweat a lot throughout the day, so our skin can become dry, and our bones could become brittle. We get aches and pains. We feel heavier. It’s important that women talk about these symptoms and are open about them.

    ‘As soon as we are having that conversation we are removing stigma, and when women know what to expect – it takes aways a huge amount of the associated worry and anxiety. It happens to every woman.’


    JAPAN-LIFESTYLE-DEMOGRAPHICSJAPAN-LIFESTYLE-DEMOGRAPHICS

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    Grace the pig lying on her bed in the kitchen in front of the radiator.
    Meet Grace. She was meant to be a miniature pig, but she’s not that miniature at all (Picture: Dave Evitts / SWNS)

    A warning to all those who see pictures of little teacup pigs snuffling around and think ‘those are cute, I’ll get one’.

    A lot of animals sold as ‘micro pigs’ end up, well, not so micro.

    Nigel Graham, 57, bought a cute little piglet as a birthday present for his wife Sam, 48, who is allergic to cats and dogs.

    They were told it was a miniature pig that would grow no larger than 70lbs when they brought it home in 2014.

    Guess what? The pig grew quite a bit larger than that.

    Grace the pig now weighs in at 28 stone. She munches through £20 of food each week and has taken over the bottom floor of the family’s three-bedroom cottage after refusing to sleep in an outside sty.

    The family has had to make quite a few adjustments to make having an unexpectedly massive pig in their house work for them.

    Grace the pig when younger
    Grace in 2014, when the family brought her home (Picture: Dave Evitts / SWNS)

    Nigel cut Grace her own pig-flap in a side door to allow Grace to come and go as she pleases, installed a step from the patio door to make it easier for the pig to leave the house, and bought Grace her own orthopedic mattress to lounge on.

    Nigel and Sam have also given up bacon, out of respect.

    Dad-of-two Nigel, from Malvern, said: ‘I got Grace as a birthday present for my Sam four years ago because she is allergic to cats and dogs.

    ‘The place actually invite you down there to see mother and father and I met Grace who was two weeks old at the time and had to do a course on how to look after her.

    ‘It’s a very legitimate business. I went down there, I picked her up and held her and decided to get her.

    ‘Her parents were about knee high, which is the actual size of a fully grown micro pig.’

    Nigel Graham with Grace the pig
    Weighin in at 28-stone, Grace is quite a bit larger than expected (Picture: Dave Evitts / SWNS)

    As you’d expect for an animal that big, Grace needs a lot of food. Grace eats three full meals a day as well as pig pellets, fruit and leftovers from the family, with her food costing around £20 a week. She’s quite a picky eater, too.

    ‘She is quite spoilt and for dinner she will have rice pudding with jelly or tinned peaches or pineapple,’ Nigel explains.

    ‘She’s particular though, if it has a bruise or a grub in it or something like that, she won’t have it and will turn her nose up at it.

    ‘She is not interested in carrots anymore, it’s just too boring for her. She is very very selective in what she does eat.

    ‘Most pigs are just thankful for whatever they are given but she’s been so spoilt with us.

    Grace the pig lying on her bed in the kitchen in front of the radiator
    She’s a real homebody and loves all the comforts of her life with Nigel and Sam (Picture: Dave Evitts / SWNS)

    ‘It’s a bit like a kid, you want to eat stuff that you like, but things you don’t like you don’t want to eat.’

    Grace also doesn’t particularly like going outdoors, preferring all the comforts of staying home with her family and watching TV.

    Yes, we do relate.

    Nigel says: ‘She will go outside but not if it’s raining or it’s windy. She’s got quite used to her creature comforts and likes to stay cosy.

    ‘If it’s a nice day she will follow me out of the house and obviously when she needs to go to the toilet to do a wee or poo.

    ‘She will hold it in for 19 hours if it’s raining.

    Grace the pig. A man who got a miniature pig has ended up sharing his home with a 28-stone pet
    Thankfully her family love her whatever size she is (Picture: SWNS)

    ‘I built her a pen called Grace Land which has an insulated floor, insulated ceiling to make her nice and warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

    ‘She’s only been in there for two nights, so turfing her out there never came about.’

    Thankfully, while Grace’s size has been a bit of a shock, that hasn’t stopped Nigel and Sam from adoring her. They think of her as a member of the family.

    ‘She’s our pet and we love her and I class her as a third daughter, to be honest,’ says Nigel. ‘She’s part of the family.

    ‘It’s great. She’s not like a pig. It’s no different than a dog or a cat, in fact she is cleaner than one of my daughters and shows me more love.’

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    micropig ends up bigmicropig ends up big

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    Hannah Francis (LEFT) and her son Jacob Francis (RIGHT) are at a wedding
    When Jacob ran out of things to colour while attending a wedding, he decided to get creative (Picture: CATERS NEWS)

    When Jacob Francis, seven, ran out of things to colour in while attending a wedding, he got creative.

    Grabbing a sheet of lined paper and using a page from his colouring book as a template, Jacob set to sketching out the wedding cake

    He added some ingenious details to make the cake look even grander, doodling in plenty of fruit to cover each tier and adding the bride and groom on top.

    Honestly, we think he did a great job. We haven’t seen the actual wedding cake the drawing was based on, so we can’t assess the exact likeness, but who needs a photo when you have an artwork this vivid and detailed?

    Jacob’s mum Hannah, 30, from Gillingham, Dorset, was pretty delighted with her son’s drawing, too.

    So much so that she had to try desperately not to laugh as Jacob presented his drawing while still at the wedding.

    Jacob Franciss drawing of a wedding cake
    Jacob’s creative interpretation of the wedding cake, complete with plenty of fruit (Picture: CATERS NEWS)

    Why would she laugh? Because the cake looks quite a bit like a penis, apparently.

    We can’t see it. Get your minds out of the gutter.

    Hannah, who is a lunchtime supervisor, said: ‘I was trying not to laugh when Jacob showed me as I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

    PIC BY CATERS NEWS (PICTURED Jacob Francis holding up his drawing.) Hannah Franciss son Jacob Francis shows his drawing.) A colouring in book is a great tool to keep the little ones quiet during the speeches at a wedding but one guest was shocked when her son's drawing resembled something slightly ruder than a two-tier cake. When schoolboy Jacob Francis, 7, ran out of things to colour in, he decided to draw a cake of his own using a picture of a two-tier cake as a template. His mum Hannah, 30, from Gillingham, Dorset, was left in hysterics when her little boy presented his drawing that resembles a penis. SEE CATERS COPY.
    Jacob with the template he used and the resulting drawing (Picture: CATERS NEWS)

    ‘As soon as I saw it one thing sprang to mind and when he added the ‘fruit’ I thought it was even funnier as it looks like something is wrong with it.

    ‘My husband Glen, 31 and I have been laughing all week and our friends think it is brilliant too.

    ‘The picture isn’t going to make into on the fridge, but we will definitely keep it in a memory book for him to look back on when he is older.’

    MORE: Bride heartbroken when peacock wedding cake she ordered looks like a ‘lopsided turkey with leprosy’

    MORE: Biscuit-obsessed couple have Lotus Biscoff-themed wedding with melted spread fountain and mini jars as favours

    MORE: Couple have three foot tall Disney themed cake at their wedding


    Boy\'s really great wedding cake drawingBoy\'s really great wedding cake drawing

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    Two women running in the morning in the city
    The best time of day to exercise? First thing if you want to lose weight (Picture: Getty)

    Exercising is about fun, mental health and overall well-being – never just weight loss.

    But, if dropping a few pounds to get to a healthy weight is one of your goals, then you might want to start setting an early alarm.

    A new study by the University of Bath, has found that working out in the morning before having breakfast burns more fat than if you eat before you hit the gym.

    Researchers took a small sample of 30 obese or overweight men and they found that those who exercised before breakfast burned twice the fat as men who ate breakfast before they worked out.

    The logic of it is pretty simple; exercising with no fuel forces the body to turn to carbs that are already stored in the body, and when those are gone, it turns to the fat cells.

    Additionally, not eating breakfast made the men’s muscles more responsive to insulin, which controls high blood sugars – so it also reduced the risk for diabetes and heart disease.

    ‘The group who exercised before breakfast increased their ability to respond to insulin, which is all the more remarkable given that both exercise groups lost a similar amount of weight and both gained a similar amount of fitness,’ said exercise physiologist Javier Gonzalez, an associate professor in the department for health at the University of Bath.

    ‘The only difference was the timing of the food intake.’

    So if your looking to burn some fat, it might be worth trying to exercise on an empty stomach – but make sure you have a balanced breakfast waiting for you when you finish.

    Your body will need to take on carbs and protein in order to help your muscles recover. Eating a good meal after working out is vital for your long-term progress.

    It’s also really important to make sure you’re well hydrated before exercising in the morning, and if you do choose to exercise without breakfast, opt for something a little more gentle.

    Anything too high-intensity could leave you feeling dizzy and unwell, which won’t make for a great workout.

    MORE: Seven-year-old’s glorious drawing of wedding cake leaves mum in hysterics

    MORE: Family adopt a ‘micro pig’, end up with 28-stone porker taking over their house

    MORE: Gay and bisexual South Asian men launch HIV test campaign to help diversify LGBTQ+ spaces


    Two women running in the morning in the cityTwo women running in the morning in the city

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