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

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    Aldi six litre bottle of Prosecco is back
    With other bottles for scale (Picture: Aldi)

    Last year, Aldi brought us the Methuselah of prosecco – six whole litres of fizz in one bottle.

    It was so popular, it sold out in one day but good news – it’s back for 2019.

    Get the festive party season off to a good start with the bottle that the equivalent of eight normal bottles.

    Although it might not sound cheap at £99, you get a lot for your money

    According to the budge supermarket, the prosecco is ‘light, fun and frothy – with notes of parma violets, ripe pear and papaya, as well as having a soft and well-balanced palate.’

    It’s available to order from the online wine store from 1 November but it will be limited to one her customer.

    It might take up your whole fridge, but who needs anything else when you have this much prosecco?

    Aldi‘s wine expert Sam Caporn has offered some tips for those who manage to get their hands on one.

    First, you need to chill the bottle. Sam says: ‘We all know that it’s vital to chill your bottle of bubbly before serving, but if you don‘t have the luxury of a completely empty fridge, getting your Methuselah cool can be a little trickier than your average bottle.

    ‘I’d recommend chilling your Methuselah in a large bucket filled with ice, or leaving it outside if it’s nice and cold, to get that lovely cool fizz.’

    Aldi six litre bottle of Prosecco is back
    This is one big bottle (Picture: Aldi)

    Next, pop the cork to open the bottle.

    Sam adds: ‘Whether it’s a normal size bottle or a Methuselah – it’s important that you open the bottle safely to avoid any flying corks.

    ‘For this larger bottle, I’d say this is definitely a two-man job, so grab a pal.

    ‘First remove the muzzle – but make sure you keep hold of the cork at all times (this is the key to avoiding any accidents)

    ‘Now its time for a little help from your friends – one of you needs to hold the base of the bottle while the other looks after the neck

    ‘Pointing away from the party of people, twist the bottle (and not the cork) until the cork gently loosens.’

    Sam says that pouring the bottle needs more than one pair of hands too.

    He said: ‘You need one holding the base and one holding the neck.

    ‘The main thing is to take it slow to avoid any spills and wastage. Some people like to pour their Methuselah into decanters – but personally I think that takes a bit of the fun (and froth) out of it!’

    And then all you need to do is sit back and enjoy.

    MORE: Wetherspoons is first pub chain to install ‘not every disability is visible’ signs after student’s complaint

    MORE: There’s a bank that gives out ice cream with an ATM that dispenses free toppings


    PRI_91914199PRI_91914199

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    With Halloween just days away, it’s time to make sure your costume is on point.

    One woman was practising her spooky season look when disaster struck.

    Connie Kirwan tried out some devil horns from PrettyLittleThing for £4 – but they ended up stuck to her head and she thought she was going to have to walk around with them on for days.

    Makeup artist Connie, from Kilsyth, Scotland, bought the horns online but when they arrived, she wanted to try them out.

    She used the glue provided and did a makeup look to match.

    Her friend Leigh Burke posted a video Connie took of the horns after she had completed her look.

    The Twitter post said: ‘Hahahahahahaha – Connie was trying a new Halloween look and now she can’t get the horns off her head.

    ‘I swear stuff like this only happens to her.’

    The video shows Connie trying to pull the horns off but they remain stuck to her skin.

    Woman gets Pretty Little Thing horns stuck on her head https://twitter.com/leighburke_x
    Connie spent hours trying to get them off (Picture: Twitter/ @leighburke_x)

    She said: ‘Do you think I can email PrettyLittleThing and say your horns are f ******  faulty because I can’t get them off my head?’

    As she pulls harder, she said: ‘It’s actual lifting my whole eye.’

    She tried removing her makeup but the horns stayed put and she said she thought she was going to have to go to A&E.

    She kept updating and updated her friend over an hour later saying they were still there.

    Luckily, she eventually managed to pull them off at 2am, hours after they got stuck.

    She said: ‘Literally had to rip them n probably ripped a good bit of skin off as well.’

    PrettyLittleThing has been contacted for comment and we will update the article.

    MORE: Aldi’s six-litre bottle of prosecco is back next week

    MORE: Wetherspoons is first pub chain to install ‘not every disability is visible’ signs after student’s complaint


    Woman gets Pretty Little Thing horns stuck on her headWoman gets Pretty Little Thing horns stuck on her head

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    Laura Smart helps her dying husband fulfill his last wish as she marries him on his deathbed. See SWNS story SWMDwedding. A battling dad fulfilled his final wish to ???die a married man??? when he tied the knot with his bride ??? just hours before passing away. Gary Smart, 33, had hoped to wed Laura Smart, 31, next year but the couple changed their plans when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer last month. The dad-of-six had aggressive lung cancer and was given just months to live when he told staff at Northampton General Hospital he wanted to die a married man. Heartbreaking photos show him holding hands and exchanging vows with Laura as he lay in his hospital bed last Friday (18/10) evening.
    Gary passed away seven hours after the pair were wed (Picture: Laura Smart / SWNS)

    A young father got to fulfill his final wish – to marry his girlfriend – just hours before he died of lung cancer.

    Gary Smart, 33, had hoped to wed his partner Laura next year, but the pair had to rush their plans forward after he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer last month.

    ‘After Gary was diagnosed with terminal cancer he told me he wanted to die a married man,’ explained Laura.

    Laura Smart helps her dying husband fulfill his last wish as she marries him on his deathbed. See SWNS story SWMDwedding. A battling dad fulfilled his final wish to ???die a married man??? when he tied the knot with his bride ??? just hours before passing away. Gary Smart, 33, had hoped to wed Laura Smart, 31, next year but the couple changed their plans when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer last month. The dad-of-six had aggressive lung cancer and was given just months to live when he told staff at Northampton General Hospital he wanted to die a married man. Heartbreaking photos show him holding hands and exchanging vows with Laura as he lay in his hospital bed last Friday (18/10) evening.
    ‘We thought we might have more time together but it wasn’t to be’ (Picture: Laura Smart / SWNS)

    ‘We thought we might have more time together but it wasn’t to be. Last Friday staff said it wouldn’t be long and they helped us organise our wedding.’

    Unfortunately, Gary’s cancer was extremely aggressive and doctors told him that he had just days to live. So his loved ones sprung into action to help Gary fulfill his dream.

    ‘Mum and I went out, got the rings, came back and we were told the staff had sorted it all,’ added Laura.

    ‘They said, ‘We’ve got your special marriage licence and a priest. You’re getting married at seven o’clock.’

    Gary, from Northampton, first fell ill in July when he came home from work with a bad back and chest pain.

    Laura Smart helps her dying husband fulfill his last wish as she marries him on his deathbed. See SWNS story SWMDwedding. A battling dad fulfilled his final wish to ???die a married man??? when he tied the knot with his bride ??? just hours before passing away. Gary Smart, 33, had hoped to wed Laura Smart, 31, next year but the couple changed their plans when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer last month. The dad-of-six had aggressive lung cancer and was given just months to live when he told staff at Northampton General Hospital he wanted to die a married man. Heartbreaking photos show him holding hands and exchanging vows with Laura as he lay in his hospital bed last Friday (18/10) evening.
    ‘It was like everyone was saying goodbye to him at the same time’ (Picture: Laura Smart / SWNS)

    He was losing weight and was unable to sleep so went to the doctors who drained fluid from his lungs and did a biopsy. In September the pair were told that he had an aggressive form of lung cancer.

    Photos show the pair exchanging rings and vows as Gary lay in his hospital bed, hooked up to machines to help him breathe.

    The couple even laid out a buffet for guests to enjoy the ceremony.

    Laura Smart helps her dying husband fulfill his last wish as she marries him on his deathbed. See SWNS story SWMDwedding. A battling dad fulfilled his final wish to ???die a married man??? when he tied the knot with his bride ??? just hours before passing away. Gary Smart, 33, had hoped to wed Laura Smart, 31, next year but the couple changed their plans when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer last month. The dad-of-six had aggressive lung cancer and was given just months to live when he told staff at Northampton General Hospital he wanted to die a married man. Heartbreaking photos show him holding hands and exchanging vows with Laura as he lay in his hospital bed last Friday (18/10) evening.
    A buffet was provided for the 25 guests who came to the wedding (Picture: Laura Smart / SWNS)

    ‘We had about 25 people there. We said we should have done it years ago,’ said Laura.

    ‘It was like everyone was saying goodbye to him at the same time. We all knew he was going to go.’

    Just seven hours after making the marriage official, Gary passed away with his new bride at his side.

    ‘He managed to say his vows and put the ring on my finger and give me a kiss,’ she added. ‘That night I laid in bed with him. We watched Fast and Furious 8 as he was into cars. I managed to fall asleep and woke up when the call button went off at 3 am.

    ‘I looked at Gary and he was staring at me, like he was trying to reach out to me. I had a conversation with him and then realised, his oxygen mask was not on right and he wasn’t breathing. We only had seven hours of marriage but I was so grateful I could give him that.

    ‘He was a kind, lovely man. He loved his cars. He was always building things, offering to make things for people.’

    MORE: Man sick of daily grind and city living quits job to climb all 1,001 mountains in the UK and Ireland

    MORE: Woman’s PrettyLittleThing Halloween devil horns get stuck on her head

    MORE: There’s a bank that gives out ice cream with an ATM that dispenses free toppings


    PRI_91811391PRI_91811391

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    Rearview shot of a young woman blocking the sunlight with her hands at the beach
    If you have darker skin then you will need more vitamin D (Picture: Getty)

    It’s getting to that point in the year where we basically turn into creatures of the night.

    And that’s not just because party season is starting to ramp up, it’s also because the sun is just refusing to make an appearance.

    We’re getting up for work in the dark, commuting in the dark, staying inside all day to hide from the cold, and by the time we leave the office for the day, yep, it’s dark again.

    This bleak weather is perfect for spooky season, and it’s great for hibernating and binging box sets – but what is this complete lack of sunlight doing to our bodies?

    A new study has found that almost half of London office workers only receive up to 30 minutes of sunlight a day during the winter, and two‐thirds estimated they receive less than an hour of sunlight a day

    The detrimental effects of too much sun is well-documented. We all know that we need to cover up in summer and wear SPF to protect against cancer, premature aging and harmful free-radicals.

    But too little sun – less is known about that. Essentially it comes down to vitamin D.

    ‘A lack of sun exposure on a long-term basis can have detrimental effects our bodies, which is why ensuring you get enough vitamin D is crucial, even if this is in supplement form,’ says Dr Clare Morrison, GP and medical advisor at Medexpress.

    ‘A lack of sunlight can cause a multitude of problems such as weak bones, foot deformities, some cancers, depression, skin problems, weight gain and cognitive issues.

    ‘In short, a lack of vitamin D not only affects you physically but also mentally, without enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can dip and low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of major depression and SAD.’

    Dr Morrison says D3 is the most effective and important form of the vitamin, and the best way to get it in your diet is through oily fish such as mackerel and salmon, fish oil, eggs, liver and butter.

    ‘In addition, the body makes its own D3 when the skin is exposed to direct sunlight,’ she adds. ‘In a pretty sun-starved nation, getting our vitamin D fix from the sun, especially in the long drawn out winter can be tough, so sourcing the most active and usable form of vitamin D from our food is imperative.

    Signs of vitamin D deficiency

    Frequent illness or infections

    Bone and back pain

    Low mood

    Hair loss

    Muscle pain

    Fatigue and tiredness

    If you’re worried about any of these symptoms, speak to your GP

    It’s also important to note that people with dark skin, so if you’re of African, African-Caribbean or south Asian origin, will need to spend longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D as someone with lighter skin. So dietary supplements might be even more important.

    ‘The quickest way to up your intake is to take daily Vitamin D supplements.

    ‘You can also try and find a Vitamin D serum oil for a topical skin application, this will help to give your skin direct contact with the vitamin which should help alleviate some skin conditions you may suffer with as a result of the lack of sun.’

    She even says that some people use sun beds during the winter to get their fix, but she stresses that this should only be on the odd occasion so as not to put yourself at risk of skin cancers.

    ‘With the UK subject to long, cold winters, this also puts you at a higher risk of developing symptoms of a lack of vitamin D.

    ‘You may also want to look at booking a winter holiday somewhere hot, a week in the sun can do wonders for your skin, mind and overall health.’

    We can’t think of a better excuse to start looking for flights.

    MORE: Father-of-six marries his girlfriend from his hospital bed just hours before dying of cancer

    MORE: Man sick of daily grind and city living quits job to climb all 1,001 mountains in the UK and Ireland

    MORE: ‘Black to Life’ exhibition highlights black figures in British history with stunning images


    The ocean breeze brings a life of easeThe ocean breeze brings a life of ease

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    Munroe Bergdorf
    Every single transphobic post online is an attack on trans rights, and serves to skew society’s standpoint on the issue (Picture: Luke Nugent Photography)

    As a trans woman of colour, I’ve been exposed to years of transphobic hate online. At its worst, it’s stripped away my confidence, made me feel isolated, and made my future feel futile.

    Being in the public eye, I receive endless transphobic messages, which is why the findings of a recent report into transphobia online don’t surprise me. The reported 1.5million transphobic posts may seem high, but for those experiencing this hate online it’s less shocking – it’s simply the dark and dangerous reality many of us face daily.

    I’m 10 years into my transition and I know who I am, but there are many people early on in their journey who may be unsure about their gender, sexuality or identity, who are being targeted at an already difficult time. What’s more, not everyone has a support network to help them face the incessant online abuse. Many of these people are carrying the burden of online hate alone.

    Unfortunately there are key themes showing up in online transphobia. The same report found that people are using their status to justify spreading transphobic views, posting on social media that ‘as a mother of two kids’ they must protect their children from anyone that is trans.

    This vitriol is eerily similar to the treatment of gay people in the 1980s, when Section 28 banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools. We are seeing the same hysteria and mass panic around transgender people today.

    We never look at racism, sexism or homophobia and say it’s an opinion, so why is transphobia such a free-for-all?

    Another finding from that same report struck a chord with me. It found a strong relationship between transphobia and racism, with people sharing racist posts using transphobia to legitimise their racism. I’ve had comments on photos of me that mixed transphobia with Nazi ideology a number of times, and there is an almost constant undertone of racism within the transphobic hate I receive.

    It isn’t just individuals being targeted either. Services and charities that support the transgender community are also falling victim to online smear campaigns and harassment. I’ve experienced this first-hand while trying to be a positive voice in the conversation around trans rights, with each small step forward coming under such extreme scrutiny that the next one is even harder to make.

    While online abuse varies in its severity, the sheer volume of hateful posts being directed to trans people means it can snowball. As a trans person online, it’s hard to stop yourself collecting more snow and feeling overwhelmed.

    The effects of this kind of transphobia go beyond the online sphere, breeding hostility toward trans people offline as well. While this level of intolerance and bigotry is allowed to continue unregulated online, there will be negative implications for the wider society.

    The information that spreads online can inform how society views trans people, which goes hand in hand with whether the public are for or against trans rights. Every single transphobic post online is an attack on trans rights, and serves to skew society’s standpoint on the issue.

    Transphobia is seen by many as a valid opinion. We never look at racism, sexism or homophobia and say it’s an opinion, so why is transphobia such a free-for-all?

    I’ve seen most of the transphobic comments in this report on my timeline, ranging from memes and abuse to actual threats to my safety. The experience of dealing with this all the time is made harder when the people perpetrating it don’t seem to be sanctioned, or face consequences, for their behaviour.

    It’s time that social media platforms did more to tackle transphobia on their sites, instead of allowing abusers free reign to oppress the transgender community.

    We can’t expect anyone to be anything other than who they are. Social media platforms have a responsibility to act before more innocent people fall victim to transphobia, both online and offline. Action is needed now before it’s too late.

    MORE: Don’t believe what you read about transition regret

    MORE: Munroe Bergdorf amazed by ‘selfless’ Sam Smith for confirming non-binary pronouns ‘they and them’

    MORE: Transgender law reforms ‘will happen’ insists government


    Munroe Bergdorf-89aeMunroe Bergdorf-89ae

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    Vese holding her daughter
    ‘Representation is everything; it shows our kids that they matter’ (Picture: Vese Aghoghovbia Wolu)

    A dedicated mum was so concerned about the lack of diversity in children’s books that she wrote her own as a gift for her two-year-old daughter.

    Vese Aghoghovbia Wolu was inspired to write her first kids book Who Do I See in The Mirror? by her daughter Philly.

    The 31-year-old wanted her little girl to see herself refelected when she was reading, something that she never had growing up.

    The book
    ‘The important message conveyed is for children to love the skin they are in’ (Picture: Vese Aghoghovbia Wolu)

    ‘A lot of the books we read as children did not feature black or African children. I did not see myself represented in the classic children’s books or the media I consumed,’ Vese tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘It left a lot of children with the subconscious idea that black is second class.

    ‘When I had my daughter two years ago, I realised we had made very little progress. There weren’t many quality children’s books that featured a black or minority ethnic main character.’

    In 2017, less than 1% of children’s books in the UK featured a BAME main character. That is what Vese is hoping to change.

    ‘I didn’t want her to grow up with the same experience I had,’ she says. ‘I wanted to create a diverse children’s character she and kids everywhere can love and identify with.

    Vese's daughter holding the book
    ‘Children like her deserve to know they are important’ (Picture: Vese Aghoghovbia Wolu)

    ‘One who is brave, confident and happy, goes on adventures, as curious as George, laughs from within and loves wholeheartedly with tight hugs and lots of kisses.’

    Vese says this is more important than simply seeing a character who looks like you, she says it feeds in to a child’s sense of self-worth.

    ‘She deserves to know that she matters,’ explains Vese.

    ‘Children like her deserve to know they are important. Children around the world deserve to see the world for the richness and diversity that it offers.’

    When Vese presented the book to Philly, she was delighted and could barely contain her excitement.

    ‘She kept pointing at the pages of the book with a massive smile on her face,’ says Vese. ‘I have videos of her acting out different scenes without any prompting. It made my heart melt, watching her take in and instantly replicate what she saw.

    ‘She’s also such a daddy’s girl; she loves the scene with the dad tickling Philly.

    ‘I felt it was important to highlight the father-daughter relationship, which is so vital in the development of confidence in children, particularly little girls.’

    The key message of Who Do I See in the Mirror? is self-love and acceptance. It encourages children to love each part of their body while reminding them that they are so much more than their physical appearance.

    ‘The book concludes with a strong message that it’s what is on the inside that counts,’ explains Vese.

    ‘As Philly looks at her reflection in the mirror, she realises that from her curly hair to her legs that love to dance, she is unique.

    ‘But what makes her truly special is her good heart and curious mind. The important message conveyed is for children to love the skin they are in. It’s what you are on the inside that matters most.’

    Vese with her daughter and partner
    ‘I felt it was important to highlight the father-daughter relationship’ (Picture: Vese Aghoghovbia Wolu)

    Vese wants to use her work to give back. She says that her mission is to empower literacy in disadvantaged communities.

    For every book sold, Vese sponsors the shipment of a book into the hands of an underprivileged child through a partnership with Books2Africa.

    ‘We must do right by the next generation,’ says Vese. ‘Our children need to see themselves and others represented in the books they read, toys they play with and the media they consume.

    ‘Representation is everything; it shows our kids that they matter. You believe what you see, and you become what you believe.’

    ‘I truly believe that diverse books aren’t just for kids from minority ethnics; they are for everyone. They teach love, tolerance and acceptance; they make the world a better place.’

    Vese is now working on a children’s non-fiction biography called Remarkable African Women: 40 Brave African Women.

    The book introduces the untold stories of 40 inspirational women from different African countries, including Asli Hassan Abade; the first female military pilot in Africa and Funmilayo Ransom-Kuti; a women’s rights activist and first Nigerian woman to drive a car.

    ‘I had a negative experience during my A-levels in Bristol. I was walking home from school in and had some kids laughing and chanting behind me. I got home to find they spat me, my winter jacket was covered in spit,’ explains Vese.

    ‘Looking back, I can’t help but think, if we told “our stories! and these kids understood who we are, they might have been a tad bit nicer.

    ‘I hope through this book, children around the world will grow up understanding that we are all the same, human at the core. Underneath the skin is a heart and soul that desires to be loved and accepted.’

    MORE: Father-of-six marries his girlfriend from his hospital bed just hours before dying of cancer

    MORE: The health dangers of not getting enough sunlight

    MORE: Man sick of daily grind and city living quits job to climb all 1,001 mountains in the UK and Ireland


    Diverse book compDiverse book comp

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    Prepare to have your mind boggled.

    A talented baker from Gosport, Hampshire has stunned people with her super-realistic creations of cakes that look like fast food meals.

    From a replica of McDonald’s chicken nuggets and a Big Mac – complete with a ketchup dip sachet and a table-top for the treat to rest on – to a KFC chicken bucket with fries, beans, gravy and corn.

    Selina McCloud, 37 started off by making the KFC meal, but friends were so mesmerised by designs that she decided to try other dishes, including the nation’s most recognisable food: traditional fish & chips with mushy peas.

    Other creations include everyone’s favourite late-night snack – kebab in pitta drizzled with garlic sauce, served with cheesy chips – a Sunday roast (yorkshires, too) and a sausage roll.

    ‘I started out making a KFC cake and the reaction to it was wild,’ she said.

    ‘People kept saying to me how amazing they thought it was after I posted a photo of it online. Someone turned up to collect a chicken cake and they were here for 20 minutes and said they couldn’t believe how realistic it looked.

    ‘I’m really proud, it’s brilliant to see peoples faces when they come and get it.’

    In fact, the mother-of-four’s skills are so advance that her own children confuse the cakes for real takeaway meals.

    A KFC bucket with chicken wings, beans, gravy, chips and corn with butter - all made from cake
    It comes with all the sides (Picture: Caters)
    Fish & chips with mushy peas on a plate, with all the ingredients made from cake
    Selina’s kids sometimes confuse the cakes for real meals (Picture: Caters)

    She said: ‘The kids often pick up chips and pieces of chicken thinking they’re real.

    ‘They’re never very impressed when they turn out to be cake.’

    If you’re feeling inspired to make your own fast food cakes, prepare to put in the work.

    The minor details, such as chips and lettuce leafs, can take hours, while each cake takes days to finish.

    A Big Mac, fries and ketchup dip on a table-top, all made from cake
    The cakes takes days to make (Picture: Caters)
    Kebab in pita bread and cheesy chips - made from cake
    The cost of a takeaway creation varies depending on size, but ranges from £100 to £250 (Picture: Caters)

    Selina said: ‘The batter for chicken or fish is made from rice krispies and marshmallows, which I’ll then brush to add colour.

    ‘I make the chips using shortbread and style them to make them look like they’re fried.

    ‘They’re quite complex to make. Something like a burger is quite time-consuming as you have to make each lettuce leaf individually, as well as the burger buns.’

    Unfortunately, the resemblance of the cakes doesn’t stretch to the price.

    The cost varies depending on the size of the treat, but ranges from £100 to £250.

    Then again, the look on your friends’ faces as they bite into a cake chip will be priceless.

    MORE: Aldi’s six-litre bottle of prosecco is back next week

    MORE: There’s a bank that gives out ice cream with an ATM that dispenses free toppings

    MORE: Lidl launches wine tasting in the dark experiences across the UK


    Bakers makes fast food-shaped cakesBakers makes fast food-shaped cakes

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    Bottle of wine (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)
    Our diarist this week loves a wee cocktail (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

    It’s an odd paradox that we often refer to alcohol as the ‘demon drink’, while simultaneously having it around at all the happiest moments of our lives (weddings, birthdays, the lot).

    This complicated relationship with alcohol often goes unnoticed as we head for Sunday afternoon pints or sink a few glasses in front of the telly of an evening.

    Although it’s not always a problem as such, it can become problematic if we’re drinking without thinking, or constantly heading out for ‘just the one’ and losing the next day to a pounding headache.

    That’s why we started Spill It, a weekly drinking diary that blows open the secretive world of people’s regular drinking habits.

    This week, we spoke to Rosalind, a 31-year-old from Dublin who manages a salon.

    Friday

    After a stressful day off, I grabbed a bottle of wine on the way home. There was nobody home when I got in so I cracked up the bottle and relaxed watching Netflix. Had the bottle over about an hour and a half, was very relaxed and had an early night.

    Units: 10

    Saturday

    Myself and my partner went out for dinner. It’s our weekly date night, once spent in the pub but we have little interest in Saturday nights out anymore.

    I ordered a bottle of Pinot Grigio, he drank beer. We had a lovely evening, and both left to go home. We didn’t drink anymore when we got home.

    Units: 10

    Sunday

    I met my friend in the city for brunch. Bottomless brunch and we totally abused the bottomless mimosas on offer over the 2.5 hours we were there.

    She is having a very hard time at the moment so we just had a good catch up. After brunch we went to our local watering hole near our work. We had two more drinks, gin for her, wine for me. I made my way home and my partner picked me up from the train station.

    We had decided we would go see The Joker that night. We were early for the movie so we went to a hotel bar while we waited and I had two glasses of Pinot Grigio.

    Units: 27 (we used an upper estimate of 10 mimosas)

    Monday

    I am absolutely exhausted all day long and promise myself I’ll take myself to my favourite cocktail bar after work.

    I leave work at finishing time and made my way to Dawson Street in Dublin. It’s my favourite street to go for drinks on. I started off in my local bar and had a glass of wine. The atmosphere was dead and it was just really quiet so I left.

    I walked to the cocktail bar, they have a vast menu and are very creative with the presentation, it is more like a show than just going for drinks. Here I had four cocktails, each more delicious than the last.

    I left after cocktail number four to catch my train.

    Units: 8.6

    Tuesday

    I didn’t drink at all

    Units: 0

    Wednesday

    Another friend left her job yesterday so after work I joined her to celebrate. It was a tame affair, I had three pints of cider and a vodka and Diet Coke. I left early and went straight home.

    Units: 10

    Thursday

    Last day in work this week and I am hanging for the weekend. Partner really wants to go out but I’m not in the mood so we compromised on a date night.

    He has some Bush Mills whiskey and I grabbed a bottle of Cava Brut in M&S on the way home. We are going to enjoy our drinks, watch Netflix eat take away and hopefully be in bed by midnight.

    Units: 9

    Total units this week: 74.6

    Total units in a week recommended by the NHS: 14 units (for anybody regardless of gender).

    Spill It is a weekly series out every Friday. To get involved email jessica.lindsay@metro.co.uk.

    MORE: I’m 10 years into my transition and I still face transphobia every day

    MORE: Woman’s PrettyLittleThing Halloween devil horns get stuck on her head


    Spill It: What a 31-year-old beauty salon manager drinks in a weekSpill It: What a 31-year-old beauty salon manager drinks in a week

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    You can now by heated dumpling slippers for cosy winter evenings
    The genius creation (Pictures: Smoko/Getty)

    During winter, nothing beats snuggling up with a glass of wine in some cosy slippers, and one brand has taken its footwear to a new level.

    Los Angeles brand SMOKO has launched a pair of heated slippers, which come in the form of a humanistic dumping.

    Dumplings are known for being warm and squishy – so the combination seems like a match made in heaven.

    The cute, cloud-like dumpling slippers have a USB feature, which heats the insides of the shoes.

    On its website, SMOKO advises to plug the slippers in before you’re planning to wear them. This gives them time to heat up. Then step into them once they are nice and toasty.

    They’re only available to buy in one size, but according to the website ‘one size fits most.’

    SMOKO's dumpling slippers
    You could be this cosy (Picture: SMOKO)

    Anyone looking to get their their hands on a pair of the cutesy slippers can find them on the SMOKO website. They’re available to pre-order now and are priced at $35 – which equates to almost £28.

    Despite being a US brand, SMOKO does worldwide shipping with the option to deliver to the UK and most places in Europe.

    The only downside is that UK shipping comes in at around £18 on top.

    However, a few of SMOKO’s other products can be found in Urban Outfitters and we’re predicting it won’t be long until the winter warmers land in UK stores soon.

    The cosy slippers are just one component of SMOKO’s dumpling range. An air purifier, keyring, mug and picnic blanket are a few other products to feature in the collection.

    SMOKO's corgi slippers
    Why not try and adorable corgi pair (Picture: SMOKO)

    Anyone who pays a visit to the SMOKO website will also find a selection of animal-inspired heated slippers including corgi, sloth, narwhal and unicorn versions.

    MORE: You could be paid £4k a year to trial slippers for a footwear company

    MORE: Vetements is selling £680 teddy bear slippers for anyone dedicated to the snug life

    MORE: You can have slippers made to look just like your dog


    You can now by heated dumpling slippers for cosy winter eveningsYou can now by heated dumpling slippers for cosy winter evenings

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    A Cadbury's Easter tin on a colourful background
    It’s never too early to start planning, right? (Picture: Cadbury)

    While most of us are dreaming of the treasures we’ll score on the annual Halloween trick-or-treat round, Cadbury’s is planning for the future.

    It might just be October, but the chocolate brand has already announced its Easter range for 2020.

    The news was shared on Facebook, where fans vocalised their dismay as one person said ‘Let’s wait for Christmas first’.

    Indeed, Cadbury’s may well have taken inspiration from the December holiday as two of the main products in the Easter collection include large tubs of Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs – emulating popular tubs of Quality Street during the jolly season.

    It’s not yet been revealed whether the tubs will have miniature eggs or if they’ll be full-size.

    Other treats feature a Peter Rabbit chocolate bar made from orange mousse, an orange chocolate Bournville Easter egg and a coffee-flavoured ‘Choca-Latte’ egg.

    The Cadbury Dairy Milk Choca-Latte egg for Easter
    The Choca-Latte egg will set you back £9.99 (Picture: Cadbury)
    The Cadbury Bournville orange Easter egg
    The new range features tubs of creme eggs, a Peter Rabbit bar and two large eggs (Picture: Cadbury)

    The company has yet to announce an official release date, but the reaction to the new announcement has been mixed.

    One person was concerned that the early launch would take the fun out of holiday-themed treats.

    ‘All these goodies will soon be available all year round and nothing will be special anymore,’ they commented.

    Someone else agreed that it was too soon: ‘Not even Halloween and they’re already advertising Easter!.’

    According to Cadbury, the products will hit the shelves at the beginning of next year and some people were thrilled.

    One person said: ‘Shame they’re not going to be available for Christmas, they would make a fortune, much better than Roses or Quality Street!’

    ‘I reckon we could do these in one sitting,’ commented someone else.

    As for the prices, the tubs will retail at £5.99, while the Peter Rabbit bar will sell for 65p.

    Out of the two eggs, the Bournville one is cheapest at £3.99 and the special coffee delight will cost you £9.99.

    MORE: Mum shares trick to keep avocados green and ready to eat year-round

    MORE: There’s a bank that gives out ice cream with an ATM that dispenses free toppings

    MORE: Lidl launches wine tasting in the dark experiences across the UK


    Cadbury's baffle fans by releasing their EASTER range in OctoberCadbury's baffle fans by releasing their EASTER range in October

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    A close-up of the charity advent calendar with one door open, which reads: 'Today you have helped provide tools and training for an impoverished family in India to earn money by raising their own chickens'
    Each door features a different good deed (Picture: Advent of Change)

    We all seem to be a little kinder around Christmas.

    In the spirit of the holiday, Advent of Change – a not-for-profit organisation – has launched an alternative advent calendar where the treat you receive every day is to help other people.

    Behind each door – which is worth £1 or 50p – hides a charitable cause, which you will have contributed to by purchasing the calendar.

    For instance, you will improve mental health services for young people and pay towards sick, injured and homeless pets getting treatment and care, as well as assisting an impoverished family in India in getting the tools and training they need to raise their own chickens.

    All proceeds from the calendar will go towards charities such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Teenage Cancer Trust, The Willow Foundation and The Rainbow Trust, barring costs for printing and packaging.

    ‘We’ve seen a real increase in unique and unusual advent calendars – it seemed you could get one for almost anything, from food and beauty products to toys, socks and even pork scratchings!,’ Kristina Salceanu, founder of Advent of Change, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘At the time I had just started volunteering for a charity and everyone I mentioned this to was also looking for ways to help and wanting to do more to help others – but didn’t know how, or who to – and in busy modern world there was no “easy” way to do this.

    ‘The product was born from an interest in merging these two ideas – giving people an easy and “Instagrammable” mechanism to give to charity, in a way that was really on-trend and appealed to the current market.

    ‘I quickly realised that a charitable advent calendar didn’t seem to exist in this way, and that the idea was unique. The potential felt so huge in my head if I didn’t start Advent of Change, it felt as if I was taking money AWAY from the charities!’

    Charity advent calendar from Advent for Change placed on a windowsill
    There are 24 doors to open (Picture: Advent of Change)

    There’s also a children’s version which features ‘softer, simpler wording’ and ‘age-appropriate charities’, such as helping clean up plastic from the UK’s shores or ensuring that a sick child gets the medicine they need.

    The organisation wants to be as inclusive as possible, and so has also recently launched a braille advent calendar.

    Kristina said: ‘I hope that through Advent of Change we can introduce charitable giving to a new market, and bring important issues to light.

    ‘We’re here to create a new channel for charitable giving, which embraces the power of retail at Christmas and harnesses that to make a huge positive impact on the world.

    ‘We’re also very conscious of the amount of waste associated with Christmas, and ensure our products are eco-friendly. The calendars are made from FSC approved card, and wrapped in a potato starch plastic alternative – compostable in 12 weeks!’

    Fancy helping others this Christmas? The adult charity calendar will set you back £29.95 and is available in John Lewis & Partner stores nationwide, while the children’s version (£16.95) can be purchased in Waitrose.

    You can also buy all of the calendars online through the Advent of Change website.

    It’s all for a good cause, which is exactly what the season is about.

    MORE: Primark is selling an amazing wooden Harry Potter Hogwarts Express train advent calendar for £15

    MORE: Debenhams launches £45 beauty advent calendar worth £190

    MORE: Marks & Spencer launches advent calendar filled with jewellery for £19.50


    advent calendar charity-f66aadvent calendar charity-f66a

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    wine crackers
    They’re back (Picture: Virgin Wines)

    There are just 60 days to go before the big day, but no Christmas would be complete without lashings of Prosecco and a stupid amount of crackers.

    But one company has combined the two festive treats into one superb Christmassy product.

    Following a roaring success last year, Virgin Wines have launched their Prosecco Christmas Crackers for 2019.

    The brand have swapped traditional plastic toys (which have huge environmental concerns anyway) for a lovely bottle of bubbly.

    Of course, in order for it to fit inside a cracker, it’s a mini 20cl bottle of Prosecco.

    Prosecco Christmas Crackers
    What a treat (Picture: Virgin Wines)

    But traditional folk can stay rest assured, each cracker contains a Christmas hat and cheesy joke for the whole family to enjoy.

    The crackers come in packs of six and cost £34.99 for a set, with free delivery. It works out to about £5.80 per cracker.

    If Prosecco isn’t your tipple of choice, the brand also have two other types of boozy cracker.

    Virgin Wines Wine Christmas cracker
    A vino version (Picture: Virgin Wines)

    Virgin Wines also have Wine Christmas Crackers. Each set of six comes with a 187ml bottle of wine, including an Argentinian Malbec and a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

    The final type of cracker on offer is a gin and tonic version.

    Each one contains a double shot of premium gin, with leading brands such as Bombay Sapphire and Whitley Neill making an appearance in the set. Every cracker also contains a can of Fever Tree tonic water.

    The gin crackers are priced at £34.99 for six, whereas the wine ones are slightly cheaper at £29.99 for a set.

    According to the company’s website, the grown-up crackers will ‘probably make the jokes a bit more bearable as well.’

    MORE: You can now get cheese Christmas crackers set to transform your festive table

    MORE: A gigantic asteroid is heading our way and will arrive at Earth just before Christmas

    MORE: John Lewis and Waitrose will no longer sell plastic toys in Christmas crackers


    Prosecco Christmas crackers are back for 2019Prosecco Christmas crackers are back for 2019

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    Terra before and after
    Terra lost all her fur (Picture: RSPCA /SWNS.COM)

    A puppy who lost all of her fur due to mange – a skin disease caused by mites – now looks unrecognisable after she was nursed back to health.

    Vet assistant Jessie DeFreitas fell in love with little Terra, despite the poor pup suffering from such a bad skin condition that all her fur had fallen out.

    But now, thanks to the 21-year-old’s dedication and love, Terra looks like an Instagram model dog after being nursed back to full health.

    Jessie was shocked when she first saw Terra, who was brought in by her owners, who weren’t taking care of her.

    She said: ‘Everyone at the vet knows I’m a huge animal lover.

    ‘When I was told we had a new dog, I had to see her.

    ‘She may have had mange, but she had beautiful eyes.

    Terra with mange
    She suffered badly with mange (Picture: RSPCA /SWNS.COM)

    ‘The vet said if the dog wasn’t signed over to them, she wouldn’t have survived.

    ‘She needed constant care.

    ‘I asked to foster the dog. My mum asked if I was sure because we already have four cats and another rescue dog at home.

    ‘But everyone knows I love animals. At the vets I’m constantly asking about people’s pets.’

    Jessie, from Crawley, West Sussex, brought Terra back home in August.

    In a short three months, the dog went from angry and biting to ‘kind and sweet’.

    She said: ‘I am a massive animal lover – a massive sucker for the cute ones, especially. I fell in love with her from the beginning.

    Terra with all her fur
    Now all of her fur has grown back (Picture: RSPCA /SWNS.COM)

    ‘When we first brought her home, she was a playful biter. Her original name, Honey, didn’t fit her at all.

    ‘To me, Honey is sweet and she is not.

    ‘My mum named her Terra with an ‘a’ because it fit her better – she can be a little terror.’

    Terra fully recovered from the mange and she’s now a playful little puppy.

    Jessie said: ‘She’s recovered really well. You can see it in her eyes – she’s become happier and happier.

    ‘She’s amazing. She’s just the kindest and sweetest thing.’

    MORE: There’s now an advent calendar that lets you donate to a good cause every day

    MORE: You can now buy heated dumpling slippers for cosy winter evenings


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    Autistic man unable to communicate about his distressing eczema finds relief in £4 moisturiser
    Angelo’s arm before trying the cream (Picture: Anna Kennedy)

    The picture above shows the arm of Angelo Kennedy.

    The 26-year-old from Uxbridge has suffered with eczema like this for most of his life, with the pain getting so bad at some points that he’d wear up to seven pairs of socks to keep himself from itching his skin.

    It’s a situation many people with eczema can relate to, with the condition often leaving people distressed and uncomfortable.

    However, for Angelo, things were even harder, as his verbal skills mean he struggles to communicate the pain he often feels.

    Angelo’s mum Anna Kennedy OBE, 59, says: ‘Angelo is profoundly affected by his autism and his sensory difficulties and minimal verbal skills mean that his eczema is all the more distressing for him. It’s triggered by very hot or very cold weather, so the heatwave this summer was a struggle.

    ‘He’s suffered from it his whole life, ever since he was a baby and had cradle cap on his scalp. At the time, someone recommended I use olive oil to soften the skin, but it made his hair fall out! To this day he still has a little patch where his hair never grew back.

    Autistic man unable to communicate about his distressing eczema finds relief in £4 moisturiser
    Angelo struggles with verbal communication (Picture: Anna Kennedy)

    ‘As he got older, he needed the labels cutting out of his clothes and he’d wear layers and layers of socks everyday so that the pressure would alleviate the itching on the backs of his knees. Now, the eczema has followed him into adulthood and we’ve tried everything to help sooth it, but so far nothing had helped.’

    It was then that Anna, who is an educator and charity chair who has worked to provide improved education facilities for children with autism spectrum disorders, turned to her Twitter followers for help.

    Autistic man unable to communicate about his distressing eczema finds relief in £4 moisturiser
    Deborah Meaden recommended the brand to Anna on Twitter (Picture: Anna Kennedy)

    Among her large Twitter following was businesswoman Deborah Meaden, who recommended a £4 moisturiser by family toiletries brand, Good Bubble, which she partnered with after founder Amy Wordsworth appeared on Dragon’s Den.

    Anna said: ‘I thought I might as well give it a go, so I tried both the moisturiser and the bubble bath.’

    Autistic man unable to communicate about his distressing eczema finds relief in £4 moisturiser
    The products cost under £5 (Picture: Good Bubble)

    ‘Within a few days of using it on Angelo’s skin, I noticed that it had really soothed the eczema and calmed it down. It looked so much better! There was less inflammation, Angelo wasn’t scratching anymore and overall, he was far more settled.’

    We’re often seeing so-called ‘miracle cures’ for eczema, and we always caveat this with the fact that there is currently no ‘cure’ for it, but there are products that might help clear up symptoms.

    Autistic man unable to communicate about his distressing eczema finds relief in £4 moisturiser
    Angelo’s arm after using the moisturiser for some time (Picture: Anna Kennedy)

    For Angelo, it was the mix of cottonseed and aloe vera in Good Bubble’s baby moisturiser, which is normally used on children, but works on everyone.

    Amy Wordsworth, founder of Good Bubble, added: ‘Eczema can be distressing at the best of times, so I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for Angelo not being able to communicate his frustrations.

    ‘I’m so thrilled our baby moisturiser has helped him to better cope with his sensitive skin and that we’ve been able to help Anna’s family after all the amazing things she’s done to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders.’

    MORE: There’s now an advent calendar that lets you donate to a good cause every day

    MORE: Cadbury announces its Easter range for next year and people are confused


    Autistic man unable to communicate about his distressing eczema finds relief in ?4 moisturiser, recommended to his mum by Deborah MeadenAutistic man unable to communicate about his distressing eczema finds relief in ?4 moisturiser, recommended to his mum by Deborah Meaden

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    Three pumpkins carved with stencils of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
    Make your pumpkin political this year (Picture: Groupon)

    The Brexit deadline for 31 October may be up in the air, but if you’re finding the UK’s political landscape particularly scary at the moment, why not use it as inspiration for Halloween?

    Groupon has released a special pumpkin-carving kit so you can decorate your doorstep with a carving of your favourite – or most loathed – political figure.

    Skip the ghosts, witches or generally creepy expressions, and replace them with designs of five famous faces.

    There’s something for everyone – choose from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Speaker of The House of Commons, John Bercow, Lib Dems leader Jo Swinson or perhaps you’d prefer Nigel Farage, leader of The Brexit Party, to scare children on their trick-or-treat round.

    The ‘Westmonsters’ kits, as they’re called, came about following research by Groupon on the country’s feelings towards Brexit.

    According to the study, over half of 2,000 participants are ‘more scared’ of Brexit discussions than of spiders (41%), ghosts (24%) and clowns (19%).

    Five pumpkins with carvings of the faces of Jo Swinson, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
    Which face will it be? (Picture: Groupon)

    Nearly six in 10 people also said their ‘biggest fear’ is that the Brexit negotations will never end.

    Out of the five leaders mentioned, Jeremy Corbyn was considered the ‘scariest’ (25%) but Boris Johnson wasn’t far behind (22%).

    Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage nabbed the third spot with 16% of the votes, followed by John Bercow (7%) and Jo Swinson (5%).

    So, fancy making your pumpkin political this year?

    The kits feature downloadable paper stencils in a PDF, created by professional pumpkin carvers, Sand In Your Eye, as well as feature tips and tricks on how to perfect your skills.

    As part of the purchase, and in an effort to reduce waste, each customer will also receive two recipes on how to cook with the leftover pumpkin pulp.

    No instruments are included but the kits are free to download, so you’re not really losing out either way.

    So, which face will it be?

    MORE: Woman’s PrettyLittleThing Halloween devil horns get stuck on her head

    MORE: Starbucks is releasing a vegan black Phantom Frappuccino for Halloween, and it’s available in the UK

    MORE: You could earn £100 to dress as Pennywise and scare your friends this Halloween


    Groupon launches Westmonsters; a range of political pumpkin carving kits ahead of Halloween and Brexit dayGroupon launches Westmonsters; a range of political pumpkin carving kits ahead of Halloween and Brexit day

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    KFC is selling an 80 piece popcorn chicken bucket
    KFC is selling a 80-piece popcorn chicken bucket (Picture: HotUKdeals)

    Just when we thought KFC had done everything humanly possible with chicken, it’s been announced that the fast food giant is trialling a brand new item.

    The fried chicken chain is now selling an enormous 80-piece bucket of their popular popcorn chicken. The promotion was revealed last night on discount site hotukdeals.com.

    If that wasn’t enough to tempt hungry customers, the gigantic bucket will be priced at just £5.99, which works out as less than 8p per piece. It’s also cheaper than their popular Zinger box meal.

    Popcorn chicken boxes usually cost £3.99, with less than half the amount of chicken, so there are some significant savings to be had.

    KFC 80 piece bucket
    Get stuck in (Picture: HotUKdeals)

    However, there is one slight catch.

    KFC have revealed that the tasty offer will only be available in Glasgow until 17 November, due to the fact that it’s part of a trial.

    The ten participating Glasgow branches include Kilkcaldy Central Retail Park, Hamilton Palace Grounds Retail Park, Dunfermline – Fife Leisure Park, Falkirk – Callandar Road, Cumbernauld – South Muirhead Road, Wishaw – Glasgow Road, Glasgow – Nitshill Rd, London Rd, Motherwell and Rutherglen.

    KFC offering 80 pieces of popcorn chicken for ?5.99
    A tasty deal (Picture: HotUKdeals)

    Of course fast food fans were quick to comment on the new deal.

    One posted on hotdeals.uk: ‘I ate loads! Had to change hands, Still got 25+ left! And this was full to the top! and I can’t eat any more.’

    Another commented: ‘Was even better for me… used my £5 voucher to make it 99p.’

    The news comes after KFC announced a wave of discounts, including a boneless banquet for £5.49 (usually £6.49), a hot wings bucket with 20 wings for £5.99, two fillet burgers for £6 (usually £7.98) and a 12 piece dipping boneless feast for £16 (usually £18.99).

    MORE: Attention, KFC fans: The hot wings bucket deal is back

    MORE: Hunt for gang who used ‘pepper spray’ in homophobic attack at KFC and bus stop

    MORE: KFC releases a fried chicken and doughnut sandwich


    KFC is selling a 80-piece popcorn chicken bucketKFC is selling a 80-piece popcorn chicken bucket

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    Donna Mitchell with her son six-year-old Reece
    Reece has lost almost all of his vocabulary (Picture: SWNS)

    A little boy has forgotten almost everything he has learned in his short life after being diagnosed with dementia at the age of five.

    Now six years old, Reece Mitchell has only one word left in his vocabulary: mummy.

    Reece started having seizures when he was a toddler, which at first doctors linked to the fact he has autism. However, later tests showed it was something more serious.

    Reece slowly began to lose his ability to communicate, drink and walk and now he can only eat pureed food and utter a single word.

    He has Batten’s disease – a rare form of childhood dementia which has no cure and offers a life expectancy of just 12 years.

    Single-mum Donna, 46, from North Kessock, Scotland, is devastated but has vowed to remain positive and make the most of what little time Reece has left.

    She said: ‘Despite being just six, Reece has taught us more about life and love than anyone.

    ‘Unfortunately you only properly appreciate life when it’s threatened, and Reece is losing a little more of his life with every day.

    ‘I occasionally see a glimmer of the old Reece, when he lets out a cheeky smile or reaches for my hand, but this disease has stolen his character and his spark – I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.’

    Reece was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, but the diagnosis didn’t affect him, and he hit milestones in nursery like any other child his age.

    Six-year-old Reece Mitchell who has Batten's disease - a rare form of childhood dementia which has no cure and offers a devastating life expectancy of just 12-years-old. See SWNS story SWTPbatten. .A young boy has forgotten almost everything he?s learned in his short life, after being struck down with dementia ? aged just SIX. Reece Mitchell has just one word left in his vocabulary ? mummy ? after being diagnosed with the childhood condition Batten?s disease, which is robbing him of his childhood and has already caused him to go blind. Single-mum Donna, 46, from North Kessock, Scotland, initially thought Reece?s symptoms were down to his autism, but doctors soon diagnosed the extremely rare form of childhood dementia. The little-known condition, which also causes frequent seizures, has no cure, and children with the condition rarely live to the age of 12.
    He can now only say ‘mummy’ (Picture: SWNS)

    In January 2017 however, he started to suffer from worrying seizures, which got increasingly worse and more frequent as time went on.

    Donna, who worked with adults with special needs, had to give up work in order to take care of Reece full-time.

    But her work with people with special needs helped to highlight the problems her own son was having.

    ‘I could tell the symptoms Reece was experiencing were more than just autism,’ said Donna, who has daughters Courtney, 26, and Alexandra, 16.

    ‘We’d had a lot of training with work and the seizures seemed out of character so I knew we had to see the doctor.’

    Reece was suffering from the severe seizures around four or five times a day and often through the night, meaning Donna had no choice but to make Reece sleep in her room.

    His behaviour was also getting more erratic, and he would occasionally become very aggressive, which mum Donna described as ‘completely out of character’.

    Doctors referred Reece for an EEG brain scan, and later an MRI – neither of which highlighted anything to be overly concerned about.

    But a round of blood tests in July 2018 picked up that Reece had a metabolic storage disorder – which left the family with a long list of possibilities.

    Donna Mitchell with her son six-year-old Reece who has Batten's disease - a rare form of childhood dementia which has no cure and offers a devastating life expectancy of just 12-years-old. See SWNS story SWTPbatten. .A young boy has forgotten almost everything he?s learned in his short life, after being struck down with dementia ? aged just SIX. Reece Mitchell has just one word left in his vocabulary ? mummy ? after being diagnosed with the childhood condition Batten?s disease, which is robbing him of his childhood and has already caused him to go blind. Single-mum Donna, 46, from North Kessock, Scotland, initially thought Reece?s symptoms were down to his autism, but doctors soon diagnosed the extremely rare form of childhood dementia. The little-known condition, which also causes frequent seizures, has no cure, and children with the condition rarely live to the age of 12.
    Donna wants to make the most of her time with her son (Picture: SWNS)

    ‘We didn’t know what it was straight away, just a list of things it could be,’ Donna said.

    ‘I couldn’t help but look on Google at what we might be facing.

    ‘There was one condition – Batten’s disease – that ticked all of Reece’s symptoms, and although I never mentioned to anyone, I knew that was the diagnosis we were going to receive.’

    A routine eye exam in August found that Reece was severely visually impaired, which he hadn’t been able to tell his mum about as he had already started losing his speech.

    In September 2018, doctors confirmed that Reece had Batten’s disease, a rare form of childhood dementia.

    ‘I had never heard of it before that summer, and although I was prepared having done my research, it was still a shock to hear it out loud,’ Donna said.

    The condition – which affects an estimated 100-150 children in the UK – has no cure and offers a devastating life expectancy of just 12 years old – with only 50 having the same strain as Reece, known as CLN2.

    It leaves children suffering cognitive impairment, seizures, and progressive loss of sight and motor skills.

    Early symptoms of the terminal illness appear between the ages of five and 10 years and parents have no choice but to endure the agony of helplessly watching their child’s rapid decline.

    ‘We weren’t going to wallow in self-pity and I refuse to be sad while he’s still here,’ Donna said.

    ‘The girls and I will enjoy the time we have left with him, and have already been lucky enough to go on some amazing trips.’

    Last December, the family visited Lapland thanks to a local charity called Mikeysline, and Make a Wish have also gifted them a visit to Knockhill Race Track so Reece could enjoy his love of cars first hand.

    They have also been invited to the fire station and police station, where Reece has met his heroes and pretended to drive in the engines.

    ‘It’s amazing to see his eyes light up when we go to these events,’ Donna said.

    ‘It doesn’t happen very often but I know my little boy is still in there, even if it’s deep down.

    ‘As with all dementia sufferers, Reece can display very difficult behaviours.

    ‘But you can tell he tries so hard, which I appreciate more than anything.

    ‘I still count our blessings because he’s doing really well despite it all and compared to other children with the disease.’

    The Batten Disease Family Association has been pivotal in providing the family and everyone involved in Reece’s care with information to help them cope with the changes he is going through.

    He attends a specialist school which helps to keep both his and mum Donna’s life as ‘normal as possible’.

    Donna with Reece when few days old. Donna Mitchell with her son six-year-old Reece who has Batten's disease - a rare form of childhood dementia which has no cure and offers a devastating life expectancy of just 12-years-old. See SWNS story SWTPbatten. .A young boy has forgotten almost everything he?s learned in his short life, after being struck down with dementia ? aged just SIX. Reece Mitchell has just one word left in his vocabulary ? mummy ? after being diagnosed with the childhood condition Batten?s disease, which is robbing him of his childhood and has already caused him to go blind. Single-mum Donna, 46, from North Kessock, Scotland, initially thought Reece?s symptoms were down to his autism, but doctors soon diagnosed the extremely rare form of childhood dementia. The little-known condition, which also causes frequent seizures, has no cure, and children with the condition rarely live to the age of 12.
    Donna with Reece at a few days old (Picture: SWNS)

    ‘Reece is now completely blind which makes him totally dependent on me and his carers,’ Donna said.

    ‘He can’t walk either, so is confined to a buggy, and he’s lost all of his words – but he still knows “mummy” which never fails to make me smile.’

    The condition is inherited, with both parents having to be carriers of the faulty gene.

    Both Courtney and Alexandra decided to be tested, but won’t have the results back for a while.

    Eventually, Reece will lose every skill he has learnt in his short life, ending up bed-ridden and without the ability to express himself at all.

    He currently eats pureed food and has to receive his liquids through a feeding tube, but will eventually need all food through his stomach peg when he forgets how to swallow.

    ‘As much as this is awful – and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy – despite being six, Reece has taught me more about life and love than anybody else,’ Donna said.

    ‘As his mum, I know he’s still in there somewhere, and I will do my absolute best to make the time he has left as special as possible for him.’

    MORE: A puppy who lost all of her fur because of a skin disease now looks like a dog model

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    a little girl holding a carved halloween pumpkin
    Your pumpkins will be, erm, lit (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

    Halloween, aka definitely the most important holiday of the year, is almost upon us.

    For those of us who have an affinity for the macabre, the costumes, the parties, or just love any excuse to eat a copious amount of sweets, Halloween is one of the most important holidays in the calendar.

    In many households, the run-up to Halloween is treated in a similar way to Christmastime, with people adorning their houses with decorations like fake cobwebs, skeletons and, of course, a pumpkin or two.

    But coming up with the right pumpkin carving idea can be tough – after all, you can’t exactly rub out your mistakes or start again if you change your mind halfway through!

    As those of us who love a good scare dive headfirst into the most wonderful time of the year, we’ve put together some pumpkin carving Hallowinspo for anyone who doesn’t fancy doing the same zig-zag mouth again this year…

    Pumpkin carving ideas for Halloween 2019

    Scary in a totally different way, puking pumpkins (centre in the above Insta snap) are enduringly popular and pretty easy to pull off at home – all you need to do is keep the innards of your pumpkin and make it appear as if they’re coming out of its mouth. Delightful!

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B4CVP2NgPum/

    Subtly unsettling for reasons hard to describe, getting a tiny personified pumpkin for your bigger personified pumpkin to eat can be as creepy or as kid-friendly as you make it.

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    If you’d rather avoid the sticky mess but still want to get involved with decorating, you could always paint over your pumpkins, rather than carving them up. What’s not to love about a doughnut-inspired pumpkin at Halloween?

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    If you prefer lols to creeps, you could also add hair, stickers and any other accoutrements you feel like if you want to make your pumpkin serve some realness.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B33KxZ_JV8k/

    If you want to go for the classic creepy pumpkin face, a great way to make it as scary as possible is to focus on how you carve the mouth – you can really drive the creep factor up by carving some intimidating teeth.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B3vZUKFJoZ0/

    Sometimes simply carving a choice word or two into your pumpkin can also do the trick… And the best thing about carving ‘Brexit’ into your orange squash is that as well as being a creative carve, it doubles up as being super scary.

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

    MORE: Kate Middleton spotted in Sainsbury’s buying Halloween costumes for George and Charlotte


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    We’ve all dated some real dogs in our time, but this time around the idea is actually a promising one.

    Blue Cross organised a speed dating event for pups and potential owners in the hopes that inspiring date-like question will mean that more dogs get the right homes they deserve.

    As part of Furst Dates, humans asked dogs (their owners or handlers) questions about their needs, making sure that they were a match before deciding to be together.

    While it’s all a bit of fun on the surface, it promotes an extremely important message.

    Countless dogs are abandoned in their first year in a new home, due to the fact their new owners didn’t research the breed and what was required.

    This can include everything from activity levels to the best food to feed them, with the dog you want not always matching up to the dog you can feasibly care for.

    It’s unlikely you’ll be able to make like us and have a sit down meal with your pooch before adopting, but when you visit a shelter, make sure to ask the staff there some questions and get to know the dog to see if you’d be a fit.

    Blue Cross Furst Dates with a dog
    Netflix and kibble? (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    You might think that pugs are the most adorable dogs going, but not be able to finance the care that may come with having a brachycephalic pet. You may want a dog similar to the German Shepherd your nana had, but are unable to accommodate the huge amounts of activity you need. Chihuahuas might be your favourite dog to watch videos of online, but you have to leave your pup at home during the day which is at odds with their needy nature.

    Basically, it’s about understanding that any dog you get will be a brand new household companion and has a mind of its own. They’re not there for your entertainment, and have a wide variety of specific needs.

    So, get to grips with that beforehand in the form of a doggy date, and you can ensure you’ll have a long and happy pairing.

    You can find out more about the right breeds for you on the Blue Cross website.

    Questions to ask (about) your dog

    • Do you prefer long walks on the beach or cosy nights in?
    • What hobbies do you have?
    • I don’t think I’m ready for another needy relationship, how much attention do you need?
    • What sets you apart from all these other studs?
    • I can’t deal with a pup who takes longer in the bathroom than me… What’s your grooming routine?
    • Are you a fussy eater?
    • They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, do you think this is true?
    • What’s your favourite toy?
    • Anger issues are a no from me. Can you promise our postman will be safe?
    • Would you say you’re more of a social butterfly or a lone wolf?
    • The dog park… Come here often?
    • Does it bother you that I’m a cat person, or could you learn to live with it (the cat, that is)?
    • You won’t go crazy and start chewing everything whenever I leave the house will you?
    • Are you a crier?
    • We may only be on our first date but I need to know, how do you feel about kids?
    • And what about road trips?
    • Are you food motivated?
    • Where do you sleep at night time? And how do you feel about snuggles?

    MORE: 6 easy scary, funny and rude pumpkin carving ideas for Halloween 2019

    MORE: KFC is selling an 80-piece popcorn chicken bucket for less than £6


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    It’s called the Theme Park Capital of the World because it’s home to exhilarating rides and unbeatable, world-famous water parks.

    But Orlando, the centrepiece of Florida, offers so much more – from incredible cuisine, non-stop sporting events and nightlife, to wonderful wildlife and nature trails.

    Add all these essential holiday ingredients to year-round sunshine, and you have the perfect mix for a winter break, just as dark nights roll in at home.

    Here, we reveal seven great reasons to jet to Orlando with British Airways from London Gatwick this winter…

    1. WORLD-CLASS ROLLER COASTERS AND ATTRACTIONS

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    From steep drops and gravity-defying twists to accelerated speeds and loop-the-loops, the world’s theme park capital is home to simply jaw-dropping roller coasters. Some of the biggest names in the theme park business can be found here, so whether you’re after breathtakingly fast rides, heart-stopping drops – or simply the chance to watch your friends scream their lungs out! – you’ll find there’s no better place to be. While you’re in town, don’t miss the chance to visit ICON Park, where you can take in an aerial view of Orlando on The Wheel or – just around the corner –  brave the world’s tallest swing ride, the Orlando Starflyer, which stands loud and proud 450ft above the city. Hold on tight!

    2. YEAR-ROUND SUNSHINE

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    Famous in part for being located in Florida, the Sunshine State, Orlando boasts a subtropical climate with year-round sunshine. With average highs of 23C over winter, you can explore Orlando’s year-round offerings, or just chill out by a pool and make the most of the winter sun. Explorer Island at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort is the perfect place to do just this and soak up some vitamin D.

    3. OUTDOOR ADVENTURES

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    Did you know Orlando is home to more than 100 lakes? Each and every one of them has something to offer the active traveller. From canoeing and paddle-boarding in Winter Park (also home to the Scenic Boat Tour, which takes you on a winding journey through the area’s many interconnected lakes), to clear-bottom kayaking at beautiful Rock Springs – and even air-boating through the bayous at Midway – there are plenty of things to be getting involved with. When you’re not out on the lakes, hire a bike and cycle along the iconic West Orange Trail, which takes you along the shores of Lake Apopka, where you can spot amazing birds, such as the speedy northern harrier and elegant black-necked stilt.

    4. AWARD-WINNING FOOD

    Sample some of Orlando’s famous seafood gems – Apalachicola oysters, Florida lobster and Key West pinks at Disney Springs’ Paddlefish restaurant. Theme parks are renowned for character dining and magical dinner shows, but Downtown Orlando is one of the ultimate go-to-spots for foodies. Cuisine is so crucial to Orlando culture that each February, the Downtown Food and Wine Festival features the best dishes from 30 of Orlando’s top restaurants. Orlando is also home to some of the leading connoisseurs of the culinary world; from Masaharu Morimoto’s Asian delights to Guy Fieri’s iconic burgers and sandwiches, you don’t need to travel far here to stumble upon something delicious. True foodies absolutely must visit Plant Street Market in Winter Garden, where they can indulge in a number of amazing foods from the likes of Jōdo Sushi and Michael’s Ali Coal Fired Pizza, and grab a locally brewed pint at Crooked Can Brewing Company.

    5. SPORTS AND SPORTING EVENTS

    With 170 world-class golf courses, a state-of-the-art tennis campus and miles of hiking terrain, it’s always ‘game on’ in Orlando. Immerse yourself in the state’s sport history by finding a bustling sports bar to watch the iconic Super Bowl in February. In January, the NFL Pro Bowl at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium brings an American football celebration to the city. Footie fans can’t miss the chance to see an MLS Orlando City Soccer match, while basketball-lovers won’t be able to resist watching the NBA Orlando Magic teams do their thing – c’mon, Orlando Magic!

    6. NIGHTLIFE

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    Live music, dance clubs, sleek lounges and spectacular Broadway performances are all part of Orlando’s eclectic nightlife. Wall Street Plaza is at the heart of Downtown Orlando, and is home to some amazing bars, from a trendy former moonshine warehouse called Hooch to the laid-back vibes of Waitiki, where you can slip off the street and into a beach-style haven with plenty of cocktails and great tunes. For a more cultural evening, drop by the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which has a rich calendar of world-famous singers, Broadway musicals and plays to enjoy throughout the year.

    7. WORLD-CLASS SHOPPING

    Orlando’s winter months are the perfect time to treat yourself to a shopping spree. The enormous malls, factory outlets and bespoke boutiques boast some of the best discounts and designer brands. Head to The Florida Mall or Orlando Premium Outlets to instantly transform your wardrobe and fill your suitcase with trendy must-haves. Or, for the ultimate luxury retail experience, visit The Mall at Millenia. Here, you’ll find the world’s top designer brands at every turn, not to mention some amazing restaurants to have a pitstop at when you’re all shopped out!

     

     

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    Flights + 7 nights hotel from £399pp.* Book online at ba.com/Orlando by Nov 23. Atol protected.

    *Subject to availability. Price stated is per person based on 2 adults sharing, inclusive of all airport taxes, fees and charges, and includes return flights (economy), from London Gatwick to Orlando International Airport and 7 nights accommodation at the Maingate Lakeside hotel on a room only board basis for selected travel between 6 January – 6 February 2020. Book by 23 November 2019. Price correct as of 9 October 2019. For full terms and conditions, visit ba.com/orlando. Holiday packages are protected under British Airways Holidays Ltd by the Civil Aviation Authority. The British Airways Holidays ATOL number is 5985. British Airways Holidays standard terms and conditions and conditions of carriage apply, please refer to ba.com.


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