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

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    Evie and her brother
    Evie is trying to raise the money for her brother (Picture: SWNS)

    A girl is designing Christmas cards to raise money for an accessible bedroom and bathroom for her disabled younger brother.

    Nine-year-old Evie Haynes has designed the cards to sell in local shops, to help raise £10,000 for an extension for her disabled brother.

    Evie loves to draw, and wanted to help out her five-year-old little brother Jack, who has cerebral palsy and has suffered from seizures all his life.

    Their mum Hayley Haines has applied for a £30,000 grant from Wiltshire Council for renovation work at their family home in Trowbridge, Wilts.

    They want to give Jack his own accessible bedroom and bathroom.

    But the family still need to raise a further £10,000 of their own before the work can take place.

    And little Evie wanted to get involved with helping her brother – so has drawn her own, colourful Christmas card design to sell at her school and in local shops.

    The Mead Primary School pupil said: ‘I wanted to help my brother Jack as he has trouble getting around.

    Evie with her cards
    She’s been designing some wonderful cards (Picture: Wiltshire Times / SWNS)

    ‘I enjoy drawing and wanted to be a part of the fundraising my mum is doing.’

    And mum-of-two Hayley said: ‘Evie loves doing her drawing and is really creative, and she was so keen to help her brother.

    ‘She is just an amazing big sister, and although a huge majority of my time is taken up by caring for Jack, she never complains and is always willing to help.

    ‘The number of times she has had to come to hospital with us in the middle of the night if Jack has had a seizure is too much to count.

    ‘But she still goes to school as normal the next day with a smile on her face.’

    Hayley added: ‘These home improvements would make life so much easier for all of us.

    ‘We live in a two-bedroom house, so at the moment Jack shares with me and Evie has her own space.

    ‘I would love for Jack to be able to be more independent and have his own room with a specialised bed and an accessible bathroom.

    ‘I also would love a ramp going into the garden as he just loves playing outside.’

    Now Evie’s Christmas cards have been designed, Hayley is hoping to find a company who will be willing to print them.

    She said: ‘I am really hoping someone or some company will be able to print maybe around 500 of them for us.

    ‘I do feel it is a lot to ask but if someone was willing to help it would mean so much to us.

    Evie and her brother
    She’s hoping to raise £10,000 (Picture: Wiltshire Times / SWNS)

    ‘The local Budgens store has already said we may be able to sell them there if we can get them printed, and Evie and Jack will both sell them at their school’s Christmas fairs.’

    Jack had his first seizure when he was just seven hours old. This caused his condition, as well as epilepsy and a tendency to suffer from life-threatening seizures.

    Over the past year Jack and his family have been in and out of hospital as he was having regular seizures, but he has now been put on new medication which has stabilised him.

    But he still has difficulties with his mobility and requires round-the-clock care.

    He receives visits from Julia’s House nurses to help him with his condition, but his mum has recently given up her job as a special needs nurses to be his full-time carer.

    Hayley added: ‘Jack is such a happy and social little boy. Despite his health and physical challenges he is a very determined and brave little boy.

    ‘Today Jack uses a walking frame and sometimes a wheelchair to get about.

    ‘Stairs can be a struggle especially when he is tired, which is why the extension would be so useful.’

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

    MORE: Boy diagnosed with dementia at 5 can only remember how to say ‘mummy’


    PRI_92225109PRI_92225109

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    Little Moons' new mochi balls in cookie dough flavour
    The new product launches on 28 October (Picture: Little Moons)

    If you’ve never tried a mochi ball, you’re in for a treat.

    Little Moons, which opened in 2010 with a mission to make the UK fall in love with the Japanese treat, has just announced that there’s a new flavour coming next week.

    Please welcome: cookie dough mochi balls.

    The ice cream bite will be made of the same base ingredients as the brand’s other balls – rice flour dough, that’s steamed and pounded, and covered in chewy chocolate chip cookie dough mochi (made from rice found in south east and south Asia).

    When you bite into it, you’ll get a mouthful of chocolate chip vanilla ice cream and you can eat your snack in peace, knowing that it doesn’t contain any artificial flavourings, colours of preservatives.

    The product will launch in Tesco on 28 October, but will also be available online through Ocado.

    To celebrate the new flavour, Little Moons is also hosting a cookie dough pop-up in London next month, but details are yet to be revealed.

    ‘Little Moons has re-invented how consumers can enjoy ice cream and with our new cookie dough line, we want to take on the competition by turning conventional thinking inside out,’ said co-founder Howard Wong, who started the company with his sister Vivien.

    ‘Why bury the star of the show inside ice cream when you can guarantee it with every bite?

    Don’t fancy this flavour or just can’t wait until next week to get your hands on a sweet treat?

    Give the other tastes a go, like the Sumatran Coconut or the Vegan Chocolate balls. Other options include Himalayan Salt Caramel, Alphonso Mango and Green Tea.

    Either way, there’s mochi to choose from (sorry).

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

    MORE: Prosecco Christmas crackers are back for 2019

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


    Mochi balls in coffee and creamMochi balls in coffee and cream

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    Split image of Leia Harrison. on one side looking in her fridge, the other posing for the camera
    Leia has given up mac ‘n’ cheese (Picture: Leia Harrison /SWNS.COM)

    A woman who feared she might have a brain tumour after suffering crippling migraines claims to have been cured by ditching her favourite food: mac ‘n’ cheese.

    Leia Harrison, 31, from Leicester, has a new lease on life after finding out about her intolerance to dairy products.

    Prior to the discovery, she had been plagued by chronic migraines for almost two decades, but even the strongest painkillers failed to reduce her agony.

    Her migraines brought on a strange ‘aura’ that temporarily blinded her in one eye – and also saw her almost crashing her car following an attack while driving.

    At one point, Leia and her family feared she might have a brain tumour.

    After suspecting that her migraines were caused by what she was eating, Leia took a food intolerance test from YorkTest Laboratories.

    Through a blood sample analysis in February this year, she found out about her intolerance to dairy, as well as eggs, yeast and wheat.

    And because her diet was crammed with cheese, she was forced to make drastic changes to her weekly shop, but her misery ended ‘almost instantly’ since giving up the cheese-based meals, including Leia’s go-to comfort food, mac ‘n’ cheese.

    Leia Harrison posing for the camera
    She’s finally feeling healthy again (Picture: Leia Harrison /SWNS)

    Leia, who works in management for a UK-based delivery company, said: ‘I didn’t get one [migraine] for two weeks, and then three weeks, and it snowballed. I couldn’t believe it.

    ‘I loved mac ‘n’ cheese, cheese toasties and cheese and pasta, but it didn’t love me. I’d eat things like pasta, bread and cheese-based meals several times a week because it was quick, cheap and convenient.

    ‘But now I know these foods weren’t agreeing with me at all.

    ‘For me, I’m able to function better at work. I can focus more and I’m not as tired and brain foggy after eating lunch, which is huge for me.

    ‘I don’t have to worry about a small headache turning into something crippling.’

    For Leia, a substance called ‘tyramine’ – which can be found in certain cheeses such as cheddar, Stilton and camembert – as well as cured meats, can also be problematic.

    Even in her teens, she endured migraines so agonising that she’d often be reduced to tears.

    Leia coped by taking high-dose painkillers before attempting to sleep it off, sometimes for 24 hours or more, but the migraines continued.

    ‘My family started to worry it was something more serious, especially when several of my “attacks” would last well over a couple days, at their worst,’ she said.

    ‘One of my great uncles passed away from a brain tumour and had a lot of severe headaches before being diagnosed – that’s something that stuck with me when I was feeling unwell.

    ‘More recently, an attack came on just as I was leaving work.

    ‘I was helpless. I was in my car at the time and had the worst driving experience I’ve ever had – to the point I had to pull over and stop after nearly crashing.

    ‘It was awful. I didn’t think I’d make it home.’

    Leia Harrison standing by her fridge, with the door open and food visible in the background
    She was suffering from crippling headaches (Picture: Leia Harrison /SWNS)

    It’s thought that around six million people in the UK suffer from migraines.

    The condition made headlines last month after the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said a revolutionary new migraine drug – Erenumab – would not be made available to NHS patients outside of Scotland.

    This decision has been attacked by charities, with The Migraine Trust labelling it a ‘very bad day for chronic migraine patients’.

    There’s a whole host of potential ‘triggers’, according to the NHS, including stress, depression, tiredness, poor posture, dehydration, changes in climate or very cold temperatures.

    It’s said that diet can also play a key role – with alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and common citrus fruit all potential culprits.

    Dr Hart, scientific director at YorkTest Laboratories, said: ‘There’s not a one-size-fits-all as your diet is unique to you.

    ‘So, it’s crucial to understand your own food intolerances and the effects it may have on your life.

    ‘The prevention of migraines can be problematic. It’s important sufferers realise how diet can play a role, particularly for those where medicines are not eliminating the issue.’

    MORE: Girl designs Christmas cards to raise money for accessible room for disabled brother

    MORE: Autistic man unable to communicate about his distressing eczema finds relief in £4 moisturiser

    MORE: The health dangers of not getting enough sunlight


    CHEESED OFF - A woman who suffered from crippling migraines for years has been cured by ditching her favourite food MAC N CHEESECHEESED OFF - A woman who suffered from crippling migraines for years has been cured by ditching her favourite food MAC N CHEESE

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    Christmas Tree decoration
    It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Nearly (Picture: Getty)

    While you lot are hanging up fake cobwebs and carving pumpkins, we’re out here planning ahead and waiting for the most exciting time of the year (back of Halloween lovers) – Christmas.

    Part of that forward planning involves working out whether to have a fake or real tree once the festive season rolls around, and it seems that our arms may have just been twisted in favour of real.

    That’s because IKEA have once again brought back their incredible Christmas tree deal, that essentially means you get a tree for just £9.

    It’s the eighth year of the offer, which sees all those who buy a real fir get a voucher to use in the new year.

    Customers who purchase a real fir tree in-store from IKEA for £29 will receive a £20 IKEA voucher, which can be redeemed across a range of IKEA homewares.

    The deal makes the overall cost of the tree itself just £9, meaning you can really make your Christmas budget stretch further this year.

    Lisa Bradshaw, Home Decoration & Outdoor Sales Leader from IKEA UK and Ireland said, ‘Christmas is often a time when budgets are a little tighter, and we understand that shoppers are usually on the lookout for cost effective ways to make the festive season extra special for family and friends.

    ‘For many, a beautifully decorated tree is the heart of the home at Christmas time, so we know how important it is to offer the highest quality trees at an affordable price. What’s more, shoppers can redeem their £20 voucher across a whole range of homewares in-store, making the offer a gift that truly keeps on giving this Christmas.’

    The Christmas tree offer will run from 21 November to 24 December 2019, and you’ll be able to redeem their IKEA voucher against a range of IKEA products from 13 January to 23 February 2020.

    The real fir Christmas trees stocked by IKEA this year will be sourced from Scotland, too, so you don’t have to worry too much about your carbon footprint.

    Now just to choose which baubles go best with your colour scheme.

    MORE: A London pub is using facial recognition to stop people jumping the bar queue

    MORE: Woman says she cured her chronic migraines by ditching mac ‘n’ cheese


    Woman decorating Christmas treeWoman decorating Christmas tree

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    A woman feels like she is constantly having to prove her relationship is legitimate due to being bigger than her husband.

    Dalreece has always been plus-size, while her husband Jarreth has always been slim.

    The couple, originally from Cape Town in South Africa have had to get used to odd looks and sly comments when out in public together, which sometimes makes Jarreth so upset that he wants to go home.

    Dalreece told Barcroft TV: ‘When we go out nobody really comments about the fact that we are different sizes.

    ‘It’s more like stares and looks and you can see people whispering. And kids stare a lot.

    ‘I think that in society, there’s just like a norm and stereotype that people of same weight are supposed to be in a relationship.’

    Dalreece and Jarreth
    Dalreece and Jarreth are sick of the stares they get (Picture: Barcroft TV)

    As well as being subject to public scrutiny, Jarreth has been accused of having a fat fetish – or even being a ‘feeder’.

    He said: ‘Assumptions people might have is that I have a fat fetish or that I am a chubby chaser.’

    Dalreece added: ‘Being a feeder is also a thing with big size couples. Where the guy feeds the woman, which is not the case at all.’

    Terms like ‘interweight’ and ‘mixed-weight’ (which describe relationships where one person weighs substantially more than the other) were alien to Jarreth and Dalreece, and they don’t like the idea of a couple being labelled just because of their respective appearances.

    Dalreece said: ‘Honestly, I never really heard about “interweight” or “mixed-weight” couples before this point. We didn’t really know that it was a thing.

    Dalreece and Jarreth on the sofa together
    They’re very happy together (Picture: Barcroft TV)

    ‘I guess every day; we are challenging the stereotypes by being together. And being happy actually, because I think that goes a long way. And I think there’s a lot of stigma with being overweight.

    ‘Obviously, there’s other things that you could be worse at or have other problems. But I do feel like we are a long way to removing all the stigma that comes with being overweight.’

    The couple first met three years ago on Tinder.

    After matching, they started messaging on a regular basis and eventually made plans to meet up in real life.

    Conscious of her size, Dalreece had only posted photos of her face, so she sent Jarreth a full-length photo of herself, worried he wouldn’t want to date her anymore.

    Jarreth and Dalreece hugging outside with a nature background
    Dalreece was worried Jarreth wouldn’t like her (Picture: Barcroft TV)

    She said: ‘I was like: “if you want to be friends, it’s fine, just tell me now I don’t want us to meet and then… [Jarreth not like her].”

    ‘In the past I did experience with guys not really wanting to talk to me because my weight and things like that.

    ‘I have had experiences where I would meet guys online and they wouldn’t really want to meet afterwards.’

    But for Jarreth, Dalreece’s size didn’t even come into it. The couple got married just over a year ago and are happier than ever.

    Jarreth said: ‘I just see Dalreece as a person.

    ‘Not a fat person. Not a chubby person, she’s my wife and she’s the person that I love. The person that I that I’m spending my life with.

    ‘That’s what she is to me.’

    On a body positivity journey of her own, Dalreece has come to embrace her figure and says that being in a supportive, loving marriage has helped her love herself more, too.

    She said: ‘I was always self-conscious and didn’t really want to post full-body pics and things like that.

    ‘But after we met, I think I just I loosened up a lot and became a lot less self-conscious and a lot more forthcoming and honest with myself and with my following.’

    Jarreth added: ‘To people out there who think that men can’t love a larger woman. It’s just superficial.

    ‘You, you get to know the person and you get to see what’s inside.

    ‘Society’s thinking is just skewed. Unfortunately, that is just the way it is. But it’s possible you can get to know.

    ‘It’s not about the aesthetics, it’s about what’s inside that matters.’

    MORE: Girl designs Christmas cards to raise money for accessible room for disabled brother

    AD FEATURE: Here are seven reasons why you’re going to want to visit Orlando this winter


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    The Nespresso advent calendar on a background with coffee cups
    Fancy a brew? (Picture: Nespresso)

    Parties, dinners and general holiday celebrations – Christmas is a busy period and most of us get less sleep than we’re used to.

    To ensure you get a well-needed caffeine kick (and survive the December hangovers in the office), Nespresso has just released an advent calendar filled to the brim with surprise blends.

    The calendar is a first for the brand and features different variations, including 21 roast and ground coffee capsules, both caffeinated and decaf – because, weekends.

    With 24 windows in total, there are also two flavoured capsules and an Origin Lungo Cup for you to sip your daily treat in.

    As for the flavours, there are five blends:

    • Nordic Black – an aromatic African and South American Arabica blend
    • Nordic Cloudberry – a delicate, tart taste of cloudberries, native to Scandinavian countries
    • Nordic Almond Cake – a combination of biscuit and vanilla aromas, with a Livanto base
    • Nordic Cinnamon Swirl – a medium intensity of Half Caffeinato blend, with notes of brioche dough and cinnamon
    • Vanilla Princess Cake – an indulgent creamy vanilla taste with marzipan sweetness and a subtle hint of raspberry

    The Nespresso will set you back £25.00, which is slightly pricey given you can get a 50 Capsule Master Origin Assortment online for just £19.50.

    Then again, it’s a special Christmas edition, so if you want to treat a coffee lover, it’s an affordable gift.

    You can purchase it in Nespresso boutiques or online from today (25 October).

    In other coffee news, Yawn Brew has also just launched a calendar filled with caffeine goodness.

    If you don’t have a Nespresso machine or prefer to use a cafetiere, this is a decent alternative; it features 24 doors, filled with craft roasts from Columbia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and Peru.

    Each sachet holds enough for one steaming cup of premium coffee.

    If you can’t wait until December to get your hands on a tasty brew, stop in at Starbucks for an autumnal treat: the Pumpkin Birthday Cake Latte.

    MORE: Prosecco Christmas crackers are back for 2019

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

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


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    (Picture: Amanda Murray)
    Brodie loves his new play table (Picture: Amanda Murray)

    With only a couple of paydays left until Christmas, many parents are thinking about what to get their kids.

    It’s an expensive business having children, and every year it seems like the latest toys get more and more expensive.

    One mum, however, has a thrifty tip that means you can create a stunning Lego table for under £16, saving hundreds on those available online.

    In a post on money-saving online community Latest Deals, Extreme Couponing & Bargains Group, Amanda Murray, 33, from Montrose, Scotland,showed how she made the impressive play table.

    Using items from Ikea, Screwfix and Home Bargains, it made the perfect gift for her son, Brodie, four, but didn’t cost the earth.

    Amanda told deal-hunting community LatestDeals.co.uk: ‘I’m always on the hunt to save money and make my own things on a budget.

    ‘I came up with the idea after wanting to get my son some Lego for his fourth birthday.

    ‘I didn’t want Lego sprawled all over the floor and every parent knows the damage that can be done with standing on a bit! So after seeing a few people sticking Lego bases to various tables I wanted to come up with a table that was functional but also had storage.’

    After Amanda’s husband was made redundant in May, she didn’t have a lot of money to spend, so went on the hunt for inspiration at budget stores such as IKEA to make her DIY table.

    (Picture: Amanda Murray)
    Now Brodie has somewhere to stoy his favourite toys (Picture: Amanda Murray)

    ‘From Ikea I bought the white Lack side table for £6, a Sunnersta rail at £1.50, three Sunnersta containers at 50p each and a Trofast storage tray at £1.50,’ she says.

    ‘I also bought a Lego base plate for £3.99 from Home Bargains, and finally I took the Trofast green storage tray to my local Screwfix who then helped me pick some PVC U-shaped rails I got for £1.20 which can be cut to size. In total, I spent £15.69 to build this.’

    Once Amanda had all her supplies, she needed to go about building the nifty table.

    (Picture: Amanda Murray)
    Amanda’s post received hundreds of likes on Facebook (Picture: Amanda Murray)

    ‘The first thing I did was to attach the rails on the underside of the table for the tray to go on underneath,” Amanda explained.

    ‘I cut the PVC to size and attached with screws. The green Trofast tray then just slides on like a drawer. I then popped the table legs on and went ahead and screwed the rail onto the side of the table. The containers simply hook onto the rail.

    ‘Finally, I took some Gorilla Glue and glued the Lego base to the middle of the table. I used a damp cloth to wipe off the excess round the side that spilt out and left it overnight to dry.’

    A similar table on Amazon costs £416.94, meaning she saved £400.

    Unsurprisingly, Brodie absolutely loved his new Lego table.

    Amanda says: ‘He plays with the table every day. He got lots of Lego from family and friends for his birthday and so was over the moon to find he had a new table especially for it to play on.

    ‘My tips for people wanting to create something similar would be not to doubt yourself that you won’t manage because you really can. For something that costs so little, this will last a long time and the child can grow with it.’

    MORE: Coffee lovers assemble as Nespresso launches its first-ever advent calendar

    MORE: Plus-sized woman sick of having to prove her husband doesn’t have a fat fetish


    Mum saves over ?400 on Lego table for son by making it herself for just ?16Mum saves over ?400 on Lego table for son by making it herself for just ?16

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    Daphne Neville, with her pet Otter, Rudi, at her home near Stroud
    Daphne loves her otters (Picture: Jake McPherson / SWNS)

    An animal-loving pensioner has spent her life raising pet otters and regularly walks around town with them on her shoulders.

    Daphne Neville, 82, has kept the animals for almost 40 years and devotes her time to increasing awareness about them.

    She even takes her current pet Rudi to the shops with her – and people don’t seem to mind because the otter looks so ‘cosy and happy’.

    Daphne adopted her first otter back in 1980, after a friend suggested her 18th century converted water mill near Stroud offered the perfect condition for the animal.

    Rudi, who is her 10th otter, is extremely docile and can be seen in shows across the country.

    Though he’s licensed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 because of his 36 sharp teeth, Daphne has never had a problem.

    She said: ‘With Rudi, I’ve had him since he was three weeks old. He thinks I’m his mum. I’m a part of him and he’s a part of me.

    ‘I’ve shown people you can have incredible bonds with these creatures. Touch wood, we have never had an accident.

    ‘I wouldn’t want to be a risk to anyone. All my otters have been immaculately behaved. I wouldn’t dream of taking them out otherwise.

    ‘We do shows all over the place. People come from miles away – especially from Australia and New Zealand. They don’t have otters there.’

    Daphne Neville, with her pet Otter, Rudi, at her home near Stroud
    Isn’t Rudi sweet? (Picture: Jake McPherson / SWNS)

    Daphne raised previous otters with her late husband Martin and their three daughters, who have all now left home.

    She has also campaigned hard alongside big names such as the legendary Sir David Attenborough in years gone by, to urge water companies to clean the country’s rivers. They had become so polluted with the chemical polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) that the wild otter was almost extinct.

    Incredibly, Daphne’s actions prompted the late Michael Meacher, who was the environment minister under Tony Blair, to announce plans to phase out PCBs in 2000.

    She said: ‘We didn’t know anything about otters – we were just a normal family. But then we wanted to raise awareness about their future.

    ‘We fought so hard for their safety. Clean water is pivotal for the future of otters and all living creatures. Since then [1980], the rivers have visibly improved.’

    Daphne Neville, with her pet Otter, Rudi, at her home near Stroud
    Rudi is always riding on her shoulder (Picture: Jake McPherson / SWNS)

    Daphne is now supporting Animal Alerts, a small device which attaches to the front of cars and emits an ultrasonic sound.

    This warns creatures like rabbits, dogs and otters not to cross the road as a car is approaching – potentially saving huge numbers of animals.

    She said: ‘It keeps them on the verge. Otters like to cross the road at night when they think it’s safe.’

    When he’s not on Daphne’s shoulders, Rudi, an Asian small-clawed otter, lives in a large cage in the garden – where other otters can come and say hello.

    He performs in country shows, fêtes and children’s parties, including at Kensington Palace.

    The pair have even appeared on the hit Channel 4 TV show ‘Come Dine With Me’, coming in second.

    Daphne also keeps rescued swans, ducks and a goose on her lake.

    MORE: Coffee lovers assemble as Nespresso launches its first-ever advent calendar

    MORE: Six-year-old boy forgets everything he’s learnt in his short life after being diagnosed with dementia


    PRI_91784420PRI_91784420

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    An employee uses tongs to remove a sausage roll from the counter in Greggs
    The vegan sausage roll was an unprecedented hit (Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    Everyone loves a good Greggs and now when we say everyone, we really can mean everyone, thanks to the seller of baked goods adding vegetarian and vegan products to their hugely popular food selection.

    After the highly successful launch of the Gregg’s vegan sausage roll at the beginning of this year (so successful in fact that it caused shares in the company to increase) Greggs said it had launched another vegan product as part of its new summer menu.

    The new and improved Mexican Bean & Sweet Potato wrap is vegetarian and vegan friendly and another tasty offering from the baked goods chain.

    So, if you’re growing tired of the vegan sausage roll (but really, is that possible?) here are the other vegetarian products that Greggs sell.

    What does Gregg’s sell that is vegan or vegetarian?

    If you are vegan and a fan of the Greggs vegan sausage roll, we are sorry to report that there are no other vegan bakes being developed at this time – BUT – there might be one day.

    Roger Whiteside, the CEO of Greggs, did say on LBC: ‘We are working away to see if we can come up with a version of all our bestselling lines because people want vegan options’.

    A store sign for the chain Greggs
    Greggs are hoping to bring out more vegan options in the future (Picture: Steve Meddle/REX)

    However, Greggs told Metro.co.uk back in August that there are no plans at present for a vegan steak bake or any other product, for that matter.

    So, we’ll just have to wait and see what other vegan items Greggs come up with next and, if it’s anything like the vegan sausage roll, hopefully it will be worth the wait.

    As for other vegan and vegetarian-friendly products from Greggs, here’s what there is to choose from:

    Greggs’ Vegan Friendly Products

    Mexican Bean & Sweet Potato Wrap – from £2.75

    Mexican Bean & Sweet Potato Wrap from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Vegan Sausage Roll – from £1

    Vegan Sausage Roll from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Sweet Mince Pie – from £0.50 for one, or £1.75 for a pack of six

    Sweet Mince Pies from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Greggs’ Vegetarian Products

    Cheese & Onion Bake – from £1.40

    Cheese & Onion Bake from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Cheese & Onion Salad Sub Roll – from £2.55

    Cheese & Onion Salad Sub Roll from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Children’s Cheese Roll – from £1

    Children's cheese roll from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Feta & Tomato Pasta – from £2.75

    Feta & Tomato Pasta from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Free Range Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich – from £1.80

    Free Range Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Macaroni Cheese – from £2.50

    Macaroni Cheese from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Mature Cheddar Cheese Ploughman’s Oval Bite – from £2.75

    Mature Cheddar Cheese Ploughman's Oval Bite from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Mature Cheddar Cheese Salad Baguette – from £2.55

    Mature Cheddar Cheese Salad Baguette from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Three Cheese Pizza – from £1.50

    Three Cheese Pizza from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Tomato Soup – from £1.75

    Tomato Soup from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Potato Wedges – from £1

    Chips from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Veggie Breakfast Box – from £1.70

    Veggie Breakfast Box from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Cheese & Chutney Toastie – from £2.85

    Cheese & Chutney Toastie from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Omelette Baguette – from £2.60

    Omelette Baguette from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    Omelette Corn Top Roll – from £1.85

    Omelette Corn Top Roll from Greggs
    (Picture: Supplied/Greggs)

    MORE: You no longer need to trek to Greggs for that vegan sausage roll, it’s on Just Eat

    MORE: Greggs has a secret regional menu with 25 items you can only get in certain places


    Greggs stockpiles pork for sausage rollsGreggs stockpiles pork for sausage rolls

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    Group of mature pilates students using reformers during class in fitness studio
    No, it’s not a medieval torture contraption (Picture: Getty)

    Adele stunned everyone with gorgeous pics from Drake’s birthday party this week – and she attributes her newly toned physique to reformer Pilates.

    But, before you all start manically booking classes, there are a few things you should know in order to get the best out of your reformer Pilates workout.

    Because those machines look like medieval torture devices, so you really want to know what you’re doing going into it.

    We asked Justin, the Creative Director of Pilates studio Ten Health and Fitness, to tell us everything a beginner would need to know before booking a class.

    ‘Quite simply, Pilates can be performed on – and using – a number of  pieces of equipment; the caddilac, tower, ladder barrel the mat and the reformer.

    The reformer was the original piece of equipment designed by Joseph Pilates, and after the mat, the most widely used. So reformer Pilates is simply pilates done on a reformer.’

    OK great. That clears that up. But there are other terms that you might not be familiar with too – so, what’s ‘dynamic reformer Pilates’?

    ‘It’s the newest take on Pilates and the one used in one version or another by many boutique fitness providers,’ explains Justin.

    ‘As the name suggests, it’s a more intense and dynamic version of traditional Pilates.

    What is dynamic reformer Pilates?

    • We increase the dynamic flow of the exercises
    • We increase the number of repetitions and level of exertion. By working the muscles to fatigue we grow stronger and adapt faster, and by building strength we can then work harder
    • We focus more on neutral spine to reduce the risk of posture-related injury
    • We add aspects of weights and circuit training into the sessions to increase the heart rate and challenge the body further
    • We make sets longer with less resting time, to add an aerobic component and increase stamina

    Ten Health and Fitness

    ‘It offers all the postural, flexibility toning and injury-prevention benefits of traditional Pilates, but at Ten – I can’t talk about what everyone else does – it goes a step or two further to provide a highly effective, prehabilitative and time-efficient full-body workout.’

    That all sounds great and, clearly Adele is a fan. But are we really going to take a popstar’s endorsement at face value? Well, maybe. But Justin has expert insight into why it’s such a beneficial form of exercise.

    ‘We describe it as “the workout for the way we live now” because it’s ideal for stressed, time-poor, always-on 21st century desk-bound office workers who spend most of their days hunched over a computer.’

    Wow. We have never felt more seen.

    The benefits of reformer Pilates

    Justin has broken down the many benefits into bitesize chunks:

    1. It’s great for addressing the postural impact of all that sitting, helping restore our natural spinal alignment and creating a strong, supportive core to prevent or reduce back pain and injury.

    2. It’s ideal for the time poor. Although sessions last just less than an hour (including warm-up and cool-down), each one is a highly effective full-body workout.

    3. It has loads of benefits for your body, including:

    • Correcting posture
    • Strengthening core muscle groups
    • Improving flexibility
    • Sculpting lean, toned muscles
    • Cardiovascular benefits
    • Boosting the resting metabolism
    • Reducing body fat and helping with both weight loss and weight management

    4. It’s prehabilitative, meaning it offers a proactive, preventative approach to body maintenance that will keep you fitter, stronger and active for longer, and will help avoid/reduce the impact of future injury.

    5. Focusing as much on quality of movement as on intensity of effort, reformer Pilates requires so much focus, precision and control, that it’s both immersive and mindful, making it a great time-out from day-to-day pressures and stresses.

    6.The dynamism and intensity of the workout helps to generate endorphins, increasing feelings of optimism, positivity and well-being. And, because you see the benefits fast, it’s also a powerful way of boosting personal morale and maintaining motivation.

    Who can do reformer Pilates?

    Luckily, Justin has a really simple answer for this one.

    ‘Anyone.

    ‘The reformer is one of the most effective and adaptable pieces of equipment available, and it’s low-impact so safe for people of all ages and abilities.

    ‘It can be used for anything from rehabilitation, helping recovery from the effects of illness, injury or surgery, to a highly intense and demanding workout that will challenge balance, flexibility, muscular strength and endurance, no matter how strong or fit you are.’

    Tips for first-timers

    Reformers can look a bit intimidating, but they’re deceptively simple to use.

    If you’re about to try it for the first time, don’t try to learn it from a video or a book. Go to a class.

    Find a provider who offer beginner level classes – that way you’ll get a proper introduction to the machine and how to use it.

    You’ll also learn the basic techniques and exercises that underpin all Pilates routines, and you’ll be with people who are all in the same position as you, so you wont have to compare yourself to people who’ve been doing it for years, or be intimidated by exercises that you’re not yet ready for.

    Ten Health and Fitness

    MORE: Simple yoga exercises to soothe anxiety symptoms

    MORE: This Pilates workout could improve your sex life

    MORE: Adele is ‘all about that Reformer Pilates life as she becomes gym buddies with Ayda Field’


    Group of mature pilates students using reformers during class in fitness studioGroup of mature pilates students using reformers during class in fitness studio

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    I gave my current boyfriend a chance because his girlfriend seemed really cool.

    They had an open relationship, I was single, and I figured that if this gorgeous woman thought he was worth her time, he’d be a good fit for me too.

    By our first date they had parted ways, and he was single… ish. He identified himself as polyamorous, which wasn’t new to me.

    I wasn’t polyamorous but I was used to dating several people at a time. It was my way of keeping everyone on their toes and it helped me focus on what I wanted from a relationship without compromising on my boundaries. I was less likely to ‘settle’ out of a fear I wouldn’t find anyone else, or to tolerate relationship red flags.

    By the time our first date came around I was even looking forward to learning more about his perspective and comparing notes on juggling partners.

    It was simple and sweet – a trip to a vegan market, a bar, chatting on the swings in a nearby playground. I didn’t think we had much in common, but we had shared ethics and politics, he was gentle and kind, and we had undeniable chemistry.

    We didn’t tend to talk about other partners in the early days of dating – but we didn’t hide them either. Occasionally he’d mention a day spent with someone else, but I didn’t press for details. We spent almost all of our free time together, roaming London, eating at restaurants, having a whirlwind summer romance.

    In fact, I didn’t expect my new polyamorous relationship would have an especially long future. I’ve always known I wanted marriage and children and knew that at some point I would want just one person to build a life with.

    Rianna and her boyfriend Tom
    He asked me to be his girlfriend and I accepted, delighted, assuming this meant I was now his only partner (Picture: Rianna Walcott)

    Then unfortunately, and with unexpected speed, I accidentally fell in love with him.

    One month in, we were lazing around and talking when, seemingly out of nowhere, we admitted that we loved each other. By anyone’s standards this was absurdly fast but he asked me to be his girlfriend and I accepted, delighted, assuming this meant I was now his only partner – at least his most important partner – and that monogamy would soon follow.

    This bubble of naivete burst when he mentioned his ‘other girlfriend’.

    With love now on the table, I was suddenly no longer blase about who else he might be dating. I began to get territorial about the time we spent together. I watched his Instagram Stories when he was on a date, trying to catch a glimpse of who he was with and gauge how romantic the outing was. Once he took someone to comedy club I had been planning to take him to and I felt heartbroken.

    I cried, wrote melancholy poetry, fretted about whether the other women he was seeing were thinner, smarter, prettier or better in bed than I was. We talked about me meeting one of his other partners, and eventually I did, but for a long time the idea of seeing him engage in any type of casual intimacy with someone else made me nauseous.

    I tried to continue dating other people too but no-one held my interest. I was surprised at how many men had no issue dating me while I was in an open relationship – most assumed I was only interested in having sex, but were quickly disappointed.

    Sleeping with other people felt like cheating, and jealousy from any encounter hurt us both, so it didn’t feel worth it.

    I was misled into thinking there was a rulebook, one way to do polyamory correctly, and that if I asked for anything different I would be constraining my partner to a version of love that was inauthentic and incomplete for him.

    I endlessly searched for testimonies from other monogamous people in a polyamorous dynamic, looking for honest accounts and success stories, trying to calculate the life span of our relationship in a way that bordered on the macabre.

    But most were written from a polyamorous perspective and with the benefit of hindsight I can see how they warped my expectations.

    I was misled into thinking there was a rulebook, one way to do polyamory correctly, and that if I asked for anything different I would be constraining my partner to a version of love that was inauthentic and incomplete for him – the thought horrified me.

    We reached an uneasy, ever-shifting compromise. I would interrogate him about what love and commitment meant to him, where he saw us in five months (six months, five years…) and we were brutally honest about what we meant to one another.

    We (re)negotiated boundaries like how often we would see each other, committed to be each other’s primary partners and told each other about other dates.

    I tried to understand that it wasn’t a deficit in my character but rather that he was just built differently. When we talked about our different approaches to love, I described a finite resource – a cup of love that only has enough to nourish one person. His was a deeper pool from which he could give endlessly under the right circumstances.

    I did my best, while my self-esteem slowly eroded.

    We finally settled on a solution: a monthly relationship audit with a set of questions that allowed us to talk honestly about any changes in expectations or boundaries that we needed to make to keep us both – but mainly me – happy.

    Rianna and her boyfriend Tom sharing a kiss
    He was effusive in his love for me, letting me know he wanted a future with me no matter what (Picture: Rianna Walcott)

    I knew it couldn’t last. The toll on my wellbeing was too high, and knowing that I wanted long-term monogamy was making polyamory feel like a waste of my time.

    He was effusive in his love for me, letting me know he wanted a future with me no matter what. Because I loved him, I wanted him to have the future he wanted with or without me but I still did not ask for what I needed – monogamy.

    Ten months into our open relationship, he did it for me: he asked me if we could be monogamous, and we still are six months later. He says this wasn’t a difficult decision in the end, as it was vastly preferable to losing me. The ease of our relationship now has stopped either of us looking back.

    We have both learned a lot about what we value in a relationship. We have laughed the entire way, are constantly mindful of each other’s needs and desires and our hard-earned policy of radical and total honesty has made our transition into monogamy the healthiest relationship I have ever been in.

    From our fundamental difference in outlook, we have cobbled together a definition of love that works for us.

    Dating a man who is capable of loving others as deeply as he loves you is daunting, but the time and love we spend together, we enthusiastically choose to give to each other before all others.

    Loving each other is a choice we commit to anew every day, a chance that I am so thankful I took.

    Write for Love, Or Something Like It

    Love, Or Something Like It is a new series for Metro.co.uk covering everything from mating and dating to lust and loss, exploring what true love is and how we find it in the present day.

    If you have a love story to share, email rosy.edwards@metro.co.uk

    MORE: People judge me for having a husband and a girlfriend, but my open marriage is proof that polyamory works

    MORE: In a mixed-faith relationship, true love is about respect

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

     


    ILLO REQ FOR ELLA: Love Or Something Like It - Rianna Walcott on what polyamory taught me about datingILLO REQ FOR ELLA: Love Or Something Like It - Rianna Walcott on what polyamory taught me about dating

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    Illustration of a black woman looking sad/upset with a grey background
    Can depression be cured? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Depression is really so very similar to ‘illnesses du regular’ and yet, at the same time, so bafflingly different.

    Just like ‘normal illnesses’ (like the flu, for example) it can happen to anyone, doesn’t care about your money or your status, needs treatment, and can come back once you thought you were in the clear.

    Unlike a lot of other illnesses, though, it takes a completely different form in everyone unfortunate enough to be playing host to it, and thus reacts differently to each individual’s treatment of it, in whatever form that may take.

    But the big question (one that I’ve often found myself Googling at 4am after wretching through tears) is: can you ever cure yourself of depression?

    Will depression ever completely go away? Can you actually ‘get rid’ of it for good?

    The general answer seems to be: ‘no, but you can manage it and it can disappear for a really really long time – but there’s always a chance of it coming back.’

    Sigh.

    Dr Kate Mason tells Metro.co.uk: that because depression has such a high risk of recurrence, it’s even more important that you try to treat it as soon as you realise you have it, or think that you could have it.

    ‘The earlier you seek help, the more chance you have of a successful recovery,’ she said. ‘You may always have a vulnerability to depression but that’s not to say you can’t live a full and meaningful life.

    ‘Through early intervention you can learn ways to manage symptoms before they get too debilitating and help to prevent or lessen some of the major episodes.

    Illustration of a man sitting by himself
    Depression can be managed, but different things work for different people (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘A large proportion of people who’ve experienced one major episode of depression are likely to experience at least one other, possibly triggered by major life events that we just can’t avoid.’

    Having previously been in a very, very bad place before, I can personally vouch for depression definitely lessening if it’s given enough attention and treatment. I manage mine with therapy, medication and (occasional) exercise. There are definitely periods when it’s worse and I still have very dark times, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was when it was a constant thrum of misery.

    Holly Stevens, who also has depression, is of a similar opinion that her depression can be managed well but probably not cured.

    She tells us: ‘I know people for whom depression is happily resigned to the past. My completely unscientific anecdotal research, however, is that these are people for whom depression was sparked by an external event, trauma or circumstance.

    ‘While there is an element of that in my case, I also have a strong genetic link (mental illness doesn’t run in my family; it practically gallops, as the memes say) so I suspect my depression cannot be cured as such but the right meds, therapies and lifestyle have eliminated most of my symptoms. So, as long as I maintain the three, I am effectively cured.’

    A 2016 study showed that psilocybin (commonly found in magic mushrooms) provided relief from and lessening of depression in a group of patients whose depression had been previously found to be treatment-resistant. This is hugely encouraging, and more studies with psychedelics taken in micro-doses are taking place. In some anec-data about myself, I’ve only taken ‘shrooms once and they made me feel fantastic and I want some more. It’s thought that psilocybin could become part of prescription medication within the next five years, which is great, but a long, long time if you’re in a black hole. Also, while the treatment sounds promising, it will affect everyone differently and may not work for all.

    Counsellor Fiona Wright is also in the ‘perhaps not cured for everyone, but definitely treated and managed for most’ camp. She says: ‘Depression is unique to the individual and can affect people in many different ways, but there are common symptoms, and it is treatable.

    ‘It’s possible to recover from depression, but sometimes it can be more about learning to manage the symptoms.

    ‘Depression can be managed through medication, therapy and self-care, ideally a combination of these. Medication such as antidepressants or SSRIs can help people move to a place where they can function more effectively, along with other ways of managing symptoms. These drugs are generally safe, but often have side effects.’

    Again, antidepressants will work so differently for everyone. I tried three different types before I found one that worked for me – as in, gave me the fewest side effects and least misery. Antidepressants don’t make you happy, they make you less sad and less clouded, and can allow you to think more clearly about how you’re going to deal with the mess inside your brain. But they don’t work for everyone.

    Nothing works for everyone with depression, and everyone will have their different coping tactics. If riding the bus in the front seat and singing the national anthem does it for you, then do that. If therapy makes you feel less awful, then do that. For now, it seems that depression can be relieved for a certain amount of time, at least, and if it comes back then there are options to try to manage it to make your life more bearable.

    If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, you can find a qualified local counsellor in your area with Counselling Directory. Mental health charity Mind also offers counselling services, and you can call The Samaritans on 116 123 (UK and ROI). The NHS even have a little quiz you can take. If you can, visit your GP for further advice. To talk about mental health in a private, judgement-free zone, join our Mentally Yours Facebook group.

    Need support? Contact the Samaritans

    For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

    MORE: The complicated relationship between depression and your sleep

    MORE: What is an acupressure mat – and could it help your anxiety?

    MORE: Can you actually ever get rid of anxiety?


    what is cognitive fog-cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it-78ebwhat is cognitive fog-cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it-78eb

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    Image of a bedroom with an illustration of a person in a blue t-shirt and purple trousers sitting on top of the bed with their back turned to the reader
    Sleep disruption filters into day to day life (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    This weekend the clocks go back, which means an extra hour in bed will be cherished by millions across the country.

    But for people who suffer disrupted sleep, an hour extra on one night is just a drop in the ocean.

    Sleep disruption can filter into different aspects of everyday life – from mood swings and fatigue to difficulties with concentration. It can also pose a raised risk of injury and accidents.

    We all know we should be getting seven to nine hours a night, but sleep disruption can add to the anxiety of knowing you’re not getting enough. It’s a vicious cycle.

    It can also be an indicator of mental health problems.

    Sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan says: ‘Working in psychiatry, my experience has told me that people who were consistently waking between 2am and 4am in the morning unable to get back to sleep, were more likely to present with anxiety and depression.’

    Of course, if you think you might be struggling with a mental health problem, it’s important to consult a GP or speak to a loved one about it.

    How does disrupted sleep affect us?

    The occasional night without sleep is to be expected  – especially if you’re partial to an all-nighter with friends. A one-off is likely to make you tired and irritable, but poses no serious health problems.

    But consistent nights with disrupted sleep can lead to issues both in the short term and further down the road.

    Dr Nerina says: ‘There is a lot of truth in the fact that lack of sleep can contribute to degenerative diseases. The first phase of sleep, before midnight is really important for helping to prevent the development of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

    ‘Certain phases of sleep are really important for certain emotional and physical functions, including rebalancing emotional problems and resolving physical ailments.

    ‘Studying both Western and Eastern sciences such as Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, provides a much more holistic view on sleep. Traditional Chinese medicine shows you how each phase of sleep does something different for the body. For example, if you’re chronically missing out on key phases of sleep, it can make you more vulnerable to developing certain illnesses and diseases.

    This is backed up by the NHS, which states a continuous lack of sleep can make an individual ‘prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.’

    Can the clocks going back affect sleep patterns?

    Illustration of two people lying in a bed together
    An evening relaxation routine can help the body prepare for sleep (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Dr Nerina adds: ‘The clocks changing shouldn’t make too much difference to your wellbeing. Our bodies are far more resilient than we think. They need to be flexible to cope with life’s demands.

    ‘Think of any experience you’ve had such as falling in love. When things like this happen, you may find that you suddenly need a lot less sleep. When you’re excited by life, you don’t need as much sleep and that’s due to the physiological changes within the body which simply demonstrates that the purpose and body’s need for sleep goes far beyond hours and routines.’

    So, on the whole, the clocks going back in October shouldn’t impact sleep routines – thanks to how adaptable our bodies are.

    But those suffering with persistent sleep problems should try and identify what could be the cause.

    Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is something thing to keep in mind as a possible cause, especially when it comes to difficulty sleeping during the winter.

    Also known as ‘winter depression’, SAD can disrupt sleep routines. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is because the change in season can ‘disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.’

    The important thing is to try and get as much daylight as possible – this will increase the brain’s release of the ‘feel-good’ chemical serotonin.

    Easy ways to help with sleep disruption

    An evening relaxation routine can help the body prepare for sleep.

    Simple, enjoyable activities such as taking a bath, reading, meditating and breathing exercises, during the run up to bedtime, should relax your mind and body for sleep. Do these an hour before bed to help with the wind-down process.

    Keeping a routine can also help to minimise sleep disruption – so aim to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This will help train your body to get used to going to sleep (and staying asleep). Of course, this isn’t possible every single day, but try to keep it consistent for the first few weeks of starting out.

    Ditching alcohol and coffee are two simple ways to help sleep better. Alcohol is known to have a negative impact on our rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is thought to be the most restorative stage of sleep. So while you may fall asleep, your body will spend less time in the REM stage – which means you’re more likely to wake up feeling groggy and drowsy.

    Simple lifestyle factors can also play a role. It’s a well-known fact that exercise helps to lift moods, due to the endorphins produced. This can help to reduce stress which may have a positive impact on sleep, making a 3am anxious wake-up less likely.

    MORE: New mum draws eyebrows on newborn to teach her ‘not to fall asleep at parties’

    MORE: The complicated relationship between depression and your sleep

    MORE: Sleep myths debunked, from swallowing spiders to drinking before bed


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    Ellie Waters
    Ellie Waters’ treatment after being diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma at 14 led to infertility and menopause (Picture: Ellie Waters)

    When I was 15, I went through the menopause.

    I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will never have biological children and I will be on hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my life.

    I was diagnosed with stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma when I was 14. It’s a rare form of cancer that normally only affects kids, and at stage four it was really aggressive. I was in total shock. I had seen adverts saying ‘if you have a lump get it checked out’, but I didn’t in a million years think that I would get cancer.

    I was transferred to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and, due to the late stage of my cancer, treatment started straight away with no conversation about fertility.

    I had to have nine rounds of aggressive chemotherapy. It really took it out of me. I lost a lot of weight, along with some other unpleasant side effects. I was so weak that I couldn’t walk upstairs by myself, I was really nauseous, I got mouth sores and I lost all my hair.

    I then needed radiotherapy. Before I started my radiotherapy, I had an appointment at the hospital where they went through the list of side effects. One of the side effects listed to me was infertility.

    To be told that I could be infertile hit me quite hard. I knew that I wanted to have a family at some point. I had an inkling that the treatment might affect my fertility, but after that initial mention of infertility no-one brought it up again.

    After 28 sessions of radiotherapy, I worked up the courage to ask about it. I broached the topic with my consultant and asked: ‘On a scale of zero to 10 – zero being completely infertile and 10 being very fertile – where am I?’ My consultant said zero.

    I’d had 18 months of intense treatment up to that point and I knew it could come with serious side effects, but this was still really difficult news to receive. Not only were my ovaries damaged from the chemotherapy, but I was also told that the radiotherapy had scarred my uterus to the point that I would never be able to carry a child to full term.

    While I was told before my radiotherapy treatment that infertility was a possible side effect, no-one discussed this with me before chemotherapy.

    At no point during my treatment did a doctor instigate a conversation about fertility – I had to bring it up myself.

    Starting this conversation as a 14-year-old was really difficult. If someone had just initiated that conversation with me, it would have made my life so much easier.

    Ellie Waters
    Ellie Waters wants cancer and fertility to be discussed during treatment (Picture: Teenage Cancer Trust)

    I didn’t know that chemotherapy could cause infertility because no-one told me. I didn’t know which fertility treatment options were available to me either. It would have taken a short discussion with a doctor or nurse to help me understand this, and that didn’t happen.

    If I want children in the future, my options are surrogacy or adoption. This is something I am learning to accept. Although I have a good perspective on it now, it has been a lot of hard work.

    Recent research by Teenage Cancer Trust has found that a lack of communication around fertility could be robbing young cancer patients of their chance to have biological children. They’re calling for every young person with cancer to have their fertility options explained to them by a health professional, along with fully funded access to egg and sperm freezing, plus access to fertility services.

    The impact of cancer doesn’t leave you once the treatment stops. I will be dealing with the side effects of the radiotherapy for the rest of my life. I am a positive person and as I really want a family when I am older, I have decided that I want to adopt children. I think it’s amazing to be able to give your love and care to someone else who needs it.

    There are so many long-term side effects to cancer that make life more challenging.

    Life after cancer isn’t easy but better conversations and options around fertility treatment could make life so much easier for people who might want to have their own children in the future.

    You can find out more about Teenage Cancer Trust here.

    MORE: CBBC’s Greg Jenner announces birth of miracle baby girl after heartbreaking 10 years of fertility issues

    MORE: Women are reclaiming the word ‘barren’ to talk about their fertility issues

    MORE: Bride with fertility issues slams guest for giving her a pregnancy test and onesies as a wedding gift


    Ellie 5-78a5Ellie 5-78a5

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    Whether you are a social butterfly, a worry wart, a comfort-seeker or suffer with an addictive personality, quitting smoking can be tough for every personality type.

    And any smoker knows, there is simply no “one-size-fits-all” method to quitting, so you must establish what’s best for you to help you in your journey.

    You can ensure your path to a smoke-free life isn’t a painstaking chore by finding what method works best for YOUR personality.

    So, which kind of smoker are you – and what quitting method would work best for your personality type?

    The penny-pincher

    woman hand putting money coin into piggy for saving money wealth and financial concept.

    We all love to see cash in the bank and getting our hands on the latest bargains. But if you’re a penny-pinching smoker, cigarettes can be the biggest hindrance on your account.

    Therefore, a great quitting method is to take a look at the finances surrounding your habit and understand just how much you can save by kicking cigarettes out of your life.

    Plus, with the price of tobacco constantly on the rise, it’s get easier to see why quitting will reap the rewards.

    By establishing how much you are spending and putting the money aside during your quitting period, you will be amazed at what you can save.

    What seems like such a huge lifestyle change will not only improve your physical health, but will also provide a joyous improvement to the health of your bank account.

    The social butterfly

    Young friends having party throwing confetti - Young people celebrating on weekend night - Entertainment, fun, new year's eve, nightlife, holidays, concept - Focus on red hair girl hands

    A trip to the pub or a night out on the town can leave some ‘social’ smokers reaching for the cigarettes.

    If this is your weakness, it’s important to plan your night in advance so your cravings don’t dampen your party spirit.

    Social smokers are known to dodge buying their own cigarettes and simply get their fix from fellow smokers. However, if you avoid the smoking area, you won’t be tempted to smoke.

    Seek out your non-smoking pals and work hard to resist a trip outside to the smoking area. Keeping a physical distance from fellow smokers will make giving up cigarettes so much easier for you.

    The comforter

    Businessman having a headache during the working day

    Whether you started your habit to fit in with the crowd or simply tried it out of curiosity, over time, smoking can become something of a comfort blanket.

    For those who use smoking as a means of stress relief, going cold turkey can be particularly problematic. So, why not find a way to ease yourself into a smoke-free lifestyle?

    If you head to any pharmacy, you’ll be met with a wealth of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products.

    Be it nicotine patches, gum, tablets, lozenges, inhalers or nasal spray, there are plenty of options to help keep those cravings at bay.

    If you’re somebody who needs to bridge the gap between smoking and a smoke-free life in order to alleviate your stress, this is one of the best options for you.

    The planner

    Woman taking notes in a small notebook while sitting down in a park - Casually dressed girl making calculations and analysis outdoors

    Many pragmatic personality types need a clear outline to not only understand why they are doing something, but to actually go through with it. If this is you, grab a pen and paper and have a good think about what you want and why, and how you’re going to achieve it.

    Seeing a list of the pros and cons will be inspiration enough for you to quit.

    Financial gains, family, health and state of mind – jotting everything down on paper will quickly reveal why a cigarette-free future is something worth striving for.

    The glory hunter

    Gift box with colored ribbon as a present for Christmas, new year, mother's day, anniversary, birthday, party, top view. Present for a colleague at work.

    Nobody likes to admit it, but many personality types require praise and rewards for any achievements – no matter how little.

    If you work better knowing you stand to gain something from doing so, why not set up a reward scheme for yourself?

    Working towards something and ensuring you glorify your efforts will make resisting temptation that bit easier. Think about goals you want to hit every week or few months, then think about what you can treat yourself to as you successfully hit each milestone.

    With your eyes on the prize, you will be encouraged to stay away from the smoke.

    The supporter

    Relieved reconciled married couple man and woman embrace feel healthy happy give psychological support empathy during group therapy session, friends people hug helping in rehab recovery concept

    They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and knowing support is at hand could be just what you need to end your smoking habit.

    If you can’t do it alone, make sure you let everyone in your life know your intentions.

    This can help you massively. When you think about nipping out for a cigarette, tell a friend or family member about your craving and they can distract and help you.

    The positive thinker

    Close up of a grandfather playing basketball with his grandson

    Some of us simply need to be told when we’re doing well – praise can be the best encouragement anyone can get.

    So, when you’re quitting, make sure YOU praise YOU.

    When you walk past the newsagent and resist the urge to head in for your favoured pack of 20, make sure you congratulate yourself.

    And, when you decline that cigarette offered to you by a fellow smoker, ensure you take a moment to think about how far you’ve come. Every little achievement you make deserves recognition.

    Want to give up smoking?

    Explore more about why and how to quit cigarettes at changeincorporated.com

    Advertisement paid for by Change Incorporated (VICE) for its Quit Cigarettes initiative. Philip Morris International funds this initiative but has no editorial input, so may not share the views expressed. Find out more: changeincorporated.com


    gettyimages-1177401939-170667a-453fgettyimages-1177401939-170667a-453f

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    Homeowner Lauren Crockford pictured in the living room of her one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    Lauren owns a one-bedroom flat in Sydenham, where she lives with her two cats (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    In our new weekly series, What I Own, we’re hoping to open up the conversation around homeownership and to make the prospect of buying a place instead of renting less of a stressful mystery.

    How on earth do you get a mortgage? How much do you really need to have saved up for a deposit? And how much cheaper is buying property if you look outside of London?

    Each week we go inside a different person’s home and chat to them about the process of making it their own.

    Last time we were in Harlow with blogger Jade, who owns a two-bedroom flat.

    This time we’re in Sydenham with Lauren, a 32-year-old working category management who’s always lived in London. When she was 30 she made an offer on a one-bedroom flat, which is where she now lives.

    Homeowner Lauren Crockford pictured in the living room of her one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Also pictured is her kitten Ralph. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    She had to save £29,000 for the deposit, but was lucky to have her family give her half (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    Hey, Lauren. Let’s talk deposit. 

    My total deposit was £24,000 but my fees were around another £5,000 so I needed a total of £29,000 to be able to purchase the property.

    I was fortunate that half had been gifted from family members, but the rest was my own savings. It took me around four years to save the £14,000 that was mine. I was very strict in that savings transferred to my savings account on payday. I saved the majority of birthday/Christmas money in this time and any bonuses (I’ve been fortunate to receive them over this time) I spent between 15%-20% and saved the rest.

    At the beginning there was also a period of around a year where I limited myself to only one night out a week, prepared all food for the week on a Sunday and did not deviate from this (no takeaways, coffees etc.) I also had a rule that anything that was left over the night before payday was transferred to savings; some months it was only £10, some it was £100, but it all adds up over time.

    My bank also provides cashback earnings when you spend with certain retailers and anything I earned from this also went directly to my savings. Lastly, I only had two holidays in this time and they were both last-minute all-inclusive deals.

    I did change jobs while saving but the salary increase was only around £5k which once you’re taxed and make pension deductions etc didn’t necessarily amount to a huge amount, but I suppose every little bit does help.

    So how much was the mortgage?

    I paid £240k for my flat and the mortgage was £216k.

    Now my mortgage payment is about £780 a month. Council tax and utilities are around another £200.

    Cat George is pictured sitting at the table in the living room of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    This is George. Isn’t he lovely? (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    And what do you get for what you pay?

    It’s one bed and one bathroom and the gross internal floor area is 456 sq ft, 42.3 sq meters.

    How did you find this flat?

    I found the flat on Rightmove and even from seeing it online I knew it was the one I wanted (despite dragging my Mum around five different viewings!). I knew I wouldn’t have the money left over to be able to do anything huge so it needed to be in a liveable and clean condition. Thankfully as I was moving to an area that was considered ‘up and coming’ there were lots of renovated flats on the market so I was able to buy something that was brand new inside and all I would need to do would be to put my own stamp on it.

    I fell in love with all of the natural light in my flat – which is stunning in the summer – and despite being a stone’s throw from the high street it’s really peaceful here. I also liked being in a managed purpose-built block as this gave me a sense of security.

    Kitten Ralph is pictured in the living room of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    And this is little Ralph (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    What was the process of getting a mortgage like?

    In total honesty getting a mortgage was the hardest part. I have defaults on my credit score from years ago and I kept getting rejected left, right and centre. I then did some research and found a specialist broker that was able to secure me a mortgage with a high street lender at a hugely competitive rate.

    The fee was high (£2,000) but I considered it worthwhile overall. If I’m honest it was so disheartening being told I couldn’t be trusted with a mortgage due to a £50 default from when I was 21 (and completely disregarding the fact I had been renting on my own for four years, of which the rent was higher than any mortgage payment I was looking at, and had never missed a payment, or missed any payment since for that matter) that I didn’t care about much else.

    It kind of shows how warped the system is and it should definitely be reviewed. In no way am I not taking responsibility for missing that payment, that’s entirely on me, but it shouldn’t be allowed to directly impact your future years later.

    Once I had a mortgage offer in front of me, I just took the rest of it in my stride knowing I had overcome the hardest part. The broker I worked with was also fantastic in explaining everything to me.

    Also, use your solicitor, you hire them to protect your investment (deposit), they are not the villains in this process despite what people may say!

    I completed November 2018 so I’ve been here almost a year now – it has flown by!

    SYDENHAM, LONDON, OCTOBER 6TH 2019. WHAT I OWN: SYDENHAM Details are pictured in the bedroom of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    The monthly payments are now £780 a month, plus bills (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    Why Sydenham?

    I genuinely didn’t even know Sydenham existed until I moved to it (and that’s the truth!).

    I had always lived in Uxbridge (very West London) and while my family are still there, I was working centrally in Pimlico and found a good 95% of my socialising was central, which meant I was spending on average £200 a month on Ubers just to get home from nights out. It was ridiculous, so I knew I had to be closer to London.

    I then sat there with Rightmove open on one tab and the tube map on the other and was searching by station in zone 3, until I found areas that were within my budget. I stumbled across Sydenham which was so well connected (Overground and trains to Victoria, London Bridge, Charing Cross, Blackfriars and Cannon Street across the three stations in the vicinity) as well as relatively reliable buses.

    Due to it being zone 3 an Uber hasn’t cost me more than £15 since I moved here.

    It was a huge risk moving to a completely unknown area – and family definitely thought I was having some kind of breakdown – but it was also exciting and turned out to be the best decision I made. I adore Sydenham and it has changed so much just in the short time I have been here.

    How have you made the flat feel like home?

    Initially I moved in with all of my furniture from my rented flat and lived in the flat before I made any decisions as I didn’t want to rush anything. For example, I did have a corner sofa beforehand, but after living in the flat with my old one for a couple of weeks I just knew it wasn’t going to work in the space, hence then ordering a sofa and chair.

    I didn’t replace my bed until April and all of the décor stuff was added over the summer.

    Taking the time to understand the space and how I would live in it was key for me to feel like I’m at home. Next on my list is my dining room table.

    Also, George (my tabby) helped as I only had him at the time of moving. He settled in right away and that helped a lot. He was also a great way to make friends with the neighbours.

    I’ve only really spent money on furniture and décor, but I’ve spent £5,000k (some is on interest free finance) on redecorating.

    Details are pictured in the living room of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    Making the flat feel like home has cost around £5,000 (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    Do you feel like you have enough space?

    Not at all! The bedroom is particularly small but I have found a way to make it work. I knew this was never going to be my forever home so I was willing to compromise on space to be able to get on the ladder.

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

    Not so far – but there’s always time. If anything I have only seen benefits; want to put a shelf up, just do it! Want my TV on the wall, go ahead! It’s nice to not have to check for permission for everything.

    What are your plans for the future, housing-wise?

    I know I won’t be in this flat forever, but I do know what a good investment it is for all of the reasons I chose it. I am back to saving quite strictly again so that when the time comes I will be in the position to get a second charge mortgage so I can release some equity in this to use as a deposit on a second, bigger, place. Then I will rent this place out. But a lot of that depends on how ruthless I can be with saving (I am not sure I have the willpower to do it again) and good old Brexit.

    Yes, we are envious of anyone thinking about buying a second home. Shall we have a look around?

     General view of the living room of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    Here’s the living room, complete with a speedy Ralph (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    Details are pictured in the living room of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    A gold unit is the perfect way to store both a Sky box and a bundle of sticks (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    General view of the living room of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    Big fans of the cat dish (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    SYDENHAM, LONDON, OCTOBER 6TH 2019. WHAT I OWN: SYDENHAM Cats Ralph (left) and George (right) are pictured sitting at the table in the living room of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    George and Ralph look very at home under the table (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    SYDENHAM, LONDON, OCTOBER 6TH 2019. WHAT I OWN: SYDENHAM General view of the living room of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    The living room leads into the kitchen (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    SYDENHAM, LONDON, OCTOBER 6TH 2019. WHAT I OWN: SYDENHAM Houseplants are pictured in the living room of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    You’ll spot plenty of plants and candles (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
     General view of the kitchen of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    Look at those tiles (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
     Details are pictured in the kitchen of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    You can tell Lauren’s a grownup because she has this many utensils (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    SYDENHAM, LONDON, OCTOBER 6TH 2019. WHAT I OWN: SYDENHAM General view of the kitchen of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    Plus, look at the shine on that toaster (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
     General view of the hallway of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    Here’s the storage space in the hallway (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    General view of the bedroom of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    The bedroom isn’t the biggest, but it works (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
     Details are pictured in the bedroom of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    Gotta have a lightbox (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    SYDENHAM, LONDON, OCTOBER 6TH 2019. WHAT I OWN: SYDENHAM General view of the bedroom of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    The natural light is pretty lovely (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    General view of the bathroom of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    Finally, the bathroom (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    General view of the bathroom of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)
    WHAT I OWN: SYDENHAM Details are pictured in the bathroom of homeowner Lauren Crockfords' one bedroomed flat in Sydenham, London, October 6th, 2019. Lauren pays roughly ?780 a month in mortgage not including bills. Photo Credit: Susannah Ireland
    Two toothbrushes. Mysterious. (Picture: Susannah Ireland/Metro.co.uk)

    How to get involved in What I Own

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

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

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

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

     

    MORE: What I Own: Vanessa, the 29-year-old photographer who paid a £5,100 deposit on a house in Belfast

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

    MORE: What I Rent: Adelaide, an 18-year-old mum paying £625 a month for a two-bedroom flat in Littlehampton


    What I Own SydenhamWhat I Own Sydenham

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    Kim Woodburn
    I believe there’s absolutely no reason why I should lose my joie-de-vivre as I reach the peak of life (Picture: Mike Marsland/WireImage)

    If there’s one thing guaranteed to drive me mad, it’s some baby-faced busybody suggesting that I should ‘take it easy’ as I approach the big 8-0.

    Don’t even get me started on those adverts which show older folk only interested in shopping for stairlifts and cat food. My sense of adventure is very much still intact and I know I’m not the only one – so why are us golden oldies so readily written off?

    Older people are likely to be stereotyped as frail, ill and dependent and to be viewed as having low social status. Findings from the European Social Study revealed people aged 70 and over are seen as contributing relatively little to the economy and being a ‘burden on health services’. In fact they contribute £152 billion to the economy through work, caregiving and volunteering.

    It’s unfortunate that such negative views are so frequently expressed and perpetuated.

    I like to think that perhaps youngsters buy into this stereotyping because they’re jealous of our been-there-done-that confidence, only authentically displayed by someone who has a good fistful of decades in the bank of life?

    More truthfully though, I think it’s often forgotten that – despite a slight slowing of the pace of our lives, changes in our health and the level of collagen in our skin – we are still individuals with passions, interests, desires and great stories to tell.

    Do David Attenborough, Meryl Streep or June Brown feel the need to take to their bed with tea and slippers just because they’ve reached a certain age? I think not.

    We have a lot to offer and most of us are still a lot of fun. We desperately need to rehabilitate the image of what it means to be older.

    When I think of the most active and inspirational people in the public eye, a good handful of them would qualify for a free bus pass. But are Oprah Winfrey or Morgan Freeman swapping the red carpet for a bingo hall?

    Do David Attenborough, Meryl Streep or June Brown feel the need to take to their bed with tea and slippers just because they’ve reached a certain age? I think not.

    These trailblazers are the positive role models our generation so needs.

    I’m taking a leaf out Meryl’s book. I’m not going to behave like I’ve nothing left to offer just because society expects it of me, and nor should anyone who’s considered ‘old’.

    I believe there’s absolutely no reason why I should lose my joie-de-vivre as I reach the peak of life.

    As we reach older age, we should use our savings and our sense to pursue what really makes us happy, rather than bowing to society’s expectation that we are diminished with every year that passes.

    Not to mention the fact that physical activity has been identified by Age UK as one of the key factors in promoting and enhancing overall quality of life for older people.

    To tell you the truth, I feel more vivacious and fabulous now than I ever have. It might be something to do with refusing to ‘act my age’, as I chase after adventures, activities and new challenges.

    Meryl Streep
    I’m taking a leaf out Meryl’s book (Picture: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for TIFF)

    I’ve scoffed kangaroo bits in the I’m A Celeb Jungle, strutted my stuff on the Come Dance with Me for Comic Relief stage, and survived the rollercoaster-ride that is Celebrity Big Brother.

    Each experience taught me something new about myself and I don’t regret getting out of my comfort zone for one second.

    I know full well that not all of us older people are able to go skydiving, bungee jumping or on holiday to Thailand. Financial and health constraints can’t be ignored.

    But it is possible for everyone to find an adventure that keeps them smiling and helps them feel alive.

    I’m done with the pigeon-holing and stereotyping that contributes to a lack of confidence in later life, and want to encourage my fellow over-65-ers to step out of their comfort zone, grab a hold of that inner confidence, and reclaim their sense of adventure.

    This doesn’t have to mean doing something completely outrageous – but something that feels adventurous to you. Whatever your age, state of health, level of mobility or financial status, there’s always something you can do to bring back that youthful vitality.

    Big or small, it’s time to do something that makes you feel like the winner you are.

    I’m calling for us golden oldies to stop behaving like society might expect. Hang up your dressing gown and dig out an outfit which makes you feel a million dollars.

    Buy yourself an advent calendar and eat all the chocolates in one sitting. Re-paint your living room in a colour which your niece thinks is too loud.

    Take the grandkids to the park and have a go on the swings. Call up your friends and plan a night on the tiles.

    You can show the youngsters how to do it properly. Trust me my loves – it’s the little adventures which will give you a whole new lease of life.

    Most importantly, promise me you’ll never tell yourself that you’re too old to do something you love.

    Kim Woodburn is supporting Red Letter Days.

    MORE: Kim Woodburn ‘honoured’ by epic impression on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK

    MORE: How to help the hero plumber who refuses to charge elderly people

    MORE: Elderly identical twins, 95, thanks ‘no sex and lots of Guinness’ as secrets to their long lives


    Celebrity Big Brother FinalCelebrity Big Brother Final

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    Nicky Affleck always loved sport, but as endometriosis has started to seriously impact her life fitness has become both more difficult and more important.

    ‘Throughout my early to mid-20s I would experience episodes of abdominal pain during exercise and also just doing day-to-day tasks,’ Nicky tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘As women, we tend to think nothing much of it and are always told its just the “time of the month”. Truth is, it’s not.

    Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women but it can go undiagnosed for up to 20 years. The disease itself is not very well understood and diagnosing it can be hit and miss, but it is a really serious illness that can have a devastating impact.

    ‘It’s only now in my mid 30s that the disease has really started to impact my daily life,’ says Nicky.

    Nicky with her hockey team
    ‘I have had two surgeries in an attempt to slow the disease down’ (Picture: Nicky Affleck)

    Sadly, two years ago, Nicky was told that her endometriosis had advanced significantly, it was a real blow to her confidence.

    ‘I have had two surgeries in an attempt to slow the disease down but ultimately, as of today there is no cure for the disease and the treatment of it is not 100% effective,’ says Nicky.

    ‘And going under the knife every year is also not the answer. More research needs to be done to really understand how it can be managed and treated.’

    The pain of endometriosis can be severe. Flair ups can happen at any time from debilitating abdominal pains to chronic fatigue.

    Nicky says she is often completely reliant on painkillers, but the mental and physical boost she gets from playing sport is a real help too.

    ‘Sport is a fundamental part of my life and who I am,’ she says.

    ‘I couldn’t survive without it, but equally on bad days, I couldn’t survive without Ibuprofen. I am certain there are many women who really struggle to stay active when living in constant pain.

    ‘My surgeon is pretty amazed that I’m able to play a sport like hockey at all.

    ‘It’s genuinely tough as the disease can be so unpredictable. But through playing hockey and building a strong network of friendships around me, I am able to ask for help and seek support from friends and family around me.

    ‘I also choose to keep myself as active as possible by playing hockey twice a week, going to spin classes two or three times a week and sometimes a gentle long Sunday walk with my friend and her two dogs,’

    Nicky is lucky. She found sport at a young age and had a really positive experience of physical activity throughout her school life.

    Nicky with her hockey team
    ‘Sport was the one thing that never let me down’ (Picture: Nicky Affleck)

    ‘Sport gave me a place to escape and a place to go where I could thrive doing something I love,’ says Nicky.

    ‘At the age of seven I found myself breaking records in the swimming pool, I have built a career working in the youth sport sector and today, at the age of 38 I am back playing hockey for a local London club.

    ‘Sport was the one thing that never let me down and the one thing that when I committed to it, it gave me so much back.’

    Nicky rediscovered her love of sport in her mid 30s, but taking the leap back on to the hockey pitch wasn’t an easy decision.

    ‘It was probably one of the most daunting things I’ve ever done. I wasn’t a teenager anymore and my body and fitness levels had obviously changed the older I got,’ says Nicky.

    ‘But what did motivate me to get back into playing was a welcoming club filled with wonderful and different women.

    ‘They were there because hockey gave them a place where they felt like they belonged, where they could build new friendships, and it gave them a sense of family whilst playing a game we all loved.’

    Nicky knows she isn’t alone in feeling scared about jumping into a new social situation like this – she thinks it’s vital that women support each other and make fitness spaces as accessible and welcoming as possible.

    Nicky playing hockey
    ‘Because people can’t see it, they don’t understand it and they don’t know it’s there’ (Picture: Nicky Affleck)

    ‘Often we think it’s only teenager girls who fear judgement in a group setting, hence the drop off in female participation levels from the age of 11,’ says Nicky. ‘But I am living proof that it isn’t just teenagers who struggle with it.

    ‘Most women have an intrinsic fear of not being good enough, or of others judging them.

    ‘I convinced a friend to join the club with me four years ago because I was nervous to give it a go on my own. This “buddy system”, for want of a better phrase, is hugely importing to women. It’s a safety net. It’s a common purpose. It has meaning.

    ‘Today, I interact with these women on most days. More so off the hockey pitch than on. Not only do we celebrate birthdays, weddings and the arrival of babies together. We too, share each other’s grief, sorrow and sadness.

    ‘I call these women my friends. My family. My tribe!’

    Living with a chronic illness is relentless. Nicky finds that one of the hardest aspects is dealing with people’s limited understanding about the female body.

    ‘The most challenging thing for me is people’s perception of the disease. There is this archaic idea that your time of the month is something that should be painful and cause discomfort. It isn’t!

    ‘Talking about it and raising awareness of the disease is the first step,’ Nicky adds. ‘This normalises the subject and gives others the opportunity and space to open up and talk.

    ‘One of the hardest things for me is the fact that because people can’t see it, they don’t understand it and they don’t know it’s there. This often leads to ignorance and judgement of a person’s ability or character.’

    Nicky is all about breaking down barriers and stigma – she wants there to be a wider understanding of just how common endometriosis is, and how it can affect women’s lives.

    ‘We need to talk more about it and we need to raise awareness. For some women, they may never know they have it, but for others it will affect them every day, making the simplest of tasks a chore.’

    Nicky knows that her commitment to staying active is a sign of strength – and she’s not about to give up what she loves any time soon.

    ‘Strong women are everywhere. We shine in different ways,’ says Nicky. ‘A sister. A daughter. A mother. An aunt. A partner. A friend. A teammate.

    ‘Women who challenge stereotypes, who fight for equal rights, who empower others around them and who lead the way. They are everywhere.’

    Strong Women

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

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

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

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

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

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘I lost all my hair in my 30s – running without my wig gave me my power back’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘Female jockeys are just as good as men’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘My rugby team fought for equality in Japan – but the fight against prejudice isn’t over’


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    Carved pumpkin for Hallowen
    You can get a pre-carved pumpkin on Deliveroo for £1.
    (Picture: Deliveroo)

    Some things are best left to the professionals.

    This, of course, applies to areas like tattooing, electrical work, and medicine, but in the spooky month of October we’re fast realising this applies to pumpkin carving.

    Don’t get us wrong, taking blade to orange can be a true seasonal delight. A time to bond with the family, an opportunity to spend some time with your favourite squash plant that doesn’t involve drinking it in a spiced latte.

    However, a helplessly hacked at pumpkin or a knife injury can turn out to be the scariest thing about Halloween. Besides, have you planned how you’ll use up all that leftover flesh?

    Fortunately, Deliveroo has announced they’ll be offering pre-carved pumpkins this Halloween.

    Deliveroo's carved pumpkins
    Get ready for your cheapest Deliveroo order yet (Picture: Deliveroo)

    Customers in London, Leeds and Manchester can order a jack-o’-lantern from the British food delivery company for a tidy £1 on Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 October, the big day.

    ‘Who has the time to intricately design and carve a giant pumpkin, all-the-while adorning cute cat ears and whiskers to pull off the ultimate Halloween look – it’s all too much!’ said Kate Thomas, director of consumer communications at Deliveroo.

    ‘So this Halloween take it easy and make sure you trump your friends and colleagues with one of our £1 bargain pumpkin designs.’

    Deliveroo isn’t exactly suggesting you cart your pumpkin to your office’s carving competition to pass it off as your handiwork, but they aren’t not suggesting it.

    The pumpkins, available to be ordered on the app, will take just 30 minutes to arrive at your door. You’ll have to be even quicker to get your orders in, as just under 100 of these pre-carved hunnies will be available.

    The spooky squashes will be carved by Brighton-based ‘Pumpkin Carving Queen’, who is a professionally trained stonemason who happens to carve vegetables like a boss.

    Deliveroo has also launched their Friday Freebie deal, meaning that on every Friday in October you can get a free side, dessert or starter from more than 3,500 restaurants in the UK.

    Participating eateries are some of your favourites, including Pizza Express, TGI Fridays, Shake Shack, Pizza Hut, Ask Italian, and Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

    MORE: How to have a sustainable Halloween

    MORE: Groupon launches special carving kits so you can make your pumpkin political – and they’re free

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


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    Top trending halloween costumes of the year
    Gonna wear any of these? (Pictures: Amazon)

    It’s spooky season, folks, and that means costume competitions and trick or treating.

    While there’s nothing wrong with a classic witch or a cat, they have been trotted out each year, and you might want to switch it up a bit.

    That’s where Google comes in, as the search engine company have shared with us their top trending costumes for 2019.

    That essentially means that they’ve seen huge spikes in the number of searches compared by the year before, showing relevance and popularity growth.

    What it also means is that, if you choose one of these for All Hallow’s Eve, you’re bound to be on-point and on-topic.

    Scoops Ahoy costume

    Scoops Ahoy costume
    Steve Harrington could never (Picture: Amazon )

    If you’ve watched new series of Stranger Things, you’ll know that these costumes feature heavily.

    We’ve seen everything from pool floats to trainers dedicated to the now-iconic ice-cream shop, and it appears that Halloween will be no different.

    You can get your hands on this particular number from Amazon for £39.99.

    Alien abduction costume

    Alien abduction costume
    Storming Area 51 never really took off, so bring it back with your Halloween costume (Picture: Amazon )

    Our powers of deduction tell us that the popularity of this costume might have something to do with the Area 51 memes that were kicking about earlier this year.

    Searches for alien abduction costumes rose by a whopping 1190.07% this year, making it the second on the trending list from Google.

    This option – just £16.95 on Amazon – includes a fan inside the inflatable, with a battery that lasts for four hours.

    Money Heist costume

    Money Heist costume
    Don’t do any actual heists, though (Picture: Amazon )

    If you’re a fan of Money Heist – or Le Casa Del Papel in Spain – this is the perfect costume.

    It appears that the Dali mask worn by the thieves in the show has replaced the Guy Fawkes masks worn in V for Vendetta as the easy costume du jour.

    The searches definitely show that, anyway, as they rose by 777.15% over the last year.

    Pennywise costume

    Kids Pennywise costume
    You’ll float too (Picture: Amazon )

    This no shocker, but search has risen specifically for kids versions of the evil clown costume.

    Do you lot all just want your kids to scare themselves to death? How have any of your kids seen the terrifying movie?

    These are questions we don’t even want the answers to.

    Fat Thor costume

    Fat Thor costume
    Looks comfy, tbh (Picture: coshdUK )

    Let’s be honest, it’s pretty difficult to accurately emulate Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal’s Thor.

    That might be why 550.96% more people than last year searched for ‘fat Thor’ costumes instead.

    Much more attainable, and much more comfortable. Win, win.

    Demogorgon costume

    Demogorgon costume
    Nothing like throwing on a jumpsuit – now you have to learn how to pee wearing it (Picture: Amazon )

    The fandoms are obviously keen to get their little ones involved, as searches rose steeply for kids versions of the Demogorgon jumpsuit.

    It does tick all the boxes; creepy, topical, and easy to wear.

    This one is available from £11.59 on Amazon.

    Harley Quinn costumes

    Harley Quinn costume
    Can’t let Joker fans have all the fun (Picture: Amazon )

    Nope, the Harley Quinn train just is not stopping any time soon.

    In fact, searches for this rose by 418.91% this year on Google.

    The fact is, it’s a great costume. You’re just unlikely to be the only one wearing it.

    Georgie Halloween costume

    Georgie costume
    What’s wrong with all you parents? (Picture: Amazon )

    Officially the costume above is a ‘disguise rideable clown child disguise costume’. Those copyright claims are a b*tch.

    However it appears that a large number of people want to dress up – or dress their kids up – as a kid who gets attacked by a clown.

    Thankfully, this look can be recreated easily with a yellow raincoat and some wellies. Plus, you’ll be protected from the current rainy weather.

    Venom costume

    Venom kids costume
    (Picture: Amazon )

    For those of you who have already mastered the Spiderman costume, why not go for his evil counterpart, Venom?

    Searches for kids Venom costumes went up by 322.04% this yearm, so it appears the little ones are keen to head over to the dark side, too.

    Broken doll Halloween costume

    Broken doll costume
    S(he’s) Br(ok)en (Picture: Halloween Costumes )

    This rise in search might be down to the Annabelle remake that came out this year – Annabelle Comes Home.

    Even the trailer looked terrifying, but thankfully this is a costume that you can balance with cuteness if that’s your bag.

    There are some great makeup tutorials out there, too.

    Joker 2019 costume

    Joker costume
    Why so serious? (Picture: Ebay )

    While there’s never a shortage of Jokers out and about at this time of year, Joaquin Phoenix has brought the costume a new lease of life.

    If you want to do the other evil clown justice this year, you’ll need to be wearing the costume from his origin stories.

    Plus, it doubles up if you’re ever going to a 70s themed wedding. Result.

    Miles Morales costume

    Miles morales costume
    Miles was introduced to the Spiderverse in 2011 (Picture: Amazon )

    Another spin-off from the classic Spiderman costume is that of Miles Morales.

    It’s a great option for POC who want to champion the black character, and show their intricate knowledge of the comic book series.

    Search in this rose by 256.91% this year.

    Werewolf costume

    Werewolf costume
    (Picture: Amazon )

    There has been a rise in searches for kids werewolf costumes for 2019.

    Did werewolves fall out of fashion for a bit? What’s brought them back to popularity?

    Who knows, but it’s much more wholesome for a child than dressing them as a kid who gets murdered by a sewer-dwelling clown.

    MORE: Spooky but lazy? You can order a £1 pre-carved pumpkin on Deliveroo

    MORE: I’m in my 70s but I don’t plan on slowing down any time soon


    The top 10 trending Halloween costumes for 2019The top 10 trending Halloween costumes for 2019

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