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

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    Close-Up Of Woman With Pink Nail Polish
    Say it with me: ‘knuckles are normal’ (Picture: Getty)

    When you get a fresh mani, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is show it off on Instagram.

    But wait, what about those unsightly folds of skin gathering around the joints on our fingers? Knuckles? Gross!

    Don’t worry – if you don’t want anyone to know that you have functioning fingers that actually bend (ew) you can take part in the latest Instagram trend of photoshopping the ‘perfect’ fingers.

    Wave goodbye to your wrinkly digits and smooth out your fingers – because where Instagram is concerned, smooth is king.

    We’re serious. This is an actual trend.

    Spotted by Instagram expert Sara Tasker, she tweeted some of the photoshopped pictures she had spotted with the caption: ‘New in “instagram trends that quietly frighten me” we have airbrushing out your knuckles for that “hot dog” look…’

    And she’s not wrong about the hot dog comparison. Turns out, fingers without knuckles are intensely horrifying.

    Hundreds jumped in to comment, with one woman joking that she was rushing out to buy knuckle cream out of shame.

    ‘I see knuckle serum in all of our futures,’ replied Sara. ‘(Just the women, obvs. Male knuckle wrinkles will be “distinguished”).’

    But why are we ashamed of our knuckles? Have we been so conditioned to hate wrinkles that we can’t even stand the natural folds of skin that allow our bodies to bend?

    We took a look at some of the most popular nail hashtags on Instagram to see just how widespread this unsettling trend is.

    These fingers look suspiciously smooth to us…

    It might be just the lighting, but we’re pretty sure these digits have been doctored.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B44JQzBI16p/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    The soft filter isn’t fooling anybody

    This user has left the suggestion of knuckle lines, but the hand on the bottom looks unrealistically smooth around the top finger joint.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B44JX0RHFz4/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    The nails are great… but where are the knuckles?

    We literally can’t see the knuckle. Can these fingers even bend?

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B44EGsFACJO/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Bright lighting or editing?

    Again, this could be a trick of lighting – but these fingers look oddly wrinkle-free.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B44D8e_FqUM/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Nope, nope, nope

    These fingers are frankly terrifying and don’t really look human if we’re being honest.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B43-l8hAbjo/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Nails are fab – why no knuckles?

    We love the design of this mani, and we’re sure that leaving the knuckles alone wouldn’t have distracted from the beauty of the design.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B44A3Q1gdg6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_linkhttps://www.instagram.com/p/B43-l8hAbjo/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    We’re not sure why this no-knuckles trend seems to be taking off on Instagram – but we do know that nobody needs to feel ashamed of having knuckles.

    The odd wrinkle is surely better than these barely-human sausage fingers. It’s a no from us.

    MORE: Stunning images make the finals of ‘best photo of eyes’ contest

    MORE: World’s first shop selling real products for refugees opens in London

    MORE: Rent a real-life royal palace with a private butler on Airbnb


    Close-Up Of Woman With Pink Nail PolishClose-Up Of Woman With Pink Nail Polish

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    illustration of hand holding a tampon
    Apparently, menstrual chat is still taboo (Picture: Getty/ metro.co.uk)

    Weekend plans, holidays and Brexit are the usual suspects when it comes to office chit chat – but a new study has found there’s a particular topic that male employees dislike.

    The big P: Periods.

    A new study has found that a third of male workers think it’s ‘inappropriate’ to discuss anything to do with menstruation in the office.

    In fact, 32 per cent of men said they thought it was ‘unprofessional’ of women to talk about periods at work.

    This new research confirms that the menstrual cycle is still largely considered a taboo by a considerable portion of employees. Despite it being a natural, biological phenomenon affecting around half of an office’s workforce, every month.

    The study, carried out by Initial Washroom Hygiene, spoke to 2,000 workers.

    It also found that the women polled said they would rather speak in public, admit to a mistake at work or provide relationship advice than speak about their periods in front of male colleagues.

    This apparent shame and embarrassment around periods can also be seen in the other statistics.

    More than half of the women in the study said they would be reluctant to call in sick because of period-related symptoms, and 48 per cent said they would be hesitant to talk about it with their manager.

    Similarly, 46 per cent of women said they felt uncomfortable taking sanitary products out on their desks, in front of their colleagues.

    illustration of woman with hands over vagina
    Women are embarrassed to talk about periods at work (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Perhaps something more concerning is the fact that four out of ten women said they had used a sanitary towels or tampon for longer than medically advised because they didn’t want to get up and replace it, or ask a colleague for one.

    The fact is, it’s 2019 and nobody should be ashamed of their body or embarrassed to talk about it at work. But this recent study shows topics relating to women’s bodies, like periods, are not considered to be ‘normal’ part of everyday conversations.

    Sian Walkling, a marketing manager at the Initial Washroom Hygiene, said: ‘The fact that a third of men think a grown-up discussion about menstrual hygiene is unprofessional, and that almost half of women feel uncomfortable discussing this element of their wellness with their manager, shows how much work needs to be done.’

    ‘Female employees shouldn’t feel embarrassed talking about menstrual hygiene in the office, especially when they find themselves faced with a situation they may inadvertently not be prepared for.

    ‘Normalising conversations about menstrual cycles and how they affect women is vital to achieving period dignity and a diverse workforce.’

    MORE: Man gets shut down after rant branding periods ‘disgusting’ and women’s ‘fault’

    MORE: One in five girls are bullied because of their periods

    MORE: Women share the dumbest things they’ve heard about periods, reproductive health and their bodies from men


    illustration of hand holding a tamponillustration of hand holding a tampon

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    Spill It: What a 26-year-old letting agent drinks in a week
    Nothing like an irish cream liqueur to lift the spirits (Picture: Getty)

    It’s getting to that time of year where drinking feels almost compulsory.

    Christmas time is an easy out for those of us who are prone to overindulge. When you have a gin advent calendar and there are festive drinks happening every other evening, it’s easy for it to get out of hand.

    Each week on Spill It, we look at different people’s drinking habits over the course of a week.

    This time around, we’re hearing from a 26-year-old diarist who works as a letting agent and lives in Bristol.

    She’s getting into the spirit with a cheeky Bailey’s (yes, it’s cheeky, don’t @ us), and some nice wines.

    Thursday

    Only chose to drink as I had a really nice bottle of red open from Monday and it would have gone to waste!

    To use it up I made a red wine risotto, and had two small glasses myself

    Units: 3

    Friday

    Leaving drinks for a colleague. I don’t normally drink much at these events as I normally have to drive home, but I really get on with this guy so I decide to let myself have a few, and organise a taxi home.

    A few turned into five large glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.

    Units: 15

    Saturday

    A little bit blurry eyed this morning, but nothing six cups of tea can’t fix. Working this morning, so up early and taxi back to the office since I left my car.

    My fiancé has recently had knee surgery making him pretty immobile, so I was designated driver tonight so he could go to his friends engagement drinks.

    I do have one small glass of red wine when I get home, though.

    Units: 1.5

    Sunday

    Very nice lazy Sunday, although woke up with a headache – very unfair considering lack of drinking!

    We normally go out for a roast but due to his knee, we stayed in so I made a pie and treated ourselves to a nice bottle of Bordeaux, of which I had half.

    Units: 4.9

    Monday

    I play Netball Monday nights so no alcohol today.

    Units: 0

    Tuesday

    Day off today. Went for dinner, but drove so no booze there. Did have a double Bailey’s once I got home through – getting in the Christmas spirit!

    Units: 0.9

    Wednesday

    Girl’s night and I was intending not to drink, but my friend had an open bottle of Sauvignon. We realised half way through that it had been open for 6 weeks in her fridge – tasted remarkably nice, considering.

    I ended up having two medium glasses of white wine.

    Units: 4.2

    Total units for the week: 29.5

    Total units in a week recommended by the NHS: 14 units (for anybody regardless of gender). Obviously, if you’re able to get lower than this, even better!

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

    MORE: How to borrow money responsibly

    MORE: Mum says smoking weed after her kids go to bed is no different than having a glass of wine


    Spill It: What a 25-year-old letting agent drinks in a weekSpill It: What a 25-year-old letting agent drinks in a week

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    10-year-old girl's Christmas wish list on a festive winter snow background
    At least she’s given a lot of options to choose from (Picture: @a_johnson412)

    Putting together the annual Christmas wish list is a highlight for many kids.

    It’s a chance for them to get presents that they’ve had their eyes on all year – but one dad was taken aback when he realised that Santa will need to splash the cash and get himself an extra big sleigh to fit all the goodies that his little girl wants.

    The 10-year-old’s list stretches a mile long, and people are creasing at her choices.

    So, what did she ask for?

    Some of the requests were pretty standard, including checkered Vans, clothes, makeup and Lol dolls, but the cheeky youngster also featured some more extravagant gifts – such as a real bunny, an iPhone 11 and a Macbook Air.

    Designer brands also made an appearance, such as a Chanel purse, Gucci sliders and Pink Pumas.

    The most excessive entry however comes towards the end and it’s a cash gift – of 4,000 dollars.

    ‘My 10 year old daughter must be out of her mind with this Christmas list,’ her dad captioned the tweet.

    The tweet has since gone viral, racking up more than 15,000 retweets and almost 75,000 likes, with people loving her boldness.

    ‘Sneaking in that 4K at the bottom is a rockstar move,’ one person replied.

    Someone else said: ‘You raised a bougie princess and now you wanna complain TUH.

    ‘Get mama her Gucci slides and stop playing.’

    Others speculated what his daughter would be using the money for, with one person tweeting: ‘4,000 dollars???? She’s putting a down payment on a car?’

    ‘This is her registry,’ someone else commented.

    Another amused person suggested that perhaps his daughter is ‘trying to catch a plane and become a travel vlogger’.

    Interestingly, the 10-year-old also threw in some more affordable choices, such as an alarm clock, sheets and laundry detergent (yes, we’re just as confused as you are).

    One person offered a possible theory for the mismatch of wishes.

    ’10 years old, this may be what she’s trying to test,’ they tweeted.

    ‘The list is a confusing assortment of practical (new sheets and covers, alarm clock), standard for her age (LOL Surprise dolls), and what the heck?

    ‘It’d be a smart way to test whether or not mom is Santa.’

    Her full Christmas wish list

    • iPhone 11
    • Air pods
    • New Macbook Air
    • A real bunny
    • Hydro flask
    • Clothes
    • Makeup
    • Pink Pumas
    • Gucci sliders
    • Chanel Purse
    • Perfume
    • Essential oil
    • American girl doll car
    • New shoes
    • Earrings/Jewellery
    • Checkered Vans
    • Go Pro
    • Pink duct tape
    • Glue, food colouring and laundry detergent
    • Clothes for bunny
    • 4,000 dollars
    • Lol doll camper
    • Lol dolls/big sister
    • Lol doll Shalay
    • New sheets and cover
    • Alarm clock

    Some people also commented on her inventive spelling of items such as ‘asenchal oil’, while others wondered what she needs the pink duct tape for.

    Lmaooo “asenchal oil” Issa baby queen,’ someone tweeted.

    One person also asked whether people were sure the Lol dolls were a brand.

    ‘I’m guessing lol is a brand and not her cackling to herself as she compiled this list?,’ they tweeted.

    Which of her these wishes Father Christmas will grant is still unclear, but we’ve got a feeling it won’t be a wad of dollar bills.

    Then again, if he’s real…there’s no reason he couldn’t do it, right?

    MORE: Dad hilariously copies daughter’s ‘milk drunk’ faces

    MORE: Woman has two sets of twins three years apart defying 700,000 to one odds

    MORE: Adah and Austin predicted to be popular baby names in 2020


    10yo girl's Xmas list of 4,000 dollars and 'aschenal oil'10yo girl's Xmas list of 4,000 dollars and 'aschenal oil'

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    Chocolate reindeer
    Swap your glass for a reindeer vessel (Picture: Metro.co.uk/Getty)

    The festive season wouldn’t be complete without a glass of Baileys – so it’s just as well that the brand has brought out a new treat for 2019.

    Baileys has just launched a milk chocolate reindeer, designed to hold its creamy beverage inside.

    What’s more, they adorable creatures are free when you pick up a £12 litre bottle of the Irish cream liqueur at Asda.

    According to the boozy brand, the hollow chocolate reindeer is best served with 50ml of the creamy tipple inside and topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

    Each little fella weighs 80g and works out to 550 calories per 100g – so that’s 440 cals per reindeer.

    Tray of the Baileys chocolate reindeer
    Look how cute they are (Picture: Baileys)

    They’re available in selected stores until 4 December, while stocks last. So you better get your festive skates on if you plan to pick one up.

    A list of the participating stores can be found using the locator tool on the website.

    The chocolate reindeer next to a bottle of Baileys
    Adorable (Picture: Baileys)

    Premium chocolatiers Lir are behind the edible animals.The company also makes a range of Baileys-flavoured chocolates – so you can eat safe in the knowledge that the reindeers will have the brand’s signature chocolatey taste.

    The delightful freebie was first spotted on the Facebook page Bag a Weekly Bargain.

    The Baileys chocolate reindeer on the shelf
    They are free with a £12 bottle at ASDA (Picture: Bag a weekly bargain /Facebook)

    The chocolate drinking vessel comes after the supermarket launched a festive yule log, last month.

    But the Christmassy treats keep on coming.

    There’s also a Baileys advent calendar available this year, which features 12 mini bottles of the Irish cream in coffee, orange truffle and original varieties.

    Asda is also selling a full-size salted caramel Baileys – which launched last month – made from the original Irish cream and blended with rich caramel, along with a pinch of salt.

    Delicious.

    MORE: Asda is selling an advent calendar filled with mini bottles of Baileys for £20

    MORE: Baileys releases red velvet liqueur

    MORE: Tesco launches salted caramel and hot chocolate-flavoured Baileys cakes


    moving image of Baileys reindeer and Christmas backgroundmoving image of Baileys reindeer and Christmas background

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    An adorable white and grey cat sat among plants with a pink wall behind the pet
    Because your pet deserves a treat (Picture: Cheshire & Wain/Rachel Oates)

    Not sure what to get your furry friend this year?

    No need to stress, because a Christmas pop-up for pets has just opened and it’s full of gifts for cats and dogs.

    The Merchant’s Tail in Hackney was launched by pet labels Cheshire & Wain and Fetch & Follow, and will feature both festive experiences and shopping opportunities for animal lovers.

    Fancy felines will appreciate the luxury ‘Muted Heritage’ collection of soft leather collars and Caviar-themed accessories, while man’s best friend can be treated to a stylish rain jacket or jumper.

    If they’ve been a very good girl or boy this year, you could also get them a new bowl and bed, too.

    Beyond buying gifts, there will be in-store workshops such as a session on caring for your pets during winter months and Christmas with Dr Ciara from Vet in the City.

    And if you haven’t sorted the annual Christmas card yet, visit the photo studio where photographer Rachel Oates will be ready to snap a pic of your pet.

    Other events include a Lucky (Waving) Cat customisation workshop and a winter skincare Walk & Talk with Malin+Goetz for the humans.

    Pets are obviously welcome to come along during your visit, with founder of Cheshire & Wain, Sonja Farrell, and Genesta Gunn from Fetch & Follow hanging about the store, ready to feed them snacks.

    Humans can also post a ‘tail’ to Santa Paws for a chance to win £100 to spend on their furry pal.

    The pop-up, located on Hackney Road, opened last week and will run until 8 December, open every Wednesday to Sunday.

    If you want to get a little something pet-themed for yourself, why not get a strange Christmas jumper featuring a dog that looks suspiciously like a penis?

    Then again…

    MORE: Why does this dog Christmas jumper make it look like you’re patting a penis?

    MORE: Missguided is selling matching roll-neck jumpers for you and your dog

    MORE: Bridesmaids surprise bride with a puppy as a wedding gift after her dog died


    qFg1KfOE-c992qFg1KfOE-c992

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  • 11/15/19--04:33: The reality of breakup debt
  • Mental Health Moving Home Picture Ella Byworth for metro.co.uk
    To the left, to the left, everything you own in a box to the left (Picture Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    In any relationship, your formerly separate lives can become inextricably tangled.

    Who would get to keep the cat after you break up? What about the sofa you bought together? Or the friends that you made when you were together?

    Once you’ve worked out the minutiae through measured conversation (or screaming each other about the fact that it was you who bought that record player and storming out with it) you’re both left picking up the pieces – not just emotionally, but financially.

    Breaking up isn’t just an emotionally messy time, it can be seriously expensive, and even leave you in debt.

    I know this better than anyone.

    A few years back, I found myself in an intense relationship that, when it ended, changed my whole financial future.

    Things moved quickly, and when my lease ended a month into us being together I moved into the house he owned, paying him towards bills and his mortgage.

    It wasn’t a cheap relationship to be in. He would suggest going to fancy places constantly, and if I’d say I couldn’t afford it he’d promise to pay. However, when the time came for my round, he’d look at me expectantly, and I’d go spend money I couldn’t afford so I didn’t humiliate myself in front of his friends.

    The constant over-promising and under-delivering, coupled with him leading a rather fast lifestyle that I felt I needed to keep up with took its toll on my bank balance. By the end of the ten months we were together, I had no savings.

    Then, when we broke things off, I had to find a new place to live – with all the expenses that came with that. Rental deposits (even just for a room) can be upwards of £1,000, and that’s before you’ve even counted moving expenses and the essentials you need for a new home.

    In the end, I had to borrow a large chunk of money from a family member, and have spent a very long time paying it back.

    It’s no surprise, then, that nearly one in five people – a fifth of the population – have remained in a romantic relationship because financial concerns have prevented them from leaving.

    2 NOV Love Or Something Like It: Emmie, falling out of love with my BFF
    Breaking up is hard, but being in debt is harder (Illustration: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)
    metro illustrations
    2 NOV Love Or Something Like It: Emmie, falling out of love with my BFF

    For Alfie, a PR manager from London, the price of breaking up with his partner was £9,000. Being on his own after a number of years in a couple was a shock to the system money-wise.

    ‘I was in the relationship for three years – three years too long!’ he tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘We owned a property together so when we broke-up because he found someone else I wasn’t in a position to pay the mortgage on my own, so had to move out. The plan was for him to buy me out.

    ‘I had to rent a room until the payment came through, as well as pay a deposit and six weeks in advance on the room.

    ‘I needed a credit card to survive (rent was more than my monthly mortgage payments and the cost of living doubled. I wasn’t splitting food, electricity and other bills.

    ‘I ran up a credit card bill of £9,000, and I had to use the money my late father had left me until I received the money from my half of the sale. It took months.’

    According to Relate, over a quarter of people (26%) experiencing money worries in their relationships, and a third (32%) of Relate’s couple counselling clients say that money worries are causing tension in their relationships.

    ‘If it has been a co-dependent relationship then with the ending of the relationship the reliance on the other person can strongly effect the person that has been left – leaving them vulnerable to mental health issues, especially depression,’ Peter Saddington, a Practice Clinical Supervisor at Relate, tells Metro.co.uk.

    Co-dependency, he explains, is ‘a way of describing a pattern of behavior between a couple where one person has an excessive reliance on the other person particularly for approval and a sense of identity. It is often associated with a couple where one has an addiction but this is not exclusive, couples can be codependent in many ways including financially.’

    You may not think that you’re financially co-dependent, but if your financial freedom is tied to whether they provide for you (or not) then it could be a sign.

    An illustration of a person's hand, holding some coins
    A fuck off fund might be just what you need (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    This is why a number of people have decided to create so-called ‘fuck off funds’.

    The idea initially stemmed from an essay written by Paulette Perhach in 2016. She tells the story of a woman stuck in a terrible relationship and terrible job, with no funds to leave, and advises that we should all save up as much as we can, so we can ‘fuck off’ to pastures new if need be.

    Granted, it’s certainly not as easy as just planning to save. Peter says: ‘Woman are often the ones that can find themselves in a financially compromised position as a result of a break-up – often because of having a family and not having the same financial back-up because they have not worked as much or developed their career because of the commitment to the child/children.

    ‘Woman will often not have been able to maintain a pension because of breaks in their career because of starting a family.’

    Alternatively, he says, ‘Men can find themselves struggling as a result of supporting more than one family. If they go on to have another relationship then they may still have responsibilities to a previous relationship and so he is not able to use all of his money in the new relationship.’

    These situations can make saving for a rainy day hard, not to mention that when you’re in the good times of a relationship, leaving isn’t a top priority.

    Financial abuse can muddy the waters even further. Peter says: ‘Financial abuse involves someone using or misusing money which limits or controls the other person’s current and future actions and more importantly their freedom of choice.

    ‘It can be running up debts in the other person’s name, using and misusing credit cards without permission and gambling with the other person (or family’s) assets. Financial abuse rarely happens in isolation but is often characteristic in an abusive or coercive relationship.’

    All of these things add to the importance of saving – if that’s an option for you – in a bank account that can’t be accessed by your partner.

    It’s not about not trusting them, but about giving yourself the freedom to leave a situation if it becomes toxic. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

    If saving isn’t something you can realistically afford, or you’re in an unexpected break-up debt situation, there is help out there for you.

    ‘Your bank or building society will want to know and consider what options are possible,’ says Peter.

    ‘Looking at Mediation can be extremely helpful as it can enable all the relevant information about the financial situation of you and your partner to be explored ensuring that all the facts and figures are revealed and included in a settlement.’

    He adds: ‘Debt agencies play a really important and valuable part in helping to make sense of your options and where further support is available. Citizen’s Advice are a really good first port of call especially as they are free. They will get information about benefits, how to deal with debt and what you are entitled to if you are losing your job and most importantly who to speak to if there is a threat of losing your home.’

    Put simply, you are never alone, and other agencies such as National Debtline and StepChange will also be able to help you get out of your current situation, and signpost you to further services if need be.

    You might not be able to splash out on unlimited tubs of Ben & Jerry’s to drown your sorrows, but your financial situation will improve, and so will your broken heart.

    Debt Month

    This article is part of a month-long focus in November all about debt.

    Scary word, we know, but we're hoping if we tackle this head on we'll be able to reduce the shame around money struggles and help everyone improve their understanding of their finances.

    Throughout November we'll be publishing first-person accounts of debt, features, advice, and explainers. You can read everything from the month on the Debt Month tag.

    If you have a story to share, a topic you want us to cover, or a question that needs answering, get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

     

    MORE: Christmas pop-up dedicated to cats and dogs opens in London

    MORE: 10-year-old girl writes hilarious Christmas wish list asking for ‘asenchal oil’ and ‘4,000 dollars’


    Illustration of a woman looking glum with moving boxes in the backgroundIllustration of a woman looking glum with moving boxes in the background

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    A split image of a dog wearing two different Christmas jumpers from the Sainsbury's TU collection
    Awwww (Picture: Sainsbury’s)

    Christmas Jumper Day is just under a month away – it’s time to get your outfit in order.

    While you’re browsing for the most jolly (or ridiculous) look to sport this year, don’t forget to pick something up for your pooch.

    After all, your furry friend deserves to feel festive, too.

    Ahead of the big event, Sainsbury’s has just launched its Tu range of Christmas jumpers for dogs, and the designs are adorable.

    Choose from a multi-coloured Fair Isle pattern in light blue, featuring cakes, Santa Claus, Christmas trees and baubles or an understated checkered coat in red and black.

    There’s also a ‘family blue’ coat with the words ‘Santa’s little helper’ scrawled on top.

    For a more traditional style, dress your pooch up as a miniature, hairy elf or Father Christmas (beard not included).

    The collection features four jumpers in total, along with two coats and two Harris Tweed leads.

    It’s pretty affordable too, so you could get more than one design – £14 for jumpers and £12 for the coats, with the range available in-store and online.

    Sizes range from small to extra large, so all breeds can get in on the fun.

    If you’d like something a bit more luxurious, swing by Hackney and visit The Merchant’s Tail – a pop-up dedicated to cats and dogs.

    Hosted by pet labels Cheshire & Wain and Fetch & Follow, the shop opened last week and will run until 8 December.

    In addition to shopping opportunities, visitors can take part in pet-themed workshops and other experiences such as getting a pic taken of their beloved animal in the photo studio with a professional photographer.

    Treats will be handed out to felines and pooches as well.

    And if you’re looking for a jumper for yourself, may we recommend one with a design that is meant to be a dog – but looks like someone patting a penis?

    Yes, really.

    MORE: Why does this dog Christmas jumper make it look like you’re patting a penis?

    MORE: Missguided is selling matching roll-neck jumpers for you and your dog

    MORE: Bridesmaids surprise bride with a puppy as a wedding gift after her dog died


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    jo malone and zara collaborate on perfume collection
    They’re on sale now (Picture: Zara/Metro)

    From lime basil and mandarin to peony and blush suede – famous perfumer Jo Malone is known for working wonders in the world of fragrance.

    The perfume extraordinaire has teamed up with high street favourite Zara to launch a unisex collection.

    The range – known as the The Zara Emotions Collection by Jo Loves – features eight different perfumes.

    They’re on sale today and each perfume is priced at £25.99.

    For the past year, Jo has used Zara’s fashion archives to come up with the unique scents.

    the eight perfume bottles in jo malone and zara's collection
    There are eight to choose from (Picture: Zara)

    According to the Zara website, Vetiver Pamplemousse has notes of grapefruit, mandarin and vetiver (a kind of grass). Jo says it’s like a ‘a crisp white cotton shirt layered with citrus cologne, an everyday accessory for me.’

    Alternatively, Ebony Wood represents ‘that moment of freedom and care-free adventures that are about to begin,’ thanks to its peppercorn and clove undertones. Whereas she describes Tubereuse Noir as ‘commanding’ with its ylang and sandlewood scent.

    Bohemian Bluebells features notes of lavender, sandalwood and musk and is a favourite with Jo. In fact, she claims it to be ‘unlike anything you’ve ever smelt before.’

    Intriguing.

    perfume bottles stacked on one another
    Jo Malone has done it again (Picture: Zara)

    Water Lily Tea Dress has notes of spearmint, bergamot and musk, while Almalfi Sunray also has bergamot, alongside mandarin and orange flower.

    Both Fleur De Patchouli and Fleur D’Oranger are heavy on the florals.

    Zara is known its designer fragrance dupes which smell incredibly similar to high-end products.

    The retailer’s £15.99 Black Peony perfume has a striking resemblance to Viktor & Rolf Flower Bomb. Likewise, the £9.99 Zara Rose has similar notes to Dior’s J’adore fragrance.

    The new perfumes by Jo Malone will add to Zara’s luxury-yet-affordable fragrance collection.

    MORE: Vans goes green with a Save Our Planet collection

    MORE: Shoppers can’t get enough of this ASOS trench coat for £75

    MORE: Missguided is selling matching roll-neck jumpers for you and your dog


    Jo Malone and Zara perfume collaboration Picture: Zara METROGRABJo Malone and Zara perfume collaboration Picture: Zara METROGRAB

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    Netflix and Chill is over - it's now time for Disney+ and Thrust
    When he gives you that look (Picture: Getty)

    If you ask someone to come round to Netflix and Chill, they won’t just think you’re a little bit forward.

    No, they’ll also think you’re a dinosaur from an ancient land, as that term is not only dead – it’s fossilised.

    It’s all thanks to the advent of a new streaming service; Disney+.

    The platform hosts pretty much everything Disney has ever done, whether it’s TV shows like Lizzie McGuire and That’s So Raven or movies like Cinderella and Fantasia.

    People were pretty excited when it launched this week, but as usual it had to go from innocent to filth in a matter of minutes.

    Memes began appearing almost immediately about the new term, which is exactly like Netflix and Chill except for the fact you’ll be watching kids shows rather than true crime documentaries before you do the deed.

    As you may notice from the memes, the jury is really out on whether Disney+ and Thrust is actually good or bad.

    For one, you’re watching things designed for and/or including children. The only people who feel aroused when watching The Suite Life of Zack and Cody should really be reported to police.

    If you do manage to find something more appropriate then you’re missing out on some top quality content while you thrust.

    Given how many people appear to get engaged or married at Disneyland, though, it does make sense that people’s love would blossom over the likes of the Lion King.

    If you want ‘a friend in you’, you really don’t need to watch the TV to make romance spark. The Woody jokes might be offputting, and Toy Story is a real tearjerker – not ideal for the bedrooms.

    We mostly miss the days of the ‘sex mixtape’. Life was simpler then… And you didn’t need to pay a subscription fee.

    MORE: Jo Malone launches unisex perfume collection in collaboration with Zara

    MORE: Sainsbury’s launches adorable collection of Christmas jumpers for dogs


    The launch of Disney\'s streaming service means the \'Netflix and chill\' era is overThe launch of Disney\'s streaming service means the \'Netflix and chill\' era is over

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    SONY DSC
    There will be 30 minutes more to play with (Picture: McDonald’s)

    There is nothing more disappointing than arriving at McDonald’s to find that you’re too late to grab a morning McMuffin.

    But the fast food giant has announced some big changes when it comes to its breakfast.

    In an exciting new development, McDonald’s will be extending its breakfast opening hours across every single restaurant in the country.

    Hungry customers will have half an hour extra to get down to their local McDonald’s, as the breakfast hours will be extended for 30 minutes.

    This means the breakfast, which usually ends at 10.30am, will run until 11am.

    Thank you McMuffin gods!

    The new times will be rolled out across all 1,249 restaurants in the UK, starting from 20 November (next Wednesday).

    Highlights on the breakfast menu include the bacon roll, the single hash brown, toasted bagels and pancakes and the breakfast wrap – which includes egg, bacon, cheese, sausage and a hash brown.

    McDonald’s also offers a number of different varieties of the popular McMuffin – with the option for double bacon and egg and more.

    It’s only bad news for those who fancy a Big Mac before 11am.

    Anyone looking for lunch options will have to wait until the breakfast menu switches over.

    Michelle Graham-Clare, vice president food and marketing at McDonald’s UK and Ireland said: ‘We all understand the pain of missing out on a McMuffin by a matter of minutes.

    ‘We have listened to our customers’ pleas and are delighted to extend breakfast serving time until 11am.’

    MORE: Man claims McDonald’s tea contained weed and made him ‘high as a kite’

    MORE: Baileys is giving away free chocolate reindeer when you buy a bottle

    MORE: Starbucks secret menu hack means you can get a Buddy the Elf Christmas Frappuccino


    image of McDonald's McMuffinimage of McDonald's McMuffin

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    a bridge designed for cats
    What an invention (Picture: Etsy/CatastrophiCreations)

    We all like to spoil our pets but one luxurious cat product has got the internet talking.

    Any cat owner will know that felines love to sit up high, surveying their kingdoms.

    So any product which allows a cat to spread itself across at a height, is ideal for the furry creatures.

    Well, such an item does exist and is known as the Cat Mod Bridge.

    That’s right, it’s an actual bridge designed specifically for felines.

    The creation, which is currently sold by CatastrophiCreations on Etsy, comes in three different colours: a dark onyx, a brown chestnut and a paler white shade.

    the pet bridge with a cat lying on it
    He looks pretty comfy (Picture: Etsy/CatastrophiCreations)

    It’s pretty simple to assemble, too – just nail each side to the desired part of a wall.

    There are three different lengths to choose from: a 30, 46 and a 62-inch bridge.

    But the website stresses that the longer the bridge, the more likely it is to sway.

    It says: ‘The 62″ bridge will have more sway to it. So, if your cat may be hesitant because of this then we recommend going with one of the shorter length options.’

    a cat walking on the bridge
    It’s the perfect gift for your furry friend (Picture: Etsy/CatastrophiCreations)

    Prices start from £137.73 for the smallest size and go up to £166.09. But considering its quality and design, it seems to be worth the investment and has been a hit with cat owners, so far.

    Many have left comments praising the imaginative piece on Etsy.

    One said: ‘Very sturdy and so Indiana Jones! I can’t wait to get this up on the walls. My Sammie is going to go nuts.’

    Another cat mum posted: ‘My cat is going to love this for Christmas!’

    While another could not stop singing its praises. She said: ‘All the wood is high quality, perfectly smooth finish and didn’t smell like varnish or stain at all.

    ‘The pieces were easy to put together and very versatile. I had a tricky wall with strange stud distances and I had no problem with the bridge.’

    MORE: Christmas pop-up dedicated to cats and dogs opens in London

    MORE: Primark launches adorable Christmas jumpers featuring pugs, sloths and cats

    MORE: New old age care home opens that’s just for elderly cats and dogs


    the etsy cat bridgethe etsy cat bridge

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    illustration of a dog with a love heart balloon
    Dog parents are the happiest couples (Picture: Getty)

    We all know dogs bring joy into our lives, but new research says they could be working wonders for our relationships, too.

    A recent study has found that couples who share a dog are happier than those who do not.

    The survey, carried out by Rover.com, found that 60% of couple owners said that bringing up a dog together made their relationship stronger.

    What’s more, half of the participants said their canines had helped them spend quality time together, as a couple.

    Nothing beats a romantic walk in the park, after all.

    Around 88% of those surveyed said raising a mutt requires teamwork and 65% agreed that trust is needed, too. Both are important factors needed for a relationship to thrive.

    The study also showed that 43% found their partner sexier after getting a dog together.

    Adorable.

    While there are plenty of positives to sharing a pooch, one in six did say their sex life had taken a turn for the worse – due to their fact their dog usually shares the bed with them.

    Those in relationships were not the only ones who said that dogs are important for an individual’s love life.

    In terms of finding a partner, 36% of people admitted that it would be a deal-breaker if someone they were dating was not a ‘dog person’.

    Hayley Quinn, dating expert for Match says co-parenting a pet requires compromise and communications skills.

    She says, ‘Getting a dog together is a huge commitment.

    ‘Owning a pet together can improve the quality of your relationship. Seeing your partner demonstrate their emotional traits, such as care and compassion, can be extremely attractive and, as this study shows, increases sexual desire.’

    Who knew poop-a-scooping could be so sexy?

    MORE: Sainsbury’s launches adorable collection of Christmas jumpers for dogs

    MORE: Christmas pop-up dedicated to cats and dogs opens in London

    MORE: Dog trains itself to help owner whenever she has a fit


    illustration of a dog with a love heart balloonillustration of a dog with a love heart balloon

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    Helpful website tells you the most efficient way to get smashed Picture: pints.wtf
    Hope you like cider (Picture: pints.wtf)

    It’s Friday, you’re ready to go out and have a few jars. There’s just one small problem – you’re skint.

    We’ve all been there, and it’s annoying when you’d like to get a little tipsy but haven’t much cash to get buzzed with.

    A new website is trying to help drinkers get a little more for their money when it comes to booze, specifically focusing on the beloved Wetherspoon’s chain.

    Pints.wtf lets you search the drinks list of any ‘Spoon’s in the country, and then gets calculating.

    It works out the percentage of alcohol you can get for your money, ranking each drink in terms of value to alcohol content.

    Hopefully you like cider, as that tends to top the list in most of the locations. You’ll also see that Green King Ruddles Best and Abbot Also make a few appearances at the top.

    In general, if you’re not too fussy about what you’re drinking, this will give you more bang for your buck.

    We should note, though, that as much as we joke about being drunk, you shouldn’t actually use this to get completely bladdered.

    Nobody likes an inebriated idiot – especially not pub workers – and you should use the calculator while exercising a fair amount of caution when you’re drinking.

    Wetherspoon’s has seen its fair share of drunk idiots – from this guy who bit off a pigeon’s head to these people chucking flip-flops at each other in a fight outside. Try not to be one of them.

    If you can’t be bothered getting home, you’ll be happy to know that Wetherspoon’s hotels have beat stiff competition to become the best hotel chain in the country.

    Lovely to rest your head after a stiff pint of West Country cider.

    MORE: Pet owners can’t get enough of this £140 cat bridge

    MORE: Jo Malone launches unisex perfume collection in collaboration with Zara


    Helpful website tells you the most efficient way to get smashedHelpful website tells you the most efficient way to get smashed

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    Donna Noble‘s love affair with yoga began when she saw a picture of Madonna in a newspaper posing with her legs behind her head.

    ‘A colleague of mine saw the picture and immediately suggested that we give yoga a try, and I agreed,’ explains Donna.

    ‘We were lucky enough to have another colleague who was training to be a teacher, so we became her guinea pigs.

    Donna doing yoga
    ‘It’s a very visible illness, it initially affected my self esteem and confidence’ (Picture: Donna Noble)

    ‘I went on to do a six-week beginner’s course as I did not want be in a class where everyone else could get their legs behind their head. It was a love hate relationship initially.’

    But then life got in the way. Donna was studying for a Masters so didn’t have as much time to focus on yoga. And then a terrifying illness struck.

    14 years ago, Donna went to bed one evening and woke up to find that one side of her face was drooping alarmingly.

    ‘Initially, I thought I was having a stroke, but I was assured very quickly that it was Bell’s palsy,’ says Donna.

    ‘It’s a very visible illness, it initially affected my self esteem and confidence. Looking back, I think I under-played the severity of it.

    ‘I was avoiding cameras and when I laughed or talked I would cover my mouth because I was so self conscious.

    ‘One of the hardest parts initially was seeing my face on a daily basis and no longer feeling complete –  but that changed over time and I eventually became accepting of my condition and did not let it define me.

    Donna doing yoga
    ‘I can do more things now than I could do in my twenties’ (Picture: Donna Noble)

    ‘During this time my family and friends were amazing.’

    As well as incredible support, it was reigniting her love for yoga that really helped Donna through these difficult times. She says getting up every morning at 6.30am for Bikram yoga helped her to heal.

    She has even become a professional instructor and says that working on her passion has rebuilt her confidence.

    ‘Yoga has transformed my life is so many ways allowing me to leave the corporate world behind, but most importantly it helped me to heal from the trauma of my illness,’ Donna tells us.

    ‘Though yoga I am able to realise my body’s full potential. I can do more things now than I could do in my twenties. I am now more connected to my body – and I have a greater mind-body connection that I did before my illness.

    ‘I am more active than I was before my condition, yoga has helped me to heal and allows me to be stronger mentally and physically to deal with the trauma I encountered.’

    Donna was very athletic when she was at school and she is now relishing the fact that she has come back to fitness in a more holistic way.

    ‘Yoga has made me see that being active is so important. If you don’t use it, you loose it, I always say.

    ‘Bell’s palsy changed my life as it made gave me the opportunity to reevaluate what I wanted from my life, and gave me the courage to do what I am doing now.’

    As a yoga instructor, Donna gets to travel and share her passion with others. One thing she is keen to impart on everyone she teaches is a flexibility of mind-set, not only the body.

    ‘You will come to yoga for flexibility, but this will evolve into something more meaningful and profound,’ she explains.

    Donna teaching yoga
    ‘I believe that if you have a body and do yoga, then you have a yoga body’ (Picture: Donna Noble)

    ‘I share tools that my students can incorporate into their every day lives. I love seeing how they become more confident and learn how strong their bodies are; finding out that everything they need is already inside of them.

    ‘I get to go with the flow of life; to experience a life where nothing is impossible where I can contribute more to society, to effect change no manner how small.

    ‘Yoga has become a lifestyle for me and I cannot imagine not doing it. My body certainly lets me know when I have not done my yoga practice.’

    Donna says that being fit and active and progressing with her yoga has helped to improve her condition and the visible effects of the Bell’s palsy on her face have faded. But she says she is way beyond being hung up about her physical appearance.

    ‘I’ve regained my confidence, but I’ve also stopped caring about what people think about how I looked. I have realised that I am more than my appearance. Beauty comes from the inside.’

    As a black woman in yoga, Donna is acutely aware of the lack of diversity in the industry. She’s working hard to make meaningful change in that area.

    ‘Yoga is for everybody, but this is not very apparent,’ she says.

    Donna doing yoga
    ‘The image of a typical yogi is one particular aesthetic; somebody tall, white, slim, with their legs behind their head’ (Picture: Donna Noble)

    ‘On social media you will notice an increase in the hashtags #everybodyyoga and #yogaforeverybody – but on closer inspection, this is not always evident – it’s just another marketing tool.

    ‘I believe that if you have a body and do yoga, then you have a yoga body.’

    Donna is working for more diversity, accessibility and inclusivity within the yoga space. Her Curvesomeyoga movement aims to create a safe, judgement-free space where anyone can realise their body’s true potential.

    ‘Very simply, representation matters – if you do not see someone who looks like you doing yoga, then you are not going to get on the mat. Why would you?

    ‘Yoga is often viewed as very daunting. The image of a typical yogi is one particular aesthetic; somebody tall, white, slim, with their legs behind their head. It’s putting a lot of people off trying yoga, even thought it is growing in popularity.

    ‘This is one of the reasons I have tried becomes more visible so that I can show a different demographic doing yoga.

    ‘In order to encourage more people on to the yoga mat, it is important to ensure that our teachers are representative of our community.’

    MORE: Strong Women: ‘I crash landed and my life changed in an instant, but I’m determined to make something of myself’

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    Strong Women: DonnaStrong Women: Donna

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    It was my sister who told me Ollie* was getting married.

    She casually dropped it into a phone call just as she was hanging up and I felt the ice-cold hand of jealousy clutch my heart.

    Despite the fact we’d broken up four years ago, Ollie was the person I thought I was going to marry.

    We had lived together, proposals had been discussed and future baby plans hinted at. I took it as fact that we would get married because there was no way I’d find anyone more perfect than him.

    We split because we rushed things. We moved in together very quickly, I freaked out and feeling overwhelmed, I suggested a ‘break’ (I know, so 2009). Sadly for me, Ollie was more of an all-or-nothing guy.

    Hana Carter holds a very cute dog on her lap
    Emotionally stability resumed, I thought I was OK (Picture: Hana Carter)

    In the months afterwards I was a living cliche: I was that woman you see bursting into tears on the tube or at the corner shop, stockpiling ice cream in jogging bottoms, covered in take away stains.

    It was the first time I’ve ever felt actual, physical heartbreak. Hopefully it will be the last.

    I moved on as best I could. A few short-term boyfriends came and went, I threw myself into my career, got back into my arts and crafts, went out with friends and as the time passed, Ollie slowly began to disappear from my mind. Emotionally stability resumed. I thought I was OK.

    However, when the ex-love of your life celebrates a milestone with another person it kicks up a host of emotions. No matter how amicable or right a break up, and no matter how much time has passed since, when your ex officially moves on it feels so… final.

    I felt like Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors, imagining Ollie’s new partner slipping into my shoes and living the life that could have easily been mine.

    I imagined his fiancee as beautiful, smiley, talented – and as pathetic as it sounds, I felt inadequate in comparison. I felt left behind.

    So, in a display of perfectly healthy behaviour, I stuck my head in the sand in the hope the wedding day would somehow pass without me realising.

    I deleted or blocked any of our mutual friends to shield myself from pictures or details and maintained a state of blissful ignorance.

    Social media makes it so much harder to move on from someone you used to love. Where once you ran the risk of bumping into your ex at the shop, maybe the pub, I had access to my ex’s life at the click of a button.

    Hana standing on a chilly hillside wrapped in a coat
    There’s still a large part of me that wants to have breakfast in bed or to wander around Christmas markets with someone I really like (Picture: Hana Carter)

    And even though I knew – we all know – that social media posts are as carefully selected as pieces of art, it’s hard to dismiss gushing declarations of love or picture-perfect wedding photos as anything but real.

    It’s even harder when you’re still single and yet to find your own #couplegoals.

    I do my best at being an independent, strong woman and there are aspects to single life that I love – the absolute freedom of it and not having to factor someone else into my life.

    But there’s still a large part of me that wants to have breakfast in bed or to wander around Christmas markets with someone I really like.

    While Ollie was picking wallpaper samples with what’s-her-face (…probably), I was on my second-hand sofa, legs unshaved, hair in a scraggly pony-tail, swiping my way through the shark-infested water of dating apps.

    A week or so after the wedding, a friend was flicking through Facebook, pulling faces and throwing nervous glances my way. Giving in, I thrust my hand towards her, took a glug of wine and said: ‘Come on then, let’s see.’

    There was Ollie in his suit, proudly standing stood next to his stunning bride.

    Did I throw up all over the floor? No. Did I collapse in a pool of tears or burst into flames? No.

    I just saw someone I used to love looking incredibly happy.

    In that moment I realised: the idea true love can only exist with one person was completely wrong.

    Hana Carter sitting in a sunny pub garden
    As simple as it seems, seeing those pictures was the closure I needed (Picture: Hana Carter)

    We are force fed the notion that there is only one person who can love you unconditionally, and vice versa. But love is a feeling we all carry and a select few people in the world can unlock it, not just one.

    Someone once told me that we all have seven soulmates and it’s a matter of luck as to which one you meet first. So when you’re cuddled up with Jack, thinking he’s the one, Ben, Frank, Marco and Sam would have all been just as great – Jack just happened to be in the coffee shop that Wednesday as you ordered your flat white.

    I find this theory quite comforting because for a while, Ollie was my ‘one’ – the way he looked at his wife on his wedding day was the way he once looked at me.

    She wasn’t better, prettier, or more intelligent than me, and the love they shared wasn’t necessarily stronger, she was simply his ‘next one’ – and there are six other people out there waiting for me.

    As simple as it seems, seeing those pictures was the closure I needed.

    They removed the rose-tinted glasses and I was reminded of the reasons I wasn’t beside Ollie wearing white.

    He never quite mastered the ability to make me really, really laugh. Sometimes he was overshadowed – almost trampled – by my loudness. I also caught myself on several occasions trying to change him – the way he dressed, or his hair – something you should never do to another human being.

    I am thankful for Ollie, and for all my exes. They are a part of my love story, and seeing Ollie so crazy about someone else has made me understand that I’ll feel that same fierce love for someone else again one day.

    He has helped me to see what I want, which I guess is what many people want in a partner: someone who makes me happy, who I don’t want to run a million miles from and who loves me for the good and the bad.

    Until then I’ve just got to be patient… and maybe cut back on the social media stalking.

    Last week in Love Or Something Like It: A break-up almost killed me but cricket healed my heart

    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: Banning men has taught me that I am enough

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    ILLO REQ FOR ELLA Love Or Something Like It - Hana Carter on what she learnt when her exes moved onILLO REQ FOR ELLA Love Or Something Like It - Hana Carter on what she learnt when her exes moved on

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    Illustration of a woman with her head bowed, along with a letter that says 'final notice' and a pink credit card on a yellow background with money flying around
    ‘A debt collector has quite limited powers and can’t really do much’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    If you’ve gotten yourself in a lot of debt and it’s been escalated to a debt collector, don’t panic – there are rules and regulations in place to protect both parties.

    There is a difference between debt collectors and enforcement agents (formerly known as bailiffs) – and it’s important to know what these differences are, and the powers that each type has.

    For instance, while debt collectors can visit your home, they cannot enter it or collect any goods.

    On the flipside, an enforcement agent can do both – and will, if you ignore contact with them. This doesn’t mean that they can take anything, but we’ll get to that.

    Let’s look at debt collectors first.

    How far are debt collectors allowed to go?

    Debt collectors can work for the company you owe money to (known as a creditor) or for a debt collection agency.

    They’re sometimes also known as field agents.

    According to StepChange, a debt charity, they can contact you to discuss your debt, organise payment arrangements and request payments from you.

    They are not allowed to discuss your debt with anyone other than you – including family, friends or neighbours – nor can they come to your place of work for any reason, meaning you’re not at risk of your colleagues or manager finding out details about your financial situation.

    ‘It all depends on the kind of “debt collector” – there are a couple of types and they have different powers,’ Rick Smith, managing director of Forbes Burton, a company rescue and insolvency specialist, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘A debt collector has quite limited powers and can’t really do much. What’s important to remember is that they’re not allowed to break in or take goods and if you ask them to leave they have to go.

    ‘They are definitely not allowed to bully or harass you under any circumstances. They also can’t call you on the phone repetitively, use obscene language, or threaten you.

    ‘If they do you can actually complain about them to the person you owe money to and the relevant governing body.’

    An illustration of a man holding a large bag with a pound sign on it, on an orange background
    You don’t need to open the door to a debt collector (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    It is also a criminal offence for a debt collector to pretend to be an enforcement agent. Whether a debt collector or enforcement agent visits your door, you should always ask to see ID and write down their name.

    You don’t need to pay them right then and there, and you don’t even need to open the door to a debt collector.

    However, just because you don’t have to open the door, that doesn’t mean the debt goes away – don’t avoid the conversation. It’s better to have a chat with the debt collector and discuss your situation, so that it can be resolved and you can explain your budget to them.

    And remember – if you do make a payment to them during a visit, get a receipt and be aware that they might come back for further repayments.

    You don’t have to do have this encounter on your doorstep. Contact the creditor and tell them that you prefer to communicate via phone, email or letter, if you prefer.

    How far are enforcement agents allowed to go?

    The main difference between debt collectors and enforcement agents is that the latter have legal power.

    How far an enforcement agent can go to claim payment from a debtor (the person who owes the money) depends on the court order placed on the case – which can come from the High Court, County Court or magistrates’ court.

    County Court enforcement agents can collect most kinds of debts that individuals or businesses owe, but only once they have the County Court Judgement (CCJ) and if you have not paid the money you owe, according to Step Change.

    Meanwhile, other enforcement agents can also visit you to claim payment for funds owed to the Government or local authority. HMRC doesn’t need to get a court order to send an enforcement agent to your house.

    However, they must send a letter advising you of their visit first, to give you a chance to pay off the debt before then, if you’re able to do so.

    Cathal McCabe, a lawyer at Downs Solicitors, who previously worked as a county court advocate for Ashley Taylors Legal where he dealt with possession claims and debt claims, explains:

    ‘The question of how far an enforcement agent can legally go depends on the court order that has been made and the parties that are instructed to enforce the debt.

    ‘High Court enforcement officers will usually have a greater authority than bailiffs, to enter your home, access land and access buildings linked to the debtor.

    ‘Generally the enforcement agent will be able to retrieve goods with the view of settling the debt.’

    However, there are certain goods that even enforcement agents are not allowed to take:

    Goods that enforcement agents can't take

    • Any items that are essential for basic domestic needs of the defendant and their family
    • Any goods that constitute ‘tools of the trade’, which are for the personal use of the defendant in their profession and that have a maximum value of up to £1,350, e.g. tools, books, vehicles and other equipment
    • Goods which belong to someone other than yourself, known as ‘the Third Party’
    • Items that are on hire purchase agreements, or are leased or on rental agreements, such as cars
    • Goods that have already been seized by any other high court enforcement officer, enforcement agent or county court bailiff
    • Perishable items

    Source: Cathal McCabe

    Examples of household items that enforcement agents can't take

    • A cooker or microwave, a fridge and a washing machine
    • A landline or mobile phone
    • Beds and bedding for everyone in the house
    • A dining table and enough chairs to seat everyone in the house
    • Appliances to heat and light your house
    • Medical or care equipment

    Source: StepChange

    If you’re in debt and having trouble with repayments, it is best to tackle this head-on, starting with speaking to the debt collector or creditor that you owe money to.

    By doing this, you reduce the risk of them sending an enforcement agent to your house.

    There is also support available to you to help you cope with debt problems that you may want to take advantage of.

    What should you do if an enforcement agent comes to your house?

    An enforcement agent cannot force their way inside your home and if you feel uncomfortable with their gender, you can request a female or male enforcement agent specifically by contacting them ahead of the visit.

    Furthermore, if there is no adult over 16 years inside the house, they cannot enter.

    There are also set times that they are allowed to visit: 6am to 9pm.

    Citizens Advice recommends not letting the enforcement agent into your house, and instead chat to them outside, through the door or over the phone.

    What’s more, it is suggested that you lock doors and windows, as enforcement agents cannot force their way in if these are locked.

    There is one exception to this rule: if you owe a criminal fine, they are within their right to get inside by getting a locksmith, but this is rarely enforced.

    Finally, under no circumstance can enforcement agents or debt collectors threaten or bully you.

    If either party physically threatens you or anyone in your home, call the police and do not let them in.

    Debt Month

    This article is part of a month-long focus in November all about debt.

    Scary word, we know, but we're hoping if we tackle this head on we'll be able to reduce the shame around money struggles and help everyone improve their understanding of their finances.

    Throughout November we'll be publishing first-person accounts of debt, features, advice, and explainers. You can read everything from the month on the Debt Month tag.

    If you have a story to share, a topic you want us to cover, or a question that needs answering, get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

     

    MORE: How to borrow money responsibly

    MORE: Why are people getting themselves into ‘socialising debt’?

    MORE: Are there any legal loopholes for getting rid of debt?


    Why is there so much shame around debt?Why is there so much shame around debt?

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    Nike paints running track in pride colours. The new rainbow-colored track at Los Angeles City College is part of Nike?s BETRUE campaign, which celebrates the pursuit of equality for all athletes, and is dedicated to Gilbert Baker, who created the iconic rainbow flag. At Nike, we believe in the pursuit of equality for every athlete*. We honor every voice advocating for equality ? those standing up to make a difference and BETRUE.
    The rainbow track at Los Angeles City College is part of Nike’s BE TRUE campaign. (Picture: Nike)

    Nike recently gave the running track at Los Angeles City College the glow-up of a lifetime. The sportswear brand transformed the sports ground into a rainbow flag to show support for LGBT+ athletes.

    ‘Together, Nike and Baker share a vision for a more inclusive culture through the power of sport, and are dedicated to providing inclusive spaces for LGBT+ athletes to practice the sports they love,’ the brand said in a statement.

    The LA track is dedicated to Gilbert Baker, who passed away in 2017. Gilbert was the artist behind the multi-coloured flag now known as the most iconic a symbol of Pride.

    Now in its eighth year, Nike’s ‘Be True’ campaign includes clothing and footwear designed using symbols and words that represent LGBT+ pride. For the 2019 collection, Nike collaborated with Gilbert’s estate to design a line of tees, sneakers and socks that pay homage to the talented activist and artist.

    Inclusivity win aside, the track is easy on the eyes. The running lanes stay true to Gilbert’s eight-striped aesthetic, beginning with pink and culminating with purple.

    Nike paints running track in pride colours. The new rainbow-colored track at Los Angeles City College is part of Nike?s BETRUE campaign, which celebrates the pursuit of equality for all athletes, and is dedicated to Gilbert Baker, who created the iconic rainbow flag. At Nike, we believe in the pursuit of equality for every athlete*. We honor every voice advocating for equality ? those standing up to make a difference and BETRUE.
    An aerial shot of the Los Angeles City College track. (Picture: Nike)

    There’s also a large pink semi-circle area on the soccer field that displays his signature and of course, the Nike swoosh. Look closely and you’ll notice the violet-toned long jump runway.

    This isn’t the brand’s first sports ground makeover. Nike teamed up with French design agency Ill-Studio and fashion label Pigalle to repaint a tiny basketball court sandwiched two buildings in Paris.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BVxVqRiA8Xk/

    Nike also redesigned a Chicago church, built in 1885, to create an epic stain-glass inspired basketball training facility.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B0mKpCQoiGn

    We wouldn’t mind a rainbow running track or even a vibrant basketball court. Might motivate us to sneak a few more runs in this winter.

    MORE: New research reveals the best and worst drinks to order during a flight

    MORE: PETA launches petition to ‘urge’ McDonald’s to sell their McVegan in the UK

    MORE: Morrisons launches a Jaffa Cake doughnut


    PRI_96521087PRI_96521087

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    UK illustration championships
    Can you guess the headlines? (Picture: Instagram)

    The end of November will see Boxpark Wembley transformed from a street food and bar hall into an art-lover’s paradise.

    From 29 November to 1 December, the UK Illustration Championships will be held at the expansive venue, which opened last year.

    Illustrators will compete in live 60-minute bouts, with styles and techniques clashing as they create their A2 masterpieces.

    They’re not just drawing anything either – they’ll be taking inspiration from Metro.co.uk headlines.

    UK Illustration Championships
    Some previous work from the competition (Picture: Illustrated World Series)

    That’s because Metro.co.uk has partnered with the UK Illustration Championships 2019, giving all the inspo needed through the (frankly wild) goings-on in the world.

    You can probably expect some Brexit in there, and perhaps some I’m A Celeb or Black Friday. Anything that’s happening in the world is fair game.

    UK Illustration Championship
    There will be a range of different styles (Picture: Illustrated World Series)

    Confirmed illustrators include Rockbottom, Tizer, The Real Dill, and Nicolas Rossius. It’s not to be missed.

    If you head along to the event, you can watch the world’s top illustrators compete live, as they battle to become number one.

    As an extra sweetener to go along and catch the action, grab your tickets using PromoCode ‘METROCHAMP.

    You can get 20% off and an opportunity to Win a Masterclass with the UK Champion! Tickets start at just £10, too.

    MORE: How far are debt collectors actually allowed to go to claim money back from you?

    MORE: Helpful website tells you the most efficient way to drink in Wetherspoon’s


    The UK Illustration Championships 2019 are coming, and the drawings look incredibleThe UK Illustration Championships 2019 are coming, and the drawings look incredible

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    This giant hotdog needed two people just to bring it to the table, but food blogger Kate Ovens managed to polish it off in just 25 minutes.

    The 25-year-old is famed for conquering even seemingly-insurmountable eating challenges, and didn’t let this get the better of her.

    At Fourpure Brewing Co in Bermondsey, she defeated what’s thought to be Britain’s longest hotdog, which measures up at three feet long, and weighs 5.5lbs.

    The specially-made bockwurst sausage was made with pork and beef, and was topped with cheese and four types of bacon; bacon jam, bacon mayonnaise, smoked pancetta lardons, and crushed Frazzle bacon-flavoured crisps sprinkled on top.

    The so-called BFD costs £45, and has 5,000 calories, which is double the recommended amount for a fully grown man.

    It’s enough for groups of around four to share, but Kate managed to take it on solo.

    Food blogger eats three-foot long, 5,000 calorie hotdog in just 25mins
    Special machinery was create to cook the massive sausage (Picture: Paul Davey / SWNS)

    She said: ‘This was certainly one of my longest challenges.

    ‘Last year I ate a three-feet-long sausage roll, but the BFD was far thicker.

    ‘Normally when I get half way though, I get nervous about whether or not I’ll finish. But the BFD was so delicious, I knew I could keep on going.’

    Food blogger eats three-foot long, 5,000 calorie hotdog in just 25mins
    It was no match for social media star Kate (Picture: Paul Davey / SWNS)

    Although it’s not actually on the menu, Fourpure bosses are planning to add it in the next few months.

    They’ll have to update their machinery in the meantime, as they had some troubles finding a way to cook the giant banger.

    Joel Bowen, who’s the founder and head chef said: ‘It was pretty fun, even though we had a few hurdles along the way.

    Food blogger eats three-foot long, 5,000 calorie hotdog in just 25mins
    Kate demolishing the challenge (Picture: Paul Davey / SWNS)

    ‘We had to custom make a basting lid by welding together some baking trays – but they were so thin they kept catching fire when we were welding them.’

    It was no match for Kate’s appetite, though. The foodie has170,000 subscribers on her ‘Kate Ovens’ Facebook page and view counts for her eating challenges videos regularly get into the millions.

    Thankfully, hotdogs are one of her favourite foods, so she had no qualms about eating the full BFD.

    She added; ‘I had never seen one so big, and afterwards I was completely stuffed. It was pretty messy too – I ended up with sauce all over myself.’

    MORE: Nike transformed this LA running track into a giant rainbow Pride flag

    MORE: How far are debt collectors actually allowed to go to claim money back from you?


    Food blogger eats 3ft long hotdog in 25minsFood blogger eats 3ft long hotdog in 25mins

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