Quantcast
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Showcase


Channel Catalog



Channel Description:

Metro.co.uk: News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities from Metro
    0 0

    Baby in the Womb
    You should always speak to your midwife if you are worried (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    One of the best parts of pregnancy is feeling your baby move. It certainly beats the morning sickness, exhaustion and stretch marks.

    But it can also be a worry for some parents, who wonder whether their baby is kicking enough, whether they’re moving too much or who may be concerned that they haven’t felt their baby move at all yet.

    When do you feel your baby kick for the first time?

    According to BabyCentre, most women feel their first movement between the weeks of 14 and 26 – but generally closer to weeks 18 to 22. This is called ‘quickening’, and at first these movements won’t feel like full-on kicks, they’ll feel like butterflies or waves.

    It can be quite hard to tell if you actually felt movement or if it was just your body doing something weird, because when you’re pregnant, you experience all sorts of twitches.

    If your baby is moving, it could feel like a little nudge or a twitch, or perhaps like a bubble bursting.

    But remember that every body is different, and it’s not unusual to not feel your baby move until around month five.

    There are also certain times of the day when you’re most likely to feel movement – including when you’re relaxed and ready to go to bed, after you eat and when you’re nervous, as the adrenaline can give your baby a boost of energy.

    Illustration of a woman holding her baby bump, with flowers a pair of children's shoes and a balloon that says 'baby' in the background
    You won’t usually feel anything until the second trimester (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    When should you feel your baby move more frequently?

    You’ll feel your baby moving more frequently – in fact, daily – by the third trimester.

    As your baby is much bigger and there’s a lot less space in the womb, you’ll be able to feel your baby move every day.

    But this is also when it’s pretty important to keep an eye on those kicks.

    Your doctor may ask you to count your kicks to make sure they are regular, as less movement can be a sign of something wrong with the baby.

    However – it is so important to remember that your baby is in fact a little human, and may just be having a lazy day.

    How can I make my baby kick?

    Before you do go to the doctor, there are some ways you could try to make your baby move.

    This includes drinking ice cold water, doing some jumping jacks, drinking some juice to heighten your blood pressure, shining a flashlight on your tummy or playing some music to your bump.

    You could also try gently poking your bump to wake the baby up, or trying some pregnancy approved stretches.

    The NHS website states that it’s super important to call your midwife if your baby is moving less than usual, or if you can’t feel your baby moving anymore – even if it’s the middle of the night.

    You will need to have your baby’s movements and heartbeat checked.

    It’s really important that you don’t wait until the next day, and get checked straight away.

    Often it’s nothing, so don’t panic too much, but it’s always best to be safe.

    MORE: Bleeding during pregnancy: How much is normal?

    MORE: Expectant parents share pregnancy announcement with amazing fake movie poster


    Baby in the WombBaby in the Womb

    0 0

    Lucy Connor
    My descent into addiction was founded on a constant yearning to escape from the dis-ease I felt (Picture: Lu Lu C)

    Warning: This article contains descriptions of drug taking and alcohol abuse

    I have never seen my father drunk. He got sober five years before I was born, having been given six months to live if he carried on drinking at the same rate.

    My mother was a lioness who was well respected in the music industry and constantly fawned over me and my sister.

    In fact, my childhood was pretty idyllic. But this is just one of the lessons I have learned from my journey with addiction – it doesn’t discriminate based on your childhood or where you come from.

    My descent into addiction was founded on a constant yearning to escape from the discomfort I felt.

    When I joined a mixed school from a strict all-girls’ private school, a whole world of booze (wangled on a fake ID), boys and drugs suddenly opened up.

    It soon became apparent that whilst my friends were up for a party, they knew when to stop. I didn’t, and above all couldn’t. It wasn’t long before I found myself drawn to my soon-to-be drug of choice – heroin. Shortly after, cocaine and crack came too.

    There seems to be a misconception that heroin addicts are all homeless and down-and-out. I too had this misconception once. But today I have friends in recovery that were in that situation when they were using, and I also have friends who were in high-flying jobs with houses, families, kids and cars, and they managed to keep it all going with a raging habit.

    A friend once said to me, ‘It doesn’t matter if you are in first class or economy, if a plane’s going down, it’s going down.’

    My addiction took me to weighing six stone, with matted hair, scraping change together for heroin. At other times, I was in presidential suites, mansions, surrounded by things I had always dreamt of, puking into marble basins, knowing I was dying but unable to stop.

    Lucy Connor stands in front of a beach, dressed all in black
    For many years I lived an addictively hedonistic lifestyle (Picture:Lu Lu C)

    Lying, cheating and manipulating are the hallmarks of active addiction. As soon as we stepped into the outside world, we became a ‘glossy, clean living, vegan devoted’ pairing. My friend’s staff were all sworn to secrecy about our real lives.

    However, as my addiction got worse, so did my behaviour. I was visiting a close friend one winter and stopped at a town centre public loo to get high before heading to their home.

    Several hours later, I came round, freezing and surrounded by heroin paraphernalia and vodka and tonic that had spilt. Worse still, the loo had been locked for the night. Instead of embarrassing myself by telling my friend the truth, I invented an excuse and spent the night there knowing I had ample heroin and alcohol to keep me numb.

    My friend’s father had access to endless money and a lot of ‘yes people’. We passed our time in an antique four-poster bed, surrounded by empty bottles and drug paraphernalia. We would wake in the middle of a dark winter’s day with the same movies on a loop, not knowing what time it was.

    One occasion particularly sticks out – driving back from a London Fashion Week show with my friend’s parents and driver. My friend, already high, couldn’t wait for the next fix so asked to borrow the driver’s belt and shot up in the back seat.

    The friend was getting pure heroin from someone who was essentially a legal drug dealer. If you have the money, it’s not uncommon for people to go to private doctors for prescription medicines of their choice. It might seem ‘glamorous’ but there is no glamour whatsoever to addiction.

    Lucy Connor as child drinking wine from a glass
    Addiction doesn’t discriminate based on your childhood or where you come from (Picture: Lu Lu C)

    I’ve been close to death on several occasions and was written off twice by the intensive care team that treated me. I was on life support with multiple organ failure and required an emergency operation to remove 12 inches of badly damaged intestine. Then followed three months in hospital being tube fed, and having to learn to walk again.

    My parents – scared and desperate – sent me to numerous rehabs from the age of 17. I have had many rock bottoms but my last was in 2016 when I finally realised there were two options: surrender to recovery or surrender to addiction.

    Recovery has allowed me to rekindle relationships with my family and repair past friendships that had been so badly damaged by my addiction.

    I started to laugh again, I became employable, and I was excited about life rather than fearing it. I follow a program of recovery and have found magic and solution in the self-help groups I attend.

    I have learnt that alcoholism and drug addiction is not only an illness – it is progressive, and can cause grave consequences. Prison and mental institutions are common and tragically many people die from it. I have been to the funerals of nearly 20 people who were unable to stop.

    Addiction can attack anybody, man or woman, rich or poor, old or young, of any culture or ethnicity. It causes unemployment, breaks up families, and destroys dreams and aspirations, not to mention costing the government huge sums of money in terms of medical treatment, unemployment benefits, lost productivity, police and social services.

    I am almost four years clean and sober now, I work in the film industry and have re-embraced my acting career. What I have today is never worth giving up for another drink or drug: I have self-worth, dignity, and true happiness.

    It is as if I have lived two lifetimes in one life, and they couldn’t be more opposite. I have realised just how precious life is, and I treasure what I have today. I just hope that anyone feeling hopeless and stuck in the pain and misery of alcoholism or addiction knows that there is a way out.

    Please reach out for help.

    More support

    For help and support with alcohol or drug addiction, contact Alcoholics Anonymous at help@aamail.org or via their free number 0800 917 7650 or visit Narcotics Anonymous at ukna.org

    Help Me Stop offers alternative ‘dayhab’ rehabilitation and is based in London. For more information, visit helpmestop.org.uk

    MORE: We need to talk about the pressure to drink at university

    MORE: Choosing not to drink makes me feel at odds with Britain

    MORE: How to ditch alcohol and keep your friends


    Lucy ConnorLucy Connor

    0 0

    COLLECT - James Maxey, aged 13, of Maxey's Farm Shop, Newark, when he first started growing pumpkins but has now grown his business into one of the UK's largest pumpkin patches. See SWNS story SWMDpumpkins. James Maxey was 13 when he planted a pumpkin patch at his parents' farm near Kirklington in Nottinghamshire. He initially sold pumpkins to friends and family, but seven years later the farm is now one of the biggest pick-your-own pumpkin patches in the UK.
    James started growing pumpkins to earn some extra pocket money when he was just 13 (Picture: Maxey’s Farm Shop / SWNS)

    James Maxey, 19, started growing pumpkins when he was just 13 years old.

    He did it as a hobby… as people do. Who needs a Nintendo when you can grow a gourd?

    Now, the pumpkin farm he helped create – owned by his parents, Keith and Katherine – is the UK’s largest.

    James employs 35 staff to run Maxey’s Farn, which is open from 9 to 5 seven days a week in the run-up to Halloween.

    Customers can pick-up as many pumpkins as they like and pay depending on the size of the fruit, with prices ranging from £2 for smaller ones to £10 for the largest.

    As strange as it may sound for a 13-year-old to start growing pumpkins on a whim and then end up with a successful business, it gets stranger.

    James doesn’t even like pumpkin.

    James Maxey, 20, of Maxey's Farm Shop, Newark, who started selling pumpkins aged 13 and now runs one of the UK's largest pumpkin patches. See SWNS story SWMDpumpkins. James Maxey was 13 when he planted a pumpkin patch at his parents' farm near Kirklington in Nottinghamshire. He initially sold pumpkins to friends and family, but seven years later the farm is now one of the biggest pick-your-own pumpkin patches in the UK.
    Now he has the UK’s largest pumpkin farm (Picture: Tom Maddick / SWNS)

    He said: ‘I roasted one last year because I thought I should at least try eating one but I wasn’t keen.’

    Fascinating.

    Each year James and his family have to grow more pumpkins to keep up with demand, as in previous years the farm has been so popular they’ve run out before Halloween.

    When James started out he only grew enough pumpkins to sell to his friends for some extra pocket money.

    Seven years later, he now harvests 25,000 pumpkins each autumn.

    James Maxey, 20, of Maxey's Farm Shop, Newark, who started selling pumpkins aged 13 and now runs one of the UK's largest pumpkin patches. See SWNS story SWMDpumpkins. James Maxey was 13 when he planted a pumpkin patch at his parents' farm near Kirklington in Nottinghamshire. He initially sold pumpkins to friends and family, but seven years later the farm is now one of the biggest pick-your-own pumpkin patches in the UK.
    He grows thousands of pumpkins a year (Picture: Tom Maddick / SWNS)

    This time they’ve grown a massive stash so everyone can carve their jack o’ lanterns.

    The process begins in the spring, when James buys thousands of pumpkin seeds from a supplier in Lincolnshire, which he then plants in the fields with a converted planter attached to a tractor.

    The business has been so successful that James left school at 16.

    ‘I started when I was 13 next to the farm shop with a little half-an-acre field with about 200 pumpkins in it which I sold to my school friends,’ says James.

    ‘Every year I planted more and more and now I’ve about five or six acres.

    James Maxey, 20, of Maxey's Farm Shop, Newark, who started selling pumpkins aged 13 and now runs one of the UK's largest pumpkin patches. See SWNS story SWMDpumpkins. James Maxey was 13 when he planted a pumpkin patch at his parents' farm near Kirklington in Nottinghamshire. He initially sold pumpkins to friends and family, but seven years later the farm is now one of the biggest pick-your-own pumpkin patches in the UK.
    He doesn’t even like pumpkin (Picture: Tom Maddick / SWNS)

    ‘Any pumpkins which are left over get chopped up and ploughed back into the soil so nothing is wasted.

    ‘The soil around this area has quite a lot of clay in it which I think helps our pumpkins maintain their deep dark orange colour.

    ‘In supermarkets pumpkins tend to be quite light and almost yellow but ours have a nice dark colour to them which people like.

    ‘I have always wanted to be out and could never sit in a classroom or anything.

    ‘I have always got to be out doing something.’

    MORE: When should you first feel your baby move during pregnancy?

    MORE: I thought I knew what a heroin addict looked like, then I became one


    7yr later teen\'s Pumpkin Patch is the biggest Pick-you-own in UK7yr later teen\'s Pumpkin Patch is the biggest Pick-you-own in UK

    0 0
  • 10/16/19--08:20: Can having sex cause thrush?
  • Illustration of couple lying in bed together, the woman's skin is pink and the man's is orange and the bed is blue
    Sex can spread the infection but doesn’t cause it (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    For all the fun it may be, sex does come with a few different risks. Aside from the obvious (sexually transmitted diseases), there’s also the matter of yeast infections.

    Thrush is a common yeast infection that affects both men and women. The condition is usually harmless, but can be uncomfortable and it can keep coming back.

    It is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, but it can be spread through sex if a person with a vagina or penis has thrush before having sex.

    Thrush thrives in warm, moist parts of the body such as the genitals and can happen because of tight clothing, underwear and/or hot weather.

    While it can be spread through sex, or triggered by it (the infection thrives in warm moist spaces remember), thrush isn’t caused by the act.

    But oral sex plus using sex toys can also put you at risk of developing the infection.

    But treatment is fairly easy. You can access tablets over the counter at a pharmacy.

    What are the symptoms of vaginal thrush?

    • White vaginal discharge (like cottage cheese), which does not usually smell
    • Itching and irritation around the vagina
    • Soreness and stinging during sex or when you pee.

    What are thrush symptoms in men?

    • Irritation, burning and redness around the head of the penis and under the foreskin
    • A white discharge (like cottage cheese)
    • An unpleasant smell
    • Difficulty pulling back the foreskin.

    How do you treat thrush?

    Usually, you’ll be given antifungal medicine to get rid of it. This can be in the form of a tablet you take, a tablet you insert into your vagina or a cream to relieve the irritation.

    It should then clear up within a week after one dose of medicine or using the cream daily.

    If you have thrush and are sexually active, you don’t need to treat your partner unless they also show symptoms. But you might want to refrain from sex to lessen the chances of spreading it back and forth.

    Thrush can affect other areas of skin such as the armpits, groin and between the fingers.

    This usually causes a red, itchy or painful rash that scales over with white or yellow discharge. The rash may not be so obvious on darker skin.

    If a person has oral thrushes it can also be passed on. The symptoms include white or yellow patches of bumps in your mouth, slight bleeding if the bumps are scraped or soreness and burning.

    If a partner kisses or licks other parts of your body, their bacteria and fungi can spread. This includes your mouth, nipples, and anus.

    Sometimes thrush causes no symptoms at all.

    Treatments and remedies may vary so consult with your doctor for the best solution.

    MORE: Woman only has sex with her husband once a year because of painful condition

    MORE: Why does sex give you a headache?


    sex-illo-1-0119-0814sex-illo-1-0119-0814

    0 0

    The Baileys Yule Log
    This looks amazing (Picture: Asda)

    Asda has re-launched its Baileys Chocolate Yule Log after it was a huge success last year, and we can’t wait to grab a slice.

    The Baileys Yule Log is described as being a soft chocolate sponge, rolled with a chocolate flavour frosting and coated with milk chocolate, ‘masked’ with a Baileys frosting and finished with bronze chocolate curls and a chocolate plaque.

    Yum.

    It costs £5 and serves eight – though who really wants to share, let’s be honest.

    And if you’re a true Baileys fan, you’ll be even happier to know that Tesco is also selling some items infused with your favourite alcoholic beverage.

    The supermarket is selling salted caramel cupcakes and a hot chocolate cake, both with a Baileys flavour.

    Amazing, we know.

    Much like the Yule Log, these items were also first introduced last year.

    The yule log
    We can’t wait to try this (Picture: Asda)

    The hot chocolate cake serves 16 and is filled and topped with Baileys flavoured frosting and edible decorations, and costs £13.

    The cupcakes are available in a pack of nine, and are drizzled with caramel, and they’re pretty cheap at just £4.

    If you don’t have a Tesco local to you, Asda is also selling these items, and they’ll be available in both Morrisons and Sainsbury’s in November.

    But, to the teenagers out there who were planning on sneakily getting tipsy on cake: we’re sorry to tell you that you will need to prove you’re over 18 to buy them.

    Because yes, alcoholic cake counts just as much as the actual bottle does.

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

    MORE: Mums share genius hack to restore cracked leather sofa for less than £20


    Baileys Yule Log Is Back At ASDA In Time For ChristmasBaileys Yule Log Is Back At ASDA In Time For Christmas

    0 0

    Biscuit-obsessed couple have Lotus Biscoff-themed wedding with melted spread fountain and mini jars as favours
    (Picture: Vince Hutchings )

    If you think you’re the person who loves Biscoff more than anyone else in the world, you’re wrong.

    You’re been well and truly beaten by this young couple, who love the speculoos spreads and biscuits so much they had a whole wedding themed around them.

    Newlyweds, Ben and Lauren Martin have long had a connection to the biscuits, with Lauren often enjoying them when offered complimentary with coffees.

    By this point, she didn’t know about the wonders of the spread, so when the couple had one of their first dates at an all-you-can-eat breakfast restaurant (with plenty of the stuff), they were bonded by their spread love.

    From there, their relationship took off, and the couple are more than partial to a spoonful of Biscoff spread straight from the jar.

    Showing their true dedication to the iconic ‘little red biscuit’, though, was their wedding at Shilstone House in Devon.

    Biscuit-obsessed couple have Lotus Biscoff-themed wedding with melted spread fountain and mini jars as favours
    The cakes were made by Ellie Stanbury at Kismet Cakes (Picture: Vince Hutchings )

    As well as the Lotus Biscoff-themed cake, cupcakes and brownies at the wedding, there was also a homemade piñata filled with individual Lotus Biscoff biscuits.

    But he real piece de resistance was the incredible fountain filled with glorious melted spread (provided by catering suppliers, JM Posner) which guests could dip marshmallows, mini doughnuts, shortbread and flapjacks into – all before coating in bowls of Lotus Biscoff crumb.

    Biscuit-obsessed couple have Lotus Biscoff-themed wedding with melted spread fountain and mini jars as favours
    And of course they were flavoured with Biscoff (Picture: Vince Hutchings )

    If that wasn’t enough, the guests got mini jars of spread as wedding favours, and there were Lotus Biscoff Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in the following day’s hangover breakfast for the guests.

    The Biscoff bride herself said: ‘Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love Lotus Biscoff, so it just had to be part of our day.

    Biscuit-obsessed couple have Lotus Biscoff-themed wedding with melted spread fountain and mini jars as favours
    … Then comes the Lotus in the Biscoff carriage? (Picture: Vince Hutchings )

    ‘I always knew that I wanted to have a Lotus Biscoff cake but then I thought to myself, why stop there? Every wedding needs a theme and it only felt right to have Lotus Biscoff as mine!’

    ‘The Lotus Biscoff went down a storm with everyone, so the whopping 50kg of spread and 600 biscuits used was definitely worth it.

    ‘Ben introduced me to Lotus Biscoff spread because he just knew how much I would love it, so it will always hold a special place in my heart!’

    A couple that Biscoffs together stays together. We’re just annoyed we weren’t invited.

    MORE: Can having sex cause thrush?

    MORE: I thought I knew what a heroin addict looked like, then I became one


    DSC05450-1ddfDSC05450-1ddf

    0 0

    A little girl told her dad she was ‘done’ with sausages after he told her where they come from – and he caught it all on camera.

    Three-year-old Erin Copeland was eating sausages and mash when she asked her dad, Brian, 30, how sausages are made. But she probably wishes she hadn’t.

    Brian pauses for a few moments while he contemplated how to tell his daughter that she was actually eating a pig as he recorded her reaction.

    After a few moments he tells her: ‘We turn the pigs into sausages, the sausages are pigs,’ and in horror, Erin replies: ‘But that’s not very nice!’

    Erin at the table
    Erin wasn’t happy after finding out where sausages come from (Picture: Brian Copeland / SWNS.com)

    Following the news, Brian tries to feed Erin sausages but she tells her dad that she’s ‘done’ and doesn’t want to eat sausages anymore.

    Brian, from Glasgow, explained: ‘Erin asked about where her food came from and I told her how the sausages come from pigs. I was quite specific about it, I told her how we take the pigs and make sausages out of them with machines.

    ‘She said it wasn’t nice and wouldn’t eat the sausages on her plate! She eats them now but her favourite things are cucumbers and carrots!

    ‘She doesn’t have a problem with it now.

    ‘Food is a big thing and I think it’s important children know where it comes from.

    ‘I feel like if she’s old enough to ask the question then she’s old enough to get the answer.

    ‘I love it when she asks questions, being a parent you get a lot of questions but I don’t think children should be shut down when asking questions.

    ‘Erin always asks more questions and I think it’s great!’

    Brian and Erin
    Her dad managed to get the moment on camera (Picture: Brian Copeland / SWNS.com)

    Brian uploaded a video of the adorable exchange online and was amazed when it took off and his Youtube upload alone gained more than 50,000 views.

    The marketing coordinator said: ‘I was not expecting anything when I uploaded it, it was mainly for my mother. I uploaded the video onto Reddit and it just blew up! Lots of people loved it.

    ‘Some people are appalled by it, some think it’s the right thing to do and find it really cute and some people say I should show her the conditions some animals live in but I think she’s a bit too young for that!

    ‘Erin is just really bubbly and always asks questions and I love answering them!’

    MORE: Can having sex cause thrush?

    MORE: World Food Day: Easy ways to waste less food


    Brian Copeland, 30 with daughter Erin Copeland, 4. See SWNS copy SWCAsausages: This is the hilarious moment a dad tells his three-year-old daughter that sausages are made from pigs- and her reaction is priceless. Little Erin Copeland told her dad she was \"done\" with sausages and didn\'t want to eat them anymore after the shocking revelation. While tucking into bangers and mash inquisitive Erin, now four, asked dad Brian, 30, how sausages are made- but soon wishes she didn\'t.Brian Copeland, 30 with daughter Erin Copeland, 4. See SWNS copy SWCAsausages: This is the hilarious moment a dad tells his three-year-old daughter that sausages are made from pigs- and her reaction is priceless. Little Erin Copeland told her dad she was \"done\" with sausages and didn\'t want to eat them anymore after the shocking revelation. While tucking into bangers and mash inquisitive Erin, now four, asked dad Brian, 30, how sausages are made- but soon wishes she didn\'t.

    0 0

    View over the roofs of old town Dubrovnik with church towers, ocean and island in winter, Croatia
    Dubrovnik’s iconic cityscape can be enjoyed all year round

    It is the picture-perfect walled city that doubled as King’s Landing in Game of Thrones and even had a starring role in Star Wars: Episode VIII and Robin Hood: Origins.

    Set on a peninsula overlooking the glittering Adriatic, all cobbled limestone lanes and terracotta-roofed houses, it’s easy to understand why cinematographers fall in love with Dubrovnik.

    You can walk the sturdy walls or take the cable car up to Mount Srđ for panoramic vistas of the city and sea, soak up the elegance of its baroque architecture and lose yourself in its varied museums, from the Treasury of the Cathedral to the dazzling art collection and historical artefacts at the 15th-century Rector’s Palace.

    If that isn’t enough, this classic Croatian city is perfect for a winter break, with fewer visitors and a thriving local cultural scene. Dubrovnik and its surrounds come alive with events throughout winter, and the city itself makes for a beautiful and romantic base from which you can explore the whole region.

    Good Food Festival

    October 14-20, 2019

    Preparing and cooking pork roast in traditional metal pot Peka. Meat and vegetables in traditional Balkan, Croatian, Greek Mediterranean meal Peka in metal pots called sach, sache - a metal lid covered with hot coals.
    Try traditional dishes such as succulent pork peka at the Good Food Festival

    Discover the rich culinary culture, delicious local ingredients and fine wines Croatia produces at this celebration of all things foodie. There are pop-up stalls serving local dishes as well as workshops, cocktail-making and even live music. The Dubrovnik Table stretches the entire length of the Stradun main street and will showcase local chefs and eateries serving up their signature dishes.

    The Dubrovnik Winter Festival

    November 30-January 1, 2020

    Opening ceremony of the fourth Dubrovnik winter festival 2017.
    Tuck into some prikle underneath the sparkling Christmas lights at the Winter Festival

    If you thought The Pearl of the Adriatic couldn’t get any prettier, visit in December and see it illuminated with fairy lights as the city celebrates Christmas with traditional markets and a fair. There are carols and foodie treats such as local bakalar cod soup followed by festive doughnuts known as prikle, and even a skating rink and workshops teaching you to make traditional sweet treats.

    New Year’s Eve

    December 31, 2019

    Photo taken in Dubrovnik, Croatia
    New Year’s Eve in Dubrovnik is defined by incredible fireworks and fantastic wine

    Welcoming in the New Year is a big deal in Dubrovnik and its bijou size means it’s so easy for visitors to join in the celebratory atmosphere. The old town Stradun main street becomes a huge open-air party, with music performances from the very traditional to Croatian pop stars, and of course, there are fireworks. The festivities continue the next day, too, when the Dubrovnik Symphony orchestra stages a morning concert in the same place.

    Night of Museums

    January 31, 2020

    The main pedestrian thoroughfare, Placa, is a melange of cafés and shops with outstanding monuments at either end. Churches, monasteries and museums ornamented with finely carved stone recall an eventful history and a vibrant artistic tradition.
    Explore the city’s museums after dark and get up close to their wonderful exhibits

    It doesn’t get more atmospheric than visiting Dubrovnik’s beautiful museums at night. The historic buildings dotted across the Old Town open their doors for one night only and welcome visitors until 1am, with special events and exhibitions as well as live performances, concerts and plays. Don’t miss the Maritime Museum in the St John Fortress, or the moving Homeland War Museum.

    Dubrovnik Festa

    January 24, 2020 – February 3, 2020

    A busker plays traditional Croatian folk music with a 3-string instrument (lijerica) in the old city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.
    Dubrovnik Festa is a great way to immerse yourself in Croatian culture

    In the run up to the Day of the City of Dubrovnik in February, celebrating its patron saint, an excited atmosphere seems to permeate every street, with events and performances taking place most days. Whether you want to hear traditional klapa acapella singing, head to the opera, a rock concert or enjoy a tasting of local wines, it’s all happening in the week running up to the Feast of St Blaise.

    Feast of St Blaise

    February 3, 2020

    St Blaise church lit up from both the outside and inside (to show off the stained glass windows) at night in Dubrovnik.
    Whether you’re a history buff or just love some festive spirit, the Feast of St Blaise is a must

    The city is a great place to be for the Day of Dubrovnik as celebrates its patron saint. The culmination of it all is the grand feast day on February 3, with a celebration that stretches back more than 1,000 years as has been recognised by UNESCO. It starts with morning mass, then there is a parade carrying the saint’s skull along the Stradun, with locals dressed in traditional folk costume and historical weapons fired in celebration.

    Book your holiday to Dubrovnik with British Airways at ba.com/dubrovnik


    Photo taken in Dubrovnik, CroatiaPhoto taken in Dubrovnik, Croatia

    0 0

    Shot of a beautiful young woman enjoying a cuddle with her cathttp://195.154.178.81/DATA/i_collage/pi/shoots/784178.jpg
    Could your pet be the perfect therapy animal? (Picture: Getty)

    If you’ve got a calm AND loving pet, they could earn up to £50 an hour by comforting people who struggle with conditions like anxiety and stress.

    Bark.com has launched a new Comfort Pet category, which will include reptiles, birds, cats, dogs and farm animals, after research shows that interacting with animals improves wellbeing.

    Members of the public will be able to hire a pet of their choice for a minimum of an hour, to help with their symptoms at home or at work.

    All owners have to do is sign their pets up to be a part of the Comfort Pet service.

    The service has launched following research which shows that animal assisted therapy alleviates a number of physical and mental conditions, such as high blood pressure, stress, depression, anxiety, and behavioural problems.

    The Comfort Pet service is aimed at all ages, and, depending on the pet owner, can include home and office visits, or onsite visits where participants travel to the pet’s location. Participants can also opt for group or one-to-one sessions, depending on the capability of the Comfort Pet and its owner.

    Close-up of beard man in icelandic sweater who is holding and kissing his cute purring Devon Rex cat. Muzzle of a cat and a man's face. Love cats and humans. Relationship, weasel.; Shutterstock ID 706770268; Purchase Order: -
    Cats are more than welcome! (Picture: Shutterstock)

    Any species of pet can be signed up to the new service, including, but not limited to, birds, snakes, lizards, llamas, goats, dogs, cats, horses and rabbits. The trend for emotional support animals has increased rapidly over the last year, although these are not currently legally recognised like service animals such as Guide Dogs.

    Comfort Pet providers can expect to earn up to £50 an hour, however the owner decides how much they charge.

    The owner must be present during the comfort sessions, and must be able to demonstrate they have full control of their pet at all times.

    It’s a good idea for the comfort pet and its owner to meet with the participants first to agree what will be covered in the session and to ensure that the pet is comfortable with the environment.

    Bark.com also recommends a contract is written up which agrees the terms of the pet and participant’s interactions, including what is deemed as inappropriate behaviour by both parties and that both parties take full responsibility for their behaviour.

    Kai Feller, co-founder of Bark.com said: ‘We are a country of animal lovers, and with research proving the health benefits of interacting with them, and a host of amazing pets out there, it made sense to expand our current therapy offering with Comfort Pets.

    ‘Many people appreciate and understand the benefits of spending time with animals, but for some it’s not always possible. We also want to make sure we offer a wide variety of pets, in part so the service can be completely tailored to each individual that uses it, but also to combat the rise in animal allergies in the UK.

    ‘Everyone should be able to benefit from spending time with their very own Comfort Pet, no matter their circumstances.’

    MORE: Little girl tells dad she’s ‘done’ with sausages after he told her where they come from

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


    Aren\'t you so cute!Aren\'t you so cute!

    0 0

    illustration of a man with a dog
    A cute man with a cute dog… but can he be trusted? (Picture: Ella Byworth/metro.co.uk)

    One of the greatest tragedies of my entire life occurred earlier this week, when I thought I had been the first person to coin a new dating trend: dogfishing.

    This is a phenomenon whereby people on dating apps pose with pictures of cute dogs, only for you to discover that these mutts belong to other people.

    Convinced that inventing this term was going to be my ticket to stardom, I quit my job and divorced my husband (sadly, I don’t think it’s possible for a relationship to work when there is a disparity in wealth and fame).

    I also started preparing quips for when I was inevitably invited onto the Graham Norton Show, where I would regale Helen Mirren and Post Malone with the story of how I first came up with it.

    It’s a great anecdote: I was speaking to someone on a dating app who had lots of pictures of the same chow chow, so I asked him if the chow chow belonged to him, and he replied that no, it was his friend’s and he was just looking after it – and the rest is history.

    So you can imagine the overwhelming pain, disappointment and humiliation I felt when I typed ‘dogfishing’ into Google and the search returned 4,960,000 results.

    I scrolled down, in a state of rising dread, to see outlets covering the term – each fresh article like a knife through my heart. I realised then that there would be no money, no fame, no Helen Mirren with tears of mirth streaming down her face.

    Two Chow Chows posing side-by-side (image:Getty)
    If you see an animal this cute or funny on a dating app, beware… (Picture: Getty)

    But perhaps I’m overreacting. Perhaps this is no loss at all. Because, when you really think about it, isn’t the concept of dogfishing a little… stupid?

    The supposed problem with dogfishing is that it rests on deception, that it’s an attempt at trickery. Women are statistically more likely to be attracted to men if they own a dog, apparently, on the basis that this suggests a kind personality – so the motive is certainly there.

    But the same qualities that would make a dog owner kind or warm would surely also apply to dog lovers in general. There are lots of practical reasons why someone who likes dogs might not own one, unrelated to their personal warmth or lack thereof.

    One study has suggested that a quarter of men with pets deliberately use them as ‘bait’ on dating apps. But it seems extremely unlikely that men who don’t like dogs are borrowing them from friends or relatives in a purely cynical effort to impress women on Hinge.

    Maybe they just like dogs. Maybe they really do love their brother’s French bulldog with an all-consuming passion; maybe they would take a bullet for their landlord’s Chihuahua.

    Being the ‘victim’ of dogfishing (that most heinous crime) might be disappointing in the sense that you wanted access to a cute dog yourself  – but it’s hardly evidence of poor moral character.

    After all, should you really be trying to date someone just because they have a dog?

    While we should never underestimate the capacity of other people to be horrible d**kheads, in this case it’s probably safe to assume that if someone has pictures of dogs on their profile, it’s because they like dogs.

    If you also like dogs, that’s something you have in common, and it’s not really a cause for concern.

    So that’s that. Anyway, I can’t wait to tell you guys about this hot new dating trend I’ve come up with – this one is really going to pop off.

    It’s basically the same thing but with cats. I haven’t thought of a name yet.

    Dating terms and trends, defined

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ghosting: Cutting off all communication without explanation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    MORE: Dating trends: They’re truly not that deep

    MORE: Fireworking is the latest dating trend to describe your rubbish love life

    MORE: Profiles with bikini pics and cuddling with dogs more likely to be successful on dating apps

     

     


    Conkers could kill your dogConkers could kill your dog

    0 0

     Kelsey Michaels harry potter themed room for baby george
    Kelsey knew she wanted to pass down her love of Harry Potter to her new son, George (Picture: Kelsey Michael/LatestDeals.co.uk)

    We love a great room transformation, especially if it doesn’t cost the earth.

    Take note from Kelsey Michael, 23, who created a magical Harry Potter themed room for her 11-week-old son, George, for a total price of £150.

    Kelsey, an accounts assistant from Swindon, had always wanted to pass along her love of Harry Potter to her baby.

    She decided that a themed bedroom was the perfect way to induct her son into the fandom from an early age.

    Using items from Primark, Wayfair, and Amazon, the mum managed to fill the room with plenty of nods to the iconic series. There’s a mobile with Harry, Ron, and Hermione dangling over the cot, a quote from Dumbledore printed on the wall, wands placed on shelves, and a tiny Hogwarts uniform ready on a hanger for when George is big enough to wear it.

     Kelsey Michaels harry potter themed room for baby george
    While the cot and drawers cost £600, all the Harry Potter merch came to less than £150 (Picture: Kelsey Michael/LatestDeals.co.uk)

    Kelsey even gave George his very own Hedwig, putting a toy owl she bought from Amazon in a cage from Wayfair and hanging it from the ceiling.

    The project required a lot of creative thinking and bargain hunting.

    That gold lamp you can see in the photos? It’s actually an old lamp covered in gold wrapping paper to make it more magical.

    Kelsey told LatestDeals.co.uk: ‘I came up with the idea as I’ve always loved Harry Potter. I love everything about it and I would love my little boy to love it just as much as me. The stories are so magical and there’s nothing quite like it.

    ‘I had this image in my head of how I wanted it to look, and I’m so happy it does. I’ve collected Harry Potter merchandise for a number of years now and I wanted to display it all, so I came up with the idea of using it all to decorate my boy’s nursery.’

     Kelsey Michaels harry potter themed room for baby george
    Kelsey did all the work herself, even wrapping an old lamp in gold paper to make it look magical (Picture: Kelsey Michael/LatestDeals.co.uk)

    Kelsey already had lots of Harry Potter goodies she’s been gifted items over the years as family and friends knew how much she loved the franchise.

    She used products from Primark, Wayfair and Amazon, and also managed to collect most of the items on the shelves from a website called Geek Gear, a subscription service that sends you Harry Potter merch every month.

    While the cot and drawers were £600, the Harry Potter themed extra touches came to a total of between £100 and £150.

    ‘It was so fun putting it all together; I enjoyed every minute,’ said Kelsey. ‘We moved into our new house at the beginning of the year and it was all a blank canvas when we first moved in, so the process didn’t take too long.

    ‘I started with the wall stickers, and all these ideas started coming into my head like having Hedwig in the cage hanging from the ceiling. I was lucky as it lots of the merchandise I had was gifted to me over birthdays and Christmas.’

    Have you completed an amazing DIY project you’d like to share? Get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk

    MORE: Mums share genius hack to restore cracked leather sofa for less than £20

    MORE: Dogfishing: The sinister dating trend haunting the apps

    MORE: Bride asks her four grandmas to be the flower girls at her wedding


    ?150 Harry Potter room makeover?150 Harry Potter room makeover

    0 0

    One of my earliest memories of high school is the day I chose to read in the playground.

    Reading a book during my lunch break seemed perfectly reasonable to 12 year old me but, soon I was surrounded by a ring of boys jeering: ‘What a nerd. Why don’t you go to the library?’

    My cheeks were on fire. I would spend a lot of time in the library over the next seven years.

    I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t called a nerd, geek or a swot at school. It was part of my identity before I even knew what an ‘identity’ was. I was incorrigibly bookish with a perfect homework record and great marks, and well-behaved and enthusiastic in class.

    I was lucky enough to find many subjects easy and also had a respect for the authority of teachers that I can’t quite explain as an adult. I had to do my homework, or else.

    My Label and Me - Swot - Argentina - Amy Booth Picture: Amelia McGoldrick for Metro.co.uk
    Being a nerd meant more than good behaviour and good marks (Picture: Amelia McGoldrick for Metro.co.uk)

    In primary school, my label wasn’t a bad thing. It was a small school where we knew what each other were like and just accepted it: This lot were the swots, those boys were naughty, so and so went for extra English help, and so on.

    But in high school it became more hostile; names were shouted across the playground, whispers in the classroom, teasing when the teachers were out of earshot.

    I was never beaten up or bullied the way you see in US high school films, but it definitely fostered a profound sense of discomfort, like I didn’t belong.

    Being a nerd meant more than good behaviour and good marks. Other girls got straight As, but they weren’t labelled like me. Nerdiness went hand in hand with my weirdness.

    My Label and Me - Swot - Argentina - Amy Booth Picture: Amelia McGoldrick for Metro.co.uk
    Normal teenage behaviour like trying your first drink or kissing someone is instantly hilarious to others because it’s you doing it (Picture: Amelia McGoldrick for Metro.co.uk)

    It was the glasses, the horrendous dress sense, the chronic social awkwardness, the complete lack of interest in boys.

    A friend once sent me a joke Valentines card saying ‘My heart is yours… but you’ll never have my kidneys!’ just so the popular kids would see me getting a red envelope in assembly.

    Being labelled a nerd doesn’t just shape your own identity, it determines how everyone else sees you, too.

    Normal teenage behaviour like trying your first drink or kissing someone is instantly hilarious to others because it’s you doing it. You’re constantly living up to the label through your academic success because it defines you.

    I don’t think society sees geeks as bad. Despite the implications of eccentricity and awkwardness, we associate it with accomplishment, dedication, and an almost childlike fascination with our abstruse academic field of choice – especially if that’s a highly lucrative field of computer programming.

    My Label and Me - Swot - Argentina - Amy Booth Picture: Amelia McGoldrick for Metro.co.uk
    It’s been years since anybody has called me a swot or a nerd, but if they did, I would own it (Picture: Amelia McGoldrick for Metro.co.uk)

    How many films and series are protagonised by geeks cast as the plucky underdog with a kooky obsession with science?

    It’s been years since anybody has called me a swot or a nerd, but if they did, I would own it. I know that caring about your studies and trying your best is a good thing.

    Picking on someone for being a swot is about resentment, frustration, and responding to someone else’s success by dragging them down.

    That attitude is the product of a high school culture that defines you by academic ability, carefully grading the whole class and ranking you by this one narrow metric. It’s important to recognise the role people’s life circumstances play in their school performance, too.

    I’m from a supportive middle-class family – would I have kept up my academic performance if I’d had to work evenings so my family could make ends meet?

    It was only when I started university at Cambridge that I felt my label dissolve around me; suddenly, everyone was a good student and I was average.

    Here, nobody looked at me twice for reading a book at lunch – mostly because they were too engrossed in books of their own.

    I’m in the second year of my masters now, and I’m considering applying for PhDs afterwards. My boyfriend of 10 years is a total nerd too.

    I’m still capable of raising eyebrows when I wax lyrical about my subject, but while it’s safe to say I’m still geeky and weird, I’ve made my peace with the label.

    Labels

    Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity  positively or negatively  and what the label means to them.

    If you would like to get involved please email jess.austin@metro.co.uk

    MORE: My Label and Me: A complete stranger looked straight at me and called me disgusting

    MORE: My Label and Me: I’m living my best fat life

    MORE: My Label and Me: I’m not clumsy, I’m resilient


    Labels: GeekLabels: Geek

    0 0

    How Frida saves - the blogger with £75,000 saved up
    Frida is a 24-year-old blogger writer, and consultant with £75,000 saved (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    Putting money away for the future can feel tricky, whatever you earn.

    It’s hard to think about what you might need to buy 20 years from now when you have enough cash in your account for a takeaway right this moment. Delayed satisfaction is tough.

    But some people manage it. While we can be baffled and filled with resentment by their money habits, we can also learn from their saving and spending ways.

    In our weekly series How I Save, we track a person’s spending for a week and take a look at the nitty-gritty of their finances, whether they’re expert savers we can all learn from or those struggling to budget.

    Alongside satisfying our nosiness about other people’s cashflow, we’re also hoping How I Save opens up the conversation around money and normalises asking the questions and admitting we don’t know everything. Loads of us struggle with money – there should be no shame in admitting we don’t fully understand how a mortgage works or how to make a budget sheet in Excel.

    This week we’re following Frida (not her real name), who’s a pretty great example for saving up. She’s a 24-year-old blogger, writer, and consultant with far more saved than most people her age.

    How Frida saves:

    In my savings account right now I have £75,000. I try not to think about it too much because I’m worried I’ll spend it.

    I earn around £55,000 a year but being freelance it varies a lot!

    I’ve saved this much money by working hard, of course, but also by being extremely lucky with my job. I blogged for four years without earning a penny, back when Instagram first started and when I was still at school, so it’s nice that the work is finally paying. Before it did, I was working as a waiter and hostess in my university holidays, as well as during less busy times at uni. I worked for a year before starting university too so I would have some savings.

    I’m saving to be able to move in with my partner – currently we live over three hours apart but have been together for over four years (two of which have been long distance), so we’re hoping to buy a place together within the next couple of years.

    The main way I save is by spending less. People always talk about earning more, but I was able to save even when I was earning much less, because I try to spend very little (less so now that I’m earning more, but certainly when I was younger).

    I’m also lucky that I’ve not had anyone else to support at home – I’m sure this would be different if I were to have a family or dependent parents.

    In London saving is easier said than done, but I still have the student mentality when it comes to money. I’m also lucky that my job involves a lot of food at events, so often I can reduce spending on groceries this way.

    Flying cash
    Frida is able to save money by grabbing free meals at events and eating leftovers (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    I’ve just about got to the point with my job that I will ask for more money if I think I am providing value to a brand/person/publication. For so long I was embarrassed to even bring up the topic of fees, but I can’t imagine there are many other professions where the expectation is that you’ll do things for free, and if you ask for money it’s seen as grabby.

    I have a savings account and an ISA as of quite recently because I was fed up of being money illiterate, so I did some research on how best to save for the future. I still have no idea if I’m doing the right thing, but it feels good to have some money going into a deliberate savings account each month. I still don’t really know what an ISA is but I have one and I think that’s good?

    I sometimes struggle with saving because it’s hard to keep the end goal in sight when it’s so big. Sometimes I’ll want to go on a big holiday, but knowing my end goal is a house, I have a long way to go until I’ll hit that. Obviously it’s all about balance, not living a miserable existence, but there’s plenty of fun to be had in the UK, so I’m trying to enjoy staycations more than travelling abroad.

    I’m not a big spender when it comes to frivolous things like new clothes, alcohol and takeaways – I prefer to just wear what I already own (which is also more sustainable), drink gin I get given as presents and I love cooking, so takeaways are reserved for emergencies and special treats, maybe once a month.

    There are pros and cons to being freelance too. Because I never know when my next work is coming, I’m permanently in ‘survival mode’ when it comes to spending. I’ve finally got to the point where I have regular consultancy clients and writing work month to month, which helps, but my income is so variable that if I had big monthly expenses I think it would quickly become impossible to save.

    Also as a blogger (probably one of the most hated professions), I don’t know how long my job will be able to earn me what it does now, so I don’t want to be silly with money when social media could crash tomorrow and take the majority of my income with it. I’m slowly moving away from it all, but obviously want to enjoy it while it’s here. Strangely, being freelance therefore makes me a better saver, which I don’t mind, but I also wouldn’t mind a bit more predictability of income.

    How Frida spends:

    Monthly expenses:

    • £700 on rent
    • £80 for bills (water, wifi, gas and electricity, council tax)
    • £240 on an editor
    • £100 on lashes. This is my most shameful spend but it’s oh so freeing to not have to wear makeup, which is my justification. I realise the makeup savings don’t exactly offset the spending, though…
    • £3.99 on carbon offsetting
    • £67 on a Soho House membership (which is also my gym)
    • £13.39 phone bill
    • £12 ‘Who Gives a Crap’ loo paper subscription (eco-friendly and long-lasting. This is for my whole flat and they pay me back for some of it. I foot any small extra cost compared to non-eco loo paper because I know they don’t care if it’s sustainable or not)
    • £5.99 Netflix
    • £3 on my bank account (it’s a sustainable bank so there’s a monthly charge for their current account)
    • Groceries – price varies hugely, as I’m not always at home, so often don’t buy lots. I always have things in the freezer/dried/tinned foods and tend to buy fresh veg and bread at the beginning of every week depending on how much I’m around and throw together easy meals that I can eat throughout the week with various additions. Thankfully vegan food takes a long time to go off!

    A week of spending:

    Monday: £6.50 on lunch and a coffee – a nice café near me does 50% off on Mondays, so I tend to treat myself (I need it on a Monday!). I always get something I know I couldn’t make at home myself.

    £1.50 goes on a Tube journey to a meeting.

    I have leftovers and homemade cake for dinner.

    Tuesday: I walk to work, so no money spent there. I spend £12 on work lunch, then for dinner I have thrown-together ramen (my favourite cheap and warming meal) and more cake.

    Wednesday: £5 on the Tube to head to various events. I have a lunch meeting so I don’t pay for lunch, then have free dinner at an event. I finish the day with some cake.

    Thursday: Travelling on the Tube for events and meetings costs £3.90. I also get an oat milk flat white for £3.60.

    I have leftovers for brunch. I tend to re-jig the same leftovers for the whole week. So I made chilli-non-carne on Sunday, which I then added more vegetables on Monday and ate with pasta, then ate the remainder on sourdough on Thursday with vegan cheese and hummus.

    I have dinner for free at an event.

    Friday: £3 goes on a Tube journey for an event, where I get free breakfast.

    I spend £37.55 on single train ticket to Somerset. Travel to and from Somerset is one of my biggest recurring expenses, as a return costs around £60 with a railcard, but this is where my partner lives so I’ve bitten the bullet and refuse to take a sixth Megabus.

    Saturday: I get a day pass to the gym in Somerset for £6. I don’t bother getting a gym membership outside of London because I visit so sporadically, but I will get around three to four day passes a month.

    Sunday: Nothing spent. I went on a long run and then lazed around for the rest of the day eating bread. The dream.

    How Frida could save:

    We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out how Frida can save better (and what we can learn from her spending).

    Note: the advice featured is specific to one individual and doesn’t constitute financial advice, especially for a London budget. 

    Well done. Your eco-conscious approach to money has left your bank balance looking green!

    Main vice:

    You’ve clocked it yourself but £1,200 a year on lashes is, well, a lot.

    If you’re not already saving into a pension, this feels like a good move. It’s a good habit to get into, especially when you’re freelance.

    Where you’re going right:

    You’re aware of the value you’re providing and aren’t afraid to set fees that reflect that. This is ace. We’d be keen to know how you got over your embarrassment around talking pay (we know this is something that loads of people struggle with).

    That student money mentality is a winner. Making use of leftovers at mealtimes ups the chances of leftover money at the end of the month.

    If it’s a regular habit, the day you walk to work each week saves you around £20 a month – that’s £240 a year (or two sets of lashes and loo paper for three months).

    As you mention, ISAs can be really helpful for getting into good saving habits and you don’t have to pay tax on any interest or returns you make.

    For anyone reading: there are various different kinds of ISA out there, so it’s definitely worth putting in some homework time.

    Bottom Line:

    Your money management looks to be as sustainable as lots of your other habits. Good luck with buying that place together!

    How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing ellen.scott@metro.co.uk.

    MORE: How I Save: The British expat IT sales manager in Dubai with £314,678 saved

    MORE: How I Save: The disabled marketing assistant earning £18,500 a year and living in London

    MORE: How I Save: The newly redundant writer and personal finance blogger with £4,000 saved


    How Flora savesHow Flora saves

    0 0

     Mary, Leo and Kim (left to right) pictured together
    This couple entered a three-way relationship after falling in love with a woman (right) at the gym (Picture: MDWfeatures / @pnwtriad16)

    Former Marine Corps man Leo Barillas, 34, and his wife Mary, 32, from Washington, didn’t expect to fall in love with a woman who went to the gym they owned.

    After Leo was based all over the world in Iraq, Sri Lanka, Korea, and North Carolina, he decided to settle down in California with Mary and open a Crossfit business.

    It was at this establishment where the married couple – who have two kids – met estimator Kimberlee Slagle, 29.

    Kimberlee, who has two children of her own, started attending regular Crossfit classes and became good friends with the couple.

    A year later, in 2016, they formed a romantic connection and became a throuple, moving in together with all their children.

    While others often comment on their unusual set-up, Leo says his height is also a topic of interest as he is shorter than both partners.

    But, he says, ‘good things come in small packages’. Plus, it makes others curious as to what he’s got to offer.

     Mary, Leo and Kim SELFIE
    Mary (left) and Leo are highschool sweethearts  (Picture: MDWfeatures / @pnwtriad16)

    ‘Great things like diamonds come in small packages,’ says Leo. ‘I don’t mind being shorter than these two beautiful ladies. I think it makes others wonder what is so amazing about me.

    ‘Polyamory means being open and honest with who we are,’ he added. ‘We love more than one person and embrace that even though it is beyond the social norm.

    ‘Honestly, it is not very different from a traditional two-person relationship, we have a special relationship with each of our partners that we love and cherish and together we have a throuple.’

    Leo, Mary, and Kim acknowledge that their relationship might be a little out of the ordinary, but being a throuple allows them to live their best life.

    Jealousy can sometimes be an issue but the three always air their grievances to come to a solution and move forward.

    They share pictures of their family on social media and Leo is proud to have his two taller partners on his arm

    He said: ‘We chat a lot about the future but find that living in the moment one day at a time is what is best for our family and us.

    ‘Things can change so swiftly. Living in the here and now is what makes life worth living.’

     : Mary, Leo and Kim with their children on christmas
    Mary (left), Leo and Kim live together with their four children(Picture: MDWfeatures / @pnwtriad16)

    Though they haven’t had any particularly negative experiences, they are met with lots of questions as people are curious about their lifestyle.

    But the throuple don’t mind so much and are dedicated to having a healthy relationship.

    ‘Open communication is key to any successful relationship, no matter the type,’ added Leo.

    ‘Disregard any negative comments about this lifestyle, because it is perfectly ok to love many.’

    MORE: Polyamorous triad with three kids want more children and are open to more lovers

    MORE: Why are more people living together but not getting married?

    MORE: Are we moving towards a society where everyone is polyamorous or in open relationships?


    Couple Fall For Woman At GymCouple Fall For Woman At Gym

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Remember, friendships are not monogamous 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It’s OK to feel left out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Three is the magic number

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     


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

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    10k comp10k comp

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What is cellulitis?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ‘We even cried because we felt so bad.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    0 0

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

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

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

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

    What is Wear It Pink Day 2019?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How should you check your breasts for lumps or irregularities?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Supporter photox2-f8c5Supporter photox2-f8c5

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ‘Autumn is my most favourite seasons for the garden.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Autumn gardenAutumn garden

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Eat breakfast

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

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

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

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

    Have some early morning ‘you time’

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

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

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

    Avoid checking your phone first thing

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

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

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

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

    Don’t rely on caffeine

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

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

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

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

    Wind down in the evening

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

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

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

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

    Exercise

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

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

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

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

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


    sleep-e353sleep-e353

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ‘The message of the campaign is landing.

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

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

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

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


    HIV testing CompHIV testing Comp

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    waitrosewaitrose

    0 0

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

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

    And none do it like Selfridges.

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

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

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

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

    He is now a metallic silver.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What goes into Selfridges windows

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

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

    Here are some of the windows on display:

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

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

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


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

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Version 2Version 2

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How to check your breasts:

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

    If you notice any changes, talk to your doctor.

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

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

    Signs of breast cancer to watch out for

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

    Change in breast size or shape

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

    An inverted nipple

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

    Redness, rashes or skin sores

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

    Nipple discharge

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

    Indentation

    A dent of any size isn’t normal.

    Swelling under the armpit or collarbone

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

    Change in skin texture

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

    Constant pain

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

    A growing vein

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

    A lump

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

     

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

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

     


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

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    United Kingdom

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

    India

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

    Mexico

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

    Turkey

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

    Qatar

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

    Finland

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

    Serbia

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

    Albania

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

    Costa Rica

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

    Bosnia

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

    Germany

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

    UAE

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

    Belarus

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

    Egypt

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

    Malaysia

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

    Australia

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

    Israel

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

    Hong Kong

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

    Ukraine

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

    Russia

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

    Lithuania

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

    Croatia

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

    South Africa

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

    U.S

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

    France

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

    Namibia

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

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

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

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


    PRI_90274085PRI_90274085

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    These are some of our favourites so far this year:

    The Cookie Monster

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

    The Golden Snitch

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

    Princess Fiona from Shrek

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

    Black Widow

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

    The Lion King

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

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

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

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


    (Picture: Busstopcostumessacramento)(Picture: Busstopcostumessacramento)

    0 0

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

    So many of us are anxious. Really anxious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    This is where the anxiety part comes in.

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

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

    What is acupressure?

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

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

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

    This energy effects everything from mood to health and wellbeing.

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

    Sarah Brown, acupressure practitioner and health specialist at LastVerdict

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

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

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

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

    Which sounds great to be honest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It can become part of a mediation or yoga practice.

    Tips for using an acupressure mat

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

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

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

    Yogi Bare

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

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

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

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

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

    MORE: Bodhi the adventure cat joins his owner for cross-country skiing and paddleboarding


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

    0 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Dating terms and trends, defined

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ghosting: Cutting off all communication without explanation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    MORE: Bride asks her four grandmas to be the flower girls at her wedding

    MORE: There’s a new Starbucks secret menu option inspired by the Joker


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