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Top 10 Christmas hacks to create the perfect party

Make your Christmas party a cracker (Picture: Getty)

Christmas can be a time of great stress and you just never have enough time to do everything on your list.

Especially when you have a host of friends and family coming round for a seasonal shindig.

How to go from office makeup to Christmas party ready in just 10 minutes

So how best to get your home looking like a festive fun house? How will you bake food everyone will love with so little time?

To help you save some time, money and headache, here are a few Christmas hacks, from decorations to food, that might help… Read the full story

20 rare and valuable books worth up to £50,000 that might be sitting on your shelves right now

(Picture: JK Rowling/Bloomsbury, Dr Suess/Random House, Beatrix Potter/Frederick Warne & Co)

Oh, hey bookworms. You may want to have a sort through your bookshelves.

In among all the well-worn copies of your favourites and new adventures you haven’t yet opened, there could be a fortune just sitting there.

Matthew Haley, the director and head of books and manuscripts at auction house Bonhams, has shared his list of the twenty most valuable books that could be hidden in homes around the UK right at this very moment.

There are some familiar favourites ranking fairly high. A first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, for example, has an estimated value of £50,000… Read the full story

10 things you only know if you’re a student living in halls in the run up to Christmas

December 2011 spent with my uni family (Picture: Becky Excell)

Christmas is a time to spend with loved ones and family.

What your mentally ill partner actually wants (and needs) from youWhat your mentally ill partner really wants - and needs - from you

But if you’re at university this may well be your student halls family.

You might not be blood relatives, but once you’ve bonded over a shared kebab at 3am, there really is no going back.

Christmas in halls means doing all the things you’d normally do with your real family in the run up to Christmas, but much, much worse… Read the full story

Here’s that sexy calendar filled with naked women in coffins you were waiting for

coffin calendar
(Picture: Lindner)

You weren’t satisfied with the sexy carp calendar, the ginger men calendar, or the pug yoga calendar. We get it – they didn’t quite fit your personal idea of what’s ‘sexy’.

But never fear. A calendar to suit your needs is here.

Behold the Lindner calendar, dedicated to photos of naked women in coffins. Because what’s sexier than thinking about the looming presence of death, right?

The calendar is the creation of Zbigniew Lindner, the founder of Polish coffin company Linder, who hopes to help boost sales of coffins by filling them with women.

You don’t get the women when you buy the… Read the full story

This Christmas tree is made from Alice in Wonderland characters

Alice in Wonderland tree
(Picture: The Sanderson)

We’ve had pink treesupside down Christmas trees and decorated ladders.

There’s even a half Christmas tree if you don’t have space for a full one.

But now, there’s a Christmas tree paying homage to our favourite childhood story, Alice in Wonderland.

Made entirely out of 400 bars of different coloured plasticine, it’s the brainchild of set designer Gary Card.

The 8ft tree features characters from Alice in Wonderland featured include Alice, the Cheshire cat, rabbit, card soldiers as well as Christmas cartoon characters including a snowman and gingerbread men.

Tequila so smooth you sip it from a champagne flute instead of slamming it

The UK tequila revolution enters its next phase…

Tequila is the sort of drink most of us have some history with.

But, as anyone from Mexico will tell you, it’s because we’ve been drinking it wrong.

In Mexico, tequila – quality tequila, not the stuff you got trashed on at college – is sipped, not slammed.

The first time I went to Mexico City almost 20 years ago I was handed a small glass of tequila at a party.

Naturally, I tossed the whole thing back at once. The circle of people looked at me like I was an alien as they sipped theirs slowly, like whisky.

What I didn’t know back then was that… Read the full story

Couple celebrate 47 years of marriage with glamorous photoshoot

(Picture: Amber Robinson)

A couple have paid tribute to their 47 years of marriage with a sweet photoshoot celebrating their love.

Wanda, 67, and 70-year-old Marvin Brewington, who are from North Carolina, first met at Livingston College in Salisbury, NC, and married in 1970.

They married in an intimate backyard ceremony in Wanda’s hometown of Wilkesboro, NC.

47 years later they wanted to celebrate with another photoshoot.

The photos of the childhood sweethearts were taken by one of their daughters, Amber Robinson.

FYI, you’ve probably been storing wine the wrong way

(Picture: Getty Images)

If you’ve ever faced the horror of having a cork crumble inside your wine bottle, you’ll know the frustration.

But it turns out that it could be for a very simple reason: you’ve been storing your bottles wrong the whole time.

Apparently, keeping wine bottles in an upright position can result in the cork crumbling or breaking before you’ve even had a chance to sip on it.


That probably goes to explain why wine is often kept lying down in wine racks in shops and restaurants.

Wine critic Joanna Simon told Cosmopolitan: ‘Bottles of wine should be stored horizontally to keep the wine in contact with the cork and help… Read the full story

What to do when someone is having a panic attack

Metro Illustrations
Panic attacks can be terrifying (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Panic attacks are horrible, terrifying things to experience.

They can also be difficult to witness happening to someone else, not least because you feel powerless to help.

This is what it’s like to live with agoraphobia

Everyone experiences them differently; there is a long list of symptoms from shaking and sweating to palpitations and dizziness, and everyone copes with them in their own way.

However, there are some basic things you can do that will support just about anyone having a panic attack.

By the way, you don’t have to physically be with… Read the full story

9 ways to tell that you’re too old to go clubbing

9 Ways to tell that you're too old to go clubbing (Tom Evans)
It’s time to call time (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they just have to admit a cold, hard truth.

Something important and momentous, something there’s just no point in denying anymore: that you’ve become too old to have a good time in a club.

It’s a slow transition, and not something that happens overnight, but if this list seems rather familiar to you, it might well be time to call it a day – or night – and hang up the glow sticks for good.

1. You think WKDs and Smirnoff Ice are still a… Read the full story

Christmas recipe: how to make easy gingerbread biscuits



easy gingerbread biscuits recipe
(Picture: Mandy Mazliah)

Along with mince pies, gingerbread biscuits are one of the must-bake Christmas items. They are easy to make, they store well and they’re brilliant for making with kids.

My kids love going OTT with the decorations so keep a few back for yourself if biscuit bling isn’t your thing.

Over the years I’ve tried lots of different recipes for gingerbread biscuits, all using slightly different ingredients and methods. I’m a big fan of simple recipes and to make this recipe you don’t need any special equipment – other than cookie cutters of course.

Here’s how to make easy gingerbread biscuits:


The exact breakfast you need to eat to cure a hangover after a heavy night out

(Picture: SWNS)

Forget your super-green breakfast smoothie, because a top gastro-physics chef has devised the perfect ‘morning after’ cure to Christmas festivity excess – in a box.

Food delivery expert Uber Eats has launched a breakfast which aims to help those who’ve gone a little bit overboard on the festive boozing to survive the peak of the party season.

The perfectly balanced meal contains eggs, bacon, mushrooms, beans, avocado and spinach. This is then accompanied by banana porridge drizzled with honey with a side of orange juice.

Each choice for the breakfast has been specially selected to help restore essential nutrients to help people recover from a heavy night out on the lash.

For… Read the full story

A farmer has created a machine to make the perfect poached eggs

(Picture: Ben Padfield)

If you’ve ever struggled to make a good poached egg, pay attention.

A poultry farmer from Lincolnshire has finally found a way to guarantee the perfect poached egg every single time.

How, you ask? Well, with the aid of an 8ft by 5ft metal machine of course.

It’s a far cry from the usual method of poaching an egg in simmering water for three minutes.

Phil Ashton says making his contraption has meant he now avoids the disappointment of overdone or underdone eggs.

Read the full story

Art installation gives women a space to share their experiences of being shamed


If you’re a woman, it’s highly likely you’ve had shame thrown at you.

You’ve been told to feel ashamed of your body, your sexuality, your wants and needs.

It’s like that Game of Thrones scene when Cersei walks through the crowds naked, but instead of people ringing bells, it’s our society and culture shouting ‘shame! shame! shame!’ in our general direction.

We don’t talk about this a lot, because, well, we’re ashamed. Silence is the currency of shamers. They win when we buy into the shame and hide ourselves away, don’t speak, and keep it zipped.

And so, sharing stories and speaking out is power. Refusing to be ashamed is power.

Giving women a space to do that is artist Suzie Blake.

Suzie’s had her own experiences of shame. As a pregnant teenager, her situation and choices faced heavy judgement. She was told to hide away, advised to give up her child, and generally made to feel absolutely awful.

Read the full story

Nine-year-old boy’s heartbreaking Christmas wish will leave you in tears

Nine-year-old school boy’s heartbreaking Christmas wish will reduce you to tears
(Picture: Getty/ Facebook)

When it comes to Christmas day, most children are excited to open the gifts Santa placed under their trees when they were sleeping.

Hopeful kids open their presents expecting the bikes, games consoles, games and clothes they asked for – and more often than not, they get them.

However, one young boy asked for just two things this Christmas. And the biggest thing was also the most heartbreaking.

A nine-year-old boy asked for a new pair of shoes… and a happier life.

Jay H. Banks, a councilman-elect who works with Angel Tree, an organisation that provides presents to children in need… Read the full story

Guy’s unsatisfying line work tattoos will put you on edge

(Picture: instagram/dotstolines)

If you’ve ever watched one of those videos in which everything is purposefully unsatisfying – a line of dominoes being knocked down with the last one standing, or a piece of cake being sliced at a wrong angle – you’ll understand how unsettling we find this tattoo.

The tattoo features two line designs – one straight and one circle.

Just where the lines are supposed to meet to create a full line and a full circle… they don’t. And it’s leaving us feeling totally on edge.

Sure, the line work is amazing. The tattoos are beautifully clean. But WHY don’t the lines match up? Seriously, it’s maddening.

We’re not the only ones… Read the full story

Why do we have Christmas trees in our homes, when should you put one up and why decorate it?

Putting up the tree is an age-old family tradition (Picture: Getty)

Why we have Christmas trees in our homes is not a question many ask – it’s one of the most magical Christmas traditions there is and it happens because that’s what you do.

But when you think about it, for one month of the year, you have a tree in your living room, hallway, dining room or wherever else you choose to deck the halls.

It’s not like a bunch of peonies – it’s a tree and it’s in a pot inside your home.

So why DO we have Christmas trees in our homes at Christmas?

Experts call out the five celeb diets to avoid in 2018

Diets to avoid
(Picture: Getty)

New year, new me, we proclaim on January 1st.

We don’t mean any deep, personal changes, to be clear. No. Instead, we shall be the same conflicted, exhausted people in a slightly slimmer package – because, we’re told, January is the time for us all to hit up the gym and go on restrictive diets.

That’s nonsense, by the way. Ignore the pressure and focus on what will actually make you feel good.

But if you are thinking about going on a diet, you can at least be aware of the ones to avoid (anything that promises speedy results is a bad idea, honestly).

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has… Read the full story

Here’s what I learnt from travelling around China with a 60-year-old man in drag

Here's what I learnt from travelling around China with a 60-year-old man in drag
‘He would flaunt his feminine wardrobe whenever he had the chance’ (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

I had known my Chinese teacher for about five years before he let me into his secret – that he is a cross-dresser. 

We were in Changsha, a city in central China, and had just checked into our hotel.

Get your legs out for the lasses: Why men in skirts are manly AF

At the time, I was a correspondent for the BBC in Beijing.

I had decided to write a book about my… Read the full story

We’re calling it: Mulled wine hair is the best trend this winter

red wine hair trend
(Picture: Instagram/ave42style)

We bloody love a winter trend – whether it’s actually wearable, like the cider and spice hair colour trend, or those glorious Christmas tree brows.

So even if a beauty choice isn’t technically new, giving it a nice wintery name is bound to convince us to give it a go.

Enter mulled wine hair.

Is this just dark red hair given a catchy name? Absolutely.

Does this put us off? Not even a tiny bit.

Mulled wine hair isn’t too complicated of a trend. It’s all about giving your hair a deep, berry red tone with multidimensional highlights and lowlights, to create the look… Read the full story

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