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This is why you feel blue in January and how you can beat it

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*illustration request* January blues
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

I love Christmas – the gift buying, the general goodwill and chance to eat, drink and be merry even though it is 2.30pm on a Monday.

But for the past few years something has hung over my celebrations, an unwanted guest in the house which doesn’t take the form of an overbearing relative.

It is the knowledge that after Christmas and New Year I tend to hit a bit of a wall and begin feeling down – aka January blues.

It’s not full-blown depression (I have been to see my GP) but a melancholy which looms over the month of January.

Read the full story

There’s a secret Harry Potter menu at Starbucks

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(Picture: Instagram)

From limited edition Christmas cups to sparkly pink tumblers, we can always trust Starbucks to give us a fun sugary hit.

But if you’re still gutted over the departure of their Christmas drinks, you could be in luck.

Because the coffee giant is treating Potterheads to some super secretive Harry Potter-themed treats.

Ordering the drinks is a lot more straightforward than you’d think.

If the menu is news to you, that’s unsurprising because it’s been shrouded in as much secrecy as where to buy an invisibility cloak.

Muggles can get their hands on Butterbeer lattes and Butterbeer frappes but only if they say the magic words.

Just don’t say Sectumsempra.

Read the full story

Photo series captures all the bits of plastic choking up the River Thames

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Any of this yours? (Picture: Getty)

Plastic is a real problem.

Despite (most of) our best efforts to cut down on waste and recycle, it turns out we’re actually not doing enough, judging by these pictures of waste that’s been rescued from the River Thames.

Children’s dummies, boxing gloves and car tyres – they’ve all found their way into our waters.

All the junk pictured in these images was picked up from the shore of the Thames Estuary, which is an important feeding ground for wading birds and other marine life.

If this rubbish hadn’t been intercepted on its journey, it would have all made its way into the sea, clogging the habitat of… Read the full story

What are the benefits of Dry January? Lose weight, save money and more

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Dry January benefits
(Picture: Getty/metro.co.uk)

Ignore the haters, Dry January can be tough.

It’s not that you necessarily have a problem with drinking, it’s just that booze is so ingrained in our culture.

We go for drinks as a first date, we go to the pub to chat with our coworkers, and we get handed glasses of prosecco at every fancy event we go to.

It does take some effort to say: ‘No thanks, I’m not drinking at the moment’. Especially if you then get a loads of questions and cajoling to pack in your commitment and have a bev.

So it can be handy to have some reasons to keep going, to repeat… Read the full story

Can we please stop using the phrase ‘guilt-free’ to sell food products?

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How can food be guilt-free if I didn’t feel guilty eating it to start with? (Picture: Mmuffin for Metro.co.uk)

The phrase ‘guilt-free’ might seem like a positive label for a food product upon first impressions.

‘Hooray, food without any guilt!’ But wait, why should we be feeling guilty in the first place?

8 new London restaurants and pop ups to try this January

Somewhere amongst the constant battle to market healthier food products, the phrase ‘guilt-free’ was born.

But what does that phrase really mean?

You may assume that a guilt-free product might be environmentally friendly or made without harming animals for example. Both sound pretty free… Read the full story

Give your partner a sniff if you fancy feeling less stressed

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(Picture: Getty)

There’s a reason you snuggle up to your other half’s jumper when they leave for the night.

New research has found that the smell of a partner’s shirt can lower stress levels. Isn’t that sweet?

Researchers from the University of British Columbia recruited 96 opposite sex couples, giving the men a clean T-shirt to wear for 24 hours. the men were asked not to use any deodorant or scented body products, and weren’t allowed to smoke or eat certain foods that would affect their scent.

The T-shirts were then frozen after a day of wear, so the men’s scents wouldn’t fade away, and the women were then randomly given a T-shirt… Read the full story

Ex-soldier shares easy tip for making Twitter more accessible to blind people

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Blind ex-soldier wants Twitter to be accessible for visually impaired
(Picture: Rob Long)

Rob Long, a British soldier lost his eyesight after being caught in an IED explosion.

The 30-year-old served with the Royal Artillery and now has glass eyes which can make it difficult to get by in day-to-day life. But he is determined to go about his life normally.

He has a job working in property administration, he has won medals as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu athlete, fighting against sighted opponents.

Like most of us, he scrolls through social media channels in his spare time.

But the experience is a little different for Rob. He relies on voice technology to help him understand the images.

So… Read the full story

What to do with your old Christmas tree

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(Picture: Getty)

The streets in January tend to be littered with the carcasses of old Christmas trees.

Dry January benefitsAll the benefits of doing Dry January, in case you needed some motivation

It’s a pretty sad reminder of the festive season gone by, and actually a very bad way to dispose of your tree.

It’s now Twelfth Night, which means time to take down your tree to avoid bad luck – or so they say.

A huge number of trees end up in landfill, so do the planet a favour and get rid of your Christmas tree in an eco-friendly way.

Read the full story

Calling all dachshund fans – 7 groups planning sausage dog walks in 2018

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Scout the sausage dog ready for sausage walks 2018 (Picture: Amy Willis)

Dozens of dachshunds turned out for a HUGE sausage walk in London a couple of weeks ago.

There were short-haired, long-haired and wire-haired sausages frolicking in the snow as they were unleashed en masse in Greenwich Park.

14 things you only know if you own a sausage dog

The walk took place at the beginning of December and was organised by Grace Ang-Lygate, Catherine Hennigan and Katherine Sofoluke.

But while many dachshund owners took part, hundreds more missed out and that’s why it’s worth making a note of all future sausage walks in London… Read the full story

Pass us a spoon, Cadbury has released a giant Creme Egg-inspired dessert

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This Huge Creme Egg Sharing Dessert Is The Stuff Of Dreams
(Picture: Pictures: Cadbury/Getty)

A giant Creme Egg trifle is here and it’s everything you’d imagine and more.

Yep, it seems Cadbury really has thought of everything. Apparently, white chocolate Creme Eggs just weren’t enough – so they just had to go and one up themselves. And we’re so glad they did.

The Cadbury’s Layers of Joy trifle is made up of layers of Cadbury milk chocolate dessert, chocolate mousse, chocolate chip cookie and fondant dessert with a creamy topping.

It’s said to be a ‘sharing’ dessert – but we’d beg to differ. Pass us a spoon and we’ll eat the… Read the full story

Reese’s Creme Eggs land in the UK and they only cost 50p each

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(Picture: The Hershey Company)

Reese’s Pieces lovers, rejoice: There is now a Reese’s version of a Creme Egg, and despite it only being January, we’re so ready for Easter.

Brand new to the UK, Reese’s eggs are filled with Reese’s peanut butter and come covered in a chocolate egg shell.

Obviously, these probably won’t be quite as popular as the original Creme Egg – given that not everybody is a fan of peanut butter. But we think these eggs are a great idea – especially for anyone who doesn’t fancy an Easter egg that’s overly sweet.

The eggs are being sold exclusively in Tesco. They first went on shelves on 3 January, and… Read the full story

Hooray! ASOS is now selling biodegradable glitter

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ASOS is now selling biodegradable glitter
Oooooooh, pretty! (Picture: ASOS)

Glitter looks great, but it’s essentially a microplastic – which may look pretty but it’s wreaking havoc on our oceans.

All plastic breaks down into microplastics when it enters the sea, eventually becoming the perfect size to be consumed by fish.

So, when you wash glitter off your face/body, it enters the water system a ready made – and toxic – ‘treat’ for marine mammals.

There’s even been a call for a global ban on glitter, as it’s poisoning our oceans and killing marine life.

Don’t know about you but I don’t want that on my conscience.

Companies have been… Read the full story

Dad spends a year measuring his son with Philly cheesesteaks

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(Picture: Brad Williams via AP)

A dad spent a year measuring his baby son with Philly cheese steaks – after noticing they shared a likeness in size.

Computer programmer Brad Williams told Philly.com that after bringing home a cheesesteak for dinner one night back in 2015, he noticed it was very similar in size to his then 2-week-old son, Lucas.

The 37-year-old dad went on to create a system he called ‘Cheesesteak for Scale’, after lining his son up against his sandwich to find they were indeed the same size.

Just because I’m HIV-positive, doesn’t mean I can’t date

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Look, there hasn’t been a major public campaign about living with HIV since that first public campaign in the 80s.

Or as it’s commonly remembered, the ‘AIDS equals death’ campaign that was written on tombstones.

But the reality is that HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re dealing with a person and not just a diagnosis.

HIV is one of the only diagnoses you can tell someone else where it suddenly becomes about them.

Lush pre-launches its Valentine’s collection and it all looks incredible

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(Picture: Lush)

Attention, Lush-lovers Your favourite bath bomb retailer has just pre-launched its official Valentine’s collection, and everything looks totally dreamy.

The range includes a number of romance-themed products, including lip scrubs, shower creams, and beauty gift sets – as well as a variety of the beloved bath bombs.

As usual, all the products are totally cruelty-free and they both look and smell amazing – with many products offering floral and citrus scents galore.

While each item is perfect for any couple fancying a relaxing night in on Valentine’s night, these products are also fit for a perfect pamper night in for one. Accompany it with a bottle of wine and a tub… Read the full story

What I learned from going to A&E for my mental illness on New Year’s Day

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I spent New Year’s Day in A&E, waiting to be seen by mental health professionals after realising I could no longer cope.

I had been struggling with debilitating health anxiety for ten days – though the feelings of despair had been going on for weeks.

Having been told by my own psychiatrist that there would be no appointments until the end of January, I didn’t know what else to do. I needed help, fast. I couldn’t wait.

I’d spent the ten days prior to New Year’s Day having panic attacks, episodes of distress and meltdowns. I’d cried more times than I can remember and I don’t remember an hour where I felt at ease.

I was panicking about becoming seriously sick over the Christmas period. The stress was giving me chronic headaches and an increased heart rate. I was coming over in hot and cold flushes and I had a constant feeling of dread sitting in my stomach.

I couldn’t escape the… Read the full story

Do you need travel insurance? What should you look for when choosing the right cover?

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What to look for when buying travel insurance
Insurance isn’t a necessity – but is it worth getting anyway? (Picture: Getty)

Congratulations – you have survived your first week of 2018, hopefully relatively unscathed.

But with 51 more weeks to go this year, and some pretty dreary weather outside, you’re probably planning your next holiday.

Digital nomads: what are they and how do I become one?

The first Saturday of the year is often dubbed Sunshine Saturday because so many people book their breaks for the coming year, but it’s also a good time to think about something else important – travel insurance.

So while… Read the full story

National Shortbread Day 2018: how to make vegan lemon shortbread biscuits

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vegan lemon shortbread biscuits
(Picture: Mandy Mazliah)

Today, Saturday January 6 2018, is National Shortbread Day. Shortbread, that traditional buttery Scottish biscuit, is not only delicious but it’s really easy to make vegan.

15 easy vegan recipes that anyone can make

These lemony vegan shortbread biscuits are really easy to make and are crumbly and moreish. Traditionally shortbread was made with flour, butter and sugar. I’ve replaced the butter with a vegan alternative – making them dairy free. I’ve also replaced some of the flour with ground almonds, which improves the flavour and ups the nutritional content.

10 people reveal what triggers their panic attacks

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10 people reveal what triggers their panic attacks
It can be the smallest things (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

I’ve heard people throw around the phrase ‘panic attack’ quite freely when, really, they may have no clue how terrifying it can feel to be in the middle of one.

If you’re having a panic attack, it can feel like you’re losing control, or about to faint or have a heart attack. It can even feel like you’re going to die.

What to do when someone is having a panic attack

This is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, chest… Read the full story

Why do I sweat so much when I sleep and what causes night sweats?

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What are the reasons behind night sweats? (Picture: Getty)

Ever wondered why you wake up in the middle of the night with your t-shirt or pyjamas feeling like they have been put through the wash again?

This is caused by night sweats and this can be the source of discomfort and affect your sleeping pattern routine, which could be detrimental to your daily life.

What I learned from going to A&E for my mental illness on New Year's Day

Night sweats can be harmless, but they can also be a symptom something more serious.

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