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An elderly couple who have never spent a night apart celebrate 70 years of marriage

Albert Twinley, 95, and 91-year-old Phyllis Twinley. See Masons copy MNNIGHT: A devoted couple who have never spent a night apart are celebrating an astonishing 70 years of wedded bliss. Albert Twinley, 95, and 91-year-old Phyllis met in north London in 1946 when they were serving with the Royal Signals as company quartermaster sergeants. After falling in love, the couple married two years later and left the army, moving to Kent and then to Sussex, where they ran a butchers business together.
(Picture: SWNS)

A pair of soulmates who have never spent a night apart are celebrating 70 years of marriage.

95-year-old Albert Twinley and his 91-year-old beau Phyllis first met in north London in 1946 when they were serving with the Royal signals as company quartermaster sergeants.

After falling in love, the couple married two years later and left the army, moving to Kent and then to Sussex, where they ran a butchers together.

Radio communications expert Albert, who served in the Far East during the war, and former telephonist Phyllis finally retired to Essex 30 years ago to be nearer their family.

Phyllis says there’s no secret to what’s kept them going all this time.

Albert and Phyllis Twinley dressed for a party in 2009, Devon. See Masons copy MNNIGHT: A devoted couple who have never spent a night apart are celebrating an astonishing 70 years of wedded bliss. Albert Twinley, 95, and 91-year-old Phyllis met in north London in 1946 when they were serving with the Royal Signals as company quartermaster sergeants. After falling in love, the couple married two years later and left the army, moving to Kent and then to Sussex, where they ran a butchers business together.
(Picture: SWNS)

She said: ‘There’s no secret. We’re just happily married.

‘We’ve been married all this time and I won’t say we’ve never had a row but we’ve been enjoying our lives.’

Albert says mutual modesty and truthfulness are important to maintaining a happy relationship.

‘Bear with one another when things go a little bit wrong,’ he said.

The couple, who also ran a stationery shop together in Axminster, Devon, have two children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Daughter Caroline Gard, from Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, said: ‘They still live at home and my father was still driving until two years ago – they used to go out every day.

‘They love reading and have library books every week and do puzzles every day.

Albert and Phyllis Twinley at their wedding in 1948. See Masons copy MNNIGHT: A devoted couple who have never spent a night apart are celebrating an astonishing 70 years of wedded bliss. Albert Twinley, 95, and 91-year-old Phyllis met in north London in 1946 when they were serving with the Royal Signals as company quartermaster sergeants. After falling in love, the couple married two years later and left the army, moving to Kent and then to Sussex, where they ran a butchers business together.
(Picture: SWNS)

‘They both love sport. My father used to play football and cricket, and they still love watching it so they are in their element at the moment because of the World Cup, cricket and tennis.

‘They were disappointed by England being knocked out of the World Cup on Wednesday but they were proud of the team.’

The couple celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary on Tuesday with their closest family and friends.

Caroline added: ‘They put the success of their long marriage down to mutual tolerance, working together to make joint decisions and not letting disagreements last long.

Albert and Phyllis Twinley cutting the cake on their 70th wedding anniversary. See Masons copy MNNIGHT: A devoted couple who have never spent a night apart are celebrating an astonishing 70 years of wedded bliss. Albert Twinley, 95, and 91-year-old Phyllis met in north London in 1946 when they were serving with the Royal Signals as company quartermaster sergeants. After falling in love, the couple married two years later and left the army, moving to Kent and then to Sussex, where they ran a butchers business together.
(Picture: SWNS)

‘For them I think it’s just spending time together.

‘They’ve always enjoyed each other’s company.

‘They also say it’s important to have a sense of humour and laugh together.’

Honestly, forget any celeb couple you see on Instagram – Albert and Phyllis are the real couple goals here.

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Stephen Hawking’s old flat has gone on the market for £665,000

The Oast House in Cambridge which was formerly owned by the late Stephen Hawking and is up for sale. See Masons copy MNFLAT: A flat formerly owned by the late world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking has gone on the market - for ??665,000. The property in Cambridge is where the theoretical cosmologist lived with his second wife Elaine Mason between 1990 and 2000. He moved out eight years before his death on March 14 of this year after a long battle with motor neurone disease.
(Picture: Cheffins / SWNS.com)

A flat formerly owned by Stephen Hawking has gone on the market for £665,000.

The property in Cambridge is where the cosmologist lived with his second wife Elaine Mason between 1990 and 2000.

He moved out eight years before his death on 14 March of this year after a long battle with motor neuron disease

Stephen was first diagnosed with the condition in 1963 when he was 21 and he defied medical experts who said he would be dead within two years.

He was the first to move into the newly-marketed property in Pinehurst South, Cambridge, when it was built in 1990.

This is the home where Stephen moved with his nurse, after leaving his wife and mother of his three children, Jane.

The Oast House in Cambridge which was formerly owned by the late Stephen Hawking and is up for sale. See Masons copy MNFLAT: A flat formerly owned by the late world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking has gone on the market - for ??665,000. The property in Cambridge is where the theoretical cosmologist lived with his second wife Elaine Mason between 1990 and 2000. He moved out eight years before his death on March 14 of this year after a long battle with motor neurone disease.
(Picture: Cheffins / SWNS.com)

The couple got married in 1995 while living at the three-bedroom property, which is a 20 minute walk from the backs of Gonville and Caius College, where he was a fellow.

As the property was specially designed for Stephen’s disability, it would make the perfect home for anyone living with a condition which means they need easier access within their home.

The ground-floor flat was adapted for Stephen, with the entry screen for the video entrance system set at an angle so that he could view it from his wheelchair.

The Oast House in Cambridge which was formerly owned by the late Stephen Hawking and is up for sale. See Masons copy MNFLAT: A flat formerly owned by the late world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking has gone on the market - for ??665,000. The property in Cambridge is where the theoretical cosmologist lived with his second wife Elaine Mason between 1990 and 2000. He moved out eight years before his death on March 14 of this year after a long battle with motor neurone disease.
(Picture: Cheffins / SWNS.com)

The bottom of the front door has a brass plate which was added to prevent knocks and scrapes from his wheelchair and Hawking’s requested oak flooring in the dining room is still in place.

While living at the property, Stephen published a collected edition of his own articles on black holes and the Big Bang from the study, which he converted from an en-suite.

It also features a large reception area, new kitchen and two new bathrooms and comes with a courtyard style terrace with gated access, a garage and off-street parking.

The Oast House in Cambridge which was formerly owned by the late Stephen Hawking and is up for sale. See Masons copy MNFLAT: A flat formerly owned by the late world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking has gone on the market - for ??665,000. The property in Cambridge is where the theoretical cosmologist lived with his second wife Elaine Mason between 1990 and 2000. He moved out eight years before his death on March 14 of this year after a long battle with motor neurone disease.
(Picture: Cheffins / SWNS.com)

The property is currently owned by Gerald Mould, who bought it five years ago – but he and his wife are looking to move back to the country.

He said: ‘I have really enjoyed living at Pinehurst.

‘It is one of the best spots to live in Cambridge, being close to the city centre whilst still very quiet and private.

‘Myself and my partner are still country folk at heart and intend to move back to village life.’

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Morrisons’£8 rib-eye steak has been voted one of the best in the world

​One Of The Best Steaks In The World Is From Morrisons Picture: Morrisons/Getty
(Picture: Morrisons/Getty)

It turns out one of the best steaks in the world costs under a tenner – and it comes from Morrisons.

The Morrisons Rib-eye steak, which costs £7.56 for a 280g slab, beat a number of other steaks in the World Steak Challenge (which is an actual thing. Really).

It even beat some Wagyu steaks, which are generally considered to be the best in the world and can cost more than £100, depending on where you buy them from.

The World Steak Challenge was designed to ‘benchmark the quality of beef production against other international competitors and establish a quality mark that everyone can trust.’

This year’s challenge was the fourth annual World Steak Challenge, with entries coming from 22 different countries, and steaks from 35 different breads including cross breeds and pure breeds – with Morrisons’ cut coming from the Shorthorn breed of cattle.

The people judging the steaks are chefs, butchers and other industry experts from across the globe who know a thing or two about meat. It’s a blind taste test so they can’t cheat.

One Of The Best Steaks In The World Is From Morrisons picture: Morrisons METROGRAB https://groceries.morrisons.com/webshop/getSearchProducts.do?clearTabs=yes&isFreshSearch=true&chosenSuggestionPosition=3&entry=cheese
(Picture: Morrisons/Getty)

The meats are tested both raw and cooked, for appearance, aroma, colour and marbling – which is what gives meat the best flavour – and consistency of fat.

Shorthorn beef, used by Morrisons, is known for intense marbling.

It was voted the second best produced in the UK, just beaten by Aberdeen Angus sirloin, with the overall winner being a sirloin from Finland.

Jodie Bolland, beef buyer at Morrisons, said: ‘We’ve always believed in backing British beef and so we are delighted to see Beef Shorthorn up there with the best in the world.’

Overall, at the competition, there were 45 Gold, 37 Silver and 54 Bronze accolades awarded to entrants.

Morrisons picked up two silver and two bronze medals for their steaks.

So, there you have it. You no longer have to head out for a fancy, expensive dinner to enjoy a great steak.

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Feminist in name only: How ‘feminist’ clothing companies are failing their workers

(Picture: Metro.co.uk)

If you want to buy from a ‘feminist’ brand, it’s important to do your research about how the company actually treats its workers.

On Wednesday, staff at the Philadelphia-based company Feminist Apparel confronted their CEO Alan Javier Martofel when 2013 Facebook post surfaced that raised some serious questions about Martofel’s history with women.

The post read: ‘I’ve grinded up on women on buses and at concerts without their consent. I’ve made out with ‘the drunk chick’ at a party because it was easier. I’ve put a woman’s hand on my d— while she was sleeping.’

Martofel then went on to explain that he’d started Feminist Apparel as a ‘humble’ attempt to fix rape culture by someone who is ‘guilty of it’.

Employees felt misled because this was not the story they’d been previously told about how Feminist Apparel had come into being.

When the company’s nine staffers met with Martofel to discuss the matter, he stepped down as CEO but remained part of the company.

Ten days later, he fired every one of his nine employees, leaving himself and a consultant as the only members of staff.

Former Feminist Apparel sales and marketing manager Loretta Gary revealed in a Facebook post that she came on board with the company after believing in Martofel’s supposed vision of a more feminist fashion industry.

She said: ‘Alan sold me a story of inclusion, collaboration and an eventual revolution within the garment industry that I so deeply wanted to believe in.

‘I’m disgusted, saddened and overwhelmed by the ways in which toxic masculinity, misogyny, white supremacy and capitalist power-dynamics were all too present in a supposed “safe” “feminist” work environment.’

This isn’t the first time that loudly ‘feminist’ companies have been revealed not to be very feminist at all, by exploiting staff and engaging in poor labour practices.

Under former CEO Sophia Amoruso, several lawsuits were filed against the US clothing brand Nasty Gal, with one employee alleging that her contract was terminated because she had become pregnant. Anonymous sources inside the company described the workplace environment, far from being a mutually supportive one, was ‘toxic’.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock (8613220r) Sophia Amoruso 'Girlboss' TV show premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles - 17 Apr 2017 WEARING GUCCI SAME OUTFIT AS CATWALK MODEL *5909049bt AND Alina Cho
Sophia Amoruso at the ‘Girlboss’ TV show premiere (Picture: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock)

This was all particularly galling as Amoruso had released a book in 2014 entitled ‘Girlboss’ (which then became the subject of a Netflix show), billing itself as a guide for ‘other girls like her [Amoruso]: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success’.

The period-proof underwear brand Thinx recently came under scrutiny after former employee Chelsea Leibow reported that they had been a victim of repeated sexual harrassment by the company’s founder and former CEO Miki Agrawal. The employee alleged that Agrawal fondled the breasts of her employees, FaceTimed them while in the toilet and naked in bed, changed in front of employees and spoke in intimate detail about her sex life.

According to another employee who preferred to remain anonymous, Agrawal also fat shamed potential customers, saying that people at the US sizes 3X and larger should ‘go to the gym and lose weight’ instead of purchasing new underwear.

Agrawal denies any wrongdoing, describing Thinx as an ‘open and free-ranging workplace’ and saying that her conversations had been taken out of context.

Thinx have been praised for their inclusive approach and using a transgender and agender model in a 2017 campaign. Tyler Ford, the model in question, described their experience as essentially a transphobic one, where they were asked invasive questions and asked to read a script that was ‘literally 2 trans folks harassing each other on stage’.

Thinx period pants (Picture: Thinx)

An in-depth report from Racked also revealed that Thinx handled firing its employees badly and the company lacked an appropriate parental leave policy, despite billing itself as a progressive, feminist brand.

Changes have now been made at Thinx. The company’s new CEO, Maria Molland Selby, says that the brand has a new employees handbook with sexual harassment and non-discrimination policies, new health insurance subsidies, an extension on the parental leave policy and annual training sessions conducted by third parties. Selby describes 2018 as a ‘fresh start for a lot of people’.

As feminism has increasingly entered the mainstream, high street brands from Primark to H&M have jumped on the bandwagon with slogan tees and other garments professing feminism and girl power.

However, many of these brands have poor track records in terms of the treatment of the workers who make their clothes.

Primark has long come under scrutiny for its rock bottom prices and potential links to child labour. In 2013, an eight storey factory that catered for a number of global brands in Bangladesh collapsed, resulting in over 1,100 deaths. Since then, the budget retailer has sought to reposition itself as an ethical place to shop, publishing a ‘global sourcing map’ that shows exactly where its garments are produced.

However, Primark outsources all of its manufacturing and therefore can easily evade responsibility for the wages that garment workers are paid and the conditions they work in.

As for H&M, the second largest clothing retailer in the world can only boast that between one and 25% of their supply chain facilities pay workers a living wage.

In 2014, a Mail on Sunday investigation revealed that the Whistles ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirt was made in sweatshop conditions by women in Mauitius, who were paid just 62p an hour. The T-shirts sold at a retail price of £45.

The Whistles t-shirt. (Picture: Whistles)

The garment industry is overwhelmingly populated by women. Around 80% of garment workers worldwide are female, and bosses engage in discriminatory hiring practices in order to keep it this way. Women are desirable due to sexist stereotypes that paint them as more flexible and less likely to rock the boat. Women are routinely harassed and subjected to abuse, and the domestic responsibilities that are also heaped upon them mean that they are simply left with no time to organise, unionise or demand better treatment.

A Bangladeshi factory worker told the Clean Clothes Campaign: ‘Women can be made to dance like puppets, but men cannot be abused in the same way. The owners do not care if we ask for something, but demands raised by the men must be given some consideration. So they do not employ male workers.’

Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. Brands that exploit garment workers, models and employees should not be able to bandy the term around with impunity. It has meaning. It’s a political movement and not a cynical way to flog clothes to Western women.

Until ‘feminist’ companies start actually putting their money with their mouth is regarding workers’ rights, they don’t deserve to use the label.

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Tzatziki and pain au chocolat are among the food names Brits struggle to pronounce

Plate of croissants

We’ve all experienced the pure dread of going out for a meal, choosing something that sounds delicious, and then realising you have no idea how to pronounce it.

Do you confidently sound it out?

Mumble a bit then point to the menu?

Choose something else to avoid embarrassment?

The reassuring thing is that you’re not alone. A poll of 2,000 adults has found that a load of us struggle to correctly pronounce common foods, including fajitas, camembert, pain au chocolat, and quinoa.

The study found that almost six in ten adults have had a go at pronouncing a food word, only to end up being corrected, while a third of the population has struggled to complete a food order because they can’t figure out how to pronounce it.

One in five of those surveyed said they’d been served something entirely different to what they wanted thanks to their poor pronunciation.

But do not fear, friends. We can overcome this struggle. Below we’ve listed all 40 of the words that feature on the list of food terms Brits struggle to say, along with a sounding-it-out guide.

How to pronounce the 40 most mispronounced food names:

  • Viennoiserie – Vyen-wah-seh-ree
  • Caipirinha – keye-preen-yah
  • Tzatziki – Sat-see-key
  • Quesadilla – kay-sah-dee-yah
  • Bouillabaisse – Bee-ya-bess
  • Quinoa – keen-wah
  • Charcuterie – Shar-coot-eh-ree
  • Edamame bean – ed-ah-mah-may bean
  • Chipotle – Chi-poht-lay
  • Bourguignon – bor-gin-yon
  • Niçoise – Nee-swaz
  • Foie gras – Fwa grah
  • Acai berry – a-sigh
  • Prosciutto – pro-shoot-oh
  • Rillette – ree-yet
  • Daiquiri – die-kih-ree
  • Chorizo – chor-eeth-oh
  • Gnocchi – nyocki
  • Tapenade – tap-en-ahd
  • Endive – en-die-ve
  • Pain au chocolat – pan-oh-shoh-co-lah
  • Maraschino cherry – mah-rah-sheen-oh cherry
  • Poutine – poo-teen
  • Baklava – back-lah-vah
  • Crudite – croo-dit-ay
  • Coq au Vin – cock-oh-van
  • Brioche – bree-osh
  • Bruschetta – broo-shetta
  • Camembert – cam-em-bear
  • Jalapeño – ha-la-pen-yo
  • Fajita – fah-hee-tah
  • Guacamole – gwack-ah-moh-lay
  • Halloumi – Hah-loo-me
  • Pinot Noir – pee-no nwah
  • Houmous – hum-mus
  • Macaron – mac-ah-roh (not the same thing as a macaron)
  • Paella – peye-eya
  • Turmeric – tum-er-ick
  • Soufflé – soo-flay
  • Crème Brûlée – crem broo-lay

A spokesman for French bakery brand Brioche Pasquier, which commissioned the research, said: ‘Not being 100% sure how to pronounce a word can put people in a tricky situation.

‘It’s especially difficult if you’re in a restaurant or somewhere that you can’t get away with saying it wrong.

‘Our results found people are twice as likely to have a go at pronouncing an unfamiliar food word as admit they don’t know how to pronounce it.

‘This can lead to further embarrassment as people get more exciting and unusual words wrong, so it’s probably best to just try to laugh it off.’

To help with pronunciation, French language expert at Brioche Pasquier adds: ‘To learn how to pronounce French food words, I have three tips.

‘Learn the rules of French pronunciation first, like an “s” between two vowels becomes a “z” sound (poison: Z * poisson: S).

‘Practice how to place your mouth, tongue, lips correctly to form French sounds, and lastly, learn everything with audio first as a lot of French words are actually easier to pronounce than read.

‘French and English share a lot of words, but their pronunciation differs, so English speakers should be prepared to make an extra effort to pronounce these words the right way in French.

‘For example, many English speakers have a hard time with “chocolat” which they pronounce “tchocolayt” when in French it’s “sho-co-la”.’

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A sausage dog cafe is coming to London


Let’s just be real and accept that sausage dogs are one of the best.

They have teeny tiny legs. They look like little sausages. They are magical.

So naturally, news that the Dachshund Cafe is now coming to London is worthy of intense celebration.

On Sunday 19 August, the pop-up Dachshund Cafe will open at The Happenstance in Paternoster Square in London.

To be clear, this is not a cafe packed with sausage dogs or serving up sausage themed food, but a cafe for dachshunds, dachshund owners, and dachshund lovers.

(Picture: Anushka at PugCafe.co.uk)

Each dachshund attending will receive a free pupuccino and a bag of pupcorn, then can take their pick from a menu of pupcakes, dognuts, jammy doggers, paw-ty rings, bark-scotti, pawsecco, and more.

Human guests won’t be left out, as they can enjoy cocktails and light bites while handing out treats to all the pups they meet.

You don’t have to have a dog to attend – feel free to head on down just to stroke some pooch pals – but bookings are required.

(Picture: Anushka at PugCafe.co.uk)

Dachshund owners can book for £10, dachshund lovers for £15, and kids under five plus all dachshunds get in for free. A ticket lets you in for a 70 minute time slot, starting from 10am, 11.10am, 12.20pm, 1.30pm, 2.40pm, 3.50pm, or 5pm.

Booking will open on Saturday 28 July at 10am, when two secret email addresses will be released on the Dachshund Cafe’s website and Facebook. You’ll need to send over your name, contact number, the total number of dachshunds and humans attending, and the 1st and 2nd preferred time slots.

Considering how popular previous events were, we’d recommend booking fast.

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Net-a-Porter teams up with Gucci for their first ever childrenswear collection

Picture: Net-A-Porter Net-A-Porter is teaming up with Gucci for a new childrenswear range
The Imagination Booth ad campaign (Picture: Net-A-Porter)

Luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter is launching a brand new collaboration with Gucci, but sadly the clothes probably won’t fit you… unless you’re under 12.

The Gucci collaboration collection is Net-a-Porter’s first ever foray into childrenswear, and has sparked rumours that the six week pop-up means that a permanent children’s range could be in the pipeline.

The collection features mini versions of Gucci’s heritage designs, including monogrammed hats and bags, slogan jumpers, embellished dresses and plenty of stripes. Each garment is a nod to the Italian fashion house’s runway collections and the on-brand colour palette is a mixture of playful brights and more layered retro olive and cream tones.

The childrenswear pop-up caters for babies, toddles and kids up to 12, and includes baby rompers alongside party dresses, footwear, blazers and backpacks.

Picture: Net-A-Porter Net-A-Porter is teaming up with Gucci for a new childrenswear range
Cosy mules for stylish little feet (Picture: Net-A-Porter)

It’s the ultimate mini-me collection for stylish parents with even more stylish kiddies (and we assume, a whole lot of disposable income).

Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter president Alison Loehnis said: ‘The kidswear pop-up on Net-a-Porter is such an exciting moment for us.

‘It’s our first foray into the category, and we’ve found the perfect partner in Gucci. With Mr Porter’s kidswear project also underway, this really marks the beginning of something special.’

Picture: Net-A-Porter Net-A-Porter is teaming up with Gucci for a new childrenswear range
The collection features statement jumpers, luxe sportswear and party dresses. (Picture: Net-A-Porter)

Mr Porter, the menswear arm of the luxe retailer, launched its first kidswear range in June, comprising of 90 products for kids between two and 12. The brands involved include Hartford, Vilebrequin, Mollusk, Orlebar Brown, Polo Ralph Lauren and Frescobol Carioca, who are already available for adults on the site.

Net-a-Porter’s Gucci collection is supported by an add campaign called ‘The Imagination Booth’ where a group of astonishingly fashion-forward tots explore what appears to be an antique photobooth.

Picture: Net-A-Porter Net-A-Porter is teaming up with Gucci for a new childrenswear range
A vampire bat Gucci messenger bag? (Picture: Net-A-Porter)

The pop-up is only open for six weeks, so style conscious parents will be rushing to kit out their offspring in tiny graphic tees, embroidered jumpers and fur-lined mules while stocks last.

The Gucci kidswear range will be available on Net-a-Porter.com from 16th July.

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Upgrade your manicure with the jelly nails trend

jelly nails trend
(Picture: Instagram/polishedbysophia)

It’s been a while since we’ve had a decent nail trend.

As in, a nail look the average person can actually wear, rather than a twerking Kim Kardashian or tiny combs.

The trend of which we speak is jelly nails.

Sadly, these are not nails that wobble like jelly or taste like strawberry Hartley’s. But they do look pretty pleasing.

To create jelly nails, a technician needs to paint the actual nail area opaque, then add false extensions that are translucent, to make them look as though they’re made of jelly.

Jelly nails are better seen than read about, so it’s worth looking at the pictures instead of imagining what they might look like. Just some advice.

Instagram Photo

You can do any colour you fancy, but many people are opting for highlighter shades for a full-on impact.

Shapes are up for the picking, too. Coffin nails work, as do sharp talons, but you’ll need to make sure your nails are long enough to differentiate between the opaque section and the jelly bits.

The look is also known as glass nails, so you can reference that trend if you get a blank look on asking for a set of jellies.

Take a look at the pics below for all the inspo you need.

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There’s now a dating app that matches you based on your kinks

Picture: Fantasy App Dating app matches you based on fetishes
(Picture: Fantasy App)

The dating app Fantasy matches potential partners not by their proximity to one another, political leanings, hobbies or inclination to start a family. It pairs people off based on what they like to do in bed.

This explicitly sex positive approach means taking detailed information about your kinks and fantasies, and linking you to like-minded users who enjoy similar things in the bedroom, whether they’re to do with domination, submission, bondage, fetishes or group sex.

Fantasy describes itself as a ‘safe space to date and communicate, where you can explicitly speak about your fantasies and passions without fear of judgment’, which might appeal to people who feel that they want a dating app more explicitly kinky than Tinder or Bumble, but less daunting for newbies than the Fetlife communities.

The app prides itself on being open-minded and experimental, and a place where users can explore their turn ons with others who share similar predilections.

When signing up, you’ll be expected to offer up details about acts and scenarios that get you hot under the collar that are viewable by potential matches, but you can also list ‘secret’ kinks that are kept hidden until you match with someone. The ‘Stories’ function allows users to share more info about their preferences.

Fantasy creators stress the importance of mutual consent, vital for the health and safety of anyone engaging in play.

Picture: Fantasy App Dating app matches you based on fetishes
There are so many potential fantasies to choose from! (Picture: Fantasy App)

The app caters for people looking for both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships.

According to The Next Web, 40% of Fantasy users are in a relationship, meaning that polyamourous couples, swingers and couples who are curious about introducing a new play partner into the bedroom are flocking to the app.

App creator Andriy Yaroshenko says: ‘Fantasy users are united by four key attributes: positive attitudes towards sex and sexual fantasies, interest in developing their sexuality, creativity with regards to experimenting, and a healthy interest in obtaining new knowledge.’

Fantasy has security features but you can never 100% guarantee that personal data is safe online. (Picture: Fantasy App)

Similarly to Tinder, the app requires a connection to your Facebook profile but assures users that info shared on their Fantasy account won’t be visible to Facebook friends. Definitely useful if you’re not keen for your auntie and your pals from primary school to know that you’re into choking or watersports.

When quizzed about the security of the app, Yaroshenko said: ‘We use various safeguards to protect the personal information submitted to us.

‘However, no method of transmission over the Internet or via mobile device, or method of electronic storage, is 100% secure. While we strive to protect personal information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security. No one, not even Facebook or Tinder can guarantee this.’

The app requires an entry code or fingerprint ID to open, but Yaroshenko is right in asserting that you can never be completely sure that your data is inviolable.

It’s the risk we all take online, particularly with very personal information.

Yaroshenko’s straight talk regarding online privacy is refreshing, as is his dating app’s focus on sexual freedom, personal exploration and consent.

Fantasy is available to download now.

MORE: Public sex and voyeurism: Why do people go dogging?

MORE: Woman’s father-in-law walks in while she’s masturbating

So, how’s watching Love Island every night affecting your sex life?

metro illustrations
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Love Island has taken over.

It dominates our desk conversations (do not try to debate me about the treatment of Samira, it was shameful). It fills our timelines. Our Instagram discover page is only Love Island memes.

We wake up thinking of Love Island then kill time until 9pm when we can finally find out whether the producers have done the right thing and shown the video of Georgia smooching Jack.*

*They still haven’t, at time of writing.

We turn down social plans or wind down events early so we can all get back and turn on the telly.

When a show has this much control over your life, it makes sense that it’d have an impact on your sex life, too.

But what effect is a nightly show about people trying to f*** having on our own sex habits?

Is it making us dream of quiet sex in a room full of other couples? Are we using the strip-tease challenges as a foreplay shortcut? Do we fantasise about new Jack scooping us into his arms?

Or is staring at perfect bodies and honeymoon stages making our sex lives feel inferior? Are we losing our standard time-slot for sex to the power of addictive TV? Are we more invested in Samira and Frankie’s secret night in the Hideaway than our own orgasms?

A survey of more than 2,000 people by PLSRx found that British couples are choosing to watch nightly TV shows such as Love Island over having sex.

They found that 52% of couples had sex twice a week or less, while over two thirds managed to watch or stream a TV show between two and seven times a week. A third of couples said they committed to watching one show every single night of the week.

The lure of TV is stronger on couples who have been in longer relationships, as while those who’ve been coupled up for six months or less spend most nights having sex and couples dating for seven to twelve months spend their time together exercising, it’s the couples who have been together for over a year who’d rather settle in to watch a show.

When sex is already falling to the bottom of your to-do list thanks to a Netflix marathon or a great boxset, it’s pretty much screwed when you get hooked in to a show like Love Island that’s on every. single. night.

In my case, Love Island has made it essential to shuffle around my usual sex routine.

Why does your sex drive increase in the summer?
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Working early hours means my (and my partner’s) usual bedtime is around 9.30pm, with sex happening as we get cosy before we drift off. With Love Island on, that bedtime has had to be pushed – and as our waking hours haven’t been pushed with it, there’s no time for sex pre-snoozing. After Love Island we want to head straight to bed to get as much sleep as possible before the 4.45am wakeup.

That means that rather than sex occurring as usual as a cosy, sleepy routine, it has to be at the forefront of my mind to make sure it happens.

It’s easy for sex to get ditched in favour of Love Island and sleep, but it takes a conscious effort to change things up and have sex before dinner. In that way, it’s been a good thing – it’s forced me to get out of a routine.

But it’s not the same deal for other couples.

Scott McGlynn tells Metro.co.uk that sometimes Love Island takes priority over sex – especially thanks to the World Cup pushing the start times later and later.

‘Sometimes we have to miss some sex due to the time scheduling,’ he admits.

Amy, 27, has a similar experience: ‘Sex with my boyfriend usually happens before bed, but now we’re up for an hour watching Love Island, then we’re spending another hour laughing at Twitter reactions, then we’re too tired to do anything else.’

Of course, if you’re not bothered about losing some sleep, you can simply shift your schedule.

Roi tells us: ‘Hasn’t affected anything. We just do it after.’ Fair enough.

It’s not just the act of watching a show every night at 9pm that has an effect, though.

Blogger Charlie tells Metro.co.uk that looking at the islanders’ bodies every night has made her feel significantly less sexy in her skin.

‘There’s not one contestant who is plus size or have a physical impairment,’ she explains. ‘I’d say that shows like Love Island don’t make me confident in my body let alone undressing it in front of someone.

people tell us the things people said during sex that instantly killed the mood
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

‘I’d love to say the show makes me feel “confident or sexy” but that would be a lie.

‘We should be empowering women not making them feel like they don’t deserve to look this way. I don’t know – I might be the only one with this feeling (I hope not) but we need to see more of a range of these girls on shows like this and celebrate each other’s differences.’

That makes sense: When you’re repeatedly seeing one body type being described as highly attractive over and over again, it’s easy to start questioning if your own body measures up.

Take Megan Barton-Hanson, for example, who regularly tops the list of who the male islanders think is hot. She’s increased people’s desire for lip fillers and made women consider cosmetic surgery to look like her – and, therefore, fit the definition of attractive that’s been portrayed to us.

Then you have Samira, who was all too often overlooked in favour of Megan and Georgia. What impact does it have on women who look like her to see a black woman rejected, not included in the top three attraction rankings, and ignored?

That dent in self-esteem can’t be good for our sex lives. I know that after spending too much time looking at the flat tummies and lean legs of the islanders paraded as the dating ideal, I don’t feel confident enough in my body to strip off and get on top.

The reality is this: When a TV show takes up at least an hour of your day, every day, it’s going to have an impact on your life, whether that’s in terms of scheduling, what you talk about with friends, or how you feel about yourself and others. It makes sense that it’d have an effect on your sex life – but what effect that’ll be isn’t set in stone.

If you’ve noticed that Love Island is taking the place of sex, it’s worth chatting with your partner about making time to get sexual before or after than 9-10pm window. It might not sound particularly romantic to schedule sex, but if it’s falling off your radar thanks to a TV show, it’s worth making a conscious effort to fit it back in to your day.

Try to remember that while it is a reality show, it’s not an honest depiction of dating and relationships.

These are people who’ve been chosen based on their appearances and strong, dramatic personalities. They’re on holiday together, spending every second of every day with people they’ve only known for a few weeks.

As tempting as it may be, you really can’t compare your relationship to the those of the islanders – they’re entirely different beasts, and theirs also happen to have been edited down to the most exciting bits. Remind yourself of that when you’re feeling rubbish because your partner isn’t staring at you with the total adoration Josh pours upon Kaz.

And when it comes to bodies, accept that looking at one body type every night will have an effect on even the most secure human being. Get on Instagram and follow some people who aren’t toned and strolling around in a bikini, remind yourself that your partner thinks you’re super hot just as you are, and that the people chosen for Love Island are a special minority of people who would willingly wear a bikini on TV.

Use Love Island as a power of good for your sex life. Make the schedule change give your usual sex routine a shake-up. Try some of those sexier challenges (not the one where the islanders were spitting cocktail ingredients into each other’s mouths) at home in the bedroom. Rather than worrying that your body doesn’t look like Megan’s, try to embody the sexual confidence of her ballsy choices or of Laura’s devil lapdance.

Love Island is going to take over our lives for a while. That’s inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Remember to connect to reality rather than just reality TV, and remind yourself that an orgasm feels even better than laughing at Georgia saying ‘loyal’ for the 423rd time. Promise.

MORE: Why do you get hornier in the summer?

MORE: How the World Cup affects your sex life

MORE: Love Island’s Alex Miller reckons Samira and Frankie having sex was sidelined for ‘drama’

Can we strive for gender equality and still expect guys to pay for the first date?

(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) metro illustrations dating, couple, boyfriend, girlfriend, How to talk to a woman you don't know
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

I was chatting to a mate about a blind date she’d been on, and after listing all of the reasons as to why he was unsuitable – incessantly picked his nose, wore flip-flops, didn’t ask her any questions about herself – we came down to the actual deal-breaker.

‘He didn’t pay for the date,’ she said with a knowing look.

Previously, in the era before this age of enlightenment we are having around gender, I would have nodded along. I would have said: “’es, you’re absolutely right that him not paying for the date is the reason you shouldn’t see him again versus the fact that he was obsessed with the contents of his nose.’

However, now I know better. We are at an interesting time, in that the conversations around gender are becoming more intelligent, less one-dimensional and more impactful.

Men are exploring deeper aspects of the brotherhood beyond banter and beer. Conversations around equal pay for women are actually gaining traction thanks to Section 78 which made companies with more than 200 employees publish their gender pay gap.

But what’s really interesting is all these sub-level conversations about gender, which most of us don’t necessarily question.

Why is it a deal-breaker if a guy doesn’t pay for the first date?

A recent study found that 60% of women prefer to now pay for the first date, or contribute to it.  But I still know a lot of women that find it off-putting if they have to split the bill.

There’s a lot of dismantling of the patriarchy that still needs to happen, but loosening those gender roles is the responsibility of all of us.

Expecting a man to pay is from a time when women didn’t necessarily earn their own money, and had to rely on a man for her income. It seems weird that a woman who can pay for her own rent, food and holidays might consider it to be off-putting if a guy doesn’t foot the bill.

I asked author Laura Jane Williams who has plenty of experience under her belt as a former dating columnist. She doesn’t think it’s as simple as the fact that women earn money and can now pay their own way.

Shaveducking dating trend
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

‘I don’t think this is a straightforward “who can afford it?” question, so much as a question of courting – which is what they used to call dating,’ Laura tells Metro.co.uk. ‘For me, there’s something old fashioned and romantic about a man who is willing to pay for the first date: I don’t expect it, but I really do appreciate it.

‘To me, it speaks to a generosity and self-confidence, and to be honest makes me feel special because he surely can’t afford to pay for a date every night of the week. I suppose it makes me feel like an investment.’

A lady contacted me on Twitter to say that paying for a first date made her feel like the guy cared more, but personally, I feel that’s dodgy territory.

It’s very easy to read too much into a gesture – I know plenty of people who have paid for dates but have behaved like human trashbags on subsequent dates.

There’s also dealing with the outfall of being too gung ho about paying. Laura Jane told me that she had three second dates where she insisted on paying. ‘On all three occasions never saw the man again. It’s as if my own generosity and investment is a turn-off, somehow.’

I once did this on a first date, and the guy called me ‘forthright’ but said it in the same tone as one would use for an infectious disease.

Turns out men don’t know what the hell to do either. I spoke to Martin Robinson, founder of The Book of Man, whose whole purpose is to have a new conversation around masculinity. Martin’s has uncovered a lot of hidden angst among modern men: namely they don’t know what to do when it comes to dating etiquette, and how to behave in certain situations.

He said: ‘From independent research we commissioned of 1,000 men, 33% said the issues of whether they should pay on a first date caused them worry.

‘We then interviewed a group of women for a story on who should pay, and they were evenly split, some aghast that a man would pay, others feeling that they most certainly should. Which didn’t exactly help to resolve the anxiety for our readers…’

When I’m sitting opposite a guy and the bill arrives, I have zero idea what’s going on in their heads.

He says: ‘Men stress a lot about it. You don’t want to be patronising by immediately taking over the bill, nor do you want to seem like a cheapskate, or even rude if you ask to split it.’

However you look at it, paying on the first date is probably as awkward as you make it. I still vehemently disagree that men paying should be an expectation – something Martin agrees with – but perhaps it doesn’t quite have to be the feminist last stand I sometimes make it.

Charlie Spokes, owner of My Friend Charlie, who host dating events, says: ‘If they insist on paying you should let them, if you keep offering it may become uncomfortable and if you would like a second date then what’s the harm? You can grab dinner next time.’

Martin has a similar ethos. ‘Fundamentally, things come down to the moment,’ he says. ‘If it’s a damn good date and you’re having fun, who cares who pays anyway? You’ll have many more chances to even it up. If it’s not so good, split it, and go your separate ways.’

It’s encouraging that most people want to do what feels natural and do away with etiquette altogether, which really, if you think about it, is what fuels weird, narrow gender roles and expectations in the first place.

MORE: So, how’s watching Love Island every night affecting your sex life?

MORE: An elderly couple who have never spent a night apart celebrate 70 years of marriage

MORE: Five signs you’re dating a ‘woke f***boy’

UK airports need to do a lot better when it comes to assistance for travellers with disabilities

Woman pushes a wheelchair at the airport
Airport services for disabled travellers are often subpar (Picture: Getty)

Recently, I was flying to London Gatwick from Scotland on the first flight of the day.

The usual procedure on arrival for wheelchair users like me is to wait for all the other passengers to leave the plane before assistance staff arrive to help us off. So, I waited as all the seats emptied.

The cleaning team came on board and the airline staff chatted away as they swapped shifts for the next flight. I checked the time; 20 minutes had passed.

Awkwardly, the airline staff winced as they shrugged their shoulders, baffled about what was happening.

‘Did you actually book assistance?’ they asked accusingly before wandering off to look for someone to give them an answer as to why I was still sat alone on the empty aircraft, holding up their next flight.

A further half an hour passed, and still I couldn’t move.

After waiting for an hour, someone from the assistance staff finally arrived, dragging a specially designed wheelchair narrow enough to fit down the aisle, and asked me to get on it.

As I transferred myself into the aisle chair, I asked him what had happened to cause the delay. ‘Not my fault’ he snapped as he shoved me down to the exit.

I was eventually reunited with my wheelchair, which had been kept in the hold for the flight, and set free from the airport with absolutely no apologies and no idea who to turn to for help. The man simply wandered off. There was no one to hold to account for my mistreatment.

(Picture: Getty)

Unfortunately, this situation is all too familiar for wheelchair users, and is by no means the worst that has happened.

Broken chairs, inaccessible toilets, rude staff and inconsistent service means that flying can be a daunting experience made more frustrating by apathetic staff.

It came as no great surprise to most of us that the Civil Aviation Authority found four of our biggest airports to be falling short in providing access for disabled travelers this week.

Bottom of the list is Manchester airport, which has been rated as ‘poor’ for the second year running.

Embarrassingly, Heathrow Airport, one for the largest airports in the world, has been labeled as simply ‘good’.

That may be an improvement from last year’s ‘poor’ but still sees it trailing behind smaller airports such as Newquay, Aberdeen and Sumburgh, which have all upped their game to meet the ‘very good’ mark.

There wasn’t a higher category than that by the way – excellence apparently hasn’t been achieved yet.

Disappointingly, London Gatwick failed to provide enough information about the standard of service at the airport for them to be assessed by the CAA.

Before this all gets too depressing and stops anyone disabled from venturing into an airport in the UK ever again, I want to draw attention to a couple of points.

Firstly, the fact that some improvements have been made. The report found that most airports have improved their treatment of disabled people.

Of course, this may be down to the fact that one in five people in the UK have a disability and over three million of us requested assistance last year. Demand has perhaps given them no choice but to improve.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, this report has effectively and successfully named and shamed those airports that are failing, so that hopefully, the next time a disabled traveller’s needs aren’t met, they will listen and learn.

The sky should be the limit on the standards our airports aim to achieve.

MORE: A new travelling art exhibition to highlight the experiences of disabled passengers

MORE: Anger grows over train companies scrapping help for disabled people

MORE: 7 surprising challenges of travelling with a disability

Why are restaurants in the UK still serving shark fin soup?

Shark Fin Soup, Soup,
(Picture: IMAGEMORE Co, Ltd.)

On Shark Awareness Day, it’s time to talk about the fact that restaurants in Britain are still insisting on selling shark fin soup, despite evidence that shark finning is wiping out shark populations and putting our oceans at risk.

Shark fin soup is a ‘delicacy’ traditionally found in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, dating back to the Song Dynasty. Bowls can cost up to £180 and it is still seen as a symbol of wealth and status to serve the soup at a wedding or business banquet.

The shark fin itself mostly adds texture. It has very little flavour and the broth is often supplemented with chicken stock.

Some claim that shark fin soup has health benefits, although there’s no evidence to support this. Shark meat actually contains high levels of mercury that can accumulate in human bodies and eventually cause mercury poisoning.

According to estimates from marine life conservation organisation Bite-Back, 73,000,000 sharks are slaughtered for their fins every year. That’s roughly 200,000 sharks a day or two every second.

Fishermen will hack the fins off living sharks and simply throw the rest of their bodies overboard, allowing them to bleed to death. Shark finning is a wasteful, barbaric practice, but it also has a devastating impact on our oceans.

The oceans need sharks to keep them healthy. (Picture: Ken Kiefer 2)

Sharks are the apex predators of the sea. They sit at the very top of the marine food chain and their presence regulates all species below them, right down to the smallest, most microscopic bit of plankton. Ecosystems rely on balance, and by decimating shark populations, we are putting the health and biodiversity of every single once of the world’s oceans in jeapoardy.

Sharks take a long time to reach maturity (between seven and 20 years), meaning that shark numbers do not quickly replenish.

The high prices a bowl of shark fin soup can fetch mean that fishermen are financially incentivised to hunt sharks. If shark populations cannot recover from this onslaught, there’s a very real chance of them being wiped out, and the delicate balance of the oceans with them.

Over the past 50 years, Great White, Hammerhead and Tiger sharks have seen their populations drop by as much as 90%.

Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) swimming in Pacific ocean water of Guadalupe Island, Mexico
Sharks have far outlived the dinosaurs. (Picture: Rodrigo Friscione)

Sharks are some of the oldest lifeforms on earth, appearing 420 million years ago. Instead of being treated with the respect they deserve, they are vilified in the public consciousness, mutilated for their fins and over-fished to the point that they are in serious danger.

The shark conservation charity Bite-Back has spearheaded efforts in the UK to reduce shark fin sales, leading to an 82% fall in the number of restaurants serving shark fin soup and shark fin dumplings.

Graham Buckingham from Bite-Back told Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s truly shocking to think that the popularity of shark fin soup – a gristly, cartilaginous broth – could wipe out keystone shark species that have been ruling the oceans for millions of years.

‘Apathy for shark conservation could come at a devastating price. Healthy oceans produce 50% of the oxygen we breathe, absorb 20% of all man-made CO2 and provide 93 billion tonnes of wild seafood every year. But critically, healthy oceans rely on healthy shark populations.

‘Without sharks the oceans could collapse and that’s why, for the sake of life on earth, we need to protect sharks.

Shredded shark fin in broth. (Picture: imagenavi)

‘Bite-Back is enormously proud of our efforts in reducing the number of restaurants Right now there are no more than a dozen restaurants still serving the controversial dish. So our goal of making Britain the first major country in the world to ban shark fin soup is within touching distance.’

Bite-Back has successfully campaigned for ASDA to stop selling 100, 000 portions of mako and thresher shark every day, Iceland and Wagamama to stop selling blue shark, Sainsbury’s and Tesco to remove pre-packaged marlin from their stores and health food store Holland & Barratt to remove shark cartilage capsules from 580 stores.

Restaurants serving shark fin soup/shark fin dumplings in London

  • Mandarin Kitchen – 14-16 Queensway, London W2 3RX
  • Yi-Ban -London Regatta Centre, 1010 Dockside Rd, London E16 2QT
  • Oversea Chinese Restaurant – 7 Gerrard Street, London W1D 5PH
  • Wan Chai Corner – Gerrard Street, London W1D 5PD
  • Jun Peking -12 Sutton Parade, London NW4 1RR

Restaurants serving shark fin soup/shark fin dumplings in the rest of the UK

  • China City – 56 Faulkner St, Manchester M1 4FH
  • Golden Dragon – 246 Lockhurst Lane, Coventry, CV6 5NJ
  • Golden Dragon – London Rd, Shardlow, Derby DE72 2HN
  • Shanghai Moon – 76-78 High Street, Leicester LE1 5YP

We reached out to all these restaurants for comment but they either declined or had not responded by the time of publication.

The Yew Tree in Walken, Hertfordshire still has shark fin soup on their online menu, but told Metro.co.uk that they no longer serve it.

If we were talking about a soup that contained leopard paws or lion tails, would restaurants in Britain still get away with serving it?

If you want to help sharks and end the harmful practice of shark finning, you can get involve with a Bite-Back campaign here.

MORE: Without sharks the world’s oceans would be ruined

Check how ethical your fave fashion brands really are with this app

(Picture: istockphoto)

The Good on You app allows consumers to make informed choices about which brands to support based on their ethical practices.

The fashion industry has a very poor track record when it comes to the rights of garment workers and the impact that clothing manufacturing has on the environment.

Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, with only fossil fuel production having a more detrimental impact on the planet. It creates more greenhouse gasses than the shipping and aviation industries combined. Plastics from synthetic fibers and toxic chemicals from dyeing garments pollute our oceans, and mass-produced fast fashion spills out of landfills around the world.

Garment workers in Bangladesh, India, China, Sri Lanka and Mynamar often work impossibly long hours and are paid ‘starvation wages’ that are impossible to live on. The vast majority of people who manufacture clothes are female, and they are routinely subjected to physical, sexual and verbal abuse.

We know that the fashion industry has a lot to answer for, but trawling through pleasant-sounding codes of ethics on retailers’ websites can be incredibly confusing.

What they’re saying sounds good, but what does it actually mean?

Picture: @goodonyou_app Now you can see how ethical fashion retailers really are with the 'Good On You' app
How ethical are your shopping habits? (Picture: @goodonyou_app)

The Good On You app offers a practical solution. You simply type in the name of a brand and the app provides you with accessible information about the company’s true practices when it comes to environmental protections, labour rights and animal welfare.

If you’re strapped for time, simply scroll to the bottom of the page for a rating and summary.

2,000 brands have already been rated, and an estimated 150,000 consumers use the tool every month.

The app considers the impact each brand has on workers across the supply chain, including child labour and forced labour practices, the payment of a living wage, health and safety and the right of workers to join a union if they wish to.

Picture: @goodonyou_app Now you can see how ethical fashion retailers really are with the 'Good On You' app
The living and working conditions of textile workers are often shocking. (Picture: @goodonyou_app)

With respect to the environment, a retailer’s carbon emissions, use and disposal of chemicals and impact on water are all taken into consideration. Good On You can also be trusted to identify whether a brand uses animal skin or hair in their products.

As well as understanding the ethical practices of the fashion retailers you currently buy from, you can also find Good On You-approved brands with high ethical ratings that you might not have heard of before. If you want to give your shopping habits a complete overhaul, this app will suggest plenty of new, more sustainable alternatives.

Good On You was born in Sydney in 2013, as the brainchild of Gordon Renouf and Sandra Capponi, two professionals with expertise in consumer advocacy and corporate social responsibility. They were speaking to people who wanted to ‘buy better’ but didn’t know how, because the information available to them was often confusing and contradictory.

Renouf and Capponi started by pulling together all the publicly available information they could find to create a consumer tool that people could easily use.

The app is wonderfully simple to use. (Picture: @goodonyou_app)

Good On You co-founder and Head of Development Sandra Capponi told Metro.co.uk: ‘Many of us are now aware of the huge impact the fashion industry has on people and our planet and want to do something about it. However, it can be too hard to make sense of all the issues and to know what’s actually going on behind the scenes of the major labels.

‘We created Good On You to make it really easy for people to know how well a brand is doing and to shop for fashion that fits their values. Shoppers use Good On You to check ethical ratings for over 2000 fashion brands and discover new brands that do good, as well as look good.

‘We believe there’s a huge opportunity to tap into the power of shoppers – that’s each and everyone one of us – and to change the industry to be more sustainable and fair.’

Brands will always try to make themselves sound as pure as possible to consumers, but we deserve to know what our money is supporting when we buy a new top or pair of jeans.

Good On You provides much-needed transparency to an industry where murky supply chains and lack of brand accountability can make it very difficult to be completely sure what’s going on behind the label.

You can download Good On You from the App Store or on Google Play.

MORE: Feminist in name only: How ‘feminist’ clothing companies are failing their workers

MORE: Addressing wastefulness in our shopping habits could help save the planet

Why is there such stigma attached to friendship apps when we all feel lonely at times?

metro illustrations
‘I became obsessed with the idea that I didn’t have enough friends’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

I have almost 1,000 friends on Facebook, about 30 close friends and five who would let me ugly-cry on their shoulders.

But in the months that followed my graduation last year, I became obsessed with the idea that I didn’t have enough friends.

After university, I lost touch with some friends who moved away or were engrossed in new jobs or partners.

Most of my pals from home were still at university and, although I made some great new friends on my masters course, I felt I didn’t have enough to be #livingmybestlife.

I felt pangs of jealousy when I watched Friends, and constantly analysed past friendships and wondered how I could have saved them.

Trapped in my lonely bubble, I even Googled, ‘How do you make new friends?’ The answer, I discovered, lay in an app.

Huggle is an app where you can find people who visit your favourite haunts. So you could find someone who visits your local gym or coffee shop, then arrange to meet for a friend-date.

Friendship apps are more complex than dating apps.

When making a profile for instance, I didn’t need to fish out the photo from 2016 that gives the illusion I have cleavage.

Instead, I searched for photos where I looked happy, fun and like I’d be a good friend.

Unlike Tinder, where a six-pack is worth a thousand words, friendship apps require more analysis when swiping.

As a result, I felt harsher when I swiped left on potential friends – I wasn’t judging women based on their looks, but on my idea of their personalities.

When I did find a woman I liked, I felt awkward starting a conversation.

So I swiped right and hoped the woman would message me first. Some did, but I never got round to replying because, after a week on the app, I stopped using it.

One evening I went for dinner with one of my best friends and opened up about my lonely predicament. She listened and tried to remind me of all my friendships, both old and new.

‘The women who I saw on Huggle weren’t weird at all.Most were new to London or looking to expand their social circles’ (Illustration: Erin Aniker for Metro.co.uk)

Then I mentioned that I had downloaded a friendship app.

She paused, then warned: ‘People looking for friends on an app probably don’t have friends for a reason.’ She seemed to think they were all psychopaths or cat ladies.

This stigma around friendship apps baffles me. Why is it acceptable for me to use Tinder to hook up with a complete stranger (who, my GP warns, could give me chlamydia) and yet it’s weird to use an app to make friends?

The women who I saw on the app weren’t weird at all. From their photos, they seemed sociable, with a prosecco glass in hand. Most were new to London or looking to expand their social circles.

They were women I related to, even if I was too scared to message them or meet up.

Even so, my friend put me off the app. I deleted it in fear that someone would see it on my phone and think I too was a psychopath or crazy cat lady.

Since deleting the app, my perspective on friendships has changed.

I accept that certain friendships are over and that this is neither my fault nor within my control. I put effort into existing friendships, rather than acting like Adam on Love Island and constantly searching for something new. I see pals from university, go out with friends from my masters and have reconnected with friends from home.

Now I feel happy with my friendships, so I wouldn’t re-install the app.

Even so, I would recommend friendship apps to anyone who wants to meet more people, especially others who, through a change in their circumstances, also feel isolated.

Don’t be put off by any stigma attached to friendship apps. There are plenty of people who you can make a connection with.

You may feel lonely, but you’re not alone.

MORE: I have bipolar disorder, so why am I scared of dating someone with a mental illness?

MORE: Why being ‘attention seeking’ isn’t wrong or shameful

MORE: There’s nothing wrong with being ugly. Why do we give that word so much power?

Companies need to stop piggy-backing off Pride if they’re not going to be year-round allies

(Picture: Mauro Ujetto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Pride is over for another year. Almost as quickly as they appeared, the rainbows festooned over major stores and businesses across central London have been packed away.

But, what are these companies doing to support LGBTI equality year-round, and to support Pride, other than just ‘rainbowing up’ on the days before the event?

I’ve spent most of the summer challenging brands that say they are celebrating Pride, while doing not very much at all to actually support the organisations. And the deeper I looked, the more concerned I became.

In May this year, Primark announced its Pride range, which was created in conjunction with Stonewall, a well-known charity in the LGBTI community. On Primark’s website, shoppers were told that ‘20% of all full-priced Stonewall marked products will be donated directly to the charity itself, with the proceeds being used to support the community, globally’.

Despite Primark’s best intentions, there are serious issues here that needed to be addressed.

For instance, why did Primark choose this charity, when Stonewall, in a statement published earlier this year, claimed it would not attend Pride in London 2018, due to a ‘lack of diversity’, and would instead be supporting UK Black Pride?

And, to add insult to injury, Primark also produces some of its clothes in countries such as Myanmar, where it’s illegal to be LGBTI.

These issues were brought up in a report by the UK Pride Organisers Network and European Pride Organisers Association, which contained comments from Pride organisers based in the cities where Primark released its new range.

One such organiser said ‘We are upset with Stonewall’s recent deal with Primark. Those funds should be going to Prides themselves’, while another claimed ‘They add nothing to our work in the communities delivering Pride events. In many other ways they have a role and an important voice but specifically at grass roots they seem to have little understanding or involvement in the issues or solutions.’

There are many more similar statements made in the report, and in my opinion, this clearly showcases the needs for funding and authentic support on a local level.

As Pride season intensified, more rainbows appeared. If you walked through the city’s high streets during Pride week, you likely saw more stores with rainbows than without. And while some of these retailers and businesses were and still are supporting LGBTI charities, it’s unclear which of these brands provided any helpful funding to the very event they were appropriating.

I was also taken aback by the piggy-backing of Pride in the Costa Coffee’s campaign. The brand launched its Pride cup design several weeks ago, a rainbow version of its single-use cup. Costa Coffee said the rainbow cup would replace the original red cup in stores near some major Pride events, such as London, Edinburgh, Manchester and more, for seven days leading up to the London in Pride parade.

Yes, it’s nice that they are choosing to display the rainbow, but why only for a week? And why is there no mention of any funding going towards pride in the brand’s official statement about the cups?

It’s all well and good to support a community by flying the flag, but I expect more from such a big high street chain. And, I’m not the only one.

When Costa announced its rainbow cups on social media, tweets flooded in asking the brand why they wouldn’t commit to supporting Pride all year long. It even attracted questions from government officials; the mayor of Honiton asked the brand what they had ‘done to support the LGTB community?’ but was met with a dismaying response.

‘Think you might be confusing us with some other coffee shop brands on some of this, Councillor Adam’, said a Costa Coffee social media representative.

Why does this matter? Because Pride costs money to organise. Stages, barriers, toilets, licences, security and all the other things needed to put on a safe, enjoyable event, don’t come for free.

There are fewer than 20 people employed by Pride organisations in the UK.

Up and down the country, thousands of volunteers give up their time, energy, money and most of their free time to put on these events, most of which are free to attend. And the budget is at the mercy of those who choose to provide funding, which is why I’ve been questioning businesses about their funding, when they stick a rainbow on their windows.

There are now almost 150 Pride events in the UK. That’s undoubtedly a good thing, as it means more people than ever before will see Pride in their local town or city, and more people can access the information and fun, and enjoy the sense of community it brings.

Of course, it also means that there are even more opportunities for businesses to show their support, but that support needs to be authentic, and spread out to local Prides, not just those in big cities.

Costa Coffee, for example, selected certain coffee shops in which to offer the rainbow cup – it hasn’t been available nationwide. It would have been just as easy for them to get in touch with the Prides in those cities and offer help and funding.

All businesses that claim to support Pride need to get real, put their hands in their pockets and help local organisers.

So next year, when Pride arrives in your town or city, and the rainbows start appearing on shop fronts, go in and ask them: how are you supporting Pride financially?

Demand answers, and remind them that actions speak louder than rainbows.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, a Primark spokesperson said:

‘We take LGBT rights very seriously which is why we created a range of Pride products with Stonewall, one of Europe’s leading LGBT rights charities.

‘We will donate 20% of the sales of these products to support Stonewall’s important work across the UK and internationally, which includes campaigning to eliminate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in communities, lobbying governments to change laws to ensure everyone, everywhere, is free to be themselves; and working with a network of more than 700 organisations globally to help create change.

‘As a large retailer we have an extensive charity programme, both at a national and local level, donating to a variety of charities throughout the year, across all the markets in which we operate.

‘We constantly review our charity partnerships and are always open to suggestions.’

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, a Stonewall spokesperson said: 

‘Funding from this partnership will help our work here and internationally, where LGBT people face discrimination and abuse. For example in Turkey we are working directly with LGBT rights campaigners to upskill them in practical ways to push forward LGBT equality.

‘We’re keen to work more closely with Prides across Britain and we’ve recently had constructive meetings with organisers to hear how we can do this better. We want to work with Prides to ensure we achieve acceptance without exception for all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.’

Speaking to Metro.co.uk, a Costa Coffee spokesperson said: 

‘At Costa Coffee we’re passionate about creating an environment where everyone can reach their potential, with no barriers to entry and no limits to ambition. GLOW (Gay and Lesbian Out at Whitbread) is an internal network with over 1,000 members from store teams to MDs, which champions equality and inclusion in the workplace, ensuring all employees feel strong and supported in the company, no matter their background or personal preferences.

‘We have created a limited run of Costa Rainbow Cups which will be placed in stores along Pride march routes in cities where our GLOW teams will be participating. We wanted to do this as a way to showcase our support for our LGBT colleagues and customers to celebrate diversity. To date we’ve received some incredibly positive feedback from our customers and beyond, so we’re reviewing how we can potentially extend the run to the rest of the UK, while also looking at a more sustainable solution of a reusable cup.

‘Costa customers who come into a participating store will have the choice of which Costa takeaway cup they want, with no additional charge for the Rainbow cup. In fact the Rainbow cup comes at a cost to the business. There’s no commercial return for us but we hope it helps to drive and facilitate positive conversations. We’re incredibly proud of the work of our GLOW team and Whitbread’s commitment to being the most inclusive employer in hospitality.’

I lost everything because of my drinking — but even then it was hard to stop

Sobriety is a hard thing to achieve and sometimes it might take you more than once
Gail’s children were playing with their grandfather on the beach while she was in the public toilets, trying to fight her addiction (Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler for Metro.co.uk)

Content warning: This article discusses suicide and suicidal thoughts

Looking into the eyes of your children and telling them that you love them. That’s the truth; the unconditional bond between a mother and child.

Looking into the eyes of your children and telling them that you are sorry. Their look of helplessness held with a hint of fear, as they tell you it will be alright — and hoping their mummy will get better.

To me, this is what it was like to be an alcoholic.

My father’s eyes of sadness and despair when he found his daughter slumped in the corner of a room, vodka bottles clutched in both of her hands. My mother’s look of disbelief and disappointment that I had done it again.

For years I had tried, unsuccessfully, to stop drinking. I thought I was high class because I didn’t drink cider from a can, I drank neat vodka from a tumbler filled with ice.

It was a far cry from the truth. The constant retching in the morning as I took my first drink just to be able to function, persevering until I managed to hold down a mouthful of alcohol to stop the withdrawal process of shakes and sweats.

I took part in a day programme for alcoholics, and for six months I stayed clean.

I thought I had it, I’d proved to the social workers that I could do this and I really believed it. My life got better and they closed my case again.

For a while I managed well, but then the lie crept back in.

‘Maybe you will be OK if you just drink a glass of wine,’ I told myself. Eventually, I was back to drinking litres of the stuff, just to get to the same place of oblivion.

My children, our house, the money and a new partner who loved me wasn’t enough to fight the power of addiction.

While my children played with my dad on a beach in Brighton, I was sitting on a broken toilet seat in the public toilets.

There was the familiar crack from opening the lid of the vodka bottle. I downed it in one go and walked into the sea, fully dressed, hoping to drown so I didn’t repeat the same pattern again. The battle was constant in my head, and I just wanted it to stop.

I was deemed unsafe, and they took my children and my home away from me, and I lost my partner.

This is not a sympathy vote, this is the stark reality of addiction.

Addiction can make you feel isolated (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

That wasn’t enough, it got worse. A lot worse.

I wanted to die and however hard I tried to stop drinking, I wasn’t successful. I thought I was beyond help and I felt so alone.

Every time I managed to stop, I would start the whole process again. I couldn’t maintain my sobriety and I also didn’t understand it, I was confused by the fact that I struggled so hard to fit in, to be normal.

Self-loathing, shame and guilt hit me like a sledgehammer every time I opened my eyes.

The vision of my children being driven away after a visit with me, sober, at a contact centre, staring at me from the back window of the car, all of us believing that I may be able to do this — but failing miserably.

Trying to run away from life again, I awoke one evening from a blackout on alcohol, face down on a beach. I was tired of apologising, of letting people down and saying sorry at the beginning of every sentence. I didn’t want to die like this.

I re-engaged with the services for substance misuse. I pushed for funding for residential treatment. I’d thought rehab was only for the rich and famous, and had never been aware that it was for people like me.

I waited. I no longer wanted to die, and I had hope.

Eventually, I was rewarded, as I walked through the doors of StreetScene, an addiction treatment centre in Bournemouth, with my mind made up that I never wanted to drink again.

My history proved I just didn’t know how to do it. I made a true commitment to myself to get sober, regardless of what life threw at me.

The programme at the centre taught me about myself, my addiction and the powerlessness I had around it. Suddenly, it started to make sense.

I was 18 months clean when the adoption for my children was finalised in court.

The centre kept me safe when I met the people who had adopted my children, when everyone thought that would tip me over the edge again.

I didn’t drink, and I’d gained some form of acceptance. I feel a deep gratitude for the people who gave my children a life I wasn’t able to provide.

Now, I’m nearly 11 years abstinent.

I work a recovery programme that I have learnt from others before me.

My eldest sons are back in my life and they are proud of who I have become. Imagine that — I am no longer the woman asleep on the sofa or slurring at the school gates.

I’m grateful for my life and the providence within it.

I’m aware of the cunningness of my addiction and that it sleeps on my shoulder.

And I’m very aware that I am clean, just for today.

Need support? Contact the Samaritans

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

For alcohol and other addictions, services like AA and Streetscene can offer help.

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Nigella Lawson says that healthy eating might be disordered eating in disguise

(Picture: Getty)

Nigella Lawson, queen of buttery sauces and spatula-licking puds, has warned that healthy eating ‘fads’ might be disguising eating disorders.

She told a group of catering students at a college in Toronto that people had become ‘a bit extreme’ with their eating habits.

‘A lot of so-called healthy eating is a cover-up for an eating disorder and I think people persecute themselves to what they do eat and what they don’t eat,’ she said.

The TV chef when on to dismiss the ‘mumbo jumbo’ spoken about diets today and described how many of her friends deny themselves certain treats, only to binge on them later.

Cutting out entire food groups, she said, ‘doesn’t seem to make sense’.

‘You should eat a bit of everything,’ Nigella concluded.

It’s not the first time that Nigella has spoken out about ‘clean eating’ either.

She said a similar thing back in 2015, when she told audiences at a JW3 Speaker Series event that people subscribed certain ultra-healthy’ diets were ‘a way to hide an eating disorder or a great sense of unhappiness with their own body’.

And Nigella has a point, obviously.

(Picture: SAV/GC Images)

Cutting out entire food groups is miserable and counterproductive; how many people do you know treat carbs like poison…only to binge on them in a moment of perceived weakness?

But we should be careful of dismissing genuinely healthy eating habits as disordered dietary patterns. There’s a difference between eating a whole foods diet – one packed with real, wholegrain, unrefined foods – and one which demonises certain foods or ways of eating.

The interesting thing is that our terminology seems to have changed a bit around this subject.

A few years ago, Nigella lambasted the term ‘clean eating’, claiming that implied that ‘any other form of eating is dirty or shameful’. Today, she criticises ‘healthy eating’.

So does that mean that all these influencers and brands who promoted ‘clean’ living have cottoned onto the bad PR and simply re-branded – hijacking a perfectly innocent and worthy term? Or does Nigella genuinely take offence at the prospect of people trying to eat in a way that benefits their health?

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Gender equality improves sleep quality

sex illustration
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, it might be worth assessing how equal your relationship really is.

Because new research claims to have found that couples living in countries with greater gender equality tend to sleep better.

A group of sociologists from the University of Melbourne have been analysing data from the UN gender empowerment index and sleep quality findings from the European Social Survey.

All in all, they’ve collected information from around 14,000 people living in 23 European countries, and found that the greater the gender equality, the better nights’ sleep both genders received.

In Norway – the country with the greatest gender quality – 9% of women and 3% of men said they suffered from poor sleep.

However, in the Ukraine – the country with the lowest quality – those figures rose to 22% and 16% respectively.

While the study offered no concrete reasons as to why gender parity seems to have such an impact on sleep, its co-author Leah Ruppannear suggests that a breakdown in traditional roles is a big factor.

When men take more of an equal parenting role, women are less likely to have their sleep interrupted by children; when women go out to work, men might be less stressed out about being the sole or main breadwinner.

Writing for The Conversation, Leah writes: ‘Women in gender-equal societies have more equal divisions of housework, and men take a more active role in childcare. Living in a broader context of equality translates into more restful sleep for women.

‘For men, living in a more gender-equal context offers a host of benefits including men reporting better health and happiness. And, as our study showed, men slept better, too.

‘Gender, an important organiser of our daytime lives, also plays a crucial role in who gets up comfort the baby and whose sleep is disrupted worrying about family finances. Societies that are more effective in equalising economic and political gender relations have citizens who sleep better.

‘Since sleep is an integral dimension to health and wellbeing, the economic, health and social benefit to being well-rested cannot be understated.

‘So, let’s work together to get to bed.’

MORE: I lost everything because of my drinking – but even then it was hard to stop

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Meet Olive, the 105-year-old who can still touch her toes

(Picture: BPM Media)

If there was ever an advert for staying active, Olive France is it.

She recently turned 105 – making her one of the oldest people in North East Lincolnshire (and the UK in general) – and on her big day, she shared her secret to a long life.

‘Just keep standing on your feet,’ she said, before touching her toes…twice.

‘I don’t know if there is a secret to long life. Just keep standing on your feet and do everything in moderation.’

Olive celebrated her monumental birthday with a fish and chips dinner, and said that she hadn’t slept the night before because she was so excited about her birthday party.

The party – attended by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, took place in the village where Olive had been a regular church organist until a few months ago; she’s been living at Cloverdale residential home in Laceby for the past 18 months.

Laceby resident, Olive France, shows off her party trick by touching her toes during celebrations for her 105th birthday
(Picture: BPM Media)

‘My main interest is church organ music because I played at the church from being 15-years-old,’ she said.

‘I don’t get to church as often now but I enjoy walking around the home and into the gardens. I like to see everything.

‘I do a lot of knitting and help make mittens and hats for people from overseas. I never like to sit and do nothing.’

Olive France, celebrates her 105th birthday with family and friends at the Cloverdale Care Home, in Laceby
(Picture: BPM Media)

To mark both her 90th and 100th birthdays, Olive was given the privilege of playing the organ at Lincoln Cathedral.

And she’s received telegraphs from the Queen, congratulating her on her milestones.

Of the Queen, Olive said: ‘She does very well. She doesn’t have everything done for her. She is still very active.

‘My advice to her and everyone else is just to stay as you are.’

A beaming smile from Laceby resident, Olive France, who celebrated her 105th birthday with family and friends at the Cloverdale Care Home, in Laceby
(Picture: BPM Media)

Care home manager, Val Evans, called Olive ‘an amazing lady’.

‘She is absolutely lovely and sprightly and even goes out every Wednesday evening with her friends.’

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