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Social club illMuslims criticised for lack of black Muslims and ‘non-Islamic’ ways


illMuslims is a social enterprise hoping to unite Muslim Americans and celebrate creativity in the community.

They recently shared a video, This is what Muslim America looks like, on their Facebook page which got some backlash.

Many pointed out that for an events organiser attempting to celebrate the community, the group didn’t show any black Muslims in the promotional video, despite black people making up a large portion of American Muslims (data suggests that a fifth of American Muslims are black).

Aspects of the mixer were also thought to be contradictory to a Muslim way of life.

(Picture: illMuslims)
(Picture: illMuslims)

Creators Rummi Khan and Sadaf Javaid founded the social platform in 2014, saying ‘illMuslims is the unapologetic expression of self’.

They wanted to bring Muslims together and so hold events once a month around the country. They serve non-alcoholic drinks, have live music, and art available to buy.

However, some Muslims who saw the vid, published by Now This, felt it was giving off an unhonest representation of Muslims.

According to data from the Pew Research Centre, black Muslims make up the second biggest group of Muslims in the U.S (with the top being white).

As the promo vid wanted to show ‘Muslim America’ many felt it should’ve reflected the diversity of the real world.

The social aspect of the events bothered users on Twitter as there was more emphasis on socialising (and thus romantic courting). They felt this defeated its initial aim of being a community hub showing the rest of America all the creative endeavours and successes that ordinary Muslims are enjoying.

People felt that an event with a live DJ, dancing, and free mixing may not be as Muslim as they’d like. One person joked they couldn’t go to the event after inquiring about maghrib (a compulsory dusk prayer), which got him uninvited.

People replied that a Muslim platform should include Muslim amenities such as for prayer. However, many defended illMuslims and confirmed that there were prayer facilities.

The large part of criticism was based on race, with many saying it facilitated a socialising space for Arab and Asian people without being inclusive to others.

One commenter wrote: ‘The kind of assimilation and approval these Muslims are seeking from white people entails a covert acceptance of white supremacy. That’s why there’s no space for blackness in their version of “hipster cool Islam” because it’s inherently anti-black.’

Another wrote: ‘illMuslims is what happens when you don’t outgrow the high school phase of wanting to be accepted by your hipster white classmates.’

‘You’ve characterised Muslims as Arab and South Asians, I’m sure unintentionally, but you’ve erased entire populations so how will you reconcile and be inclusive?’ asked one user.

Some people did appreciate the concept though: ‘Love, love love this idea. I can’t call enough people here. I request everyone to find out about these gatherings and get enlightened,’ wrote one person.

This was echoed by another Muslim user who wrote: ‘You’ve all got a lot to say about illMuslims as people who have never even attended their events. You just love tearing apart any good Muslims try to do.’

We’ve reached out to illMuslims for comment, and will update this article if we hear back.

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Dogs will do whatever they can to cheer you up when you’re upset

(Picture: Getty)

Ever noticed that your dog seems to appear just when you need them most?

You’re not imagining things – dogs really do care when their humans seem upset, and they’ll do whatever they can to make sure you’re okay.

That’s backed up by a recent study published in the journal Learning & Behavior, which found that dogs will overcome obstacles to help out their owners.

Researchers gathered 34 pet dogs of various breeds and sizes and their owners, then, one at a time, put owners behind a clear door held shut with magnets.

The dogs were able to see and hear their owners behind the doors as they were instructed to either hum Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or start crying.

Dogs whose owners were crying opened the door three times faster on average than dogs whose owners were humming. That indicates that dogs take their humans being upset pretty seriously – and will act fast to reach them and help.

(Picture: Getty)

During the task researchers measured dogs’ stress levels, and found that the dogs who pushed through the door to save their owners showed less stress than those who didn’t open the door. It turned out that the dogs that simply didn’t open the door were too stressed out by their owner’s crying to do anything.

So it’s not that the dogs who didn’t rush in to help didn’t care – they cared too much.

‘We found dogs not only sense what their owners are feeling, if a dog knows a way to help them, they’ll go through barriers to provide to help them,’ said lead author Emily Sanford.

‘Every dog owner has a story about coming home from a long day, sitting down for a cry and the dog’s right there, licking their face. In a way, this is the science behind that.

‘Dog owners can tell that their dogs sense their feelings. Our findings reinforce that idea, and show that, like Lassie, dogs who know their people are in trouble might spring into action.’

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Camels, dune bashing and star gazing: How to get the most out of Abu Dhabi’s desert


Flying into Abu Dhabi, you can’t fail to notice the huge desert to the south of the emirate.

The Rub’ al Khali, also known as the Empty Quarter, isn’t just any old desert – it happens to be the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass.

In fact, it’s the same size as France.

I’ve always wanted to stare out across the dunes of the Arabian desert, with the sand between my toes, and experience the vastness of this natural wonder.

And having been through the emirate on stop overs many times before, I decided it was finally time for me to stop and explore Abu Dhabi’s desert.

Instagram Photo

Leaving bright and early, we met our guide and set off in his 4×4. The car came complete with a roll cage, which slightly unnerved me – but more on that later.

Beyond the high rise buildings of the city, the landscape soon flattened out and we whizzed past a number of camel farms without stopping.

Forty five minutes later, we had really arrived in the desert.

While there was still a road, the tarmac had gone, and waves of sand blew across it in the breeze.

More camels appeared, but this time they weren’t contained in a farm – they were wandering freely across the dunes.

Instagram Photo

I jumped out to get a closer look and discovered that they were extremely friendly and keen to say hello – or at least try to give me a kiss.

Camels are highly valued in Abu Dhabi, where they are farmed for milk and for racing – a popular sport in the UAE.

Hopping back in the car, we headed to our real destination: Arabian Nights Village.

This is a purpose-built village offering tourists a taste of traditional Bedouin life and a mixture of cultural and adrenaline-inducing activities.

You can visit the village for a day trip, or stay overnight in the Bedouin style woven huts, palm houses or the fort tower, all with luxurious interiors and, more importantly, air conditioning.

Instagram Photo

I was particularly eager to try dune bashing there, which I discovered was why the 4×4 needed the roll cage.

Dune bashing is all about speeding up steep hills and sliding back down the other side, fast.

It was definitely an exhilarating experience – the dunes can reach as high as 300 metres.

It felt a bit like a roller coaster without a track and all you could see is sand as you swing in the vehicle.

Halfway through, we stopped to admire the scenery and it really was as lovely as I had imagined.

(Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet – The Rub’ al Khali Desert)

The sand has a reddish hue, and is scattered with the occasional tree, but is otherwise quiet.

After admiring the endless desert, I hopped back into the 4×4 for more dune bashing en route back to the village.

If dune bashing sounds a bit too terrifying for you, you could also try sandboarding, camel riding, quad biking and henna painting at the village.

I decided to climb a sand dune for a better view of the sunset. It was exhausting – those dunes are incredibly high – but it was worth the effort.

The view from the top, especially of the sun setting over the dunes, was breathtaking.

After I’ve tired myself out in the desert, dinner was served – a buffet of Arabic and western dishes, accompanied by traditional live music and belly dancing.

(Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet – Dinner at Arabian Nights Village)

If it’s a cloudless night, you can see stars with incredible clarity across the night sky.

It really is an incredible experience.

If you only have a short time in Abu Dhabi, make sure you visit The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Built in honour of the UAE’s founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, it is the largest mosque in the country and one of the biggest in the world.

The impressive landmark is built from white marble and decorated with gold, crystals and ceramics and entry is free.

Instagram Photo

Culture vultures should also check out the recently opened the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.

Make sure you take in the 360-degree view of the city from the Observation Deck at 300, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, too – entry is £19.50 (AED 95).

Thrill-seekers will want to ride the worlds fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World, where the Formula Rossa ride reaches speeds of 240km/h in less than five seconds.

Or if you just want to kick back, relax at the gorgeous Corniche and Yas beaches or spend a day by a hotel pool.

Abu Dhabi isn’t short of great restaurants either. Enjoy a delicious lunch at Li Beirut, which overlooks the water, where set menus start from £51 (AED 250) per person.

(Picture: Hayley Lewis @alovelyplanet – Le Beirut)

You will probably want to try a 24 karat-gold flake cappuccino or cake at the opulent Emirates Palace – the world’s most expensive hotel – as well.

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi and how to get there:

Stay at the four-star Yas Island Rotana, where the classic rooms start from £52 (AED 258) per night including breakfast for two.

A Desert Days Safari at Arabian Nights Village, which was what I experienced, costs £61 (AED 300) for adults (above 12) and £41 (AED 200) for children (aged 6 – 12).

And if you wanted to stay the night, it’s £310 (AED 1500) for two adults, including activities, dinner, breakfast and transfers costs.

Etihad – the national carrier of Abu Dhabi – offers three daily flights between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi.

Return fares start from £350 in economy and £1,953 in business class. From Manchester, return fares start from £346 in economy and £2367 in business class.

Hayley Lewis is a travel writer, blogger and producer. You can follow Hayley’s travels at alovelyplanet.com or on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook.

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People with depression are more productive at work if they can talk to their bosses

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

Attention bosses: creating a working environment that’s supportive of mental health is even more important than you might think.

You don’t have to run wild with the wellbeing-focused perks (although nap pods and free healthy snacks would be lovely, thanks). Just being there to listen makes a huge difference – and not just to your workers’ happiness, but to their productivity.

New research from the London School of Economics has found that people who feel able to speak openly about their depression with their managers are more productive at work.

Workers with depression who had managers that don’t chat about mental health or offer support tend to take more days off work – 4.1 extra days off, on average.

LSE researchers analysed the influence of workplace culture by interviewing around 1,000 managers and employees from 15 different countries.

They found that people in Mexico were most likely to say their manager had offered help with their depression, and that as a result, they took fewer sick days related to mental health.

Only 16% of workers in Japan said the same.

In Britain there’s room for improvement: 53% of workers said managers had offered to help with their depression, meaning that many days of productivity may be lost thanks to a lack of support.

The report’s co-author, Dr Sara Evans-Lacko, said: ‘Our research shows that where employers create a culture of avoidance around talking about depression, employees themselves end up avoiding work and even when they return to work they are not as productive as they could be.’

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.

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What I Rent: Alex, Jess and Tash, £1,800 for a three bedroom flat in Blackheath

Alex Hickson
Alex shares a three bedroom flat with his girlfriend Jess and housemate Tash. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

Renting in London isn’t much fun – especially when you have no idea if you’re getting a good deal.

Trawling through listings magically makes paying £1,000 a month for a studio seem reasonable, then you find out your deskmate is only paying £680 and lives in a massive one-bedroom with a little garden.

It’s tough to get a sense of what’s normal, what you can expect, and when you’re being ripped off – and that’s even harder when the only flats we see are flatteringly photographed listings and fancy influencers decking out their apartments in velvet sofas.

That’s why each week we take you inside someone’s rented property in London for our series, What I Rent; to give us all a clearer sense of what people are paying each month and what’s they’re getting in return.

This week we’re chatting to Alex, who shares a three bedroom flat in Blackheath with his girlfriend Jess and housemate Tash.

Alex Hickson
The trio live in Blackheath and pay £600 a month each. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

Oh, hey. How much rent do you pay?

Three of us pay £600 each a month. £1,800 per month total.

How about bills?

Roughly £100 each. £300 a month total.

And what do you get for that price? 

We have three bedrooms. One bedroom we leave as a spare room. Two bathrooms. Kitchen and living room.

How long have you lived there?

Jess and Tash have lived here for two years. I have been here six months.

Alex Hickson
There are three bedrooms in total. Jess and Alex share one, Tash has another, and the third is kept as a spare room. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

Are you happy living in Blackheath?

We are really happy living here. Greenwich park is really close, both Blackheath and Greenwich are beautiful parts of the city to visit.

It can sometimes feel like it’s far out from central but we like that it’s quiet and transport links are pretty good. It’s also a great place to have people back for socialising.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

Fortunately the flat has plenty of space so none of us ever feel like we are tripping over one another. We are lucky to have the two bathrooms so there’s never a problem in the mornings.

How did you find the flat?

Jess and Tash both found the place with another person while searching online.

Alex Hickson
Tash has her own room. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

What’s it like living with two women?

Jess and I have been dating for almost three years and Jess met Tash on spareroom.com in 2016. I moved in after the person they were living with moved away.

Living with two women is great! I lived with six women in my first year of university and it suits me well. The three of us make a great team and our lifestyles match.

Are there any major issues with the house you have to put up with?

It’s a top floor flat so it can get pretty warm in the heat. But the windows are really big so it’s normally pretty easy to control.

Other than that it’s just the normal stuff related with being on the top floor. Sometimes we have to rush downstairs when the doorbell rings but the person at the door has already gone.

Alex Hickson
Jess and Tash have lived in the flat for years, while Alex has just moved in. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

Any plans to move again? 

Not anytime soon. I expect at some point we might want to find our own places. But that time seems a long way away, as we are having so much fun at the moment!

And have you thought about buying a place?

I haven’t done anything proactive about it. But I definitely aspire to one day. I think Jess and Tash are of the same opinion.

Right now renting suits our lifestyles perfectly.

Right then. Shall we look around Alex, Jess, and Tash’s flat?

Alex Hickson
The living room has plenty of space for all three housemates. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
(Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
There’s a small dining area, too. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
Don’t read the lightbox, it’ll only make you sad. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
(Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
Alongside three bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen, there are also two bathrooms. Lucky. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
One of the bathrooms. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
(Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
Tash’s room. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
(Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
Jess and Alex share a room. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
(Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
Hi, owl. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
(Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
The third bedroom is used as a spare room and storage space. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
(Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
(Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
The kitchen. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
A decent collection of spices. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
And booze, of course. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
The second bathroom. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
(Picture:: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
Look, a toothbrush. (Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)
Alex Hickson
(Picture: Matthew Chattle/Metro.co.uk)

What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property in London. 

How to get involved in What I Rent

What I Rent is Metro.co.uk's weekly series that takes you inside the places in London people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what's normal and how much we should be paying.

If you fancy taking part, please email whatirent@metro.co.uk.

You'll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!

You'll also need to be okay with sharing how much you're paying for rent, as that's pretty important.

MORE: What I Rent: Paul and Mike, £1,350 for a flat in Tooting

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Meet the people getting off on breastfeeding their partners


Adult nursing – the act of breastfeeding another adult – has been documented for centuries. The Ancient Roman story ‘Caritus Romana’ tells of Pero, a woman who secretly lets her own father, Cimon, suckle on her breast in order to save his life when he is imprisoned and sentenced to death by starvation.

The story ends happily enough – Pero’s sneakiness is discovered by a jailer, but her dedication impresses Roman authorities and they pardon Cimon.

To modern eyes it all sounds a little bit, well, strange – we generally consider breastfeeding to be restricted to mothers and babies.

But many adults still do it – even the briefest search on social media brings up plenty of talk about Adult Nursing Relationships (ANR).

So what’s the appeal?

Joel fed from his wife after both her pregnancies.

‘My wife was pumping in bed to release pressure and the other breast started to leak,’ he tells Metro.co.uk. ‘She suggested that I try it and it led to me drinking both breasts dry while we had sex.

‘It was incredibly erotic, sexy and set off a thing for it in me. The thought of it had never caused an arousal before.

‘To be clear, this is not an adult nursing or infantile pretence. It’s very much two consenting adults having sex and using that particular capability as part of the sexual practice.

‘When she was expecting our second child it was something I was actively looking forward to. I got off on it and my wife – while not really understanding why – enjoyed the fact that I was enjoying that aspect of her.

‘I have no doubt that certain fetishes have a psychological trigger. This one though, for me personally, was just an intensely personal, sexually pleasurable and highly erotic act.’

I have very sensitive nipples and every little touch is a spark, so the act of suckling can be very arousing – Sophie

Can a person really lactate on demand? It takes some doing, but it is possible for a woman to produce milk, regardless of her age or whether she is breastfeeding already.

Human breasts are designed to produce milk and will do so through stimulation alone if it’s carried out regularly enough.

Sophie is working towards inducing lactation purely for intimate adult purposes.

‘I had my daughter when I was 18 years old – I nursed her for 2 years and then came my son who also nursed for two years,’ she tells us. ‘At that time in my life I was young and modest – I would have absolutely freaked if anyone had suggested an Adult Nursing Relationship at that point.

‘My milk was only for the nourishment of my children and my breasts were just functional.

‘When I was 34 I met a couple online. The wife would talk about her breasts, wishing they were full and all kinds of things leading to adult breastfeeding, but I wasn’t completely sure what it was all about. I was added to a ANR chat room and my eyes were opened to this world of adults who enjoyed breast feeding.

‘Back then I was intrigued from a different view – I love women and breasts and nipples and wanted to be the one doing the suckling. But after a while it became something that I wanted to do from the opposite side.

‘I acquired a pump from a friend and started pumping away. I researched my birth control – the one I am on only uses progestin, which is perfect. Any birth control that uses oestrogen will inhibit your milk production.

‘I currently take a multivitamin and fenugreek, which may help promote lactation. I have ordered a medication [that is] made for treating gastrointestinal illnesses but has a side effect of inducing lactation. There are also some foods that can help which I am eating daily such as oatmeal, I drink a lot of water and eat enough calories so my body is ready for production.

A note of caution

The drug which is often mentioned in connection with inducing lactation for adult breastfeeding purposes is domperidone – an anti-emetic that is more usually prescribed for nausea.

Although it has has long been used to induce lactation – including in mothers of premature babies – the use of domperidone is now restricted in the UK after concerns were raised about increased risk of cardiac side effects.

Domperidone is not recommended for use under anything other than official medical supervision.

‘I currently partake in dry nursing with my partners. For me it’s a bonding time; a time for me to take his head in my hands and nurture him for long periods.

‘For me ultimately it is sexual and sensual, but it is also very important to me that I do find a true adult breastfeeding partner who has the patience and focus to suckle for long periods and who has the desire to feed from me and consume my milk.

‘The feeling of that intimacy with your partner can be the most bonding thing you do apart from sex.’

It is worth noting that there is no scientific proof that breastmilk has any health benefits for adults – indeed, a 2015 study reported in the Royal Society of Medicine stated that ‘purported benefits do not stand up clinically’ and ‘no scientific study evidences that direct adult consumption of human milk for medicinal properties offers anything more than a placebo effect’.

There are also risks involved in consuming milk from women who have not undergone thorough health screening.

Risks of adult breastfeeding to be aware of:

  • Soreness and damage to the nipple
  • The extra breast stimulation can cause your body to produce too much breast milk
  • Infectious disease can be spread through breastfeeding
  • Yeast infections can be passed through the breast, too
  • Nipple stimulation can trigger early labour, so be careful breastfeeding if you’re pregnant
  • An increase in nipple stimulation and feeding can cause mastitis; inflammation that causes the breasts to become swollen and painful
  • Irregular milk expression can lead to clogged milk ducts and infections

But what about potential emotional benefits?

When nursing, a woman experiences a release in oxytocin, – also released during arousal and orgasm – which creates positive feelings of bonding and pleasure.

I asked sex education specialist Melissa McFarlane for her thoughts. She told us: ‘Adult breastfeeding is a great way to build intimacy and arousal between partners.

‘For those already lactating, the breast stimulation provided by your partner can help increase supply, which avoids relying on potentially dangerous drugs to produce the milk that you need.’

Lactation.wiki is a U.S. based online resource for those interested in erotic lactation. Subtitled ‘Let the Bond Flow’, it is full of information about finding suitable partners, inducing milk when not actively breastfeeding and even a ready-made set of lecture note templates for anyone thinking of starting up evening classes in erotic lactation.

I spoke to one of the site’s staff about the appeal of adult nursing.

What made you realize you were interested in erotic lactation?

I have always been a boob guy but it wasn’t until I watched some [lactation] content online that it occurred to me that it was a possibility. It also makes logical sense as a boob guy to wonder what breast milk tastes like.

Do you indulge in EL yourself? If so, how did you work out the practicalities?

I was able to find several women online via personals and FetLife, including adult wet nurses. I have also helped to induce a few women. The biggest obstacle to finding a steady partner is overcoming preconceptions of infantilism and emphasizing deeper emotional intimacy.”

Why do you think you enjoy something which, to most people, is meant only for small children?

I have found that it is quite a deep emotional and intimate experience between partners that helps bond them together. This activity also makes you and your partner spend time together on a regular basis. I see nothing wrong with that.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to try erotic lactation?

I would tell them to visit Lactation.wiki and learn as much as possible about what is involved in inducing lactation with a partner, seeking an adult wet-nurse, or meeting others who are interested in integrating this lifestyle into their daily lives.

Names have been changed and some comments edited for length and/or clarity.

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25 resuscitations, 48 hospital visits and countless lost moments made me realise I needed to manage my asthma properly

Paul lost 7st in six months after taking up running (Picture: Paul Wilson)

Being a parent is the best job in the world – but also the hardest. But when you have asthma, it can be even tougher.

Being rushed to hospital might mean you have to ask family and friends to rally around to look after your children.

And when you have an asthma attack in front of your child, and you see the terror in their eyes, it’s really distressing.

It doesn’t stop there. It can rob you of precious moments with your children.

Those of us who have asthma triggered by pollen or animals may not be able to take their kids to the park or a farm for fear of it triggering an asthma attack.

These are all issues being faced by parents who have asthma, according to Asthma UK. The charity, which runs a nurse-staffed telephone helpline and funds research into a cure for asthma, has revealed that an estimated 850,000 dads and 1million mums have asthma in the UK.

The charity has shone a light on the fact that asthma doesn’t just affect those who have it – it has a knock-on effect on their families.

I know first-hand the devastating impact asthma can have on family life. I’ve been hospitalised 48 times for my asthma and been resuscitated at home 25 times.

I’ve missed out on countless trips and outings with my kids because of my asthma.

One of my saddest memories is of missing out on the birthday of my eldest son Connor, now 25, because I was in hospital.

I was hoovering in the living room when my chest suddenly tightened – dust was one of my asthma triggers.

My wife, Carol, came into the living room to find me slumped on the floor gasping for breath. She dialed 999 and I was rushed to hospital by ambulance. My oxygen levels were so low, I had to be put on a drip, and nebulised.

So when I should have been on a birthday outing with my son and eating the huge cake my wife had made, I was cooped up in hospital.

Paul Wilson and his family (Picture: Paul Wilson)

I felt so guilty that I was missing my son’s birthday and there was nothing I could do about it. Carol brought Connor in to see me after his party but he cried when he saw the state I was in.

There were other times when my boys had to witness their dad in hospital or being worked on by paramedics at home.

They always tried to put on a brave face but I knew it frightened them. I heard Luke asking Carol one time whether ‘daddy was going to die’. It’s horrible to hear that. You just want to make your child feel safe.

Then, seven years ago, everything changed. I started having asthma attacks every week.

It felt like someone sitting on my chest and I struggled for breath just walking up the street. Night-times were the worst. I’d wake up at night wheezing and gasping.

It suddenly hit me that my asthma wasn’t just about me – it was about my family too. Every scare, every hospital stay, every wakeful night that I went through, they had to go through as well.

I’ve never really had control over my asthma. I had it as a child, and animals, pollen and dust all trigger asthma symptoms.

I know that over the years, I’m to blame. I’ve missed my asthma appointments or skipped my medication and it didn’t help when I piled on weight too. At 5ft 11 in, at my heaviest, I weighed 23 stones.

So I went to see my GP. He shocked me by saying I wouldn’t live past 50 if I didn’t change my lifestyle.

I decided to lose weight and look after my asthma properly. I got in touch with Asthma UK’s nurses and looked on their website. I got advice on how to manage my asthma and lose weight safely.

I cut down on eating stodgy foods and took up running. I lost seven stones in six months and found that losing weight helped my asthma.

Most importantly, I discovered the secret of how I could beat my asthma and grab hold of those precious moments with my sons.

It was so simple – I took my preventer medicine every day to build up protection in my airways so I wouldn’t have an asthma attack. I used my asthma action plan to manage my triggers and I started attending my yearly asthma review.

The result? I haven’t had an asthma attack for four years.

Even better, I can now spend quality time with my boys. I’m much healthier and have the energy to go cycling and running with them. This year, I even ran the London Marathon for Asthma UK, raising more than £2,000.

I want to urge other parents to manage their asthma. Not only does it mean you can live life to the full and enjoy time with your kids, it could save your life.

For information and support on coping with asthma if you’re a parent, visit asthma.org.uk/tipsforparents

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MAC Cosmetics gives you free makeup when you recycle old products

(Picture: Getty)

Listen, we love free makeup, almost as much as we love being environmentally conscious and knowing we’re not dumping more plastic into the earth.

So it’s a good thing then that MAC Cosmetics is offering free makeup in exchange for your old products. That means you can get a freebie simply out of trading in your old bottles and palettes that were headed for the bin anyway.

Not that you needed more reason to recycle anyway, right?

The Back to MAC recycling program has been around for some time now and asks users to bring in six old product casings into any store to receive the gift.

The designer brand accepts primary packaging, meaning any product casing, not the packaging it came in. So anything from lipstick tubes, empty palettes, foundation bottles, compact blushes, eye shadow pots. Basically any of the hundred products you’ve got knocking about, once you’re done with it of course.

You can make the drop at any MAC store near you or through Mac Cosmetics online which will tell you how to post it as well as information on how to redeem more points and get those all-important freebies.

In return for dropping off six products, you get any MAC lipstick of your choice.

The website also details the kind of things they will not accept as one of your six products. These include: sample containers, cosmetic applicators and tools, Pro Palette metal eye shadows and powders, makeup cases, Blot Film sheets, and accessories.

American users can take it one step further and rake in more goods with the Back to MAC Extended programme.

Once these customers bring in six products, they get a lipstick, lip gloss, or single eyeshadow of their choice.

And they don’t have to wait months to finish with their products before bringing them in either as members of the programme can send products in one by one where it will be tallied up.

When you hit six, bingo.

We definitely need this system in the U.K.

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Prince Harry ‘bans Meghan Markle from wearing a tuxedo during Australia royal tour’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock (9754621cs) Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry visit the Famine Memorial Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Dublin, Ireland - 11 Jul 2018
Meghan Markle has been given some fashion rules ahead of her trip to Australia with Prince Harry (Picture: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock)

Meghan Markle has reportedly been banned from wearing a particular fashion item during her and Prince Harry’s upcoming tour Down Under.

Clearly, being a Prince and her husband means Harry gets a say when it comes to fashion rules Meg has to follow.

So what has Meghan been told not to wear?

A tuxedo.

To many, a tuxedo on a female may be an unconventional outfit choice anyway, but given Meghan’s love of suits and the fact she’s sported a tux before, they clearly felt it necessary to highlight their preferences to Meg.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Endeavour Fund Awards, with Meghan pictured in a tuxedo (Picture: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

And as Harry is reportedly not a big fan of suits on women, it’s claimed he’s told her not to pack her tux as it’s not traditional enough.

According to the Daily Mail, a source from a fashion meeting at Kensington Palace said: ‘Meghan is being told she needs to stop dressing like a Hollywood star and start dressing like a Royal. Meghan wanted to wear a tuxedo-style suit but Harry said it wasn’t traditional enough.’

Meghan wore a loose white bow tie with her tuxedo (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
It’s understood Harry is not a fan of the tuxedo on Meghan (Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Back in February this year, Meghan ffamously wore a black and white tux – which featured a loose white bow tie – for the Endeavour Fund Awards at Goldsmiths Hall in London.

The £1,245 Alexander McQueen feminine tuxedo was teamed with a £285 white shirt by Tuxe that featured the large bow detail around the neckline.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex views the Famine Memorial on the bank of the River Liffey during their visit to Ireland on July 11, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. (Picture: Zak Hussein – Pool/Getty Images)
Harry and Meghan in Ireland (Picture: Jimmy Rainford – Pool/Getty Images)

And during the Sussexes’ recent trip to Ireland, she was seen wearing a smart Givenchy suit.

Diana was also a fan of a feminine tux, having worn one to Wembley Stadium in 1988, which featured a bright green waistcoat and XX bow tie.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Today/REX/Shutterstock (145393a) Princess Diana PRINCESS DIANA AT WEMBLEY STADIUM
Diana also enjoyed sporting a tuxedo (Picture: Today/REX/Shutterstock)

She also wore a white tux with a classic black bow tie when she visited Florence duirng a British royal tour of Italy in 1985.

Meghan and Harry’s Australia tour will kick off in October.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mauro Carraro/REX/Shutterstock (115844e) Princess Diana in Florence British royal tour of Italy - 1985
Diana in Florence in 1985 (Picture: Mauro Carraro/REX/Shutterstock)
Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (106819a) Genesis concert, Birmingham, Britain - 1984
Diana sported tuxedos from time to time (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

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Volunteering as a Samaritan is not depressing, it makes you immensely grateful for your own life

Samaritans are available on phone and email 24-hours a day (Picture: Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Getty Images)

When I was about six, I used to love watching Thunderbirds on TV.

As well as all the rockets and adventure, what appealed to me at that early age was the idea of rescuing someone else who was in trouble. It was a ‘feel-good’ plot to follow, and I thought I’d like to do something like that when I was older.

Moving on through the years, in 1972, I watched several episodes of the TV drama The Befrienders, based on the Samaritans. One of the writers was Chad Varah, the Samaritans founder.  It was highly exaggerated for TV – in one dramatic scene, I recall the volunteer went out to where a suicidal person was about to jump off a cliff and managed to talk him out of it.

This is not at all how we operate in the Samaritans today, but the show convinced me that I wanted eventually to become a volunteer listener.

Samaritans offer a service of supportive listening to callers who are struggling emotionally, whether or not they are actively suicidal.

We will not offer advice, or talk about ourselves, and whatever callers tell us is in confidence.

What we really do is ‘just listen’, and in doing so help the caller to talk about difficult and distressing issues.

Often, just telling someone about those thoughts is a life-saver, to know that someone cares, and takes their concerns seriously.

We always try to ask callers if they are having thoughts of suicide, because that is often seen as a taboo subject, and many people will be afraid to raise the subject themselves for fear of being judged.

We never judge callers, and we don’t try to talk them out of it, but accept when they feel like ending their lives.

Often, just telling someone about those thoughts is a life-saver, to know that someone cares, and takes their concerns seriously.

I have been a Samaritan for 21 years in total, in two stretches, from 1982-1989, and then from 2004 to this day.

I gave it a rest in 1989 shortly after I became engaged, as there were several activities competing for my attention (not least my fiancée!) but I had always said that I intended to come back when life wasn’t so busy.

When someone I knew via an email discussion forum took his own life, I was prompted me to return. He was quite a well-known writer and music critic and I had exchanged a few emails with him on musical matters, during which he revealed to me that he was suffering from severe depression.

The former Samaritan in me wanted to try to reach out to him and ask if he wanted to talk about it, but I was quite in awe of him, and couldn’t see how it could work via email at the time.

He took his own life in 2003, and I went to his funeral, where I saw his 82-year old father saying goodbye to his son. I made up my mind to re-apply for the Samaritans that very night.

To my surprise, I found that in my absence, Samaritans had started offering support via e-mail and I am now a strong advocate of online support and crafting a supportive response to someone in distress.

What does it mean to me to be a Samaritan? Quite simply, it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

It is a huge privilege when someone trusts you enough to tell you their story, and their darkest thoughts and feelings.

It is not depressing, as you might suppose, but it makes you immensely grateful for your own life, so that you never take it for granted.

Contact the Samaritans

Anyone can contact Samaritans any time for free from any phone on 116 123. This number is free to call and will not show up on your phone bill. Or email jo@samaritans.org or go to samaritans.org to find details of your local branch where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.

On 24 July, Samaritans are hosting The Big Listen, a 24-hour event to raise awareness and funds for the vital work they do. For more information on how to take part, visit thebiglisten.samaritans.org

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Scraping out your pores with a vibrating spatula looks satisfying, but you need to be careful

Be careful when using a vibrating spatula to scrape out your pores
(Picture: Metro.co.uk)

We’re easily drawn in by any product that promises to push out every little bit of gunk from our pores.

Blackhead vacuums, peel-off masks to yank away clogs, and every squeezing, prodding device we can get our hands on.

But while the videos of gunk and grime being eased out of the skin are satisfying, it might not be wise to aim for the same results.

Going too hard with tools and devices typically reserved for professionals can cause serious damage to the skin.

This week’s obsession: Vibrating skin spatulas.

These aren’t a new tool, and plenty of different brands make their own versions, but the concept of getting rid of oil and blackheads with a scraping tool has been brought to everyone’s attention by a video from Insider, which shows a bunch of people amazed at the gunk that’s coming out of their skin after a once over with a spatula.

Instagram Photo

Skin spatulas work in two ways: By using ultrasonic vibrations to exfoliate the skin and draw out excess oils and impurities, then sliding over the skin to scoop up what you’ve extracted.

The vibration bit isn’t unusual – you’ll spot the same tech in Clarisonic brushed and Foreo products – and it can indeed help the skin, acting as an exfoliation that’s tricky to achieve by hand.

The spatulas can also be used to apply products, using the ultrasonic waves to help oils, serums, and creams absorb into the skin.

So far, so good.

But the problems arise when these tools – previously accessible only to professional dermatologists and facialists – are put in the hands of people who aren’t sure how to safely use them.

When we see videos of skin spatulas scraping out dirt and grime, it’s tempting for us to use those products to press down and scrape against the skin, which can cause serious damage.

‘The skin spatula is not a new concept at all,’ facialist Andy Millward tells Metro.co.uk. ‘It’s based on ultrasonic deep cleansing and exfoliation tools that have been used in salon facials for decades. The technology is just more accessible, as with everything it’s now available in handhelds at a fraction of the cost, making it available as a home-use product.

‘In the video the users appear to be applying force to scrape as much of their natural sebum out as possible. This is the wrong way to use the device, and if not careful could lead to bruising and capillary damage.’

Essentially, vibrating tools do the work for you, so require no additional pressure or wiggling against the skin.

It’s being overzealous in an attempt to completely clear the skin that causes damage, pushing out sebum and sebaceous glands (both of which are safe to remain in the skin) as a result.

All that stuff being satisfyingly scraped out of the skin? That’s the skin’s natural sebum and oils, not lurking pimples being defeated.

‘The device should never be used to gouge at the skin but rather sweep over the surface of the skin, allowing it to gentle glide and let the ultrasonic waves do the work not the spatula,’ says Andy. ‘Little to no pressure should be used. Also, the device should always be used on wet / lubricated skin, again allowing the ultrasonic waves to do the work while the tool glides over the skin.

‘In the video the users appear to be using it on dry skin and scraping their oils. Although it may be satisfying to see, the skin will only over-compensate by producing more oil.’

Instagram Photo

The crucial thing with skin spatulas is to use them as intended, not as a satisfying way to squeeze your spots.

Blackheads and spots aren’t best removed with force, squeezing, yanking, or scraping, all of which can leave you with scarring. Instead it’s best to use a salicylic acid or an oil cleanser to break down dirt and remove blockages.

Tools such as the skin spatula are best used as a way to exfoliate the skin, help the absorption of product, or give yourself a mini facial massage with an oil.

That means you need to tread carefully, use them as part of your skincare routine rather than as a quick fix for zits, and make sure you don’t go too wild in front of the magnifying mirror.

‘It’s not something that should be over-used,’ advises Andy. ‘The skin doesn’t need that level of deep cleansing on a daily basis and in fact, could lead to imbalances. The temptation with devices like this would be to use them everyday, when once a week is probably more than enough.

‘Providing they’re used correctly they are very effective tools, but as with other devices (such as Clarisonic) they could get a bad rep if they become over-used or used incorrectly.’

Andy's recommendations for safely getting rid of blackheads:

First, determine if you actually have blackheads, or if you’re looking at sebaceous filaments. A blackhead is a blockage you can feel within the skin, while sebaceous filaments are freeflowing, but visible due to the pore being enlarged.

‘Prevention is always better than a cure,’ says Andy. ‘So avoiding skin care and makeup that contains comedogenic ingredients is first thing.

‘Then using non-drying cleansers, gentle exfoliants and lightweight hydrating products etc to avoid blackheads from forming.

‘Some facialists or skin care professionals may offer extractions and will use steam or a softening solution prior to extraction to aid with their removal. Personally I prefer to use lipid-soluble hydroxy acids like Salicylic acid or Mandelic acid, either in the form of a mild peel or home care products that can help to dissolve and dislodge blackheads as well as reducing the appearance of sebaceous filaments.

‘Ingredients like Vitamin A (retinol or retinaldehyde), Saw Palmetto and DHEA also work by regulating sebum production so again, reducing the appearance of sebaceous filaments.

‘But remember, you can’t, and shouldn’t try to, stop them completely.

‘It’s important to have a realistic expectation and not try to obtain a completely ‘pore-less’ look, which only really exists in magazines and Instagram filters.’

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Should you give your dog ice cubes?

hungry dog begging for a treat, copy space
(Picture: PK-Photos)

Temperatures are still set to rise as Britain wilts under an unrelenting heatwave.

While you might be enjoying the opportunity to top up your tan without going abroad, the hot weather can be extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous for dogs.

Dogs can suffer fatal heatstroke within minutes, so it’s vital that they have plenty of access to shade and cool water.

Water is healthy for dogs in both liquid and solid forms, so you can give them ice cubes to chew on or drop ice cubes into their water bowl.

You can even make special icy surprises by freezing dog treats inside ice cubes.

Think about the relief and satisfaction of an ice lolly on a blisteringly hot day. Your pup could feel that same delight too.

Georgie Hearne, a vet at Blue Cross pet charity told Metro.co.uk that ice cubes are a good choice for pups in hot weather.

She said: ‘Try preparing some cooling tasty treats by making ice cubes with your dog’s favourite food inside or stuff a kong and pop it in the freezer.

‘You can also put ice cubes into your pet’s water bowls to help cool them down.

‘Cooling mats will also help to keep your dog cool, or you can achieve a similar effect by wrapping freezer blocks or frozen plastic bottles of water in a blanket and placing them in your dog’s bed for them to lie against.’

Using ice cubes as a form of hydration might also help your dog to drink more slowly and prevent dog bloat, a condition that occurs when a large amount of food, water or air is ingested and trapped gas causes the dog’s stomach to twist.

However, if you notice that ice cubes are making your dog gulp their water, it’s probably not a good idea to put them in your pet’s water bowl.

Cute little dog With ice cubes. ; Shutterstock ID 683022295; Purchase Order: -
Small ice cubes work best! (Picture: tharathip)

Ice cubes have been associated with tooth breakage in dogs (particularly in pups who are aggressive chewers).

Only offering small cubes or ice shavings can help to prevent this problem.

If your pup has heatstroke or has become overheated, you should take them to the vets immediately. Ice cubes won’t cure a dog with heatstroke.

You can start the cooling process by wetting your dog all over with room temperature water and offering them cool water to drink, but it is essential that your dog sees an emergency vet.

Remember, your pup is relying on you to keep them cool this summer.

If you spot any of the signs of heatstroke (collapse, excessive panting, purple gums and redness of the skin), contact your vet ASAP.

Never, ever leave a dog alone in a hot car and if you see a pup trapped in a vehicle, call 999.

You can find more tips on how to keep dogs cool in hot weather here.

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Want to look beyond the Colosseum? Here are the lesser-known wonders of Rome you should see during your visit


Host to the Colosseum, the Pantheon, designer stores and close to the Pope’s official residence in nearby Vatican City, Rome is one of Europe’s most popular cities to visit.

Although there are certainly a number of famous sites you shouldn’t miss, I was curious to investigate just how much Rome has to offer those who want to head off the beaten path and are looking to experience the city’s lesser-known wonders.

So, having ticked off the ancient Basilicas and even marvelled at Michelangelo’s handiwork at the Sistine Chapel, I headed off on a mission to find the undercover highlights of Rome.

My first stop was pretty Trastevere on the west bank of the Tiber River, where the cobbled streets are lined with old ivy-covered buildings.

Here are cafes, bars and unique artsy stores dotting the avenue leading to the Santa Maria Piazza.

Trastevere Street Art (Picture: Karen Edwards)

I started with breakfast at the Giselda Cafe, where the fresh juice (or an espresso martini) and freshly baked pastries are waiting to be devoured.

From mid-morning, neighbourhood favourite Gelateria served up the creamiest, most-satisfying gelato (get the chocolate) to happy locals with a sweet tooth.

From there, I meandered along the riverfront, enjoying the weird and wonderful street art that along the way – and mentally noted that the cosy, nameless pub on the south-west corner of Vicolo Dei Chiodaroli, with large wine barrels posing as tables and a varied selection of Italian wine bottles lining the bar, opens its doors at 4pm.

Seeing as I was in one of Europe’s cultural centres, I went in search of the city’s less predictable cultural curiosities – and what could be more peculiar than a small Catholic Church partially made using human body parts?

Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione (Picture: Getty)
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione (Picture: Getty)

Yes, you read that right: Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione on Via Veneto sits above an underground crypt that holds the remains of 4,000 friars.

In 1631, Cardinal Antonio Barberini ordered the remains to be exhumed and for individual bones to be placed along the walls as decoration.

These are, somewhat eerily, still here today.

On Via Salaria, I came across the Catacombs of Priscilla. The dark underground passageway took me through the ancient Christian burial grounds, which date back to the second to the fifth centuries.

While Rome has four other catacomb sites, this is the only one where you find some of the earliest fresco paintings of the Virgin Mary.

Baths of CaracalCryptoporticus, Catacomb of Priscilla (3rd century), Rome, Lazio, Italy.la
Catacomb of Priscilla (Picture: Getty)

Although all of Rome’s streets are full of stunning colonial-style buildings, there is one street that is really worth visiting – the road from Rome to Brindisi.

Constructed in 312 BC, the Queen of Roads totals 513km in length. I didn’t have time to travel the entire length of the road, but just standing at the starting point at the Baths of Caracalla in the southern Regio XII district is special.

As the sun begins to set, the San Lorenzo neighbourhood (just north of the Termini train station) wakes up – and Rome’s students hit the city.

This area is a great alternative to the tourist-heavy, high-street and designer-label laden streets of the city centre. Instead, the theme of these boutiques is vintage style – and all at decent prices.

Baths of Caracalla (Picture: Getty)
Baths of Caracalla (Picture: Getty)

The student-friendly cheap bars of Via dei Sabelli and Via dei Volsci just around the corner are great places to experience the city’s vibrant and varied nightlife.

Finally, what could be more Italian than to experience a wholesome meal from a local family-run restaurant – and that’s exactly the experience Pizzeria il Boscaiolo on Via degli Artisti gives you.

Naturally, I was craving the ultimate pizza, but, with my intolerances (onion and garlic being a particular issue), I feared it might be too hard to find food.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find this side-street restaurant happily produce a sour-dough base pizza with lashings of Gorgonzola and prosciutto – without a hint of onion or garlic. A winner.

Where to stay in Rome and how to get there

Baglioni Hotel Regina provides large, spacious rooms from €260 (£232) a night on a B&B basis.

Located on the scenic Via Vittorio Veneto, Baglioni Hotel Regina is a 10-minute walk from the central shopping district and Spanish Steps, and a 20-minute walk from the river.

Optional lunch and dinner is served in a state-room style setting.

British Airways has direct flights from London Gatwick to Rome Fiumicino Airport from £70 return.

(Top picture: Getty)

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Eye tests at the opticians could spot dementia in later life

(Picture: Getty)

People who have thin retinas in their eyes may be showing signs of dementia in later life, says new research.

The retina is responsible for receiving light that the lens has focused, convert the light into neural signals, and send these signals on to the brain for visual recognition.

A new study has now said that the thickness of it can suggest a decline in brain power.

People with thin retinas were twice as likely to perform poorly in subtle tests on everyday memory, reaction time and reasoning said researchers from University College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital.

When the same people were tested three years later, results showed they suffered a mental decline.

Scientists used OCT scans from UK Biobank data which measured the thickness of a layer of neurons on the retina.

The study had 32,000 healthy participants aged between 40 and 69 who had had an eye test with NHS opticians.

A second paper published by the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands, had similar results. Researchers followed 5,000 people aged, on average, 69. Over eight years, 86 of them developed dementia.

(Picture: Getty)

The paper concluded that those with a thin retina were 44% more likely to have the memory condition.

Prof Paul Foster, lead study author of the UCL research, said: ‘We now know we need to find people at the earliest stages before the brain is irreparably damaged.

‘The hope is that either a drug or lifestyle advice can stop this. The combination of the two studies showing the increased risk I think does put it beyond doubt.

‘There is unquestionably a link between changes in the retina and changes in people’s mental state.’

Aaron, an optometrist, told Metro.co.uk that though the results are exciting in terms of revolutionising treatment for dementia, it’s early stages and more research is needed.

‘It’s interesting to think that retinal thinning may have a link to cerebral denigration,’ he said.

‘The more I read about it, the more conclusive the results seem to be. But the sample is still quite small as there have only been two studies.’

The UCL team are now trying to work out the exact thickness people need to be diagnosed with pre-dementia which would help patients and doctors prepare.

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Starbucks introduces store with staff who know sign language

(Picture: Getty)

Starbucks recently introduced strawless drinks to reduce plastic waste, which received some backlash from disabled people who genuinely need them for nourishment.

Now, to be more inclusive to the disabled community, the coffee giant is offering ‘signing stores’ where deaf people can come in and order with ease.

It is the first of its kind in the U.S and is equipped with staff who are proficient in American Sign Language.

The shop will open in in Washington D.C, in October, near Gallaudet University – an institution with primarily deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

(Picture: Getty)

Customers should have a smoother experience as the store will have staff wearing aprons saying ‘I sign’ so they can make their order easily.

Other unique details on the apron include hand signs which spell out Starbucks.

The designs have been inspired by DeafSpace, created by students of the university, which facilitates visual and signed communication.

Some of their features include glare-free surfaces, clear lines of sight throughout spaces, and lighting and seating that don’t require straining of the eyes.

The new store will also have communication options for customers who don’t use sign language.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital also has a branch that offers deaf-friendly services.

‘Starbucks has taken an innovative approach to incorporating deaf culture that will increase employment opportunities as well as accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, while at the same time educating and enlightening society,’ said National Association of the Deaf CEO Howard A. Rosenblum.

We can only hope that the services also roll out to the U.K soon.

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8-month-old baby with super thick hair has become a tiny celebrity

(Picture: Mercury Press)

A baby has become a tiny celebrity thanks to her thick hair, which makes her look like Despicable Me’s Agnes.

Primrose Autumn Loveridge has a full head of hair which is already six inches long – and it’s still growing.

29-year-old mum Beccy May Cooper says she’d never expected her eight-month-old would have so much hair.

She said: ‘The first thing my mum said when she was born was “I can’t believe her hair”. It was jet black and there was so much of it.

‘We don’t know where she got it from because I had very little when we were younger and my fiancée already has a receding hair line.

‘We weren’t expecting it at all.’

MERCURY PRESS. 23/07/18. Pictured: Primrose Autumn Loveridge, 8 months. Meet the adorable baby who was born with a full head of jet black hair and bears a striking resemblance to Despicable Me character Agnes. Primrose Autumn Loveridge loves nothing more than having her thick mane blow dried and collapses into fits of giggles whenever mum Beccy May Cooper, 29, switches the hairdryer on. The eight month old tot is now a brand rep for 20 companies who send her bows and hairbands to accessorise her luscious locks. SEE MERCURY COPY
(Picture: Mercury Press)

Beccy says that even leaving the house with her daughter can be overwhelming, because a quick trip to the shops turns into an hour-long affair with people constantly stopping Beccy and Primrose to compliment her hair.

Beccy said: ‘She gets so much attention when we go out.

‘If you just nip to the shop you end up being there for an hour because people just stop and start talking about it.

‘They say they’ve never seen a baby with so much hair. Especially the older generation – they can’t believe it.

‘We joke that she looks like Agnes from Despicable Me. She’s so like her in personality as well.

‘She’s so squeaky and excitable all the time, she’s such a happy, bubbly baby and she’s so talkative.

Despicable Me character Agnes (Picture: Universal Studios)
(Picture: Universal Studios)

‘People also say she looks like a Cabbage Patch doll, which makes me laugh.’

According to Beccy, her daughter’s favourite thing is a blow dry, which causes her to get the giggles.

Beccy said: ‘When I’ve washed it I try to flick it up but it’s so long now it won’t stand up anymore, it just falls down.

‘I used to use a soft brush but now I’m using a comb because it gets quite knotty when she’s sleeping.

‘When I brush it she has to hold her own brush in her hands, she’s such a character. Every couple of weeks we give her a cool blow dry.

MERCURY PRESS. 23/07/18. Pictured: Primrose Autumn Loveridge, 8 months. Meet the adorable baby who was born with a full head of jet black hair and bears a striking resemblance to Despicable Me character Agnes. Primrose Autumn Loveridge loves nothing more than having her thick mane blow dried and collapses into fits of giggles whenever mum Beccy May Cooper, 29, switches the hairdryer on. The eight month old tot is now a brand rep for 20 companies who send her bows and hairbands to accessorise her luscious locks. SEE MERCURY COPY
(Picture: Mercury Press)

‘She absolutely loves it, as soon as the hairdryer is switched on she starts bouncing up and down and giggling – it’s hilarious.

‘When she sits watching telly she curls her hair around her tiny little fingers. I think it’s a comfort for her.

‘I like to put it up in little pigtails or a pony tail so it looks like a pineapple.

‘We’ve not taken her to the hairdressers yet. When she turns one we’re planning on taking her for her first trim.’

Though her hair is still growing, Primrose has already landed work thanks to her locks.

She’s been working with hair companies and many more brands are hoping to work with her too.

MERCURY PRESS. 23/07/18. Pictured: Primrose Autumn Loveridge, 8 months. Meet the adorable baby who was born with a full head of jet black hair and bears a striking resemblance to Despicable Me character Agnes. Primrose Autumn Loveridge loves nothing more than having her thick mane blow dried and collapses into fits of giggles whenever mum Beccy May Cooper, 29, switches the hairdryer on. The eight month old tot is now a brand rep for 20 companies who send her bows and hairbands to accessorise her luscious locks. SEE MERCURY COPY
(Picture: Mercury Press)

Beccy said: ‘I put some pictures up and was contacted by a couple of brands who asked if she could model their clothes.

‘It started from there and now she’s a brand rep for around 20 companies.’

She’s now a rep for brands such as Too Much Cute UK, Baby Haute Couture, 4 Trendy Kids and Eco Brat.

Already described as a ‘diva’ by her mum, Beccy added: ‘I think she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

‘I wake up every day and stare at her thinking ‘I can’t believe she’s mine’.

‘I’d always dreamed of having a little girl and being able to dress her up. She’s just perfect.’

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Excuse me while I live in this snow spa in London for the next month

The Ice Room at K West, Shepherds Bush, West London. photographer byline Darren Pepe.
(Picture: BPM MEDIA)

Alright, the novelty of drinking beers outside and packing away our big coats has worn off now.

We’re hot, sweaty, miserable messes, and would quite like a return to a normal temperature, please.

Sadly it appears that the heatwave will be continuing for quite some time.

And so I’m afraid I will no longer be responding to any texts or emails. No, I shall not come to your birthday party.

I plan to live in this room of ice and snow for the foreseeable future instead.

Thankfully, I won’t have to save up for a plane ticket. A dreamy ice cold room is open in Shepherd’s Bush, London.

The Ice Room at K West, Shepherds Bush, West London. photographer byline Darren Pepe.
(Picture: BPM MEDIA)

The Snow Paradise in K West Hotel & Spa, in Richmond Way, is a cabin kept at a delightful temperature between -10C to -15C. Yes, minus.

It’s filled with real snow made with air and water, which you can feel free to rub on your skin.

The idea is to alternate between the ice room and the sauna to try out the Finnish tradition of hot and cold therapy in west London. You can sit or stand inside the room in your bikini, shorts, or wrapped up in a dressing gown.

K West Hotel & Spa do warn that you’ll likely only be able to stick out the temperatures for around 30 seconds your first time, but recommend that you stay inside for between five and ten minutes for the full benefits.

The Ice Room at K West, Shepherds Bush, West London. photographer byline Darren Pepe.
(Picture: BPM MEDIA)

Three or four people can fit in the ice room at a time, but we reckon there may be a bit of a queue now we’re in this hellish heat.

Once you’re done chilling you can head to the hydrotherapy pool or foot spa to ease your poor blistered and sweat stained feet.

Spa manager Lyudmyla Nagirnyak said: ‘It has a very good effect when you rub the snow on an area. It is very good for the skin.

‘It’s a tingling sensation – you know in the winter and you have hot hands and you touch some snow? You get the same thing.

‘When you want to cool down a bit it’s the place to be. Not everyone is fond of this hot summer. Some people don’t like too much heat so it’s a good opportunity to come and explore our Snow Paradise.’

If you fancy booking a go, you can get a day of access to K Spa’s Wet Spa for £50 or for £65 with a spa lunch.

It’s not open at night, sadly, so you won’t be able to escape to the snow room when you can’t sleep with three fans on blast.

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Men, you can now pay to experience the pain of labour


Cisgender men will never know the true pain of childbirth and cis women may never know the agony of getting hit in the balls. Not unless our nifty friend science has anything to do with it.

To see how the other half live, the folks at Ultrasound Baby Face have been working on a labour simulator so cis men can, finally, know what childbirth is like.

Their machines show just a fraction of the suffering pregnant woman face when they experience contractions.

(Picture: Ultrasound Baby Face)

Couples (or curious singles) can now pay to attach themselves to the contraption which will see them enduring short shocks.

What’s more, they’ll have to do ordinary tasks such as picking up toys and climbing over hurdles so they can get a taste of the mummy life.

Experimenters will have their stomachs attached to a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation called TENS throughout the half an hour experience.

A spokesman for the company said: ‘It’s a chance for the man to show to his partner that he is there for them and to help them experience a little bit of what their partner is going through.

‘I’ve given birth and while our machine is not as painful as contraction it will hopefully give the man an insight into what the woman is going through.’

Let’s see if they can handle just that bit of pain.

The service is available in The Galleries, Bristol. It costs £25 and you can find more information here.

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Walt Disney World’s All Star Sports Resort is selling scoops of cookie dough

(Picture: Instagram/DisneyFoodBlog)

If you’re heading over to Walt Disney World anytime soon, and you’re a fan of sweet stuff, you’ll be happy to know that you can now find raw edible cookie dough at your favourite magical place.

The park has just introduced the new dessert option at the All Star Sports Resort.

Three small scoops cost $3.99 (£3), unless you buy a pot with a Disney Dining Plan snack credit.

Despite it being raw, the cookie dough is edible, as the recipe contains no eggs.

Since being released, Disney Food Blog has written about it, sharing an image of the cookie dough to Instagram.

And it looks amazing:

Instagram Photo

According to the blog, the cookie dough is really sweet, and a saltier flavour may have balanced it out a little – however they still say it’s amazing.

They wrote: ‘That preference still doesn’t keep this from being a fun, tasty, rich, decadent, and totally enjoyable and comforting treat!’

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When is it too hot to walk your dog?

(Picture: Getty)

We’re expecting another heat wave this week, but if you’ve got a dog, you may want to think twice about walking it.

Though the weather is expected to be lovely and dogs do love playing outside in it (as long as they have the opportunity to cool down) – walking them out in the boiling hot sun is not a good idea.

But how do you know when the heat is too hot for your dog?

Clare Hamilton, a practice owner and head vet at Cherry Tree Veterinary Practice, in Lane End, Buckinghamshire, says that the best way to find out whether it’s too hot to walk your pup is to stand on the pavement barefoot yourself.

She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘If you stand barefoot on the patio or pavement and it feels too hot for you, then it’s certainly too hot for your dog!

‘Anything over 25C is very risky if people need a number as a benchmark. It also depends on humidity and breeze – or rather lack of.’

(Picture: Getty)

Clare adds that to be extra safe, you shouldn’t walk your dogs after 8am or before 8pm in the extreme heat – and only walk them in the shade.

If you take your dog out and it starts getting too hot, make sure to look out for the warning signs that the heat is just too much for them – this includes heavy panting, red eyes, red gums, hot skin, reduced activity, vomiting, diarrhoea and collapsing.

These are all signs of heat-related health issues.

In terms of doing all you can to make sure your dog is kept cool during the hot weather, Clare adds: ‘Put ice cubes into water bowls, have a paddling pool for them outside in the shade, get a fan for indoors and never ever shut a dog in the car, or a shadeless garden.

(Picture: Getty)

‘If indoors never shut them in a closed room without a window being left open.’

It’s very important that you look after your furry friend in this heat.

Clare says that sadly, she’s already seen two deaths from heatstroke this year.

She said: ‘One was a young fit and athletic dog who just kept running around a field until he collapsed.

‘He presented no obvious signs until it was too late. So please don’t assume your dog will stop if it is overheating!

‘It’s about being responsible and thinking about the comfort of your pet.’

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