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The UK vet saving the lives of Sri Lanka’s street dogs


Street dogs in Sri Lanka are as much a part of the culture as beaches, palm trees, and coconuts.

They’ve been roaming the streets for decades, and today there are approximately three million street dogs on the island.

UK vet Janey Lowes was backpacking around Sri Lanka in May 2014 when she noticed the plight of the street dogs. While the dogs themselves aren’t an issue – they often have a human guardian who feeds them – the fact that they don’t have access to veterinary care is.

Every year, there are an estimated 26,000 road traffic accidents involving street dogs, not to mention the thousands that fall ill from other causes, especially because they don’t have access to neutering and vaccinations.

‘As a vet (and I’m sure many vets can relate), it was frustrating to be skilled enough to help but in another country with no equipment or supplies with me, or any idea of where to start with seeking help for dogs in need,‘ Janey tells Metro.co.uk.

‘I felt so helpless.’

Janey – who won UK Vet of the Year in 2016 – went home to Newcastle, determined to make a change. She considered volunteering for other charities but there were very few options, and none that fitted her personal views and ethics.

‘I feel super lucky to have the best job in the world, and I wanted to make sure I could use my skills to help as many animals as possible,’ Janey explains.

‘I wanted to come at it from a different angle, as not many charities are veterinary-run.’

So, she went to seek advice from her boss in the UK, who gave her £10,000 to set up a charity – and WECare Worldwide was born.

‘It took about five months to get set up, so I flew back out to Sri Lanka in October 2014,’ says Janey.

‘I started by working out where we could be the most helpful and have the biggest sustainable impact, which is hard when you are surrounded by ‘need’ everywhere.’

Janey began with a team which included local vet Dr Nuwan, local volunteer, Malaka, and tuk tuk driver Chaminda, who she paid to drive them around looking for dogs.

Sick and injured dogs were treated either at Janey’s home in Tallalla on the south coast, or on the side of the road in a needs-must situation.

In December 2014, WECare did its first neutering programme in the local villages, and carried out multiple neutering programmes, neutering 735 dogs in the first year, as well as vaccinating 956 dogs and treating 202 dogs.

By January 2016, Janey’s house was full to bursting, and she realised she needed a different base for the charity.

She rented an old school in a nearby village, which had a secure, walled garden that recovering dogs could play in, and got by for another year with the help of local and UK volunteers.

However in January 2017, there was no money left, and just as Janey was at the point of giving up, WECare was featured in a BBC documentary, and donations surged, allowing her to slowly build the clinic she and her team of local and international staff work from today – which is one of the best equipped vet hospitals on the island.

WECare’s main point of difference is that it’s veterinary-run, which means the dogs get the best care they can – and it’s enabled Janey to train up the local veterinary staff who work with her.

She currently has 10 full-time and 12 part-time local staff, and also helps train other local vets, to improve vet standards across the board.

‘It’s a mutually beneficial relationship as Sri Lankan vets have so much knowledge about diseases we don’t see in the UK and so I am constantly learning from them, as well as imparting some of my wisdom along the way,’ says Janey.

A puppy at WECare Worldwide dog clinic in Sri Lanka
This is Baxter, a puppy who got rehomed recently (Picture: WECare Worldwide)

WECare treats dogs across the Southern Province, and now also runs programmes in Arugam Bay on the east coast.

It focuses on three main areas – CNVR (capture, neuter, vaccinate, release), treatments, and education.

The team are alerted to sick or injured street dogs by locals, and they also drive around in tuk tuks searching for them.

Poorly dogs are taken back to the clinic for treatment, and when better, are either released back onto the streets if it’s safe to do so, or in cases where it’s better for the dog to have a permanent owner – puppies, for example, who only have a 20-30% chance of reaching their first birthday on the streets – are put up for adoption.

The CNVR programme helps address the overpopulation issue in a humane and sustainable manner, and works towards eradicating rabies nationwide.

Locals can also bring their pet dogs in to the clinic for treatment, which is charged at a very reduced rate, which promotes responsible animal ownership.

Neutering and vaccination is free for both street and owned animals.

Dobby the dog, recovering after having a huge tumour removed from his face - without WECare, he would have died a slow and painful death
Dobby, recovering after having a huge tumour removed from his face – without WECare, he would have died a slow and painful death (Picture: WECare Worldwide)

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between street dogs and stray dogs.

Street dogs have been living in the communities of Sri Lanka for generations, and most have a human guardian AKA food source, who will feed them leftover food – so there are actually very few emaciated street dogs.

Therefore – and this might sound confusing to a UK pet owner – taking dogs off the street is not what WECare is about.

It’s there to plug the gap and give the dogs vet care.

‘There’s this generalisation that people think it’s cruel for dogs to be on the street, that they don’t have cuddles every night, they don’t eat steak for dinner, they don’t get to go to doggy daycare – but it’s just different over here,’ explains Janey.

‘They’re not stray dogs, so it’s not like in England where pet dogs are dumped on the street and left to die (although this can happen here, but very rarely).

‘These dogs have been on the streets for generations and generations, so to take them in to homes – to even take them indoors, most have never been indoors – is really quite stressful for them once they get to a certain age.

‘They’re so happy beause they have their freedom. You can see them when they’re charging up and down the beach chasing each other, or when they’re on a mission in the morning to the nearest roti shop, you can see the joy in their eyes.

‘To take that away from them is not what WECare’s about. We don’t believe in scooping up three million dogs to put them in a shelter because for street dogs, that’s like prison.

‘Our job is to provide veterinary care and to let dogs be dogs.’

Reggie the dog, at WECare Worldwide street dog veterinary clinic in Sri Lanka
Reggie was brought in with skin disease, and then rehomed (Picture: WECare Worldwide)

With three million street dogs on the island, does it sometimes feel like a never-ending task?

‘Yeah, it does, and sometimes you do get a bit disheartened at that,’ admits Janey.

‘But then you take a step back and look at how many dogs you’ve helped – which is about 6,000 dogs so far.

‘When you think that’s 6,000 out of three million, that’s a drop in the ocean, but each of those dogs is an individual life.

‘When I get disheartened, I just go look at all the street dogs we’ve helped and remember that they would potentially have had a really slow, painful death if we hadn’t been around.’

Eddie the dog, at WECare Worldwide street dog veterinary clinic in Sri Lanka
Say hi to Eddie (Picture: WECare Worldwide)

What’s been the most heartbreaking case?

‘Honestly, it’s so hard to pick; we see them on a daily basis,’ says Janey, who won the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award in 2016.

‘We regularly see dogs that have had hot water thrown over them, dogs that have had half their faces blown off after eating the little bombs that locals put down for wild boars, dogs with extensive maggot wounds, injuries from wild boar attacks, and we see a lot of paralysis cases, often stemming from road traffic accidents.

‘There have been some really tricky cases and honestly, it’s so hard to single one out as we spend a lot of our time seeing things that will never leave our memory. It’s what spurs us on in a way, though.’

One of the biggest struggles the charity faces is the difference in culture.

‘It’s very different to the UK,’ explains Janey.

‘It’s not wrong – it really annoys me when Westerners flounce in here and say everything is wrong and everything we do in the West is right. That’s not true at all.

‘It’s just different. And that does cause problems for us sometimes. There’s a lot of things I’ve seen here where I’ve gone, “Oh! Why do we overcomplicate that in the West?” So, it’s not wrong, it’s just different.

‘The approach to animals and the attitude towards animals are different.’

The team also faces issues being largely female.

‘The fact that we’re females, that we’re Western females, that we’re young females – that can cause problems,’ reveals Janey.

‘There are also some difficulties with political aspects of being here in Sri Lanka. So it tends to be all the red tape that winds you up. And that shouldn’t be our biggest issue.

‘Dealing with the most horrific states of animals I’ve ever seen, daily – that should be our biggest struggle.

‘We’re experts in being vets but we’re not experts in dealing with logistics and bureaucracy, so they’re the things that take a lot of commitment to overcome.

‘We’d do anything for an animal – we’d stay up all night for an animal as often as we needed to, but unfortunately, we also have to commit to going to the same government office six times to get one signature from one person.

‘That really grinds you down, but it’s the way it is here and it’s all part of the charm of this paradise island- everything runs on ‘Sri Lanka time’.’

A Sri Lankan street dog sleeping at the side of the road
It’s easy to see why street dogs are involved in road traffic accidents (Picture: WECare Worldwide)

WECare is also hard at work on another cultural difference – the attitude towards street dogs.

‘People grow up being told that street dogs will give them rabies and that every dog is diseased,’ explains Janey.

‘So kids are very much warned against touching dogs and they’ll scream if one comes near them, which is quite difficult when the dogs are everywhere and roaming the streets.

‘It’s easy to say, “Those stupid kids, those stupid parents”, but if you were a parent and you’d been told that if your child touched a dog they’d get rabies, you’d do anything to keep them away from your child.

‘So, we have an education programme where we go into schools and talk to the younger generations about general animal welfare and community dog care.

‘The risks are extremely low in terms of catching anything at all from just touching a friendly street dog (and most of them are super friendly!).

‘It’s about educating and telling them what to do if they get bitten, how to avoid getting bitten, how to approach dogs kindly – even how to put water down for them, because often pet dogs down here won’t have a water bowl.’

However, it’s not all bad. When asked to pick the best part of her job, Janey struggles.

‘Oh man, there’s so many!’ she says.

‘The dogs are amazing – being able to help them and just see the relief in their eyes is incredible.

‘When you go pick up a street dog they might give you the run around for a little while, but as soon as you get your hands on them, scoop them up, and get them in the tuk tuk, you can just feel their whole body relax.

‘It’s like they know you’re there to help them, and it sounds so corny but honestly, when you feel it, you know. When you look in their eyes, they know you’re there to help them survive. It’s amazing.

I feel like it is what I was put on this earth to do – something always felt missing when I was working as a vet in the UK, but being in Sri Lanka makes you remember why you became a vet in the first place, to help as many animals in need as possible.

‘And man, are some of these animals in need.’

Sri Lankan street dogs chilling on the beach
Street dogs chilling on the beach (Picture: WECare Worldwide)

‘Sometimes people in the UK say to us, “Why should we give money to dogs in Sri Lanka?” but in my eyes, we’re one world,’ says Janey.

‘This dog in need could be from London, it could be from Timbuktu – it’s still a dog in desperate need of a helping hand.

‘We’re extremely lucky in the UK where we have tens of thousands of animal charities and honestly, the diseases and injuries I’ve seen in Sri Lanka are one hundred times worse than the worst thing I’ve seen in UK.

‘These dogs are in desperate need. As a nation of animal lovers, it would be cool for us to stand up and say, “Our dogs are pretty lucky but there are other animals suffering around the world and we’re going to do something to help them”.’

UK vet Janey Lowes, who set up street dog charity WECare Worldwide in Sri Lanka, and Bella
Janey and pooch Bella (Picture: WECare Worldwide)

So, what’s the best way for people to get involved and help WECare?

‘At the minute, the best way people can help is to donate money, as we still need another £40,000 to be the best equipped veterinary hospital for street dogs on the island,’ explains Janey.

‘This will allow us to treat to the best of our ability and provide ICU, diagnostic, inpatient and rehabilation facilities to dogs who have no owners to look out for them.

‘Sri Lanka has fast become a trendy tourist destination, so this is a way for animal-loving holidaymakers who are looking for a way to give something back.

‘Any donation, big or small, we’d be so, so grateful.’

What’s Janey’s ultimate vision for WECare?

‘Worldwide domination!’ she reveals, excitedly.

‘I feel that a) there should be a worldwide veterinary standard and b) I don’t think any animal in need should go without veterinary care, whether they’re a street dog in Nigeria or a pet dog in New York.

‘Ultimately, we want to branch out worldwide, but we currently have our work cut out here in Sri Lanka, so maybe we’re dreaming a little too hard at this stage, but we hope to get there one day.’

You can donate here, find out more about volunteering your skills on the WECare website, and follow WECare on Instagram.

What to do if you see a sick or injured street dog while on holiday in Sri Lanka

If you’re not in an area that WECare covers, it can advise on cases nationwide, whether that means referring you to the nearest available professional help or giving you advice on how you can help yourself.

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Real Madrid’s new kit has been made entirely from bits of ocean plastic

(Picture: Adidas)

Adidas has really lead the charge for environmentally sustainable clothing, thanks to its partnership with Parley for the Oceans.

Together, they’ve created amazingly successful trainers made from ocean plastic, as well as yoga kits.

And now, Real Madrid has just released its third kit for 2018-2019 from Adidas, the material of which is made from Parley Ocean Plastic.

The Champion League winners’ coral pink alternative strip was officially launched in New York yesterday as part of Madrid’s pre-season tour of the states.

Each jersey’s collar carries a strip reading ‘For The Oceans’.

(Picture: Adidas)

Karim Benzema, Lucas Vasque, Nacho Fernandez and Marcelo have all been part of the modelling campaign for the new strip, which is set to be worn for the first time in tonight’s friendly against AS Roma.

Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, says that it’s incredibly important to have such a major club fronting their initiative.

(Picture: Adidas)

‘Real Madrid has the power to amplify our message, to share it with their massive global following and to bring it to life with their own decisions and actions,’ he explains.

‘The message is an urgent one. It addresses the survival of four oceans, of four own species. It addresses the massive problem of marine plastic pollution. It questions the material itself and defines plastic as a prime example of a toxic substance which we can’t afford anymore.’

They’re being sold at the club’s official store for £64.95 and £49.95 (kids).

(Picture: Adidas)

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Step away from the taupe! Why colour is the simplest way to revamp your home 


Life should be all about using every crayon in the box.

But when it comes to being bold and beautiful with our home decor, some of us are stuck using the same two colours.

So B&Q have asked interior influencer and colour expert Melanie Lissack to show us how we can be bright sparks about revamping our beloved home with one simple step: adding striking shades.

Vector colorful rainbow arch with dripping paint; Shutterstock ID 1040941201; Purchase Order: -

What are the key colour trends for 2019? 

Just like we follow the runway trends every year, our interiors also go through sartorial shifts.

2019 is the year where you step away from the taupe and indulge in ice cream colours – think blush pink pastels and lovely lilacs on the walls – and soft furnishings in deep blues and bright Seventies’ style oranges.

Gold and copper home accessories are also going to be huge, so snap up yours early to ensure your home has the Midas’ touch. Try these retro Gold Effect Pineapple Resin Book Ends (£15 at B&Q) to add a kooky elegance to your living room.


How to choose your colour palette?

Interior influencer and colour expert Melanie Lissack has teamed up with B&Q to help you add colour to your home

Now minimalists may be shaking in their chic boots about the prospect of painting their entire house in gaudy hues but fear not, Melanie insists adding colour should follow your own personal tastes, rather than trying to shoe-horn in trends.

She says: ‘Think about the colours you love. When you go shopping for clothes, what colours are you drawn to and what colours do you wear?

‘With B&Q’s amazing Valspar paint and the colour matching service*, you can take in an example of a colour you adore – from a blush pink flower in your garden to your favourite lilac jumper – and they’ll turn it into something you can put on the walls while you wait in-store!’


How bright is TOO bright?

Now you’re on the colour train, can you ever go too far?

Melanie insists less isn’t always more when it comes to revamping your house with colour – as long as you stick to the ‘three shade rule’.

She adds: ‘I think when decorating a room you should always stick to a colour palette of no more than two or three colours. If you add too many different colours it can look a bit chaotic. If you’re going to re-paint the whole room, go for Dulux 5l Standard Coloured emulsion (£20 at B&Q) in your favourite shade.

‘Also, if you’re feeling brave why not go for some colour clashing!  It has a very punk aesthetic and one of the best rooms I’ve seen on Instagram had all the door frames painted in hot pink neon with navy blue sofas!’

‘Or you could add certain colourful aspects in a more relaxing way – like in the bedroom. Look to adding a plant like a large fiddle leaf fig in the corner to give that splash of green, or go for a jungle theme with a Tropical Parrot Floral Birds Metallic Effect Wallpaper (£16 a roll at B&Q).

‘Also look at what you put into the room – create interest with items that are well designed such a light fittings. Follow the copper and brass trend by adding a chic metal light fitting. I love the Colours Tezz Copper Light Shade (£20 at B&Q).’

How can I brighten up my home without spending a fortune?

Now you know how to choose your colour palette, you may be a little apprehensive about spending a bomb on a new look for your living room and bedroom – and then hating it!

But a few bright touches here and there are the perfect way of spicing things up without your wallet – or your vision – taking a hit.

Melanie suggests using rugs and cushions to add interest to a room

Melanie says: ‘Textiles are a great, inexpensive way of subtly adding colour to your living room. A selection of cushions, like the Kelim Geometric Blue and Pink cushion (£10 at B&Q) and the Giraffe White Cushion (£10 at B&Q), are perfect for adding interest. Rugs are also cheaper, non-committal items that can be swapped out easily.

‘You can also get large art prints online, like the Giraffe & Elephant Beige Canvas Print (£8 at B&Q), and frame them with with budget frames sold on the high street. A room might be painted white, but will appear really colourful and vivacious with the right bold and bright accessories.’

*Valspar Colour Matching service – B&Q can match any item they scan. Items that are shiny for example can’t be scanned as they don’t provide a solid enough colour to match or if the item is smaller than 1 inch sq.

For everything you need to know about revamping your home with colour and the hottest trends, head to your local B&Q or visit diy.com. Try the click and collect service to get a headstart on your bright new home. 



The Halal Food Festival is coming back to London

(Picture: London Halal Food Festival)

In case you’re not aware, halal food is meat that has been killed according to Islamic law, and also includes non-alcoholic drinks and grub.

Muslims around the UK gathered last year for the annual Halal Food Festival and now it’s back.

This weekend, 11-12 August, will most likely replicate the 18,000-strong visitors of last year who came to get their hands on some of the delicious delicacies.

So what can you expect on this fun-filled, food galore?

(Picture: London Halal Food Festival)

If you head down to East London’s Tobacco Dock, you could be chomping down on Szcechuan-chicken lollipops, barbecued beef mingled with Caribbean jerk chicken, Indian masala chips, and wash it all down with a nojito (that’s non-alcoholic mojitos).

Of course, what’s a festival without an eating contest? The Halal Food fest is no exception – you can sign up for an eat-off, if you can stomach it.

Last year the warehouse decorated a balcony for guests to enjoy a view of the entertainment area which housed an ornately decorated shisha lounge and Qawwali music stage.

(Picture: London Halal Food Festival)

And you can’t forget the dessert. Guests were able to sample candied treats, including macarons,  churros, and freakshakes – all gelatin-free, of course.

You can also expect to buy headscarves or get your henna done by professionals.

You might even spot a celebrity or two. Last year MasterChef winners Saliha Mahmood Ahmed and Shelina Permaloo carried out live cooking demonstrations.

Popular YouTuber Dina Tokio also headed down with her husband Sid.

(Picture: London Halal Food Festival)

Some fun stats from last year

Over 10,000 oranges were squeezed for Penny Appeal
Over 300 kilos of chicken were sold by one stall holder
All churros sold, put together, reach a combined length equivalent to five Big Bens in

Festival founder Waleed Jahangir told Metro.co.uk he wants the festival to become an all-encompassing foodie event on everyone’s calendars, no matter their ethnicity.

He said: ‘I created the festival with a view to it becoming a platform where communities and cultures could come together by simply using food as a vehicle.’

If you fancy heading along, you can buy a ticket through the London Halal Food Festival’s website.

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The ’68’ sex position is like 69-ing but less fun for one person

**ILLUSTRATION REQUEST** Reasons why I don’t like receiving oral sex (Almara Abgarian)
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

It might feel like there are only so many sex positions left to try, but there’s always a new thing you can attempt.

You might be familiar with the 69 – wherein you and your partner give each other oral sex at the same time – so say hello to its lesser cousin, the 68.

Don’t get bogged down with the specific number though (the position doesn’t actually look like the number, like the good old 69).

It takes its name as it is a variation of the position, but instead of lying stomach to stomach, one person lies on their back, on top of the other, head to genital obviously.

It gives the person on top maximum pleasure as they can expect to get sucked off by their generous partner below.

Enjoy this NSFW diagram (Picture: Pinterest)

If a woman is a receiver it might mean the giver has to prop their head up to ensure maximum coverage.

For the man it’s one spectacular blowjob experience as it stimulates the neglected testicles and anus, allowing the giver to go to town.

The setup has been praised online but some have their worries.

If the giver is a woman, it might be difficult to be under the weight of a man.

Sex toy website Kinkly says you can stop this from happening: ‘To avoid crushing their partner, the person on top of the 68 position should try to support as much of their body weight as they can by resting on their elbows and forearms.’


Everyone’s favourite colloquialism explainer, Urban Dictionary, has another definition of the position. It describes a ’68er’ as: ‘A person – typically a man – who wishes to receive oral sex so he tells the female he will perform the act on her as well, in order to convince her.

‘Once she has given him oral sex he declines to give her oral sex, and either proceeds to regular intercourse or says, “I owe you one”.’

‘In this case, since one partner got an “I owe you one” it is 69 minus 1, or 68.’

You learn something new every day.

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Attention, chocolate lovers: A giant Jaffa Cake cheesecake exists

(Picture: Tesco)

Chocolate lovers, can I have your attention please. Tesco is selling a giant Jaffa Cake cheesecake and it looks absolutely incredible.

Oh, and it only costs a quid.

The cake is made up of baked orange filling on a sponge base, with a rich chocolate topping, like a giant Jaffa Cake but with orange flavoured cream cheese mousse instead of the jelly filling.

(Picture: Tesco)

It’s supposed to serve six people but come on, nobody wants to share a giant Jaffa Cake.

And anyway – who’s sharing when they only cost £1 each?

As mentioned above, the cheesecake is currently available in Tesco. It usually costs £2 but it’s on offer until 27 August.

So, you have exactly 19 days to stock up on as many as possible.

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The smartphone is killing off traditional phrasebooks

(Picture: Getty, DK)

Why would you buy a phase book when you can Google any translation you need?

According to a survey by the British Council, over 60% of 16-34 year olds have used their smartphones and apps like Google Translate to find out what phrases mean when abroad, while only 39% have used a traditional phrasebook.

The study looked at 2,000 adults in the UK, as part of the British Council’s work around language, education and culture.

Younger people are certainly eschewing the phrasebook, which used to be a staple travel essential when visiting a new country, in favour of looking things up on their phones.

If you don’t get data roaming charges for using 4G when you’re abroad or you’re connected to wifi, it’s cheaper to Google than it is to buy a phrasebook that might not have the exact phrases you need anyway.

Using a smartphone means that you can search for the specific word or sentence you want to use, and you can hear how to pronounce it.

However, it’s not fail-safe strategy.

There are plenty of inaccurate translations online, and more than one in five people surveyed said they’d experienced awkward communication problems after using incorrect phrases found through their phones.

Although 73% of respondents said they thought it was important to learn a few key phrases before going on holiday, 65% also said they mostly rely on locals being able to speak English when they go abroad.

Fulfilling the ignorant Brits abroad stereotype, 21% didn’t learn a single foreign phrase before their most recent jaunt overseas including basic terms like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

Come on, guys.

Missing out on authentic cuisine favoured by locals, 29% said that they wouldn’t go to a restaurant abroad if the menu wasn’t in English.

We’re guessing that these aren’t the same respondents who use their phones to look up phrases, because it’s so easy to sit down and Google specific menu items.

31% of people said they could hold a basic conversation in another language, while 14% can speak a foreign language fluently, or to a high standard.

It’s good to know that learning to say ‘My favourite hobby is playing football’ in every single school French lesson was time well spent.

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Dad writes a hilariously honest advert to sell the family van on Craigslist

Family car advert
(Picture: Craigslist)

A dad from Texas has posted the most hilarious ad on Craigslist in a bid to sell his van.

Instead of trying to big up the worn out van, the man gave a frank and honest account of his time driving it – and we can’t stop laughing at it.

The dad was selling his 2005 Ford E350 XL Extended 15 passenger van, which apparently has a missing speaker due to his kids having thrown random items in the speaker hole for years – which could include ‘very special treasures or really old chicken nuggets’.

He also wrote that the van has a ‘yellow scuff mark on it’.

He said: ‘That’s courtesy of me and a battle with a yellow concrete parking divider (I did not win). The other side of the van has a matching white scuff mark. That one is courtesy of my wife. She completes me.

‘In related news, you know how most cars these days come equipped with a fancy backup cameras? This one does not.’

METRO GRAB Father of nine, from Amarillo, Texas, sells 2005 Ford E350 XL Extended 15 passenger van with very honest and candid description on Craigslist
(Picture: Craigslist)

The seller explained that he and his wife had been using the van for a decade.

He continued: ‘We’re a lovely couple, but we sometimes inadvertently back into inanimate objects.

‘Also, we’ve been forced to take defensive driving class a few more times than the average American. That said, there are a number of other minor scratches, dents, and places where the paint is chipped on this vehicle.

‘When you open the side doors, the rubber door liner is detached in some places. It still does its job, but it looks stupid.’

He added that the van came equipped with automatic door locks, but that they no longer work.

He said: ‘Somehow, something got reversed and the locking motor ran without ceasing until the button was pressed and held down.

METRO GRAB Father of nine, from Amarillo, Texas, sells 2005 Ford E350 XL Extended 15 passenger van with very honest and candid description on Craigslist
(Picture: Craigslist)

‘Rather than taking the van to a repair shop like a normal person, I duct taped the button down to keep the motor from running.

‘At some point the duct tape failed and the motor ran until it eventually burned up or something.

‘Anyhow, the automatic door locks don’t work. Each door must be locked and unlocked manually. Duct tape is not included.’

The man then went on to discuss the family mishaps the van had experienced – including every one of his children (they’re a family of eleven) having thrown up in the van at some point.

He said: ‘We have had the van detailed a couple times since then (shout out to Xtreme Auto Re-Styling Center for tackling a level of depravity unrivaled in the world of passenger transport).

METRO GRAB Father of nine, from Amarillo, Texas, sells 2005 Ford E350 XL Extended 15 passenger van with very honest and candid description on Craigslist
(Picture: Craigslist)

‘The van is clean now; but, it will probably always be inhabited by the ghost of vomit past.’

The one great thing about the van? The automatic windows work. But the air conditioner does not. Also, the window is cracked and there’s a 20″ TV mounted to the ceiling. Which is apparently ‘a handy feature as it helps distract kids from the intermittent air conditioning and smell of decaying chicken nuggets.’

The dad continued: ‘I don’t think that the front speakers work. Actually, just assume that they don’t. Better yet, if you’re wondering if some particular part of the van works, just assume it doesn’t work in the way that Ford originally intended it to work.

‘I looked the van up on Kelley Blue Book. $4,396. Unfortunately, Kelley Blue Book only allows me to choose between the following conditions: excellent, very good, good, and fair. I chose “fair” since “sad” was not an option. I’ve adjusted my asking price accordingly.’

After posting the ad, the man added a hilarious FAQ at the bottom to save himself some time answering any of the questions – and to get rid of the van ASAP.

METRO GRAB Father of nine, from Amarillo, Texas, sells 2005 Ford E350 XL Extended 15 passenger van with very honest and candid description on Craigslist
(Picture: Craigslist)

It read: ‘FAQ

‘Q: “Have you performed all proper maintenance and religiously changed the oil every 3,000 miles?”

‘A: [laughter] No. No, I have not.

‘Q: “Are those 143,000 miles mostly highway miles?”

‘A: Well, a lot of them are. However, we’ve been using this van as our farm van for the past year or so. Also, in efforts to find quicker routes, I’ve been known to disobey Siri’s directions. These “shortcuts” have sometimes taken us on exotic, off-road adventures. I’m pretty sure those miles cancel out all of the so-called “highway miles.”

‘Q: “Is the registration current?”

‘A: Yes! It should be noted, however, that first 3 letters of the current license plate are FRT. We have five boys under the age of 12 in our house. This is a very unfortunate combination.

METRO GRAB Father of nine, from Amarillo, Texas, sells 2005 Ford E350 XL Extended 15 passenger van with very honest and candid description on Craigslist
(Picture: Craigslist)

‘Q: “How are the tires and the brakes?”

‘A: They seem to be ok; but, as with everything else, I recommend getting them checked out. I did buy the tires at Discount Tire, so there’s a warranty with them.’

Despite the van being a total shambles, the dad’s advertisement was a huge success.

Surprisingly to him, the van actually sold – and so now, he’s said goodbye to vomit haunted van, made a bit of money, and has become a viral comedic success in the process.

MORE: Mum’s cake for daughter’s first birthday looks a bit naughty

MORE: Mum has to bathe her baby in bleach every other day to stop her scaly skin getting infected

People are deeply confused by this shimmering bikini dress

(Picture: PrettyLittleThing)

People are cringing at a green metallic PrettyLittleThing dress that the brand shared on its Instagram a week ago.

The Green Metallic Asymmetric Ring Detail Bodycon Dress is confusing to say the least.

It’s essentially a dress – but also a bikini.

But it’s a bit too dressy to wear to the beach, and it might be, well, not dressy enough to wear out on the town.

FROCKY HORROR SHOW Is this the strangest dress ever? PrettyLittleThing bikini dress hits the shelves ? and people can?t stop laughing at it picture; prettylittlething METROGRAB https://www.prettylittlething.com/green-metallic-asymmetric-ring-detail-bodycon-dress.html?awc=5577_1533633191_b30ec57a5d91ac3ff1ea6b5dd5e2e8db&utm_source=Affiliates&utm_campaign=Skimlinks&utm_medium=awin
(Picture: PrettyLittleThing)

The dress is selling for £22 on PLT’s website – and surprisingly, it actually looks to be selling out with only sizes 10 and 12 left.

The fashion retailer has described it as a ‘killer bodycon dress’. It features a green metallic fabric with an asymmetric design, ring detailing and a bralet style design, and it’s said to look great with high heels (or sandals, you know, if you’re going to the beach).

Though it may be selling out on the website, people on Instagram aren’t so sure about it.

One person wrote: ‘Shes going to dinner, clubbing and swimming all at once’.

Another said: ‘This dress is so unflattering even on this beautiful model. Not cute at all.’

Someone else wrote: ‘This is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen’.

Instagram Photo

Other people have been tagging their friends just to show them the dress – though we’ve got to admit, Leslie Sidora, the model wearing the dress in the photo, is rocking it.

But then again she could wear literally anything and still look like a goddess.

What next, a beach towel midi skirt?

MORE: A French Bulldog cafe is coming to London

MORE: Are skinny eyebrows coming back?

How to trim your cat’s claws safely

(Picture: Loukas Loukopoulos / EyeEm)

This is how you give a kitty manicure.

Cats usually don’t like their paws being touched (try holding your cat’s hand and see how swiftly and firmly they pull their little paw away), so it can be a bit of a struggle when you decide that it’s time to trim their claws.

If possible, you should start getting your feline used to having a regular nail trim as a kitten. Of course, this isn’t possible for every cat owner, but the earlier cats receive stress-free claw clippings, the more easily they will accept the process.

To prevent your cat’s claws becoming so long that they shred furniture and mark wood floors (and snag on your favourite jumper twenty times a day), regular clips are necessary.

Nail care is also beneficial for your pet, as the sharp tips of overly long claws can become stuck in carpets or other surfaces, leading to the claw breaking and becoming sore.

Indoor cats need more nail trims than outdoor felines, simply because outdoor cats are wearing their claws down on fences, tree bark and pavements.

The clippers you use should be for cats (NOT dogs – they need a different sort of tool) and good quality.

You can absolutely give your cat a claw trim at home, and here’s how to do it safely and efficiently.

1. Get comfy

Pick up your feline overlord and transport them to a chair in a quiet room. Try to pick a time when they are relaxed, sleep and well-fed. Straight after a meal is a good time to bring out the claw clippers.

Make sure there aren’t any other pets around, and your cat can’t be distracted by the view from the window. The last thing you want is them leaping out of your arms if they spy a tasty bird.

2. Time for a paw massage

Gently stroke your cat’s paw pads to show them that having their paws touched isn’t scary and doesn’t hurt. Massage the paw for three seconds or so.

If your cat pulls away, allow them to do so. Don’t trap their paw or squeeze it.

Close up of a purebred blue British Short hair cat's paw on the edge of a sofa, revealing her padded bits and claws in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
Those paddy paws. (Picture: Carlos G. Lopez)

When they’re calm again, gently take the paw and press it so that the claw comes out, then release it. Reward your kitty with a treat.

3. Getting to know the clippers

Your cat should be comfortable with the smell and presence of the clippers you’re going use on their nails. Let them sniff the clippers, bring them close to your cat’s paws, and finish by dispensing another treat.

4. Avoid the quick

Within a cat’s nail, there’s a pink part higher up called the ‘quick’. It contains all the nerves and blood vessels, meaning that if you cut into it, it will be painful for your kitty and will bleed.

You should never cut this part – just stick to clipping the white part of the claw and removing the sharp tip.

It’s easy to see where the quick starts, but if you do cut into it by accident, you can stop the bleeding fairly quickly with a styptic powder or stick.

5. Don’t try to do all the claws at once

Hold your cat in your lap, ideally facing away from you. You can wrap them in a towel or blanket if they’re wriggly.

Take one of their little paws, massage it and gently press the pad so that the nail extends. Clip the sharp end of one nail, let go and distract your kitty with a treat.

If they haven’t really noticed that you’ve done the unthinkable and trimmed one of their precious claws, go back in and do another one.

Veterinary cutting nails of a cat
Your vet or groomer will be happy to trim your cat’s claws if you don’t feel able to do it at home. (Picture: Getty Images/Westend61)

Stop when your cat starts to notice and seems uncomfortable.

Unless your cat is super relaxed, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do them all in one go. Don’t force the issue – you might have to finish the task over a number of days.

6. Don’t shout at or punish your cat

It’s perfectly natural for your cat not to enjoy a manicure. If they’re struggling or trying to get away, let them. They’re not comfortable enough to have a trim right now.

Raising your voice or punishing a pet will only make them frightened of you.

7. Cats should never be declawed.

It’s cruel, painful and unnecessary.

Declawing a cat is a permanent, crippling procedure that’s like cutting a human’s fingers to the first knuckle. Claws are an important and natural feature of cats, and their first line of defence.

It’s recommended that you give your cat a manicure every two to four weeks.

If you don’t feel comfortable or able to do it at home, a vet or a groomer will be able to help.

MORE: ‘Mewdels’ own the catwalk in a feline fashion show

MORE: Do cats sweat?

How to tell if your cat loves you

(Picture: Getty)

So your cat ignores you when you call their name. They scratch up your furniture. They turn up their nose at cheap food.

But does that make them love you any less? No, of course not.

However, if you’re really unsure as to whether you really are your feline’s favourite human in the world, there are a few ways to tell.

According to Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, Nicky Trevorrow, your cat will purr if they’re feeling happy. It means they’re happy in your presence and they trust you.

They’ll also ‘chirrup’ at you.

Nicky said: ‘A particular type of meow called a chirrup is one way your cat tries to show you affection as a greeting. The more they chirrup, the more you know they love you.’

Indoor Cat On Back, Cat Looking At Camera. Pets no people.
(Picture: Getty)

If your cat wants to be with you a lot of the time, that’s a sure sign they love you. This could be by sleeping on your bed or joining you in your bathroom. If your cat wants to be close to you, that’s a good sign.

This is also the same for if they get in your personal space.

Nicky tells Metro.co.uk: ‘If your cat likes to rub its cheeks or head on you it is actually covering you in its pheromones to let other cats know you belong to it. This is called bunting.

‘When a cat curls up with you, it may start kneading your leg. This means they are enjoying your affection. Licking you or nibbling your clothing is also a sign of love.’

Oh, and you know people seem to think if your cat brings you a dead bird it’s a ‘gift’ for you? Yeah, that’s wrong. But it is still a nice thing. According to Nicky, what they’re actually doing is bringing it home where they feel secure – so it’s a sign that they feel safe with you.

Finally, there’s a few physical things that indicate your cat’s your biggest fan. This includes rolling onto their back, blinking slowly at you and greeting you with their tail up.

7 week old kitten lying down on hardwood floors
(Picture: Getty)

Nicky said: ‘If your cat stretches out in front of you or flashes their tummy, it shows that they trust you enough to let their guard down. However do be careful not to abuse their trust by touching their tummy as it’s their most vulnerable area – it’s equivalent to you being inappropriately touched.

‘If your feline looks at you and slowly blinks, they’re letting you know that they love and trust you. If you blink back, they can tell that you feel the same way.

‘When your cat comes towards you with a curve at the tip of its tail, it means they’re pleased to see you and are glad you’re home. It’s nice to greet them back with a head rub. That’s a gentle, cat-friendly way of saying hello back.’

So, if your cat does all of these things – or even just a few – stop worrying whether they like you or not.

They absolutely adore you.

MORE: Owning a pet really does increase your chances of being happy and successful

MORE: ‘Mewdels’ own the catwalk in a feline fashion show

Does your cat know their name?


If you’re a cat owner, you’ll probably aware that your precious feline floof doesn’t really do anything they don’t want to do.

Cats are independent, fickle and willful creatures, and humans have lived with them (as their loyal servants, obviously) for the last 10,000 years.

They’re beholden to no one, and will usually submit to human attention only as long as it suits them.

Since cats can be so aloof, it’s tricky to be sure whether they don’t know their names, or do know them but choose not to acknowledge it when you call them.

It’s obvious that dogs recognise their names because they respond with such enthusiasm, but do cats know what they’re called?

Cat behaviour expert Anita Kelsey says that cats don’t know their names as such, but they do respond to tone and repetition.

She told Metro.co.uk: ‘Cats won’t know what a word means but they act on repetition and the consequences of the word. They can also recognise a specific tone of voice.

‘So, for example, you could say ‘din dins’ which results in food coming and after that, they’ll know that the phrase means that food is on the cards.

‘It’s the same with names. People call their cats using a different tone and they recognise the tone and sound meaning that attention from their human is going to follow.

‘The repetitiveness of a name can result in a cat responding, simply because they’ve been conditioned to expect attention from their owner afterwards.

‘It’s the tone, the sound of the word, repetitive usage and what comes after that a cat responds to, rather than the name itself.’

Cats respond more to tone, reward and repetition than words themselves. (Picture: gerdtromm/Getty)

A 2013 study from the University of Tokyo found that pet felines are perfectly capable of recognising their owner’s voice but largely choose to ignore it.

The study tested 20 house cats with recordings of four strangers and their owner calling their names, and noted a greater response (ear, tail and head movement, pupil dilation, shifting paws) to the call when it was from their owner rather than an unknown volunteer.

None of the recordings made the cats get up or come when called.

Cats are less willing to respond to being called than dogs, who are often incredibly eager to answer to their names.

This is due to their evolutionary biology. Unlike dogs, cats aren’t pack animals. They are solitary hunters and they don’t need a social or family group to survive.

As such, they won’t respect their owner as pack leader in the way a dog will.

Cats are very much their own masters.

Also, the disdainful tail flick or ear twitch when they hear their name but don’t deign to get up or come hither looks very much like they disapprove of what you’ve called them.

After all, the ancestors of house cats were considered sacred by the Egyptians and immortalised in stone statues.

Maybe the modern feline expects a bit more worshipping before they decide to answer to their names.

MORE: Do cats sweat?

MORE: A cat survived nine days and an 80 mile drive stuck in a car’s engine compartment

The burden of care is in danger of falling on women if enough support isn’t given to all carers

(Picture: Getty Images)

‘If we fail to meet social care needs adequately we are likely to see a decrease in labour market participation levels, especially among women, as greater numbers undertake informal care’.

That was the warning from the Department of Health and Social Care this week, as part of the evidence it provided the committee advising on immigration rules post Brexit.

Unless we can secure the future of our care workforce, more of us, and in particular more women, will end up giving up paid jobs to meet the growing need for care.

There are already over 6.5 million of us supporting loved ones – from taking a seriously ill partner to hospital appointments, to helping a disabled brother or sister with washing and dressing, to caring full time for an elderly parent.

A combination of longer – but not always healthier – lives, and huge pressures on social care and NHS funding, has seen more people struggle to get the care they need. As a result, the amount of unpaid care provided by family and friends has grown as we step in to fill the gap.

Like bringing up children, caring for older relatives is often seen as something more often done by women than men.

It isn’t that men don’t provide care – 42% of carers are men – but that they tend to care much later in life. 59% of carers aged 85 and over are male, typically caring for a partner.

Women are four times more likely to reduce their hours and twice as likely to leave work altogether than men.

In contrast, women are much more likely to care in middle age. One in four ‘baby-boomer’ women are now carers, compared to one in six men.

Women in particular are facing a collision of responsibilities – needing to work later in life for financial stability while picking up the care for older relatives and, in many cases, still providing support for children or young adults who haven’t flown the nest.

Women are four times more likely to reduce their hours and twice as likely to leave work altogether than men.

Caring is such an important part of life. It’s simply part of being human. Carers are holding families together, helping loved ones get the most out of life, making an enormous contribution to society and saving the economy billions of pounds.

Yet many are stretched to the limit, juggling care with work and family life, or even struggling with their own mental and physical health conditions.

The short and long-term financial costs of giving up work to care can be significant.

The main social security benefit for people caring at least 35 hours each week is just £64.60. Returning to paid work after time out to care is difficult, and so is building up anything more than basic pension rights.

This means that many leaving work to care in their middle years face a lengthy period of financial hardship and will struggle to meet the costs of their own care later in life.

And there’s a wider economic cost too, in lost tax and benefits payments. The London School of Economics has estimated this cost at around £2.9 billion a year.

For those who want to provide care alongside or instead of paid work, we need the right financial support and modern employment laws. It was disappointing that the Government recently failed to take forward the recommendations of a House of Commons Committee Inquiry on working carers.

The Committee’s Chair, Frank Field MP, was robust in his reaction, saying the Government’s response had ‘barely paid lip service to an issue that is central to the lives of millions of people.’

To ensure that everyone who wants to can work – both men and women – we must fund a social care system that provides affordable, reliable and good quality care, and create modern carer friendly workplaces fit for a new working age.

MORE: Fixing social care is crucial for the NHS to succeed – but it’s not going to come from a Brexit dividend

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MORE: Our healthcare system needs to change, LGBTQ people shouldn’t receive lesser care for being themselves

How to tell if your cat is sad

(Picture: Getty)

Did you know that cats can feel a bit down?

Well, they can, and there’s a few signs you should look out for to make sure your kitty is feeling cheery.

Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, Nicky Trevorrow, says that you should always be on the lookout for a sad cat.

She says that if your cat is no longer interested in watching the birds outside or sleeping more than usual, they’re not happy kittys.

She also says that becoming more withdrawn or hiding more than usual is a bad sign, alongside being less tolerant around people, being reluctant to go on your lap, the furniture or windowsills, or avoiding the litter tray are all bad signs.

If your cat is no longer playing, eating, drinking or is overeating, your cat might be depressed.

And finally, if they seem more anxious, aren’t sleeping properly, are pacing or acting restless, or if their coats become scruffy or matted, it’s obvious your cat needs help.

(Picture: Getty)

But don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to turn your cat’s frown upside down, and see them being their happy, playful selves again.

Nicky says: ‘Find out what’s causing the stress. Firstly take the cat to the vets to rule out medical reasons as many signs of stressed or sad cats are the same signs for cats with medical problems, such as being in pain. If the vet feels the underlying cause is behavioural, then see a qualified behaviourist from the Animal Behaviour and Training Council.

‘Give your cat plenty of resources, spaced out around the home. Cats don’t like to share, so one resource per cat plus one extra as a spare is best!

‘Give your cat plenty of spaces to hide and get up high to make them feel safe and secure. Cardboard boxes make fantastic hidey holes. The Cat Hide from the Feline Fort provides both a covered hideaway and a perch to view their surroundings.’

She advices ensuring your house is a ‘secure castle’ that cannot be invaded, by having a microchip or magnetic cat flap.

A ginger cat was sitting in his nest, showing a sad face.
(Picture: Getty)

Nicky continued: ‘Cats generally don’t need friends, so if your cat is sad, it is not a good idea to introduce another cat or kitten.

‘As creatures of habit, cats thrive on routine and predictability.

‘A pheromone diffuser, such as Feliway, can help the home to feel more familiar and reassuring to the cat.’

If your cat is over or under eating, Nicky says to introduce him or her to a ‘very simple feeding enrichment’ plan, whereby food is given in more fun and engaging ways.

For example, you could use a cardboard egg box to put part of your cat’s food in there, or get a toy that they have to play with to release treats.

Nicky added that it’s important you try to play with your cat – but do give them their quiet time when they need it.

She adds: ‘Give them multiple beds so that they can rotate their sleeping place, just like their wild ancestors do.

‘Move their food bowl away from their water bowl as they don’t like to eat and drink in the same place.

‘Allow the cat to choose when the want fuss and come to you on their terms.’

There are a lot of things you can do to help your cat. But, if you are really worried about them, do take them along to your vet to check there’s no underlying, sinister problem.

MORE: Owning a pet really does increase your chances of being happy and successful

MORE: When is it too hot to walk your dog?

These are the top names people are giving their cats and dogs in 2018

(Picture: Getty)

Choosing the perfect name for a pet is tough.

You might have the cutest name possible picked out – complete with a middle name and a double-barrelled surname – but if it doesn’t suit your cat or dog’s vibe, you’re back to the drawing board.

You want to choose something that sums up who your pet truly is, while giving them a cute name, while also making sure your pet’s title fits in with the rest of the family.

See? It’s tough.

Then there’s the added pressure of avoiding a name that’s too popular, so you don’t end up with three cats called Ruby on the same street.

Thankfully that’s something we’re capable of nailing, as John Lewis Pet Insurance has handily revealed the most popular cat and dog names people are giving their pets in 2018.

It’s simple: If you want your pet to have an unusual name, don’t choose any from these lists.

Top 10 dog names in 2018:

  • Poppy
  • Bella
  • Molly
  • Alfie
  • Charlie
  • Daisy
  • Rosie
  • Teddy
  • Lola
  • Millie

(Picture: Getty)

Top 10 cat names in 2018:

  • Bella
  • Tilly
  • Lola
  • Coco
  • Daisy
  • Poppy
  • Luna
  • Molly
  • Rosie
  • Phoebe

You’ll notice that most of the pet names are ones that’d work for humans, too, rather than more traditional pet names such as Fido or Socks.

Personally I’ll always be a fan of food names for cats and dogs (Cinnamon Roll, Dumpling, Sausage – all great names), but hey, go for whatever makes you and your pet happy.*

*I am available to name your pet if needed.

MORE: How to tell if your cat is sad

MORE: How to trim your cat’s claws safely

MORE: Does your cat know their name?

After six years in development, M&S launches Instagram-friendly watermelon radishes

(Picture: M&S)

In the latest bid to make food as Instagrammable as possible, M&S has launched a bright pink ‘watermelon’ radish.

The supermarket says that it’s been developing the ‘Instagram-friendly’ veg for six years (wow) with a grower in Sussex, and that the new variety is milder than the traditional red radish.

The insides are bright magenta and the white skin has a hint of green.

M&S is selling the new variety – a type of daikon radish originating from China – for £1.80 for two bunches, and it predicts that shoppers are going to go crazy it.

‘We love bringing exciting new produce to the high street and the watermelon radish is set to be the hit of the summer,’ David White, M&S’s salad buyer says.

(Picture: M&S)

‘We’re seeing an increase in popularity of our red radishes, so can’t wait for customers to try this alternative.

‘It’s really striking and great for adding to salads or stir-fries, or it can be sliced and pickled for a colourful condiment.’

Six years feels like quite a long time to work out how to make a vegetable brighter and more photogenic. And there’s also the question of why we feel the need to interfere in the colour or taste of natural produce – surely as adults we should be able to consume food without having to make it rainbow-bright, or less pungent in flavour.

But if Instagram genuinely gets more people eating more veg rather than simply snapping it, then that can only be a good thing.

MORE: Attention, chocolate lovers: A giant Jaffa Cake cheesecake exists

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Couples typically date for 4.9 years before they tie the knot

(Picutre: Getty)

Many of us are at a point in our lives when it feels like everyone’s getting engaged and hitched.

But while it might seem like our old school and uni mates are flying through the relationship milestones, new research suggests that actually, people are taking it way slower when it comes to life-long commitment.

Bridebook.co.uk recently polled 4,000 recently married couples to ask how long they’d been in a relationship before they tied the knot.

The average? 4.9 years.

According to its findings, the average couple dates for 17 months before moving in together, live together for 22 months before getting engages and then spends another 20 more months before getting married.

89% of couples these days live together before getting wed, typically spending 3.5 years doing so.

And all that co-habiting is probably partly responsible for pushing the age of first-time brides and grooms back. Back in 1971, men were 24.6-years-old and women 22.6 years when they got married; today, on average, they’re getting married at almost 31 and 33 respectively.

Before finding The One, most couples tend to have had two serious relationships each, and before finally going down on one knee, nearly 85% say they discuss marriage.

Interestingly, divorce rates are at their lowest level since 1971, so clearly all that hanging around is helping couples make choices they actually want to stick with.

MORE: These are the top names people are giving their cats and dogs in 2018

MORE: Does your cat know their name?


Cat who can’t stop crying needs a forever home

(Picture: Mayhew)

A one-year old cat called Igloo was brought into the Mayhew animal welfare charity as a stray after being found roaming the streets of north west London.

During a thorough health check by Mayhew’s vet team, they found that Igloo had dried eye discharge and mild conjunctivitis in both eyes.

Her eyes started improving with some topical treatment, but unfortunately Igloo’s eyes wouldn’t stop weeping, making her look like she was constantly crying.

Dr Emma Robinson, one of Mayhew’s vets, said: ‘We suspected that this may be due to a blockage of the tear ducts, meaning that the tears do not drain from the eye as they normally would. If the tear ducts are blocked, the tears are unable to drain away and end up running down the face.

‘Blockage can be due to abnormalities of the ducts from birth or due to damage from a virus. We were able to flush the left tear duct under anaesthetic, allowing drainage from that duct.

(Picture: Mayhew)

‘Unfortunately the right tear duct is permanently altered meaning that she will always have a mild discharge from the right eye.

‘This does not cause her discomfort, but just means the area around the eye needs to be cleaned and dried daily.’

Igloo will always be crying, but if she finds an owner who’s willing to take care of her eyes, she can have a happy, active life.

Mayhew’s Cat Welfare Coordinator Georgina Disney said: ‘After the member of the public found gorgeous and friendly Igloo, they immediately brought her to us.

‘Unfortunately Igloo was not microchipped, and sadly, no one came forward to collect her. We strongly advise all cat owners to have their animal microchipped to significantly increase their chances of being reunited should the unthinkable happen and their pet becomes lost or is stolen.

(Picture: Mayhew)

‘It’s also important to keep details up to date on the microchipping database and to notify the chip company if you change phone numbers, address or if your pet does go missing.’

Mayhew’s team of animal welfare officers and vets provide emergency care for hundreds of abandoned, neglected and abused animals every year, while also supporting and advising pet owners on how best to take care of their furry friends.

Igloo has now had her vaccinations and been neutered. She’s currently living with an experienced foster carer so she can enjoy a loving, safe environment before finding her forever home.

Igloo’s foster carer Tessa says that Igloo is playful and super friendly.

‘Igloo has been a joy to look after. She loves to play, scampering down the hallway to hide just out of sight, inviting me to follow for games with her ribbons, shoelaces and feathers.

‘She is the sweetest friend and her clear happiness when she is feeling loved is a wonderful thing to share.’

Igloo’s tears don’t mean that she’s an unhappy cat and they shouldn’t get in the way of her life.

If you think you could offer Igloo the loving home she needs, you can visit Mayhew’s website or call 020 8962 8000.

MORE: Does your cat know their name?

MORE: How to trim your cat’s claws safely

How low incomes hold us back from accessing support for mental health

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

On a regular morning, I will often find it hard to make it out of my front door without my hands trembling and my heart feeling like it’s about to take a leap out of my throat.

Like so many others who struggle with a mental health condition, the thought of getting out of bed or making it to the end of the day without suffering multiple panic attacks is overwhelming enough.

Throwing work into the equation feel impossible, but for many of us we’re not left with a choice of being able to take time off.

Petitions to change the laws on mental health in the workplace have become more prevalent, with campaigns such as Where’s Your Head At looking to create better options for those suffering from mental illness at work. They hope this will end the stigma surrounding taking time off for mental health issues. Despite these campaigns being vitally important, for some taking a day off work just isn’t an option.

A report by the Rowntree foundation revealed that more than 19 million people in the UK earn below what the government defines as a standard minimum income. Recent statistics from Gov UK also show that one in seven people in full-time work suffer from a mental health condition, yet 13% of British workers state they can’t afford to take time off of work.

If, like me, you find yourself worrying every month about whether you’ve earned enough to get rent covered and bills paid, you will recognise all too well the feeling of knowing you need to take time off work, but you just can’t afford to.

Recently I came across a tweet from one of my followers that described how he had waited for mental health care treatment on the NHS for over six months. In the end, he felt too desperate and decided to fork out a few thousand to pay for it privately.

My initial reaction was I was glad that he was finally able to access the help he needed, but as someone who’s still on the waiting list for CBT and have been for over 7 months, I couldn’t help thinking: ‘What am I supposed to do?’

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

I could never afford to pay for private treatment. Even if I did manage to get therapy through the NHS, I’d be worried about having to miss work to go to these appointments, which would cause me to lose more of my wage.

When we talk about changes to mental health in the workplace and the importance of being able to access mental health treatments, we’re all too often forgetting to recognise those who are working on minimum wages, are students, or are from families who live below the poverty line in the UK.

The costs of therapy, taking time off work for our health and even prescriptions for mental health medications are rarely taken into consideration when discussing such changes. A single prescription charge on the NHS stands at £8.80 and if you’re living with other physical health conditions and need regular prescriptions, the costs can quickly build.

There have been times when I had to choose between getting my asthma medication over my anxiety meds simply due to not being able to afford it all.

We know that there are often stories within the media showing links between living in poverty and suffering from a mental health condition, but they never seem to discuss that treatment options are miles apart for those who are top earners and those living below or on a minimum income.

Why should income impact the care and support a person suffering should receive?

I’m often asked why I don’t just apply for benefits. There’s a lingering argument of: ‘but you don’t look ill, so you must be fine’ or ‘but if you can make it in to work then surely there’s not a problem.’

This stigma stops so many people from accessing the help and support they need. You’re expected to be in a worse situation before you can have access to ways to get better, or be a financially stable enough to sort it it all out yourself.

With new changes being made to mental health laws across the UK, it’s vital that those living in poverty or on minimum income speak up about the issues they face when it comes to mental health in the workplace, and the costs of NHS treatments in general.

The more who speak out about the problems they are having to face on a daily basis, the more likely it will be that we can take action to make changes.

People from all backgrounds and on all incomes should be able to access help and support safely and securely when they need to.

If you’re affected by money issues or are struggling to balance bills and are living with a mental health condition, Mind have some helpful information online, with strategies to help you cope and contact information on charities and services that can help you get professional support and advice.

To talk about mental health in a private, judgement-free zone, join our Mentally Yours Facebook group.

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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Parents can now leave lunch notes for their visually impaired kids on Rice Krispie treats

(Picture: Kellogg’s)

Putting little notes in kids’ packed lunches is a small but important way of communicating with children.

Yes, it’s embarrassing but at least it teaches kids how show affection.

But for those children who are visually impaired, it’s harder to give them messages during the school day.

Which is why Kellogg’s is introducing an upgraded version of its Rice Krispies bars, to make it easier for parents to send their kids to school with a few words of love.

The existing bars already have a spot for parents to write a message to their kids, but the company has just launched a ‘Love Notes’ version of Rice Krispie Treats, which features Braille stickers that can be attached to the Rice Krispies Treats package, and an audio-enabled box that parents can use to record a different message for their kids every day.

Parents can leave lunch notes for their visually impaired kids on these accessible Rice Krispies treats Rice Krispies Published on 7 Aug 2018 SUBSCRIBE 18K Love is the most important school supply for every child, including Eme, a musically gifted 11-year-old who happens to be blind. That???s why Kellogg???s Rice Krispies Treats partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to create Braille stickers for children who are blind or low-vision like her. This video shows why there???s #SoMuchToLove???? about Eme, telling her story in her school and her home. Find out how love is now more accessible at ricekrispies.com/lovenotes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKZdT3VkHVI
(Picture: Becky Parkinson/Kellogg’s)

All parents have to do is visit the Rice Krispies website to order the stickers or audio devices for free.

‘Kellogg as a whole has a larger connection to this cause with W.K. Kellogg having lost his sight for the last decade of his life and continued to work at the company full-time for a number of years afterwards,’ says vice president of sales at Kellogg, Jessica Waller.

‘Inclusion is in our DNA, and is now shared through Rice Krispies Treats ‘Love Notes.’ Everyone is important, and we want each child to be able to feel loved, supported, and acknowledged.’

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