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9 amazing adventures to have in Costa Rica


Autumn has definitely arrived and winter is blasting its way quickly towards our shores.

If you’re looking at the forecast and seeing the temperature quickly fall with grey skies ahead, it’s time to start thinking about how to brighten things up.

Well, how about letting British Airways jet you off from London Gatwick to enjoy some winter sun in Costa Rica, where temperatures are mid-to-late twenties?

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach break, a foodie trip or something a bit more adventurous, this Central American country has it all.

There are many reasons why Costa Rica has been found to be the world’s happiest country, so here’s a selection of some of them for you to enjoy.

Climb a volcano

Arenal Volcano (picture: Getty)

There are many volcanoes throughout Costa Rica, but perhaps the most famous is Arenal. Some would consider it a travesty not to visit here when you go on holiday to Costa Rica.

It stands high above the surrounding countryside at 5,437ft tall and it symmetrical shape on the horizon makes it pleasing to look at. It was active until 2010 and nobody knows when it might erupt again.

In the meantime there are plenty of hiking routes all over the volcano and around its base for visitors to enjoy. There are guides that can take you to see the best views and point out some of the region’s flora and fauna.

Relax in a volcanic spring

After all that hiking you’ll probably want to relax a bit. Arenal Volcano’s geothermal activity means that there are numerous hot springs that you can take a dip in.

Some of them even have waterslides and bars that you can swim up to as well as hot and cold pools. Truly rejuvenating!

Be a cowboy for a day

(picture: Getty)

Yes, you can be a cowboy in Costa Rica. Several places offer the chance to saddle up your own horse ready for a day of riding through back roads, agricultural lands and rain forests.

There are guides who can tell you about the crops of the local area – usually coffee, banana and sugar – while you look out for a variety of animals on your route.

The great thing about seeing Costa Rica by horse is that you’re higher up so have a better view of everything around you.

On top of all that you don’t necessarily have to have riding experience. There are rides for absolute beginners as well so those for people with a bit more know-how.

Be a nature-spotter

Walking on hanging bridges in Cloudforest (picture: Getty)

Costa Rica has a ridiculous amount of nature roaming around. At the Rio Frio Wildlife Refuge you’re pretty much guaranteed to see iguanas, caimans, numerous species of monkeys and turtles.

Monteverde Cloud Forest reserve has 120 different species of reptiles amphibians along with 3,000 species of plants and 500 species of birds.

Then there’s the Cabo Blanco Nature reserve which is one of the most beautiful areas of the country. It has an impressive number of birds including brown pelicans, brown boobies, and laughing gulls as well as being a sanctuary for fish, lobster, giant conches and oysters.

Be a kayaker

(picture: Getty)

It’s often said that the best way to view a city is on its river. The same can be said about the countryside, with no cars or lorries obscuring your views.

There are more than 20 rivers waiting to be explored in Costa Rica and a great number of kayak tours on offer to help you on your way.

They range from whitewater kayaking down the Rio Savegre to the more gentle paddle through mangroves and channels at the Damas Island estuary in Manuel Antonio.

You can also kayak or paddle on Lake Arenal in the shadow of Arenal Volcano – the calm waters make this perfect for beginners.

Be a surfer

(Picture: Getty)

On one side you’ve got the Caribbean Sea and on the other you’ve got the Pacific Ocean so there’s no shortage of surf spots along Costa Rica’s 1,000-mile coastline.

Most notable is Playa Tamarindo which offers surfing for all skill levels from expert to absolute beginner.

There are natural wave banks pretty much everywhere you look creating surf that is either dramatic and rolling or nice and gentle for you to learn how to balance on your board.

Then there’s Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula where the town is just as chilled out as you would expect for a place popular with surfing.

There’s a surf camp, surf schools and plenty of shops to get kitted out.

Be a ‘little five’ spotter

(Picture: Getty)

Looking for the Big Five is something you do when you go on safari in Africa. So Costa Rica has its own ‘Little Five’ for you to look out for – and some you might not have heard of.

They are the jaguar, quetzal, sea turtles, harpy eagle and baird’s tapir.

Sightings of the jaguar, an endangered species, are so rare that even finding a paw print or hearing its distant roar (more like a cough than a lion’s roar) is considered to be incredibly lucky. The best places to see them are Parque Nacional Corcovado and Parque Nacional La Amistad.

The resplendent quetzal is a beautiful bird worshipped as a god by the Aztecs and Mayas found in some of the national parks.

Pictured clockwise: The resplendent quetzal, baird’s tapir, harpy eagle and a sea turtle (Picture: Getty)

Sea turtles thrive along the coast and can be found in most of the coastal national parks. Hawksbills and leatherbacks are around from February and March respectively so that’s the time late winter sun worshippers should visit.

The harpy eagle is considered one of the most powerful bird of prey on the planet. They’re relatively rare, but if you’re quiet and keep you eyes peeled you may spot one at the Parque Nacional La Amistad where there is a decent nesting population.

They might look like pigs, but Baird’s tapirs are actually more closely related to the rhino. They almost became extinct as a result of hunting and the loss of habitat. However, they are often seen at the Parque Nacional Corcovado, particularly around dusk at the Sirena ranger station.

Take a trip to San José

(picture: Getty)

Practically at the centre of the country it’s hard to avoid travelling around Costa Rica without ending up in San José at some point. Steeped in history there’s plenty to do including learning about the indigenous and Spanish influences.

There’s the Museo Nacional, National Theatre, a wealth of art galleries and the brand new museum, which houses one of the largest collections of jade in the world.

When it comes to eating out there are walking tours taking in the food, history and architecture of San José – there’s even a cultural and gastronomic tour of Carpe Market where you can take in and taste the 140-year history of the central market – a great place to sample some of the local tropical fruit.

With its indigenous origins and Spanish influences, Costa Rica is a fascinating cultural melting pot. In the capital San José in the Central Valley region, enjoy a history lesson at the Museo Nacional, take in opera at the opulent National Theatre, learn about emerging art trends at one of the art centres and discover traditional indigenous artwork at smaller, fair-trade galleries. Then finish your day of immense culture with some live local jazz, soul and vinyl-only DJs at a local café.

Rest and relaxation

(picture: Getty)

It doesn’t all have to be go, go, go. There are hundreds of beaches to chose from so if all you want to do is top up your tan, then that’s up to you.

The sea is warm all year round, there’s reef snorkelling at Cahuita National Park and if you’re into yoga and meditation there is Santa Rosa National Park.

British Airways operates all year round flights directly to San José, Costa Rica. To find out more and book today, visit ba.com/wintersun  

Win the holiday of a lifetime!

We’ve teamed up with British Airways to help you add a little colour to your winter with an incredible prize.

One lucky person could win a holiday for two in Costa Rica, with flights, transfers accommodation, tours and a whole host of activities included.

This seven-day adventure will include a journey of this Caribbean paradise, with visits to Arenal Volcano National Park, Rio Frio Wildlife Refuge and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, just to name a few of the destinations.

Plus, during your winter sun adventure, you’ll be treated to open boat tours, a stay in a four-star luxury hotel and much, much more.

Find out more and submit your entry at metro.co.uk/BAwintersun

Modern Etiquette: How do I handle my mate who won’t pay their way?

Modern etiquette period girls balance pillow sex education school Mmuffin for Metro.co.uk
(Picture: Monica Muffin for Metro.co.uk)

Welcome to Modern Etiquette, a brand new series where we ask the pressing questions of 2018.

If there’s one thing which is guaranteed to make a friendship awkward, it’s the thorny issue of money.

Every friendship group has someone who earns more and someone who earns less, which can cause tension about where you hang out (£6 a pint versus tinnies in the living room of a shared house).

Something which can turn a close friendship into a seething mass of resentment is when one person continuously neglects their financial responsibilities. Whether it’s never putting in cash for the sesh, or being backwards in buying a round, a friend who keeps their wallet closed is a tricky issue.

We spoke to David Baddeley at the Scottish Trust Deed, a debt management service, about whether it’s a big deal when a friend doesn’t pay their way.

He told Metro.co.uk: ‘As the wage gap between friends widens, assumptions can be made with regards to who will pick up the bill. Paying the bill once or twice can fast become the norm so if you are settling the bill, it is wise to be mindful of this and mention that it is ‘your treat this one time’.

‘If a friend never offers to half the bill, there are 2 questions that should be answered – Why is the person not offering to pay and can the person picking up the bill afford to pay for everything?

We often see consumers unwittingly drive themselves into debt as they consider money a taboo topic of conversation.

Talk to your friend before you meet and ask that you ‘split’’ your forthcoming meal. This immediately establishes some boundaries and ensures that you do not feel like you are being taken advantage of.’

As Brits we’re desperately uncomfortable with any kind of confrontation, so it might feel easier to shut up and pay up. But that could end up costing you a small fortune.

As David explains: ‘If a person went on a night out once a month for 3 years and bought their friend an average of 3 drinks costing £6 each, they will have spent a total of £648 over that period. ‘

But why would someone be rubbish about paying for themself? Surely none of us want to be perceived as stingy?

Jordan Carter from Gear Hungry told Metro.co.uk: ‘The answer here is simple – people can often regret what they have spent the night before. As the morning after the night before comes around, reality hits and finances must be readdressed.

This does not mean that a friend point blank does not intend to pay you back what is owed however, they may wish to bide their time until pay day.

**ILLUSTRATION AMEND** It might be awkward, but it's vital for couples to discuss money (Abby)
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

‘With regards to buying rounds of drinks there are several factors that can contribute to people feeling lax about their input.

Often, people feel that they do not drink the same amount as the rest of their party and therefore, spend more and save nothing.

Some may also feel that they are always short changed as they buy the first round and then as the night progresses, the party of people slowly disappear before their turn to buy drinks. The trick here is to assume nothing.

‘Before you head to the bar, ask the group what they fancy doing with regards to buying drinks. This gives everyone the opportunity to make their situations known and not feel short changed.’

All very sensible, but what do you do if the friend in question ignores all your helpful opportunities and keeps letting you foot the bill? According to Jordan, you’ve got to stop being such a blushing Brit and confront the situation.

‘It can be awkward but in the long run it is far better to broach the subject of money head on.

‘If you are splitting the bill, take the lead and suggest that you go halves. If money is owed, simply ping over a friendly text with your account details. Never underestimate the power of the statement, ‘you get this as I got the last one’. Alternatively, begin to suggest meet-ups that require little expenditure.  For instance, free museum visits, sightseeing or a quick coffee.

‘The priority here is not let resentment build. There is a chance that a person does not realise they are being stingy and therefore, doesn’t even realise there is a problem.’

On the off chance your stingy friend does realise and they are taking you for a ride, a week or two of cutting them out of the sesh and offering them a free museum trip instead may be enough for them to get the hint.

Modern Etiquette is a weekly series. Rather than telling you what to do with a salad crescent or which shoes are most appropriate for Ascot, we’ll be working out how to navigate shared houses, drugs, ex-boyfriends and that moment when you send the screenshot of the person you’re bitching about to them. 

Next week, we’ll be asking how to deal with a friend who you think might have a drinking problem.

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The best winter skincare for men

(Picture: Metro.co.uk)

Winter is super harsh on our skin. Cold weather, bracing winds, having the heating on – it all takes its toll and can leave skin feeling dry, rough and unloved.

And men, it isn’t enough to just smear on a finger’s worth of your girlfriend’s night cream. First of all, it’s not worth the fury if she discovers you’ve been nicking her pricey hyaluronic acid, but, more importantly – it probably isn’t what your skin needs.

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

Your average male product will come in a black tube and will be called something that screams toxic masculinity; ‘Charcoal Macho Super-Strength Man Cream’. But men’s and women’s skincare differ in more ways than just packaging.

Archaic marketing strategies aside, male skin is different to female skin, and needs subtly different care. Particularly in winter.

So don’t be put off by the ridiculous names, or the temptation to steal what’s already in your bathroom cabinet. In winter it’s especially important to develop a skincare routine – and stick to it.

Triumph & Disaster Ritual Face Cleanser £20


In winter it’s important not to use anything too rough on your skin. Over-exfoliating can be drying, and when the weather is cold, your skin craves moisture.

This cleanser is formulated with natural oils and contains gentle exfoliants to carefully buff away dead skin. The peppermint oil is also incredibly nourishing.

Murad Essential-C Night Moisture £65

Murad Essential-C Night Moisture
(Picture: Murad)

A night cream is essential for helping your skin to recover while you sleep. Night creams are generally heavier and thicker, and can sink into your skin, providing a deeper treatment than lighter day creams.

The vitamin C in this Murad product is thought to boost elasticity and firmness, to help you wake up looking plumper and more youthful.

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask £31

Aura Manuka Honey Mask
(Picture: Antipodes)

Never be scared to use a face mask. A bit like a night cream, a face mask provides a more intensive treatment that works to improve the deepest layers of your skin.

The manuka honey draws essential moisture to the skin, helping fight against the drying effects of winter weather. This is also a great product for treating blemishes and spots.

How men's skin is different to women's

  • Because of testosterone, men’s skin is 25% thicker than women’s.
  • Men produce significantly more sebum – skin oils – than women. Which means men more prone to oily skin, and spots.
  • Men’s skin has naturally higher collagen levels – which means less wrinkles and firmer skin as you age.
  • Don’t forget those pesky beards. All those hair follicles on your face need particular attention after shaving.

Eve Lom Kidd Mix £16

(Picture: EVE LOM)

We all know the pain of dry, cracked lips after a day out in the cold – and it doesn’t look great either. Don’t let your lips be ravished by the weather this season, and keep them hydrated with a soothing balm.

Kiss Mix provides a protective layer and forms a barrier against extreme weather – which is ideal if you want a picture-perfect snowy kiss on the ice rink this Christmas.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Eyes £15

(Picture: La Roche-Posay)

With winter comes party season. Late nights, too much alcohol, hungover mornings at work. Your eyes are the window to your soul, and also the window to how much mulled wine you drank last night.

Take control of tired, puffy eyes and dark circles with a soothing eye cream. This contains the magic ingredient – hyaluronic acid, which is a powerful moisturiser that infuses the skin with water.

Aesop Parsely-Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Hydrating Cream £53

Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Hydrating Cream
(Picture: Aesop)

Don’t forget about your daily moisturiser. In winter this is especially important, you want to be lathering some of this on your skin every morning before you leave the house.

This anti-oxidant rich cream is formulated for particularly dry skin. The botanical ingredients such as white tea and rock rose help to replenish dry, rough skin.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% £5.80

The Ordinary - Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
(Picture: The Ordinary)

Another therapy for dark, puffy skin is caffeine. And, just like the effects of coffee, caffeine helps to wake up your skin and wipe away the visible effects of last night’s office party.

The caffeine concentration of this product is extremely high and can help with any discoloration or pigmentation issues.

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Uber creates £695 designer shoes – but they come with £500 credit so you don’t have to worry about sore feet

(Picture: Uber)
(Picture: Uber)

It’s almost party season and time to add some sparkle to your wardrobe.

You might find the perfect pair of shoes, but wearing them is a whole other story.

The glitzy sky-high platforms seemed like a good idea until a few hours in and you are struggling to stand.

Well now it seems Uber has the answer.

The taxi app company has teamed up with British show brand Charlotte Olympia to launch a pair of gold glittery heels.

(Picture: Uber)

And the heels come with £500 credit so you can wear them anywhere, without having to worry about your feet getting sore.

The collaboration comes just weeks after Adidas announced a collaboration with Transport for London where the £80 trainers came with an £80 Oyster card.

But these heels are a bit pricier – costing £695.

Once purchased, the shoes will be presented with soft leather tag containing a unique Uber credit. The credit is redeemable against all services available on the Uber app.

(Picture: Uber)
(Picture: Uber)

But you better be quick – the shoes are being sold in a strictly limited run of 14 pairs. They will be available to purchase from Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge from 15 November 2018.

Charlotte Olympia said: ‘My brand motto is “The higher the heel, the better you feel” and now you can guarantee that you and your dancing shoes will be looked after when going from party to party this holiday season with the touch of an app.’

Deb Dee, Group Marketing & Creative Director Harvey Nichols: ‘No-one wants a new pair of Charlotte Olympia shoes ruined by the unpredictable British weather.  This special pair of shoes comes with £500 of Uber credit, so with all the chivalry of a knight on horseback, both you and your shoes will be safely escorted to and from all of your Christmas parties.’

MORE: The best winter skincare for men

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Is wearing a tight ponytail all the time dangerous?

(Picture: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Ariana Grande is a ponytail connoisseur. The hairdo has become her signature style, so much so that we’d probably not recognise the famous pop star if she were to let her hair down.

Singer Camilla Cabello also had a go at putting her locks tightly into a scrunchie but she could barely wait to take it off because, as anyone with long-ish hair will know, ponytails can cause a whole world of pain.

The two singers sympathised with one another on Twitter, with Ariana admitting she’s in constant pain as a result of her hairstyle.

So what exactly are the dangers of a tight ponytail?

(Picture: by Noam Galai/WireImage)

The most common reaction to having your hair tied up like this is a headache or migraine. The ponytail pulls the nerves in the scalp and around the face. This pulling of the sensory nerve endings results in headaches or migraines, made especially worse if you are prone to the two conditions due to stress or tension.

Though you might enjoy giving your face a little mini lift by tieing your hair up, it can actually cause back and neck pain if up for too long.

The scalp is subject to more stress if you have thick hair, so, pain extends to your back and neck if you are forcing it all to stay up, contained by one little hairband.

Rubber bands are the worst type for your hair. They might seem like an easy fix when you need to get stray hairs out of your face for exercise or if you’re feeling hot, but rubber bands cause breakages.

Using these frequently to fasten your hair can create a great amount of damaged hair strands.

In extreme cases, this style can cause tension or traction alopecia. This is when pulling the hair causes them to loosen from its follicular roots. It can happen with wigs and tight weaves too. In some cases, it may cause a receding hairline.

According to Health Line, traction alopecia might show up as little bumps on your scalp that look like pimples. As the condition progresses, the main symptom is missing and broken hairs. The hairs along the front and sides of your scalp are most often affected.

It can be reversible if you stop putting the pressure on your head i.e by not wearing a tight ponytail, bun, or braids.

In some cases, the hair follicles might become so damaged they can’t produce new hair.

To avoid this, you should let your hair down when you go to sleep, apply oils when you can and massage it in. Try not to wash your hair too often to allow the natural moisture to come out.

Avoid chemically processing your hair if you use weaves or braid your hair. The chemicals can damage your hair, making it more likely to break.

When you braid your hair or put it in dreadlocks, make the braids thick. Thinner braids pull more tightly.

Change your hairstyle as much as you can, alternate between having braids and wearing your natural hair.

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Aldi’s wine filled advent calendar is back in stores

Aldi’s wine advent calendar is FINALLY back and we’re so read ALDI/Getty
(Picture: Aldi/Getty)

Wine lovers, rejoice: Aldi’s wine advent calendar is back on sale.

The calendar was first released last October, and has now made a comeback in a new triangular shape.

It features a bottle of red, white or rose wine hidden away behind every door – meaning you’ll get 24 bottles of wine throughout December.

Oh, and there’s also some bubbly for anyone who really wants to celebrate on Christmas morning.

The wines within the calendar include The Exquisite Collection Touraine Sauvignon and the award-winning Fleurs de Prairie Côtes de Provence Rosé.

(Picture: Aldi)

The calendar costs £49.99, but we’re not expecting it to last on the shelves for very long as it was a complete sell out last year.

If you’re not a fan of wine but still fancy treating yourself to an advent calendar of alcoholic goodness, B&M is selling a gin advent calendar which comes with 12 bottles of gin and costs under £30.

The Twelve Gins of Christmas advent calendar, which has just been launched, features twelve specially selected mini bottles of gin, hidden behind twelve calendar doors counting down to Christmas.

(Picture: B&M)

The calendar contains various gin brands, such as Bombay Sapphire, Gordon’s Pink gin and JJ WHitely Elderflower gin for those wanting something a bit sweeter.

While the calendar itself – which comes in very pretty gin themed packaging – sounds amazing, the price is pretty good, too. At £29.99, it’s an affordable calendar considering it contains twelve small bottles of alcohol – especially considering similar calendars can cost around £100.

But, as with all things fairly priced and amazing sounding, we expect this calendar to sell out fast, so head to your local B&M ASAP if you want to get your hands on it.

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The Sex Resort Diaries: The final night at Young Swingers Week

The sex resort diaries
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Oh, hey. We’re Ellen and Chris, two classic Brits uncomfortable being naked and talking openly about sex stuff.

So when we were offered a holiday to Hedonism II, ‘the sexiest place on earth’, ‘an all-inclusive paradise’, and an ‘iconic adult playground’, we had to say yes.

Hedonism II is, essentially, a sex resort. There are nude beaches, classes on fetishes, and necklaces that declare your sexual interests to other guests.

While we’ve been here, we’ve been writing daily diary posts about what it’s like at Hedonism II’s Young Swingers Week.

Here’s our recap of our final day.


It’s our final day at Hedonism II, and I decide to end the trip with more traditional holiday activities.

No, thank you, we will not join the game of naked Twister in the sand. I’ll skip getting a whipped cream bikini that Chris can clear with his mouth in front of cheering swingers.

Instead it’s time for a couples’ massage, lounging by the sea, and finally enjoying the highly praised Japanese restaurant for dinner.

Our plans for a reflective final dinner are derailed when we’re move to a group table packed with Playful Pussycats – a large squad of swingers who’ve organised a trip out to Hedo together.

They’ve been pitted against the Young Swingers all week, in twerking competitions, costume judgements, and challenges of who can party the hardest.

But these pussycats welcome us in with open arms, cat ear headbands, and tequila shots.

(Picture: Ellen Scott/Metro.co.uk)

We dunk tempura shrimp in a spicy sauce as a woman tells us how her husband loves to see her having sex with other men.

We ponder whether to go for the matcha cheesecake or the deep fried ice cream as a corseted woman with bunny ears and a fluffy tail sits on the lap of someone who definitely isn’t her partner, chatting to the guy’s wife in between shimmying her breasts in his face and putting her lips to his.

If all of this sounds seedy and thoroughly debauched, you’ve got the wrong idea.

These are people who are clearly deeply in love. They share the contentment of long-married couples (which most of them are) with the giggles and physical intimacy of twenty-somethings who matched on Tinder two months ago and haven’t looked back.

It might be my repressed British upbringing, but I’m entirely unused to seeing such open displays of longterm love. There are no chaste kisses or snarky comments to cover up genuine emotion.

The couples here are warm and open. They talk about each other with the highest level of respect and admiration, but chat about the challenges of their relationship and their sex lives with a candour that shocks me.

I’ve never met people who speak so honestly about love and its challenges.

These are couples challenging any idea of throwaway culture. When troubles arose and sex drives died down, they didn’t just chuck the relationship away. They didn’t decide that all the other bits of their relationship were pointless if monogamy wasn’t cutting it.

They changed the rules, they tried something against all common advice, they did something scary and pushed through all the natural feelings of fear and jealousy and guilt.

They came out stronger, more in love, and sharing a life filled with fun and genuine joy.

(Picture: Ellen Scott/Metro.co.uk)

Every couple tells us that if either of them decided that actually, this isn’t for them, they’d stop immediately – no more trips to hedo, no more swinging.

Some couples won’t have penetrative sex outside their marriage, while others describe swinging as ‘using human sex toys’.

There are no defined one-size-fits-all rules for swinging, because the guidelines are personal and always open to change when needed. These couples have communication skills that would blow the minds of any couples’ counsellor, and a level of trust that’s incredible.

I’m not coming out of this experience ready to join swinging sites (although Chris did win a year’s premium membership), find people I fancy, and start hooking up with randoms every weekend. I hope it’s not vanilla to say that I still don’t find the idea of having sex with anyone apart from Chris particularly appealing.

But my mind’s been opened. I’m inspired not to throw out the rulebook, but keep it open and have a pen in hand.

If you find someone you adore, who you want to make a life with, but you also find you want to have sex with other people, it doesn’t make much sense to me to just end the relationship. I don’t see why we have to expect that the ‘right person’ will get rid of any attraction to other people.

If a time comes that sex with another person is something I’m curious about, it’ll be time to talk to my partner, not ditch them and run.

If in twenty years time I’m half as happy and loved up as a couple in the Playful Pussycats, splitting a cheesecake and adjusting each other’s fetish gear, I’m doing something right.


I splash my face with ice cool water and look at myself in the reflection of a bathroom mirror. It’s definitely me looking back, but also not me somehow. I softly repeat my mantra and head back out into the fray.

‘You’re Louis Theroux’.

It’s toga night and there’s a foam party to round off the last evening of entertainment for Young Swingers Week.

I know, from checking, that there are no spare bedsheets provided in rooms, so I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that ultraviolet light would reveal some goings on for costumed guests tonight – cocooned and neatly packaged in their own love juices.

Maybe a prior Chris would’ve taken more issue, more shock or disbelief, at this.

But I’m a changed man.

A tired man.

It’s the highest frequency of unwanted erections in a given week since I binge watched the first season of Orange Is The New Black in a half term.

(My usual tactic is to do long division, something I’ve always been bad at, in my head. But this trip has made me weirdly proficient at it.)

(Picture: Ellen Scott/Metro.co.uk)

It’s also the highest frequency of openly in-love couples, of every age bracket, that I’ve ever seen in a given week. Passionately making out with each other in hammocks, and holding hands together to watch the sunset.

We spend our last night as honorary Playful Pussycats, or ‘future Pussycats’, with five older couples.

Whether they’ve wound up here for companionship, or to watch their partner ‘blossom into a more confident and secure human being’, one thing is for certain; the swinging lifestyle has brought them closer together as wives, husbands, and friends.

‘It’s like building a house – you need a strong foundation to begin with’ says John, on his second annual getaway to Hedo, ‘I didn’t think it was possible to love my wife any more, but here I am’.

It’s this meeting around a Japanese Teppanyaki grill table that makes everything click in place for me.

Our YSW hosts described couples who arrive together at Hedo and then next see each other at checkout. But my view and experience of the lifestyle and what it can mean is much more intimate than that.

Swinging isn’t a hall pass to cheat.

It shouldn’t be born out of selfish reasons or personal lust.

It should be for the benefit of your relationship.

It should be for the benefit of your partner.

You can live in this sexual Disneyland and make your way through the kingdom in willing hard swaps, soft swaps and solo play.

But when you leave, you exit those gates with the person you came in with.

It’s swinging if you leave in a stronger position than which you came.

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Sainsbury’s launches ‘Persian curry’ but Iranian people say there’s no such thing

(Picture: Sainsbury’s)

Sainsbury’s has received backlash for putting a ‘Persian curry’ recipe in their food magazine which some believe isn’t true to an authentic Iranian meal.

The magazine cover showed a ‘golden Persian curry’ but Iranian people, among others, complained that the supermarket version was getting confused with Indian cuisine, accusing the supermarket of casual racism.

According to the publication, the dish took inspiration from the traditional Persian food fesenjan, ‘fused with an Indian-style curry’ but people pointed out that a spice mix, as used in a curry, would not be used in a fesenjan.

People complained on Twitter that adding a few Persian ingredients like pomegranates did not make the food Persian (Picture: Getty)

Some felt that using ingredients found in Persian food, such as pomegranates, does not make the meal Persian.

Fesenjan is more of a stew flavoured with pomegranate paste and ground walnuts. Often with duck or chicken, many recipes include no spices, unlike in Indian food.

‘To treat Iranian and Indian cuisines as virtually indistinguishable, despite knowing in reality they are very different, in order to save their readers the effort to learn about a new Iranian cuisine which the magazine wants to promote on its front cover smacks of lazy, casual racism and is abhorrent,’ British Iranian Banafsheh Hay, who wrote to complain to Sainsbury’s, told the Observer.

British Iranian comedian Shappy Khorsandi was also outraged by Sainsbury’s choice. She wrote: ‘It’s an insult to my motherland and forefathers and heritage.

‘No one in their right mind calls Persian food ‘curry’. We are a herby people, not a spicy people. If you want proper fesenjan, get the recipe from my mum.’

Not everyone thinks it’s a big deal though as it could be described as fusion cooking. Hasmik Nazary, who is Persian Armenian, born and brought up in Iran, told Metro.co.uk: ‘There’s no such thing as a Persian curry, it doesn’t exist.

‘There are seven different spices that go into a curry, and these aren’t traditionally Persian flavours. However, the countries (Iran and India) are very close in terms of food tastes. Personally I don’t think it’s rude to mix the two and call it a Persian curry, because there are often influences from other cultures in food – it’s just part of cooking.’

We contacted Sainsbury’s for comment and a spokesperson said: ‘We love developing exciting recipes for Sainsbury’s customers and our inspiration comes from different cuisines around the world. We wanted to introduce Persian flavours to readers who may not have enjoyed them before, and so we created a recipe which is inspired by the traditional Persian dish fesenjan, fused with an Indian-style curry.

‘We’re sorry for any offence this may have caused, as this was most certainly not our intention.’

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If you love ironing, head over to Hilton hotels where they have a club dedicated to it

This could be you (Picture: Hilton Garden Inn)

Though housework is literally such a chore, there are some things that are quite therapeutic, like cooking, and cleaning the dishes, and ironing. They let your mind unwind and drift off.

Even celebs like Michael B. Jordan love getting out the ironing board and enjoy watching the creases fade away.

Us Brits are also partial to a bit of ironing time as research shows two-thirds of Brits prefer it over yoga or meditation when it comes to relaxing.

And now there’s a whole club dedicated to it, courtesy of the chain brand Hilton Garden Inn.

Hilton’s research showed that over a third of those polled (37%) are spending up to two hours a week at the ironing board, with 70% wishing they could spend more time to maximise the benefits.

Whilst some may regard it as a dreaded chore, 72% of Brits say ironing is their greatest simple pleasure, saying it is strangely therapeutic. Almost half (44%) say it’s the satisfying smoothing of creases, whilst 43% say it’s the permission to stand still for a while and the calming repetitive strokes.

Relaxing AF(Picture: Hilton Garden Inn)

Meanwhile, 40% say the soothing sound of the steam is what really does it for them.

To give the people what they want, Hilton Garden Inn has launched its Ironing Club, designed to help people looking to unwind.

Those attending can expect a relaxation expert to teach them to breathe in time with the iron, glide it in slow motion, inhale the smell of fresh laundry, and iron in sync. Anyone is welcome and you can even wear PJs if you so wish.

Of course, soothing music will be playing in the background and a lunch will be provided at the end.

The first 30-minute session will be held on Sunday 18 November at 11.30am.

Hilton Garden Inn will be launching its first session at Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Airport as a pilot ahead of a wider UK rollout.

Happy ironing, all.

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What to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off

**ILLUSTRATION AMEND REQUEST**I quite like my grey hair - so why do I feel like I have to dye it? (Abby)
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. The colourless, odorless, tasteless gas can seep into your home without anyone noticing – it can make you really sick, and in high doses it can be fatal.

Every year there are around 25 deaths by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK. That’s why we all have a carbon monoxide alarm – and if you don’t, then you need to get one asap.

Yours is probably nestled on a high shelf somewhere near your boiler. It probably looks a bit like a mini fire alarm, or a WiFi router. And you probably never pay it any attention. That is until it starts wailing at 2am.

(Picture: Getty Images)

We know it’s vital to have these alarms in our homes – but does anyone actually know what to do if one starts going off? We certainly didn’t in the early of hours of Sunday when my friends and I, busy playing drinking games with mulled wine and rum, were startled by an incredibly loud, persistent alarm.

Standing in my living room clutching the howling device, I looked around at my friends and I was met with blank faces. There were nine of us in my tiny flat, and not one of knew what to do next.

So it fell to Google to provide the plan of action.

What was alarming, if you’ll excuse the pun, was the total lack of knowledge. Having an alarm is great, but if you don’t know how to react to it, you could easily put you or your family in danger.

Being the obsessive worrier I am, I immediately kicked my bewildered friends out in to the corridor while my boyfriend and I tried to figure out what to do next.

We didn’t know if there was a leak, but I didn’t really fancy any of my mates being hospitalised because of my inaction. It turns out, it’s actually really simple to deal with.

Here are the common causes of hair loss and the best way to treat them hair man thinking head confusion mental health confused Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk
(Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

Open all the windows
This what not ideal at 1am in November, but the first step to take was to ventilate the flat as much as possible. If there has been a leak, the aim is to clear the deadly gas as quick as you can.

Turn off all fuel-burning appliances and leave the house
Make sure the hobs, oven and heating are all switched off – grab a big coat and wait outside. Even if you feel completely fine, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and sometimes it’s hard to notice symptoms until it’s too late.

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning aren’t always obvious, particularly during low-level exposure.

A tension-type headache is the most common symptom of mild carbon monoxide poisoning. Other symptoms include:

  • dizziness
  • nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting
  • tiredness and confusion
  • stomach pain
  • shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • The symptoms of exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can be similar to those of food poisoning and flu. But unlike flu, carbon monoxide poisoning doesn’t cause a high temperature (fever)

The symptoms can gradually get worse with prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide, leading to a delay in diagnosis.

The longer you inhale the gas, the worse your symptoms will be.

You may lose balance, vision and memory and, eventually, you may lose consciousness. This can happen within two hours if there’s a lot of carbon monoxide in the air.


Don’t turn on the lights or strike a match
If your property has any gas appliances, there’s the possibility of a leak. This means it’s really important to avoid doing anything that could spark of catch fire. Once the alarm has sounded don’t switch on any lights or strike a match. If it’s the middle of the night use the torch on your phone to find your way out.

Seek medical advice
If you or any of your family feel unwell, nauseous, confused or have a headache – contact a doctor immediately or call 999 for an ambulance, because it could be the onset of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Call the emergency advice line
This was actually the first thing I did. They then told me to ventilate the flat, turn off appliances and wait outside. Despite the ungodly hour, they answered quickly, were incredibly helpful and reassuring, and sent an emergency engineer to our flat within 20 minutes.

The engineer turned off our gas supply, checked the entire property for any carbon monoxide (the test was clear), and told us not to turn our gas back on until we could get our boiler serviced. What was most surprising of all is that we didn’t have to pay him a penny.

Safety tips

  • Never use ovens or gas ranges to heat your home.
  • Never use oversized pots on your gas stove, or place foil around the burners.
  • Make sure rooms are well-ventilated and don’t block air vents. If your home is double-glazed or draught-proofed, make sure there’s still enough air circulating for any heaters that are in the room.
  • Don’t use gas-powered equipment and tools inside your home if you can avoid it. Only use them in a well-ventilated area, and put the engine unit and exhaust outside.
  • Always wear a safety mask when using chemicals that contain methylene chloride.
  • Don’t burn charcoal in an enclosed space, such as on an indoor barbecue.
  • Don’t sleep in a room that has an unflued gas fire or paraffin heater.
  • Fit an extractor fan in your kitchen (if it doesn’t already have one).


Arrange to have your appliances serviced
If, like us, you’re renting, give your landlord a call as soon as you can and tell them you need to get your boiler, heaters and gas-burning oven tested. It’s in their interest to keep their tenants safe, so they should get it sorted asap.

For us, the soonest we could get an engineer was Monday morning, so that was a more than 24-hours without hot water, heating or an oven. Not ideal because, you know, winter.

Luckily we had kind family nearby who took us in so we could shower, eat and be warm. I would much rather that than risk not following the engineer’s advice.

Our engineer told us that the alarm was likely caused by a fault with the device – given that he didn’t detect any carbon monoxide in the flat. But it was scary for a while. The thought of what could happen if we didn’t have an alarm was unnerving.

The best thing for situations like this is to react quickly, and have a plan of action. You don’t want to waste time Googling or calling your parents, particularly if you live alone or it’s the middle of the night. Knowing what to do could help keep your family healthy and could even save your life.

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Asda launches giant mince pies just in time for Christmas

(Picture: Asda)

Asda is launching giant mince pies just in time for Christmas and they sound amazing.

Almost three times the size of a normal mince pie, the supersized pies are seven inches in diameter, three and a half centimetres deep and weigh 435g. They’re available for just £1.50.

Ciara Loker, Asda Product Developer said: ‘Mince pies are a staple of the festive season, and customers are increasingly looking for new and exciting varieties they can enjoy over the festive season.

(Picture: Asda)

‘Following feedback that one was never enough, we wanted to create a delicious dessert guests can enjoy, one slice at a time.’

The pies feature a buttery, crumbly pastry and come filled with sultanas, raisins, a festive peel and cranberries, and are finished with a pastry lattice sprinkled with icing sugar.

(Picture: Asda)


But you’ll have to wait a little while to get them – as Asda’s Large Mince Pies won’t be available until 22 November.

Hopefully they will be worth the wait.

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New Look releases Friends themed Christmas t-shirts

(Picture: New Look)

New Look has just released two Friends themed t-shirts which have been printed with two of the most iconic moments from the Thanksgiving and Christmas special episodes.

The first t-shirt features a print of the moment Monica ends up with her head stuck in a turkey wearing sunglasses, from the episode The One With All the Thanksgivings.

New Look Is Selling Christmas T-Shirts Printed With Iconic Festive Friends Moments
(Picture: New Look)

The second top shows Monica standing between Chandler dressed as Santa Claus and Ross dressed as the Holiday Armadillo, from the episode The One with the Holiday Armadillo.

The t-shirts are selling for £12.99 and come in sizes 6-18, as part of a Friends range which includes hoodies, socks and nightwear.

New Look Is Selling Christmas T-Shirts Printed With Iconic Festive Friends Moments
(Picture: New Look)

But of course, they aren’t the first retailer to sell Friends themed clothing.

Primark launched Friends pyjamas ages ago.

In November 2017, the super cheap fashion retailer launched Friends themed lounge wear.

Instagram Photo

They shared a photo of the clothing, which featured a grey long sleeved top and joggers with the Central Perk logo on the front.

An image of the loungewear was shared to Instagram, and received more than 113,000 likes.

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Isn’t it time to ditch the word ‘gentleman’?

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

Everyone has words which set their teeth on edge.

Some of us find ‘moist’ disgusting, others can’t bear to hear someone say ‘ointment’. For me, the word which makes the hairs on the back of my neck bristle, is ‘gentleman’.

Sounds stupid, right? It’s just a normal word, an address to a room full of people, an expression for a man who is minded towards chivalry and good behaviour.

But the thing is, you so rarely hear the word ‘gentleman’ used these days (other than ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’, which let’s face it is a bit of an affectation) outside of men insisting that they are one.

‘I’m a gentleman’ men claim on their dating profiles. Which, I can attest, generally means ‘I’ll hold the door open for you, but I also think your opinions are less valid than mine if you have a vagina.’

All too often the insistence that someone is a gentleman is actually a signifier that they’re old-fashioned. Traditional. Backwards.

The word has gone from a description of someone’s class status (originally meaning a man who didn’t need to work) to a short hand for ‘decent bloke’ and ended up as a code for ‘thinks the 1950’s were a better time for relationships.’

It’s very nice to hold doors open for people – I do it every day, but having the door held open for you as a woman is not a fair trade for being ignored in meetings. The kind of man who says he’s a gentleman is often also the kind of man who believes women shouldn’t be expected to make decisions when they’re on their periods, and deep down thinks that most of us would really rather be full-time stay-at-home parents.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, which is the fancy dictionary they make you use for definitions when you do a literature degree, a gentleman is defined as such: ‘A man in whom gentle birth is accompanied by appropriate qualities and behaviour; hence, in general, a man of chivalrous instincts and fine feelings.’

As Lisa Timoney writes for Glass House Girls, ‘A gentlewoman is defined by, her lineage, an accident of birth or if she behaves herself in a way that society finds acceptable…for a woman. For these reasons, the term gentlewoman has been consigned to history, and I believe it is time for the word gentleman to go the same way.’

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(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co,uk)

The problem is, the word gentleman attaches a gender to types of behaviour which should, at least in theory, be universal. Being generous, reliable and selfless should be something we all aim for, not just men.

There’s a further implication within ‘gentlemanly’ behaviour about chivalry. We’re constantly told that chivalry is dead, and to be honest I think that might be a good thing. Chivalry is the belief that men need to protect women. It’s a euphemism for benevolent sexism.

Unless we’re trying to reach something from a high shelf or pick up something heavy, women are broadly speaking good at handling their own s**t. We might want help, love and support from the men in our lives, but that’s because we love, trust or respect them. Not because they’re blokes.

People need help and support from people. That’s got nothing to do with gender. Sometimes men need to be taken care of, sometimes women are better at being the boss. It’s all part of the spectrum of human experience. Characterising men as the protector and women as needing protection does everyone a disservice. It’s the root of the fact that men’s mental health is in crisis in the UK and part of why women earn less when they have children and men earn more.

Everyone is entitled to need looking after sometimes, and everyone is capable of giving protection. The sooner we stop defining our behaviour by our genders, the better we’ll be to each other.

Women should feel free to open the door for their boyfriend or surprise him with a gift. Men should feel confident in cooking a romantic dinner or dressing up sexily for their other half. And both of us, regardless of gender, should feel able to say: ‘I need you to look after me right now.’

So I’m not ‘triggered’ by the word ‘gentleman’, and I’m not calling for an all-out ban. But I can’t help thinking that in 2018, when the vast majority of us agree that our gender shouldn’t define what we can or cannot do, it seems ludicrous that we’re still attaching a gender to certain values, rather than expecting ‘gentlemanly’ behaviour from everyone.

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Cold, grey commute getting you down? Inject a little colour back into your life with these amazing winter sun destinations

White sand beach, Half Moon Bay, Antigua and Barbuda, Caribbean, Leeward Islands, West Indies
You won’t need a filter on the snaps in Antigua (Picture: Getty Images)

As the nights are drawing in quicker, and you leave home in the dark before returning home in the dark, it can get a bit tiresome. One day snowballs into the other, as you bundle up to tackle the drizzle and sleet, before cramming yourself onto a packed train with only a little relief if you don’t get jammed into someone’s armpit. Why not give yourself something to look forward to, to make it all worthwhile and get some bright, colourful lights at the end of that tunnel?

Booking a winter sun break to fly out of London Gatwick is now easier than ever, with loads of destinations available with British Airways to get you to your dream spot. Whether you’re seeking solace and in need of a deep reset in turquoise oceans, or you’re after freshly caught red snapper cooked in the pescado frito style popular in the Dominican Republic while you sip on a pina colada – your holiday this winter awaits.

Why battle through another cold and miserable winter, when you can inject a bit of colour and fun to shake things up? Brighten your mood with a good dose of vitamin D as the sun rays top up your tan, after all – you can’t argue with science.

Snap up some winter sun from Gatwick with British Airways, leave the baggage behind (quite literally) with hand-baggage only fares to fast track you to holiday mode – and you still get the excellent level of service you’re used but for a wallet-friendly cost.

For more information about these holidays, click here.

Here is just a taste of what you can do this winter:

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale Beach offers  crystal waters and white sands and a friendly vibe (picture: Getty)

This Florida city is known as much for its boating canals as it’s seaside location and Strip filled with boutique shops and tempting restaurants.

Situated just north of Hollywood, you are well placed to pop down and see the sights if you want, and can still bask in the famous Florida sunshine, but also enjoy all that Fort Lauderdale has to offer.

Increasingly gaining popularity among Brits looking for some winter sunshine and an ultra cool and luxe vibe (without huge crowds or outlandish price tag!), Fort Lauderdale looks set to become the next ‘it’ destination, with riverboat and everglade tours, and so much more!

Must see

Las Olas is the trendy downtown hub of the city. The boulevard boasts no less than 10 art galleries to peruse, alongside restaurants and some seriously good shopping. If the price tags of the designer shops are a little beyond your budget, simply enjoy strolling down this pretty street and checking out the buzzing heart of the city.

Fort Lauderdale, of course, sits on the stunning Florida coast line, and no visit here would be complete without a visit to a beach. Fort Lauderdale Beach offers crystal waters and white sands as well as friendly (as opposed to party) vibe.

If you want to get a sense of the city as a whole, then a boat tour is a great idea. You can learn about the city while gently cruising along the rivers and waterways. If your lucky your tour will take you past the waterfront strip of some mind-boggling mansions in the Las Olas Isles neighbourhood known as Millionaires Row.

Must eat

Pretty much anything! Fort Lauderdale is awash with great restaurants- at every price point- covering most cuisines of the world.

As well as plenty of super-healthy options is, of course, traditional American fare. think amazing fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, cornbread and of course, some pretty epic hamburgers. Drool…

Fort Lauderdale is often called America’s Venice due to the canals and waterways that run through it (picture: Getty)

Must do

Often referred to as America’s Venice because of its extensive canal and waterway systems, a serious must-do in Fort Lauderdale is taking ditching the car, bus or tram and instead taking one of the river boats that transport both commuters and tourists all around the city.

And why not take in the natural beauty of the area with an airboat tour of the Florida Everglades at Sawgrass Recreation Park, and check out some of the local alligators and stunning parkland and wildlife exhibits while you’re at it?

If you fancy a little historical culture, head to the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. Not, as you might think, a museum devoted to a type of hat, but a beautiful old country house named after bonnet lily flower that grew on the grounds. Check out this traditional plantation house, which is beautifully decorated and filled with artwork, then have a stroll in the immaculately kept grounds.

Find a great deal today at ba.com/wintersun


View of English Harbor in Antigua from Shirley Heights; Shutterstock ID 429482320; Purchase Order: -
The stunning view of English Harbor in Antigua from Shirley Heights (Picture: Shutterstock)

Must see

There’s more to the tropical climates and serene beaches in the Caribbean’s Antigua. Why not go exploring and soak up the culture of Antigua by hiring a car through Avis so you can drive up to see the old for that sits at Shirley Heights for incredible views across the English Harbour? Throughout the island, you’ll be to see grand colonial architecture and history.

At Betty’s Hope, you can get a feel for the island’s colonial history at the site of Antigua’s first sugar plantation. The remains of the Great House, a restored stone windmill and distillery can be found on site, which was built in 1674 by Christopher Codrington. The centre offers a glimpse into the sugar-making process as well as the grind of what life was like on the plantation.

Must eat

Cecilia’s High Point Cafe offers a taste of Antigua in a beachfront cottage overlooking the topaz blue ocean. Set in Dickenson Bay, this shabby-chic eatery often features on many hit lists for those that visit Antigua and rightly so.

For Antiguan dining with a bit of a French twist, pull up a pew at The Cove for mouthwatering pan-seared snapper with chilli butter or fresh whole grilled lobster tail with local side dishes.

Nurse a pina colada at Jolly Harbour Marina or Nelson’s Dockyard and soak up the Caribbean vibes while enjoying the sunset.

Wash away your winter blues in Antigua (Picture: Getty)

Must do

Make the most of the sunshine and the breathtaking beaches – all 365 of them. Antigua is renowned for its incredible white sands, with Runaway Beach stretching further than the eye can see. Trade in the delayed trains in favour for a trip around Half Moon Bay, with its unusual pink-hued sand. You have to see it to believe it. Or, take the romance to a 10, with a cute picnic for two on the remote Green Island to the east of the island and imagine it’s your own desert island.

You can reach Rendezvous Bay with a stunning 90-minute hike through the rainforest. While it maybe one of Antigua’s standout beaches, you’ve got to earn it to enjoy it, owing to its remote location. There’s a shorter route to this dreamy destination, but there’ll be less bragging rights.

Find a great deal today at ba.com/wintersun


(picture: Getty)

Cancun is the ultimate blend of bustling, vibrant city bursting with culture, and the laid- back beauty of the Caribbean coastline.

It is the perfect destination for pretty much any type of holiday; those looking to lounge on a pristine beach are in luck, while those who wish to pack in the thrills or immerse themselves in history are also in luck. Oh, and those looking for a fiesta can find some of the best venues to dance the night away in.

Must see

Voted one of the best in the whole world, Riviera Maya’s Maroma Beach is one of many spectacular swathes of coastline that are worth visiting. You can find every type of beach – from pulsing with the latest music hits to serene and friendly.

No trip to Cancun is complete without setting eyes on the El Castillo pyramid at Chichén Itzá. Officially one of the Seven Wonders of the World this vast stone stepped structure was built in the 8th Century – pretty impressive.

Or check out the Mayan Walled City of Tulum. The ruins of this ancient city have remained standing for centuries and you are still able to walk around parts of it today.

Must eat

The food of Cancun takes as much from the areas heritage as anything else, with Mayan, Spanish and Aztec influence all still running through it.

Cancun has some excellent spots for traditional Mexican fare, with lots of good street food offerings as well as more formal restaurants, and is famed particularly for super tasty and fresh octopus (pulpos), Sopa de lima (a traditional lime and corn soup) and spicy enchiladas… and of course churros.

No trip to Cancun is complete without setting eyes on the El Castillo pyramid at Chichén Itzá (picture: Getty)

Must do

Watersports are unsurprisingly big in Cancun, and whether you want to swim with dolphins, dive in a great barrier reef or just have a go on a jet ski, there is sure to be something to suit.

If you prefer your adventure away from the ocean, you can zipline over the jungle or visit Xcaret Park – an eco-park designed for adventure.

Come nightfall, hit the Hotel Zone and Playa del Carmen for some of the coolest bars and best nightclubs in the world and dance the night away!

Fly London Gatwick to Cancun from £225pp each way based on a return fare*. 

The Maldives

The Maldives is made up of 1,200 small coral islands (picture: Getty)

Male is the gateway to the 1,200 small coral islands and sandbanks (some 200 of which are inhabited) that make up the Maldives.

Loved by both romance seekers and honeymooners as well as families, the popular over-the-water rooms that many of the hotels offer have become synonymous with total luxury and relaxation.

Must see

If you had to picture paradise, it could probably be any of the stunning islands, which not only boast eye-blindingly white, powder soft beaches and azure waters that are so clear they don’t look real – but also some of the most opulent hotels in the world.

A visit here will most probably consist of a lot of breathing in the spectacular beauty of whichever island you are on, basking in the glorious sunshine and sipping on a cool drink – hopefully brought to you at your lounger.

Must eat

Most hotels – as well as being located on their own tiny island paradise- have some pretty spectacular restaurants.

Unsurprisingly fish and seafood feature prominently here, with coconut being a commonly used flavour along with Asian spices.

If it’s available, why not try Garudhiya, a traditional fish broth served with rice, lime, chili and onions.

A visit will most probably consist of a lot of breathing in the spectacular beauty of whichever island you are on (picture: Getty)

Must do

However if you do decide to break up your horizontal RnR, there is plenty of other stuff on offer.

With over 1000 species of fish, and some of the most un-spoiled coral reefs in the world, the Maldives is undoubtedly a spectacular place to both snorkel and dive. Exploring beneath the surface – whether near the shore or way out at sea – will reveal a world of spectacular colour and natural wonders.

The crystal waters also make it a wonderful place for all manner of water sports- from kayaking and paddle-boarding to jet skis, surfing and windsurfing.

Find a great deal today at ba.com/wintersun


Find your own paradise in Barbados (Picture: Getty Images)

Must see

The Bajan beaches will take your breathe away, and allow you to forget the hustle and bustle of the daily grind and that it’s even winter with the warm sun on your skin and sand between your toes. It’s a fantastic destination to stop the clock and relax.

But while you’re in Barbados, check out one of the oldest plantation houses in the whole of the Caribbean at St Nicholas Abbey. Guests can still see the Great House, a Jacobean-style mansion, as well as the gardens and the traditional rum distillery. You are then able to purchase a single-cask rum made on the estate’s own plantation.

Check out the Bajan green monkeys at Welchman Hall Gully. The nature reserve is home to many species in central Barbados. The tropical rainforest is home to a trail that leads visitors through a narrow canyon. A sight to behold. For those interested in art, the Pelican Craft Village needs to be on the hit list. A treasure trove of workshops, galleries and shops, is where local art can be found.

Must eat

In search of rest and relaxation? Then look no further than the delights of Barbados and its culinary delights that will get your mouth watering. While fresh fish is often order of the day across the island, there is plenty on offer especially with the melting pot of cultures. From Asian influence with the likes of Lemongrass and Wok Up, there’s also the Roti Den where you can pick feasts from the wide selection on offer as well as the rice and curry plates.

Waterfront cafe, The Fisherman’s Pub, serves its fish from boats and there’s often a queue at the local night on Wednesdays, where there’s also steel-pan music playing for your taste of the tropical.

If you like to get the local seal of approval, look no further than Oistins Fish Fry. Labelled as ‘legendary’, this eatery is a mix of locals and holidaymakers, snapping up its eats from the next door fish market.

How can you say no to the enticing aroma of the stalls serving grilled fish, pork and chicken. Tasty sides including macaroni pie, plantain and grilled breadfruit will have you forgetting all about the Baltic rain that usually haunts your winter day. Just make sure you get a bite of the local fishcakes.

Must do

Put the wintry blues to the back of your mind as you take in the turquoise waters at Paynes Bay Beach. The inviting calm waters are great for a little swim as well as a snorkel, with a very good chance of spotting some sea turtles in their natural habitat.

Stretch your legs along Long Bay, which is situated below Sam Lord’s Castle. It’s a hidden gem on the south east of the island, but the coconut-lined bay doesn’t usually get too many visitors because it’s not recommended for swimming, however is considered a dreamy spot for a romantic stroll.

To get fully into relaxation mode, while making the most of your beach holiday, why not take a yoga class on the beach? Sunshine Kula Yoga Barbados offers classes right on the beach as the sun comes up, or if you prefer, during the day. Whatever takes your fancy. Stretch those limbs.

Flights and 7 nights hotel from £699pp from London Gatwick to Barbados*


Inject a little colour in your winter this year – for more information on how you can book your Winter Sun with British Airways from London Gatwick, click here.



*Terms and Conditions 

All prices below are in GBP per person and include return economy flights from London and are based on two adults sharing a hotel room for flight + hotel bookings, or car for flight + car bookings and based per person for flight only bookings. Bookings must be made by midnight 11/11/18. Some payment methods attract a handling fee. Holidays are ATOL protected (number ATOL5985). For full terms and conditions, visit ba.com/wintersun

Cancun – Fares from £225 each-way based on a return fare, are available from London Gatwick (LGW) to Cancun (CUN) for travel on select flights departing 16- 21 January 2019, and 11- 18 February 2019

Barbados – Price includes seven nights at either the 3* Halcyon Palm or the 4* Sunbay hotel from £699 per person, travelling on selected dates between March 3 and March 28 2019. Includes World Traveller return flights from Gatwick and accommodation. Book by November 11 2018. All prices are in GBP per person and include return economy flights from London and are based on two adults sharing a hotel room for flight + hotel bookings. Bookings must be made by midnight 11/11/18. Some payment methods attract a handling fee. Holidays are ATOL protected (number ATOL5985). For full terms and conditions, visit ba.com.

Dr Pepper flavoured baked beans exist and no, we’re not sure why either

Dr Pepper baked beans are now a thing you can buy
(Picture: Walmart)

Dr Pepper flavoured baked beans exist and no, we don’t know why, either.

We get it, supermarkets are often running out of ideas and therefore try to magic up these weird and wonderful creations – take peach flavoured Diet Coke, for example.

But Dr Pepper flavoured beans? We’re not so sure.

The beans are only being sold in the US, in Walmart. They’ve been labelled ‘Sweet and A Little Bit Sassy Dr Pepper Baked Beans’, and are made by the Serious Bean Co.

Dr Pepper baked beans are now a thing you can buy Picture: Walmart METROGRAB
(Picture: Walmart)

Amazingly, they’ve already sold out online but are available in-store for $1.48.

The product description reads: ‘With its blend of 23 flavors, Dr Pepper has long been a secret ingredient among top BBQ Pitmasters.

‘The 23 original flavors of Dr Pepper give this batch its name and its amazing flavor. Sweet and Sassy success. No preservatives. Seriousy Delicious. Always original. Always bold. Always delicious.’

Honestly, we’ve got to give them credit for the rather out there idea, but Dr Pepper baked beans? That doesn’t sound like a very nice addition to a Full English. Sorry.

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McDonald’s launches a Christmas latte inspired by millionaire’s shortbread

McDonald's drinks
Pictures: McDonald’s

We’re used to a gingerbread latte this time of year but McDonald’s have thought of a new festive flavour – and it sounds delicious.

The fast food restaurants has launched the Millionaire’s latte – a large shot of espresso blended with steamed milk, a caramel biscuit flavour syrup, topped with a swirl of chocolate cream and a caramel drizzle.

The drink is inspired by the classic millionaire’s shortbread treat.

Available from 7 November, it will cost £1.99 for a medium and £2.29 for a large.

Caption: Mcdonalds

It will be served alongside McDonald’s old favourite toffee nut latte and a traditional hot chocolate, in the all-important festive cups.

McDonald’s have gone for a geometric style on a blue background.

We can’t wait to try them all.

MORE: Dr Pepper flavoured baked beans exist and no, we’re not sure why either

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Boots have revealed their top beauty gifts for Christmas 2018

(Picture: Getty Images)

If you’ve already spied Boots’ Christmas beauty gift sets in-store and wondered what to buy, Boots has kindly whittled down over 1,000 products and revealed its top 10 beauty gifts for Christmas this year.

From No7, Sleek MakeUp, to Liz Earle, Boots have a seriously impressive selection of beauty gift sets for Christmas.

thumbnail for post ID 8107112Rylan Clark-Neal admits he 'can't say goodbye' to Big Brother as Monday's final approaches

So, whether you’re looking for a gift for a loved-one, or simply want to treat yourself (you’d be silly not to make the most of their 3 for 2 mix and match offer), check out Boots’ top beauty gifts for Christmas 2018.

Happy shopping…

No7 5 Steps to Radiance, £16

Want radiant, happier skin?

This luxurious skincare treat from No7 is ideal for any beauty lover. From cleansing to masking, this gift set contains all you need to leave skin glowing long after Christmas is over.

Soap & Glory The Mask Force Five Gift Set, £12.50

For anyone suffering with winter skin woes (dull, dry skin and clogged pores) this kit from Soap & Glory is a winner.

The pamper gift includes a range of face masks including; Soap & Glory’s What A Peeling Purifying De-Clog Mask and Speed Plump Super-Hydrating Miracle Moisture Mask.

They could be gifted alone, or split-up for stocking fillers.

Sleek MakeUP Nude Essentials, £16

Housed in a glitzy rose-gold makeup bag, the Sleek MakeUP set contains a must-have eyeshadow palette, gorgeous lip cream and a nude lip pencil.

What’s not to love?

Jack Wills Toolbox and Toiletries Gift Set, £30

For the groomed gent this fun toolbox is their one-stop-shop for those always on the go.

The gift contains a selection of body washes, body sprays and a soap, leaving him smelling and feeling fresh all year round.

Liz Earle The Supercharged Ritual, £27

Who doesn’t love Liz Earle products?

The Supercharged Ritual gift set contains three fan favourites from Liz Earle, including the cult classic Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. Which FYI, is so darn popular one is sold every 20 seconds across the globe.

Plus its under £30.

Ted Baker Hatton Tin, £14

For the guy in your life who’s impossible to buy for, you can’t go wrong with a bodycare gift set.

The Ted Baker Hatton Tin comes with their Refined & Invigorating Hair & Body Wash, Refined & Invigorating Cleansing Bar and Refined & Invigorating Body Spray – three grooming essentials that are perfect to pop into their gym bag.

LMX Shout Out To My Pout, £18

If your a fan of both Little Mix and liquid lipsticks, you’ll appreciate the LMX Shout Out To My Pout set.

It’s the perfect gift for a lipstick lover, with four lip liners and four matte lipsticks. Their everyday lip will be sorted with this selection of nudes.

Kendall & Kylie Abbey Wristlet Set, £16

The Kendall + Kylie Beauty Wristlet fits all your essentials including the signature KK Compact Mirror.

Trendy and easy to throw into any handbag, the Abbey Wristlet and Compact Mirror combo will be your partner in crime for everyday adventures.

Niomi Smart Morning Beautiful, £10

This 100% vegan collection of bathing products promises to ‘get you prepped for the day ahead and make you feel the best version of you’.

Created by YouTuber Naomi Smart who promotes leading a healthy and plant-based lifestyle, the millennial avocado shaped gift box contains a body lotion, wash, mist and spiral hairbands.

Plus it receives bonus points for the vegan status.

Joules Scarf and Fragrance Gift, £20

Also making it into the top 10 is this beautiful Wensley printed scarf paired with a stunningly fragrant mist from Joules.

Joules never fail to disappoint with their beautiful collections of toiletries and it’s at a price that will keep you within your budget.

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Primark launches The Grinch themed nightwear range

(Picture: Primark)

The Grinch is a firm favourite when it comes to Christmas films, and it’s coming to cinemas in an animated form this year.

To celebrate the green, Christmas-hating Scrooge, Primark has released a bunch of The Grinch themed stuff.

This includes a snuggly onesie, which comes in red and features a hood with the Grinch on it, topped with a red Christmas hat (you know, the one he wore went he went off to steal all of the Who People’s presents).

Instagram Photo

It costs just £16 and people have been saying they absolutely ‘need it’.

They also want to get their hands on some Grinch themed slippers, which feature Dr Seuss’s version of The Grinch with a fluffy Christmas hat. They look very cosy and warm and they’re the perfect addition to the onesie – especially as they only cost £8.

Instagram Photo

And, if you’re a parent and you fancy going all out this Christmas, there’s also some Grinch themed pyjamas for kids, which features a red, long sleeved top which reads: ‘I’m just here for the presents’. We can relate.

Instagram Photo

These PJs cost just £7 and also come with some snowflake bottoms.

Honestly, we can’t imagine anything better this Christmas than snuggling up on the sofa this Christmas in our Grinch onesie and slippers watching mean Mr Grinch steal presents on TV.

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Mums writes poignantly about the heartache of waiting for a positive pregnancy test

(Picture: Getty)

If you look on social media, you might be met with old friends getting married and having children.

Some of them might even post a snap of a pregnancy test showing two lines meaning the woman is pregnant. But no one ever shows one line.

Almost pregnancies are, understandably, seldom shown. Mum-of-one Megan Lynne Ferrero is trying to change that; she wants to start talking about the almost-was and the could’ve-been pregnancies we never see.

She has a lot of experience in this department unfortunately as she has spent a long time waiting to become a parent again.

Her Facebook post about the heartbreak of waiting to see a positive result has now gone viral.

Everyone talks about the positive results, but we rarely hear about the struggles of the negatives. We rarely talk…

Posted by Megan Lynne Ferrero on Tuesday, October 30, 2018

‘We rarely talk about how we check the test three minutes later, and then 10 minutes later, and then just for shits and giggles 30 minutes later to see if that magic second line made an appearance. If you’re like me, you might even check it days later as you pass by the trash bin in your bathroom because maybe somehow it just took a little bit longer for the test to process.

‘Or how we take a picture of the test with the flash off. Then with it on. Then upside down in a handstand. Then editing the picture to make it lighter or darker or crisper or blurrier, trying to see if any angle or any edit can make those two pink lines visible.

‘We rarely talk about how before we take the test, in our minds we count out to see what month the baby would be born and think about all the cute ways we can announce it.’

She details the agony of waiting months to see those two little lines appear but then 4 July passes by, then summer ends, Halloween comes and goes, then Christmas and still, she doesn’t find out she’s pregnant.

She imagines how she’d tell her family the announcement that she’s expecting, and then she starts worrying about all the things that could be wrong.

‘They tell you stressing over it just makes it even harder for it to happen, so you try to pretend you’re not stressing (let’s all get a good laugh out of that one) because apparently, that makes your whole reproductive system turn on you.

‘But you can’t help but panic a little when the months keep going by and you don’t have a brother or sister in there for your current child and the idea of having them close in age becomes more and more of an unrealistic fantasy,’ she said.

She ends with a positive note, telling other people going through the same thing she knows how it feels; ‘Regardless of how long you’ve been struggling this struggle or if you struggled with it in the past – I see you, I feel you, I am you.’

The post has almost 60,000 shares and nearly 7,000 comments supporting and applauding Megan.

Many users shared their similar experiences. One wrote: ‘I seriously needed this right now. This is exactly what I’ve been feeling on the inside for the past months now trying to conceive.

‘It’s hard to keep getting negatives when all you want is another baby to love. Most of the time I don’t even want to take the test because the disappointment is just too much.’

Others shared stories of their miracle babies and urged Megan to be patient or to explore other options.

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Why do winter coats come with shoulder buttons?

This is what the shoulder buttons on your coat are actually for
(Picture: Twitter)

Have you ever wondered why there’s those random loops on the shoulders of winter coats?

Well, apparently, they serve a purpose.

Francheska Horsburgh recently took to Twitter to reveal her discovery.

She wrote: ‘Taken me 18 years to find out that the weird shoulder buttons on jackets is to hold your bag in place so it doesn’t fall off who knew’.

Francheska also shared a photo of her bag strapped in using the shoulder loops for demonstration, and the tweet has gone viral with more than 67,000 retweets and 166,000 likes.

Most people were blown away by the discovery

While there were a few who of course already knew about the clothing hack

One mentioned that these shoulder straps are often used in military uniforms.

They were originally designed to keep back packs, ammunition pouches or bayonets from slipping off the shoulder.

Who knew?

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