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When is Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2018 opening and do you need tickets?

Winter Wonderland is back this week (Picture: Getty Images)

Hyde Park will be filled with people getting involved with festive cheer again this year as Winter Wonderland gets underway this week.

The event is always ridiculously popular as crowds fill the park, swigging mulled wine and chowing down on lengthy German sausages.

thumbnail for post ID 8158424When is Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2018 opening and do you need tickets?

Winter Wonderland is actually free to get into, which is part of why it is so popular, with visitors only needing tickets to go on certain rides or attractions.

The festive fun starts this week and runs all the way till January, so you have every chance to attend. Here is everything you need to know…

There is plenty to enjoy at the Hyde Park event (Picture: Getty Images)

When does Winter Wonderland open?

The event begins on Thursday 22 November with doors opening at 4pm.

What are the opening times for Winter Wonderland?

From 23 November to 6 January, Winter Wonderland is open from 10am to 10pm every day, except Christmas Day, when it is closed.

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
(Picture: Getty)

How much are tickets?

As mentioned, there is no entry fee for Winter Wonderland, but you will need to buy tickets for the following attractions…

Winter Wonderland attractions which require tickets

  • Ice Skating
  • Magical Ice Kingdom
  • Bar Ice
  • Giant Wheel
  • Zippos Christmas Circus
  • Cirque Berserk
  • The Snowman Experience
  • Peter Pan On Ice
  • Teletubbies Christmas Show
  • Bur Hutte (Karaoke)
  • Comedy Club
  • Ice Sculpting Workshops
  • Coaster Pass

Prices are dependent on which attraction you are attending and at what time and day you plan to go.

For example, an adult ticket for ice skating will cost £9.50 on Monday lunchtime, but £15.50 on Saturday evening.

To plan your visit and book your tickets, click here.

How to get to Winter Wonderland

The event organisers suggest travelling to either Green Park, Victoria or Paddington tube stations, all of which are just a short walk away.

They also note: ‘There may also be restrictions on the size of bag/luggage that is allowed into the event. We strongly advise not bringing large bags or luggage to event.’

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The best men’s winter coats on the high street right now

(Picture: River Island/Asos/Uniqlo)

Not sure if you’ve left the house yet, but it’s absolute freezing outside.

If you’re digging out your coats and jackets, and finding them all a bit dull in the cold light of 2018, we’ve got you covered.

The high street is full of amazing options for men, whether you’re a Mad Men fashion wannabe, or prefer a relaxed and casual look.


(Picture: Uniqlo)

Uniqlo are the GOAT for basics, and this hooded puffer jacket is no different.

It comes in a range of different colours, and has a light but warm down filling.

It’s £69.90, but is sure to see you through many a British winter, and goes with everything.


(Picture: Zara)

If you have to wear a suit to work, or just generally err on the side of formal, this textured overcoat is perfect.

The woven material adds enough drama to keep it interesting, but it’s still in muted tone, so you can wear it for work or the evening.

Add a patterned cashmere scarf to go for the all-out urban man-with-his-shit-together look.

This one is £89.99.


(Picture: Asos)

Asos Collusion are the brand we have been crushing on hard in recent months.

It’s unisex, fun, and very well-priced.

This statement bomber, for example, is £50 and reversible – so technically you get two jackets for your money.


(Picture: Topman)

For those of you who want a warm jacket without the bulk, this Topman Selected Homme jacket is made with 50% pure recycled wool, and will keep you hella toasty.

It features an on-trend borg collar, and is in a muted navy colour.

Scandinavian simplicity is the name of the game, but it is £165, so a bit of an investment piece.


(Picture: Bellfield)

What would winter fashion be without a humble parka?

Bellfield’s offering is warm, has deep pockets, and is modern enough that you don’t look like too much of a Britpop throwback.

You can detach the faux fur hood, too, if you fancy a cleaner look.

This one is £80.

New Look

(Picture: New Look)

Borg/teddy fur/faux sheepskin is here in a big way this winter.

Despite it being a super cute and cosy fabric, there are ways to keep it understated – such as this £34.99 jacket from New Look.

It’s available in stone or dark green too, and is a simple and inexpensive way to update your existing winter outfits.

Boohoo Man

(Picture: Boohoo)

Faux suede is not the one in the rain, but is surprisingly warm when the temperatures plummet.

Boohoo Man has this perfect ‘going out’ jacket, that’s smart enough for clubs and pubs but won’t make you look like you’re trying too hard.

As it’s nearly Black Friday, it’s currently discounted by 30% and is only £28. Bargain.

River Island

(Picture: River Island)

Isn’t this biker jacket just dripping in sauce?

In tan faux leather, and with (yes, again) borg lining, it says 70s football manager and urban socialite all at the same time.

You’ll want to dress this down to avoid the full Dazed and Confused vibe, so a hoody and jeans would be ideal.

Get your hands on it for £95.

Urban Outfitters

(Picture: Urban Outfitters)

This sporty little number is ideal for layering.

Throw it on over anything, and the nylon/cotton mix will keep the heat in and not detract from whatever else you’re wearing.

Currently on sale for £50.


(Picture: Burton)

A single breasted mac and a poloneck are a match made in heaven.

Can’t you imagine yourself on the Christmas day walk wearing this? Of course you can.

Plus it’s only £41.30 in the sale, so you can pop it on your list now.

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Cat’s tongues provide inspiration for anti-allergy brush

(Picture: Getty)

Scientists have developed a new easy-to-clean hairbrush that could help pet-owners combat allergies.

Any cat-lover will know that our four-legged friends have adorably rough little tongues – and that’s what makes the brush so effective.

The new brush has been modeled on the design of a feline tongue – which is covered in backward-facing spines made of keratin, called papillae.

The researchers, from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, took a papilla from the severed tongues of six cat species – a domestic cat, a bobcat, a cougar, a lion, a snow leopard, and a tiger – all donated after death.

They then cleaned the tongues and scanned them to create 3D models.

Photo Taken In Madrid, Spain
(Picture: Getty Images/EyeEm)

The scoop-shape of the papillae is what makes cats so good at grooming – it means their saliva can reach right down to the lower layers of their fur, providing a deeper clean.

What scientists want to do is harness this cleaning power to create a brush that will make your pets more allergen friendly.

Using 3D models, the researchers created a grooming brush, called TIGR, which featured papillae that was 400% larger than a domestic cat’s.

They found that on faux nylon fur, the TIGR was more effective compared to a human hairbrush, and also much easier to clean.

Because the brush is able to get lower into the fur, it could be used to apply medications or cleaning solutions directly to a cat’s skin.

This could potentially help people with allergies to live happily with cats, and reduce pesky symptoms like sneezing and itching.

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Who needs wings? The size-inclusive lingerie brands getting it right

The feminist defense for the Victoria Secret show METRO GRAB taken from: https://www.popsugar.co.uk/fashion/Simply-Plus-Size-Lingerie-Show-November-2018-45458860 Credit: SimplyBe
(Picture: Simply Be/Metro.co.uk)

Victoria’s Secret have had a bit of busy week, due to recent comments made by CMO Ed Razek about the refusal to include plus-size or trans women on the Victoria’s Secret catwalk.

This has generated much conversation on social media as to the lack of inclusivity and choice that many plus-size women face, with many feeling that there is little to no access to ‘sexy’ pieces of plus-size lingerie.

With so much pressure being put on Victoria’s Secret to provide plus size underwear, it’s easy to miss the size-inclusive brands that are doing it right.

Instagram Photo

Brands including Lovehoney, Elomi, Playful Promises and Scantilly by Curvy Kate offer luxury pieces of lingerie featuring playful, daring, edgy, sexy elements. What’s great is that they are all included within their plus lines too.

Scantilly, the sexier younger sister brand to Curvy Kate tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Scantilly was designed with an unsecured spirit in mind, for ladies who like to keep the light on and ones who like to be surprised in the dark.

‘Our Curvy Kate customers asked for a sexier line of bras, so we gave! We launched in 2015 and haven’t looked back.

‘We want our plus sized customers to feel sexy and empowered in our lingerie. With sinful opulence scandalising every piece, it’s not a want but a need. We take risks with design and our customers love that – lingerie is a personal item to buy and Scantilly is pure indulgence. How you wear it, who you wear it for is totally up to you. Judgment is left at the door.’

(Picture: Therese Hansson, Olivia Campbell and Lotte Williams for Scantilly/Metro.co.uk)

‘It’s incredibly important, size has nothing to do with sex appeal’ Scantilly go on say.  ‘The fashion industry sells us the idea that “this” is the perfect body to be idolised and worshiped and its total nonsense. If women of all sizes aren’t included in the conversation, then where does that leave them? Sex appeal has no boundaries.’

Elomi Lingerie

(Picture: Playful Promises)

Elomi lingerie combines comfort with subtle elegance, featuring a diverse range of lingerie sets including the best selling Satchi harness bra set. Briefs go up to a 4xl, while the bras go up to a J cup.

Playful Promises

(Picture: GabiFresh for Playful Promises)

Playful Promises is an independent lingerie brand who not only create flirty, fun pieces of lingerie for plus size bodies, but have also collaborated with US award winning plus-size blogger Gabifresh on two best-selling collections featuring lingerie sets such as the Erin Velvet set and the Fresh Celeste sequinned bra. The range extends to a size 42H.

Scantilly by Curvy Kate

(Picture: Scantilly Lingerie)

Scantillly is the sexier younger sister of lingerie giant Curvy Kate, whose ranges extend to a size 38HH, with plans to extend the back sizes in future.Best sellers include the Peek-a-Boo bra and the Surrender harness bra.

And how right they are. While it’s clear that Victoria’s Secret do not want to extend their idea of what a ‘fantasy woman’ looks like, make no mistake that women – of all shapes and sizes – have the right to look and feel amazing in all types of lingerie, wings or not.

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Vinegar pies and burgers stacked high: The most delicious side of Pittsburgh


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a city where plate after plate of hearty Americana made my visit well worth while.

It had been on my radar for the past couple of years as an ever-improving dining destination, so I was glad to have the chance to see what the fuss was all about for myself.

As I saw it, the food and drink scene was fiercely hyper local, with eateries concerned more about pleasing regulars than appealing to out-of-towners and destination diners.

That said, showing up from foreign shores as I did, I was received with a warm welcome everywhere I ate, and each meal came with the feeling that I was not going to be allowed to leave unsatisfied. Indeed I never did.

vinegar pie
That vinegar pie (Picture: Chris Osburn)

Let’s start at the beginning, as in the first – and most important – meal of the day: breakfast.

I had an especially tasty one at the decadently named Pie for Breakfast.

This tiny pit stop near the Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh campuses does an irresistible menu of pastries, breakfast plates and fancy diner fare at an affordable price.

For my brekkie, a slice of pie was obviously obligatory. I went for the vinegar pie, an old timey treat that’s a lot sweeter than it sounds. If you love a treacle tart, you would flip for vinegar pie.

Instagram Photo

Lidia’s Pittsburgh, owned by Italian/Croatian celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich, is one of the city’s most popular places to eat.

Despite the high accolades and personal recommendations, I was doubtful at first that I would have a noteworthy dinner.

The nearly two-decades-old restaurant, with its giant and not terribly characterful dining room, looked more a like crowd pleasing coral than any sort of authentic regional ethnic eatery. Boy was I wrong!

Having picked the pasta tasting trio – an unlimited sampling of daily pasta specials served tableside – I could see why crowds might flock to eat at Lidia’s.

S&D Polish Deli's pierogies (Picture: Chris Osburn)
S&D Polish Deli’s pierogies (Picture: Chris Osburn)

Lidia’s is located in a part of Pittsburgh known as The Strip.

A post-industrial riverside district next to the downtown area, The Strip is quite the food and drink haven.

Here, decades old traditional establishments coexist with a decidedly new wave of up-and-comers, providing fertile ground for foraging foodies.

Best bites from the old school side of the equation came in perfect little Polish parcels of yum (otherwise known as pierogies) from S&D Polish Deli.

Most memorable of the new wave nosh was a fried chicken sandwich stacked high with Cajun shrimp, andouille, charred peppers, onions, and fontina on a brioche bun with pepper sauce mayo.

home restaurant chicken sandwich
Probably the best chicken sandwich around (Picture: Chris Osburn)

The tower of flavour was from Home Restaurant, one of four outlets at the Smallman Galley restaurant incubator.

Complementing both old and new was my double espresso, pulled properly and without a drop of barista pomp at La Prima Espresso Company, a wholesale coffee roastery with a café.

The most famous of places to eat in The Strip is Primanti Bros. Now with outlets across Pennsylvania and a few other states, this hometown hero opened its original restaurant and bar in The Strip back in 1933.

Since then, this all-night diner, specialising in sandwiches of notoriously gargantuan proportion, has become something of a shrine for aficionados of American nosh.

The desired dish for most on a pilgrimage is the Pitts-Burger, a meatloaf sandwich augmented with French fries, coleslaw, tomatoes and provolone between two thick slices of Italian bread.

Pitts-Burger (Picture: Chris Osburn)
Pitts-Burger of epic proportions (Picture: Chris Osburn)

Far less known than Primanti Bros – but nevertheless drawing plenty of lunchtime fans – is downtown dive Weiner World.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon this joint on the day I toured downtown Pittsburgh with Walk the Burgh – the daily special was a smoked brisket sandwich on a pretzel roll with coleslaw, provolone, and teriyaki sauce and a side of house made crisps.

Two of Pittsburgh’s most enduring nicknames include Steel City and Iron City. These allude to its heyday as a major manufacturer of steel.

However, in the south side neighbourhood of Allentown, these monikers more likely refer to the locals’ love of heavy metal and hardcore punk.

If you like your coffee brewed as black as your eternally tormented soul, Black Forge Coffee House is the death metal themed café of your nightmares.

 Black Forge Coffee House
Rock n’ Roll coffee (Picture: Chris Osburn)

Macabre decor and a black-on-black colour scheme set a tone unlike any other café I’ve ever entered, while the angst-riddled heavy metal piped through the sound system probably wouldn’t be what most people would choose for the soundtrack of their latte breaks.

Despite the spooky digs and niche sub-genre background music, the café is a bona fide hit and shows up prominently on lots of Pittsburgh’s ‘best of’ lists.

I reckon part of the success is the novelty of Black Forge, but more so is the fact that the carefully selected and locally roasted coffee beans are crafted into delicious espresso-based drinks by competent baristas.

A few blocks away from Black Forge is Onion Maiden, a ‘punk rock fuelled, heavy metal spawned’ vegan eatery with a menu of plant-based versions of east Asian and American comfort foods.

Like Black Forge, the mood at Onion Maiden is dark. But it’s far from doleful, with smiling staff and an ambiance of youthful energy.

onion maiden
The mood at Onion Maiden is dark, but it’s far from doleful (Picture: Chris Osburn)

I adored the two dishes I devoured at Onion Maiden.

A rather substantial starter course of two buns filled with enoki mushrooms, Korean mayo, hoisin, cucumber, coriander and green onions had my taste buds rocking and ready for more.

An extra scrumptious and generously proportioned bowl of ‘Graves at Sea’ tater tots with house made kimchi, soy caramel, nori, togarashi, and green onions all but did me in.

Whether an eclectic playlist of everything aggro (it was a mix of Twisted Sister, Windhand and Subhumans during my seating) sounds like your sort of ear candy or not – and whether you’re inclined to go meatless or not – I wager you would relish the boldly flavoured food rolled out of Onion Maiden’s rebel kitchen.

acorn crab ‘rice’ bowl
Acorn’s crab ‘rice’ bowl (Picture: Chris Osburn)

Another phenomenal meal and one of the best I’ve had this year was at Acorn.

Sitting pretty in the affluent northern Pittsburgh neighbourhood of Shadyside, the cuisine at Acorn is modern American. Dishes are prepared in a straightforward manner with only as many ingredients as absolutely required.

Seasonality and locality play major roles in chef (and co-owner) Scott Walton’s creations, but complex flavour profiles are the stars of his creations.

Case in point is Walton’s inventive New World take on escargot, complemented with corn, crema, huitlacoche mole, cotija cheese and corn cakes.

More evidence comes by way of his popular crab ‘rice’ bowl of Peekytoe crab, boiled peanuts, kale, and kimchi vin, topped with fried duck egg.

Whitfield's smoked trout (Picture: Chris Osburn)
Whitfield’s smoked trout (Picture: Chris Osburn)

Serving food along the same lines as Acorn in the less leafy but restaurant-rich neighbourhood of East Liberty is Whitfield.

Inside the lobby of the Ace Hotel, chefs Bethany Zozula and Casey Renee look to Western Pennsylvania’s immigrant influence for inspiration, with dishes celebrating the region’s Polish, German, Eastern European, and Italian and Jewish heritages.

Staying at the Ace for part of my time in Pittsburgh, I was impressed with the uniquely savoury breakfast of pastrami hash with sunny side up egg, salt and vinegar crisps I had one morning.

In the evening I was similarly wowed with smoked trout with tallow potatoes, wax beans, grilled green onions, pimento aioli and lemon vinaigrette.

Honestly, I couldn’t have wished for a more delicious destination.

Where to stay in Pittsburgh and how to get there:

I split my stay between two hotels: the AC Hotel by Marriott Pittsburgh Downtown and the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh.

The sleek months-old AC was especially convenient for accessing the downtown area and The Strip, as well as major cultural attractions such as The Andy Warhol Museum and the Senator John Heinz History Center and to catch pro sports events such as Steelers home games (replete with epic tailgating parties) at Heinz Field.

Rooms at the AC starts from £112 per night.

Situated in a century-old former YMCA in the artsy and edgy enclave of East Liberty, Ace Hotel was a comfy place to stay and an equally happening hub for quirky and community-oriented activities such as dodge ball and tai chi.

I loved having a Martin guitar and turntable with curated vinyl as amenities in my room.

Rooms at the Ace start from £92 per night.

I flew via Wow Air with brief layovers outbound and return in Reykjavik. Fares start from £273 return.

For more tips on having fun in Pittsburgh go to visitpittsburgh.com.

(Top picture: Chris Osburn)

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When to put your Christmas tree up and how long do real trees last?

A young boy dressed in Santa pajamas places a star a top the Christmas tree
(Picture: Getty)

Christmas is very nearly upon us, whether you like it or not, and that means it is time to start thinking about your tree.

It is still a little early to be erecting your festive fern, but the time will come in just a few days as we speed towards December.

thumbnail for post ID 8159249Wladimir Klitschko posts cryptic message after manager ruled out AJ rematch

It is definitely time to start thinking about where you left that box of tinsel or the all-important Angel/Santa/star for the top of the tree.

Whilst the answer is almost entirely up to personal preference, here is some guidance as to when you could be putting your tree up.

Why do we take down Christmas decorations 12 days after Christmas?
(Picture: Getty)

When should you put up your Christmas tree?

Considering the sheer effort that goes into either buying a tree and hauling it home or the hours spent digging through boxes in your shed looking for your artificial tree, you will want to make the most of it.

Some feel that the appropriate time to put up your Christmas tree is at the beginning of Advent which is the religious name for the period coming up to Christmas.

Advent covers the four Sundays before Christmas and this year will begin on Sunday 2 December.

(Picture: Getty)

There is also the option of waiting until 12 days before Christmas to put up your tree, this means 13 December will be the day you turn your home into a magical Christmas wonderland.

There are suggestions that one could wait until the third Sunday of Advent to put up your tree which would be preferable for those who are going to buy the real deal.

6 December is also a common day chosen to put up one’s Christmas Tree as it is in honour of Saint Nicholas.

For those who want to have their tree up for a considerable amount of time but also lead busy lives, then the second Saturday in December might be the day for you.

Basically, there is no right or wrong answer, although 3 December seems to be the earliest acceptable time to get the tree into the house.

That is unless you are American and you put up your Christmas tree straight after Thanksgiving which falls on 23 November – so really, you just can’t go wrong.

(Picture: Getty)

How to keep your Christmas Tree fresh

You will probably want to be hot and toasty in the run-up to Christmas but your tree doesn’t.

Try to keep the tree as far away from a heat source as possible making sure it is cool all the time.

Try to place your tree in water when you can, to keep it alive and hydrated for its pageanting period to get the most of your tree.

When you get your new tree, it is a good idea to saw off the bottom inch of the tree so the tree will absorb more water because of the newly-exposed fresh wood.

Once cut, a real Christmas tree should last around four weeks.

When should you take your Christmas tree down?

Most people agree that you should wait until 12 days after Christmas (Twelfth Night) to take down your tree, this is 6 January.

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Black Friday 2018: Best Black Friday deals on coffee machines

(Picture:Nescafe Dolce Gusto)

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly upon us – and one of the best appliance deals is on coffee machines. So if morning Joe is your thing, don’t miss out. Retailers are slashing their prices and now is the perfect moment to snap up the fancy espresso machine you’ve been eyeing up for Christmas.

Below are Metro’s picks for this year’s best Black Friday coffee deals. Act fast and consider yourself warned: most will sell out.

Espresso and Pod Machines

De’Longhi Autentica Bean to Cup Coffee Machine


De'Longhi Autentica Bean to Cup Coffee Machine
(Picture: ao.com)


De’Longhi Autentica Bean to Cup Coffee Machine lets you use either whole beans or ground coffee in this stylish bean to cup machine from De’Longhi.

The Thermoblock heating system makes sure the water is always at the ideal brewing temperature – so you enjoy rich flavours time after time.

For an extra kick, the Doppio+ setting provides an intense double shot of espresso at the touch of a button. The memory function makes it simple to save your favourite drinks settings for quick access. And the milk carafe is removable so it’s easy to fill and clean.

De’Longhi Autentica Bean to Cup Coffee Machine, RRP £699 –  Black Friday Price £399 (Save £300/43%) ao.com

Melitta Barista TS Smart

Melitta Barista TS Smart Coffee Maker
(Picture: Lakeland.co.uk)

New and the best of Melitta’s range, this is one of the highest rated bean-to-cups on the market. It’s smart too – the Melitta Connect App lets you make coffee with remote control access, automated user recognition, and personal recipes saved for up to eight people.

There is also a function which lets you choose from 18 or 21 pre-programmed coffee variations so it will make you what you want when you want.

The practical Double Cup mode is a real time-saver, too, as it allows preparation of two drinks at the same time. The bean-to-cup feature freshly grinds the required amount of coffee beans, has five settings to choose from and uses the ground coffee immediately. It also has an Automatic Bean Select to choose the correct bean type for your favourite coffee. And bonus – the grinder has a prestigious Quiet Mark rating on the coffee grinder which means you won’t be waking anyone up in the morning.

Melitta Barista TS Smart  RRP  £1,249.99 – Black Friday Price £899 (Save £350/28%) lakeland.co.uk

De’Longhi Icona Vintage Espresso Coffee Machine


De'Longhi Icona Vintage ECOV311.BG Espresso Coffee Machine
(Picture: ao.com)

De’Longhi Icona Vintage Espresso Coffee Machine fuses a beautiful vintage design with barista quality coffee.

It has its own milk frother and a powerful 15 bar pressure that means that full flavour is always extracted from your coffee. It has a special Cappuccino System that adds hot steam into milk, and makes an airy froth that will give the perfect finish to every cappuccino.

For convenience and flexibility, this model is compatible with both ground coffee and ESE pods. And there’s a cup warmer to heat your mugs before use. Makes great coffee at home that rivals professional results.

RRP: £179 – Black Friday Price: £99 (Save £80/45%)  ao.com

Francis Francis Bluetooth Illy Y5

illy  Y5 Espresso & Coffee machine
(Picture: illy)

llycaffè has created a brand-new, cutting-edge version of its Y5 Espresso & Coffee machine. This fancy bit of tech connects you with Amazon to integrate the coffee machine with the latest Amazon Dash Replenishment system, meaning coffee-lovers no longer have to fear morning coffee deprivation.

It can now automatically track your capsule usage and reorder before you run out and, using the My illyMachine app, you can initiate brewing coffee, customise cup volume / temperature AND schedule daily brewing times.

Y5 BT Espresso & Coffee Machine, RRP: £210 – Black Friday Price £105 (Savings £105/ 50%) Amazon

Nespresso by De’Longhi Lattissima One

Nespresso by De'Longhi Lattissima One
(Picture: ao.com)

Milk froth and coffee is made together in this stylish new pod coffee machine from Nespresso by De’Longhi.  Just fill the milk container to the level for your chosen brew, press the button and the machine will froth the fresh milk directly into your cup.

With three programmable drink sizes to choose from, you can select an espresso, lungo or a tailored milk recipe and, thanks to the fast heat up system, you’ll never have to wait long for your morning macchiato.

Cleaning the machine is easy as the milk container can go straight in the dishwasher. Heat up time is 25 seconds and the machine comes in Silky White or Mocha Brown.

Nespresso by De’Longhi Lattissima One, RRP:£195  – Black Friday Price; £129 (Save £66/34%) ao.com

Nescafé Dolce Gusto by De’Longhi Eclipse Touch

Nescafé Dolce Gusto by De'Longhi Eclipse Touch  Pod Coffee Machine
(Picture: Nescafé Dolce Gusto)

For design lovers, this one is pure perfection. The open and close mechanism moves smoothly and quickly – useful if you find it difficult to get the small pods in place. It also comes with a high pressure system – the secret weapon baristas use to get maximum flavour into a cup – so you can make shop-quality coffee at home.

Works with Nescafè Dolce Gusto capsules and has a selecting wheel to choose the desired cup size and an XL function for those who like their cups large. It heats up quickly and has an energy-saving mode which switches the machine off after 5 minutes of inactivity.

Nescafé Dolce Gusto Eclipse Automatic by De’Longhi, RRP £179.99 – Black Friday Price: £84.50 (Savings £95.49/53%)  amazon.co.uk

NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Oblo

NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Oblo pod
(Picture: Nescafe Dolce Gusto)

Looks smart and gives good brew. The new Oblo pod coffee machine by Nescafe makes professional quality coffees with a thick velvety crema, thanks to the machine’s high-pressure system (up to 15 bars).

Simply slide in your chosen pod, and with one easy adjustment of the manual lever you can prepare the perfect beverage of your choice. The coffee machine’s fast heat up system reaches the perfect temperature in 30 seconds so you don’t need to wait long to sip.

And now an incredible deal – great value.

NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® Oblo Manual Coffee Machine RRP £89.99  – Black Friday Price: £29.99 (Save £60/70%) very.co.uk

Best Filter Coffee Deals

The Panasonic Filter Coffee Maker

 Panasonic Filter Coffee Maker
(Picture: wowcher.co.uk)

The Panasonic Coffee Maker is brand new, sleek and stylish, made from stainless steel with a glass carafe.

Not only does it offer a choice of coffee strength with an aroma selector, and an eco-friendly paperless filter, but it can brew up to eight cups of coffee at once.

Incredible deal on this one too.

Panasonic NC-DF1 Coffee Maker, RRP £99.95 – Black Friday Price £24.99- (Save: £75/75%) wowcher.co.uk

Kitchen Craft Slow Brew

TK Maxx Kitchen Craft Slow Brew Coffee Maker
(Picture: TK Maxx)

Makes a rich and rounded coffee, this slow brewer comes with a filter compression funnel at the top, a black sturdy handle and a glass pot.

TK Maxx Kitchen Craft Slow Brew Coffee Maker, RRP £42.99 – Black Friday Price £19.99 Save £23/54%, tkmaxx.com

M&S labelled as ‘sexist’ for describing ‘fancy little knickers’ as Christmas must-haves for women

(Picture: FiLiA)

This Marks and Spencer window display has been described as ‘sexist’ for labelling ‘fancy little knickers’ their must-have for women, alongside a display that said men should have ‘outfits to impress’.

The display, spotted at their Nottingham store, was posted on Facebook and shared by feminist charity FiLiA on Twitter.

They said: ‘Imagine for a moment if those window displays were reversed. Go on M&S… we are watching.’

Kate Beaumont, who spotted the display, told Metro.co.uk: ‘I felt like nothing has improved in my lifetime.

‘I’m 45 and this is the kind of attitude that I naively thought was in the past when I was a teenager.

‘It’s just appalling and very badly judged in the context of the Irish rape case. I feel saddened and extremely frustrated.’

Sian Steans, member of Nottingham Feminist Action Network and Feminist Friends Nottingham, where the image was originally posted said: ‘We appreciate M&S sell underwear but the gendered approach to this display is disrespectful and ill thought out.

‘When companies insist on men being fully clothed and women showcasing lingerie only, it sends a message about women’s place in society as objects to titillate.

‘It’s regressive and should be challenged. Girls and boys can grow up around healthier attitudes and ideas about women in culture, including advertising, but only if we force these discussions.’

Lisa-Marie Taylor, CEO of FiLiA, added: ‘When Marks and Spencer decides that men ‘must have outfits to impress’ and women ‘must have fancy little knickers’ then what we are seeing is sexism writ large in our high streets; reflecting and perpetuating all the sexist shit that women have been subject to for far too long.

‘Women and girls are tired of having to navigate the onslaught of misogyny. It seems that Marks and Spencer and other retailers are yet to learn from the movement.’

A spokesperson for the store told Metro.co.uk: ‘M&S sells more underwear, in more shapes, sizes and styles, than any other retailer, especially at Christmas.

‘We’ve highlighted one combination in our windows, which are part of a wider campaign that features a large variety of Must-Have Christmas moments, from David Gandy washing up in an M&S suit through to families snuggling up in our matching PJs.’

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Ferrero Rocher is opening a personalised popup just in time for Christmas

Ferrero Rocher Opens Personalisation Pop Up Just In Time For Christmas Credit: Getty, Ferero Rocher
(Picture: Getty)

Ferrero fans, rejoice: The chocolate maker has just launched its first ever Grand Ferrero Rocher personalisation popup just in time for Christmas, and it’s now open at Harvey Nichols, in Knightsbridge and Manchester.

For £8.50 customers can instantly personalise a 125g Grand Ferrero Rocher with their choice of name or message, which is printed onto the label before being packaged into a Ferrero gift box.

Ferrero Rocher Opens Personalisation Pop Up Just In Time For Christmas Credit: Getty, Ferero Rocher
(Picture: Getty)

The Grand Fererro Rocher is a milk chocolate and hazelnut shell with two Ferrero Rocher inside.

You can also find pre-printed Grand Ferrero Rochers if you don’t have time to personalise one, with messages such as ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Congratulations’, ‘Thank You’, ‘I Love You’ and ‘Darling’, online and in all Harvey Nichols stores.

The Grand Rocher personalisation service is now available in Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge Fifth Floor Foodmarket and on the Second Floor Foodmarket in Manchester, until Sunday 30 December 2018.

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Model shares video of her epileptic seizure on Instagram


A woman has uploaded a live video of herself having a seizure to Instagram to show the reality of living with epilepsy.

Sophie Wilson-Smith, 24, a model and masters degree student from North London, had no idea that she had the condition until one day in April 2016 when, completely out of the blue, she suffered an episode while at work.

A barrage of tests followed until the summer of 2018, when she was officially diagnosed with epilepsy – a neurological condition causing seizures, due to a sudden burst of intense electrical activity in the brain.

Keen to show how varied seizures can be, Sophie, who is studying Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Royal Veterinary College, posted candid footage online of herself having a focal seizure, showing she is conscious and aware, but disorientated.

She said: ‘The video was like a therapy for me, a way of educating others on the mental aspect of having to deal with this.

‘Lots of people don’t realise there are different types of seizure. It’s not always the typical fit you see on TV, where a person is on the ground shaking.

‘The ones I experience are almost unnoticeable, yet I’ll be freaking out inside. It can make you feel very alone.’

Until her first seizure, Sophie, who has a zoology degree from Anglia Ruskin University, was the picture of health, juggling modelling with a part-time retail job and studying for her exams.

Sophie had her first seizure completely out the blue in April 2017 (PA Real Life/Collect)
(Picture: PA Real Life)

Remembering the day in April 2017, she said: ‘My memory of it is very hazy, but I can only describe the symptoms as being migraine-like, just without the headache.

‘I said to my friend: “I really don’t feel well. Something is wrong”. Apparently, as I spoke, I just went completely blank.

‘Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by paramedics.’

After being checked over at hospital, Sophie was initially told she probably had a hemiplegic migraine, where one side of the body becomes temporarily paralysed.

But in the throes of a focal seizure, a person may also experience speech difficulties, vision problems or confusion.

Sophie continued: ‘I didn’t fit the typical epilepsy symptoms, so it took a long time to be properly diagnosed, but the medication I was given didn’t help me.

‘Over the course of a year, I was having more and more focal seizures.

‘Doctors were convinced they were hemiplegic migraines, but I didn’t agree. It was incredibly frustrating, and I ended up feeling down and depressed.

‘Life was changing so much for me, and yet nobody seemed to understand.’

At her lowest ebb, Sophie was having around five seizures a month and could feel symptoms building up for days on end before they happened.

Sophie (PA Real Life/Brian Venth/VENTHstudios.co.uk)
(Picture: PA Real Life/Brian Venth/VENTHstudios.co.uk)

Describing the onset of a seizure, she said: ‘I’ll feel this uncomfortable, almost anxious feeling in my stomach, before the room gets bigger and smaller. My vision will feel odd, and my hearing is as if someone has their hands over my ears.

‘Afterwards, I’ll feel really disorientated and upset.’

Eventually, Sophie began to dread going out in case one happened in public.

She continued: ‘It’s something I still struggle with now. I worry people will stare and judge if I have an episode in public.

‘I remember being on the Tube in London once when I felt a seizure coming. I explained what was happening and asked for a seat and this person just started at me, without moving.

‘I ended up having one standing up, and on that packed carriage, only one person asked if I was okay.’

At the end of 2017, Sophie was forced to quit her retail job, as the stress of juggling everything was making her symptoms worse.

Finally, in summer 2018, she met with a specialist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where she was officially diagnosed with epilepsy.

‘I’d come to terms with the fact that something more than originally thought was wrong with me.’ said Sophie, who is now working with the charity Epilepsy Action. ‘While it wasn’t nice to hear, it was a relief to finally have a diagnosis.

‘My specialist was amazing. He put me on a course of medicine right away, which took a couple of weeks to kick in, but has been great.

‘It’s a long road to see if this will be a long-term solution, and I’ve had to up my dosage twice, but I feel very grateful for now.

Sophie bravely shared her video to show the realities of living with epilepsy (PA Real Life/Collect)
(Picture: PA Real Life)

‘Before, the tiniest bit of stress, tiredness or even being on my period would trigger me – but now, my episodes are few and far between.’

During a seizure around three months ago, as her medication was still kicking in, Sophie made the bold decision to film what was happening, uploading the poignant snapshot to Instagram.

Although nervous as to how people would react, she was hit with a wave of support, receiving messages off strangers from around the globe.

Now, by speaking out, she hopes she will educate people on the invisible side of epilepsy – and show others living with it that they are not alone.

She said: ‘Of course, everyone is different, but personally, when I’m in a seizure, I need people to remain calm, sit with me and wait, helping me come back down.

‘There’s nothing worse than someone panicking, shouting and shaking you.

‘Everyone should inform themselves about epilepsy, as it can happen to absolutely anybody. It just hit me out of the blue, and we’re all still trying to work out why.

‘What people like me need is as much kindness and understanding as possible. Judgement doesn’t help anybody.

‘To others with epilepsy, I want to also say how important it is to speak up if you don’t feel well. You may feel afraid or worry about being a burden but you aren’t – and your health is so important.’

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What is the turkey sex position?

(Picture: Getty)

It’s nearly Thanksgiving (22 November, if you’re curious), and thus, along with pumpkin pie, many people across the internet are talking about turkeys.

How does one prepare a turkey? Can you microwave it? Is it a wise idea to cover a turkey in hot Cheetos?

These are all valid questions, but there is one to ponder that is much more important: what is the turkey?

No, not ‘what is A turkey’. We know what a turkey is.

What is the turkey? As in what is the sex position called ‘the turkey’ and how does one do it this Thursday?

Well, brave festive sex-havers, we’re here to help.

The turkey is indeed a sex position, and, as you’d expect from knowing of other comedic sex positions, it doesn’t sound particularly pleasurable.

It goes like this: The gentleman is having sex with a lady from behind, when he lets out a ‘gobble, gobble’ noise and spanks the lady on her buttocks.

The hand print left behind creates the outline of a turkey. You know how kids draw turkeys by outlining their hand then turning the thumb into the turkey’s head? That’s the idea.

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

Now, this may sound very entertaining, but we must be the voices of reason and say that you need to check if your sexual partner is okay with spanking and gobbling before you do it.

Slapping someone’s bum without their permission is not okay, and if it’s not done properly it can bloody hurt.

Even the ‘gobble, gobble’ bit could be a bit distressing if you don’t check in with your partner. If they aren’t expecting a sexual encounter to be a joke, it’s pretty rude to do something that’s meant to be funny, rather than sexy or romantic, without warning.

If you have your heart set on doing the turkey this Thanksgiving, or on any other day of the year, do have a chat with your partner beforehand to make sure they’d enjoy it. If they’re not down, you can always settle for non-Thanksgiving themed sex. That’ll likely be more enjoyable, anyway.

There’s another take on ‘the turkey’ you can try if spanking isn’t your speed.

Urban Dictionary also defines ‘the turkey’ as a particular method of displaying one’s testicles so they look like the wattle of a turkey.

To do this you can either ‘bend over and tuck your balls so they appear to hang from your a**hole’ or, when wearing boxers, pull your penis up and tuck it into the waistband so only the head is showing from the top, then pull your balls out of the front slit of the boxers.

Sounds fun.

So, American friends, those are your turkey-themed genital activities for Thursday. Do enjoy and please leave the pumpkin pie out of it.

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As further proof we are in hell, have a look at these abominable Hot Cheeto covered Thanksgiving turkeys

Hot Cheeto covered Thanksgiving turkeys http://www.reynoldskitchens.com/tips/flavor-blasted-turkeys/
(Picture: Renolds Kitchens)

People have done some unspeakable things with food in the name of shareable content.

Well-known flat-lay video Facebook pages – every week, without fail – come out with some toe-curling combination that makes our mouths froth rather than water.

Oreo tamales, ketchup and mustard cakes, shot glasses made of cheese, cereal crusted fish; all of these are real recipes that are supposed to be food porn but end up being food snuff.

This time, the culprit is desecrating a holiday tradition – the humble turkey.

Reynolds Kitchens have been promoting their oven bags – which we’re sure are perfectly fine – with some recipes for ‘flavor blasted’ turkeys.

And blast the flavour they did, with some unusual product combos: Namely turkey and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

The recipe is as follows:

Hot Cheeto covered Thanksgiving turkeys http://www.reynoldskitchens.com/tips/flavor-blasted-turkeys/
(Picture: Reynolds Kitchens)
Hot Cheeto covered Thanksgiving turkeys http://www.reynoldskitchens.com/tips/flavor-blasted-turkeys/
(Picture: Reynolds Kitchens)

Brush your trussed up bird with butter or oil to make it nice and sticky.

Then, crush up the crisps and dutifully pat all over the turkey until it looks like the type of poultry that inhibits the depths of Hades.

Hot Cheeto covered Thanksgiving turkeys http://www.reynoldskitchens.com/tips/flavor-blasted-turkeys/
(Picture: Reynolds Kitchens)
Hot Cheeto covered Thanksgiving turkeys http://www.reynoldskitchens.com/tips/flavor-blasted-turkeys/
(Picture: Reynolds Kitchens)

Then, add a tablespoon of flour to a cooking bag, followed by your extremely wrong turkey.

Tie up the bag, cut some air holes in the top of the bag, and cook until the turkey is 165 degrees right through.

You can then remove from the bag and cook for about 15 minutes more to crisps up the er… crisps.

You can also recreate similar recipes with Funyuns (American onion ring crisps) and ranch flavour Doritos, although with these varieties you use foil instead of the bag.

The question is less ‘how?’ though, and more ‘why?’

Or perhaps it’s just the natural conclusion in a world where we’re teetering on the brink of destruction at any given moment.

Perhaps this turkey – rather than a desecration of the most sacred meal of the year for many – is a statement about our society. Perhaps.

It certainly wouldn’t go with sprouts, and that’s for sure.

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Fitness challenges to sign up to in 2019

(Picture: Getty)

It might still feel like it’s a long way off, but the New Year is creeping up on us fast.

So it’s probably time to start thinking about what you want to achieve in 2019.

A great way to kick-start the year is to sign up to a fitness challenge. It doesn’t have to be extreme and you don’t have to be an elite athlete – but having something to work towards can keep you motivated and help improve your overall fitness.

Whether you’re an ultra-marathon veteran, or you’ve never even thought about doing a fitness event – group events can be incredibly exhilarating.

And it’s easy to get hooked, once you’ve done your first challenge, you’ll probably find yourself looking for the next one to sign up to.

Here are some of the best fitness challenges for next year – there’s something for every taste, land, water of wheels. All you have to decide is – which one gets you most excited?

The run: Race to the King

Now in its fourth year, Race to the King is an award-winning double marathon across the South Downs, which takes place on 22nd and 23rd June 2019.

The event will see 1,500 people of all ages, fitness levels, walk, jog or run the 53-mile route along the stunning South Downs Way to the steps of Winchester Cathedral.

You can do the course nonstop, in one day, or camp overnight at a fully serviced base camp.

The swim: Great North Swim

The Great North Swim is Europe’s biggest open-water swimming event. But you’ve got to brave – it gets cold. Really cold.

It takes place in the Lake District between 7th-9th June. So you can book a cottage and make a proper weekend of it.

The event will see 10,000 swimmers dive into Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake at 10.5 miles long. But don’t worry, there are distances to suit all levels and abilities

Take your pick from 250 metres, half a mile, one mile, two miles, 5k or a 10k. Prices start from £15 per entry up to £85.

(Picture: Getty)

The Tri: London Triathlon Series

Triathlons are not for the faint of heart. Running, swimming, cycling – you’ve got to do it all.

London’s iconic triathlon has become a a bit of a must-do event for fitness fans. It starts at the ExCeL Centre, Royal Victoria Dock and has a unique urban route right through the middle of the city.

The 2019 London Triathlon will take place on 27th and 28th July. There are four adult distances available: Super Sprint, Sprint, Olympic and Olympic Plus.

The obstacle: The Ultra Beast Spartan Race

The best thing about obstacle courses is that you can pretend you’re having fun. If you’re scrambling up a rope or jumping into muddy water then it’s easy to forget how much pain you’re in.

If you want a tough challenge, then the terrifyingly named Ultra Beast Spartan Race will push you to your limit.

With events taking place across the UK and Ireland, Spartan is more than just an obstacle course. With a range of different events you will navigate 20 obstacles over 5km, 25 obstacles over 13km or 30 obstacles over a half marathon-plus distance.

If that’s not enough, you can sign up for one of the ultra-endurance races, including the Ultra Beast format of 60+ obstacles over 50km.

The ride: Dulux London Revolution 

The 8th Dulux London Revolution, will take place on 11 May and 12 May.

It promises to be an unforgettable weekend, with more than 2,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities riding 300km around the capital.

The 360 degree loop takes cyclists past all the best London landmarks, through hidden green lanes and picturesque villages, over tough climbs and down sleeping descents.

For those looking to push the boundaries and test their mental and physical endurance, the ULTRA package gives riders the option to tackle the demanding 300km in one day.

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How to get the 2018 Adidas Black Friday deals right now

Get your hands on the Adidas app (Picture: Getty Images)

Adidas is a reliable entrant into the madness of Black Friday deals and 2018 is no exception, in fact they are making it even easier to get your hands on a bargain.

The sportswear brand has an enormous Black Friday section on its website, with a whopping 5,289 products currently listed on there.

thumbnail for post ID 8159751Rebel Wilson to join Idris Elba, Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson in Cats movie

However, this is currently the Black Friday Preview section, with discounts not currently available on the products on there.

There are ways to get hold of them right now, though, and here is how you can manage it.

Adidas store in the SoHo neighbourhood of New York City. (Picture: Getty Images)

If you click on the ‘Sign Up Now’ button on the Adidas Black Friday page then there will be an option to enter your email address and tick two boxes.

Remember to do both and this will give you early access to the Black Friday deals.

(Picture: Adidas)

Alternatively, you can download the Adidas app to get early access now to 30% off deals.

The app is available in the Apple App store or on Google Play and the discount will be applied at checkout.

(Picture: Adidas app)

So no need to wait until Black Friday, get 30% off your trainers, or whatever Adidas product you fancy right now.

Download the app here.

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What it’s like to be in a sexless relationship in your twenties

Can I please get illos of two people sleeping on separate sides of the bed back to back? and any other ideas you have for sexless relationships @ellabyworth Metro illustrations Ella Byworth
(Picture: Ella Byworth)

When you think of sexless relationships, you usually imagine people who’ve been married for years, who’ve become so consumed by their work or their children that they just don’t have time for anything intimate.

But sexless relationships are affecting people who are much younger.

Stats suggest that millennials are killing sex; losing their virginities much later in life than previous generations and having less sex over the course of a year.

It’s not just that young people are staying single and ditching dating entirely – many twenty-somethings are in sexless relationships.

Aidan says all of his relationships have been sexless. He’s been in five relationships and had around 70 one-night-stands.

Aiden tells Metro.co.uk that he experiences no feelings from sex, and has never orgasmed during intercourse. He gets no feeling from masturbation.

And so for him, sex has never been a huge deal.

Having sex for the first time at 20, Aiden has been in multiple relationships in which his partners haven’t been bothered by the lack of sex.

He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘All other relationships ended up with oral to her and me grinding on her.

‘I can last obviously a long time as there’s no feeling or orgasm.’

Not all sexless relationships come from choice. 25-year-old Anna says she was in a long-term relationship for six years, and two years in the sex stopped pretty much all together.

How to do coital aligment technique during sex
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

There had been strain on the relationship due to physical and mental illness, but the lack of physical intimacy only made things worse.

‘It got to the point where we were having sex around twice a year’, says Anna.

‘This wouldn’t even be on special occasions. My partner lost his sex drive and it got to the point where I was having to ask and remind him to have sex with me, which was very demoralising.

‘I stopped enjoying sex. I stopped being able to orgasm because it felt like there was so much pressure. Instead of focusing on being intimate, I was worrying whether this would be the last time we’d have sex for a while.

‘Sex ended up becoming a task – something that we had to do because we were in a relationship. It was as if as long as we were at least having a little bit of sex, we didn’t have to confront the fact that the relationship was dead.’

Anna says her partner never initiated sex with her, and having to remind someone to show her intimacy lowered her self-esteem and confidence. She started gaining weight and stopped making an effort because she felt unappreciated and insecure.

‘Sex wasn’t a big deal to my partner but it really was to me’, she said.

‘I tried to talk to him about it but he’d say he’d just become lazy, and that it wasn’t me. But he never changed, which continued to make me feel like I was the problem.

‘I needed that level of affection and intimacy, because I needed to feel loved and wanted. Something that I didn’t feel for a long time.’

In the end, Anna and her partner split. Anna says her self-esteem has plummeted since.

(Picture: Erin Aniker for Metro.co.uk)

‘I’ve got so used to being rejected or having to ask or remind someone for sex that it’s left me feeling unattractive and not good enough’, she said.

‘I worry now that I’ll feel this way in future relationships. I’m worried I won’t know how to initiate sex and I’ll always be ready for rejection because I got used to it for such a long time.’

Marcus, who was married for seven years, says his sex life quickly diminished in his twenties after the initial honeymoon period.

He said: ‘We were together 10 years, married for seven. She was 10 years older, and in the beginning there was sex, but not as much as you would imagine in a new relationship.

‘Then my wife began to put on weight, and became very self conscious and not wanting to have sex.

‘I loved her no matter how she was, but her reluctance then made me feel unloved and unwanted, and this reduced my desire too.’

Marcus says that although he and his wife conceived a baby boy, they had sex less than 10 times in the final four years of their marriage, and it ended with him having a breakdown in November of last year, and both of them agreeing to separate.

He said: ‘At times the relationship had felt just like getting by, instead of living in happiness.’

The effect of breast cancer on sex life Bed couple sex relationships girl boy man woman Erin Aniker for Metro.co.uk
(Picture: Erin Aniker for Metro.co.uk)

Hilda Burke, a psychotherapist, couples therapist and author of the Phone Addiction Workbook, says people in their twenties are no different to couples in their thirties, forties or fifties.

Hilda tells us: ‘What’s going on outside the bedroom can impact what goes on within it.

‘Overwork, stress, anxiety, uncertainty over the future, even poor diet and lack of exercise can all play a part in suppressing libido.’

She adds that digital devices are also playing a massive part on the decrease in millennial sex lives.

She explained: ‘There’s nothing new in that. But digital devices are now playing a massive part. Most of the couples I work with – who range in age from 20-50 keep their phones in the bedroom and usually close to or in the bed.

‘It’s the biggest distraction there is from intimacy nowadays.’

Having a bad sex life with your partner can cause tension, insecurity, arguments and an unhappy relationship. It’s important that to get to the bottom of things, you talk about how you’re feeling and how it’s affecting you, otherwise things will never get any better.

You may find that both you and your partner are having similar feelings, or you may discover that your partner is struggling with something you weren’t aware of.

You must be honest with one another if you’re going to improve your sex life. You should be open to working things out, by listening to one another and being open about your feelings.

Don’t shrug sex off like it’s nothing. If it’s a big deal to you, make sure your partner is aware of that. Try couples counselling, or experimenting in the bedroom.

Be open to listening to one another and working through reasons your sex life may have diminished.

Of course, this isn’t to say things will work out. It may end up with the pair of you separating. And although this may hurt at the time, it’s important to remember that a healthy sex life is a huge part of a relationship. You don’t need to sacrifice sexual pleasure for the sake of a relationship.

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When does the Thomas Cook Black Friday sale start and what can you expect?

(Picture: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

You could get yourself a new telly or smartphone in the Black Friday sales.

Or, you buy an experience instead, jetting off to another part of the world for a lower than expected price.

Thomas Cook is participating in the bargain-fest this year, so you can get yourself some low-cost travel as long as you’re quick.

Here’s everything we know so far, from start dates to what kind of discounts you’ll get.

(Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

The brand are calling is Black FlyDay (very droll) and there will be deals across flights and holidays.

On their site there’s currently a placeholder, but we got in touch with them to get some sneaky hints about what you can expect.

There’s also a few bits already available if you know where look. Check it out.

Assorted Thomas Cook Black Friday deals

New York

Available now until midnight on Wednesday 21 November.

Fly from Manchester to NYC from just £349.99 return between January and June 2019.

Flights include hand baggage, in-flight entertainment and a James Martin meal. Subject to availability.


Book now until midnight on 21 November for flights in May, June and October 2019.

Explore magnificent Mexico with return flights from Manchester to Cancun from just £439.99.

Flights include hand baggage, in-flight entertainment and a James Martin meal. Subject to availability.


Book from 9am on 22nd November until midnight on 28 November 2018.

Save £40 on return flights to Croatia in summer 2019.

Flights are available to Dubrovnik or Split from Manchester or London Gatwick for travel between April and October 2019. Subject to availability.


Book from 9am on 22nd November to midnight on 28 November 2018 for flights in February and March 2019

Fly to Palma for £99.99 return in Economy PLUS, from Manchester or Birmingham. Subject to availability.

Economy PLUS includes priority check in, boarding and baggage with 10kg hand luggage and 25kg checked luggage included, seat reservations in the front rows of the aircraft, a premium James Martin meal and complimentary drinks service.

The Canaries

Book from 9am on 22nd November to midnight on 2 December for travel in May and June 2019.

Get £20 off return flights to Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria – use the promotional code BLACKFLYDAYDEALS when booking online here.

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How gong meditation could help you relax

(Picture: Getty/Giphy)

In our hectic, stressed out lives it can be damn near impossible to find a moment for yourself.

A moment where you’re not worrying about bills, or your career, or your lack of a love life. A moment of total stillness.

That’s where meditation could help. You’ve probably heard of mindfulness – the idea of living entirely within the present moment, in order to find calm and acceptance – meditation is a tool to help you achieve this.

But it isn’t easy. Have you ever tried switching off your thoughts whilst sat cross-legged in your chilly bedroom, your flatmates yelling at each other and barging in to borrow your makeup wipes? Soothing it is not.

If you don’t have a handy mountain top you can retreat to to search for inner peace, you’ll probably have to practise to get anything out of meditation. It can be tough letting your mind relax when you can hear next door’s baby and sirens wailing down the street.

Yoga at home
(Picture: Getty)fe

Gong meditation can help you do that. It involves the practice of meditation, but with the immersive sounds of gongs chiming to help you drift off.

It’s an utterly immersive experience that aims to use sound waves to help you relax and switch off your racing mind.

So, what happens?

You can find the music online, but it works best in a live environment. The closer to the gongs the better.

It looks like a yoga class, but the bonus is that you don’t have to move. Everyone lies on a mat with a blanket and a pillow, then you close your eyes and you can use a weighted eye-mask for extra darkness.

Initially you focus on breathing and allowing yourself to notice your own body – feeling your spine against the mat, feeling sensations in your fingertips – this is mindfulness at work.

Then the gongs get going. Your instructor will play a soothing, tonal track of music and accompany it with gongs, chimes and even vocal sounds.

And that’s it. All you have to do is lie there. Sessions can range from 15minutes to over an hour. But 30 minutes is about right for beginners – it can start to get really intense and weird if it goes on too long.

Group of young afro american and caucasian sporty people practicing yoga lesson lying in Dead Body pose, Savasana exercise, working out, resting after practice, indoor close up, studio
(Picture: Getty)

What is it meant to do?

Technically the sound immersion is supposed to be healing. But the information about the kind of healing is vague.

It’s hard not to feel skeptical about the idea that the sound of a gong is going to have any significant impact on our physical health. But mental health, maybe.

Gong sound therapy has been practiced for thousands of years. Now, practitioners believe that gong ‘baths’ – as they’re sometimes called – can help reduce stress and release emotional blockages.

Some tones are thought to promote vitality and healing, and also to enhance happiness – but again, vague.

Regardless of what it’s meant to do, it definitely feels good. After a stressful day, lying down for 30-minutes, breathing deeply and clearing you mind of stress, can only be beneficial. And the gongs are a nice touch.

If you struggle with meditation – maybe you can’t switch off, or feel like it’s silly – the sounds could provide a distraction. Something to focus on other than the silence of your mind. In that way it’s almost like a guided session of meditation.

What does it feel like?

You know the sensation of almost falling asleep – where everything takes on a slightly dreamlike quality and you start having really strange thoughts? It feels like that.

I am notoriously bad at meditation, skeptical and resistant to a fault – but after a few minutes of heavy breathing listening to the gong sounds, I felt myself drift somewhere.

It also felt slightly overwhelming. The sounds are truly immersive and seem to ripple from one side of the room to the other, so it’s like you’re enveloped in a bubble of sound – which was unnerving at first.

My body relaxed to the point where I couldn’t feel it anymore, which almost felt like I was floating – it was a nice feeling.

I wanted to resist, and I any time I felt too floaty or strange, I could feel my mind pulling me back, not allowing it. But this is where the practice comes in – you have to work hard to be able to meditate.

I don’t know exactly how much of these feelings can be attributed to the gongs, and how much was because I was knackered after a boozy weekend, but either way – it relaxed me and turned off my stressy thoughts for half an hour. So that’s something.

(Picture: Getty)

Sound meditation expert, Leo Cosendai, is releasing a new audio book so you can try gong meditation at home. Just probably make sure your housemates are out.

Seven Days of Sound Meditation is an immersive, 3D experience that aims to replicate being in the room with the instruments.

Leo says sound meditation helped him overcome his childhood anxiety. He says listening to the audio book can help promote better sleep and reduce work and travel stress.

It’s set to be released on Audible, Kobo and iBooks on 20th December.

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The Mooncup goes mainstream: ASOS is now selling menstruation cups on site

(Picture: Metro.co.uk)

As you’re trawling online for your Teddy coats, Chelsea boots and scarves, you’ll find something a little different to wear for the season ahead…and many more, for that matter.

The original tampon and pad alternative, the Mooncup menstrual cup, is now available to purchase on ASOS.

Retailing at £22, the creators of the Mooncup hope that by stocking it on the e-tailer, the fashion conscious consumer will become more earth-conscious.

‘One of those brands you’ve probably already heard of or spotted on your social feed, Mooncup – a soft, medical-grade silicone menstrual cup – is an eco-friendly alternative to tampons and towels,’ states the website. ‘Made to last for years, it’s a super-easy way to help cut down on waste caused by disposable sanitary products, and offers up to eight hours of protection, too.’

Curious? Here’s everything you need to know about the Mooncup.

What is a menstrual cup?

Menstrual cups are an alternative sanitary product that are made up of non-toxic silicone, meaning you can reuse the same cup safely and hygienically for years, which also makes it much cheaper than tampons and pads.

What size Mooncup should you use?

The Mooncup is available in two sizes – size A and Size B. size A – the bigger size – is designed for women who have experienced childbirth, and size B is smaller and designed for women who have not experienced childbirth.

ASOS Mooncup silicone menstrual cup size A
(Photo: Photographer: Becky Parkinson for ASOS)

How do you use a menstrual cup?

To use the cup, you fold it in half lengthways and then fold it again, so as to make it as narrow as possible. You then insert the cup into the vagina until you can feel it sit comfortably, creating a leak-proof suction.

Can you feel a menstrual cup when it’s inside?

No, not if it’s in correctly. If you can feel it, it may be that the Mooncup has been placed too far up, or not far up enough. It all depends on how your cervix sits and your individual shape.

How do you take out a menstrual cup?

The other thing is the process of emptying it. Now, if you’re squeamish, menstrual cups may not be for you. To empty the cup, you just pull it out by the little toggle at the tip of the cup, tip the contents out into the toilet and then clean your cup in the sink – simple enough if you’re at home in your bathroom but oh-so-slightly less convenient if you’re in the cubicles at work.

How long does a menstrual cup last?

Due to the nature of silicone (it’s a non-porous material, meaning it doesn’t harbor bacteria) and the fact that a menstrual cup is designed to collect blood, rather than absorb it, each one can be reused for up to ten years.

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The world’s first dog trampolining park is coming to the UK

(Picture: Rover/Metro.co.uk)

For dog-owners, their pup’s happiness is of paramount importance.

And now there’s a new and novel way to keep your dog happy – by taking them to a doggy trampolining park. Because why should human children get to have all the fun?

You can now add bouncing to the list of things your dog loves – along with running really fast, eating out of the bin and barking at nothing.

And the best thing is – well behaved owners are allowed to join their canine pals on the trampoline.

(Picture: Getty)

The special doggy park is being launched by dog-walking service Rover. The aim is to help dogs let off some steam, now that it’s dark and cold and they’re probably not getting as many walks.

‘At Rover, we understand the importance of keeping your dog happy, healthy and stimulated throughout the year,’ explains Christopher Cederskog, Rover’s European general manager.

‘This can be difficult to achieve when the British winter sets in and our walks and play-time naturally become less adventurous.

‘With this in mind, we wanted to launch Dog-poline as the perfect remedy to any winter blues our dogs or their owners may be feeling.’

That’s right. Dog-poline.

It couldn’t be simpler – all you have to do is sign up on the website and you’ll be granted a free 10-minute slot, as long as they haven’t all been snapped up.

Dogs will be allowed on the trampoline one at a time and must pass a vet check by an on-site veterinarian before taking to the trampolines.

And don’t worry, your doggo will be in good hands. A trampoline court monitor, animal safety handler and veterinarian will be present at all times to ensure the dogs are safe.

This event is taking place in London, at ZAPspace in Shoreditch. But if you don’t live in the capital, you might still get a chance to have a go.

After the initial trial, Rover plan to gather feedback before potentially rolling the event out across the UK next year.

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This teeny tiny 330 square foot house is up for sale

(Picture: Tiny House NYC / mediadrumimages.com)

Ever wanted to live in a miniature home? Well, now you can.

Amazing photos show the unfurnished interior of the 300-square-foot portable home, which comes with an extendable roof, wood-panelled walls and a wooden floor, with stairs leading to the second floor.

The roof extends to allow access upstairs.

Devasa is a novel home that once parked up and expanded can sleep up to a family of four and when on the road, is legally towable. It is the work of the family-owned tiny house designers behind Tiny House NYC.

THIS MINI home is a tiny house lover???s dream as an extendable roof reveals a second storey when elevated. Incredible images show the unfurnished interior of the 300-square-foot portable home with wood-panelled walls and a wooden floor as well as stairs leading to the second floor. Other striking shots show the tiny home from outside in its normal guise and with the roof extended to allow access upstairs. Devasa is a novel home that once parked up and expanded can sleep up to a family of four and when on the road, is legally towable. It is the work of the family-owned tiny house designers behind Tiny House NYC. Tiny House NYC / mediadrumimages.com
(Picture: Tiny House NYC / mediadrumimages.com)

The portable tiny house measures 23.5 ft long and 12.5 ft tall when in the lowered position and 17 ft tall when raised, offering impressive 6.5 ft high ceilings upstairs.

Floor space totals approximately 300 square feet with the roof up or down. on the first level there is a kitchen, a smallish living room, and a bathroom.

THIS MINI home is a tiny house lover???s dream as an extendable roof reveals a second storey when elevated. Incredible images show the unfurnished interior of the 300-square-foot portable home with wood-panelled walls and a wooden floor as well as stairs leading to the second floor. Other striking shots show the tiny home from outside in its normal guise and with the roof extended to allow access upstairs. Devasa is a novel home that once parked up and expanded can sleep up to a family of four and when on the road, is legally towable. It is the work of the family-owned tiny house designers behind Tiny House NYC. Tiny House NYC / mediadrumimages.com
(Picture: Tiny House NYC / mediadrumimages.com)

The Devasa’s roof is raised and lowered by four motorised screw jacks located on each corner, the tiny house designers have said.

This function can be powered via the trailer tongue using a 12-volt car battery but alternatively, should the battery die or the motor fail, it is possible to operate the jacks manually. The Devasa is up for sale but no price has been revealed.

THIS MINI home is a tiny house lover???s dream as an extendable roof reveals a second storey when elevated. Incredible images show the unfurnished interior of the 300-square-foot portable home with wood-panelled walls and a wooden floor as well as stairs leading to the second floor. Other striking shots show the tiny home from outside in its normal guise and with the roof extended to allow access upstairs. Devasa is a novel home that once parked up and expanded can sleep up to a family of four and when on the road, is legally towable. It is the work of the family-owned tiny house designers behind Tiny House NYC. Tiny House NYC / mediadrumimages.com
(Picture: Tiny House NYC / mediadrumimages.com)

‘We are a family-owned-and-operated business based in New York City,’ the company said.

‘Our mission is to provide financial freedom for those seeking to go tiny. The world has changed a lot since the great recession, and from that tragedy came the need for alternative solutions to combat rising home costs, debt and stagnant wages.

THIS MINI home is a tiny house lover???s dream as an extendable roof reveals a second storey when elevated. Incredible images show the unfurnished interior of the 300-square-foot portable home with wood-panelled walls and a wooden floor as well as stairs leading to the second floor. Other striking shots show the tiny home from outside in its normal guise and with the roof extended to allow access upstairs. Devasa is a novel home that once parked up and expanded can sleep up to a family of four and when on the road, is legally towable. It is the work of the family-owned tiny house designers behind Tiny House NYC. Tiny House NYC / mediadrumimages.com
(Picture: Tiny House NYC / mediadrumimages.com)

‘Many see the tiny house movement as a lifestyle. It is certainly that, and we believe it also allows people to take control of their lives

‘By empowering others, we hope to create a more affordable and sustainable world for today and the future.’

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