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This restaurant is offering a free two-course meal – if you bring your own table

A man carrying a table down some stairs
If you can carry your furniture there, you eat for free (Picture: Getty)

You’ve probably heard of bring your own bottle (BYOB) restaurants, where you can choose to bring a bottle of your own wine from home while you enjoy whatever is on the menu.

Now, there’s a BYOT restaurant – bring your own table.

And if you do manage to carry your furniture across London, you get to dine for free.

The idea is meant to bring you closer to your friends and carrying a heavy object around the city would require a lot of teamwork. We’re imagining something like that famous PIVOT scene from Friends.

The pop-up restaurant Trattoria BIRRA MORETTI, with acclaimed Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo, will run from June 12-15 at  Covent Garden, London.

You can bring any sort of table you want – square tables, round tables, coffee tables, pool tables and even massage tables are all welcome.

As long as you can sit comfortably at it, the Trattoria BIRRA MORETTI will provide chairs, food and drinks.

Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo cooking on This Morning
Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo will be cooking at the restaurant (Picture: Rex Features)

They recommend a table for you and up to three friends to fit around.

If you can’t manage to bring a table, you can make a donation to charity the Campaign to End Loneliness and still dine at the restaurant.

Tickets for the event are limited and you must apply through an online draw by 30 May.

Trattoria BIRRA MORETTI will be held at The Ice Tank, 5-7 Grape St, London, WC2H 8DW.

The dishes haven’t yet been revealed but there are vegan and vegetarian options and food allergies can be accommodated it you let them know in advance.

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Strudel the baby alpaca visits cafes, care homes and the local pub

Strudel looking cute in a hat
Strudel is always going to unlikely places (Picture: MDWfeatures / Shandelle Peters)

An alpaca is putting smiles on people’s faces as his carer takes him on adventures to unlikely public places including a car dealership, a cafe and a local pub.

Hilarious photos show Strudel the alpaca strolling with his owner, fitness instructor and massage therapist, Shandelle Peters, 32, from Cessnock, Australia, at the beach and at a bar.

Strudel can be seen putting a smile on her gran’s face as he visits a care home for the elderly and being a passenger in Shandelle’s car.

Strudel loves books and wears hats, and loves being carried by Shandelle.

The 10-month-old baby alpaca was bought by Shandelle from a breeder. They have since been on various adventures together and she is planning to buy another alpaca soon to serve as a playmate for Strudel.

He has been to her kids’ playgroup, the beach, cafes, vineyards, the pub, the elderly care facility, a car dealership and her friends’ houses.

Strudel pictured with Shandelle at the beach.
He loves going on adventures with Shandelle (Picture: MDWfeatures / Shandelle Peters)

‘I’ve always been an animal lover, growing up with horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and ducks,’ Shandelle said.

‘I had the opportunity to keep three alpacas at Lovedale whilst I was living there and fell in love with their curious nature and playful antics.

‘When I needed to move back to suburbia, I couldn’t part with Strudel and decided to try him in the car and going for walks.

‘He took to it easily. I’ve been watching him for signs of loneliness and have concluded that he does need another alpaca to live his best life.

‘I hope to ‘adopt’ his brother Noodle next week, bringing them home in the afternoon. This way he will be happiest with a playmate and more space.

‘His visits started with my own children’s playgroup and my 95-year-old grandmother’s aged care facility. Elderly people light up when they see him.

Shandelle and Strudel pictured enjoying the sun.
Here he is with his owner enjoying the sun (Picture: MDWfeatures / Shandelle Peters)

‘They are amazed and say he’s beautiful. The best reaction was when one elderly lady said she had tears in her eyes because he was so beautiful.

‘Children love to pat Strudel and can be wary at first but are soon won over. I love toddlers that point and say ‘dog’. His funny hats make them laugh.

‘Strudel has also been to the beach, the cafe, the vineyards, the pub, a car dealership, local playground (with play equipment), bushwalking, to friends’ houses, the local sports oval. It’s a regular thing that he walks or goes in the car to places.

‘The strangest place he’s been to is probably when I walked him down to the car dealership to pick up my car after it was serviced. He walked straight into the office with me, to the receptionist.

‘He has just had his first trip to the beach which he seemed to enjoy, especially rolling in the sand. Along the waterfront he was met with astonishment from holiday makers and patrons of cafes.

Strudel showing off his quirky hat.
He has 1,700 followers on Instagram (Picture: MDWfeatures / Shandelle Peters)

‘Everyone wants to get a photo with him and to feel his super soft fleece. It’s like being seen by the paparazzi; phones out everywhere.

‘He makes people smile wherever he goes; the most common reaction is “you don’t see that everyday’ and ‘that’s made my day”.’

Strudel has made such an impact on children that Shandelle hopes to one day write a children’s book based on him.

With over 1,700 followers on Instagram, she enjoys sharing his antics with the public and enjoys buying him accessories such as hats.

‘Strudel needs shelter, grass, alpaca pellets, water, a dusty area to roll, daily walks, training to keep him co-operative and non-dominant,’ she said.

‘The furthest he has gone is down the freeway one-and-a-half hours in the car to visit my mum. I buy Strudel accessories; he needs his own wardrobe. Alpacas aren’t costly to keep; they are low maintenance.

‘I hope to write and illustrate ‘Strudel’s Adventures’ into children’s books one day. I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book.

‘Alpacas are very cute but also need proper care and training to avoid them becoming aggressive and hostile towards humans.’

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Domino’s New Zealand has launched a pineapple and tinned spaghetti pizza

Domino's has launched a pineapple and spaghetti pizza
Sick bags at the ready, people (Picture: Mike Curtain)

Sick bags at the ready: Domino’s New Zealand has launched a pineapple and tinned spaghetti pizza – and for once we’re quite glad the new release hasn’t made it to the UK.

The New Zealand fast food chain took to Facebook to announce the new limited edition pizza yesterday.

They wrote: ‘This is no joke! We’ve officially added Hawaiian SPAGHETTI pizza to our menu for a limited time only, with help from our friends at Wattie’s NZ! (no April Fools this time).’

The post recieved more than 2,000 likes and 5,000 comments – and surprisingly, lots of people were pretty positive about the new release.

One person said: ‘Spaghetti on a pizza is actually really nice. Should do one with beef mince and cheese. Spaghetti bolognese pizza’.

Another said: ‘I have made my own pizzas using spaghetti and pineapple ..love it!’

Someone else commented: ‘How long is this around for!! So so keen, thanks for listening Domino’s!!!’

And another person added: ‘You legends actually did it.’

However, there were also lots of negative comments, from people who think spaghetti and pineapple have no place on a pizza.

The pizza is limited edition
No, thank you (Picture: Mike Curtain)

One said: ‘I’d rather lick the floor of a bus.’

Another said: ‘How about officially un-adding it from the menu’.

Someone else put: ‘Ummm no thanks, spaghetti doesn’t belong on a pizza!!’

Another person added that Domino’s shouldn’t stop at spaghetti – and that they should try adding baked beans next time.

Honestly, we don’t think a cheesey bean pizza is a bad idea. As long as they skip the pineapple.

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Women over 50 give life advice to the next generation

metro illustrations
‘Always put friendships before romance’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

It’s important to listen to our elders.

The older generation have buckets of life experience and so many pearls of wisdom – they’re just waiting for us to ask.

The thing is, most of us don’t ask. We often assume that we know it all and, at our big ages, we have got it all figured out.

But, clearly, we haven’t got it all figured out. Not in the slightest.

Luckily – a new study has revealed the top 20 nuggets of advice from women over the age of 50.

The nationwide study, conducted by Femal, found that two thirds of women over 50 wish they could tell their younger self not to waste their precious life.

A fifth felt life is too short to deny yourself carbs, while the same number of women advise to never to use sun beds – and 54% wish they had known to stop trying to be perfect, as it simply doesn’t exist.

37% felt that, although it will be tough, you will get through the menopause, while a third believe you should always trust your gut instinct when it comes to men.

Top 20 pieces of advice from women over 50

  • Life is short so make the most of it – 68%
  • Be present in the moment and appreciate the small things – 55%
  • Perfection does not exist, so stop striving for it – 54%
  • Nothing is more important than family – 50%
  • Plan for the future – 50%
  • Always be financially independent – 45%
  • Look after your skin – 41%
  • You will get through the menopause – 37%
  • Material things do not matter – 35%
  • Trust your gut feelings when it comes to men – 31%
  • Always use your right to vote – 30%
  • You are never too old to wear your hair long – 25%
  • Life is too short to deny yourself carbs – 22%
  • Never use sun beds – 22%
  • Always put friendships before romance – 21%
  • Sex DOES better with age – 17%
  • Be confident in a bikini at any age – 14%
  • You will become more stylish in your fifties – 9%
  • Second marriages are usually better – 6%
  • When the children leave home, you get your marriage back – 6%

On top of this, almost all women (95%) believe wholeheartedly in the phrase, ‘older and wiser’.

The 50 milestone is also one to be embraced rather than feared it seems, with 44% of those polled saying they felt happier and more confident in their 50s than they have at any other age.

In fact, half of the 2,000 over 50s felt their confidence had simply gotten better with age, along with their self-worth and sense of satisfaction in life.

A third felt their friendships had improved as they got older, while 33% felt their relationships with the opposite sex had too.

The research also explored women’s attitudes to the menopause, finding that almost 70% said they didn’t know what to expect when it hit and 57% stating they felt unprepared.

However, women are clear that being female is not defined by their hormones (77%), although 78% wish women could open up and talk about the menopause more freely.

In light of these findings, the ExpressYourFemal campaign is being launched to encourage women to talk about the menopause and define what being female means to them as they go through it.

‘Our insights have shown us that women want to open up the conversation on menopause,’ says a spokesperson from Femal.

‘By launching the #ExpressYourFemal campaign we hope women will start to have frank and honest conversations about their experiences, helping each other to feel more prepared about what to expect.

‘We want women to have the freedom to find an option that suits them best and provides the support they need through every stage of the menopause.’

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I will not stop talking about the racism I face even if it means I lose my job

Eunice Olumide involved in a race row on The Jeremy Vine Show
I am on the Jeremy Vine show and he has just instigated the topic of race (Picture: Channel 5)

It’s 7am. I am on the Jeremy Vine show and he has just instigated the topic of race. Here we go again.

Rather than doing the usual introduction to the show and discussing my book, I have just said that I have been held back in my career as a broadcaster because of the colour of my skin.

I was immediately attacked by my two fellow panellists, both women. The first told me there are ‘loads of black female presenters’. I asked her to name one household name. She couldn’t. Instead I was told ‘there were Christmas adverts featuring mixed race couples’.

Less than a few days after the episode, I was contacted by my agent with a message to say I had been dropped as the new face of one of the biggest multi billion pound companies in the world as ‘they have seen your clip on Jeremy Vine’ and ‘don’t want to be associated with racial controversy’.

To lose your job because you spoke well established ideas and truth about real life experiences is devastating. It has led to a place where people of colour, and especially women of colour, are avoiding speaking about institutional racism, or even dare I say it white supremacy in public.

If I agree that racism has hampered my career, I’ve got a chip on shoulder. But if I say nothing, then the same ignorance that allows systemic racism to flourish remains the status quo.

According to the TUC, 41 per cent of WOC (women of colour) have experienced racial discrimination, bullying, or abuse at work, with 36 per cent leaving their jobs.

19 per cent of BME men and women have experienced being denied training or promotion. 42 per cent of WOC did not feel they could report discrimination to their employers. 44 per cent did not report bullying and harassment.

Eunice Olumide posing
I was stereotyped from the moment I started out in media (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images for Olumide Gallery)

The Equality and Human Rights Commission report confirms that people from BME backgrounds, especially WOC, are extremely marginalised in the work place and tend to occupy lower paid jobs with a significant gap between the wages of WOC and white women.

As an advocate for social justice I’ve had to accept that I might never reach my full potential because I choose to speak the truth.

I was stereotyped from the moment I started out in media. It seemed that every single black woman was either meant to be Naomi Campbell or Grace Jones incarnated (both of whom I adore for their strength and character), complete with our reputation of being aggressive and inhumanly strong – an insidious hangover from the stereotypes propagated by the transatlantic slave trade (TAST).

I was often greeted by casting directors and producers who found it impossible to imagine the British public being able to identify with my Afro puffs, dark skin and Celtic drawl.

But as an Irn Bru-drinking, ceilidh-swinging, shortbread-eating, working class ballerina geek, I found these narrow roles impossible to fit into.

I was often greeted by casting directors and producers who found it impossible to imagine the British public being able to identify with my Afro puffs, dark skin and Celtic drawl.

WOC are rarely included or put on a platform unless they fit within a colonial stereotype: the joker, the temptress.

For some reason it seems to be unacceptable for WOC to be presented in a natural, asexual, educated manner – that’s just not good TV, apparently.

Racism is a complex system of control that continues to castrate and subjugate an entire group of people socially, culturally and economically. It will only change if everyone becomes aware of their implicit bias and listens to people of colour when they speak out.

By becoming more aware we should start being able to create systemic solutions. We are all part of the system which means we all have a role to play in making it better.

And there is one, overwhelming factor that is in our favour; something that humans can do better than any machine and that is our capacity for empathy, reasoning and forgiveness.

It all starts with listening to each other.

Neither men or women should feel ashamed to tell, and hear, their truth. Calm, reasoned, constructive debate it is the ultimate test of true human advancement.

It is imperative to allow WOC to speak about their lived experience in the same way that any other marginalised group is allowed.

Until that happens, until our voices are heard and respected when we speak, I’ll keep talking.

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Asos mocked for £30 lucky cat bra that barely covers anything

Cat string bra from Asos
The bikini (Picture: Asos)

Skimpy underwear is on trend.

We’ve already seen the cut on bikini bottoms get higher and higher.

And taking that trend further, is this bralette from Asos.

The top is made up of just two lucky cat cut outs (which seem to be pulling the finger), held together with string.

There’s a cross-back and halterneck design with the cats just about covering up your nipples.

The GOGUY lucky cat bralette with wrap straps costs £30 from the online store.

It comes in sizes XS (UK 8) to L (UK 14).

The description on the website says: ‘The search is over for your new festival attire – GoGuy has just landed onsite.

Cat string bra from Asos
It’s certainly quite ‘less is more’ (Picture: Asos)

‘Starting off as a one-woman feat. sewing machine show, the brand hasn’t stopped growing since its beginnings in 2016.

‘Our edit of GoGuy’s ultimate party pieces includes handmade crop tops, bralettes and jumpsuits – ideal to express your individuality.’

The team at Asos have teamed it with some fire print trousers and chunky trainers.

The item was posted on the asbos_sos Instagram account and attracted quite a few comments.

Cat string bra from Asos
Lucky cats and a piece of string (Picture: Asos)

One person said: ‘This is so bad wtf.’

Another added: ‘Crying at this one.’

There were a few who said they quite liked it but admitted it’s not very wearable.

‘This is actually sick but can never ever imagine myself wearing that,’ one said.

‘this is awesome but also makes me laugh if I think of me wearing it hahaHhaHhaha,’ someone else added.

Honestly, you probably need a bit of luck just to keep yourself covered all day.

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Girl dresses as nurse for school superhero day to celebrate ‘everyday heroes’

Ruby as a nurse
Ruby dressed as a nurse to celebrate every day heroes (Picture: Kennedy News)

A thoughtful little girl left her relatives speechless when she opted to dress up as a nurse for her school’s Superhero Day – as three generations of her family worked in the NHS.

Nine-year-old Ruby Monaghan refused to dress up as characters from comic books, and instead told her mum that she wanted to be an ‘everyday hero’.

Her 26-year-old cousin and nurse Becky Cheetham helped her with the costume, and Ruby went into school dressed in a blue nurse’s dress, complete with a fob watch and homemade name tag.

Handing over her usual Batgirl costume to her seven-year-old sister Ella, Ruby instead celebrated the miracles performed by nurses on a daily basis.

Mum Stacey, 44, now hopes her daughter will follow in the family’s footsteps and become a fourth generation nurse – just like her cousin, aunt and grandma.

Stacey, from Worsley, Greater Manchester, said: ‘I was just so proud.

‘I guess we always expected her to want to be a nurse because she’s so caring – it would either be a nurse or a vet.

Ruby with her auntie
Go Ruby! (Picture: Kennedy News)

‘She always looks after Ella. She’ll always be the one to look after you when you’re ill, whether you like it or not.

‘Ella had a party recently and one of her friends hurt herself. It was Ruby who was the first one over to look after her and take her to her dad. She’s so loving.’

Becky said: ‘I felt so proud when she said she wanted to dress up as a nurse and got a little tear in my eye.

‘She’s always been kind and caring and will make the perfect nurse one day.’

So when she had the opportunity to dress up at school for Superhero Day, the answer for Ruby was obvious.

Stacey said: ‘Ruby was really excited.

‘Both girls have outfits from previous years, but as they get older they’re less likely to want to get dressed up as a superhero.

‘I said we had a Batgirl outfit and she agreed to go as that, but then said “I could go as a nurse?”

‘I said “well, there are everyday heroes too”, but we didn’t have the outfit.’

Ruby with her nurse attire
She’s so cute! (Picture: Kennedy News)

Devoting her evening to creating a custom name tag, cousin Becky worked hard to pull together the most convincing nurse’s outfit possible for her younger cousin.

And turning out on the big day, Ruby was able to proudly tell her friends that emergency service workers can be superheroes too.

Stacey said: ‘Ruby’s school planned Superhero Day and the school picked the charity CLIC Sargent to raise money.

‘One of the children has recently found out that she’s got cancer and is going through chemotherapy at the moment.

‘Becky came and dropped off the uniform and she even gave Ruby an old fob watch.

‘She’d made her a lanyard with her own name and picture on it.

‘Ruby’s very caring and has a lovely nature. We think she’ll follow in the family’s footsteps.

‘Becky’s a nurse as well as her mum Jackie and grandma Eileen, who used to be paediatric nurses.

‘One of the other little girls in reception class went dressed as a doctor too and the teachers have been using it to say it’s about heroes on a daily basis too.’

Ruby, who hopes to be a nurse when she grows up, said: ‘It’s not a superhero people might choose every day.

‘Nurses are everyday superheroes and my mum and grandma are proud of me.

‘Some of my friends went as a villain cat and Harley Quinn and my little sister went as Batgirl.’

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Scottish people fume at the ‘new’ Aldi square sausage

Aldi's 'sausedge' has got reactions for appropriating the Scottish square sausage
Aw naw (Picture: Aldi; Metro.co.uk)

Have you ever been in a group and told a funny joke, only for it to go unheard, before someone else tells the exact same joke and gets laughs?

A whole load of people in Scotland have basically just had that happen with one of their most proud culinary creations… And they’re not happy.

Aldi yesterday announced the release of their new ‘sausedge’; a square-shaped sausage patty that fits nicely in a bun.

It was hailed as ‘genius’ by one publication, much to the dismay of everyone who’s ever enjoyed a full Scottish breakfast in their life.

A Lorne sausage is a staple north of the border, and has been for literally hundreds of years. It comes in a breakfast pack from your local butchers, and you can get a ‘roll and Lorne’ from any self respecting bakers or sandwich shop.

It’s also already available in Scottish Aldi stores, hence much of the confusion at the so-called invention.

In true Scottish form, however, the troops are out with some brilliant comebacks to the discount store. Note to all of you, never p*** off a Scot.

Once the jokes have stopped, it might be a good thing that Scottish expats in other parts of the UK can get their hands on the forbidden fruit.

That is if they don’t have an Iceland or Sainsbury’s near them, both of which are supermarkets who already stock square sausage.

Another day, another brand #cancelled on Twitter. At least this time it’s just about some processed meat.

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Give a kid a fitness tracker and life will become a dangerous competition

Fitbit Ace 2 is marketed at children
Surely we can find a better way to get kids to engage with exercise than slapping a monitor on their wrist ( Photographer: Kevin Cremens/Fitbit)

I’m not sure how many children were crying out, ‘Mummy! Daddy! Please! I really want to be able to track the number of steps I take in a day!’ but alas, the gadget world never sleeps.

Following the launch of the Ace fitness tracker last year, Fitbit have introduced the Ace 2, which uses bright colours, animation and is cheaper than its predecessor.

While this is being pitched as an aide to help lower childhood obesity and diabetes rates, surely we can find a better way to get kids to engage with exercise than slapping a monitor on their wrist and getting them to track all their movements.

As a fitness instructor, I see the impact of fitness trackers every day in my classes.

People can barely wiggle their pinky toe without clicking some buttons on their Fitbit to light up the screen and see how many calories they’ve burned, points they’ve earned, miles they’ve walked, what their heart rate is and any other variable their device is willing to share.

I’m not sure how many children were crying out ‘Mummy! Daddy! Please! I really want to be able to track the number of steps I take in a day!’ but alas, the gadget world never sleeps.

So much of people’s focus is on the stats rather than the workout itself – and these are adults.

Kitting kids out with fitness trackers and encouraging them to view fitness through stats, data, numbers and targets is setting them up to see life as an endless competition.

There is a commendable aspect to what fitness trackers are out to achieve. I’m all for encouraging people to move. They have served as great motivational tools for many people who find themselves in an exercise slump.

But when they start to market that to kids, it gets a little dicey. Whoever was in charge of the children’s edition decided to not include calories burned or body fat percentages as a measurable, and thank goodness for small mercies, I suppose.

Research from The Children’s Society reported that almost half of girls (47 per cent) felt they had to measure up to depictions of ‘ideal’ female bodies in the media. Meanwhile, NHS statistics reveal that admissions of young women with eating disorders had almost doubled from 2012-2018. 

And in the last seven years, the number of boys in hospital for eating disorders rose from 235 to 466.

So are these fitness trackers going to lay a more positive foundation for kids? Or will children internalise it as a message that they should be aiming to get their body to look a certain way?

Fitness instructor Bangs Carey-Campbell
As a fitness instructor, I see the impact of fitness trackers every day in my classes (Photo: Bangs Carey-Campbell)

Granted, I was raised in a simpler time, where exercise for kids was about playing tig or hopscotch and probably the most traumatic thing to happen would be having to borrow shorts from the lost property box if you forgot your PE kit.

Sport and exercise at that stage, if it’s done right, introduces you children to the idea of friendly competition, teamwork, confidence building and how powerful your body can be.

But add a fitness tracker to that and suddenly it becomes the kid versus themselves. They’ll feel bound to hit targets and aim for certain stats, they’ll get consumed in numbers and forget about why they’re moving in the first place.

The academic side of school provides them with more than enough pressure as it is. Exercise should be where they can blow off steam and let loose, not another avenue that sees them having to perform to a certain standard.

These fitness trackers are encouraging kids to engage in an hour of activity a day and that is a great goal for everyone, not just kids. But exercise should never be a punishment or a chore. It should be a fun, joyful part of every day life, especially in childhood.

Let them just have a kick about in the park, dance to their favourite music videos, walk to school with their friends instead of taking the bus. There are all sorts of ways they can build movement into their day without having to electronically monitor every moment of it.

For whatever else they may monitor, these trackers don’t measure how much fun you had practicing handstands, how many times you laughed chasing each other around the playground or how many memories you made in that epic netball final.

Let kids just be kids. Let them run, jump, dance, play – no pressure, no competition, no stats. Just let them enjoy it. Hell, maybe we should try that, too.

Muireann Carey-Campbell, AKA ‘Bangs’, is the author The Pocket Cheerleader: A Badass Guide to the Life Changing Power of Movement published by Unbound.

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How to relieve stress: Tips on how to manage when you’re under pressure

Stressed mother with little girl in kitchen
Want some tips on how to manage stress in your life? (Picture: Getty)

From questions like, ‘what’s the name of that guy from that film?’ to much more serious queries about our mental health, we have developed a habit of turning to the internet for answers.

That’s why, for Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve put together a series of articles covering the 15 most Googled questions on mental health.

With that in mind, here are five tips on how you can relieve stress, which can have a significant impact on our mental health:

Take a break and go outside

New research has shown that just 20-30 minutes of walking in nature per day could have a really beneficial effect on your mind by cutting your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, by roughly 10%.

The more time you spend walking or indeed sitting outside the better, but those first 20 minutes have been shown to be the most effective.

The study leader Dr. Mary Carol Hunter said: ‘Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.’

Friends walking with bicycles in park
A walk’s sounding pretty good right about now (Picture: Getty)

Make sure you’re sleeping enough

Dr Dimitrios Paschos, a consultant psychiatrist at Re:Cognition Health, told us in the past on the subject of stress: ‘Sleeping properly, getting the right amount of sleep is one of the most important things, together with some form of exercise.’

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep we need will range depending on our age, with 18 to 64-year-olds needing between seven to nine hours sleep a night.

woman practicing yoga at home
Yoga has been associated with stress relief (Picture: Getty)


Further to the previous point, Dr. Paschos added: ‘There are many things to improve your resilience against depression, people do mindfulness, yoga, sports, generally a balance between work commitments and some form of movement and enjoyment.’

And the NHS agrees, with their website saying: ‘Being physically active can lift your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, encourage the release of endorphins (your body’s feel-good chemicals) and improve self-esteem.

‘Exercising may also be a good distraction from negative thoughts, and it can improve social interaction.’

a bunch of chocolate sweets
Make sure you’re munching on more than sweets at work (Picture: SWNS)

Watch your blood sugar

Leading nutritionist and author Dr Marilyn Glenville explained to us that: ‘Balancing blood sugar is essential in lowering stress because the crashes in sugar levels which happen due to go long periods without food or not eating the right foods, stimulates the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol to be released.

‘This is because these stress hormone can also mobilise your glucose back into the blood stream. This is why you can feel more jittery, irritable etc when blood sugar plummets.’

To keep your blood sugar levels steady, stick to fiber-rich foods like beans, whole grains, and leafy greens where you can, and steer clear of processed and sugary foods as much as possible.

a pharmacist handing a patient medicine
Some people find that medication is an effective option for them (Picture: fotostorm/Getty Images/iStockphoto/www.fotostorm.net)

See your GP

Dr Obuaya, Consultant Psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital told Metro: ‘For some people, their level of stress is so high that they need to see their GP for consideration of a referral for talking therapy and, in some cases, medication that relieves severe anxiety.’

So if you find that your stress levels are so high as to be unmanageable, then you shouldn’t hesitate to see your doctor for advice.

Mental Health questions answered

Google's most-asked mental health questions in 2019 so far:

According to Google, the most frequently asked 'how to' questions relating to mental health this year so far are:

1. How to relieve stress
2. How to help anxiety
3. How to stop worrying
4. How to stop a panic attack
5. How to deal with stress
6. How to cope with depression
7. How to know if you have anxiety
8. How to know if you have depression
9. How to help someone with PTSD
10. How to overcome social anxiety
11. How to get help for depression
12. How to treat OCD
13. How to help a depressed friend
14. How to overcome a phobia
15. How to treat PTSD


Mind provide information and support on a variety of mental health issues, including stress.

Their helplines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

Call: 0300 123 3393

Email: info@mind.org.uk

Text: 86463

MORE: My Label and Me: I want ginger people to know how freaking cool their hair is

MORE: Can you drink too much water?

Unless you act now antibiotic resistance could kill 10million people by 2050


The Chief Medical Officer for England’s recent warning that antibiotic resistance could see us dying following minor surgery is the latest in the series of apocalyptic warnings.

‘We could return to a pre-antibiotic age where routine operations are cancelled for fear of infection.’

‘Superbugs will kill more people than cancer.’

‘Antibiotic resistance is the biggest health problem facing humankind.’

Doom, Armageddon, the end of the human race.

The thing is that Dame Sally Davies’ prediction isn’t the thing of schlock science fiction. It is fact, and it is already with us.  And we must act now, before that doom watch clicks onto midnight.

Ever since the discovery of penicillin, antibiotics have been a pivotal part of medicine.

Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery has seen a generation brought up knowing that the infections that killed their ancestors (from infected wounds to sexually transmitted diseases) could be cured, usually with just a few pills and in a short time.

Antibiotics have also been vital in curing infections that patients receiving intense hospital treatment or who have poor immune systems endure.

But as Fleming himself predicted: ‘The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. Then there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.’

He made that particular prophecy back in 1945. So who is responsible for making his miracle medicine such a danger?

The obvious response would be to point the finger of blame at the pharmaceutical industry, who have failed to develop new medications to treat emerging resistant infections.

Resistance to antibiotics is caused when bacteria in our bodies morphs to reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of the drugs. That spreads and causes serious health problems.

New medications simply haven’t been created to combat this, and not one single new class of antibiotics has been developed since the 1980s.

But then there is a reason for this. Antibiotics simply don’t make money.  They are taken for a short period of time and attempts at developing new ones to send to market have meant near financial ruin for some pharmaceutical companies.

A nurse
Doctors also receive flak for over-prescribing antibiotics – and in some cases, rightly so (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Health shouldn’t be a commercial commodity though, and surely decision-makers need to encourage and incentivise companies to develop antibiotics – or risk a huge health crisis, which in turn will cause a massive financial deficit.

Unfortunately, politicians rarely get letters in their post bag about antibiotic resistance, so think it isn’t a vote grabber.

Successive governments have made plenty of noise about the issue, but their plans haven’t been backed by action. Meanwhile there is total silence on the subject from the opposition benches, even though antibiotic resistance will hit the most vulnerable, hardest.

Doctors also receive flak for over-prescribing antibiotics – and in some cases, rightly so. One in five such drugs disseminated in the UK is needless.

Better education for prescribers would be beneficial but it would also help if patients didn’t pressure them to the point of threatening a bad online review or even resorting to abuse. Antibiotics don’t cure everything – especially not colds, sore throats or flu.

Much has been made of the role the farming industry has played in creating antibiotic resistance. Irresponsible farmers have fed animals antibiotics not only to cure sickness but also to prevent it especially under intensive farming conditions.

Whilst the use of antibiotics in farming is falling, it could reduce faster and, importantly, not use the same life-saving antibiotics that should be reserved exclusively for human use.

Recent research has shown that antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria are now in a range of European bodies of water.

Did you know that surfers for example, are three times more likely to carry drug-resistant e-coli bacteria picked up from contact with sea water?

And finally there are charities. Yes, charities. Until recently, we have missed a real opportunity to work together to tackle antibiotic resistance.

A boy in a hospital bed
A patient who has survived a horrible disease could then die from a hospital acquired antibiotic resistant infection (Picture: Dave Anderson for Metro.co.uk)

Collecting cash to find new cancer treatments or better medications to cure heart disease is a wonderful thing – but a patient who benefits from these breakthroughs could then die of a hospital acquired antibiotic resistant infection!

I am delighted that the silo working has therefore stopped and that we are now talking and planning and presenting a united front against the superbugs.

And so these are the main suspects in the crime of antibiotic resistance. A crime I would remind you that is predicted to kill 10million people globally by 2050. But there is one other group that has both caused and can cure it:


Aside from not demanding antibiotics every time you have a sniffle, you could use the energy deployed into movements such as Extinction Rebellion to mobilise and preserve the health of future generations.

The comparison with environmentalism is an apt one. That was an issue seen as remote to most people; a problem for someone else to deal with.

That was until they saw freak weather, polluted air and the suffering of wildlife.

All of us could spare just a few minutes to create a groundswell of outrage. We could write to our MP or visit them at their surgery. Create online petitions to demand that something be done to incentivise the pharmaceutical industry.

Our media headlines have been dominated by new discoveries such as antibiotic properties in dirt, honey and even platypus milk! (Remember Fleming’s discovery of penicillin came by accident when he discovered mould in a Petrie dish).

Let funding emerge to turn that British innovation into clinical trials and proper development of new antibiotic medications.

Best of all I would say join the resistance against antibiotic resistance. Our charity began small but is emerging at an impressive rate in its battle to beat the world’s biggest health problem.

We have many volunteers organising fundraising and  educational events. And we have become the first charity in the world to offer people suffering from an antibiotic resistant infection such as MRSA, emotional and educational support.

The important thing to remember about apocalyptic warnings are that they are still warnings. We still have time to change things. But that time must be now, if we are to prevent the predicted health catastrophe.

Learn more about Antibiotic Research UK (ANTRUK) and how YOU can get involved by visiting https://www.antibioticresearch.org.uk/  

The Future Of Everything

Future Of Everything

This piece is part of Metro.co.uk's series The Future Of Everything.

From OBEs to CEOs, professors to futurologists, economists to social theorists, politicians to multi-award winning academics, we think we've got the future covered, away from the doom mongering or easy Minority Report references.

Every weekday, we're explaining what's likely (or not likely) to happen.

Talk to us using the hashtag #futureofeverything  If you think you can predict the future better than we can or you think there's something we should cover we might have missed, get in touch: hey@metro.co.uk or Alex.Hudson@metro.co.uk

Read every Future Of Everything story so far

You’ll now be able to find vegan Goodfella’s pizza in Tesco and Sainsbury’s

Goodfella's' new pizza
The new pizza is completely animal product-free (Picture: Goodfella’s)

Attention, vegans: Goodfella’s has just launched a new vegan pizza.

Goodfella’s conducted some research which found that the two foods most missed by vegans were cheese and pizza – so they’ve released a super cheesy pizza totally free of animal products.

The new Vegan Stonebaked Spicy Vegetable Salsa Pizza features a thin stonebaked pizza based, topped with spicy tomato sauce, Cheddar-style vegan cheese, red and green peppers, black beans, red onion, sweetcorn, salsa drizzle and a spiced crumb.

It’s currently available in the frozen aisles of Tesco and Sainsbury’s for just £2.50.

Alex Brown, Brand Manager from Goodfella’s, said: ‘One of the biggest challenges for vegans is missing out on the foods they once loved.

The pizza costs £2.50
It costs £2.50 (Picture: Goodfella’s)

‘Vegan cheese is hard to get right, so we spent months searching for the perfect recipe. Combined with Mexican flavours and tasty vegetables, the result is so delicious that we’re confident it will please not only vegans but all pizza eaters.’

In other animal-free news, McDonald’s is giving away free veggie and vegan wraps this week.

The fast food resturant is giving away a free vegetable medley encased in a tortilla for vegetarians, or if you’re a vegan you can get it without mayo.

The wrap features red pesto veggie goujons, spicy relish, tomato, lettuce and red onion.

All you need to do to claim your freebie is download the app – because it’ll still cost you if you pay in-store.

Only mobile orders will be able to get the wrap so you won’t be able to just claim one by walking into your nearest restaurant.

The offer will only be around this week so you’ll want to act quick as it ends on 17 May.

MORE: Domino’s New Zealand has launched a pineapple and tinned spaghetti pizza

MORE: A 41-cheese pizza exists and our mouths are already watering

Mixed Up: ‘I was adopted by two black parents – they made me who I am today’


Mixed Up is a weekly series exploring the highs, lows and untold narratives that make up the mixed-race experience.

The UK’s fastest-growing ethnic group have incredibly varied stories to tell, but there are also many commonalities that tie these stories together.

Each week we aim to elevate under-heard voices, go beyond stereotypes and get to the heart of what it means to be mixed-race in the UK today.

Annalisa Toccara is a cultural producer and marketer. She was adopted at four years old and raised in a Jamaican family. She has never met her white birth mother or biological black father.

Annalisa headshot
Picture by Jerry Syder for metro.co.uk

‘I’m Welsh and Jamaican, born prematurely at 34 weeks,’ Annalisa tells Metro.co.uk.

‘My birth parents, Susan Jones and Wesley McFarlane, were unable to look after me and so I was placed in a white foster care home with the view to adopt.

‘I was then placed in a Jamaican family, who fell in love with me, and I was legally adopted by them in 1991. They have always been my parents.

‘And to this day, my foster parents still send me a birthday card and a Christmas card without fail.’

According to the adoption stats, black, mixed-race and other ethnic minority children are historically hardest to place. But Annalisa lucked out. Her relationship with her parents has been hugely affirming, their influence instilled confidence and a strong sense of identity.

‘Being adopted is special and I love meeting other adopted people,’ explains Annalisa.

‘There seems to be an instant connection – regardless of race – and an understanding on a level which I don’t feel is there when you aren’t adopted.

‘I’ve never struggled with knowing I’m adopted because, from a young age, my parents were very open about my cultural identity, where I was from and the reasons I was adopted. I’m grateful for that because I feel that has played a huge part in me becoming the woman that I am now.

‘When you are adopted you get a document from the social worker on the proposed adoption to the High Court. My name was, and in so many ways still is, Samantha Jones.

‘It was changed to Annalisa when my parents adopted me.

Little Annalisa with her mum
Little Annalisa with her mum (Picture: Annalisa Toccara)

‘At four-years-old I was confident, a leader at nursery school, creative, intelligent, loving, aware of my cultural identity, aware that I was Black, aware that I was mixed-raced. My parents created that foundation in me and I am still very much the same. I haven’t changed.

‘I believe Black – including mixed-race – children should be placed with Black parents if possible. Identity matters.

‘I have grown up identifying as both Black and mixed-race and, ever since I was placed with my parents, they have instilled in me a sense of culture and belonging.’

But the positive reinforcement Annalisa received at home wasn’t always reflected in the wider world. As a child, surviving in a largely white environment led to feelings of isolation.

‘Growing up, I was one of a handful of Black children in my school and never really felt like I fitted in. My teachers were white, my friends were white and the people that I would read in the story books at school were white,’ she says.

‘I remember being at a book fair and wanting to read a book called Mr Majeika and my Mum was like, “no, you are not reading that”, and made me buy a book by Malorie Blackman.

‘At the time I was so grumpy that she made me do that, but reading Malorie Blackman books and seeing myself represented was hugely influential.

‘Yes, I am mixed-race, but I am also Black and let’s not forget that race is a social construct created by the white man.

‘I recognise that one side of me – as a race – is steeped in colonialism and white supremacy and I also recognise that the other is the oppressed. For me, knowing my history and heritage and the story of my ancestors, is of the upmost importance and it forms my identity as a whole.’

Rooted deep in Annalisa’s philosophy is an inherent understanding of her own privilege. She knows that being positioned closer to whiteness makes some aspects of her life easier than both of her parents’ – and she tries to apply this in her professional life.

‘Society favours mixed-race people,’ she tells us.

Annalisa with her parents and adopted sister
Annalisa with her parents and adopted sister (Picture: Annalisa Toccara)

‘We see this in the beauty industry, the media, fashion, music videos etc. And because I am aware of this, I make sure that the arts and cultural social enterprise that I founded, Our Mel, centres the experiences of Black people.

‘You could scroll down our Instagram page and you will see a mix of different shades of melanin, because it’s important to me to make sure that we are all reflected and not just those of lighter skin shades, as we so often see reflected back to us in society.

‘I wish people understood that there is no right or wrong way to being mixed-race. We all have our experiences and stories which are valid and my experience of being mixed-race will vary to another person’s.

‘I understand that there is an element of privilege in being mixed-race and the proximity to whiteness, but some people don’t understand that and are still on their own journey of self-discovery and that’s OK.’

Annalisa’s experience of being raised by two black parents gives her a unique perspective on the mixed-race experience. It’s something she only really notices when she speaks to mixed-race people who were raised by their biological parents.

‘I have noticed in conversations with other mixed-race people, is that I don’t identify with the Black mixed-race experience of growing up with one Black parent and one white,’ says Annalisa.

‘I find it hard to understand sometimes on that level with other mixed-race people, and perhaps they find it hard to understand me?

‘I have never struggled with being mixed-race because I have always seen myself as Black. My parents instilled in me from a young age, that though I have white in me, my skin colour shows to the world that I am Black and therefore I am Black.

‘However, that being said, I am very conscious of also saying that I am mixed-race because I feel that if I don’t say it, then there is a part of me that is being wiped out. I don’t ever want my birth parents to feel that I am wiping them out.’

Baby Annalisa with her birth mother
Baby Annalisa with her birth mother (Picture: Annalisa Toccara)

Annalisa feels completely connected to her Caribbean ancestry, she loves everything about it. But naturally, she still has unanswered questions about her birth parents.

‘I love my Jamaican heritage. I love our warmth and vibrancy. Our unapologetic nature.

‘I relate more to my Jamaican side because that’s all I have grown up knowing.

‘There has only been one time where I have had a pang of wanting to know my white side. I was 16 at the time and desperately wanted to find my birth parents. One day I want to trace them.

‘But the chances of me finding and meeting Susan Jones and Wesley Mcfarlane are slim because although I live in Sheffield, I was born in London and adopted in Westminster and Sheffield City Council do not offer a tracing service for those not born in the city.

‘Likewise, when I rang Westminster City Council, I was told similar. In order to trace just one parent, I would need to pay for the service and there is no guarantee even if my birth parents were found, that they would want to see me.’

Despite an understanding of her own relative privilege, Annalisa is no stranger to discrimination. She says the current political climate is bleak for minorities in the UK.

‘I was five or six when I first experienced racism, sitting outside the swimming pool and this white girl said, “ewwww why are your legs dark?”

‘Attitudes towards race aren’t improving at all. I think this current political climate is giving more voice to racists and giving them a platform.

‘I live in Sheffield; you only have to click on the comments under the Sheffield Star when an article about a non-white person is posted and read the vile racism underneath.

Baby Annalisa
Baby Annalisa (Picture: Annalisa Toccara)

Annalisa wants to hear more stories from people with different experiences of life. She believes it’s crucial for people to scrutinise their own beliefs and look closer at how their voice is playing into or changing existing narratives.

‘Quite simply, our stories are valid,’ she explains.

‘In the last three years I have questioned myself a lot about being mixed-race and the part that I play in using my platform to addresses these issues, in the Black community and in the wider community.

‘For instance, I’ve met quite a few people, especially in Sheffield where it’s very multicultural, who struggle with being mixed-race and having a white family who may not necessarily understand them fully.

‘I encounter lots of conversations about this and if my social enterprise can help another mixed-race person along their journey of understanding, then I feel that we are on the right track.

‘I was once talking to a mixed-race person who said, “well you haven’t grown up with a white family, so you don’t understand” and I question myself and evaluate all the time.

‘I think I do understand to an extent. I actually wish more mixed-race people became aware of their privileges and colourism and how that’s played out in society.

‘It’s brilliant that there is a wider sphere for conversations on race currently happening because there is this reoccurring theme happening in today’s Britain with the narrative of British history being whitewashed with British triumph and rule and the history books distorting, misrepresenting and omitting the real story of Black people.

‘I welcome more stories from mixed-race people because not all our experiences are the same and we need these stories because they are our truths.’

MORE: Mixed Up: ‘For white people, having brown babies used to represent a moral taboo’

MORE: Mixed Up: ‘Being a gay person of colour took its toll on my mental health’

MORE: Mixed Up: ‘Being mixed without a white parent is even more challenging’

Long-term illness and mental health problems are intertwined – why are they treated separately?

A woman talking to a doctor
Doctors need to be more willing to tackle both our physical and mental health (Picture: Ella Byworth)

It’s diabetes clinic day and I’m literally being examined from head to toe – a blood test, weigh in, blood pressure check, an eye exam and a foot sensitivity check.

I’ve been through this routine hundreds of times but it’s always focused on what is going on with my physical wellbeing. I can count on one hand the number of times someone has asked me about what is going on with my mental health.

Like many long-term illnesses, a diagnosis of type one diabetes made me much more likely to have mental health problems – two to three times more likely in fact – but very few people have talked to me about it.

When I started suffering from depression, anxiety and panic attacks, I don’t think I saw the association. In my mind, I was just unlucky to have these things – but they are so intertwined.

Through writing a series about invisible illness and disability, You Don’t Look Sick, I see the same problem in so many people dealing with a chronic condition.

Living with a long-term illness puts a huge amount of stress on your brain. I’m constantly trying to process what my blood sugar levels are, how much insulin that means I can inject, what I’m are eating for that meal and what I might eat between that meal and the next.

It is a relentless condition that controls my life every single day, and always will.

Some days, I’m just tired of dealing with it and constantly having to be on the ball.

Can you really reverse diabetes or pre-diabetes? (Funmi)
Controlling diabetes can be incredibly stressful (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

There’s the guilt when it’s not quite under control and the sadness of not being able to eat what you want without circumstances.

There’s the days where I’m struggling with my mental health and give in and eat what I want because planning healthy meals is too much but it makes me physically feel incredibly unwell and makes my mood sink further.

There’s the fear of what it might mean in the future, not to mention the fact my severe anxiety attacks have an impact on my blood sugars levels, sometimes making them quickly fall. Not knowing when or if I might have a panic attack makes it pretty hard to plan.

And just having a day with low blood sugar levels triggers my anxiety. After one incident on the tube when my blood sugar levels fell low unexpectedly, I am incredibly anxious about it happening again in public. Feeling pretty lightheaded, I asked someone for a seat but they refused because I apparently ‘didn’t look like I needed it’.’

It was embarrassing and frightening. Luckily someone else helped out, I found some glucose tablets in my bag and I was ok.

Sometimes my anxiety about that happening again makes me overcompensate and my blood sugar levels end up higher than they should be.

It’s a cycle – dealing with the illness leads to depression but depression makes the illness much harder to manage, making me more feel worse. Both the physical illness and mental illness just feed off each other.

Why can we not admit we're successful at work?
Long term illness and mental health conditions are closely linked (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Research by Diabetes UK released this week shows that seven out of 10 people with diabetes feel overwhelmed by the condition but three quarters of those surveyed who needed mental health support said they could not access it.

Despite the strong links between diabetes and mental health problems, 70 per cent said that their diabetes team did not talk to them about their emotional wellbeing.

When I went to my GP for the first time to talk about my low moods and crippling panic attacks almost two years ago (and several times since), my long term health condition wasn’t mentioned.

The survey also revealed 40 per cent of GPs say they are not likely to ask about emotional wellbeing and mental health in routine diabetes appointments. While only 30 per cent feel there is enough emotional and psychological support for people living with diabetes when needed.

And I know when I do eventually get off the waiting list for therapy, the counsellor I speak to is pretty unlikely to have any specialist knowledge of my condition so really breaking down how to manage both anxiety and diabetes side by side seems unrealistic.

I know mental health services are already overstretched but these figures are poor and not supporting the mental health of people with long term conditions has an impact in the long run.

Poor mental health can lead to bad diabetes management, hospital stays and the need for increased support. Tackling it and talking about it from the minute of diagnosis makes people aware of the connection.

Diabetes UK are calling for more to be done. The #ItsMissing campaign and petition highlights their report into care and mental health services.

They want to see the emotional and psychological impact of diabetes recognised and for patients to have systematic care and better conversations.

Everyone should be provided with peer support, education and self-help resources so they have something in place if they do struggle with mental health problems.

The system is not set up for integration of both mental and physical treatment but it is time it was.

We need diabetes teams to be supported by specialist mental health professionals, for healthcare professionals providing diabetes care to have training in helping patients with mental health and for mental health professionals to have knowledge and understanding about the condition.

Every year I’m treated and checked for other long term affects like eye problems and circulation problems. Mental health problems should be discussed in the same way.

For people with diabetes and other long term health conditions, we need to treat the whole person, not just the bits we can see.

MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘I had seven strokes in 24 hours when I was 20’

MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘I thought only old people got arthritis, until I was diagnosed at 28’

You can now get reusable cotton buds to help tackle plastic pollution

The standard LastSwab and a man holding one on the beach
The LastSwab is apparently the first reusable plastic cotton bud (Picture: LastSwab)

We’re all aware of the need to cut down on single use plastics by now.

And there are some products in particular that have been focused on – straws and cotton buds.

We’re slowly cutting out straws and getting more used to paper or reusable ones.

But there aren’t many alternatives to a cotton bud.

You’ve probably used them to remove earwax (despite medical experts recommending against that) but they’re great for cleaning up make up or many other delicate tasks.

An astonishing 1.5 billion are produced everyday. They are used once and thrown away but when they end up in the sea, they kill sea creatures.

LastSwab is apparently the world’d first reusable version.

The LastSwab is the world's first reusable cotton swab
It comes in two versions – standard and makeup (Picture: LastSwab)

It comes in two versions – the standard shape and one specifically for makeup – and comes in 10 colours.

You simply use the product, wash it under water and then put it back in the storage case, ready for the next time you need it.

The LastSwab is biodegrabable and the packaging is made from eco-friendly cardboard.

There are two versions of the LAstSwab and it comes in 10 colours
The LastSwab can we washed with soap and water (Picture: LastSwab)

The Danish designers FACO CHP are currently looking for funding on Kickstarter to launch the product, with the lowest priced two, three and five packs already selling out.

You can still pick up a 10 pack for $95 (£73.53) or a 30 pack for $215 (£166.40). As they are reusable, it might be worth picking some up now and sharing them with friends and family.

FACO CHP CEO Nicolas Aagaard said: ‘We strongly believe that the age of single-use plastic as well as the“use and discard culture” have come to an end and the recent legislative measures from EU support this vision.

‘We want LastSwab and upcoming reusable products to be part of a future where we are much more thoughtful of how we spend our resources so that maybe our grandchildren will laugh at how grandad used to throw out products he had only used once, as if there was a planet B.’

MORE: Sustainable beauty: Best tips on how to make your beauty routine more eco-friendly

MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I was adopted by two black parents – they made me who I am today’

Boyfriend makes cute overnight bag for girlfriend without even being asked

Teigan shared an image of a cute overnight box her boyfriend Aaron made her
Teigan shared an image of a cute overnight box her boyfriend Aaron made her (Picture: Teigan Dougall)

Guys don’t always know a lot about women’s toiletries, beyond nicking whatever moisturiser is in their girlfriend’s bathroom.

But one boyfriend has shown that he knows more than he lets on.

Aaron surprised his girlfriend Teigan with an overnight care package that had all her favourite products inside.

Teigan, from Reading, showed that her beau knows his exfoliators from his cleansers, different types of sanitary products and toiletries.

Sharing an image of the basket on Twitter, she wrote: ‘Can’t believe Aaron’s made a wee overnight essentials box up for me to keep at his for when I stay. So cute!’

The box included shampoo, conditioner, pads, face wipes, dry shampoo, a hairbrush, loofah, toothbrush, mouth wash, and in case Teigan’s breath wasn’t fresh enough, a pack of chewing gum.

Of course, the tweet went viral with women in their masses tagging their boyfriends and saying they longed for this kind of thoughtfulness.

And, honestly, same.

Teigan spoke to Metro.co.uk about Aaron’s surprising gesture – she says she hadn’t ‘trained him’ to come up with all the stuff nor did she expect him to remember the things she uses.

She said: ‘He basically surprised me with all the things I might need and what I usually forget to bring to his house whenever I stay over.

‘He actually just tried to remember anything I happened to mention in passing, especially as I was complaining about dragging all my stuff to his every weekend.

‘I was really surprised because you don’t really expect someone to think of something so personal and nice.

‘I posted it on Twitter so people could see what a nice gesture it was and how it’s the little things that matter to girls most.’

Users online called Aaron a legend and urged Teigan to move in with him and marry him.

Other said it was the ‘cutest thing’ they’d ever seen.

Teigan replied: ‘I know. He actually melts my heart.’

How sweet. Can other boyfriends take note?

MORE: Boyfriend uses Snapchat filter to hilariously troll girlfriend into thinking he’s cheating

MORE: People aren’t impressed with this engagement ring made by a boyfriend using his own hair

MORE: Men use Snapchat gender swap filter to see what it’s really like to be a woman on Tinder

Why opioids are not the solution to pain

Opioid painkillers crisis and drug abuse concept. Opioid and prescription medication addiction epidemic. Different kinds of multicolored pills. Pharmaceutical medicament background
Opiods have their purpose – but they are dangerous and over-prescribed – leading to an epidemic of opioid use in the UK and US (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)

Make no mistake about it, there are situations where painkillers like oxycodone and morphine are the best choice. Doctors give these opioids for a wide range of reasons and they are completely appropriate after many operations, dental procedures, certain injuries and to treat the pain associated with cancer.

But opioids are dangerous for several reasons. The most obvious is the propensity for addiction. Opioids contain synthetic versions of chemicals found in the poppy plant – they relax the body and can relieve pain, but at the same time this can cause euphoria.

Some people may become addicted to these sensations within just a few doses – and without exception, chronic users of opioids require ever-increasing doses to achieve an effect. The use of opioids, particularly in the US and the UK, is approaching epidemic proportions.

Side effects include cognitive deterioration and confusion, gastro-intestinal upset and constipation, insomnia, blurred vision, difficulty urinating and erectile dysfunction. And if you stop taking them after long-term there is an extremely unpleasant post-withdrawal syndrome. But worst of all, opioids also depress respiratory drive – in other words they affect your ability to breathe. And this can cause death.

In order to avoid taking opioids other than when truly necessary, it helps to understand a bit more about the type of pain you are dealing with. Doctors characterise pain by the system that is generating the signal.

• Visceral pain is caused by a problem in the inner organs of the body such as the heart or bowels. This type of pain is often deep and gnawing in character and it responds very well to a course of opioid painkillers.

• Somatic pain arises from the outer layers of the body [skin, tissue, muscle] and while opioids can occasionally help with this type of pain, there are often better choices than opioids.

• Neuropathic pain is pain arising from a nerve or group of nerves. It has a different character to the other types of pain and while neuropathic pain can be excruciating in some cases, opioids are almost never the right choice of medication.

Dr Harrison Weisinger on the opioid painkiller epidemic
Dr Harrison Weisinger on the opioid painkiller epidemic (Picture: Dr Harrison Weisinger)

Regardless of the type of pain, doctors generally stick to a step-wise approach to pain relief where lower-impact medications are used first before moving to more and more hard-hitting options such as opioids.

Paracetamol is a very underrated painkiller, and it really comes down to how it’s taken, with the effectiveness increasing massively if you take it strictly four times a day when required. Another option is ibuprofen, which is excellent as an anti-inflammatory, but only recommended for short periods due to its potential for harm to the stomach and kidneys.

Increasingly, people (and their doctors) are turning to non-pharmacological remedies for pain relief. Particularly for back and arthritic pain, which are among the most common reasons for going to the GP, I always recommend a combination of gentle stretching, Pilates and yoga – they increase strength, flexibility and mobility while decreasing the perception of pain.

Some people find TENS (trans-epithelial nerve stimulators) to be quite effective, and these machines are cheap and easily accessible.

In terms of natural supplements, there is very good evidence for the use of curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, CBD oil and even magnesium.

Lifestyle can play a massive role in easing pain. Diet in particular, and the reduction of pro-inflammatory foods such as processed carbohydrates, is extremely effective in both reducing weight and reducing pain. Equally, adequate sleep is another factor that, over time, has a beneficial effect.

My other universal lifestyle intervention for those that are experiencing pain is, believe it or not, meditation. It can take a long time and dedication, but it is definitely worth it. There are loads of great apps to help you like Waking Up, Headspace and 10% Happier.

Mindfulness meditation reduces the suffering a person experiences in association with physical pain.

That’s because a major part of pain-related suffering is actually due to the worry that the pain will continue into the future. Mindfulness by definition is experiencing the present and in this way skilled meditators are able to avoid or greatly reduce suffering.

While opioids can be extremely useful and effective painkillers, it is important to explore all the other options first.

Dr Harrison Weisinger is family doctor and university professor who lectures and publishes papers on topics such as nutrition and neural development. He is scientific adviser for the supplement company Truth Origins

Pain checklist:

1) Find out what is causing the pain
2) Consider all other options before taking opioids
3) Avoid inflammatory foods such as processed carbohydrates
4) Try to maintain a healthy weight
5) Natural Supplements like curcumin, omega-3s and CBD oil can help
6) Make sure you are getting enough sleep
7) Do restorative exercise like yoga
8) Meditate

Somebody is leaving free flowers on Tube and commuters are confused

Kind-hearted commuter leaves flowers for stranger on the Tube Picture: oinkbane METROGRAB Kind-hearted commuter leaves flowers for stranger on the Tube
Kind-hearted commuter leaves flowers for stranger on the Tube (Picture: SWNS)

Commuters were left bemused and confused this week on their Central line train commute when they were pleasantly surprised by a gesture of goodwill.

A kindhearted person left a bouquet of flowers on the Tube on purpose, with a note that read: ‘FREE FLOWERS. To anyone who needs their day brightening up :).’

A warm gesture for the otherwise hostile environment of the underground commuting community.

Commuter misses train at rush hour
Have you missed your train? Maybe flowers might help (Picture: SWNS)

Of course, it was met with a both bewilderment and suspicion.

The post was originally shared on the London Reddit page with the poster writing: ‘Some lovely soul left a bouquet of flowers on the Central Line for anyone who needs cheering up :).’

People were impressed, but in true London fashion, an ounce of cynicism, one user commented: ‘Hello, is this the British Transport Police? I’d like to report someone being suspiciously nice on the underground this morning.’

Well, that wasn’t the only comment that showed a speculative distrust for the gesture.

Another user wrote: ‘I’m not sure anyone will actually take them home though…’

Commuter waiting for train
People weren’t sure they’d actually take the flowers (Picture: Getty Images)

It was a ray of sunshine on what would otherwise be an ordinary morning on the underground.

But still, it reminded people of romance and the ones they love: ‘Oh how sweet I love it! I adore flowers but would look and leave for someone else. Hoping my husband had brought me some instead.’

Another agreed saying: ‘Sometimes I do need my day brightening up but I would never take free stuff because I feel that there is always someone more deserving than me. I would feel tremendously guilty.’

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It’s not just women, men have a biological clock too says research

A handsome middle aged dad holds his mixed race daughter during a walk on the beach.
Men have a biological clock too, says new research (Picture: Getty)

No matter what their age, women are often reminded of their biological clock and are warned about the complications of late pregnancies.

But because they don’t go through a menopause, men aren’t always told to be mindful of their fertility and how it’s affected by ageing.

Research shows, however, that men should be aware of their biological clock as having a child later can increase the risk of complications.

A new study, published in the journal Maturitas, said that men should bank their sperm around the age of 35 as women are encouraged to freeze their eggs.

Rutgers University researchers looked at the effect of parental age on fertility, pregnancy and the health of children over a 40-year study and found that men’s biological clock starts ticking in their 30s too.

Older dads were found to have babies with a higher risk of premature birth, late stillbirth, low birth weight, higher incidence of newborn seizures and birth defects such as congenital heart disease and cleft palate.

But the co-author of the research, Professor Gloria Bachmann said the medical profession has no clear agreed definition of when ‘advanced paternal age’ begins, with the range being from 35 to 45.

Female obstetrician talking with pregnant couple in clinic examination room
(Picture: Getty)

‘While it’s widely accepted physiological changes that occur in women after 35 can affect conception, pregnancy and the health of the child, most men do not realise their advanced age can have a similar impact,’ she said.

‘While women tend to be more aware and educated than men about their reproductive health, most men do not consult with physicians unless they have a medical or fertility issue.’

The study found that men 45 and older can experience decreased fertility and put their partners at risk of increased pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and preterm birth.

As children with old dads grow, they were found to have an increased likelihood of childhood cancers, psychiatric and cognitive disorders, and autism.

Professor Bachman added that just as muscles lose strength as we get older, sperms lose their ‘fitness’, affecting their quality.

She encouraged doctors to advise male patients too about conception, pregnancy and the health of their child.

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Mum writes poignant letter to ‘the other woman’ her husband left her for

A stock image of a woman playing with her wedding ring
The woman posted on Mumsnet about her husband’s affair (Picture: Getty)

A mum has written a poignant letter to the woman her husband left her for – but she ended up being criticised for blaming her.

In a letter to ‘the other woman’, originally posted on Mumsnet, the anonymous woman asked her husband’s work colleague what she actually got from the relationship.

She talked about how the affair had left her and her 10-year-old daughter heartbroken.

The post said: ‘I just need to understand the reasoning behind having an affair with a taken/married man? In the middle of a break up and I’ve had 10 year old daughter ask “why did the woman take daddy away?”

‘Such an innocent yet poignant question… please, for anyone that has been the ow (other woman) explain what you get out of it?’

The woman went on to discuss how her husband and the woman he had an affair with had met at work and how it had come as a shock because she thought they were happy.

She adds: ‘I can just about grasp couples who aren’t happy, not getting on or no sec etc [sic]. My and my dp were happy, close. He was with me almost always. We went out and drank together. Had the odd date night, holidays.

‘I just can’t understand what the ow gets out of it in that circumstance? It’s ego boosting for the man ok I can take that but for the woman? Knowing he’s cosying up to his partner in the evenings while your just his “sexting buddy” where’s the fun in that?!?

‘I’m just going off my case here. He wasn’t out shagging you or dating you, was only seeing her at work – NEVER on a weekend. How can a woman be happy with that? Just the off txting n fondle in the day but never having proper dates or nights in because he can’t ever invite you back to his.

‘Could any woman be happy like that?

The post on Mumsnet
The post was a letter to the woman her husband had an affair with (Picture: Mumsnet)

‘I’d rather spend my time looking for someone else. A meaningful relationship rather than be used as an ego boost.

‘Also is it a competitive thing? Still baffled in my case as my dp was very vocal about me (in a nice way) in front of ow.’

But other Mumsnet users advised that she needed to put more responsibility on her husband.

One said: ‘Another woman did not take Daddy away. Life isn’t like that. Daddy left. He left. HE left – no one took him.’

Another added: ‘Where’s your letter to your partner? The OW is not blameless but she did not take him away. He willingly cheated and left. Your anger is misdirected.’

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