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Podgy pug who loves leftovers will compete to lose weight and get healthy again

Percy the pug is one of the dogs competing in this year's PDSA Pet Fit Club competition
Percy the pug is one of the dogs competing in this year’s PDSA Pet Fit Club competition (Picture: Guy Hinks/PDSA/PA)

Each year the PDSA Pet Fit Club gathers up a bunch of unhealthy pets to take them on a journey of weight loss and discovery.

The winning cat or dog gets a year’s supply of healthy food and an animal-friendly holiday for their owners, so it’s worth taking part.

The animals get to return to better health and us bystanders get to enjoy transformations of pudgy pugs and chubby tabbies getting svelte over the course of six months.

Today marks the start of the challenge, so it’s time for us to meet a few of the contenders.

First up is Percy, a pug weighing in at two stone. He gained weight thanks to a love of eating chicken and leftover dinners.

Percy gained weight thanks to a passion for sausage rolls and leftover dinner
Percy gained weight thanks to a passion for chicken and leftover dinners (Picture: PDSA/PA)

The three-year-old dog needs to lose eight pounds to reach his ideal weight, and will do so with the help of his owner Chloe Morrison and guidance on a diet and exercise plan from the Pet Fit Club.

Owner Chloe said: ‘When we’re eating dinner he sits and stares at you with his puppy-dog eyes until you give him some food and my dad tends to feed him his leftovers, too, which is definitely adding to his weight gain.

‘He’s a clever pooch. My mum had cooked some toast and had left it on the side while getting something from another room.

‘When she came back he was half way down the garden with the whole piece of toast in his mouth.

‘I’m really excited to be part of Pet Fit Club and I’m hoping it will help Percy to have a better quality of life and he can live to a ripe old age.’

Also in the running is seven-year-old Alfie, a Labrador from Liverpool who needs to lose nearly half his current body weight.

Alfie, a Labrador who needs to lose nearly half his current body weight
Also in the running is Alfie, a Labrador who needs to lose nearly half his current body weight (Picture: Michael Garton/PDSA/PA)
Bonnie from Blackpool, who loves sausage rolls and leftovers and will be taking on PDSA's Pet Fit Club competition to battle the bulge
Bonnie will need to overcome a penchant for sausage rolls (Picture: Julian Brown/PDSA)

There’s also Bonnie, a spaniel whose love of sausage rolls has left her 7.7kg overweight, and Sox, a cat so hefty that she once got stuck in a child’s safety gate.

The pets will receive free weight management food during the competition, and will be overseen by the vet team at their local PDSA Pet Hospital.

Sox, whose excess waistline once caused her to get stuck in a child's safety gate, will be taking on PDSA's Pet Fit Club competition
Chunky cat Sox once got stuck in a child’s safety gate (Picture: PDSA/PA)

PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman said Pet Fit Club is ‘a great example of what can be achieved if owners are dedicated and determined to help their pets live a healthier lifestyle.’

She added: ‘If owners are worried about their pet’s weight they should seek advice from their vet or vet nurse, who can also make sure pets are on the right type of diet, are being fed the correct amount, and recommend ways to increase exercise levels.’

The competition has been running each year since 2005, and has helped loads of animals get healthy and happy.

Last year’s winners Borris and Sadie lost 25% of their body weight during the competition.

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How I Save: The freelance writer in London who earns £31k a year and has £12 saved

Poppy is a freelance writer living in London. She has £12 saved and is facing significant debt.
Poppy is a freelance writer living in London. She has £12 saved and is facing significant debt. (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

Saving money is hard, especially in London.

You might have the best of intentions; saving to buy a house, getting yourself a cushion to fall back on if anything goes wrong, sticking to a budget and bringing lunch from home.

But then you’re hit by expensive rent. Oh, and transport. You fancy treating yourself to a cocktail? That’s £13 gone, sorry.

As easy as it is to judge millennials for spending cash on coffee and avocado toast, it’s pretty reductive to assume all our money woes are down to a wasted £3 here and there.

To explore the reality of the ways we actually spend and save, we launched How I Save.

Each week we take a look inside a different person’s finances, then get expert advice they (and we) can learn from.

This week we’re nosing around the bank account of Poppy (not her real name, as people can be mean about money), a 25-year-old freelance writer living in London.

How Poppy saves:

I earn around £31,200 a year. In my savings account right now I have… £12.

I’m saving for a holiday and a rainy day. Or at least I plan to.

I’m not great at saving, but I used to have a Chip account which helped when I needed my rental deposit for my flat. Have got it back recently, hence the small amount of money saved.

I struggle with saving because without a safety net – and with a few pretty catastrophic events that drained my cash over the last few years – I’ve ended up in pockets of high-interest debt that eat into my disposable income.

I know I have enough money to save eventually, but getting out of this short-term debt is the priority right now. It’s extremely frustrating, but I’m trying my best and chipping away at it slowly.

I needed to borrow a fair bit of cash a few years back to get out of a toxic relationship (we lived together and he owned the house). Then, just as I got back on my feet, my flat burned down so I needed to start all over again. My parents aren’t rich, so these things that might have been easily fixable for some were pretty much a paddleless creek of sh*t for me.

I owe around £1,000 on credit cards, and I pay off £50 a month. Then I finish paying off one old loan this month which was £500 in total, paying back £57 a month. Then one final loan which I got to consolidate my other debts was £1,500 in total, and I pay £143.24 a month.

Person tapping their card on a contactless machine
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

How Poppy spends:

Monthly expenses:

  • I put £180 a week into my boyfriend’s account, which is my half of rent, gas and electricity, council tax, and other bills. This comes to £720 a month.
  • I then pay £50 a month towards my credit card, around £200 a month towards old loans, up to £15 a month for Monzo’s overdraft fee, and whatever interest my other overdraft charges.
  • Amazon Prime is £7.99 a month, and I spend roughly £140 a month on travel to and from work.
  • And postcode lottery is £10 a month which comes out as a direct debit

My monthly income is around £1,800 after tax and student loan payments. I get paid £450 a week, but as I’m on a freelance contract a day off can affect this a lot.

A week of spending:

Monday: Hungover but up for a doctor’s appointment and meet a friend for coffee (£2.80). Go to Iceland on the way home for dinner and lunch stuff for the week (£15.20).

Tuesday: £2.80 for an iced latte from Costa on the way to work. I know this is a frivolous spend but it’s so entrenched in my routine now I don’t think I could go back to a sad mug of instant in the office. 75p for a Coke Zero to go with my lunch, which I brought from home.

My lunches I batch cook on my days off. It tends to be something big and hearty like a chilli, goulash, or pasta dish. Sometimes if I didn’t get a chance to do that, I’ll just make extra dinner and pop it in a tupperware for the next day.

We need a few extra bits from Asda but my boyfriend pays.

Wednesday: £2.80 on an iced latte. I am nothing if not consistent. Forgot to bring my lunch to work so get an egg and salmon pot, soup, and coffee from Pret (£8.64). Go to Slimming World after work which is £4.95, and grab some veg on the way home (£2.50).

Thursday: £2.80 on an iced latte. 50p on a satsuma and 75p on a Coke Zero.

Friday: Iced latte (£2.80), egg and spinach pot and fruit (£2.30) for breakfast. Lunch from home with a Coke Zero (75p). Meet my boyfriend’s family for a ‘drink’ but I’m on softies only as I’m up early for work tomorrow. They pay.

Saturday: Omg kill me please, another iced latte (£2.80) and fruit (£1) for breakfast. Still eking out the last of this veggie lasagne I made for lunch, and get a Coke Zero (75p) for lunch.

Have stuff at home for dinner, but get eggs and bacon to make for breakfast tomorrow (£3.45) and am completely knackered so no social activities for me.

I get paid weekly and most of my bills came out this week so I’m trying to take it easy on the spending – which often consists of rounds at the pub.

Sunday: Meeting a friend at the flower market, and get a really nice palm tree for only £8. We also go to the city farm and buy coffees and snacks,£5.80. Get cigarettes and steaks on the way home from Tesco – £17.02 – as my holiday stash of cigs has finally run out and I need to buy them at a normal price again. Cry cry.

Total spent this week: £89.16

How Poppy could save:

We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out how Poppy could save better.

Note: the advice featured is specific to one individual and doesn’t constitute financial advice. Especially on a London budget.

Debt is awful.

But don’t worry, you’ve got options. Lots of options. Sweet, milky options. No sorry, I’m thinking of lattes. What you’ve got is lots of lattes.

Good news is that £12 will get you a holiday to at least one section of UK coastline. The world truly is your oyster!

Where you’re going wrong:

One route is not to make eye contact with your debt and pay it off as quickly as possible. Just focus on a version of you in the future (probably with a latte) enjoying a debt free life and plough on towards it.

But this might be harsh to hear: you literally can’t afford to do this. Freelancing without at least a month’s salary backup is pretty scary. You need to look after yourself to avoid burning out. This means I’m budgeting in at least one holiday a month (Aberystwyth, here you come!!!)

I’m not going to add up the £1 fruit and 75p diet coke spends and pretend that’s even slightly a problem. You’ve done well. You’ve underspent by 42% this week (to say this in terms you’ll understand, that’s 22 and half lattes).

The problem is more on our financial model. You’ve been screwed over by a system that enjoys you being in debt. Even challenger banks are prone to fronting higher overdraft charges than their predecessors… we’re looking at you, Monzo.

Budget plan (after bills and monthly costs):

As much as I’m enjoying roasting your coffee spend, being a creature of habit might help you. You aren’t as prone to impulse spends, and you can build good habits into your routine that can keep your momentum going. You can get through this in the long run.

Safe to pay off: £265 a month

Note: I’m not touching this number. Keep at the pace that’s working, you’ve got this.

Safe to spend: £15 a day /£110 a week / £410 a month

This is your groceries, pub trips, snacks (and you’ve typed the word iced latte out enough times to know this includes coffees)

Safe to burn: £150 a month

This is to spend on one wild long weekend each month to get you through the trudge ahead (btw this comfortably factors in losing £90 by skipping one day’s work a month)

Final question: do the iced lattes carry right on into winter?

How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing ellen.scott@metro.co.uk.

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You can run a London bookshop for the day, just like Hugh Grant in Notting Hill

Offside bookshop in Kilburn where you can work in a shop for the day
Mark Nessfield has opened his shop to Airbnb experiences (Picture: Airbnb)

A London second-hand bookshop owner has opened his doors, so you can pretend to be Hugh Grant for the day.

Twenty years after the release of the iconic film Notting Hill, you can spend the day running a London book store.

The 1999 film saw bumbling Hugh Grant fall in love with a superstar actress played by Julia Roberts – the most charming part of the entire film being his bookshop.

So whether you’re hoping for a chance encounter with an A-lister or you just love books, it’s an experience worth trying.

Offside bookshop in Kilburn where you can work in a shop for the day
Book obsessive Tash ready for her day running a book shop (Picture: Tash Salmon)

The shop in question is Offside books, located behind Kilburn High Street in North West London.

Mark Nessfield, 58, has owned the shop for five years and previously ran a book shop in Madrid after retiring from working as a data analyst and programmer.

He said: ‘Myself and my wife have always loved books and would find ourselves constantly drawn to second-hand book stores, so it seemed like a business we should start up.

‘Every day is different, people can bring in boxes of books or just a couple they want to get rid of.

‘A second hand book shop is always a reflection of the area it is in, so sections of our shop differ to those you’ll find in other parts of London, and sometimes it really isn’t what you expect.’

Offside bookshop in Kilburn where you can work in a shop for the day
You even get to pick a book to take home at the end of the day. (Picture: Airbnb)

The shop is charming and crammed with books, well read and worn but still perfectly ready to be bought and sit on another person’s shelf at home.

It has a large religious and psychology section, a reflection of the area, according to Mark, and also a local authors’ corner whose writers occasionally pop in.

The Airbnb experience isn’t just a day of browsing the shelves and waiting for customers – it is also an insight into what it is like to run a small business.

The first lesson of the day is the slightly old-fashioned till.

The second lesson is that you should have paid more attention in maths at school because yes, you have to work out the change.

The old fashioned till
The old fashioned till (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

Mark said: ‘We’ve had people come for the day because they want to experience a different side of London but also people who are planning to set up their own businesses.

‘An American woman came for the day as she was looking to set up her own second-hand bookshop in the US and we’re still in contact.

‘One Chinese family just wanted to experience something authentic and deal with locals rather than tourists.

‘They were spellbound by the books and so excited to serve the customers.’

Mark talks through a typical day and says books aren’t always donated but they will also look around book fairs, from publishers and also car boot sales.

The books retail for £1.90 on average and Mark explains they’re not in the ‘rare book business’ so the highest value items are usually signed books, such as the Derren Brown book they sold for £100.

Offside bookshop in Kilburn where you can work in a shop for the day
Mark Nessfield makes coffee for a customer in the shop (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

He also explains about the issues facing small businesses including the telephone and banking scams which he unfortunately knows neighbouring shops have fallen victim to.

Mark’s favourite book is 1984 by George Orwell, reflected in the free keyring you get on leaving and the mugs he serves the shop’s coffee in.

You also get to pick a book at the end of your experience. I spotted a book I loved reading as a teenager, that I’d lost in a flood and then strangely had been talking about the day before but couldn’t remember the title.

Creepy, especially as it is about witches, but this just goes to show you how magical books can be.

How to book the bookshop experience

Where: Offside Books, Kilburn

Duration: 8 hours

Cost: £74 per person (includes a bag of goodies to remember your visit and a book of your choosing)

You can book through Airbnb.

Follow: @OffsideBooks

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My Label and Me: I’m new to the nudist lifestyle but I’ve never felt more free


I am a nudist and proud of it.

On 8 July 2018 I had a decision to make: go to a pool party or stay home alone. I think most of us would prefer the pool party, but there was a catch – I would have to be nude.

When I was younger I desperately wanted to be nude as it would allow me to be open and free, but it was not accepted by people I knew and I therefore I didn’t have the courage to step out.

By choosing to attend the nude pool party, I made a life changing decision. I chose to be confident and believe in myself. As a result I have realised I do not care what detractors might think of me.

The Central Florida Naturists define a nudist as ‘a person who is strong, confident, open, honest and free.

‘A person who enjoys being naked as often as possible. A person who loves, respects and appreciates their bodies as well as the bodies of others.

Labels - Nudist - Chris Credit: Anthony Mair
I am a nudist and proud of it (Picture: Anthony Mair/Metro.co.uk)

‘A person who knows all bodies are beautiful, no matter what their size, shape, or gender.’

Given this awesome definition, I can’t think of a reason for clothing.

When I first attended these nudist groups, I felt the people there tended to stand out because they were so unique.

I didn’t realise what I was picking up on was the huge confidence the attendees had in themselves.

But this confidence is not manifested in egoism, in fact I discovered that many are loving individuals who look at the inner self of others.

Nudists are used to looking past your outer shell and they speak to you as if you are just another good person.

Labels - Nudist - Chris Credit: Anthony Mair
Chris has been a nudist for nearly a year (Picture: Anthony Mair/Metro.co.uk)

They look straight into your eyes. There is no gawking or inappropriate staring – if there is, those doing it are usually called to the side and coached.

We must realise that if we had all been raised nude we would become desensitised to body image.

Nudism also teaches us not to see nakedness as being correlated to being sexual. The nudism ideology goes against current societal ‘morals’ that teach us that nudity is wrong and only appropriate for sexual activity.

This is further cemented by the media and organised religion. In fact, nudity and sex have nothing to do with each other. Therefore many individuals will not see nudism as the family friendly or clean wholesome activity it is.

I have no problem with being identified as a nudist; I feel awesome for being open, free and completely confident.

Labels - Nudist - Chris Credit: Anthony Mair
It is time to accept and support our desires to live naturally when and where possible (Picture: Anthony Mair/Metro.co.uk)

My label is still very fresh. I am looking to expand nudist lifestyle, but there aren’t many fellow nudists in the area that I live.

At the minute I am committed to the long drives that are often required for me to attend events. The pool party that I mentioned before took me a few hours to get to but it was well worth the distance and effort.

Nudism today is often beset by critics who bring up various red herring topics including protecting children, promiscuity and public indecency.

However, in my experience, these are often used as defenses when someone’s real issue might be fear of the unknown, a lack of acceptance of others over how they appear, and the reluctance to engage in ‘taboo’ activities or anything with a social stigma attached.

Sadly, if they were to try it in the right supportive environment, even one time, they might suddenly find that nudism might work for them!

It is time to accept and support our desires to live naturally when and where possible.

It feels good and is healthy to be nude in one’s own home and in trusted communities and I encourage people to give it a go.


Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity  positively or negatively  and what the label means to them.

If you would like to get involved please email jess.austin@metro.co.uk

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As a nurse I know decriminalising sex work will improve public health

Decriminalising sex work protester with badge on that says 'Sex work is work'
No-one should be put in harm’s way by the law (Picture: Ana Fernandez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

As a nurse, I believe that the law around prostitution must change and decriminalising the buying and selling of sex is best for improving public health.

Sex is a topic that makes some people uncomfortable. They don’t want to think about it and they certainly don’t want to think about what other people do in their personal lives.

The idea of ‘sex work’ makes people even more uncomfortable. When I discuss this with people, and other nurses, they’ve often already made up their minds based on their moral or societal views.

But clinical professionals have to leave their moral judgement at the door when they treat patients and look at the evidence.

Decriminalising prostitution is the only model that’s backed by a wealth of evidence that indicates improvements across the board for sex workers. It improves the health, safety and welfare of sex workers. It’s why sex workers themselves think this is the best model, not because they’re going to make bigger profits.

In English law, it’s a criminal offence for sex workers to band together for safety. If two or more sex workers work together, they are defined as a ‘brothel’ and face arrest. Sex workers often have to choose between keeping safe or avoiding a criminal record which puts them in danger.

Some have told me that they won’t even tell their GP what they do for a living because they are afraid they might be reported to the police. Others have told me they don’t bother getting medical help after being attacked because they’ve been working with another sex worker and they’ll be arrested for brothel-keeping.

No-one should be put in harm’s way by the law.

The full decriminalisation of sex work acknowledges that sex work may be driven by poverty, difficult family life, substance misuse, benefit cuts, disability and the high cost of housing and education, but it also acknowledges that some prefer to do sex work to other jobs.

Criminalisation does not change workers’ material conditions and decriminalisation means sex workers’ workplaces would be regulated through employment law, enabling workers to hold their bosses to account and form trade unions.

The way to end sex work is to end poverty and injustice.

There are some countries that have decided to make buying sex a criminal offence but not selling it. France and Ireland show us that this approach actually gives clients more power over sex workers. By threatening some sex workers’ incomes, they can be pushed into riskier situations.

A change in the law would reduce the transmission of HIV and other STIs as sex workers are empowered to push for safer sex.

This is why it’s been recommended by WHO, UNAIDs and human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women.

This model has been touted as a success in New Zealand and has seen violence against sex workers drop, and their health greatly improve.

Decriminalisation isn’t legalisation and it isn’t an endorsement from society that some people are sexual objects. Some people claim that taking prostitution outside the law will increase demand and drive more people into sex work but the reality is most people who come into the sex industry are doing so because of poverty.

The way to end sex work is to end poverty and injustice.

Nurses like me who work in sexual health are wary of giving government’s more control of over women’s bodies and, until sex work is decriminalised, women won’t be able to fully determine who they are and how they make a living.

Most of all, nurses are taught that the best way to preserve health is by listening to the experiences of patients.

We need to listen to current sex workers and make sure they are as safe as possible. We won’t wait for the law to change to protect their wellbeing but we mustn’t ignore the evidence for change, and the voices of those who need us most.

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Here are the WhatsApp rules we all need to follow

WhatsApp didn’t come with an etiquette manual when we downloaded it (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

WhatsApp is great: free, easy, perfect for prolific emoji use.

When you can’t see a person face-to-face with all that lovely eye contact and casual arm-touching, it’s the next best way to communicate.

But like any kind of human communication, it is an outlet for loveliness and also unpleasantness.

It didn’t come with an etiquette manual when we downloaded it, so we’re left to navigate this little green talk box on our own.

Here, I attempt to answer some of the most pressing WhatsApp questions.

What do you do if you don’t know how to or want to respond to a message?

Here are my thoughts. Mostly, when in doubt, mimic the decorum of normal human interaction and you can’t go too far wrong.

Of course it’s acceptable to leave messages unanswered for a time, even if you’ve technically seen them. Life is happening, so there are any number of reasons why you can’t respond straight away.

Just because a message has been received, it doesn’t mean that person owes its sender an immediate response. Just because you can reach someone easily, doesn’t mean you’re entitled to their instantaneous reply.

That’s what I don’t like about phone calls; they interrupt someone’s day without notice. That said, I think people often get away with what would usually be extremely rude behaviour.

When someone asks a question of the entire group and it’s obvious they need an answer, I find it extremely weird how many people will simply never reply. Out of all the possible response times available to a person, I find ‘never’ a strange choice.

If you’re in a group thread, be present when you can. If you truly never want to interact with a particular person or people, then gently abscond from the entire WhatsApp thread. Lurking without responding to anything is peculiar.

Is it ever excusable to ignore a message?

Would you straight-up ignore someone if you were standing right next to them and just get on with your own conversation? Probably not.

Then don’t do it online; respect the question, acknowledge that someone has said a thing and find a suitable segue to get this chat where you want it to go.

How do you leave a WhatsApp group without seeming rude?

If you don’t want to be in a WhatsApp group anymore, it’s not compulsory to stay. Especially if it was created for a specific reason or event, like organising a hen do or meeting for a book club.

Once the specific reason for that group is no longer relevant, you are absolutely allowed to excuse yourself. I’ve seen it done well: usually, with a sweet little farewell message and a waving-hand emoji.

If you want drama, just leave the group, knowing that WhatsApp with notify everyone in the chat that you have left. Obviously, it’s a huge call if you exit your main friendship group text that way, but truly less of a scandal if it’s just a gang of people tenuously held together by a common social engagement.

So yes, you have my permission – in fact, my encouragement – to leave ‘Karen’s hen do 2017’ immediately. Curate your WhatsApp thread collection consciously; ideally, you’ll actually want to be a part of all the ones you have going.

Should I be offended at not being included in a spin-off thread?

They definitely exist. I’m in some and I’m absolutely sure there are some to which I have not been invited. Frankly, don’t worry about it.

It’s like a party; sometimes little groups of people splinter off and have separate conversations and that’s OK. Truly, it’s extremely unlikely they’re using the opportunity to talk about you. If your ego is telling you they are, tell her to settle down and be realistic.

What should I do if I feel overwhelmed and can’t reply?

If it all gets too much and you are, for instance, trying to get through the work day without distractions but your phone keeps lighting up as your mates have a seemingly endless discussion you can’t be a part of right now, simply mute the thread.

It’s perfectly acceptable to bow out of a conversation if you need to. We all retain the right to excuse ourselves from digital communication and as I said, you do not owe anyone your immediate response.

I would say, at some stage, find a way to check back in, but ducking out for a while is completely fine. Speaking of which, yes, let’s invent the WhatsApp OOO.

If you’d like to go on holiday, take a mental health day, unsubscribe from the expectations of friendly communication or just sit in your own company for a bit, I’d say a little message that alerts people to your intended absence is a sweet idea. It’s always polite to let people know you’re going offline and it makes it easier for you to get some silence.

Really, using WhatsApp should be pretty similar to navigating a normal social conversation. Don’t be rude, don’t be evasive. Be polite, but not so polite that it impairs your ability to live your best life.

Respond to messages when you can, but know that you do not owe anyone a response if you’re not up to it. Keep your WhatsApp thread count manageable and simply leave the ones you’re not actively interested in. Be kind, be considerate, be good.

About Lean On Me

Kate Leaver is the author of The Friendship Cure and she will be answering common friendship dilemmas in her Metro.co.uk column.

You can follow the discussion on Twitter #LeanOnMe.

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How parents affect our relationships with authority figures

Do your parents affect your relationship with authority figures?
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Authority figures make me nervous. I blame my parents.

I’ve never quite managed to build friendships with my bosses, seniors or team leaders, despite having had almost 20 jobs.

Respect for your elders is such a huge part of the South Asian community – we even have separate pronouns for older people. This respect is evident across a lot of Asian cultures.

But attributing respect just by virtue of age and seniority has meant giving it out willy-nilly, rather than only giving trust and admiration to those who have earned it.

My parents taught me that, much like an elder, the boss is always right, even when they’re wrong. We weren’t allowed to talk back to our elders so by extension, neither to our bosses.

This tendency to stay silent and blindly accept the views of those above us could lead to frustration, a lack of job satisfaction, and could even be detrimental for our careers – BAME women are less likely to progress to leadership roles.

This kind of grin and bear it passive mentality seems to be part of the good immigrant rhetoric.

This is the idea that immigrants are inherently bad until they can prove their brilliance. You’re the model minority once you do something excellent like win gold medals or baking competitions.

But such accolades are not possible for the everyday immigrant. So they learn to be accepted in another away, by nodding politely, being agreeable and just existing in the background without drawing attention to themselves.

My parents, first generation immigrants, decided that not making any noise was the best tactic to get by. And it filtered down to me, making me a bit of a ‘yes person’ though I would love nothing more than to be a bad ballsy b*tch.

Sarah Ockwell-Smith, author of The Gentle Parenting Book, tells Metro.co.uk that there are two ways children of authoritative parents can grow up to be.

She says: ‘Those who were taught to be submissive and compliant to their parents, through traditionally authoritarian discipline often involving elements of fear, can continue the compliance and submission and allow themselves to be controlled by those in authority, not questioning what is done to them, even if it is unjust.

‘Or they can react in completely the opposite way – by constantly questioning authority and refusing to submit to it.’

Animation of south Asian mum with children
Those who raise their children collaboratively with mutual respect and empathy for the child’s feelings – tend to have the healthiest relationship with authority figures (MMUFFIN for Metro.co.uk)

It makes sense for us to inherit behaviours we see in our parents, especially if we continue to observe their behaviour as we age.

Some groups are more family-oriented than others and not expected to become independent as soon as they turn 18. In Asian settings, it’s completely normal for us to live at home into adulthood. The more we see our parents as adults, the more we become them.

Acting in a way that we’ve immediately witnessed is called availability heuristic – a mental shortcut where you rely on easily available examples to form a belief rather than looking further afield – says psychologist Dr Alex Forsyhthe: ‘We may hold very prominent memories of our parents’ behaviours that we tend to give more weight to and therefore we use that information to interpret our behaviours and attitudes.’

If you’re used to seeing your parents bow down to all their superiors, you may internalise the message.

On the other hand, western (non-Asian) children are brought up to value autonomy and independence, something not stressed by Asian parents.

It’s not a malicious thing on our parents’ part but this blanket trust in elders isn’t always a good thing, especially when it lends itself as a model to treat subsequent ‘elders’, such as our bosses.

Kate Mansfield, a relationship expert, grew up in an unconventional family as her parents believed in free love and travelled around the country. Authority was not something Kate experienced much as a child.

Kate now struggles to listen to authoritative figures.

‘I was treated as an adult in many ways and had a lot of freedom as a child in terms of being expected to look after myself, being left alone often and looking after my siblings,’ she tells us.

‘As a young child I was perfectly behaved, I did as I was told and tried to please them. But then as a teenager I rebelled and went totally the other way, I did as I pleased and refused to listen to or to respect authority at all.

‘I very much reacted against authority and did my own thing, I had a real struggle with respecting rules and boundaries at work when I was younger, although some of this is personality type  – I am very much a freewheeler, creative and entrepreneurial.

‘I have always ended up in leadership roles in all of my jobs.’

No one way of parenting is definitively better than the other and both have their limitations.

Though I’ve inherited the passiveness of my parents towards my seniors, it doesn’t mean it’ll always be this way – nor that there is anything inherently wrong with it.

But it’s important to be able to adjust to your environment and own the spaces you occupy. That means making some noise when noise needs to be made.

Dr Forsyth adds: ‘We spend much longer as adults than we do with our parents so most people can unlearn maladaptive social behaviours’.

So there is hope yet to master the art of being a bad, assertive b*tch.

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Every single outfit in Rihanna’s new Fenty collection

Every outfit in Fenty
(Picture: Fenty)

Rihanna is proving herself a serious business force to be reckoned with – and her latest fashion venture has got us all incredibly excited.

Her new fashion line with LVMH, Fenty, has been shrouded in secrecy and rumour – but now we can finally have a look at every single item in the collection with the release of an exclusive look book.

As CEO and artistic director, Rihanna’s influence has inspired every single design, and the looks are almost instantly recognisable as the pop star’s signature style.

The designs themselves are gorgeous. Think luxe streetwear with an almost military edge.

There are 18 pieces included in the line, and we love the boxy, over-sized vibe, as well as the clever blending of contrasting textures and elegant tailoring.

Standout looks include a corseted Japanese denim mini dress, a cotton canvas blazer with a coordinating bumbag and oversized sunglasses.

Every outfit in Fenty
The perfect mini for summer sun (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
We’re such a fan of these over-sized sleeves (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
The coordinating bumbag makes this outfit (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty Picture: Fenty METROGRAB
Sleeves and collar detailing make this a stand-out item (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
We’re still loving neutral tones (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
Power shoulders and a baseball cap? We love (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
Upgrading the jeans-and-a-nice-top look (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
Head-to-toe white looks incredible – if you can keep it clean (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
The utility pockets are a recurring theme (Picture: Fenty)

Rihanna told the New York Times that her fashion line would be, ‘as disruptive as possible. The brand is not traditional. There is no runway show. It’s a new way of doing things because I believe that this is where fashion is going to go eventually.’

Rather than launch the collection in the traditional way – on tiny runway models – she gave the world their first look at the line wearing the outfits herself in a series of Instagram posts. And it worked – we’re hooked.

Every outfit in Fenty
We could definitely wear this to work (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
We love these pleated trousers (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
If Rihanna says we’re wearing double denim – we’re wearing double denim (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
This would be so versatile (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
Team this shirt dress with sky high heels (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
Pastel pink is eternally chic (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
With this many pockets you won’t even need to take a handbag (Picture: Fenty)
Every outfit in Fenty
This is how you do layers (Picture: Fenty)

The first instalment of Fenty clothes goes on sale on 29 May – but you might need a bit of time to save up.

We don’t actually have the specific costs for each item, but according to Vogue, Fenty’s signature shades will start at $420 (£333), and shoes will be upwards of $600 (£475).

Ouch. Might be time to raid that savings account.

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This three-year-old boy got stuck in a toy grabber machine

Natalie and Noah and Noah inside the toy grabber machine
Natalie and Noah (Picture: Caters News)

You know how kids manage to get up to all sorts in the seconds your back is turned?

Well one mum popped to the toilet and came back to find her son inside a toy grabber machine.

Natalie Draper, 37, took her three-year-old son, Noah, to an indoor play centre in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, yesterday morning to keep him entertained.

She left him playing with a friend while she took his twin brother to the toilet.

Walking back into the play centre, the house keeper was approached by a lady who asked ‘is that your son in the machine?’

To her surprise, Natalie walked over to the toy grabbing machine to find her son had climbed into game in hopes to get a teddy of his own.

After ten minutes, three broken padlocks and an ‘out of order’ sign placed on the machine, Noah was reunited with his mother – who finally had a chance to laugh at the situation.=

Noah in the toy grabber machine
Noah climbed into the grabber machine to try and get a teddy (Picture: Natalie Draper/Caters News Agency)

Natalie said: ‘I had taken my sons out to an indoor play centre to keep them entertained for the morning, but I never expected this to happen.

‘I had taken his brother, Joel, to the toilet and left Noah playing with his friend for a matter of minutes.

“But when I came back, a lady grabbed me and asked if “that was my child in there” – to which I replied “in where?”

‘As soon as she said “the machine” I rushed over to take a look and could see Noah had climbed into the crane and got himself stuck.

‘Thankfully the team got him out within ten minutes, and now that I know he is safe and unharmed, I can’t stop laughing at what happened.’

Looking back, Natalie now finds the situation hilarious but admits she was terrified in the moment.

She said: ‘As the machine was operated by a third-party company, the indoor play centre didn’t have keys to unlock it.

‘So they had to break off three padlocks using a screwdriver and then twist the lock using a knife to be able to break the door open and get him out.

‘But he came out completely unscathed, thankfully, and an ‘out of order’ sign was placed on the machine.

‘Now it’s all over and we’re home I can’t stop laughing at what happened.

‘All he wanted was a teddy bear – if he’d asked me for the money I would have got one for him, he didn’t need to go to such extreme lengths.’

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Mum reveals hack to get her kids to help out around the house

The mum's trick and another recommendation using an app
The mum said the trick was encouraging her kids to do more chores (Picture: Facebook)

Getting kids to help out with chores around the house is a bit of a chore in itself.

One mum has a genius solution to encourage kids to do a little more to help.

The mum posted a picture on Facebook of a pinboard with plastic sandwich bags pinned to it.

Each bag was labelled with a chore and contained a different around of money.

Payment ranges from 50c (27p) to $2 (£1.09)

The Australian mum wrote: ‘Trying something new tomorrow my kids can choose to earn money if they wish and the value of working for your money.’

The chores included everything from cleaning the bathroom to cleaning up and feeding pets.

The pinboard with the chores
The pinboard with the chores (Picture: Facebook)

The post attracted thousands of comments, including advice from other parents about what they do to get their kids to pick up more jobs.

‘I do something similar and then match dollar for dollar on whatever is banked. Been doing this since he was six,’ wrote one person.

Others said they did something similar but on a budget, using treats like access to wifi and more time watching TV as rewards.

Another uses an app called Spriggy instead of an actual pinboard.

‘I set the “jobs” and $ value, she marks them off once done for me to approve and then once a week it transfers the earned dollars to her,’ she explained.

‘She has the choice to either put it on her Spriggy debit card or “save” it onto a goal.’

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Pornhub launch special swimming trunks to hide beach boners

Pornhub's new swimming trunks that hide boners
Insconspicuous af (Picture: Pornhub)

Everybody looks hotter at the beach; tanned bodies, very few clothes, and Baywatch-worthy running.

Of course, it’s inappropriate to stare, and even less appropriate to get a raging boner while doing so, so you have to think of EU elections and Newsnight and encyclopedia salespeople to take your mind off them.

At least that was the case in the past, as now you can protect yourself from awkward beach erections with Pornhub’s brand new trunks.

The Bonerless Bathing Suit is equipped with a special lining, which the porn provider say can ‘help camouflage and conceal’ your hard-on

The camo lining is tighter than regular trunks, and will push down anything that tries to arise.

They come in black, with a thin stripe down the side, drawstring, and pockets. That is except for the Pornhub logo, which might just give it away.

It’s normally $69.95 for the trunks, but you can get them on Pornhub’s site for $49.95 with the promo code BONER.

It’s not the first time the company have forayed into fashion either, as they launched their clothing company Pornhub Apparel back in 2015, and have worked with the likes of Hood by Air (a cult-favorite fashion brand designed by Shayne Oliver) and Moose Knuckle (a luxury outerwear company).

Corey Price, VP at Pornhub says: “We pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, and this is not limited to the best in class experience we strive to offer visitors to our site.

‘We worked hard on the development of this first of its kind bathing suit that should help ease comfort and increase enjoyment for the most masterful of bathers and watersports amateurs alike.’

MORE: Mum reveals hack to get her kids to help out around the house

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Doing a Sudoku a day could lower your brain age by a decade

Woman doing a sudoku puzzle
A Sudoku a day keeps the doctor away (Picture: Getty)

We’d all like to be a little younger, but father time keeps us aging and aging.

New research, however, had concluded that doing a Sudoku puzzle every day could lower our brain age by a decade.

According to a the study, published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, over 50s improve their brain function more as they complete the word games.

19,100 people participated in the research, and were tested on their attention, memory, and reasoning, as well as being asked how often they completed Sudoku.

Findings showed that those who did more of them performed better in tests, and had a lower ‘brain age’ than those who didn’t.

The ‘age’ difference in brain function was ten years for those who did the puzzles regularly, while for short-term memory it was an eight-year difference.

Dr Anne Corbett, lead author of the study said: “The improvements are particularly clear in the speed and accuracy of their performance. In some areas the improvement was quite dramatic.

‘We can’t say that playing these puzzles necessarily reduces the risk of dementia in later life, but this research supports previous findings that indicate regular use of word and number puzzles helps keep our brains working better for longer.’

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen studied the brain training game’s effect on dementia last year, finding that they could not stave off age related mental decline.

However, given that they’re fun and free and can help keep us sharp in general, there’s no harm in trying.

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Elderly people made up as miniature ponies visit their care home

Resident Mary Cole meets Buttercup the pony from Furry Friends as she is taken around Magdalen Park care home to meet the residents, near Hull, East Yorks
Resident Mary Cole meets Buttercup the pony from Furry Friends (Picture: Alex Cousins / SWNS)

A couple of adorable miniature ponies have brought smiles to elderly residents in their care home.

Buttercup and Daisy visited Magdalen Park Nursing Home in Hull yesterday. There was a joyful reaction from OAPs who came out of their rooms to meet them.

One resident Mary Cole, who used to breed dogs in her youth, cradled muzzle of one of the ponies close to her own face.

The owner of the ponies Helen Bellis, 44, said the introduction of ponies into a care home provides residents with a ‘breath of fresh air’ and a ‘genuine sense of joy’.

Research shows contact and companionship with animals can reduce the stress hormone cortisol and provide an overall boost to well-being.

Horses in particular are being utilised more and more in a treatment known as equine therapy, which sees horses being used to help people with mental health problems.

Resident Barbara Redfearn meets Daisy the pony from Furry Friends
Resident Barbara Redfearn meets Daisy the pony (Picture: Alex Cousins / SWNS)

The unorthodox form of therapy is said to help with a range of issues including anxiety, autism, poor behaviour, low self confidence, stress and trauma.

Helen, who runs a company called Furry Friends, said: ‘Seeing the interaction between Buttercup and Daisy and elderly residents at care homes is so powerful.

‘Sometimes there are people who don’t normally leave their rooms at all but they come out just to see the ponies.

‘Daisy can identify if someone is having end of life care and she will go up to them, lay her head on their bed and breathe on their hand.

‘It’s incredibly special to see it happen.

‘Seeing animals takes so many of these elderly people back to their childhood and brings memories flooding back.

‘It really is a unique opportunity.’

She added: ‘The positive impact animals can have on vulnerable people is enormous.

Resident Norman Taylor meets Buttercup the pony
Resident Norman Taylor meets Buttercup the pony (Picture: Alex Cousins / SWNS)

‘They are incredibly therapeutic for people who have physical and mental health issues.

‘Daisy and Buttercup have the perfect temperament for this, they have the most incredibly calming personalities.

‘It doesn’t matter how noisy or busy an environment is – they keep their cool.

‘They’re very sensitive and tuned into people’s feelings.’

Helen recently set up Furry Friends with her sister Emma Stephenson, both of whom worked in social care for 25 years.

The siblings love animals and are huge proponents of the benefits animals can have for mental health.

Helen and Emma have dozens of animals on their books including pigs, goats, hedgehogs, ducks, lizards and a tortoise.

Buttercup is a rescue pony aged three and Daisy is nine years old.

Furry Friends visit care homes, as well as hospices, two or three times a week.

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Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie set to rent out clothing

Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters Inc also own Anthropologie and Free People (Picture: Scott Eells/Getty Images)

Clothes in Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie can be expensive, but soon they’ll be a little less so, as the stores are set to roll out a new renting scheme.

In a move that’s been touted as another step towards a full gig economy, customers will be able to use their service – called Nuuly – to borrow items at will.

You’ll be allowed to rent six items a month, before giving them back and freeing them up for others to have, for one online subscription fee.

You can then either send items back – where it’ll be cleaned and pressed – or buy them for good if you can’t bring yourself to part ways.

The monthly fee is $88, which works out at around £70.

Urban Outfitters’ Chief Digital Officer thinks they’ll net 50,000 subscribers in the first year alone, making $50 million in profit.

Man clothes shopping
Millennials already rent everything else, why not the clothes on our backs? (Picture: Getty)

Other brands will be available on Nuuly too, including Levi’s, Gal Meets Glam, Anna Sui and Fila.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a clothing rental service, with companies like Frontrow and Wear The Walk operating in the UK. However, it is the first time we’ve seen such a thing for less high-end labels, as most current rentals are focused on expensive items where purchasing might be out of reach otherwise.

They’re targeting a younger customer, and said in a statement: ‘Interest in sharing-economy platforms and recurring subscription relationships has grown across industries.

‘In apparel, the millennial consumer, in particular, is seeking out platforms that provide novelty, variety and breadth, while also supporting sustainability.’

Nuuly hits the US this summer, but hopefully will head to British shores not too long afterwards.

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Man is tricked into thinking a potted pickle was a cactus, believing it for weeks

Tray of cacti
What a bunch of pricks (Picture: Shutterstock)

We’ve all been had by the odd prank or two, but this man was well and truly done over by a joke his colleagues played on him.

In a Reddit post, which has now been liked over 84,000 times, user Starskins said: ‘A guy at my wife’s job still think that his new plant is a cactus. It’s actually a pickle that is replaced by a new one each 2 days… It’s been like that for 2 weeks now.’

It’s still unclear why they chose this particular prank, but the fact that he’s still none the wiser is incredible.

Here’s the offending green plant:

Man is tricked into thinking a potted pickle was a cactus, believing it for weeks https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/bp54ze/a_guy_at_my_wifes_job_still_think_that_his_new/
How didn’t he notice?! (Picture: Starskins/Reddit)

Thousands have commented on the Reddit post, with recommendations on what the employees should do next abounding.

One said: ‘When he is next to the pickle somebody could give it a bite, I would love to see his face.’

Another added to the evil: ‘Then replace it with a real cactus after a few days and see if he tries to take a bite of it, too.’

There was also plenty of discussion on how he hasn’t clocked the smell of vinegar from the pickle, while some shared how they’d been tricked with plant-based pranks:

A Redditor said, ‘My co-worker (over time) replaced live succulents in a large planter with nearly identical artificial ones. (There were around 6-8 different varieties.) The asshat let me go on for months watering them and commenting about how they didn’t seem to be growing, but somehow stayed so bright green and healthy-looking!’

We will, of course, update if/when the OP posts that the pickle has been discovered.

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You can buy a giant inflatable unicorn island for you and all your friends this summer

The giant inflatable unicorn float from amazon
It can hold up to six people (Picture: Amazon)

We’ve seen some interesting inflatables out there for summer but this might be the biggest yet.

You can pick up this giant floating unicorn on Amazon.

The island seats up to six people, meaning you and five friends can hang out on the water.

It’s a white boat, with seats for everyone, and rainbow wings, a tail and mane attached.

There’s even six cup holders and a built-in cooler so you all have a place to put your cocktail as you enjoy the sunshine. It sounds dreamy.

It isn’t cheap though – the floating island costs £299.99 but it is delivered free in the UK.

If pink is more your colour, there’s a flamingo version but it costs at little more at £324.99.

The giant inflatable flamingo float from Amazon
There’s also a flamingo version (Picture: Amazon)

Still, it looks like a pretty chilled way to spend some time with your friends.

If you want something for the kids to play with on dry land, Lidl is selling an incredible pirate or jungle themed paddling pool.

The Playtive Junior Kids’ Adventure Paddling Pool comes complete with slide, games and other fun activities to keep the kids occupied.

The jungle version includes a slide, a hoop game, a ball game, and a snake archway. The pirate ship version has a water sprayer, a steering wheel, cannon balls and inflatable swords.

You might also still be able to get your hands on the matching 6.15m water slide.

You might want to look out for a foot or electric pump though. Your lungs probably aren’t up to filling all those inflatables.

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Weird optical illusion makes model’s legs look scarily skinny

Optical illusion of a skinny leg
(Picture: Mansur Gavriel Instagram)

Designer Mansur Gavriel posted a photo of the new lambskin ballerina flat shoes on Instagram – and shoppers were horrified by the appearance of the model’s legs.

On first glance, the picture appears to show a woman with a horrifyingly thin leg – but in reality, it is just an optical illusion that causes that impression.

The issue is with what the model is wearing. The floaty, cream dress blends perfectly into the background of the photo, which makes it look as though her legs are a really strange shape.

But you probably need to look at the image for quite a while to figure it out.

If you look closely, you will notice that the model’s dress is skimming the heel of the shoes and covering up a significant portion of her legs – making her look painfully skinny.

Have you figured it out yet?

Skinny leg optical illusion
(Picture: Mansur Gavriel Instagram)

But not everyone realised what was really going on, and people commented on Instagram describing the image as ‘horrifying’.

‘This is the worst case of Photoshop I’ve ever seen,’ one woman wrote.

‘This is a really unhealthy body image – delete!’ added another.

‘This picture has freaked me out like it’s from a horror movie scene,’ said another. ‘I had to quickly come to the comments to unsee that scariness.’

But unfortunately not everyone could ‘unsee’ what they had seen originally. Lots of people tried to explain the optical illusion in the comments, but not everyone could get their heads around it.

‘It took me so long to get what was going on here, and yet I have a feeling I’m still going to have nightmares,’ wrote one woman.

‘Odd photo selection,’ someone else said. ‘The dress should have been a different colour than the background so it didn’t look like a weird leg or a photo shopped picture.’

Well yes, that probably would have been a good idea, it certainly would have prevented a lot of confusion.

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Mrs Hinch fans are celebrating their birthdays with cleaning-inspired cakes

Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/REX (10185569cs) Sophie Hinchliffe 'This Morning' TV show, London, UK - 03 Apr 2019 SCOUR POWER: HOW TO HINCH YOURSELF HAPPY How did housework become the biggest social media trend of 2019? Just ask Mrs Hinch - the ultimate queen of clean - whose passion for polishing began as a way to beat her crippling anxiety. And, as her followers propel to more than two million - Sophie Hinchliffe joins us ahead of the release of her (already) best-selling book ?Hinch Yourself Happy?.
You’ve really started something here, Mrs Hinch (Ken McKay/ITV/REX)

The cleaning craze has officially gone mad – so much so that people are now having cleaning-themed cakes.

The lovely Mrs Hinch – real name Sophie Hinchliffe – got the nation scrubbing with her funny Instagram stories and brilliant hacks.

From there, ‘hinching’ has become the new word for cleaning, and sales of Zoflora disinfectant and Minky cloths (known as Minkeh by hinchers) have skyrocketed.

Off the back of this new found love of mopping and doing laundry, cake companies have also seen more and more requests for cakes that have cleaning items on them.

The results are stunning, with some featuring Minkehs, and others bearing hyper-realistic Febreze and Fairy liquid bottles.

This one, from Pleesecakes, was shared by the cleaning star herself, after it was delivered to her home this week:

Pleezecakes Mrs Hinch cake
Does it taste like Febreze? (Picture: Deadline News)

And there’s plenty more where that came from:

It might seem crazy to be biting into a scrubbing brush, but the hinch army show no signs of stopping.

Pregnant Mrs Hinch is known as a ‘cleanfluencer’, and has her face in Poundland and Pound Stretcher stores across the country.

What she buys tends to sell out, whether it’s a basket to put your dusters in, or an extra-strength paste that shines your oven tops.

She currently has 2.5 million followers, and has written a book called Hinch Yourself Happy about how to clean until your mind feels clear too.

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Woman left paralysed after thinking her illness was just a cold

Danielle McGuinness and mum
Danielle lost feeling in her hands and legs (Picture: SWNS)

A woman has been left paralysed after dismissing her illness as a simple cold.

Danielle McGuinness had been suffering from a bad cough and sickness for a number of weeks, but had put it down to having a cold.

It was only when she began to lose feeling in her hands and legs, hours before jetting off on a long-haul holiday, that she realised something was seriously wrong.

The 29-year-old was rushed to hospital where she deteriorated quickly and was soon told that she had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare and serious condition that affects the nerves.

Danielle had been to see her doctor before things got so bad, but he said her symptoms were caused by anxiety because of her looming holiday.

After her diagnosis, Danielle was placed in a medically-induced coma because the illness was attacking her lungs. When she woke up in intensive care she was paralyzed from the head down and couldn’t even speak.

Danielle McGuinness
Danielle was rushed to hospital hours before she was meant to leave for a dream holiday (Picture: SWNS)

‘I had some cold symptoms through Christmas and New Year,’ says Danielle.

‘I had a really bad cough and I was throwing up but I was thinking, “just keep going to work because you’re off for a month.” You never think these things are as serious as they are.

‘I was lying in a bed for 11 weeks so my muscles wasted away,’

‘I had to learn how to do everything again, how to brush my hair, how to sit up — like a baby.’

Danielle McGuinness and friend Carlan
Danielle celebrates her birthday in hospital (Picture: SWNS)

After weeks of grueling physiotherapy, Danielle finally started to get better, but a relapse followed by a gallbladder condition, landed her back in hospital last month.

‘I want to know what caused this, why this happened to me, why I’m the one in 50,000 but, I don’t know if I ever will,’ she says.

‘It’s definitely not put me off traveling, I see it as a journey I have to complete.

‘I’m a pretty positive person, although this has tested me, but if I can help someone else see there’s another side to this condition, it’ll be worth it.’

Danielle now plans to write a book about her experience to help other people with the condition, and she wants to finally complete her planned trip across Asia.

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The first ever sky pool is coming to London

How stunning is this?
This is the first ever sky pool in London (Picture: Christopher White)

The first ever sky pool is being built in London – a 25-metre transparent pool between two ten-storey buildings, 115ft high in the air.

The sky pool is part of the exclusive Embassy Gardens luxury apartment and shopping complex, being built just yards away from the £1 billion US Embassy in Nine Elms, south London.

The transparent outdoor swimming pool will be 25 metres long, three-metres deep, linking two luxury blocks and suspended 115 feet in the air.

Developers say the transparent ‘sky pool’ will be the first of its kind in the world, giving swimmers the ability to look 35 metres down below, with only 20cm of glass between them and the outside world.

The pool in London
We need to go here (Picture: Christopher White)

A ‘Sky Deck’, at the top of the two buildings, will feature a spa, summer bar and orangery for residents to relax.

The transparent swimming pool will be safe and secure. The two buildings it is connected to are subject to normal movements, which are inherent to buildings of this scale including wind sway and foundation settlement.

However, the pool structure deals with these movements by not being rigidly connected at both ends – and it can slide and maintain watertightness.

It’s part of the Embassy Gardens development, which includes ‘upto 2,000 new homes alongside shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, business space, a 100 bed hotel, a health centre, children’s playgrounds and sports pitches’, according to Wandsworth Council, which approved the project.

It's gorgeous
It’s stunning (Picture: Christopher White)

Developers Ecoworld Ballymore’s CEO, Sean Mulryan, said: ‘My vision for the sky pool stemmed from a desire to push the boundaries in the capability of construction and engineering, I wanted to do something that had never been done before.

‘The experience of the pool will be truly unique, it will feel like floating through the air in central London.’

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