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By only using white influencers, brands are telling black women we don’t belong

Stephanie Yeboah
I have been a blogger for 11 years and I’d like to think that I am a bit of a veteran in the game (Picture: Fifi Newbery)

As I scroll through my Instagram timeline, I can’t help but notice the many slim, white faces smiling up at me. I send a polite direct message to the account of one of the brands I encounter:

‘Hey there! This trip looks amazing. I was wondering though, if you ever use non-white influencers for your campaign at all, as it would be awesome to see a bit of diversity on your page!’

I check their page a few hours later, only to see that I have been blocked by the brand.

The influencer community has long had an issue with racial inclusivity, yet it still seems to be a topic largely avoided by marketers, brands, and by white influencers themselves (likely for fear of falling out of favour with the brands and PR companies who pay their bills).

I have been a blogger for 11 years and I’d like to think that I am a bit of a veteran in the game.

I’ve seen my peers turn something that was once a fun hobby into groundbreaking careers, carving out a new digital sector, which enables young creatives to work for themselves and create unique content for brands, often taking the place of traditional advertising agencies.

Yet it is disturbing to see a continued pattern of blatant sidelining and absence of women of colour in this relatively new industry.

As an example, I recently noticed a popular travel company only had two bloggers of colour featured on its Instagram page, while another equally big brand promoted a press trip to the Canary Islands where all bloggers involved were white.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that non-white influencers aren’t used in campaigns – there are brands who are getting it 100 per cent right – but we cannot ignore how overwhelmingly white, slim and able-bodied the majority are.

Stephanie Yeboah
Black women spent almost nine times more on hair and beauty products than white women, yet we are the least represented (Picture: Kaye Ford @fordtography)

I remember being invited to attend a beauty event a few years ago to celebrate the launch of their new foundation and when I arrived, the only black bloggers there were myself and Patricia Bright.

When I asked whether the brand planned on releasing any foundation shades deeper than eggshell white, I was told that they wouldn’t be ‘any time soon.’

It was at that point I wondered why I had been invited to this event, that was purely and intentionally catered towards white women. Was I only invited to fill a diversity optics quota?

The discussion around the treatment of women of colour in influencer communities has been so extensive that sub-communities have been created with advice on how non-white influencers can help each other.

It’s not just online; influencers of colour regularly share stories of the exclusion and lack of acknowledgement they experience at press events.

‘I had no idea what to expect, but I remember walking down the stairs of the venue, and very quickly realising that I was the only black person there,’ Demi Ryan, a fellow blogger, tells me.

‘Although the brand founders were more than accommodating, the other bloggers and influencers stared at me as if I didn’t belong. I felt incredibly self-conscious while they chatted along but ignored me.

‘I hoped this was going to be a one-time occurrence, but practically every event I’ve been invited to since has been very similar.’

This isn’t an unusual scenario.

Unless you are an influencer of colour who has significant numbers under your belt, you are rarely afforded access into these spaces. It’s ridiculous considering the amount of money we spend on beauty products.

According to a report by Nielsen, black women spent almost nine times more on ethnic hair and beauty products in 2017, compared to our white counterparts. What’s more, we shelled out over £951million for hair care, grooming aids and skin care preparations.

Yet we are still the least represented group, not only within the influencer industry but in beauty and modelling industries, too.

That being said, there has been a huge rise in the hair industry with the ‘golden extension’ trend – a rise in mainstream hair brands extending product ranges to include curly and afro-textured hair, which is often spotted by distinct golden and brown-coloured packaging used to denote the inclusion of coconut and shea butter as the product’s main ingredients.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of hard facts or figures surrounding the lack of inclusivity and diversity within the influencer industry. The entirety of the conversation consists solely of Twitter threads created by influencers of colour.

The industry at large refuses to tackle this issue, yet by ignoring the obvious lack of diversity in their campaigns, brands and agencies are complicit in upholding beauty ideals which focus only on whiteness.

Stephanie Yeboah
Brands are missing a huge mark both morally and financially by purposely omitting bloggers of colour from their events and campaigns (Picture: Kaye Ford)

In 2018, clothing brand Revolve came under fire when it was revealed that they had only invited white women on their #RevolveAroundTheWorld press trip to Thailand. As a result, people took to the comment section of the brand’s social media critcising the lack of diversity, sparking the hashtag #RevolveSoWhite.

The outrage also prompted blogger Valerie Equavoen to create an Instagram page called You Belong Now, which highlights and provides a safe space for bloggers of colour and plus sized bloggers.

And brands like OhPolly have faced criticism in the last few weeks for segregating their ethnic minority and plus size influencers by means of a completely new Instagram account, under the guide of being ‘100 per cent inclusive’, which obviously makes no sense whatsoever. If they wanted to be inclusive, there would be no need for a separate Instagram account, right?

By exclusively using white influencers to tout holiday experiences, beauty and skincare products and fashion pieces, the story being told is that these experiences are only available to white people. Only white women use luxury skincare. Only white slim women go on holiday. Only white women wear a certain brand’s fashion pieces. It needs to stop.

There are brands doing it well, like Sleek Makeup, Makeup Revolution, ASOS, Navabi and Benefit. They have a history of getting the balance right in regards to diversity within their campaigns and coverage.

So, how can we get the ones that need work to broaden their scope in terms of racial equality?

Firstly, brands should hire employees that represent their audiences. Another solution would be for white influencers to hold brands accountable for their lack of diversity and challenge them on it.

In an ideal world, the latter wouldn’t be required, but as we’ve witnessed with most issues surrounding race, media and marketing, the powers that be generally don’t tend to listen or take queries seriously unless it is addressed by someone who benefits from white privilege.

Brands are missing a huge mark both morally and financially by purposely omitting bloggers of colour from their events and campaigns.

It’s time they acknowledged that not only do influencers of colour exist, but that we are viable assets who can add value to audiences that span far beyond the current slim, white and blonde aesthetic.

MORE: Black women who go missing are neglected in a way white women aren’t

MORE: Black women are constantly hypersexualised – it’s time to stop fetishising skin colour

MORE: My Label and Me: Do not call me a person of colour

People are saying this engagement ring looks ‘like a vulva’

Critics say this ring looks like a vulva
(Picture: DHgate.com)

More and more brides-to-be are thinking outside the box when it comes to engagement rings.

They increasingly want original, quirky, unique designs that really say something about their personality.

But there’s unique, and then there is just straight bizarre. And this engagement ring featuring a tiny seashell has fallen on the strange side – according to critics.

After the ring was posted on the Facebook group That’s It, I’m Ring Shaming, people started calling it out – with the most common criticism being that the ring bore an uncanny resemblance to a vagina.

‘It almost looks like a vulva. But the one from the movie Teeth,’ said one.

Lots of people agreed that the ring certainly had an air of female genitalia.

Ring shaming looks like a vulva - Shell Rig
Lots of people thought the ring looked like a vagina (Picture: Facebook)

‘That’s a rare pusseteethe ring,’ joked one.

‘That’s a p***y on a ring,’ added another.

While someone else simply commented with the word, ‘vaggy’.

Ring shaming looks like a vulva - Shell Rig
Is any ring safe from the shamers? (Picture: Facebook)

The ring is described as a creative alloy inlay shell ring, and it features a smooth, white seashell on a gold base, surrounded by gold detailing.

While some can’t un-see the image of a vagina, it might be the perfect ring for someone who loves the beach or wants to feel closer to the ocean.

But it seems no engagement ring is safe from the ring-shaming critics.

Earlier this week another ring was shamed after being posted on a Facebook group – with critics saying it looked like a ‘prolapsed butthole’.

What a pretty image.

So if you ever get engaged and think about posting a picture of your ring online, you might want to steel yourself because the shamers will be waiting.

MORE: By only using white influencers, brands are telling black women we don’t belong

MORE: Humanist weddings are now more popular than religious ones

MORE: I had a miscarriage but I don’t regret telling people I was pregnant before 12 weeks

Aldi launches new three-tiered pizza tray stand for £9.99

Aldi's new pizza stand
You can now cook three pizzas at once (Picture: Aldi)

Aldi has released a new three-tiered pizza tray stand, so you can cook three pizzas at once.

It’s the perfect kitchen addition for parties – as you’ll no longer have to waste time cooking multiple pizzas, one after the other, you can get it all done in one and spend more time with your mates.

All you need to do is place the pizzas on the trays, remove the shelves from your oven and place the stand inside.

You can also use the stand for serving up pizza slices too, after it has cooled down.

The trays have a non-stick coating so you won’t lose the base of your pizza to the material.

The pizza trays cost £9.99 and are already available to pre-order, however you won’t receive it until the 9th June.

Aldi is selling the stand on 9 June
It costs £9.99 (Picture: Aldi)

This product is a lot cheaper than similar trays available online, and you can get the tray with free delivery if you spend more than £20.

In other Aldi food news, the supermarket has released foot-long BBQ sausages ahead of Father’s Day.

The sausages, which cost £1.99, are made with 100% British pork, and are apparently ideal for barbecues.

They have been launched to celebrate Father’s Day on the 16th June.

The sausages are infused with South Carolina sauce, which is a mustard-based barbecue sauce.

Alongside the massive sausages, Aldi is also bringing back its Big Daddy Steak – which sold out when it was first launched.

The rump steak will cost £4.99 for 16oz of meat.

MORE: By only using white influencers, brands are telling black women we don’t belong

MORE: Humanist weddings are now more popular than religious ones

Clumsy dog rescued by firefighters after getting his head stuck in a cat flap

Luis' head in the cat flap
Poor Luis got his head stuck (Picture: Phil Michell / SWNS)

A dog has been rescued by firefighters after he got his head stuck in a cat flap.

Luis the labrador poked his head through the flap but ended up getting stuck.

He pulled the cat flap off the door, but his owner, Phil Mitchell, 57, was unable to remove it from his head.

Phil ended up calling 999 and a firefighter used a saw to remove the plastic sleeve.

Phil, from Brampton, Devon, said: ‘We had a visitor from the council and we were standing in the porch talking.

Luis with his head stuck in the cat flap
Oops! (Picture: Phil Michell / SWNS)

‘Next thing we knew, we looked down and saw Luis poking his head through the flap.

‘We carried on talking when he must have put his head through too far. He tore the cat flap off the door completely trying to get out of it.

‘We tried to help him get it off but there was no way. It was jammed right on.

‘I didn’t know what else to do so I dialled 999 and asked for the fire service.’

Luis with the firefighter
The firefighter had to remove it (Picture: Phil Michell / SWNS)

Phil lives just down the road from the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service depot in Brampton, which dispatched a firefighter on foot to Phil’s house.

Once on the scene the fireman was able to cut two-year-old Luis free using a saw.

Ironically, Phil does not even own a cat – the flap was installed by a previous occupant of his bungalow.

MORE: Aldi launches new three-tiered pizza tray stand for £9.99

MORE: People are saying this engagement ring looks ‘like a vulva’

Is Trump anxiety a thing?

Donald Trup with the US flag in the background and a colour overlay in purple and green
‘Trump is like the presidential version of Jeremy Kyle: join the shouting match and let’s not worry too much about decorum’ (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Donald Trump landed on UK soil earlier this morning.

The president of the United States has made headlines since he stepped into the White House, from claims he said ‘black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid’, to bragging about grabbing women by the ‘p***y*’ and controversial tweets that regularly get him into trouble.

Most recently, as of just a few hours ago, he lashed out at London mayor Sadiq Khan and tweeted that he is a ‘stone cold loser’.

Whether positive or negative, it’s undeniable that Trump has a huge influence in world politics – and it’s affecting people. In preparation for his visit, thousands of protesters have gathered in London to object against him being allowed into the country.

But does this go beyond political allegiances? Could it be that Donald is causing more than controversy, and actually affecting people’s mental health?

Is there such a thing as Trump anxiety?

‘The thing with Trump is that he is everywhere, he’s omnipresent – especially this week in the UK and he’s using social media to its fullest,’ psychologist Jan De Jonge tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Trump is like the presidential version of Jeremy Kyle: join the shouting match and let’s not worry too much about decorum.’

Jonge explains that mental health concerns around politics go further than problems with Trump – it’s about being able to put your trust in the person leading your country.

And, when not being able to look up to this person, we feel ‘helpless’.

‘One factor causing anxiety (to various degrees) is the threat we experience to our sense of “right and wrong”,’ he said.

‘We want to, and need to be able to, look up to figureheads and the exemplary behaviour we expect of them.

‘When these figureheads, to many of us, lose their credibility whilst nevertheless retaining their positional power, we feel more helpless and more anxious.

‘The impunity with which these figureheads are treated can deeply disturb the average person (it does me!). Yes, it can cause depression and clouds some people’s lives; when people feel truth becomes unobtainable, people lose their nerve, their hope.’

‘When the (“duly elected”) president decides what is scientific evidence and what is fake news, which journalists are to be given access and credence, what war to fight, what wall to build, what tariffs to tout, the boundaries and overlap between ideology, beliefs, fact and spurious spin become vague and unfathomable.

‘It makes people feel they have less control and are powerless – even if they do vote.’

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to truly know how a leader will, er, lead his or her country before they are given the role.

Especially as many political campaigns are driven by budgets and candidates often spout promises that they believe will give them a higher swing in votes, regardless of whether they intend to follow through.

Some politicians also choose to remain quiet on their intentions altogether and instead give vague non-answers.

Connor Mitchell, who is a former PR advisor to John Mills, one of the Labour party’s biggest financial donors, tells Metro.co.uk that it is exactly this – Trump’s lack of strategy – that is worrying and anxiety-inducing.

‘His [Trump’s] political techniques and general modus operandi have certainly never purveyed any clear sense of a carefully considered strategy, nor do his decisions strike of originating from the kind of well-reasoned debate that befits any influential leader,’ said Connor.

‘Instead, his actions can be likened to that of a shotgun going off madly in all directions. They constantly leave us thinking…what next? What could he possibly do now?

‘Given diplomatic relations can be set back decades by something as seemingly insignificant as a misconstrued gesture or a poorly worded comment, Trump’s erratic behaviour on a near daily basis is enough to leave anyone on edge.’

This isn’t the first time Trump anxiety has been raised as a real issue. In a poll by Stylist magazine in 2016 (when the US elections took place) 90% of the almost 2,000 people who participated said they were ‘terrified’ by the results.

Ruth Kudzi, a business mentor and mindset coach who has a master’s degree in psychology, tells Metro.co.uk that the reason politics (and Trump) affect our mental health is because we associate it to our view of the future.

‘Yes, anxiety often comes when we are not in control of the situation and we have fear around what will happen,’ she said.

‘Because Trump’s views are so extreme, they can trigger us as they make us feel unsafe which then means anxiety can develop.

‘We can catastrophise what will happen especially if we don’t have control and don’t understand the reasons why things are happening.’

Symptoms of anxiety

If you’re unsure whether you’re suffering from anxiety, here are some of the symptoms, according to Ruth.

  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling a sense of panic
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Trouble concentrating

However, this is not an exhaustive list of symptoms as anxiety presents is very individual and presents in different ways in different people.

If the idea of Trump in the UK is making you feel anxious or the political landscape overall is causing you mental health concerns, don’t worry.

There are ways to lessen the impact and manage your anxiety.

If you work in politics or in an industry that is closely connected to it (or indeed has to report on politics) and feel anxiety hitting you in the office, it’s worthwhile stepping away from your desk, going for a quick walk or making yourself a cup of tea to distract yourself.

You may also find it useful to schedule a regular mindfulness session during your day. Also, avoid checking social media during your morning commute and give yourself that time to relax your mind.

‘See your anxiety as an understandable response to a situation you find threatening, so use some self-validation,’ Dr Elena Touroni, a consultant Psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Anxiety is a normal aspect of being human. If you feel it is getting out of control, make sure that you focus on external events in your life that matter to you, live your life in a way that is consistent with your values and goals.

‘The main aim isn’t to eradicate anxiety but to live life embracing it as a normal emotion that will ebb and flow and ensure you don’t avoid anything because of it, but also that you don’t engage in activities that reinforce it.’

There is no one-size-fits-all way to manage anxiety; try a few different approaches and see what works best for you – whether that’s talking to a friend or family member, getting regular exercise, trying cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or immersing yourself in a new hobby.

If politics especially is a trigger, perhaps try to step away from it all for a while.

And if it’s Trump especially who is rubbing you up the wrong way, remember – he’s leaving on Wednesday.

Need help or support?

You can contact the Samaritans for free from any phone on 116 123.

Alternatively, email jo@samaritans.org or go to samaritans.org to find details of your local branch where you can talk to one of the trained volunteers face to face.

MORE: Why we need to stop putting age limits on our achievements

MORE: World Health Organisation drops transgender from list of mental disorders

This DIY wedding cake kit could save you loads of money

DIY wedding cake kit
The average wedding now costs £30,355 (Picture: Stork)

Weddings can be ridiculously expensive.

Once you’ve paid for the flowers, photographer, caterers and venue, the costs can rack up pretty quickly. And that’s not to mention the dress.

So if you’re fretting over your wedding budget, this smart hack could help you save a bundle – a DIY wedding cake kit.

The do-it-yourself kit is available to buy on Amazon and costs just £49 – a whopping £606 cheaper than luxury alternatives from high-end retailers.

And with the average wedding now costing an eye-watering £30,355, that’s a saving that’s not to be sniffed at.

And you don’t end up with some standard Victoria sponge. If done right, the DIY ‘Bake by Numbers’ cake kit will leave you with a gorgeous, three-tier, semi-naked showstopper.

The ingredients are already weighed out for you, and the kit includes faux flowers to finish the cake in this year’s trending colour palette, ‘Love Bloom’.

DIY wedding cake
The semi-naked cake feeds 70 people (Picture: Stork)

The botanical-inspired wedding colour combo blends graceful light pink tones, earthy greens, and cosy neutrals.

What do you get in the 'Bake by Numbers' wedding cake kit?

  • 10-inch cake board
  • 8-inch cake board
  • 6-inch cake board
  • 10-inch cake tin
  • 8-inch cake tin
  • 6-inch cake tin
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Spatula
  • Cake dowels (12 inch)
  • Piping bag and tips
  • Faux flowers (pink and white)
  • Stork baking spread
  • Vanilla extract
  • Golden caster sugar
  • Self-rising flour
  • Icing sugar
  • Strawberry jam

‘When planning a wedding, the costs can creep up suddenly and add financial pressure to what should be a celebratory occasion,’ said Steven Hermiston, General Manager UKI at Upfield on behalf of Stork.

‘We hope that our DIY kit will give married-couples-to-be the confidence to bake their cake themselves for their special day, whilst saving some pounds in the process.’

The celebratory cake serves up to 70 guests – which adds up to a cost-effective 70p per person.

MORE: People are saying this engagement ring looks ‘like a vulva’

MORE: Woman who said bride’s wedding dress looked like a ‘table cloth’ is slammed for ‘fat shaming’

MORE: Humanist weddings are now more popular than religious ones

Morphe releases rainbow makeup collection to celebrate Pride

The net profits go to charity
All the net profits go to charity (Picture: Morphe)

Morphe has released a rainbow coloured makeup range in honour of Pride, which takes place this month to celebrate all the incredible LGBTQ+ people across the world.

The PRIDE Live In Colour Collection features a 25L Live In Colour Artistry palette and a Live in Colour seven piece eye brush set which feature colours of the rainbow.

The palette features 25 shades, with a mix of matte and shimmer textures.

Morphe shared the collection to their Instagram, writing: ‘Community. Artistry. Self-Expression. We are bringing you the PRIDE Live in Color Collection to celebrate all the bold, brave, LGBTQ+ babes & allies who inspire all of us to let our true colours shine.’


The collection is very pretty – but most importantly, Morphe is donating 100% of net proceeds from the collection to The Trevor project, a 24 hour LGBTQ+ suicide prevention organisation for young people. Isn’t that amazing?

Morphe said: ‘We believe in helping to create a safe space where everyone—and we mean everyone—can feel accepted and free to express themselves.

‘That’s why we’ve partnered with @TrevorProject, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.


‘100% of net proceeds from our PRIDE Live in Color Collection will be donated to The Trevor Project.’

Sadly for us, the PRIDE Collection will only available in the US. We know, we’re gutted too.

If you’re lucky enough to be over in the US, the palette will be selling for $20 and the brush set $28.

You can buy them from the 6th June.

MORE: This DIY wedding cake kit could save you loads of money

MORE: Aldi launches three-tiered pizza tray stand for £9.99

No country will achieve gender equality by 2030

Illustration of woman with red hair, dressed in a light blue shirt and white trousers holding her hand over her face and looking as if she is thinking 'sigh'
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

It’s a sad day for women.

A report from Equal Measures 2030, an independent civil society and private sector-led partnership, has just revealed that no country is set for gender equality by 2030.

The news forms part of the inaugural Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Gender Index, which measures gender equality across 129 countries and includes 95% of the world’s female population.

What’s more, according to the figures, 2.8 billion women and girls live in countries that don’t have enough measures in place to improve their lives.

The report follows a commitment by 193 countries to achieve 17 SDGs by 2030, which were set and announced in 2015. These goals covered a wide range of areas including gender equality, but also action on the climate crisis, achieving peace and working towards an end to poverty and hunger.

Equal Meaures 2030 noted that ‘no country in the world has reached the “last mile” on gender equality’, which includes Nordic countries which are more often than not at the forefront of gender equality issues.

While no country achieved an excellent overall score (which would be 90 or above), Denmark came close at 89.3. The other top 10 included Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany, Canada, Ireland and Australia.

The UK came in at spot 17, with an overall score of 82.2.

It was also found that higher income countries are more likely to have ‘greater gender equality than lower’. It’s perhaps then unsurprising that the bottom five countries featured Niger, Yemen, Congo, DR Congo and Chad.

The countries were measured on 51 targets across 14 of the SDGs.

Areas of improvement for the highest ranking countries who were part of the index included reviewing how many seats are held by women in national parliaments, as well as across science and technology research sectors.

In addition, the report lists ‘wage equality between women and men for similar work’ as a key way to improve gender equality.

‘There is so much discussion around for women within the world of work but we are yet to see any notable changes,’ said Hephzi Pemberton, founder of Equality Group.

‘To close the gender pay gap businesses need to start addressing the systematic issue that is the inequality of opportunity for women, particularly at senior/management levels.

‘One of the most effective ways to close the gap is to get women into the highest paid positions – that’s where the chasm really occurs. Businesses need to assess their current policies and produce affirmative action and enforcement measures to ensure sustained action and progression.

‘Within the UK alone, the gender pay gap is set to be closed in approximately 36 years.’

The report is being presented at the Women Deliver conference in Vancouver today.

‘I don’t see any countries taking the ambitious action needed to tackle intractable problems – even the best scoring countries,’ said Alison Holder, director of Equal Measures 2030.

Like we said, it’s a sad day for women.

MORE: ‘Disgusting’ company offers female employees money to wear short skirts in the office

MORE: One in five girls are bullied because of their periods

MORE: When a woman becomes popular, I immediately get nervous

Bride demands bridesmaid lose her baby weight for her wedding – just three weeks after giving birth

Bride demands bridesmaid lose her baby weight for her wedding - just three weeks after giving birth
‘My wedding is only one day and I’m not having it ruined by her or her baby weight’ (Picture: Getty/Facebook)

A bride has been slammed online after considering replacing her maid of honor if she doesn’t fit in her dress – just three weeks after giving birth.

The woman explained in a Facebook post that her friend hadn’t lost her baby weight and ‘still looks pregnant’ with just three more weeks to go until her wedding day.

But when the bride-to-be asked if ‘would be wrong’ to replace her in the online post, hundreds of people criticised her, with some saying she was the ‘worst friend in the world’.

‘So my friend who is my maid of honor in my wedding recently gave birth and she hasn’t lost the baby weight,’ she wrote in the post.

‘She still has like a little over three weeks to lose the weight, but I’m not confident she will. She may not even fit her dress.

‘I refuse to have it altered again. It was already altered multiple times for her and she said she’d fit into it.

‘My question is if on the day of the wedding she doesn’t fit the dress would it be wrong to have someone else take her place? I have someone in mind.

Bride demands bridesmaid lose her baby weight for her wedding - just three weeks after giving birth Picture: That's It I'm Wedding Shaming
People were shocked at the comment (Picture: Facebook/That’s It I’m Wedding Shaming)

‘She said she has a back up dress and I’m saying hell no to that. I’m not fat shaming but come on.

‘My wedding is only one day and I’m not having it ruined by her or her baby weight.’

In the comments, people were seriously shocked by her words.

‘I hate this t**t, sounds like the mom wins in this situation, ditch that loser bride friend,’ said one.

‘Imagine thinking that someone’s baby fat will ruin your wedding,’ said another.

‘The fat shaming is HORRIBLE. But also, your bridesmaids are supposed to be the people you love standing with you, not mannequins for photos,’ added someone else.

As well as slamming the future bride, plenty of people defended the maid of honour for not immediately losing weight after having a baby.

‘Hell its been 18 years since my last baby and I’m still struggling with that baby weight,’ said one.

Another mother added: ‘At 6 weeks postpartum I was JUST getting out of the house for the first time and everything was overwhelming still and my body was still weird.’

When you’re a new mum you’ve got more important things to think about than how you’re going to look in a couple of wedding photos.

Bigger picture please.

MORE: This DIY wedding cake kit could save you loads of money

MORE: Humanist weddings are now more popular than religious ones

MORE: Woman who said bride’s wedding dress looked like a ‘table cloth’ is slammed for ‘fat shaming’

LEGO unveils NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander for Moon landing 50th anniversary

A tiny plastic leap for mankind
A tiny plastic leap for mankind

Another amazing-looking space exploration set has been announced by Lego and it’s only the start of a summer of out of this world creations.

With the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing coming up in July, Lego has unveiled the latest in its NASA Creator Expert series and plans for even more space-themed sets for the rest of the year.

The Lunar Lander set is made up of 1,087 pieces and with its ‘Expert’ rating is very much aimed at older fans, or at least parents that are willing to help their kids through the whole building process.

It’s well worth the effort though with a highly accurate model that’s been designed in cooperation with NASA and comes with a detailed interior, two minifigures (of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, obviously), a portion of the lunar surface, and the United States flag.

The NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander (set number 10266) is available now from LEGO Stores and shop.LEGO.com for £84.99.

However, it’s not the only space themed Lego set out at the moment. Last year there was a Lego Ideas set that recreated the NASA Apollo Saturn V rocket (including a little mini Lunar Lander), but while that was also aimed at expert builders there’s also a new range of more child-friendly sets.

The Lego City Mars Explorations sets aren’t based on real vehicles, but they are inspired by NASA’s recently announced plans for manned missions to both the Moon and Mars.

There are seven sets in total and all have been designed in conjunction with NASA experts, resulting in details like the rockets being a burnt orange colour instead of white – because apparently rockets only used to be painted white because it looked better, but it actually adds to the weight and won’t be used in the future.

NASA wishes they could build a new shuttle so quickly
NASA wishes they could build a new shuttle so quickly

The seven sets are out now and available in stores and online:

60224 Satellite Service Mission (£9.99) – build a shuttle with opening minifigure cockpit, plus a satellite with opening solar panels
60225 Rover Testing Drive (£17.99) – explore the Mars Rover and accompanying equipment including laptop, video camera, remote control and rock drill
60230 People Pack – Space Research and Development (£34.99) – celebrate all the professions that make space exploration possible with 14 minifigures including astronauts, a botanist, a personal trainer, a drone engineer and more
60226 Mars Research Shuttle (£24.99) – blast to Mars and recover geodes, load them into a storage drone and send to the shuttle’s cargo bay
60227 Lunar Space Station (£44.99) – features three detachable, modular compartments that recreate life at a space station with kitchen, living area and research lab
60228 Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control (£89.99) – send astronauts via monorail to the multi-stage Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and prepare for launch by adding a mobile device and companion LEGO CITY Explorers app to simulate an interactive control panel
60229 Rocket Assembly & Transport (£119.99) – prepare a rocket for launch with this assembly frame building with crane, transport crawler, multi-stage rocket and rover lab

The City sets are very authentic looking
The City sets are very authentic looking

To celebrate both the release of the sets and the anniversary of the Moon landing Lego stores around the world are also planning a series of ‘Build & Play’ events starting this month, with the London store in Leicester Square planning an even larger scale celebration starting on 26 July.

‘We have a deep understanding of the ways in which play can have lifelong impact, and we have been champions of the awe and wonder of space exploration through playful building for almost as long as the world’s celebration of the first moon landing,’ said Lego’s Marius Lang.

‘There are countless stories of engineers, scientists, astronauts, and roboticists who point to their experiences with Lego building as the reason they are engaged in their current careers.

‘We hope that our ongoing commitment to space-themed play materials will inspire future generations to help us continue exploring.’

Nine reasons you’re not having an orgasm

Illustration of a half naked man on a colorful background
Oh…oh, yeah (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

The end goal of having sex isn’t always an orgasm.

Let’s face it though, it’s a pretty great way to finish a session between the sheets.

Plus, there’s that delicious release of oxytocin (the ‘happy hormone’), which gives you a positive boost.

However, not all people are able to reach orgasm and according to a new survey by Superdrug Online Doctor, there are nine specific reasons why.

Before we go on, note that it’s perfectly OK if you can’t get to the big O, nor is it something to be ashamed of.

It takes time to get to know your body, what you like and don’t like in bed, and to then tell your sexual partner(s) about it.

That being said, here’s what the survey found.

Having a distracted mind

While sex can most definitely help you de-stress and take your mind off your troubles, it doesn’t always work.

Thinking about ‘non-sexual things’ was listed as one of the main reasons why 16.7% of men and 16.1% of women don’t orgasm.

If you find yourself constantly distracted during sex, it could be a sign that what you really need is to talk about what’s bothering you – rather than jumping in the sack to distract yourself.

The ‘down-tempo technique’ is standing in your way

Slow and sensual sex can be incredibly hot.

But for 15.3% of men and 16.7% of women, this ‘down-tempo technique’ stands in the way of the finish line.

It’s an excellent method to use if you want to tease yourself, but if you’re getting irritated by the lack of speed, there’s an easy solution.

Grab your partner, switch to Duracell bunny speed and ride that high all the way to climax.

Taking a break during the sex

If you find yourself taking breaks during sex for whatever reason (water, a cheeky cigarette, opening the door to the postman) this could be why you’re not climaxing.

According to 13.9% of men and 16.7% of women, taking a time out from sex was the reason for their lack of orgasm.

Masturbating before sex

We’re all for self-love, but if you’re servicing yourself right before you meet up with your lover, you may find it harder to have another orgasm.

Out of the participants, 4.7% of women and 10% of men agreed.

Putting on a condom

A low number of men (7.8%) and women (3.1%) revealed that putting on a condom during sex prevented them from reaching orgasm.

Do remember that condoms are the only form of contraception that protect against STDs as well as unwanted pregnancies – so, in other words, wrap it up.

If you are sure that your lover isn’t sleeping with other people and another form of contraception is being used (or you’re trying to have a baby) then these things are all up for discussion.


While alcohol can sometimes be the reason for men not being able to get it up, drinking actually affects both genders.

Alcohol dulls the senses, which is why it makes sense that 4% of men and 4.7% of women said drinking makes it harder for them to orgasm.

The sex doesn’t last long enough

Survey results showed there was a disparity among the genders in how long sex should last.

Out of the female participants, it was found that on average, women wanted the sex to last 19.3 minutes (from foreplay to climax), but said their partner usually lasted 9.9 minutes on average.

This can be a delicate situation to bring up with your lover, so please do so with care and respect for their feelings.

And it’s recommended that you have the conversation on neutral ground – don’t mention it mid-sex when you’re both naked and vulnerable.

Your sexual position of choice

Almost half of the female participants (48%) and a third of the male ones pointed out that it was easier for them to orgasm when in missionary position, as they found this made the sex last longer than other positions.

Meanwhile, between 16% and 18% of both genders preferred doggy style.

Bear in mind, this is very individual and the best way to find out which position stimulates you the most is simply to try your way.

Not cuddling enough

Cuddling creates intimacy and by building intimacy, you’re also building trust.

This can make it much easier to let go during sex and let yourself be washed over by orgasm after orgasm.

Out of the participants, 80% of women and 75% of men said cuddling after sex gave them the highest sexual satisfaction.

So go forth and spoon for better sex.

MORE: Is it healthy to have make-up sex?

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MORE: How to talk to your partner about an embarrassing sexual fantasy

This adorable cat with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome has found his forever home with his best friend

METRO GRAB - taken from the Instagram of the tummyandgummy This adorable cat with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome has found a forever home with his best friend https://www.instagram.com/tummyandgummy/ Picture: tummyandgummy
Toby has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (Picture: tummyandgummy)

An adorable cat that has a rare condition has found a lovely home and family with his best friend.

Toby is a six-year-old short-haired cat with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), or feline cutaneous asthenia (FCA), a congenital condition that can cause animals and people to have unusually stretchy, loose, and fragile skin because of a lack of collagen.

The condition means that Toby has very saggy skin and a distinctive appearance.

As well as his health conditions, Toby also has a special attachment to his brother Quinton – a seven-year-old fluffy black and white cat, with all of his teeth missing. They are quite a pair, and they can’t be separated.

But this did make them quite tricky to home. Luckily, a couple who had recently lost a senior cat that they had adopted, took a shine to the brothers and decided to give them their forever home.

‘I saw them on the RSPCA website and fell in love with their sweet little faces,’ says Georgina, who lives in Stroud.

METRO GRAB - taken from the Instagram of the tummyandgummy This adorable cat with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome has found a forever home with his best friend https://www.instagram.com/tummyandgummy/ Picture: tummyandgummy
Toby’s condition makes his skin incredibly fragile (Picture: tummyandgummy)

‘We’d never heard of EDS before we found him, we just knew that he needed a loving home and we have so much love to give.’

Both of the cats were incredibly nervous when they met Georgina and her partner Christopher for the first time, but it didn’t take long for Toby and Quinton to settle into their new home.

METRO GRAB - taken from the Instagram of the tummyandgummy This adorable cat with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome has found a forever home with his best friend https://www.instagram.com/tummyandgummy/ Picture: tummyandgummy
Toby’s favourite things are tummy rubs and watching birds (Picture: tummyandgummy)

Seven months later, these bonded brothers are doing well, although Toby’s delicate skin does makes him more likely to injure himself, even when he’s just grooming or playing with Quinton.

‘Toby and Quinton are inseparable and Quinton tries to clean up Toby’s face when possible, and when they play, Quinton knows to keep his claws retracted,’ says Georgina.

Toby’s Ehlers-Danlos syndrome causes the skin on his stomach to hang down to his knees. There are concerns about the long-term effects the weight of this extra skin could have on his overall health.

METRO GRAB - taken from the Instagram of the tummyandgummy This adorable cat with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome has found a forever home with his best friend https://www.instagram.com/tummyandgummy/ Picture: tummyandgummy
Toby and Quinton are inseparable (Picture: tummyandgummy)

‘EDS can cause joint problems and the excess weight of his skin makes us think that he will have problems in later life,’ explains Georgina.

But for now, both Toby and Quinton are content in their new home and love nothing more than watching birds and getting belly rubs.

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Idyllic property with waterfront views on the market for £1.6million

The property from the outside, seen along the creek and with trees in the background
The property is stunning (Picture: BNPS)

An idyllic home that sits on the bank of a tranquil creek is on the market for £1.6million.

Quay House has stunning waterfront views and direct access to Pill Creek in Cornwall’s Fal estuary.

The secluded four-bed house comes with more than 100ft of direct water frontage and its own quay and moorings, which are accessed by a set of stone steps.

It has come on the market with Cornish estate agents Lillicrap Chilcott who have described the property as ‘a hidden gem’.

The building itself has recently been ‘remodelled’ by its owners and is now perfectly set up to enjoy the stunning views.

There is a reception hall and a bespoke kitchen on the ground floor, along with a large conservatory and dining room and a cosy living room with a log burning fire.

The living room of the property, which features a log burning fire as well as plenty of natural light
The living room is has a log burning fire (Picture: BNPS)
A view of the conservatory which is drenched in sunlight, features two armchairs and a sofa, as well as a view of the creek
Perfect for entertaining guests (Picture: BNPS)

Also downstairs is a library, a utility room and a study which can also be used as a double bedroom.

On the first floor are three further bedrooms, all with en-suite facilities and an additional dressing room.

Outside, the plot covers approximately one third of the way across the creek and swinging moorings.

There is parking for three cars in a long timber garage, as well as a stone barn which features a workshop, wood store and potting shed.

The estate agent said it had already seen interest in the property and is not expecting to struggle when it comes to finding a buyer.

‘Overlooking and with direct waterfrontage to Pill Creek this beautiful four bedroomed period house is offered in superb order throughout,’ said Guy Morse from Lillicrap Chilcott.

‘It was recently sensitively internally remodelled and extended by our experienced clients.

‘With landscaped gardens, parking and a stone barn, this is one of the most desirable homes around the sailing waters of the Carrick Roads.

‘It is a real hidden gem.’

MORE: A stunning seven-bed manor house on the Cornish coast is on the market for £2.5 million

MORE: Stunning property near Fatboy Slim’s house on the market for £3 million

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Cadbury World launches Relaxed Sessions for visitors with autism

Compilation of images that feature a sign for Cadbury World, children in a cinema with special glasses on and a mum and daughter outside a choc that says Cadbury's Chocolate
The new sessions will take place throughout the year (Picture: Cadbury World)

Cadbury World has launched Relaxed Sessions for visitors with autism or SEN (special educational needs).

The visitor attraction can become quite noisy when there is a high number of visitors, and the new sessions are offered as an alternative time to visit the park so that the experience isn’t too overwhelming.

The Relaxed Sessions will feature reduced sound, altered lighting and a subtle scent.

What’s more, less visitors will be allowed in to help make the environment less stressful.

A picture of a mum and child attending Cadbury World
The Relaxed Sessions will feature reduced sound and and altered lighting (Picture: Cadbury World)

The tour is self-guided and will only be available to those booking these particular sessions.

To make it even more inclusive there will also be an SEN-friendly family show.

Parents who have heard about the new sessions are really excited for them.

One woman, Kristie Steadman, said it was ‘an amazing idea’, while Amiee Louise Williams said her son ‘really enjoyed’ his visit a few weeks back but had found it ‘a little overwhelming’ – so these new sessions are an excellent solution.

‘We recognise that some of our guests need a more relaxed and calmer environment to be able to get the most out of their visit so we have created sessions which have been tailored specifically for them,’ said Diane Mitchell, marketing manager at Cadbury World.

‘Our aim is for Cadbury World to be as inclusive as possible and [we] are pleased to be able to offer these new sessions.

‘Our team are also trained to offer additional support to visitors on the day if required.’

2019 dates for the Relaxed Sessions

  • Sunday 23 June – 9:30am
  • Sunday 22 September – 9:30am
  • Sunday 13 October –  9:30am
  • Sunday 10 November – 3:40pm

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Incontinent woman wears nappies and lives half her life as a baby

Camille dressed as a baby
Camille wears nappies and acts like a baby (Picture: MDWfeatures / @pitite_camille_)

An incontinent university student wears nappies 24 hours a day and lives half of her life as a three-year-old baby to escape the pressures of being an adult.

21-year-old Camille Lola, who is a transgender woman, couldn’t keep food down as a child without having diarrhoea, which led to accidents throughout high school.

Camille, from Switzerland, would feel isolated with no friends due to her condition, so when she hit puberty she decided to relive her childhood through ‘little life’, a community for adult baby diaper lovers.

She would spend each night in her home living as a three-year-old baby, complete with a dummy and nappy.

As she experienced a lonely childhood, she wanted to ‘correct’ her life by re-living her younger years. While her close friends and family have accepted her hobby, her extended family have called her crazy and said that she needs to stop.

When Camille was 18 years old, she started to identify as female after initially thinking she was bisexual and gender fluid. A year later she asked her friends to call her Camille and treat her like a girl. She has since undergone hormone treatments and plans to get surgery next year to fully transition to female.

Camille pictured in her onesie and dummy.
She was incontinent as a child (Picture: MDWfeatures / @pitite_camille_)

‘I got into this community for a sad reason; when I was a kid, I wasn’t able to eat a lot of food because it was giving me diarrhoea,’ Camille said.

‘During my childhood, I had a lot of accidents at school, on holiday, with my family and I didn’t have many friends because of this.

‘When I hit puberty, I became more interested in re-living my childhood, wearing nappies, playing with toys and so on.

‘I just wanted to have a better childhood; I wanted to correct my life and just live a good and peaceful life. We forget about our adult problems and just live in the present moment.

‘Some of us wear nappies for pleasure or for medical reasons. Some of us wear the nappies purely for the sensation and how it feels, while some of us don’t wear nappies at all and just act like a child.

‘I like to switch from being an adult to a baby, but I much prefer the “little” role. I’m a shy baby and I don’t talk a lot, but I laugh all the time when I’m in a really deep baby mood.

‘I play with my toys or watch cartoons, maybe I’ll need help to eat and I let the adult check and change my nappy. But every day is different.

‘I never show strangers or normal people my baby outfit. I can totally go out with overalls, but I will never show my pacifier or my nappies in public.

Camille pictured using her dummy in the deserted woods.
She only dresses as a baby in private (Picture: MDWfeatures / @pitite_camille_)

‘I prefer to be in my outfit only in front of other people in the ABDL community, as they are the only ones who think it’s cute.

‘Once I was in a shop with a friend like me and the salesperson asked us if we were going to an 80s party – that was funny.

‘My friends who know about my hobby just think it’s cute and kind of fun and except my parents who completely understand why I do this and let me do it in private, the rest of my family who know said that I was crazy and that I need to stop.

‘It’s been over ten months since I’ve been incontinent, so I wear nappies all the time; all day, twenty-four hours a day.

‘Normally, I wear only two nappies a day, one during the day and one at night, but I could wear up to three sometimes if I drink a lot.’

Camille has spent over £600 on her adult baby accessories.

She began questioning her gender when she was 18, and finally came to identify as female.

Despite worrying about what people would think when she came out as transgender, her mum and friends supported her through it.

‘I started to have questions around my gender when I was eighteen. At first, I thought I was bisexual and gender fluid; I thought I wanted to live as a boy and girl,’ she said.

‘But at my nineteenth birthday, I asked my friends to call me Camille and treat me like a girl – it felt so good. That’s when I realised, I wanted to transition to female.

‘I slowly started to announce who I am and then came out officially on Facebook, but I told my mum in real life before; she was surprised but she understands.

‘For the moment, I only take female hormonal treatments but maybe in the next year or so, I will have complete surgery.

‘If someone is curious or interested about the little community, I will talk to people about it. We are very open.

‘Even if it’s just curiosity, we are happy to explain how it works and why we do this and you can easily find people of the community on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.’

MORE: Cadbury World launches Relaxed Sessions for visitors with autism

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Sustainable fashion just got a new cool makeover

Two female models stand in sustainable fashion brand DL1961's jeans and jean jackets
Jean brand DL1961 are one of the brands helping change the environmental face of fashion (Picture: DL1961)

Every minute in the UK we buy nearly 2 tonnes of clothing – that’s the equivalent to 15,760 T-shirts.

It takes roughly 4.7 million litres of water to produce all those clothes. That’s enough water to give everyone a shower in the city of Bath.

And 59 tonnes of CO2 – the same as 500 car trips from London to Edinburgh.

All because of our unhealthy trend for fast fashion – retailers’ practice of producing cheap clothes as quickly and as frequently as possible.

Since the prices on these items are so low, they encourage consumers to buy en masse without thinking too much about their purchases. The result is that retailers are majorly overproducing. Consumers are buying clothes they don’t really want and definitely don’t need just because they’re inexpensive.

But this comes at a cost. A huge cost.

As fashion journalist Lucy Siegle points out:  ‘Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone somewhere is paying for it.’  That someone is a marginalised garment worker. That somewhere is our own planet. Retailers are engaging in a dangerous race to the bottom in terms of forced labour and environmental concerns. As this happens, Fast Fashion is bringing a storm of human rights violations and environmental destruction on a global scale.

Garbage pile in trash dump or landfill. Pollution concept.
The problem with fast fashion is piling up (Picture: vchal/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In the UK, every minute we throw away 570kg of clothing – the equivalent of 4,380 T-shirts. Enough to clothe every rough sleeper in London four times over.

According to a recent study, 43% of UK consumers throw away clothes after fewer than 10 wears, with 70% citing clothes losing their fit, feel and colour after fewer than five washes as the main factor behind this.

But the fashion industry is starting to take note.

CEO of Matches Fashion Ulric Jerome says: ‘There is no longer any doubting the responsibility that we all have in the fashion industry, and how we urgently need to collaborate to really bring about systemic change.

‘By 2030 global apparel consumption is projected to rise by 63%, from 62 million tonnes today to 102 million tonnes — equivalent to more than 500 billion additional T-shirts. As a retailer we know that our responsibility is to work with our brand partners to understand their ways of working, and help and support them wherever we can to champion positive behaviours, from ensuring fair working conditions in their supply chains, to celebrating artisanal production and using lower impact materials.’

Matches might be in-the-know, yet the same can’t be said for all brands.

A screenshot of the Earth Rewards App which measure your fashion carbon impact and suggests how you might reduce your footprint
New app Earth Rewards has been created so you can track and reduce your fashion carbon footprint (Picture: Earth Rewards)

According to a poll by Fashion Revolution, of 219 brands, 91% of brands did not know where their cotton was grown, 75% did not know the source of their fabrics, and only 50% could accurately trace where their products were cut and sewn.

The lack of visibility and understanding within the apparel supply chain directly translates to a lack of accountability. And this lack of accountability subsequently enables the extreme environmental disregard that we are witnessing today.

The apparel industry creates huge demand for cotton. In fact, cotton farms represent nearly 50% of all irrigated land and are responsible for nearly 24% of all global insecticide use and 11% of all pesticide use.

But it’s not just the brands that need to be aware – the consumer does too.

According to secondhand retailer Patatam, the appetite for second hand clothing is increasing. Women now more than ever are willing to shop more responsibly, with 64% saying they’d happily buy second hand and preloved items, up from 45% in 2016.

And as the conscious Gen Z generation continues to gain financial independence, this trend will only continue.

There are loads of reasons to switch to sustainable fabrics.

And long gone are the days of ill-fitting, loose linen sacks that were the only option to be good to the planet.

Sustainable fashion looks so good you can’t tell the difference.

Here are seven cool, sustainable brands to buy and treasure forever:

1. Labo Mono



A white jacket with black graphic squiggle print from sustainable brand Labo Mono - made from recycling 30 plastic bottles
Labo Mono jackets are made from 30 recycled plastic bottles (Picture: Labo Mono)

After looking online for a good waterproof jacket that was both comfortable when cycling and didn’t look like a typical cycling jacket so he could wear it any time, designer Ali Namdari quickly realised his choices were almost nonexistent. And the few jackets on the market that were typically in-between looked plain and were far from sustainably made.

So, he created his own.

Each one of Ali’s Urban Jackets is created using 30 plastic bottles.

The bottles are collected, washed, shredded, melted into fine yarn, and woven to become Labo Mono’s recycled polyester fabric.

This not only helps plastic bottles start a new and actually useful life, but also help to make huge savings on water, energy, and CO2 emissions.

An eco-friendly, PFC-free polymer waterproofing is then sourced in Germany and applied to all Labo Mono jackets.

Labo Mono are currently taking pre-orders for the £119 jacket on Kickstarter, and will open their online store in October 2019 and one exclusive retail store in East London.

2. Br4

A colbolt blue jumper from fashion house Br4 made from bio fabric
This Br4 jumper is made from patented bio fabric (Picture: Br4)

This high-neck sweater is made from Brugnoli’s bio-based fabric.

The fabric is made from the patented 100% bio-based polyamide (sourced from castor bean with no impact on the food chain neither animal nor human) and is created using a dedicated production process that limits CO2 emissions.

The result is a fabric with super stretch and comfort, quick drying, anti-bacterial, chlorine and solvent resistant.

This new brand launched their store in Canary Wharf in April, but you can also buy the £128 jumper from their online store here.


A red pair of swimshorts from brand NACEO - made from plastic flakes which are processed and spun into yarn
From plastic to plastic flakes to yarn, NACEO’s swimshorts are reusing plastic to help save the world’s oceans (Picture: NACEO)

These sustainable swim shorts are made out of 15 recycled plastic bottles, with the goal of ridding the ocean of plastic contamination.

Founder Zak Johnson is an avid kite surfer and scuba diver and has seen first-hand the devastation that plastic is causing the ocean’s ecosystem.

He says: ‘Over the years I have seen more and more plastic in the ocean that is spoiling the ecosystem. By investigating the two major issues of ocean plastic and the damage that the fast fashion industry has caused, we realised that we can make a product that not only looks great but also has a huge impact on our global environment, while making a difference to everyone’s lives.’

To make the garments, the firm collects and sorts plastics and removes labels, lids before cleaning the bottles to remove any contaminants.

The plastic is then passed through a machine which turns it into small plastic flakes. The flakes are then run through another machine that uses a worm screw to push the flakes through heated pipes that melts the plastic flakes into a thick liquid. This molten polyester is then ready to be turned into yarn.

An extruder that looks like a machine with multiple shower heads (with multiple filtration layers inside each head) turns the molten recycled plastic into a fine yarn that is gently cooled and spooled.

It’s this recycled yarn that is made into the into the fabric. At this stage, the fabric undergoes a series of processes to soften the fibres and give them water repellent properties.

It’s what NAECO say makes the fibres soft yet durable – and also makes for good UV protection, longevity and stain repellent properties.

Prices start at £185 at their online store here.

4. Pursuit The Label


A purple print reversible bikini from sustainable swimwear brand Pursuit The Label
Two for the price of one: This bikini isn’t just sustainable, it’s reversible (Picture: Pursuit The Label)
A purple-printed reversible bikini bottom from sustainable fashion brand Pursuit The Label
Digitally-printed patterns are less wasteful and therefore more environmentally friendly (Picture: Pursuit The Label)

These bikinis aren’t just sustainable, they’re reversible.

Produced in their London factory, this luxury sustainable swimwear brand transforms recycled ocean waste into luxury sculpting swimsuits and reversible bikinis. The fabric is a form of nylon made entirely from consumer waste, such as fishing nets and old textiles.

The print you can see on the bikini is exclusive to the brand – created digitally as it’s one of the most environmentally friendly ways to print, since it uses the least water in the printing process.

Plus, all their packaging is made from recycled cardboard.

Prices start at £55 and products can be mixed and matched. For more info, visit their online store here.

An easy way to recycle your clothes

First Mile have just launched their RecycleBox service in a bid to help combat the UK’s waste crisis and disappointingly stagnant recycling rates.

The textile recycling service encourages consumers and workplaces to easily recycle everything. Simply:

1. Order a RecycleBox online or use your own
2. Fill it with your items to be recycled
3. Book a collection online
4. Your materials are recycled

And, if no solutions exists for recycling, your materials go to RecycleLab so a new recycling solution can be found.

Visit their site here for more info.

5. Po-Zu

A pair of black and gold pumps from London-based shoe brand Po-Zu, made from pineapple fibres
Pineapples aren’t just great on pizza, they can make your feet look great too (Picture: Po-Zu)

These sexy bad boys are not made from leather but from Piñatex – an innovative, natural and sustainable non-woven textile made from pineapple leaf fibres.

These fibres are the by-product of the pineapple harvest grown by farmers in the Philippines and require no extra land, water, fertilisers or pesticides to produce them.

The result is an upper that’s soft, light, flexible and breathable.

The pump is designed for disassembly (meaning it can be easily taken apart for repair, rather than binned) and is glue-less (Po-Zu use natural latex as a temporary bond before stitching the components together).

The London-based brand makes shoes from all sorts of sustainable materials and is also currently looking into a take-back scheme, to extend the life of the components, for recycle or re-use.

Prices start at £59 and you can check out their store here.

Track your fashion carbon footprint

One of the problems with how we consume fashion in the UK is that the land use and water use generally happens abroad, so we don’t see its full effect. But the average household is generating more than 35kg of waste clothing per year, 85% of which is going to landfill.

New app Earth Rewards lets you know the carbon value of your wardrobe.

The calculations are based on the average emissions per capita for the UK of 190kg CO2e, which is based on an average spend of £90 per month.

The sliders within the app allow users to adjust for an increase or decrease in average monthly spend. And it will also allow for logical adjustments, e.g. £150 spent on one pair of jeans against a £150 spend on fast fashion.

The App will educate and inform consumers on how to achieve a lighter carbon footprint and offset their carbon spend in a practical way that in turn gives reward points.

6. DL1961

A pale blue denim pair of jeans, with ripped hems, from sustainable jean brand DL1961
These jeans are saving millions of gallons of water every year (Picture: DL1961)

A traditional pair of jeans takes 1,500 gallons of water to manufacture, but a DL pair uses less then 10 gallons and recycles 98% of it.

In 2018 alone, they saved approximately 50 million gallons of water.

DL1961 uses ethically sourced, premium cotton, and water-efficient botanic fibres from the US and indigo dyes derived from plants.

Their factory in Pakistan is all powered by solar energy by their own in-house power generation plant.

And because of their high-quality materials, the denim looks great and never loses shape.

Also their packaging is fully recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable.

Plus, any spare fabric they have going, they donate to FABSCRAP, a non-profit that upcycles commercial textiles. Through doing this, in 2018 they saved 73,102.70 pounds of CO2 – the equivalent of planting 865 trees.

Prices start at £90 and you can see their whole range here.

7. Teemill

A t-shirt that can be worn and recycled again, again, and again from sustainable brand Teemill
The tee that never ends – TeeMill have created a circular and never-ending lifecycle with all their tees (Picture: Teemill)

Slightly different to the other brands on the list…Teemill creates sustainable tees for other brands to create their own shop. They’ve been used by the likes of WWF, the BBC, and War Child.

By collecting and recycling cotton clothing and mixing it with 100% GOTS-certified cotton to create the T-shirt, Teemill has created a circular loop.

Their T-shirts are designed to be returned once worn out – a QR code on the label can be scanned to activate a freepost code and £5-off code, making recycling the old T-shirt free and easy.

The T-shirt then goes back into the production system and is recycled to become another T-shirt.

It is recycled over and over again in this way.

Plus, they avoid unnecessary excess stock (a major problem in the fashion industry) by printing the tee only seconds after it has been ordered.

Prices start at £20 and if you’re thinking of setting up your own tee brand, then this is a good place to start.

Portraits capture the faces of women who have had abortions

Gloria Steinem Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill
Gloria Steinem is one of the women of the #YouKnowMe project (Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill)

As strict anti-abortion laws come into effect in Alabama and remain in place in Northern Ireland, it’s essential that we talk about reproductive rights.

It’s easy to talk about abortion as a hypothetical thing, debating the circumstances under which we would do it.

But abortion rights are not a faceless issue. That’s what photographer Tara Todris-Whitehill wants to show in her series, #YouKnowMe, which captures the faces of women who have had abortions.

The idea is that by chatting about their abortions, these women can help to break down the notion that abortion is a taboo subject. The only way we can change attitudes is through open discussion – and it’s vital that people with actual experience of requiring an abortion lead the charge.

Jennifer and Gillian

Jennifer and Gillian Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill
Jennifer created the ‘I had an abortion’ T-shirts (Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Jennifer (left) is a journalist and activist who has written about abortion for more than a decade.

She was frustrated that all the reporting on the issue, including her own, devolved into a ‘debate’ between pro-life and pro-choice forces. She felt that what was being lost were the voices and faces of people that had abortions.

In 2003 she started making T-shirts, resource cards, and working on a film that put the spotlight back on the women.

Gillian and Jennifer have been close friends since they lived together in 1992.

Gillian, 36, had an abortion in 2000 with the man who was to later become her husband and with whom she now has a daughter. She is also a film maker, and Jennifer asked her to direct a film on women’s abortions stories from the campaign. They collaborated, and the result is the film ‘Speak out: I had an abortion’.


Dawn Martin

Dawn Martin Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill
Dawn Martin (Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill)


Rosalyn Baxter

Rosalyn Baxter Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill
Rosalyn has had two abortions (Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Rosalyn Baxandall had an abortion in the 1960s and then again when she thought she was in menopause. She was the first speaker at the famed Redstockings abortion speakout in 1969.


Marion Bazahf

Marion Bazahf Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill
Marion Bazahf (Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill)


Holly Fritz

Holly Fritz Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill
Holly became pregnant when she was a teenager (Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Holly Fritz got pregnant living at home as a high school student in Buffalo, New York.

She just assumed that she should get married to her boyfriend and embark on a life not unlike her mother, who also fell pregnant by her high school sweetheart, got married, and had Holly.

When Holly turned to her mother for advice, she was surprised that her mother urged her to have an abortion, rather than a shotgun wedding.

Holly is now a teacher, married, and is the mother of a toddler, Zoe, pictured in the photograph with her.

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill
Gloria is a feminist icon (Picture: Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Gloria Steinem entered the feminist movement the day she covered Red Stockings abortion speak-out for New York magazine, and finally owned the abortion she had had several years earlier.

She describes her abortion as the first time she acted in her own life, rather than let things happen to her. She had her abortion when she was 22.

Gloria went on to found several pro-choice organizations, including Voters for Choice and Ms. Magazine, and considers reproductive freedom to be the most significant contribution of the second wave.

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This clever photography hack makes it look like you have a swimming pool

Clever photography hack makes it look like you have a swimming pool Provider: Laura J Hyatt Source: https://www.heroineinheels.com/2019/06/how-to-take-water-portrait-photography-paddling-pool.html
It’s so simple (Picture: Laura J Hyatt)

Is there anything more glamorous than a sun-soaked poolside shot?

Either on holiday or, even better, lounging in your own private pool, there’s something about swimming pool pics that just really make your Instagram page pop.

But how many of us have regular access to a private pool?

Luckily, one savvy photographer has come up with a clever hack to take a photo to make it look as though your hanging out in your very own pool – even if you’re just in your tiny back garden.

All you need is a paddling pool, a healthy dose of sunshine and a friend who’s willing to get their feet wet for the perfect pic.

Let’s be honest, any true friend should be willing to do this for the ‘Gram.

The budding photographer, Laura J Hyatt, shared a stunning portrait of herself on Twitter – gracefully floating in water, surrounded by luscious flowers.

She then shared a blog post detailing exactly how to pull off the perfect water portrait – and you definitely don’t need to have your own pool.

Clever photography hack makes it look like you have a swimming pool Provider: Laura J Hyatt Source: https://www.heroineinheels.com/2019/06/how-to-take-water-portrait-photography-paddling-pool.html
You will need the help of a willing pal (Picture: Laura J Hyatt)

As you can see from the behind-the-scenes pictures, the reality of getting the shot was worlds away from the effortless glamour of the final result.

While lying flat in a children’s paddling pool, a friend stood directly over Laura, straddling her body, to take the close-up shot.

‘Here in the UK people don’t have pools at home and I couldn’t see my local swimming baths allowing me to get into their pool in a dress whilst people tried to do their laps around me,’ wrote Laura in her blog post.

Clever photography hack makes it look like you have a swimming pool Provider: Laura J Hyatt Source: https://www.heroineinheels.com/2019/06/how-to-take-water-portrait-photography-paddling-pool.html
She has fooled us all (Picture: Laura J Hyatt)

‘What if I didn’t do a full length photo, but a portrait instead? Meaning I didn’t need as much water. Instead of a swimming pool, how about a kids paddling pool?

‘Water straight out of the hose is bloody freezing let me tell you! So not only is it uncomfortable but actually from a safety point of view make sure to at least make your water lukewarm.

‘So it turns out not all fake flowers float. There’s not really a accurate way to test which will until you buy them but I had two different varieties, one that was more fabric based and one that was a little more paper like.

‘The paper ones sank and the thicker, stiffer fabric ones float.’

So now that you’ve read Laura’s top tips you can go out and create stunning water portraits and trick everyone into thinking that you have your own pool. Easy.

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Makeup artist’s fake tan fail made friends think she’d been kidnapped

Lucy Regler, 21, had layered on the self tan mousse but forgot to exfoliate and moisturise and was horrified when she woke up with bright orange hands.
Lucy’s tan went a bit wrong (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

We’ve all had a beauty fail in our day, but few prompt such serious concern from our pals as that caused by Lucy Regler’s mishap.

Lucy, 21, had a fake tan fail so bad her friends thought she’d been kidnapped – as her dark orange hand looked like it belonged to someone else.

Makeup artist Lucy had layered on self tan mousse but forgot to exfoliate and moisturise. The next day she woke up with dark orange hands and a patchy glow on the rest of her body.

She snapped a photo of her mismatched hand on her face, prompting people to think she’d been kidnapped.

Alongside hands that didn’t look like they belonged to her, Lucy’s fake tan gone wrong also left her with white streaks on her chest, armpits, and legs, and turned her feet two different colours.

She blames her mess-up on using the ‘wrong side of the tanning mitt’.

Lucy said: ‘It looks absolutely vile. When my mother saw me she just went “what the f*** have you done?”.

Lucy’s hand was such a different colour that her friends joked she looked like she’d been kidnapped (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

‘My legs turned out really well but my hands made people make comments like, “I thought someone else was grabbing you”.

‘They were like “I thought you were being kidnapped, you could’ve got away with that”.

‘My neck made it look like I had a beard because I had only done the tan up to a certain point on my face. It was just shocking. I’ve learned my lesson.

‘My nails have gone a funny colour from the tan. Where I had nails on I have strips of brown through my nails. I would die if anyone thought it was dirt.’

The makeup artist, who also works at McDonald’s had previously used tan wipes.

She applied her first layer of mousse on a Friday evening, but was disappointed by the colour – so smothered on two more layers the next day as well as six pumps of mousse on to her hands.

‘I wanted a fake tan because I was going to a really posh event. I’m really not posh, so I was like I’ll have a tan, I’ll look really skinny with my tan,’ explained Lucy.

Her feet were also left looking pretty patchy (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

‘I did it on the Saturday night the day before the event. I did one coat on the Friday and I was thinking it didn’t even look like I had fake tan on. It just faded into my legs.

‘But I didn’t know that you had to exfoliate and moisturise, and I used the wrong side of the mitt as well.

‘So I was chucking the layers on, it wasn’t making much difference so I thought I’d keep going.

‘My hands just weren’t taking it so I pumped about six pumps [of the mousse] and literally lathered my hands with it.

‘I just cried the next morning. I wanted to cry. Compared to the rest of my body it was diabolical.

‘The event was really posh. They were drinking their champagne while I was drinking my WKD. I wanted to look all smart. But I didn’t look smart, not with the bad hands and bad ankles.

‘I had to use a darker foundation, but it didn’t look too bad. My body felt orange but my face was the only pale thing about me to be honest.’

Lucy doesn’t plan to attempt a DIY fake tan again. Probably wise.

‘I think I’ll have a spray tan from now on,’ she said. ‘I don’t want to risk it. I’m just going to let an expert do it next time.

‘It’s weird how the tan comes off in the most unconventional ways. I’ve got big tits and I’ve got a big massive mark from my arms, from the corner of them.

‘They’re all white. I’ve got marks in my armpits. I’ve got strap marks from where I’ve had my bra on. My feet look like my feet are two different colours. I’ve never seen anything like it.

‘I’ve scrubbed, I’ve itched and everything, I’ve used a skin peeler and it didn’t work. I haven’t got any lemons. It’s just waiting for it to fade. It’s just not coming off.

‘The legs aren’t too bad – although I’ve just noticed another patch on the back of my legs. It’s awful.

‘There won’t be a next time. Not for myself, anyway. Just don’t ever, ever fake tan. Just don’t do it.

‘Leave it in the bottle and stay pale all your life. It’s not worth the hassle of everybody’s laughter and trying to get the fake tan off.’

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There’s no rush quite like being told to ‘f*** off’ whilst on national radio

John Robins hosting his BBC 5Live Radio show with Elis James
For two hours I found myself to be the most divisive figure on UK radio (Picture: John Robins)

One thing I have never sought to do in life is to divide opinion.

That’s not the same as seeking to please everyone, far from it – if you like me, great! Let’s go to that pub that has been haunting my dreams. If you don’t like me, great! More space for me and my new friend in that ethereal pub!

It’s the same with work. I couldn’t care a jot whether someone finds me funny or not. My job is to keep doing what I find funny or interesting in front of people who also find it funny or interesting.

Were I to try to create things that everyone found funny, I would fail to amuse a single one of them. And the absolute worst-case scenario for all involved, is when people who don’t find me funny turn up at my gigs.

It really is lose lose: on the rare occasions that someone in a crowd is talking, or distracting me, or on their phone, I’ll say, ‘It’s absolutely fine to leave you know! You seem like you’d be having more fun in the bar/watching TV/in a vat of acid. There are no hard feelings at all!’ And I mean it.

Leave the gig! Walk out of the cinema! Don’t go to the wedding! Life is too short to drink bad wine.

I was on somewhat unfamiliar territory then, when for two hours I found myself to be the most divisive figure on UK radio.

A few months ago, I and my friend Elis James were asked to join BBC 5Live, having gained the attention of BBC commissioners during our five years as presenters on commercial station Radio X.

The irony that the two DJs they’d brought in to shake things up are a 38 year old father of two, and a man who would happily describe pubs for a living if he could only find a willing patron, was not lost on us.

We’d gained a moderate, devoted and utterly lovely following at Radio X – but it is very different to the BBC.

The former is a wealth of light-hearted ribbing, competitions and music like Noel Gallagher or Liam Gallagher. In contrast, BBC 5Live is the home of the phone ins, renowned sports commentary and discussions on topics ranging from Brexit to things you’ve found in sofas, to provisions for autistic children in schools. We were humbled, delighted and terrified to be joining their ranks.

On Friday at 1pm the mics went live for our first show. As a man who genuinely gets his endorphins from sitting down, it’s not an exaggeration to say that I could actually taste adrenaline.

The irony that the two DJs they’d brought in to shake things up are a 38 year old father of two, and a man who would happily describe pubs for a living if he could only find a willing patron, was not lost on us.

And yet judging by the response from some of the listeners, you’d think a retired Colonel of the Dragoons had been made to watch The Word on a loop whilst listening to drill music in a meth lab.

Every single one of the negative messages we received dripped with Clarkson-esque disdain, anti-BBC rage and the hilarious misuse of emojis unique to the over 55s.

It was as if we’d gone round to the houses of 10,000 old white guys and attached giant penises to their roofs, running roughshod over planning law, ruining the aesthetic of the neighbourhood and no doubt blocked much needed light.

Though Elis observed that I’d ‘gone grey’, we weren’t overly concerned. We were well aware that it’s only the one per cent of the one per cent of the most bored and irascible people who would ever actually take the time to text abuse to a radio station but that didn’t take away from the balls-out thrill of repeatedly being told to f*ck off whilst trying to broadcast on national radio.

I’d like to think Elis and I create an inclusive, kind and progressive radio environment, touching on mental health, consent and gender with as non-toxic a form of masculinity as we can muster (even if we do mainly talk about Welsh Football, pubs and Brian May).

So to suddenly find ourselves as agitators, disrupters, les enfant terribles of terrestrial radio, was profoundly surreal.

At one point I did think ‘this is must be what it’s like to be a female or BAME broadcaster’ until I realised that no one had criticised me based on my gender or ethnicity. It is even possible to experience white male privilege when people are demanding you be sacked and calling you a c*nt.

To second guess ourselves or to try to please people we had never met would be a disaster.

I guess it’s slightly different with the BBC. People expect it not only to represent them personally (which it does) but to represent them personally all the time, in every story it reports, opinion it gives, interview it carries out and programme it creates (which it absolutely cannot).

If I watch a bad film on Netflix I don’t start screaming into the abyss about how Netflix has betrayed me, before calling for Netflix to be banned and everyone involved to be sacked. Nor do I cancel my subscription. I just line up something I do like.

That said I’m not legally required to pay for Netflix (not at all actually, if only there was a way for ex girlfriends to forget to change their passwords for the licence fee.)

One thing I have learned is that the most important thing you can do in times of doubt or crisis, is trust your instincts. This is not just sound advice for DJs and comedians. It applies to all manner of other things: writing, relationships, jobs, golf, moving house, gardening, interviews.

For whatever reason, the thing we had been doing instinctively for years on Radio X, had made the BBC want us to do that thing for them.

To second guess ourselves or to try to please people we had never met would be a disaster.

I learned the importance of this when I got my first ever really bad review. I’d had some humdingingly average ones, but at the time no stinkers. And my reaction surprised me. I didn’t wail and gnash my teeth, I didn’t start slagging off the reviewer to friends, online or in my head. I didn’t get hammered and cry terrible injustice.

I reminded myself that just as my instincts have given me every success, every good review, every punch-the-air moment, so they have given me every bad gig, every death, every misjudged joke and every critical mauling. You have to accept both.

So, if you ever feel like you’re not up to the task, take a moment to remember what got you there in the first place and back yourself. And if you like the sound of a show that’s ‘moronic’, ‘horrendous’, or even ‘two giggling, self-regarding, twerps spouting incomprehensible garbage’, we’d love to have you aboard.

Listen to John Robins and Elis James’ BBC Radio 5 Live show at bbc.co.uk/sounds.

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