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Lisa Dawson’s 8 ways to get your outside space garden-party ready



Picture: Summer is for food and fun in the garden with friends

You can feel it; the sun is setting later. The air feels warmer. The smell of fresh cut grass lingers in the air.

Yep, you got it – it’s almost that time of year to get outside and celebrate the weather. And nothing says summer like a good old fashioned garden party!

And while sprucing up your outdoors might FEEL like a mammoth task, sometimes all it takes is a little willpower (and a free Sunday).

We have teamed up with social media superstar and homes influencer Lisa Dawson to give you inspiration for creating an entertaining extravaganza at your home this summer (watch her full outside transformation video below!)

Whether you’re blessed with ample outdoor space or are working with a smaller area, these eight budget-friendly tips will help you transform your outdoor space into an extension of your home  – and get it ready for barbecues, lazy days and summer soirees…

VIDEO HERE*** Influencer Lisa Dawson shares her top tips for making your garden the place to party this summer

Picture: Candles, lanterns and fairy lights are essentials for creating a pretty yet cosy outdoor space

1) Light it up

Ain’t no party like a garden party! But when the sun goes down, you want to ensure that the fun keeps going.

Lighting is key for this element of entertaining outside. Not only will it shine a light on your outside space, but it will create much-needed ambiance for your evening.

Solar lighting is a great solution that can easily add to the atmosphere and is super simple to set up. Also, outdoor lanterns and candles can help you create a magical vibe on a more decorative level.

Why not try something like this Black Solar Powered LED Mini Lantern(£7 at B&Q)? Hang it on a hook if you have a balcony or a tree if you have them in your garden and brighten up your evening gatherings.

2) Cook up a storm

Plates with BBQ in the background
Picture: Prepare a grill-tastic feast for your guests this summer

Who can forget the all important BBQ?

The smell of sizzling goes hand-in-hand with summer and every good garden party should start with some delicious grub on the grill.

For something simple and stylish (and that can be easily moved around your outside space) try the Rockwell 210 charcoal BBQ (was £127, now £100 at B&Q).

Catering for up to eight people, you can serve up a feast of bangers and burgers or perhaps grill some fresh swordfish for a special evening for two.

Top tip for getting your grill fired up; wait until the charcoal goes completely white to ensure the best cooking temperature (it takes about 5-10 minutes for the coals to get to high heat and around 25-30 minutes to get to medium heat).

So get that fire (and party) started.

3) Take a seat

Picture: Combine comfort with practicality with a lounge-style outdoor dining area

Depending on what you envision for your outside space, you can create something very unique in no time. Have you been inspired by your recent travels? Are you in love with the iconic blues of Santorini or the exquisite style of Morocco? Well, bring them to your garden.

And picking your furniture can be an essential part of pulling off the look – and making an inviting space for relaxing in or an al fresco space is essential. Go for something like the Denia 4 Seater Coffee Set (£342 at B&Q). It’s stylish and it brings the indoors outside – perfect for hosting friends and family over a weekend – or just plonking yourself down at with a good book.

For more of an idea on what type of set up would work for your outside space, check out this handy B&Q guide to garden furniture.

4) Create a chill out zone

Bringing the inside outside is a major trend this year – so fill your chill zone with textured fabrics and cushions

Think of your outside area as another room or an extension of your home – and don’t be afraid to accessorise with an outdoor rug and some pillows to add an extra level of comfort.

This is a massive trend for 2019 – to accessorise with layers of textiles including throws in wool and cotton to create the feel of a lounge. These small additions can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your space, and can be easily folded away at the end of your gathering.

Warm neutrals are favourites for this summer, so try adding fashionable extras like Rural Mango Seat Cushions (£9 at B&Q), the Cocoon Tasseled Throw (£17 at B&Q), and the Blooma Birch and Sesame Twill Outdoor Rug (£18 at B&Q) to your brand new chill zone. 

5) Throw some shade


A cosy garden lounge space under a gazebo
Picture: Create a cosy space where you can shelter from the sun – and all the other elements!

While we try to make the most of the sun, it’s not a good idea to sit in it all day. Also, let’s be honest, our weather is a little unpredictable sometimes.

The solution? Throw some shade – literally. A shaded area is a perfect place for your guests to relax in the midday sun.

Pick a spot with a good view of your haven and consider a colourful sail to match your cushions, or even a gazebo so that your party doesn’t have to be rained off even if there’s a spot of the British drizzle.

6) Light that fire

Let’s face it, once the sun goes down, you quickly start remembering you’re in the UK! So, as the temperature drops, make sure you have something to keep your guests warm.

Chimeneas and firepits are a great way of continuing the party without catching a chill. Just imagine relaxing with your pals under the stars! Thankfully, they won’t break the bank either and depending on whether you fancy an old school design or something more modern, there’s something for you at B&Q.

Cardinal rule of chimeneas? Always ensure they are placed on a flat, fireproof surface like a patio.

7) Get some privacy

Divide up your outside space with B&Q's Neva Modular Fencing & Screening (pi
Divide up your outside space with B&Q’s Neva Modular Fencing & Screening (pictured above)

Sometimes it’s nice to have a little privacy. But no need to get a bricklayer in; you can create zones or an al fresco dining area with clever fencing or striking decorative panels.

B&Q’s Neva Fencing & Screening will look great and its chic yet simple style makes it amazingly versatile, so you can mix, match and build with it to your fancy. If you’re looking for more inspiration, click here.

Zoning your outside area is a great way to utilise it for entertaining; create a small area for dining, another for sitting and chatting and another for fun and frolics – like having your own built-in bar.

This Porak Wooden 2 Seater Bar (£220 at B&Q) is the perfect addition for the serious party host – and is a great talking and gathering point for your guests.

8) Flowers in bloom

Picture: Use herbs like lavender to create a treat for all the senses in your garden

Treat yourself to some beautiful flowers for your garden, whether you fancy an array of colours or scented flowers, you can choose low-maintenance plants to bring your treasured oasis to life.

Think about planting herbs, like low-maintenance lavender, rosemary and sage for a beautiful and aromatic environment.

This time of year is also good for bedding plants, and you can add florals to whatever sized space you have with planters, hanging baskets or decorative pots (B&Q have a huge range on offer online here).

For more advice on how to plant flowers, visit this amazingly detailed guide from B&Q.

Now, all you have to do now is get outside and party!

Outside oasis! How to get your space garden-party ready with Lisa Dawson

Lisa Dawson has amassed a huge following on social media thanks to her amazing home inspo posts. Here, the influencer reveals her must-dos for bossing garden-party season this year.

Get in the zone 

If you have the space, it’s great to have a separate seating and dining area but often this isn’t possible. If this is the case, go for a more solid dining set that has more of a lounger style seat. If you have a bigger garden, creating cosy corners with relaxed seating can work well. Making the most out of what you have is the most important thing.

Optimising smaller spaces

Think about what you will mostly be using the garden for and look for furniture which can be multi tasked for this purpose. Make the most of the indoor/outdoor concept – use floor cushions and beanbags perhaps for extra seating that can be used within your home as well as in your garden and therefore don’t need lots of storage space. Painting the space can also make a huge difference – try a fence paint to give the area an entirely different look.

Heat is cool this summer

Firepits and chimineas are super popular and add the warmth that we are often lacking in the evenings here in the UK. And bringing the inside out is a trend that will keep on giving; last year we set up an outdoor bar for the night. I’m sure we’ll be doing that this year too!

Set the scene for your soirees

Adorn your table with greenery from your own garden, bright tableware and pretty napkins; bring out lots of cushions and throws for when the night gets chilly. Bring out a small table or a tea trolley to transform into a cool outdoor bar and light the firepit for extra warmth. Light the BBQ, turn on the summer tunes and you’re all done.

For more amazing transformation advice, check out Lisa’s video for B&Q above…

You can now buy a genius shield to protect your makeup and lashes in the shower

Shwrshield protects your makeup and lashes in the shower
Ever realised you needed to shower… after you’ve already done your makeup? (Picture: Shwrshield)

Ever done some absolutely glorious makeup, then realised with great horror that you needed to have a shower?

Finally, you won’t have to abandon all your hard work in pursuit of a quick leg shave.

The Showrshield is a genius product that protects your face from water while you’re in the shower.

It’s not just ideal for the very specific scenario of doing your makeup before you get clean. The shield is also a gamechanger for anyone who has had eyelash extensions, microblading, or facial surgery – all of which mean you shouldn’t get water on your face.

If you’re washing your hair, you won’t experience that painful trickle of shampoo directly into your eyeballs.

The shwrshield protects your face from water
You can use it after getting lash extensions, microblading, or surgery (Picture: SHOWRSHIELD)

They don’t market it for this use, but we can also imagine the shield would be quite nice if you love the sound of rain hitting a window. Relaxing.

Another use they don’t mention, but that we think would be handy: protecting your cat-eye when it rains… as long as you’re not bothered about your hair getting wet.

It’s essentially a visor for your face, attaching with a velcro band you loop around your head, so it should fit you whatever your head size or shape.

And it can lay flat when you’re not using it, for easy stowing in your bathroom cupboard or suitcase.

Sheridan, the owner of Showrshield, says on the website: ‘I started this company after standing in the shower countless times using my hands as a makeshift shield in an attempt to protect my previously applied makeup (that took me a considerable amount of time and not to mention money to apply) from getting ruined.

SHOWRSHIELD lays flat in your suitcase which makes it great for travel
Genius, right? (Picture: SHOWRSHIELD)

‘After putting my ideas to the test Showrshield was created! It quickly became part of my beauty regime and saves me countless times when i’m in a rush or just want a shortcut in getting ready.

‘It soon became apparent that Showrshield is equally as effective for many other uses. It works great for the aftercare and maintenance of recent facial surgery, microblading, and eyelash extensions.

‘Taking care of your procedures postoperation is not only critical but also something that should be done with ease and worry free when healing.

‘Showrshield makes recovery a breeze allowing you to shower and feel refreshed no matter the severity of the procedure.’

Sounds splendid.

If you fancy buying your own, a Showrshield is $14.95 (£11.75). Hold tight while hotels start stashing these in every bathroom.

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Mixed Up: ‘I worry about unspoken discrimination. Have you judged me before I’ve even said a word?’


Being mixed-race is increasingly common, in fact, it is the fastest growing ethnic group in the UK.

Straddling two or more ethnic backgrounds can be brilliant and can provide a unique perspective on families, culture and the wider world.

But there are also conflicts that come with being mixed-race, harmful stereotypes to overcome, prejudicial attitudes to avoid.

Mixed Up is a weekly series that aims to get to the heart of what it means to be mixed-race today – beyond the clichés and the stigma, to the lived experiences beneath.

Marie Farmer is a mother and founder of a family nutrition app. She has Jamaican and Scottish heritage, but she doesn’t identify as either black or white. In fact, she hates being asked to choose.

Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie Morris
‘Most of my class called me an “Oreo” and bullied me mercilessly for years’ (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

‘There were only a handful of non-white children in my primary school, which did lead to certain issues in the playground,’ Marie tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Whenever we pretended to be the Spice Girls, I always had to be Scary because I was “brown” – even though I was clearly the best Posh.

‘When I was a bit older I remember reading the poem “Half-caste” by John Agard in a class.

‘I clearly didn’t understand the message as I was really pleased I had a name to identify myself with. I told my mum and she explained why it was a racist term, so I quickly switched to saying I was mixed.

‘That was the first time it occurred to me that being mixed could be controversial. I don’t remember anyone before that pointing out that I was different and that it was a bad thing.’

Marie as a child with her school friends
Marie with her school friends (Picture: Marie Farmer)

Marie’s experience of being mixed-race was drastically different depending on where she was. A move across the Atlantic changed everything.

‘I moved to New York with my mother, sisters and brother in 1999, which was a complete culture shock,’ she says.

‘For the first time in my life, I was at a school where there were no white children – I no longer stuck out in the crowd due to my skin colour.

‘I did still manage to be different though, my English accent meant I was immediately labelled a snob who wanted to be white. Most of my class called me an “Oreo” and bullied me mercilessly for years.

‘Americans just didn’t accept “mixed” as a form of identification and just saw it as my way of pretending I wasn’t black.’

Marie’s parental heritage is complicated, and not entirely clear. A DNA test showed up a couple of surprising results, but it is the personal relationships that are important to Marie, not the ethnic lineage.

‘My mother’s side of the family is black Caribbean. Her parents moved to Birmingham from Jamaica in the 1950s. There was a family rumour for years that we had Chinese heritage somewhere, but 23andme disagreed.

‘When I got the results they were surprising. Apparently, I’m 2% Native American.

‘My Jamaican grandparents were hugely influential in raising me – especially my grandma. Even though so many things have changed about her family over the years, she’s so incredibly caring, I’m not sure what I would do without her.

Marie with her grandma
Marie’s grandma played a huge part in her upbringing (Picture: Marie Farmer)

‘My father’s mother is white, from Scotland – the only thing he knows about his dad is that he was black. His white grandmother raised him alone, he’s not sure what happened to his mum or dad, and no one ever talks about it.

‘So I guess that makes me three-quarters black and a quarter white, but I’ve just always considered myself mixed.’

Marie has always been clear on how she identifies and who she is – but she has often come up against people who have confused or problematic ideas about race. She says it took her a long time to disassociate herself from these negative influences.

‘I have always been fiercely proud of being mixed and wear it like a badge of honour, it makes me feel special. But then, I’ve always liked being the odd one out – it’s a comfortable default position for me,’ explains Marie.

‘The most problematic comments have been from people who I considered friends.

‘I’ve heard; “you know some drug dealers right?”

‘”You don’t sound black.”

‘”You’re not really black, you’re too smart.”

‘”You act so white, but it’s nice to know I can say I have a black friend.”

“Can I touch your hair?” Then after touching it, “wow it’s so soft I assumed it would feel like a sheep’s wool but it feels just like normal hair.”

‘At the time I didn’t register how offensive these things were. I’m ashamed to say I never once told anyone I didn’t like what they were saying.

‘Looking back, I’m shocked by what I let people say. I don’t allow myself to be surrounded by those kinds of people anymore.’

Marie with mum and dad
Baby Marie seen here with her parents on the right of the picture (Picture: Marie Farmer)

But there is only so much Marie can do to protect herself from hostility and prejudicial attitudes. They are pervasive and often unconscious. Marie says that these days, she is hyper aware of how she is perceived.

‘I wonder a lot about unspoken discrimination, it’s something I constantly worry about when meeting new people – have they judged me on the colour of my skin before I’ve even said a word?’ asks Marie.

‘I remember meeting an ex-boyfriend’s family for the first time. They hadn’t been told I was mixed and were visibly shocked when they saw me.

‘I was dumped the next day – which I assume was not because I accidentally broke their shower curtain.’

One of Marie’s biggest bugbears is society’s need to place people in a singular box. It’s something she actively fights against and she is more than happy to sit comfortably in the inbetween space between categories.

‘I have never identified as either black or white. I refuse to do so and get very annoyed if someone tries to push me to choose,’ Marie tells us.

‘My connection to my Jamaican side comes from my family, rather than the place itself.

‘I visited once when I was eight and it was a very unpleasant experience. It was unbearably hot – I was chased by goats, feasted on by mosquitoes, jumped on by a lizard and told not to speak in public in case anyone heard my accent.

‘It’s safe to say I feel a lot more comfortable sipping whiskey on a wind-swept moor – which I must get from my Scottish side.’

Marie as a toddler
‘In Jamaica I was told not to speak in public in case anyone heard my accent’ (Picture: Marie Farmer)

Marie is well aware of the simplistic and enduring concept that mixed-race people are some kind of hope for a utopian future. While she values being mixed-race, she worries that this belief undermines the reality of being a minority, mixed or otherwise.

‘I have heard a lot of compliments in my life about how being mixed is so cool, interesting and sexy – like we’re this magical exotic race of the future,’ says Marie.

‘In reality, being mixed has historically been incredibly difficult and isolating, and although I don’t feel that is the case as much now, I do think society has to be careful not to reduce or fetishise us.

‘I think the image that pops up when people think of mixed people is of a person who is evenly split between black and white, with wavy light brown hair, honey-coloured skin and green or blue eyes, but people of mixed heritage have such a spectrum of looks and experiences.

‘I think it’s important to be clear that we are not just a trendy look – but a group of diverse and complex people.

‘We certainly see a lot more mixed people in advertising, film and TV than when I was a child, so that is positive.

‘Unfortunately, I feel sometimes we’re used as a way of achieving diversity without making the audience feel too uncomfortable.

‘There is not enough depth or investigation of our personal perspectives  – which is why this series of articles is so important, it’s actually getting to know the human beings behind the categorisation.’

Marie with her husband and son
Marie’s son August knows that daddy is ‘pink’ and mummy is ‘brown’ (Picture: Marie)

Marie’s husband is white and their young son August is visibly racially ambiguous.

August is too young to form strong opinions on his own racial identity, but Marie’s focus is to ensure that he feels happy and secure with who he is.

‘Both my husband and I want to make sure he is comfortable with being mixed,’ she explains.

‘A stranger once told my husband that August had a “lovely tan” – so he may come across issues of misidentification or incorrect assumptions being made about him.

‘I think living in London is a huge benefit as he is around people from all backgrounds, so he is bound to find people in a similar situation to him.

‘At the moment, if you ask him what colour mummy is, he says “brown”, for daddy he says “pink” and for himself, he says “brown”, “green”, “blue” or sometimes “bottom”.’

MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I was spat at in the playground – these days racism is more subtle’

MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I spent a large part of my life wishing I was just one race’

MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I’m proud of the complexity of who I am and where I’m from’

I spent an evening spooning strangers in a circle – here’s what happened

A group of people lying on the floor in a circle, spooning each other, with fairly lights in the background
‘This was it, I thought. I was finally going to have a deep and meaningful connection with a stranger through nothing but touch’ (Picture: House of Togetherness)

I had planned on spending the evening on the sofa with a hefty glass of wine, frantically refreshing Twitter to see what fresh hell the Tory leadership contest has in store for us.

I was surprised to find myself stone cold sober at 8.15pm, lying on a padded floor in a fairy light-strewn room in central London, silently hugging a woman I’d met an hour earlier.

Lying behind me was a man whose name I’d completely forgotten, and who had his arms wrapped around my torso.

No, I hadn’t stumbled upon an unexpected threesome – I was at a mass spooning event.

Because in the midst of a seemingly endless news cycle of hatred, schadenfreude and unparalleled divisiveness, the idea of hugging a bunch of strangers felt oddly appealing.

I’m not sure what I was expecting: a sense of connection to my community perhaps, in a city which feels designed for self-insulation, a nice distraction from the day-to-day monotony or maybe just a short-cut to a serotonin rush which doesn’t require a spin class or a next-day comedown.

It didn’t go exactly as planned.

When I arrived at the House Of Togetherness, I was pointed to a room where the event would take place.

There were around 18 people, most in their late 20s or 30s, with an almost even split between men and women.

We were encouraged to share our reasons for being there and our feelings thus far.

People were shockingly honest – they talked about recent breakups and the craving for human touch, about mental health struggles and loneliness.

Others just felt a bit ‘meh’ about the whole thing, which was a relief.

Three people sat on yellow and red cushions in a dimly lit room with pink flooring
‘It’s perhaps problematic that I didn’t consider the possibility that consent could be an important part of an event based around touching strangers’ (Picture: Sirena Bergman)

I was in my element: listening to strangers tell their stories is one of my favourite pastimes.

I’m the person who will chat to people at the pub and end up at their friend’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s house party until 3am. Talking is my thing.

When we were told to stand up, walk around, make eye contact and shake each other’s hands, I felt pretty confident in my ability to get something out of the evening.

So when a man with kind eyes and an open smile asked if he could hug me after our handshake I responded instinctively and enthusiastically: ‘Sure!’.

It was only a few minutes later, when our facilitator Adam began to talk about the importance of active and cognisant consent in all human touch that it even occurred to me to question whether I had wanted to be hugged or not.

It’s perhaps problematic that I didn’t consider the possibility that consent could be an important part of an event based around touching strangers.

As soon as it did though, touch seemed to take on an almost sinister quality.

To me, the unspoken implication hung heavily in the air: that people – especially women – so often find themselves on the receiving end of unwanted physical touch that it becomes hard for some of us to differentiate what we want from what we think we should say yes to.

‘We were told to walk around the room and ask people if they wanted to be spooned’ (Picture: Sirena Bergman)
Several people lying in a circle, spooning each other
‘Curiously, the spooning itself was much less fraught – it felt somewhat bizarre, as you might imagine, but inexplicably natural and sweet’ (Picture: House of Togetherness)

We were told to walk around the room and ask people if they wanted to be spooned.

Everyone had to say ‘no’, while the rejected party had to say thank you and walk away.

I felt so guilty that I completely disconnected, treating the ‘no’ as a script – like a language exercise where you have to repeat the same phrase over and over again.

Eventually, the sound loses all meaning, but the repetition makes saying no less horrifying.

Curiously, the spooning itself was much less fraught – it felt somewhat bizarre, as you might imagine, but inexplicably natural and sweet.

It didn’t take long for my type A weirdness to kick in though.

With all our toes touching in the centre of the circle, I became increasingly paranoid that I would inadvertently move a foot and kill someone’s zen.

I worried that a deep breath would disrupt the sweet man behind me whose arm would inevitably need to be readjusted (I breathe really heavily, apparently).

I have no idea how long the collective spooning went on for – perhaps 10 minutes, perhaps 40. It’s not exactly a context conducive to keeping track of time.

Afterwards, we were encouraged to share our feelings around the experience.

One man, looking relaxed and peaceful, eagerly told us about how he’d entered an almost meditative state.

‘HOW?!,’ I wanted to shout.

I’d been trying to counteract my boredom by planning out my week in my head, wishing I could whip out my phone to note down my thoughts in the moment.

Writing a mental food prep shopping list and pondering how much kale I can endure before I cave and make pasta is, I’m pretty sure, the opposite of what most people mean by ‘meditative’.

Then the woman I had been hugging tentatively put up her hand.

She was about my age, softly spoken, eloquent and open. She shared that during the spooning she felt emotional and teary, because it reminded her of her mother, whom she used to cuddle with in a similar way.

Her mother lived in a different country and she really missed her, she said.

My mother lives abroad as well. I, too, miss her a lot of the time.

This was it, I thought. I was finally going to have a deep and meaningful connection with a stranger through nothing but touch.

I smiled encouragingly and waited for the feeling to wash over me. It didn’t come.

All I felt was glad I’d decided against moving my toes, and a deeply inappropriate sense of achievement; if my spoonee actually cried, I must be the best spooner in the room, right?

Bizarre ego boost aside, I can’t imagine myself going back for more spooning events.

It has become clear that hugs just aren’t the way I prefer to interact with strangers.

There is however something deeply soothing about seeing that many people come together for the common purpose of making each other feel a bit better.

If you’re looking for something to remind you that there is kindness and togetherness in the world, I can’t recommend it enough.

As I headed home in the pouring summer rain, I pondered whether I felt more connected to the world.

The truth is, it’s hard to tell – but I didn’t check the news once on the bus ride home, and when I got in the front door and my significant other came over for a hug, I stepped back.

‘No,’ I said, for possibly the first time in my life.

‘I don’t think I fancy a hug right now, but thank you!’

I guess I did discover a new connection after all, but it was one I never knew was missing – with myself.

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A small island in Menai Bridge, Wales, is being sold for a mere £1million

Panoramic image of island on sale
Buyers hoping to escape the rat race are being offered the chance to own 2.5 acres of the picturesque tidal island (Picture: Wales news service)

House prices in thriving cities might make us cringe but clearly we’re looking in the wrong places.

Why consider London or Oxford when you could be looking at a whole island in Wales for the same sort of price?

An island in Menai Bridge, north Wales, is now on the property market and it’s giving buyers the chance to own their own paradise, complete with a private beach, a secluded garden area, and panoramic views of the Menai Strait.

And it could be yours for just £1million.

While that might barely get you a decent sized house in the capital, the same price tag could get you a small tidal island.

Named Ynys Faelog, it is close to the Menai Suspension Bridge and can be accessed by car through a tidal causeway.

If you don’t fancy a drive, there is also a walkway leading to the Menai Bridge town centre minutes away where you can access independent retailers, coffee shops and restaurants.

Panoramic image of island
The two-store property on the right could be yours (Picture: Wales news service)

The property has been brought to the market by Williams & Goodwin estate agent and commercial agent Avison Young on behalf of Bangor University.

Ynys Faelog island is split in two, the other half owned by another owner who has a cottage and boathouse on the opposite side of the island.

The main building, approximately 3,800 square feet and standing in around 2.5 acres of grounds, was used for educational purposes up until recently.

It’s made up of beach headland and waterfrontage, slipways, woodlands and landscaped areas and provides scope to develop into what what the agents describe as ‘a once in a lifetime residence’.

Tom Merrifield, Director at the Avison Young Welsh Office said: ‘This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

‘Whoever buys this slice of paradise could build their dream home on the island, subject to planning, or simply use it as a retreat to nature.

‘The island oozes tranquillity and would make the ideal inspirational getaway, for someone who wants to enjoy exceptional views with their own woodland and beach.’

Doesn’t it sound like a dream?

You can contact Williams and Goodwin or Avison Young for further information.

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Please don’t use papaya or any of these other home remedies as contraception

Some of the fruit and herbs on the home remedy list
Some of the ‘home remedies’ are interesting (Picture: Getty)

Please don’t give up birth control in favour of using fruit, vegetables and herbs.

We shouldn’t have to say it but a tweet offering a list of ‘home remedies’ to use as contraception has gone viral, with over 12,000 likes.

Most of the remedies are not effective at preventing you getting pregnant and some of them are even toxic.

Botanist James Wong tweeted: ‘As a botanist I can tell you this tweet with 1000s of shares could result in the deaths of women. It needs taking down, fast.’

One particular piece of advice that was particularly worrying was using the plant pennroyal, as if you eat or drink it in high quantities, it could make you seriously ill.

The graphic says ‘Pennroyal promotes menstrual flow and helps initiate self-abortion. Often it is prescribed with other herbs to prevent pregnancy. Boil 8 ounces of distilled or spring water.’

In reality, too much pennroyal can cause liver damage, seizures and even death.

Other recommendations include papaya, figs and ginger.

It says: ‘Papaya is an effective birth control remedy. You can eat papaya twice a day for 3-4 days after having an unsafe intercourse. It will help prevent pregnancy. Also, the seeds of papaya reduce the sperm count in males.’

For figs, it adds: ‘It is one of the best conception control methods. Eat 2-3 dried pieces of figs after having unsafe intercourse. It prevents pregnancy and treats many other irregularities in the body.’

‘Ginger promotes menstrual flow. Drink 2 cups of strong ginger tea every day to defer pregnancy.’

The list also suggests injecting neem oil, from the neem tree, into the ‘uterine horns’. We have no idea how you’re expected to do that but it’s probably not a great idea to start trying to inject anything that hasn’t been recommended by a health professional inside your own body.

Many of the others on the list can cause side effects like vomiting or irritation if you take too much.

A screenshot of the image posted on Twitter showing the various home remedies
The advice is not recommended by doctors (Picture: Home Remedy Hacks)
The graphic that was posted on Twitter showing some of the home remedies for birth control
The graphic that was posted on Twitter (Picture: Home Remedy Hacks)

Bethany Fawcett, contraceptive and sexual health nurse for young people’s sexual health and wellbeing charity Brook, says: ‘Herbs and fruits should never be used as methods of contraception and some listed in this tweet can even be toxic and dangerous.

‘We encourage anyone looking for information and advice about contraception to access accurate and reliable sources provided by healthcare professionals such as brook.org.uk or the NHS website.’

Bethany added that there are many different types of contraception available and it is best to speak to your GP if you don’t like the current method you are using, rather than turning to the internet.

‘There are 15 methods of contraception available, and what works best for you will depend on your body and your preferences.

‘For those who do not want to use hormonal contraception, options include barrier methods such as condoms and internal condoms, diaphragms and caps, as well as the IUD (also known as the coil).

‘The IUD is a method of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) and is one of the most effective methods available. It is also the most effective type of emergency contraception.

‘It is important to remember that condoms are the only method of contraception to protect against sexually transmitted infections as well as unwanted pregnancy.’

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You can now dress your dog up like a mermaid in a glittering life jacket

Compilation of a dog wearing a mermaid-shaped life jacket, and then three dogs swimming in the same kind of jacket in a pool
You go, Ariel (Picture: Albabara)

Is your pooch a nervous swimmer?

You can now get him or her a nifty life jacket, designed specifically for dogs.

What’s more, it will transform your furry friend into a beautiful, glittering mermaid.

The adorable outfit has a scale-like design, as well as a little fin at the back, turning your pooch into a real life Ariel.

Choose from four different sizes – small, medium, large and extra large – and three colours, including bright pink, ocean blue or luscious green.

The mermaid jacket also features adjustable buckets and a strap at the top so you can help your dog along – or lift them out of the water, if needed.

A small neck pad is also visible at the front to help hold your dog’s head up.

‘Looks sooo pretty on my Shiba puppy and super sparkly under the sun!,’ one buyer wrote in a review.

‘It helped her learn how to swim on her first kayaking/paddle boarding trip.

‘Love how it doubles as a harness as well.’

The product, sold by Albabara on Amazon Prime, is made from PVC rubber and prices start from £18.

So utterly adorable.

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Sitting down all day can cause ‘sloppy bottom’ (and it can affect your weight and health)

7126823 PT who said we all have sloppy bottom? Credit Instagram/Belinda Norton
Belinda has written on her blog about the dangers of sitting down for too long (Picture: Belinda Norton / Instagram)

A personal trainer has said that sitting down for long periods can cause your bum muscles to stop working effectively – which she says can cause serious health implications.

Belinda Norton, from the Gold Coast, says that ‘sloppy bottom’ happens when you’re sitting down all day because your glute muscles aren’t activating.

She says this can also have an effect on your overall posture, weight and health.

Even if you’re active, go to the gym and walk as part of your commute – Belinda says that isn’t enough to offset the damaging effects of sitting down for hours at a time.

Writing on her blog, Belinda said: ‘The Gluteal muscle (butt muscle) is most important of all the skeletal muscles in your body.

‘When you sit for long periods of time, your hip flexors tighten up and prevent activation of the glutes.

‘Your pelvis can’t rotate forward, causing compression in the lower back which can lead to back pain.’

7126823 PT who said we all have sloppy bottom? Credit Instagram/Belinda Norton
She says weak glutes can effect your pelvis, knees and even ankles (Picture: Belinda Norton / Instagram)

She added that sitting reduces the activity of the nerves that ‘are involved in stimulating and contracting the muscles.

‘This is very significant and detrimental to the healthy functioning of the glutes.

‘Health practitioners are finding a marked correlation between the lack of strength in this glute area and chronic pain in the lower back, hips, knees or ankles.’

So what does Belinda suggest to deal with this problem? For the many people with office jobs, the reality is that sitting at your desk for large portions of the day is unavoidable.

She says that when you do make it to the gym, it’s important to focus on your butt.

‘You want to incorporate specific strength training exercises that isolate and target your glutes,’ she explains.

7126823 PT who said we all have sloppy bottom? Credit Instagram/Belinda Norton
Now Belinda is encouraging people to strengthen their bum muscles with specific moves (Picture: Belinda Norton / Instagram)

‘There are many simple exercises that will create strong glutes without requiring you to spend hours at the gym.

‘Exercises like the clamshell, the glute bridge, deadlifts, deep squats, lunges and step-ups will help activate those glutes.

‘It’s always best though to see your local chiropractor or health practitioner as they can assess you properly and provide you with the necessary exercises.’

You might not think it, but your bum muscles are integral to the strength and stability of your entire body.

‘Weak glutes can’t stabilise your pelvis, which causes it to tilt forward. This puts pressure on your lower spine,’ explains Belinda.

‘As a result, the lower back can be injured if it is forced to do the hip-extending job of the glutes.

‘The ankles can be strained if misused due to improper alignment caused by inactive glutes.’

So weak bum muscles, or a ‘sloppy bottom’, can open up a whole world of potential niggles and injuries. Luckily, if you follow Belinda’s advice, there are plenty of ways you can work to improve and strengthen your glutes.

Just try not to get stuck sitting down for the entire day – get up and move when you can. Your butt will thank you.

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Mum mortified after accidentally sending carpet fitters a picture of her sunburned bottom

Danie was left feeling pretty embarrassed after sending a company a photo of her bottom
Danie was left feeling pretty embarrassed after sending a company a photo of her bottom (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

We do love an accidental text gone wrong.

Especially if it involves a mum and her bum.

Such is the case of Danie Cain, who has won the hearts of the internet after accidentally sending a photo of her bare bottom to carpet fitters.

The mum had been on the sunbed and burned her bum, so decided to take a picture of the damage to send to the man she’s seeing.

Instead she ended up sending it to Carpets At Home, a carpet and flooring shop she had been asking about prices.

She quickly apologised, writing: ‘omg omg omg wtf’. We relate.

Thankfully the company’s social media manager has said the photo will be hidden from ‘the lads’. They also recommended getting underlay on the flooring.

Danie is still deciding whether she can overcome the shame and get her floors done. We’d suggest she does – but she should ask for a cheeky discount.

Danielle accidentally sent a photo of her bare bottom to the carpet and flooring company
The exchange has gone viral on Facebook (Picture: Kennedy News and Media

She shared the exchange on Facebook, writing: ‘I’ve messaged a company for a price for a carpet on my stairs and landing, he’s asked me to send pics. I’m absolutely mortified. Make sure u check what u click.’

The conversation shows Danie asking whether the price for the stairs and landing would include underlay and grips, followed by the brand asking for a picture of the stairs.

Danie sent what was asked for… plus a photo of her burned bottom.

She immediately wrote: ‘Omg, omg omg wtf I’m so sorry I didn’t mean click on that last pic Iv burned my arse on the sunbed ffs I’m so sorry. I’m dying.’

A mortified mum has gone viral after accidentally sending a saucy snap of her sunburn scorched BARE BUM to carpet fitters when requesting a quote.
Here’s the pic she accidentally sent (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

Carpets At Home replied: ‘Don’t worry about it. Luckily I’m a girl so I can make sure the lads don’t see the pictures. Based on the picture for our budget carpet including underlay and fitting would be from £160 this includes gripper or without underlay would be more around £125.’

Danie ran into her eldest son’s room and asked for his help with the embarrassing mishap, then called the intended recipient of the photo to blame him – but he just laughed.

Danie said: ‘I had been on the sunbeds and burned my bum.

‘I’ve been kind of speaking to this lad and I was telling him about it and he said “oh my god send me a picture” so I did – that’s why it was on my camera roll then.

‘When I was asked to send a picture of my halls, stairs and landing I’ve clicked that as well.

‘I realised instantly that I’d sent that picture when they all came up on my screen.

‘I looked and messaged them “oh my god, I didn’t mean to send that I’m so so sorry, I’ve burned my bum on a sunbed”.

‘What makes it worse is those pictures that I sent in was of my stairs and landing before I decorated and it looks so scruffy on the pictures.

‘It’s all over the internet now and everybody’s going to be thinking “what a scrubber”.

‘I don’t know now if I could use the company now because they’ve all seen my bum.’

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Two women lock eyes on a train, later connect on Instagram and fall in love

Picture of Emma and Lydia, two women who locked eyes on a train, later connected on Instagram, and then fall in love
Emma (left) and Lydia, from Dublin, made eyes at each on a train one night (Picture: @KingFurey)

If you’re on a train, it’s impossible not to notice good looking people.

When commuters Lydia and Emma from Dublin locked eyes, they smiled sweetly at each other before Emma got off.

Feeling a connection with the stranger, Lydia lamented not chatting to the ‘beautiful blonde’ but luckily for her, Emma found her on Instagram and the pair connected.

At the time, Emma was engaged to a man which meant the duo could only stay friends.

But pretty soon, they couldn’t deny their chemistry and decided to get together. Now Lydia, originally from Kildare, Ireland, and Emma have moved in together and are ‘madly in love’.

Lydia told Metro.co.uk the story of how they came to be.

Picture of Emma and Lydia the first night they met
The night they first met (Picture: @KingFurey)

‘I was on a train to my best friend’s house, sitting on the carriage floor, slightly more tipsy than I’d care to admit,’ explained Lydia.

‘There was this beautiful blonde on my carriage, she’d caught my eye from the moment I sat down.

‘When she was getting off at her stop, I caught her look at me and smile, turned to my mate and was like “maaaaan did you see that? She definitely just gave me the look”.

‘Smug grin on my face, we continued our train journey. The next day I checked my phone and she had messaged me on Instagram.’

A direct message from Emma asking Lydia if she was the one she had met on the train
It all started with a DM (Picture: @KingFurey)

It turns out that the couple were already following each other on Twitter and Instagram, and this was the first time Emma had ever slid into someone’s DMs.

Lydia said: ‘Was it fate?’ I realised she was the girl who commented on one of my Instagram posts a few weeks before and I was delighted.’

They exchanged numbers and began chatting on Whatsapp, agreeing to meet up.

During their first date, though, Emma revealed that she was in a relationship with a man.

‘When she told me that face to face my heart broke,’ said Lydia.

‘We spent the whole day and night together until she had to catch her last train home. We went to a museum, got food and drinks, went on a walk. I thought I didn’t have a chance due to her fiancé but turns out I was wrong.’

Picture of Emma and Lydia outside
Emma soon left her fiance to be with Lydia (Picture: @KingFurey)

‘After our not so date that was definitely a date, she wouldn’t reply to me for two days and that upset me a bit. I didn’t know if I’d completely messed it up or what was going on. Proper ghosted.

‘In reality, she wasn’t replying because she knew she had caught feelings and didn’t know what to do.

‘We continued to spend time together as friends but deep down we both knew we loved each other.

Emma and Lydia in a close embrace, picture of a polaroid
The couple now live together (Picture: @KingFurey)

‘Emma will even admit that when she first met me she knew she wanted to be with me forever. Our relationship blossomed and shortly after we decided to become partners.’

Shortly after getting together, Lydia moved into Emma’s apartment.

‘We’ve had our ups and downs, worked through them all, even spent some time apart for a minute,’ said Lydia. ‘Right now we’re out for dinner and sharing some wings, madly in love and completely content.’

See, smiling at hot strangers does sometimes work out.

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McDonald’s extends breakfast hours until 11am in UK trial

McDonald's will extend breakfast hours until 11am
The day we have all been waiting for has finally arrived (Picture: Getty)

We have all been there – rushing to grab a McDonald’s breakfast before it finishes only to discover on arrival that they have switched to the lunch menu.

It’s a very sad moment. So much so, that the fast food chain has decided to trial extending their breakfast menu beyond 10.30am from today.

If the pilot is successful and people are queuing up for their beloved McMuffins beyond the usual cut-ff time, McDonald’s said it will officially extend breakfast hours for the whole nation until 11am, reported the news site.

The trial is set to run until June 24 and it is the first time in the chain’s 25-year history that the hours have been changed.

Currently the iconic menu starts at 5am and ends at 10.30am but the fast food giant has long been facing growing pressure from customers to make McMuffins available until late morning.

McDonald's Egg McMuffin and hash browns are displayed at a McDonald's restaurant
It is worth rushing to your local Maccies in pyjamas for a McMuffin (Picture: Getty)

Unfortunately the trial won’t be running at every restaurant in the country, instead only seven will be running the breakfast menu until 11am, according to Mirror Online.

But it’s good news for McDonald’s lovers in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, as numerous restaurants in the area have been chosen to run the six-week trial.

The chosen restaurants in Portsmouth include Commercial Road, Cosham, Ocean Retail Park, Fratton Park, and North Harbour.

Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight’s restaurants in Ryde and Newport will be the lucky ones.

McDonald’s franchisee Grant Copper, who owns and operates the restaurants trialling extended breakfast service in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, said: ‘I’m thrilled to be bringing this service to my customers, and look forward to hearing their feedback.’

Got a story for Metro.co.uk?

If you have a story for our news team, email us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Woman left looking ‘like Lazytown’s Robbie Rotten’ after eyebrow tint goes wrong

Caron's Lazytown brows
Caron was left with brows which looked like a character from Lazytown (Picture: Jam Press)

It’s a nice treat to go and get your brows done – it beats painfully plucking them at home.

But one woman was left with brows that weren’t quite to her liking after going to get hers tinted.

21-year-old Caron MacLeod, a student from Glasgow, went to get her eyebrows tinted and waxed – but she ended up with brows that looked like they belonged to Lazytown’s Robbie Rotten.

Caron posted a photo of her new brows to Twitter with the caption: ‘Correct me if am wrong but i think the c*** who done ma brows was blind [sic]’.

Instead of looking well groomed and perfectly fitting for her face, Caron was left with big black blocks above her eyes.

And Twitter didn’t go easy on her.

Caron MacLeod's eyebrow
Caron was less than happy with her brows (Picture: Jam Press)
Caron's brows after she fixed them
She managed to sort them herself in the end (Picture: Jam Press)

After sharing the photo, people started tweeting her to mock the brow technician – and also to share their own eyebrow mishaps.

One person said: ‘She musta just been a fan of lazy town’ while @Grapan007 also drew the comparison.

Another wrote: ‘I feel your pain sister’ with her own overdone brow pic.

Caron did not want to name and shame the specialist, who did offer to fix the treatment, however she decide to tone them down herself and shared a much tamer brow shot of her eyebrows after a bit of scrubbing.

This blunder has definitely reminded us to take in a picture of what we hope our brows to look like next time we go to get our brows done.

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Woman who lost both parents, sister and best friend says music helps her cope with grief

Joanne with her mum
Joanne lost her mum to cancer in 2015 (Picture: Joanne Arrowsmith)

A woman who lost both parents, her sister and then her best friend in quick succession, has spoken about her struggle to cope with the grief.

Joanne Arrowsmith says that the weight of multiple bereavements left her feeling anxious, depressed and empty.

Joanne’s parents died of cancer and then within a few years her sister died suddenly. The day after her sister’s funeral her best friend died unexpectedly.

The pain was almost too much to bear, but now she is finding the strength to live again – through her music.

The musician has written a song in honour of those she lost, and says that knowing she would be making them proud is what keeps her going.

‘I have suffered a lot of loss in a short space of time,’ Joanne tells Metro.co.uk.

‘I lost my dad to cancer, then two years later my Mum also died of cancer.

‘My sister then died suddenly and the day after her funeral, my best friend Libby died.

‘Libby was only 36. She had a chest infection, which led to sepsis and tragically it was not picked up by the hospital. She died less than 24 hours after being admitted.

‘Libby’s death hit me so hard and continues to do so. I never really knew what the term “rock bottom” meant until I was in it. Having to survive the loss of the people I thought I couldn’t live without – the pain, the emptiness, the numbness, the shock.’

Joanne with her best friend Libby
Joanne’s best friend died the after her sister’s funeral (Picture: Joanne Arrowsmith)

It was the frequency of the tragedies that really destabilised Joanne. There was never time to process a loss before a fresh wave of grief hit.

‘I was still trying to grieve for one of my loved ones when another would die,’ says Joanne.

‘I started to have dark thoughts. I started to think I didn’t want to live. I just wanted to be with them all, wherever they all were.’

Despite her inner turmoil, Joanne pushed on – she kept singing and performing – but nobody realised how she was really feeling.

‘People kept telling me how strong I was,’ she says.

‘They would see my smile, see me up on stage singing and entertaining people but the truth was, I felt like I was dying inside.

‘I think I hid my pain well. Nobody would have seen me in the breaks crying in the toilet, wiping my tears before I had to put that smile back on and get on stage. They wouldn’t have seen me lying on the living room floor sobbing the night before.’

The psychological effects of grief can be incredibly intense. For Joanne it was a deeper feeling than sadness, it made her question everything about herself.

‘My self-confidence was shot to bits.

Joanne Arrowsmith head shot
Even in the depths of her grief, Joanne was still singing and performing (Picture: Joanne Arrowsmith)

‘I felt like I wasn’t enough. I thought people were laughing at me. At one stage, I was checking in the night that my dog was still breathing. I was terrified of who I was going to lose next.

The turning point for Joanne came after a friend gave her some kind words. She might not have know it at the time, but it was exactly what she needed to hear.

‘One day when someone told me I was strong they also said, “they would all be so proud of you”,  the statement really struck a chord.

‘Something was keeping me together, although to this day I am still not sure what. I still went to work, I even built up my own little dog walking business after I was made redundant, which happened around the same time.

‘I travelled around the country performing – even when getting out of bed was difficult.

‘I came to the realisation that I think my loved ones would be proud of me and when I realised this, I had an even stronger urge to continue to make them proud.

‘I had to live my life for them and in honour of them. I had to live out some of the plans I had made with my best friend, my soul mate – plans we had made just three weeks before she died.’

This revelation changed everything for Joanne and kicked off the process of bringing her back to herself – but it hasn’t been an easy journey.

‘This past year I have been on a journey of self re-discovery,’ Joanne tells us.

‘Grief does change you – you’ll never be that same person you were before the pain took hold of your being – but, little by little, you can try to find those lost parts and put them back together.

‘There’ll still be big cracks and it’s an ongoing process but I’ve been trying to find new ways to live.

‘I have discovered mindfulness, meditation, being kind to myself and self care.

‘I keep a gratitude journal and write in it daily to celebrate the things that I do still have in my life. I read daily affirmations, feed the birds every morning, I grow and care for my plants.

‘My singing and performances were so important to the people I lost.

‘My mum, dad and Libby would be at every gig they could and their support over the years was wonderful.

‘I was so used to seeing their faces smiling back at me. As I am gradually rising from the dark place I was in, the song that I wrote, called ‘Proud’, encapsulates what they mean to me.

‘They loved to watch me sing, so to write a song in memory of them is very special to me.’

Joanne’s single is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music. Joanne’s hope is that her story and her music will help other people who are struggling with grief.

Need support? Contact the Samaritans

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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This couple had a traditional viking wedding complete with blood offering

Dorian and Charlee on their wedding day (PA REAL LIFE/ Joshua Butler)
Dorian and Charlee on their wedding day (Picture: PA Real Life/ Joshua Butler)

Instead of a traditional white dress and a wedding cake, Dorian Yuste, 43, and his partner Charlie, 34, had a three day Viking wedding, complete with blood offerings and a hog roast.

On 18 May 2019, they exchanged vows in a ceremony conducted by a painted pagan priest at their home in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Dorian: ‘We tried to make our service as true to a proper Viking marriage ceremony as possible – going back 1,000 years in time.

‘There was a magic to it that we never would have got from a normal Christian wedding.’

Dorian wrote an apostasy letter – or formal renouncement of his faith – to the Pope in 2017 when he embraced paganism.

He explained: ‘As a young man, my grandmother had wanted me to enter a seminary to become a Catholic priest – but it was never life I wanted for myself and I wrote to the Vatican a few years ago with my apostasy letter.

‘When I discovered the old religion of the Vikings in 2011, through some friends who were into paganism, I felt like I’d found my people, but the idea that we are all hippies is totally wrong.

Guests at the wedding feast (PA REAL LIFE/ Joshua Butler)
Guests at the wedding feast (Picture: PA Real Life/ Joshua Butler)

‘I still love my credit card, my TV and my laptop and we spent $2,600 (£2,050) on all of the clothing, food and tables for our wedding – but I also appreciate the values of the pagan religion, which place an emphasis on nature and feeling at one with the planet. And that’s exactly how we wanted our wedding.’

Both regulars at medieval reenactment festivals around the country too, Dorian and Charlee met for the first time in March 2018 at the Sherwood Forest Faire in McDade, Texas, where visitors come dressed in historical outfits and enjoy spectacles including jousts and sword fighting.

Charlee, then based in Houston, Texas, approached Dorian as she was attracted by his long flowing locks and 6ft 4in stature.

A medievalist since college, when she studied the art of the middle ages, she recalled: ‘Often at these reenactments people are pretending to be someone else.

‘But what really drew me to Dorian is that he was so genuine. We got on really well immediately and from that moment I knew that I wanted to be with him.’

Three weeks later, Charlee moved into Dorian’s home with her son, Harrison, two, to live with him and his daughter Coco, from a previous relationship.

They decided to get married on 18 May 2019, on the full moon, known as the Flower Moon – a symbol of growth and new life.

Dorian explained: ‘We had a civic marriage in October, so that we would be married in the eyes of the law.

‘But there was no question that we were going to have a Viking wedding, which would have much more of an emotional resonance than any official ceremony could do.’

Hosting the wedding in the garden of their home, the couple invited their 44 guests – who mostly comprised of friends from the pagan community – over on Friday 17 May for the start of the three-day celebration, kicking things off with a meal.

The following day when Dorian, wearing furs, and Charlee, dressed in a simple lavender dress, along with their guests, congregated at dusk by an oak tree to begin a ceremony, according to the ancient rites of the Norse pagans.

Conducted by their friends Sean Finlay, 49, and Lorraine Richardson, 52, – their priest and priestess for the day – the nuptials were initiated by an “opening of the ceremonial circle” by pouring alcohol on the ground as an offering to invite in the various Norse gods worshipped by the religion.

After singing an old Norwegian song to commemorate dead family members and friends not present, the couple exchanged vows and had their hands fasted together with rope – a pre-Christian marriage ritual that was practised throughout northern Europe during the time of the Vikings.

Wedding guests (PA REAL LIFE/ Joshua Butler)
Guest at the wedding (Picture: PA Real Life/ Joshua Butler)

Lorraine, an old friend of Dorian through work, then concluded the wedding by closing the ceremonial circle.

‘It was perfect,’ said Charlee, whose son Harrison, along with Dorian’s daughter Coco, brought the couple their wedding bands at the end of the service.

The newlyweds and their guests then sat down at a specially-made long wooden table for a feast of spit roasted goat and wild boar, which the groom had himself hunted on the land around his property.

Washing down the cooked meat with draughts of mead – an alcoholic drink of yore made from honey – the revellers celebrated late into the night, before resuming their pagan rituals once the full moon had risen.

Dorian recalled: ‘We were all quite tipsy by the time night fell and we almost forgot.

‘But someone saw the moon rising above the clouds, which reminded us that we had to do a second ceremony under the Flower Moon.’

The couple were then bound together by a blood offering – using a small blade, they both made small cuts on their hands, first dripping the blood onto the ground and then clasping their wounds together, mingling their blood.

Commenting on the gory practice, Charlee laughed: ‘It sounds pretty crazy, but the cuts were only small.

‘After that everyone went back to making merry and we sat around the fire until the small hours telling stories and enjoying each other’s company.

‘The next day people stayed at home with us and helped to clear up.

‘It was such a lovely way to celebrate your love.’

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Vegans, rejoice – Leon is launching a new menu especially for you

A selection of vegan treats from Leon's new vegan menu including jackfruit nuggets, a velvet cupcake and ice cream
It’s all vegan (Picture: Leon)

In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Leon is launching its biggest vegan offering yet.

The brand, known for its healthier approach to fast food, has introduced seven new items, including the pièce de résistance: pulled jackfruit nuggets coated in a gluten-free crumb, dubbed Jack Wings.

But what’s a wing without some dip?

You can either go with aioli or try Thom’s BBQ sauce, both of which are, of course, vegan.

Other treats include the Raspberry and Rose Donut, as well as the Coco Whip, a vegan version of the classic 99p Flake, made from a dairy-free coconut soft serve in four flavours.

Except it costs a bit more, at £2.65.

Choose from caramel and cacao, chocolate ruby ripple, passionfruit or lemongrass and pomegranate.

Jackfruit bites from Leon's new vegan menu
Yes, please (Picture: Leon)
Leon's version of a 99p soft serve icream, topped with strawberry sauce and chocolate flakes
Fancy a dairy-free coconut soft serve? (Picture: Leon)

Leon has also added a range of new beverages, including strawberry, chocolate and coffee milkshakes, iced tea and juicy water.

The latter is available in three summery flavours: apple, honey and lavender or peach, orange and rosemary.

Finally, there’s the Birthday Cake – a piece made in honour of the special occasion.

Bite into a red velvet cupcake, drizzled with vegan cream cheese frosting, while knowing that all proceeds will go to the Leon foundation.

Leon's birthday cupcake - a dish to celebrate the brand's 15th anniversary
Leon turns 15 this week (Picture: Leon)

The new menu reflects a change in Leon’s customer base.

According to sales figures, 46% of all items sold in January 2018 were vegetarian and 34% were vegan, compared to 64% and 55% in the same month in 2019.

‘Since we opened our doors 15 years ago, we have continued to innovate, providing new and exciting ways for everyone to eat fresh, natural and seasonal food,’ said John Vincent, co-founder and CEO of Leon.

‘Over that time, we have constantly evolved and this latest menu shake up marks an important step for us – we know plant-based eating is better for body and planet, but we want to make plant-based options the tastiest choice too.’

All the dishes on the new vegan menu

Jack Wings £3.95

Raspberry & Rose Donut  £3.25/£3.90

Birthday cake £2.15/£2.60

Coco Whip £2.65

Vegan Shake Ups £2.25 /£2.95

Juicy Water £2.75

Iced Tea £2.75

Vegan Aioli

Thom’s BBQ sauce

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My family rejected me for being LGBTQ+ and left me homeless

Jackie Chan and his daughter
My family’s fairly predictable but still utterly heartbreaking choice was to cast me out (Picture: Getty, E. Zhoulin/ YouTube)

Father’s Day is this week and millions of people will be feeling the pressure of picking up last minute cards and gifts to share on Sunday. For LGBTQ+ people like me facing rejection from their families though, there will be a less mundane reality to face up to: the choice our parents have made to prioritise intolerance over their own children.

While we can look to recent stories of accepting celebrity parents like Charlize Theron for hope, many face an experience more akin to that of Etta Ng. The daughter of action superstar Jackie Chan, Ng and wife Andi Autumn spoke in a 2018 video of the rejection they faced from homophobic parents and friends which lead to homelessness upon Ng’s coming out.

When faced with coming out to my own family, every bigoted thing they’d said about LGBTQ+ people over the years resurfaced in my head. I tried telling myself that my older brother wouldn’t really stab a family member if he found out they’re gay, he must have been joking. Every time he intentionally misgendered people he knew to be transgender must have been an honest mistake, surely?

In 2014, upon finding myself unemployed after university and terrified of returning home knowing I couldn’t tell my already violently abusive family who I really was, I found myself alone. With nowhere else to go, I turned to charity Akt who were able to get me temporary accommodation with a generous couple that welcomed me into their home.

Akt work in the North West, North East and London to provide LGBTQ+ youth with homes, mentoring, training and support. These resources are essential at a time when 24 per cent of homeless young people identify as LGBT. For these young people, these are truly life or death situations.

Driven to a suicide attempt from just the fear of coming out to my family, I finally worked up the strength to text my family from the relative safety of a psychiatric ward. I laid on the grass, watched closely by whichever member of staff had drawn the short straw of watching over me their entire shift. I typed the words I’d wanted to say for years.

‘I am a trans woman, I’m bisexual and I’m not going to change. This is me, take it or leave it.’ I hit send and realised I was about to get my answer to whether or not my brother was joking.

Thus began a cycle of living in supported housing, group homes and leaving hospitals after yet another breakdown or severe self-harm incident, unsure where I’d be sleeping that night. This uncertainty is just the tip of of the iceberg for the issues faced by young homeless people of whom 77 per cent believe that their sexuality or gender identity was a causal factor in their rejection from home.

My family’s fairly predictable but still utterly heartbreaking choice was to cast me out over four years ago with no chance for reconciliation.

With the media giving LGBTQ+ people light to such a barrage of hatred against them, it’s imperative we counter that at the earliest possible moment. That’s why learning diversity in practice, acceptance of all people and pride in our differences can make such a huge difference at an early age. LGBTQ+ kids learn there’s nothing wrong with who they are and everybody around them learns allyship and the importance of passing it on.

In order to give the question of ‘should I accept my lesbian/gay/bisexual/trans/queer child?’ the weight it deserves, the question itself needs to be boiled down to its essential meaning and it’s many iterations. ‘Would I rather have a happy daughter/sister or a son/brother I never see again?’ and ‘do I prefer a gay family member or losing a family member?’ are the basic proposals here and I feel the answer should be obvious.

My family’s fairly predictable but still utterly heartbreaking choice was to cast me out over four years ago with no chance for reconciliation.

I’ve never had an answer to whether or not my brother was joking about the violence he’d inflict on me. The silver lining of the question is that it’s taught me to stay vigilant but never invisible. Now I live in a small flat back in my hometown with my wife of two years and our silly little cat.

It’s important to remember that even when faced with losing our family and friends, our identities should never mean we have to hide.

For more information on akt and to donate, visit akt.org.uk

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These are the best reusable makeup remover pads according to Amazon shoppers

These are the best reusable makeup remover pads according to Amazon shoppers
Pictures: Getty/Amazon

Whether you spend forever on your makeup removal routine or not, it’s likely to have a big impact on the planet.

Yep, it’s time to ‘fess up and admit we have an obsession with single use, landfill-filling toiletries from wipes to cotton pads. But listen up, there are alternatives that work just as well as their less eco-friendly counterparts.

Introducing Reusable Make up Remover Pads (£12.99); reusable and washable bamboo cotton pads available from Amazon that are quick, easy to use and most importantly planet friendly, because they can be used over and over again.

Reusable, zero-waste makeup remover pads are not a new, or secret concept as they’re currently the number one best seller in face makeup removers on Amazon, with a star rating of 4.5 out of 5 and over 200 glowing reviews.

These are the best reusable makeup remover pads according to Amazon shoppers
(Picture: Amazon)

One customer said: ‘There’s no downside to buying these pads.’

‘They remove makeup with ease, are very durable (survive washing and tumble drying) but also gentle on your skin. Soft and relatively large so you can use one half of the pad for one thing, like cleanser, and the other for another, like toner. If you are debating getting these just go for it! It’s great for the environment, for your face, and for your pocket!’ they continued.

Another added: ‘These are incredible, I’m annoyed I didn’t discover them sooner.’

‘I used to get through approx. 4-5 a day with disposable ones so I’m really chuffed I’ve found reusable ones.’

These are the best reusable makeup remover pads according to Amazon shoppers
(Picture: Amazon)

The reusable makeup remover pads are an easy way to swap out your cotton pads and become more environmentally conscious.

They’re a little larger than your standard cotton cleansing pads, so you can get your whole face done with one. Plus they can be used with any makeup remover or micellar water of your choosing.

After they are dirtied up, you just pop them into the mesh bag provided (so they don’t go missing in the abyss of the washing machine drum) and throw them in the wash with your towels to get them clean.

Made of premium special bamboo cloth they’re also gentler on the skin and unlike many cotton pads are not filled with chemicals that are not only bad for your skin, but will eventually filter into the sea, rivers and soil when the disposed of.

Better yet, cleaning your face and clearing your conscience has never been cheaper or more convenient, as they’re available on Amazon Prime and cost just £12.99 for 16 bamboo makeup remover pads, in comparison to an average pack of disposable, single-use cotton pads from your local beauty retailer that cost £2.69.

According to the brand ‘one organic makeup remover pads can be used up to 1000 times.’

Need we say more?

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This stylish 84-year-old granddad’s Instagram game is stronger than yours

Japanese granddad has the coolest style (well, his grandson does)
Japanese granddad has the coolest style (well, his grandson does) (Picture: Naoya Kudo)

Most of our granddads wear a flat cap, tweed blazers and a dapper shirt while on their jaunts. And while they look very gentlemanly, it’s unlikely that our dear old grandpas look cool.

But this 84-year-old Japanese man is unlike those in his cohort. He is dressed by his grandson Nayo Kudo and looks the coolest.

With a following of more than 100,000 people on Instagram, the old man – whose name remains a secret on his account, Slvr.Tetsuya – wows people with his fierce looks.

The teacher, who lives in the Akita Prefecture in Honshu, Japan’s main island, regularly stunts on the ‘Gram, posing in major designer labels while rocking the trendiest shades.

He even vapes.

Grandson Naoya Kudo spoke to Metro.co.uk about how the account started and what it’s like having a famous granddad.

Grandad posing in dapper clothes
Our granddads could never (Picture: Naoya Kudo)

‘When I returned to my parents’ home where my grandfather lived for a long time, I decided to do a project on the theme of my family,’ Naoya told Metro.co.uk.

‘So I put my clothes on my grandfather and took a picture. He was enjoying it very much and suggested a shooting location for it.

‘I took all the pictures. I wasn’t expecting the pictures to blow up. I was surprised that the response was so big.

‘I just put on the outfits that I normally wore on my granddad and it worked.’

Grandad posing in dapper clothes (Picture: Naoya Kudo) 
Stunting for the ‘Gram (Picture: Naoya Kudo)

In some of the images, the grandfather can be seen posing effortlessly in front of temples. In others he is smizing while looking directly into the camera.

Leather jackets, knee-high socks, fedora hats, and beaded necklaces are all part of his get-up and he even manages to make a lawnmower look stylish.

Grandad posing in dapper clothes (Picture: Naoya Kudo) 
(Picture: Naoya Kudo)

In one image we even see Naoya’s grandmother who is also, obviously, nailing an Insta pose.

Some of the luxury brands the fashion connoisseur is spotted wearing include Burberry, Balenciaga, and Louboutin. You know, just your standard grandpa stuff.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, some of us are off to style our gramps and up our Insta game.

If you just can’t enough, like us, here are some more badass images of grandpa:

Grandad posing in dapper clothes
The granddad suggests picturesque locations for each shoot (Picture: Naoya Kudo)
(Picture: Naoya Kudo) 
Power couple (Picture: Naoya Kudo)
Grandad posing in dapper clothes
Dropping the hottest album of 2019 (Picture: Naoya Kudo)
Grandad posing in dapper clothes
Get you a granddad who can do it all (Picture: Naoya Kudo)
Grandad posing in dapper clothes
Just popping a squat on a fallen tree (Picture: Naoya Kudo)
Grandad posing in dapper clothes
When you’re tired of smizing (Picture: Naoya Kudo)

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People are being criticised for taking pictures of themselves posing in the Chernobyl exclusion zone

Some of the pictures from Instagram
Some of the pictures posted from the site on Instagram (Pictures: Instagram)

We’re used to seeing holiday snaps on Instagram but people have been criticised before for taking risks or being insensitive to get a picture that brings in the likes.

With the Sky Atlantic/HBO TV show Chernobyl hitting our screens, interest in visiting the site of the nuclear power plant disaster has peaked – but people are being told to be more respectful when they are taking pictures.

Pictures from Pripyat in Ukraine, the city that was abandoned in the radioactive area following the catastrophic accident, show people posing with furniture, buses and other objects that were left behind.

One picture, posted by user nz.nik, shows her wearing just a thong under her hazmat suit.


Over 33 years on from the disaster, it is now safer to visit but the Foreign and Commonwealth office recommends only visiting the exclusion zone with a permit and a guide.

They add: ‘According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, although some of the radioactive isotopes released into the atmosphere still linger, they are at tolerable exposure levels for limited periods of time.’

But it is the way the pictures are taken, rather than safety issues that have angered people.

Writer-producer of the TV show Chernobyl Craig Mazin asked visitors to show some respect.

He said: ‘It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion. But yes, I’ve seen the photos going around.


‘If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there. Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.’

Commenting on nz.nik’s post, people encouraged her to take the pictures down.

One said: ‘Chernobyl is the place where devastating human tragedy occurred, where is your respect?’

Another added: ‘I don’t usually comment mean things, but what the hell were you thinking when you decided to take these photos? It is really disrespectful towards everyone who suffered. If you have at least a little bit of decency, you would delete this picture (which you should not have even posted in the first place).’

Julia Baessler, an Instagram influencer who posted pictures from Chernobyl control room said that people have been quick to judge.

She told Metro.co.uk: ‘I never came to visit Chernobyl as a tourist attraction or shooting spot because of the HBO series and I’m sick of reading this. I visited Chernobyl for the first time long before the series came out because I‘m really interested in history and nuclear physics.

‘I went there privately with my boyfriend, who is an engineer, and my tour guide. When I was visiting Chernobyl last year I also shared my impressions with my followers and they showed huge interest, so I did the same this visit. The reaction was similar, people were thankful and extremely interested in my stories until that moment those articles came out calling me out for going there.

‘I never wanted to offend anyone with my photos and stories. All I wanted to do is sharing my impressions, like I already did before.

‘Because of the engineering work of my boyfriend we were able to get a special admission to go inside control room 4 which is actually not accessible for visitors. I wanted to share these stories with the world because they are full of information of a place where usually only scientists get access to.

‘Just because some see me as an ‘Instagram model‘ doesn’t mean I can’t be deeply interested in history. I don‘t even want to be seen as an influencer going to Chernobyl because it’s trendy now. That’s just not true.’

The Instagram users involved have been contacted for comment and we will update the article accordingly.

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Glossier’s new Brow Flick pen is the perfect partner for Boy Brow

Glossier's new brow flick eyebrow product
Glossier’s latest launch will help perfect your brows (Picture: Glossier)

Glossier’s latest brow product will have your brows looking on fleek in a flick.

Glossier Brow Flick (£15) is the beauty brand’s latest innovation that will join the likes of Stretch Concealer, Cloud Paint and the brands best-selling (and sell out) Boy Brow.

According to Glossier, Brow Flick is a ‘microfine detailing pen that gives you more brow wherever you want more brow’, for instance to define the arch, extend the tail, or add depth to sparse areas.

Glossier also notes in the product description that the ‘pen’s superfine and flexible brush-tip deposits hair-like strokes that actually look natural and blend seamlessly with brow hairs,’ making it even more perfect for those of us who overplucked in our teens.

Last year Glossier’s tinted brow pomade Boy Brow sold every 32 seconds globally, so it comes as no surprise that Brow Flick instantly garnered heaps of hype.


Fans were left eagerly anticipating its launch after Makeup Artist and influencer Katie Jane Hughes gave her followers an exclusive look at the new product on her Instagram stories before its official launch.

Before showing her followers how to navigate the pen, Katie who helped develop the product said: ‘This my friends is Brow Flick and it’s amazing.’

To start and ‘to set yourself up for success’ Katie recommends applying the product to ‘completely clean, oil-free brows – so you shouldn’t have moisturiser on them, or any oils, serums, or any skincare products.’

As Katie applied the product on camera she explained how Brow Flick was designed to create ‘natural’ and ‘fluffy looking brows’ and that it’s ‘perfect for people have sparse brows, perfect for people that have full brows, you can literally add little hair like strokes in seconds – and it’s the perfect partner for Boy Brow.’

katie jane hughes tries glossiers brow flick
(Picture: Instagram @katiejanehughes)

‘The trick is to store it upside down overnight, so when you come to use it in the morning the product is already going to be ready and where it needs to be.’ she continued.

For feather-like hair strokes Katie recommends using the pen pointing down and only use the tip of the pen, opposed to the side otherwise ‘you’ll get thick dense lines’.

As for where to apply the stokes, ‘look at the direction of the brow hairs you have on the face and basically mimic them.’ Katie explained before finishing with a swipe of Boy Brow to set her brows in place.

It looks like Glossier has done it again as Katie showed how Brow Flick and Boy Brow will make shaping and reinventing your brows an effortless two-step process.

The new product comes in three shades; blonde, brown, and black (just like Boy Brow). And is hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and vegan and was tested by dermatologists and ophthalmologists.

Glossier Brow Flick review

Glossier Brow Flick review Metro.co.uk
(Picture: Emily Knott for Metro.co.uk)

Having taken matters into my own hands as a teen (aka over plucking my brows to an inch of their existence) I now take great care of my face-framers, growing, shaping and tinting them at home monthly.

I’m no stranger to brow pens – although I tend to gravitate towards a brow pencil and gel on the daily – so Glossier Brow Flick isn’t an alien concept to me.

I used the shade Brown and found the thin brush tip was precise and pigmented enough to mimic brow hairs in a few short strokes. The shade is flattering although a little darker than I had anticipated and the formulation isn’t wet, or runny, in fact, it doesn’t budge – no one wants sliding brows.

Echoing what Katie said, for thin hair-like strokes, you need to hold the product completely upright to avoid looking as though you’ve filled your brows in with a sharpie. And a word of warning, it’s highly pigmented – more so than any other brow pen I’ve tried to date – so a light hand is required.

My only gripe is I feel it would have benefited having a built-in spoolie brush, to comb through the brows before application.

Having said that, it works an absolute treat. If you like the look of microbladed brows, or you’re after a brow product with better staying power than a pencil, you’ll love Glossier Brow Flick.

Glossier Brow Flick (£15) can be purchased online at Glossier.

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