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Why the Greek island of Kos is the cultural treasure trove you NEED to visit


Boasting a breathtaking coastline and glorious weather, it is no wonder the Greek island of Kos has long been a beach-lovers’ paradise.

But this gem of the Aegean has so much more to offer than just amazing sun, sea and sand.

The island is a treasure trove of cultural delights, with Roman mansions, ancient temples and a 15th-century castle all waiting to be discovered.

When you are ready for a change of pace, there is no shortage of activities to keep you busy, whether that’s diving into the clear blue water, soaking in natural hot springs, or hopping on a bike to take in the sights of the island on your own two wheels.

So if you’re looking for an extraordinary escape that offers you rich history, a plethora of adventures and, of course, time relaxing on the pristine shore, then pack your bags and get ready to experience the magic of Kos…


The ruins of Kos with the sea in the background
Picture: Exploring pretty antiquities in the sunshine – bliss

Kos Town, the island’s lively capital and main ferry port, is dotted with an incredible array of monuments from the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras that will inspire awe at every turn.

Sitting proud at the entrance to the harbour is the magnificent 15th century Neratzia Castle, which was fortified by the knights of the order of St John around 1436 and has been a symbol of protection ever since. While visitors can no longer go behind castle walls, the commanding bastions, imposing and beautiful harbourside setting mean it is still most definitely worth a trip.

Among the most impressive sites in the town is the 2nd century Roman villa the House of Europa, where the opulence of its original residents still lingers centuries later. Don’t leave without taking in the extraordinary surviving floor mosaic depicting the abduction of Europa by Zeus in the form of a bull.

If you want to imagine what it would have been like at the time of the brilliant minds of Ancient Greece, stroll to the pretty Plateia Platanou and spend time beneath Hippocates’ plane tree, where the physician is said to have taught his pupils.


A sea view in Kos with broken columns in the foreground and tree covered mountains in the background
Picture: With Insta-worthy views at every turn, it’s no wonder Kos is top of the list for summer destinations

On a pine-covered hill less than two miles from Kos Town stands the Asklepieion, a religious sanctuary devoted to Asclepius, the god of healing, where the methods of Hippocrates were studied.

Today there are three levels of ruins to explore, taking in Roman-era public baths, remains of guest rooms and a modern museum.

The top of the site also offers exceptional views across to the island of Pserimos – a picture-perfect, unspoiled small island which you can reach by boat from Kos – so don’t forget your camera!


View of the sea from Kos
Picture: Miles of tranquil warm waters are waiting to be explored in Kos

Many of the beaches on Kos are geared up for watersports – and there is no shortage of activities for you to try, no matter what your age or experience.

Give yourself a thrill by taking out a sailboat or a windsurf to skim along the shore, or surround yourself with the beauty of the underwater world by Scuba diving beneath the surf. For something more relaxing – and family friendly – simply throw on your swimsuit and paddle, splash and swim in the pristine waters off the coast.

If you fancy something different, why not take a trip to the beach of Agios Phokas, some 5miles from Kos, where you will find sulphur hot springs bubbling at 42C and flowing into the sea – the perfect place to let any worries wash away.

Back on dry land, hire out a bike and get ready to explore the 8miles of cycling paths that criss-cross the islands. There are plenty of bike rental shops to choose from, whether you want an easy cycle or a more intense mountain bike excursion.


View of the palm-tree lined streets in Kos
Picture: Hire a bike and explore the winding streets of Kos in the sunshine

Visitors to Kos are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches, with some of the very best in the region to be found on the island. Among the most popular resorts is Kardamena, on the south coast, once a fishing village and now a thriving holiday destination packed with bars and restaurants.

To the north of the island are the less developed resort towns of Mastichari, where windsurfers sail through turquoise waters, and Marmari, a quiet escape that’s just 15 minutes’ drive from the sights of Kos Town. Close by is Tingaki, a tranquil town tucked behind a beautiful stretch of sand that dips into the shallow waters.

Get there

British Airways logo


The wonders of the Greek island of Kos can be reached from Gatwick Airport with British Airways, which has an extensive network of flights across Europe. Combine your flight with a hotel and car hire from British Airways Holidays to create a great-value getaway.

Rosie the kitty helps owner Deborah through grief after husband dies from cystic fibrosis complications

Deborah and cat Rosie kissing
Rosie the cat helped owner Deborah cope with depression after her husband Adam passed away (Picture: Deborah Elm)

A lung transplant was supposed to be the start of a new chapter for Adam Elm, who had cystic fibrosis, and his wife Deborah.

But the operation had tragic consequences when Adam suffered a stroke and died shortly afterwards, aged just 39.

His sudden death left a huge hole in Deborah’s life and she struggled to cope.

Attempting to rebuild her life, Deborah from Kentish Town, London, adopted cat Rosie, in the hope a pet would help.

No longer returning home each day to an empty flat, Deborah slowly found a way through her depression.

From providing a distraction when her loss seems unbearable, to cuddling up close when she struggles to sleep at night, Rosie has helped Deborah through the most difficult time in her life.

Rosie snoozing on the couch
Rosie was a real comfort when Adam passed away (Picture: Deborah Elm)

As Adam had been allergic to cats, six weeks after his death Deborah bought Rosie home.

The pair have now been enjoying each other’s company for a year.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk for Cat Week, Deborah says: ‘Rosie helped me by making me feel less lonely and by keeping me company.

Rosie and Deborah posing
Six weeks after Adam, who was allergic to cats, died, Deborah got a cat (Picture: Deborah Elm)

‘If I went out she was always greeting me at the door distracting me from the fact that Adam wasn’t there.

‘She was always in the same room with me and she would sleep on my bed at night and wake me by licking my face and purring in the morning.

Rosie the kittie who helped owner Deborah through grief when her husband Adam died
‘I also had someone to care for which meant a reason to get up’ (Picture: Deborah Elm)

‘I also had someone to care for which meant a reason to get up and look after her, as I struggle with depression and anxiety.

‘She’s a big comfort when I feel low and I’m stuck at home and isolated, because of my mental health. And she does the cutest poses that make me smile.’

Adam and Deborah on holiday
Adam died from complications with a lung transplant (Picture: Deborah Elm)

Rosie’s sweet antics have been noted by The Cats Protection’s charity which nominated her for its annual National Cat Awards.

They said Rosie beat hundreds of entrants to make the final three in the ‘most caring’ category.

Deborah attests to her beloved pet’s caring skills, saying she would recommend cat therapy to grieving individuals.

Rosie the kittie who helped owner Deborah through grief when her husband Adam died
(Picture: Deborah Elm)

‘I think a furry companion is a great choice for anyone who’s grieving especially if they live alone,’ she says. ‘They need love and so do you.

‘And cats are a lot more affectionate and sweet than people give them credit for.’

Deborah adds that Rosie had been two years old when she bought her home. As the kitty was already used to answering to Rosie, Deborah didn’t see fit to change her name and so stuck with it.

Adam and Deborah on their wedding day
Adam was just 39 when he died (Picture: Deborah Elm)

Since taking to her so well, Deborah then decided to get another cat, Felix.

‘He’s completely different to Rosie, but equally loveable and adorable,’ she adds. ‘They get on pretty well now. It was a bit hard initially though because Rosie was used to being number one.’

‘I felt so bereft after Adam died and I thought it would be good to get cats now, so we could keep each other company. I am so glad I did.’

Cat Week

In honour of Catfest, we will be partnering with the festival to bring you seven days of the funniest, cutest, coolest and most amazing cat content.

Until Saturday 29 June, read stories about all things cats, including kittens abandoned on rubbish dumps to fantastic cat art, and everything in-between.

Catfest will include cat-themed literature and film plus live music, poetry and crafts. There will be rescue kittens, talks from cat experts, Instagram cats and an auction as well as cocktails, cake and much more. Tickets have sold out, but you can still get involved on social media.

Part of the proceeds from the event will benefit Erham Rescue and International Trash Cat & Dumpster Dogs to help cats and kittens as well as street animals in need.

Are you the owner of a fantastic cat? Then tweet us your cutest kitty pics @MetroUK and @MetroUK_Life for a chance to be featured!

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Woke Barbies offers £20 book subscriptions to give black children the representation they need

Baby posing with Woke Barbies book boxes
Only 1% of children’s books have a BAME character (Picture: Woke Barbies)

A mere 1% of books feature characters that are from a black, Asian or minority background.

To represent the diversity of children missing from such texts, Woke Barbies – a subscription-based company – is offering books to black children.

They claim that if you read up to five books a day to your child, by the time they start school they will know 1.4 million more words than those who weren’t read to.

To close that million-word gap, Woke Barbies came up with their subscription package.

The characters in the books they offer are all black and minority children.

Black children playing
Woke Barbies offers books with black characters for £20 a month (Picture: Woke Barbies)

The team at Woke Barbies explained to Metro.co.uk that when young people don’t feel reflected in what they consume, they learn to internalise their value or lack thereof.

The founders wanted to make it easy for parents to find books that cater to a diverse audience.

A spokesperson tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I believe that when a child connects with a book it can help to transcend boundaries, enhance imagination and empower them to believe that anything is possible,’

‘And nowhere is this more important than in the black community. So, my mission is to keep our young black kings and queens “awoke” by keeping reading books alive.’

Woke Barbies sources the best black children’s books globally, carefully selecting from different genres and books written by new and self-published authors.

As part of the £20 monthly subscription, your child receives two to three children’s books, tailored to their age and understanding.

You also get exclusive Woke Babies games and activities, which are educational and designed to help parents bond with their kids.

Black boy holding up book box
They want more diverse books for children (Picture: Woke Barbies)

‘My mission at Woke Babies is to get back to basics and help keep the art of reading books alive,’ they added.

‘We live in a time where children under the age of two can operate smart devices and entertain themselves for hours on end with digital images, videos and social media.

‘Now as great as it is for our babies and children to be able to navigate their way through this technological age, I believe that there is no replacement for the fundamental skills and learning that reading books can bring.

‘The aim of Woke Babies is to bring back the art of reading whilst showing that there is a growing demand for more black books to be readily available.’

They also hope to work with schools to introduce them to a broader range of literature.

MORE: A mere 1% of children’s books feature Black, Asian, and ethnic minority main characters

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Woman uses Twitter to search for brother she never met, finds him living 30 minutes away

Woman from South Africa posing
Sanelisiwe Sani Xaba took to Twitter to find brother she never met (Picture: @sanisaidso/Twitter)

When poet Sanelisiwe Sani Xaba put in a request to find the brother she never met, Twitter did its thing.

Thanks to a few thousand retweets, the 27-year-old from Johannesburg, South Africa, finally found him.

Her initial tweet had a few details about her long-lost sibling, including his name, where he was born, and their mother’s name.

‘I am your sister. Please retweet and help me find my brother. I need him,’ she wrote.

Thankfully, a follower who recognised the name got in touch with Sanelisiwe and before she knew it, she was meeting her brother who was taken away from her by his dad.

Sanelisiwe tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I feel numb.

‘I tweeted around 5pm [with the request]. I woke up the next morning and boom! Someone knew him. It’s someone who grew up with him. I didn’t think it would be that quick.

‘I met my brother, who is 34, the very same day.

South African woman who took to Twitter to find brother she never met, finally meets him From @sanisaidso/Twitter https://twitter.com/sanisaidso
Sanelisiwe moved to Johannesburg to pursue the search for her brother (Picture: @sanisaidso/Twitter)

‘I keep asking my boyfriend if it really happened. It only hit me the next morning and I just started crying in the bathroom. I was emotional the whole day. I’m at peace now.

‘It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.’

Sanelisiwe, who moved to Johannesburg to aid her mission to find him, adds that the two had been living just 30 minutes from one another.

The brother – who wants to stay away from all the attention right now – was taken away by his father before Sanelisiwe was born.

But their shared mum told her stories of her older sibling, leading her to always imagine what he’d be like.

‘I felt incomplete without him,’ says Sanelisiwe. ‘I wanted to know if he was okay and wanted him to know that we love him.

‘I just needed a brother that is different from my other brother Siyanda. I always wondered what he looked like.

‘It’s the curiosity that made me search for him. I just needed him. And needed to know that he’s alive and warm during the winter and happy on his birthday, and in summer.’

 Sanelisiwe in a field
Her brother, who is older than her, was taken away by his dad (Picture: @sanisaidso/Twitter)

But meeting a sibling for the first time after 27 years takes guts. For Sanelisiwe it meant running away from where they’d arranged to meet – in her home. She couldn’t face her brother because she didn’t know what she was going to see.

But her boyfriend took him into the house where Sanelisiwe eventually arrived.

‘The first time I saw him was scary, I remember we stood staring at each other for a few seconds which felt like an hour,’ she explains.

‘I thought “Oh my god, you look like Siyanda” and I said it out loud. We hugged and I cried.

‘We sat across each other just amazed. I offered him water and my boyfriend offered him a beer and a joint. We sat and talked and exchanged pictures. It was an amazing feeling. The entire time I sat studying his face.

‘We hugged again for a good 15 minutes.’

Sanelisiwe then told her mum about her absent son. Her mum thanked her for bringing the family together.

The family is overwhelmed with all the online support. They’re now enjoying getting to know one another.

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Drinking milk and Coca-Cola after eating spicy food does actually help, so get chugging

glasses of milk
Reach for the milk, never the water (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Whenever you eat something that you realise too late is far, far too spicy, someone will snatch the water from your hands and say what you really need is milk.

Turns out that’s not just an old wives’ tale, as milk really does take the pain out of excess spice levels.

Oh, and so does Coca Cola, so if you’re not a dairy fan you have another beverage option.

What you definitely shouldn’t down in the midst of a spice panic is a pint, as new research says any booze will make the pain of extra hot food feel even worse.

Researchers from Penn State University tested out seven drinks to find out which were best and worst at soothing the pain of spice.

72 participants were made to drink an extra spicy Bloody Mary, and then had to chug different drinks to see which helped the most: water, cola, cherry-flavored Kool-Aid, carbonated water, beer, skimmed milk or whole milk.

The best drink to soothe the pain was found to be whole milk, followed by Kool-Aid, then skimmed milk, then Coca-Cola, with water and sparkling water not providing much help at all.

Researchers say milk works so well thanks to the protein casein, which overpowers capsaicin, the compound that causes a fiery kick.

Sugary drinks work because capsaicin can be overwhelmed with sweetness. Makes sense.

Fizzy drinks such as sparkling water didn’t do well, and neither did beer or anything else alcoholic. Researchers say this is because ethanol amplifies the sensation of heat.

So next time you head to a curry house, bring some milk, ask for a coke, and ditch the beer. You’ll be grateful you did.

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Mum shares easy trick for speedily getting sand off your feet

feet at the beach covered in sand
Finally, an end to the horror of sandy feet (Picture: Getty)

Going to the beach is all fun and games until it’s time to head home.

You try wedging your feet back into proper shoes and feel the scrape of sand against your skin.

You make your way home and leave a trail of scratchy, sandy wreckage in your wake.

There’s sand on the floor, on the sofa, in your bed.

It is a waking nightmare. So much so that we question whether the fun of dipping our toes in the sea was even worth it.

But now, we may be able to escape this horror. A mum has shared the simple trick she uses to get sand off her children’s feet – and it’s cheap and easy enough that we can all do it.

In a Mumsnet article rounding up users’ best holiday tips, one mum revealed she uses talcum powder to make sand easy to swipe away.

One mum said: ‘Chuck a load on your feet to help brush off the sand that’s stuck to them. Works like a charm.

‘Tried talc on sand today… got a few weird looks but lo and behold, it did in fact work!’

sand covered feet
We’re free (Picture: Getty)

Of course this isn’t a new trick one wise mum has invented – the talcum powder hack has been floating around the internet for years.

But we can’t be alone in never having heard of it. And frankly, it’s life-changing. We’ll just need to remember to put talcum powder in our beach bags.

Daytripping Mom explains on her blog that the trick works because baby powder quickly removes moisture from the skin, allowing the sand to stop sticking and come right off.

She writes: ‘When you’re going to feed the kiddos a snack or getting ready to serve lunch at the beach, bring out your little bottle of baby powder, shake a generous amount on hands and then be ready to easily shake of the sand off any hands.

‘It works on hair, feet, and legs. Once you try it, you won’t want to head to the beach without it. If you don’t like using baby powder or prefer using something more natural, you can also use cornstarch and it works just as well.’

Genius. And bonus: according to internet legend talcum powder also deters ants. Now all we need is a way to stop our ice cream from melting all over our hands and our beach trips will be perfect.

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How do you introduce sex toys into your relationship?

sex toys competition
(Picture: Ella Byworth/metro.co.uk)

No matter how much you love your partner, relationship sex does sometimes hit plateau.

You’ve got a routine, you’re into the groove, the fireworks that came from the newness of your partner’s body have gone.

According to a survey of over 9,000 people, done by sex toy retailer Lelo, 39% of people say that they would describe their sex lives as ‘regular’ and 37% claim that there is room for improvement.

All of this is totally normal. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

There are lots of things you can do to improve your sex life. Role play, sex in a different location, a romantic mini break, dressing up for each other, exchanging sexual fantasies, talking dirty, or using toys.

Lots of couples are nervous about bringing toys into the bedroom. Some women worry that they’re going to undermine their partner’s normal sized penis by including a massive silicon phallus. Some men worry that a vibrator will achieve things that they themselves are unable to.

But, if you can get past any anxiety and treat toys with an open mind, the rewards can be intense.

Most women can’t reach orgasm through penetration alone, so including a bullet vibrator during penetrative sex can promote mutual orgasms, and enable to you to climax at the same time (if that’s something which is important to you).

Similarly many women find sex more enjoyable if it includes anal stimulation, and many men also like to experience having their prostates included in sex. All of which is perfectly healthy, normal and possible when you use toys.

Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist Kate Moyle, who works as LELO’s sex expert commented: ‘The focus on introducing a sex toy to a couple’s relationship should be that it’s a positive.

‘It’s not lacking on one partner it’s a focus on bringing them together in a different way.

‘One of the many famous scenes from Sex In The City is Charlotte being unable to bring herself to leave the house because of getting so hooked on her Rampant Rabbit, and that just emphasises the fear that so many people have which is that a toy can do things they can’t.

‘This just isn’t the case – a toy and a person are of course offering different experiences, but they can also be used together to bring in something new. Routine is a passion killer and mixing things up in small ways such as introducing a sex toy can bring different sensations to the experience providing excitement and pleasure. The approach is also key, discuss it as a couple before, don’t spring it on a partner or they will feel caught off guard.

‘Look at a website together and talk about the things you like and do not like the look of – making choosing the sex toy a shared experience.’

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Woman calls out mum for fake Instagram photoshoot with her daughter at the pool

Women in the pool
Jen wrote about a woman more focused on getting a decent picture than actually having fun (Picture: Getty)

A mum has gone viral for her powerful Facebook post about a mother taking her child to the pool.

The mother Jen Flint, from Florida, described didn’t splash around and have fun, but instead seemed more interested in capturing a fake version of the day for her social media followers.

Jen wrote on Facebook: ‘Yesterday while at the pool I watched a young Mama and her little daughter enter the pool area dressed in very nice coordinating swimming suits.

‘The mom, with her perfect loose curls tied up in a coordinating scarf, spent the first few minutes talking loudly on her phone to a friend while her daughter stood waiting to get into the pool.

‘Mom ended the phone call and proceeded to spread out pool toys and sunscreen on a matching towel.

‘Then after finding just the right angle and the right light, Mama pulled out her tripod and took a few selfies with her daughter.

‘Little One asked to get in the pool. Mama said wait and then posed her daughter in front the pool, then going in to the pool and then coming back out of the pool.

‘Little one smiled big and said “cheese” like she’d done it a million times. Then Mama told her she could play.

‘Little One walked in and swam around for a couple of minutes. Mama called a friend on her phone and began another conversation while Little One politely and repeatedly asked “Mama, can you come in the water with me, please?” She was ignored. “Mama, come play with me?” she asked 4 more times. Mama glanced over at her but never got off the phone.

‘After 10 minutes Mama ended her call, collected the sunscreen that was never applied, the water toys that never touched the water, and then her daughter and left the pool.’

woman applying sunscreen to daughter's skin
Jen wants to remind people not to compare themselves to the perfection they see on social media (Picture: Getty)

Watching the scene play out, Jen thought about the resulting photos that might be posted on Instagram, and how they might affect other parents seeing them.

She explained that when your life isn’t so picture perfect, seeing a mum’s perfectly posed day at the pool might make you feel like a massive failure.

Think about it: you see a picture of a mum and daughter looking full of joy at the pool, then immediately compare that fake version of events to their reality: their child throwing a tantrum or covered in sticky ice cream.

That’s not going to make anyone feel good.

‘Somewhere another Mama is going to be at home with her children, the house a mess from their play, her hair unruly from a day of mothering and her clothes dirty with spit up or peanut butter,’ wrote Jen. ‘She’s going to be tired because she’s spent her day cooking, caring, cleaning and playing with her children.

‘She’s going to look at that photo and she is going to compare herself to the perfect Mama at the pool.

Woman calls out Instagram mum. Jen Flint.
Her post has been shared more than 130,000 times (Picture: Jen Flint)

‘The Adversary is going to whisper into her ear “you aren’t good enough… You don’t look like that Mama at the pool… You don’t have money to buy expensive swimming suits like that and you don’t have time to make memories like she is” and that young Mama is going to believe it. She’s going to feel like a failure.

‘She’ll never know that how she spent her time that day was so much better in God’s eyes and in her children’s eyes than that “perfect Mama” at the pool.’

Jen shared the story to remind everyone that what you see on social media isn’t real, and it’s not fair to compare your reality to one person’s filtered moment.

‘What we see on Social Media isn’t always real,’ she wrote. ‘Sometimes and often it’s a complete set-up. It’s staged and filtered and it’s counterfeit.

‘Sometimes we do see absolutely real photos of vacations and beautiful homes and freshly done hair but it’s only ONE moment. It’s the very best moment out of a whole day spent much like our own. Working, cleaning, and messes…

‘Mamas, don’t compare yourself.

‘You ARE enough! You are amazing and the very best part is that you are REAL! Your dirty shirt and your messy house and your happy children are real and they are proof that you are doing it right!’

That message clearly struck a chord, as Jen’s post ended up being shared more than 130,000 times.

We know full well that what’s on Instagram is filtered, posed, and only reflects the best parts of someone’s life, but we occasionally need a reminder before the comparison hits.

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Science says you should eat loads of these filling foods if you’re trying to lose weight

watermelon on a pink background
Time to feast on watermelon (Picture: Getty)

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s essential you don’t just restrict your food intake so much that you’re starving.

It’s an easy mistake to make. Less food and more activity equals weight loss, right?

But the truth is that to lose weight in a healthy way, maintaining a diet that provides you with proper nourishment is key.

And contrary to what you might think, you shouldn’t feel hungry all the time.

In fact, it’s far better to feast on super-filling foods so you won’t feel so miserable you immediately run to the corner shop and eat an entire family pack of cookies.

There are certain foods that scientists recommend to fill up on so you won’t be hit with intense cravings.

Researchers at Quebec’s Laval University had a group of overweight men in their 40s adapt their diets. Half of the group ate according to Canada’s Food Guide (basic dietary guidelines), while the rest ate meals designed to keep them full.

So rather than feeling restricted, the latter group were consuming filling food that was properly nourishing.

Filling foods to eat loads of:

  • Water-packed fruit and vegetables, like melon and cucumber
  • Spicy peppers
  • Oatmeal
  • Yoghurt
  • Avocado
  • Eggs

The group who ate the filling diets ended up losing more weight than the control group, and were less likely to drop out of the study.

This is good news, as that means we don’t need to drastically overhaul what we’re eating or restrict ourselves. Getting healthier is just about making slight adjustments and filling up on certain foods.

So, what are those certain foods?

According to the research and dietitian Dr Wendy Bazilian, the key to weight loss is filling up on water-rich fruits and vegetables (such as melon and cucumber), hot peppers, oatmeal, yoghurt, eggs, and avocados.

Instead of reaching for crisps as a summer snack, you can go ahead and chow down on loads of refreshing watermelon.

Hot peppers work to boost the metabolism and prevent future over-eating, with people feeling fuller more quickly when eating spicy food.

Oatmeal is filling thanks to the way it retains water, and yoghurt binds protein and water to help satiate, with calcium also being linked to feeling fuller.

Dr Bazilian recommends eggs thanks to studies that show people consume less food for the day after they have a breakfast with eggs, and throwing in some avocado will bring in the benefits of healthy fats.

Alongside eating plenty of these specific foods, it’s also key to really take the time to appreciate and enjoy your food.

If your food is filling and genuinely delicious, you’re more likely to feel satisfied and thus less likely to run out for pudding.

‘Sit down at a table, or turn you chair away from the screen, says Dr Bazilian. ‘Recognize that eating is more than just putting food down the old pie-hole.’

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Brands on Twitter aren’t your friends, they just want your money

Maura Love Island
With social media, brands are able to express sentiments they would never get away with in actual, regulated adverts (Picture: Rex/ Twitter)

We are living in increasingly strange times. The internet has seen people become walking, talking brands and brands have become anthropomorphised themselves.

It is so ubiquitous, that if you Google the seemingly obvious statement ‘Brands are not your friends,’ reams of articles deftly explaining why you can’t go for a drink with your favourite soft drink company crop up.

As soon as companies realised that ‘savage clapbacks’ and witty internet commentary could help secure column inches (Everyone from Buzzfeed to Fox News have covered the Wendy’s Twitter accounts virtual sparring matches) and free promo via viral one liners, our Twitter feeds have turned into a cacophony of performative put downs, stolen memes and ironic lower case lettering from companies.

When depressive episodes and suicidal ideation became a talking point on Twitter, the company Sunny D tweeted ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ and received nearly 350,000 likes and over 150,000 retweets.

Whilst some users were initially worried that the person managing the account may be in serious danger, it soon became clear it was a cynical marketing ploy. Brands like Pop-Tarts, Uber Eats, Wikipedia and Pornhub all attempted to get in off the free advertising, sending tweets outlining their ‘concern’ for the mental health of a drink.

‘Brand personality’ has become literal: ‘Skittles wants you to think it’s just another stoner trying to fix your munchies. KFC is some cool guy who also hangs out with the Colonel,’ writer Mic Wright perfectly summarises.

And fast fashion brands want you to think they’re well-meaning, pizza-for-breakfast-after-a-night-out eating, bodycon wearing women aged 18-24. They fake authenticity by attempting to emulate the most intentionally unassuming subcultures out there – ‘Fiat 500 Twitter’ and ‘huns.’

In doing this, they hope that rather than see them for the blood and money-sucking corporations they are, we’ll see them as peers. We’ll imagine them getting wasted in a ‘spoons, getting a spray tan and signing off messages with tons of emoji kisses in their fictional group chat, populated with ‘their girls’ I Saw It First and Missguided.

These brands work closely with influencers and Love Islanders (which are increasingly interchangeable) through various brand partnerships. But they don’t want to embody them, rather, the people likely to buy from them.

This is no more apparent than when Love Island is back on our screens. With an unprecedented ability to snoop on potential consumers via social media, at 9pm it’s not our buying habits e-tailers are eavesdropping into, but who we want to evict from the villa.

Through viral tweets off the back of the show, they now serve adverts in #LoveIsland commentary. Brands have been tweeting from the first person for ages now, but are eerily edging into actual life experiences.

‘So @idriselba curated *the* playlist for my life and I am now 1000% satisfied,’ Netflix’s @StrongBlackLead account tweeted earlier this year, despite the fact it doesn’t have a life.

It has gotten away with similarly strange statements for a long time, when tweeting things like ‘LMAO I am so ready for this!!!’ in reference to its own releases, without so much as a sceptical eyebrow raise from most commentators.

Our fickleness as viewers is because we’re human; these companies are fickle because they’re trying to sell us co-ords.

Pretty Little Thing’s Twitter account went fully sentient, joking ‘This analysis of other couples is just me and my boyfriend 24/7.’ A bemused tweeter replied, ‘Sorry who’s your boyfriend ?? Boohoo Man??.’ It does appear hot-blooded brands do have ‘needs,’ considering how horny Missguided is for Islander Michael Griffiths.

These are more cringe, less actively harmful examples, that are probably largely reliant on our tendency to retweet things without bothering to check who is saying it. But in a lazy attempt to relate, these brands are often be bitchy and at times misogynistic too.

Clothing line In The Style has repeatedly referred to contestant Maura Higgins as desperate whilst Boohoo branded her an attention seeker, and Pretty Little Thing labelled her ‘thirsty.’

Repeat shamer In The Style also made fun of contestant Lucie Donlan’s hair numerous times. Their tack quickly changes too, when the tide of public opinion does: Pretty Little Thing dubbed Maura a bad ass bitch after attempting virality at her expense and In The Style started calling her a ‘queen’ days after insulting her.

In The Style tweeted they were ‘bored’ of the bullying of Lucie they partook in. Our fickleness as viewers is because we’re human; these companies are fickle because they’re trying to sell us co-ords.

With social media, brands are able to express sentiments they would never get away with in actual, regulated adverts. The passing of former Love Islanders with Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon has made viewers take stock of the effects our commentary can have and brands have a responsibility, too. Leaving the villa and seeing companies you’re likely to work with joining social media pile-ons can’t help matters.

Brands actively conspire against us to find ways to part us from our cash, dignity and self-esteem; top tier Twitter banter doesn’t change this. Brands infiltrating online spaces and performing creepy mimicry is the most obvious of Trojan horses, yet we still perceive them as human.

If we must humanise brands, they’d be more like a psychopath in a thriller, learning how to convey human emotion by practicing in a mirror and less the drunk bestie you make in the toilets on a night out.

MORE: Woman confused by top she ordered from PrettyLittleThing that had a Boohoo label

MORE: Woman shames Pretty Little Thing for bikini that can only be used for ‘poolside posing’

MORE: Love Island recap: What happened last night? Two more savage dumpings pave way for Casa Amor shake-up

How to take your cat for a walk

cat walking through a field on a lead
Should you take your cat for a walk? (Picture: Getty)

When you live in a flat or don’t have easy cat-sized access to the outdoors, you start to worry about your cat never seeing a world outside your home.

Sure, they could be an ‘outdoor cat’, but you worry about them getting lost, attacked by foxes or hit by cars.

But you don’t want to keep them cooped up all day either, never knowing the joy of grass and watching the birds fly by.

A possible solution is taking your cat out for a walk. Yes, like a dog.

Walking cats on leads hasn’t really hit the mainstream, and it’s likely those who do it will get a couple of amused looks, but it is possible and people do it (we promise, you won’t be the only person in the world attempting to wrangle your cat into a harness).

Unlike dogs, however, cats aren’t always super enthusiastic to go walkies.

Starting to take your cat for walks can be a complex process, requiring lots of patience and care.

Every cat is different and has their own likes and dislikes. So before you even think of opening the door, you’ll need to work out if your cat will be unbothered by a harness (you’ll need a harness rather than just a collar and lead, to make sure you don’t hurt your cat’s neck).

That requires harness training.

cat on harness for training
If you’re going to take your cat outdoors, you’ll need to slowly introduce the harness (Picture: Getty)

Pretty simple – you see if your cat will even allow you to put them in their special harness. If they clearly seem distressed or just very, very angry, taking them out for walks might not be a realistic option.

If they’re fine with wearing a harness, though, start by letting them wear it for a bit as they play around the house. Do this once a day for around ten to twenty minutes each time, checking to see your cat is able to roam around easily without any discomfort or upset.

Keep things relaxed and reward your cat with a treat and plenty of strokes after each harness session.

Daniel Cummings, Behaviour Manager for Cats Protection, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘While some cats may cope with [being taken out for walks], if introduced to the harness in a positive and appropriate way, many will find it stressful.

‘A lot of cats would not react well to being restrained by a harness so the experience may be more negative than not having any outdoor access.’

cat walking on grass on a lead
Some cats will love going for walks, others really won’t (Picture: Getty)

If everything’s going wonderfully and your cat seems not to mind wearing a harness, it’s then time to introduce them to the outside world. Start small by carrying your cat just outside your home and letting them have a sniff around the area.

Again, you’ll need to keep a close eye on how your cat is finding the experience. If they’re panicked and clearly want to go back inside, cut the walk short and take them home. If they’re loving life, next time you can venture slightly further out.

If your cat is comfortable being taken outside on the harness, you can start taking them to a nearby park or just around your street.

It’s best not to plan a specific route. Cats aren’t like dogs and won’t be happy going somewhere they don’t fancy, so rather than an official ‘walk’, think of your time outside as more of a general wander.

Give your cat enough space on their lead to seek out what interests them and to not feel restricted, but of course avoid areas with cars, loud noises, or anything else that could give them a startle.

Cat in field
Think of the adventures you could go on (Picture: Getty)

Daniel says: ‘Cats are free-roaming creatures that like to explore their environment at their own pace and easily access suitable hiding places if they feel threatened.’

They need to know that they’re in control and can move around with a bit of freedom (even if you are holding the other end of the lead to make sure they don’t run off).

Throughout every step of the process, you have to keep an eye on your cat for any signs of distress, such as cats hissing, growling, or trying to pull away. If they’re unhappy, stop right away and retreat back to their usual surroundings.

And don’t panic if your cat just doesn’t fancy going for walks. They’re not doomed to a life of being bored at home.

Rather than trying to force your cat into doing something they don’t enjoy, if you’re worried about your cat’s activity levels you’re best bet is to make your indoor environment as entertaining as possible.

The RSPCA tells us: ‘Some loving owners who have cats that live indoors-only may feel that walking cats outside on a harness or collar is beneficial for their welfare.

‘However, like all pets, cats have very different personalities and preferences

‘We would generally suggest that for most cats taking steps to provide an indoor environment which has plenty of opportunities to be active and mentally stimulated with toys, interacting and playing with their owners, and things to climb on is likely to be more beneficial for their welfare.’

In short: tune into what your cat would enjoy, take them for walks if they’re keen, but don’t worry if they’re not – plenty of playtime at home will be appreciated too.

Cat Week

In honour of Catfest, we will be partnering with the festival to bring you seven days of the funniest, cutest, coolest and most amazing cat content.

Until Saturday 29 June, read stories about all things cats, including kittens abandoned on rubbish dumps to fantastic cat art, and everything in-between.

Catfest will include cat-themed literature and film plus live music, poetry and crafts. There will be rescue kittens, talks from cat experts, Instagram cats and an auction as well as cocktails, cake and much more. Tickets have sold out, but you can still get involved on social media.

Part of the proceeds from the event will benefit Erham Rescue and International Trash Cat & Dumpster Dogs to help cats and kittens as well as street animals in need.

Are you the owner of a fantastic cat? Then tweet us your cutest kitty pics @MetroUK and @MetroUK_Life for a chance to be featured!

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MORE: Animal charity offers students the chance to hang out with cats while they revise for exams

MORE: Rosie the kitty helps owner Deborah through grief after husband dies from cystic fibrosis complications

MORE: Leeno and Poncha are cat brothers who want everyone to know about feline asthma

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What goes on a scone first – jam or cream?

Home-baked scones with clotted Cornish cream and strawberry jam. Cream teas are British favourite.
What came first, the cream or the jam? (Picture: Getty Images)

It might be a chicken and the egg situation, but which is the best way to have a cream tea?

Since the 11th century, cream tea has been one of the biggest English traditions with millions going out and enjoying a scones, clotted cream, jams and an assortment of sandwiches.

But there’s an ongoing debate the best etiquette when it came to how to apply the cream and the jam to the scone – pronunciation not withstanding.

So, here it is: the cream tea dilemma.

Traditionally, it has been that people in Devon spread clotted cream on the scone, then finish with a dollop of jam, while the Cornish tradition does the reverse, with jam going first and clotted cream on top.

Celebrities have argued about this, and the Queen, an example all things proper, has reportedly got her own method in Balmoral. But what do the bakers think about this conundrum?

A traditional english cream tea scone jam cream
It is a centuries old tradition (Picture: Getty Images)

Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms in York told Metro.co.uk there’s ‘no hard and fast rule’ when it comes to the way they eat their scones.

Assistant Manager Megan Baldwin tells us: ‘Some people have strong feelings about whether jam or cream should go on the scone first. In Devon typically they spread the clotted cream first followed by jam, whereas the Cornish tradition is to spread jam first followed by cream.

‘But there are no hard and fast rules and at Bettys we let the customer decide for themselves. Afternoon Tea is a delicious treat and you should enjoy it whatever way you want – even if that means cakes before sandwiches!’

B Bakery Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea is a fancy affair (Picture: B Bakery)

Brigit Bloch, founder of Brigit’s Bakery, said: ‘I think it comes down to personal preference however I always advise any of our customers who ask that traditional British etiquette suggests that the cream should be spread on a scone before the jam.’

The team over at Gail’s Bakery say they prefer the Devonshire tradition, but are more adventurous when it comes to the type of jam used.

The Gail’s bakers said: ‘The bakers at Gail’s are unanimous in the view that cream should come first, followed by lashings of Gail’s organic jam.

‘Traditionalists can choose classic Strawberry and those with a more adventurous palate can opt for a floral Raspberry & Rose or aromatic Apricot & Lavender Leaf.’

In 2018, Darren McGrady, ex-chef to the royal family between 1982 and 1993 was caught in a Twitter storm after an article showed jam on top of the cream.

He tweeted at the time: ‘Jam first at Buckingham Palace garden parties! ‘The Queen always had homemade Balmoral jam first.

‘With clotted cream on top at Buckingham Palace garden parties in the royal tea tent and all royal tea parties.’

No matter how you have your Afternoon Tea, this age old English tradition and debate doesn’t look as if it’ll be going anywhere any time soon.

MORE: Has the Queen finally settled the great cream tea debate once and for all?

MORE: Dawn French, Dec Donnelly and other TV favourites try to settle the cream tea debate – jam first, or cream?

MORE: How to make the ultimate cream tea

Thrifty Man shares how he saved £30,000 hunting out deals for absolutely everything

tom church
Tom describes himself as a ‘deal-hunting addict’ (Picture: Tom Church)

Think you’re thrifty because you picked up a yellow stickered loaf of bread right before Tesco’s closing time?

You’ve got nothing on Tom Church.

Tom, 28, describes himself as a ‘deal-hunting addict’. He runs LatestDeals.co.uk, a site that gathers together deals and discounts in one place, and truly lives and breathes the mantra that you can live a luxury lifestyle at a heavily reduced rate.

His bargain-hunting ways haven’t just saved him a penny here or there. LatestDeals.co.uk now has a community of over 600,000 users and has become Tom’s full-time job, providing him with a salary of £25,000.

Oh, and as a result of all his sales sneakiness, he’s saved up a nice little cushion of £30,000. That’s enough to inspire us to start scrimping.

Tom’s love of saving a quick quid started young.

‘I ran errands for my disabled piano teacher, Ms Bibby, for £1 an hour,’ he tells Metro.co.uk. ‘For an eight-year old many moons ago that’s quids in!

‘I became obsessed with this one idea she taught me: if you can get something half-price it’s like you doubled your money. You don’t need to be rich to have a good life.’

In 2016 he started sharing the deals he found and his own money-saving tips online. It grew quickly, and now Tom appears regularly on ITV’s Lorraine as well as looking after the site.

Tom Church with some heavily discounted lobster
That’s some heavily discounted lobster (Picture: Tom Church)

‘My dream – which recently became reality – is to stop working and do what I love full-time from anywhere in the world,’ he explains. ‘I am so lucky to be able to [do that].

‘I’m all day and all night LatestDeals.co.uk. I speak with brands every day and try to haggle big deals for members. For example, exclusive discount codes at Boohoo, ASOS, Amazon, Argos and more. The brands might pay for a sponsored post, or, if a member buys a deal we might get a cut.

‘It began as blog, Tom’s Deals, but then I met two guys who were just as obsessed. Deepak, Kelsey and I joined forces and it’s been brilliant ever since.’

When it comes to a good deal, Tom doesn’t really discriminate. He’s happy to cut the costs on food, holidays, clothes, booze and even dancing classes.

He began saving up eight years ago with a simple strategy. Each payday he automatically saves and invests around £500, preventing himself from seeing or thinking about spending that money.

After spending £700 on rent and bills, £8 on his phone bill, £4.99 for Netflix (he gets a cheaper plan for 720p resolution), and £7.99 for Amazon Prime, he’s left with around £300 to play with – or £10 a day.

He makes that daily amount stretch.

tom church sitting on a sofa
Nothing is safe from discount hunting (Picture: Tom Church)

‘I’ll go on holidays, eat at Michelin Star restaurants and have a great lifestyle,’ says Tom. ‘It’s taken about eight years to save £30,000 but I’m always saving and investing. Money has gone up and down but nothing crazy and sadly no pots of gold. I play the long-game.’

Tom gets such a thrill from getting a good bargain that he’s up for scrimping in every area – but he will pay full-price for some things he absolutely loves.

‘I love a Costa coffee, cheeky Nando’s and recycled quad-ply aloe vera loo roll,’ Tom tells us. ‘Frugalistas are boring grinches who never have fun. Save on the big things and you don’t need to worry about the small.’

Tom never wants his budgeting to hold him back from enjoying life – he’s learnt that lesson the hard way.

He remembers: ‘I am scarred by a memory where my deal hunting went too far. I was on holiday with my then girlfriend in Costa Rica.

‘Everywhere we went, restaurants would give us a tourist menu and I could see the prices were inflated. Grab the local menu and it was cheaper.

‘No choice, I was told. I refused to eat at restaurants which put a sour note on the trip. In hindsight, I should have coughed up and been grateful that I had the money to be in Costa Rica, one of the most beautiful countries in the world.’

tom church holding discounted wine
(Picture: Tom Church)

Bargain-hunting inevitably has its ups and downs, with crushing disappointments to giddy highs.

Tom’s favourite deal of all time isn’t a £1 flight or a seriously discounted bit of lobster, but the time M&S incorrectly priced a load of wine.

He tells us: ‘Marks & Spencer once had a glitch on their website. You could get a crate of luxury wine for £3.80 delivered instead of £38.00.

‘They recognised the glitch but were awesome enough to honour it. I’ve loved them ever since.’

Tom hopes that by living the bargain-hunting lifestyle and sharing all the deals he can online, he’ll inspire others to live better for less and show that you don’t need to be earning loads to have a lot of fun.

‘I want to spread the idea that you don’t always need more money to get more from life,’ says Tom.

‘I live for deals, I dream of deals, I’m haunted by deals. Some people are mad about football or Love Island. I’m mad about finding discounts on holidays and shopping.’

Tom's tips for saving money:

Of course, we had to ask an expert bargain hunter for his tips for the best deals. He shares his wisdom below.


  • Ryanair does flight sales once every three months from £3.99. You can often get a return flight for a tenner. I’ve been to France, Italy and Portugal all for less than £20. Subscribe to their newsletter and you’ll get notified when there’s a big flight sale.
  • Couchsurfing is still going strong. Stay for free around the world with locals.
  • Take up a hobby from a foreign country. For example, I do Brazilian Forró dancing. It’s a bit like Salsa. You make friends from people around the world and can stay with them when they’re there (but remember, there’s an expectation they can stay with you too!)
  • CheekyWeekend is a free tool that automatically finds you cheap flights and Airbnbs for a budget weekend holiday. It specialises in Friday to Sunday trips so you don’t have to take time off work. I spend hours on this site watching for the best deals.
  • Hopper is a free app which uses artificial intelligence to tell you when the best time to book a flight is. Better for long-haul flights to make sure you’re not over spending.


  • Aldi, Aldi, Aldi. Switch to Aldi and you’ll halve your food bill on day one. I have their online recipe section bookmarked on my phone’s homepage so when I’m in the shop I can quickly choose a recipe and buy the ingredients.
  • Too Good To Go is a free app in which restaurants and individuals giveaway or sell for cheap leftover food. Last week I got £25 worth of YO! Sushi for £3.99.
  • MealPal gets you takeway restaurant food for 40% less at lunchtime. Order on the app, go to the restaurant and pick-up your lunch. If you’re in a city this is the best way to save on lunch.
  • One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay – This man should win an OBE from the Queen. A British recipe book where each portion only costs £1 or less. Admittedly, the portions are a bit small but critics are missing the point: it’s the intent that matters. Learn the general principles and you’ll save loads!

General tips:

  • Cycle everywhere. I live in London where monthly transport costs approximately £150 per month. Get a bicycle and it becomes free. That’s £1,800 per year saved.
  • Can’t cycle? Be creative. CityMapper, a free transport app a bit like Google Maps, now does its own transport card that is £4 cheaper per month than London Transport’s Oyster Card.
  • Soft openings – When new restaurants open they often do a week of half price (or even free) food. This is to promote their restaurant and also train new staff without the pressure of full-paying customers. Search your local newspaper, Twitter, Instagram for new restaurant openings. In London, I actually pay for a website called The Nudge which seems to be the best at finding them. I’m going to restaurants with Michelin Star chefs for the price of a McDonald’s.
  • Get the free deal apps: Black Friday (actually works all year round) crowdsources the best deals from every shop – actual humans, not robots. TasteCard for 2-for-1 restaurants across the UK. Compare The Market gives you 2-for-1 cinema and restaurants; you just need to get an insurance quote to be eligible. There are various voucher apps too.
  • Compare prices. Search LatestDeals.co.uk for whatever you need – nappies, clothes, a microwave… and you’ll see the best deals hand-picked by fellow deal addicts like me. There’s a huge community of people who’s hobby it is to look for deals. You can trust them more than automated price comparison sites because they know things like vouchers, coupons and secret tricks.

Tom's spending in a week:

For more inspiration, we asked Tom to share what he spends in a week and how he makes the most of the deals he finds. Here’s a week of his spending.

Monday: Breakfast is peanut butter on reduced-to-clear yellow label bread that cost 8p.

I cycle to work for free.

Packed lunch is from an Aldi recipe: Mexican chicken fajitas.

Dinner is with Too Good To Go. Leftovers from a large dinner party like an Indian buffet. It was listed at £2.99 but when I arrive at the door the lady gives it to me for free.

Tuesday: I get two new Jamie Oliver cooking books for free from an ancient establishment no one remembers. It’s called… The Library.

Off to Aldi and buy food for three days including: barbecue banana chocolate split; orange, pomegranate and mozzarella salad; and a KFC fakeaway (chicken in leftover breadcrumbs). £18.

Wednesday: Tastecard gives 2-for-1 at Zizzi, the Italian restaurant chain. Two classic pizzas comes to a whopping £10.25. Split with my friend, that’s £5.13 each. Tap water, obviously.

Thursday: I buy a T-shirt from Amazon for £1.93 with free delivery. The deal was found by a fellow deal hunter and posted on LatestDeals.co.uk. I’m tempted to buy a Lay-Z Spa hot tub which is 70% off when you combine three separate voucher codes… but I hold off when I look outside and see it’s raining.

Friday: Prezzo, the Italian restaurant chain, has a deal with Red Letter Days: Get a three course meal with a glass of wine, for two people, just £30. But, use the voucher code RLD10 and you get it for £20. I’ll say that again: A three-course meal, with wine, for two people. £20. Split, that’s £10 each.

Saturday: Brazilian Forró dancing. It’s my hobby with the side benefit of creating an international group of friends for free accommodation when going on holiday. £5 for five hours of solid fun.

Sunday: The Outdoor Gym Company lists 100s of free outdoor exercise parks across the country. I head to my local and bosh out some pull-ups and crunches with a community group who meet once a week. Free.

I drink a can of the new alcohol-free Heineken. Using a free app called CheckoutSmart you can get free products from supermarkets almost every day.

MORE: What’s your money personality? Finding out is the first step to sorting your finances

MORE: How I Save: The 21-year-old marketing manager in Nottingham earning £22k with £4,500 saved

MORE: Woman shares the simple saving plan that helped her pay off £16,000 debt and buy a fancy holiday

Please, I beg of you, do not serve a gendered menu at your wedding

These people are the worst
(Picture: Ella Byworth/Metro.co.uk)

Recently while perusing Instagram I came across a woman describing her wedding plans.

The menu read: ‘Prosecco for girls, beer for boys.’

Given that we don’t drink beverages with our genitals, you could be forgiven for thinking that appointing drinks orders by sex was a bit odd. I know I did.

But apparently, this is A Thing – particularly having ‘his and hers’ cocktail menus, where male guests are served something strong and bitter, while women are served something fruity and sweet.

It doesn’t stop at drinks either. Apparently his and hers wedding menus, extending to gendered puddings, canapes or even main courses, are ‘a thing’.

Last week a horrified Mumsnet user took to the forum to write about a wedding she had attended where men were served mushroom risotto, roast beef and a chocolate bomb, while women were given a prawn risotto (because prawns are female?), chicken (all chickens are female) and a strawberry cheesecake (the vagina dessert).

The running theme seems to be that men are given a heavier, more ‘manly’ meal – usually containing red meat, while women are given a lighter option.

Fine if you happen to fit the gender stereotype but incredibly annoying if you happen to be a woman who likes a big raw steak, or a bloke who loves a bit of poached salmon.

Guests, according to the anonymous poster, did not get a choice about which menu they wanted to eat from, but rather were assigned on the basis of their gender.

Kate told Metro.co.uk, ‘I went to a wedding where men received steak or fish, but women were given the option of chicken or fish. I love a bit of steak, but none for me!’

Annabelle had a similar experience. She says: ‘I went to a wedding where it was steak for the lads and fish for the women, and then pudding was dark chocolate cake for men and white chocolate for women.’

Sarah told Metro.co.uk: ‘I went to one where there was chocolate cake for the girls and Eton mess for the boys. I was a happy chocoholic but had to share with my partner who was less than impressed when we got different things!

‘Not sure it’s really my thing though, would have been sad to not get chocolate if it was reversed.’

Orla explained more about the concept, saying: ‘This happened at my cousin’s wedding.I asked her about it and she said the hotel suggested it and that guests like it. I found no such evidence as there was a lot of swapping going on. Shockingly, food preferences are not gender specific!’

I’m struggling to fully understand why people might choose to do this – presumably it’s not related to the these gendered menus read a Victorian manual about how red meat and strong flavours can enflame a woman beyond reasonable behaviour and see her throwing her corset into the nearest river?

Perhaps it’s a way to remind us that the best and most expensive meats (notice how men tend to get steaks) must be reserved for the strong men who hunt and protect us.

We spoke to wedding expert Sinead Starrs of The Lovely Little Label, who told us: ‘While it would be more unusual to see a fully gendered wedding menu, quite often components of the menu are gendered. Such as cocktails, desert or even late night snacks.

‘His n Hers favourite drink are often served to the guests as a way of expressing the bride and grooms personalities and creating a more meaningful connection with their guests.  Whether that is in the form of signature cocktails or beer vs prosecco.

‘I find that the bride and groom want to personalise their wedding menu as much as possible with their own favourites.  At my own wedding we served his n hers desserts. A rich chocolate cake for the guys and a forest fruit with white chocolate soup for the girls.

‘Of course either gender could request either dessert if that was their preference.’

On the topic of whether or not this might cause offence, Sinead says: ‘I don’t see any reason for guests to object to this.

‘If drinks are provided by the bride and groom and they have chosen which drinks they would like to serve based on their own personal preferences. In the same way you might chose which wine to serve.

‘Just because ‘beer for men and prosecco for women’ might be on a cute little sign doesn’t mean that either gender can’t drink their own preference.’

Obviously it’s your wedding, your choice. And if you’re footing the bill, people can’t really complain about what you serve them. But you’re sending quite a strong message in doing so: we are a couple who believe that what you want to eat is defined by your gender identity.

And to be honest if you do both think that, it’s probably rather lucky that you found each other.

MORE: Bride has to order second wedding dress after online shopping fail

MORE: Bride ‘more stunned than furious’ at mother-in-law who turned up in a white wedding dress

Spill It: What a 31-year-old in the food industry drinks in a week

Spill it - new series
(Pictures: Shutterstock/Metro.co.uk)

Spill it is the series where we get people to anonymously tell us about their drinking habits.

We’re talking to men and women from all over the UK – and other parts of the world – about how much they really drink. Not how much they tell their doctor they drink, or a rough guesstimate, but the unvarnished boozy truth.

This week we’re hearing from Gina (not her real name) who is a 31-year-old working in the food industry in London.


It feels like I’ve barely been in the office as I’ve been away with work a lot, and have just come back from an amazing shoot. I feel really good about it, but super tired.

Tonight, my boyfriend and I made a pact to both be at home together, but I ended up inviting my friend’s over for dinner. He doesn’t mind as we are all good friends. I cook an easy Nigella pasta recipe with a Caprese salad. My friends are both driving so they only have a glass. My boyfriend and I share a bottle of red and we all sit down to watch Love Island.

Units: 5 


I feel fresh this morning. I can drink quite a lot because of my job, so there was no hangover. I go to an 8.30am gym class while my boyfriend goes for a run. We get back and have dippy eggs and soldiers and a latte.

I log on and do a bit of work for a few hours, before the Ocado order arrives. We both tidy the flat and then my boyfriend drops me to the station so I can head to Brighton to meet my friend’s newborn baby.

I have a pre-dinner G&T in the pub, before heading for an early dinner at a Mexican place. Naturally I go for a margarita, and end up having three, and have found that I can definitely multitask, holding the baby in one hand and the marg in the other.

I’m home before 9.30. My boyfriend has a couple of mates over and they’re playing FIFA, so I join them on the sofa. I have a couple more glasses of red, too. We all went to school together so I’ve known the boys for years. I’m a bit tipsy, but feel fine. I’m in bed asleep before midnight.

Units: 9


My boyfriend’s up much earlier than me and when I wake about 9.30am I can hear him listening to the radio in the living room. I get up and make us both breakfast, and a big chickpea salad I saw Melissa Hemsley post on her Instagram.

I head to the shops and buy a few dresses from Zara, then drop into my parents on the way home. I bring my dirty bed sheets with me because they have a tumble dryer and it’s so much easier to use. My dad makes me some Greek salad for lunch and it is so tasty.

They’ve turned the hot water off in my building because of a leak so I head to the gym and work out for an hour before using the showers.

Back at home, my boyfriend has put a roast chicken in the oven, and we sit down to watch the Women’s World Cup. I don’t usually drink alcohol on a Sunday, so it’s water for me.

Units: 0


Tonight, I’m at a very fancy event. I’ve been excited to go to this all week as there will be some well-known industry people there.

It’s absolutely tipping it down so they’ve moved a lot of the event inside, but it’s amazing, and I can’t believe how many well-known and well-respected faces I can see.

There’s a lot of drinks offerings here, and I make the mistake of mixing – espresso martini, followed by Champagne, then a lot of wine. An after-party followed, and I lose track of time and before I know it it’s the early hours of the morning and I have work in the AM. I say bye to friends and grab a cab… I’m going to regret this.

Units: 16


I wake up feeling absolutely awful. Thankfully I’m working from home, and I attempt to make myself some eggs and a coffee, but can’t really stomach it.

I do work on my laptop in bed, and start feeling a bit better. I make lots of pasta and cheese and spend my lunch break taking a power nap. I wake up feeling even worse, with the world’s worst migraine – the muggy weather doesn’t help either. I end up logging off for the day, I’d worked over the weekend so I don’t feel too guilty, and I sleep until about 5pm.

My boyfriend gets home that evening and I make us a basic dinner of prawns and roast veggies, the hangover finally disappears at about 9pm. Won’t be making that mistake again (she says).

Units: 0


Woken up, and I feel exhausted. Christ, I’m getting too old for this, and Monday events are NEVER good. But I remind myself that it’s a rare thing, and it was a really great night.

My beer fear is still lingering, and I remember it’s my least favourite part of drinking. I work in a very male-dominated environment, and as a young woman, I have to make sure I look after myself. I remember having a really deep conversation with a male colleague about our lives and I’m now cringing.

I text my friend who was there and she reassures me that it was all fine and I didn’t embarrass myself.

Work was very non-eventful, but when I get home I make myself go to the gym to burn off that anxious energy. I feel a bit better but I’m still chatting to people on WhatsApp about Monday’s after party and it’s winding me up.

Watch Love Island. Go to bed.

Units: 0


I’m starting to feel back to normal again now. Today was pretty uneventful. But I make it home for a gym class and I make myself a fridge dinner – a bit like Ready, Steady, Cook, trying to conjure up something with the remains of my fridge.

My boyfriend is out so I finish watching Dead to Me on Netflix – I LOVE IT.

Units: 0


It’s FRIDAY! Tonight, I’m off to see the Spice Girls at Wembley. My friend’s company has a box, so I tag along as her plus one. They’d kindly put on a buffet and free booze, so I snacked on nachos and drank rosé wine out of a plastic flute – because, why not?

The Spice Girls were of course amazing, and I even Facetimed by mum to seeing “mama I love you” down the phone to her.

Getting the Tube home was a nightmare, and there were so many girls being sick down Wembley Way from the booze. I thanked myself for not getting into that state. I’m actually really luck that I don’t lose control like that – the thought of being sick in public feels me with dread.

Units: 10

Weekly units: 40

NHS recommended units: 14

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Missed out on Goop? Here are some other wellbeing festivals to go to

Woman in green hair enjoying festival
Festival time (picture: Getty Images)

You might not be able to attend the Goop Wellness Summit this weekend, but that might not be the worst thing in the world.

Starting from today, Gwenyth Paltrow’s wellness baby will collate in London over the weekend to promote the best of wellness and longevity, encouraging slightly more obscure health methods for your life.

Rest assured there are other things to do instead, and for much cheaper, if you’re really keen to get in top shape.

Latitude Festival 18 July-21 July

Latitude Festival 2019
Latitude Festival (Picture: Latitude Festival)

Latitude Festival is back again this year. There is a stellar line-up of musicians from Loyle Carner to George Ezra and Stereophonics, but it’s not all about the music.

There is an opportunity to get back to nature and swim in the lake and even do stand up paddle boarding. Time to get back to nature.

Head down to East Sussex for this.

Brain Child Festival 12-14 July

Brain Child Festival
A place for creative spirits (Picture: Brain Child Festival)

If you thought Latitude was grassroots, let’s see what you think about Brain Child. Brain Child celebrates the DIY culture on a peer-to-peer level, where you will find like-minded people sharing their stories about getting up and going with their projects.

Of course there are opportunities for writing and art workshops, live music sets and DJs. Again, in Sussex – but why not give it a go?

Love Fit Festival 19-21 July

Blue Fin SUP Paddle Boards
Fancy it? (Picture: Love Fit Festival)

If you’re more of an active person, then this might be a better choice.

With partners such as GymBox, Another_Space, Broga and Farm Fitness pushing you to your limits, where better to do it than outside in the middle of a forest in Sevenoaks?

There is a huge stretch of land for a wild run, a lake for freshwater swimming and an area for debates and talks around health and wellbeing. Don’t worry, there’s also a spa. Tickets are in the £139 range for a couple of days, so you might want to get there sharpish.

Wilderness Festival 1st-4th August

If we head over to Oxfordshire, we might get a bit more of an holistic retreat. Join a talk on toxic masculinity by The Naked Professor, breathwork with Richie Bostock the Breath Guy or centre yourself with classes in yoga and Pilates.

There are even workshops on tarot readings, invigorating massages and facials. You can camp or glamp, which ever you decide it will be time well spent.

Wild in the City Festival 16-18 August

Wild In The City
Out in nature (Picture: Wild In The City)

Sometimes nature events aren’t as inclusive as they make out to be.

Wild In The City is an initiative to get people of colour in nature by inviting them to sit around a campfire and with a group of people over three days of walks and talks in Croydon’s countryside.

Soul Circus Festival 16-19 August

Woman plays with fire
Ring of fire (Picture: Soul Circus)

Ever dreamed of running away to the circus? Soul Circus is an exciting wellness festival celebrating movement, music and food. Focused on healing and transformation, they aim to realign and recalibrate.

With inspiration from world renowned teachers, speakers and musicians, festival goers spend their days doing yoga, indulging in the spa and sipping on juice. Music and drinks in the evening.

And if you make it September…

Health Optimisation Summit 14-15 September

A community of bio-hackers
A community of bio-hackers (Picture: Health Optimisation)

Founder Tim Gray is putting together the Health Optimisation Summit, where he has managed to pull together some of the most influential speakers in the world to talk about key diets, and everything in the health, wellbeing, medical, nutrition, bio-hacking and fitness worlds.

There are movement workshops, dining experiences and the best hacks to optimise the mind, body and environment. A great way to lead into Autumn.

She Started It Live with Angelica Malin, 14 September

Angelica Malin she started it live
Women empowered (Picture: Angelica Malin)

And finally, a day of wellness talks with prolific writers and business women including Shahroo Izadi, Rhiannon Lambert and Lauren Armes.

She Started It Live comes from the podcast hosted by About Time magazine’s editor-in-chief, Angelica Malin. She has curated a day of talks around self-kindness, building a wellness business, motherhood and working on your mental health. Tickets release Monday.

Time to reach your optimum this summer.

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Call centre worker resigns with a sorry for your loss card

Man hands in notice via condolence card
Amazing (Picture: @bitchitshan/Twitter)

Handing in your notice is never ideal, regardless of whether your job is great or rubbish.

There are ways to make the situation less awkward (or more, depending on your approach) though, including handing your boss a sorry for your loss card.

These cards are normally reserved for deaths, but given how dead your office will likely be without your presence, they seem fitting enough.

Sam Baines, 22, from Sheffield decided that’s exactly how he was going to leave his call centre job recently, and his efforts were shared by colleague Hannah.

Keeping it fuss-free (but still abiding by the ‘written notice’ rule) Sam got a condolence card, and wrote inside ‘My last day at work is the 28th July. Love, Sam x’.

Hannah’s tweet of the card has racked up over 300k likes on the social media site, with Sam being interviewed by INSIDER.

He said, ‘We are a really close team and have a fantastic manager so we’re always joking around and having fun. I knew I had to do something a little more creative when giving my notice to try and get one more joke in before I left!

‘I knew my boss would find it funny so I wasn’t worried about how they’d take it. I came up with the idea because I was always joking about how much they’d miss me when I was gone, then thought a condolences card would be the perfect way to finish it off.

‘It went down great and helped make a positive from an otherwise sad situation.’

Although it’s a novel idea – and was all in good fun – it’s not brand new, and doesn’t always go down so well. Cleaner Lisa Bell used a sorry for your loss card to quit her job recently, but also called her bosses ‘arseholes’ and told them to ‘grow some balls’.

This cements it as an option for both petty and amicable leaving situations, and plenty of people shared their similar stories under Hannah’s tweet. One had even used the exact same card as Sam.

Take a look, and decide whether you’re brave enough when you next move career.

Do we spy a trend on the horizon?

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A week in Kalkan: Charming fishing village on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast


Twenty years ago, Kalkan was a sleepy fishing village, a handful of rustic seafood restaurants dotted on winding, cobbled lanes.
Now, Kalkan is a lively harbour town with more than 350 restaurants and bars, cute cafes and eclectic shops selling everything from diamonds and textiles to ‘designer’ handbags and football kits.

The atmospheric town runs down to indigo water dotted with colourful boats and gulets, traditional Turkish wooden sailing boats.

Kalkan, set on the Turkish Mediterranean, also known as the Turquoise Coast, is the perfect holiday destination for singles, couples and families (Picture: Getty)
Kalkan, set on the Turkish Mediterranean, also known as the Turquoise Coast, is the perfect holiday destination for singles, couples and families (Picture: Getty)


On the day-long Gulet trip organised by Likya Pavilion - a must when staying in Kalkan Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
On the day-long Gulet trip organised by Likya Pavilion – a must when staying in Kalkan Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
It's summer almost all year round in Kalkan (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
It’s summer almost all year round in Kalkan (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)



If you’re looking for a combination of peace peppered with activity when you can muster up the energy, Kalkan is ideal.

At first glance, it is a bustling family resort set in a picturesque harbour with all that offers. Scratch the surface though, and you’ll find incredible restaurants set in ancient villages, perched at the top of verdant valleys, run by families so friendly you’ll want to return again and again.

With daytime temperatures keeping us by the pool or beach club, we built our evenings around culinary experiences.

Kalkan old town is charming (Picture: Getty)
Kalkan old town is charming (Picture: Getty)

The places we visited were mostly out of the way. We took advice from the team at our hotel, the Likya Pavilion, where a WhatsApp group for guests lets you chat away about dinner recommendations like you would with friends.

Here is what you need to check out to do Kalkan like a pro.



It's tempting never to leave your room when staying at the lovely Likya Pavilion (Picture: Fairlight Jones)
It’s tempting never to leave your room when staying at the lovely Likya Pavilion (Picture: Fairlight Jones)

We stayed at the charming Likya Pavilion, a Fairlight Jones property tucked away to the east of Kalkan.

Reached up a quiet, unpaved road, it really is a hidden gem. Private villas are dotted up secluded paths, each with a private pool.

The duplex apartments have sun-drenched bedrooms on the top floor with picture windows offering unfettered views of the sparkling Med.

Each morning we threw back the curtains and had our breakfast on the balcony, watching yachts come and go.

The philosophy of this hotel, new to the Fairlight Jones portfolio, is relaxed, quietly excellent service.

The team operate a convenient WhatsApp system so that any time day or night (within reason!) you can message for food or drink, help, a taxi, a restaurant, bar or beach recommendation.

Manager Korhan is a hidden gem of his own – a vague message telling him we would like some lovely Turkish snacks and white wine resulted in some of the best mezze we had in Turkey, gorgeous olives and a bottle of crisp, dry wine from the hills of Antalya sent to our private pool in minutes.

Lunch at our villa at Likya Pavilion - sea bass, cucumber, tomato and onion salsa, gorgeous olives and of course, Efes
Lunch at our villa at Likya Pavilion – sea bass, cucumber, tomato, herb and red onion salsa, gorgeous local olives and of course, Efes

‘You have good taste!’ he told us, kindly. But, truth be told, it was he who had the good taste.

This same charming service runs throughout all of the hotel’s staff. Joan, our rep (all guests are given one to look after their needs during the week); the lovely cleaner, who waved and chatted every day, despite us sharing no more than one word in common, and every one of the bar and restaurant staff.

On our first night, Korhan told us he had moved to Kalkan for the friendly village feel, to recapture the nostalgia of the ‘good old days’ in Turkey. He was right: Everyone we met was warm and welcoming.

It is a big part of why guests just keep coming back.


The sister hotel to the Likya Pavilion, this lovely property is right on the water’s edge. Unrivalled views over the harbour, beautiful, relaxed and Bohemian rooms. There is no restaurant, but breakfast is served on the terrace and guests can order food from Likya Pavilion – the full restaurant menu is available and a table will be set for private dining.

Sunbeds and sea views - with plenty of umbrellas and sea breeze to relieve the heat - at Likya's private beach club
Sunbeds and sea views – with plenty of umbrellas and sea breeze to relieve the heat – at Likya’s private beach club

They also have immediate access to the beach club shared also with Likya Pavilion – a eaceful little place carved into the rocks offering plenty of sunbeds, umbrellas and a sublime swimming area with jumping platform.


Villa Mahal was voted Europe's most romantic hotels by Conde Naste (Picture: Fairlight Jones)
Villa Mahal was voted Europe’s most romantic hotels by Conde Naste (Picture: Fairlight Jones)

A luxe option with a killer waterside location across the bay. If you’re a guest of Likya Pavilion / Likya Gardens, they can organise a speedboat to take you across for a day lounging on their sun terraces or at the infinity pool.



Kalkan has more restaurants than you could eat at in a year. It makes choosing a trial – but everywhere you go will be good. Ask for recommendations, or wander the leafy streets until you find somewhere that catches your eye.


In Kalkan itself, we loved the Fish Terrace. Set high up on a rooftop under the stars (as so many restaurants in Kalkan are), you would never know you were in central Kalkan. Slick service and some of the best fish we ate all week. It is run by a family, half English and half Turkish, with the sons waiting tables in their university holidays and husband and wife running the show. They use only fresh catches and have a remarkable wine list. A three-course meal here was around £30, which to give you an idea of affordability, was the most we paid all week.


Dinner at Villa Mahal is not to be missed (Picture: Fairlight Jones)
Dinner at Villa Mahal is not to be missed (Picture: Fairlight Jones)

A jewel on the Kalkan coastline. During the day, the rocky levels of this hotel are a beautiful beach club. By night, it transforms into a restaurant Conde Nast called the most romantic in the Med. We sat at a table inches from the waves, the lights of Kalkan curving around the bay.

One of the most spectacular impressive dining spots in Kalkan itself.


The Bay at Kalkan by Fairlight Jones
in-room dining at Likya Pavilion, Kalkan, a hotel by Fairlight Jones

Wraparound sunset views over Kalkan bay, a peaceful spot away from the bustle of central Kalkan and impossibly friendly staff. The head chef, along with manager Korhan, came up with a menu inspired by the Turkish dishes of their childhood, brought into the modern day. Mezze was the speciality – all handmade and so good that after trying the restaurant’s Taste Of Turkey – a culinary voyage of discovery – we ordered the mezze almost every day for lunch.

The sea bass with caper, tomato and onion salad was also excellent – we had it delivered to our villa every day for lunch, along with the mezze and a bottle of dry Anatolian white.

Every room at The Bay has its own private pool
Every room at Likya Pavilion has its own private pool


A laid-back, world-traveller-chic kind of place, with eclectic seating – low tables, hammocks, and treehouses. Open all day til late, come for a casual cocktail or bed in – almost literally, given the treehouses are decked out with floor cushions.

Try the margaritas at Botanik (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
Try the margaritas at Botanik (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

I can safely say after 3 that the margaritas are well worth a try.

Mature trees provide shade and fans are placed all around so even in the midday sun, the bar is cool enough.

Botanik bar is the number one spot for relaxed cocktails (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
Botanik is the number one spot for relaxed cocktails (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)



The irony that we are tourists who don’t want to be with other tourists does not escape us… but isn’t it nice to get off the beaten track on holiday?

As such, the rest of our week was spent exploring more out-of-the-way restaurants.

Each time, we were the only English guests among Turkish diners, which is always a sign the food will be authentic – and ideally good. As we hoped, it was excellent. Every time. Here is the lowdown of the best of the restaurants outside of Kalkan itself.



Topping this list is Guru’s Place, also known as Kuru’s Place. Set up on the hillside on the road out of Kalkan to Kas, this was more than just a meal: it was an experience.

Owner Hussein will come to pick you from your hotel in his minibus and will regale you with tales of Kalkan’s history, Turkey’s politics – and even astrology. On the way home, he stopped the vehicle in excitement: he wanted to show us how the star and moon were perfectly aligned in the night sky to depict the Turkish flag, a celestial phenomenon he said happens only rarely.

At his wonderful restaurant, you can feel free to put yourself in his hands.

Liberated of menus and decisions, we enjoyed whatever was fresh from the kitchen that day, which happened to be sensational mezze followed by a succulent pulled pork dish and the piece de resistance: beef meatballs with yoghurt, baked flatbread and homemade chilli sauce that should be bottled and sold.

His choice of wine was impeccable too – a local dry white (Likya Patara, from Antalya). No meal is complete at Hussein’s without a shot of ajibadem, a Turkish almond liquor reminiscent of Amaretto.

Hussein also holds cookery courses in his kitchen with tour of local butcher, greengrocer and a tasting in the cheese shop ending in a convivial lunch. Enormous fun, you’ll come out with new skills, full stomach and a smile.

Ask any taxi to take you to Guru’s place, on the road out of Kalkan and you’ll get there.

Kalkan Kaş Karayolu Üzeri 3. Km, 07960 Antalya, Turkey, +90 536 331 10 16



View at sunset from the terrace of Pinarbasi restaurant in Islamar village 
The uninterrupted view at sunset from the terrace of Pinarbasi restaurant in Islamar village

If views are your thing, you will love this. This restaurant really was out of the way – we would never have discovered it without recommendations from our hotel – but it was unforgettable.

A pleasant 15-minute taxi ride took us into alpine hills, through tiny hamlets, past families sitting on sofas in their gardens enjoying the cooling evening.

Our destination was the trout-farming village of Islamlar. Up to 5 degrees cooler, it provides welcome relief from mid-summer heat and a truly authentic experience. Springs diverted from the mountains into the village have led to a thriving trout farming industry, and it is this that forms the backbone of the cuisine.

The spicy tomato sauce and fresh greens at Pinarbasi Terrace in the hills of Kalkan was so simple yet so good
Spicy tomato salsa and fresh greens at Pinarbasi Terrace were simple yet delicious
That's what you call a sundried tomato...at the Pinarbasi Terrace in the hills outside of Kalkan
That’s what you call a sundried tomato…view from the Pinarbasi Terrace

There are a handful to choose from, but for the views, it had to be Pinarbasi Terrace.

As the sun set, we looked over the flame-coloured skies and lush forested hills down to the now violet-tinged Med.

No photo could do it justice and it is not hyperbole to call it breathtaking.

As we left, a father and son selling honey from their own bees on a stall opposite gave us a taste of pine and orange blossom honey – and sent us off with a large jar.


Pinarbasi Terrace is a must visit if in Kalkan
Pinarbasi Terrace is a must visit if in Kalkan

Pınarbaşı Terrace Restaurant, Kalkan Mahallesi, no:49, İslamlar Köyü Yolu, 07960 Kaş/Antalya, Turkey



Another one not to be missed – and another so off-the-beaten track that we were again the only English people in sight. The drive along a mountaintop road hugging the cliff edge makes the 40-minute trip from Kalkan worth it – a sunset seascape with mountainous backdrop.

If you’re staying in Kas, the journey will be more like 15 minutes.

Doga restaurant 40 minutes out of Kalkan is another hidden gem worth seeking out (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
Doga restaurant 40 minutes out of Kalkan is another hidden gem worth seeking out (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
Seating is on wide tapestry cushions and you can just order whatever is cooking in the stone ovens (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
Seating is on wide tapestry cushions and you can just order whatever is cooking in the stone ovens (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

Seating is on traditional raised Turkish köşk with vines hanging overhead. Reclining on wide tapestry cushions around a low table, we again ordered whatever was fresh from the kitchen, where everything from slow-cooked meats to pides (Turkish pizza) emerge from a stone oven.

If you have time, visit for breakfast too, where tea is prepared in traditional fire-heated kettles at your table and the eggs are a speciality.

Try the menemen – a dish of eggs and diced vegetables – served with warm bread fresh from the stone oven.



I will admit: we were in Kalkan primarily to relax. Turkey has a wealth of cultural and historical offerings for the energetic – but with our own private pool, full menu and wine list on speed dial and views for days, we had little inclination to leave our haven.

We did dip a toe. A ruins trip here, a boat trip there, a casual snorkel before lunch.

Likya Pavilion could organise mountain biking, snorkelling, kayaking, tennis, spa experiences (including massage in your own room), Turkish cooking courses. Further afield, cultural experiences to Phaselis and Cirali, Gombe, Saklikent Gorge, Pinara.

For all guests, a day-long boat trip was included – and if you enjoyed that, you could book for more – sunset cruises with drinks parties or dinner on board the boat. Here’s what we did manage to do:


The beach club at Likya Gardens Kalkan was a wonderful place to while away the days (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
The beach club at Likya Gardens was a wonderful place to while away the days (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

Carved into the cliffs next to Likya Gardens, the private beach club is a heavenly place to spend a day if you can drag yourself away from your villa.

Sunbed drinks service, a restaurant serving salad, fish (and spaghetti bolognese, if you’re that way inclined) and towels. The safely cordoned-off swimming area with steps to enter or a jumping platform provides a natural swimming pool.


Kalkan can lay claim to one of Europe’s most famous beaches, Patara beach, frequently name-checked in lists of the world’s top 10 best beaches.

This 11 mile-long (20km) stretch of sand is largely unspoiled, thanks to the fact it borders the Patara ruins, and also to the fact it is an important site for loggerhead turtles to nest. This protected species has been returning to Patara to lay its eggs for 40 million years. Incredible.

No shops, no buildings – just miles of uncrowded sand, clear waters and sand dunes. If you take your own umbrella and walk far up the beach away from the sunbeds for hire, you’ll find a deserted spot of white sand to make your own.

After sunset and until 8.30am, the beach is out of bounds to protect hatching baby turtles.

You’ll find it around 20 minutes from Kalkan. Visit it at the same time as you do the Patara ruins.

Patara ruins just outside Kalkan at Patara beach (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
Patara ruins just outside Kalkan at Patara beach (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)


An important city in the Roman Empire, Patara is now a well-preserved archaeological site revealing much about the layout of Roman towns.

There’s an amphitheatre, temples, colonnaded streets, a triumphal arch. Every summer students from Antalya go to work on reconstructing buildings, so it will get better and better with time.



A gulet in Kalkan bay (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)
A gulet in Kalkan bay (Picture: Deborah Arthurs)

A must-do while on the Turquoise Coast. Wherever you’re staying, your hotel should be able to organise a boat trip – a couple of hours, an afternoon or a day – but as we were Fairlight Jones guests, a day on a gulet came included in our stay.

We met at the boat at 9am, and by five past we were barefoot at the front of the boat, cold bubbly in hand, heading out to sea.

We swam in deserted coves, jumped off rocks, spotted turtles swimming alongside and ate lunch at sea, accompanied by Efes and Anatolian wine.



We arrived in Kalkan feeling like first-timers and left feeling like family. Every encounter was warm, every meal was special. When we were told 70% of people who come to Kalkan come back, we took it with a pinch of salt. After a week in the company of this very special village and its lovely inhabitants, we could believe it.

We’re not the first ones to say this, but we’ll be back.


Fly to Dalaman with a 1hr 30m transfer to Kalkan or to Antalya with a 3hr transfer.

Find more information about Fairlight Jones properties in Kalkan and where to stay in the area at fairlightjones.com

We’ll never achieve ‘true wellness’ if we’re all too hungry to get the job done


Gwyneth Paltrow’s In Goop Health summit hits London this weekend. While revelers are debauching hard at Glasto, wellness devotees will be knocking back turmeric and ginger shots and getting high on life.

A video for the two-day event describes it as ‘focused on being and achieving our optimal selves’. And honestly, what could be more empowering than taking control of your health and wellbeing? It will only cost you a cool grand, but hey, it’s payday weekend! Go wild.

It’s no secret that the brand has come under serious fire for allegedly promoting pseudoscience and positioning charlatans as experts, while simultaneously dismissing serious concerns raised by credible medical professionals. The Working Girl Detox (WGD), for instance, is ‘high on nutrition and hydration’ apparently. I did the maths and this plan doesn’t contain enough nutrition to sustain a child, let alone a fully grown adult. It clocks in at just over 1,000 calories per day.

There is a curious privilege in actively choosing not to eat. While food banks across the UK are struggling to keep up with demand, swathes of women who have the resources to achieve adequate nutrition are giving food a hard pass. It’s difficult to think of more grandiose and blatant social signalling than to reject something so base as food.

Gwyneth Paltrow, founder of Goop, signs a book
Goop takes democratic and otherwise accessible practices like yoga and mindfulness, whitewashes them, and sells them back to people at a premium (Picture: Getty)

Not only does the pursuit of our so-called ‘optimal’ selves put our physical and mental health on the line, it keeps us collectively subdued. Naomi Wolf wrote in The Beauty Myth: ‘Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.’

Restricting our diets also means restricting ideas and creativity, productivity and engagement in life outside of ourselves. It restricts relationships and connection. We’re depriving ourselves of hard-earned freedoms.

It also distracts from the fact that the people who can afford elite wellness are the same people who are going to live longest anyway. Not because of cordycep mushroom elixirs, but because health disparities track across a socio-economic gradient. While Goop is estimated to be worth more than $250 million, the number of people in the UK struggling to meet their most basic health care needs is rising

When you are living in chronic deprivation and poverty, it’s difficult to meet your basic needs; for food, rest, security, safety and perhaps community. Your attention is focused on meeting those needs in whichever way you can, and once met, thoughts turn to our identity and staving off the inevitable.

While food banks across the UK are struggling to keep up with demand, swathes of women who have the resources to achieve adequate nutrition are giving food a hard pass.

Goop takes democratic and otherwise accessible practices like yoga and mindfulness, whitewashes them, and sells them back to people at a premium, with the illusion of control. As though if we could just align our chakras, we’d stave off cancer.

When called out for being too expensive, Goop have been adamant that the brand sells a variety of products at a range of price points and even have an ‘Under $100’ section on their online shop – I doubt, however, that anyone would consider a $90 clutch brandishing the word ‘dude’ essential for wellbeing.

The subtext here is that the average woman really has no excuse for not buying into the lifestyle – it’s totally affordable! – and if they don’t then they only have themselves to blame. It serves to reinforce the idea that in order to take care of yourself, you need to buy stuff (and side note: that stuff should also look cute on Instagram).

The commodification of wellness leaves people in a permanent state of confusion over what actually constitutes wellbeing and the degree to which it can be achieved (spoiler: we are all unwell to one extent or another). It distorts our ideas of what it means to be well.

The consequence is that we equate health with thinness, Vitamixes, and green powders. We conflate aesthetics with wellbeing. We forget that our bodies are imperfect machines that do weird things for no apparent reason and sometimes malfunction.

We forget that bodies are messy and that is the way it is supposed to be. Elite wellness sells us the lie that if we just follow the rules, it will all be under control.

Sadly Goop is nothing new. It is the latest in a long-line of ‘chic’ and aspirational ‘clean’ lifestyles, detoxes, cleanses, resets, and fasting programmes that come with a side of £100 superfood powders.

We are taught to aspire to a level of affluence where real concerns around social justice and inequality are replaced by fantasies where leek powder is more effective than the human liver. What an enormous privilege, to live in this fantasy world.

This emphasis on cleanliness and purity drives fear around eating, creating a hypervigilance around food and the body. This in turn breeds more fear and anxiety, causing us to disconnect from our bodies and get trapped in our own heads. Which begs the question, why do we aspire to this?

In amongst the overwhelming amounts of advice on supplements, crystals, ‘non-toxic’ beauty and ‘clean’ household products, Goop has neglected to account for the single most powerful force in human wellbeing: social equality begets health equality.

True wellness isn’t hiding at the bottom of a bottle of CBD oil. Indeed there is no magic potion. If we are serious about improving health as a society then it will require massive structural shifts in housing, transport, education, employment and actual health care (not fantasy health care).

It requires building communities and prevention of social isolation. It means shifting our attitudes towards mental health and making sure people have equal access to psychological support as we do physical health services.

No small change certainly, but one that won’t happen if we’re all too hungry to get the job done.

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What the Glastonbury 2019 toilets are really like

There are lots of options for toilets this year (Pictures: Janine Reid, Dani Allwork, Mel Evans and Wateraid)

You’ve probably heard grim rumours about festival toilets.

The girl who got her head stuck in portaloo at Leeds in 2009. The person who got pushed over while inside one. The poo mountain by day three.

We’ve all heard them and they all involve someone, somewhere, getting covered in poo. Whether they’re true or just something that’s been passed down the grapevine, it’s enough to put you off going to a festival.

The good news is that there have been some changes at Glastonbury in recent years to try to make them a bit nicer but also more environmentally friendly.

We’ve got some pictures from the inside (admittedly, these are only from day one and two) but they really don’t look so bad.

Firstly, the traditional portable toilet is on the way out. Glastonbury started to phase out the plastic toilets in 2016 as there were concerned about them filling up too quickly and overflowing.

Instead, they’ve been replaced with organic compost toilets. This year, there are 1,300 compost toilets across the site.

Glastonbury compost loos
They decorated to at least give you a bit of a laugh before you go inside (Picture: Janine Reid)
A bag of sawdust at the Glastonbury compost toilets
Pick up your cup of sawdust before you enter – it helps to stop smells (Picture: Janine Reid)

Janine Reid, who has been attending the festival since 2007 said the new solutions are ‘100 times’ better than the old portable toilets.

The toilets separate solid and liquid waste and if you poo, you need to bring a cup of sawdust with you to throw down, which helps to take away the smell.

And at the end of the festival, the waste is turned into compost for crops.

The cubicle of a Glastonbury compost loo
Step through the door, it’s pretty basic (Picture: Janine Reid)
The inside of the Glastonbury compost toilets
Yes, that is some human waste just turning to compost in there (Picture: Janine Reid)

There are also long drop toilets on site and although they have always been available at Glastonbury, this year there are more than ever.

These are basically just huge holes in the ground with a seat over them.

They don’t have a roof so they are completely open to the elements.The toilets are quite low, which leads to a lot of squatting and they can get a little messy.

The outside of the long drop toilets
See, open top cubicles – so at least there’s no chance of getting trapped and being pushed over in one of these (Picture: Dani Allwork)
The Glastonbury long drop toilets
This was day one (Picture: Dani Allwork)
The Glastonbury long drop toilets
Getting a little messy by day two (Picture: Mel Evans)
The Glastonbury long drop toilets
This one got a thumbs up (Picture: Mel Evans)
The hole for a Glastonbury long drop toilet
That is a long way down (Picture: Mel Evans)

If you just need to pee, there’s 700 metres of male urinals dotted around the site – and for women, there are the ShePee urinals run by WaterAid. With the ShePee, women can pee standing up, cutting down on waiting times for cubicles.

If you get your period while at the festival, don’t fear – the charity has a supply of free and natural products and for the first time, there’s a few specially designed private cubicles in the ShePee area near the Pyramid Stage to meet women’s needs, with sanitary disposal facilities, water for washing, a shelf, hook and extra space.

She-pees Women can transform your festival experience with a visit to the revolutionary female urinals where volunteers will give users ShePees. Clean, safe and run by female volunteers means no more hovering precariously over a toilet seat. Glastonbury on your period If you are on your period, it doesn???t need to be a cause for concern. WaterAid will have its Fempowered natural plastic-free tampons and sanitary pads in the ShePees for women who are caught short. For the first time, there will also be a few specially designed private cubicles in some of the ShePees to meet women???s needs, with sanitary disposal facilities, water for washing, a shelf, hook and extra space.
The ShePee urinal area (Picture: Ben Roberts/Water Aid)
She-pees Women can transform your festival experience with a visit to the revolutionary female urinals where volunteers will give users ShePees. Clean, safe and run by female volunteers means no more hovering precariously over a toilet seat. Glastonbury on your period If you are on your period, it doesn???t need to be a cause for concern. WaterAid will have its Fempowered natural plastic-free tampons and sanitary pads in the ShePees for women who are caught short. For the first time, there will also be a few specially designed private cubicles in some of the ShePees to meet women???s needs, with sanitary disposal facilities, water for washing, a shelf, hook and extra space.
The ShePee urinal (Picture: Ben Roberts/Water Aid)
She-pees Women can transform your festival experience with a visit to the revolutionary female urinals where volunteers will give users ShePees. Clean, safe and run by female volunteers means no more hovering precariously over a toilet seat. Glastonbury on your period If you are on your period, it doesn???t need to be a cause for concern. WaterAid will have its Fempowered natural plastic-free tampons and sanitary pads in the ShePees for women who are caught short. For the first time, there will also be a few specially designed private cubicles in some of the ShePees to meet women???s needs, with sanitary disposal facilities, water for washing, a shelf, hook and extra space.
The private cubicles for women with sanitary bins and washing facilities (Picture: Ben Roberts/Water Aid)

And to keep everything cleaner, WaterAid have a crew of 250 people working as the Loo Crew – cleaning 2,700 toilets.

The crew do shifts of six hours between 6am and midnight and there’s a separate night team cleaning Block 9 and Shangri La from midnight to 6am.

The team make sure that each loo is regularly cleaned for 18 hours – leaving only six hours where there is no cleaning – so hopefully there won’t be too many experiences.

The charity has been working with the festival since 1994 to raise awareness of the millions of people who are denied access to clean water and decent toilets.

Lizzie Griffiths, WaterAid’s Loo Crew Supervisor said: ‘WaterAid believe it’s so important for everyone to have access to a decent toilet, not just here but around the world. As a Glastonbury charity partner we share the same value as the Glastonbury organisers in providing high standards.’

There are lots of options, so if you are attending this year, please don’t pee on the grass instead – it can pollute rivers and harm wildlife.

And if you are thinking about it next year, rest assured that the toilets aren’t as bad as you think.

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