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What to do if your partner always has bad breath

Illustration of a couple kissing on the beach
‘Honey, your breath…’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Morning breath is a common issue, and not one that bothers most people.

If you’re planning on having sex in the morning, there are two simple solutions: brush your teeth or gurgle some mouthwash, or alternatively there’s always the option of doing it from behind.

But what about if bad breath is a consistent problem?

Telling the person you’re dating that their breath makes you not want to kiss them can be difficult.

It’s important not to hurt their feelings, but if it’s gotten so severe that you’re always turning away when they’re talking to you, it’s time to have a chat.

How should you broach the subject of foul mouth odour?

If it’s just a one-off garlic situation, you can probably laugh it off.

However, if you’re facing a long-standing issue, plan how you’re going to tell your partner about it and what you’re going to say. It is rarely a good idea to just go with the flow in these scenarios.

Refrain from using offensive adjectives and don’t say things like ‘your breath smells disgusting’ or ‘I can’t stand your breath’.

In fact, there’s no need to describe the bad breath in any detail, unless they directly ask you to do so. It’s only hurtful, and you’re unlikely to get a good reaction from your other half.

‘It’s such a sensitive issue, I would try to be very kind and empathic to avoid evoking a defensive reaction while still being honest and getting the point across,’ Eileen Duff, couples therapist and Counselling Directory member, tells Metro.co.uk.

‘For instance, rather than blurting it out in what could seem like an attack, I’d put the ball in their court and come at it from a suggestive angle, asking if they have ever smelt or tasted something unpleasant on their breath.’

Illustration of two men in a room, one dressed in suspenders, the other in a bowtie
‘I think it’s time we changed toothpaste’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Alternatively, if you feel it’s appropriate, include a solution to the problem.

There are many reasons people have bad breath, and while changing to a different toothpaste doesn’t always work, it could be worth a try.

If you live together, secretly swap out the brand you’re using and see if it resolves itself.

‘I’d make the conversation light-hearted and offer suggestions such as drinking more water throughout the day or using a different toothpaste/ mouthwash,’ Eileen recommends.

‘I think it is about how you say it and maybe telling them something you genuinely appreciate about them first.

‘Otherwise, if appropriate, humour could ease the sting!’

What’s more, bear in mind that your other half might not even be aware of their bad breath.

As such, a confrontation can come as shock – so tread gently.

‘When dealing with someone’s hygiene habits, you must approach the subject carefully,’ Nomin Bayaraa, co-founder of the dating app Blixr, tells Metro.co.uk.

‘For many people, they may be entirely oblivious to the situation and react defensively if confronted.

‘However, if you are comfortable with your partner, there should also be no harm in telling them outright, perhaps adding a little humour to the situation.

‘They will definitely prefer to know that there is an issue by hearing it from you, rather than people talking about it behind their back. At the end of the day – they cannot fix a problem that they may not know is even occurring.’

A small poll on Twitter revealed that most people (75%) would tell their boyfriend or girlfriend about the bad breath, while 9% would be too afraid to do so. Meanwhile, 16% would rather wait it out and see if it gets better with time.

If the idea of talking about bad breath brings you out in a cold sweat, there are other ways to handle it (in addition to the aforementioned toothpaste swap).

‘If this approach is not for you, there are many other ways to broach the subject by being sensitive to the situation and providing subtle hints,’ said Nomin.

‘Suggest brushing your teeth at the same time as each other, having breath mints or chewing gum on you at all times.

‘You can also buy an effective mouthwash that you will also use to encourage them to follow suit.

‘If these things still do not help, it may be that there is an underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed.

‘Perhaps mention that you are attending a dentist appointment and ask for them to book one too. Dentists will quickly pick up on issues that cause bad breath, some of which may be fixed with some simple medical treatment.’

Why do people get bad breath?

Nobody has bad breath on purpose (or so we hope, at least).

Knowing why people get bad breath might help you to understand what the cause could be.

Some more common reasons include smoking – which can cause gum disease – bad oral hygiene, mouth infections and certain foods that when digested cause a repellent smell from your mouth.

‘My husband told me I had bad breath just over six months ago, as did my five-year-old,’ a woman who wants to remain anonymous tells Metro.co.uk.

‘I was kind of aware of it but hadn’t been to the dentist or hygienist in over three years, due to having a baby and working etc.

‘I was so mortified.

‘When I did pluck up the courage to see my dentist I had the start of gum disease and severe plaque build-up, which was causing the bad breath. My gums had been bleeding for well over a year when I brushed so that in itself also contributed to having bad breath.

‘The worst thing was, my teeth are really white so I personally didn’t think there was anything wrong! Eeek.’

According to the Mayo Clinic, other factors can be existing health problems such as certain types of cancer and metabolic disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Mouth dryness can also be the culprit, which can be exacerbated by medication, as can mouth, nose and throat conditions.

Having said this, if your partner is struggling with a debilitating illness, be even more gentle in your approach, as they might already know of the side effects and are worried how you will react to it.

If you’re struggling to find the words when talking to your partner, take a deep breath (no pun intended) and put yourself in their shoes.

Most importantly, make it clear that you love – or like – them just as much as you always have.

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Primark’s Manchester store opens new beauty studio and barbershop

There's now a beauty studio and a barbershop
Primark has opened two new studios (Picture: Getty/Backgrid)

Attention, beauty fans: Primark has opened a new beauty studio and barbershop at its Manchester store.

The two new studios are the latest addition to the three-storey branch.

Primark’s new Beauty Studio, operated by Lashious and covering over 1,000 sq ft, will offer head-to-toe beauty treatments in a boutique environment, with prices starting at just £3, in Primark’s super cheap fashion.

The treatments offered include manicures, blow drys, makeup and lash extensions – all of which can be booked online.

The MILLS x Primark barbershop will bring high quality hairdressing, with the studio fronted by session hairdresser Joe Mills.

It will offer slick cuts, wet shaves and facials.

The studio will offer cheap treatments
The studio will offer cheap treatments (Picture: Farrell/Backgrid)

Primark’s Director of New Business Development, Tim Kelly said: ‘We are delighted to be launching our new Primark Beauty Studio in Manchester and also bringing our second MILLS x Primark barbershop to the British high street. Our customers can relax and have fun whilst also enjoying best value services along with our Amazing Fashion at Amazing Prices.’

Joe Mills, session hairdresser and founder, added: ‘We are very excited to be bringing our new brand of barbering to Manchester. Our partnership with Primark ensures that everyone can access high-quality, first-class hairdressing and barbering in an innovative and fashion-forward environment.’

‘Whether it’s a beard trim or the latest trend-led haircut, our 800 sq ft space and highly-trained team makes MILLS x Primark the place for great cuts and service.’

The news comes after the Primark store in Manchester also opened a Central Perk Cafe inspired by Friends, which offers a New York inspired menu and Friends products.

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You can sleep inside this giant pig for rent on Airbnb

The inside and outside of the Trojan Pig airbnb
The Trojan Pig (Picture: Airbnb)

We’ve seen some interesting Airbnb properties in our time – but this one is amazing.

The Trojan Pig is literally a giant pink wooden pig that you can sleep inside.

It even comes with a case of ice-cold pink cider.

There’s two beds inside but space for 12 people to fit inside.

Described as the ultimate ‘sty-cation’, the pig is completely portable so it can be brought to wherever you want, already equipped with everything you need for your stay.

Two people inside the Trojan pig airbnb
There’s room for two people to sleep inside (Picture: Tom Wren/SWNS)
The door to the Trojan Pig airbnb
It comes with everything you need for a night of glamping (Picture: Tom Wren/SWNS)

It’s available for a few select dates this summer.

Rhona Fyfe, Brand Manager of Orchard Pig, said:  ‘Everyone loves a taste of the countryside, but we know its not always easy to get to, and the old-school camping experience isn’t always glamorous.

‘That’s why we’re turning glamping into glamPIG – bringing flavours of the farmlands to wherever you desire, complete with sleeping bags, facilities and of course plenty of Orchard Pig Pink cider to quench your thirst.

The outside of the Trojan pig
Oink (Picture: Tom Wren/SWNS)

‘We promise that you’ll never experience anything like it – prepare for a night sleeping inside a giant pink wooden PIG – that’s something to snout about.’

The listing has been created by cider brand Orchard Pig to celebrate their new pink cider.

It takes its colour from purple carrots, a firm favourite of the pigs, which traditionally used to trot around orchards of Somerset.

It’s available in four-packs of 330ml cans in Asda nationwide (and of course, it’s the one inside the Trojan Pig too).

You’ll be as happy as a pig in mud.

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McDonald’s is giving away free cheeseburgers this week

McDonald's is giving away free cheeseburgers
Fancy a free cheeseburger? (Picture: McDonald’s/Getty)

Calling everyone who loves a freebie (and that’s all of us, right?): McDonald’s is giving away free cheeseburgers! And yes, we will be getting our hands on one.

The fast food retailer is giving away free cheeseburgers to all new customers who sign up to their app.

The cheeseburgers are 99p, so it’s not an incredible deal – but hey, we’ll take anything that comes for free.

All you have to do to get one is download the McDonald’s app, which you can find on Android and Apple, sign up to it with your email address and head down to your local McDonald’s to order.

But don’t expect to stuff your face – as there’s only one free cheeseburger per customer.

A picture of a cheeseburger and coffee
All you have to do is download the app (Picture: Getty)

If you don’t like cheeseburgers, you could do a good deed and get one for a someone who is homeless, or someone else in need.

If you fancy getting a free cheeseburger or making someone’s day, you should head down to your local McDonald’s ASAP.

In other McDonald’s news, the fast food restaurant is offering 50% off its new hot Cajun chicken wrap this week.

Also available only through the app, the wraps are selling for £1.49 until Friday.

And just to reiterate – you absolutely will have to do it through the app, because you’ll be charged full price if you order at the counter, and nobody wants that.

The voucher can only be used once, and will get you either a grilled or crispy chicken wrap with Cajun sauce, Pepper Jack cheese, tomato, Jalapeno slices and lettuce.

So basically, you can get yourself a cheeseburger and a wrap for £1.49 this week. Bargain.

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This is where the Cadbury 99 Flake got its name – and it’s not because of the price

A Cadbury 99 Flake
A summer treat (Picture: Getty/Shutterstock)

It’s the Cadbury Flake’s 99th birthday, which is pretty apt because it is at the centre of one of our favourite summer treats – the 99 Flake ice cream.

A glorious mound of ice cream, on a wafer cone with half a chocolate Flake on the top – simple, but delicious.

But do you know where the name 99 Flake came from?

You might have heard the myth that it was because it used to cost 99p.

There’s no doubt that it probably did cost 99p at some point in time but these days, that’s probably not the case.

And it was invented back in the 1920s or 1930s, shortly after the Flake chocolate bar was created, when we still used old British money.

a row of four 99 Flake ice creams
Do 4 99s make a 396 Flake? (Picture: Shutterstock)

Plus the equivalent of 99p back then was about £43 in today’s money – that would be a pricey ice cream.

We can probably discount that idea, but we’re still not sure where the name actually did come from.

There are plenty of rumours – some say it was invented in Portobello in Scotland by Stefano Arcari, who had a shop at 99 Portobello High Street, while others say it was created by the Dunkerley’s in Manchester at 99 Wellington Street.

According to Sarah Foden from the Cadbury archives, the name might have been chosen because it was seen as something a little more special

She told Metro.co.uk: ‘The real reason for the name of the Flake 99 has been lost in the mists of time, however the best piece of evidence we have of its origins comes from a Cadbury works paper.

‘The paper states that in 1928 some of the Italian soft ice cream makers in County Durham were trying to think of ways of introducing other lines to increase their sales and as a result, created the Flake 99.

‘In the days of the monarchy in Italy the King has a specially chosen guard consisting of 99 men, and subsequently anything really special or first class was known as “99” – and that his how “99” Flake came by its name.’

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Little bumps on your thighs? Here’s how to deal with keratosis pilaris

A close up of keratosis pilaris
Keratosis pilaris appears as red bumps (Picture: NHS)

The temperatures are rising and so are our hemlines (at least they are if you skip the midi skirt trend), but if you’re feeling self conscious about those little red bumps all over your thighs – don’t.

Keratosis pilaris – often referred rather charmingly as ‘chicken skin’ – usually covers upper arms, but as it occurs around hair follicles it’s also very common to see it appearing on your legs, particularly at the top.

The harmless skin condition affects as many as 40% of the adult population and more than half of teenagers, and is often hereditary. Caused by a buildup of keratin in the hair follicle, the bumps can be red, white or even darker than your skin tone.

The hard protein blocks the hair follicle as it builds, leaving you with bumpy, rough skin as the skin cells fail to shed and exfoliate in the way that they should – and it can even become itchy too.

While our arms can at least be left alone and simply moisturised, having keratosis pilaris on your legs can be extra tough, as you might be gliding your razor over it in prep for summer – but the good news is, the heat may actually help.

‘For unknown reasons keratosis pilaris is better in summer,’ says Dr Anton Alexandroff, Consultant Dermatologist & British Skin Foundation spokesperson.

‘Hair removal by itself does not make KP worse but can cause ingrowing hairs/shaving folliculitis, which may look similar.’

The bad news is there’s no ‘cure’ that will get rid of it for good – but with a bit of good skin maintenance you can get it under control so your limbs are looking and feeling their smooth summer best.

Here’s how to make bumpy thighs a little less noticeable:

Wash gently

Keeping skin clean and fresh in the heat will help reduce any other potential follicle-cloggers – because sweat can do that too.

Gentle cleansers to help soothe the skin barrier will help to keep things feeling smooth.

Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto recommends trying CeraVe Hydrating Body Wash, £12.25: ‘This creamy cleanser cloaks dry, sensitive skin in moisture and leaves it feeling properly clean, not tight, scratchy or scaly.’

Cerave hydrating body wash
A gentle body wash works wonders (Picture: CeraVe)

Exfoliate properly

A quick scrub in the shower isn’t going to cut it – you need to exfoliate regularly but gently, and not just with physical loofahs, mitts and brushes.

Lotions and washes containing AHAs and BHAs will help to de-clog the follicle. Dr Anjali recommends the E45 Emollient Wash Cream for £5.39.

She says: ‘This might not lather up but it cleans, soothes and smooths. It feels ultra-nourishing, so a few pumps is all you need. Body washes containing glycolic or salicylic acid should also help make your skin feel smoother and look more refined.

‘AHA glycolic acid turfs away dead skin on the surface, while salicylic acid makes its way to the deeper levels of the skin to target the keratin responsible for keratosis pilaris.’

It (hopefully) goes without saying that you should also not pick or scratch at the bumps – you’ll only make it worse.

Bottle of E45 emollient wash with a pump lid
A dermatologist recommends this gentle wash (Picture: E45)

Get moisturised

‘Chicken skin’ is a combination of blocked skin and dryness – which is why you need to buff away the keratin buildup and then moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.

‘I suggest using bland, fragrance-free cream or emollient cleansers on the skin,’ Dr Anjali advises.

‘This will reduce dryness and make keratosis pilaris feel a little less rough, and help the feeling that comes with ‘catching’ the skin.’

Dr Anjali is a fan of Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion, £22.

She adds: ‘This body lotion takes rough, ragged skin and makes it supermodel-smooth, thanks to a powerhouse of dead skin-busting alpha hydroxy acids.’

The outer box of the Ameliorate transforming body lotion
The best body lotion for KP (Picture: Ameliorate)

Dr Anton agrees – and if the bumps are really getting you down then you can go a step further and ask a pro.

‘Emollients (moisturisers) can be of benefit,’ says Dr Anton. ‘Creams containing salicylic acid, lactic acid and/or urea are more effective than emollients and can be purchased over the counter or obtained on prescription from the doctor. GPs and dermatologists can prescribe antibiotics and/or retinoid gel, which can also help.’

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Hot weather hacks: Lazy girls’ guide to summer 2019


Let’s be clear – summer is off-season for anything high-maintenance.

Sunshine and hard-won holidays equal no-fuss makeup, hassle-free hair, bailing on workouts and stress-free style.

So with that in mind, here’s our top 15 hot weather hacks that will make for easy living all summer long.


Edward James Hair Salon
(Picture: Edward James London)

Want to freshen up those roots but no time for a whole day at the salon? London’s leading hairstylist Edward James is launching ‘insta-lights’ for time-poor but stylish women on the go.

Using a new colour blending technique from the States that gives a colour lift and beautiful non-brassy highlights in 15 minutes. Insta-lights banish the dreaded regrowth tidemark with a formulation that’s kind to hair and stretches out your full colour service.

Unlike a “toner” which works only on the existing highlights this base blending technology will work on the natural root colour –and acts as a lightening agent which will lighten up to 2 shades, creating a similar effect to what happens naturally in the sun.

To add to this softening effect on the roots, additional multi-tonal lights are added to the hair to create a stunning result.

Edward James Balham Salon
Picture: Edward James Salon Balham

Edward James has salons in Balham, Clapham and Putney.

Insta Lights at Edward James, from £35, edwardjameslondon.com

Let’s Get Things Straight

Neville Hair & Beauty Braliz Treatment
(Picture: Neville Hair & Beauty)

Hate hot weather blow-drying? Who doesn’t? Straightening treatments work a charm but they are famously hard on hair (Jennifer Aniston said they nearly left her bald). Enter Braliz – a brand new, chemical-free Brazilian blow dry treatment that actually promotes healthy hair.

Making hair smooth, sleek and silky, no matter what humidity levels you are faced with, this formaldehyde-free Brazilian blow dry treatment delivers a long-lasting smooth, straightened finish for up to three months – without the use of any nasty chemicals.

Rolled out at Belgravia’s Neville Hair & Beauty, it’s suitable for all hair types, including afro and chemically processed hair, and safe for pregnancy.  A nourishing treatment does not alter the natural curl or wave in the hair, those who want can still have beautiful bouncy curls or let their hair dry for a natural look, but without the frizz.

Promising no fumes and no odour, Braliz is also a vegan product not tested on animals

Braliz, from £250, at nevillehairandbeauty.net 

Beach Waves for Days

Texture Spray from Shea Moisture
(Picture: Shea Moisture)

This weightless styling spray delivers a balance of body and definition for an effortless lasting tousled look. Certified organic shea butter and coconut water blend with a fusion of dragon fruit, lychee berry and green apple extracts to nourish and energise lifeless hair. Vitamin-rich imbe oil helps block humidity to control frizz while aloe adds weightless shine. Leaves hair marvellously manageable.

SheaMoisture Fruit Fusion Texture Spray, £10.99, Boots.com 

The Wonder Towel

Nabaiji MIcrofibre Towel
(Picture: Nabaiji)

Wave frizzy hair goodbye with this towel technique which mimics what savvy women have been doing for years – drying their hair in a T-shirt.

This highly absorbent microfibre towel dries hair super fast (so cuts down on time in front of a hot hair dryer) and is Ideal for battling humidity as it dries hair quickly and fights the frizz.

Nabaiji Microfibre Towel, £9.99, decathlon.co.uk

The Aloe Foundation

Pixi Colour Correcting Powder Foundation
(Picture: pixi by petra)

Blendable and buildable, this silky powder is a make up superstar. Great for hot weather, not only does it banish too much shine but has a vitamin complex and a blend of aloe vera and coffee extracts that deeply nourish and hydrate dry summer skin.

Perfect to cover sun spots and keep you looking cool all summer long.

PIXI Colour Correcting Powder Foundation (Various Shades), £18, lookfantastic.com

Sweat Proof Mascara

Essence You Better Work Sweat Proof Mascara
Picture: essence

This sweatproof mascara contains the key ingredient beeswax which gives it a leg-up on your basic, standard waterproof mascaras. Waxy formulas help your mascara stay on through thick and thin, no matter how hot it gets.

Essence’s You Better Work! Volume and Curl Waterproof Mascara can handle even the sweatiest summer workouts, providing maximum volume and curl.

Essence You Better Work! Volume & Curl Mascara ,£3, wilko.com

Fresh Face

Freshen up Face Tonic Angela Langford
(Picture: Angela Langford Skincare)

British brand Angela Langford makes organic, vegan, cruelty free, mood-boosting skincare products by hand in Somerset.

Effective and affordable the range uses high quality ingredients from nature’s larder to feed skin – with no chemical nasties.

Rose, geranium and orange blossom are mixed with aloe vera and comfrey to produce a refreshing tonic that keeps skin hydrated, calm and fresh throughout the day. Great for dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin.

Angela Langford’s Freshen Up Spritzer, £14, angelalangford.com

Waterproof your Glam

Gosh Copenhagen Make Up Setter
(Picture: Gosh Copenhagen)
If you want to be Insta-ready after splashing around in the sea, try this Waterproof Setting Powder by Gosh Copenhagen.

A new powder that promises to lock in makeup for waterproof, long-lasting and smudge-proof wear.  The vegan loose powder gives you a modern, matte finish and bonus – it absorbs oil and reduces shine.

The silky, loose powder gives a modern, matte finish with a touch of sheer coverage.

Waterproof Setting Powder by Gosh Copenhagen, £9.99, superdrug.com

20,000 Sit-Ups in a Lunch Break

Dr Galyna Selezneva Em Sculpt Body Doctor
Picture: Dr. Galyna Selezneva

No one wants to sweat at the gym in the summer – and this body sculpting machine belongs in the lazy girls’ hall of fame.

Called Emsculpt – it is a revolutionary treatment that uses non-invasive HIFEM (High-Intensity Focused Electromagnetic) technology that induces supramaximal muscle contractions. Which basically means that power pulses make the muscle tissue adapt and respond which causes a remodelling deep down in the muscle’s inner structure. All you have to do is lay there and the machine does the rest.

Tangible results around muscle building and body sculpting can be felt right after the treatment and positive results are most often seen two to four weeks after the last session and continue to improve for several weeks following the treatments.

Can be used on core muscles, abs and bottoms to lift, firm and shape. Dr Galyna Selezneva, one of the UK’s top body doctors, is great at using the top technology to get results

Emsculpt, £800, drritarakus.co.uk 

Bye Bye Bingo

Arm Belt by Sixpad
(Picture: Sixpad)

Summer brings with it an influx of sleeveless dresses, giving those beautiful bingo wings their moment to shine.

Just in case you’re not in love with your arms but don’t fancy working out – try Sixpad’s new Arm Belts. Offering targeted training for arms, they have identified 20Hz as the optimum frequency to train muscles- the Arm Belt delivers a 23-minute workout that contracts and relaxes your muscles while you kick back and relax.

This  innovative EMS technology can be used pretty much anywhere, with Bluetooth connectivity that lets you visualise your muscle training from start to finish through a dedicated training app.

Arm Belt by Sixpad, £210,  sixpad.uk/armbelt

The Lip Facial

The Lip Perk Facial
Picture: Dr Nima

Fancy a bit of a Kylie lip this summer minus the injectables?

The Perk Lip Treatment with Dr Nima Mahmoodi promises to enhance lips naturally, using roller-flex technology – where a pen-like device uses vacuum-like suction to gently remove the surface layer of dead skin cells and impurities while pushing through plumping antioxidants.

The treatment exfoliates and primes lips with hyaluronic acid, peony extract and peppermint oil. It feels strange, having the suction applied to the lips, and they will swell in protest – but then, that’s the goal here– and you are sent home with the rest of the vial of plumping solution, which you can apply like lip gloss several times a day to keep them plumped up.

Lip Perk Treatment with Dr Nima,  £149 for one treatment. drnimalondon.com 

Nailed It

IBX Manicure
(Picture: Neville Hair & Beauty)

If broken, chipped and cracked nails are a summer staple of yours that you’d like to see the back of – and you don’t fancy regular visits to the nail salon –  try the hottest new treatment on the market. Think of it like an Olaplex for nails. This new treatment,  called IBX,  works under gentle heat to fuse together the nail’s top layers, strengthening the natural nail by filling in gaps and ridges and providing a protective shield to prevent nails from breaking.

The treatment is also used to target natural nail imperfections and weaknesses that prevent natural nails from growing long. IBX is particularly good for weak, thin, and damaged nails from years of gel manicures and acrylics.

IBX Nails at Neville Hair & Beauty, £90,  nevillehairandbeauty.net

At Home Gel Manicure

SesationNail At Home Gel Manicure
(Picture: SensatioNail)

SensatioNail Express Gel is a revolutionary, all-in-one gel formula. Brush on, cure, and voila, done in as little as 5 minutes. The one step application is chip resistant and provides up to 10 days of vibrant gel colour and shine. No top coat or base coat is needed, just cure for 30 seconds and go. No tacky residue and removal is just as fast and easy. The express gel starter kit includes everything you need to start doing your own beautiful gel manicures at home. Express gel starter kits include: LED lamp with USB lead and mains adaptor plus 10ml of express gel nail polish.

SensatioNail Express Starter Kit, £34.99, boots.com

The Sock Pedicure

Footner Exfoliating Socks
(Picture: Footner)

If you’re on the lookout for the perfect at-home pedicure without all the filing, scraping and grating then look no further. These exfoliating socks let you be sandal-ready all summer long with minimal effort.

Footner promotes the natural peeling process of hard and dead skin by using Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), while moisturisers in the formula leave the skin softer and smoother with every use.

The first step to fabulous feet is to slip on the socks and make sure you have 60 minutes free to relax while the socks get to work – a perfect opportunity to put your feet up and catch up on Love Island.

After the hour is up, remove the socks and then soak your feet to wash away any excess residue. Full treatment time takes between 7-10 days, but once the peeling is done it will reveal feet you will want to show off all summer.

Footner Exfoliating Socks, £19.99, boots.com

No Sweat

dandi sweat patches
(Picture: Dandi)

The perfect solution to a sweaty commute, this efficient sweat pad holds 1,000 times the average amount of underarm sweat – so you can sweat up a storm without worrying about the dreaded wet patch.

The super soft outer layer feels comfortable against the skin, while the absorbent and waterproof layers ensure your clothes stay dry and protected all day.

These little beauties adhere to clothing and stop sweat marks as well as protecting clothes from white deodorant stains and yellow sweat stains.

Dandi Underarm Patches,  £4.99 for a pack of 14, dandipatch.com


Ben and Jerry’s Jerry Greenfield chats humble beginnings, ice cream dreams and Ben Cohen bromance

Ben and Jerry's Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
The pair have been the kings of ice cream since 1978 (Picture: REX)

Of all the double acts in the world, Ben and Jerry are undoubtedly one of the most iconic, opening their first ice cream shop in 1978 and pretty much achieving world domination in the years afterwards.

But, as co-founder Jerry Greenfield told us during a trip to their headquarters in Burlington, Vermont, the ice cream kings had the most humble beginnings.

‘Ben and I met in seventh grade,’ he revealed. ‘We were in the same gym class, we met running around the track – we always tell people we were the slowest, fattest kids in the class. Best friends at the back of the pack.’

After years of being the real life ice cream versions of Willy Wonka, they’re still involved in the company, but more as spokespeople.

‘We don’t have real jobs…we like to tell people we have no authority and no responsibility,’ the 68-year-old laughed.

Speaking about the company’s ‘progressive social mission,’ Jerry prides himself and the company on their aims to ‘speak up for marginalised people’, such as their support for same-sex marriage and Black Lives Matter.

Despite not considering himself an environmental activist, he told us: ‘I tend to believe the most impactful thing we can do is get companies and governments to change what they’re doing.

Ben and Jerry's Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
Ben and Jerry have been best friends since seventh grade gym class (Picture: Rex Features)

‘I think individual action is important but I don’t think people deciding that they’re going to wash their clothes in cold water is going to have the same impact.’

Making his passion for social issues and cracking ice cream clear, he added: ‘I have the best job in the world. I am the luckiest person I know.’

And a big part of that stems from his relationship with best pal Ben Cohen.

‘Ben and I are extremely, extremely close. We are probably better friends today than we were when we started. We live in the same town, about a five minute drive from each other,’ he explained.

Ben and Jerry's Jerry Greenfield
Jerry believes he was the ‘best job in the world’ (Picture: Rex Features)

‘Aside from my wife, Ben is the person I spend most time with in my life,’ he added, before taking the opportunity to hype up his best friend.

‘Ben’s actually a much more interesting person [than me]!’ he claimed. ‘[He’s] one of those people in life that people are always telling stories about.’

With the pair still making time to hang out as best buds, a Ben and Jerry’s coworker revealed that there’s a picture of Jerry on Ben’s fridge in his house.

Bromance goals or what?

So what would Jerry be doing if he didn’t follow his ice cream making dreams? Revealing that he was rejected from all medical schools he applied for, he also considered being a high school teacher. And a cross country truck driver, if it meant he could hang out with Ben for the forseeable future.

Ben and Jerry's Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
Now 68, Ben and Jerry don’t want to slow down (Picture: Getty Images)

However, he doesn’t seem keen to slow down any time soon.

‘Ben and I are 68 years old and we’re both very active and still working very hard on the things we believe in,’ he said indignantly. ‘The outside world is starting to look at Ben and me as people who are on the downside of our careers!

‘We’ve started receiving some lifetime achievement awards, which makes you think you’re done.’

Despite their huge success, the pair have been clear on their failures, creating the infamous Ben and Jerry’s Flavour Graveyard, which is where flavours go to die.

No flavour is irreplaceable. In fact, both Jerry’s and Ben’s all time faves (Coconut Almond Fudge Chip and Mocha Walnut) were discontinued a long time ago. Bit rude.

‘It raises a question about Ben’s and my personal taste,’ he considered.

Nevertheless he and his best friend have got some sound advice on embracing failure.

‘The best way to learn is making mistakes,’ he explained. Quoting his best pal, he explained: ‘To stumble is not to fall, it’s to move forward more quickly.’

Preach, guys.

MORE: Ben & Jerry’s is deep frying blocks of Phish food ice cream to look like classic fish and chips

MORE: London pub pop-up to serve ice cream topped with fried chicken, chips and hot sauce

How to get rid of dry, flaky skin on your legs

Young woman holding lotion
Rub it in, would ya? (Picture: Getty)

Summer is the season where you ditch the tights, reveal your legs and potentially start questioning whether you were birthed by a lizard.

The dry, rough skin that was easy to ignore in winter is now there blinking at you, displaying cracks like a farmer’s field mid-drought.

I’ve always had fairly dry skin and used to find that a daily slick of body lotion was enough to keep the scales at bay.

However, in recent years I’ve noticed that my legs have been getting thirstier than ex-Love Island contestants commenting on each other’s Instagrams.

Turns out that skin gets drier the older we get – but why?

‘Put simply, the skin gets thinner, natural oil production reduces, the concentration of natural moisturising factors (NMFs) in the skin, such as urea, reduce as we age, and the skin becomes less resilient to what the environment throws at it,’ Dr. Mark J. Hudson-Peacock, Consultant Dermatologist at The Canterbury Skin and Laser Clinic tells Metro.co.uk.

‘The lower legs are particularly prone to these effects, partly due to its thinner quality and reduced production of natural oils there: sebaceous glands are larger and most numerous on the face and upper body, getting less productive the further peripherally one goes down the arms and down the legs in particular.

‘Skin can also look dry because the outer skin cells do not separate so readily anymore.’

Dr Hudson-Peacock reveals there is ‘little evidence’ that drinking more water or ‘taking supplements over and above a good, balanced, healthy diet’ makes any discernible difference to skin hydration.

Luckily, the right skincare regime (yes, regime, it’s that serious) can help us, so here’s a suggestion of where to start.

Pre-shower: Dry body brush

EcoTools dry body brush
Brush your body, baby (Picture: EcoTools)

Body brushing is something I thought was reserved for affluent Goop readers. I assumed it a pointless pampering task that paupers like myself needn’t bother with.

So when I started my ‘how to stop my legs looking like the Sahara desert’ research and it cropped up as a ‘must do’, I narrowed my eyes.

There are many articles on the internet heralding dry brushing as a saviour for removing dead cells from the skin’s surface (sounds legit), improving circulation (makes sense), stimulating the nervous system (sure), aiding lymphatic drainage (really?) and getting rid of cellulite (oh come on now).

Heads up that despite many bloggers and body brush peddlers saying otherwise, there is actually no scientific evidence to support that dry brushing is a magic cure for cellulite, or that it ‘detoxifies’ the body via increased drainage of lympathic fluids.

However, the exfoliating properties are believable so I decided to give it a go.

After finding insanely priced body brushes online (it’s a brush! How much can a brush be?!) I settled on the much better value EcoTools dry body brush, £4.99 which is cruelty-free thanks to its synthetic, recycled plastic bristles. (Natural bristles are often made from animal bristles e.g. boar, or from cactus.)

And so began my love affair with dry body brushing.

How to dry body brush

  1. Just before your morning shower, get naked and get your brush. Make sure your skin is dry.
  2. Starting at your feet, brush up your legs in long, soft strokes, towards the bum.
  3. Next, use the brush in circular motions on your stomach.
  4. Brush arms in long upward strokes.
  5. Do your chest in circular motions.

Spend up to five minutes on your brushing routine.

The first positive I noticed was that I felt invigorated, which I wasn’t expecting. I’m quite a lazy body brusher and only spend about a minute on my whole body in total, but it really does wake me up.

About a week in, I noticed a change in the skin on my legs – the light, white dusting of dead skin cells (if you retched reading that, try having it on your body, pal) that used to cover my shins had gone.

Fast forward a few weeks and my shins are in much better condition, I’ve got fewer ingrown hairs, and even my knees are smooth (they used to resemble dry elephant trunks).

Body brushing has become so much a part of my routine that I even take my wee brush with me on overnight trips. 10/10 would recommend.

Heads up, it can feel quite uncomfortable when you first start, so go easy with that brush.


In-shower: Use shower oil and exfoliate

Rituals of Karma shower oil, Lush coco loco solid shower oil, Dove argan shower oil
Born slippy (Picture: Rituals, Lush, Dove)

Look, you can’t spend time body brushing and then ruin it all by using a shower gel that strips you of any moisture you were lucky enough to already possess.

I usually use a Dove beauty cream bar to wash my body as they’re plastic-free, ridiculously cheap, and pretty damn creamy but I wanted to see if I could amp up my in-shower moisture.

Shower oils are a pretty good place to start.

I’ve always wanted to be the sort of person who used L’Occitane Almond shower oil but have sadly never had a spare £20 to spunk on shower gel. (Plus L’Occitane allows its products to be tested on animals in order to make money in China, so if you lvoe animals, that’s enough reason to look elsewhere.)

Surely there must be a shower oil that doesn’t result in you having to eat rice for a week?

For a budget experience, try Dove nourishing care in shower argan oil, £4.99 for 200ml and for a slightly more luxurious affair, give Rituals The Ritual of Karma shower oil, £8.50 for 200ml a go.

The Rituals one looks nicer in your shower but they’re both much of a muchness in their moisturising abilities. A little shower oil goes a long way, so they last a while.

Going plastic-free? Your best bet is Lush coco loco solid shower oil, £5 for 100g.

Whatever you use, you want to make sure it’s soap-free. Obviously, if you’re using an oil in your shower or bath, be careful as it can get slippy.

Dr Hudson-Peacock also advises not showering in water that’s too hot or cold, as both extremes can strip moisture. He also suggests installing a water softener if you live in a hard water area, as hard water can irritate skin.

If you need a bit of extra exfoliation, then you’ll be after a good body scrub to use a few times a week.

I prefer to make my own version of those trendy coffee scrubs – find a little tub and mix up your morning coffee grounds with some oil (coconut is great if the weather’s warm enough for it to be liquid state, otherwise almond/olive oil is grand), and some granulated sugar.

Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil if you’re feeling fancy – I like peppermint or lemongrass and sweet orange.


Post-shower: Moisturise

This Worls skin deep leg oil, Ayumi almond oil, Lush Ro's argan body conditioner
(Picture: This Works, Ayumi, Lush)

Moisturise as soon as you get out of the bath or shower, but you might have to kiss a few beauty frogs before you find your thirst-quenching prince or princess.

‘What you prefer to use and what your skin seems to respond best to, varies from person to person; people are fickle and so is the skin,’ Dr Hudson-Peacock tells Metro.co.uk.

‘What moisturisers actually do is put a waterproof coating onto the skin thereby reducing evaporative loss of water from the skin, rather than putting water into the skin.

‘So the greasier the product e.g. oils, the better this function is carried out.’

I’m a big fan of skin oils, as I love a glowy leg (think Destiny’s Child larding up their legs in Bo’ Selecta!).

After reading that This Works skin deep dry leg oil, £42 for 120ml was ‘a favourite’ of a broadsheet columnist’s and seeing rave reviews online, I winced at the price but gave it a go.

It must be magic for that money, no?

Well…no. Not or me, anyway. It’s good, don’t get me wrong – my skin was left moisturised and just the right amount of glossy – but it’s not £42 good.

This Works prides itselfs on purity and high concentrations of quality ingredients, which I assume explains the high price tag.

However after testing the product on one leg and using bog standard coconut oil/almond oil on the other, the difference wasn’t enough to justify the extra expense.

Try Ayumi pure almond oil, £2.50 for 150ml, which can be found in the world foods health and beauty aisle in Morrisons (there are lots of gems to be found there, let me tell you).

If you want to smell like you just spent a day with Willy Wonka, Dr Organic cocoa butter wonder oil, £11.99 for 150ml is also lovely.

If oils aren’t your thing, all is not lost – but you need to start reading the labels of your lotions.

‘To make the cosmetic acceptability of moisturiser more creamy and acceptable, while at the same time maintaining that hydrating effect, various ingredients are added to creams,’ explains Dr Hudson-Peacock.

‘Nicotinamde, glycerol, urea, ceramides, and fatty acids etc. are examples of some of the ingredients used to make creams work better as longer lasting moisturisers.

‘I like to think of these as water “magnets”, as they variably help the skin to hold onto its hydrating water levels for longer.’

So, look out for body lotions containing the above ingredients.

The Body Shop vitamin E body butter, £15 for 150ml contains hyuralonic acid which is naturally extracted from leftover wheat stalks and helps skin retain moisture.

If you’re on a budget, check out this giant tub of Superdrug Vitamin E intensive all over body cream, £3.99 for 475ml, which also does a great job.

If you really can’t be bothered with moisturising as an extra step, Lush Ro’s argan body conditioner, £18 for 225g is a fantastic in-shower moisturiser that you slap on after cleansing, and then rinse off.

You’re left with deliciously scented skin that stays looking good for most of the day before it needs a top-up of oil or body butter.

Good luck with those lizard legs!

MORE: The Ordinary's first ever cleanser has arrived and it's vegan

MORE: Model who had leg amputated to beat cancer features in Primark's latest campaign

MORE: Could your dry skin be slowing down your laptop?

Daily Fitness Challenge: How long can you hold a squat?


As part of our Staying Active summer series, we have teamed up with experts to set you daily challenges to try at home, at the gym or in the park.

Today’s fitness challenge is the squat hold – how long can you hold it for?

The aim is to get you active every day for six weeks over summer. And today’s challenge is a tough one that will send your heart-rate through the roof.

These daily challenges can be done on their own, or you can build them in to a larger workout – it’s completely up to you. As long as you’re moving, that’s what counts.

Throughout the series, fitness experts Elia and Amanda – both qualified instructors at Flykick – will be on hand to show you how to do each challenge and give you their top tips.

Check back every weekday to see what the next challenge is – you can even film your progress to make a record of how far you’ve come.

Group of young people squatting
Get low… and stay low (Picture: Getty)

We know doing the same fitness routine every week can get really tedious, trying a new challenge every day will keep your fitness fresh and fun – and you might even learn some new moves.

How to do a squat hold

Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart or just outside of shoulder-width.

Turn your toes out slightly. Brace your core and keep your chest up.

Swing your arms up to shoulder level as you slowly bend your knees and push your hips backward.

Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the ground. The lower you can get with good form – the harder you will work.

Stay in this position for as long as you can.

I am Team GB

Toyota has teamed up with Team GB to re-launch the hugely successful participation campaign ‘I am Team GB’.

Inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes and the amazing efforts of local community heroes, Team GB has created ‘The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day’, which will take place on the 24thAugust.

Over the weekend, there will be hundreds of free and fun activities across the country, put on by an army of volunteers; the ‘I am Team GB Games Makers’.

To Join the Team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day sign up at: www.IAmTeamGB.com

Cat with diabetes is desperately looking for a loving home

fonzy the cat with diabetes staying at the Essex RSPCA branch
Fonzy was returned to the shelter by his owners after he fell sick (Picture: RSPCA)

Could you give Fonzy the loving home he deserves?

Fonzy is an eight-year-old moggy who’s in need of a permanent home or foster carer to provide the care and affection he needs.

The cat has diabetes, which means he requires regular blood sugar checks and a special feeding schedule.

He originally arrived at the RSPCA Essex South branch seven months ago as a stray, then was rehomed after a few months. His new owners brought him back five months later as they weren’t able to look after the cat when he became sick. Poor Fonzy.

Now, he really needs a proper home where he can settle in and learn to trust again.

Despite his bad times recently, he’s a very sweet and friendly cat who just wants to be loved.

Fonzy the cat with diabetes
The cat was diagnosed with diabetes (Picture: RSPCA)

He’ll need to be an indoor cat (so don’t panic if you’re renting somewhere without a cat flap) but can happily live with another cat if needed.

All that’s required from his owners is understanding and a commitment to caring for a cat with diabetes – which RSPCA vets will help with.

Oh, and he loves naps. We just wanted to mention that as a relatable selling point.

Bonnie Boddie, trustee and animal coordinator at the branch, said: ‘We’re urgently looking for a foster or permanent home for Fonzy.

fonzy the cat with diabetes
He’s now looking for a home with a family who will take good care of him (Picture: RSPCA)

‘He is a delightful little chap who was returned to us as he had become unwell with diabetes.

‘He will need a special home as he requires his bloods measuring regularly whilst we get his insulin levels correct and feeding at appropriate times for a diabetic cat.

‘Our vets can advise and support with this and they report that Fonzy is so sweet and does not make a fuss about his blood checks or insulin injections.’

If you could adopt Fonzy and give him the care he deserves, email dogs@rspcaessxsouth.org.uk (yes, dogs. We checked. No, Fonzy is not a dog) or call 07749175023 and leave a message with your name and contact details.

MORE: Rare Scottish wildcat kittens born in the Highlands

MORE: Kittens rescued after mum abandoned them because of their fused paws

MORE: How to get rid of dry, flaky skin on your legs

Pret A Manger will give you a free iced coffee on Friday if you say the password

pret a manger to give out free iced coffees on Friday
(Picture: Pret A Manger)

Fancy a free iced coffee this Friday?

‘Course you do. It’s hot and sweating makes us all grouchy. A caffeine hit plus a chill is all we need right now.

Handily, Pret A Manger is delivering the (small) dreams and handing out free iced coffees for an hour this Friday, 19 July.

Between 10am and 11am this Friday, Pret stores across the country will hand out free drinks, including iced Americanos, iced lattes, and the store’s new cold brew.

Alternative milk options will be available, so you can still pick up a freebie even if you’re dairy-free.

As well as remembering to get to your nearest Pret in that specific timeslot, you’ll also need to say a password to get your sweaty paws on that sweet, sweet coffee.

Pret say they’ll announce the password today on their social media. They haven’t even told us what it is yet, so when we know we’ll stick it in this article.

On the day just waltz right up to the counter, quote your password, and ask for an iced coffee of your choice. Do share with your work pals. No one’s a fan of the person who rolls into the office carrying a fresh iced drink and doesn’t mention it was free until it’s too late for everyone else to join in.

MORE: Drinking coffee could help you lose weight, says study

MORE: Ice cream seller charges double for every ‘influencer’ who asks for a freebie

MORE: Here’s a round up of all the birthday freebies you can get

How to warm-up before exercising – experts tell us how to prepare for any workout

Group of people stretching and smiling
‘Warming up helps to prepare the body, mentally and physically, for sports or fitness activities’ (Picture: Getty)

Warming up should always be an integral part of any workout.

From playing sport to hitting the gym – making sure your muscles are warm, supple and ready for action is the best way to prevent injuries and get the most out of your fitness.

But what’s the best way to go about it? How do you know if you’re focusing on the right muscles? And do your warm-ups need to change depending on what exercise you’re going to be doing?

We turned to the experts to find out exactly what you need to know to make your next workout as safe and efficient as possible.

James Brown is a former England rugby player. He’s now head of nutrigenomics at Muhdo Health – and he thinks warming up is incredibly important.

‘Whether you’re an elite athlete training for a marathon or doing a Sunday morning jog, warming up is an essential part of any fitness routine,’ James tells Metro.co.uk.

‘It helps to prepare the body, mentally and physically, for sports or fitness activities.

group of young women in urban setting, stretching during fitness warm-up
‘Warming up means the body adapts to harsh weather conditions more easily’ (Picture: Getty)

‘Warm-ups are evolving to additionally enhance performance during the workout and for reducing or preventing the risk of injury.

‘A perfectly-tailored warm-up can increase blood flow, muscle temperature, core temperature and also disrupt temporary connective tissue bonds. These can have the following positive effects on performance:

  • Increased oxygen intake because of the gradual increase in the heart rate
  • Optimized ability to perform
  • Increased muscle elasticity while the resistance of the connective tissue is decreased
  • The transmission of nerve impulses is conducted rapidly
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Willingness to exercise is intensified
  • The body adapts to harsh weather conditions more easily’

You might think that a quick, cursory stretch is enough to get your body ready for exercise – but James says we need to spending longer before we jump in.

As an ex-elite athlete, James has first-hand experience of the importance of looking after your muscles at every stage of your workout. He has a simple plan you can follow to ensure you’re getting it right every time.

‘It’s recommended to follow the framework “RAMP” protocol to develop an effective, simple warm-up,’ says James.

‘It should last between approximately 10-30 minutes.

  1. Raise – moment-based exercises.
  2. Activate and Mobilise – mini band, balance and dynamic mobility work.
  3. Potentiate – increase intensity and specific movements based around activity.

‘It’s helpful to think about the mental, physiological, and bio-mechanical demands of the training session or sport as well as your fitness profile before the warm-up can begin.

‘A DNA test can help athletes to understand more about their internal health and where they may be lacking in areas of fitness such as power or stamina. They can also help to minimise injury and boost recovery after your workout.

‘For example, a training session that is focused on maximising an athlete’s jump capacity should incorporate the use of “priming” exercises such as lower-limb movements (e.g. squats and lunges), hopping, jumping, and landing.

‘All of which should be planned and lead into the main exercises of the session.

‘Well-designed warm-ups have been continuously proven to reduce injuries and enhance performance, and fitness elites and athletes should pay great attention to the objectives and content of every warm-up to deliver the best results.’

How to warm-down after exercise

As important as it is to warm-up – the warm-down is equally crucial.

Doing some simple movements and stretches before you hit the showers will help you to gradually relax, improve flexibility and slow your heart rate.

The NHS suggests the following movements to complete after you’ve been for a run:

Buttock stretch – hold for 10 to 15 seconds

  1. Lie on your back and bring your knees up to your chest.
  2. Cross your right leg over your left thigh.
  3. Grasp the back of your left thigh with both hands.
  4. Pull your left leg towards your chest.
  5. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Hamstring stretch – hold for 10 to 15 seconds

  1. Lie on your back and raise your right leg.
  2. Hold your right leg with both hands, below your knee.
  3. Keeping your left leg bent with your foot on the floor, pull your right leg towards you keeping it straight.
  4. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Calf stretch – hold for 10 to 15 seconds

  1. Step your right leg forward, keeping it bent, and lean forwards slightly.
  2. Keep your left leg straight and try to lower the left heel to the ground.
  3. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Following James’ simple guide could be the perfect way to prep your body and mind for fitness.

The important thing to remember is that you should never jump straight in to anything – your muscles need to be eased in to movement, and it’s important to be kind to your body.

Even before a light jog or a session in the gym – you might not think you need to warm-up, or you might not think you have time. But it’s important to build the time into your schedule.

Your body will thank you for it.

I am Team GB

Toyota has teamed up with Team GB to re-launch the hugely successful participation campaign ‘I am Team GB’.

Inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes and the amazing efforts of local community heroes, Team GB has created ‘The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day’, which will take place on the 24thAugust.

Over the weekend, there will be hundreds of free and fun activities across the country, put on by an army of volunteers; the ‘I am Team GB Games Makers’.

To Join the Team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day sign up at: www.IAmTeamGB.com

My Label and Me: I’m HIV positive and that doesn’t make me ‘reckless’ or ‘risky’


‘If I’m looking to have sex with someone HIV positive (which, frankly, I wouldn’t) I’d ask myself if they can be trusted to have taken their meds regularly.

‘I’d come to the conclusion that they were reckless in the first place – hence how they got it – so why wouldn’t they be reckless now?’

That was the message I received from a professor of sexuality studies, three days after being diagnosed as HIV positive.

I learnt about my status during a routine sexual health check, and the result came as a shock.

The nurse reassured me that, with treatment, not only would I have an average life expectancy but once my viral load was ‘undetectable’ it would be impossible to pass the virus on.

My medication, is so effective that HIV negative people can take it to prevent themselves from becoming positive, whether taken daily (like me) or before they have sex without condoms. When taken to prevent, it’s called PrEP (the blue parts of the necklace I’m wearing in the photos)

Despite my best efforts to educate the professor about these facts, he refused to listen, and our relationship ended.

Max Morris at Pride
On social media, I’ve had comments such as, ‘You’re a filthy prostitute, you deserve HIV’, or the belief that an HIV diagnosis is still a death sentence (Picture: Joe Newman)

Unfortunately, his attitude was shared by others in our social group. In fact, the only people I have experienced HIV stigma from have been other gay men.

On social media, I’ve had comments such as, ‘You’re a filthy prostitute, you deserve HIV’, or the belief that an HIV diagnosis is still a death sentence.

Drawing on the professor’s words, the notion that HIV is a ‘killer’ which only affects ‘reckless’ people started in the 1980s, when sexual health was thought of in terms of individual responsibility, rather than public health or education.

According to social surveys, this conservative view of sex contributed to the most homophobic period on record, when panic about the so-called ‘gay disease’ was bolstered by right-wing politicians and religious leaders.

More recently, a similar ideology was deployed to discredit NHS funding for PrEP, described as a ‘promiscuity pill’.

We also suffer from a cultural hangover, with images of ‘AIDS’ emblazoned across tombstones on TV or photographs of Princess Diana shaking hands with patients in the newspapers seared into our collective memory.

Max Morris at Pride
Max at London Pride this year (Picture: Joe Newman)

Back then, many people feared to even touch someone with HIV. Yet those who refuse to have sex with us today are no less bigoted or unaware of the science than those who refused to shake our hands 30 years ago.

Nowhere is this social and sexual exclusion more apparent than on dating apps such as Grindr, where asking if someone is ‘clean’ implies that HIV positive people are ‘dirty’.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, where the LGBTQ rights movement was launched by sex workers, gender non-conformists, and trans women of colour, many of whom would become HIV positive.

Those intersecting identities were erased by the respectability politics of white gay men who wanted to blend in with straight society: a husband, two children, and a dog in the suburbs.

Although many of us want the stability and security that stereotype seems to represent, keeping up with the Joneses can be exhausting. And sometimes the easiest way to elevate your own social status is to trample on someone else’s.

Max Morris at Pride
This us and them mentality continues to shape our politics, with figures such as Nigel Farage suggesting that HIV positive people should be banned from coming to the UK (Picture: Joe Newman)

That is the best explanation I can come up with for why so many gay men remain hostile to people living with HIV.

HIV has never been an exclusively ‘gay’ issue, of course, given that groups including migrants, people of colour, sex workers, trans women, and bisexual people have been demonised by association, or described as ‘vectors of transmission’ into seemingly ‘respectable’ communities.

This ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality continues to shape our politics, with figures such as Nigel Farage suggesting that HIV positive people should be banned from coming to the UK.

The criminalisation of HIV transmission is also likely to target certain groups such as sex workers, despite the medical evidence showing that such laws are out of date.

For me, the HIV positive label has changed my life. It has boosted my career, increased my empathy, and improved my sexual politics.

Without these experiences, I would never have met my boyfriend, who participated in the PARTNER study with me, proving beyond doubt that – when we are trusted to look after ourselves and others – HIV positive people pose no danger to our sexual partners.


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

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

MORE: My Label and Me: Being deaf is a gift, especially when the baby is crying at 4am

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Polyamorous married couple get engaged to woman they met on Tinder

 Ty and Rosie moved Keneshia in with them after two months of dating.
Married couple Ty and Rosie moved Keneshia (right) in with them after two months of dating (Picture: MDWfeatures / Luxury Portraits)

When Rosie Haley came out as bisexual to her husband Ty, he was supportive.

The 24-year-old student and support worker met Australian defence force member, Ty, 23, when they were in high school in Brisbane, Australia.

By 18 they were married and four years later, Rosie was able to reveal her sexuality to Ty.

They decided to open their marriage to find another woman they could both fall in love with.

The couple joined Tinder and matched with student Keneshia Petty, 23, in May 2018.

Now the throuple are engaged.

 Rosie, Ty and Keneshia (left to right) pictured, the couple who plan to get married next year.
The couple met Keneshia (right) on Tinder (Picture: MDWfeatures / Captured By Caisie)

After a few weeks of talking, Rosie and Ty both went on separate dates with Keneshia, and they hit it off immediately.

Two months after meeting, the trio moved in together.

Rosie proposed to Keneshia while Ty was deployed in the Middle East and joined the romantic moment on Skype. When he returned, he also proposed to Keneshia.

‘Being in a throuple means more love, understanding, growth and encouragement. We have our needs met by one another in ways that monogamy never offered,’ said Keneshia.

Their relationship works by each having an individual relationship with the other and then a collective relationship involving all three.

Keneshia says that it takes a lot of adjusting, compromising, and figuring out how to manage wardrobe space to make things work.

Rosie and Ty (left and right) were married at 18 and they met Keneshia (centre) on Tinder after Rosie came out as bisexual.
The throuple see a therapist to allow unbiased observations (Picture: MDWfeatures / Captured By Caisie)

Rosie says she planned the proposal for months and waited until Keneshia’s birthday.

She said: ‘I was so incredibly nervous. It was first thing in the morning as we sat on the bed with a cup of coffee and we had Ty on skype.

‘After pouring my heart out to her, she said she would be my wife, and I cried and held her. I couldn’t have been happier and more full of love.’

Despite their happiness, the throuple’s families have had some reservations.

‘My parents don’t necessarily understand, but they have been willing to meet Keneshia and when they did, they were happy to see how happy she has made me,’ said Ty.

Keneshia has had worse luck: ‘My little sister disowned me, and our relationship turned sour when I made an official statement to her about my relationship.

‘It was heartbreaking. My oldest sister also didn’t handle the news very well and it has been a strained relationship since.

‘My mother has been very supportive. All my friends though? They didn’t stop loving me and they have all without fail made my life with Rosie and Ty absolutely beautiful knowing I do have support and love.’

Having three very different people in one relationship can be tough and so the throuple have a therapist.

The psychologist offers unbiased opinions that allow them to see an outside perspective on issues that challenge them.

‘Polyamory is a valid form of relationship and there’s nothing wrong or immoral about it,’ said Keneshia.

‘We all love each other very, very much. It’s not a sex cult, religious cult or cult in general. We have free will, self-identity and our love, which is just as beautiful as the love between two partners.’

MORE: Are we moving towards a society where everyone is polyamorous or in open relationships?

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How to tell your friend she’s being a ‘mean girl’

Illustration of a woman with blond hair, dressed in a blue and orange skirt looking over towards two women (one blonde, one brunette) drinking coffee and chatting
Honestly, if I was being a t**t, I’d hope my friends would pull me up on it (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Confrontation is tough. The idea of actually telling someone how you feel about them is enough to bring most of us out in a nervous sweat.

As women, we’ve been taught to be likeable and polite above all else (and beautiful, too, while we’re at it). We’ve been socially conditioned to believe that decorum and sweetness are more appropriate than candour.

Telling someone you cherish that you don’t like their behaviour might make you want to wretch and scream and hide under the duvet – but sometimes people are idiots, even our beloved friends. And they deserve to know when they’re being stupid or rude. Honestly, if I was being a t**t, I’d hope my friends would pull me up on it.

I rely on them to be the arbiters of my behaviour, as well as my support crew, brunch dates and confidantes and consider it their hallowed duty to tell me if and when I’m being a sub-par human being. I would also like to extend to them the very same courtesy.

Truly, if you’re out and about in this world being a dickhead, wouldn’t you rather have the sort of mates who are quietly going to pull you aside and let you know?

Women are notoriously bad at having these sorts of conversations. It’s easier to indulge in a little passive aggression than it is to come out and say what you really think. I’ve heard of women who would sooner cut someone out of their life altogether than be real with them about what they’re doing wrong.

Maybe it’s time we thought about being honest with the people we love? Not nasty or cutting or abusive, but thoughtfully candid in times of bad behaviour.

Let’s run through a few of those scenarios now – and talk about how you might handle it.

Here are some ways to prevent a panic attack
Wouldn’t you rather have the sort of mates who are quietly going to pull you aside and let you know (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

When you know she has been bitching about you

If you’ve heard that a friend of yours has been saying nasty things about you behind your back, you need to confront her about it. That kind of thing is not on – but rather than retaliating and putting into motion an endless bitching cycle, confront your girl straight up and ask her what it’s about.

Tell her: ‘Listen, I’ve heard you’ve been saying mean things about me and it’s really upset me. I thought we were friends and I’m genuinely shocked that you would do that. If you have a problem with me, can we please at least pay each other the courtesy of speaking about it directly?’

You may need to actually have an argument about it and see if you can salvage the friendship. Stand up for yourself here, even if it feels unnatural.

When she’s always flaking on you

First you have to establish the severity of the offense.

If it’s almost impossible to get your friend to turn up to a social engagement, try and suss out why.

She may have a legit reason for cancelling – and every so often, that reason may simply be that she needs to get into her pajamas and curl up in front of Love Island instead of venturing into the real world to socialise with other people. Check in on her and see if she’s alright, mental health-wise.

If she’s socially anxious or depressed, or going through a whole thing right now, have a gentle conversation about how to address it.

If, however, she’s being a bit of a diva and not making time for you in her oh-so-important schedule, you can afford to approach the conversation a little differently. In order to maintain a friendship you need to actually hang out with that person, so if they’re being impossible to pin down, send them a little reminder text.

Just say: ‘listen, babes, we haven’t seen each other properly in ages and I’m starting to feel a bit excluded from your life’.

Or, ‘I don’t know if you’ve noticed how many times you’ve cancelled on me recently, but it’s hurting my feelings’.

Hopefully she will just apologise and get a dinner date in the diary pronto. If not, you may need to escalate the conversation.

How to stop saying sorry Metro illustrations Ella Byworth
Just say: ‘listen, babes, we haven’t seen each other properly in ages and I’m starting to feel a bit excluded from your life’ (Picture: Ella Byworth)

When she is just being mean

If your friend is being a bit of a bitch, then you should probably have a little chat.

Maybe she’s being shallow or cruel or rude or disrespectful.

Maybe she’s permanently in a bad mood.

If you’ve noticed a change in her behaviour and she’s no longer pleasant to be around, or if you don’t recognise the friend you fell in love with through all the meanness, then try and wrangle the courage to say something.

Say, ‘hey, I’ve just noticed recently that you’ve been saying some pretty unpleasant things about other people and I have to say I’m not keen on it’.

Say, ‘is everything alright with you? I feel like you’re not your usual self and I wanted to check in’.

A lingering case of the grumps could be a sign that something’s not quite right in your friend’s life, so you could choose to lead with empathy and give her a chance to talk to you about it. If everything’s OK and she’s just being cruel or rude for the fun of it, raise it with her.

She may not realise that she’s picked up a bad habit.

Look, really, it’s quite simple.

If your friend is in any way being a bit of a t**t, find a way to address it. You can start out with a gentle text. You can ask if everything’s OK, in case her behaviour is a symptom of something else going on. You can actually try being honest about how she makes you feel.

Your friendship – and for that matter, your sense of self – could be better for it.

MORE: How to be happy for your friends when you’re jealous of their achievements

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How I Save: The 30-year-old product development manager earning £28,000 a year with £34,500 saved

Sarah is a product development manager who has £34,500 saved. We can all learn from her
Sarah is a product development manager who has £34,500 saved. We can all learn from her (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

How on earth are you supposed to save money for the future when the basics of living – rent, food, travel – suck up all your earnings?

How I Save aims to explore that, looking inside a different person’s finances each week. We look at the nitty-gritty of what they earn, what they save, and how exactly they’re spending, then bring in some expert advice they (and we) can use to save more money.

Last week we chatted to a man who earns £150,000 a year and has £143,000 saved – but still scrimps on a loaf of bread.

This time we have another pretty brilliant saver, but this time on a more relatable salary.

Sarah (not her real name, as people can be nasty when it comes to money) is a 30-year-old product development manager living in High Wycombe and working in London. She has £34,500 saved up. How did she do it?

How Sarah saves:

I earn £28,000 a year plus a £1,000 bonus. In my savings account right now I have £34,500 (spread between standard savings accounts and ISAs).

For a couple of years I lived in a shared flat in London and walked to work, which made life a lot cheaper. Back then I was able to save almost £10,000 a year. Now I can only save about half of that.

About four years ago when I started working full time, I had pretty much £0. I had no loans or debts, but no savings either. I shared a room with my boyfriend in a flat share, so my portion of rent and bills only came to about £450 per month. Life is definitely cheaper as a couple!

I walked to work, so did not have any transport costs and I’ve always had either a cheap £5 a month phone contract or a cheap pay as you go sim.

Another big factor that has saved me thousands of pounds over the years is the fact that I don’t drink alcohol. My monthly grocery bill is under £100 and I hardly ever spend more than £20 on a meal out.

Even though my starting salary was only £22,000, my lifestyle made it possible to save almost two thirds of my salary, which amounted to about £10,000 per year.

About one and a half years ago I moved out of London and now rent a two bed flat with my fiancé. Consequently my life has become a lot more expensive.

Flying cash
Sarah’s good at resisting impulse spends (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

My half of rent and bills is about £600, but I also have to fork out about £367 per month on transport (although I do buy an annual train pass to get the cheapest deal).

In addition I have joined a gym, which sets me back another £36 per month. I’m quite happy to spend the extra money on rent and the gym to improve my general quality of life and fitness, but the transport cost is an absolute rip-off and something I am definitely looking to cut back on in the future.

I’m saving for a house, maternity leave and retirement.

I don’t have a target per se and next year I will be on maternity leave, which will make a dent in my savings. The year after, I am hoping to buy a house, so after that I will have to start saving from scratch again. As the property prices in this part of the country are insane, I do believe I’ll need to have at least £50,000 saved up before I can buy anything.

I think the main budgeting technique I’d recommend is to first put aside the money for all your necessary expenses as well as move money into any savings accounts/ISAs. Only then can you spend some money on ‘unnecessary’ things like new clothes, eating out or entertainment. Also, never use a credit card unless you are going to pay it back in full every month!

The main way I save is by transferring a set amount into a savings account/ISA each month. I only eat out about twice a month, all other meals I cook at home. I also think quite carefully before making purchases. I live with my fiancé, so I pay half of the rent and bills.

I would say that I am quite good with money and relatively frugal by nature, so find saving easy.

I like to play it safe, so would never invest in anything risky, but have recently bitten the bullet and started small monthly investments into an index fund (Warren Buffett style).

I also subscribe to the weekly MSE newsletter, which has good tips on all things related to money and which I highly recommend.

I struggle with saving mainly because transport is so expensive (I buy an annual train pass). I also travel back to my home country and go on holidays several times a year.

How Sarah spends:

Monthly expenses:

  • Rent £497.50
  • Train £367
  • Electricity £25
  • Water £10
  • Gym £36
  • Council tax £65
  • Internet £12.50
  • Netflix £10

A week of spending: 

Monday: £30 on two theatre tickets as a birthday present.

Tuesday: 90p on a pack of rice.

Wednesday: £3.80 on dinner supplies.

Thursday: £3.99 on a book.

Friday: £16.50 on a food shop.

Saturday: £8 at a farmers’ market on lunch, £4.80 at Boots.

Sunday: £8.80 on a food shop.

Total spent this week: £71.99

What we can learn from Sarah:

We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out what we can learn from Sarah. 

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

It took a few seconds to compute that: living in London allowed you to save more money?

You’re a wizard, and you give hope to us all.

How to pull a Sarah:

Other than moving to London, giving up alcohol and taking up a fiancé, there are some habits we can hijack from Sarah’s diary.

Sarah’s monthly spend is high, which is great.

Monthly spends: 54%

Saving: 36%

Free spend: 17%

She’s got a consistent groceries budget and has managed to also somehow make her fun spends into bills. With this number as fixed as possible, she’s doesn’t really have to worry about her daily spend at all.

Saving money doesn’t mean cutting out everything you love. It just means trying to put a real number next to them.

Where Sarah has two restaurant meals booked in each month, switch in your luxury spends. This means confronting how much you actually spend, then figuring out how many times you can afford to do it.

This applies to shopping, nights out, drinks after work. Anything that makes the grey grind of life less miserable for you.

Bonus: scheduling a couple in will help you a) look forward to them and b) let you enjoy them guilt free.

For the planning-averse: this is still transferable (ish). Set aside a fixed amount that you can ‘waste’ each week and the number of times you can do it. Look at it like: three times a week I can blow £15 on something I’ll enjoy.

The Sarah challenge:

Sarah’s impulse control is wild. I don’t know about you, but we don’t know many people who top off their Tuesdays with a 90p bag of rice.

There are some luxe spends in here too (books farmers market lunch etc.) but the key takeaway is how rarely Sarah whips out her card. What would happen if you literally tried to only buy one thing a day?

MORE: How I Save: The 32-year-old freelancer earning £15k a year with £1,400 saved

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

MORE: How I Save: The 27-year-old PR in Leeds earning £32k a year with £5,000 saved

Couple due to marry at Plaza Hotel have to improvise after New York power shortage

NYC couple get married in front of Plaza power shortage With Permission from Photographer https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/nyregion/newyorktoday/manhattan-blackout-wedding.html?fbclid=IwAR3v2-4o6Snt35xOXAb_fAVoEOVQCO8cxjw_MN4_J2xLq3mAIv1DNuC2hTA
Amy and Craig’s wedding day wasn’t ruined by Manhattan’s power shortage (Picture: Justin Rosenthal)

What do you do if you’ve meticulously planned your dream wedding at New York’s famous Plaza Hotel but things go wrong on the day?

No, it’s not a dress disaster or the flowers, the photographer, or the guests. It’s that you can’t see any of them.

That was the case for bride and groom Amy Rosenthal and Craig Silverstein, whose big day was affected by a blackout.

It wasn’t just the esteemed luxury hotel, the power shortage affected the whole of Manhattan.

Instead of letting a power outage ruin the special occasion, Amy, Craig, hotel staff and the guests came together to make something special.

Staff grabbed torchlights, musicians used acoustic instruments, and guests danced and sang at the top of their lungs.

The bride and groom were even able to do a Jewish ceremony where they are lifted in their chairs.

‘It was unbelievable, Amy told The New York Times. ‘Everyone stepped up and were doing everything in their power to make the night a special one.’

The dinner was enjoyed by candlelight.

When Amy and Craig later stepped out in front of the iconic hotel for photos, passersby looked on thinking the whole thing was staged.

Plaza staff came out in flashlights to provide the light, using the darkened hotel as a backdrop.

Amy’s brother Justin was able to capture the stunning photo of the happy couple kissing, which has now gone viral.

Times journalist Emma G. Fitzsimmons shared the photo on Twitter where 26,000 people liked it.

She wrote: ‘I’ve got a great story from the Great New York City Blackout of 2019.

‘This couple was getting married at The Plaza. The lights went out during the wedding. They said their vows in the dark. No food; just candles.

‘But they made the best of the situation and danced the night away.

‘If you’ve planned a wedding, you’ll understand how this is basically Your. Worst. Nightmare. But I’m sure it’s also a story they’ll be telling their grandchildren.’

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Man gets shut down after rant branding periods ‘disgusting’ and women’s ‘fault’

man's rant about periods
Yikes (Picture: Facebook)

You may have recovered from the ‘meninist’ guy who said women on their periods needed to control their bladder. You may have found peace after claims from a man who thought we only needed seven tampons per cycle. Perhaps you’ve reconciled with the lad who genuinely could not believe that menstruation happened at night.

Get ready for a new type of crazy, however, as another man’s post has gone viral, where he period-splains to us all, and tells us how it’s 100% our fault we’re bleeding.

The unnamed man, whose post was shared to the subreddit, insanepeoplefacebook, started out his rant by saying, ‘First of all periods are disgusting’.

From there, things only became more unhinged, with him claiming that women’s ‘entire job is to be feminine and aesthetically pleasing’, but instead we’re ‘slunched [sic] over holding [our] gut whining’.

In a wild leap of the imagination, he then goes on to clarify why periods are woman-made, stating that because our ‘maternal ancestors didn’t hunt’, our bodies are menstruating because we eat burgers, steaks, and chicken rather than salads, grains, and fruits.

Man's rant about periods
The post got 11,000 upvotes on Reddit when shared (Picture: Facebook)

According to the poster, the means the ‘body is trying to get rid of all that and so it’s bleeding that animal graveyard you call a digestive tract, out’.

Succinctly finishing, he saying he has no sympathy for the ‘exaggerated pain’ of those with periods.

Where to start? It’s very hard to reply to something so completely out of touch with reality, but we’re going to try.

Periods are no more disgusting than any other bodily function. Those who have them don’t love having to grapple with cups and pads and tampons (not to mention the mental and physical side effects), but they happen, and it helps to be open about them so dumb views like this don’t become the norm.

Rather than dealing with all aspects of periods and feeling embarrassed or alone, it’s healthy to rant, moan, and rejoice whichever aspects we need to.

If you truly believe periods are anybody’s ‘fault’, that diet or lifestyle causes periods, or that tampons are some phallic sex toy substitute, you should be sat in a room with biology textbooks and not allowed to leave until you’ve learned your lesson.

Reddit users echoed these sentiments, with one saying ‘I want to believe that this person is doing this on purpose to troll. Then I remember that this is 2019 and this is the result of slashing public school funding for a few decades.’

Others pointed out some flaws in his logic, with one replying, ‘Excuse me sir, how do I have my period if I don’t eat animals? I’d like to get rid of it and you seem to understand well how it works pls respond ty’ and another commenting, ‘What is this whackjob’s explanation for vegetarians and vegans still having periods?’


MORE: Couple due to marry at Plaza Hotel have to improvise after New York power shortage

MORE: How I Save: The 30-year-old product development manager earning £28,000 a year with £34,500 saved

Student’s ‘exam stress’ headaches were actually caused by a golf ball sized tumour

Rhiannan seen by herself and with her dad, plus after her cranium surgery
Budding scientist thought headaches were from exam stress but were actually from a golf ball-sized brain tumour (Picture: PA Real Life)

Rhiannan Harris was celebrating the end of her studies at the University of Wolverhampton when she started having painful migraines.

The 23-year-old from Northampton said the headaches made her feel like she was ‘having a hole drilled in her temple’.

Being short-sighted, Rhiannan assumed her slightly blurred vision simply meant she needed a new prescription for her glasses, or that her headaches were just down to exam stress.

She visited her local Vision Express who quickly referred her to a hospital after spotting swelling on her optical nerve.

Doctors then told Rhiannan that it was the result of a fluid-filled cyst on her brain.

But during operation to remove it, they discovered that it was actually a golf ball-sized brain tumour.

Rhiannan went into a nine-hour surgery thinking they were going to remove the cyst but ended up ‘dying’ twice.

Rhiannan with her parents at graduation
Rhiannan had just finished her studies when she started experiencing the migraines (Picture: PA Real Life)

On the operating table, Rhiannan went into cardiac arrest twice and was put into an induced coma, after surgeons removed as much of the tumour as possible.

‘Never in a million years could I have imagined that a few slight changes in my sight were the result of a brain tumour,’ she said.

‘I didn’t panic as I just kept reminding myself that I was in the hospital, surrounded by experts who knew what they were doing.

‘If I let myself, I could have gone to a very dark place, but I could tell from looking at them that my parents were overwhelmed by the whole thing and I wanted to hold it together for them.’

Rhiannan after her first operation
Doctors thought Rhiannan’s headaches were a result of cysts but found the tumour during the surgery (Picture: PA Real Life)

The procedure involved making a small hole in the skull so that the cyst could be drained of fluid to alleviate the pressure on the brain.

‘Waking up and being told I’d had a brain tumour removed instead of having a cyst drained and that I’d effectively died twice, well, it was a lot to take in,’ she added.

A week after the operation, a biopsy confirmed that the tumour was benign. But with surgeons unable to remove all of it, she will have to have regular MRI scans to keep an eye on the leftover nodules to make sure they don’t spread.

Rhiannan after having her shunt fitted
Rhiannan went into cardiac arrest twice, effectively dying and was then put into an induced coma (Picture: PA Real Life)

‘The surgery really impacted on every aspect of my day to day life,’ said Rhiannan. ‘My speech, balance and co-ordination were all suddenly really limited.’

Rhiannan said it’s not how she imagined spending her graduate years but was happy to have been able to attend her graduation ceremony.

‘Standing in front of all my peers and being able to pick up my diploma was a real boost,’ she added. ‘It proved that I was just as capable as everybody else, it just took a little bit more hard work.’

She has now been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid on the brain.

Rhiannan with her parents at the beach
She has now moved back home where her family can take care of her (Picture: PA Real Life)

As a result of the tumour, Rhiannon was fitted with a shunt – a thin tube that drains fluid from the brain into the stomach, so it can be reabsorbed into the body.

Despite her limitations, Rhiannan is still keeping positive.

‘It’s been tough losing my independence in such a massive way, I’ve gone from three years of being my own person to suddenly being trapped back at home with my parents.

‘But I still thank my lucky stars that I went to the optician’s when I did, as if I’d left it, I might not have been here today.

‘I’ve had to put my life on hold for 12 months because of all this, but every day I remind myself it could have been a whole lot worse.’

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