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There’s a hotel that will bring puppies and prosecco to your room

The puppies at the hotel
Fancy a puppy party? (Picture: Monaco Denver)

We all love staying in a luxury hotel – don’t we? The amazingly fresh bedding, the room service, and of course all the free soaps in the bathroom.

But one hotel has stepped it up a notch – by offering guests the chance to have prosecco and puppies delivered to their door.

The Kimpton Hotel Monaco, in Denver, has launched a new ‘Puppies + Prosecco Package’, where guests can book their own private puppy party while drinking bubbles.

The package was launched to celebrate National Dog Day.


Unfortunately, this isn’t for every guest visiting the hotel – this is only for those who want to book a luxury suite.

But if that’s you, you’ll be able to book your own private puppy party with puppies from Lifeline Puppy Rescue for all the cuddles.

The package includes a puppy party with between six and ten puppies being brought to your door for an hour of playtime, with an expert on hand to answer any questions you have.

There will also be prosecco and Italian cicchetties from Panzano just to make it even fancier.

The hotel puppies
Don’t they look sweet! (Picture: Monaco Denver)

And the best bit? 50$ of all the proceeds will be donated to Lifeline Puppy Rescue. So it’s totally worth it.

The offer is only valid from 23-26 August.

Chris Guse, general manager, told Pretty52: ‘At Hotel Monaco, we are always looking for advanced elements of comfort and feelings of home for our guests.

‘With that approach, puppies have naturally been incorporated into our evening wine hour program.

‘The joy this activation has generated for everyone involved made it apparent we needed to take the concept to another level but in a more intimate setting.’

MORE: RSPCA is looking for people to cuddle cats and rabbits

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Is your poo normal? Signs your bowel movements aren’t as healthy as you think

Illustration of a woman sat on the toilet
Are your poos normal? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Nobody likes to talk about doing a poo – but it’s important that it is talked about, so that we know what’s normal and what’s not.

Your poo can say a lot about your overall health.

According to Cancer Research, how often you have a bowel movement can vary from person to person – and can be normal all the same.

For some, this could be having a poo a few times a day, or others having a poo a few times a week.

But as long as you are having regular bowel movements, not having ongoing symptoms of constipation or diarrhoea, and don’t have to strain really hard or use laxatives, you’re all good.

A normal poo should be medium to dark brown, because it contains a pigment called bilirubin, which forms when red blood cells break down.

It should also be pretty strong smelling – as that is the bacteria in the poo emitting gases.

You shouldn’t have any pain when you go to the toilet, and the poo should be soft to firm in texture – with one single piece or a few smaller pieces typically a sign of a healthy bowel.

So, how do you know when there is a problem? And what should you look out for?

Well, you should keep an eye out for any changes. Of course, changes can happen depending on your diet – but for the most part your poo should be fairy consistent.

Illustration of a woman with no colon
A change in colour, consistency or smell could signal something is wrong (Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler for Metro.co.uk)

So if it suddenly changes in smell (hot curry the night before not included), firmness, frequency or colour, that could indicate there is a problem.

But as mentioned, these changes can happen depending on how much you’ve eaten, what you’ve eaten, how much fat is in the food you’ve eaten and how hydrated you are.

If your bowel habits have changed consistently, it’s worth going to see your doctor.

There are many conditions that can cause a change in bowel habits, such as IBS or inflammatory bowel disease – the latter of which is more serious.

IBS is very common, with two in 10 suffering. IBD however only affects 300,000 people in the UK.

If you are having either chronic constipation, or diarrhoea – which can mean totally liquid or a mushy consistency with ragged edges – that might indicate that you have some inflammation somewhere in your digestive tract.

One more serious thing that you should look out for is blood.

Bleeding a little bright red blood is usually not a cause for concern. Of course it’s always important to get checked out, but it’s usually caused by wiping too hard, fissures or hemmorhoids.

It’s dark blood you need to look out for.

If you are seeing dark red blood in the toilet bowl or on the tissue, or if your poo looks black, this could mean you have internal bleeding from your bowels. This would be classed as a medical emergency, so if you do experience this, head to your doctor or your local A&E as soon as possible.

IBS and IBD can both be controlled, IBS more so with diet and over the counter medications and IBD with medications such as steroids, infusions and in some cases surgery.

But don’t just look out for blood – look at the colour of your poo, too.

Illustration of woman with stomach cramps
Look out for dark red blood in your stools (Picture: Ella Byworth/Metro.co.uk)

If your poo is black, or has the appearance of coffee grounds, this could suggest gastrointestinal bleeding.

This may be the same for red coloured poo – though this could also mean hemmorhoids.

Your poo can also be white, grey or pale, which may mean you have an issue with your liver or gallbladder as this colour indicates a lack of bile.

If your poo is yellow, this means you are eating too much fat, and if it’s orange it means you’re eating lots of orange foods. So don’t worry about that.

While a change in your bowel habit may be alarming, it is rarely life-threatening and can be controlled with diet changes, medication or further investigations to see whether you are living with a bowel disease.

If you are looking to have a more healthy-looking poo, there are lots of things you can do, including eating more fibre, drinking more water, reducing stress, not ignoring the urge to go (which can end up constipating you) and not relying on laxatives.

If in doubt, always get checked out – because an odd-looking poo could indicate a problem.

MORE: Deliveroo launches helicopter dining experience in London

MORE: This Glasgow gym lets you work out with your dog

What does the new moon in Leo mean for your zodiac sign?

new moon in leo mean for zodiac
Change is coming with the new moon in Leo (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

This hump day, 31 July, has an extra special treat in store – a new moon in Leo.

In astronomy, a ‘new moon’ means that the moon is in line with the sun, and is almost invisible to Earth. There are 12 new moons a year, each one lines up with the a different zodiac sign.

While this coming new moon is set to affect Leo and Aquarius the most, it’ll have an impact on all the signs – so we spoke to astrologer and author Sally Kirkman on what to expect.

Sally said: ‘This is a glorious new moon in Leo and a significant turning point.

‘New moons are great for starting over, launching something new and setting your intentions. Leo is one of the fire signs, so be bold, take centre stage and shine.’

The new moon in Leo centres around having fun before the summer ends, but it’s also a great time for self-reflection across the zodiac.

Here’s a breakdown of what it means for every star sign.


Sally says the key areas for Aries are ‘love affairs, children, creativity, entertainment and luck.’

It would seem fun is going to be on your mind a lot this month, perhaps romantically and creatively. Luck may just be on your side too. Why not use this positive streak to connect with family and friends?


Sally says the key areas are ‘home, family, your past and where you come from.’

This month could be important for going back to your roots. Now is the time to think about loved ones and reflect on improving your family life. There’s no place like home after all.


Sally says your key areas of focus are ‘communication, education, local community and siblings.’

The coming month is a great time to focus on your networks – which is great news for outgoing and sociable Geminis. You might find yourself more in-demand than usual but just embrace it and use the time to communicate with the people in the different areas of your life.

new moon in leo mean for zodiac
New moons are great for starting over (Picture: Chayanan/Getty Images)


Sally says the key areas are ‘personal money, possessions, values and resources.’

Cancerians tend to be at their best when their home life is happy. So it might be the time to sort out savings and possessions, but also reassess what is important to you on a personal level, in terms of values.


Sally says the key areas are ‘personal goals, physical body, image and appearance.’

Firstly, congrats, it’s your birthday month, so celebrations and having fun should definitely be on the cards.

It’s also the perfect time to start thinking about the new year ahead and setting goals – be it in your personal life, at work or beyond. If you’re wanting to experiment with your appearance, now is a great time to try it.


Sally says the key areas are ‘retreat, secrets, inner work and self-undoing.’

Your season will follow Leo, so while you wait, why not take this time to relax a little. Use this time for self-reflection during the coming weeks, it’ll set you up well for the next new moon.


Sally says the key areas are ‘friends, groups, social networks, hopes and wishes.’

Connecting with friends could be a key part of your Leo season, so prioritise social time – that’s what summer is for, after all. Libras love symmetry, so if you feel you’ve drifted from certain friendship groups, now is the time to strike a balance.


Sally says the key areas are ‘career, vocation, status, reputation and where you’re heading.’

With the new moon in Leo, it’s worth putting energy into your job and future. Seek out opportunities to grow and keep focused on your professional performance. It’ll all pay off.


Sally says the key areas are ‘travel, exploration, higher education, knowledge and the bigger picture.’

Taking in the world around you is the aim of the game this Leo season. Whether that’s through holidays and travel, or doing things closer to home. Soak up everything and everything – that includes reading as much as possible.


Sally says the key areas are ‘joint finances, shared resources, sex, money, death and rebirth.’

Partnerships are key for Capricorns this month. Take some time to settle any conflicts with people close to you. Everything is bound to flow better when you do and it’ll most likely bring you closer together.


Sally says the key areas are ‘relationships, one-to-one interactions, contracts and joint ventures.’

Things are stepping up in the relationship department this Leo season, so prepare to feel closer to the people around you. Put extra effort into quality time with loved ones.


Sally says the key areas are ‘work, lifestyle, health and service to others.’

It seems this month is a good time to make future plans for all the different areas of your life – be it your career, your body or the people you keep close to you.

MORE: A star sign speed dating event is coming to London – and it’s gender free

MORE: Try this home yoga workout to ease your back pain

MORE: Rock Your Ugly photo series shares the raw stories of people’s insecurities

Daily Fitness Challenge: How long can you hold a side plank?


The side plank is the normal plank’s nasty little brother.

It’s harder and targets specific muscles lower down and on the sides of your stomach – muscles that are usually really hard to tone.

If you can nail your balance and stability on this one – your core strength could go through the roof. Why not see how long you can hold it on each side?

Our daily challenges are perfect to try at home, at the gym or in the park. They are designed to get you moving every day.

Throughout this Staying Active summer 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 day to see what the next challenge is – you could even film your progress to make a record of how far you’ve come.

The aim is to be active every day for six weeks over summer. Today’s challenge will test different muscle groups and help to improve your muscle performance.

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

Women doing a side plank on yoga mats in a bright studio
The key is to keep you balance and limit the wobble. (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 perfect side plank

Start lying on your side with your hand flat on the floor, your arm should be straight with your elbow lined up directly under your shoulder and both legs extended out in a long line.

Stagger your feet, one in front of the other, for more stability – you can stack them on top of each other when you feel more confident.

Squeeze your core and lift your hips off the floor, forming a straight line from your head to your feet.

This is where the work starts. Hold this position for as long as you can. Make sure your hip doesn’t sink.

Your top hand can be on the side of your hip or you can reach up towards the ceiling if you have the balance.

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

How long should you be working out for?

Woman looking tired on a treadmill, wiping sweat from her brow
Is it better to a quick, intense session – or linger in the gym for hours? (Picture: Getty)

Gym-goers generally fall into two camps – those who cram in a super speedy session before work or in their lunch break, and those who treat a gym session like a day out, lounging between sets, taking breathers, stretching for hours.

But what’s actually best for your body? How long should you be working out for?

Obviously, there are lots of factors at play – schedule being a huge part of that.

Most busy millennials work demanding hours and often have long commutes – fitting in a workout between your social obligations and your side-hustle can be a monumental challenge.

For people like this – speed is of the essence. A 20-minute power run? Sign us up? A HIIT class that’s 30-minutes or less? Ideal.

But should we be putting more time into our fitness regimes? Is it more beneficial to spend an hour, or more, in the gym?

Sweating woman lying on yoga mat after hot yoga class in fitness studio
‘If it’s stressing you out, it’s not self-care.’ (Picture: Getty)

‘All too often people look at “goals” and how to achieve them based on other people’s values and not their own, which is why it’s important to do an ecology check before hand,’ says Charlotte De Curtis, personal trainer and founder of Too Hottie Coaching.

‘The way I coach my clients is by the guideline: there isn’t an optimum, only what’s optimum for you.

‘I would rather my clients train three times a week for 40 minutes consistently, for example, and do three amazing sessions that fit around their lives, rather than struggling to slaughter themselves with an average training session every day that they dread doing or that contributes to their, already unmanageable, daily stresses.

‘If it’s stressing you out, it’s not self-care.’

The NHS recommends that adults aged between 19 and 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity – such as cycling or brisk walking – every week.

That’s 30-minutes every week day, or three 50-minute sessions per week. Pretty manageable when you look at it like that.

But that is the bare minimum – and if you’re working towards specific training goals, you might need to look at finding time for some extra workout minutes where you can.

‘Initially I always help clients get clear on what they want their life to look like and find their “why” before we even start looking at training for the goal,’ says Charlotte.

‘This makes sure that what they want to achieve is aligned to their values, their home life and getting an achievable balance.’

When you have a specific goal it can be tempting to just spend longer in the gym – but pushing your body to the extreme isn’t always the healthiest thing to do. Rest days are vital for building overall health, and ignoring your body’s need for rest can lead to burnout.

‘Although working out can be great for mental health, there is evidence to suggest that working out for too long, too hard and too often, not only hinders muscular recovery but contributes to hormonal imbalances leaving you feeling more tired, hungry and more stressed than when you started,’ explains Charlotte.

Woman wiping sweat from face with towel during indoor cycling class in fitness studio
‘W e need to promote consistency and balance, rather than perfectionism.’ (Picture: Getty)

‘The best advice I can give is listen to your body and your intuition and don’t be afraid to go with the flow of your life.

‘Some weeks you might be full of energy and raring to go and other weeks due to life commitments, work, children, you’re just not feeling it.

‘We live in a culture of “go hard or go home” where our motivation should be constantly at it’s peak, but after thirteen years of coaching women in this area I believe, as an industry, we need to promote consistency and balance, rather than perfectionism –  get away from the notion that there is an optimum at all.’

To the people who brag about spending three hours in the gym every Sunday – what are you actually doing there?

Posing in the mirrors, texting your mates on a stationary treadmill and watching Instagram stories doesn’t actually count as a workout you know.

Annoyingly, it looks the answer to this question varies for everyone.

The perfect length of your workout depends on your fitness level, what kind of exercise you’re doing and what you’re trying to achieve.

Hit your recommended 150 minutes of weekly activity, and see what you can build on from there – but, as ever, listen to your body.

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

Meet the Games Makers: ‘I was the first person on the autism spectrum to win a BBC SPOTY award’

Female friends laughing together after run in park
(Picture: Getty)

Games Makers are the incredible volunteers that will help to facilitate the nation’s biggest annual sports day this summer.

Led by Team GB – the national fitness event will take place on the 24th August and will feature a wide range of free and fun activities to get people of all ages and abilities active.

But it wouldn’t happen without the help of the Games Makers – dedicated fitness enthusiasts who will be sacrificing their time to make the day as brilliant and inclusive as possible.

We spoke to some of these inspirational volunteers to find out why they’re so passionate about making their communities more active.

Matthew Chilvers was the winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year unsung hero award – he’s going to be running community tennis sessions for people of all abilities.

Mathhew Chilvers playing tennis
(Picture: I Am Team GB/Matthew Chilvers)

What is it that you love about sport?

I love sport because I get so much out of it.

It is a great way to improve my health and fitness, while having great fun at the same time.

I have made so many good friends from playing sport and it helps me to develop my social and communication skills.

Participating in sport also keeps me active, gives me confidence and gives me the chance to speak to a wide variety of people.

How did you get into tennis?

I started playing tennis when I was six. The local tennis club had a great link with my primary school.

The coach came into my primary school to deliver a taster tennis session that I really enjoyed. I then  joined my local tennis club and attended the Saturday morning fun coaching sessions and have been playing ever since.

Why are community events like this so important?

Events like I Am Team GB are really important because they are accessible to everyone, especially as the events are free.

They give people an opportunity to participate in a fun taster sport session by finding an event local to them. Hopefully they will be inspired to continue participating in sport after the event by joining their local club.

Sport and fitness adds to the community because it gives people somewhere to meet up and socialise, while being active at the same time.

Having sport and fitness in the community also gives people an opportunity to feel that they belong to a local club and to make new friends.

It also gives people something to do in their free time and they can focus on sport instead of any worries they have.

Why do you think more people need to be active?

There are many benefits of doing regular physical activity. They include boosting your mood and well-being, having stronger bones, muscles and joints, reducing anxiety and depression, reducing the risk of high blood pressure, helping you to manage your weight and improve cardio-respiratory fitness.

I’ve recently been invited to join the Sport and Recreation Alliance Youth Advisory Panel, which is focusing on trying to get more young people and children more active.

People in the local community can encourage more people to be active by word of mouth. If you have had a positive experience at a club sport session, spread the word and recommend the club or session to your friends.

Start volunteering in sport, because sport cannot happen without volunteers. The more volunteers, the more sport grassroots activities can go ahead.

How did it feel to win the BBC Unsung Hero award?

I was very proud because I believe it’s the first time someone on the autism spectrum has won the regional award.

I watch the event every year with my family, and to think that I have been there and met other finalists, as well as famous sports stars like Gareth Southgate and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is amazing.

It was an experience that I will never forget.

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

Warning to parents to be careful giving children hot chocolates and babycinos

babycino or hot chocolate
Be careful (Picture: Tiny Hearts Education)

Parents, as cute as it may be to order your child a babycino at a coffee shop (and as enjoyable as it is to take a sip for yourself), do so with caution.

Those little frothy cups of milk can be dangerous.

Tiny Hearts Education, which offers child first aid courses, has warned that babycinos can pose a choking hazard thanks to the inclusion of marshmallows.

They shared photos on Facebook of a ‘safe’ cup of hot chocolate or frothed up milk with mini marshmallows, and an ‘unsafe’ cup with one large marshmallow.

That one full-sized marshmallow can be easily choked on by small children.

safe and unsafe hot drinks with marshmallows for children
(Picture: Tiny Hearts Education)

The organisation wrote on Facebook: ‘Parents should be aware – while they might look cute, full-sized marshmallows are a choking hazard for our little ones.

‘A safer option is to cut them into small pieces, use mini sized marshmallows, or better yet – eat the marshmallow yourself.

‘Know what to do if the unthinkable happened and empower yourself with the knowledge and skill of baby and child first aid.’

It’s better to be safe than sorry – so when you’re ordering a hot drink for your little ones check what type of marshmallows they’ll put on top. If they’re not mini, leave them out.

What to do if a child is choking:

  • Encourage them to cough
  • If they can’t, then give up to five back slaps. Babies and small children should be placed over your lap with their head pointing downwards as gravity will help. Give up to five abdominal thrusts or chest thrusts if under one year old.
  • Repeat all the above if it hasn’t cleared
  • Ask someone to call 999 if this hasn’t worked or they lose consciousness

MORE: Devastating moment parents say goodbye to baby boy who died after ‘inhaling his own vomit’

MORE: Sharon and Neville among baby names that are set to go extinct in the UK

MORE: Plant-themed baby names are a major trend right now

This energising yoga workout will wake you up for the day

Illustration of woman doing yoga
This week our yoga sequence is all about energising your body. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Yoga is a fantastic way to build a healthier body and work towards a calmer mind.

The ancient Indian practice has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and it is little wonder with benefits including increased flexibility, better posture and reduced stress.

But if you live in a big city, regularly attending yoga classes can get really pricey, really quickly.

So if you can’t afford to go to a session every week – turn your bedroom into a yoga studio.

All you need is a little bit of floor space and you can follow our expert tutorial.

This week our yoga sequence is all about energising you in the morning. Becky Crepsley-Fox, instructor and studio coordinator at MoreYoga, walks us through her energising Sun Salutations flow.

‘This sequence is wonderful to do if you need to energise your body,’ says Becky.

‘If you are feeling sluggish and tired moving through your sun salutations will wake up and warm you.

‘Try focusing on you breath as you move through these suns, aiming to make this practice a moving meditation.’

yoga 1-297cImage of woman doing yoga on yoga mat
Keep your hands at your heart. (Picture: More Yoga)

Begin standing at the top of you mat with your toes together and your hands in prayer at your heart.

Take a deep inhale before folding forwards with you head pointing towards the floor.

Image of woman doing yoga
Inhale and fold deeper into the stretch. (Picture: More Yoga)

From here, inhale and lengthen your spine before folding deeper.

From here, extend your right leg back behind you into a low lunge and raise the arms and gaze to the ceiling.

Image of woman doing yoga on yoga mat
Lift your gaze to the sky. (Picture: More Yoga)

Place your hands on the mat in front of you, inhale and move out of your lunge and lift your bum into a downward facing dog.

Image of woman doing yoga on yoga mat
Keep your shoulders down and separated. (Picture: More Yoga)

Hold this position for just a moment before pulling yourself up and over into a plank position, before dropping you knees and chest to the ground.

Image of woman doing yoga on yoga mat
Slide yourself into a cobra. (Picture: More Yoga)

Slide forwards into a cobra position and look upwards to really get a stretch in your spine.

Image of woman doing yoga on yoga mat
Salute the sun a final time. (Picture: More Yoga)

Pull you right leg between your hands and extend into another low lunge – raising your arms up towards the sky.

Finally, return to a folded position at the top of your mat before extending back to standing and repeating the flow using the other leg.

Part of the appeal of yoga is its accessibility. You just need some open space and a mat, you can essentially do it anywhere.

And with the growth of apps and online tutorials, more people than ever are opting to teach themselves the moves and practice yoga from the comfort of their living room.

But it’s really important to do it safely – particularly if you’re unsupervised.

How to practice yoga at home safely

Always warm up

Every yoga class starts with breathing, stretching and smaller postures that articulate the spine, create space in the body and stretch the fascia to prepare you for your practice.

Start small

There is no point jumping into inversions or some of the more ‘Instagram-able’ poses. Especially if you don’t have trained eyes keeping you safe.

Nail the basics

Some of the simplest postures are the most difficult to do, and the easiest to do incorrectly.

It’s important to get the essentials correct before progressing to a more challenging practice.

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

Spot under woman’s eye turns out to be skin cancer

gibson miller's spot under her eye turned out to be skin cancer
Gibson is sharing her story to hammer home the importance of protecting your skin (Picture: Mount Sinai)

Gibson Miller’s story is an important reminder to keep an eye on any unusual marks and spots on your skin.

Gibson, a 24-year-old teacher, noticed a light pink spot under her left eye back in August 2018.

She assumed it was a pimple, but when months later it hadn’t disappeared, Gibson went to her dermatologist, who ordered a biopsy as the mark was asymmetrical.

It turned out that the ‘spot’ was actually a basel cell carcinoma (BCC); the most common form of skin cancer.

A BCC is a type of skin cancer that occurs in the basal cell, the cell that produces new skin cells when old cells die. It usually appears as a light pink or red bump on the skin – so you can see how one would be easily mistaken for a blemish.

24 year old who thought she had a pimple but it turned out to be skin cancer
Gibson realised she’d had the mark for years (Picture: Mount Sinai)

After being diagnosed, Gibson looked back at old photos and realised she’d had the mark under her eye for three years before she noticed it.

A few months later the teacher had Mohs surgery, in which layers of cancerous skin are removed, followed by reconstructive surgery around her eye.

Getting a basel cell carcinoma around the eye area is common, as it’s a spot loads of us miss out when applying sunscreen.

Gibson says she started playing tennis when she was nine, and so spent hours outside without a hat or sunglasses. She used sunscreen, but not regularly.

24 year old who thought she had a pimple but it turned out to be skin cancer
The 24-year-old teacher had to have surgery to cut away the cancerous skin (Picture: Mount Sinai)

Thankfully her scar is starting to heal, and the experience has made her realise the importance of protecting her skin.

She now always wears sunglasses or a hat when she goes outdoors, and covers her face and ears with sunblock.

‘People say: “Sunscreen smells bad” or “I don’t want to be seen wearing it”,’ Gibson told the Daily Mail.

‘But sunscreen is sexy; it’s responsible.’

MORE: Photos show exactly how much sunscreen you should be using

MORE: Woman who used sunbeds for 10 years shocked to get skin cancer twice

MORE: How to spot and prevent skin cancer in cats

Here’s how to get the WHOLE family more active (and it’ll be fun, promise!)

It’s time to think outside the box when it comes to getting kids and older relatives active this summer (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Keen to get the children playing anything other than video games this summer?

Often, we’re fresh out of ideas for getting the family outdoors before the school holidays have even started, but what if there was an exciting way to keep them active out of term time and it wouldn’t even cost you a penny?

Next month, Toyota and Team GB will be bringing back The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day as part of their hugely successful ‘I am Team GB’ participation campaign that gives the whole family a free taster of sport in the local area.

Inspired by the achievements of our Team GB athletes, it’s the chance to bring younger and older generations together in the community to discover something totally new or simply get back on the road to fitness.

It could be archery, sailing, bowls or a straightforward fun run in the park, it doesn’t matter what – or how much – you do because all that matters is that you’re moving.

I Am Team GB
I Am Team GB Games Makers in your community will be hosting local events for all ages on The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day (Picture: Ullswater Yacht Club)
I Am Team GB
There will be so many fun-packed free activities going on throughout the August Bank Holiday that you may find it hard to choose! (Photo by Gideon Mendel/In Pictures/Corbis via Getty Images)

So, if you’re feeling inspired to get the whole family active this summer, here are a few ideas to get you started.

1 Get them outdoors

It seems like a simple suggestion, but the fresh air and natural light are far more stimulating than anything a phone or an iPad can give them.

And when it comes to older relatives, who may not get out as much as they used to, the opportunity for just a few more hours outdoors could transform their mood and capacity for movement.

In fact, it is recommended that over 65s get 150 minutes of exercise a week, while young people need 60 minutes a day, but getting them moving doesn’t have to mean anything too strenuous to start off with.

Just an hour’s walk in the local area, helping in the garden or a scenic trail followed by a pitstop for a picnic could be the healthiest thing you do for your family.

Team GB
Get the whole family to the park for a game of frisbee, like Team GB’s Laura Kenny did with I Am Team GB Games Makers recently (Picture: Team GB/Toyota)
Team GB
Try martial arts, Pilates, Zumba or table tennis because it doesn’t matter what – or how much – you do, as long as you’re moving! (Picture: Team GB/Toyota)

2 Try something new

If, like around 59 per cent of us*, you find exercise a little boring, maybe you just haven’t found the thing you love yet.

Taking an older child to their first Taekwondo or karate class could be your chance to give it a go and if you’re dropping off young ones at dance, perhaps you could stay and try yoga next door?

Everyone has to start somewhere. Whatever your age, ability or interest, there’s a sport out there to suit everyone – you just have to find the perfect fit for keeping fit.

3 Find free local events

You only need to visit your nearest community centre to find out just how much you’ve been missing out on in the local area.

Next month, on The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day, supported by Toyota, local volunteers called Games Makers will be helping to introduce the whole community to their favourite sports.

Motivated by the achievements of our medal-winning Team GB Olympic athletes, everyone is invited to join I Am Team GB at one of the hundreds of exciting activities going on up and down the country during the Bank Holiday weekend.

Even Britain’s most successful female Olympic athlete, Laura Kenny, is going to be taking part!

From football tournaments to park runs, Zumba classes and group cycles, there will be an event to suit every member of the family. And it’s all completely free!

Helping family members get outdoors could be the healthiest thing you do for your family this summer (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Rediscover the fun side of sports for children – and for yourself (Photo by Gideon Mendel/In Pictures/Corbis via Getty Images)

4 Take or make friends

Whether you decide to take friends along when you do sport or make some new ones, there’s nothing quite like being part of a team.

Joining like-minded sports fans at a club or a class can give young children a sense of identity and a whole new level of confidence. It’s also particularly important for older generations, who might need a little push to get back out in the community.

Bowls clubs or Pilates groups, for example, will keep you coming back week after week by building a network so strong you won’t even know you’re doing exercise.

5 Make it a weekly event

If you can achieve a long-term change in the habits of your family, like badminton a few nights a week or a park run every weekend, it can have all sorts of physical, mental and social benefits.

Plus, if you can all do it together, you’ll really notice how the team bonding improves your general wellbeing.

Even a bit of extra moderate exercise every day could help reduce our risk of major illnesses by up to 50 per cent.**

It can also do wonders for reducing stress and anxiety at the same time, meaning you’ll feel a bit better about life’s everyday challenges.

What is I Am Team GB and when is The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day?

The chance to join I Am Team GB is back for 2019.

Three years after almost one million people took part in The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day in 2016, Toyota has teamed up with Team GB again to giving even more people a chance to be a part of something special.

The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day is family fun day packed with hundreds of free events like basketball, boxing and badminton that are all going on in your local area on Saturday 24th August 2019, thanks to I Am Team GB Games Makers.

You don’t need to be an athlete to sign up to I Am Team GB because Toyota is committed to making movement better for everyone, which is why there will be activities to suit a range of experiences and abilities.

Whether it’s a group walk, park run or a high energy Zumba class, Team GB and Toyota will welcome anyone who wants to take part in an activity because it’s the movement that counts.

To join the team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day, go to iamteamgb.com.

Mixed Up: ‘I feel the pressure to change negative stereotypes about young black men’


Mixed Up is a weekly series that explores the realities of being mixed-race in the UK today.

There are more mixed-race people in this country every year, and there are a multitude of ethnic variations that make up this population – it’s so much deeper than simply black and white.

Each week, this series speaks to an individual who knows exactly what it’s like to be mixed – because they live it every day.

Digging beyond stereotypes and stigmas, these interviews aim to uncover the unique joys, conflicts and contradictions that can come with straddling two or more ethnic backgrounds.

Jordan Harry is a 22-year-old business owner. His company StudyFast aims to change the way we learn – he also wants to change the instant assumptions people often make about young men who look like him.

Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk. Mixed Up
‘I have every right to claim my white British heritage, but I choose to identify with my historically oppressed heritage.’ (Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

‘When it comes to being mixed-race, what I have learnt is that human beings always judge a book by its cover,’ Jordan tells Metro.co.uk.

‘What I want people to realise is that not all books are the same. If you have time, open it and find out if it’s worth reading.

‘Being mixed-race is a constant reminder to me of how far we have come, not only as a country, but as a human race.

‘My dad is black Nigerian and my mother is white British – her parents are Russian and Dutch Jewish immigrants.

‘I’ve always identified as black interestingly, and many other mixed-race people will say the same.

‘This is because the white community doesn’t look at me and say, “he is one of us”. They don’t accept me, but the black community does.

‘What I love about being mixed-race is the progressive mindset and environment I grew up in.

Jordan as a child with his dad
‘I feel part of a community. A sense of community that, I would argue, a white British person has never experienced in this country.’ (Picture: Jordan Harry)

‘Knowing that I had the permission to not only express myself how I wanted to, as there weren’t any cultural rules, but I could love whoever I wanted.’

Jordan grew up with his mother in Norfolk. It was an overwhelmingly white community and from a young age Jordan felt the weight of responsibility to represent himself in a certain way.

‘My mum and dad are separated and my dad has had little to no impact on me in terms of my upbringing. If anything, he has been an anti-role model. I was forced to learn about my culture myself, and I still do,’ Jordan explains.

‘I was an ambassador for black people world-wide in Norfolk, in the sense that I was the first person of colour many had interacted with.

‘So instead of being annoyed with questions about the N word, my hair, why the insides of my hands weren’t black and many others, I saw this as an opportunity to educate.

‘Whether they meant it maliciously or not, I knew two things.

‘One, my reaction would be their reference point when meeting other black people.

‘And two, me educating them meant I could prevent them from being harmed or even dying – which seems extreme, I know.

Jordan as a toddler sitting on the bed
‘I felt the pressure not to reinforce the stereotypes that we always see – of the aggressive black man, the troublemaker.’ (Picture: Jordan Harry)

‘On one occasion my white friend said the N word when I wasn’t around and a group of black guys overheard him.

‘He used the old excuse: “I’m not racist, I have a black be friend” – me. Thankfully I saw the situation and diffused it and explained to my white friend he can’t be using the N work like that and the excuse of knowing me will never save him.

‘Moving to Norfolk was the best thing my mother did as I have changed the views of hundreds of white people in my area towards black people.’

Unlike many young men of his age, Jordan’s ambition isn’t solely tied to what he wants for himself. It’s bigger than that. In Jordan’s mind, everything he achieves helps to unpick damaging stereotypes about black men.

But that’s a lot of responsibility for one 22-year old.

‘The reason why I became a CEO and businessman was to change the narrative of what a young black man should be doing,’ he says.

‘I felt the pressure not to reinforce the stereotypes that we always see – of the aggressive black man, the troublemaker, or the athlete or musician.

Young Jordan giving his dog a hug
‘I threw myself into education and held myself proud for being able to articulate myself.’ (Picture: Jordan Harry)

‘When you look at me and you see my physique, tattoos and image, guessing that I’m a business owner probably wouldn’t quite make the list.’

Jordan likes surprising people. He likes to defy expectations and challenge people’s inherent assumptions.

But, like so many people of colour, Jordan learnt at a young age that he would have to work harder and be better in order to be afforded the same opportunities.

‘My old white (and slightly racist) teacher when I was growing up, told me when I was 10 that: “I stand out. And Jordan you have to make sure you stand out for the right reasons.”

‘From that very moment I threw myself into education and held myself proud for being able to articulate myself, regardless if people said I “sounded white”.

‘Don’t even get me started on a voice being racialised!

Jordan as a toddler smiling
‘What does the world see when they see me?’ (Picture: Jordan Harry)

‘As a mixed-race man, I face no more or no less challenges than any other person of colour has experienced, from microaggressions and the subtle racism of uneducated people in public, to explicit racism in the sporting world.

‘I have to say I have never woken up wanting to be another race. I have every right to claim my white British heritage, however, I choose to identify with my historically oppressed heritage. Why is that?

‘Any person of colour reading this will know the daily feeling of seeing another person from your race (in my case another black person) and nodding your head, or saying a simple “hey”.

‘Why do we do that, well I’m not a social scientist, but my guess is it’s because we have a shared experience.

‘Knowing that a stranger on the street who is black will have my back based on the colour of my skin is like being part of the same football team.

‘I feel part of a community. A sense of community that, I would argue, a white British person has never experienced in this country.

‘Being mixed has also made me more inclined to date women from other ethnicities.

‘I find myself more attracted to women who aren’t white British as I have found that those who are another race or mixed have a similar open-mindedness about learning another culture.’

Jordan wants the world to know that he is multifaceted. Race is just one part of who he is. He hopes society will eventually evolve to a point where they seem for more than his outward appearance.

‘What does the world see when they see me?

‘I hope they see a 22-year-old CEO, TEDx speaker, mixed martial artist, memory and speed reading coach who is learning Portuguese for his Brazilian girlfriend, whilst trying to change how we learn in school and the workplace – who just happens to be mixed-race.’

The best of Mixed Up

Being mixed-race is so much more than just black and white (Pictures: Jerry Syder)

Mixed Up is our weekly series that gets to the heart of what it means to be mixed-race in the UK today.

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These two men knock on strangers’ doors and make lunch for them for their own cooking show


Stranger Kitchens is a cooking show on legs.

It’s a unique video concept started by two young men, Ed and Hal, who go around London offering to make lunch for strangers.

Ed is a copywriter who worked as a chef for six months after leaving school and Hal is a student.

The two 20-year-olds knock on the doors of various homes with a recipe at hand, and wait for someone to let them in.

You might expect stiff upper lipped Brits to offer a polite ‘no, thank you’ but surprisingly, many have let the pair in to cook a meal.

They’ve met some pretty interesting people along the way.

Ed (left) and Hal posing for the camera holding a sign saying stranger kitchens
Ed (left) and Hal have always been foodies and decided to cook for strangers (Picture: Stranger Kitchens)

We asked the duo how they got started.

They tell Metro.co.uk: ‘We had the idea with our friend Nick, who also helps out on the videos.

‘We were chatting about funny ideas for a cooking show when he sarcastically suggested that we just knock on stranger’s doors and ask to cook them lunch.

‘He was joking but we thought it was an amazing idea, and we knew we had to do it. About a week later we’d made our first episode.’

Hal with a camera attached to his forehead
Hal recording the show with a phone attached to his head (Picture: Stranger Kitchens)

In a case of serendipity, Ed and Hal ended up at the doorstep of chef presenter Miguel Barclay, who runs Instagram account One Pound Meals.

Ironically, they ended up being filmed by the chef for his own vlog. The video, which features Miguel saying ‘I’ve just let strangers into my house and the first thing they ask for is a knife,’ tickled thousands of viewers.

Since then, Ed and Hal have had six more dining experiences with strangers.

Ed and Hal enjoying the lunch they cooked with their new friends
They’ve met all kinds of interesting people (Picture: Stranger Kitchens)

‘We haven’t had any bad experiences yet, most people who answer their doors like the idea and are really friendly even if they’re busy or working,’ they tell us.

‘We’ve really liked everybody we’ve met, but filming is most fun when our host wants to share something with us, like music or their art.

‘In episode five we cooked for a harpist, and in the most recent episode, we found a children’s book author and her husband, and got to look around her beautiful studio and see her work.’

They also ended up at fellow YouTuber and radio DJ Mawaan Rizwan’s house for episode four.

More guests featured on their show, standing around waiting for food
One of the guests is fellow YouTuber Mawaan Rizwaan (far right) (Picture: Stranger Kitchens)

The pair reckon that meeting different folks is the most fun part. But they also hope to cook for an older demographic soon.

‘Part of the fun of making the show is not knowing who we’ll meet, so we’ll cook for anybody who’s up for it,’ they say.

‘It would be really interesting to get some stories and life wisdom from an older person, as we haven’t had many on the show yet.

Hal posing with a married couple in their home
They’ve cooked in seven different homes so far (Picture: Stranger Kitchens)

The unique idea was appealing for Ed and Hal as they both grew up with big foodie families.

Though their channel is in its infancy, they’re hoping it becomes bigger and better. For the time being, they’re enjoying all the positive feedback.

‘People have been really kind and supportive on YouTube and in person, our best dish so far was probably the dhaal and rice we made in our fourth episode,’ they say. ‘Try boiling cinnamon sticks in the rice water for some extra flavour.’

Looks like there is such a thing as a free lunch.

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Gender reveal parties are horrific, outdated and ignore the complexity of gender

Animation of a balloon going form pink to blue, with a colour-changing background in the same colours and question marks floating around
Have a think about whether pushing gendered expectations on a fetus is really such a good idea (Picture: Myles Goode for Metro.co.uk)

The first time I heard about gender reveal parties was when a friend of mine invited me to one a few years ago.

Initially, I thought it was a joke – surely this wasn’t a thing? But lo and behold, not only is it a thing, it seems they are on the rise.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good excuse for a party, but it’s getting too excessive. For instance, accidentally burning down nearly 50,000 acres of land that took 800 firefighters to put out, just because you want to tell everyone your baby will be born with a penis.

Or, as I saw in a video last week, chucking a watermelon into the mouth of an alligator, that chomped on it, revealing blue jello inside. I don’t know how or where they found the animal, let alone got it into their garden, but I was half expecting it to chop off a limb at some point.

While most gender reveal parties are usually quite tame and just an excuse for budding parents to celebrate their coming child with friends and family – there is an underlying element that I just can’t ignore.

Why can’t we just celebrate that you’re having a child? Do we really have to bring gender into it at this stage?

Needless to say, I didn’t actually attend my friend’s party. The mere thought of them cutting their perfectly shaped and moist Victorian sponge to reveal a sickly sweet pink cream filling, with everyone cheering hysterically: ‘It’s a girl! It’s a girl!’, gave me horrors.

Gender reveal parties are horrific, outdated and ignore the complexity of gender Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/07/31/gender-reveal-parties-are-horrific-outdated-and-ignore-the-complexity-of-gender-10486851/?ito=cbshare Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
The whole pink-girl, blue-boy dichotomy is neatly tied to grossly outdated gender roles (Picture: Fox Fisher)

I’m just mortified that people actually think that there is something ‘normal’ about this. As a trans person, I know from experience that things don’t always work out the way we expect, but my problem with gender reveal parties is more about the wider perspective about gender expectations in society.

By pushing these expectations upon our children even before they are born, we are supporting the idea that there is an essence within people that’s governed by their biological traits. And we’re inviting everyone else around us to take part in affirming that.

I’m not the only one who believes gender reveal parties have gotten a bit out of hand.

The person who started the trend thinks so too, and who so happens to have a young girl who loves to wear suits. The irony isn’t lost on me.

The whole pink-girl, blue-boy dichotomy is neatly tied to grossly outdated gender roles that have continued to foster inequality in our society for hundreds of years. It reinforces the idea that men and women have a certain place in society and that certain colours, traits, behaviours and even hobbies belong to them.

This has been something that gender studies and feminist analysis has wholly denounced, as it ignores the complexity of both sex and gender.

I’m not saying that you necessarily have to raise your child gender-neutral, even though I personally believe it is an appealing concept as we push way too many values on our children based on their gender already.

Even though I know there is still a very long way to go in terms of fighting inequality in society, I would have thought that in 2019 we would all agree that assigning people colours based on their genitals is just gross. Because on a wider scale, these seemingly innocent things continue to feed into the whole foundation of which sexism, misogyny and gender-based violence is built upon.

If you’re about to have a child and want to host a gender reveal party, have a think about whether pushing gendered expectations on a fetus is really such a good idea.

I’m not saying that you necessarily have to raise your child gender-neutral, even though I personally believe it is an appealing concept as we push way too many values on our children based on their gender already.

But please, please, please put down that food colouring, the air rifle, the dynamite and the alligator, and just have a regular baby shower to celebrate your child without gender expectations.

Otherwise, it might just end up costing you a lot more than you bargained for.

MORE: The blogger who made gender reveal parties popular regrets starting the trend

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Mum left with sagging skin and a deformed belly button shares how she’s learned to love her post-baby body

Julieta Torres pictured with her husband and eldest son while she was pregnant
Julieta suffered from diastasis recti during her first and second pregnancies (Picture: Julieta Torres/MDWfeatures)

A mum of two has shared how pregnancy drastically changed her body, leaving her with a four-finger long gap between the two sides of her abs, a hernia that caused incontinence, and severely saggy skin.

Julieta Torres gave birth to her first son back in 2013.

After dropping weight Julieta realised she had a lot of extra sagging skin, her belly button was deformed, and she still had a bump.

It was discovered that Julieta had a condition called diastasis recti, which causes a gap between the abdominal muscles. Julieta’s gap was about four fingers wide – far larger than is typical of those with the condition.

In 2016 Julieta had her second son, which made her condition far worse.

She began to have chronic back pain and incontinence, making tummy tuck surgery her only option.

Julieta holding a camera taking a picture of herself showing her stretch marks
The condition left her with sagging skin, a deformed belly button, back pain, and incontinence (Picture: MDWfeatures / Julieta Torres)

‘The more I researched, the more I learned that even though it was ‘plastic surgery’, this procedure would repair the abdominal muscles, helping with back pain, incontinence, digestive issues and more,’ said Julieta.

‘Today I’m seven months post-surgery; the recovery was hard and painful, but my back pain is almost gone, my incontinence got better and I don’t have a hernia.’

Despite removing the sagging skin, Julieta’s body still isn’t the way it was before pregnancy, but she’s learned to embrace her stretch marks and all the ways her body has changed.

Julieta's stretch marks pictured on her tummy
Her only option was surgery (Picture: Julieta Torres/MDWfeatures)

‘As most women I’ve always had some insecurities, but I always loved my body and was happy with it,’ she says.

‘I’d never want to live without them, they show all my body went through to have my kids. There are so many women struggling with infertility and would give everything to have a baby.

‘Last time someone asked if I was worried about my body during my last pregnancy. I wasn’t. I lost a baby between my two kids and it’s been the hardest season of my life. All I wanted was to have my rainbow baby in my arms.’

Now, Julieta shares her story on Instagram to give support to other mums struggling to accept their post-partum bodies.

Julieta pictured with her husband and two sons
After surgery, Julieta has learned to embrace her post-baby body (Picture: MDWfeatures / Julieta Torres)

She remembers finding it difficult to connect with other mothers who experienced the same thing, so decided to create her own online community.

Julieta says: ‘After having my first and seeing the changes I went through, finding out what diastasis recti was, I started a journey to heal and love my body.

‘Around the six-month mark I started getting stretch marks. First one, then two, then ten and by the end of my pregnancy I couldn’t count them anymore.

‘My belly was full of them and I thought my skin was going to tear apart. At first, I thought it was just the skin but then after being several months postpartum and feeling something was not right. I discovered I had a hernia and an abdominal separation. I was internally stretched out too.

Julieta embracing her stretch marks
She now shares her story online to offer support for other mothers (Picture: MDWfeatures / Julieta Torres)

‘When I first saw my postpartum body, I thought something was wrong with me. I’d never seen someone like me; you certainly don’t see a mum with a belly like mine on the cover of a magazine titled ‘how I got my body back’.

‘I’d find relief by googling and searching for someone that looked like me. At least I felt less alone. One day I opened up about it on a post.

‘The number of mums thanking me, telling me they thought they were the only ones made me remember how alone I used to feel. I decided I wanted to be that someone I needed so badly when I first saw my postpartum body.

‘A mum’s body is a walking miracle. Now after the hard recovery of my surgery, even more. I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt in my whole life.

‘The comments and messages that always make me cry are those that tell me they finally found someone that looked like them or that they discovered they had diastasis recti thanks to one of my posts.’

Julieta pictured with her two sons
‘I’m thankful for my body and the journey I’ve been through’ (Picture: MDWfeatures / Julieta Torres)

Julieta wants other mums struggling with their body image to know that they’re not alone.

‘There’s a lack of information about it for mums and I think it’s so important to know what our bodies got though internally. It’s not just the stretch marks, or extra skin,’ she explains.

‘Also, after my abdominoplasty, I get a lot of women thanking me for being open about it. There are a lot of women that decide to have surgery but are afraid of the judgement.

‘Surgery is not a bad thing; you can love your body and still want to change things about it, you can love your body and still want to work out, put make up on, colour your hair. The important thing is to always do it from a place of love and not hate.

‘I’m thankful for my body and the journey I’ve been through; the big scar that goes from hip to hip and all the remaining stretch marks in my body are my battle scars.

‘Whenever I look at them and not feel good about it, I change the narrative to gratefulness. So, I list all the good things that have come thanks to them; my kids, connection with other women and strength.

‘I want other mums to know they’re not alone. I want them to know they can be loved and sexy despite the changes we go through and more importantly I want them to know that they don’t have to settle for a life of pain, incontinence and other issues just because they have kids.’

MORE: Woman who suffers with saggy skin due to health condition is now a body image influencer

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M&S now lets you bring your own reusable containers for food-to-go – and you get 25p off

A person using a reusable container to pick up lunch from M&S
You get 25p for using your own lunchbox at the Market Place counter (Picture: M&S)

Marks and Spencer now let’s you bring your own lunchbox to store to pick up food-to-go.

Yes, you if you haven’t managed to make that homemade salad again, at least you won’t feel guilty about all the plastic packaging around the one you bought.

From today, you can bring your reusable container to store, head to the Market place counter and fill it with whatever you want to eat.

And you’ll get 25p off for using your own container – an offer that is already in place for bringing your own cup for hot drinks.

M&S said it’s the first major retailer to introduce a scheme like this.

It is only available for food from the Market Place counter, where you can pick up a range of hot and cold lunch-to-go options including rotisserie chicken, fish and salads.

According to M&S, over 70,000 people pick up lunch from Market Place each week, which is currently available in 23 stores including London Pantheon on Oxford Street, Newcastle, Norwich and Manchester.

Don’t worry if you don’t already have a suitable container – you can get a clip storage containers for £4 from the Market Place counters, then take them home and wash them thoroughly, ready for the next day.

Paul Willgoss, Director of Food Technology at M&S, said: ‘Our priority is to reduce single-use packaging and ensure any we do use can be reused or recycled, as we work towards our 2022 target for all our packaging to be widely recyclable.

‘Food-to-go is a growing market; so finding solutions in this space is an important part of our wider plan. Our Market Place containers are already widely recyclable, but we want to go a step further with the introduction of an incentive to encourage customers to switch to reusable containers.’

Trewin Restorick, CEO and Founder of environmental charity Hubbub, commented: ‘People are rightly concerned about the environmental impact of single-use packaging. It is massively encouraging to see M&S become the first major retailer to offer customers a financial saving encouraging them to make an important change to their shopping habits.

‘We hope customers will respond positively and other retailers will follow this lead.’

MORE: Mum left with sagging skin and a deformed belly button shares how she’s learned to love her post-baby body

MORE: Spot under woman’s eye turns out to be skin cancer

Bulldogs turn completely green after being left alone in the kitchen with food colouring


Two French bulldogs ended up looking like the Incredible Hulk when they stumbled upon some food colouring and smeared it all over their bodies.

Owner Yada Ornsomjit, from Thailand, found her mischievous pets named Dam-nam and Sai-Au looking much brighter than usual.

Yada regretted leaving the kitchen door open in her home in Lamphun as she woke up the next day to find the mess.

In a video, which has now gone viral, the green bulldogs can be seen looking sheepish.

As funny as the incident might be to you and me, it took Yada three tries to wash all the food colouring off.

Not so incredible.

Two mischievous French bulldogs were left bright green after raiding a kitchen cupboard and covering themselves in food colouring.
Too late for the puppy eyes (Picture: Viral Press)

The colour could be seen spread across the kitchen floor which the two dogs traipsed on.

Somehow, they managed to cover every bit of their body green while some other dogs seen in the video were untouched.

Perhaps they were the only two who managed to sneak in.

‘I forgot to shut the kitchen door the night before. But I couldn’t believe they went inside and made everything green’ Yada explained to Mail Online.

‘My husband and I spent half a day washing them about three times but some parts of their bodies were still green.

Two mischievous French bulldogs were left bright green after raiding a kitchen cupboard and covering themselves in food colouring.
How did they manage to cover so much of themselves (Picture: Viral Press)

‘We were really tired but they seemed not to know what they had done wrong.’

To those wondering, food colouring isn’t harmful to dogs when ingested. Food colouring or even dyes from foods (like beets for pink hair) are natural, and non-toxic.

While it might’ve not hurt Dam-nam and Sai-Au, Yada is pretty damned, having to clean all that up.

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Need a cuddle? You can now get ‘boyfriend speakers’ that hug you from behind while playing music

Split image of the boyfriend hugging speakers, with one image showing the product perched on a table and the other showing a girl with the arms around herself
Fancy a hug? (Picture: Otome Yusha)

Ever just feel like you need a cuddle but still not in the mood for human contact?

Not to worry, because Level-5, a Japanese video game company has partnered up with Otome Yusha to provide a solution – so you can have your hug and skip it too.

Introducing ‘boyfriend hug speakers’, a strange new product that features two muscular arms that you can wrap neatly around yourself, and a white pillow decorated with a photo of a video game character – the protagonist from the company’s latest release, ‘Hero of Maidens’.

To make your experience even more intimate, the arms have built-in Bluetooth speakers which play music as you cuddle up together, according to the New York Post.

A woman sat in a cafe with a cup of coffee in front of her and her boyfriend hugging speakers around her
Oh, this looks comfortable (Picture: Otome Yusha)
Woman outside with her boyfriend hugging speakers
Just out for a stroll with your boyfriend speakers (Picture: Otome Yusha)

Hero of Maidens is a role-playing game, which according to AV Club and Sora News 24, is ‘targeted at women about beautiful men who intend to “save the world through love”‘ – and the boyfriend speakers are part of the promotion for the release.

There isn’t a female equivalent of the speakers, which is a shame since men deserve hugs too, but it’s definitely a unique product.

The product isn’t just good for hugs, you can also bring it along to a café and perch the product on top of a table for an intimate date.

Or take your faux boyfriend for a casual walk in the park and a meal with friends (beware, people will definitely stare).

Woman sat at a table with a male friend, while also wearing her boyfriend hugging speakers
Well this is…awkward (Picture: Otome Yusha)

If you fancy a new tech gadget, we’ve got bad news: unfortunately there is only one set and it’s not for sale – but you could win it.

Otome Yusha is running a Twitter competition until 9 August, which will see one lucky person getting their hands on a hugging machine.

To be in with a chance, you need to follow the account and tweet out a series of Japanese hashtags: #オトメ勇者 and #抱きしめスピーカープレゼント (#OtomeYusha and #HugSpeakersPresent).

If there’s high demand for the boyfriend speakers, the company may even consider producing more of them (though we can’t quite see this trend catching on).

Alternatively, you could just fill a sweater with foam and wrap that around yourself, while using your regular speakers?

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YouPorn lets you choose porn stars by their zodiac signs so you never have to watch an incompatible performer

illustration of couple having sex
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Porn star not doing it for you? Too speedy, kind of impatient and a bit aggressive? Must be an Aries.

If you’ve been unable to get in a sexy mood after endless minutes (and hours) of scrolling for the right video to get off to, then you’re not alone.

But the reason you can’t find that one adult performer who just gets your kinks might be due to their star sign.

So adult website YouPorn is introducing a new search filter which lets you find stars based on their zodiac sign.

Good news if you just don’t mesh well with people of certain astrological orientations (goodbye, Virgos).

YouPorn’s new tool Your Sex Zodiac will align you with those you’re most compatible with on an interstellar level.

Users can type into the search bar their most desirable zodiac sign, or choose to filter out their least compatible signs.

If they’re unsure of their astrological match, users can reference YouPorn’s very own sexual compatibility chart developed by in-house astrologer Dossé-Via, to consider which they should pursue.

‘Being aware of your sexual partner’s birth chart and zodiac sign placements can help you better understand the way their personality works, in and out of the bedroom,’ she said.

‘It adds a new layer to sex, helping you get each other’s kinks, turn-ons and turn-offs. Being able to search for adult content by zodiac signs will make the viewing experience more personally tailored and enjoyable.

‘Viewers can envision what it’d be like to have sex with someone with whom they feel astrologically compatible.’

Once choosing their preferred sign, users will be prompted to select from a variety of videos starring only performers that align.

‘Searching by zodiac sign will allow our community to better understand their innate desire for and connection to certain signs, and interpret their own astrological senses more deeply,’ said Charlie Hughes from YouPorn.

‘We are always looking for new exploratory options to offer our users, and agreed that a creative and resourceful astrological filter could perhaps offer our community something star-tacular.’

To find out more, visit the website (but probably not at work).

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What are the benefits of having an orgasm?

Illustration of a woman's leg and a squirt of blue liquid coming out between them
It’s good for you (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

We’re celebrating the power of the orgasm today.

Whether experiencing one by yourself or with a partner, reaching climax has some significant benefits (besides giving you a deliciously tingly feeling).

By getting a release of endorphins on a regular basis, you could improve your physical and mental health, as well as form a closer bond with yourself or your partner.

Bear in mind that not everyone can or wants to orgasm, and that’s perfectly OK, but here are some reasons why the big O is so great.

You will sleep better

Ever notice how you feel drowsy after you climax?

It’s not just because of the exercise you’ve just given your body (or hand), but at the point of orgasm your body releases various chemicals including oxytocin and serotonin (the happy hormones), as well as norepinephrine, vasopressin and prolactin.

These chemicals work together to make you feel relaxed, which in turn could help you drift off at night and have a deeper sleep.

‘…during climax, the body releases prolactin, along with many other chemicals,’ Dr Diana Gall, from the online doctor service Doctor 4 U, tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Prolactin has been proven to be involved with making you feel relaxed and tired, which should help you drift off to sleep more easily.

‘In addition to this, oestrogen levels in women are increased during and just after orgasm. This hormone helps to enhance the REM cycle, meaning that a deeper sleep is more likely.’

You will feel less stressed

Having an orgasm can do wonders for the mind.

You have oxytocin to thank for this one, too. When the chemical is released in the hypothalamus part of the brain, it send signals that makes you feel calmer, warmer and generally just a bit happier.

‘Oxytocin is the same hormone that’s associated with mother and baby bonding, whilst dopamine is partly responsible for regulating emotional responses, as well as contributing to feelings of pleasure,’ said Dr Gall.

‘This cocktail of hormones can help people to feel more relaxed and in a state of mental wellness.’

If you have difficulty reaching orgasm or don’t fancy it, there’s always the option of going for a run before bed, as some studies find this can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, which will improve your sleeping patterns.

Illustration of naked couple in bed together
Did you come? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

It could help with pain management

Certain studies have found that reaching climax can lessen pain symptoms.

A study from the University of Munster in Germany in 2013 revealed that having an orgasm during sex helped with migraines and cluster or tension headaches.

Out of the participants, 60% of those who suffer from migraines and one third of those who suffer from cluster headaches said getting themselves off during sex improved their pain levels.

While the study didn’t cover masturbation, researchers drew conclusions that it’s likely the effect would be the same in this scenario.

However, some migraine sufferers (33%) said having sex/orgasms made their symptoms worse, so it won’t work for everyone.

Your heart will thank you

‘Orgasms aren’t just good fun for you and your partner, they can actually be good for your health, good news for anyone who’s having them regularly!,’ Shamir Patel, pharmacist & founder of Chemist 4 U, tells Metro.co.uk.

‘For example, when you have sex your heart rate typically gets higher, and its average beats per minute can increase even further when you orgasm.

‘Raising your heart rate is good for your heart, and when you orgasm it can reach rates that are similar to when you’re doing light exercise, like a brisk walk.’

Having orgasms on your own could improve your sex life

Having alone time is very healthy, regardless if you have an orgasm or not.

By exploring what you like and how you like it, you’ll be able to communicate this to your lover.

Plus, it’s really fun.

Your skin will glow

This one is more likely if you’re having sex, rather than masturbating.

‘Medically, your blood flow is increased during sex and orgasm, meaning that there’s more oxygen pumping around your body,’ said Dr Gall.

‘This increased blood flow is also responsible for the flushed skin many people experience during and after sex.

‘As well as this, the increased oxygen flow can stimulate the production of collagen – a protein that’s known to be great for the skin. As orgasms can also promote better sleep and decreased stress levels, these may also help to improve your skin.’

It could improve your relationships

Having an orgasm with someone else can make people feel very vulnerable.

Showing this level of trust during sex or through mutual masturbation with your partner can bring you closer together. There’s also the satisfaction in making a partner orgasm or watching as they do, knowing they’re revealing that private part of themselves.

But that’s not the only relationship to focus on.

Getting up close and personal with yourself can also make you feel more confident, and in tune with your body and mind.

Go forth and orgasm.

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Women are reclaiming the word ‘barren’ to talk about their fertility issues


The word ‘barren’ is thought of as deeply negative.

Describe a woman who is yet to have kids as barren and you’d probably get a mouthful of abuse or a slap in return.

But there are some women who are actively trying to reclaim the word to describe their fertility battles.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term comes from the Old French barain or brahain, meaning the opposite of fertile. It’s used in reference to land which cannot produce vegetation.

Bar also means ‘male, man’, suggesting that the term actually translates as ‘male-like, not producing offspring’.

In other words, the word suggests that an inability to produce negates your right to call yourself a woman.

Katy Lindemann is the founder of the Uber Barrens Club – ‘the club no one wants to join’ (her own words).

It’s a community of childless women who share their stories of being unable to conceive – ‘people who can empathise with what it’s really like to be excluded from the parents’ club, peering in from the outside, desperately wanting to join in’.

Katy’s own infertility journey has included multiple unsuccessful IVF cycles (including four egg collections, seven cancelled cycles, two pregnancies, two miscarriages and three surgeries).

‘I had to stop treatment when doctors on both sides of the Atlantic confirmed that my uterus was simply too damaged to sustain a pregnancy, and that I would never be able to carry a child,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

‘I’m not just infertile. I’m really, really infertile. I’m barren.’

Katy says that there’s still a ‘powerful stigma’ around being unable to have kids because society fetishes motherhood.

‘There are certain phrases that have historically been used to shame women and make them feel responsible for their infertility.’

‘I know that my worth isn’t defined by my ability to reproduce yet I often still feel defective as a woman, because I can’t do what I’m supposed to be able to do,’ she tells us.

Infertility is incredibly common.

One in seven couples has difficulty conceiving, although the NHS estimates that around 84% will eventually conceive naturally if they have enough unprotected sex. In a third of infertile couples, the problem is with the woman (PCOS, thyroid issues, endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, etc), and in another third, the man is the issue.

And yet, what terms to we have to describe an infertile man?

Impotent? Impotence firstly means feeling or being powerless, being physically weak, lacking self-restraint.

‘Firing blanks’ is a phrase we use to describe the fact your semen doesn’t contain sperm, but it definitely doesn’t have the same connotations as having say, too few eggs. It sounds far more easily fixed – you can just reload and refire.

Katy says: ‘Barren has been used for centuries to stigmatise childless women as inferior and worthless members of society, often shunned as witches, their barrenness a sign of physical and moral deficiency.

‘But in various pockets of the internet, women on infertility forums can be found jokingly referring to ourselves as barren – instead of passively accepting its negative connotations, we’re re-appropriating it as an empowering identity label.’

Coping with infertility at work
Is it time to change the meaning of the word ‘barren’? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

It might be a harsh word but then again, Katy explains, the experience of being infertile in a fertile world is harsh.

‘Describing ourselves as barren started as a sarcastic quip, but we found that by using such an in-your-face word, it felt like we were making ourselves heard, and taking ownership of our story,’ she tells us.

‘Yes, we’re infertile, so what?

‘The silver lining I take out of a very dark cloud is the incredible community of barren women that I’ve had the privilege to become a part of – a silent sorority of hundreds of thousands of women sharing their experiences of infertility and pregnancy loss on anonymous infertility forums, secret Facebook groups, and private Instagram feeds.

‘Uber Barrens Club is a club no one wants to join, but it means the world to know you’re not alone.’

Katy’s mission is to reclaim the word barren in order to shake off the cloak of shame – helping women believe that being barren isn’t a personal failing.

‘Instead, the word represents resilience and strength of character and belonging to a sisterhood of some of the bravest, funniest, most kick-ass women you could ever wish to know’.

When it comes to reclaiming a word, you’ve got to come to terms with what you’re trying to take control of.

I put the question of using ‘barren’ to a PCOS support group and opinion was split between women who were still struggling to come to terms with their diagnoses and those who regarded the word a little like the term ‘queer’.

‘One can celebrate and reclaim “queer” but I’m not sure I’d be able to accept “barren” as something I’d celebrate about myself,’ said one woman.

But another newly diagnosed ‘cyst-a’ said that coming across the Uber Barren Club had moved her to tears.

‘I’m newly diagnosed, sort of getting past the sad bit and looking at language/strategies to help me deal with it,’ she said.

‘I just read the UBC homepage and I’m in tears. This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for.’

Some of us really do want to see pejoratives being turned into positives for a situation we didn’t choose and have zero control over.

Infertility and language describing it is so often entrenched in blame, misogyny and insult.

There’s a Nordic heavy noise male duo called ‘Barren Womb’ – an odd name for two blokes yelling. Facebook is full of groups called things like ‘Barren to Beautiful’…implying that infertility makes you ugly.

Emma Forsyth and Gabby Griffith run The Big Fat Negative podcast – a pod about all things infertility.

Both of them view much of the language used to describe our inability to (naturally/easily) produce babies as being shrouded in shame and blame.

For Emma, her exploration with the term ‘barren’ began on Twitter, when she saw Giles Coren call someone on Twitter ‘a barren witch’.

‘That it was right at the beginning when I was first trying for a baby…and I remember just feeling really offended,’ says Emma. ‘I really liked him and thought he was a cool guy and thought he wrote really well and then he was using language like that.

‘Firstly it seemed quite misogynistic and secondly, it was a really aggressive, horrible word to use.’

That’s part of why Gabby and Emma want to reclaim the word from being one of insult and blame to one of empowerment.

Gabby told us that it’s time for the infertile community to take control of the words used to describe them.

‘There are certain phrases that have historically been used to shame women and make them feel responsible for their infertility,’ said Gabby.

‘If the infertility community can start to use them in a different, more empowering context, we can stop them being used as weapons against us.’

Emma agrees, telling us that the language around struggling to have a child is all too often full of blame. It’s time for that to change.

‘If we can use it then it takes away some of the negativity around infertility – it’s all so blame-y,’ she explains.

‘All the language surrounding it; miscarriage – you miscarried your baby. So what, you dropped it?

‘Baby loss – what, you lost your baby somewhere? It’s something that happened in your body, it’s not your fault. It’s just something that happened.

‘I had appendicitis as a kid and it turned into peritonitis because the appendix burst and gunked up my fallopian tubes. If we’re looking to blame anyone, it should be my GP. I couldn’t conceive a child. That’s not my fault.

‘Women going through infertility blame themselves which is why they go and do crazy stuff like taking odd herbs, injected themselves with all kinds of horrible treatments.

‘If we can take away some of that blame-y-ness by using the word barren, then great.’

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