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Daily Fitness Challenge: Can you do flutter kicks for more than a minute?


Flutter kicks are a fantastic way to work your core – without doing any crunches.

This exercise is all about small, controlled movements and making sure that your form is perfect throughout. See if you can keep going for a minute or more.

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.

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.

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.

Two people working out on the floor - just their legs showing
(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 flutter kicks

Start lying down on your back. Place both your hands underneath your bum for extra support in your lower back.

Keep your lower back on the ground as you lift the right leg off the ground, slightly past hip height, then lift the left leg so it hovers a few inches off the floor.

Hold for a second, then switch the position of the legs, making a flutter kick motion.

For more of a challenge, lift your head and neck off the floor.

Repeat this motion for a minute if 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

The Cycle to Work Scheme: How to get a tax free bike for your commute

(Illustration: Ella Byworth)
(Illustration: Ella Byworth)

Cycling to work may feel like a path to certain death – particularly if you live in a big city like London.

Buses, black cabs and HGVs are less than ideal road partners, but if you take the right precautions and build up your confidence – riding to work can be incredibly liberating.

Why spend your morning sardine-like in a sweaty tube carriage, when you could be out in the open air, feeling the breeze/pollution on your face and getting a workout in the process?

Bikes don’t come cheap, but the Cycle to Work Scheme could help you make a serious saving. You’ve probably heard of the Cycle to Work Scheme, but if you don’t know how it actually works don’t worry, we figured it out for you.

The Cycle to Work scheme is actually really old. It was launched in 1999 with the aim of encouraging people to make healthier and more environmentally friendly choices.

And now, 20 years on, it feels more important than ever to make positive environmental choices, and your commute could be a great place to start.

The scheme allows employees to spend on bikes and equipment, tax-free, making a saving of up to 42% on the overall value.

It used to be the case that the maximum spend was £1000, but the latest guidelines confirm this isn’t the case. The scheme also includes e-bikes, which is great news if your commute is too far for pedal power alone.

If you get a bike under the Cycle to Work Scheme, that doesn’t mean you’re only allowed to use it for your commute. You can use your bike whenever you like – so start planning two-wheeled jaunts to liven up your weekends.

How does the Cycle to Work Scheme work?

The Cycle to Work scheme lets you pay for a bike and equipment in monthly instalments through your employer over a year-long period.

In theory, after this period, your company is allowed to take the bike back, or you can purchase it for ‘fair market value’ – which can be up to 25% of the original value. But realistically it usually works out much cheaper than this.

The payments are except from tax – which is where you save the 42%. So how much you save depends on the tax bracket you’re in – big earners will save more because they would have been paying more tax.

It’s essentially an interest free loan – which is something we can always get behind.

How do you qualify for the Cycle to Work Scheme?

First of all, your employer needs to sign up to a provider – such as the Cycle Scheme or Evans Cycles’ Ride to Work scheme. You also have to be over 18.

If you’re self-employed, you still use the scheme if you have your own limited company. Or you can buy the bike and claim the VAT back via the business.

How much of your salary will you have to pay?

If you pay an average rate of tax and you buy £1000 worth of equipment, your monthly salary payment will be £83.33. And how much you save will depend on your tax bracket.

That would mean that your total payment towards a £1,000 bike would be £680.

For an £800 bike, you will save 32%, so you’ll only pay £544 over the year. 

At the end of the year, you may have to pay your employer a fee in order to properly own the bike outright, but scheme providers have come up with way of reducing the final payment, by allowing you to continue to lease the bike until the payment would be negligible.

Who are Cycle to Work Scheme providers?

  • Evans Cycles – Ride to Work (Evans Cycles own brand), CyclesScheme, Bike2Work Scheme, CyclePlus, Vivup
  • Halfords Cycles/Cycle Republic – Cycle2Work (Halford’s own brand)
  • Cycle Surgery – Cycle to Work, Bikes for Staff, CyclePlus, Cycle Solutions, EnjoyBenefits, Bikes2Work Scheme, SalaryExchange and Cycle2Work (Halford’s own brand)
  • Wiggle – Wiggle Cycle to Work, CycleScheme, Bike2WorkScheme, CyclePlus and Gemelli
  • Chain Reaction Cycles – CycleScheme and Chain Reaction Cycle’s Ride 2 Work
  • Tredz – Halfords C2W and Cyclescheme plus others

To get started, find out what scheme your employer is enrolled in, therefore where you can buy your bike from, and choose your bike.

Then speak to your HR department and request a certificate. When you’ve got it, take it to the relevant bike shop and redeem the certificate against the cost of the bike and equipment. Your first payment will come out of your next monthly wage.

Couldn’t be simpler. Just make sure you really do feel confident on the roads before attempting central London – it’s a jungle out there.

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

Nestle is swapping plastic wrappers on Japanese KitKats for recyclable origami paper

nestle japanese kitkats in green tea, matcha, and red bean flavours
Nestle Japan is introducing new paper packaging (Picture: Nestle/Metro.co.uk)

Here’s proof that cutting down on plastic doesn’t have to be a boring slog.

Nestle is trying out a replacement for plastic packaging that’s actually fun as well as environmentally friendly.

Over in Japan (where KitKats are a big deal, FYI, and come in a load of fancy flavours), a number of mini KitKats will ditch their plastic packaging in favour of paper.

This isn’t just any old paper. This is paper that comes with instructions for making a paper crane, to encourage customers to use their packaging for origami rather than just chucking it away.

If you don’t fancy fiddling around with folding, though, you can pop this paper wrapping straight in the recycling bin.

But isn’t it a nice idea to create an incentive around using less plastic, and to make packaging feel less disposable?

Nestle is replacing the plastic wrapping on Japanese Kit Kats with paper versions that can be made into origami
The new paper can be used for origami (Picture: Nestle Japan)

The whole idea is encouraging reuse and repurposing, which are concepts we can all get ebhind.

Nestle says that by making this change on its big bags of miniature KitKats, it expects to save 380 tonnes of plastic every year.

The initiative is part of the company’s commitment to only use 100% recyclable and reusable packaging by the time we hit 2025. Earlier this year the brand launched a snack bar in completely recyclable packaging that degrades in a marine environment within six months. Considering normal snack packaging would take 450 years to degrade, that’s quite the improvement.

Now can someone bring these ideas to the UK and make them more widespread?

We’d like an excuse to buy more chocolate, and doing some origami while saving the planet seems like a good one.

MORE: Could clear plastic shorts be the next big menswear trend?

MORE: Lidl introduces reusable fruit and veg bags to cut down on plastic waste

MORE: What does the fish tube meme reveal about the millennial condition? Not a huge amount

Dogs with Jobs: How do you train a guide dog to become someone’s eyes?


When you think of working dogs, you likely think of guide dogs.

Guide dogs are known worldwide for being a vital lifeline to those who are visually impaired.

But how do you go from lovable Labrador puppy to a cool, calm and collected carer of the blind?

Training timeline

Before the guide-dogs-to-be are placed with trainers like Sam, they spend a year with a volunteer who helps them with basic training and socialising, as well as helping them get used to living in a family home.

Once the pups are ready to go on to the next stage of training, that’s when Sam and his colleagues come in.

Sam tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I have four weeks with each dog to teach them as much about being a guide dog as possible in that time.’

Oakey, a black labrador crosses the road. He is wearing a neon green harness and leads his handler.
Oakey has now graduated puppy school (Picture: Aaron Crowley/Metro.co.uk)

The change from living with their volunteer home, and moving to London for training is not always an easy adjustment.

To make the transition easier, the young dogs live with a volunteer boarder who brings them to the Guide Dog Training Centre in Kings Cross everyday for training and picks them after class, much like with the school run.

Trainers like Sam ensure that the dog is not stressed or overworked by spending the dog’s first few weeks at the centre helping him or her get used to their environment, settle down and help get the dog into the right frame of mind to start work.

These pupils aren’t learning barkeology or eating their own homework, they are learning the fundamentals of working as a seeing eye dog.

Oakey a black lab gets close to the camera and sniffs the lens.
Boop! (Picture: Aaron Crowley/Metro.co.uk)

‘We do lots of little games and [teach them] little things like just taking treats out my hand nicely,’ explains Sam. ‘It’s that sort of level of things.

‘When they’ve built a really nice bond with us, then that’s the point where you can really start teaching the guiding tasks.’

The training is taken at the pace of the dog. There is no rush, no rigid schedule.

We met one of the canine cadets, Nancy, who was slowly being introduced to wearing a harness, which is an essential piece of kit for her future job.

When we met with Sam and the future guide dogs, Nancy was getting used to the feel and sensation of her uniform for the first time. Sam tells us he will add a harness roughly a week later and give Nancy time to acclimatise to that. Following this they will start the harness work, such as getting in and out of a harness.

Once dogs like Nancy are used to the basics, the rest of the training can begin.

Aside from learning how to guide someone, dogs will also learn social skills such as going into a supermarket and not stealing any food and going into new environments and remaining calm.

Oakey a black lab sits at a sunken pavement, a vital part of his training. He is looking at the camera and wearing a high visibility harness.
Curb training is a vital part of guide dog training (Picture: Aaron Crowley/Metro.co.uk))

The next steps

Allowing visually impaired people to regain their freedom is the core of what guide dogs do.

The next step in the dog’s training is learning how to recognise curbs, both raised and dropped.

‘Curb work is simple,’ says Sam. ‘As soon as [the dog] approaches a curb of any kind, flat, deep, anything, she’s got to stop.

‘Most of them sit, some of them stand, depending on the dog. But the important thing is that she doesn’t walk over a curb, and into a road without the owner knowing that that’s where they going.’

The next stage of Sam’s lessons is the straight line principle, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. Sam shows the dog the importance of walking in a straight line until the owner signals to go left or right.

This stops the dog zigzagging through people and causing nuisance for itself, its owner and the public.

Sam tells us: ‘My job is to teach those two things. Then as they get confident with that, hopefully I start teaching them obstacle avoidance and what to do if a car comes out of nowhere, and what to do if a pavement’s blocked, and all sorts of little things that you get as you go around the city.’

After the dogs have completed their training with Sam, they will go off to the guide dog mobility instructors.

The guide dog mobility instructors focus on the future owner and handler, while also perfecting the dogs’ training.

Sam tells us: ‘They’re also starting to add more and more questions at the dog and say “can you work in this really busy environment”, “can you work through Kings Cross Station where it’s a really complicated straight line and it’s already wiggling”.’

While their completing their training the mobility team are assessing the dog and seeing whether they would match with the hundreds of people on the guide dogs waiting list.

Once they’re matched with their handler, they will take a class together everyday for two to three weeks to learn how to work with each other and get used to the new lifelong partnership.

Oakey, a black labrador, looks both ways before crossing the street. He is sat at the curb, which is how he signals that his hadler has reached the end of the pavement. He wears a bright high visibility harness.
Good boy! (Picture: Aaron Crowley/Metro.co.uk)

It’s a hard job, but someone has got to do it.

To me and you, Sam’s job can look pretty peachy. He trains puppies for a living to help the disabled. Can it get any more rewarding?

‘I think probably the best thing about my job is that I get up in the morning and think ‘oh I’m going to work!’ and it’s not it’s not a bad thing,’ says Sam.

‘I love that I’ve been able to see about 27 dogs and almost all of them have gone through.

‘I’ve been able to see what they’re like as they come in, and then see the person at the end and see the difference that dog had made, and to know that I was a little part of that somewhere along the way. That’s just really rewarding.

‘Having said that, you know, going and getting a new puppy is pretty nice thing as well. So I get to enjoy that.’

But it’s not always cookies and cream. Can you imagine what it is like to get a new puppy every few weeks and then have to part with it after you have bonded?

‘I think it’s probably a bit easier for me than it is for the puppy walkers,’ says Sam. ‘I think they have the difficult one because they get this seven week old cute ball of fluff that then just ruins their house, has all the accidents and chews things.

‘They raise them to be so, so nice. And that’s the point where I get to pinch them.

‘The great thing for me is at any one time I’ll have about four dogs. As one goes, they give me a new one.

‘So you get the sadness of one moving on but there’s also a bit of pride there for them. And that the most important thing for me is that the dog enjoys the work that says really more than anything, if I can teach the dog that guiding is great fun, you’re going to get a good guide dog.’

MORE: Dogs With Jobs: Meet the dog unit keeping you safe when you travel

MORE: Dogs with Jobs: Meet the search dog who can find and recover people trapped in disaster zones

MORE: Dogs With Jobs: The dogs who give people with learning difficulties more independence

Feel rough after a workout? It could be a ‘fitness hangover’

How to know if you have anxiety
Fitness hangovers are actually really common. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

A really solid hangover can make you question your very existence, your purpose, every life choice you have made up to this moment.

But even in the midst of your sweatiest, vommiest hangover – there’s a part of you that knows this is the price you pay when you decide to have a sixth drink on a Tuesday. You can make your peace with that at least.

What doesn’t seem fair is to experience the pain of a hangover after doing something as virtuous as working out. But fitness hangovers are more common that you might think.

According to a recent American study, 25% of fitness loves have actually missed work because they felt so rough the day after a workout.

55% have suffered a workout hangover that’s so bad it caused them to stay inside all day. This is not the endorphin buzz that we were promised.

The fitness hangover isn’t just muscle soreness – it’s more than that. It genuinely feels like a hangover. You can be exhausted, nauseous, even anxious – and it’s putting a real dent in our fitness regimes.

Laura Malcolm is a Superleague netball player so training isn’t just a hobby – it’s her entire career. She also runs bespoke netball coaching sessions, so she can’t afford to feel unwell after a tough workout.

‘I usually get a fitness “hangover” when I’ve doubled up on sessions, or finish a hard training session late in the evening,’ Laura tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Sometimes I train for four hours with little or no break and this usually includes lifting to my max in the weights room followed by a beasting on the netball court.

‘If I give it my all in both sessions as well as getting home and into bed late, I know I’ll wake up the next morning with that hangover feeling. I’ll be lethargic, spaced out and have to peel myself out of bed.’

It’s not only elite athletes who are plagued by this unpleasant phenomenon. Junior Doctor Aishah Muhammad gets it too.

Illustration of three women doing a plank
You can often feel rough if you don’t recover properly with the right food. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

‘If I over-exercise or workout when mentally I’m not feeling it, I find myself exhausted the next day. I often feel mentally drained as a result,’ explains Aishah.

‘For me, that hangover feeling can be a mix of tiredness and sometimes feeling nauseated.’

So what’s going on? Why are our workouts causing us to crash out the next day?

There is actually a scientific reason.

‘It is quite common to feel rough after a tough workout,’ says Dr. Clare Morrison, GP and medical advisor at Medexpress.

‘Firstly, strenuous exercise causes blood to be diverted away from the digestive system, to the muscles, heart and lungs.

‘If you eat a rich meal shortly before exercise, it won’t be digested properly, potentially causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

‘In addition, exercise uses up glucose, and glycogen stores, leading to nausea, headaches and shakiness.

‘Because blood vessels dilate during exercise, and fluid and salt is lost in the form of sweat, it is common for blood pressure to drop after a heavy exercise session, triggering light-headedness and weakness.

How to prevent a fitness hangover

Avoid excessively rich food before working out. Instead, eat a meal consisting mostly of carbohydrates and protein, two-three hours before starting. You can also eat a small carbohydrate snack 30-60 minutes before-hand.

Don’t drink fizzy drinks, which could cause bloating and heartburn.

Make sure you warm up gradually when exercising and also avoid stopping too abruptly.

The more regularly you exercise, the better you will be able to cope, so build up the intensity of your regime gradually, allowing your fitness to improve before pushing yourself too hard.

Don’t exercise at all if you’re already feeling unwell or fighting off a virus. Exercise diverts resources away from your immune system, so forcing yourself to exercise under these circumstances could make you ill.

Dr. Clare Morrison

If you do feel worse for wear after a workout, there are things you can do to speed up your recovery. And it’s pretty much all to do with your nutrition.

‘Do drink sufficient water to quench your thirst, but remember that drinking too much water, without eating a little salt, can make your salt levels fall too low,’ says Dr Morrison.

‘This will cause confusion, headaches, cramps, and nausea. So add a little salt to your food, perhaps in the form of crackers, salted nuts, or broth.

‘Do have something to eat ideally within 30 minutes of finishing your exercise routine.

‘Eat some unrefined carbs to top up glycogen stores, and lean protein to help repair tired muscles. For example, a good post-workout meal would be wholemeal toast with scrambled eggs, or tuna and brown rice.

‘Bananas are also ideal because, as well as being a good source of refined carbs, they also contain much-needed potassium.

‘Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which could make you more dehydrated and upset your stomach.’

So no hair of the dog for this kind of hangover then.

According to that American study, 60% of those surveyed said they don’t know enough about diet and recovery to know the best steps to take after exercise. And that could be the crux of the issue.

As well as resisting the urge to push your body too hard, it’s also really important to recover correctly after a workout.

Rest and recovery are vital elements in your workout routine that will not only make sure your avoid fitness burnout, but will also help you make gains in the long term.

If fitness hangovers are affecting you regularly, it might be time to take a closer look at what you do after a workout and figure out how you can be a bit kinder 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

Mixed Up: ‘I never met my dad – my blackness became a sign of my otherness’


Mixed Up is a weekly series that takes a closer look at the complexities of being mixed-race in the UK today.

The mixed-race population is the country’s fastest-growing group – a trend that is unlikely to slow down.

Each week we examine the conflicts, joys and contradictions that often come with straddling two or more cultural or ethnic backgrounds.

Getting beyond archaic stigmas and tired stereotypes, this series tells the stories of people who know what it means to exist in-between.

Miriam van Emst has never met her father. Now she’s making a documentary about her journey to discover her true heritage – culminating in a DNA test.

(Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk) Mixed Up, Natalie Morris
‘I was raised by a single, white mother, and the only family I have ever known is white.’ (Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

‘The first thing I say when people ask me about my mix, is that I consider myself British and Dutch. I quickly follow that statement up with; “but I have never met my father who is the person of color,” says Miriam.

‘I believe he is African American, but where his ancestral heritage hails from is unknown to me.

‘When I was seven, my mum moved us from Suffolk to Friesland in Holland, which has a population of 350 people, no people of color, and absolutely no single, white mums with frizzy-haired little girls.

‘I was raised by a single, white mother, and the only family I have ever known is white.

‘My fatherlessness and lack of non-white cultural influences growing up led me to reject part of myself, and my blackness became the ultimate sign of my otherness.’

Miriam as a baby with her mother
‘I feel I have never been able to truly answer the question – who am I?’ (Picture: Miriam van Emst)

Miriam’s desire to find out more about her family history was, in part, sparked by the questions of others. As a child she felt that her face never quite fit, and now she wants to know why.

‘I think identity is a big thing when you don’t know a parent, arguably even more so when that parent is the person of color,’ she explains.

‘Growing up, in rural Suffolk and Holland meant that I was part of overwhelmingly white communities. That, combined with not looking like I belonged to my mother, meant that I was often asked – are you adopted? Or – why are you black?

‘Looking back, I realise these questions can have a traumatic effect because they essentially question your right to exist, which as an “illegitimate” child is what I have been trying to prove my whole life.

‘I feel I have never been able to truly answer the question – who am I? And it’s a journey I’m now just starting on.’

Miriam as a young child on a bike
‘I am confronting preexisting ideas of race and culture that are so ingrained I didn’t even realize I had them.’ (Picture: Miriam van Emst)

Miriam has realised just how important  environment can be in influencing how she feels about herself. She has found the diversifying the world around her has made it easier for her to accept herself.

‘These past few years in London have allowed me to feel like I finally fit in, because everyone is a beautiful misfit here,’ says Miriam.

‘It has also allowed me to start dealing with the subconscious resentment I harbored towards myself and kick-started my journey into discovering my identity and feeling positive about my “otherness”.

‘I realised there is a need to hear more mixed-race stories because for starters it’s an ever-growing audience, but more than that, it’s about representation and giving people a safe space to share their experiences.

‘This is what sparked my idea to make a documentary, because so many people are still coming to terms with their mixed-raceness.

‘Undertaking this journey has been a labor of love and, at the same time, an ongoing therapy session because I am confronting preexisting ideas of race and culture that are so ingrained I didn’t even realize I had them.

‘What has become apparent is that there are so many common experiences shared between mixed-race people, and we are still trying to find out where we belong in society.’

Miriam’s identity is about so much more than her ethnicity, but it can be difficult to escape – particularly when her appearance is so different to the rest of her family. It’s something she tries to get away from.

Miriam as a child
‘I have had to do everything in my power to embrace both sides of my mix by educating myself.’ (Picture: Miriam van Emst)

‘There are so many things I would mention about myself before my race, and yet it is the first thing that people see. To be honest, at times I have a slight difficulty with the phrase “mixed-race”, because it implies two separates rather than a whole.

‘Yet, I think it can be a blessing. I am a social chameleon and able to feel at home in different situations with multiple cultures, because my look is so ambiguous.

‘At the same time, I am at all times hyper aware that I don’t necessary belong because there is no box in which people can place me, I consistently have to create my own arena.

‘Perhaps we could coin the term “golden race”, because merging and coming together can only make things more beautiful, right?

‘I think being mixed-race has strengthened my personality, because standing out means you have to adapt and develop a heightened awareness of race and its significance in different societies.

‘The social conditions I was brought up in led me to feel like the color of my skin was the most important thing about me, now I am continuously seeking to connect with people on a higher level, a level where the spirit triumphs and race becomes invisible.’

It isn’t surprising that Miriam would prefer race to be invisible. Throughout her life she has often been reminded that she lacks a group identity, and that had a considerable impact on how she viewed her place in the world.

‘Growing up I had been told by my mother, and by society that I was black, but when I was 11 we went to Egypt. This was the first time I can remember seeing black people and thinking; “but I don’t look like them either.”

Young Miriam with her mother
‘It has been a journey for me to be able to feel pride in being mixed.’ (Picture: Miriam van Emst)

‘This made me strongly question where I belonged.

‘I remember a seller in the market saying he would pay 12 gold bars for my mum, but only six for me, because I was less pure.’

‘I used to love acting, and recently I was trying to remember why I stopped.

‘I realised that the last time I was on stage was to play Nancy in Oliver. After I had finished, the head of the drama department came up to me and told me Nancy would never have been black, and that I shouldn’t have been given the role.

‘I never went for a role again. It’s shocking how much his fickle comment destroyed my confidence.’

Miriam’s documentary charts her exploration into her own heritage and the wider mixed-race community. She hopes that by sharing her journey towards understanding and acceptance, she will help others do the same.

‘As a mixed-race person it is easy to live in-between identities and it has been a journey for me to be able to feel pride in being mixed.

‘It has meant I have had to do everything in my power to embrace both sides of my mix by educating myself and combating ingrained ideas of racism and colorism.

‘Mixed-race people are the future of the world and it is important to me that I do everything in my power to ensure that mixed kids growing up know that they belong, have a place and are valued by society.’

MORE: Mixed Up: ‘I love the colour of my skin, but it doesn’t define me or tell you my story’

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

MORE: Mixed Up: ‘People don’t expect a brown girl to be able to speak Slovenian’

Wife teaches husband non-verbal way to say ‘I love you’ and is taken aback by his response

Cropped image of senior couple holding hands and drinking breakfast coffee at home
Sometimes it’s about showing, not telling (Picture: Getty)

I love you. Those three little words might be the most loaded but they’re crucial in relationships.

Not everyone’s so comfortable expressing ‘I love you’, at least not in the same way. One woman who wanted her husband to be more affectionate become resigned to the idea that he was just not capable of doing it verbally.

She came up with a non-verbal way for him to express his feelings; by tapping her skin three times.

A Tumblr user, who goes by her account Bright-Eyed Bad Wolf revealed how her husband struggled to show his feelings.

Rather than feel unloved and underappreciated by the lack of affection, the wife said he could tap her with his fingers or give her three squeezes whenever he wanted to say ‘I love you’ without using words.

And now, he does it ‘all the time’, something that’s completely changed the nature of their relationship.

She’d worried that he loved her less but is now taken aback by how much he uses the simple method to communicate his feelings to her.

woman shares small tip she gave her husband abou non-verbal way to say i love you and he does it all the time
Will you be trying this out? (Picture: Tumblr/Bright-Eyed Bad Wolf)

‘I verbally express affection a lot,’ she wrote. ‘My husband doesn’t. And I don’t know why. For the longest time, I wondered if he loved me any less.

‘At some point, I told him about a thing I had done as a kid, holding hands, three squeezes mean I love you.

‘Suddenly he’s telling I love you all the time. Tap tap tap, on my hand, my shoulder, my knee, with whatever part of him that’s closest to me, more often than I ever verbally said it.’

Now the taps have become ingrained in their relationship, she added.

They now both do it, a sweet physical touch to reassure one another.

woman's Tumblr post saying the technique has changed their relationship
She said it’s transformed their relationship (Picture: Tumblr/Bright-Eyed Bad Wolf)

Others appreciated the cute post and added the little things they do with their partners to show affection.

One couple said they send each other three emojis every day at 9am while another couple stick their tongues out at one another.

Do you have any non-verbal ways to say I love you?

AD FEATURE: Let’s talk about…the importance of conversation in good relationships

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Former estate agent says she used the power of her orgasms to treble her income

Venus O'Hara claims she tripled her income thanks to the power of orgasms
Venus O’Hara claims she trebled her income thanks to the power of orgasms (Picture: PA Real Life/Collect)

Want an easy way to increase your income, get success, and make all your dreams come true?

Just have a wank.

That’s the message Venus O’Hara wants to send.

Venus is a former estate agent who claims to have trebled her income and found her perfect house thanks to the power of her orgasms.

Venus, who comes from Manchester but now lives in Barcelona, uses a technique called ‘sexual transmutation’, which involves harnessing her sexual energy to make her goals reality.

Handily she’s also managed to land a job reviewing sex toys, designing her own, and writing sex columns for major publications, so any time she masturbates she can say it’s for work. Lucky.

‘I have an orgasmic lifestyle,’ says Venus. ‘Every day is a climax.

‘Every single orgasm I’ve had since March 2018 has had an intention behind it.

‘Having read Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich, I discovered sexual transmutation, which is the process of converting sexual energy into a higher goal.

‘Sexual energy is the most helpful energy you can have. Until now it has been repressed by religion and dumbed down by porn, which has not helped us to use it in a constructive way.

Venus O'Hara believes in the law of attraction
She believes in the law of attraction (Picture: PA Real Life/Collect)

‘But it can be harnessed through meditation and visualisation.

‘For example, if I want something, I imagine what it feels and looks like and to make that desire stronger, I stimulate myself. I will be really thinking about the intention. It takes me 45 minutes each day and it has completely changed my life.’

Venus says that her orgasm method has helped her to get her dream apartment and treble her income.

She started by imagining her bank balance increasing while having an orgasm, and says that she was given more work immediately after that.

‘I have cleared all my debts,’ claims Venus. ‘Imagining phoning someone to pay the debts off really focuses the mind on achieving it.

‘I write a list of everything I want. I create affirmations and all the things I’m wishing for are coming true. Mindset is really important when it comes to success.

‘Now I want to use this sacred, sexual energy and helping women to explore themselves.’

To be clear (just so you don’t quit your job and start masturbating for hours a day), Venus doesn’t just lie back, orgasm, and wait for money to arrive.

The power of her orgasms is all about changing her mindset and manifesting her goals, sort of like creating a vision board. She still does work to bring in funds; writing a blog, running a YouTube channel, and doing affiliate marketing and sponsored reviews.

Venus O'Hara holds up a vibrator
Venus also makes money reviewing sex toys (Picture: PA Real Life/Collect)

She has also written three books – collaborating on a beginner’s guide to BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism), a sexual vocabulary book called English for Perverts and an erotic memoir, The Mask of Venus.

Venus has completely changed her lifestyle since quitting the real estate game – her progress isn’t as simple as just throwing in some vibrators.

Venus said: ‘Back in 2009, after the financial crash, I was working in luxury real estate on a commission-only basis, with no salary.

‘I would be showing people these amazing properties from Monday to Friday and sometimes not making a single euro, or going home to an empty fridge.

‘I was burned out from working so hard and saw that a lot of my clients were doing online businesses, which I wanted to do, too.

‘Now I’ve adopted a ‘no alarm’ lifestyle. I wake up naturally and take time to make myself a leisurely breakfast, which is all part of living an orgasmic lifestyle.

‘I’m a vegan and I post my breakfast on my Instagram account, along with a sex toy, as a way of normalising sex toys and veganism, to take the shame out of two controversial topics.

‘I work four hours a day and I’m so much more productive that way. I eat a healthy diet, I exercise every day and I work in a co-working space with like-minded people. I meditate and don’t drink alcohol. I’m very conscious of living well and living authentically.

Venus O'Hara holding hands together in prayer
The blogger wants to encourage others to embrace the potential of their orgasms (Picture: PA Real Life/Collect)

‘I have a holistic approach to self-love and having an orgasm is part of it. I want to encourage people to have more self-love, more regular spa treatments and massages – to take care of themselves.’

Venus says she has always been a sexual person and climaxes at least ten times a week.

She wants to encourage other women to harness their orgasmic energy.

‘Orgasms have so many benefits,’ Venus explains. ‘An orgasm is the same as having half a paracetamol. It can give you two hours of pain relief. I use it to relieve period cramps and as insomnia relief. It is a muscle relaxant.

‘We have been led to believe men rather than women are the ones with high libidos, but it is not true. The clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings. It is the only sexual organ designed just for pleasure.

‘For women it can be like having a Ferrari, but not knowing how to start the engine. We are told time and time again that women cannot really orgasm, which is a lie society has encouraged us to believe.

‘I started to write a lot about masturbation and how empowering it was for you to be in control of your own pleasure and to connect with yourself.

‘If you are more self-sufficient when it comes to pleasure, you make much better emotional decisions and you are not going on Tinder looking for validation.

‘It is like going to the supermarket when you are hungry or well fed. You will make different decisions.’

Alongside the general health benefits of an orgasm, Venus reckons that if you’re mindful while masturbating you can use the law of attraction to radically change your life.

‘I’m just bringing ideas together in a new way, using visualisation and sexual transmutation,’ she said.

‘I used to do four reviews of sex toys a month, and since I started harnessing the power of my sexual energy, that has gone up to 12.

‘I believe anything is possible and based on the Laws of Attraction if you want it enough it will happen.’

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Londoner creates world’s first transgender underwear collection for children

Split image of Carmen Liu and an illustration of a pair of yellow knickers with daisies on top of them from her new transgender collection
The Girl Flower Collection will launch this autumn (Picture: Carmen Liu)

In February, Carmen Liu launched a luxury lingerie brand for transgender women, with the release of a pair of knickers that she described as the ‘love child of Borat’s mankini and a jock strap’.

The 27-year-old designer, who is the founder of GI Collection, has now ventured into a new area of fashion with a line created for transgender girls called The Girl Flower Collection.

According to the brand, 1-3% of kids are affected by gender dysphoria – the medical term for feeling a disconnect between your biological sex and your identity – and the range aims to provide products that will help them feel less isolated.

The range is currently still in the production stage but will be released on the GI Collection website this autumn.

‘From the beginning, an underwear line for trans kids was one of the first and more important products I wanted to design and launch,’ Carmen tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Unfortunately, I never lived my childhood as my true gender and this is something I can never get back. For me, to be able to provide the world’s first underwear line for the rapidly increasing amount of trans kids globally, is my way of helping them avoid losing their childhood as their true gender.

‘Not only do I aim to provide trans-specific products for kids, but I will also increase the needed awareness of the ever-increasing problems for trans children and their families.

‘I am already doing just this for trans women worldwide and now it’s necessary for me to expand my experience to trans children.’

There are currently three colours available, including a yellow pair with daisies, a light blue option with white dots and a striped white and lilac pair with strawberries on top .

A pair of children's panties with lilac and white stripes with a strawberry pattern from Carmen Liu's GI Collection for kids
They are made from cotton and mesh (Picture: Carmen Liu)
A pair of children's panties in light blue with white dots from Carmen Liu's GI Collection for kids
The children’s products will not include a tucking option (Picture: Carmen Liu)

As for how the products will differ from other underwear lines for kids, they will be ‘designed specifically for the needs of trans children’ and offer more support.

However, while the GI Collection for adults offers tucking, the kids range will not have this same function due to safety issues.

Carmen said: ‘I have designed the kids underwear line with cotton and mesh fabrics, the designs differ from current kids underwear available on the market as they allow for a greater hold and support for the lower body parts and are designed specifically for the needs of trans children.

‘This will help with the symptoms transgender children can experience from gender dysphoria and avoid any public embarrassment they can feel.

‘The design does differ from my trans women’s line, where full tucking is needed, this is because it is not safe for children at a young age to be tucking fully.

‘I know there are a lot of people who are yet to understand why trans-specific products are necessary, I know that some of this is due to lack of information.

‘One thing I always say to first help people is that trans girls and women have an additional body part that needs concealing.

‘Cis-lingerie/underwear does not solve our issues, lingerie/underwear is a basic human need which our community does not have access to.’

MORE: Londoner creates lingerie brand for transgender women

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92-year-old-groupie has followed her favourite rock band on tour for five years

Chrissie Younge (C), the worlds oldest groupie, dances to a song played by her favourite rock band, The Jade Assembly,
Chrissie Younge, the legend who follows her fave band on tours (Picture: Lee McLean / SWNS)

Get ready to stan Chrissie Younge, because she is one badass 92-year-old.

Chrissie, from Greater Manchester, might just be the oldest groupie to follow a rock band around.

She has seen Bolton-based band The Jade Assembly more than 60 times since she stumbled across them by chance in 2013, when she was 86.

She’s not just sat at the back awkwardly trying to move to the rhythm. The former professional dancer spends every gig ‘at the front dancing from start to finish’.

Chrissie – who lives by herself and has no children – says she has no plans to give up going to gigs and wants to carry on watching The Jade Assembly until she dies.

The retired chiropractor and former professional dancer is such a big fan of the band that she considers them her family.

Chrissie Younge (C), the worlds oldest groupie, dances to a song played by her favourite rock band, The Jade Assembly, John Foster (L), and Gareth Smedley (R). See SWNS story SWCAgroupie. The world???s oldest groupie says drinking dark rum every day has enabled her to avidly follow her favourite rock band - at the age of 92. Chrissie Younge has seen Bolton-based band The Jade Assembly more than 60 times since she stumbled across them by chance in 2013. Despite her age, the former can-can and professional ballet dancer spends every gig ???at the front dancing from start to finish???. Chrissie - who lives by herself independently - has no plans to give up and wants to carry on watching them ???until the day I die???.
Chrissie doesn’t have a partner or children and considers the band to be her family (Picture: Lee McLean / SWNS)

‘I haven’t got any family or children but the band have welcomed me with open arms,’ she said.

‘They pick me up before their gigs in the bus and the lead singer sings all the way there and plays the guitar.

‘It’s great and I plan on following them until the day I die. I’ll never stop going to their gigs – it keeps me young.’

Chrissie was born in Lincolnshire in April 1927 – the same year as the Queen – and like many women at the time got married when she was young.

When it ended in divorce, the ballet dancer went to work in Paris’ famous cabaret halls as a can-can dancer in the 1950s.

Chrissie pictured at the Cavern Club, Liverpool, watching The Jade Assembly
She can usually be spotted at the front of each gig (Picture: Lee McLean / SWNS)

She later returned to the UK where she trained as a chiropractor – a profession she remained in until she retired.

Since then Chrissie has settled in a bungalow in Egerton, Bolton.

Chrissie credits her youth to eating little meat and drinking tea during the day followed by dark rum with soda every evening.

Chrissie pictured at Jimmy's, Manchester, at her first gig, 2013.
She credits a rum soda every evening to her youthful spirit (Picture: Lee McLean / SWNS)

‘I eat lots of cereal like cornflakes every day,’ she explained.

‘I have at least two bowls – one in the morning and one at the end of the day.

‘I eat very little meat and always enjoy a dark rum and soda in the evening – it keeps the blood in my veins young and keeps me dancing.

Chrissie young pictured by herself at home where she lives alone
What a cutie (Picture: Lee McLean / SWNS)

‘Whenever I go and see the band I indulge in a drink or two as well – it would be rude not to.’

She has a point. (But obviously, don’t drink too much rum every evening, please)

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Sainsbury’s has just announced a discount deal on its school uniforms

Split image featuring kids dressed in the Sainsbury's Tu range on a playground and on swings
Pick up pinafore dresses, shirts and trousers at a fraction of the usual price (Picture: Sainsbury’s)

School uniforms are notoriously expensive, even more so if you have several children.

Thankfully, Sainsbury’s has just announced a sale of its entire Tu range, with 25% off all items – including school uniforms.

Pick up a three-pack of crisp white shirts for as little as £3 or grab a set of pleated grey skirts for £5.25 or two pinafore dresses for £6.

Meanwhile, for the boys, you can score a deal on a two-pack of trousers for £5.25, as well as two V-neck jumpers for £4.50.

There’s plenty more to choose from including shoes, sportswear and PE kits.

Where to buy the cheapest school uniforms

Sainsbury’s isn’t the only supermarket that is currently holding a big sale.

At Asda, there is currently a deal running with 50% off selected clothing, home and electrical items, as well as both baby and children’s clothes and toys.

Unfortunately this sale doesn’t seem to include school uniforms, however the prices are already quite low.

For less than £10, you can get two sets of boys trousers and long-sleeved white shirts or two sets of girls polo shirts and skirts.

Basically, there are deals to be had.

If this still seems a bit pricey, you can always search on resale sites or have a look through the kids section at charity shops, as there are sometimes uniforms available in great conditions.

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A 13ft wide detached house in Leicester is on sale for £150,000

Rose Cottage, believed to be the smallest detached house in Britain is up for sale in Leicester
Rose Cottage is believed to be the smallest detached house in Britain is up for sale in Leicester (Picture: SWNS)

A property thought to be the smallest detached house in Britain is on sale for the bargain price of £150,000.

It’s in Leicester, though, so don’t you Londoners dreaming of owning a property in the city get any big ideas.

Or small ideas, rather, as this house is rather tiny.

Number 15 Goldhill Road in Knighton, Leicester, is just 13ft wide and 26ft high, and covers 338 square feet over two floors.

So it’s… cosy.

The home was built in 1900 and has been partially renovated by a property developer after its elderly resident passed away.

It’s in a strong location, near schools and parks and just two miles from the city centre.

Rose Cottage, believed to be the smallest detached house in Britain is up for sale in Leicester. See SWNS story SWMDhouse. A tiny detached property believed to be the smallest in Britain could be snapped up by house-hunters at auction for ??150,000. Number 15 Goldhill Road, in Knighton, Leicester, is just three metres (13ft) wide and seven metres (26ft) high and covers 338 square feet over two floors. But while homeowners fork out on average ??365,697 for a detached property in Britain, this one could set potential buyers back just ??150,000. The two bedroomed property is described as being in demand as it's located near schools, parks and amenities and sits only two miles from the city centre. It features a living room, (4.46m x 3.38m) kitchen (2.24m x 1.84m), dining room (3.38m x 3.65m), family bathroom and an enclosed rear garden. The quirky property is set to be auctioned by SDL Auctions at Leicester City FC's King Power Stadium on September 3.
The house is just 13ft wide (Picture: SWNS)

And while it is small, the inside of the home is quite nice, made up of a living room, a kitchen, a dining room, two bedrooms, and a family bathroom. There’s also a back garden.

Did we mention it’s only £150,000?

The house is set to be sold by SDL Auctions at Leicester City FC’s King Power Stadium on 3 September.

Senior valuer Carl Finch said: ‘This property is in a great and very desirable location.

Rose Cottage, believed to be the smallest detached house in Britain is up for sale in Leicester
It’s been recently renovated (Picture: SWNS)

‘It’s near some great schools, close to Victoria Park and the city centre and train station are within only two miles. Plus there’s lots of boutique shops close by.

‘The current owner has replaced the roof and carried out 80% of the full refurbishment work.

Rose Cottage, believed to be the smallest detached house in Britain is up for sale in Leicester.
There’s a family bathroom (Picture: SWNS)
the kitchen at Rose Cottage, believed to be the smallest detached house in Britain
The kitchen (Picture: SWNS)
the garden at rose cottage
And there’s a garden! (Picture: SWNS)

‘It just needs some small finishing works carrying out. Once all that is completed I estimate the property would be worth £220,000.

‘We have already had lots of interest in this lot. The first of our block viewings was very busy and we have more booked in prior to auction day.

‘We’ve also had lots of potential bidders register to view the legal pack. I’m looking forward to seeing this one go under the hammer next month.’

If you’re keen to buy and have a spare £150,000, make a note in your diary to be in Leicester on 3 September.

We’d advise sticking to furniture that’s on the smaller side.

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This yoga flow will blast your abs and improve your balance

Illustration of woman doing a plank pose
Sculpt stronger abs with this challenging flow. (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 balance. Can you engage your core and hold your position? Becky Crepsley-Fox, instructor and studio coordinator at MoreYoga, walks us through this strength-based flow.

‘This sequence is a magnificent way to turn on the activation in the abdomen,’ says Becky.

‘By balancing on one leg we work on strengthening our entire body.

‘Practice these in the morning and evening and see how different your balance feels.’

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

What causes excessive sweating and how can you treat it?

Man Wearing Blue Shirt And Sweating Armpit
Excessive sweating can be caused by medicine or health conditions (Picture: Getty)

Most of us sweat while we exercise, when it’s too hot, or if we’re on the London Underground (particularly the Central line).

Perspiring is important because of how the body regulates temperature – sweat keeps us cool and comfortable and prevents the body from overheating.

But you shouldn’t be sweating if your body doesn’t need to cool down.

Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, can happen for no reason and sometimes gets better with age.

In some cases (secondary hyperhidrosis), it can be due to side effects of medication or an underlying condition.

If you do think you’re sweating to excess, don’t worry too much as there are ways to deal with it and treatments available.

In most cases, excessive sweating isn’t a direct threat to your health.

Conditions that can cause hyperhidrosis include Diabetic hypoglycemia, Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart), fever, generalised anxiety disorder, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), menopause, stress, and obesity.

Excess sweating could be a medicinal side effect, sometimes experienced when taking some beta-blockers or antidepressants.

The NHS recommends that you wear loose-fitting clothes to minimise signs of sweating. This is handy, as the threat of sweat patches might make you feel uncomfortable and make you sweat more out of anxiety.

Wear socks that absorb moisture and change your socks at least twice a day if possible to minimise smells.

You can also wear leather shoes and try to wear different shoes every day.

There are some behaviours you can avoid to stop the problem exacerbating such as avoiding nylon or man-made fabrics.

Try to avoid boots or sports shoes that may cause your feet to sweat more.

Don’t do things that might make your sweating worse – for example, drinking alcohol or eating spicy food.

If you experience hyperhidrosis, there are over the counter solutions you can get from a pharmacist.

These include stronger antiperspirants instead of deodorant, armpit or sweat shields to protect your clothing, foot powders for sweaty feet and soap substitutes that are more gentle on your skin.

If your sweating starts interfering with your daily activities, or you suddenly start sweating excessively or at night then you should visit a GP.

Treating severe excessive sweating

If there’s no obvious cause for your sweating, and nothing seems to be helping, then you may be referred to a specialist (dermatologist).

They may recommend other treatments that you can try, such as:

  • taking tablets that reduce sweating
  • treating the areas with a weak electric current passed through water or on a wet pad (iontophoresis)
  • having botox injections for sweating under the armpits (this may not be available on the NHS)
  • surgery – for example, removal of the sweat glands

Visit Hyperhidrosis UK for more information on available treatments.

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RSPCA asks people to keep an eye on their tortoises

The giant Sulcata tortoise.
The giant Sulcata tortoise (Picture: RSPCA /SWNS.COM)

The RSPCA is warning people to keep a careful eye on all their pets because they keep being called out to rescue tortoises that have made a getaway.

The charity rescued almost 1,000 tortoises last year, including one giant tortoise who wandered miles from home.

A member of the public found a giant tortoise walking through a field so tried to rescue him – by pushing him home in a wheelbarrow.

RSPCA animal collection officer Kate Wright was called to help after the giant Sulcata tortoise was found wandering around a field near Hemel Hempstead on 16 July.

Kate said: ‘The woman was out walking her dog across the fields when she came across this rather large tortoise strolling down the side of a farmer’s crop field.

‘He was obviously a long way from home.

RSPCA animal collection officer Kate Wright with the rescued giant Sulcata tortoise.
RSPCA animal collection officer Kate Wright with the rescued giant Sulcata tortoise (Picture: RSPCA /SWNS.COM)

‘He is very heavy so she had to go home to get a wheelbarrow and ask her son to lift him into it before wheeling him back home.’

She added: ‘We’d always encourage tortoise owners to get their pets microchipped and to ensure they are kept in a secure enclosure.

‘While many people think of tortoises as being slow they’re actually quite active and can move at quite a pace when they want to.

‘Tortoises also climb, dig and can push their way through barriers so can be good escape artists.

‘We receive almost 1,000 calls every year about tortoises, many of which have escaped from their homes and gone on the run.’

The giant tortoise
The giant tortoise was taken home in a wheelbarrow (Picture: RSPCA /SWNS.COM)

The Sulcata tortoise – which can grow to be up to 80cm long and weigh more than 100kg – was finally reunited with his owner who was advised to get him microchipped.

RSPCA senior scientific officer Dr Stephanie Jayson said: ‘We hear stories like these all too often and our officers are regularly called to collect stray tortoises and escaped pets.

‘Tortoise owners often let their pets out in the garden during the summer weather and tortoises can become very active in the warm temperatures and sunshine.

‘It’s really important that owners keep a close eye on their pets when outside or have a secure run to keep them in to keep them safe from other animals, and to ensure they can’t escape.’

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What are the risks of Botoxing your armpits?

Chrissy Teigen pictured getting Botox in her underarm
Chrissy Teigen recently got Botox on her underarms (Picture: Chrissy Teigen)

Chrissy Teigen recently admitted to getting Botox in her armpits to curb her excessive sweating.

The model admitted her armpits get so sweaty that she ends up ‘soaking’ through any kind of silk material.

Revealing a video of the procedure on her social media, the 33-year-old said it wasn’t too painful, saying ‘that really isn’t anything.’

Botox (Botulinum toxin) injections can be used to treat excessive underarm sweating – known as hyperhidrosis – by effectively paralysing the sweat glands.

Excessive sweating can happen for no reason and sometimes gets better with age.

In some cases (secondary hyperhidrosis), it can be due to side effects of medication or an underlying condition.

If treatments such as using strong antiperspirants, avoiding nylon and man-made fabrics aren’t helping then a dermatologist might recommend Botox injections.

But it’s important to understand the risks that come with getting injections in your underarms.

How do Botox injections in the armpit work?

Botox works by blocking the secretion of the chemical that activates sweat glands.

During the procedure, doctors (typically dermatologists) inject around 50 units of Botox into each armpit. The more units injected, the longer the drying effects tend to last.

Most people require 100 units of Botox to stop sweating under both underarms

What are the risks of botoxing your armpits?

Side effects of Botox include:

  • allergic reactions
  • rash
  • itching
  • headache
  • neck or back pain
  • muscle stiffness
  • difficulty swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle weakness.

Reactions to the injection site can include bruising, bleeding, pain, redness and swelling, flu-like symptoms and infection.

It’s rare to have serious side effects but they can occur, and they don’t always happen immediately after the injections.

Three pictures from different Litte Women movie adaptationsWhen were the other Little Women movie adaptations released and who starred in the casts?

Some of these can include:

  • muscle weakness in the entire body
  • trouble seeing
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of bladder control.

It takes between two to seven days for you to stop sweating around the underarm (or treated area), taking up to a fortnight for total dryness.

While you may see the effects shortly after, the results are temporary, meaning you’ll need to top up the injections.

For the underarms, dryness can last between four to fourteen months.

Prices for the treatment very and Botox injections to treat excess sweating are not available on the NHS.

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In the midst of racism and violence, why is the incel community still so appealing?


No one chooses to be an incel – the contraction means ‘involuntarily celibate’ – and yet many men self-identify as such.

Their belief is that they are rejected by women who withhold and manipulate sex for their own gain. It’s full of abusive messages towards women, one of which reads ‘she’s too ugly to be raped’.

‘INCELS ARE NOT A GROUP. INCELS ARE NOT A PARTY. INCELS ARE NOT AN IDEOLOGY,’ one incel forum user vehemently tells us.

If you enter the manosphere – online male communities such as on Reddit and 4chan – you’ll find ideological groups dedicated to women-bashing and categorising men into an arbitrary hierarchy.

Incels believe that at the top of society sit Chads – a ‘douchey white man in his late teens to early twenties, obsessed with fitness’, but the term is used to describe any man who is good-looking and definitively, unlike incels, ‘gets’ women.

The men deemed to have the least sex appeal seem to be minorities; Indians are referred to as currycels, East Asians as ricecels and black incels as Tyrones.

But terms steeped in racism are not enough to deter these men from the movement.

Even those at the milder end of the incel spectrum may be vulnerable to radicalisation, especially when they feel their interests and concerns aren’t being heard.

Illustration of asian man sleeping in bed
Some incels are drawn to the group because they’re lonely or have mental health issues (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

The ideology of the group was rightfully scorned by the mainstream public following the fatal violence of Elliot Rodgers, who killed six people and injured 14 others in an attempt to ‘overthrow all the Chads and Stacys’, and Alek Minassian, who was behind the Toronto van attacks.

They propelled the concept of incels to the mainstream.

But there’s a spectrum within the incel community. Not all of these men subscribe to violent attitudes to women.

For some the world of incels is a like-minded communal space to vent about their frustrations as they grapple with loneliness and other bleak aspects of their lives.

Josh* is one person who found a safe haven among the group, but quickly discovered its darker side.

‘It’s a pretty toxic community like all online communities if you stay long enough,’ he tells Metro.co.uk.

‘This place was a heaven for me in the first few months but then it slowly became an inescapable hell.’

He is trying to wean himself off the group after realising the male camaraderie doesn’t translate to real-life settings, whereby he is subject to physical violence on account of being black.

‘It’s hard when you’ve basically conditioned yourself to think that you’re a part of a community even when over half of that community is basically an alt-right haven that would try to shoot you in the event of a mass shooting,’ says Josh.

One thing that is obvious from chatting to these men is how naturally the idea of being an incel comes to them – it’s as simple as being born left-handed, says one, you either are or aren’t.

‘I self-identify as an incel because of the same reason I self-identify as brown-haired: because it is true,’ says Chris.

‘It gives us a place and identity to speak with other like-minded people and share experiences, ideas, possible solutions.

‘We can vent to others who are in similar circumstances to our own. Pretty much the same reasons anyone would associate with any group about anything really.’

Ant, another self-identified incel, echoes these sentiments, saying: ‘It’s an amazing community to meet people in similar situations. It’s always nice to meet new people you relate to.

‘As an incel, there tends to be very few people around you that relate, everyone I know has been in many relationships. It feels extremely lonely and being part of the community makes me feel not alone in my struggles.’

Illustration of man texting hate against woman
Not all incels hate women (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

While it may be easy for us to write off the entire incel community as an angry, violent minority, it is telling that the current climate is making men feel inadequate enough that they’re tempted to join abusive communities.

Those who haven’t been accepted into society (whether for their looks or personality) look for acceptance elsewhere.

‘These types of misogynistic groups are designed to make men who feel insecure about their lives and suffer from low self-esteem to feel more empowered and more powerful,’ psychologist and author Jonathan Hoban tells Metro.co.uk.

‘People feel lost, angry and unwanted by society and overall let down. Millions of pounds that were used to fund youth clubs, mentorships, schemes and positive environments/communities have pretty much all gone.

‘It was here that we used to be able to capture, train and channel in a positive way any frustrations, anger and difficult emotions into something worthwhile and positive like sport, cooking, music etc.

‘Take these away, you take away guidance and love.’

Isolation and low self-esteem aren’t feelings unique to men.

Loneliness is a genderless cultural problem, with millennials in particular reporting mental health problems as a result of feeling alone.

But the way we react to these feelings may have something to do with our gender.

A study from Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University found that ‘women tend to internalise and personalise the experience of their mistakes.

‘For men, by contrast, feelings were more likely to be externalised, directed outwards through anger at others, blaming “pressures” of the system or emphasising the particularities of the context in which they were operating.’

Men may be conditioned to blame others, such as women, for difficulties in life. Once sentiments expressed are supported by other men feeling the same way, it can spiral into something bigger and darker, with all anger and frustration directed at one target.

In a post #MeToo society, men may feel especially scrutinised when discussing sex and dating. That shame and criticism may be pushing them into more supportive places like the manosphere.

Even when it comes to addressing the racism within the community, the culpability is reserved for women; incels who call Indians currycels are not being racist, it’s the women who are making them undateable, they argue.

‘What incels do is take off the sugar coat out of it and say it like it is: “Racist women are rejecting you because you’re black or Indian, even if they make up any other false reason”,’ says Ranjeet.

When one incel refers to the other with a derogatory term, they see it as them doing one another a favour, to further fuel their hate against women who supposedly perpetuate the hierarchy.

Despite being openly sadistic towards one another, they see using these terms as bluntly exposing the sentiments of women.

Nitesh reiterates this point: ‘Women are the ones being racist against Indian and black incels.

‘Incels are the only people on the planet that let Indians know they have it harder than the rest of us on this planet.’

But the solidarity isn’t enough to convince all members to stay. The hateful undercurrent of the incel community is driving Josh away.

He tells us: ‘I don’t have much in common with other incels in these communities because I’m black, progressive, and short.

‘The cycle of self-deprecation, self-loathing, and hate towards women is draining and counterproductive to one’s personal wellbeing.’

Animation of various characters on their phone
Where can men go to voice their frustrations? (Picture: Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk)

So where can Josh, or others like him, go?

Not everyone finds solace in incel communities because they hate women, some are simply lonely or have mental health issues, making it hard for them to socialise.

It’s difficult to defend the sensibilities of men part of a dangerous movement that has attacked its victims, but there’s are shades of grey within the community.

Not all incels agree with the violence proposed by other members, and some are genuine, vulnerable, and desperate for a place where they will feel heard.

Some will openly reject and call out incels who propose aggressive action against women.

Andy tells us: ‘Anyone who condones violence is a psychopath just latching onto the incel community to justify their actions.’

While we might not be able to diminish the appeal of a space with no social rules, where men are free to say whatever they like and express their frustrations without judgement, we can attempt to change the context that makes these places their only option.

We may be able to stop some of the men in our lives being radicalised before they’re too far gone.

*Names have been changed.

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Bride carries premature baby down the aisle as she weds groom in the hospital

Amanda Withrow, 27, and husband Edwin Acevedo while holding their son Oliver Grey
Amanda and Edwin decided to include their newborn in the wedding (Picture: @wakemedhospitals)

Engaged couple Amanda Withrow and Edwin Acevedo were all set for the perfect beach wedding.

Though Amanda, 27, was heavily pregnant, she had ten weeks until the birth of their son so they didn’t expect her to have any troubles.

But the North Carolina family were shocked when Amanda went into labour at 30 weeks pregnant.

Throwing their beachfront plans off the track, little Oliver was born at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh where he is still staying.

Thankfully the newborn didn’t ruin the wedding as Amanda and Edwin postponed it, celebrating the big day in hospital.

And a dapper Oliver even walked down the aisle with his mum.

On the big day, he weighed a normal 7lb, a healthier number than the 3lb he was born weighing.

Bride carries premature baby down aisle.
Cuter than a bouquet (Picture: @wakemedhospitals)

When she went into labour, Amanda lamented missing their meticulously planned wedding.

So when she told the hospital’s Family Navigator, Mallory Magelli McKeown, that she and Edwin would instead get married in a local courthouse, Mallory had other ideas.

She encouraged the couple to make the day more special by getting married at the hospital chapel and inviting wee Oliver to attend.

Bride carries premature baby down aisle.
Oliver weighed seven pounds during the wedding (Picture: @wakemedhospitals)

He was the star of the show, wearing a tiny suit as he walked down the aisle with his mum in lieu of a bouquet.

‘Could not have asked for a more special or memorable wedding, surrounded by family and the wonderful people taking care of my baby,’ Amanda wrote on her Facebook page.

‘Thank you WakeMed Children’s for letting Oliver be a part of our day and everything else you do.’

A hospital spokesperson told Southern Living: ‘There was not a dry eye in the chapel, and the room was filled with love and celebration for Amanda, Edwin and Oliver.’

Let’s hope Oliver has a speedy recovery so his parents can enjoy their honeymoon.

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As Bebe Rexha proves, there is no age when women stop being sexy

Bebe Rexha
There are many reasons why what happened to Bebe is problematic (Picture: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

On Tuesday, Bebe Rexha made headlines as she revealed that a male music executive claimed she was ‘too old to be sexy’.

She announced this on an Instagram post and in a brilliant clap back, included a photo of herself in black lingerie that was most definitely sexy.

There are many reasons why what happened to Bebe is problematic and as a woman who has just turned 30, I can relate.

Firstly, it suggests that a woman’s worth is somehow tied to how old she is or what she looks like.

This has long been an issue not only in the music and film industries, where women are regularly passed up for roles or told to change their image because they are deemed past their (physical) prime – but it’s also prevalent among the rest of us and across all age groups.

Madonna talked about ageism in a Vogue interview earlier this year and said ‘…I’m being punished for turning 60’.

Meanwhile, in 2015, award-winning actress Maggie Gyllenhaal spoke up about the time producers told her she was ‘too old’ to play a romantic role against a 55-year-old male actor, in an interview with The Wrap.

She was 37 at the time.

Let’s be clear about something: there is no age when women stop being sexy.


Unfortunately, we’re surrounded by a culture that promotes this very belief and it’s part of our everyday lives. According to an Australian study by psychologist Dr Lauren Rosewarne, less than four per cent of women on advertising billboards are depicted as being older than 30.

We’re also regularly told how we can ‘improve’ our appearance with ‘anti-ageing’ creams and serums or plastic surgery that will help us lift this or tuck that.

According to a report from 2018, conducted by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the use of words like ‘anti-ageing’ negatively affect how we feel about ageing as a whole.

In fact, it was revealed that nearly half of women and 25 per cent of men felt pressured to make sure they didn’t look old.

This obsession with a woman’s age does not stop at her choice of clothing (which, apparently, has to be age-appropriate) – it also extends to our relationship status. We are told that we need to hurry up and find a man before it’s too late (30 is usually the cut-off point) or to lie about our age on dating apps because if we don’t, we’ll get less matches.

This ridiculous notion that women have an expiration date has been been filtered down throughout history, from a time when women were reliant on men to survive because we were prohibited from earning our own money, and had to marry young for fear of becoming poor spinsters.

Thankfully, we’ve moved on from this misogynistic ideal, but fragments of it still remain today. More specifically, that women are not of value to society if they don’t uphold a certain ideal – and if we refuse to comply, we should move aside.

Like Bebe, I’m fed up with this women-bashing in all areas of life, especially as it only exacerbates existing problems among young girls and women who feel insecure about their bodies or are afraid to be judged by others.

Women do not ever need to apologise for who they are and what they look like, and that includes the photos they post on Instagram and the image they choose to portray, whether publicly or privately.

As far as I’m concerned, if Bebe wants to share a photo of herself at 90, wearing nothing but a thong and nipple tassles (let’s not forget that women’s nipples are also a source of shame) then that’s her prerogative.

So long as she loves her body and herself, that’s all that matters.

Let’s do as Bebe recommended and stop running away from our age, and instead, celebrate it.

Please, do not reduce us to a number.

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How to do a sustainable back to school shop

Wooden pens, a recyclable notebook and a lunch box on a green background
Go green when shopping for school supplies (Picture: Etsy/Amazon)

The back to school shop is an exciting outing for most families.

It involves spending hours upon hours looking for the perfect notebook, pens and pencil cases, along with a beautiful backpack that you can carry all your new goodies in.

Supermarkets are notorious for slashing prices a few weeks before students return to their desks, and while it may be tempting to simply grab whatever is cheapest, it’s worth considering whether the purchase you’re about to make is also sustainable.

Ask yourself questions such as: can that beautiful striped notebook be recycled?

What sort of plastic is this lunch box made? What materials have been used to make your schoolbag – and are any of them damaging to the environment?

Here are our top tips on how to do a sustainable school shop.

Make a list before you go shopping

The saying goes, don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry – because you’ll end up with far more in your cart than you intended.

The same applies to school supplies.

It’s very likely that you’ll end up surrounded by biros and multi-packs of items you don’t really need, if you go shopping in a rush.

Save yourself the headache and the money: make a list before venturing out to the store.

Do your research

Many people wrongly believe that to be sustainable, you also need to fork out a lot of money – this isn’t necessarily the case, as there are many brands that sell environmentally-friendly products at a decent price.

Once you have your list ready, go online and make notes of stores or products that are eco-friendly.

On Etsy, you can get personalised products like a striped notebook made from recycled paper and recycled ink for just £2.75. The seller even offers the option of ‘plastic free packaging’, to reduce plastic waste.

Or how about a 10-pack of eco-friendly, recyclable and vegan pens for £12.37?

And if you’re packing lunches or snacks for your kids every day and opting for plastic boxes, look at what kind of chemicals these are made from. They may be harmful to both you and the environment.

Brown sustainable notebook on a white background
The bumblebee notebook is made from recycled paper (Picture: Etsy)

There are some great alternative options like BPA-free collapsible silicone food boxes from RedBee that are currently on sale for £10.99.

If you’d rather shop in store, that’s absolutely fine, but if you know which supermarket or retailer you’re going to visit, why not read up about them first? Take a look at their ‘about us’ page to see if they have any environmentally-friendly initiatives in place.

Swap materials and make small changes

If you feel you can’t afford to go green or prefer a particular brand that isn’t all that eco-friendly, there’s always the option of changing what type of products you buy.

Instead of going for a wirebound notebook or a plastic lunch box, is there a similarly priced option that is slightly better for the environment?

As an example, you could go for this £12.99 lunch box made from wheat fibre – it’s fully biodegradable – or get an iPhone case made from sustainable wood, sold in recyclable packaging, from Paperchase (though it’s a bit pricey at £35).

It’s OK if you can’t make every purchase green, but even one small change makes a difference.

Buy less now, more later

So you went to shop without a list. It happens.

But instead of going all out and getting everything for fear that you might forget something, buy the essentials first.

If it turns out that your child needs a calculator (some schools may well supply them) pop into the store a day later to pick one up – don’t just grab one because you assume it’s necessary.

Even better, call their teacher and ask whether you could get a list of all required items for the next school year (if you don’t already have one).

That way, you save money, time and the environment.

The responsibility doesn’t just lie with parents and their kids

It’s not just families who should look closer at what products they buy.

Businesses can also do their part by opting for eco-friendly alternatives such as Pavillion Earth, a brand that sells recycled notebooks and paper clips, as well as wooden pens or Everything Branded, an online retailer that lets you bulk-buy eco-friendly products with promotional messages for a cheap price.

Doing a sustainable shop, whether on your own or as a business, is much easier than you might imagine – and the pay-off (helping the environment) is great.

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