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Wedding guest RSVPs for 21 people – despite only being given a plus one

A picture of a couple getting married
The guest tried to invite 21 people (Picture: Getty)

Weddings are lovely, and even more so if you get to bring along a plus one.

But it’s important to note that it should be just a plus one, and only if that’s explicitly stated on your invite.

Apparently one couple didn’t get the memo, and RSVP-ed to a wedding with a plus twenty-one. Yes, really.

The invitation, which was recently shared to Reddit, showed that the bride and groom had asked that guests respond before 21 August.

Below, the couple filled out their names, and then below added on 21 more names, including young children.

They were also asked whether they’d like to choose one song to be played at the wedding. Of course, they asked for two. As if 21 guests wasn’t already pushing it.

The audacity… (Picture: Reddit)

After the RSVP card was shared to Reddit, people have been commenting to say how shocked they are at the audacity of these guests.

One person said: ‘I would circle “decline” and send it back.’

Another wrote: ‘That’s when you call them and say “sorry you couldn’t make it!”‘

Someone else said: ‘The next thing this person would receive would be a call telling them to not bother.

‘Sure, you could just clarify that the others can’t come, but then you risk them sulking about it the whole wedding. Better to just avoid this mess altogether.’

The Reddit user said the RSVP didn’t actually belong to them and they’d found it on a wedding Facebook group, posted by the bride in question.

We did some digging but haven’t been able to independently verify the story. So unfortunately we don’t know whether the 21 people were actually allowed to attend the wedding.

The story escalated quite a bit on Facebook, as the bride reportedly forgot to remove the names from the RSVP letter when posting the image. She later took the post down… after plenty of people had seen and screenshotted. Oops.

But it’s all this serves as an important etiquette lesson. While we’re sure you wouldn’t bring along 21 uninvited guests to someone’s wedding, people do often think they can wriggle around the rules and invite an extra friend or two.

Remember, please, that weddings tend to be a highly organised affair with budgets and place settings. If you receive an invite for just you, don’t bring someone along. If you’re offered a plus one, you’re only allowed the one.

Don’t panic about going to a wedding alone. You’ll have fun, promise, especially if you follow our wisdom.

MORE: What is micro-cheating and are you doing it?

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Mum warns parents against old Tupperware after finding it contains lead and arsenic

Tamara and the tupperware
Tamara spotted lead in the Tupperware (Picture:Facebook/TamaraRubin/Lead Safe Mama)

A mum-of-four is warning parents to stay away from vintage Tupperware after she claims to have discovered it contains both lead and arsenic.

Tamara Rubin, from Oregon, USA, raises awareness of lead poisoning on her blog, Lead Safe Mama. She became passionate about the cause when her son became sick in 2005, after being poisoned by some paint.

Tamara now campaigns for lead safety and tests various products to see whether they contain it.

Her latest discovery was with the vintage Tupperware.

Though there is no suggestion that current Tupperware items are of any concern, Tamara explained that she’d tested the vintage containers and found they contained lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.

A picture of Tamara
Tamara now advocates for lead safety (Picture: Facebook/TamaraRubin/Lead Safe Mama)

She says she was excited to test the containers because she’d heard they would test positive for high levels of lead – but she had no idea they would be positive for arsenic, too.

After making her findings, she urged parents to stop using old Tupperware or vintage plastic containers to focus on children’s safety.

She said: ‘Many of these vintage Tupperware pieces have been kept in regular daily service for their 40+ years of life and may have considerable wear and deterioration as a result of decades of heavy regular use.

‘So even if they were not leaching at the time of manufacture they may be leaching now – four or five decades later.’

Tamara says she later discovered she wasn’t the only one who’d spotted issues with the containers.

The tupperware
The tupperware in question (Picture: Lead Safe Mama)

Tamara says another mum got in touch with her to share her own story.

Tamara wrote: ‘Since publishing this post, one mother shared the following story with me.

‘She has these exact measuring cups and she regularly gives them to her toddler to play with.

‘Given he is a toddler and these cups are plastic, he likes to chew on them and they are now covered in bite marks.

‘This is a terrific example of why we should not have items like this in our homes when there are readily available safer alternatives.

‘I specifically discourage collecting items like this merely for the sake of collecting as well (even if you set them aside as a collectable item only for display), because a child might play with them at some point in the future, and regardless of whether or not the potential negative health implications of Lead in vintage plastic (for example) has been studied at this point, it is not worth any potential risk.’

Metro.co.uk has contacted Tupperware for comment and will update this story if they respond.

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How a weekend cocaine habit affects your skin

woman applying a face mask to her skin
Your fancy ten step skincare routine is fairly pointless if you’re sniffing up blow every Friday (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

There are many reasons you probably shouldn’t be doing cocaine.

It’s a class A drug, for one thing, meaning that you could face up to seven years in prison if you’re caught holding on to a baggie or are just about to sniff up a line.

It’s also not very good for you. Cocaine speeds up your heart rate, which can lead to fits or heart attacks. Snorting coke can damage the cartilage in your nose. There’s a real risk of a lethal overdose, especially if mixed with alcohol.

Oh, and it’s an expensive habit that’s destroying the planet.

But even with knowledge of all these bad bits, plenty of people are racking up every weekend or getting the coke in for every trip to the pub. It’s one of those socially acceptable drug habits, not like MDMA or ketamine, which allows habitual users to think there’s no harm in taking the drug every weekend or so.

FYI, even a weekend habit poses the risks above. But we also know those risks might not be enough to make you steer clear.

What might make you a bit wary is the havoc cocaine can wreak on your skin.

We live in a time when skincare is highly important. People upload selfies wearing sheet masks, discussions of AHAs and BHAs are standard, and whereas once upon a time it was okay to just scrub your face with a supermarket exfoliator, these days announcing you don’t use a facial oil will elicit shock and horror.

Skincare is vital, and we’re willing to invest a lot of time and money into it.

All that jade rolling and dermabrasion is fairly pointless, though, if you’ve got a weekend coke habit.

How does taking cocaine affect your skin?

As we mentioned, cocaine is bad for your health. It affects your entire body – including your skin, the largest organ in the body.

Effects will be more pronounced if you use cocaine longterm or in large amounts, but even occasional use can have an impact.

Dr Clare Morrison, GP and medical advisor at Medexpress, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Cocaine is a ‘vasoconstrictor’, meaning that it reduces the blood supply to cells in the body, reducing their levels of nutrients and oxygen.

‘The cheeks may appear sunken and emaciated, making one look prematurely aged. The skin may look pale and puffy.’

Think about it: if you can’t get handy nutrients and oxygen to your skin, it’s going to start looking pretty washed out and dreary. If you dream of a natural glow, doing coke will tear that to shreds.

Will acne be the next move for body positivity?
Cocaine reduces cell turnover, resulting in premature ageing and acne (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

The reduction of blood supply to your skin can mean it doesn’t heal or regenerate as quickly, and won’t absorb active ingredients as readily. So if you’re slathering your face with retinol after a coke binge, you’re wasting your creams and your money – it won’t make its way into the cells to have a proper effect.

That lack of regeneration we mentioned is pretty key, no matter your skin type. Regeneration involves cell turnover, which is essential for anti-ageing benefits as well as the reduction of blemishes. If your skin isn’t functioning the way it should, you’ll end up with dead skin cells lingering around and clogging up your pores.

Skin doctor Nina Bal, skin doctor and founder of http://www.facialsculpting.co.uk, explains: ‘Using cocaine will also slow down your skin’s ability to heal, meaning it won’t regenerate as fast as usual. This can result in premature ageing and worsening of acne.

‘Even if you think you don’t abuse cocaine, perhaps just consuming a small amount at the weekend, this will still have a major impact on the skin.

‘Not only will it cause skin to become dry and dehydrated, as well as increase your chance of breakouts and rashes, but it can have a detrimental impact such as skin necrosis, which means the skin is literally dead.

‘Cocaine can kill the skin cells which can lead to red/brownish patches on this skin. The reason this happens is because taking cocaine reduces the lack of oxygen and blood supply, and as a result it damages the white cells of the blood – leading to skin necrosis.’

The contraction of blood vessels as well as increased inflammation can also trigger redness, skin irritation, eczema, and even the appearance of ulcers.

And because wounds will take longer to heal, you may end up with scarring.

This isn’t just a problem for people with preexisting skin conditions, to be clear. Dr Bal says anyone can react to cocaine with rashes, irritation, and blisters.

‘Cocaine use can result in ulcers appearing all over the skin,’ she warns.

‘It can cause purpuric rashes especially on ears, nose, cheeks and extremities with a red (erythema) border. So blisters, sores and discolouration of the skin are extremely common among cocaine users.’

Not great.

Then there’s the impact cocaine has on how you treat your skin.

First off, you’re perhaps less likely to stick to your skincare regimen after a heavy night on the sniff. When you’re up ’til the early hours, washing off your makeup, double-cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturising doesn’t feel like much of a priority. Do that every weekend and you’ll end up with clogged pores, signs of premature ageing, breakouts, dullness, and dryness.

Cocaine can also make you more inclined to pick at your skin, increasing the likelihood of damage and infection.

Dr Kaplan tells Metro.co.uk that he regularly sees patients who abuse cocaine or other amphetamines presenting with signs of dermatillomania – an obsession with picking at the skin.

‘Sometimes they have the sensation of bugs crawling on or in their skin, called delusions of parasitosis,’ says Dr Kaplan. ‘I have seen patients use needles and blades to cut their skin open to remove the bugs. They will bring pieces of lint or dead skin to my office, believing they are bugs.

‘Other times, patients just have tingling or itching on their skin, resulting in deep scratches and excoriations.

‘They often focus on tiny imperfections on their skin, and pick at them until they bleed, causing scars and discoloration.

‘This leads to a cycle of even more picking, where they scratch the scabs that occurred from their initial picking. The constant scratching and picking of skin leads to inflammation, ulcers, scarring, and pigmentation.’

You don’t have to be off your face or having hallucinations to pick at your skin. Doing a line or two may just reduce your inhibitions and allow you to absentmindedly scratch at your face without realising – which, again, introduces dirt and damage to your skin.

Essentially, cocaine is bad for your skin in itself, but also likely makes you engage in other habits that aren’t great for your skin, either, like missing out on sleep, not staying hydrated, or failing to give your face a proper wash before bed.

If you dream of glorious skin, even the occasional weekend coke binges do need to stop.

‘Ultimately, drug abuse weakens the immune system, causing dryness, wrinkles and skin ageing,’ explains Dr Kaplan. ‘Long-term, skin develops scars, sallowness, and an unhealthy, uneven, aged, wrinkled complexion.’

That’s us told.

MORE: What order are you supposed to apply your skincare products?

MORE: Here’s what a lifetime of cocaine can do to your brain

This family-friendly yoga workout is a great way to get your kids active

A mum and daughter doing yoga in the park
(Picture: Getty)

It’s the Nation’s Biggest Sports Day, and I Am Team GB with Toyota are facilitating hundreds of active events up and down the country to get people active.

To help us get into the active spirit we spoke to the experts at More Yoga for tips on how to get fit with your loved ones this weekend.

Yoga doesn’t have to be just for Sweaty Betty clad millennials in swanky boutique studios – you can do it anywhere and get the little ones involved. Why not make the most of the sunshine this bank holiday and head outside to try this family-friendly flow.

Instructor Kelly Craig walks us through a simple yoga workout that you can try out with the whole family.

‘Yoga is such a fantastic tool for all the family to do together,’ says Kelly. ‘We all have such busy and fast paced lives with a lot of those times spent looking at mobile phones and television screens. Yoga can help to bring the family together and create a sense of real connection with each other.

‘Family yoga is a great way for you to explore different shapes, strengthen your bodies, discover more about each other and have loads of fun.

‘Remember through all this keep taking deep breaths in and out and of course if there is ever any pain, stop straight away. Below are some of my favourite poses you can try today:

Tree for balance

A girl doing yoga.
(Picture: Getty)

Place one foot on the ground and the other one onto the inner thigh or shin (not on the knee).

Find your focus to help find some stillness and squeeze the belly in.

Focus the eyes on something still in front of you to help you find that balance.

Think of growing tall like a tree and feel proud in your body.

This will help with posture and confidence.

You can also try:

  • Lifting one or both of your arms up high. See how tall you go.
  • Swaying your branches – watch that balance!
  • Lift your eyes up higher and maybe even close your eyes to really test your balance and concentration.
  • Bring all the family together by holding hands in a circle – and smile at each other or say a kind word to each other.
  • You can even practice lifting your bent leg out to the back (aeroplane pose) and then forward to tickle your toes together.

Cobra for strength

Woman practicing yoga outdoors
(Picture: Getty)

Lie on the floor and stretch your legs back with the tops of your feet on the floor.

Straighten the arms or bring them out to the side and think of lifting high up from the crown of your head (watch it doesn’t hurt your neck).

Lift the chest up and smile.

Think of being a slithering snake.

This helps to stretch and strengthen the spine.

You can also try:

  • Flying the arms out to the back and lifting your legs up so you are balancing on your belly.
  • Coming into a circle with your family and reach your fingers towards each other to say hello.
  • Trying to bring a ball between your feet and see who can hold it the longest.
  • Being snakes around the room.

Boat pose for connection

Sit with a tall spine and legs bent.

Lean back and take the arms out in front of you and start to find your balance.

Once you feel balanced, slowly raise the legs up off the ground. Squeeze that belly and lift up from the chest.

Great for getting a strong belly and testing your balance.

You can also try:

  • Connecting your feet to your someone in your family and maybe see if you can hold hands.
  • Seeing if you straighten your legs up high to the sky and point your toes.
  • Maybe go into a circle and see if you can meet all your feet in the centre.

Double downdog for fun

Girl and grandfather stretching
(Picture: Getty)

Find your downward facing dog to help stretch all the back body. Take some time to walk into it and find the ground beneath you.

Really press down into your hands and relax your neck.

When you are ready, start to face your down dogs the same way and have the smallest person bring their hands just in front of the taller family member.

Slowly, the smaller family member will lift their legs so they are on the lower back of the taller person.

Remember when coming down not to jump off but just to ease off gently so you come out safely.

You can also try:

  • A long down dog line with all the family involved!
  • Maybe the smaller person can lift one leg up in the air and then the other!
  • If you are feeling super adventurous and steady then see if you can walk very slowly forward lifting one arm up then the other!

Lizard on a rock for relaxation

The taller person comes into a rock or ball shape on the floor (known as childs pose)

The taller person facing upright, places their tailbone to yours and starts to gently lie back so both your backs are on top of each other

The taller person can lift their arms overhead and ever close their eyes!

This pose is all about trust, communication and relaxing your body. It also creates body and breath connection

You can also try:

  • Listening to each other’s breathing to see if you can do it at the same time.
  • Counting the breathing in for five and out for five.
  • The smaller person lifting their legs up to test balance.

MoreYoga & Here For You For Them run regular Happy Family Yoga workshops at MoreYoga studios. Join them for upcoming sessions:

Happy Family Yoga is a unique workshop aimed at parents and their children to enjoy together. It aims to provide a great way to connect with your child through exploring shapes with the body through partner poses and games as well as some mindfulness techniques.

It’s perfect for children aged five and over, and parents have to come too.

It costs £25 for one parent, one child; £30 for one parent, two children.

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

Asda is selling a mermaid cutlery set and shoppers are loving it

The mermaid cutlery
This cutlery is giving us The Little Mermaid vibes (Picture: Asda)

Asda has released some mermaid themed cutlery and customers are loving it.

Asda is always on trend, with the supermarket having sold rose gold cutlery and rainbow cutlery in the past.

Now it’s launched silver mermaid utensils which come with engraved mermaid tails.

The handles and bottoms of the forks, knifes and spoons are made to look like detailed mermaids tails with fins, and they’re giving us serious Ariel vibes.

They cost £12 for a 16 piece set, which includes four knives, four forks, four dessert spoons, and four teaspoons.

The cutlery is made from stainless steel, so it’s long lasting and easy to wash as well as being dishwasher safe.

The cutlery on a blank background
People are loving the cutlery (Picture: Asda)

So far, the cutlery has had plenty of five star reviews from happy customers.

One person said: ‘Pleasantly surprised by how high-quality the cutlery set looks and feels. We get lots of compliments on the cutlery from dinner guests.’

Another wrote: ‘I bought one set of these on a whim, I didn’t expect them to be very good as the were quite cheap, but wow they are fantastic! They are a good weight and feel nice to hold. The knives are surprisingly sharp for dinner knives and the spoons are a good size. My children love them! The detail in the handles is beautiful and doesn’t feel cheap. We liked them so much we bought a second set!’

Someone else commented: ‘Not your ordinary run of the mill cutlery . These are amazing and I love the quality if them. Ideal for someone who likes to be a bit different like myself.’

Parents also commented to say how much their children love the cutlery set, with one adding that she bought the set for her daughter’s mermaid themed birthday party.

Currently the cutlery is available in stores and online – but hurry if you want to get your hands on them, because we don’t reckon these will be sat on the shelves for long.

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10 hotels around the world that are great for sex

South Place Hotel London
Bath date: South Place Hotel’s Suite 610 is often dubbed London’s naughtiest suite (Picture: South Place Hotel)

Ah, the ol’ Devil’s dance. Doing the nasty. Hanky panky. Knocking boots. What are we on about, again? Oh yeah, sex.

Let’s face it, hotels were invented for sex. That’s an untold fact. Why do you think extra thread count linens slid into our sheets? Why did Japanese baths suddenly become such a thing? Why are 24 hour do not disturb signs now the norm? You got it? Sex.

If you’ve suddenly become bored of bonking within your own four walls (or on the stairs), our advice is simple: be spontaneous and book a sex weekend. The smile on your faces will be oh so worth it.

From a quickie on the go to XXX-rated BDSM sessions in your very own Italian dungeon, here’s a guide on where to get your freak on in some of the world’s sexiest suites.

The Standard, Downtown LA 

World's best hotels for sex The Standard, Downtown LA Picture: uk.hotels.com METROGRAB
Get frisky by the pool (Picture: uk.hotels.com)

‘I can only imagine what interesting places we are going to find the foot when guests check out’” André Balazs, the former owner of The Standard, once told Vanity Fair.

The feet he’s referring to are the giant five feet long, five feet high foam and rubber black ones you’ll find in select guest bathrooms throughout the hotel.

Just in case you’re wondering, the feet are there as a stand in for a bed, should you want to get frisky by the bathtub pre or post champagne dinner fest. Once you’ve tested one out, head for the rooftop for eye popping views of the heart thumping LA skyline.

After, head first for the slide to cool off before a sexy afternoon of naughty fun in the sun.


Sixty, Beverly Hills

World's best hotels for sex Sixty, Beverly Hills Picture: sixtyhotels.com METROGRAB
Poolside in Beverly Hills. (Picture: sixtyhotels.com)

Welcome to your ultimate mood lit fantasy. The Sixty Beverly Hills Hotels is the master work of celebrated designer and architect Dod Mitchell.

The space is swanky, very swanky and champions a boutique hotel concept that takes mood lighting to the very extreme.

If you can’t picture it, imagine risque bachelor pad meets urban modernist sex fantasy – uber Fifty Shades of Grey.

Rooms feature giant and deliciously sexy photographs courtesy of Steven Klein, along with oversized mirrors to eye up your bits, and leather paneled headboards that wrap onto the ceiling. Great linen and a glorious rooftop space, too.


The Standard, The High Line, NYC

The Standard High Line, NYC
Exhibitionism at The Standard High Line, NYC (Picture: Standard Hotels)

This one’s for all you exhibitionists out there. No seriously, there’s literally an app for such peeps who fancy a one night romp at this hotel perched in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District.

The One Night Standard package allows those looking for a good time to book a spontaneous room for a night to give passersby a peep show style performance direct from their window. 24 hour flings and shows are so common that the hotel has received so much negative press, that members of the New York City Council referred to all the things happening at The Standard as ‘unacceptable’.


South Place Hotel, London 

South Place Hotel London
Bath date: South Place Hotel’s Suite 610 is often dubbed London’s naughtiest suite (Picture: South Place Hotel)

Whether they like it or not, this is London’s premier sex hotel. It’s conveniently placed near Liverpool Street for all those laddy bankers waiting to get jiggy with their next booty call.

Request suite 610 as soon as you walk in. The one bed top floor apartment decorated in vintage porn comes with a see-through glass-sided tub, the perfect spot to indulge in a bit of wink wink after a rampant cocktail sesh in the hotel’s stylish bar, Le Chiffre.

Elsewhere you’ll find a romantic garden, and if it all gets too hot, cool off in the spa where you’ll find a shower that mimics three different types of rainfall. Advice: behave.


Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita, Italy 

Andronis Luxury Suites, Greece World's best hotels for sex Picture: andronis-suites.com METORGRAB
Dungeon sex, anyone? (Picture: Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita)

When your hotel already has the word sex in it, you know it’s going to be good.

If you are into a bit of medieval BDSM in a dungeon, then this little gem tucked away in beautiful southern Italian village of Matera has your whip spanked all over it.

Sex takes place in cooler than cool abandoned caves that are bathed in the sensual glow of candle light.

Some might find the next door church a bit of a turn off (remember you’re in Italy) but the freestanding bathtubs, sexy stone balconies and rustic fireplaces should be enough to take your mind off the big man upstairs.


Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, South Africa

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, South Africa
Natural digs. (Picture: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, South Africa)

Let’s face it, having sex in the bush is a bit of a turn on. You, them and mother nature. What’s not to love?

One of the best wilderness retreats lies in the heartlands of South Africa’s stunning Western Cape, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve.

If you’re on your honeymoon, the place has your name on it and is an ideal spot top unwind in after exploring nearby Cape Town.

Rooms are colonial in style and really do set the mood: private patios look on to very pretty botanical gardens, spacious en-suites bathrooms are great for a little bit of spontaneous hanky panky and the wood burning fireplaces have couple goals written all over it.

A side-by-side couples massage is also a must.


SLS Las Vegas, USA

World's best hotels for sex Picture: slslasvegas.com Metrograb https://slslasvegas.com/hotel/world-junior-suite/
Sky high in Vegas (Picture: slslasvegas.com)

Mirrored ceilings, peekaboo showers and Saint and Sinner mini bar amenities – you guessed it, this one’s in Vegas, baby.

SLS Las Vegas resort and casino is one big giant homage to sin. Here you gamble, riot and play, and not a single soul will bat an eyelid.

Aside from those Basic Instinct-style ceilings we mentioned earlier, the naughtiness continues courtesy of an Intimacy kit which has everything your man’s mini me will need to keep him sustained throughout the night: premium condoms, luxe lube, and for when his penis does eventually give up, a vibrator. Staff are used to outrageous behavior, so our advice is simple: go all out.


The Hoxton, London 

Hoxton Hotel London
Lovely wallpaper: The Hoxton Hotel in London is an ideal space for a quickie. Photo: The Hoxton

If someone suddenly slides into your DMs, or eagerly messages you on your fav dating app, and you desperately find yourself wanting to shag them senseless, check into the The Hoxton, Holborn.

They do day rates for under a hundred quid where guests can have a room from 10 to 4. What you do in there is totally up to you, but the queen-size beds and walk in showers might just be enough to persuade you to fire up that pre-charged rampant rabbit.


Andronis Luxury Suites, Greece

Andronis Luxury Suites, Greece World's best hotels for sex Picture: andronis-suites.com METORGRAB
Views from Andronis Luxury Suites, Greece Picture: andronis-suites.com

Who wouldn’t want to have sex with the sparkles of the Aegean in the background?

These Whitewashed Santorini suites offer such steamy opps from the comfort of your very own private sea-facing jacuzzis.

The cave rooms are the best which boast views from pretty much every room in the apartment. Sex with a view? Aphrodite would be so proud.

Ventana Inn & Spa, Big Sur, USA

World's best hotels for sex Ventana Inn & Spa, Big Sur, USA Picture: ventanabigsu METROGRAB
Jacuzzi porn in Big Sur. Picture: ventanabigsu

This Californian beauty is adults only, and for good reason.

Rustic chic bedrooms have been designed to cozy up to your love – think deep soaking tubs and hammocks in front of the river – and there’s a spa pool that was so designed for a bit of after hours skinny dipping.

Wine catch ups are a right of passage here, as are the yoga classes, which, if you’re travelling solo, might just prove quite useful if you’re looking for Mr or Mrs right.

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No, Greggs isn’t making a vegan steak bake… Yet

Greggs vegan steak bake news
Alas, non meat eaters will have to wait (Picture: Greggs)

News reports this week proclaimed from the heavens that we’d be getting all new vegan products from Greggs, which immediately made the internet go a bit mad.

After the vegan sausage roll had half of Britain arguing about whether a non-meat snack was sent straight from hell or heaven, it was always going to happen.

However, not to burst your bubble, but the dreams of imminent veggie and vegan products like steak bakes and sausage bean and cheese melts will have to wait a while.

The numerous reports were absolutely correct in their assertion that Greggs is planning on adding more to their vegan range, which will include new versions of beloved products.

Roger Whiteside – the CEO of Greggs – did say on LBC, ‘We are working away to see if we can come up with a version of all our bestselling lines because people want vegan options’. This is true.

Metro.co.uk spoke to Greggs, though, and it’s not quite as simple as the hype might lead us to believe.

A spokesperson from the bakery told us that, while broadening their vegan range is definitely a top priority, these things take a long time. That, we can certainly believe, as we know how long it took the vegan sausage roll to go from conception to the shelves.

There are no specific plans at present for a vegan steak bake or any other product, for that matter.

It’s something of a downer, but just because there’s nothing concrete now doesn’t mean there’s nothing coming ever.

Given that Greggs’ sales and share price skyrocketed after the vegan sausage roll, we can’t imagine they would be averse to emulating the same success once again.

Let’s just wait for proper confirmation before we push each other over in the rush to she shop.

MORE: How a weekend cocaine habit affects your skin

MORE: Mum warns parents against old Tupperware after finding it contains lead and arsenic

Teen who had drink poured over her at prom by bully fights back with stunning photoshoot

Emilee during the photoshoot
Emilee looked stunning in the photoshoot (Picture: Kerry Green Photography/SWNS.com)

A schoolgirl who was left in tears when bullies threw cherryade over her dress at prom has modelled in her own stunning photoshoot.

16-year-old Emilee Perry was given the chance to model some dresses by a prom dress company after they heard of her ordeal.

She was invited to try on a range of dresses, made by the Essex based fashion company.

This comes after the ‘humiliating’ ordeal when Emilee was sitting alone at her prom when she suddenly felt a gush of liquid go over the top of her head and all down her £400 dress.

Emilee looked up in terror and saw a girl she had considered a friend until that point walking away as more than 100 classmates watched on in shock.

Emilee in a dress
She’s beautiful! (Picture: Kerry Green Photography/SWNS.com)

Distraught Emilee, from Doncaster, South Yorks, almost immediately got up and walked outside to call for her mum Tracy, 44, to come and collect her.

Emilee in a prom dress
She posed in a number of dresses (Picture: Kerry Green Photography/SWNS.com)

Tracy posted five pictures of her distraught daughter along with an account of what happened on Facebook the next day and their story went viral.

Two months later Emilee had had the chance to model for Blue Beau Boutique in Benfleet, Essex.

Company owner Kelly Nicholls, 42, made contact with Emilee after seeing a post shared by her mum on social media in June.

Emily posing in a dress
Doesn’t she look gorgeous? (Picture: Kerry Green Photography/SWNS.com)

On Wednesday Kelly, along with photographer Kerry Green, makeup artists from Vie Aesthetics and hairdresser Lisa Higgs, treated Emilee to a full day of photoshoots with makeup, hair styling and dresses provided free of charge at Seven Hotel in Southend, Essex.

Emilee said: ‘I was a bit nervous coming down here with my anxiety, but I’ve always wanted to do it.

‘It’s been really lovely, and Kelly has really helped me feel comfortable and has encouraged me to push myself and try different things.

Emilee after having cherryade poured over her at prom
A cruel bully poured cherryade over her at prom (Picture: SWNS)

‘I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do this. I’d say to anyone struggling with anxiety and confidence to just speak to people, as no one will think any less of you.’

Kelly added: ‘I remember seeing the post from Emilee’s mother and thought it was absolutely horrible, and knew I needed to message her and see if they would want to come down to us for a free photoshoot.

‘She had her prom ruined by some nasty people, we wanted to give her a prom experience that she would enjoy and remember.

‘We want to highlight that bullying is never okay and these people do not know by their actions the mental effects on someone, which can last forever.’

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This barbering service is offering free haircuts to the homeless

Close-up of barber's tattooed hands holding comb and scissors and giving man trendy hairstyle
Charitable cuts are coming (Picture Getty Images)

London’s mobile grooming company, Get Groomed, have joined forces with the Brixton Soup kitchen to offer the city’s most vulnerable citizens a free haircut.

The mobile company, which brings traditional shaves and cuts direct to Londoner’s doors, will be setting up shop in the kitchen in Brixton on 29 August from 10.30am to 2pm and will offer all their high end grooming services, including beard trimmings, for nothing at all.

For those not familiar with the brand, the company lives by the mantra of ‘Your Style. Your Place. Your Time’ and aims to remove all the stress and anxiety associated with getting your hair chopped off – think excruciatingly long wait times and screaming children at the local barbers.

Though no actual barber shop exists, the service works by connecting local hairdressers in London’s boroughs so that customers can be groomed in the comfort of their own space.

Those who attend the event can benefit from a haircut and restyle, trim, and a classic wet shave.

In addition to the lock chopping, the fine people who man the doors of the Brixton Soup Kitchen, a south London-based charity that survives entirely on public donations, will offer their usual well-stocked menu of hot food, along with a host of warm drinks.

The event echoes the efforts of British hairdresser Josh Coombes, who since 2015 has advocated his hugely successful charitable initiative #DoSomethingForNothing. Coombes, who hails from London, travels the world offering free cuts to the homeless (and their dogs) with the simple mission of abolishing the stigmas and stereotypes associated with everyday homelessness.

Moral of both stories? If you’re in the area on 29 August, join in and show your support by volunteering on the day. You’ll be surprised by the difference you’ll make.

Get Groomed will take over the Brixton Soup Kitchen from 10.30am to 2pm on 29 August 2019. 

MORE: We try seven hair brushes to find out which ones are worth the money

MORE: How much is too much for a man to spend on grooming?

Asda is selling new milkshakes inspired by your favourite desserts

The new milkshakes
The new milkshakes feature dessert flavours (Picture: Asda)

The weather is boiling, which means it’s the perfect time for a milkshake. Plenty of ice, please.

Handily enough, Asda has just launched a whole new range of shakes flavours inspired by classic desserts.

The flavours include Victoria Sponge (which sounds, er, questionable), Banoffee Pie, Salted Caramel Brownie (yum) and Sticky Toffee pudding.

The milkshakes are made with whole milk and fresh whipping cream – so it’s probably not ideal to drink gallons of the stuff – and they cost £1 for a 250ml bottle.

The sticky toffee pudding milkshake
Fancy a sticky toffee pudding milshake? (Picture: Asda)

A spokesperson for Asda said: ‘We’re always looking for exciting new products that offer our customers top quality at affordable prices, especially during summer months when money can be better spent on quality time with family and friends.

‘We know Brits love dessert and we’re happy that our customers can get the sweet treats that they want with their regular grocery shop.’

And this isn’t the only recent Asda launch.

The supermarket is also selling new mermaid themed cutlery, with a 16 piece set costing just £12.

The Victoria Sponge milkshake
Or a Victoria sponge shake? (Picture: Asda)

The cutlery is made with stainless steel and features mermaid tail inspired handles and fins at the bottom.

They’ve been a total success so far with customers, with more than 20 five star reviews online.

Parents have been buying them to make dinner time more fun for the kids – and one parent even bought another set because her daughter loved them so much.

Basically, Asda is winning right now.

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How to get to sleep in the heat

Sleep illustration
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Have you been outside today? It’s pretty hot. Plus, if the weather forecast is to be believed, it’s going to get even hotter over the next few days.

That’s wonderful for things like barbecues or wearing your favourite sandals, but not so good for actually getting to sleep at night.

We’ve all been there: Tossing and turning the pillow to find some mythical cold spot that doesn’t exist; wishing you were single just in the nighttime so your partner – who seems to radiate the heat of a thousand suns – wouldn’t be near you.

The fact is, Britain isn’t built for the heat at all. The Central Line will always be a squalid, sweaty, site of devastation in summer, and you will never have air conditioning, because it wouldn’t make sense for the rest of the year.

There are a few techniques you can use to cool down at night time, though.

Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight’s sleep expert, says: ‘A good night’s sleep is important in order to process information throughout the day, as well as to repair and rebalance the body physically and mentally.

‘Ideally, in order for us to sleep well, there needs to be a fractional temperature difference between our body and our brain – a warm body and a cool head. The optimum temperature for good sleep is around 19 degrees, but it is important to remember that this is about how you feel and what you need for you.’

Here’s what to do so you don’t burn up during the heatwave:

Keep your room cool

Easier said than done, but as Dr. Ramlakhan says, you need to try to get your room to as close as that 19C as possible.

A fan is an obvious option, and Amazon Prime will deliver you a high-powered one for under £50 in less than 24 hours depending on where you live.

If that still doesn’t do the trick, try placing a tray of ice in front of a blowing fan. As the ice melts, this will help to cool the room down

sleep well
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Chill your sheets

It might sound crazy, but chilling your pillowcase in the freezer before going to bed could be a good option.

Have a think about which kind of sheets you have on, too. A lower tog duvet will always be cooler, but there are a number of duvet covers and sheets specifically designed for warm sleepers.

Nanu have recently released a Hot and Not duvet, so if your partner’s body heat is the thing making your nights miserable, you can keep your side cool while theirs is all snuggly.

Sleep naked

There are a million good reasons for sleeping naked, but one of the most obvious ones in this type of weather is that the cooling properties of your body aren’t inhibited.

Even a seemingly small negligee or shorts and top could be made of a fabric that keeps all the heat in, leaving you sweaty and very much awake.

Wash your feet and wrists

Dr. Ramlakhan says that one of the easiest ways to cool your body down is to wash your feet with cold water before getting into bed, and rinse wrists under cold water’.

Once your extremities have chilled out, it’s easier for the rest of you to follow suit. Plus it doesn’t involve a full cold shower, which is always a bonus.

illustration of woman stretching in bed after a good night's sleep
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Opt for menthol

You remember the tingle you’d get when you put vapor rub on your chest when you were sick? Recreate this for different purposes, and put some on your forehead in the night.

Although it doesn’t actually lower your body temperature, it has this cooling effect as it blocks the calcium current along the nerves responsible for detecting temperature. Neat, huh?

Go it alone

While this article might sound like it’s bashing co-sleeping with your significant other, it’s actually all about sleep.

If you genuinely feel you’d be better off in another room or alone to get some shut-eye, it’s a good temporary option. You’ll also feel less jealous that they’re sound asleep while you’re thinking about the earth’s core and whether it’s the same temperature as your bedroom.

Stay hydrated

In general in the heat, it’s important to remember to drink lots of water throughout the day. However, ensure you take sips of cold water when you wake up at night, too. This will replenish any sweat you’ve lost.

In the same vein, you should try to lay off the booze and caffeine, as both of these things can really dehydrate you and stop you from sleeping properly.

We know it’s hard when everybody’s at a beer garden or inhaling iced lattes, but it’ll pay off during the night.

MORE: Asda is selling new milkshakes inspired by your favourite desserts

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Is it legal to drive in flip flops?

Flip flops while driving
They might be comfy, but they aren’t quite legal (Picture: Getty)

It looks like it might be a scorcher this weekend, with temperatures potentially hitting 33C, and breaking the record for the August Bank Holiday weekend.

With that in mind, you might want to air out your toes with a lovely pair of sandals; perhaps even flip flops.

The popular sandal – known to Australians as thongs – are easy to slip on and potter about in. However, the rumour persists that they’re not actually legal to wear while driving.

It might sound silly, but there’s a whole load of misconceptions when it comes to legalities of what shoes you can wear driving.

If you’re unsure, here’s everything you need to know.

Flip flops and driving
We definitely wouldn’t advise driving like this in them (Picture: Getty)

Can you wear flip flops while driving?

First thing’s first, there’s no law that outright states you can’t drive with flip flops on.

However, just to make things complicated, the laws state that there are reasons why you could get in trouble for doing so.

Under Rule 97 of the Highway Code, drivers are told that they’re required to wear ‘footwear and clothing which does not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner.’

So, if you’re wearing a bendy kind of flip flip that might come loose and hook under a pedal or slide off and make it hard to brake correctly, it could cost you dearly.

If you do happen to be stopped for driving erratically or dangerously, you could be charged with driving without due care and attention. The maximum penalty for this is a £5,000 fine, up to nine points on your license, or even a driving ban.

Even less severe cases can warrant a £100 on-the-spot fine and three points. Basically, the time it’d take to put some socks and shoes on is a whole lot let hassle than all of that.

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This coffee company will pay you £24,000 to quit your job and travel the world

Best competition ever? (Picture: Unsplash)

This. Is. Why. We. All. Love. Coffee.

Let’s face it, as soon as us miserable city workers flock to our jobs the first thing we do is grab a coffee. It’s the elixir of life, after all – but what if one cup of joe could actually change your life for the better? How so? You ask. Well one particular filter comes with a $30,000 (£24,432) bonus.

Now that we’ve got your attention, meet STōK Cold Brew Coffee. If you’ve never heard of them before, they’re a super cool indie American brand that specialises in anything and everything cold brew – that’s iced coffee in English.

The java brewers are currently looking for three lucky people looking to pursue all their travel dreams by giving them 24k smackers in exchange for taking a few weeks off work – the STōK-bbatical, as they call it.

For those who are genuinely sick of their jobs, or just need a little bit of life injected back into them, you’ll need to be available for two weeks between the dates of 1 October 1 and 15 December 2019.

The catch? There isn’t one. All you have to is capture your experience on social media by creating a load of photos and videos. You were going to show off anyway, so don’t complain.

To qualify, you must come armed with ‘an awesome STōK-bbatical dream,’ must love taking snaps, enjoy posting to social media, and have an ‘impeccable use of the hashtag game.’

The money will be split between three lucky winners: $10,000 (£8,144) as a stipend  and a further $20,000 (£16, 288) to cover the cost of your travels.

To apply, send the guys and gals at STōK an email to SToK@icfnext.com anytime between now and September 2. You’ll need to include a 300 words summary of what you currently do now as a living, along with an explanation as to what you’d be rather doing if you had $30,000 in your pocket.

Oh and FYI, you can even download a pre-prepared resignation letter for your boss from their website too.

Happy travels.

For more information about the competition and for full terms, visit STōK’s website.

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

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You Don’t Look Sick: ‘Being assaulted at work left me with a brain injury that turned life upside down’


You Don’t Look Sick – a phrase that people with invisible illnesses often hear.

Just because you can’t see their condition, it doesn’t meant they aren’t dealing with a whole range of symptoms every day.

Our weekly series speaks to a different person with a different condition every week to see what it’s like to live with an illness or disability that you can’t see.

This week, we’re talking to Donna Siggers, 47, from Southminster, Essex, who suffered a brain injury in 2014 after she was brutally assaulted while at work.

She was punched in the head six times, and the back of her head was slammed against a wall.

It has caused a range of conditions including seizures, double vision, constant head pain, memory loss, vertigo, complex post traumatic stress disorder and claustrophobia.

Initially, she thought she was fine. She went back to work a few days later, and said the concussion sent her into shock and denial.

However, she started to realise that she was experiencing worrying symptoms and saw a doctor.

She went to an emergency assessment unit where she was given an emergency referral to an eye clinic.

Donna Siggers, who suffered a brain injury
Donna Siggers suffered a brain injury five years ago (Picture: Steve Finn Photography for Metro.co.uk)

They discovered damage to the muscle structure behind her left eye, causing diplopia or double vision.

From there, she has been diagnosed with the other effects of her brain injury.

Initially doctors thought that her memory loss and concussion were temporary but she was later diagnosed with post concussion syndrome and her memory is still poor.

Vertigo was discovered later as doctors think part of her inner ear moves as a result of the impact.

Although she also experiences seizures, she does not have epilepsy but they are caused by nerve damage.

She developed complex PTSD and claustrophobia because of her memories of the attack. 

The impact of the assault completely changed Donna’s life and she struggled to recognise who she became.

Donna with patches and wires on her head
Donna having an electrode test (Picture: Donna Siggers)

She explains: ‘Having various diagnosis meant that they were spread out and a lot of them were before my memory had improved. Back then I was detached and often disassociating. 

‘No longer recognising myself physically or psychologically I wasn’t ready to accept the changes I’d gone through and was angry with life and at the circumstances that had led to my injury. 

‘I kept a journal (with help) so have a good record of feelings and events.

‘There was an extended process of grieving that wasn’t allowing me to move forward, instead this intense feeling of inner turmoil – a despair so deep I didn’t think it possible to recover from.’

As more things developed, she found herself becoming increasingly isolated.

She adds: ‘CPTSD explained a lot of what I was experiencing but that concept truly frightened me and gave me an excuse to isolate myself. Isolation meant nobody could judge whereas socialising meant allowing myself to be vulnerable and open to other’s comments and I wasn’t ready for that.

‘Denial struck several times but none so strongly as when I started to have tonic-clonic seizures. The process itself is undignified enough and although I will talk about them with ease now, in the beginning I was embarrassed. 

‘There’s a lot to rule out before you are told you get seizures so I had many personal questions to answer. Having to travel across London alone with electrodes attached to my head was possibly one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences I’ve endured but something I had no choice in doing. 

Donna with a pill organiser
Donna takes regular medication to control her symptoms (Picture: Donna Siggers)

‘Harder than that was was having to hand my driving license back to the DVLA – although I hadn’t been driving because I was too ill it was a finality that a part of my live that I loved was now over: I was distraught.’

Donna decided to speak out about what she was going through to try to help people understand.

She wrote about her condition online and she is also an award-winning author. She released a book called Lost Soul, filled with poetry written during therapy and her journey through recovery taken from stories shared by friends, her medical notes and from the journal she kept throughout.

She explains: ‘One of the reasons behind my decision to be so open online and to publish my recovery story in a book was because of other people’s judgmental comments – too often I was being told that I looked fine so needed to “pull myself together”. 

‘On one occasion a man passed comment that it was a “shame the institutions had been closed” he continued to say, “because its where people like you belong”. 

‘Cutting comments can make you feel insecure and vulnerable if you allow them to.

Donna Siggers who has a brain injury
Donna is still affected by her brain injury every day (Picture: Donna Siggers)

‘At the time I was still suffering from PTSD so they were the last thing I needed to hear: now I would walk away or respond once I’ve had time to reflect but back then such comments were hurtful and could send my health back on a downward trend.’

Over the last five years, she has come a long way in her recovery but her brain injury still has a huge impact on her day to day life:

‘Initially I didn’t leave the house alone because I would wander aimlessly and get lost. 

‘During my first therapy session I learnt coping tools which included how to use GPS to locate myself: I still have to use this today but it gives me the confidence to have independence. 

‘It would take all my energy and effort to walk to my local shop using the GPS that I would forget the one item I had gone for. It took a long time for me to achieve this simple goal – the shop is a two-minute walk from my home. 

‘I now travel alone when I’m feeling well enough but like to have someone familiar the other end if it’s of significant distance.’

Her memory is still particularly affected and she struggles to remember things that happened before her injury. Some of it has slowly returned and she actually regained a lot of her memory in 2018 when she witnessed a road traffic accident, where a man suffered a serious head injury.

She says: ‘Having to live without a memory has possibly been the most frustrating process I’ve experienced. Other people get more upset than me these days if I cannot remember something, 

‘I have become used to it. I’ve used old photographs to help me with memories and taken lots of new images that I look at regularly: its not helpful if people don’t allow that as part of the memory system I have built relies on imagery and it takes time for me to file it away successfully.

‘Despite having watched many hundreds of films and read even more books over my life-time I struggle to recall the content unless they have been recent: this can make conversation difficult at times, especially in the world I now work within. 

‘Catching up with everything is impossible, there’s no point stressing over it.

‘I still can’t multi-task – my brain simply cannot cope. Losing my level of intellect has been difficult to come to terms with and although I have been lucky and gained so much there is so much more to strive towards. 

Donna standing at a podium
Donna now works as an author and public speaker (Picture: Donna Siggers)

‘Cooking remains a huge challenge for me and what takes most people twenty minutes in the kitchen can take me hours: I’ve now lost interest in something that used to give me so much pleasure. 

‘That might sound defeatist but I’d rather focus on the parts of my brain that do function in order to improve them and keep the stress of the kitchen to a minimum for now. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up, I just need more time.’

Fatigue also has still has a huge impact but she is determined to work and says a lot of the time she fights through the exhaustion.

‘Some days I wake after nine hours of sleep and feel more exhausted than when I went to bed, yet life has to continue. 

‘A lot of people have told me I need more compassion for myself and that I need to recognise when I need to rest: the truth is if I rested every day I felt unwell, I would never work. 

‘I press on unless I’ve had a seizure – then I will rest. I do have compassion, my needs are just met differently and if I feel exhausted I’ve a list of jobs I can do for work that I gain great enjoyment from that don’t require too much concentration. Life is about finding a balance that works,’ she says.

Donna’s eyesight remains poor and she has to wear special lenses with prisms to help her see but she still needs to use larger fonts to be able to read.

Her seizures have also reduced but they do still occur and Donna has faced additional injuries because she falls to the floor during a seizure.

She explains: ‘Limiting sensory overload has helped control my seizures but they do still occur. 

‘Often they leave me rather injured and this is when the invisible becomes visible: bruising often appears and I’ve even injured a tendon and my hip and shoulder to the point I’ve needed two cortisone injections, cut myself because I’d been using a knife at the time, or burnt myself on the oven.’

PHOTO:STEVE FINN 07968894444 PICTURE SHOWS: Donna Siggers(37)From Southminster.Essex.Has A Brain Injury.Pictured At Her Home Today.Part Of The "You Don't Look Sick ."Feature.Southminster.Essex.Today.20/08/19 SPEC'IMAGE NO SYNDICATION- stevefinnphotography@yahoo.co.uk NO SOCIAL MEDIA WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER SEPARATE ONLINE FEE AND PAPER FEE APPLIES.INDIVIDUAL TITLE FEE ALSO. stevefinnphotography@yahoo.co.uk
Donna has come a long way in the last five years (Picture: Steve Finn Photography for Metro.co.uk)

She had therapy to help with the mental impact of the brutal attack but says it takes continual work to keep the CPTSD and claustrophobia her attack triggered under control.

‘I can feel my CPTSD bubbling under the surface a lot of the time,’ she says. 

‘Knowing the warning signs is half the battle and having the foresight to deal with them the other: the house alarm over the road is a trigger and it sounds far too often for my liking (there was an alarm sounding during my attack). 

‘I no longer hide under the kitchen table or in the bath-tub until the alarm stops and I feel safe, instead I ground myself using the coping mechanisms I have learnt. That’s not my only trigger, shouting and the kitchen are others.

‘Claustrophobia remains a huge issue but its one that I am conquering. 

‘London’s tube network is my largest challenge and because of work I often have to use it. I’m unable to focus on conversation while underground and have to use many distraction techniques in order to remain calm.’

How to get help for someone dealing with a brain injury

Donna has been supported by Headway, for more information on brain injuries, or to get help,

MORE: visit their website

or call their helpline on 0808 800 2244.

They also have local support groups where you can meet others with brain injuries.

Headway have online social media groups and forums, where you can also connect with other people who are supported by the charity.

Donna still lives with all of these symptoms but wants to use her experience to raise awareness of brain injury and how we treat people who live with hidden illnesses.

As well as writing online and releasing a book about her experience, she also works as a public speaker, screenwriter and mentor. She’s also written a number of thrillers alongside the book telling the story of her recovery.

She says: ‘Invisible illness is under-represented and therefore misunderstood. Education is vital, in my opinion but in order for this to change it has to be recognised at a government level that the acts in place are not working for the majority of the people affected. 

‘Teaching the coping skills to reduced anxiety within schools, for example could reduce statistics on depression and suicide which would reduce the pressure on the NHS.’

How to get involved with You Don't Look Sick

You Don’t Look Sick is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that discusses invisible illness and disabilities.

If you have an invisible illness or disability and fancy taking part, please email youdontlooksick@metro.co.uk.

You’ll need to be happy to share pictures that show how your condition affects you, and have some time to have some pictures taken.

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You can now rent an entire pirate ship on Airbnb

Pirate ship Airbnb Picture: Airbnb
An Airbnb to shiver your timbers (Picture: Airbnb)

Ready the canons mateys and get out your best Jack Sparrow costume because you can now rent your very own pirate ship(!) on Airbnb – and yes, it will shiver your timbers.

Say “ahoy” to the “Pirate Ship“, a 65-foot long ship with not one, but two berths located on the Mississippi river minutes away from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

It’s owned by Dan, an Airbnb ‘superhost’ (that basically means he has a really great rating) from the States.

His ‘one of a kind’ digs will currently set you back $300 (£244) per night, and features everything from a gangplank to upper deck hammock and a hideout. It has room for five people (all included in the rate) but if you want to rent the whole thing out for a party, there’s room for +20.

Inside, you’ll find a really cool antique-style map painted on the ceiling, but if that’s too preschool for you, there’s the opportunity to rent paddle boards and kayaks – great to get into that yo-ho-ho spirit. Oh, and it also has a super cosy fireplace, ideal for roasting ‘smores in the winter months.

Practical modcons include the use of a shower, tub, large kitchen, a few couches, themed lighting (don’t forget we live in the age of the millennial) and of course, WiFi.

Pirate ship Airbnb Picture: Airbnb
Authentic digs: Inside the Minneapolis pirate ship. (Picture: Airbnb)

‘This was such an awesome night away for my husband and his friends! Basically a surprise for his birthday, to try and reminisce on his favorite, pirate-themed birthday, as a kid,’ wrote Christine, who snoozed on the vessel back in May. ‘I think the ship took everything to the next level – and it was totally above and beyond what we hoped it would be!’

Shawn, who stayed on the ship in September 2018, said that once you get to the ship, you won’t want to leave.

‘This is a one of a kind experience, that was a total blast!’ he said.

The hosts have paid attention to every detail, and the pirate decor is outstanding. There are costumes, props, and everything else you can imagine to get you into the pirate mood, said one guest from the States.

And if you decide to holiday in Minneapolis, don’t forget to check out all the retro foodie hangouts, the stellar lakes, and if you are a bookworm, a pilgrimage to St.Paul to explore where writer of the Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald was born.

Book it here.

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Notting Hill Carnival 2019: Sound systems guide, who’s playing and where to find them

A street performer at the Notting Hill Carnival
Caribbean culture comes out to play this weekend (Picture: Getty Images)

Notting Hill Carnival is loud, proud, colourful and, sometimes, disorientating.

Once you’ve planned your journey and found out everything else you need to know, you’ll want to know what you’re going to see once there.

From sultry samba to head-spinning house, check out an A to Z of the Notting Hill Carnival soundsystems and where you’ll find them.

4Play Sound System

Carnival regulars since 1994, this mix of jazz-funk, house, reggae, groove and dancehall is one to get you in the mood.

Find them at the corner of West Row and Kensal Road.

Aba Shanti-I

A well-known UK dub producer, Aba Shanti-I has been playing Carnival since 1993.

Find him at the meeting point of East Row and Southern Row.


Soul-shaking, spirt-lifting soul meets gospel and afrobeats for a more family-friendly take on Carnival.

Find them between Bonchurch Road and Portobello Road.

Channel One

Known around the world, this soundsystem is run by legendary Mikey Dread, Jah T and Ras Kayleb.

For some of the realest reggae dub, find them at the spot Leamington Road Villas meets Westbourne Park Road.

Different Strokes

It’s a family affair with this energetic mix of hip-hop, jungle and drum and bass – with RiperDon taking over the system from his father, Daddy Noddy.

Find them where St Luke’s Road meets St Luke’s Mews.

Disco Hustlers

Disco isn’t dead – and DJ Giovanni and Mister Hustler’s blend of disco and house prove it.

They’ll be playing on Powis Square.

Disya Jeneration

Old-school party bangers meets the newest sounds with this phonetically-spelt party system.

Find them at Westbourne Park Road.

Revellers at the Notting Hill Carnival
Carnival partygoers getting into the spirit (Picture: Getty Images)

The Fun Bunch

Old-school soul, fresh R&B and hip-hop get pumped out of a 50,000kw system with the Fun Bunch.

Enjoy them at Sutherland Place.

Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues

Ska, rock’n’roll and rocksteady are delights served up by DJ Gaz Mayall here.

Get down to Talbot Road to hear what he’s got to offer.

G.I. Roadshow

Short for good intentions, the G.I. Roadshow is for those looking to dial up the chill. Laid-back reggae, soca and Latin music from a crew formed in 1987.

Kick back with them on the corner of Adella Street and Kensal Road.

Gladdy Wax Roadshow

Having been going for over four decades, Gladdy Wright’s roadshow is one of the world’s best reggae collections.

Get into the groove with them between Golborne Road and Oxford Gardens.

Dancers at Children's Day at the Notting Hill carnival
Expect a colourful few days (Picture: PA)

GT Flex

An 8-man crew bringing the best of dancehall, garage and soca.

Find them on the corner of Middle Row and Conlan Street.

High Grade

Bass. That’s it. That’s the tweet.

Lots of high intensity bass at their classic reggae system.

They can be found at Oxford Gardens and St Lawrence Terrace.

KCC and the Rocking Crew

Funky house from across the pond, they’ve been established since the early 90s.

Find them at Munrow Mews and Wornington Road.

Killer Watt

Already well-known by ragga and reggae fans, this soundsystem was where So Solid Crew’s MC Romeo first appeared.

Catch them on St Luke’s Road.

King Tubby’s

A legacy soundsystem, find the best of new and old reggae here.

Catch them on Clydesdale Road.

Latin Rave Street Jam

Fancy shaking what your mama gave you?

Head to the corner of Portobello Road and Chesterton Road.

Performers at the Notting Hill Carnival
Tfw when you find the right soundsystem (Picture: Getty Images)

Lord Gelly’s

Authentic Jamaica and Grenada vibes imported straight to West London.

Catch them on Thorpe Close.

Love TKO

Rock. Soul. Soca. This is where you can find a perfect blend of the three.

Find them at Hazelwood Crescent and Golborne Road.

Mark Ross

Soulful house meets funk and R&B.

Catch them on the corner of Lonsdale Road and Ledbury Road.

Mastermind Roadshow

Expect some of the best R&B, hip-hop, reggae and soul as the crew celebrate their 30th anniversary at the spot.

Find them by the big Sainsburys on Canal Close.

Metro Glory

Our favourite named crew, these lot produce top-quality bass.

Catch them at the meeting point of Westbourne Park Road and Ledbury Road.

Nasty Love

Bashment and dancehall clash for some frenetic beats here.

Find them on Colville Houses.

People’s Sound

Jamaican beats, real reggae and good vibes pump out from this soundsystem.

Find them on All Saints Road.

Pineapple Tribe

With so much reggae around, you might want a blast of something different.

This crew brings a blend of hard house, techno and breakbeat to get your soul rattling.

Catch them on the corner of West Row and Southern Row.


Entertaining the masses with soul, jazz, house and dance classics, this crew bring a message of peace and harmony.

Feel the positive vibes on the corner of All Saint’s Road and McGregor Road.

Saxon Sound

Established in the 70s, this iconic system is one not to miss for great performers.

Catch them at Chesterton Road.

Seduction City

A female-fronted system, girl power meets great R&B and ragga with this soundsystem.

Find them on the corner of Telford Road and Ladbroke Grove.

Sir Lloyd

Regulars since 1979, a riotous blend of R&B and reggae light up the crowd.

Find them on Leamington Road Villas.


Sweet melodies showcasing the best of Jamaican and UK beats from this young crew.

Catch them between Talbot Road and Colville Terrace.

Triple S

Genre-blending-and-bending, this massive street corner soundsystem is sure to get anyone in the party mood.

Find them on the corner of Bosworth Road.

Virgo International

It is virgo season, after all.

Catch this family-friendly blend of reggae and soca on the corner of Portobello Road.

Volcano Sound

An eruption of Trinidadian music and culture.

Catch them on the corner of Faraday Road and Athlone Place.

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Bride wears amazing black wedding dress for ‘goth and punk-infused’ big day

Amy Vosinthavong in a black wedding dress
Amy said she would never have been comfortable in a white dress (Picture: Zee and Cee Studio & Giant Invitations/Supplied)

Amy Vosinthavong says she has never been a traditional person.

So when it came to her wedding day, she knew she wanted something a little different.

Instead of going for the traditional big white dress, Amy decided on a black lace gown.

The 29-year-old from Sydney, and groom Andrew, 31, decided on a ‘goth and punk-infused’ wedding, to reflect their personalities.

She told Femail: ‘I have always the loved the alternate scene, specifically the goth/punk scene.

‘Andrew isn’t quite a traditionalist either, but he was happy for me to take the reins with the decor and theme of the wedding.’

Amy and Andrew after the ceremony
The couple wanted a day that reflected them (Picture: Zee and Cee Studio & Giant Invitations/Supplied)

Amy said that she didn’t want to just go for a traditional wedding because that’s what other people wanted as she feels it should be the couple’s day.

She added: ‘I definitely wouldn’t have felt as on top of the world as I did had I been in a traditional white gown,’ she said.

‘I am also covered in tattoos and white was never for me.’

Amy and Andrew on their wedding day
Amy and Andrew on their wedding day (Picture: Zee and Cee Studio & Giant Invitations/Supplied)

As well as the black dress, they had a soundtrack that included Sum 41, the Foo Fighters and Death Cab for Cutie.

The couple even head-banged their way out after being officially announced as husband and wife.

Amy with her bridesmaids
Amy with her bridesmaids (Picture: Zee and Cee Studio & Giant Invitations/Supplied)

The bridesmaids were able to choose their own dresses but they had to be grey to fit the theme.

And the reception was filled with black, red and orange – even the cake was a dark gothic theme.

Amy said her family and friends – particularly the older guests – were shocked and struggled to understand the theme, but her mum knew that it suited her daughter’s personality.

She said: ‘That’s my Amy.’

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Woman bullied for being ‘fattest girl in school’ earns £10k from just selling pics of herself

hazel posing in lingerie
(Picture: PA Real Life)

Hazel, from Tennessee, U.S, who weighs 28 stone was bullied for being the ‘fattest girl in school’.

But now, the 29-year-old from Nashville laughs at those bullies as she makes an extra £10,000 a year from selling pics and videos of herself.

The office administrator regularly films herself slapping her stomach or gorging on pizza and cheesecake for her loyal internet fans.

A body positivity campaigner, Hazel says that she has never felt sexier and is finally happy in her own skin after joining the feedeerism community as a feedee.

Feederism is a sexual fetish, where feeders get pleasure from seeing feedees eat or gain weight.

The most calories Hazel has consumed in one sitting is 10,000 calories but she often takes on around 2,000 per video request.

‘Primarily because of my body shape I get a lot of belly requests, a lot of grabbing and slapping and tugging,’ explained Hazel.

‘That’s mainly what I do –  show off my body and my curves.

‘People say they like the shape of my belly. Some ask me to wear tight clothes to show it off while I’m eating. I get requests to get stuck in a doorway, or to try to fit into a small place.

‘Some people even donate money to buy food for me to eat on camera. They love to hear about how nice the food is and how bloated I feel.’

Supported by her partner and friends, Hazel claims it is her dream job, combining her love of food and feeling sexy.

She said: ‘I’ve had people who have told me they would leave their wives for me. It feels so good to be wanted and to feel sexy in your own skin.’

Hazel posing in underwear
She poses in lingerie and sometimes uses sex toys on her belly (Picture: PA Real Life)

Some fans ask Hazel to eat certain foods. Sometimes they’ll ask her to talk about the food, how good it feels to eat, how she can eat ten times more than that and how it feels when she’s full.

She explained: ‘There are no typical foods, they just like to see me enjoying it.

‘They like me to eat my favourite things like cheesecake and sweets and pizza. They like to see how many pizzas I can eat. The most I’ve managed is two and a half large pizzas in one sitting.’

Hazel adds that the job comes naturally to her as she feels ‘euphoric’ when she’s full:

‘I get a lot of pleasure from it and my fans get pleasure from watching me, too, it’s a win-win.’

She doesn’t know what about it makes the videos so enticing but appreciates that everyone’s there for different reasons.

‘In today’s society weight loss is such a huge thing, so this is like the polar opposite. I know of one man who struggles with an eating disorder and loves to see women gain weight. It’s a personal preference.’

Typically, Hazel charges £4 ($5) a minute per video, with subscribers able to make requests and accessing them via porn website BBW Royalty.

The most she has ever made is $360 (£295) for an hour-long video of her playing with her belly and talking about her weight.

Hazel charges £4 per minute (Picture: PA Real Life)

Wearing lingerie or other sexy ensembles, Hazel sometimes uses sex toys on her belly too.

‘In the last three months, I’ve gained around 20lb (1.4 stone). I now weigh roughly 380lb (28 stone) and I carry most of this in my belly. I’m a size 28 to 30 US clothing size,’ she explained.

In the past, she tried to lose weight with her former partner as they were trying for a baby and so she prepared for gastric band surgery.

‘I remember one day going to the Krispy Kreme drive-thru and I was crying as I realised that if I had this surgery I would never be able to eat another doughnut. I knew I would rather be big and happy,’ she said.

But now she embraces her body and loves being part of the body-positive campaign.

‘We all support each other. The community is really open and has helped me come to terms with loving myself and to realise I’m very sexy and it’s okay to be fat and sexy.

‘My boyfriend, who I have been with for a year, is very supportive. He is not a feedee or a feeder himself, but he finds it a turn on to know that there are other people out there who want me.’

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How to turn your tiny paved yard into a beautiful garden

A paved area with plants
It takes a little imagination (Picture:Getty)

So living in a city can be fun when there’s bars and things to do right on your doorstep.

But you often have to sacrifice living space and you’re pretty lucky to have a square of outdoor space big enough for a few chairs.

But just because that tiny strip of concrete paving where the bins are kept looks unappealing when you move in, it doesn’t have to stay that way.

You can turn these areas into cute little outdoor havens with a few easy steps.

Firstly, tidy as much as you can – a good outdoor brush and a few bin bags can improve it quickly. If you can get your hands on a power washer, you can give it a really deep clean.

It might take a little bit of planning to maximise the space – but if you aren’t planting anything in the ground, you can move it around if it doesn’t quite work out.

Without much ground space, you might want to add things that grow tall rather than wide.

Freddie Blackett, co-founder of Patch – an online delivery service for plants – explains: ‘If it’s an option, start by planting something that will climb up a wall. Ivy is a perfect, easy option (there’s a reason it’s one of the most popular plants in UK gardens).

Ivy growing on a wall
Try some ivy for background foilage (Picture: Getty)

‘It grows quickly and won’t take long to give you a vivid green backdrop for the rest of your plants. When the weather warms up again, consider planting a flowering climber, like jasmine. The exotic fragrance you’ll get when it flowers will make outdoor dinners, or just your morning coffee, a delight.’

Once you have that as a backdrop, add a big statement plant.

Freddie recommends a canary island date palm or a gorgeous red Japanese maple.

He explains: ‘It will give your planting a focal point and the more height variation you have the more attractive your space will be.

‘If you want to section off different areas, for example to designate one area for dining, you could use several tall plants to act as a green ‘wall’. Bay trees would be lovely for this and have the advantage of a subtle warm fragrance. Or consider a smart row of olive trees or box.’

With a small space, you don’t have much room to grow things for different seasons so choose interesting foliage that works all year round.

Freddie adds: ‘A leucothoe has curly red and green leaves that look amazing. A festuca glauca is a grass that has foliage with a subtle blue tint. The variegated leaves and feathery flowers of a carex evergold will give a softness to your arrangement and go with anything.

‘You can then bring in more pots for flowering plants and garden herbs when spring comes. The more colour and interest you have, the less likely you are to even notice those gray paving slabs.’

Of course, when you don’t have anywhere you can actually plant anything, pots are your best friend.

An area filled with plants in pots
Plant pots are your best friend (Picture: Getty)

You can add lots of colour with pots and they don’t have to be hugely expensive.

Make sure you fill them with a drainage layer or holes at the bottom and then plenty of compost.

You can also add little pots to hang on your fence, like these, or create a hanging basket or window boxes to add more greenery in a small area.

You can even create a vertical herb garden out of an old shoe organiser.

With a little imagination, your drab paved yard can be transformed.

‘Don’t think of a paved space as boring and restrictive but as a blank canvas. You can arrange it however you like and if you change your mind about it next spring, just move it all around,’ Freddie says.

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How to reduce waste and help the planet when you’re travelling on a plane

Pack for your next holiday responsibly (Picture: Unsplash)

Flying creates a lot of waste.

According to a Guardian analysis published earlier this year, taking a long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year.

The figures obtained from German nonprofit Atmosfair found that a single flight from London to New York generates about 986kg of CO2 per passenger. Incredibly, there are 56 countries around the world, from Burundi to South Africa that emit less, per person, every year.

Shorter trips were just as bad. A flight from London to Rome carries a carbon footprint of 234kg of CO2 per passenger – topping the average produced by citizens of 17 countries annually.

With passengers expected to fly a total of 8.1tn km, up 5% from last year and more than 300% since 1990, 2019 is looking to be a pretty bleak year for the Ozone layer, especially considering natural disasters such as the fires currently raging the Amazon rainforest.

But it’s not just carbon emissions from the fuel that are a environmental problem – in 2017, airlines produced a terrifying 5.7 million tonnes of global waste, most of which went to landfill or incineration.

Obviously the best thing to do is to avoid flying. Train travel is coming back. Yes, it takes longer, but the carbon footprint from travelling the tracks is much, much less.

When it comes to comparing the negative effects of plane vs. train, the latter always comes out on top.

According to EcoPassenger, a journey from London to Madrid would emit 43kg (95lb) of CO2 per passenger by train, but 118kg by plane (or 265kg if the non-CO2 emissions are included).

The numbers are all dependent on many factors: the train’s power source and where it came from, especially. Though cars get a bad rep, having an electric one is still better than flying from Manchester to Edinburgh.

If a car is out of a question, go for a coach – the BEIS says travelling by coach emits 27g of CO2 per person per kilometre. Now there’s a stat a plane definitely cannot compete with.

But if you do have to fly – do what you can to cut down on waste when you’re in the air.

Thankfully, many airlines have now clocked on to all the sustainability trends of the moment and now offer everything from brand new planes to routes, eco-friendly packaging and collecting left over items for reuse on flights.

Ideally, and with all the money they make, so much more could be done to help lessen the effects flying has on the wider environment, but it’s a small step in the right direction.

Whilst zero-waste flights are a long way off, there are many ways you can singularly make a difference to help reduce your carbon footprint while flying. Here’s some of them.

Download your mobile boarding pass

The easiest thing anyone can do. Most, if not all, airlines now have their own app. Download it.

When you’ve done that, punch in your booking code and when the time is right, check-in and save your boarding pass. If you’re an iPhone user, add your boarding pass to you wallet.

Simple things like this means your airline will not have to print your boarding pass before you fly. Tip: screenshot your pass and save it to your camera roll.

This way you’ll save time and won’t be THAT person at the boarding gate.

Mobile boarding pass
Save paper buy downloading your mobile boarding pass. (Picture: Unsplash)

Refuse an airplane meal

For some, the free food is the added perk of flying, but truth is it’s already included in the price of your ticket.

If you actually ask any air host or hostess, they’ll tell you eating on a plane is really bad for you.

Research shows that consuming food at high altitudes actually shuts down your digestive system, which might explain why you feel so bloated when you get off a flight.

The alternative? Fast. If you are on a long haul flight, especially at night, ditch the sky high meal and wait until your transfer to load up on grub.

Think of all that plastic, non-reusable napkins and packaging you didn’t use. Advice: after you’ve booked your flight, go to ‘Manage Booking’. Here you’ll see a tab that says ‘choose meal’. You’ll then find an option that says ‘no meal’.

Check it and voila, you’ve helped reduce your waste whilst flying. Go you!

If it’s a weekend trip, only bring carry on

It is possible to travel without checking in a bag, you just have to do it right. Pack what you need, not what you might need.

The benefit for the environment here is that your airline won’t have to give you countless stickers and luggage tags to tracks all your belongings.

Bring a reusable water flask

First thing: make sure you don’t have any water in your flask before going through security – it will be confiscated.

Instead, head to the airport with a bone dry one, and once you do get through security, find a water fountain.

Most modern airports nowadays have public water fountains in their terminals. Before you fly, check to see if your destination, or connection has one.

By doing so, you won’t have to buy a bottle at the airport or ask for water on the plane, and as a result, you’ll reduce the amount of plastic you depend on in your daily routine.

You’ll also have your trusty bottle to use and refill throughout your trip.

Pack a zero waste kit in your carry on

This DIY kit includes everything from your own earphones to cloth napkins, reusable, sustainable and Rainforest alliance-approved wooden cutlery, travel cups and beauty kits you might usually depend on mid-flight.

For extra brownie points, pack a set of paper ore reusable straws. You can use them in air and at your destination. #Winning.

Buy luggage tags

US travellers are notorious for just turning up to the airport and filling out all their details on paper luggage tags.

Non-reusable tags aren’t needed in this day and age, so head to your local store and buy a silly one. I bought mine in Niagara Falls and it has a beaver playing hockey on it. You get the picture.

Don’t throw away your plastic toiletries bag

You know those ziplock bags they give you before you go through security? Yeah, don’t throw them away.

Doing so creates an unnecessary amount of plastic waste, which when discarded, causes havoc on local, and even international environments. Unbeknownst to many, the bags often find their way into natural habitats that, if not removed, kill wildlife.

Most of the carriers now offer bags that come with a handy ziplock – some even have handles – which means they are super durable.

If the thought of grabbing one of them makes your spine shiver, buy a totally reusable transparent silicone case. Not only will you go to the airport fully prepared, but you’ll also rack up year’s worth of green points, too!

Fill your toiletries bag with zero waste products

For some, this may prove laborious and expensive, but if you tend to travel a lot, it’s an investment worth making and means you won’t have to scramble to a Duty Free shop to buy a travel-sized version of shampoo – don’t add to your waste…

Instead, buy some recycled (or upcycle your own) and reusable mini bottles, and fill them up with everything you already have in the bathroom cupboard.

If you seriously want Mother Nature to respect you, purchase tinned (and coral-friendly) sunscreen and zero waste/vegan shampoos, conditioners and body washes.

Pack layers

You’re going to the Maldives. It’s your dream trip, and you are already kitted out in your shorts and questionable shirt (we’re looking at all you men) but your fashion choices are hurting the planet more than you think.

One of the first things you see plonked on your seat is a blanket, and that blanket has been pressed, cleaned and wrapped in a thin layer of plastic.

The sad thing is, that blanket will most likely be thrown away after you use it, too. The solution? If you don’t want to wear a jumper, pack a light scarf, light jacket or cardigan.

You can then keep warm on your own terms, and won’t have to waste even more energy by adjusting the bacteria riddled overhead fan.

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