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Wife creates an Instagram account to document how messy her husband is

Razor propped up on loo rolls
Surely, there are better places you can put that razor (Picture: Instagram/gomi_sutero)

Partners – can’t live without them and sometimes can’t live with them either.

One woman who got tired of her husband leaving dirty socks and tissues lying around decided not to nag him for it.

Instead the woman, from Japan, decided to out him publicly on Instagram.

Creating an account called ‘gomi sutero’ which translates to ‘throw your trash away’, the wife posts her husband’s latest mess.

Showing empty loo rolls, weirdly placed items and old bits of food lying around, the Instagram account has tickled lots of followers.

Now the account boasts more than 470,000 followers.

Let’s hope the husband has become aware of the error of his ways and now picks up after himself.

Inside of a washing machine showing a hairdryer, hair brush and towels
This is inside a washing machine (Picture: Instagram/gomi_sutero)

In one of the images, which is captioned in Japanese, a razor can be seen propped up on a loo roll.

The wife captioned the picture with ‘Stop doing things that just don’t make sense’.

The couple have been married for five years and have a child together but his untidy ways predate their relationship, she told Buzzfeed.

As of yet, he doesn’t know about the Instagram account but she isn’t too fussed about him finding out.

‘I tell him about his messy habits every day,’ she said. ‘And every time I do, he makes me laugh with a silly comeback, so it’s really fun.’

Dirty tissues next to bin
So close (Picture: Instagram/gomi_sutero)

The woman is overwhelmed by all the followers who regularly tune in to see what the husband is up to.

Initially, her page went viral after people thought it was a homeware page. They soon clocked on that she was using the page to roast her husband. Thus a star account was born.

‘The account was never meant for people to follow, as it was just a fun thing for my friends, so I never used hashtags or anything,’ she added.

Men's clothes left out on the floor in front of bathroom
‘I thought it was a dead body’ (Picture: Instagram/gomi_sutero)

In some of the other images, the dad-of-one’s clothes can be seen lying on the floor.

‘I thought it was a dead body,’ the wife said in response.

Dirty socks left on floor
Dirty socks lying around are enough reason to start a roast Instagram account (Picture: Instagram/gomi_sutero)

And for reasons unknown to her, or us, inside the washing machine, the husband left a jumbled mess of towels, a hairdryer and a hairbrush.

Um, that doesn’t sound safe.

We can only imagine what the British equivalent of this account would look like. Probably some cold, mouldy pizza slices under the bed.

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Big T-shirt ponytail gf, goth gf and all the other memeable girlfriends you can have

Big t-shirt ponytail gf, goth gf, and all the other memeable girlfriends you can have
Such is the appeal of the goth gf

‘Your boyfriend’ jokes are a perennial source of joy for large swathes of the Twitter-using population.

All you need to do is make fun of the fictional boyfriends of the internet who love Tame Impala, are centrists, and nearly got into Berghain once. Easy.

The girlfriends of the internet, however, are somewhat more complicated, with gf memes falling into a vast number of – often very niche – subsets.

As with many memes, a lot of gf jokes originated from sites like 4chan, Reddit, and 9gag, and thus often have a strange (and sometimes misogynist) type of humour about them.

Many gfs or wannabe gfs have taken on the memes as their own, however, and are proclaiming that they’re proud to be part of these subcultures. But what are these subcultures that people are #relatinghard to?

Big T-shirt ponytail gf

The current gf du jour is one with a ponytail who wears a big T-shirt.

She is wholesome, loves brunch and the thrift store, and carries a big purse. She bridges the gap between carer and lover, and always has a supply of cereal bars and wet wipes.

It’s thought that this iteration of gf was invented by @prophethusband on Twitter this year. Hope she sees it, bro.

Goth gf

Perhaps the most well-known of all the gfs is the goth gf, who can also come in the form of a ‘big titty goth gf’ or ‘small titty goth gf’.

It’s thought to have come about on Tumblr in 2014 when a user posted about his gf, saying ‘bb ur hands r so cold’, to which his goth girlfriend replies ‘that me soul.’

It really took off, however, when a pet bird called Kiwi got a goth gf called Siouxsie, and the internet  flipped out, seeing just how wonderful the love of a good goth woman could be.

Since then, you’ll see many an account with the ‘goth gf’ moniker.

Aborted gf

Let’s step into the surreal with this one, as the aborted gf meme started life as a genuine and earnest picture posted to the prolife subreddit.

The idea was that a perfect gf could have existed in the world, and would cook you hot meals and – weirdly – be ‘like twins’ with you.

However, there is no gf, because she was cruelly aborted by her plan-having mum. Naturally, it blew up and the aborted gf took on a new, much funnier, existence. It’s a pretty good way for sad dudes to blame women (even those that don’t exist) for the fact they have no friends and can’t eat a vegetable, though.

Clown college gf

Down the rabbit hole we go, folks. This girlfriend wears clothes as bright as Ronald McDonald, has the chutzpah of Krusty, and bears the heady optimism of Mr Tumble (there aren’t that many famous, non-creepy clowns for me to reference here).

That’s right, she’s at clown college, and she brings the myriad perks that come with it. Hope you like honking.

Spider gf

If you’re looking for a gf who will reply :::) to your :), look no further.

Spider gf will embrace you in her web overnight, and your babies will infiltrate houses across your neighbourhood.

Be careful she doesn’t tickle you with her eight hairy legs, though. Or eat you.

Buying gf

The most successful romancers in the popular MMPORG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), Runescape, were those who had a lot of money and could buy partners.

Whether these prized in-game gfs were actually who they said they were mattered not. If you could find a companion for whom you could sell meat and cowhides and buy diamond rings, that was what was important.

Club Penguin/Minecraft gf

On the topic of virtual partners, many people have also been talking about their gfs from Minecraft, Club Penguin, and other online games.

They taught us love (or possibly being lightly groomed), loss, and most importantly, materialism.

Whoever had more items and more availability of being online was the hottest property. Those of us whose parents wouldn’t fork out for upgrades lost out… And that hurt still lingers.

Depressed gf

It’s no secret that mental illness is fetishised in women, with men across Tinder looking for girls with ‘daddy issues’ or some other horrifying thing they find sexy because they watched a Tarantino film once.

Thankfully, the depressed gf trope is one that women don’t need men to prescribe to them.

Instead, we can all lay in bed being sad babies and doing sheet masks as self care and no longer feel bad about it. In fact, ‘depressed gf’ is now our whole personality – even when single – and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Also don’t ever hit on us again.

TFW no gf

Ouch, right in the feels.

Popularised by guys on forums sad that they were going to be ‘forever alone’, it means ‘that feel[ing] when [I have] no girlfriend’ and is now said in a mostly ironic way.

It’s often accompanied this a picture of the ‘know that feel’ guy, and followed by an oddly specific way they’d like their ideal gf to be.

Those who TFW no gf unironically are normally dragged, which makes sense given nobody owes you anything. If you have no gf, go out there and hang out at the ponytail and big T-shirt store until someone takes a shine to you, instead of crying about it online.

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Mac the dog wears boots and goggles for his important job in the fire service


A brave Springer Spaniel has been trained to enter disaster zones with mercy crews and he even has his own uniform, including boots and goggles.

Three-year-old Mac was trained by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to go into collapsed buildings to search for casualties.

Although Mac and his companion, Diesel, also a Springer Spaniel, are based in Scotland, they can be sent on international rescue missions.

Diesel is now ten years old, so the fire service wanted to train another dog to help.

Born in Suffolk, Mac was taken to Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, aged just eight weeks old to start training with a specialist dog handler.

Mac with Gary
English springer spaniel, Mac, 3, with handler crew manager Gary Carroll (Picture: SWNS)

Crew manager Gary Carroll, 48, said Mac’s agility allows him to enter unstable buildings without the risk of causing further damage – known as ‘secondary collapse’.

Mac is trained to pick up the scent of a person breathing, as well as listening for shouts for help.

Proud Gary said: ‘He can enter areas where there are a lot of rocks and slabs.

‘He can even enter unsteady buildings.

‘This is because of his weight – he doesn’t cause what we call a secondary collapse.

‘He can cover areas a lot safer than firefighters can and not disturb as much debris.

‘I went for this type of breed because of its size. If I have to lift him into an area, he is light.

Mac at work
Mac is a little hero (Picture: SWNS)

‘He can also fit into small holes too.’

Having already trained Diesel, Gary said he was in no rush to get Mac up to speed.

He said the brown and white Springer, who qualified in July, thinks it is ‘all a game’.

Gary trained Mac at home, with his wife hiding and the dog sniffing her out.

He said: ‘Some casualties are easy for him to find but it all depends on the situations as some casualties can take longer to be found.

‘We’ve had him since he was eight-weeks-old, so to get to this stage is a real proud moment.

‘The fire service and my wife have helped him with the training.

‘My wife would hide in different places and he would then find her and get the reward.

Mac on a mission
He’s been taught how to rescue people (Picture: SWNS)

‘He looks for casualties by using his nose.

‘If the person is unconscious, the best thing we have is the dog’s nose because he can smell that person breathing. It’s the air scent he is looking for.

‘He will pick anyone shouting for help or someone unconscious.

‘If someone is deceased then this is not the type of dog for them, there is a different type of dog that the police use.

‘He is only trained to detect where living people are.’

Special boots protect Mac’s paws from broken glass, while goggles keep dust out of his eyes.

Mac and Gary are always on call, unless they are on holiday.

Dad-of-two Gary added: ‘To train him, it’s all a big game for him.

Gary with Mac
Gary and Mac work well together (Picture: SWNS)

‘His reward is a tennis ball, so he thinks if he finds where that person is trapped and smells their scent he will get the reward.

‘We allowed him to play with the toy for months and one day we took and hide it.

‘Naturally, he’s annoyed and wants it back but the toy is only returned when he barks – that’s how we build his play drive.’

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Libraries are loaning elaborate cake pans so you can make a showstopper

The cake pans at Ludington library that you can rent out
The cake pans at Ludington library (Picture: @TravelingAnna/Twitter)

Exciting news – the Great British Bake Off starts again tonight and it’s cake week.

Which probably means you’ll be inspired to create some sort of tiered showstopper around 9.30pm tonight.

But when you haven’t got the tent full of equipment to use, it’s a lot harder.

That’s why we love this idea from the States.

As well as the normal books and DVDs, libraries are now offering elaborate cake pans.

It means you can create that Transformers shaped cake or unicorn head without having to splash out on a fancy tin that you’ll never use again.

Annemarie Dooling spotted the tins at the Ludington library in Philadelphia but it seems it’s offered in other towns too.

Arkon Summit County Public Library replied to the tweet to say they lend cake pans and some kitchen tools.

A sign on the wall alongside the pans explains that you can keep the pans for a week and you just need to take them to the desk to check out, like with a book.

Casey Leming who works at Ludington tweeted: We’ve been circulating cake pans for a while now and our collection keeps growing – super popular with the community and an amazing resource in all!

‘I’ve worked at Ludington for 6.5 years and adore it. Our collection began growing with cake pans a little while ago and now we have museum passes too – it’s amazing what local libraries can achieve with support from the community!’

We’ve not seen the idea copied in the UK yet but we’d love to see it. A dinosaur-shaped cake is surely Hollywood handshake worthy.

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Dad has to rush toddler to A&E because she got her head stuck in a toilet seat

Josie with her head in the potty
Josie got her head stuck in the potty (PIcture: SWNS)

An embarrassed dad had to take his daughter to A&E because she got a pink toilet training seat stuck round her neck.

28-year-old Scott Webber was looking after his daughter Josie, two, when she went upstairs to the bathroom.

But instead of putting her training potty on the loo, she slid it over her head and got stuck.

Scott, a learning support practitioner, tried to take the toilet seat off her head, but Josie’s ears kept getting in the way and she complained it was hurting her – so he was left with no choice but to go to A&E.

Other people at the hospital laughed at Josie, and Scott couldn’t believe what had happened.

Scott, from in Minehead, Somerset, said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I saw what she’d done.

Scott with Josie
Scott wasn’t very impressed… (Picture: SWNS)

‘I thought it would just come off but her ears kept getting in the way and she was getting so mad at me.

‘She loves telling people about it now though – she’s just a crazy kid!’

Scott and little Josie, who is potty training,had just had their evening meal together when she went to the loo and then shouted for help.

Her dad found her in the bathroom doorway wearing her bright pink potty round her neck.

‘I didn’t know what to think – I was so shocked,’ Scott said.

‘I told her to stop messing about and take it off but when she told me it was stuck I tried myself.’

After calling Josie’s mum, Laura Thompson, 29, Scott bundled their daughter into the car and rushed her to Minehead Community Hospital, Somerset.

Josie with her head stuck
Josie didn’t find the A&E trip funny (Picture: SWNS)

‘When we walked into A&E everyone was staring at us,’ Scott said.

‘I don’t blame them, but one woman did start laughing and Josie didn’t like it one bit!

‘She shouted at them “it’s not funny” – but I think we can all agree it was.’

The family were seen within 15 minutes and although Scott was worried they would need to cut the potty off, they were able to remove it by taping Josie’s ears down to her head and sliding it off.

‘The potty is still in the boot of my car – I’m not risking her doing it again,’ Scott said.

‘We’ve bought another one that she won’t be able to put on her head, just in case.’

Little Josie now finds the whole incident hilarious, repeating the story to all their friends and family by saying ‘stuck’ before bursting into fits of laughter.

Their relatives have all teased her for ‘being like her dad’, who has been known all his life for having a ‘big head’.

‘When I left school it said in my yearbook that my future job would be to work in a “large hat manufacturer”,’ Scott said.

‘It’s always been a running joke so my mates find it extra funny that this happened to Josie.

‘She’s never going to live this one down, those photos will haunt her forever!

‘We’ll make sure to remind her of this when she turns 18 and has her first boyfriend.’

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3,500 calories a day, tiny bunks, bruises and sea sickness: What it takes to train for a round-the-world sailing race


‘One thing we have in common, is that we’re all a bit mad,’ our skipper said with a grin as we sat down for our first session.

I was with nine other people embarking on my first week of training for the Clipper Round The World Race.

The annual event, which first started running in 1996, was conceived by Sir Robert Knox Johnston who single-handedly circumnavigated the globe in a 32ft boat named Suhaili in 1969.

After achieving the intrepid feat and scoring a number of other titles, he decided to make sailing accessible to everyone, and the Clipper Race was born.

Sadie gets to grips with sailing during her Clipper Round The World training
Sadie gets to grips with sailing during her Clipper Round The World training

Anyone can apply to do the epic 46,850 mile / 75,500km race, which cuts through some of the world’s most treacherous waters, but they must undergo four weeks of intensive training before getting the green light.

There are various topics covered during training including knots, the main logistics of sailing and, most importantly, safety at sea.

Some of the main concerns include capsizing, losing control of the steering, fire and man overboards.

The round-the-world race is split into eight legs. This year, the race starts on September 1 and is due to finish August 2020.

Participants can elect to do all eight – if they have £43,500 spare – or a more affordable way of tapping into the experience is doing a leg or two.

Each leg varies in length, with the longest being 40 days and the shortest 17.

I had signed up for the latter, with my route (leg 2) set to take me from Uruguay to South Africa in late October. On this leg, the weather is mixed – temperatures would range from 10c to 30c – and the seas are unpredictable.

Being a bit of an adrenaline junkie, the brochure blurb describing this 17-day stretch definitely appealed to me.

‘This leg can throw everything at you – from raging South Atlantic storms to long surfing runs which combine to pose a unique mental and physical challenge.’

The Punta del Este Clipper boat which will be taking part in the race
The Punta del Este Clipper boat which will be taking part in the race

This year, there are 11 boats in the race, with each sponsored by a company or destination.

I would be aboard the Punta del Este, supported by the namesake Uruguayan city where we would depart.

On the kit front, Clipper has selected British brand Musto as the technical clothing partner, with all racers provided with a bright yellow weather-proof uniform to see them through.

What immediately struck me after arriving for my first Clipper training session was how diverse our group was.

There were people who had travelled from all over the world to Gosport in Portsmouth to ‘learn the ropes’.

In our Level One training group there were a couple of Canadians, a few Americans, a German lady, a man from the Netherlands and several of us flying the British flag.

The Clipper race attracts a diverse range of people from different countries
The Clipper race attracts a diverse range of people from different countries

The age range was equally spread – this year I’d heard the youngest Clipper participant will be 18, while the oldest is in their late 70s.

Some people in our group had some sailing experience, while the majority had none.

Everyone had different reasons for being there – retired, just finished school, just sold businesses, just received some inheritance, just got divorced or like me, looking for a new challenge.

I had never had never really sailed before so this was all new to me.

All I knew was that I enjoyed spending time out on the water and had sailed on some fairly rough seas aboard engine-powered expedition boats, from the wilds of Antarctica to the choppy west coast of Mexico.

Along with being told that we all had a shared trait of ‘being a bit mad’ we were also told by our skipper what a life-changing experience the Clipper race was going to be.

The tiny bunk beds on the Clipper boats. During the race participants must hotbed
The tiny bunk beds on the Clipper boats. During the race participants must hotbed

His daughter had done the full circumnavigation a few years back, so he could vouch for its impact.

First things first, we were given a tour of the 68ft boat we were going to call ‘home’ for the next week.

I’m used to camping, so the Clipper boat didn’t faze me too much with two tiny toilets that needed pumping by hand to flush (up to 30 times!) and a squashed sleeping compartment with tiny bunk beds that have to be hoisted up at an angle to prevent you from falling out.

During the race, participants have to hotbed and share the bunks with a partner as everyone does shift work and sleep at alternate times.

Luckily, to ease us in slowly we would have our own beds for the first three training sessions.

On the food front, our skipper warned us to keep our energy levels up as we would be burning around 3,500 calories a day during training and up to 5,000 during the race.

The key pieces of kit for Clipper Around The World training

I completed my sailing training during the summer months so lighter clothing was needed.

Each Clipper race participant gets a pair of Musto sailing salopettes, smock jacket, shorts, T-shirt and long-sleeved top. Here are some of the other pieces of kit I used during the four weeks which came in handy…

We would be taking it in turns to cook for each other as ‘mother’ (sailing lingo for chef), with all ship duties divided up equally.

The kitchen had a cooker on a gimbal so it would remain balanced while sailing along at a 45-degree angle. There was also a harness so you could strap yourself into for added safety while you cooked!

The thought of rustling up meals for more than 10 people in the tiny space filled me with vague horror… although the menu looked fairly uncomplicated with the likes of pasta, pasties and soup being the staple spread.

The crews eat three times a day, with breakfast usually around 7am, lunch at 1pm and dinner at 7pm. Depending on the weather, meals are served out on deck or in the saloon. To keep energy levels up, there are also a plethora of snacks stored away in netted cubby-holes.

Other parts of the boat we would become familiar with included the engine compartment, the saloon (where all of the goodies were stored), the navigation room and the rope room.

Many of us agreed that learning how to sail was a bit like learning a foreign language.

For instance, a rope is called a ‘sheet’ and a sail is comprised of three edges called the ‘luff’, ‘leach’ and ‘foot’. The bedroom is called the ‘ghetto’, the kitchen the ‘galley’ and the toilets the ‘heads’.

The toilets on the Clipper boats operate via a hand pump
The toilets on the Clipper boats operate via a hand pump

Each day, our vocabulary continued to expand, as did our sailing knowledge. My confidence also improved each day.

The first time I took to the helm it was a pretty scary experience. Little me in control of this big boat.

I’d capsized canoes, kayaks and even little catamarans previously but thankfully the Clipper boats are extremely difficult to flip over. The big wheel takes some manoeuvring, especially in choppier waters, and it certainly proves to be a great arm workout!

One of the things we quickly learned about the process was the importance of team work.

The saying ‘many hands make light work’ kept ringing through my head as we went about preparing the boat for sailing, powering it through the water and packing it down at the end of the day.

The pack down, which can take around an hour, is certainly one of the more tedious tasks, as everyone is tired but the heavy sails and ropes need to be put away below deck and put in order.

I was really worried I would struggle with it all but I quickly found myself settling into boat life.

The most important thing for me was getting stuck in at every opportunity and maintaining a positive attitude – something that can be a little tricky to do when living with strangers in a small space!

I looked to the small things to keep me going… having a shower at night back at harbour and catching up with everyone over a beverage at the local pub – luxuries that aren’t available during the actual race.

Most people choose to divide their training up, doing a week at a time when getting time off work permits. This is probably the more sensible option but me being a slight glutton for punishment did my first three sessions back-to-back.

I felt pretty frazzled by the end of it all, as sailing proves to be a non-stop workout and my body was peppered with bruises.

At the end of each training level we had to pass a test proving agility, boat and safety knowledge and our ability to tie knots, the main ones being a bowline, tugman’s hitch and Admiralty knot.

I was relieved to sail through each session. The toughest part for me was Level Two where we were put on a rota system, with our sleep patterns broken up between duties.

Sadie washed her hair in a mixing bowl one day with no shower available at sea
Sadie washed her hair in a mixing bowl one day with no shower available at sea

We also spent a few days off shore where we got to experience ‘life at 45 degrees’ and one girl had to be taken back to shore with acute sea sickness. She decided to drop out of the race altogether.

In August, I returned to Gosport for Level Four, my final training session before the main race.

This time round, I was put on my actual race boat Punta del Este (a 70ft vessel instead of a 68ft) with 17 people so we could get a real taste of what would be in store.

We worked in shift patterns, only sleeping for three-hour stints in our coffin-sized bunk beds and then waking up to complete duties for the following three hours.

These short sleeping stints were pretty tough. I listened to music to help me get to sleep through the crashing and pounding of the waves but I felt pretty delirious as the shift work ran on.

We were off shore for 6 days, with the training session culminating in a race against the other 10 Clipper boats.

Sadie said her body was peppered with bruises after three weeks of sailing training
Sadie said her body was peppered with bruises after three weeks of sailing training

The adrenaline was certainly pumping, as this was a simulation of the real thing.

Our charismatic race skipper Jeronimo Santos-Gonzalez helmed for the majority of the race, using his knowledge to steer us into second place.

High points? Learning to work as a team, boarding our beautiful Punta del Este boat, feasting on a delicious chicken curry one evening, achieving a top speed of 15.5 knots while at the helm and soaking up the sunny weather as we had some downtime out on deck during shift.

Low points? Having my period while on the boat certainly wasn’t great, trying to sleep while being bashed about from side to side was equally unpleasant and we had a frustrating night shift from 1am to 4am where everything seemed to go wrong.

There were even tears as these mishaps caused our boat to fall behind a few places but Jeronimo soon got us back on track.

Everyone in our team, as with previous training sessions, agreed it had been a great week.

‘If we’re not having fun then there’s no point in being here!’ Jeronimo cheered as we sped along on the Solent.

We all left Portsmouth feeling tired yet fulfilled and all a little nervous about what the real race will be like, crossing some of the world’s most treacherous waters.

But as the saying goes, ‘We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails’…

Sadie with some of her Level Four team members
Sadie with some of her Level Four team members

Sadie’s place on the Clipper Round the World race is supported by Musto, the technical clothing partner for the 2019-20 and 2021-22 editions of the event. More articles on her racing experiences to come.

Her gym training is sponsored by Anytime Fitness.  


Feeding your pets insect-based food is ‘better for them than steak’

Full Frame Shot Of Worms
Insect-based pet food is rich in protein and environmentally friendly. (Picture: Getty)

If you’re after an environmentally friendly way to feed your pets – insect-based pet food might be the answer.

Vets are now urging pet owners to feed their furry friends a diet rich in insects.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) have said that insect-based food might actually be better for your animals than prime steak.

The latest surveys say that pet-owners are really keen on the idea and would be willing to give the new creep-crawly diet a go.

And, while it’s not exactly a vegan alternative for your pets, eating insects appears to be much more palatable than killing cows, sheep or pigs for lots of people – and the environmental impact of producing insect-based food is far less.

Side view of tan coloured dog standing in kitchen eating from red bowl
insect-based foods use just 2% of the land compared with beef production. (Picture: Getty)

The insects need no fertiliser or pesticides and produce very low emissions. Farmed insect protein is typically raised on human food waste.

Dutch insect farm, Protix, estimates that insect-based foods use just 2% of the land and 4% of the water per kg of protein compared with beef.

Pets are now estimated to be consuming 20% of all meat globally, so finding a sustainable way to cut that number would help everyone. And the good news is that the insect-food is actually really nutritious for your pets.

The slight catch is that insect-based pet food is pretty pricey. Some insect-based food in the UK is more expensive than luxury brands of pet food – so you need to be willing to invest.

Insects are already widely used in fish farms and poultry farms, and some UK firms are already selling pet food with up to 40% insect protein – so hopefully as it becomes a more widespread trend, the products will become more affordable.

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Photoseries helps women with acne break down the stigma of living with a skin condition

Acne photoseries by sophie harris taylor
The series features 20 women (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)

Living with a skin condition can have a huge impact on your confidence.

In fact according to the British Skin Foundation, 95% of people with acne said it affected their daily lives.

Often people who have the red, inflamed bumps cover their skin in heavy make up to avoid others staring at them.

But photographer Sophie Harris-Taylor wanted to encourage people to embrace their skin.

Sophie herself had acne throughout her teenage years and admits that it made her very self-conscious.

For her latest exhibition, she took pictures of 20 bare-faced women to try to break down the stigma of skin conditions.

The exhibition is called Epidermis and runs at the Francesca Maffeo Gallery, in London, from 6 – 13 September 2019.

Sophie explained: ‘I wanted to create a series of work that empowers and allows women to love the skin they’re in, regardless of what condition they have.

‘Suffering from severe acne throughout my teens and 20’s left me incredibly self-conscious and I longed for ‘normal’ skin. Normality is defined by the images we see all around us. We are led to believe all women have perfect flawless skin – they don’t.

‘Whether not shown or simply disguised, many women suffer from conditions such as acne, rosacea and eczema, most of these women feel a pressure to hide behind a mask of makeup, covering up what actually makes them unique.

‘Here these beautiful women proudly bare their skin.’

Sophie wanted to follow the style of a traditional beauty shoot but also to encourage the subjects to explore their skin.

Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Francesca (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Mariah (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Lex (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Abi (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Alice (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Joice (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Christina (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Annie (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Holly (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Thea (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Louisa (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Indiana (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Ezzine (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)
Acne photoseries By Sophie Harris-Taylor
Izzy (Picture: Sophie Harris-Taylor)

Epidermis by Sophie Harris-Taylor is presented by Francesca Maffeo Gallery at The Print Space, September 6 – 13, 2019.

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Brother and sister share wedding day and manage to save £5,000 each

The brother and sister shared their wedding
From left: Matthew and Andrea, Christophe and; Adele (Picture: Tristan Potter/SWNS)

A savvy brother and sister saved loads of money on their weddings by getting married to their partners on the same day and sharing the cost.

Andrea Walker, 31, and younger brother Christopher Brennan, 28, had back-to-back ceremonies over the weekend.

The inseparable siblings even shared the costs of staging a joint wedding reception for more than 100 guests – making savings of around £5,000 per couple.

On Sunday Andrea, a trainee teaching assistant, tied the knot with warehouse manager Matt Walker, 28.

Just 30 minutes after saying their nuptials, Christopher said ‘I do’ to long term girlfriend Adele, 28, who works as a cleaner.

After pooling their resources, the couples were able to shell out for a dream wedding at the posh Castle Hotel, in Tamworth, Staffordshire.

Andrea said: ‘Matt and I were looking at getting married at the same time as Christopher and Adele were also looking at places.

‘It turned out we were all going for similar locations and colour schemes but the cost was spiralling.

The couples kissing
They saved £5,000 each (Picture: Tristan Potter/SWNS)

‘I was chatting away to Christopher one day, moaning about the costs going up and then we just said “why don’t we do it together?”

‘Then it sort of snowballed from there.

‘It happened by chance because it was convenient.

‘It was also better for my dad who is suffering from emphysema to be able to see us both get married on the same day.’

Christopher, who has a four-year-old son and three-year-old daughter with Adele, added: ‘I didn’t think we could afford to get married.

‘I was joking to begin with. I first came up with the idea sitting on the sofa one evening when I worked out how cheap it would be to share the cost with another couple.

‘We realised we could afford to get married after all if we shared the date with my sister.

Christopher and Adele walking down the aisle
Christopher and Adele walking down the aisle (Picture: Tristan Potter/SWNS)

‘It was special day and it was plain sailing to be fair.’

The siblings’ proud dad Colin Brennan, 61, said: ‘It was just brilliant to have the weddings on the same day.

‘That’s is how close Andrea and Christopher are. It was definitely a very proud day and a good night as well.

‘It’s not really that surprising because they are so close to each other and really love each other. They decided to help each other out with the cost.

‘It’s really lovely that after sharing so much as kids, they’ll now share wedding anniversaries too.’

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Diet Coke festive clementine orange flavour is coming for winter

Clementine Diet Coke
Pictures: Coca Cola

We’re in the middle of a heatwave but brands are already thinking about Christmas (it is just 120 days away after all).

Coca Cola has announced that this year they are bringing out a festive clementine Diet Coke.

Yep, that’s the classic flavour of Diet Coke, with added orange.

It will arrive in stores mid-October and Coca Cola hasn’t said how long it will be around for but it is limited edition so don’t expect to see much of it after the New Year.

Of course, adding fruit to all incarnations of Coke isn’t new – we’ve had twisted strawberry Diet Coke, mango Diet Coke, raspberry Coke Zero, peach Coke Zero and cherry original Coke for a while.

A limited editions flavour was blood orange but it’s no longer available and the clementine version should have a stronger citrus flavour.

Clementines are sweeter and smaller than blood oranges. They’re traditionally associated with the Christmas period because they’re the oranges that go in your stockings.

The new Christmas edition will be available in 500ml and 1.25l bottles in Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

It’s likely to be priced between £1 and £1.45.

Kris Robbens, marketing director at Coca-Cola Great Britain said: ‘We’re excited to announce the launch of a new limited-edition flavour, Diet Coke Clementine.

‘Full of festive flavour and with no sugar, it’s the perfect drink for the lead up to Christmas.’

It’s not the first time the brand has created something a little different for Christmas. Last year, Coca Cola launched a cinnamon flavour Coke Zero.

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Bake Off 2019: How to make a fruit cake like one in first signature challenge


The Great British Bake Off is back and it’s cake week.

The first challenge of 2019 is to make a fruit cake.

It might seem a little autumnal when we’re in the middle of a heatwave but it’s up to the judges to decide.

So if you’re inspired to create your own signature bake, we’ve got a recipe for a sweet treat crammed with fruit, nuts and soaked in alcohol for you to create at home.

Obviously the bakers will have the opportunity to be creative but we’ve stuck to a fairly traditional recipe from Patisserie Valerie.

Before you start, our experts from Rachel Jones and Matt Scaife, from Patisserie Valerie, and Reshmi Bennet from Anges de Sucres, have some tips to create the perfect rich, moist cake, worthy of a Hollywood handshake.

Which alcohol should you use for a fruitcake?

You can use any spirits you’d like to, but for a traditional fruitcake Rachel recommends brandy, rum or whiskey.

Use a cheaper brand for the batter, as the alcohol evaporates while baking, but use a high-quality one for the feeding of the cake.

Matt’s  top tip is to use Athru Annacoona 14-year old whiskey for the feeding of the cake.

Are there any alcohol-free options?

You could use juice or a fruit syrup. Citrus syrup would work well.

The baked fruit cake
The baked cake (Picture: Maha Albadrawi)

Which fruit should you use?

This is entirely up to your personal taste, but a traditional fruitcake is made with dried fruits.

Rachel used cranberries, raisins, glace cherries, and chopped apricots. She works with a recipe that has been in her family for years.

She says the glace cherries really pop while you’re eating.

You could use fresh fruits like apples or carrots as well, this would make it more moist.

What is important when mixing the ingredients together?

Make sure to let the batter cool off before adding the flour and eggs, because it might accidentally scramble the eggs otherwise.

Add the flour first, then the free-range eggs for the same reason.

Don’t beat it for too long, this makes the flour overworked and stretchy.

As you use so much fruit – roughly 1kg – the batter will be so heavy when you add it to the spring form it would make sense to even it out with a scraper. It won’t really even itself out like most cakes.

Why is feeding the cake important?

Fruitcake is often made a few weeks or even months ahead of time to allow the liquor to seep into the cake and properly blend with the other flavors. 

You can feed the cake daily for a couple of months, but you should stop two to three weeks before you decorate and serve the cake. This way, it can fully develop its flavours.

Icing the fruit cake
Icing the cake (Picture: Maha Albadrawi)

How do you feed the cake?

Poke several holes in the top and sides of the fruitcake using a skewer.

Pour ¼ cup of your choice of liquor over the fruitcake, ensuring that the liquor gets into the holes.

Wrap it in plastic foil so it soaks up all the liquid.

Repeat daily for up to a few months.

What are the best icings for fruitcake?

Traditional fruitcakes usually have a layer of marzipan as well as sugar paste or fondant as icing, but we opted for a more summery version, with Swiss meringue buttercream icing. It’s not as sweet and has a nicer, fluffier texture.

The finished fruit cake
The finished cake (Picture: Maha Albadrawi)

How do you know when the meringue is ready?

Stick your finger in there. You want it to be firm and glazed.

When beating, start low and build up a speed, because you don’t want things to go flying around.

You can also flavour this icing with spices or alcohol, but we kept it light and simple for this summery version.

Which fruits and nuts should you use for decoration?

Pecans, walnuts, star anise, cinnamon, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, redcurrants, cherries (spray-coated with golden colour).

An odd number of cherries always looks better than an even number.

Now let’s get onto the fruitcake recipe:

The ingredients for the fruit cake

To make a large 8 inch cake:

1 kg mixed dried fruits (fruit choice is personal preference, I used sultanas, raisins, currants, cranberries, diced apricots and whole glace cherries)

1 orange zest and juice

1 lemon zest and juice

150ml booze + extra for feeding (we used a mixture of rum and whiskey today)

250g unsalted butter

200g light soft brown sugar

175g plain flour

100g ground almonds

1/2 tsp baking powder

2tsp mixed spice

1tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

4 large eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

Swiss meringue buttercream

75g egg white

113g caster sugar

150g softened butter – cubed

(We kept this plain today to let the flavours in the cake shine but you could flavour it with alcohol/vanilla/citrus to personal taste)

Decorations used

Golden cherries





Nibbed pistachios

Whole pecans

Whole walnuts

Cinnamon stick (for decoration only, not to eat!)

Whole Star anise (for decoration only, not to eat!)

Rosemary sprigs  (for decoration only, not to eat!)

Cake could be made alcohol free by using orange juice inside, and feeding with a flavoured syrup

It could also be made nut free by removing thr ground almonds, adding an extra 100g plain flour and not using nuts to decorate

The method

To make the cake:

  1. In a large pan mix together the dried fruit, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, alcohol, butter and soft brown sugar. Heat gently, then simmer for 5 mins.
  2. Take off the heat and leave to cool for 30mins.
  3. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and spices. Mix to combine.
  4. Transfer into a clean bowl, whisk the eggs, add and mix to combine.
  5. Place mix in a greased and lined 8″ cake tin.
  6. Bake at 130C for 2 hours (until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean)
  7. While still hot, poke all over with a skewer, pour oven 2tbsp of alcohol. Leave to cool in the tin.
  8. Feed with a fur5her 2tbsp alcohol every week until 1 week before decorating.

To make the icing:

  1. In clean bowl, mix the egg white and caster sugar.
  2. Place over a bain marie and whisk until thickened, the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch.
  3. Off the heat. Using a stand mixer or electric hand whisk, whip on fastest speed to stiff peaks.
  4. Add the cubed softened butter, whisk on slow speed until melted. Then whisk on fastest speed until smooth.

To decorate:

  1. Use a little buttercream to stick the cake to your plate or cake board
  2. Coat the top with the buttercream.
  3. Place decorations however you like, have fun!

The baked and iced cake can be stored ambient (and are best eaten at room temperature). But be aware any fresh fruit used as decoration will have a limited shelf life.

MORE: What it’s like to be a Great British Bake Off contestant

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Woman who thought she found a bargain accidentally orders laundry baskets the size of her hand

Lauren Lacey ordered a bargain and ended up with tiny washing baskets too small for doing laundry
Lauren Lacey ordered a bargain and ended up with tiny washing baskets too small for doing laundry (Picture: Lauren Lacey/Facebook)

Who among us hasn’t had an online shopping fail?

Whether it’s clothes that don’t fit the way they’re supposed to or drunkenly ordering something you definitely don’t need, mistakes and confusion happen – but at least we can all get a laugh out of it.

One of our favourite genres of online shopping messups has to be ‘the one where something is a different size than planned’.

Take the case of Lauren Lacey, from Nottinghamshire, who thought she’d found an absolute bargain when she came across a 91p laundry basket on Amazon.

Faced with such a sweet deal, Lauren ordered three.

You can see where this is going, but let’s explain just so we can all enjoy this mixup to its full potential.

When the ‘laundry baskets’ arrived, Lauren was shocked to find they were about four inches tall – far too small to fit even a few dirty socks.

Lauren Lacey ordered a bargain and ended up with tiny washing baskets too small for doing laundry
Wait a minute… (Picture: Lauren Lacey)

It turned out what Lauren had ordered weren’t laundry baskets at all, but tiny desk organisers designed to hold pens, glasses, and makeup brushes. Handy for some, but not quite what she was after.

Lauren shared the story on the Hinch Army Cleaning Tips group on Facebook and got plenty of sympathy and laughs.

Alongside photos of the teeny-tiny baskets, Lauren wrote: ‘So I thought I was getting a bargain, three washing baskets at 91p each, guess who didn’t read the description?’

The good news – in addition to her debacle making us laugh – is that Lauren isn’t alone in this particular mishap. Plenty of people commented on the post to share stories of their own online orders gone wrong.

tiny washing baskets from amazon
In Lauren’s defence, it is difficult to tell how big an item is with no other objects for comparison (Picture: Amazon)

‘I did this with a sieve once,’ wrote one woman in the comments, ‘it was a tea strainer.’

Another commented: ‘I’ve done this with a “child’s chair” £2 on eBay… turned out to be for a dolls house!!’

And another said: ‘My many eBay mishaps include buying a woolly hat, arrived tiny and turned out it was a hat for a gearstick!! A lovely blanket as a present for a baby.. turned out to be an a4 piece of paper telling you how to crochet it! Oh and cones for football training, they came the size of screwballs!’

Others commented alternative uses for the tiny baskets, such as using them for pegs, popcorn, or to transport one lone sock from the floor to the washing machine.

In the reviews section on Amazon, it’s clear that Lauren isn’t the first person to think these specific baskets were larger than they truly were.

Among the one star reviews is the warning: ‘BE AWARE TINY TINY TINY!!!!!! ONLY 4 INCHES HIGH NOT LAUNDRY BASKET!!!!!’

The lesson here: Check the description and measurements before you hit order. If it seems too cheap to be real, it probably is.

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Drinking red wine is good for your gut health, says study

glass of red wine
Drink up (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

If you’re stuck in the pub deciding what to drink, you might want to swap your kombucha for a glass of red wine.

The occasional glass of red could be linked to better gut health, suggests a new study. There’s your reason to drink up.

Scientists at King’s College London analysed more than 900 twins to look at the effects of beer, cider, white wine, red wine, and spirits on the gut microbiome – the millions of bacteria that live in the intestinal tract and help you digest and process food.

They found that the gut microbiome was more diverse among red wine drinkers than in those who had other drinks.

Researchers reckon this could be due to a higher amount of defence chemicals called polyphenol in wine, which could act as an antioxidant.

Gut health is pretty important. Alongside the impact of your gut microbiome on bloating, physical discomfort, and metabolising food, research has linked poor gut health with anxiety, and experts believe you need to take care of your gut microbiome in order to banish brain fog, lethargy, and irritability.

Well-balanced gut microbiome is thought to:

  • Protect us from infections
  • Support all mental functions – gut bacteria have been linked to the production of chemicals in the brain, including serotonin which acts as the body’s natural antidepressant.
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Impact body composition
  • Improve heart health by reducing cholesterol
  • Strengthen our immune system

And you only need to look into the stats around some of the UK’s biggest health problems to realise the impact these benefits could have on the nation:

  • 86% of British adults suffered from a gastrointestinal problem from 2016-2017
  • 1 in 16 people have diabetes
  • 1 in 4 people experience mental-health related symptoms
  • An estimated 7 million people in the UK live with cardiovascular disease

Obviously none of this means you should start chugging bottles of a nice cabernet. Drink responsibly and remember that while red wine is rich in polyphenol, there are plenty of other foods that contain this gut-boosting ingredient, including cocoa powder, beetroot, and tomatoes.

Polyphenol alone won’t sort out your gut health entirely, either. A varied diet with probiotics and prebiotics is key.

Dr Sadie Boniface, research coordinator at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: ‘No doctor would recommend drinking on medical grounds, as any potential benefits of red wine polyphenols should be considered alongside alcohol’s links to over 200 health conditions, including heart disease and cancers as identified in the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines review.

‘Polyphenols are also available from a range of other foods besides red wine.’

Foods high in polyphenols include:

• Cocoa powder
• Dark, leafy vegetables
• Beetroot
• Green tea
• Berries
• Tomatoes

The scientists behind the paper say their findings aren’t about boozing to the extreme, but giving people a gut-friendly option for when they are having an alcoholic drink.

Dr Caroline Le Roy, first author of the findings, said: ‘Although we observed an association between red wine consumption and the gut microbiota diversity, drinking red wine rarely, such as once every two weeks, seems to be enough to observe an effect.

‘If you must choose one alcoholic drink today, red wine is the one to pick as it seems to potentially exert a beneficial effect on you and your gut microbes, which in turn may also help weight and risk of heart disease.

‘However, it is still advised to consume alcohol with moderation.’

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68-year-old glamour model poses in the same bikini she wore in her 20s

Suzy Monty in the green bikini she wore 20 years ago
Suzy has been modelling for more than 50 years (Picture: SWNS)

One of Britain’s oldest glamour models Suzy Monty still looks as good as she did in her 20s.

As an ode to her early modelling days, the now 68-year-old decided to create a photoshoot wearing her bikini from 40 years ago.

Suzy, from Cornwall, hasn’t hung up her boots yet either and says she’s still inundated with modelling requests from photographers.

Her career began early when she won a catwalk competition aged just ten. She then went on to win Miss Cornwall Bikini and Miss Cornwall Swimwear contests.

Now, 58 years later, she has never looked back. And she’s still all-natural, she says – having never dyed her hair or had any surgery.

Suzy works for two modelling agencies as well as doing freelance work and has had work published internationally, including having an entire edition of One of a Kind magazine dedicated to her.

‘I’m very, very busy and there seems to be a big market for mature models at the moment,’ said Suzy.

Collect of Suzy Monty from Cornwall, wearing her bikini in her 30's.
Suzy wearing the timeless bikini again in her 30s (Picture: SWNS)

Unfortunately, though, her career came to a halt when she had glandular fever.

Then in her early 60s, Suzy was diagnosed with a rare tumour for which she had surgery.

Suzy was inspired to keep going when she saw pictures of Dame Helen Mirren in a bikini.nd  She returned to the industry full-time and has had reams of positive feedback.

‘I’ve had messages from ladies over 50 who have said they feel invisible and thanked me for what I’ve done,’ she said.

Collect of Suzy Monty from Cornwall, wearing her bikini in her 30's, in black and white picture
The same green bikini in a black and white photo  (Picture: SWNS)

At the moment, Suzy is working for Australian luxury lingerie brand MySecretDrawer. She credits her physique to eating healthy.

‘I always eat healthily,’ she explains. ‘I love cooking myself with fresh ingredients and eat lots of locally caught fish.

‘I walk my dog for miles every day and have never smoke or drank.

‘But what people don’t realise is that modelling itself is a great pilates workout, holding poses and flexing muscles for hours.’

Suzy has no intentions of stopping any time soon.

Suzy in the green bikini now, aged 68
She looks incredible at age 68 (Picture: SWNS)

‘A photographer said I’ve got to keep going to 70 at least. If I can keep my strength, health and figure I will keep going.

‘I can’t thank my husband enough. We’ll be celebrating our 46th wedding anniversary soon and he is always supporting me, chauffeuring me to shoots.’

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How astrology can improve your sex life


If I told you I can predict all your sexual desires, kinks, and fantasies – would you believe me?

I am an intimacy doula and use sex astrology to help my clients claim their ‘sexual being’.

After studying psychology and biology, a masters degree, and later becoming a dominatrix in a Manhattan dungeon (that’s another story!), I taught myself astrology.

I started practicing sex astrology because my partner and I appeared to be on two different pages when it came to sex – it seemed like I lived on Mars and he was raised on Venus.

Then a friend told me ‘your man is a Taurus, you have to be romantic, sensual, and play with his balls – Taurus men LOVE that.

Skeptically, I tested out her theory on my boo, and to my surprise, it worked. I was already on my journey to becoming an astrologer when I was given that advice, so I knew there had to be more to sex astrology than just a person’s sun sign (also known as your star sign).

I believe that someone’s sun sign can tell you a significant amount of information on their sexual inclinations and desires but I wanted to understand a person beyond the obvious.

I knew because I am a Sagittarius that I prefer sex to be an adventure, and that because I’m a Scorpio rising that I have enchanting eyes and an intense presence. When I found out I had a 12th house Venus in Scorpio? Well that’s when I realised I had some serious intimacy issues.

A beginner's guide to astrology

Astrology: the study of how the stars, planets and other cosmic objects move, the relationship between them and how these influence human live and the world around us.

Horoscope: an astrological chart or diagram depicting the positon of sun, moon and planets at a particular place and time.

Houses: the term used to describe the 12 divided segments of the zodiac. Each house is ruled by a different zodiac sign.

Moon sign: this represents your emotions and is the next most important influence in the Zodiac after your sun sign

Natal chart: also known as a birth chart, this is a map of your life and shows who you are and who you will become, according to the universe.

Rising sign: also known as your ‘ascendent’ it is the sign that was ‘rising’ up over the horizon in the east at the time of your birth

Sun sign: also known as your star sign or your sign of the Zodiac

From that point on, I was convinced that if you’re trying to use astrology to wow someone sexually, that it is an absolute must to get a hold of their birth chart.

A birth chart tells you exactly where the planets were at someone’s moment of birth, and once I have my client’s birth time, date, and location, that’s when the real magic happens.

While I will only read for people who know their birth time (it’s crucial to discovering house placements and rising sign) there’s still a lot that you learn by checking which signs the planets fell into during their birth date.

When I explore a person’s birth chart, I always look for their ‘big three’: their sun, moon, and rising signs.

With the sun you can understand how someone feels about themselves at their core. For example, a Leo sun may regard themselves as having a regal aura that exclusively deserves the very best in bed. Sex can feel most fulfilling when the bed is their stage, and all eyes are on them.

Having the moon sign allows me to then study my client’s emotional needs and how they express their feelings, which provides clues on what they need to do to have the best sex of their lives.

Give that Leo sun a Cancer moon, and before they can feel comfortable to release the beast, they require a safe and comforting connection with a partner (although they might have too much pride to ask).

Illustration of naked couple in bed together
Astrology is an amazing tool that can unlock endless potential (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Once you understand those basics you can start learning about Mars, the planet that rules over libido and passion, then their Venus which rules over sexual pleasure. Eventually you will be studying the countless cosmic-bodies in outer space.

With someone’s birth time I am able to outline the chapters in their story, ranging from how they express themselves to the world, what their family and home life is like and even their hidden and unconscious desires.

Many of my clients experience blocks when it comes to orgasms, and others just need someone to motivate and encourage them.

In that case, I suggest studying your fifth house, twelfth house, Moon, Mars, and Venus. When you understand what someone requires emotionally (moon), you can then learn how to get them excited (Mars) then you find out what makes them feel warm and fluffy inside (Venus).

Tossing the houses in the mix, the fifth house informs how a person likes to indulge in pleasure and the twelfth house deciphers the fantasies they may not feel comfortable admitting.

Someone with a Pisces fifth house may enjoy THC/CBD-infused sexual products but having their 12th house in Libra might mean they desire some type of partnership from their sexual encounters.

Sex by the signs

Aries: Passionate (and possibly short) bursts of primal and sexual energy, wrestling, biting, and power struggles are all acts that engage the ram.

Taurus: Romance is key. Take your time, indulge their bodies, be rough and passionate. Feed them, massage them, set the mood with candles, and watch what happens.

Gemini: Open minded! Intrigued by group play and Japanese rope bondage, and can be a lot more flexible in regards to their sexual interests.

Cancer: Cancers want to nurture and love those around them. A naturally paternal sign so no surprise they are intrigued by daddy/mummy BDSM play. Breasts are appealing and the chest area may be their erogenous zone.

Leo: Drama Queens. They want you to know they’re the best and are willing to put a show. Loves roleplay, dressing in lingerie, and if you pamper them in the bedroom the might just marry you.

Virgo: Submissive, they want to serve you. Once comfortable they find escape in BDSM and are right with Gemini when it comes to Japanese rope bondage.

Libra: Expect Bonnie and Clyde-type romance. Show them you’re all about reciprocity and you’ll be surprised how far they’ll bend their backs for you. Pamper and please them, they can be pillow princesses.

Scorpio: Desperately wants to be intimate, but until they find their soul mate, there’s fetlife. Substitutes vulnerability with passion, so they can love sex that pushes their limits.

Sagittarius: Not the most overtly kinky but can be extremely experimental. Will try anything once (and keep trying it unless they don’t like it). Try public or destination sex with these explorers.

Capricorn: With time their stern energy follows them into the bedroom.Get a kick out of teasing and being disciplined but be careful: some may be vanilla, others can have you in a full kinky relationship!

Aquarius: Can be into the most unconventional sex. If they don’t have to worry about judgement, they’ll test your limits. The downside is that they are ruled by Saturn, so who knows when they’ll completely open up.

Pisces: Inherently expansive and open. The can be curious about tantric sex, sex-magic, and sex under the influence. Pisces wants to dive deep into the waters of desire with their partner, then drown in them.

There are endless factors that play into human sexuality and I always encourage people to explore their sexual needs and wants without shame.

However, if you find your desires to be harmful to yourself or others, seeking out a sex therapist or medical doctor can make a difference.

Astrology is an amazing tool that can unlock endless potential, but it’s dangerous when people diagnose themselves or others solely because of what a birth chart says.

Astrology works best as a social and spiritual tool for language and self-exploration.

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MORE: How seriously should you take your sex dreams?

Mixed Up: ‘I’m Jamaican and Indian – mixed-race doesn’t just mean black and white’


Arun Blair-Mangat is an actor with Caribbean and Punjabi heritage. He wants people to understand that mixed-race doesn’t always mean mixed with white.

‘My Mother is Jamaican born and my Father is Indian, from Kenya with a Sikh background,’ Arun tells us. ‘They were both raised here in England for nearly all their lives.

‘Primarily, I am considered biracial; Jamaican and Indian. However my Jamaican heritage has gifted me further strands.

‘Jamaica has a national motto that states: “Out of many one people” due to the multiracial origins of many Jamaicans. So my predominantly African roots are there along with Irish, Scottish and Chinese courtesy of my great-grandparents.

‘To a lesser level, further back, my Caribbean family also has Spanish and Portuguese input.’

(Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk) Mixed Up, Natalie Morris
‘I remember dating a girl who said she couldn’t wait to have my “coco pop kids”.’ (Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

Arun’s parents faced challenges when they first got to together. It was an even less tolerant time and cultural traditions meant that their union was looked down on in certain circles.

‘Both Mum and Dad are from immigrant backgrounds so there is that shared experience. However, my parents getting together was pretty radical 42 years ago,’ explains Arun.

‘In the Caribbean there is some mixing between black Caribbeans and Indian Caribbeans, not always without issues, but it is more common than in the UK. Here in Britain, the two groups tend not to intermarry.

‘I’m aware from my own personal observations that my Dad’s Indian community prefer to marry Sikhs, or perhaps another Indian, maybe someone of white English birth, but marrying someone from a black background is the most unpalatable – although it is happening more and more.

Little Arun with his dad
‘My parents getting together was pretty radical 42 years ago.’ (Picture: Arun Blair-Mangat)

‘Despite that, my immediate family are incredibly loving. I am close to both sides of my dual heritage. It just means I have a huge extended family.

‘When I am out and about I tend to find the Indian community (not within my family) less accepting when they see me with both parents. There’s no outright hostility – it’s more whispered comments and looks of disbelief.’

In the UK there is often a common assumption that mixed-race refers to people who have one black and one white parent, but that is such a limited perspective.

The mixed-race population are a heterogeneous group, and many mixed-race people don’t have a white parent at all.

‘The difference between my personal experiences compared with a mixed-race person with a white parent is that although I feel British, I don’t feel English,’ Arun tells us. ‘Because I don’t have a white parent, I don’t have a particular affiliation or connection to Englishness.’

‘People often make the assumption that I’m half black and half white and are surprised when I tell them that I’m Indian.

‘The fact that I am black and brown makes me proud. The fact that my parents met against all odds and fell in love is beyond inspiring. Four sons and four decades later, they are still together.’

Arun lives in London – one of the most diverse cities in the world. And yet he has still faced his fair share of ignorance, microaggressions and outright racism.

It’s something he finds particularly tough in a professional capacity.

‘Being mixed-race definitely impacts my life,’ says Arun.

Arun as a toddler
‘The fact that I am black and brown makes me proud.’ (Picture: Arun Blair-Mangat)

‘London is a very cosmopolitan and multicultural city, but it is not without its flaws. About ten years ago, having mixed-race babies became very “en vogue” and I remember dating a girl who said she couldn’t wait to have my “coco pop kids”.

‘When it comes to my career as an actor, it can be tough.

‘I often have to fight to be considered for “black roles” and never get seen for “Indian roles” despite being half-Punjabi. So sometimes I’m not black enough and other times, not Indian enough. I’ve heard other mixed-race actors of various backgrounds say the same.

‘I have felt at times in my acting career that there is less room for me to express myself with my personal look.

‘On one occasion, management informed me that I had to maintain my hair in a certain way. I had to keep to a style that was seen as more “recognisably black” as under the stage lighting I was too “ambiguous”.

‘It could be that mixed-race and black actors are cast more readily if they conform to certain looks. Flexibility seems to be afforded only once they have reached a level of success. The same limited range of looks does not appear to be held for white actors.

‘Luckily I have worked mostly in theatre, where the casting is more colour-blind and progressive. In fact I am about to originate a role in a brand new musical, & JULIET, where the character isn’t race specific. That’s always really refreshing.

‘I understand that what I do can and can’t do does sometimes depend on aesthetics, but I find it frustrating when my race or my “ambiguity” as it’s been referred to, inhibits me from acting opportunities.’

Arun as a child with his mum
‘Mixed-race and black actors are cast more readily if they conform to certain looks.’ (Picture: Arun Blair-Mangat)

‘Being mixed -race is a huge part of my identity. I proudly embrace my heritage and both cultures. My parents always raised me to believe that my mix was a positive, beautiful part of who I am.

‘I do feel that there is societal pressure to identify with one race more than the others. Being part-black means that people often label me as a black man, but my Jamaican and Indian roots have both shaped and continue to shape me.

‘Growing up, I was taught that I had to work ten times as hard because of my ethnicity. I made sure to be a conscientious student. I got straight A* at GCSE and 5 As at A Level, and even then I had to fight to be taken seriously because unfortunately people still do judge you by the colour of your skin.

‘On countless occasions people have told me that I “talk well” or “am really polite” considering… they often trail off the end of that sentence, but I’ve heard it enough times to know how it goes.’

Little Arun
‘My parents always raised me to believe that my mix was a positive, beautiful part of who I am.’ (Picture: Arun Blair-Mangat)

Being accused of inauthenticity is a common theme in the lives of mixed-race people – told that you’re not enough of one thing, or too much of another.

But defying traditional monoracial categories can also be both freeing and enlightening. Arun says this fluid, multifaceted element of his family has enriched his life.

‘I’m one of four brothers. I love how our racial traits show differently in each of us,’ he tells us.

‘We have exactly the same parents so it can be exasperating that in this day and age that some are still not aware that the same two parents can have children with different hair types and different shades of brown. Yet they would not necessarily question a blonde woman from a white background with a dark brown haired sister.

‘I also love the fact that both sides of my heritage have delicious food, epic histories and wonderful traditions. Music and dancing are also something special to both. I’m immensely proud to be a first generation Jamaican-Indian Brit.’

Mixed Up

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

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

Going beyond discussions of divided identity, this series takes a look at the unique joys, privileges and complexities that come with being mixed-race - across of variety of different contexts.

The mixed-race population is the UK's fastest-growing ethnic group, and yet there is still so much more to understand about the varied lived experiences of individuals within this hugely heterogenous group.

Each week we speak to the people who know exactly how it feels to navigate this inbetween space.

MORE: Mixed Up: ‘White people need to be involved in conversations about race – no matter how awkward’

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

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

Artist brings asylum patients from the Victoria era back to life by colourising their photos

haunting pictures taken in the Victorian era, of patients from mental asylums
These haunting pictures were taken in the Victorian era (Picture: Nicola Branson / mediadrumimages.com)

Portraits of Victorian asylum patients have been brought back to life by being colourised.

The original black and white images were colourised by Nicola Branson from Northampton.

‘I chose these images originally after reading up about the history of how people were treated during the Victorian times,’ she said.

‘Thankfully lunatic asylums of the Victorian era no longer exist, and in today’s society there is a lot more help and understanding of the different conditions that exist.’

During the Victorian era, there was a huge rise in the numbers of asylums and their patients.

The first known asylum in the UK was at Bethlem Royal Hospital in London. It had been a hospital since 1247 but began to admit patients with mental health conditions around 1407.

Treatments included restraints and padded cells, water therapy and drug treatments.

The old asylum system in the UK had become too big to manage by the 1960s and it was announced in 1961 that many would close.

Woman with vacant expression, open mouth, dribbling saliva, and fixed attitude
One of the patients from the asylum who may have had dementia (Picture: Nicola Branson / mediadrumimages.com)

In these striking pictures, you can see Frances Mary Antoinette Spackman, whose husband Henry had her declared insane in 1901 and sent her to a private asylum near Bristol.

Other photographs show John Constantin, who was deaf-mute and admitted aged just 10 before spending 55 years in containment and care.

John Phillips, whose facial growth led him to believe he was cursed, is also pictured.

‘One of the men stares blankly, a lost soul forever forgotten in history,’ added Nicola.

‘Yet here he is in an old photo being remembered for his troubled life that put him in an asylum.

‘Some lunatic asylums had very harsh ways of dealing with patients. I think colour adds to the realities of what these people went through.’

Here are some more images of Victorian asylum patients:

Frances Mary Antionette Spackman - one of the patients in a mental asylum
Frances Mary Antoinette Spackman, whose husband Henry had her declared insane in 1901 (Picture: Nicola Branson / mediadrumimages.com)
Four patients from the Colney Hatch asylum records.
Many were institutionalised at the time for issues as little as squabbles with their partners (Picture: Nicola Branson / mediadrumimages.com)
Young mental asylum patient
The asylums had patients of all ages (Picture: Nicola Branson / mediadrumimages.com)
Elizabeth Webb an elderly woman in the asylum
Elizabeth Vowels – one of the patients from an asylum  (Picture: Nicola Branson / mediadrumimages.com)
 John Phillips of Gower, whose facial growth led him to believe he was cursed.
John Phillips, whose facial growth led him to believe he was cursed (Picture: Nicola Branson / mediadrumimages.com)

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Communication is key! How conversation can help your career

Villa Maria
Many people believe speaking to colleagues face-to-face leads to better results

We spend so much of our adult lives working, with many of us putting in 40 hour weeks, not including the commute to and from the office. So it’s no surprise we become really good pals with our colleagues. We spend most of our time with them, after all. But times have changed and the way we talk to one another is ever-evolving.

As technology has developed, business strategies and the way employees need to communicate has dramatically changed. Now, many companies have internal instant messaging systems meaning there’s less need to get up and walk round to speak to our colleagues. Imagine the step counts back in the day! But what is the value of face-to-face conversation in the workplace? Emails fly around with numerous teams copied in, so everyone’s in the loop.

Getting your heads together could prove rewarding not just for your relationships, but potentially your wallet too

New Zealand’s most admired wine brand, Villa Maria, knows a thing or two about the importance of conversation and how good communication can help strengthen a business from the inside out. Its newly launched campaign, The Value of Conversation, explores what we value the most about a face-to-face chat and how engaging with each other in person can make a difference in all areas of our lives.

Have you ever felt that pang of anxiety when you need to do a presentation at work? While you might be good at your job, standing up in front of a whole room with the spotlight is on you can be terrifying. Perhaps it’s not surprising that 75% of millennials admit they prefer to avoid face-to-face conversations if they can.

Villa Maria
Guests at a Villa Maria Talks event in London, hosted by brand ambassador Angela Lewis and Forward Ladies Managing Director Griselda Togobo

Pinging an email eliminates that flustered feeling for many, empowering them to express their thoughts in a composed message. But not only this, as we juggle hectic schedules and demanding workloads, nearly 1 in 5 Brits find a quick email more efficient than arranging a proper catch-up.

Some even find picking up the phone difficult, with 1 in 6 people confessing they get nervous when they have to make a call and some feeling that they’re being a nuisance by calling.

We still value the importance of speaking to our colleagues in real life and hearing their ideas, taking away any uncertainty and giving the opportunity for discussion. Brainstorming can be difficult via email as can interpreting a person’s tone. This is perhaps why, despite mostly preferring email, nearly three-quarters of Brits (73%) believe that speaking to people directly leads to better communication and improved results at work.

Tellingly, 85% of 18-24 year olds believe that if someone is positive and confident during face-to-face conversations, it’s an indicator that they’re good at their job. So perhaps putting in a little extra effort will pay dividends. If having a conversation in person could help you land that big campaign or secure a pay rise, then it’ll be worth it.

Brand ambassador, Angela Lewis, revealed how Villa Maria has established some useful traditions which ensure the company’s employees can get to know each other.

She told us: ‘I always enjoy Fridays because at work, at 4.30 the drinks come out of the kitchen and I love the way everyone gathers round and it’s really casual.

‘People have conversations that they wouldn’t have during the day because they’re standing away from their desk. It can be really special, and a great tradition at Villa. It’s when people tell stories, and you find out something really interesting about the people who you work with.’

Villa Maria's Value of Conversation

A proper catch-up is always more productive than an email – even if it does take a little more time

The founding of Villa Maria hinged on a pivotal conversation between Sir George and his father, and conversations have continued to play a crucial role in making Villa Maria one of the most successful family-owned wineries in the world. Villa Maria thinks it’s time to celebrate the value of conversation in our lives and remind the world of the pleasure of taking quality time out with friends, colleagues, loved ones – or even strangers – over a glass of wine, while celebrating something truly invaluable: conversation.

Villa Maria has been asking the nation what makes conversation so special to them, uncovering our secret likes and dislikes, and taking the time to sit down with experts in their fields and pick their brains about what they feel is so special about the Value of Conversation.

All of this, along with series of expert talks (over a glass of Villa Maria wine) have delved into four important aspects of conversation. So, grab a glass of wine and a friend, sit back, and enjoy!

For more information about Villa Maria wine visit: https://www.villamariawines.com/

The shaming of trans people and those who love us is deadly

Maurice took his life after being bullied for loving a trans woman (Picture: Instagram)

I once dated a man who was thoroughly ashamed of me being trans.

He was ridiculously handsome and couldn’t have been more into me. On the first night we were together he said he would do anything for me. That is, anything except being seen with me in public. After a few months of a passionate secret affair he called it quits, saying it ‘wasn’t because I was trans’. It was.

After hearing about a young man named Maurice in the US, who killed himself after being viciously abused for openly loving a trans woman, I was reminded of how many people don’t think people like me are worthy of love, and how our lovers are shamed for simply loving us.

This causes people like my aforementioned secret lover (and others after that) to hide away in shame and disgust of themselves and their desires.

All this shame has created an underground culture where men will only date trans women in secret, making trans women even more unsafe than before. Trans women and trans people in general face heightened levels of domestic and sexual violence in the UK, with 28 per cent of trans people having experienced abuse from a partner at home in 2017. 

On the whole, trans people are increasingly likely to face violence, with reports of hate crimes rising by 81 per cent in 2019. In the US, 16 trans people have reportedly been killed in 2019 alone, with 15 of them being trans women of colour. In March 2018, a trans woman called Naomi Hersi was murdered in Hounslow UK, and in January 2019 a trans woman called Amy Griffith was murdered in Worcester in central England. Regardless of what you think of trans people, none of this is acceptable. 

The only time we hear about men dating trans women is in some Hollywood scandal where a man was ‘caught’ paying for an escort, or on online relationship advice forums where horrified women report that their husbands are having affairs with trans women. Most of them start questioning their husband’s sexual orientation and say it’s even worse than if he was just having an affair with a woman who wasn’t trans. 

Men like Maurice are constantly punished for passionately loving trans women in a world that largely thinks trans women are not worthy of love. 

Last year, Alex Jones, a right-wing conspiracy theorist who’s openly transphobic, made world news for reportedly having trans porn on his phone, and the world belittled him with shock and disgust. I wasn’t shocked. It seems to me that his outbursts towards trans women could well be because of his internalised shame about his own desires. Sometimes, this is precisely what drives men to harm trans women.

While few men would openly admit their infatuation with trans women, it’s obvious to those of us that are trans that the pool of men wanting us is more than a small pond, and more like a large ocean. But instead of it being out in the open, it is neatly tucked away underground so that no one can see them dip their toes in it. 

Online subcultures on websites like 4chan and Reddit call trans women ‘traps’ – which could be described as tantalising and beautifully passing creatures that lure innocent heterosexual men into having (‘gay’) sex with them without telling them they’re trans, as the ultimate game of deception. Because we all know that women’s sexual activities or desires are of course always centred around the pleasure of men.

The way men who date trans women are automatically regarded as gay or bisexual can easily be seen in any public discussion on the topic, and the men dating them face a barrage of homophobic abuse, with their sexuality constantly called into question. This once happened when a guy introduced me to his family, who had googled me and found out I was trans prior to meeting me. Instead of asking me the standard questions about where I’m from and where I work, they started asking whether I’d had ‘the op’ and whether he was now gay or bisexual.

Men like Maurice are constantly punished for passionately loving trans women in a world that largely thinks trans women are not worthy of love. But they shouldn’t be seen any differently than any other man who loves a woman. Because trans women are women. They shouldn’t be punished, nor should they be automatically celebrated. They should be respected all the same, as well as their desires and sexual orientation.

The leading cause of death for young men across the world is suicide. I’m not surprised. Men are mocked for openly displaying emotion and belittled and abused if their sexual desire isn’t according to some glorified sexual fantasy they saw in straight mainstream porn. 

Maurice may have died by suicide, but what really killed him was one of the worst forms of toxic masculinity. And if we don’t eradicate it, everyone will continue to suffer the consequences, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

MORE: As Iceland strengthens trans rights, hate crime in the UK rises. We should be ashamed

MORE: You have nothing to fear from trans people in public pools – we’re the ones who are scared

MORE: Trans people need to fight to protect abortion, this ban impacts us too

Beautiful moment Labrador joins her humans for their first dance as husband and wife


If you’re in need of something to make you smile today, we’ve got just the thing.

A bride and groom from Arlington, Washington, decided to bring along their golden Labrador, Eva, to their wedding, but they hadn’t anticipated just how involved she would be on their big day.

As Nicole and Seth Funden took to the dance floor for the traditional first dance, the dog ran up to her humans and promptly demanded their attention.

Most people might have told her off, but the couple decided they would rather let her join them.

In an adorable video, the Labrador can be seen walking around her humans on the dance floor, while they sway to their chosen song, From The Ground Up by Dan+Shay.

She’s clearly upset at missing out on the fun, so Seth then motions for her to jump up and join them – at which point Eva gets on her hind legs and dances along with the couple for a short while.

Nicole and Seth Funden dance at their wedding with their golden Labrador Eva
The Labrador didn’t want to miss out on the fun (Picture:Nicole Funden/Storyful)

To keep her steady, the bride and groom each hold one of her paws.

Earlier, at the ceremony, Eva also took centre stage as she perched next to the couple at the altar.

‘No way was she gonna miss our wedding,’ Nicole told Storyful.

‘She is our fur baby and does everything with us.’

Nicole and Seth Funden in a nature area together, each holding a drink while Eva sits beside them
Eva is part of the family (Picture: Nicole Funden)

The occasion was only made more special by the dance, which Nicole said was ‘not rehearsed’.

Guests were also in awe of the cute moment, with one of them tearing up.

‘They both spend so much time with Eva,’ Selena Gomes, one of the wedding guests, told the Dodo.

‘They take her everywhere they go.

‘It was the sweetest thing.

‘I had no idea it was going to happen. It brought tears to my eyes.’

Ours too, Selena. Ours too.

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