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The dos and don’ts of lending and borrowing money from your friends

Money illustrations
Let’s walk through this ethical quagmire together, shall we? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

OK, so it’s notoriously difficult to lend money to, and borrow money from a friend. Most people vehemently advise against it, usually because they’ve been burned by people who don’t pay them back.

It’s complicated to give money to a friend because it is a decidedly unfriendly thing to have to demand repayment of that loan. Most friendships do not come with a clause about loans and debts, and it’s unpleasant to have to negotiate them.

Most of us are not accustomed to even discussing our salaries, our savings or our budgets with even our closest friends, so it is strange and frightening to broach the topic of cash at all, let alone set up debt between one mate and another. It makes an otherwise emotional connection suddenly feel transactional, which can be disconcerting for everyone involved. It’s extremely awkward to ask a friend for money and equally, it can be awkward to lend it.

But also, here’s the thing: sometimes someone you care about needs money! Sometimes it’s a necessary kindness! Sometimes, if you can afford to, you should help someone out!

So, let’s walk through this ethical quagmire together, shall we?

Should you ever lend money to a friend?

This is ultimately a very personal decision for you and it does depend on a few factors. Do some serious thinking before you agree to it. Do you have the money to spare? Can you afford to lend the amount of money requested by your friend? How do you think you’ll behave towards someone who owes you money? 

And perhaps crucially, will you forgive them if you’re not paid back?

Obviously, it’s preferable that your mate pays you back, but in the event that they don’t, will you a) be in a financially compromised position or b) find yourself unable to continue the friendship? If you can privately think of the loan as a gift and not entirely expect it to be returned, that’d be ideal, in terms of the emotional fallout we have at stake in this kind of transaction. 

A hand holding some coins
Be clear and direct, if you have certain expectations for this money (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

If you’re able to lend someone money without desperately needing it back, and perhaps not in a timely fashion, then great (this is rare, obviously). If it’s a small amount of money, maybe you could tally it up as a good deed and think about the ways you benefit from your friendship, including the feeling of being able to help someone when they need it.

If it’s a substantial sum – one that you really need to be returned – you are going to want to be clearer about your requirements. If your mate comes to you asking for money, say ‘Yes, sure buddy, whatever you need’, but stipulate that you can only really part with that cash for a finite period of time and would need it back.

Be clear and direct, if you have certain expectations for this money. If you simply lend someone some dosh without explaining that you need it back, you risk not only that amount of money, but also your friendship. 

If you’re going to resent this person for spending your cash, or feel tempted to control or police their spending habits until they repay you, I would seriously advise against getting into this transaction in the first place. If you can’t realistically afford to part with a serious amount of cash, then don’t. Pay your friend the courtesy of being honest with them here.

Only lend them money if you feel as though you can, both financially speaking and emotionally.

Should you ever ask a friend for money?

Have you looked at other options? Ones that definitely won’t endanger a personal relationship? If you need money and you’ve ruled out a bank loan and any other sources of income, then yes, you could ask a mate for a loan.

It’s complicated though and you need to be aware that your behaviour with regards to this sum could determine whether your friendship survives. 

We can be very emotional about money and outstanding debt between friends can be seriously troubling. You might think your friend could easily afford to lend you money, but have you thought about how they’ll behave towards you when you owe them money?

If you suspect they could lord it over you, be controlling or cruel, or make demands on you until you pay it back, then have a serious think about proceeding. 

Be open about your financial situation, be honest about your capacity to settle your debt, and keep them up to date on any developments.

Do you trust your friend to be a kind lender? And what about you – do you secretly resent this person for having more money than you? Do you feel entitled to their money and do you think it might bring out something nasty in you, to take it?

Also consider whether you’re truly asking for a loan, or if you’re in fact asking for a gift. If you think you can realistically pay this money back, be forthcoming with a plan. Be open about your financial situation, be honest about your capacity to settle your debt, and keep them up to date on any developments. Communicating openly is essential here, and could save a friendship. 

If you need to borrow money for a specific reason and you have the intention to pay it back, then say so and stick to it. Behave with a sort of professionalism here: pay it back as soon as possible, discuss whether you can do it in instalments, set up clear repayment terms. Ideally, you’d make your case for the loan and then write and sign an agreement for its repayment. 

You probably want to separate your friendly chats from your money talk, too, being very clear about your intentions to settle the debt. Operate with integrity and transparency here: you owe it to your friend. 

Proceed extremely cautiously here, especially if you think an unpaid debt could be the end of your friendship. 

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Weight loss drugs aren’t a miracle fix: They all have side effects and some can be fatal


A simple online search will bring up thousands of sites where you can buy diet pills. Instagram is full of #spon posts for weight loss teas and coffees. Even on television, ads for weight loss drugs are shown between episodes of Judge Rinder and Dinner Date.

Quick fix solutions are what people want, and when they’re readily available over the counter or online, we assume they must be safe.

‘Lose 5lbs a week with this wonder drug’ seems much more attractive than ‘lose 1lb a week with diet, exercise, and self control’.

Reports last year suggested that a so-called ‘skinny pill’ has been found by scientists that may give people these dramatic results they crave, with tests in mice showing that the drug changes the way the body reacts to fat, essentially blocking it from being absorbed.

Of course, like with any ‘too good to be true’ solution, there were downsides. Some of the mice ended up with edema (fluid retention) and, even if this side effect was somehow rectified, finding a way for humans to have the same results as these tiny rodents would take some time.

There are plenty of diet pills already available, however. One of the most common diet pills on the market right now – Orlistat – works in a similar way to the new drug being tested.

According to the NHS website the pill, which is sometimes marketed as Alli or Xenical, inhibits up to 30% of dietary fat from being absorbed in your gut. Instead it just passes right through, straight into the toilet (or your pants if you’re unlucky enough to suffer the side effect of ‘leaking’).

This is the main side effect of Orlistat – oily diarrhoea-like stools – which will sometimes come without warning. You can also have heavy wind and painful bloating.

Dr. Daniel Atkinson, Clinical Lead at Treated.com told Metro.co.uk: ‘There are less common side effects to be aware of too. The likes of rectal pain, feeling bloated, feeling tired, increased frequency when passing stool, irregular menstruation and tooth or gum problems are all potential side effects.’

Weight illustration
People go to extreme measures to lose weight (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

They can also interfere with the nutrients your body takes in, with Dr. Daniel saying, ‘some good vitamins and nutrients are found in fats so eliminating them altogether might lead to vitamin deficiencies if they’re taken for several months.’

These, however, are normally taken under supervision of a doctor or pharmacist, so if the side effects are something you feel you’ve considered and can handle, then at least you’re going into the situation informed.

This is where we come to the ‘acceptable face of diet pills’ in the form of something like raspberry ketones (which swept the internet some years back, being touted as a ‘natural’ alternative to traditional medicine and willpower), teas and coffees designed for weight loss, or thermostatic weight loss drugs, which include green tea extract, bitter orange extract, capsaicin, and chromium.

Many of these are bought online, with no guarantees about their ingredients, effectiveness, and safety.

For any of these, side effects can range from headaches, to nausea, to hives, to even liver failure in some cases where drugs have not been taken with food as directed.

Some people might see the downsides of these drugs as a small price to pay for accelerated weight loss, but unless you’re under guidance from a medical professional, there’s no way to ensure what you’re taking is safe, particularly if you’ve bought pills online.

And it’s a slippery slope.

DNP is a diet pill which has been doing the rounds again recently, as a spate of young people reportedly died after taking it.

It’s readily available on seemingly-legit websites. What these websites fail to mention is the fact that the chemical reaction that helps you lose weight through taking DNP is the very same thing that can kill you.

It can cause fatal hyperthermia, with your body essentially cooking itself from the inside. Five people last year lost their lives to DNP.

Instagram models promoting fitness
The results you see online aren’t always easy to achieve (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Although the Food Standards Authority have confirmed it isn’t safe for human consumption, it hasn’t halted its availability, and it hasn’t stopped people taking that risk in the hopes that it’ll give them the quick results they long for.

It might seem extreme, but the diet culture that leads to people searching for such extreme measures starts right on your own social media feeds. When it comes to the ‘skinny teas’ you might see when scrolling down your timeline, you’re not being sold a medical product, but a lifestyle one.

Sites where you might buy chromium or DNP are touted as medical retailers, but for some people the need to lose weight starts on pastel-hued Insta click-throughs featuring women in crochet bikinis.

Despite not being as dangerous as drugs like DNP the message is the same for weight loss teas – this will get you what you want without trying. Those teas, in reality, are just laxatives dressed up in new packaging. Most contain senna, which is a common ingredient in laxatives you’d buy from a pharmacy.

Unsurprisingly, it makes you poo, and can even stop your contraceptive pill from working. Other effects of senna can include abdominal pain and discomfort, cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, diarrhoea, potassium depletion, muscle spasms, and an abnormal heart rhythm.

‘The continuous flushing out of your system means you may not be absorbing vital nutrients to stay healthy, you could become dehydrated, you’ll feel uncomfortable and it’s an unsustainable diet plan,’ says Dr. Daniel.

‘Rather than using laxatives to facilitate weight loss, make sure you’re getting enough fibre in your diet, in the form of fruits and vegetables, and healthy cereals. This will help with digestion and you will feel fuller for longer (so you aren’t as tempted to snack before your next meal).’

The fact is, there is no quick fix to weight loss, and if you’re losing weight in a healthy way, laxatives and pills that change the way your body works aren’t generally going to be included in that.

It’s not to say there will never be a reason for weight loss aids. In fact, doctors sometimes recommend them in cases where patients need to lose weight quickly before surgery, or when diet and exercise haven’t had the expected results.

But taking (often unregulated depending on where you get them) drugs without medical supervision isn’t just a case of will I lose weight or won’t I, however. You’re playing with fire.

If you want to lose weight, speak to your GP and do it in a way that won’t hurt you.

‘You should speak to your GP about your intentions to lose weight so they can give you some guidance on the best practices to do so. With weight loss, it’s a marathon rather than a sprint so you need to be patient with your journey,’ says Dr. Daniel.

‘If you do need some extra help to reach your target weight and lower your body mass index, they might suggest medication. But the most important thing is to make sure that you’re keeping to your diet plan and doing enough physical activity.’

If it sounds too good to be true, it normally is.

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How I Save: The 26-year-old project manager earning £50,000 a year with £6,000 saved after buying a house

How I Save: Walter, who earns £50,000 a year and has £6,000 saved
Walter earns £50,000 a year and has £6,000 saved (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

How I Save is a weekly series all about money – how we spend it, how we save it, and why putting away money for the future can be so bloody difficult.

We want to get people talking more openly about personal finance because we reckon the silence and awkwardness around money might be stopping people asking for help when they need it.

We don’t currently have financial education on our curriculum, so loads of us may feel we have no clue about the ‘right’ way to handle our budgets, while others may pick up unhealthy money habits that go unchecked for years – leading to debt and stress.

How I Save aims to open up the conversation and make money a normal thing to chat about. Each week we take a look at how someone spends and saves their money, then get some expert advice on how they (and we) can save better.

Last week we followed a 28-year-old publicist earning £85,000 a year with £22,500 saved.

This time we’re with Walter (not his real name, to protect his privacy and his DMs), a 26-year-old project manager living in Edinburgh.

How Walter saves:

I am a qualified quantity surveyor in the construction industry, but I’m currently working as a project manager. My job role means I get to spend a lot of time around Europe, and I’m currently on a project in Belgium working 10 days away and 4 days off at home.

My current salary is £50,000, and I have £6,000 in my savings account.

I purchased a property in December 2017 so I am just starting to get into the swing of saving again. My current saving goal is to be able to put a deposit on a second property, and be in a position to rent my current one out. I hope to do this within two to three years.

I also like to make sure I go on as many holidays as I can each year. So far in 2019 I have visited Barcelona, Canada, and St Tropez while also having Vegas to look forward to next month. I am probably using 40% of what I can afford to save towards holidays.

With a money-oriented background, I find saving and budgeting money a natural thing to do.

I am quite prone to those wild weekends where I wake up and realise my budget plan has gone out of the window due to rounds I don’t remember buying and takeaways the following day.

Money illustrations - man holding bag of money
He spends a lot on alcohol and socialising (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

I’m very social and one of those people who struggle to say no so I am quite often out for dinner or drinks. I am also quite an impulse buyer with clothes or silly things I do not need.

When I am being sensible, I have very set budget figures for each element of my spending every month, and a good personal system which enables me to save quite regularly.

My fixed outgoings every month totals £1,215.00. This includes mortgage at £530, car (contract hire) at £380, phone at £70, internet at £50, council tax and electricity at £146, with the rest on insurances and entertainment e.g. Netflix etc.

Because I know that never changes I work my savings and free spending money around this. My max goal per month to save is £1,500. The leftover I allow for food bills, fun and clothes. I initially put in shy figures for these expenses so I can maximise my savings. The problem is the figure I save can often fluctuate.

I pay for most of my fun with a credit card. I’m a big geek with all the points schemes so try to maximise the potential. I also pay for all my work expenses with them. They are a great way for earning rewards if used correctly. For example I managed to get return flights to Vegas in September for £240!

If I overspend, I just adjust my savings allowance on the following month to account for this. As I am constantly updating my budget spreadsheet, I can visually see what I can realistically afford and thus far have always cleared my balance every month and so never fallen into a trap of owing interest payments. Whatever savings are left after the adjustments I put away on payday and repeat the process.

A good budget sheet is a great way of manually keeping track of spending and also forecasting into future months, especially when planning holidays. The sheet allows me to make the necessary adjustments and allowances knowing I am never under pressure to save, and gives me a clear perspective of what I can afford throughout the year. For example I have been lucky this year having splashed out £7k on holidays, going away several times, all down to good forecasting on the spreadsheet.

For my daily food expenses, I buy fortnightly shops for when I’m away and ensure this lasts. I always make my own sandwiches for lunch which I learned a few years back is a massive saving compared to buying from a shop every day. My food bills are on average £30 a week.

Because I work away I also Airbnb my property out. This has been one of my best decisions and has pretty much covered my mortgage for the last year.


How Walter spends:

Monthly expenses:

  • Mortgage – £530.00
  • Car payments- £380.00
  • Phone – £70.00
  • Internet – £50.00
  • Council Tax / Electricity – £146.00
  • Netflix, Spotify etc – £25.00

A week of spending:

Monday: I paid £32.67 for my food shop. This normally includes lunch and dinner meals for Monday to Friday, plus all snacks. I find making my own sandwiches for work saves me a fortune than buying every day.

Tuesday: Quiet night in, nothing spent.

Wednesday: And again…

Thursday: Few evening beers (£15.75), and a late-night takeaway, which costs £15.

Friday: I go for a haircut early in the morning (£12), followed by brunch (£7.50) and a round of golf (£13.50). I meet with friends at 2pm for a liquid lunch before getting some dinner later in the evening for £25 and heading to a Fringe show (£8).

Later that night we go see a boiler room DJ event which costs £20. All in approximately £100 was spent on alcohol throughout the day.

Saturday: Basically more of the same following on from Friday. We end up doing another big session around the city and soaking in the Fringe atmosphere. Lunch was £15, and I spent a bit more on alcohol this day due to being out for longer, which was approximately £150 in the end. I also got a few Ubers which came to £27.86 in total.

Sunday: I order a McDonalds for my lunch (£8.99), and a Chinese for dinner (£15.39).

Total spent this week: £466.66

How Walter could save:

We spoke to the experts over at money tracking app Cleo to find out how Walter can save better (and what we can learn from his spending).

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

Main vice:

Your £1,500 saving goal is wildly ambitious for someone converting £1,000 a month into booze.

Are you buying everyone’s drinks?

Are you budgeting £250 a week for alcohol?

So many questions, such a small word count.

Where you’re going right:

The thing with the house at 26 and your £30 weekly food budget is excellent. But your weekday Hermione Granger attitude goes very Jekyll and Hyde at the weekend…

To save £1,500 a month you’ve got to stick to £60 for a weekend. Which maybe with your packed lunch and Netflix account is possible? For context you spent seven times that this week.

Stack up four weekends like this and you’re drinking a third of your salary.

Budget plan:

After rent, monthly costs and groceries, you’ve got a glorious £1,769 to play with. Let’s not hand it all to drunk-2am-boiler-room-Walter.

Safe to save: £1000 monthly

Safe to drink: £300 monthly aka: 3 big nights out

Safe to spend: £450 monthly / £108 weekly / £15 daily

Good luck. I’ve never given anyone a £300 alcohol budget before. Don’t think your doctor will like me.

How I Save is a weekly series about how people spend and save, out every Thursday. If you’d like to anonymously share how you spend and save – and get some expert advice on how to sort out your finances – get in touch by emailing ellen.scott@metro.co.uk.

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Mum slammed for buying 144 pre-pasted toothbrushes made of plastic for her kids

Pre-pasted toothbrushes in plastic wrappers
Is all this necessary? (Picture: @megantrautman/Twitter)

Most of us are aware of the war on plastic.

Considering the substantial amounts of waste polluting the environment, a lot of us are ditching plastic straws, coffee cups, and even flying.

But one mum, in the name of saving some mess, was slammed for not being mindful of plastic waste.

She revealed how she ordered 144 plastic toothbrushes that have toothpaste applied already to make it easy for her kids to brush their teeth.

Not only is each brush made out of plastic, each one is encased further in a plastic wrapper.

Writing on a Facebook page for fellow parents, she wrote: ‘These are a must-have in our household. It means no more wasted toothpaste or a big mess to clean.’

She continued: ‘Grab one out of the wrapper, wet it, brush teeth, and throw everything away.’

A member of the group posted a screenshot of the message on Twiter where it went viral, with users condemning the move.

‘Our poor earth,’ wrote Megan Trautman.

Megans post saying the mum needs to do her research
Megan was not happy (Picture: @megantrautman/Twitter)

Megan said that the mum’s defence to using this much plastic was that it was recyclable.

But Megan wasn’t happy with this answer. She tweeted: ‘Her entire argument was “it’s recyclable” please DO YOUR RESEARCH.

‘Right now 300 MILLION TONS of plastic is produced annually and only 10% is recycled!!!!’

Others agreed with Megan, saying ‘Within this box is 144 plastic toothbrushes and 144 wrappers that will go into a landfill to sit for 400+ years. People really don’t give a damn about this planet and it’s actually terrifying.’

Some people criticised the mum for lazy parenting, arguing that it doesn’t take much effort to clean any mess they might create when brushing their teeth.

One person felt that only a dentist should have access to such resources: ‘I feel like people shouldn’t be able to buy this unless they work for like a dentist’s office or with those in need.

‘Regular people shouldn’t have access to such wasteful things just to misuse them.’

Cindy Crawford and Kaia GerberCindy Crawford always looks amazing - even when slipping on cobblestones

Plastic production and waste is not only harmful to our environment, but it also affects our guts.

Researchers have now estimated that the average person consumes more than 74,000 particles of plastic each year.

And it’s reported that only about 9% of all plastic ever made has likely been recycled.

Though that’s an incredibly low number, it doesn’t mean we should all admit defeat. As prevention is better than cure it might be better to just cut plastic out as much as you can.

Does anyone really need 144 toothbrushes?

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Photographers organise stunning shoot to make Malaysians appreciate the ‘natural beauty in dark skin’

Photoshoot of dark skinned people in Malaysia
Stunning (Picture: danieladamsphotography/Catherhea)

With skin lightening creams such as Fair & Lovely being widespread in South Asia, many have spoken out against colourism – the appreciation of lighter skin.

To counteract preconceptions of beauty, photographers Daniel Adams and Catherhea are celebrating dark skin.

The duo teamed up to organise a stunning photoshoot celebrating ‘natural beauty’ in Malaysia.

They enlisted the help of Malaysians from all walks of life; able-bodied, disabled, queer, straight, religious, Afro-Asian, draping them in striking blue sarees and the like.

The project, entitled Dark Skin Is, ‘aims to showcase the beauty, power, and diversity amongst dark-skinned people,’ the photographers told Metro.co.uk.

Daniel, 23, and Cat, 29, have different experiences within the photography industry but came together to create the four-month-long project.

Cat, who specialises in shooting darker-skinned individuals, said the stories told by the Afro-Asian community stayed with her.

Photoshoot of people with dark skin, celebrating dark skin in Malaysia
It took four months to complete this project (Picture: danieladamsphotography/Catherhea)

‘Malaysians, in general, have love and respect for each other’s cultural differences’ said Daniel.

‘However, beauty ideals in Malaysia remain conventional and largely whitewashed, especially in industries concerning appearances such as beauty, retail and fashion.

‘Light-skinned and Caucasian talents are usually top choices for a lot of brands.

Afro Asian community in Malysia dressed in blue
Stories of the Afro-Asian community touched the photographers (Picture: danieladamsphotography/Catherhea)

‘We’re hoping this series encourages Malaysians to see and appreciate the natural beauty in dark skin, and possibly open up an avenue for dark-skinned folks to nurture a deeper sense of self-love that will empower them to move beyond the trajectory they’ve always known.’

Two men in blue outfits
They recruited people from a call out on Instagram (Picture: danieladamsphotography/Catherhea)
Wheelchair user in blue sari
It’s not just about dark skin but all the things that make people different (Picture: danieladamsphotography/Catherhea)

During the project, many of the models didn’t know each other but by the end had realised they share many similar stories and left with new friends.

Each person was styled differently to reflect their background. One style was inspired by Malaysian kampung styles, traditional Indian dressing as well as tribal African fabric tying techniques.

It took three stylists, Teiaajman, Hanizah Shahul Hamid, and Afiierohim, to bring the looks together.

dark skinned woman in blue material
The photographers hope Malaysians feel represented (Picture: danieladamsphotography/Catherhea)

They also each held a yellow flower.

Daniel and Cat hope this shoot will give Malaysians the representation they deserve and hope they can learn to love their difference whether they are able or disabled, big or small, short or tall.

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Tonic wine enthusiasts can now get Buckfast BBQ sauce at their local corner shop

Buckfast BBQ sauce
Buckfast gets you grilling fast (Picture: Getty/Buckfast)

Although it may be known as ‘wreck the hoose juice’ and the cause of anti social behaviour in Scotland, Buckfast has earned a reputation for itself as the country’s national drink.

Fine Scotch might be more palatable, but it’s not exactly accessible for everyone, and Buckfast’s unique mix of caffeine and alcohol makes it an effective and cost-effective way to perk yourself up for a night out.

What’s often not mentioned by lovers of the green bottle is the taste, which is something akin to port, but with a more syrupy sweetness. Despite the fact this isn’t the most pleasant taste for everyone when drunk from the bottle or in Central Scotland’s infamous Bucky-bombs, it lends itself well to cooking.

A bar in Glasgow – BLOC+ – are famed for their Buckfast ice-cream, and the BBQ glaze they make with the dark brown liquid and drizzle onto their burgers and sandwiches.

And now, Rendalls Quality Butchers have emulated this for those who want to taste the glory right in the comfort of their very own homes.

The butcher – based in Stirling and Alva – already have a range of Buckfast infused meats (including sausages, haggis, award-winning pies, and marinated bacon and beef), and have just launched their bottles of Bucky BBQ sauce.

The retailer says it’s ‘great for marinading, topping for burgers or for dipping’ and it contains spices like paprika and cayenne, along with molasses and tomato paste (and of course the aforementioned beverage).

When the official Buckfast account tweeted out the news, fans shared their joy, with one saying ‘Oh yes. Game changer!’

If you agree, you can get yours on the Rendalls website for £2.99, or in local convenience stores across Scotland.

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Run, don’t walk, to B&M for these Peppa Pig potato faces and veggie shapes

B&M Peppa Pig potato faces and peas and carrots
It’s pig, but not as you know it (Picture: Getty/B&M)

Any parent reading this will know how much kids are obsessed with Peppa Pig. They’re less obsessed, though, with eating their vegetables.

That’s likely the reasoning behind B&M introducing Peppa Pig themed veggies and potato shapes, which will no doubt fly off the shelves.

Much like the infamous Billy Bear ham and tubby toasts of yesteryear, it’s been proven time and time again that kids love to eat anything with a face, and now it doesn’t even need to be made of an animal that had one.

Exclusive to B&M, you can get Peppa Pig Carrot & Peas (500g) for £1, and Potato Faces (400g) for £1.25. A small price to pay to see your child devour their favourite TV character.

We do wonder what they’ll do with the extra bits of carrot after they’ve cut out Peppa’s face, but hopefully it’ll all go to good use. Also worth noting that you can only get these in stores with a freezer section, so check locally if yours has them.

Parents have already gone wild about it online, with B&M’s Facebook announcement racking up over 8,000 comments in the hour since it went up.

One said, ‘Got these the other day kids were over the moon’ while another commented, ‘just seen it I’m deffo gonna get some’.

One mum, however, has got to the end of her rope with the constant oinking coming from the TV. Jokingly she commented: ‘I fluffing hate that pig!!!!!!! That pig has taken over by TV, my home, my life!!!!! And now it threatens to take over my kitchen????’

Another echoed what we’re all thinking, saying: ‘We would go in for this and come out with a gazebo, fence paint, back massager, shower speaker and a mortgage’. That’s about right for a trip to B&M.

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Woman’s nail ripped off after manicure with super strength acrylic glue

Toni Littles finger nail after getting an acrylic manicure
Toni’s acrylic nails were applied with extra strong glue (Picture: Mercury Press)

A mum who lost her entire fingernail when it was ripped off after a manicure says the pain was worse than childbirth.

Toni Little, 25, lost her nail when she accidentally sat on her own hand after getting a manicure for which the salon technician allegedly used super strength glue to attach the acrylic nails.

Toni, who used to wear acrylics regularly, had chosen long red and silver sparkly nails at an independent salon in Fife.

A few weeks after the manicure the mum of two accidentally sat on her own hand, causing the false nail to come off – ripping off her natural nail underneath along with it.

Warning: The image below shows the nail bed after the nail was ripped off, which may be distressing to some. 

Toni says she was immediately in unbearable pain and rushed straight to the doctor.

She said: ‘I know if you put too much pressure on the tip it can snap.

Toni Little's finger after the nail was pulled off following a manicure
Toni’s finger after the nail was ripped off (Picture: Mercury Press)

‘I just sat on my hand awkwardly and my full nail came away from my finger, there was just flesh.

‘I got the instant pain straight away.

‘The doctor advised me to clean the wound in salt water and keep it wrapped up for three days.’

While recovering from the injury Toni said she was unable to take care of her two daughters, aged four and two, leaving fiancé Arron on nappy duty.

Toni was told her nail may never grow back, but thankfully nine months on it has started to recover.

Toni has shared her story to warn others of the dangers of acrylic nails. She says she’ll never wear false nails again.

Toni Little's nail after it was ripped off
The nail after being ripped off (Picture: Mercury Press)

‘I was lucky that the nail grew back but it’s so weak and frail and the regrowth was so painful,’ said Toni.

‘My nail is absolutely ruined.

‘I would never get acrylics done again and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to get them. People should stay well away from them.

‘Is it really worth the risk of losing your full nail and going through the unbearable pain of having your full nail ripped from its bed and having nothing but flesh on show.

‘It’s just not worth it. The pain I felt for month was just sickening. Even if I just banged it, it was so sensitive. My husband hated seeing me in so much pain.

‘My nail will always have nerve damage and acrylics can be so dangerous for your nails.

‘I only lost one but the rest are only just getting back into good condition nine months later.

‘I’ve had two children and I’d rather go through labour again.

‘It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. The pain on a scale of one to 10 was a 10. I can’t even describe it.’

If you have a story of a beauty treatment gone wrong, get in touch with MetroLifestyleTeam@metro.co.uk

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Mum urges people to send birthday cards to son with skin condition who’s ‘had enough of life’

Rhys who has a severe skin condition is confined to a life in a wheelchair
13-year-old Rhys says he has ‘had enough of life’ (Picture: SWNS)

Tanya Williams is asking strangers to send birthday cards to her son Rhys, 13, who has a severe skin condition.

The heartbroken mum wants to bring some hope and light to Rhys who says he has ‘had enough of life’.

The 13-year-old uses a wheelchair due to severe epidermolysis bullosa, a condition which results in painful skin blisters, sores and has caused his fingers to fuse together.

When Rhys was born Tanya and her partner Mark had no idea whether he would ever reach his teenage years.

Rhys, from Bolton, Lancashire, says he wishes ‘a butterfly would come and take him away’ and his devastated mum is desperate to show him he has something to fight for.

Tanya said: ‘He just wants to give up, he doesn’t want to fight anymore. What do you do as a mum?’

With his birthday coming up on 14 September, Tanya, 36, wants Rhys to see that people care and are thinking about him.

She says his life depends on it.

Rhys Williams (14) from Bolton.
Mum Tanya wants strangers to bring a smile to his face (Picture: SWNS)

The condition causes Rhys’ skin and internal tissue to blister at the slightest knock or rub, leaving him with painful open wounds.

He is now reliant on a wheelchair as he is unable to straighten his legs due to the fusing of the skin at the back of his knees.

His body is covered in bandages, which have to be changed three times a day to prevent him from developing any deadly infections.

‘He’s such a happy boy most of the time but recently it’s a struggle to try and get through to him,’ said Tanya.

‘Rhys’ life revolves around school, Xbox, sleep, repeat. He doesn’t want to go out because he doesn’t like the way people look at him.

‘I don’t want him to be in pain anymore but I still want him to be here.’

Rhys Williams covered in bandages on his arms and legs
Rhys’ sensitive skin means his body has to be covered in bandages (Picture: SWNS)

Tanya had the idea to ask strangers for birthday cards after she noticed how happy Rhys was when he received Christmas cards last year.

He opened the hundreds of letters sent to him, and Tanya wants to give him the same happiness once again.

She hopes he can find something to look forward to once again.

At the moment his pain is so severe that he has to take morphine to try to control it.

His family are unable to hug him, he is unable to play outside with friends, go on holidays, attend birthday parties and even go shopping.

He also has to be fed through a tube as eating solid food can cause his gullet to blister.

Those who want to send a card to Rhys can do so at 40 Whalley Avenue, Bolton, BL1 5UD.

What is epidermolysis bullosa

Dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB) is a rare inherited skin disorder.

The skin of those who have DEB is more fragile than normal. Minor injury causes blisters which often leave scars when they heal.

DEB is not an infection, it is not contagious and it is not due to an allergy.

There is currently no cure and treatment focuses on tackling the symptoms, providing pain relief, and preventing infection.

It is caused by faulty genes which produce collagen, a strong protein in the fibres that holds the skin together.

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Struggle with stress? New study says your biology could be to blame

Illustration of woman with red hair, dressed in a light blue shirt and white trousers holding her hand over her face and looking as if she is thinking 'sigh'
A new study has revealed a potential new biological reason behind stress (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Those who find themselves more prone to stress could have a right to blame their parents for it, says a new study.

A team of scientists from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found a receptor on the surface of the brain that plays a key role in regulating how we respond to stress.

This means that our biology could play a lot more of a factor in how we cope with stress than many of us may realise.

Focusing on S1PR3 receptor – a part of the body scientists previously knew little about – the study tested how exactly it was involved in resilience to stress.

The scientists used rats (and later humans) and put them in a whole host of strange situations, then monitored how they responded.

Results found that those with higher amounts of the S1PR3 protein were more resilient to stress – so were more likely to cope with the situation. Whereas those with lower levels were more likely to respond with stress and anxiety.

So, those who appear to handle stress a lot better could have more S1PR3 protein in their body than those who are more prone to stress.

What’s more, the breakthrough research around the receptor could represent an important marker for those who suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As it could be promising news in regards to making future treatments for stress and anxiety more effective.

Seema Bhatnagar, PhD, a neuroscientist in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), said: ‘We have found that a specific cell receptor promotes resilience to the adverse effects of stress in animals.

‘Because we found links to the same receptor in patients with PTSD, we may have insights into developing more effective treatments for human psychiatric disorders.’

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Frankie the beagles wears super cool doggles to go cycling with his human


We’ve fallen in love with a goggle-wearing beagle, who cruises around his hometown on an electric bike.

Nine-year-old Frankie climbs into a backpack every weekend and wears special ‘doggles’ to keep the wind out of his eyes, as he travels around with his owner, Garry Mullins, a keen cyclist.

Before he started riding in backpacks, Frankie used to travel around with Garry in a doggy trailer as Garry pedaled his electric bike.

IT specialist Garry, 31, was inspired by an Instagram post featuring a corgi in a backpack and decided to train Frankie to adapt to a new way of transport in June.

Frankie in his doggles
Frankie is definitely one of the coolest dogs out there (Picture: Garry Mullins / SWNS)

Garry, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, said Frankie now stops traffic as passers-by attempt to capture photos of him in his striking cycling gear.

He said: ‘I ride an electric bike and I bike around Halifax a lot. I use it to go to work everyday too, even in the winter.

‘I used to bring Frankie around in a doggy trailer that was attached but it was a little bit cumbersome.

‘My original plan was to use the backpack for bringing him in stores when I have him with me but it worked so well I decided to use it for biking too.

‘It was a little tricky to get him used to it because he has to put his legs in first. It’s difficult to get right at the beginning.

Frankie in doggles
He loves travelling with Garry (Picture: Garry Mullins / SWNS)

‘But with positive reinforcement, he learned quickly. I would give him a treat when he got in and I give him treats at red lights still.

‘He associates the red lights with treats so, unlike most people, he loves them. We mostly bike together at the weekend, we go to the park a lot. It’s about a 17km round trip.

‘I decided to get him a pair of goggles or ‘doggles’ for the hilarity factor but also because I noticed he was squinting a little without them.

‘They do a good job of protecting his eyes when we bike and they’re super cute. People stop and take pictures of us all the time.

‘Sometimes it’s actually a little dangerous. They stop right in the middle of the road.’

Frankie with Garry
He associates red lights with treats (Picture: Garry Mullins / SWNS)

Garry began sharing footage of the pair’s journeys on online message board Reddit and attracted more than 30,000 viewers to a live stream on August 23.

He said: ‘I was shocked when that many people watched the live stream. It was incredible.

‘Frankie’s Instagram account has really blown up. It’s cool to see. He’s the most relaxed, chilled out dog.

‘I love his floppy ears and his kind demeanor. He loves chasing squirrels though. He has a lot of energy which is why we bike to the park as often as we can.’

Frankie with Garry
They are one happy pair (Picture: Garry Mullins / SWNS)

Adventurous Frankie is living it up with cyclist Garry, two years after undergoing surgery to repair ligaments in his legs.

‘He needed doggy anterior cruciate ligament surgery on both legs after I got him. It cost about $12,000,’ said Garry.

‘I was lucky to have the money at the time and I’m so glad he’s doing okay now. He’s such a great dog and we have a blast.’

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Study says mouthwash could be undoing your efforts in the gym

anti-bacterial mouthwash could have an affect on exercise efforts
You might want to think twice before rinsing with mouthwash after a workout (Picture: Getty)

Anti-bacterial mouthwash could be having an impact on more than just your oral health, according to a new study.

The research has some surprising results, specifically relating to mouthwash reducing one of the positive effects of exercise – lowered blood pressure.

Scientists from the UK and Spain led the experiment which asked 23 healthy adults to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes, on two separate occasions. Afterwards, they were then monitored for two hours.

Participants were asked to rinse their mouths with either mouthwash or a placebo at intervals – at one, 30, 60 and 90 minutes after exercise. Blood pressure was measured and saliva and blood samples were taken both before the workout and 120 minutes after.

Running woman illustration
Participants were asked to run on a treadmill (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Results found that those who had swilled the placebo, had an average reduction of blood pressure of minus 5.2 mmHg at one hour after exercise. Whereas those who rinsed with antibacterial mouthwash, blood pressure reduction was less, at minus 2 mmHg.

Despite doing the same exercise, the blood pressure of those who had used the anti-bacterial mouthwash declined less than those who didn’t.

Previous research has found that circulation in the body stays high (and blood pressure stays low) after exercise because of how bacteria interacts with a compound called nitrate.This nitrate can be absorbed in the salivary glands and once it’s swallowed it goes into the body’s circulation – helping to widen vessels and keep blood pressure low.

The job of mouthwash is to remove this bacteria, which plays a part in keeping blood pressure low.

Craig Cutler, co-author of the study, said: ‘It’s like oral bacteria are the ‘key’ to opening up the blood vessels. If they are removed, nitrite can’t be produced and the vessels remain in their current state.’

For those not biologically-clued up, it’s a lot to get your head around, but does make total sense.

So perhaps don’t give the mouthwash rinse a miss altogether, but do avoid it post-workout.

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I’ve written the LGBT+ children’s book I wish I had and I want it in every school

Olly Pike sat in a room reading his book to children
The book sends the message that everyone is welcome, and the idea is to inspire every child to stand up against injustice (Picture: Olly Pike)

When parents say ‘let kids be kids’, I agree with them – because there’s nothing more natural for children than to be curious and to want to understand the world around them.

That’s why I’ve written an LGBT+ inclusive primary school picture book, and started a campaign to get one into every school in the UK.

The protests outside a Birmingham school and ensuing row this year over the teaching of LGBT+ issues seems to echo what happened over 30 years ago with the unfair vilification of ‘Jenny lives with Eric and Martin’ – the children’s book created to reduce prejudice towards gay people and to promote discussion. It inspired the title for my own book.

‘Kenny Lives with Erica and Martina’ follows Kenny, whose grey world soon becomes a lot more colourful with the arrival of some new neighbours. Kenny and his mums welcome the change, but this can’t be said for everyone on the street, and Kenny has to somehow let everyone know that being different is not something to be afraid of.

The book sends the message that everyone is welcome, and the idea is to inspire every child to stand up against injustice.

So it’s wonderful that new research released by Stonewall revealed that 60 percent of British people believe we should teach students about same-sex relationships, including same-sex parenting.

But unfortunately we know that nearly half of all LGBT+ kids are frequently bullied in school and half of LGBT pupils hear homophobic slurs often at school.

Olly Pike reading a book
Part of being a kid is learning to understand the different types of people in the world around you (Picture: Olly Pike)

Two in five young trans people and one in five lesbian, gay and bisexual students have attempted suicide. It’s tragic that any child in modern-day Britain should die because they feel marginalised and bullied.

Every child is born without prejudice and hate. Part of being a kid is learning to understand the different types of people in the world around you – and specifically, in modern society, this means that even though we are all different, we are all equal.

Incredibly, it seems a few people still can’t accept life’s rich tapestry and want to ‘protect their kids’ from learning about it.

Children in every year have families of all shapes and sizes; single parent, adopted, two mums or one mum and a dad. And in every class there will be young people who will themselves grow up LGBT+.

It’s not just important that kids see their own families and futures reflected in the books they use, but that teachers have resources to open the discussion about embracing differences.

I wish I’d had a gay hero when I was at school, but I kind of had to learn to be my own hero. So now I try to let everyone know they can inspire themselves.

I’ve always loved fairy tales, but the romances were between boys and girls. I wanted a book where a prince fell in love with a prince or a princess with a princess and now I write them myself.

I’ve run workshops with thousands of kids (including in the Birmingham school where the protests occurred) and I don’t think children are given enough credit for how smart and understanding they are. They aren’t born prejudiced, and I always find that they are collectively appalled by injustice.

We’re not ‘confusing’ our kids by teaching them about same-sex relationships. Ultimately this is about preventing untold misery, and saving lives.

This is why, from 2020, the Government has made same-sex relationship education mandatory in all schools, and I’m dedicated to giving teachers the resources they need to help kids grow to understand themselves and their world as it is today.

Any discomfort of the odd parent who wants to teach their kids medieval prejudice will always be trumped by the human rights of our next generation, and our wish for them to grow up in a more accepting and happier world.

Kenny Lives with Erica and Martina is published today.

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B&M launches new Friends collection with prices starting at just £4

The Friends B&M range
The new B&M Friends range (Picture: B&M)

B&M has launched a new Friends themed collection – and it’s even cheaper than Primark’s range.

The new range is inspired by everyone’s favourite 90s American sitcom.

It includes everything from hairbrushes (inspired by Monica’s humid hairstyle), desk planners, and Central Perk mugs.

Prices start from just £4 – which is pretty cheap considering Etsy is selling a near replica of the Central Perk mug for nearly four times the price.

The range is available in stores already, and we don’t expect it to last on the shelves long – especially not the mugs.

Take a look below at what else is on offer.

This Friends coffee mug costs £4

Friends coffee mug, £4
Friends coffee mug, £4 (Picture: B&M)


This travel mug is also £4

Travel mug, £4
Travel mug, £4 (Picture: B&M)


We love this hairbrush, also £4

Friends hairbrush
Friends hairbrush, £4 (Picture: B&M)


Fancy a new pencil case? These cost £5 each

Friends pencil cases
Friends pencil cases, £5 each (Picture: B&M)


This Friends themed notebook and pen costs £5

The Friends themed notebook and pen, £5
The Friends themed notebook and pen, £5 (Picture: B&M)

Back in April, Primark also released a new Friends collection, with loads of amazing homeware bits.

It included slogan candles, oversized Central Perk mugs, a Central Perk themed cafetiere and glasses, and a storage glass for coffee beans.

There were also lots of decor pieces, including photo frames, whiteboards and door hooks.

The store offered similar pricing to B&M, with prices starting at £1.50 and going up to £7.

But with the most expensive pieces at B&M costing just a fiver each, B&M beats Primark slightly with its prices.

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Best man at wedding stunned to find out it’s actually his big day, not his mate’s


Business owner Aleasha Pilawa never said yes to all her boyfriend’s proposals.

The 36-year-old from Wales laughed off partner Paul Schoproni’s attempts to make her his wife – which she says he does about 30 times a day.

To make up for all the times she said no, Aleasha decided to plan an unforgettable proposal (and wedding) of her own.

She told Paul it was two of their friends’ wedding at which he was to be the best man.

On the big day, Aleasha turned up as the bride, decked in white, and asked Paul, 40, to marry her.

But she added her own flair, belting out a rendition of the 1978 Motown hit It Should’ve Been Me.

A flabberghasted Paul, realising what’s happening, then cheekily said no before running off.

They then said yes to one another and imminently got married. They are now planning their honeymoon.

There’s only so many proposals one relationship can endure after all.

Paul looking stunned at realising its his own wedding
Please enjoy the look of shock on Paul’s face (Picture: Facebook/Paul Schoproni)

‘For the last two years he’s proposed to me about 30 times a day,’ explained Aleasha.

‘I’m doing a degree in HR management and running two tyre repair garages so having someone asking to marry you all the time can be exhausting.

‘Besides I’ve been married twice already and was a bit reluctant to go through all that again.

The bride and groom in their wedding outfits
It finally sunk in (Picture: Facebook/Paul Schoproni)

‘He used to do things like stand outside there in the morning as I drove past holding a billboard saying “will you marry me?” – proper embarrassing.

‘So I thought I’d finally put him out of his misery.’

Mum-of-three Aleasha told Paul he was attending a humanist vow renewal ceremony for his friends Kevin and Heidi.

the bride and groom outside the pub
They’re now planning their honeymoon  (Picture: Facebook/Paul Schoproni)

To make sure he wasn’t getting suspicious, Aleasha had methods to throw him off.

‘He did get suspicious once or twice so I’d have to create an argument just so I could be alone to plan our wedding,’ she said.

‘So, yes, there were a few nights when he ended up sleeping outside in the van, bless him.’

Not doing anything in half measures, Aleasha wore a custom-made wedding gown and whipped up a three-tier wedding cake with Paul none the wiser.

their wedding cake
Aleasha organised a three-tier wedding cake  (Picture: Facebook/Paul Schoproni)

She also organised a wedding-worthy ride for the couple; a pink car complete with a white ribbon going down the front.

‘I never suspected it for one minute,’ admitted Paul.

‘[When] she came singing our song – I thought it was a joke at first.

The couple travelled in style on their big day - It???s meant to be the happiest day of your life ??? except, in this case, the groom didn???t know anything about it. Paul Schoproni, 40, had been asking his partner Aleasha Pilawa to marry him for years but she???d never given him an answer. So to make up for it the 36-year-old business owner from Bargoed decided to stage a fake wedding for two friends ??? at which Paul was to be best man ??? before turning up in front of everyone in a wedding dress and popping the question to him right then and there. Dancing down the makeshift aisle at the town???s Capel Hotel on August 31 while dressed all in white Aleasha belted out her rendition of the 1978 Motown hit It Should???ve Been Me ??? while all her unsuspecting other half could do was look on in shock.
And a fitting ride obviously (Picture: Facebook/Paul Schoproni)

‘And even now, despite the fact I’ve probably watched the video a hundred times, I still can’t quite believe it.

‘Fair play – I have to say I’m pretty impressed she managed to do all that.’

Big day for Paul, he got proposed to and married on the same day.

Do you have a proposal or wedding story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing MetroTeamLifestyle@metro.co.uk.

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Mum encourages children to read with hide and seek book scheme

Lynsey and her son
Lynsey has been hiding books across her local area (Picture: Lynsey Rogers)

A 38-year-old mum-of-four is encouraging children to read with a new scheme to make reading even more fun.

Lynsey Rogers, from Chesterton, started by hiding 50 books outdoors, and three weeks on almost 1,000 people have joined the ‘Find A Book’ Facebook group she’s set up.

Each book is put into a sealed bag and carries the message ‘read me and re-hide me’. The scheme encourages children to find the books, read them and then put them in another mystery place for other kids to continue the challenge.

Since Lynsey’s first 50, many other families have started hiding their own books.

A book hidden near a postbox
Lynsey started by hiding 50 books (Picture: Lynsey Rogers)

Lynsey, who works in accounts full time and is an Usborne Organiser as well as having her own bookstore called Peek-a-Book, first saw the ‘Find a Book’ initiative in a newspaper article in Manchester.

She spoke to her friend about it and decided to carry it on herself.

Lynsey set the Facebook group up just two weeks ago and shared a post to local groups letting others know what she would be doing.

She then took 50 books from her own stock and went out hiding them around the local area, using her business flyers and adding ‘If you find me, read me and re-hide me’.

A book hidden in a shop
She’s been hiding books all over the place (Picture: Lynsey Rogers)

Lynsey tells Metro.co.uk: ‘It went crazy. My children, especially my five-year-old, love hiding the books for people to find.

‘The reaction has been so overwhelming and I never thought it would be this big – we have over 900 members now.

‘It is encouraging children and their parents to get out and about, finding books, sitting in the park reading them or taking them home, and then they have the fun of re-hiding for someone else.

‘I have had parents message me saying this is the best summer holidays they have had, the children want to come away from the TV screens and phones to see what books they can find.

‘This is also helping parents who have reluctant readers.’

Lynsey's son with a book
Lynsey’s kids have loved finding the books (Picture: Lynsey Rogers)

Lynsey says she is ‘so delighted’ at the success of her group and loves how everyone is still taking part – adding that she wants the challenge to continue for as long as it possibly can, both before and after school and weekends.

She adds that she’s even already working on book-themed ideas for next year’s summer holidays.

She said: ‘I am working on speaking to local schools to carry on promoting the Find a Book and keep spreading the love of literacy.

‘The community of Chesterton and Staffordshire have been amazing.’

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Scheme builds edible garden carts in unused spaces to bring communities together

The edible garden now and the people enjoying it now
The garden in full bloom and the community enjoying it (Picture: Ian Goode)

Living in the city often means giving up any outdoor space.

Sure that flat is gorgeous and affordable but it’s also on the first floor so say goodbye to having a garden.

Is it any wonder we all love houseplants?

Well, thanks to one this scheme in London, you could build your own edible community garden in an unused parking space for your whole street to share.

Eat Off Your Street started with one local community wanting to give some space to grow some herbs and plants.

Now the scheme is spreading to other streets and the team behind it hope that one day the idea can spread nationwide.

Organiser Matt Chan told Metro.co.uk: ‘We’re taken something that is dead space and turned it into something for everyone.

‘It’s not just about gardening – it’s about bringing people together.

Building the edible garden in Stockwell
The garden was built in an unused parking space (Picture: Ian Goode)

‘If you are growing food together, you have to all contribute and you can do things like harvesting days and seeding days and you can cook some of the food together.’

The idea was started back in 2017 by local residents Goldie Chaudhuri and Ian Goode, who both live in first-floor flats on Heyford Avenue, Stockwell, South London.

Together they picked up some wood and built a huge cart style planter, that could be filled with soil and plants but could be moved if they needed it to be.

Building the edible garden in Stockwell, south London
Goldie and Ian thought up and designed the prototype in 2017 (Picture: Ian Goode)

It sat in one of the parking spots that wasn’t used by people living on the street.

They built a series of areas for different plants and a bench at the back for gardeners to sit and chat to others.

In 2017, they were crowned the Winner of the Blooming Lambeth Innovation award.

Since then, they’ve filled it was seasonable fruit, veg and herbs for the people living on that street to enjoy.

Right now, they are enjoying fennel,  blueberries, tomatoes, courgettes, physalis and lots of herbs.

The team building the first edible garden in 2017
The community came together to build it (Picture: Ian Goode)

Over the years, their little edible garden has grown, giving the community on the street both a source of food and somewhere to come together.

Now, they’ve decided to try to expand the project, firstly in other areas in South London but they are aiming to see it spread to other cities and right across the UK.

Matt explains: ‘We were just chatting over dinner one night and I said “What if this can go further than just our street?”

‘I started to look at ways to expand it and I put it on a site called Next Door, just in the local area. Quite quickly, I had about 40 people saying they would be interested.’

The finished edible garden in Stockwell
The finished cart (Picture: Ian Goode)

They’ve now got a group of volunteers including design leaders Janet Vutcheva and Nadejda Tabakova, communication lead Annie Hanauer and social media lead Marina Nor’azman.

Geoff Parson and Jane Banham work as community leaders and Matt is helping to lead the whole project, while original creators Goldie and Ian are on hand to help too.

The team have already confirmed the second Eat Off Your Street site on Aldebert Terrace, in Stockwell, with others in the pipeline.

The first plants in the edible garden in Stockwell
The first plants (Picture: Ian Goode)

They’ve got sponsorship from builders’ merchant Travis Perkins who would pay for the building of the next edible garden.

This time, they’re using an empty forgotten patch of pedestrian pavement and the team stress that a garden can sit anywhere that works for the community using it.

Matt adds: ‘Hopefully people will just come together and generate their own community. 

‘It doesn’t even have to be the entire street – it can just be three or four people coming together. It can grow from there.

The edible garden in Stockwell now
The garden now (Picture: Ian Goode)

‘I get asked how people can do this if they don’t know anyone on their street but the whole point is that you take the position of leadership and you find you go on to speak to people that you never have before.’

The team are preparing a design for other communities to replicate the original prototype.

They are creating something that will only take one weekend to build as they want a garden that is useful but straightforward for everyone.

The community sitting round and enjoying the edible garden
The garden has brought the whole community together (Picture: Ian Goode)

The team from Eat Your Street will help out with the building of the initial gardens, encouraging others from the street to get involved and once the garden is finished, they’ll throw a party to encourage people to come out and get involved.

Matt explains: ‘What we learned from building ours was that we tried very hard to enrol other people into the ideas before we built it but we found that it wasn’t until the day we started to put it together that people really got interested.

‘Even now, we’ll be trimming it or watering it and people will walk past and see and stop to ask about it.’

If you’re interested in growing an edible garden on your street, you can get in touch on their Instagram @eatoffyourstreet.

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Jacob Rees Mogg has sparked war between those who put crisps in the fridge and normal people

Do crisps go in the fridge?
(Picture: Getty)

Whatever you think about Jacob Rees Mogg, you have to agree that he’s a very strange man.

That’s obviously what comedian Phil Wang was thinking, anyway, when he made a joke about JRM’s controversial reclined position in Commons yesterday.

Posting a screenshot of the now-infamous lean, in which Rees Mogg laid down on three seats during a Brexit debate, he captioned it ‘when I remember there’s crisps in the fridge’.

Obviously, this is a joke based around the fact Rees Mogg is from some odd world where food banks are ‘uplifting’ and the word ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’ is a normal thing to say in Parliament.

However, it exposed a dark underworld where people across Britain are actually putting crisps in the fridge, and has started an argument that might actually eclipse that of the Tories and Labour.

Off the back of the tweet, people have been ferociously defending their position on where crisps should be stored.

While one person said ‘Only a monster like JRM would keep crisps in the fridge’, it appeared this isn’t the case at all.

As the tagging commenced, people said all sorts of wild things, like ‘The fridge makes crisps better. Try it.’ and ‘Guys there’s nothing inherantly [sic] wrong, evil or wicked about keeping crisps in the fridge.’

One even posted a picture of his potato based snacks in the fridge, as if we hadn’t already been scarred enough by the very thought.

Dis. Gus. Ten.

Other, more normal people said: ‘Sorry but anyone who puts crisps in the fridge is a raging psychopath’ and ‘If you put chips in the fridge here you would definitely go to prison.’ That’s a policy we should all unite behind.

We know through the whole Brexit debacle that conflict really does solve nothing, but we can’t help but feel that perhaps some wars are necessary.

What do you think?

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Jagermeister launches new cold brew coffee infusion

The new Jagermeister
This sounds amazing (Picture: Jagermeister)

Love a Jägerbomb? Well, you can now add some extra caffeine to it as the brand has released the ‘Cold Brew Coffee’.

Jägermeister has released the new drink in partnership with Nottingham-based coffee company Degrees Coffee.

It’s made from 56 herbs and spices, with Arabica coffee and chocolate cacao. Yum.

It’s meant to be served as a shot – and we doubt it would go very well with Red Bull. But if you’re at home and you fancy something alcoholic, you could always add it into an iced coffee for an extra kick.

The new Cold Brew Coffee Jägermeister contains an alcohol volume of 33% and 10% caffeine.

The new cold brew shot
You’re supposed to drink it as an ice cold shot (Picture: Jagermeister)

It also marks the first permanent addition to the brand since it was founded more than 80 years ago.

The 50cl bottles will be available to buy in 300 Morrisons stores, as well as Greene King pubs and Beds and Bars outlets in London from 1 October.

Or, you can order a Cold Brew gift set from the Jägermeister website for £24.99.

Jack Carson, Mast-Jägermeister’s US director of innovation said: ‘Combining Jägermeister with coffee has been a fan favorite for years, so we wanted to perfect that experience for our consumers and create a product where those flavors were perfectly balanced.

‘Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee fits seamlessly into our portfolio, while speaking to our audience who want to live boldly and experience disruptive new things.’

The new cold brew alcohol
This probably won’t get well with a Redbull (Picture: Jagermeister)

UK Innovation Controller, Tim Hawley added: ‘We’ve been developing Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee for a number of years, working alongside expert baristas, roasters and barmen through many iterations to create a perfectly balanced fusion of original Jägermeister, the punch of roasted coffee and just a nod towards bitter chocolate.

‘We’re really excited to see it realised and launching.’

‘Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee is perfect for moments of celebration in or out of the home, offering an intricate coffee flavour profile complemented by the classic Jägermeister taste – served perfectly as an ice-cold shot.’

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How to help the victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas

Areas of the northern Bahamas were devastated by Hurricane Dorian
Areas of the northern Bahamas were devastated by Hurricane Dorian (Pictures: Getty/EPA/PA/Reuters)

Hurricane Dorian – one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded – caused devastation over the Bahamas earlier this week.

The death toll has since risen from seven to 20 and is expected to increase as searchers continue over the coming days.

The category five killer storm wiped out homes and, in some cases, entire neighbourhoods and communities, leaving behind a heartbreaking path of destruction.

As many as 13,000 homes have been severely damaged or destroyed, following the sustained wind speeds of 185mph.

Hubert Minnis, the Bahamas Prime Minister, said in a news conference: ‘We are in the midst of one of the greatest national crises in our country’s history.

‘No effort or resources will be held back.’

 A handout aerial photograph of areas of the northern Bahamas were devastated by Hurricane Dorian
There were high winds and rain for more than two days (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

There are a number of organisations, both locally and nationally, helping the country to get back on its feet.

Donating goods

An option if you, or anyone you know, are either travelling to the Bahamas or heading to the USA or Canada.

Bahamas Relief is calling on people to donate items of immediate need such as power generators, toiletries, canned goods, cleaning supplies, tents and water.

There are a number of drop-off locations in the USA or Canada listed on the website. If dropping something off isn’t possible, you can donate money to trusted partners via the official website.

The Bahamas branch of the Red Cross is looking for urgent donations of non-perishable goods such as nappies, cleaning supplies and bedding.

It’s estimated approximately 76,000 people – the vast majority of residents – have been affected, so physical materials are widely needed.

The Red Cross also currently has around 200 volunteers in the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama helping out. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has contributed 250,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to supplement funding.

The Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation website offers suggestions on how to help and features several addresses where donors can drop off supplies in the US.

Abaco, Bahamas on Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Homes, neighbourhoods and communities were destroyed (Picture: ABACA/PA Images)

Donating money

For those further afield, donating money is a great way to contribute to relief efforts.

World Central Kitchen, the brainchild of chef José Andrés, provides food for communities after natural disasters.

José and his team have already arrived in the Bahamas and are looking for places where they can set up kitchens in the affected areas. There’s the option to donate once or give monthly.

Team Rubicon UK’s ‘Greyshirts’ volunteers are heading to Grand Bahama and Abaco, two of the worst hit islands, where they will use their specialist military backgrounds to get aid to the most cut-off

Team Rubicon UK anticipates its Greyshirts will be in the region for eight weeks, distributing shelter, water purification kits, and supplies to wherever needs it most, by whatever means possible.

For further information and to donate, visit the Team Rubicon UK website: teamrubiconuk.org/donate.

Global Giving has set up a Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund, for emergency supplies such as food, water and medicine as well as to help residents with long term recovery and rebuilds.

So far almost £300,000 as been donated, towards the goal of £1,475,777.

Worldwide humanitarian non-profit organisation International Medical Corps is focusing on delivering healthcare supplies and assisting with medical teams. The donation page can be found here.

Bahamian organisation HeadKnowles previously organised relief operations during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Joaquin in 2015. They’ve set up a site through Go Fund Me.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has said anyone looking to help could donate to the Salvation Army, as it works closely with the government’s National Emergency Management Agency. On its website it pledges that 100% of each donation goes directly to relief efforts.

Clara Lionel Foundation, the non-profit founded by singer Rihanna, is providing aid to the Bahamas and you can donate here.

Destruction from Hurricane Dorian at Marsh Harbour in Great Abaco Island, Bahamas
There’s lots that can be done to help (Picture: ABACA/PA Images)


As with any financial donation, it’s important to look into the background of an organisation and where exactly the money is going.

A number of tools are available online to do this, including Charity Navigator or Guidestar.

In fact, Charity Navigator offers a list on its website of reputable charities working in the Bahamas.

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