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Seven signs you’re dating a softboi

Illustration of man and woman at a table
Would you be able to tell? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

He’s played you his Hans Zimmer playlist, told you he has not one but five poetry collections scribbled down in Moleskines, and takes photos on a 35mm Olympus Trip.

Ringing any bells? If so, you might be caught up with a softboi (or softboy).

The softboi is a relative of the well-known fuckboy, with a sprinkling more sensitivity thrown into the mix. Unlike the latter, the softboi acts like he cares about your feelings, but in reality he’ll ditch you as soon as he’s bored.

From alternative interests to emotional intensity, these are the telltale signs of a softboi.

He’s an outsider

Or so he tells you.

He doesn’t fit in with most crowds, he explains. Instead, he finds himself drifting into his own thoughts when groups are making conversation.

This ‘misunderstood’ charade is enough to tempt even the best of us into feeling sympathetic.

He avoids anything mainstream

This comes with his outsider complex. He has bizarre taste in films, music and books – in fact, you’ve never really heard of any of the things he recommends to you. Where does one even find Algerian jazz fusion?

This nicheness makes him intriguing and ‘different to other guys’. This all works in his favour in gaining your interest.

He has a superiority complex

That being said, having alternative interests doesn’t automatically make you a softboi, but thinking these interests make you superior to everyone else does.

No doubt he’s open about his emotions

Maybe he’s sent you song lyrics or a recording of a song he’s written for you on the banjo. What a sensitive guy.

Now, of course it’s important for men to be open about their feelings, in fact that’s encouraged (especially with the dangers of toxic masculinity). But the difference between a nice guy who is in touch with his feelings and a softboi, is that the latter will exploit this to work to their advantage.

Typically a softboi will seem more emotionally intelligent than any other guy you’ve ever dated, but he’ll be using it as a ploy for you to get close to him – so he can get what he wants from you and then scarper off.

If you hear the dreaded: ‘you’re so different to other girls,’ it’s likely you’re in trouble.

illustation of a girl thinking about a boy
A softboi will seem more emotionally intelligent than any other guy you’ve ever dated (Picture: Ella Byworth)

He’s educated, and he wants you to know it

Keats, Hemingway, Woolfe – you name it, he’s read it.

Of course, being well-read is sexy, very sexy (especially if he can spontaneously quote Oscar Wilde passages). But a softboi thrives on intellectualism and loves nothing better than shoving his education in your face.

He’s also not at all interested in your thoughts or opinions on literature and philosophy.

He’s got a ‘good guy’ attitude

Of course he’s a feminist.

He just has so many feelings it makes perfect sense for him to be so passionate about gender equality and helping minorities. What a progressive guy.

His speeches are pretty convincing too, like the one about freeing the nipple and legalising drugs.

But the deception will soon become clear.

A few hookups will result in him eventually ghosting you, and you’ll be left wondering whatever happened to that ‘caring disposition’.

He’s convinced he discovered x, y and z

He tells you he was listening to Bon Iver back in 2006.

This obsession with finding things before they became popular is another way he feeds his ego.

Came up with the idea for environmentally-friendly paper straws? Sure you did, hon.

MORE: What is a softboy, and are you one?

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Morrisons is selling two tubs of Roses, Celebrations, Quality Street and Heroes for £7

The chocolate tubs are back
They’re back! (Picture: Getty/Cadbury)

It’s that time of year where your favourite tubs of chocolate start making a comeback to prepare for Christmas (even though we’re still a few months away) and Morrisons is offering a great deal.

The supermarket is selling two tubs of Roses, Celebrations, Quality Street and Heroes for £7 from today.

Individually, the tubs cost £5 to buy, so you’ll be making a saving of £3.

The 600g and 650g tubs are available in Morrisons from today – but you’ll be upset to know that once again, the tubs of Quality Street, Roses and Heroes chocolate have shrunk.

Because of this, Cadbury and Nestle have reduced the recommended retail prices of the tubs, but the supermarkets can decide how much they sell them for.

A tub of heroes
You can get two tubs for £7 (Picture: Cadbury)

Oh, and there’ll be further disappointed this year as once again, the Galaxy Truffles in Celebrations tubs will be missing.

But don’t worry – if they’re your absolute favourite, you can now get them in their very own boxes.

The boxes come after people started petitioning to bring them back after they were removed from Celebrations tubs back in 2011.

And while they still haven’t made a return to the mixed tubs, we’re pretty happy we can now get boxes dedicated to our favourite chocolate.

A tub of Roses
The tubs are in stock from today (Picture: Cadbury)

The truffles feature the same velvety Galaxy chocolate truffles encased in Galaxy milk chocolate, each wrapped individually in foil – this time in new colours.

Sarah Mellor, Galaxy Brand Director said: ‘We are extremely excited to be launching Galaxy Truffles in the UK this year and to be entering the all year-round gifting market for the first time as a brand.

‘For so many, Galaxy Truffles were part of a much-loved festive tradition and we are thrilled to be answering the undeniable demand, reinventing this favourite, now available all year round, as the perfect gift to bring pleasure to the next generation of Galaxy fans.’

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Couple order large fridge, Argos sends them mini fridge so small not even milk would fit

The mini fridge Argos sent
Argos sent a mini fridge (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

A young couple are trapped in a ‘laughable nightmare’ after Argos failed to deliver their new fridge – and then provided them with a replacement so small that even a pint of milk wouldn’t fit inside.

23-year-old Lauren Brown and her partner Lee Stubbs, 25, had ordered a £170 Argos Simple Value Fridge Freezer for delivery last Saturday and were expecting groceries to arrive an hour later.

After it was delayed three times, customer services worker Lauren was told to wait another week for the order and were sent a mini fridge to use in the meantime.

But the couple were left ‘absolutely fuming’ to find they couldn’t even fit a pint of milk inside – prompting Argos staff to reportedly suggest they empty the liquid into smaller containers.

Yes, really.

To make matters worse, the tiny appliance’s plug was for a car when neither of them drive or own a vehicle.

Now Lauren claims the store advised her to order takeaways for the next week instead – and Lauren says it’s a good job the couple have ‘a sense of humour’.

Lee holding the mini fridge
Lauren and Lee weren’t best pleased (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

Lauren, from Rossendale, Lancashire, said: ‘It’s laughable now. It’s becoming a bit of a joke.

‘It’s been a nightmare and my partner was absolutely fuming.

‘They said they wouldn’t be able to get it delivered until next Saturday and sent me a mini fridge.

‘When it arrived, I opened it and said “well this is a bit small, it won’t fit anything in”.

‘We also noticed that you plug it into a car. What was I supposed to do with that?

‘I don’t even have a car and who would plug it into there [to use it] anyway?

‘I phoned them up again to say “I can’t use this – it doesn’t have a plug”.

‘That night, they then sent me an adaptor so I could plug it into the wall.

The milk wouldn't fit inside the tiny fridge
Argos suggested they live on takeaways for the week (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

‘As you can see, it doesn’t even fit a pint of milk in.

‘I contacted customer services via Facebook and they told me to get some smaller containers or glasses to put the milk in and fit it in the fridge.

‘I don’t have any containers small enough. Luckily we have a good sense of humour.’

In total Lauren says she called Argos three times last Saturday to be given different times slots and claims a staff member ‘suggested she just eat takeaways all week’.

Lauren said: ‘I booked a time slot and got a text message saying it’d be arriving between 2pm and 4pm.

‘When that hadn’t arrived by 4pm I called them and the man said it’d be with me by 5.20pm. It didn’t arrive again so I called them back and they said it’d be there at 8.46pm.

‘I told them I wasn’t happy.

Lauren and Lee pictured together
It’s lucky the couple have a good sense of humour (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

‘I had a food delivery coming between 6pm and 7pm that night. I had to refuse that and I’m still waiting for the refund. That’s a lot of money to wait for.

‘I called them up again and the guy told me they didn’t have any delivery slots until Saturday but I could maybe change the fridge to get it delivered earlier.

‘I was there going through different fridges, giving him product numbers and he found one for delivery on Wednesday.

‘I was then told he hadn’t put that order through and I would have to wait until Saturday anyway.

‘It’s really inconvenient. Maybe I’ll have to have tins of beans all week?

‘They’ve guaranteed again that my delivery will come on Saturday. We’ll have to wait and see now.

‘We’ve had to eat takeaways all week and Argos have said to send in all the receipts for them to head office to look at.

‘They actually suggested I eat takeaways all week which is so unhealthy.

‘At the moment they’ve offered me a £40 Argos card – like I want to order something from them again!’

An Argos spokesperson said, ‘We’ve contacted Lee and Lauren to apologise for their experience. We are arranging to deliver an upgraded model as a gesture of goodwill as soon as possible.’

MORE: Morrisons is selling two tubs of Roses, Celebrations, Quality Street and Heroes for £7

MORE: Seven signs you’re dating a softboi

Mum shares simple trick for getting rid of rust stains and water marks on kitchen knives

Woman holding a lemon sliced in half
Annoyed by rust stains on your drying rack? All you need is a lemon (Picture: Facebook/Cleaning Hacks, Tips & Recommendations UK)

If you’re bothered by the marks on your well-used kitchen knives, all you need is a lemon.

Spotting rust stains and water marks on your knives is perfectly normal. You’ll often find them appearing after chucking your cutlery into the dishwasher and leaving it there overnight rather than drying it off with a tea towel.

You don’t need to faff around with your dishwasher settings or buy any special products to make your knives look sparkling new.

One woman has shared her trick to removing marks from her kitchen knives: rubbing a lemon on the spots.

In the Cleaning Hacks, Tips & Recommendations Facebook group, Laura wrote: ‘Tip on cleaning rust spots off knives…. rub lemon on the spots! I leave my knives wet in the dishwasher for too long & they’d become quite marked but this gets them looking as good as new.’

knives before and after using lemon to get rid of rust stains
Before and after (Picture: Facebook/Cleaning Hacks, Tips & Recommendations UK)

Laura mentioned that the same trick worked to get those annoying marks off her metal draining board, too.

Draining boards are always being left with water on them, so watermarks are inevitable – an easy way to get rid of those is very much appreciated.

For water marks on other items, lemon isn’t your best bet. Lemon is best used for metals such as cutlery, knives, and your draining board, but for glass you should look to vinegar.

A MUM has revealed how she used an all-natural method to get rid of rust stains from her kitchen knives. Laura Mills posted impressive before and after pictures to Facebook group Cleaning Hacks, Tips & Recommendations yesterday. Provider: Facebook/Cleaning Hacks, Tips & Recommendations UK
The lemon trick will work on your draining board, too (Picture: Facebook/Cleaning Hacks, Tips & Recommendations UK)

If after every dishwasher load you remove your glasses to find them streaky, there are a few different techniques you can use to get rid of those deposits of limescale.

If you’ve got vinegar or toothpaste, you’re set.

One method is soaking the glasses in a mix of warm soapy water with two cups of white vinegar for half an hour, then scrubbing them with a cloth or sponge.

You can also mix baking powder and white vinegar to make a paste, then let this sit for 15 minutes on the stains before wiping away and rinsing.

The toothpaste technique is easy too. You just apply toothpaste directly to the stains and scrub in with an old toothbrush.

Do you have a genius cleaning hack you’d like to share? Give us an email on MetroLifestyleTeam@metro.co.uk.

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Bride loves her £650 wedding dress so much she refuses to take it off to go swimming

Hannah and Joe Webb on their wedding day, with Hannah wearing a £650 wedding dress
Hannah Webb didn’t want to take her £650 wedding dress off (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

When you find the perfect wedding dress, it seems silly to only wear it on one day.

Hannah Webb decided to make the most of her wedding gown by refusing to take it off for two days after tying the knot, even going parasailing in it.

Hannah, 22, bought a £650 floaty V-neck dress with a train for her wedding ceremony in Paphos, Cyprus.

She thought her dress ‘cost too much money to not make the most of’ and decided to keep wearing it.

The bride kept her wedding gown on while swimming in the pool and the sea the evening after tying the knot, then wore it out for a parasailing trip with her new husband, Joe.

Hannah and Joe swimming in the sea
Hannah decided to wear the dress while swimming in the sea (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

The couple hoped Hannah could wear the dress when they went jet skiing, too, but was warned it would be dangerous.

By the end of their adventures the dress was ‘filthy’ and looked like it had been ‘up a chimney’, but Hannah has no regrets.

‘There’s a lot of pressure with a wedding dress in how it needs to be perfect, and kept neat and how you need to store it in a box in your loft for 25 years afterwards,’ she said.

‘We just didn’t want it to be like that. We wanted it to be really fun and that’s why [I went parasailing in it]. I spent a lot of money on this dress so I wanted to get my wear out of it.

‘It felt lush walking down the aisle. I felt amazing. I loved it. That’s why I wanted to wear it again.

Hannah and Joe Webb before parasailing
She even wore the gown while parasailing Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

‘So I got to put it on a couple of days later and go up in the sky in it. I was so excited to put my wedding dress back on.

‘We wanted to go parasailing anyway. First of all, I was nervous about hanging from the top of a parachute. I thought, why don’t I put my dress back on?

‘It would be some pictures for us to cherish and you don’t really see people do it, do you, parasailing in their wedding dress.

‘It was a spur of the moment decision. I saw some people parasailing and I thought ‘I’m going to do that’.

‘I just wanted to make the most out of the dress because they’re not cheap.

‘Joe just kind of rolled his eyes at me [when I told him I wanted to parasail in it] and said I can never just be straightforward. He loved it, to be fair.

‘We went jet skiing before and he wanted me to wear my dress for jet skiing but they said you can fall off more easily and it was dangerous getting out of the water.

‘We just had a really fun water sports day and wanted to involve the dress as much as we could.’

Along with swimming and parasailing, Hannah also wore the gown to play rugby with her cousins, covering the material in dirt and grass stains as a result.

After washing off the dirt in the bathtub, Hannah plans to have her dress professionally dry cleaned so it can be sent off to a charity that will turn the gown into clothes for deceased children to be buried in.

‘It’s not worth storing it in a box in the loft if it can’t go to good use,’ said Hannah. ‘If they can make any little dresses out of the material that is left then I think it goes to a good cause.

‘The dress is still together but there are a few little snags around the waist. It’s not as white as what it was.’

Do you have a brilliant story about your wedding or wedding dress you’d be up for sharing? Get in touch with us at MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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How often should you be cleaning your mattress and how do you do it?

Sleep illustration - person fast asleep on leaf printed bedding
Ah, a peaceful snooze on a filthy mattress (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Unless you’re one of those responsible adults, you probably aren’t washing your bedsheets as frequently as you should.

What about your mattress?

Let’s be real – if you can’t be bothered to chuck your pillowcases in the laundry every few days, the need to clean your mattress has likely slipped your mind.

Even if you do think ‘wait, should I clean this?’, it’s tricky to know where to start. You can’t just bung a mattress in a washing machine and hope for the best.

So how often should you be cleaning your mattress? And how on earth do you do it, beyond just covering the entirety of your bed in squirts of Febreeze?

Neil Robinson, Chief Sleep Officer (yes, that is his real job title) at Sealy UK advises giving your mattress a proper wash every six months or so.

This is to get rid of all the dirt and dead skin that accumulates, even underneath bed sheets, and to prevent dust mites.

If you suffer from allergies, however, it might be worth cleaning your mattress more frequently to get rid of any triggers.

There’s a super simple way to clean your mattress. First, strip it of all its sheets and pillows, then give it a good vacuum on all sides to remove any dirt, hair, or crumbs (we see you people who like to eat biscuits in bed).

Once that’s done, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda all over the mattress. Leave to air for a few hours then vacuum it all away, making sure to get every last grain. This helps to get rid of any bacteria and damp and make your mattress feel fresh again.

Image of a bedroom with an illustration of a person in a blue t-shirt and purple trousers sitting on top of the bed with their back turned to the reader
Yes, you do need to clean your mattress (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

You can also find special mattress cleaning sprays which work in a similar way. If you have light stains on your bed you can use an enzyme cleaner to get rid of them.

After that you can hit your mattress with your Febreeze or other linen sprays to give it a nice scent. Don’t absolutely douse the area – you don’t want your mattress to get too wet.

It’s important to note that this method only works for those every-six-months cleans. If your mattress is absolutely filthy, seriously stained, or has dust mites, a vacuum job won’t cut it.

In these extreme cases, it’s time to call in a professional. They’ll have high power cleaning products to tackle the serious stuff.

Once you’ve cleaned your mattress, take steps to make sure it stays clean. That includes regularly washing all your bedding, buying a mattress protector, and letting your bed air.

‘While you may have been told that making your bed every morning is the key to a successful day, this could actually do more harm than good,’ says Neil. ‘Dust mites love warm, moist environments, meaning when you make your bed in the morning you’re actually creating the perfect environment for them to thrive.

‘Throw back the covers and remove the pillows from your bed for at least 20 minutes every morning, to allow moisture to evaporate and get the air circulating, which will help to prevent dust mites.’

There, now you have a reason to be lazy and leave your bed unmade.

Neil also recommends banishing pets from the bedroom to clear their fur from the area, but we simply can’t get on board with that suggestion. Is a lack of dust really worth missing out on cuddles with your cat every morning?

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Four incredible entrepreneurs reveal the secrets behind their success

Tom Hares Pc World
Four UK entrepreneurs discuss the key to their success in small businesses and start-ups (Picture: Tom Hares/Buzzbike)

What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur in 2019?

Business tycoon Peter Jones previously said entrepreneurs need a great ‘vision’ to establish their own companies, while Lord Sugar credits ‘great relationships’ for a sharp rise to the top.

In fact, statistics suggest that access to technology is becoming one of the greatest factors for successful start-ups, with 19 per cent of all spending in UK small businesses going into investment in technology*.

And that’s only expected to increase, thanks to significant improvements in Intel processor technology and the internal memory of modern laptops that help us to work faster and more efficiently than ever before.

So what is the secret to business success? We asked four high achievers what life is like as the CEOs, co-founders and high-fliers of modern-day companies.

James Pc World
Cambridge University Computer Science graduate James McAulay established an online booking platform for musicians in 2014 (Picture: James McAulay/EncoreMusicians)

James McAulay, Co-Founder and CEO at Encore

How did you establish an online platform for booking musicians?

As a musician myself, I know how chaotic and last-minute booking bands, orchestras and singers for events can be. So with my co-founder James King, a fellow musician, I set up an online booking platform called Encore, which connects the country’s top live musicians with events all across the UK.

Since 2014, we’ve paired over 10,000 musicians with events, including everything from a cappella flash mobs for marriage proposals, to Harpists at vegan yoga sessions.

What does the typical day of a company CEO look like?

None of this would be possible without cutting-edge technology.

In my own working day, I might be delivering important presentations to events agencies in the morning and by the afternoon, I’ll be digging deep into the numbers, so at any one time, my laptop could be multi-tasking between Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint programs as well as Chrome apps like YouTube and Google Docs.

Why might an all-singing, all-dancing laptop be important for a successful tech start-up?

Having a laptop with right level of Intel processor performance is critical to my productivity. No-one wants to feel chained to a plug socket every day, waiting for the battery to fail them, or at risk of being left red-faced in a boardroom when the programmes won’t load fast enough.

But with a fast laptop and a decent internet connection, I believe you can pretty much achieve anything.

Business owner and father-of-two Tom Hares runs a flexible bike subscription service for Londoners (Picture: Tom Hares/Buzzbike)

Tom Hares, Co-Founder of Buzzbike

How did the idea for a flexible bike subscription service come about?

Moving back to London from the US in 2013 made me realise just how uncommon it is for people in the UK to use bikes as their primary mode of transport.

So, when I established Buzzbike with my business partner Andy Nunn, we wanted to provide a flexible subscription service that gives Londoners everything they needed to get on two wheels at the click of a button – including a bike of their own to take home!

How important is technology for the everyday life of a business owner?

To run a complex operation like ours, it’s essential that our business laptops can go the distance. Whether I’m in the office or on the road, I could be doing anything from overseeing the design of new bikes using demanding photo editing software, all the way up to investor presentations created using Microsoft PowerPoint and Keynote.

It takes a powerful processor to deal with all those diverse tasks and still last long enough for my five and six-year-old children to use it for homework at the end of the day.

What impact would a laptop upgrade make?

With a modern all-in-one laptop, like the Acer Aspire 5 that has an Intel Core i7 processor, multi-tasking is easier and faster, so there’s never any need to worry that the laptop will burn out before I do following a busy day.

Technology gives you the power to do amazing things, so staying up to date not only enables me to get the most out of my day but to keep going the distance for Buzzbike riders.

Pc World
High-achiever Charlotte Wellbelove joined Design Squared Architects as an Associate Architect in 2018 (Picture: Charlotte Wellbelove/DesignSquaredArchitects

Charlotte Wellbelove, Associate Architect at Design Squared Architects

What are the benefits of working for a smaller-scale practice like Design Squared Architects?

Reinventing a space in someone’s home is such a personal experience, but as a smaller practice we can offer that very personal level of attention to each of our clients.

A client’s individual style and the desired functionality of the proposed space is always so important for the design process, so being able to meet with them in person and share a digital mock-up of their vision, weeks before the space has even been developed, is an amazing advantage.

How has architectural design changed over the last 10 years?

It’s thanks to significant advances in modern laptops, like more powerful Intel processors and improved HD screens, that we’re able to get out of the office and present these dynamic 3D renders to clients on portable devices.

Previously, a desktop computer might have been the only type of PC that could cope with our heavy-lifting 3D modelling programs like Google Sketch Up and Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, but now we can accurately sketch and mark up drawings in an instant on our portable devices.

Why is it so important that you use a high-performance laptop for your day job?

Using a lightweight and durable HP laptop has helped me to be more mobile, so I can be making time-sensitive decisions onsite or on the go with access to all of the finer details right at my fingertips, like finances, programming, technical drawings and construction details.

Great laptops can give you the performance you need to take action on the go and it’s transforming the face of architectural design, as well as the interaction we have with our clients.

Jonny Pc World
Trained accountant Jonny Plein made the decision to become an entrepreneur in 2016 (Picture: Jonny Plein/Pouch)

Jonny Plein, Co-Founder of Pouch

Why does Pouch sound so familiar and where might we have seen you before?

Like most entrepreneurs, we took our tech start-up, Pouch, to meet with potential investors when we first started out. The only difference was that we did it on national TV when my co-founders (Vikram Simha and Ben Corrigan) and I appeared on Dragon’s Den in 2017.

Fortunately, it went down well with all five Dragons, and we walked away with a £75,000 investment in our online shopping tool, Pouch.

Pouch is a free extension for your web browser designed to save shoppers time and money by automatically sourcing the best available discount codes and presenting them at the checkout page, so you never have to do a voucher search again.

What is the value of high-performance technology within a business like yours?

When I upgraded to the faster and more efficient HP Pavilion laptop at Currys PC World, I noticed a great improvement in my output day-to-day because I wasn’t wasting time waiting for things to load or reboot when my old laptop inevitably failed me.

As a professional bargain-hunter, I was also very impressed by the cost-to-performance ratio of machine that offers a powerful Intel® Core™ i5 processor.

What can a great laptop enable you to do in the day-to-day life of Pouch?

I work on very varied and demanding tasks every day, so a high-level processor helps me to work faster on preparing for investor presentations, running online campaigns and most importantly, test the user experience of Pouch.

Upgrading to the latest technology was an investment in myself and my business. Having a faster and more efficient laptop means I can get more done, which means Pouch can continue to save shoppers money on all their favourite sites.



Save With Instant Trade-In

If you needed any more excuses to wave goodbye to your old machine, Currys PC World will now give you the chance to save money on a shiny new one when you trade in your laptop.

Using Currys PC World’s genius instant trade-in service, your slow and out-dated device could be replaced with a rapid, high-performance laptop the same day.

Like an HP Envy with Intel® Core™ i7 processor, that’s speedy and intuitive enough to keep up with your lifestyle.

You can get anything up to £200 for an eligible machine to offset against your next purchase, and even more if you spread the cost with an outstanding flexible credit plan.

Simply pop into store with your old machine or get an instant online valuation at currys.co.uk and see for yourself just how much it could be worth!

Topshop has released an affordable version of Dr Martens boots

topshop selling mr marten lookalikes
Topshop has dropped these platform beauties (Picture: Topshop/Getty)

Dr Martens are timeless. In fact, your mum and dad probably wore them back in the day, but they come with a hefty price tag.

Thankfully, high street favourite Topshop has launched its very own version of the grungy boot – at a fraction of the price of the original.

The new Oslo boots have a chunky, lace-up style and bear a striking resemblance to Doc Martens’ popular Jadon shoes.

Much like Dr Marten boots, the new Topshop shoes are designed to give wearers some extra height – with a platform heel coming in at an inch tall.

Topshop has just launched an affordable version of Dr Marten boots From Topshop
Chunky yet funky (Picture: Topshop

The lookalikes are being sold for £42 – which is a whopping £127 cheaper than the Doc Marten Jadon boots on the company’s website.

Similarly to Dr Martens, the Topshop shoes don’t only come in black – they’re also available in a eye-catching snakeskin style.

Topshop has just launched an affordable version of Dr Marten boots
The boots also come in snake print (Picture: Topshop)

Practical for walking, hiking and for day to day wear, there’s no doubt the new shoes will be snapped up pretty quick – so best to order them now to avoid disappointment.

You can check to see if they have your size in your nearest store, by using the store availability tool on the Topshop website.

For those looking for a pair of boots made with real leather, you’re in luck.

The high street brand also sell a style called Alanis, which are priced at £89 – still considerably cheaper than the Dr Marten Jadons. They’re available in either black or white and come with a stacked sole and contrast overstitching.

Topshop, we thank you for answering all our winter boot prayers.

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Mum says child was publicly shamed and had lunchbox searched over a homemade banana choc chip muffin

 Furious mother claims her six-year-old daughter was shamed by her teachers in front of her classmates for bringing a banana muffin to school
Tammy claimed her child was publicly shamed for the muffin (Picture: Facebook)

Who doesn’t love a delicious chocolate chip muffin? Apparently, this school in New Zealand, which was revealed after a mum claimed her daughter was publicly shamed for bringing one in.

Tammy Campbell, from Christchurch, said that her six-year-old daughter wasn’t allowed to eat a homemade banana and chocolate chip muffin she’d packed for her on two occasions at Waitakiri School.

According to Tammy, her child came home saying she wasn’t allowed to eat the snack, so the next day the mum put a note in her lunchbox (along with a new muffin) saying that the teacher was welcome to call her if there were any issues with the food choice.

However, the New Brighton parent said that instead of this, her daughter was taken to the deputy headteacher and had her lunchbox searched, in an act she likened to ‘a public shaming’.

 Furious mother claims her six-year-old daughter was shamed by her teachers in front of her classmates for bringing a banana muffin to school
The muffin in question (Picture: Tammy Campbell)

Speaking to RNZ, Tammy said: ‘This is a school that quite often has cupcake sales to raise money, or sells boxes of chocolates to raise money. They’re happy to sell cookies and chips at a disco, do hot chips as a reward in the classrooms.

‘Things like this – being made a spectacle of, in front of her peers – can definitely lead to young children having eating disorders or negative connotations around food or body image.

‘It’s certainly not something that should have been addressed in front of other children. It should have been brought to the parent.’

 Furious mother claims her six-year-old daughter was shamed by her teachers in front of her classmates for bringing a banana muffin to school
The Waitakiri School (Picture: Google Maps)

The Waitakiri School headteacher, Andrew Barker, disputes this version of events, saying that the only reason the muffin was ‘disallowed’ was due to it being eaten during the school’s ‘healthy snack time’.

‘The teacher quietly asked the student if they had something else that they could swap it with. The child did, so the child swapped the muffin. The muffin could have been eaten at lunch or morning tea, and probably was, we are not sure,’ he said.

The school did, however, apologise for any misunderstandings, which came after Tammy – a former police officer – issued a formal complaint.

She sent her daughter to school with another muffin the next day, but it’s unclear what the outcome was this time around.

First Jamie takes Turkey Twizzlers, and now they’re coming for the muffins. But not without a fight.

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M&S has launched a reversible coat – giving you two winter warmers for the price of one

M&S launches new reversible coat
It’s an autumn miracle (Picture: Marks & Spencer)

The arrival of September means it’s time to start dressing for the cold – and what better way to do that than with a cosy winter coat?

But there’s one particular bargain to be had when it comes to winter warmers this year – all thanks to M&S.

The brand has released a brand new two-in-one number: a reversible Split Wool Overcoat.

The genius product is fully reversible – with one side offering a delightful blush pink shade and the other boasting a deep autumnal russet/red.

M&S has launches reversible coat
One for if you’re feeling tickled pink (Picture: Marks & Spencer)

What’s more, the versatile piece is currently available in all sizes – from 6 to 22 – and is priced at £119.

But best get ordering pronto to avoid disappointment.

M&S has launches reversible coat

And another more dramatic red side (Picture: Marks & Spencer)

It hardly comes as a surprise that a number of fashion bloggers, including influencer Erica Davies, have been quick to upload pictures of themselves wearing the coat on Instagram.

Erica posted a picture of herself in the pale pink side earlier this week, matching the coat with a chiffon top, checked blazer and an animal-print bag – products all from M&S.


It seemed the two-in-one piece delighted a number of Erica’s followers, with many of them posting their thoughts on the winter staple.

One replied to the post: ‘Omg I am buying this coat straight away.’

While another posted: ‘You are my coat angel. I was looking for a long pink coat for autumn and here it is.’

Another one said: ‘So much love for this coat! I liked it but then when you mentioned it’s reversible, now I love it.’

We have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of this wintry piece on Instagram over the coming months.

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Spill It: What a 28-year-old app developer drinks in a week

Spill It: What a 28-year-old app developer drinks in a week
Who doesn’t love a nice cold beer? (Pictures: Getty)

Whether it’s beer garden weather or pre-Christmas merriment, there’s always an excuse for Brits to drink.

Perhaps a better excuse doesn’t exist than a family wedding which, while a joyous occasion, can result in a few sore heads the next day.

Spill It is our weekly drinking diary that peeks inside the life of someone’s habits around alcohol, and this week we’re hearing from a 28-year-old app developer who had been at his sister’s wedding.

As a relatively moderate drinker the rest of the time, it’s interesting to see how much social situations like this can alter standard habits.

Let’s take a look at our diarist’s week in drinking:


Mondays and Tuesdays are usually good days for me in terms of being able to avoid alcohol. I work pretty late, gym and say no to any social engagements. I usually don’t drink at home, so with no alcohol in the house it’s pretty easy to avoid.

Units: 0 


Knowing my sister was getting married at the weekend I knew that would be a boozy affair, so I avoided alcohol.

Wednesday is usually date night that always nearly involves drinking but my girlfriend was coming to the wedding, so we didn’t this week.

Units: 0


My sister was getting married in Scotland on Saturday, so we drove up to Liverpool and stayed the night there to break up the drive.

We arrived at 5pm, dropped the bags and headed straight to a rooftop bar. Had two pints of lager there (Heineken) and then went for dinner.

Dinner involved half a bottle of white wine and one glass of red wine. A little tipsy at this point it was difficult to call it a night with all the live music going on.

Had two more pints of lager (Coors Light) this time whilst listening to a dodgy cover artist. Knowing we had three more hours to drive early the next day we called it at around midnight.

Units: 16.1


We arrived in Scotland at around 2pm, straight to the hotel bar, which was open already, free drinks all weekend.

It was dangerous so tried to behave as I had some responsibilities the next day as the brother to the bride. The afternoon still involved eight pints of Tuborg.

Then the second sitting was at around 10pm when my girlfriend arrived and I switched to double G+T’s, as that’s what she drinks. I had three of those and I think I may have had a Jäger bomb but I can’t quite remember – that was just before I called it at 1am.

Units: 23.1 (including the Jäger bomb)


Sister’s wedding day. Woke up wounded and hungover but sorted out by an Alka-Seltzer. I was a groomsman, so we were ready for 12pm and had our first pint (Tuborg) then whilst waiting for everyone to get ready. I was making the first speech, so I was quite nervous so wanted some Dutch courage.

Had three more pints of Tuborg and a glass of Prosecco before the ceremony. The groom was nervous whilst waiting for my sister and he had a hip flask full of whiskey, so we had a shot of that before she came in at 2pm.

Photos lasted two hours during which I had two more glasses of prosecco now getting really nervous for my speech. With speeches over I had a half bottle of Italian red wine with the dinner. The evening involved a lot of dancing so I didn’t drink too much more as wanted to remember it. Had two more pints of Tuborg and someone did make me an old fashioned. Bed by 12pm.

Units: 21.9 


With a seven hour journey ahead of us back to London, the thought of anymore alcohol would have made me feel sick. Hangover day with a lot of cheat food. No alcohol.

Units: 0 


Still having wedding blues, I wasn’t in the mood for anything social. No alcohol and an early night.

Units: 0 

Total units this week: 61.1

Total units in a week recommended by the NHS: 14 units (for anybody regardless of gender).

Spill It is a weekly series out every Friday. To get involved email jessica.lindsay@metro.co.uk.

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Sex therapist claims cheating can improve a relationship

metro illustrations of a man and woman in bed
Can cheating make a relationship stronger? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Cheating is an absolute deal breaker for most couples – but one sex therapist says it could be the key to improving a relationship.

Despite being the worst kind of betrayal for most, Australian sex therapist Matty Silver claims that cheating can actually make relationships and marriages better.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The Sydney-based relationship counsellor says the act of cheating needn’t end a relationship, instead it actually has the ability to make it stronger. Pretty controversial stuff.

Matty told news.com.au: ‘Starting to understand an affair and how it happened can help provide clarity and give answers to the many questions a couple may feel are still unanswered.

‘This is not about assigning blame, but a time to deconstruct the affair and find out where the roots of the infidelity started so they can make decisions on how their relationship can go forward.’

This is what relationship therapist Tammy Nelson would categorise as an affair that starts as a way for people to fill an emotional gap in their relationship, rather than one where they wish for the relationship to end.

An illustration of two people, a man and a woman, arguing
It’s not about blame, but instead working out why cheating happened (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Matty believes it’s the stigma around infidelity, particularly in her home country Australia, which is ‘damaging and driving couples to divorce’.

Instead she encourages couples to be more forgiving of cheating, saying the ‘lower divorce rates’ in European countries are largely due to the fact they have ‘more accepting attitudes’.

Her views come after Sydney sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein told FEMAIL there’s nothing to ‘affair-proof’ your marriage because each infidelity is completely different and there’s no way to control your partner’s thoughts or actions.

Dr Goldstein said: ‘It’s not a matter of preventing your partner from straying – it’s a backward statement to keep men or women happy in the relationship.

‘There’s never a fool-proof way to ‘affair-proof’ your marriage but having that conversation is a start – and just be open about everything in your relationship.’

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How to self-publish a best-selling book, by the author who knocked JK Rowling off the top spot

LJ Ross, best-selling author on Amazonof Penshaw and Holy Island, from her DCI Ryan series
LJ Ross, best-selling author on Amazon with titles including newly published Penshaw and her first novel, Holy Island, from her DCI Ryan series

A world open to anybody: independent best-selling author LJ Ross, who has recently topped the Amazon Charts Most Read and Most Sold Fiction lists, shares her self-publishing experience and her top tips for aspiring writers.

Take a look at the Amazon’s Most Read Fiction chart today and unsurprisingly, you’ll find JK Rowling at the top.

But in August of this year, JK’s supremacy was rocked when a self-published author from Northumbria knocked Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix off the top spot.

That author was Louise Ross, a 34 former London lawyer who writes under the name LJ Ross.

Back in 2015, Louise was working in the London legal world, dreaming of writing her first book.

Cut to 2019, and her 13th novel, Penshaw, became both the most read and most sold book on Amazon.co.uk.

Louise flies the flag for independent writers everywhere. She reminisces about when she published her debut novel, Holy Island, via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) on New Year’s Day 2015.

‘At first all my sales were from family and friends,’ she says. But she held her nerve and the labour of love that she’d written while on maternity leave gathered word-of-mouth momentum.

By May of that year she was number one on the Kindle bestseller chart on Amazon.co.uk.

Her decision to leave her legal career behind and dedicate herself to her passion for writing had paid off.

Since then, Louise has continued to write at a prolific rate. Her DCI Ryan series – a set of romantic thrillers – is 14 books strong and has a loyal following.

All of her novels have been top three global bestsellers, and twelve were number one in the UK. At the end of this year, she’ll launch a new dark psychological thriller series about Dr. Alexander Gregory, whom she describes as ‘a very reluctant international criminal profiler,’ and next year she’ll focus on writing ‘standalone novels with strong female protagonists’.

But Louise also wants to support other writers: she’s a judge for the Kindle Storyteller Award, which recognises the best in independent writing; as well as sponsoring her own Lindisfarne Prize for debut crime fiction writers who have never been published before.

‘For me, it’s just been life changing,’ she says. ‘I want to share this experience with everyone and say to anybody else who thinks they’ve got this passion in them – just go for it!’

Here are Louise’s top tips for aspiring authors:

1. Inspiration is everywhere

‘A lot of the inspiration for my DCI Ryan series comes from the landscape where I’m from and where I grew up in the North East of England,’ Louise says.

‘History has also played a major role – quite a few myths and legends from Northumbria have influenced my writing.’

When it comes to building characters, she explains, inspiration is everywhere for that too: ‘It comes from everyone you meet over the course of your life.

Music also helps, she says. ‘I’ll hear a good song and imagine a character liking it, sharing its vibe. The music I listen to varies on the type of scene I need to write. In the case of Holy Island, if I needed a pick-me-up I’d listen to the Rocky IV soundtrack. If I need to write a sensitive scene, I like to listen to acoustic versions of 60s classics, for example, The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel. My taste in music is quite eclectic!’

LJ Ross book Penshaw that knocked JK Rowling off the top spot in the Amazon fiction charts
LJ Ross book Penshaw that knocked JK Rowling off the top spot in the Amazon fiction charts

2. Find your story

‘Everybody has a story. It’s old advice to say ‘write what you know’, but I think it’s true. It could be about characters you’ve met, your home community, your childhood. Storytelling is about drawing on elements of reality and magnifying them.’

3. Never stop reading

According to Louise, if you’re going to be a writer, you must be first and foremost a big reader. ‘I’m always reading, and I think that’s what keeps the love of the writing alive.

‘I particularly like hard-boiled American crime fiction, such as The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson or anything by Dashiell Hammett.’

4. Take a break

‘When working on a new book, I try to get a walk in every day. It’s good for the creative process to take a breather and come back to things afresh. It’s also important for your wellbeing – your writer’s tools are your hands and your mind. You need to look after them.’

5. Consider self-publishing

I chose to self-publish my first book, rejecting a traditional publishing deal because I wanted to be in control and protect the originality of my work – while a traditional publisher would have the right to change almost anything about it.

KDP’s terms and conditions offered me the autonomy I was looking for, and allowed me to make a living out of my writing. Now that traditional barriers have come down, you can give yourself permission to be creative and put your work out there, letting readers be the judge.’

6. Trust your instincts

’I was always told that crime and romance should never meet. I broke the taboo with Holy Island – I straddled the two genres, managing to draw in fans of both. Don’t be afraid to dare.’

7. Relish the feedback

’With self-publishing, the reader is king. There is no better or faster feedback than that of your readers, and listening to it is a great and quick way to improve.’

8. Take the plunge

You can always find a reason not to do something. But the best remedy to this is to just start writing. You never know what the reaction will be until you put yourself out there. There’s a misconception that writing is this rarefied world that only a chosen few should enter, but I think it’s open to absolutely everybody who’s got a story inside them. Just be brave.’



Pizza is a more nutritious breakfast than cereal, according to this dietitian

Dietitian claims pizza is a more nutritious breakfast than cereal
We know which we’d rather have (Picture: Getty)

Pizza generally gets a bad rap when it comes to breakfast food, being seen as the staple of the hungover and those who simply don’t want to waste their leftovers.

However, according to one dietitian, it’s actually a more balanced way to start your day than cereal.

American Chelsey Amer, based in New York told ABC News: ‘Surprisingly, pizza can be a more balanced breakfast option than many sugar-filled breakfast cereals.

‘A slice of plain cheese pizza contains a balance of carbs, protein, and fat.


‘A bowl of sugary cereal with low fat milk is largely sugar and extremely carb-heavy.’

She doesn’t exactly advocate for eating half a pizza before you’ve had your morning coffee, though, instead claiming that it’s more like the lesser of two evils rather than an ‘everyday solution’.

Instead, Chelsey says that you should opt for a mix of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins to keep your breakfast balanced.

This might include egg and spinach on wholegrain toast, or yoghurt and fruit with a sprinkling of nuts and seeds.

Cereal manufacturers have been keen to reduce the sugar content in their products, with Coco Pops reducing theirs by 40% last year.

Despite seeming like what should be a step in the right direction, Kellogg’s were actually slammed over the move, with customers claiming they taste like ‘soil’.

If cereal is the easiest thing for you in the mornings, then you can simply check the nutrition label on the box to ensure you’re going for one that’ll suit your needs.

Keep an eye on the recommended serving size, too, as these tend to be a lot smaller than most of us would absentmindedly put in our bowls.

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You can now hire a Hogwarts-style tutor to help your kid with maths

Harry Potter theory on Hagrid being a death eater
You can now get your child a tutor from Hogwarts. Sort of. (Picture: Warner Bros.)

It’s week one of the school term and the kids are already struggling with the curriculum. You’re thinking: does a summer stockpile of age-appropriate books and fabulous genetics seriously count for nothing?

Well, perhaps you need a bit of magic.

Just when you believed you had the ultimate education – one without the distraction of a smartphone pinging with Instagram notifications – Exam Papers Plus has gone and changed the game.

The tutoring services company has introduced the ‘School of Magic’, an in-home service involving a wizard-themed tutor.

Private tutors teach the ‘set curriculum’ to kids, but get this, they’re in full costume, carrying out the lesson with a magical theme and the aid of spellbinding props and books.

‘Famous wizard lookalikes are available to hire to assist teaching your child chemistry, whilst number-crunching goblins can help them become a real whizz at maths,’ the Exam Papers Plus website reads.

‘Ghosts as old as time are also available as extra studies to give your child a 360 degree view of history.’

The company has been clever not to mention a certain wizarding icon (#copyright), but we’re all guessing Harry Potter is where they’ve drawn their inspiration from, and probably why kids will love it.

The imaginative teaching style is set to introduce ‘creativity and inspiration’ to learning, helping children engage better with the content and ‘help memory function’.

Physics, history, maths and chemistry are some of the topics on offer.

Two packages are available, the first including capes, wands, spell books, potions and a tutor in costume, the second including the same magical equipment, but with an afternoon tea of ‘Philosopher’s Scones’ and a tutor that happens to be a ‘wizard professor lookalike’.

While we’re still hoping for Hogwarts to replace the traditional concept of schooling altogether, this will have to do.

*** FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE *** This year, Asda is set to make one cat (and its owner?s) festive dreams come true, with its Christmas ad seeing the addition of one extra special titular character ? ?Mr Grumbles? ? a role which will see one lucky feline catapulted to Christmas stardom.Asda are auditioning cute cats for their 2019 Christmas advert

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Scottish couple shock guests at their engagement party with surprise wedding

Scottish couple shock guests at their engagement party with surprise wedding
Louise and Graham have been together around six years (Picture: Siobhan Diamond Photography)

Louise Irvine and Graham Paulley tied the knot in a very surprising way – at least it was surprising for their friends and family, who didn’t know they were attending their wedding.

The couple, from Balmullo in Fife, told their loved ones that they’d simply got engaged. When they turned up, though, they realised it was actually the big day itself.

Louise, who’s 27, and Graham, who’s 34, first met they worked at a hotel in St. Andrews around six years ago.

It was Louise who first broached the idea of a surprise wedding to Graham. She told the Evening Times: ‘After nearly six years together with no proposal, I asked Graham how he would feel about a surprise wedding.

Scottish couple shock guests at their engagement party with surprise wedding
They first met working at a hotel (Picture: Siobhan Diamond Photography)
Scottish couple shock guests at their engagement party with surprise wedding
The sign that let the guests know what was going on (Picture: Siobhan Diamond Photography)

‘He replied that he had actually been thinking the same thing. Graham didn’t want a big fancy wedding so we started wedding planning at the end of March.’

The pair only told two people – Louise’s sister Sarah and Graham’s sister, Clair – with the idea being that they could help corral each side of the family, while being sworn to secrecy about what was going to happen.

Scottish couple shock guests at their engagement party with surprise wedding
Photographer Siobhan’s job was to capture the guest’s shock (Picture: Siobhan Diamond Photography)
Scottish couple shock guests at their engagement party with surprise wedding
The pair avoided the nerves beforehand with the surprise (Picture: Siobhan Diamond Photography

The planning got underway, and the date was set for 24 August, with the location planned as the Apex Hotel in Dundee.

Clair made all of the centrepieces and the balloon wedding arch, as well as passing along her and Graham’s grandma’s ring, which Louise had reset and fitted for her engagement band.

Scottish couple shock guests at their engagement party with surprise wedding
Louise’s dad had no idea about the wedding (Picture: Siobhan Diamond Photography)
Scottish couple shock guests at their engagement party with surprise wedding
The first he knew was when he saw his daughter in her dress (Picture: Siobhan Diamond Photography)

Apparently a couple of the guests had inklings that there may be something big about to go down, as a friend of Graham’s and his wife were flying all the way from America for the party. However, they kept schtum and everything went to plan.

‘On the day I phoned my dad and told him to come up to my room at the Apex,’ said Louise.

‘He walked into the room to find me in my wedding dress. He had absolutely no clue whatsoever about it.

‘His face was priceless. He couldn’t speak for a few minutes.’

Scottish couple shock guests at their engagement party with surprise wedding
Even the canines got involved (Picture: Siobhan Diamond Photography)
Scottish couple shock guests at their engagement party with surprise wedding
Louise and Graham in their finery (Picture: Siobhan Diamond Photography)

Her favourite reaction, though, was from her brother Freddie, who photographer Siobhan Diamond snapped sitting in the room they got married in.

At the wedding itself, guests were served a curry buffet in a nod to the pair’s first date at an Indian restaurant, and there was a tower of doughnuts instead of a cake.

Although Louise said it was the hardest secret she’d ever kept, she added ‘we loved how laid back the day was’.

Whether they can wangle some sort of surprise honeymoon, we’ll have to see.

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How to achieve the perfect blow-dry at home

how to get a perfect blow dry at home
The Duchess of Cambridge always gives us hair envy (Picture: ghd, Balmain, PA, Getty)

It may have been Princess Charlotte’s first day of school yesterday, but her mother – the Duchess of Cambridge – stole the show with her picture-perfect blow-dry.

It left many of us wanting to know the secret to Kate’s bouncy, blown out style.

Unless you’re a hair technician or beauty expert, it’s unlikely you’ll know how to carry out a salon-worthy look.

But we’ve spoken to experts on how to create a stunning blow-dry at home – saving you both time and money.

Be sure to prep

As with any beauty or hair regime, preparation is key.

Start the process by towel-drying hair – for the best results hair should be around 80% dry before styling commences.

Hairdresser Steven Carey, of Steven Carey in Mayfair, says: ‘Start by towel drying your hair first and never rub the hair, always pat the hair. Rubbing can cause the hair to frizz.’

Adding a heat protection spray will protect hair from the hot blast of the hairdryer and will lock in all the moisture from the wash. Just be sure to put most of the product on the ends of the hair, rather than on the scalp, otherwise hair may look greasy on top. Not a look you want.

Next, get out any knots with a detangling brush or comb – these are softer on your scalp than brushes.

Invest in a good hairdryer

image of ghd hairdryer
Using a good hairdryer will make all the difference (Picture: ghd)

The saying goes: ‘a bad workman always blames his tools’ – but it does tend to help if the tools in question are designed for the best results.

Scout out a dryer that has at least 1,800 watts and multiple heat settings. Medium settings are best for pre-drying whereas higher temperatures work for getting hair into shape.

A nozzle is of utmost important for a bouncy blow-dry as it helps to direct the heat onto the hair, creating that silky smooth finish.

Jay Birmingham, a celebrity hair dresser and salon owner, says: ‘Make sure you keep the nozzle pointed downwards on your hair to ensure you smooth the cuticle and create that smooth look.

‘Use the brush to create a soft bend through the ends of your hair like Kate – angle this towards your face for a glamorous look.’

To give extra volume to the crown, keep the brush and nozzle close to the roots and then pull upwards in short motions.

Jay adds: ‘When you come to the top section of your hair, use the brush to style your hair away from your face, this will help you achieve that voluminous effect that Kate wears so well.’

Once you’re finished, Jay says to ‘use your fingers to shake your hair out to ensure the finished effect isn’t too “done” or polished.’

Use a round brush

A round bristle brush helps to polish and straighten the hair (giving you that silky finish).

It’s also worth noting that the bigger the surface area of the brush the quicker the drying time.

balmain rounded bristle brush
Get a particularly swanky brush like this Balmain one (Picture: Balmain)

There are plenty of great products on the market from well-known hair brands including ghd and Phillip Kingsley, as well as luxury designers such as Balmain.

Do it in sections

Anyone who has ever been to hair salon will be familiar with this method.

Sectioning off is a great technique to ensure all of your hair is dry and to make sure excess heat isn’t applied to areas of the head.

Start from the bottom layers and work up – this is a great way to guarantee all hair is dry.

Jennie Galgey, an award-winning hair stylist who runs Bridal Hair by Jennie, says: ‘As you finish off each section, blast the area with cold air – there is usually a button you can use for this.

‘This helps to hold the shape that you’re aiming for. This is exactly what the professionals do when you’re in the salon.

‘If you have a fringe, make sure your finish this last and dry your fringe forward and seal it with cold air as you have done with all of the other sections’

Stock up on the right products

There are a number of products on the market to help add some finesse to your blowout.

Opting for a volumising shampoo and conditioner could help give some extra height to your hair.

Those who are prone to frizz can reach for a hair oil, both before and after a blow-dry. This will help keep those wispy little strands at bay and give an all round smoothness to your mane.

Phil Smith, a celebrity hairstylist, also adds: ‘The night before you know you’re blow-drying your hair include a nourishing hair mask in your routine to boost moisture. This will help the appearance and texture of your hair.’

Be aware of different hair types

It’s simple science – the process will take longer for those with more hair. So anyone blessed with thicker hair will have to spend a little more time with a hairdryer in hand.

This is also the case for individuals with curly and wavy hair looking to create a straight look.

Practice makes perfect

Unless you’re some kind of hair wizard, the chances are the first time you attempt a blow-dry at home it won’t turn out looking like a Kate Middleton’s barnet.

But don’t let this dishearten you.

The more you practice, the quicker and easier you’ll find the process.

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Have a sleepover in the UK’s most haunted prison

Stay in UK's most haunted prison (Picture: Shepton Mallet Prison/Facebook)
Stay in UK’s most haunted prison (Picture: Shepton Mallet Prison/Facebook)

Consider your Halloween sorted. We’re not talking about robust pumpkins, DIY fake blood or questionable adult costumes, we’re talking about spending the night in what used to be the UK’s oldest operating prison.

Shepton Mallet Prison, located just over 20 miles from Bristol, is now open for sleepovers.

For some, a night in a disused prison might not sound so scary. What’s a violent ghost or two compared to the grisly state your flatmates leave the kitchen in? While others might think the name sounds familiar.

Shepton Mallet Prison is known to be the most haunted prison in the UK. From 1610 to 2013, the prison housed some of the UK’s most dangerous criminals, including East End mobsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray – who were transferred there from the Tower of London.

Stay in UK's most haunted prison (Picture: Shepton Mallet Prison/Facebook)
This room could be all yours for one spooky evening (Picture: Shepton Mallet Prison/Facebook)

Before closure, Shepton Mallet was a category C lifer prison, with 189 prisoners in the lock-up.

The prison’s brutal past dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries when men, women and children were kept in appalling conditions, suffering from starvation and smallpox within crammed cells.

The prison was also used for judicial executions between 1889 and 1926. During the Second World War, the prison was adapted to become a military prison used by the British and the Americans.

Paranormal tour operator Bump in the Night is hosting a series of overnight tours and sleepovers for paranormal enthusiasts and parents who might like to warn their children about where they’ll end up if they don’t behave.

According to the Bump in the Night, cell doors are regularly heard ‘opening and slamming shut for no reason’, ghostly figures can be seen moving about the property and footsteps can be heard along the corridors.

Tours run in late September to early October, and are priced at £35-55. Are you brave enough?

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What to know about rosacea and how to deal with it during the colder months

products to help with skin condition rosacea
Products can help calm rosacea (Pictures: Eau Thermale/Dermalex/Erborian/La Roche-Posay)

The arrival of cold weather can result in a variety of changes to the skin – causing certain conditions to present themselves.

This is particularly the case for anyone who deals with rosacea.

People who suffer with the skin condition tend to experience flare ups, meaning they will go through periods when it’s particularly bad.

While it remains unclear what exactly causes rosacea, cold weather is thought to be a common culprit.

Here’s everything to know about the condition and the best ways to deal with it during the colder months.

What is rosacea?

woman with skin condition rosacea
Symptoms can flare up in cold weather (Picture: Shutterstock)

In medical terms, rosacea is a long term skin condition that mainly affects the face – particularly the nose, cheeks, and forehead.

It’s characterised by small, red bumps on the skin (which look a little bit like acne). Symptoms often start with episodes of flushing but these can progress to itching and burning sensations, spots or blood vessels becoming visible.

There are four different types:

  • The first is known as erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (ETR), and is associated with facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels.
  • The second is called papulopustular (or acne) rosacea – this typically affects middle-aged women.
  • Rhinophyma is type three and is a rare form associated with the thickening of a nose.
  • The final is known as ocular rosacea – where symptoms are centered around the eye.

Roscesea often affects people with fair skin but is seen across skin types in people aged 40-60 years old.

What causes rosacea?

The exact cause of the condition remains unknown. But there are a variety of triggers that are thought to make rosacea worse. These include stress, extreme temperatures, hot drinks, spicy foods, exercise, alcohol and sun exposure.

It’s thought that genetics, the immune system, and environmental factors could all play a role, but there is no definitive answer.

A whole host of interesting theories have also been suggested such as abnormalities in the blood vessels on the face as well as a reaction to microscopic mites on the skin.

Why your skin turns to shit in cold weather
It’s getting to that time of year, folks (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Treatments and products for rosacea

Currently there’s no cure for rosacea, but there are a wide range of treatment options and products which can help control symptoms and reduce its appearance.

Treatment-wise, some oral medications – such as antibiotics – have proven to clear up more severe spots (due to their anti-inflammatory properties).

Dr. Dawn Davis, from the Mayo Clinic, says: ‘In the past, little could be done to treat the redness and pustules of rosacea. But breakthroughs have occurred over the last few years.

‘For mild to moderate rosacea, a topical treatment often is recommended. Newer medications work by constricting blood vessels or decreasing inflammation. Because the effect is temporary, these medications must be applied regularly to maintain improvements and can be expensive.’

Another way to deal with rosacea is to identify personal triggers.

Dr Susan Mayou, a consultant Dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, says keeping a diary can prove extremely helpful.

She says: ‘Monitor your rosacea episodes, noting any triggers that worsen the symptoms such as diet, exposure to weather and skincare ingredients. Monitoring the triggers and reviewing with your dermatologist will help you better understand and manage the condition.’

There are also a number of products on the market designed to reduce the appearance of rosacea.

products to help with skin condition rosacea
Anti-redness moisturisers are a good option (Picture: Eau Thermale)
products to help with skin condition rosacea
There are a number of serums available, too (Picture: La Roche-Posay)

Incorporating anti-redness products in a beauty regime is a great way to trial out different products to see if they make a difference.

The Avène Redness Relief Moisturiser and the La Roche-Posay Rosaliac serum are both designed to calm redness and create a more even skin tone.

products to help with skin condition rosacea
Dermalex Repair Rosacea Cream reduces the appearance of rosacea (Picture: Dermalex)

Dermalex Repair Rosacea Cream is another product which relieves symptoms such as redness, flushing, visible spider veins, tight or hard skin and dryness.

Using these items can do a whole lot of good, but it’s important not to irritate the skin.

Dr. Dawn Davis adds: ‘While it’s important to cleanse regularly, avoid products that contain alcohol or other skin irritants. Touch and cleanse your face gently — don’t scrub, and avoid exfoliants.’

products to help with skin condition rosacea
Offset the red with a green correcting product (Picture: Erborian)

Colour correcting products are great for making skin appear more even and they work on the basis that complementary colours neutralise each other (green balances red).

Erborian CC Colour Correct contains pigments that correct redness. As with other colour correcting products, on first appearance it appears green but the cream soon adapts to different skin tones. This product gets bonus points as it has added sun protection, with SPF 25.

Ways to deal with rosacea in the colder months

Just like bursts of cold air can lead to flare ups, blasts of hot air can do the same. So try to avoid sitting with your face in the direct line of heaters.

It’s also important to stay protected against the sun all year round – especially when it comes to rosacea – as sunlight is the most commonly reported trigger.

Winter winds are likely to be a problem too, so create a literal barrier between your skin and the elements by the use of a scarf. Try to ensure the troublesome spots (nose, cheeks and mouth) are covered.

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Halloween advent calendars are here so you can live like Jack and Sally if you want

Halloween advent calendar
Caption: Picture: Getty, Etsy
Halloween advent calendars are here so you can live like Jack and Sally if you want

Advent calendars are about sugar and spice and all things nice – or mascaras and serums if you’re more a fan of the beauty options.

Prior to now, however, there weren’t many options out there for the spooky folks among us… Until now.

If Christmas is something of a drag for you, and you’d rather celebrate All Hallow’s Eve (and count up to it) then Halloween advent calendars are here for you.

The products have started popping up online on sites such as Etsy, and they’re as creepy and perfect as you’d expect.

Many of the ones available in the UK are simply Halloween themed, and you can pop in whichever treats your cold spooky heart desires.

Given how many sweets you and your little ones are likely to receive on the big day itself, you may want to opt for joke spiders and fake blood. Or, who are we kidding, go wild with even more sweets.

This one on Amazon, for example, is made of felt and can be reused year after year. It costs £13.99.

Amazon Halloween Advent Calendar
Put your own treats in the little felt pockets (Picture: Amazon)

You could also opt for the uncharacteristically puritanical options for the holiday, which let you open a door each day to get a picture. Guess your kids will know they’ve been tricked rather than treated, and isn’t that what Halloween is all about?

As you’d expect, Etsy also has a whole host of options for your Halloween countdown needs, including this beauty.

Etsy Halloween advent calendars are here so you can live like Jack and Sally if you want
This DIY option lets you get creative (Picture: Etsy)

It looks like a normal calendar on first inspection, but it’s actually a plywood model that you can paint as scarily as you wish.

People who’ve purchased in the past have gone for glow in the dark options, spider webs, and of course, pumpkins.

Although Halloween might be a bigger deal across the pond, it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with it if we’re feeling a bit Bah Humbug.

After all, it’s what Jack Skellington would want.

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