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What is soft-ghosting and is it any better than your standard disappearing act?

ghosts on pink and green background
Are you ready for soft-ghosting? (Picture: getty/metro.co.uk)

Red alert, singles: There’s yet another dating trend for you to learn.

Soft-ghosting is the new term for misery-induing behaviour, describing yet another way for someone to reject you.

It’s the creation of the people over at Bumble. The term, we mean. The dating app isn’t responsible for this awful act.

Basically it’s a lot like normal ghosting – when someone you’re chatting to disappears without a trace – but rather than entirely vanishing into thin air, the object of your affection just likes your message.

Yep, rather than responding to your messages, a soft-ghoster just ‘likes’ whatever you sent.

It’s ‘soft’ because it’s not as sudden a departure as your usual ghosting… but that doesn’t make it any better.

While with a ghosting, you’ll figure out pretty quickly what’s going on, a soft-ghosting seems eternally baffling. Did this person mean to hit the heart on your message? Are they planning to respond any further? Did your message not invite further conversation?

And then you’re struck by the horrible to urge to message them again, perhaps with a direct question so a ‘like’ simply wouldn’t make sense.

Either they like it again or they do a full ghost. Either option comes with a nice serving of embarrassment.

ella byworth illustration of a man chatting on facebook
A soft-ghoster is often trying to be polite (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Soft-ghosting appears to be an attempt at politeness, from someone who can’t really be bothered to continue the chat but doesn’t want to appear blunt by leaving the conversation entirely. But it’s actually pretty rude – a heart or a smiley face or whatever other one-tap reaction to a message isn’t adequate engagement. Can’t this person be bothered to just type out a message?

It’s important, however, to make sure you’re dealing with a genuine soft-ghosting.

If your message doesn’t really invite a response, that might explain the lack of one. Give the possible soft-ghoster some time to start the conversation up again. A day should work.

Then, if you’re really keen on this person, swallow your pride and double text – this time making sure to include a direct question that requires a response. If the conversation picks right back up and flows with ease, you’re all sorted. If the person just ignores your communication, they were clearly warming up to a full-on ghost. If they respond but the conversation still feels half-hearted, ditch it – they’re clearly just trying to be ‘nice’.

Glamour also recommends giving your match a ‘clear call to action’, giving them a specific invitation to a meeting to assess their seriousness. Again, if there’s no response, move swiftly on. If it’s a half-hearted one, they’re clearly not that keen. But if they’re immediately eager, maybe they’ve just been struggling to keep the banter going. Easily done.

Just remember above all that anyone who makes you feel rejected and confused likely isn’t worth your time.

If someone really fancies and respects you, they’ll be clear in their approach and won’t waste time playing games or faffing about with the whole ‘who should message first’ question.

Leave soft-ghosters in the bin, along with stashers, submariners, and firedoor-ers.

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Tinder is launching an apocalypse-themed interactive show that unlocks matches who make same choices

Tinder is launching an apocalypse themed interactive show that matches you with people who make the same choices
Because nothing is as romantic as the apocalypse (Picture: Tinder)

With the myriad dating apps on the market at the moment, it’s no wonder Tinder are trying to make theirs stand out from the rest.

Their latest effort aims to gamify the dating experience even more than it already has been, by creating an interactive choose-your-own-adventure type show.

Swipe Night, which will be available to all Tinder users, will premier on 6 October at 6pm, and be available in weekly installments on Sundays after that.

Themed around the apocalypse, daters will be asked to make a different choice every 10 to 30 seconds, with their answers dictating where they end up.

It’s not just for fun, though, as those who play are then able to unlock potential matches based on whichever choices they make.

So, if you’re ready to date someone who would also go to the Winchester, have a pint, and wait for it all to blow over, then get ready to be matched.

Tinder is launching an apocalypse themed interactive show that matches you with people who make the same choices Picture: Tinder
Match with someone who would also be unable to fight zombies (Picture: Tinder)

You’ll have six hours to play the game, after which it won’t be available anymore. For Tinder, this means that there should be plenty of people all on the app at the very same time (on Sunday night, when the dread, fear, and loneliness has really set in).

In an interview with CNBC, Tinder’s CEO Elie Seidman said: ‘It was informed by a really obvious thing, which is today’s content; whether that’s a meme, reaction through an emoji, visual content, short-form story — that’s the language of Gen Z,

‘They’re bonding over a shared experience.’

It was written by Karena Evans, who made such Drake videos as Nice for What, God’s Plan, and In My Feelings. Other writers come from shows like Big Mouth and Insecure, with the target market being firmly older Gen Z and younger Millennials. This demographic already makes up around half of Tinder users.

They may also do another one if this goes well. Perhaps the next one will have a slightly cheerier theme, but let’s not pretend the dating landscape is anything other than terrifying right now.

MORE: What is soft-ghosting and is it any better than your standard disappearing act?

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Victoria’s Secret has a lot to learn from Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty show

Rihanna in Savage x Fenty shoot
The show managed to get it so right because Rihanna has lived life as a woman who has once been left out of a narrative (Picture: Rex; Rihanna/Instagram)

It’s safe to say Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty show arrived on Amazon Prime Video with an empowering bang that just knocked all of Victoria’s Secrets out of their drawers.

As a lifelong fan of the Victoria’s Secret brand, their annual fashion show was one of my favourite events in the showbiz calendar. There were times I would count down the days until I could see the likes of Adriana Lima, Doutzen Kroes, Ming Xi, Jasmine Tookes and Candace Swanepoel strutting their stuff down the runway.

I praised the ladies for working out like athletes to get in the best shape to strap on those heavenly wings and dazzling bras. And I watched in horror when Lais Ribeiro sprained her ankle the day before the 2012 show, leading Behati Prinsloo to step into her carefully customised undies instead.

In my head, the incident explained the practical reason why Victoria’s Secret models all had to be around the same size. But then Rihanna launched Savage x Fenty in 2018 and shook the damn table. And if we thought her first show was unique, then her latest presentation at New York Fashion Week was out of this world.

It was a masterclass in diversity, living up to the brand’s promise of ‘celebrating fearlessness, confidence and inclusivity.’ Savage X Fenty once again brought us a show from a female lens, and unsurprisingly, it made women like me feel incredibly empowered.

Rihanna and her team simply wants every single person’s body to be seen and celebrated like a ‘work of art’, rather than just a clothes horse to be outshone by the art.

Victoria’s Secret’s Achilles heel in recent years has been the lack of complete inclusivity and diversity. While they do have a variety of ethnicities and skin tones in the show, every model on the runway was pretty much the same shape and size.

Meanwhile, the models chosen to play a part in Rihanna’s game-changing revealed just how well size inclusivity and diversity can work in the world of fashion. In fact, the very first woman to model an outfit in the show was a plus-size black woman, and there’s no stronger statement than that.

As the mix of professional models and normal women walked, danced and twerked their way around the Grecian-inspired set in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, we were given the best advertisement for lingerie I’ve ever seen in my life.

Big names like Gigi and Bella Hadid, Cara Delevingne and Joan Smalls walked alongside women who would never have been given a chance to participate in such a high profile celebration of sexiness. Amputees, trans superstars and curvier models that would never have been highlighted in this ‘fashion’ world had an equal opportunity to shine and it was a joy to behold.

Plus, if you ever wanted to know how well a piece of underwear would hold up during the wildest of movements, then look no further than watching dancers shake what their mama gave ‘em under the slick direction of choreographer Parris Goebel.

A long-time collaborator of Rihanna, Parris is famous for her mesmerising, powerful and unapologetically sexy dancing style and her vision merged perfectly with Rihanna’s to deliver a show that was crazy, sexy and oh so cool.

I don’t know about you, but seeing Normani’s boobs stay completely secure in her bra while they bounced with a force that could make the earth shake made it clear that the Savage x Fenty undies have what it takes for any and every situation. Wink.

The Savage x Fenty show managed to get it so right because she has lived life as a woman who has once been left out of a narrative, and has family and friends who never saw themselves represented on a runway.

Once Rihanna had the power to change that, she did it with no regard for what the powers that be would think about it because she just wants us all to ‘feel sexy and have fun doing it’.

And over the course of her 50-minute masterpiece, myself and everyone else watching was left feeling like we are already sexy AF just as we are.

If dear old Victoria wants to stop getting her knickers in a twist, then she would do well to take a few tips from Bad Gal Riri’s rulebook.

MORE: Is it too much to ask for a dating app to put plus-sized women first?

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Woman rescues 500 abandoned avocado stones to do her bit for the environment

An Australian eco warrior is nurturing 500 avocados in her apartment in Vietnam
Marissa has rescued 500 avocado stones that would have been chucked away (Picture: Mercury Press & Media)

Marissa Hush, 27, has 500 avocado stones that she keeps as ‘pets’.

These aren’t like the rocks you used to give names when you were a kid. Marissa takes each avocado stone and pots it in a plastic cup to transform it into a tree, all in an effort to fight climate change.

Marissa, who’s originally from Sydney but lives in Quy Nhon in Vietnam for eight months of the year, takes unused avocado seeds from cafes and pots them in plastic cups she finds on streets and in beaches.

Each avocado tree will take up to 15 years to grow, but Marissa is dedicated to caring for her rescues like pets.

She said: ‘When I arrived in Vietnam, I started to collect every avocado that I ate. Then I suddenly decided I wanted to grow 500.

An Australian eco warrior is nurturing 500 avocados in her apartment in Vietnam
Each of the 500 avocado stones is grown in a plastic cup Marissa found on the streets or on a beach (Picture: Mercury Press & Media)

‘They have avocado smoothies over here which are really delicious. I was sitting at a café one day and I saw a lady with a massive bag of scraps and avocado seeds and just asked her if I could have them.

‘I just kept going back and getting more and picking up plastic cups from the street. I ride my bike to work so I would stop to collect them and people would give looks to this strange lady going through garbage.

‘It’s a bit like having a pet – I water them, I change their water and every morning I probably spend one hour with them.

‘I love them so much that when I type in avo on my phone, the love heart emoji pops up. I love them so much I have 500 of them.

Pic by Mercury Press - (Pictured: Marissa Hush ) - An Australian eco warrior is nurturing 500 avocados in her apartment in Vietnam to help fight climate change. Marissa Hush, 27, from Sydney decided to tackle climate change in her own way by adopting 500 avocado seeds which she plans to transform into trees. Marissa, who lives in, Quy Nhon, Vietnam eight months of the year said she wanted to do something worthwhile with her spare time. SEE MERCURY COPY.
Thankfully her housemate is on board with the plan (Picture: Mercury Press & Media)

‘I love them so much I made my English class write about how amazing avocados are. It turns out the kids didn’t love it so much.

‘We have enough space in the house luckily, so my housemate doesn’t mind.’

Marissa’s dwellings are now filled with sprouting avocado plants stacked on every available surface, with each one needing careful care to grow to its full potential.

The teacher has a lot of spare time that she wants to use for something good. Growing 500 avocado trees seemed like a good way to start.

Every Sunday she takes part in a beach clean-up with her friend and housemate, Maverick, so they have plenty of plastic cups to house the avocado seeds.

 An Australian eco warrior is nurturing 500 avocados in her apartment in Vietnam to help fight climate change. Marissa Hush, 27, from Sydney decided to tackle climate change in her own way
Marissa plans to give out her avocado trees to restaurants and cafes to encourage them to be more environmentally friendly (Picture: Mercury Press & Media)

Marissa doesn’t plan to keep her avocado babies forever. She hopes to take the trees to local cafes, offering them to owners in exchange for the venues becoming more eco-friendly. Steps cafes and restaurants can take include ditching plastic straws and carrier bags.

She also hopes that her actions, which she shares on a Facebook group called Avo Happy Planet, will inspire others to take small steps to be a little more environmentally friendly.

‘I came to Quy Nhon because my best friend was living here and I got very into environmental things,’ Marissa says. ‘He gets the community together to clean up beaches.

‘We have been cleaning up an island which is a fishing village but Asia being Asia, it is hard because it’s very populated but we want to do our bit the time we are here.

‘People should say no to straws to plant the spark in business owner’s minds.

‘A lot of bars are scared to stop using straws because they think people won’t like it, so if people say they don’t want a straw they’ll know people don’t mind.

‘These are small changes everyone should make, which do make a difference.

‘My family love what I do and its spread among my friends – now they send me photos of their shopping with no plastic.

‘Countries like New Zealand have started taking action, they’re planting thousands of trees and it’s so important with everything that’s going on in the Amazon.’

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Fancy cooking up a Halloween feast in this Nightmare Before Christmas slow cooker?

The slowcooker
We love this slow cooker (Picture: Box Lunch/Rex)

Halloween is just a month away, and if you’re planning on staying in, why not cook a spooky dinner with this Nightmare Before Christmas slow cooker?

The slow cooker is sold by Box Lunch and costs $39.92 (£32).

It’s black and comes decorated with famous The Nightmare Before Christmas characters including the beloved Jack Skellington, and features a tempered glass lid, high and warm settings and a stainless steel handle.

The slowcooker
It’s received 5 star reviews (Picture: Box Lunch)

So far, the slow cooker has received many 5 star reviews.

One person said: ‘This is absolutely a MUST HAVE for any Nightmare Before Christmas fan! I’ve only had it less than 2 weeks and I’ve used it a dozen times already, making everything from posole to monkey bread to hot chocolate to banana cake to beef and barley stew YUM!!! It works perfectly as expected and I love it soooooo much that I’m going to order another one to have on hand just in case.’

Another wrote: ‘Better than I could’ve imagined. I absolutely love this. Works great and looks even better.’

Unfortunately, the slow cooker is only available to buy in the US – unless you fancy forking out £70 for one over here.

The slowcoooker
They’re selling on eBay for over £100 (Picture: Box Lunch)

One eBay seller is selling the slow cooker for £119.96, with additional costs of £82.12.

Yes, that’s a hell of a lot of money for a slowcooker – but of course its worth depends on just how much you want this Disney themed cooker.

Alternatively, you could buy a cheap slow cooker with a black base, and decorate it with The Nightmare Before Christmas stickers, which are available on the Disney store for just £2.

It’s cheap, easy and creative – and you’ll have your very own unique slow cooker that nobody else has.

MORE: Tinder is launching an apocalypse-themed interactive show that unlocks matches who make same choices

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Why you need to head for a cruise holiday on the MSC Bellissima

the cruise ship
You need to take a trip on this £750million ship (Picture: Georgia Diebelius/Metro.co.uk)

King sized beds, Cirque du Soleil shows and dozens of staircases lashed in Swarovski crystals. The decision to board the MSC Bellissima should not be taken lightly.

Why? Because the £750million ship, which launched in March this year, will taint almost every other cruising experience in your past, present and future.

Metro.co.uk was invited aboard the luxurious floating hotel to see and explore the liner, which is the newest of MSC’s ships to take to the seas.

And what an experience it was…

Where to sleep

Walking into the promenade is like entering another world. Guided in through two sets of double doors, I went into the lobby with my mum Vicki and nan Gloria. It’s Mother’s Day weekend and the ship is the perfect place to celebrate – from Balinese spa treatments to crab legs and lobster (a personal highlight for my nan).

The entire ship is bedecked with crystals and chandeliers that lead you to the front desk. It’s easy to see why the Bellissima cost such a pretty penny.

the crystals covering the cruise ship
There are a *lot* of Swarovski crystals on this ship (Picture: Georgia Diebelius/Metro.co.uk)

After a swift check-in, we were given the keys to our rooms and greeted with one of the welcome packs offered by MSC, loaded with champagne and strawberries.

We were staying in two of the ships balcony rooms, which are housed with everything anyone could ever need.

With a luxurious king-sized bed with pillows to die for, to tiny toiletries and a mirror on every corner, you would expect nothing less on a ship this glamourous.

Each room also comes with its own personal assistant, Zoe – think Amazon Alexa at sea. She can speak seven languages and answers more than 800 questions, including ‘what bars are open?’.

Oh, and the technology is incredible. I was particularly impressed by the touch-sensitive lights and the convenient USB ports – perhaps adapters are a thing of the past.

Where to eat

The outstanding surroundings were so beautiful that it made it difficult to tear ourselves away for dinner, but the ship’s main dining room was no exception.

The stunning modern eatery, Posidonia, makes it no secret that it prides itself on its menu’s choices – with MSC’s latest partnership with chef Raymond Blanc.

dinner on the msc cruise ship
A delicious dinner aboard the cruise (Picture: Georgia Diebelius/Metro.co.uk)

Each cruiser is assigned a table and a dining room for their holiday, meaning you get to form brilliant relationships with your servers… but that doesn’t mean to say you have to eat there each evening.

The ship has an impressive 12 dining venues, ranging from The Marketplace – a 24 hour buffet – to its speciality restaurants located in the Galleria, complete with an enormous 80 metre LED sky, the largest dome at sea.

These include L’Atelier Bistrot for French cuisine, Hola! for tapas, Butchers Cut for meat-lovers and Kaito Teppanyaki and Sushi Bar, for those who like something different.

georgia with her mum and grandma
You’ll be more than spoiled for choice (Picture: Georgia Diebelius/Metro.co.uk)

There’s even a classic British pub and Jean Phillipe’s cafe, where staff create handmade chocolate treats. What more could you want?

We tried Butchers Cut towards the end of our trip and the starter sizes alone were enough to call a meal! To say that we inhaled our food would be an understatement, it really is worth the visit.

Where to drink

After a delightful meal, we headed to one of the ships 20 bars. Yes, 20.

Here, it became apparent that even on a ship of this size, the staff made it their job to know your name.

cocktails aboard the cruise ship
Treat yourself to plenty of cocktails (Picture: Georgia Diebelius/Metro.co.uk)

Three glasses of champagne were placed down while the barman, who would have given Tom Cruise a run for his money in 1988 hit Cocktail, showed off his skills gave a whipped us up a couple of drinks. One gin based, one vodka – and a latte for nan.

Around the enormous 1,036ft ship (and all of its 19 decks) are an array of different bars and lounges. A personal favourite was the stylish champagne bar, which offered a vast choice of bubblies from around the world and a selection of caviar, oysters and crab too. Fancy.

Where to be entertained

As my mother, an annual cruiser, said: ‘You really cannot fault the entertainment on this ship’.

Shortly after boarding the Bellissima, we were offered tickets for a performance by Cirque du Soleil, which naturally, we snapped up. The incredible performers really were a highlight for me during our week cruising the Mediterranean.

entertainment on the cruise ship
The nightly entertainment was a real highlight (Picture: Georgia Diebelius/Metro.co.uk)

MSC offers exclusive world-class broadway shows onboard the Bellissima, with performances taking place across all of their innovative venues like the multi-purpose karaoke bar, comedy club, TV studio & Bar.

And for the gamblers on board, the visual delights continue inside the ship’s casino which leads into a Carousel Lounge, a £17million space which offers panoramic views and houses shows at night.

the cruise ship
There’s plenty to do and see (Picture: Georgia Diebelius/Metro.co.uk)

Luckily for those who like a drink and a dance (like me), MSC were kind enough to build the Attic Club, a nightclub that stays open and lively right up until the small hours.

Younger guests can take advantage of the amusement park, water parks and sports centre to play sports and games during the daytime and party and dance in the evening.

We may not be classed as ‘young guests’ but we still made the most of the ship’s bowling alley and F1 simulators – which feature two full sized racing cars that compete in a head-to-head battle. It definitely had our hearts racing.

Where to relax

Taking ourselves on a tour of the entire ship was no easy feat, but we found our way around after a day or two.

However, exhausted, I was seeking some relaxation… and my goodness, I found it onboard this ship.

Georgia, her mum, and grandma on a cruise ship
(Picture: Georgia Diebelius/Metro.co.uk)

I decided to whisk down to the Aurea Spa for a Balinese massage. There, I was treated to a 45 minute massage and refreshing glass of icy water in the hotel’s breath-taking zen-themed spa, which also boasts facilities including dry heat saunas, sensory steam rooms and a number of jacuzzis with built in beds.

And if that wasn’t enough to chill me out, the multiple pools were. MSC boast that poolside space on Bellissima is some of the most plentiful to be found at sea, and you can believe me when I say I never struggled to find a sun bed.

Make sure to spend plenty of time by the pool (Picture: Georgia Diebelius/Metro.co.uk)

Beautiful lighting, a giant television screen and atmospheric design make the main pool area even more enticing after dark. The epitome of relaxation, if I do say so myself.

I was so relaxed in fact, I almost felt heartbroken when my week onboard came to an end.

So strolling off of the ship, nodding goodbye to the staff, that left only one thing left on my mind… where was I going to get the £750million to build my own MSC Bellissima?

Explore itineraries and book your own cruise experience through MSC’s website

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Woman gives ice cream man her number, gets angry voice note from his wife

Jenny at Brighton Pride
The ice cream man asked for Jenny’s number at Brighton Pride (Picture: Deadline News)

A woman who gave her mobile number to an ice cream man in return for a free ice cream received a very angry message from his wife.

25-year-old Jenny Wilde was at Brighton Pride in the summer when an ice cream man named James said she could have free ice cream for her and all of her friends if she gave him her number.

Deciding it was a fair deal, Jenny gave Jamse her number, received the free ice creams, and didn’t think anything of it.

But then she received a voice note from James’ wife – who wasn’t very happy.

Taking to Twitter, Jenny wrote: ‘A few months back an ice-cream man told me he’d give me and all my pals free ice-cream if he could get my number.

‘We thought it was a fair trade. I took one for the team.

‘We’ve had no contact since and I woke up to this today.’

Jenny shared a picture of a WhatsApp message featuring a voice note from James, which said ‘F*** do you think you are to be on my husband’s phone?’ Ouch.

The tweet went viral with more than 47,000 likes, but people couldn’t quite understand why the wife was angry with Jenny and not James – especially since they had had no contact.

One person wrote: ‘The question is why is she getting angry with the girl rather than her husband?

‘She might go snooping but is she going to leave him? Most probably not.’

Jenny and her friends
Jenny and her friends (Picture: Jenny Wilde/Deadline News)

Another said: ‘Sigh. This *really* feels like a conversation she should be having with her husband, instead of getting aggro at a stranger’s phone.

‘I’ve never got the logic at blaming the unconnected person. If he’s the one up to no good, well…’

Jenny decided not to reply, and added that she’ll ‘never go to an ice cream van again’.

But come on, that’s not really fair – nobody should have to avoid ice cream for life. Especially when it’s whippy.

MORE: What is soft-ghosting and is it any better than your standard disappearing act?

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You Don’t Look Sick: ‘Stop telling me yoga, turmeric or CBD oil are going to magically cure my chronic illness’


People living with invisible illnesses are often told ‘you don’t look sick’.

Our series speaks to someone living with an invisible illness about what it’s like when people can’t see you are unwell.

Last week, Kelly spoke about life with Ménière’s disease and how people expect her to just get better.

This time we’re with Lucille Whiting, 37, from Kedington, Suffolk, who has ulcerative interstitial cystitis, a condition which creates red bleeding areas form on the bladder wall.

It causes severe abdominal pain, a sudden need to go to the toilet and a need to go more often.

Unlike other forms of cystitis, there is no obvious infection and the bladder can become ulcerated, scarred or stiff.

Lucille describes it as like having a constant severe urinary tract infection (UTI) and it has a huge impact on her life but she says that people don’t understand because, on the outside, she looks like a busy mum of five who runs her own jewellery business.

She says: ‘It’s awkward when someone says “Oh but you don’t look sick” and I don’t think there’s a good answer to it.

Lucille Whiting, 37 from Kedington, Suffolk. Lucille suffers with ulcerative interstitial cystitis.
Lucille Whiting (Picture: James Linsell-Clark/SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

‘What am I supposed to say? That my bladder kills and I feel like death? I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus? 99% of the time, I just say I’m doing fine.

‘There is an unbelievable number of people who don’t seem to understand that not all illnesses are visible. What’s sick supposed to look like exactly?’

Lucille was diagnosed in January this year but had been suffering from what doctors thought was recurrent UTIs for 19 years.

She explains: ‘They were always treated with antibiotics which seemed to work for a short while before the issue reoccurred.

‘I never thought anything of it and don’t like to fuss. If I became ill at work, I’d go and get antibiotics from my GP, or if I absolutely had to, from the A&E department at the local hospital.

‘I’d quite often get my medication and return to work a few hours later when I started to get some relief. My managers never had a problem with it as I made sure I got back to work promptly.

‘It was briefly investigated after a few years, as I found certain antibiotics no longer worked. I had a bladder scan which showed nothing, so I went back to taking more antibiotics.’

Lucille went on to get married and they started to try for children. She also suffered from recurrent miscarriages – over the course of 13 years, she had five children and nine miscarriages.

But after the birth of her fifth child, her UTIs returned, and they were worse than ever.

She explains: ‘I was in an indescribable amount of pain all the time. Imagine a bad urine infection. Day and night, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year

Lucille Whiting
Lucille was finally diagnosed earlier this year (Picture: Lucille Whiting)

‘By this time, I had built up a resistance to several antibiotics, but this time nothing worked and the pain wasn’t touched by any of the pain medication I could take.’

Finally, after over a year of suffering from constant pain, Lucille was given a cystoscopy in November 2018 – a procedure where doctors insert a tiny camera into the bladder to examine it.

She was diagnosed with chronic ulcerative interstitial cystitis. The condition can’t be cured but can be managed with medication.

Interstitial cystitis is thought to affect between four and 10 million people, and many have mild symptoms that don’t require treatment, but Lucille has the more severe ulcerative type (meaning ulcers are present) that affects five to 10% of patients.

Lucille says: ‘I was so deflated when I did get my diagnosis.

‘When I walked into the consultant’s office and she told me they had found the cause for my pain, I was momentarily relieved.

‘Not for one second did I expect her to say they knew very little about my condition and it couldn’t be cured, just managed.

‘It took the wind right out of me. There’s a big part of me that thought now they had the answer, they would just be able to ‘fix me’.

‘There’s nothing quite like being told that this is it, forever, unless it deteriorates more that is.

Lucille Whiting holding the mediation she takes to control her condition
The medication Lucille takes every day to control her condition (Picture: Lucille Whiting)

‘You have to be a very positive person to move on from that.’

Now, although she has medication to control some of the symptoms, Lucille’s condition still has a huge impact on her every day.

‘My pain is pretty relentless,’ she says. ‘I’m realistic about my illness and there are days when I’m totally sick of being sick, but for me, it helps to step back, breathe and appreciate all the good things I have.
‘The pain is moderate to severe, depending on everything from exercise to what I eat and the weather outside.

‘Pain causes exhaustion, which is a major problem. I get tired very easily and have to pace myself, closely managing my activity levels.’

With five children to look after and her own business to run, Lucille says she has learnt to prioritise to make sure she uses her energy for things that are important to her.

She explains: ’My priority number one always has to be my children. I’ll admit that self-care is a concept that eludes me. I do what I have to do so that I can do my best for them.

‘I carefully weigh up how much energy I have and manage my time.

Lucille Whiting, 37 from Kedington, Suffolk with her son Elijah Whiting. Lucille suffers with ulcerative interstitial cystitis.
Lucille with her son Elijah (Picture: James Linsell-Clark/SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

‘I need to always make sure I’m there to help with homework and for when they need something. I won’t ever let them miss out on anything because of me.

‘It might not do me any favours in the long run, but for now, that’s the way it has to be.

‘I’m up for the school run and I’m out for swimming, music lessons and other after school activities. Most people would never know unless I’m looking particularly tired and washed out.

‘I take regular rests and make sure I don’t eat or drink anything that can exacerbate my symptoms.

‘Apart from activities with the children, I rarely leave the house. I don’t go out socially in the evenings. That was something I gave up a decade ago. Something had to give.’

Her condition is managed with a range of medications and although it reduces the pain, she says it never goes away completely.’

Lucille says: ’I take two kinds of nerve-blockers that help block the nerves to my bladder. They don’t actually fix the problem, they just make me less aware of it. I also take tablets that try and prevent urine infections.

‘There was recently a manufacturing problem with those and I couldn’t get hold of them, resulting in two urine infections in the space of a month. Those are so much worse when the lining of your bladder is raw and bleeds.

‘I can’t ever medicate to the point where the pain leaves me completely because I have to balance my pain relief with the side effects of the medication.

‘It’s not possible to numb the nerves to the bladder without affecting nerves elsewhere, so if the dose is too high, you can suffer from tingling in your extremities, amnesia, visual and speech disturbance, amongst other things.’

Even with medication, there are days when she is too ill to do anything.

Lucille works on her own business Sophia Alexander as a jewellery maker
Lucille works on her own business as a jewellery maker (Picture: Lucille Whiting)

She adds: ‘There are days when the illness wins and I hate that. I hate the feeling that the control is taken away from me.

‘I’ve spent a long time learning to normalise my pain. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that this is now my reality. The new normal.

‘I’ve had to learn how to push it to the back of my mind and carry on because I know there isn’t an end to it. Life carries on regardless.’

When her eldest son was born, Lucille set up her own business Sophia Alexander creating handmade fingerprint jewellery and as her health has deteriorated, she has continued working for herself, only taking on what she can.

She says: ‘I’ve built a small business, trying to create something positive for me and my family that has allowed me to continue working.

‘My illness causes extreme pain and fatigue, so I make sure I never take on more than I can handle or risk letting a customer down.

‘I work with some incredibly talented people which helps a lot.

‘I operate a waiting list which allows me to pace myself, but it does mean I can’t take on the volume of work I’d like to grow my business as quickly as I’d like.

‘It’s hugely frustrating, but I have to keep telling myself that even slow progress is still progress.

Lucille Whiting, 37 from Kedington, Suffolk. Lucille suffers with ulcerative interstitial cystitis.
Lucille says social media has been a great support network (Picture: James Linsell-Clark/ SWNS for Metro.co.uk)

‘There are times when I have to step back completely, but I try to use this time productively by working behind the scenes.

‘It’s definitely a ‘when life gives you lemons’ situation.’

Her health means she can’t attend things like conferences and networking events so social media has become incredibly important to help her learn new things and meet people.

It’s also helped her find other people living with chronic illnesses on Instagram, which helps her to feel less isolated.
Although more people are speaking out about their conditions, Lucille wants people to be educated earlier about how to treat people with any type of visible or invisible disability.

She says: ‘Not enough is taught at a young enough age and the media often portrays people with chronic conditions as having imaginary complaints or being lazy. That doesn’t help any of us.

‘It’s impossible for anyone to actually understand what it feels like to have a chronic illness, but empathy would be nice and you can’t expect adults to be empathetic if they don’t learn about it when they’re young.

‘What’s more worrying is that lack of understanding often results in a lot of insensitive unsolicited advice. It’s the one thing that still bothers me and I like to think I have a pretty thick skin.

‘It’s amazing how many people have quite strong opinions on what could ‘cure’ me. I know it comes from a good place, but no, yoga, turmeric or CBD oil are not going to magically cure my chronic illness. Believe me, I’ve had a few decades to try everything.’

How to get involved with You Don't Look Sick

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

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

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

MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘Don’t ask me if I am better yet. Ménière’s is a long term illness, not a cold’

MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘Having M.E. is like you’ve ran a marathon with the flu and were beaten up afterwards’

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Facebook’s new artificial intelligence can help you dress more fashionably

social media apps on a phone screen
Facebook are experimenting with how AI can interpret fashion(Image:stockcam/Getty Images)

We have all, at one time or another, experienced the agony of not being able to decide what to wear.

Is that shirt too stuffy? Are those earrings a little bit garish?

Will your friends and colleagues viciously mock you behind your back? Will strangers on the tube laugh and jeer?

Happily, (or not – depending on how enthusiastic you are about living in a high-tech dystopia), Facebook might soon be able to improve your fashion sense.

The company is currently experimenting with AI to create an initiative (titled ‘Fashion ++’) which, rather than recommending entire overhauls of your outfit, would make small suggestions about what could be improved.

This effect is achieved by showing the AI thousands of images of fashionable outfits, from which it can learn to make value judgements.

According to Facebook, the initiative already works. A spokesperson for the company said: ‘human evaluators find the Fashion++ suggestions not only fashionable but also easy to implement.’

It’s pretty exciting that we could soon have our very own robot version of Coco Chanel or Tan France, telling us to remove one accessory or tuck in our damn shirts.

Then again, it’s also slightly concerning: what if the robots vs humanity war, prophesied by so many sci-fi films, is provoked by robots making catty remarks about our dress sense?

This is not Facebook’s first foray into fashion: earlier this year, the tech giant announced a collaboration with Ray-Bans on a pair of ‘augmented reality’ glasses.

MORE: Facebook launches first dating service to help you secretly find love

MORE: Untrained and overworked: The hidden lives of Facebook group admins

MORE: Banning men has taught me that I am enough

Student who’s had 15 procedures to triple the size of her lips wants to go even bigger


A woman from Bulgaria has had 15 procedures to tripple the size of her natural lips in a bid to make them the biggest in the world.

Student Andrea Emilova Ivanova has been injecting hyaluronic acid into her lips.

The 22-year-old, from Sofia, said her new look has left her feeling more content with herself and fulfilled her childhood dream of what she hoped to look like.

The German Philology student at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski visited dozens of aesthetic clinics in her city who perform a variety of cosmetic procedures.

Andrea pays around £135 per treatment but said she had lost count of how much money she spent over the years.

She has an Instagram page where she posts selfies and has gained more than 15K followers but it’s also left her subject to abuse.

She also gets admirers in equal measure from as far as the Middle East, Argentina and Australia and some have even proposed to her.

Andrea with her natural lips
Andrea before her lip procedures   (Picture: Jam Press)

Andrea said: ‘I like my lips now, more than before and I feel very good and very happy with them because according to me, with bigger lips I look prettier and in Bulgaria, this is the fashion now.’

‘There are people who like me with bigger lips and there are people who like me with smaller lips but it doesn’t matter to me, because it’s important for me how I like it. Other’s people opinion are irrelevant.’

She added: ‘Each person’s lips are different and each person has an individual restriction on enlargement, how many millilitres of filler can the lips endure.

‘I can’t give any indication of how big is too big, or can lips be too big, because for each person: “big” ”bigger” and ”too big” are different concepts.

‘I’m broad-minded and I think people should be free to choose, which one for them is big, bigger or too big. There are no boundaries for me.’

Andrea now with her cosmetic, large lips
Andrea now  (Picture: Jam Press)

Andrea has always wanted to have lip fillers but denies being addicted to them.

She claims to be unique and said she doesn’t copy any celebrity when it comes to her aesthetics but insists there is still competition to beat for having the world’s biggest lip fillers.

When asked if she wants to have the biggest lips in the world, she said: ‘Yes, why not? In my country the big lips are fashionable and there are many girls with fillers in the lips too.

‘And for the biggest lips in the world, I think I still have competition. I don’t look like anyone and I don’t imitate anyone.’

Selfie of Andrea in a red top with her large lips and heavy eye makeup
Andrea has had 15 procedures but wants more (Picture: Jam Press)

The student said it’s important for people to follow their heart and not be influenced by other people’s opinions.

She said: ‘I’m glad that the universe gave me the chance for many people to see me and to know that I exist and I want to tell people: Be happy and do what you like, don’t let others restrict your choice.’

MORE: Woman addicted to plastic surgery has spent more than £150,000 transforming her body

MORE: A celebrity having surgery doesn’t give you permission to make fun of their appearance

MORE: Plastic surgery report reveals the latest trends in body enhancement

As man with anorexia, Christopher Eccleston makes me feel seen

Christopher Eccleston
By sharing his story, he has shown that it is just as possible for a man to have an eating disorder as anyone else (Picture: Anthony Harvey/REX (10311647bk)

A few days ago, Christopher Eccleston revealed in his forthcoming book that he has been living with anorexia for a long time.

By sharing his story, he has shown that it is just as possible for a man to have an eating disorder as anyone else – that they aren’t exclusive to young, middle-class white girls.

I have lived with anorexia and bulimia for 15 years. When I developed the disorder in my mid-teens I was asked by a doctor: ‘Why do you want to look like that? Guys don’t want to look skinny’.

It was one of the many misconceptions I encountered about eating disorders throughout my illness, even from those who were supposed to help me with this life-threatening problem.

Once, I was told by health professionals that I was gay and hadn’t come to terms with it, or that there must be another mental health diagnosis or another physical problem that would explain it.

I’ve rarely seen another male patient, and have been treated overwhelmingly by female staff – I’ve been given booklets telling me how my periods will stop, and been surrounded by displays of butterflies bearing quotes about how bikini bodies don’t buy happiness.

It can be a very alienating experience but having male celebrities like Christopher speak up raises awareness. In turn, I hope this can end some of the misconceptions around eating disorders in men.

Being able to reach out to others I trust has been a big part of moving forward.

Anorexia isn’t a lifestyle choice that I made in order to look a certain way –  it was a coping mechanism in a world I found so threatening that I wanted to shut down my body. And like Christopher, anorexia was never something I ‘wanted’ to have.

For me, a lot of different factors in my life came together to start and maintain a difficult relationship with food. In high school, I struggled to fit in and was extremely anxious about my appearance. This shifted towards controlling my weight.

I didn’t know how to cope with emotions aside from eating – or not eating – in order to numb them.

Later, I withdrew from a place at Cambridge University. I was spending more time maintaining my eating behaviours than studying, spending up to £50 a day on food for bingeing episodes – something that surprises people who might think bulimia is just about ‘eating a bit too much’.

I finally accessed specialist treatment more than six years after I first developed an eating disorder, by which point my behaviours were so entrenched and my whole way of relating to the world was through food, exercise and punishing my body. I hope Christopher’s admission will encourage anyone else who is suffering to seek help.

To date I have had over 30 emergency admissions, where I was patched up physically – but I have not always had the chance to talk about what I was going through.

Being able to reach out to others I trust has been a big part of moving forward. I still struggle with feelings of being alone but it helps me to know that there are others out there going through the same thing.

It’s important to have people to share the journey with in those times. It can help you keep a sense of hope that things will get better, however slowly.

That’s why I was saddened to see Christopher has described himself as a ‘lifelong body hater’. I know from my own experience that recovery is not a linear process – it has ups and downs where some days you feel like you are winning, and others you feel like the future is dark.

But I am hopeful about my future. The start of my recovery was about coming to terms with what I had lost, and realising that another way of living was possible if I had the right support.

It is so important to realise that other people like you exist, to feel seen, heard and understood, and to know that eating disorders do not have to define how – or who – you are.

More support

If you suspect you, a family member or friend has an eating disorder, contact Beat on 0808 801 0677 or at help@beateatingdisorders.org.uk, for information and advice on the best way to get appropriate treatment

MORE: Please don’t say ‘anorexic’ when you mean thin. My illness was more than my appearance

MORE: I was obsessed with ‘clean eating’ and it caused my eating disorder

MORE: My daughter is an adult but I’m still her best ally against her eating disorder

Groom’s brother gets into a wedding dress to prank him during the first look photos

Groom's brother pranks him during first look wedding photos where he is seen wearing a wedding dress
Groom’s brother pranks him during first look wedding photos (Picture: Raph Nogal Photography )

After months of anticipation and stress, the first time the groom sees the bride makes it all worth it.

But people being people, there are some who enjoy using the occasion to have a little fun.

The best man, for example, may enjoy stepping in for the bride and pranking the groom who’s eagerly waiting to see his soon-to-be wife.

For one husband-to-be, it was his brother and bride who concocted a plan together to trick him.

Groom Tyler from Toronto, Canada, was kept waiting with his back turned as he waited for his bride Robyn to show up in her dress.

But his brother Ryan came through, beaming as he walked over in a white corseted wedding dress that he shimmied into and a tiara.

Photographer Raph Nogal caught the hilarious moment Tyler opened his eyes and burst into laughter as he recognised his brother in the outfit. The photos then quickly went viral on Reddit and Imgur.

Groom's brother pranks him during first look wedding photos where the groom is seen squealing with delight
Of course, the prank was complete with a white corseted wedding dress and tiara (Picture: Raph Nogal Photography )

Raph told Metro.co.uk: ‘The groom was anticipating seeing his bride prior to their ceremony.

‘The reveal (or first-look) was to take place in their family home in the backyard. I positioned the groom to face away from the house and held him there for several minutes… building even more anticipation.

‘It turned out that the bride wanted to prank the groom and has asked the groom’s brother to dress up in a wedding gown and fill in her spot for the initial reveal.

‘The groom’s reaction was priceless. The bride followed for the “actual” reveal a few minutes after.’

Tyler shared the photos on Reddit and Imgur where he wrote: ‘My brother is my best friend. I couldn’t pull off what he did but it was the funniest moment of my life!’

Luckily for Robyn, Tyler was equally moved when he saw her for the first time. Pictures of the real reveal showed the sweet moment the couple laid eyes on each other on their special day.

Bride walking up to her husband-to-be for first look wedding photos
The real reveal (Picture: Raph Nogal Photography )
Groom smiling as he sees his bride for the first time
‘Wait you’re not my brother’ (Picture: Raph Nogal Photography)

Many users online appreciated the bromance, saying: ‘These are the best’ and ‘It seems like you have a really awesome family’.

One person quipped: ‘Thought this was gonna be a gay wedding album.’

Though it’s not, the pics are equally fabulous.

MORE: Best man dresses in wedding gown to prank groom’s first look

MORE: Bride walks down the aisle with eight disabled rescue dogs by her side

MORE: Woman wears her wedding dress for adventures every weekend for a year

Mum transforms old shower curtains and duvet covers into new clothes for her whole family – saving over £800

Becky makes old clothes from duvet covers and shower curtains
Becky and her daughter Isla in some of the creations (Picture: Mercury Press)

Before you throw out that old duvet cover or shower curtain away, think about what else it could become.

One mum has managed to make use of this fabric destined for the bin by turning it into new clothes – and it has saved her over £800.

Becky Lawrence, 32, has turned everything from cushion covers to oversized t-shirts into fashionable new outfits for herself and children Ezra, five, and Isla, three.

She taught herself everything when she inherited her mother-in-law’s sewing kit three years ago, following YouTube tutorials to help her perfect her new-found passion.

She’s now so good, she doesn’t need to buy new clothes and she thinks she has saved around £500 on herself and £300 on her kids to date.

Becky Lawrences daugher Isla, 3 showing the before and after of her mothers sewing - a dress made from a shower curtain
A shower curtain becomes a dress (Picture: Mercury Press & Media)

Becky, from Shirley, South East London, said: ‘My mother in law passed away three years ago, she made quilts. She made one for me, my husband and son.

‘My daughter had only just been born so hers was half-finished and I wanted to learn so I could finish it off but I haven’t touched it yet because I’m too nervous.

‘I inherited lots of resources from her, apart from my sewing kit which is how I got started.

‘I had one two hour lesson on how to make a cushion cover, and then just used YouTube.

‘I didn’t realise it was something I could do, and I really enjoy doing it.

Becky Lawrences daugher Isla, 3 showing the before and after of her mothers sewing
Isla in a jumpsuit made from a old t-shirt (Picture: Mercury Press & Media)

‘I don’t stop moving all day and I would normally crash out on the settee but I’m happy to sit and sew.

‘It never gets boring, it’s really exciting and the money-saving aspect is really just an added bonus to what I do.

‘For me, the transformations are about taking something unloved and overlooked, or not quite right for the person, and turning it into a garment that is perfect and unique for someone.’

Becky Lawrence, 32, in a dress fashioned from an old kimono
Becky in a dress she created (Picture: Mercury Press & Media Ltd)

Now she makes clothes for her and her kids but her financial director husband, Tom, 31, is a bit more picky about what he wears so he still buys his,

Becky has transformed cushion covers into gilets, shower curtains into skirts and two ball gowns totalling £15 into one glamorous frock.

She said: ‘I don’t buy clothes apart from school uniforms. I’m constantly picking things apart with my eyes. When I’m out shopping, I think ‘I can make that myself’.

‘I save so much money. I made a ball gown with materials that cost £15, if I bought one I would have spent over £100.

Becky Lawrence, 32, wearing a skirt she fashioned from an old dress
Becky Lawrence wearing a skirt she fashioned from an old dress (Picture: Mercury Press & Media Ltd)

‘I have a go at most things. I love transforming into something completely different. I love the fact I can make clothing into what I want it to be.

‘I love that aspect. If I’m going to an event I’ll go round charity shops looking for a certain colour or fabric that I like.

‘Some things I make are epic fails, not everything goes to plan but you learn from it.’

Becky has enjoyed it so much she even wants to turn her skills into a business when her youngest child starts school.

Becky believes that the old fashioned make do and mend attitude of refashioning old garments should be adopted by more people to help save the planet.

She said: ‘In the last five years, Tom and I have been trying to look after our planet a bit more, recycling and producing less waste.

‘My eyes have been opened to how much waste there is and small changes make a big difference.

‘After one wash, clothes shrink a bit because they have been made as a bulk, they’re worn a couple of times and thrown in the bin, they aren’t even taken to the charity shop.

‘I would love to help other people do the same thing as me and I would love to make clothes for other people.’

MORE: Groom’s brother gets into a wedding dress to prank him during the first look photos

MORE: Facebook’s new artificial intelligence can help you dress more fashionably

Daughter demands £100 instead of £1 after discovering the truth about the tooth fairy

Sam Freedman and the letter his daughter sent about the tooth fairy
Sam Freedman and the letter his daughter sent (Picture: Twitter/ @Samfr)

When Sam Freedman’s daughter lost another tooth, he subtly tried to slip the traditional £1 under her pillow.

But with the tooth, he found a letter from his nine-year-old daughter – and it seems she’s discovered the truth about the tooth fairy.

Sam tweet a picture of the letter saying: ‘Daughter demands £100 instead of £1 after discovering the truth about the tooth fairy.’

The letter initially starts with ‘dear tooth fairy’ but she’s crossed it out and written ‘dear mum and dad (Yes, we know it’s you. STOP LYING).’

She goes on to say: ‘Just a little tip: leave 100 unds instead of £1 (It’s a great idea) Anyway have a nice night.’

She signs it off ‘Your-most-great-detective-at-finding-out-who-liars-are’, adding her name and calling herself their ‘favourite child’.

And of course there’s a postscript: ‘What do you do with all our teeth? TELL ME.’

Sam revealed to his followers that he actually just puts the teeth in the bin.

People loved the letter and it received over 2,200 likes on Twitter.

Stewart said: ‘Adorable. Always always keep that piece of paper.’

The tooth fairy letter
The letter (Picture: Twitter/ @Samfr)

Nicholas added: ‘One to file for the ‘father of the bride’ speech, I think.’

Others also shared their own tooth fairy related tales.

Samantha said her own daughter was smart to wait until she had lost all her teeth to reveal she knew the truth.

She said: ‘My youngest confessed she knew the day after she lost the last tooth. Made sure she cashed in on all of them!’

Shona added: ‘When I had a similar conversation with my son I asked him ‘What about Father Christmas?’. He thought for a second and replied ‘He’s real, there’s no way dad would wrap up all of those presents’.’

MORE: Mum transforms old shower curtains and duvet covers into new clothes for her whole family – saving over £800

MORE: Groom’s brother gets into a wedding dress to prank him during the first look photos

Oh good, you can now get a face mask that ‘slims and improves’ your jawline

Woman wearing a white mask said to slim jawlines
This mask is supposed to ‘improve’ your jawline (Picture: @foodyfixation; @simplevshape)

It’s no secret that society values petite, feminine women and the smaller the better.

There are many detox teas, drugs and cosmetic surgery procedures that promise customers they can slim down or drop dress sizes in order to fit into a prescribed beauty ideal.

The latest fad doing the rounds on Instagram is a face mask that is said to tone and shape people’s jawlines – and yes, it’s targeted at women.

SimplyVshape promises to ‘improve’ women’s faces after just 20 minutes using their product – a stretchy face mask made from ‘hypoallergenic, soft and comfortable material’.

Purveyors of the product – which costs  £14.42 – are so confident that the item works so effectively that they offer refunds if it doesn’t. 

On its website, it includes more detail, saying: ‘Supporting all the right areas to align your jawline, our mask helps you to form a beautiful jawline and maintain it for years.’

Jaw face mask (Picture: @simplevshape)
You just need to use it for 40 minutes a day (Picture: @simplevshape)

On its Instagram page where it shares various testimonies from women around the world, it has amassed more than 11,000 followers.

It also appeals to its followers with various memes, some which boast using the product.

The mask is said to give you a slimmer face if used for 20 minutes twice a day.

On its website, where it boasts worldwide shipping, it says: ‘As we age, our skin loses firmness and elasticity. Our mask helps increase firmness and elasticity. Your skin will be smoother and healthier-looking.

It continues: ‘Due to gravity, our face contour loses shape and definition. Our mask has powerful ingredients guaranteed to improve firmness and tighten sagging skin.

‘Your double chin will be reduced after the first application. The results will only improve with time, and your jawline will look better than ever.’


But not everyone on Instagram who spotted the post is convinced. One person wrote: ‘Absolute stupidity’ while another asked why it was advertised on young models.

Some others expressed an interest in buying it.

We’ve contacted SimplyVshape for more information and will update the article once they reply.

MORE: Keep the toxic pressure to lose weight away from masturbation

MORE: Size 8 dancer ‘fired for being too fat after manager urged her to lose weight’

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Artist hangs 440 shoes off a building to show how many women were killed by their husbands

Black high heels hanging off an arts building to show the number of women killed in Turkey
Each pair of shoes represents a woman killed (Picture: EPA/Getty)

Domestic violence is a major issue around the world, with many women suffering abuse, and in some cases death, at the hands of their partners.

To commemorate some of the women who died, an artist and graphic designer has come up with an art installation no one can ignore.

Vahit Tuna from Turkey, hung 440 high heels around buildings in Instanbul, a pair for each woman killed by their husband in 2018.

The haunting artwork aims to draw public attention to the problem of domestic abuse which is so often swept under the carpet.

Two buildings feature the installation, one in Istanbul’s Kabataş neighbourhood and the other in the Beyoğlu district.

Vahit chose to spread the message across an area of approximately 260 square meters on the outer wall on the building of Yanköşe, a not-for-profit art platform.

Instead of having his work displayed inside the building, Vahit wanted to catch the attention of not just art-seekers but bystanders who pass by the central location.

People pass in front of a contemporary art installation set by Turkish artist Vahit Tuna
In Turkey, 440 women died in 2018 as a result of domestic abuse (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

In some parts of Turkey, it’s customary to leave the shoes of someone who’s passed away outside on the wall of their home.

With the same idea in mind, Vahit chose 440 black high heeled shoes, because of how they look and what they symbolise.

The artist explained to Turkish media that heels are a sign of independence and defiance, mixing feminine power and agency.

He lamented that the women who died don’t have the chance to live independent lives.

‘We wanted everyone passing by the road to see [the work]. This is why we did not want to host the exhibition in a closed area,’ he explained to the media.

‘What this project does is that it both raises awareness regarding women murders and also materializes this issue like a sculpture or monument. This work will stay here for six months.’

We Will Stop Femicide Platform in Turkey tallies up the number of women killed annually and they say the number of deaths has risen.

In 2017, 409 women were killed by a partner which has increased up to 440 in 2018. Data at the end of 2019 will show whether the grim results have gone up.

MORE: ‘Distress porn’ is the new disturbing trend for domestic abusers

MORE: This is how many women are killed by those closest to them every day

MORE: Strong Women: ‘The burns almost killed me – strong is being a survivor of life’

Heartbreaking picture of dog leaving space for his 15-year-old best friend over a year after he died

Harry and George before he died, and Harry still leaving space for George
Harry and George before he died, and Harry still leaving space for George (Picture: @caitlinwynne2/ Jam Press)

Nine-year-old Harry the dog spent his whole life with George by his side.

So when, George had to be put down aged 15, Harry kept his spot – and ever a year on, he still leaves space as he’s hopeful he will return.

Owner Caitlin Wynne, 17, from Cheshire said the dogs, both Lhasa Apsos breeds, grew up as puppies and did everything together including playing, eating and sleeping on the same dog mat.

Caitlin bought George in 2004 when he was almost a year old and Harry was bought as a young puppy.

Sadly, George was diagnosed with kidney failure last year and he had to be put down.

George and Harry the dogs
Partners in crime George and Harry (Picture: @caitlinwynne2/ Jam Press)

Caitlin said: ‘I slept on the sofa the night before we had George put to sleep to keep him company and Harry was pacing around the room crying, and wouldn’t sleep all night as if he knew something was wrong.

‘We took Harry to the vets with us when George was put to sleep and stayed next to him the whole time. Harry grieved for a couple of weeks.

‘His tail was down and he wouldn’t socialise or eat any treats.’

A year on, Harry would often sleep next to George’s sofa bed but never in it, showing how he still misses his friend and longs for his return..

Caitlin added: ‘Almost a year on and he clearly still misses George!

‘He sleeps on floor to the side of the bed now quite often but I didn’t realise why until I was looking through photos of them both from a year ago and saw the photo I tweeted which made me realise.’

She posted the picture on Twitter, showing George and Harry sleeping next to each other along with a picture of Harry sleeping alone next to the cushion, caption: ‘I’m full on crying rn…he always let George sleep there and he died almost a year ago and he still lies there.’

The post has since gained over 59K likes and 7K shares and hundreds of comments on the picture.

One wrote: ‘Sorry girl. That’s got to be heartbreaking.’

Another added: ‘Awwww this is so sad , dogs definitely have emotions, hope your cute doggy is ok.’

One said: ‘Omg my heart actually hurts. Look at this poor baby.’

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Woman makes £80,000 a year by posting pictures of her massive tongue

Mikayla Saravia @kkvsh posts about her long tongue on Instagram
Mikayla Saravia makes money from her huge tongue (Picture: @kkvsh/Jam Press)

We’ve seen some odd jobs but this one might be the strangest.

Mikayla Saravia, 21, from West Palm Beach, Florida, has made around $99,500 (£79,788) a year posting pictures of her massive tongue, which measures up to 6.5 inches long.

Not your average influencer, Mikayla has around 2 million Instagram followers and gets paid between $900 (£721) to $3000 (£2405) for posts.

She poses in swimwear or lingerie with her tongue out, with fans comparing her to a snake or lizard because of it.

She also makes money by selling merchandise, including shirts, phone holders, chargers and even sex toys with the logo featuring her iconic tongue, which has since become her trademark.

Speaking about her long tongue, she said: ‘I realised at a young age, I think the 6th grade. I think outside the box and try to be different.

Story from Jam Press(Tongue-tastic) This well endowed woman makes ??80000 a year posting pictures online of her long tongue. Mikayla Saravia, 21, from West Palm Beach, Florida is an Instagram model and influencer ??? but what makes her different from the rest is her massive tongue, which measures up to 6.5 inches long. Mikayla, who has around 2 million Instagram followers, said she gets paid between $900 to $3000 posting racy images and videos licking food items and twerking in front of the camera. The young model can often be seen in sticking out her tongue for pictures while dressed in skimpy swimwear or lingerie, and fans often compare her to a ???snake??? or ???lizard??? because of how long her tongue is. The 21-year-old sells merchandise on her very own website, with logos featuring her iconic tongue, which has since become her trademark. Speaking about her long tongue, she said: ???I realised at a young age, I think the 6th grade. I think outside the box and try to be different. "My favourite video is my thanksgiving shoot it was pretty funny I pretended to be a turkey on the dinner table. I do ads and I monetize my YouTube and my app. I also sell merch on my website??www.kkvsh.com. ???Last year I made a little under $50k, should be better this year because I???ve already double that amount.??? Mikayla has since become an Instagram icon and receives thousands of comments from admiring fans on her posts. One wrote: "I love your tongue, it is delicious." Another said: "Her tongue is like a snake." One added: "Can I make tattoo of your face on my hand." Another wrote: "Damn if I shake my ass I can get 1million followers?" The young model even said she receives strange requests from fans, with some even offering her money for pictures. Mikayla, a self-proclaimed anime fan, said that despite her mass following claims to be a regular down-to-earth girl who enjoys reading comic books for hours. She said: ???I wish people understood that I???m very down to earth. Some people think people with a lot of followers are cocky and boujee but I???m pretty down to earth.??? Mikayla launched her very own app ???KKVSH??? featuring her latest products and merchandise including shirts, phone holders, chargers and even sex toys. The young model has even opened her own photo studio at her home in West Palm Beach, Florida and also makes her own music, releasing her very first song with a couple more set to be released in the oncoming months. She was shot on Easter Sunday and said the tragic incident had shaped her outlook on life. Mikayla hopes to take her company to new heights in order to lend a helping hand to her family and others in need. She added: ???My biggest inspiration is my mom. I love her she???s a very strong woman. I???m proud of my accomplishments being so young and owning my own company.??? ENDS
She has already made £80,000 this year (Picture: @kkvsh /Jam Press)

‘My favourite video is my thanksgiving shoot it was pretty funny I pretended to be a turkey on the dinner table. I do ads and I monetize my YouTube and my app. I also sell merch on my website.

‘Last year I made a little under $50k, should be better this year because I’ve already doubled that amount.’


Mikayla receives hundreds of comments on her posts and they offer to pay her money for pictures of her tongue.

But despite her huge following, she says she is a regular down-to-earth girl who enjoys reading comic books for hours.

She said: ‘I wish people understood that I’m very down to earth. Some people think people with a lot of followers are cocky and boujee.’
Mikayla hopes to take her company to new heights in order to lend a helping hand to her family and others in need.

She added: ‘My biggest inspiration is my mom. I love her she’s a very strong woman. I’m proud of my accomplishments being so young and owning my own company.’

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Husband surprises wife with motivational book about relationship during labour

Jasmine and Kendall Caver togeter, along with Kendall's motivational book (image:Jasmine Caver)
Jasmine and Kendall Caver together, along with Kendall’s motivational book (image:Jasmine Caver)

Last week, a husband in the States helped his wife through labour by making her a motivational flip-book which told the story of their relationship.

Jasmine Caver, 28, from Atlanta, Georgia, was in the midst of a two day-long labour when her husband Kendall surprised her with the book.

It began, ‘Do you remember when we first met? Almost 10 years ago. Before the bills. Before we started our careers. We were just kids in college who took a chance on each other.’

What makes it particularly poignant is that the couple had previously suffered a miscarriage. Referring to this, Kendall wrote that he’d ‘do it all over again to know the indescribable happiness I know today.’

The book also referred to their wedding day, and the advice they received: ‘We are going to be tested but… there’s no test we can’t face together.’

As well as reminiscing over their life together, Kendall also included some practical advice, telling Jasmine to ‘breathe… just like we’ve been practicing.’

As many people pointed out, it was vaguely reminiscent of that scene in Love Actually where Andrew Lincoln turns up at Keira Knightley’s house (his best friend’s wife!)  to announce his love for her via the medium of placards, something which we’re supposed to find touching – when it is, in fact, extremely weird behavior from a creepy oddball.

This, on the other hand, just seemed like a sweet gesture. But not everyone found it moving – in fact, a number of people suggested that the man was being an attention-hog.

Writer Caitlin Moran tweeted: ‘Imagine if a woman did this while a man did something VAGUELY comparable, like “having the sh*ts,” or “puking his guts out with e coli”. READ THE ROOM.”

If your partner has diarrhea and you make them a book telling them how brave and amazing they are to help them through it, then that’s still quite a nice (if over-the-top) thing to do – in our opinion.

Labour MP Jess Philips, meanwhile, tweeted ‘Husband of the year….my husband went and got me a crunchie when I was in labour and to me this is highly preferably. This would have sent me into a rage. You breathe mate.’

Never one to pass up an opportunity to be annoying, Piers Morgan also waded in, saying: ‘Hmmm. I would correct this to ‘American husband of the year.’ I suspect most British mums would tell him to shove his ‘motivational’ book where the sun don’t shine…’

Scottish rapper and author Darren McGarvey was far more concise in his condemnation, saying simply: ‘what a dick.’

Do all of these people have a heart of stone? Are they dead inside? Sure, as a gesture, it’s deeply corny – but they’re American, for God’s sake. Leave them alone.

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How to prepare your plants for cold weather

Woman gardening in cold weather
Winter is coming (Picture: Getty)

When the colder weather hits, it doesn’t take much for your beloved balcony plants to start to wilt.

Let’s be honest, they weren’t getting much sun even at the height of summer because urban gardens tend to be overshadowed by other buildings.

So if you want them to come back next year, there are a few things you need to do.

Freddie Blackett, CEO and co-founder of plant delivery service Patch, explains that it’s just as important to care for plants in the colder months as it is in the summer.

He says: ‘As summer ends, it’s easy to think that the garden is done for the year. That’s not the case. All your plants are just entering a new phase.

‘For most plants, winter is a time for conserving energy, ready to spring forth anew in, well, spring. For some, winter is their time to shine. Whatever sort of outside space you have, this is a good time to start preparing it for winter.

‘Cut back dead or damaged growth on your plants and prune back any that have grown wildly over summer. Most plants won’t grow very much, if at all, during winter so now is a good time for a chop.’

Some plants can’t tolerate frost at all so it’s important to protect them.

Freddie adds: ‘You don’t want to lose your carefully tended plants at the first frost, so any warm weather lovers, like lemon trees, should be moved somewhere frost free.

‘You can move them inside, if necessary, but remember they only need to avoid frost; they don’t need to be moved somewhere really warm. Things like potted olive or bay trees could be wrapped in horticultural fleece to protect them from the harshest conditions.

Woman sitting on a balcony in cold weather
Your garden or balcony can still be a lovely place when it’s cold (Picture: Getty)

‘Keep an eye on the weather forecast to make sure you do this before the first frost. It can sneak up on you.’

It tends to be wetter in winter too so you need to think about your plants getting too much water.

‘For pots left outside, consider raising them off the ground, e.g. lifting them on to a pair of bricks.

‘You want them to be able to drain very freely in really wet weather, as well as avoid them getting saturated with water that could freeze and seriously damage their roots,’ Freddie says.

Of course, there are some plants that still bloom in the winter and they can be used to add some colour to any outdoor space.

Freddie recommends a turf lily, which grows tall purple flowers throughout autumn and plants with attractive evergreen foliage. He also suggests adding some year-round interest with something like a Curly Red, which looks exactly as you’d imagine, with firey spiral leaves.

‘Winter can still be a beautiful time for your garden and if you put the work in, you’ll prepare it for a great burst of life in spring,’ he says.

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