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You can get free coffee from Costa Express machines next Tuesday

costa coffee cup
Coffee tastes far sweeter when it’s free (Picture: Costa/Metro.co.uk)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that things taste better when they’re free.

And so we must inform you that next Tuesday, 1 October, you can get your tired and thirsty paws on a free coffee. Or a hot chocolate. Or a tea. Whatever you fancy, really.

To get more people on board with Costa Express machines (you know, those machines you spot in supermarkets and corner shops that let you push a button for coffee), Costa is allowing people to order whatever hot drink they choose from the machines for free.

If you go to any participating Costa Express machine in the UK at any time on Tuesday 1 October, you’ll be able to take your pick from anything on the menu without paying a penny.

You won’t be charged for adding any extras or personalising your drink, so go ahead and add all the syrups and fancy milks your heart desires.

There are more than 8,000 Costa Express machines spread around the UK, though, so you should come across one as you go about your day, but you can locate your nearest one online.

The deal is available from 00.15am on Tuesday 1 October (or whenever the shop opens) until 00.15am on Wednesday 2 October, so there’s nothing to stop you getting a breakfast freebie, one for lunch, and one on your way home after a night out.

Just to make it very clear, though, this offer only applies to Costa Express machines, so you can’t just go storming into your nearest Costa cafe and demand a free drink.

If you greatly enjoy the convenience of getting a coffee from a machine with no need for human contact, Costa recommends signing up to the Costa Coffee Club app and scanning your code when you get your freebie. Everyone who claims a free drink on the day and has the app will be entered into a prize draw, with the top prize free Costa Coffee for a year.

Plus, if you’re new to the app you’ll get 100 loyalty points, which equals £1 towards another coffee. So it probably is worth signing up on your way to pick up your free drink.

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The white guy blinking meme man is raising money for an MS charity

Gif of Drew looking puzzled, blinking and raising his eyebrows
Did you think this is what the blinking meme guy would look like? (Picture: Drew Scanlon)

You’re surprised by some of the idiocy being spouted on social media – what do you do?

Reply with the white guy blinking meme, of course.

As with any given topic, there’s a meme for it and Drew Scanlon’s face is the ubiquitous expression for users puzzled by things online.

But he’s more than just a blinking face. Turns out, good guy Drew is a pretty charitable dude as he’s just fundraised for an MS charity.

The 33-year-old used his fame to direct users to donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by going on a bike run.

He managed to cycle 120 miles (193 kilometres), all the way from San Francisco to Wine Country, raising $30,750 (£24,910.88).

Naturally, his followers, and people just realising that Drew is the man behind the meme, are big fans.

The white guy blinking meme man seen on his charity bike ride with thumbs up
Good guy Drew Picture: Drew Scanlon)

Drew raised awareness for the charity bike ride on his Twitter, saying: ‘Hi Internet! I’m Drew and THIS IS MY FACE.

‘If this GIF has ever brought you joy in the past, I humbly ask you to consider making a donation to the National MS Society. It would mean a lot to me and to those I know affected by the disease!’

What is the white guy blinking meme?

You’ve probably seen the short gif of Drew blinking incredulously but where does it come from?

Drew works as a video editor and podcaster at video game website Giant Bomb.

In a game with several other players, Drew was caught off guard by another player’s comment that he was ‘farming with my hoe’.

According to Know Your Meme, the earliest use of the gif was in 2015.

Then in 2017, it became a meme after a Twitter user made a joke about being lost in a biology exam.

Over on his fundraising page, he added a bit more detail about his reasons for getting involved.

He wrote: ‘I’m not usually one to toot my own meme horn but in this case, I’ll make an exception.

‘You see, two close friends of mine and members of their families suffer from MS, a debilitating disease of the central nervous system that interrupts communication between the brain and the body.

‘If a fraction of those who have seen my goofy face donated to MS research, I have a feeling we could kick this thing in no time!’

Folks online were touched by his commitment to raising funds for the charity and quickly pledged their support.

Of course, some people couldn’t help but reply with a few memes of their own (some were pretty funny).

One person was particularly touched by Drew’s charitable actions. They wrote to him: ‘Hey Drew, I’ve always been a huge fan and patron of your work, but as someone with a mum with MS, I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder to call myself a fan of yours.’

And now we’re all fans.

You can learn more about the work the National MS Society does on their website.

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World’s smallest escape room shuts you in a coffin to induce claustrophobia and dread

smallest escape room by George Larkwright, The Subject
Behold The Subject, the world’s smallest escape room that’s essentially just a coffin (Picture: Triangle News)

Why spend your weekend watching TV or drinking in a pub when you could be locked in a small box, trying desperately to escape?

We live in a time when ‘fun’ includes pretending to be in prison, smashing TVs, and choosing to go into horribly stressful situations, and so it makes total sense that someone has created the world’s smallest escape room, measuring 120cm by 70cm by 50cm.

Just like any other escape room, the idea behind The Subject (that’s the official name of the room) is to work hard and figure out clues in order to break free.

Unlike your average escape room, there are no padlocked doors and dark corridors. Instead, there’s just a box.

The Subject is the creation of student George Larkwright, 24, who wanted to create a truly disturbing escape room experience to induce claustrophobia, desperation and dread. Sounds delightful.

inside The Subject world's smallest escape room
One player is shut inside and needs to figure out the clues on the box’s walls (Picture: Triangle News)

Fed up of seeing escape rooms used for corporate team bonding and smug selfies, George designed a challenge to make players leave ‘haggered and almost aged by the experience’.

The room, which is basically just a big coffin, is designed for two players.

Player one is locked inside the box, while player two has to help them escape.

Inside the box is a pencil, paper and a torch. The trapped player has to decode a load of cryptic messages and clues written across the box’s interiors.

The player outside the box has to look through a load of documents and figure out a code in order to piece information together, solve the puzzle, and unlock the box, freeing their pal.

The theme has some pretty dark sources of inspiration.

Pictures of Britains smallest escape room by George Larkwright
Player two stays outside of the box and has to try to free their pal (Picture: Triangle News)

George first thought of the idea after watching Kill Bill 2, which includes a scene in which a bride is trapped in a coffin. He then drew inspiration from the horrifying histories of wartime human experimentation and the American security services mind control programmes during the Cold War.

George has a load of experience writing for theatre, so was able to pull together these ideas into a tricky narrative that sounds more than a little bit stressful.

The contestant in the box a prisoner of war locked up in a laboratory, while player two is a secret services operative tasked with freeing them, all under a 30 minute time limit.

As we said, this is supposed to be fun.

George said: ‘I want participants to emerge haggard, almost aged by the experience, but also triumphant, proud of navigating a game that is both physically and mentally taxing.’

The Subject was part of the Experiments in Play exhibition, for students at the south London university at the weekend. The quickest escape thus far took 17 minutes.

George now plans to take the box on tour, so keep an eye out for dates if you fancy giving the challenge a go.

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Influencer couple who had a seven-day long proposal mocked for engagement ring

Couple being proposed to in front of Eiffel Tower
What do you think of this ring? (Picture: laurag_143)

Travel blogger Laura G and her boyfriend Dhar Mann celebrated their wedding proposal the only influencers know how – by being extra.

Don’t worry, the Youtube and Instagram bloggers were open about the grand occasion, which lasted seven days.

Dharr, from California, planned a series of luxury activities before he got down on one knee and popped the question in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Before that though, he fitted in a trip to Disneyland, lots of pampering sessions, and even bought a Los Angeles home for his new bride-to-be. As you do.

But followers of their millions-strong empire couldn’t look past the diamond-studded engagement ring.

When news of the engagement reached Facebook group That’s It, I’m Ring Shaming, users were quick to call the ring ‘tacky’ and ‘fake’.

One person commented: ‘It looks like something I would have received as part of a prize at an arcade when I was five and would wear for a week until the ring part snapped.’

Another asked whether she was trying to be like the Kardashians with the ‘atrocious’ ring.

Tough crowd.


Others also criticised the week-long wedding proposal, saying: ‘All that for something I can get out of my daughter’s toy box?’.

During the celebrations, Dharr organised a scavenger hunt that started in LA and ended in Paris (lucky girl, if she’s into that sort of thing).

On their YouTube channel, he explained the process, saying: ‘It’s not easy getting anything past Laura, I knew she knew I was going to propose soon but she didn’t know how I was going to do it, where I was going to do it, or exactly which moment.’

But he managed to pull it off, proposing alongside a plethora of candles while an orchestra set the mood. And of course, she said yes.

Each day of the seven-day proposal

  • Day one – Dhar put a blindfold on Laura and surprised her with their new home.
  • Day two – Got permission from her parents to marry her and then sent them on a spa day with Laura/surprise party with friends
  • Day three – Shopping spree in Beverly Hills
  • Day four – Disneyland
  • Day five – Paris
  • Day six – Fancy hotel room surprise in front of Eiffel Tower
  • Day seven – Proposal (finally)

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Princess Beatrice wears a £595 Zimmerman floral dress for engagement photos

Princess Beatrice engagement
What dress is Princess Beatrice wearing in her engagement photos, taken by Princess Eugenie? (Picture: @princesseugenie)

Princess Beatrice is engaged to be married, and the news was announced with some pretty glorious photos taken by Princess Eugenie.

The photos show Beatrice and her fiancé, property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, out in a garden, looking very happy and loved up. As you do.

But while we’re all interested in the big news and that massive ring on Beatrice’s finger, we couldn’t help but be distracted by the dress the eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York is wearing in the photos.

It’s a pretty glorious floral gown that would work just as well for attending a wedding as announcing a royal engagement.

And good news – you can still buy it, if you don’t mind splashing out nearly £600.

Princess Beatrice is wearing the Allia floral print linen dress by Australian brand Zimmerman, available to buy through Matches for £595.

zimmerman floral linen dress
(Picture: Matches)

The green dress, from the label’s SS19 collection, is made entirely of super-light linen, making it an ideal option for warmer weather.

It’s got a classic, romantic floral print and a flattering gentle A-line shape, with lightly gathered sleeves and shoulder detailing for some interest.

Matches recommends wearing the dress with a bucket bag and sandals for a summer wedding, and we very much agree.

Now Beatrice has worn it and put the dress on everyone’s radar, expect to see it popping up in everyone’s wedding photos on the ‘gram.


Interestingly enough, Beatrice also chose Zimmerman for her official engagement photos, taken in black and white by Misan Harriman at Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park.

As the photos are black and white, we aren’t sure what colourway Beatrice chose her second gown in. Zimmerman sells the dress in a deep red, green, and bronze.

Whichever colour it is, we’re pretty sure it’s the Espionage Silk Wrap Midi, which costs £550.


Buckingham Palace confirmed news of the engagement, stating: ‘The Duke and Duchess of York are delighted to announce the engagement of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York to Mr Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

‘Her Royal Highness and Mr Mapelli Mozzi became engaged while away for the weekend in Italy earlier this month.

‘The wedding will take place in 2020.’

Beatrice and Edoardo began dating in autumn 2018 after meeting at a Pitch@Palace event at St James’s Palace in London, hosted by Andrew in June.

Edoardo is the son of former Olympic skier Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi and Nikki Shale, is a count himself, and has been a friend of the Yorks for some time.

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My Label and Me: I’m not clumsy, I’m resilient


‘Oh don’t give Rachel a glass!’

In my family, it’s a well-known fact that I can’t hold my drink – in both senses of the phrase.

As well as being a complete lightweight I’m also not trusted with glassware because everyone knows inevitably it’s going to end up on the floor.

I was always the un-coordinated kid, the one falling over their own feet, the scatterbrain.

Although that’s the reputation I’ve gained, it’s not a label I feel comfortable with. I’m not clumsy, I have dyspraxia.

Dyspraxia is a developmental disorder that affects co-ordination and motor skills. It meant I couldn’t kick a ball or run without falling. It also affected my fine motor skills meaning it was hard to grip or manipulate things.

Rachel Charlton-Dailey
I was an easy target for bullies – the gangly kid who was easy to push over (Picture: Will Walker / NNP)

I struggled in school because I found it difficult to process information and needed to be taught things that others seemed to know instinctively.

I was diagnosed when I was 10 years old after years of being bullied for not having any co-ordination; not being able to play sports or games without dropping the ball or falling over.

I was an easy target for bullies – the gangly kid who was easy to push over.

I was lucky that my supply teacher, who was dealing with the recent spate of bullying – a girl a year older than me had nearly broken my leg by shoving me into a wooden bench – recognised the symptoms and spoke to my mam.

With the help of my GP I was referred to specialists who got me physiotherapy and more help at school. When I received my diagnosis it felt like a weight had been lifted. I wasn’t to blame, it wasn’t my fault.

Rachel Charlton-Dailey
I avoided PE like the plague (Picture: Will Walker / NNP)

As a smart-mouthed kid, it gave me a comeback when I was branded a ‘spacka’ – but that didn’t stop me getting tripped over in corridors.

Even with extra help, some teachers didn’t take my diagnosis seriously. One, appalled by my handwriting snatched my book off me and held it up for the class to ridicule, another called me lazy and teased me to the point where I was removed from his class by my parents.

I avoided PE like the plague – getting my friends to forge sick notes when my parents wouldn’t – as teachers didn’t even try to engage me.

There was another boy at my school who also had dyspraxia, but his was a lot worse than mine and coupled with another developmental disorder.

Quite ashamedly I went along with others teasing him and always found myself thinking that at least I wasn’t as bad as him.

Rachel Charlton-Dailey
Reaching my 30s meant I gave even fewer f*cks what people thought of me than before (Picture: Will Walker / NNP)

As an adult I’ve stopped brushing my dyspraxia under the carpet, not feeling the pressure to fit in that I did as a teen. I’m more confident when asking someone to explain something again; I’ve adapted my life around it.

I’ve worked to strengthen my body through Pilates and dog walking. I don’t drink much now as I know this not only worsens my condition but leads to me getting more upset when I do break things.

Reaching my 30s meant I gave even fewer f*cks what people thought of me than before and I happily cart a shopping trolley around town instead of struggling with bags.

I’ve worked to cultivate relationships with understanding people; I don’t have time for people who will constantly belittle me.

Rachel Charlton-Dailey
I don’t need wrapping in cotton wool (Picture: Will Walker / NNP)

My partner does the majority of the cooking so I don’t burn myself or drop whole pans of food and although I know it frustrates him when I hurt myself for the umpteenth time this week, he tries not to let it show.

My friends and family always try to help me without being patronising – suggesting taxis if they know the walk will be too uneven, offering to carry my things if it looks like I’m struggling.

I know they’ll always tease me, but at the same time, it comes from a place of love.

I’ve noticed society has become a lot more tolerant of people with physical disorders and disabilities in the last 20 years.

I still get titters when I stumble in the street or fall on a bus but that’s coupled with offers of help now. And let’s be honest, someone falling over will always be funny.

What I wish people understood about my label is that I’m not just clumsy and stupid and it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be trusted.

I don’t need wrapping in cotton wool. My label has made me resilient.


Labels is an exclusive series that hears from individuals who have been labelled – whether that be by society, a job title, or a diagnosis. Throughout the project, writers will share how having these words ascribed to them shaped their identity  positively or negatively  and what the label means to them.

If you would like to get involved please email jess.austin@metro.co.uk

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Transform your old furniture with these easy upcycling hacks

Drawers comp
Add a splash of colour to make it modern (Picture: John Angerson/BHF Retail)

We all want picture-perfect, Instagrammable interiors.

But one of the most upsetting realities of becoming an adult is realising just how wildly expensive furniture and homewares are. £400 for a chest of drawers? What?

Luckily, there is a way around the expense. Upcycling is reclaiming old furniture and adapting it into something new and chic – with the added bonus that it will be completely unique.

The British Heart Foundation charity has launched the Reuse Revolution campaign to encourage people to update old furniture they find in their local BHF store – rather than buying new.

Voila – brand new chairs (Picture: John Angerson/BHF Retail)

This is sustainable because it saves perfectly functional furniture from ending up on a landfill, and buying from BHF will help fund life-saving research too.

Lynne Lambourne from interiors design company, Love Nellie shares her expert hacks on how to upcycle to inspire you to start your own project:

Think second-hand shops for furniture

If you see something in a shop or interiors magazine that you absolutely love and have to get your hands on, look closely; the chances are that you can find something very similar in a charity shop.

The BHF has more than 180 home stores offering a wealth of amazing household bargains.

Car boot sales or a second-hand online site are also good sources and you can always check out the BHF eBay shop if you can’t find anything in-store.

With a bit of paint and some imagination, you can create something very similar. It’s all about looking at pieces with fresh eyes – one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure.

Be a savvy shopper and create something unique for your home at a fraction of the price of buying new; it’s also a much more sustainable way of furnishing your house.

Preparation is key

When upcycling, preparation is key; the more time you spend preparing, the less time you will have to spend correcting mistakes.

Go around the mirror edges with masking tape to stop the paint getting on the mirror, also mask off drawer edges etc.

Chest of drawers
Perfect for a kid’s bedroom (Picture: John Angerson/BHF Retail)

Remove old drawer knobs first so you don’t paint around them only to find when you remove the old ones, the new ones are smaller, and you have a space with no paint.

Give all furniture a wipe before you start, an old cobweb stuck on your paintbrush is just annoying. Sometimes the excitement of getting the job done can mean we rush things.

Consider the era

Make sure you match the era of the piece of furniture with the style of upcycling.

An old 1950s G-plan sideboard will never look cool painted in pastels and then distressed to give a shabby chic coastal effect.

Try and be sympathetic to the original style. A piece like that would look great painted in a bold colour or decoupaged using geometrical wallpaper.

Bold statements are great for unique looks (Picture: John Angerson/BHF Retail)

Be imaginative when you see old pieces. Old ladders painted make great places to display plants, old washing machine drums make great outdoor plant pots.

Creative ideas can give a new purpose to something that would otherwise have been discarded.

Patching up second-hand furniture

If your piece of furniture has watermarks or stains, go over it with a primer first or use a paint containing primer – there’s no point going at it gung-ho with layers of paint, as they will bleed through again and your work will be ruined.

Once you’ve finished your piece, make sure you protect all your hard work with a wax or varnish to give it longevity.

If you’ve gone to the bother of making something fabulous give it the respect it deserves by finishing it properly. Don’t rush it to just get it done.

Collect old odd socks (clean ones!) as they are great to use to apply the wax to the furniture, providing they are not too fluffy.

Bedside table
Think matching colour schemes (Picture: John Angerson/BHF Retail)

Be bold

Have fun and be bold, create what you love. You are not bound by the constraints of what is available on the high-street. You can create something unique for your home that is your style.

Have a look online for inspiration – there are a wealth of ideas on Pinterest to inspire you.

New products on the market make the seemingly impossible, possible.

Protective outdoor paints and sprays mean that you can be creative with outdoor spaces and create the look of an extra room in the garden quite easily. Think outside the box; gardens don’t have to be full of teak furniture.

There are some amazing new easy crackle glaze products out there which mean you can age a piece easily. This is great news if you find second-hand mirrors or frames as these can be made to look far more expensive than they are.

Upcycled bedroom
Such a good look (Picture: John Angerson/BHF Retail)

Spend on the small stuff

Spend a few extra pennies on good paintbrushes. Cheap ones leave bristles in your work and don’t give good coverage.

Most paint brands now have their own paintbrushes which work well for their products.

Wrap brushes and rollers in tinfoil in between coats to keep the brush moist and then clean them as soon as you’ve finished painting or waxing.

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All the details on Princess Beatrice’s engagement ring

NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE (including any use in merchandising, advertising or any other non-editorial use including, for example, calendars, books and supplements). This photograph is provided to you strictly on condition that you will make no charge for the supply, release or publication of it and that these conditions and restrictions will apply (and that you will pass these on) to any organisation to whom you supply it. Not for use after 26 October, 2019. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published. All other requests for use should be directed in writing to the Press Office at Buckingham Palace. Undated picture released by Buckingham Palace of Princess Beatrice and Mr Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, whose engagement has been announced today. The picture was taken recently in Italy by Princess Beatrice's sister, Princess Eugenie. Issue date: Thursday September 26, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Beatrice. Photo credit should read: Princess Eugenie NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Congrats to Princess Beatrice! (Picture: PA)

Congratulations are in order for Princess Beatrice, as it’s been officially announced she’s engaged to her boyfriend of a year, property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

We’ve looked at the photos, worked out where her dress is from, and now it’s time to look at the ring.

No shaming, please.

Sadly, Princess Beatrice isn’t like your average influencer, and thus has not made Princess Eugenie tag the creator of the engagement ring in all the photos.

There hasn’t been an official statement about where the ring is from or what it all ~means~ (it’s massive, which symbolises that their love… is big?), but it’s thought the massive diamond sparkler was designed by Edoardo in collaboration with British jewellery designer, Shaun Leane.

NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE (including any use in merchandising, advertising or any other non-editorial use including, for example, calendars, books and supplements). This photograph is provided to you strictly on condition that you will make no charge for the supply, release or publication of it and that these conditions and restrictions will apply (and that you will pass these on) to any organisation to whom you supply it. Not for use after 26 October, 2019. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published. All other requests for use should be directed in writing to the Press Office at Buckingham Palace. Undated picture released by Buckingham Palace of Princess Beatrice and Mr Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, whose engagement has been announced today. The picture was taken recently in Italy by Princess Beatrice's sister, Princess Eugenie. Issue date: Thursday September 26, 2019. See PA story ROYAL Beatrice. Photo credit should read: Princess Eugenie NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Behold the massive diamond ring (Picture: PA)

That means it’s custom, so not something you can just grab from your nearest jewellery shop – although dupes are likely already on the way.

The ring is a pretty classic design, in contrast to Eugenie’s engagement ring which had more of a kitschy vintage vibe.

The band is made of white gold with a large (but not obscenely big, thankfully) central diamond, in a traditional setting style held in place with six claws. Look closely and you’ll spot some side baguette-cut diamonds, known as shoulders.

As you’d expect from a ring for a royal, a bit of jewellery with massive diamonds is likely to be quite expensive. Princess Beatrice hasn’t been gauche enough to brag about the price tag, but we’d reckon anyone after that ring would be looking at paying more than £70,000.

Tobias Kormind, managing director of 77Diamonds.com, said: ‘Princess Beatrice’s ring is a beautiful 3.5 carat round diamond, of medium quality, set in an art deco design, with tapered baguettes on each side of the centre side.

‘I would value this ring at £60,000.

‘Unlike Kate and Eugenie, who were given coloured gemstones, Edoardo has gone for a more modern engagement ring with a diamond, like Harry for Meghan.

‘But while Meghan was given a cushion cut diamond, an older but more trendy diamond shape, Beatrice has been given the most popular and brightest diamond, a round, accompanied by a pair of tapered baguettes, which creates a very art deco look, which is very on trend as we are coming up to the 100 year anniversary of art deco and it is set to be the trend for 2020.’

Kyron Keogh, Managing Director of ROX, one of the UK’s leading independent luxury jewellery brands, reckons the ring could be even pricier.

Kyron told Metro.co.uk: ‘Princess Beatrice’s ring is a stylish and chic choice fit for a modern day princess.

‘From the pictures issued in the press today I would estimate the diamond it is around 3cts surrounded by tapered baguettes on either side and is set in platinum.

‘Assuming it’s a G colour VS clarity and excellent cut we would estimate the retail value to be approx £110k.

‘The ring is designed by Shaun Leane. We are massive fans of Shaun’s work and have stocked his pieces previously. It’s a lovely choice for a special engagement.’

More details on the ring will be added to this article as we get ’em.

Who has Princess Beatrice dated? Her relationship timeline

Paolo Liuzzo dated Princess Beatrice when she was 17 (Picture: Rex Features)

Paolo Liuzzo

Paolo Liuzzo, 37, was Princess Beatrice's first publicly-known boyfriend, who she dated aged 17.

The pair met through mutual friends and started dating in July 2005, although they kept their relationship secret for almost a year.

But in the summer of 2006, reports emerged that American Liuzzo had previously been convicted of assault and battery for his part in the killing of a student in Worcester, Massachusetts.

As part of his probation, he was allowed to travel to the UK for work - but he flouted this condition by travelling to Switzerland with Beatrice and her family.

She broke up with him shortly after, in May 2006.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Baron/REX (5636598da) Princess Beatrice and Dave Clark The Parker Foundation Medical Research Gala, Los Angeles, America - 13 Apr 2016
She dated Dave Clark for 10 years (Picture: Rex Features)

Dave Clark

Beatrice started dating Virgin Galactic businessman Dave Clark, 34, in 2006 and the couple were together for 10 years in total.

Prince William is said to have introduced the pair at the birthday party of Sean Brosnan, son of actor Pierce Brosnan.

However, it was reportedly the birth of his daughter, Princess Charlotte, in 2015, which played a large role in their eventual split.

Charlotte's arrival pushed Beatrice down to seventh in line for the throne - meaning Dave no longer had to ask the Queen's permission for her hand in marriage.

Over the next year the businessman failed to propose, causing Beatrice to reportedly give him an ultimatum.

They broke up amicably in August 2016.

princess beatrice and her fiance edoardo mapelli mozz
Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi announced their engagement today (Picture: PA)

Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Beatrice started dating her now soon-to-be husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 35, in late 2018.

The multi-millionaire property tycoon, who goes by the name 'Edo', has been a friend of the family for years and has a son from a previous marriage.

He is also the stepson of Christopher Shale, a friend and aide of David Cameron who hit headlines when he died at Glastonbury festival in 2011.

Beatrice and Edo only made their first public appearance together at the National Portrait Gallery Gala in March earlier this year.

Today the pair announced their engagement, with an array of photographs taken by her sister, Princess Eugenie, in Italy earlier this month.

They are expected to get married in 2020.

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The new iPhone 11 Pro camera is a dream for ‘cockfish’

People are using their iPhone 11 Pro to cockfish
Items may appear larger than they are in real life (Picture: Getty)

We all know about the inimitable imitator, the catfish. They use fake pictures and identities to convince people online to have relationships with them.

For the cockfish, however, no identity fraud is necessary. All it takes is some photo editing skills or tiny 50ps to put next to your penis to make it seem bigger.

The life of a cockfish has also just got much easier, with the new iPhone release proving to be an absolute boon.

The iPhone 11 Pro has various wide-angle and telephoto lenses for zoom shots, meaning you can adjust the way your junk looks on camera.

Unsurprisingly, people are already testing out the theory.

Nope, that’s not a freakishly long banana he’s got on his hands on there but a skillfully positioned and calibrated iPhone designed to trick any potential suitors or hungry people craving bananas.

Some pointed out that this is the exact same thing others have already been doing with filters and good angles for ages.

Others lamented the fact that they’re now going to have to ensure they video call before setting up a booty call, just to make sure that the advertised goods match up to those on offer IRL.

One tweeter even suggested a phone sharing scheme so those who aren’t too well endowed can take their pictures to use later and then pass on the handset to the next person in need.

That hasn’t stopped some people taking full advantage of the cockfishing they can achieve with the lens.

While we certainly wouldn’t recommend catfishing, cockfishing, or any type of online date fishing, we can see the pull.

However (and sorry to kill the buzz) penis size is not what defines you, and many people actually prefer smaller and medium-sized members.

They also prefer not to be sent any unsolicited dick pics, so regardless of how proud you are with your new-found schlong, please don’t go bandying it around without consent.

Other than that, feel free to go forth and make use of your new device – your iPhone 11, that is.

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What is cockfishing (also known as catcocking), and how can you spot it?

Aubergines at various stages of growth
Size is all that matters to cockfish (Picture: Getty)

With the news that the iPhone 11 is letting people digitally exaggerate the size of things with its wide-angle lenses, we reported on how some people are using it for their penises.

It led us to a term that many are calling cockfishing, and no, it doesn’t involve angling for roosters.

Cockfish (sometimes known as catcocks) are loosely related to catfish in that they use the mystery of the world wide web to misrepresent who they are to potential friends, dates, or even financial donors.

However, whereas a catfish will cloak pretty much their whole identity – often with a fake name and pictures stolen from someone else – the cockfish is only interested in changing the identity of their penis.

Since in real life it’s obviously quite clear what they’re packing, the cockfish uses doctored dick pics to make their member seem much larger than it actually is.

That might be through the use of smaller objects beside the penis to make it look bigger, or by photo editing, or now by using a certain type of lens that distorts its appearance.

While cockfishing isn’t dangerous as such, it does represent a level of discontent among people about the size of their penis. Why else would you go to such lengths to make it appear bigger?

It could also be viewed unfavourably in the sense that somebody might agree to have sex after seeing the aforementioned penis and end up being disappointed by the real thing.

Even though studies show that most women prefer average sized penises over bigger ones, it’s more about the mis-selling of the penis that’s wrong.

Nobody wants to be a disappointment in the bedroom, and by not showing who you really are you take away the attraction that sexual partners may feel for you and turn it into ambiguity and lies.

While a bit of harmless fun playing around with phone settings is nothing to worry about, any form of deception isn’t cool, especially when it comes to sex.

How to spot a cockfish

The best way to spot a cockfish is to check for any signs of obvious photo editing. That might mean blurring, distorted lines, or odd angles.

You can also video call with them, which has the added bonus of making your sexting more spicy.

However, over and above that, you should make sure that you’re in a consenting and trustworthy situation, rather than with someone who would lie to you. Easier said than done, but it really is the only way to stay safe online (and in the real world).

Dating terms and trends, defined

Breadcrumbing: Leaving ‘breadcrumbs’ of interest – random noncommittal messages and notifications that seem to lead on forever, but don’t actually end up taking you anywhere worthwhile Breadcrumbing is all about piquing someone’s interest without the payoff of a date or a relationship.

Caspering: Being a friendly ghost - meaning yes, you ghost, but you offer an explanation beforehand. Caspering is all about being a nice human being with common decency. A novel idea.

Catfish: Someone who uses a fake identity to lure dates online.

Clearing: Clearing season happens in January. It’s when we’re so miserable thanks to Christmas being over, the cold weather, and general seasonal dreariness, that we will hook up with anyone just so we don’t feel completely unattractive. You might bang an ex, or give that creepy guy who you don’t really fancy a chance, or put up with truly awful sex just so you can feel human touch. It’s a tough time. Stay strong.

Cloutlighting: Cloutlighting is the combo of gaslighting and chasing social media clout. Someone will bait the person they’re dating on camera with the intention of getting them upset or angry, or making them look stupid, then share the video for everyone to laugh at.

Cuffing season: The chilly autumn and winter months when you are struck by a desire to be coupled up, or cuffed.

Firedooring: Being firedoored is when the access is entirely on one side, so you're always waiting for them to call or text and your efforts are shot down.

Fishing: When someone will send out messages to a bunch of people to see who’d be interested in hooking up, wait to see who responds, then take their pick of who they want to get with. It’s called fishing because the fisher loads up on bait, waits for one fish to bite, then ignores all the others.

Flashpanner: Someone who’s addicted to that warm, fuzzy, and exciting start bit of a relationship, but can’t handle the hard bits that might come after – such as having to make a firm commitment, or meeting their parents, or posting an Instagram photo with them captioned as ‘this one’.

Freckling: Freckling is when someone pops into your dating life when the weather’s nice… and then vanishes once it’s a little chillier.

Gatsbying: To post a video, picture or selfie to public social media purely for a love interest to see it.

Ghosting: Cutting off all communication without explanation.

Grande-ing: Being grateful, rather than resentful, for your exes, just like Ariana Grande.

Hatfishing: When someone who looks better when wearing a hat has pics on their dating profile that exclusively show them wearing hats.

Kittenfishing: Using images that are of you, but are flattering to a point that it might be deceptive. So using really old or heavily edited photos, for example. Kittenfishes can also wildly exaggerate their height, age, interests, or accomplishments.

Lovebombing: Showering someone with attention, gifts, gestures of affection, and promises for your future relationship, only to distract them from your not-so-great bits. In extreme cases this can form the basis for an abusive relationship.

Microcheating: Cheating without physically crossing the line. So stuff like emotional cheating, sexting, confiding in someone other than your partner, that sort of thing.

Mountaineering: Reaching for people who might be out of your league, or reaching for the absolute top of the mountain.

Obligaswiping: The act of endlessly swiping on dating apps and flirt-chatting away with no legitimate intention of meeting up, so you can tell yourself you're doing *something* to put yourself out there.

Orbiting: The act of watching someone's Instagram stories or liking their tweets or generally staying in their 'orbit' after a breakup.

Paperclipping: When someone sporadically pops up to remind you of their existence, to prevent you from ever fully moving on.

Preating: Pre-cheating - laying the groundwork and putting out feelers for cheating, by sending flirty messages or getting closer to a work crush.

Prowling: Going hot and cold when it comes to expressing romantic interest.

R-bombing: Not responding to your messages but reading them all, so you see the 'delivered' and 'read' signs and feel like throwing your phone across the room.

Scroogeing: Dumping someone right before Christmas so you don't have to buy them a present.

Shadowing: Posing with a hot friend in all your dating app photos, knowing people will assume you're the attractive one and will be too polite to ask.

Shaveducking: Feeling deeply confused over whether you're really attracted to a person or if they just have great facial hair.

Sneating:When you go on dates just for a free meal.

Stashing: The act of hiding someone you're dating from your friends, family, and social media.

Submarineing: When someone ghosts, then suddenly returns and acts like nothing happened.

V-lationshipping:When someone you used to date reappears just around Valentine's Day, usually out of loneliness and desperation.

You-turning: Falling head over heels for someone, only to suddenly change your mind and dip.

Zombieing: Ghosting then returning from the dead. Different from submarineing because at least a zombie will acknowledge their distance.


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What is the concept of ubuntu which Meghan Markle and Prince Harry said they were moved by?

 Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex, holding son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Harry, Meghan and Archie in South Africa (Picture: mungi.ngomane/Instagram)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been travelling around South Africa, with Archie in tow for his first royal tour.

During their first engagement, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex went to the town of Nyanga, just outside of Cape Town.

Here the royals took part in self-defence classes and female empowerment training as part of the activism initiative Justice Desk.

The Duchess gave a speech, speaking on the importance of community and humanity – a South African philosophy known as ubuntu.

Meghan started off the speech by quoting Maya Angelou: ‘Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without planning it, she stands up for all women.

‘Your commitment, to what is right, gives all of us hope,’ she continued.

‘You must keep going. And just on one personal note…may I just say that while I am here with my husband as a member of the royal family, I want you to know that for me, I am here as a mother, as a wife, as a woman of colour, and as your sister.

‘I am here with you and I am here for you and I thank you so much for showing my husband and I the spirit of ubuntu.’

On the tour, Meghan and Harry were also seen holding a book called Everyday Ubuntu.

What is ubuntu?

The word comes from one of the Nguni languages which are a group of Bantu languages spoken in southern Africa by the Nguni peoples.

It means ‘humanity’ and is often translated as ‘I am because we are,’ or ‘humanity towards others’.

In a philosophical sense, it is used to mean: ‘the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity’.

Though widely circulated around South Africa, the concept has been popularised outside due to South African Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu’s’ writing of ubuntu theology.

The philosophy of ubuntu has endured in African culture and in modern times you can even get streetwear inspired by the concept.

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What does ‘eyebrows snatched’ mean? The term used by Alex in The Circle explained

Close up on woman's eyebrow being plucked by a tweezer
Don’t worry, no one’s snatching her eyebrows (Picture: Getty)

The internet’s always popularising one phrase after the other. By the time you learn what dead ting means, there’s another new thing coined to make you feel socially inadequate.

And the things you pick up might be telling of your personality (if you say ‘and I oop’ a lot, you may be a VSCO girl).

But sometimes the vernacular of a region just doesn’t reach you so it can be easy to miss out. Such is the case for Alex Hobern, the winner of last year’s Channel 4 reality show The Circle.

The social media comedian won the show after successfully convincing other contestants he was a woman called Kate, providing some real classic British TV for 2018.

Alex (pretending to be Kate) came across the phrase snatching eyebrows while having a girly chat with another contestant.

He admitted after the show that he had no idea what the term meant but he had to go along with the chat so he didn’t arouse suspicion.

We assume Alex mean ‘eyebrows snatched’ which derives from its popular cousin ‘wig snatched’.

Now, all those words might sound alien to you but you’ve probably heard some sort of variation of it. It’s basically the new ‘eyebrows on fleek’.

Close up of Alex, winner of last year's The Circle on Channel 4
Are these eyebrows snatched? (Picture: Channel 4)

Luckily there are loads of tools online to teach you all the latest lingo so you don’t have to smile awkwardly when people use such phrases.

But handily for you, we’ve got an explainer right here so you don’t have to furtively Google ‘what does eyebrow snatching mean’.

According to Techlicious, the word snatched is the new fleek. ‘It’s used to describe anything that looks really good or on point. Anything from your eyebrows to your outfit can be snatched. If your eyebrows are slaying, they’re snatched. If your outfit is slaying, it’s snatched.’

Over on Urban Dictionary, it gives a bit more detail about the versatility of the line.

While it can be ‘used to take the place of “on fleek”, or perfect, on point or fashionable,’ it is also in reference to ‘a popular term in the gay community referring to good looks, fierceness, or something good’.

In another context, it can mean reacting to someone else’s epicness. So for example ‘Omg Beyoncé had me snatched with her pregnancy announcement and her Grammys preformance!’

But if you’re not the kind of person who regularly uses this lingo, it’ll certainly be pretty conspicuous.

So try to start small. Maybe begin by stanning a legend and then work your way up to a yaas kween.

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‘Get out of your comfort zone’: Manchester City stars tell us why time away from the pitch is so important


It’s easy to fall into the trap of sticking to the one thing you’re good at instead of mixing things up and doing lots of things that interest you.

You work hard all day, invest all your time and energy into your main gig, and while you might have a list of things you’d like to do one day or skills you’d like to learn, they tend to sit on the back burner as your busy life takes priority.

You’re not alone in that struggle. DYLON Colour Catcher teamed up with Manchester City Women’s Football Club to host the ‘Up Close and Personal’ panel, where we found out that professional footballers find it tricky to make time for their hobbies, too. Just like the rest of us.

But they’re trying to get out of their comfort zone and make time for stuff that isn’t football – whether that’s learning a new language, watching interior design shows, or giving open water swimming a go – and they’re encouraging you to do the same.

Aoife Mannion, Janine Beckie, and Ellen White all say that making time for mixing it up and trying new things is a huge priority.

Ellen, who likes travelling with her husband and would like to start learning German in her downtime, points out the importance of taking a break from your day job – even if it’s something you’re really passionate about – to rest, recover, and discover new things.

We know that pursuing interests outside of work can do wonders for our mental health. DYLON Colour Catcher’s survey found that 45% of British people have hobbies specifically to reduce their stress. Just doing something that brings you joy can help block out a bad day at work and give you a sense of purpose beyond your office job.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to be magically brilliant at everything you try. In fact, doing something you’re not good at can be good for you.

When Aoife tried open water swimming, she quickly discovered just how tough a 400 metre splash in cold water can be. She won’t be trying that again any time soon, but she’s glad she did it.

‘I felt as if I’d really put myself out of my comfort zone,’ says Aoife. ‘There’s something in doing things you’re not good at – it gives you mental fortitude.’

Sports presenter, Jacqui Oatley found out how the Manchester City team mix things up off the pitch

She’s right – the process of trying, failing, and trying again is what shapes you as a person. Plus, the whole point of a hobby is to enjoy it, not to be the best.

Getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things lets you learn what you like and who you are. You’re more than just the job you do, and finding activities you love outside of work helps you develop a stronger sense of self.

Plus, you never know – you could end up turning your hobby into a side hustle, or learning skills that come into good use later on in life.

Footballers know they’re unlikely to play professionally into old age so trying different stuff can help the players figure out what they’d like to do once they’re done with footie and the same can apply to the rest of us, even if it’s just finding an activity you love, that’ll stay with you as you move through the stages of life.

What are the UK's most popular hobbies?

DYLON Colour Catcher’s study found that 5 hobbies were particularly popular in the UK. How many of these do you enjoy?

1) Reading (57%)

2) Travelling (41%)

3) Gardening (37%)

4) Cooking/Baking (33%)

5) Football (25%)

Okay, so we know we should be taking that leap and doing things that scare us. How do we start?

First off, pick something you’ve always wanted to give a go. Yes, even if it’s intimidating. Yes, even if you think you’ll be terrible at it.

Then make the time. Write that hobby in your planner so it’s official. Book that class, download that language-learning app, message a pal to arrange that trip away. Whatever the first step is, go for it, knowing that your passions outside of work are important.

We’re serious about making your hobby a priority and not letting excuses to put it off take over.

Aoife Mannion, Janine Beckie, and Ellen White discuss why it’s so important to have interests outside of work

The top thing that causes Brits to stop doing their hobbies is a lack of time, followed by a lack of finances and a lack of motivation. Preparation is key. Be aware that time may be tight, but make a commitment to yourself. Your interests are worth a set time each week and money factored into your budget.

Once you’ve tried it out for the first time (and made sure you actually enjoy your newfound hobby) it can be helpful to set a goal. And don’t be put off if you’re not instantly glorious at whatever you try. No one’s good at something on their first go.

Give yourself time to practice and improve, and allow yourself to do something you enjoy without needing to be the best.

‘Pick something and try it,’ says Janine. ‘If you don’t enjoy it, that’s one thing. It’s just to know that every day you go, you’re taking a step towards that goal or that end.’

Go on – take that jump and dare to mix things up.

Why you should dare to mix with DYLON Colour Catcher:

DYLON Colour Catcher is the UK’s number one laundry sheet, which you can throw in with mixed washes to keep colours from running – so you can bung your gym kit in with your workwear without worrying about everything going pink.

That means you don’t have to bother with separating your washes into whites and colours, saving time (so you can actually do those new hobbies we mentioned), water, energy, and detergent.

The sheets, which are 100% biodegradable, also help to keep colours bright and stop greying.

You can pick up a box from Asda, Sainsbury’s, or Waitrose, or get your hands on a free sample to give laundry sheets a try.

Everything you need to know about Sweden’s Värmland (and why you need to visit)

All this is waiting for you just a few hours from Stockholm (Picture: Øivind Lund)
All this is waiting for you just a few hours from Stockholm (Picture: Øivind Lund)

Looking for adventure and wanting to get back to nature? Sweden is the perfect destination for you. Get to the heart of Sweden with a visit to the province of Värmland. Nestled in the west, this bountiful county is just two hours by train from Stockholm and could be the country’s best kept secret.

As the world has more access to technology than ever before, and we spend most of our day-to-day plugged in; whether that’s charging phones, tapping into our laptops, scrolling through Instagram feeds or tuning into our latest binge; people are looking for something authentic, which for many are experiences to help them re-centre and get back to nature. Värmland, which is proud of its breathtaking scenery, is one of the world’s biggest natural playgrounds waiting to be discovered all year round.

See the beautiful wildlife in Värmland (Picture: Anders Tedeholm/imagebank.sweden.se)
See the beautiful wildlife in Värmland (Picture: Anders Tedeholm/imagebank.sweden.se)

Hire a car and explore the wilderness and make your own adventure. From visiting the iconic home of Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf at Mårbacka, or to seeing the incredible views at Hovfjället, this is one of the best ways to navigate the terrain.

Whether you fancy sleeping under the stars and foraging, or indulging in luxury spa treatments and shopping; building your own raft to sail for a week’s adventure of a lifetime or even ghost-hunting, Värmland is home to it all. Here’s why you need to book your ticket now:


Get back to nature and explore in a totally unique way (Picture: Wolfgang Fuchs)
Get back to nature and explore in a totally unique way (Picture: Wolfgang Fuchs)

Ditch the wifi, disconnect and go wild in Värmland. One of the most unique experiences you can enjoy is building your own raft. Far from a package holiday deal, Värmland allows you to make your own adventure, see what you want to see and get there with your own hard work.

Whether you fancy just a day or even a week out in nature, the river is rich with wildlife as beavers, moose and deer become your neighbours. A stay at the log fleet will give you experiences that you’ve never had before, as you learn to balance, relax and put in some hard work as you navigate the water. Assembling and sailing on your own raft could be the adventure you’re looking for as it’s not always an easy ride being at the mercy of the weather, but that’s all part of the fun. While it’s generally a calm current, there’s still natural obstacles that may call upon quick thinking (like stones, rain and sandbanks!). Getting out of the comfort zones we’re used to can help us feel invigorated and gives us an incredible sense of achievement. Have the cameras ready as there’s bound to be some wild moments.

Eat in the wild

If you love nature, consider yourself a foodie, then you must try eating in the wild. Värmland is the place to be for innovative, tasty menus harvested from the great outdoors. When we think Michelin stars, we can think of frayed tempers, foams and souflees that take hours to create with just a tasty morsel to show for it. But in Värmland, it couldn’t be farther from that. Michelin chefs Titti Qvarnström, Niklas Ekstedt, Jacob Bjuhr and Anton Holmström have come together to help create a DIY menu that diners forage for themselves in the woods, by the lakes and in the fields before cooking it.

During the months of May to September, visitors can dine beneath the stars, all you need is some good boots and a warm jacket, and a sense of adventure. Click here to read some of the menus, like forest broth and poached perch or yummy pudding like acorn and hazelnut crumbs with a fruit and berry compote.

For more information about the Edible Country, click here.

Lake Vänern

Enjoy the beautiful views, wildlife and adventure on Lake Vanern (Picture: Tommie S Ohlson)
Enjoy the beautiful views, wildlife and adventure on Lake Vänern (Picture: Tommie S Ohlson)

Visit the biggest lake in Sweden with its wide sandy beaches, shallow coves and at times a barren landscape. The awe-inspiring lake is home to over 22,000 islands, skerries and islets and visitors will be able to spot a whole host of animals and birds across its impressive and rich landscape in their natural habitat.

Holidaymakers can find some tranquility on the lake and hire out a canoe or kayak to explore places that you can’t reach on foot, or choose more gentle, guided routes across its calm waters.

If you fancy being at one with nature, you can even sleep under the stars at one of the many approved campsites surrounding the lake. But if luxury is more your vibe and you prefer something a little more comfortable, then you can hop on a cruise to explore the island of Lurö to take in its rich surroundings, and immerse yourself in nature by rambling through the forests or along the cliffs, before a night’s stay in the island’s accommodation.

Lake Vänern is also the perfect spot for fishing, with over 30 different types of freshwater fish and you don’t need a permit. Catch your own tea, with perch, pike, sander and smelt all found in the lake. It’s even considered one of the best spots in Europe for salmon and trout.

In one of the most surprising locations, visitors to the lake can also discover a Picasso sculpture in the archipelago off Kristinehamn. The 15-metre tall sculpture was imagined by the artist, and of his wife, and built by Norwegian artist Carl Nejsar.

Winter fun

Snow is guaranteed in the Swedish mountains but you don’t just have to be able to ski to make the most of this incredible landscape. There’s plenty to entertain in its resorts such as Hovfjället and Branas. You can get the adrenalin pumping if you feel the need, with dogsledding, snowmobile safaris and ice-fishing. Or, you can take a more leisurely pace by snowshoeing and soaking up the breathtaking wintry beauty. If you do love snowboarding or skiing, there are magical trails to suit different abilities to keep everyone entertained.



In the past 10 years, a village called Naturbyn has been carefully constructed to strip away the stresses and pressures of life. The brainchild of Thomas Petersson, this oasis offers accessible outdoor living, with no electricity, where guests can stay in cabins and cook meals on open fires. What once was an overgrown forest next to Lake Eldan, is now a retreat for those wanting to switch off, escape and get back to nature. Honeymooners can even enjoy the Cuckoo’s Nest which has been built high in the trees with stunning views over the water.

Klässbols Linen Weaving Mill

A window into Swedish history, the mill is where fabrics made for the royal court, embassies and Nobel banquet are made. Visitors can walk around the factory and get close to the impressive weaving looms where some of Sweden’s finest linens are made.

Nobel Museum

Get a glimpse into the home life of one of the world’s most famous geniuses, Alfred Nobel. Björkborn’s Manor is now a museum and was Nobel’s last Swedish home. Visitors will be able to see his laboratory where he worked on many of his inventions as well as his workshop.

Where to stay?


You’re spoilt for choice in Värmland as there is something that will appeal to everyone, from the luxury-seeker to the naturist explorer. Långbergets Sporthotell caters for most, with different accommodation options for both smaller and larger groups, including a main hotel, hostel and caravans, complete with a gym and restaurant with magnificent view of the forests.

For those seeking more privacy there are cosy cottages with their own fireplaces. In the winter, there are great cross-country ski tracks while in the summer months guests can take to the well worn hiking trails or join a moose safari. Karlstad Swecamp Bomstadbaden is set on Lake Vänern, where guests can unwind in its beach hammocks or spa. As we’ve mentioned, you can also get back to nature at some of the other sites around Lake Vänern,  and of course at Naturbyn.

Selma Spa is also one of the most popular to stay and relax with its Lake Fryken vista. It was the first spa hotel in Sweden, so is well versed in top class treatments. With welcoming swimming pools, and an array of workouts, you can get back to feeling your best. You can even bring your pooch to enjoy the hiking trails (but for a fee).

For more information about all of the incredible fun you can have in Värmland, click here.

McDonald’s in Canada launches new PLT plant-based burger – but it’s not actually suitable for vegetarians or vegans

McDonald's PLT Beyond Meat burger in Canada
McDonald’s PLT burger launches in Canada (Picture: McDonald’s Canada)

McDonald’s in Canada is launching a new plant-based burger – but it’s not technically suitable for vegans or vegetarians because of the way it’s cooked.

The PLT (Plant Lettuce Tomato) burger uses a Beyond Meat burger, served on a sesame seed bun with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, mayo-style sauce, ketchup, mustard and a slice of processed cheddar cheese.

Beyond Meat burgers are completely vegan patties made to look, cook and even bleed like beefburgers.

Of course, including all the toppings on the PLT mean it’s not vegan as cheese contains dairy and mayo contains eggs – but the fast food restaurant says it can be customised.

However, it turns out that the burgers are cooked on the same grill as other meat-based products and eggs so they aren’t even technically vegetarian.

After announcing the launch of the trial in Southwestern Ontario on Twitter, people criticised the brand for not cooking it in a separate area.

One said: ‘I would state then that you should consider upping your game? Burger King offers “ultra vegan” options with separate fry pans already.

‘You have in market competition, do not be so lame. It’s about ethical eating, no need to meat grease the P.L.T. and it prematurely defame.’

Another added: ‘No it’s not vegan. They cook it with burgers so will contain blood of dead animals. Ridiculous.

‘Bet their nut free food options would be rolled in crushed nuts. Seriously stop telling people to talk to server. THIS IS NOT SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS OR VEGANS all you need to put.’

‘I stupidly assumed that they’d have the good sense to use a separate grill instead of just smearing it around on the one covered in beef and bacon grease. Lesson learned,’ another said.

The burger is currently being trialled in 28 restaurants in the Southwestern Ontario region.

There’s still no news of a plant-based burger coming to the UK but earlier this year, McDonald’s in Germany announced it was trialling a vegan burger (that was cooked separately from the rest of the food), so hopefully, we’ll see more vegan fast food options spreading soon.

Elsewhere, Burger King trialled the Impossible Whopper (again cooked with meat) in the US earlier this year and in the UK, KFC trialled the vegan Imposter burger this summer.

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Hamleys announces top 10 toys for Christmas

Hamleys top toys for Christmas
The first three toys on the list (Picture: PA)

Christmas is coming and kids across the country are writing their Christmas lists.

For parents who want to avoid that last minute dash when your kid decides they want the toy everyone else is talking about on 22 December, Hamleys has put together their predictions for the most popular presents.

The top 10 list features everything from a book that teaches pre-schoolers how to code to a dancing sloth.

Victoria Kay, head buyer at Hamleys, said: ‘It’s no surprise that tech-based toys are popular with the kids this Christmas but it’s interesting and exciting that we are seeing an emerging trend of human connection within toys like Scruff-a-Luv’s My Real Rescue, whereas other toys such as Pictionary Air are starting to embrace the online world through physical play.

‘Importantly, these toys are being delivered to bring people together this Christmas and provide an extra dimension of fun and familiarity to all family members.’

Top 10 toys for 2019

Scruff-a-Luv’s My Real Rescue, £40

The new Scruff-a-Luv's My Real Rescue toy on display during the Hamleys Christmas toy showcase
Scruff-a-Luv’s My Real Rescue (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Coding Critters, £40

The new Coding Critters, which teach preschool children the fundamentals of coding on display during the Hamleys
The new Coding Critters (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Pictionary Air, £20

The new Pictionary Air on display during the Hamleys Christmas toy showcase at Hamleys, Regent Street, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday September 26, 2019. See PA story CONSUMER Toys. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Pictionary Air (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Smart Pixelator, £70

The new Smart Pixelator during the Hamleys Christmas toy showcase
The Smart Pixelator (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

L.O.L Surprise Chalet Dollhouse, £250

The L.O.L Surprise Chalet Dollhouse on display during the Hamleys Christmas toy showcase
The L.O.L Surprise Chalet Dollhouse (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Nerf Fortnite RL, £30

The new NERF Fortnite IRL blaster, based on the one used in the popular video game, on display during the Hamleys Christmas toy showcase at Hamleys, Regent Street, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday September 26, 2019. See PA story CONSUMER Toys. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
NERF Fortnite IRL blaster, (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Poopsie Surprise Dolls, £50

The new Rainbow Surprise Poopsie Doll on display during the Hamleys Christmas toy showcase
Rainbow Surprise Poopsie Doll (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Oblique Drifter, £60

The new Oblique Drifter remote control buggy on display during the Hamleys Christmas toy showcase
Oblique Drifter (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Lego Hidden Side, Paranormal Bus 3000, £500

The new LEGO Hidden Side Paranormal Bus 3000 on display during the Hamleys Christmas toy showcase
The new LEGO Hidden Side Paranormal Bus 3000 (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

Linkimals, Smooth Moves Sloth, £35

The new Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth on display during the Hamleys Christmas toy showcase
Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

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There is a worldwide ghost hunt taking place this weekend

Time to get spooky (Picture: Getty)

Who ya gonna call?

Probably all your friends so you can tell them about the huge ghost hunt taking place this weekend.

Yes, you can become real life ghostbusters as people from across the world gather in different continents to try to find something paranormal.

The event, taking place on Saturday, 28 September, is suitable for everyone, even those with no ghost hunting experience.

Haunted locations, everywhere from Australia to the UK, have signed up to take part for the event, which is now in its fourth year.

Each one will start searching for paranormal activity at the exact same time on the same day to create the world’s largest ghost hunt.

They’ll all live stream their hunt online so you can follow along from anywhere in the world.

There’s three hunts in the UK – one at The Viaduct Tavern in London, one at Irving Theatre on The Wirral and another at Harwich Redoubt Fort in Essex.

Harwich Redoubt Fort is said to be home to the ghost of a headless soldier who was decapitated by a cable attached to a 12 tonne cannon. Apparently he now walks the grounds with his head tucked under his arm.

The Viaduct Tavern, meanwhile, is said to have a restless spirit in the cellar.

If you want to go along, you can pick up tickets from the National Ghost Hunting Day website.

All proceeds go towards preserving the historic properties being investigated.

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If you can’t make it to the event, watch along at home – it sounds like the most epic episode of Most Haunted ever.

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Which tea bags have plastic in them?

High Angle View Of Green Tea Bag In Cup On Table
Microplastics are invisible to the human eye (Picture: Getty)

In incredibly worrying news for serial tea drinkers, tea bags have been found to contain particles of plastic. Quite a lot of plastic actually.

A new study has found that a single plastic tea bag can shed billions of particles of microplastics – significantly higher than the estimated amount of microplastics particles consumed by a person in an entire year.

Not good.

But not all tea bags are created equal. The good news is that most tea bags are made from natural fibres (though they still may use some plastic to seal the bags). But basic, everyday tea bags are not really a worry.

The problem comes in the fancy tea bags. You know the type – the bags are stiffer, heavier, usually in a little pyramid shape – the teas that you save for your mother-in-law, or particularly intense self-care session.

When testing these plastic tea bags, researchers found that they released around 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion smaller nanoplastic particles, per bag, into the water. Not really what you want to be putting in your body.

Don’t worry – your basic, everyday English breakfast tea bags are most likely made out of paper, so don’t pose too much of a problem. What you need to be wary of is the fancier bags made of a fine plastic mesh.

So make sure you’re checking the labels if you want to avoid excessive microplastics.

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Vegans rejoice, you can once again drink steins and eat bratwurst in October

Split image of a vegan pretzel and a vegan bratwurst for Vegtober fest - the vegan Octoberfest
It’s all vegan (Picture: Vegtoberfest.co.uk)

Oktoberfest is already in full swing in Germany, but vegans in the UK will need to wait until next month to enjoy (meat-free) bratwurst and vegan steins.

The festival known as Vegtoberfest – which claims to be the UK’s first-ever vegan Oktoberfest – will return for its second round on 12 and 19 October at Fest in Camden.

There is plenty on the agenda. On the drinks side, you can enjoy Bavarian beers like Spaten and Lowenbrau or sample local vegan craft ales, as well as vegan vine, mulled wine (it’s a bit early, we know, but go with the flow) and cocktails.

The food will be served up by the street food chefs from Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner, with a menu that includes vegan Bavarian Wiesswurst, Bratwurst and Bockwurst with the usual trimmings – sauerkraut and mustard, most likely.

You can also stuff your face with the Dirty Burger, topped with ‘baycon’ or kartoffelpuffer (German potato pancakes).

Fest’s own restaurant, Birdcage, will even transform into a vegan diner for the day, serving up stone-baked pizza, loaded fries, pretzels and ice cream.

No Oktoberfest is complete without entertainment.

The main room of the venue will be decorated into a festival-themed beer hall, where guests can listen to live music by Old Dirty Brasstards and Brasstermind, as well as watch shows by Lolo Brow – a ‘female drag queen sideshow nut’ – who will perform on 12 October.

The following Saturday, cabaret, comedy and magic star Dee Riley will take the stage.

Tickets start from £10, and last year’s shows were sold out, so if you want one you best hurry.

If the weather allows, there’s also the option of swinging by Wonderfest Rooftop, for a beer and sunset view of Camden Stables Market.

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Aldi is selling a giant 6ft 5in long pig in blanket this Christmas

Aldi is selling a two metre long pig in blanket
The 6ft 5in long pig in blanket (Picture: Aldi)

Last year, we had the foot-long pig in blanket.

Yes, a whole foot of sausage meat wrapped in crispy bacon.

For 2019, Aldi is going even bigger with a whopping 6ft 5 (or two metre) long sausage. The average height of men in the UK is 5ft 9 so this is quite something.

This bad boy is enough to feed the whole family for Christmas and Boxing Day.

The whole thing is coiled into a swirl to make it easier to cook and cut.

The discount supermarket says it is the longest pig in a blanket in the UK.

And best of all, the whole thing costs under £5.

The giant pig in a blanket will be on sale for £4.99 from 5 December.

You can pick one up in-store and keep an eye out on their website to pre-order online.

The sausages are part of the SpecialBuys range, meaning they’ll only be available while stocks last.

An Aldi spokesperson said: ‘We Brits love a good Pig in Blanket, but there never seems to be quite enough to go around the Christmas table.

‘If you can relate, you won’t want to miss the latest tasty creation from supermarket Aldi.’

If you’re a fan of very long food, M&S has also launched a foot-long eclair for their Christmas range.

The festive collection includes the choux pastry treat, as well as a seasonal version of our old favourite Colin the Caterpillar.

And for pigs in blanket fans, there’s a new take – chorizo wrapped in pancetta, or for vegans, there’s no pigs in duvets.

Just 89 days to go!

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