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So you want to get a friendship tattoo? Read this first

Ryan Reynolds The Rock show off matching chest tattoos
It’s a visceral commitment to a relationship that means something to you (Picture: The Rock/Ryan Reynolds)

So, you want to pay someone to stitch ink onto your skin permanently to commemorate a friendship? Terrific.

I absolutely get why you would want to. We have things like weddings and engagement rings and registry gifts and honeymoons to mark the occasion of falling in romantic love with another human being, but we have so few official ways to celebrate the platonic love we have in our lives.

Friendship bracelets? The ones with half a heart on a piece of string? I understand if that’s not enough.

In the absence of some kind of friendship consolidation ceremony, probably the thing that feels about as monumental as your love for your BFF is getting some ink on your skin.

It’s a (painful) little ceremony, a way of saying: ‘I intend to have this person around for the rest of my life’. It’s a visceral commitment to a relationship that means something to you and I think it could be incredible

I’m here for it, I really am. And so are a lot of celebrities, as it turns out.

If you’re really keen on getting inked with your mate, have a little peak at what some famous besties have done to mark their friendship. They actually have some ideas worth checking out, to be honest.

They’re thoughtful and cute and meaningful, which friendships tattoos should be.

For example, Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner got the date 07.08.09 tattooed on their forearms because that’s the day they found out they were both cast in Game of Thrones – the show that would define the beginnings of their careers and, probably even more importantly, where they met.

Sophie Turner shows off the friendship tattoo with Maisie Williams
Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner got the date 07.08.09 tattooed on their forearms because that’s the day they found out they were both cast in Game of Thrones (Picture: E!)

They’re not going to regret that ever, because that date will always mean something to them.

Same for the main cast members of the TV show Pretty Little Liars, all of whom got the first initial of their character’s name tattooed on the inside of their index finger to commemorate their time on the show as well as their real-life friendship.

Margot Robbie and Cara Delevingne got matching smiley face tattoos on their toes while they were filming Suicide Squad together. Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson got matching bus tattoos to signify where they stayed while on tour with One Direction together.

Kendall Jenner and Hayley Baldwin got broken hearts on the inside of their fingers – one in red and one in white ink. To be honest, I’m not sure what the significance of that is… maybe how they’d feel if they weren’t in one another’s lives?

Whatever, they’re all adorable. I suspect Zayn and Louis may be the only ones who might regret their permanent decision (they allegedly don’t get on anymore) but they’ve got so many other tattoos on their bods, it’s probably not too tragic for them.

Tattoos have a long, important history for a lot of cultures and it can be an extremely significant, moving and emotional thing to do.

It is technically possible to draw over or erase a tattoo, but I believe that’s expensive and painful, so before you book your ink, have a little think. Here’s a few things to ponder.

Think about it first

Don’t do this on a whim. Don’t do this drunk and don’t do this high.

Don’t do this on a dare from someone else. Don’t do this because you want to annoy your parents.

Don’t do this because you’ve been peer-pressured into it because tattoos are cool. Have a real, serious, private think about whether you feel comfortable getting permanently inked and whether it feels right for you.

Talk about it a lot first, do some sketches and make sure you like and trust the artist who is going to do it. Think about the cost and the pain and the permanency. Don’t rush into this.

Start small

You do you, but I probably wouldn’t recommend getting your best friend’s life-size face tattooed on your own. Maybe go small when you get your first tattoo – like all the celebrities I just mentioned.

Tiny tattoos on the inside of a finger, on your wrist or on your hip are fashionable and also very sweet. Especially if this is your first time getting inked, I reckon you could probably start out a bit modest.

Plus, it’s quite nice to have a secret little memento of a friendship that you can hide or show when you like. That said, if you want to get two enormous red lobsters or a giant heart to signify how much you adore this person, who am I to stop you?

Just as long as you feel like you’ve thought it all through.

Remember that friendships end

Sometimes, life happens and friendships end – even the ones we swear we’d never let go. You will be able to heal your heart but what about the great big emblem you have on your skin? There reminding you of that person forever more?

To protect yourself in the case of a friendship breakup, you could go with something you like anyway: a symbol or an animal or an initial that you could co-opt and make your own if the love between you and your mate fades.

It could be something that means something to you. Or, really, just something you wouldn’t mind having even if things don’t work out.

It’s a rough thing to think about, I know, but I don’t want you out there at 80 years old, staring sadly at the little tattoo of your mate’s full name on your wrist, wondering why you committed so hardcore to a friendship that’s gone.

If you’ve thought about it and you feel as though you still want something that marks your friendship forever, then go forth and get inked.

May you and your best friend be as hardy and as enduring as that picture on your skin.

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Man loses 60kg and gets asked on a date by the girl who bullied him for his weight

 Anthony has lost 60kg over the course of five years
Anthony has lost 60kg over the course of five years (Picture: TRANSFORM YOUR FUTURE / CATERS NEWS)

As a teen, Anthony Bayer says he was constantly rejected by girls for his weight.

At his heaviest Anthony weighed 24st 10lbs (157kg) and wore size 42 trousers.

He had always struggled with his weight and was the butt of cruel jokes throughout his time at school.

Anthony was even tricked into going to his school formal dance with a girl – only to have her reject him at the last second in a cruel prank, after he arrived at her doorstep in a rented limo wearing a brand-new suit.

But after going through a drastic transformation, Anthony says he now gets hit on by the girls who turned him down for his weight.

Anthony, 26, decided to lose weight five years ago after a warning from his doctor.

He began hitting the gym and changed up his diet, and managed to drop 9st 6lbs (60kg) and five clothing sizes.

Anthony in his final year of high school
Anthony in his final year of school (Picture: TRANSFORM YOUR FUTURE / CATERS NEWS)

The same girl who pulled that prank has since messaged him to ask for a date.

Business owner Anthony, from Queensland, Australia, said: ‘I really liked this girl at my school. She was very popular, and all the guys thought she was the hottest girl in our grade.

‘I thought she was really pretty, and I must have been crazy, but I decided I’d ask her to the school dance.

‘It was my final year of school, and I just thought “why not?”. I was anticipating for her to reject me straight away and just laugh in my face.

‘But amazingly, she said yes, I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited for the dance that I bought a new suit, got a haircut and hired a limo.

‘I wanted to impress her. I nervously drove to her house, walked up and rang the bell. She opened it and just said “sorry, you’re too fat to fit through the door” and slammed the door in my face.

Anthony now, wearing tank top, mirror selfie
Anthony now has his own personal training company (Picture: TRANSFORM YOUR FUTURE / CATERS NEWS)

‘I was heartbroken. I went back to the limo and cried my eyes out. But then I gathered myself, and thought well, you have a suit on so you might as well go to the dance.

‘But I had a terrible time, and everyone laughed and bullied me when they found out what happened. It was horrible.

‘I sank into a major depression after that, which lasted years after high school ended. I never thought anyone could love me and that I’d be alone forever.’

Anthony believes his weight gain was down to an ‘addiction’ to fast food.

In his teens he would have two footlong meatball subs with a large bottle of coke for breakfast, a KFC burger meal from KFC and a pack of Magnum ice creams for lunch, and two large pizzas plus another two-litre bottle of coke for dinner – meaning he was consuming around 10,000 calories per day.

In 2014 Anthony was told he was on the verge of developing type two diabetes. That urged him to make a change.

A day in Anthony's diet:

Anthony’s diet before: 

  • Breakfast: Two footlong meatball subs and a two-litre bottle of coke
  • Lunch: A large KFC burger box meal and a four-pack of Magnum ice creams
  • Dinner: Two large pepperoni pizzas from Domino’s

Anthony’s diet after his transformation: 

  • Breakfast: Oats with a scoop of protein power and one banana and two cups of green tea
  • Lunch: Red meat with green vegetables and brown rice
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken with mixed vegetables and brown rice
  • Occasional dessert: Halo Top choc mint ice cream

He said: ‘I didn’t know how to eat properly and didn’t care. I was addicted to fast food.

‘I never thought about my health until my doctor said I was about to get diabetes. I broke down in tears and realised I needed to change my life.

‘I stopped eating fast food and began cooking for myself. I also stepped foot into a gym for the first time back in 2014 and haven’t looked back.’

After overhauling his life and improving his health, Anthony was still shocked to be contacted by the girl who ditched him for being overweight.

‘I was always rejected and would get laughed at when I approached girls,’ says Anthony. ‘But now women are asking me on dates all the time.

‘I went from having three matches on Tinder when I was fat, to now having over 1,000 matches with girls. It’s crazy.

 text from girl who initially rejected Anthony when he was over weight
The text from the girl who initially rejected Anthony when he was overweight (Picture: TRANSFORM YOUR FUTURE / CATERS NEWS)

‘Then about a year ago, that same girl who was so cruel to me before our school formal, somehow got my number through my Instagram page and sent me a text apologising for being a bully and asked if we could go on a date.

‘I couldn’t believe it and didn’t even reply. I’ll forgive, but I would never forget.’

Anthony now hopes to support others on a journey towards improving their health, and has since opened his own personal training business called Transform Your Future.

‘I’ve gone through a lot, but my experiences have made me the man I am today,’ he says.

‘My message is to just never give up, even when everything seems hopeless.

‘My goal now is to help others who have been through the same things I have. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

‘I feel so much happier about life and I’m looking forward to the future.’

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Mum mortified as naked toddler goes down slide, covering everything in poo

Picture of red-faced mum and the slide her daughter covered in poo
So much went wrong here (Picture: Brittany Berry/Triangle News)

Strap in, you’re in for a wild ride. This story involves poo, a park, and a virus.

A mum-of-three who took her children to the park for a bit of playtime did not expect to be covered in poo by the end of it.

Brittany Berry, from Kentucky, was trying to clean up her daughter Sadie, who she suspected had peed in her nappy.

The 33-year-old had spotted the droopy diaper and gotten out the wipes to clean it up. When she opened the nappy, however, there was an explosion of faeces that she described as a ‘poop-trophe’.

It was a kind of ‘newborn poo’, she said, that goes down the back, legs and other tricky bits. So she did what she could, stripping Sadie down.

To her horror, she ran out of wipes and while she rummaged in her bag for more, a wild Sadie ran off, continuing her outdoor fun.

She merrily went down the slide, smearing poo all over the thing. A mortified Brittany attempted to clean it up as soon as possible, racing to grab more wipes.

But the cleanup mission didn’t go smoothly. There were parts of the slide Brittany couldn’t reach, so she decided the best option would be to go down the slide feetfirst, wiping up the poo as she went.

Little kid going down slide
Oh, Sadie (Picture: Brittany Berry/Triangle News)

Of course, this meant she ended up streaked in poo, too, all in front of an audience of other parents.

Brittany narrated the series of events that led to her driving home in her bra.

She wrote: ‘I realise it’s a poop-trophe. I’m talking one of them poops you usually see in a newborn, where it’s all up then back and down their legs and you contemplate just throwing the whole baby away.

‘I start cleaning her up and there’s only FOUR wipes. This isn’t a four wipe kind of poop it’s pressure washer or open fire hydrant kind of poop.

‘I turn my back, frantically searching for more wipes. Nothing. I had just cleaned out the van yesterday.

‘Then I hear it that painful SQQQUUUEEEAAAKKKKK of skin getting stuck to a plastic slide on the way down.

‘I look up and yes, of course, it’s Sadie. She’s going down the slide, butt naked, COVERED in poop, leaving a long skid mark of poop allllllll the way down on her way.’

Thankfully the park was empty at the time but Brittany wanted to clean it up before other kids wanted to play.

She added: ‘There’s no way I’m leaving my kids’ slug trail of possibly contagious faeces on this playground so some other kid can get sick.’

She went to her house five minutes away, picked up some more wipes and then rushed back, but left her kids in her van while she cleaned up the poo.

‘Eventually, I get the brilliant idea to go down the slide and wipe as I go,’ Brittany wrote on Facebook. ‘I did not look elegant or attractive, I’m sure.

Wet wipes on a slide covered in poo
This was not a four-wipe kind of job (Picture: Brittany Berry/Triangle News)

‘When I get to the bottom, I’m finally satisfied with my cleaning job, I turn and see a car parked, a family, all of them with glaring at me.

‘I dunno how long they were there. I never heard them pull up.’

When she realised that she hadn’t left the slide unscathed, Britanny had to strip down to her bra to avoid getting the remaining poop in the car.

She updated her followers saying the family are showered and okay now, albeit somewhat traumatised.

She hopes the story serves as a reminder to use birth control for the younger generation.

‘If you aren’t mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared to roll around in another person’s faeces… use a condom,’ she wrote.


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What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer and what is the screening process?

illustration of a doctor
Bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Bowel cancer has been in the headlines today as experts have criticised a review from the British Medical Journal which says screening tests should not be offered at the age of 50.

The BMJ says low risk patients receive few benefits from checks and could be harmed by extra tests, but scientists have been quick to dispute this.

Instead they say screening should be offered to everyone over the age of 50, with individuals left to make their own choice on whether to take one up.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, with more than 40,000 new cases annually, and 16,000 deaths every year. It’s estimated it affects around one in 20 people.

Off the back of the latest comments, here’s what to know about the symptoms of bowel cancer and the screening process in the UK.

Symptoms of bowel cancer (colorectal cancer)

According to the NHS, there are three main symptoms of bowel cancer.

Firstly, blood in your poo can be a sign – especially if there appears to be no obvious reason behind it.

A change in toilet habits can also be a symptom, such as looser stools or a need to go more frequently.

Another indicator can be persistent abdominal pain, bloating or discomfort.

Many people have these symptoms and do not have bowel cancer but it’s best to book an appointment with the GP if you are concerned about any changes.

Around 97% of people who find bowel cancer early on will live survive five years or longer.

But for those discover bowel cancer later on, the survival rate for 5 years or more is around 7%.

This is why an early diagnosis through screening is incredibly important.

illusatration of woman holding her stomach
It’s estimated bowel cancer affects around one in 20 people (Picture: Ella Byworth)

The screening process

The NHS offers two different types of bowel cancer screening.

All men and women between the ages of 60-75 are invited to carry out a faecal occult blood (FOB) test. Every two years individuals in this age bracket are sent a home test kit.

Those over 75 can call the freephone helpline on 0800 707 60 60, to request one.

An additional one-off test called a bowel scope screening is also gradually being introduced in England. It’s offered to men and women over 55 and involves looking inside the lower part of a bowel with a thin, flexible instrument. This can be used to identify any polyps (a projecting growth of tissue), which can be removed to prevent cancer.

Currently, those between the ages of 60-75 in England and Wales can have screenings every two years.

But in Scotland the screening age starts at 50 and there have been calls for the rest of the UK to follow suit, to prevent deaths.

Last summer, health secretary Matt Hancock agreed the screening age in England should be lowered to 50 – a move which could save up to 4,500 lives a year.

For more information on causes, treatment and more, visit nhs.uk.

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BrewDog launches a 50% beef, 50% vegan burger and it’s got people talking

BrewDog launches new hybrid burger 50% beef 50% vegan Picture: @BrewDog METROGRAB
The hybrid burger that’s got people talking (Picture: @BrewDog)

Lately it seems all kinds of food and drink chains have been jumping on the vegan bandwagon, adding plant-based products to their menus, and multinational brewery BrewDog is the latest to update its offering.

But the new addition isn’t exactly animal-friendly.

Earlier today, BrewDog took to Twitter to announce the latest item on its menu – a 50% beef, 50% vegan burger.

The hybrid features both a plant-based Beyond Meat patty and a beef burger patty, along with melted vegan gouda cheese, crispy onion straws, potato rosti – all sandwiched between two matcha tea buns.

The brand described the new foodie invention as ‘50% less meat, 100% delicious.’

Naturally, the product has raised all kinds of questions, like who exactly is the new creation aimed at?

The launch has prompted Twitter users to voice their opinions on the one-of-a-kind burger.

‘You’ve managed to put off both carnivores and vegans simultaneously with this monstrosity. Hell of an achievement, congrats,’ said one Twitter user.

While another replied: ‘There’s already too much hate in the world then you do this.’

Other people were quick to come to BrewDog’s defense.

One Twitter user pointed out it could introduce vegan patties to meat eaters, saying: ‘Fair play – it could tempt a few to dip a toe in the water, and that’s no bad thing.’

Others simply found the concept quite hilarious, with one tweeting: ‘Does it come with a drink? Maybe half Coke/half Diet Coke?’

Another joked: ‘Is it April 1st today?’

James Brown, retail director at BrewDog told Metro.co.uk: ‘Across our bars we’ve seen a growing demand for alternative proteins, and we already stock vegan friendly options – but some of our customers are still unsure about taking the leap into 100% non-animal based proteins.

‘Our HYBRID burger was developed to meet our sceptics in the middle between beef and Beyond Meat. Hopefully converting more people towards a flexitarian diet in the future.’

The brand has gained a reputation over the years for its provocative marketing stunts.

This one has certainly got people talking, that’s for sure.

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Adorable dog’s face looks very human and people can’t get enough

Dog has a face that looks human
No, it’s not a bad face swap (Picture: Caters)

This adorable doggo is baffling the internet as he looks human, with people wondering whether his owners used a face-swapping app for photos.

The pooch in question, Nori, is an Aussiepoo mix – a designer breed which has puzzled folks in the past due to their human-like resemblance.

Nori’s large, almond-shaped eyes that have just a hint of blue and his pink lips curve into a very human smile.

His owners Kevin Hurless, 33, and Tiffany Ngo, 34, have become used to the attention, but enjoy seeing everyone do a double-take.

After an image of Nori was shared on Twitter, he quickly went viral.

 Nori the dog who has a slightly human face
Cheeky smile (Picture: Caters)

Kevin, an energy consultant from Seattle said: ‘When he was a puppy, we couldn’t go more than a block without someone stopping us to ask questions about him.

‘It has become less frequent as he’s gotten older, but we still often hear about how human his face and eyes look.

‘When he was a puppy, his fur was much darker, and he often was compared to Chewbacca or an Ewok from Star Wars.’

Nori’s humans have set up an Instagram page to document all his adventures.

Tiffany Ngo, a contract administrator and ‘mum’ to Nori added: ‘Nori also has an Instagram account, where we post pictures of him often.

‘That’s where we get all the comments about his human features, with some people saying he looks like a giant person or they’re marvelling at his eyes.’

Dog which looks human
Aw, Nori (Picture: Caters)

The couple was surprised by all the attention at first but since getting another dog, can notice Nori’s striking human features even more.

Kevin added: ‘We made the decision to get Nori a friend last year, Boba, who is a one-year-old Shorkie – which is a Shih-tzu, Yorkie mix.

‘You can see Nori’s human look even more when the two are stood side by side.’

As human as he may look, Nori is tiny, weighs about 13 pounds and is mostly just fluff. His owners say he looks totally different when he takes a bath.

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Natural treatments that can help with seasonal affective disorder

illustration of woman looking sad with autunm leaves
It’s common for people to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during the colder months (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Now October is in full swing, the days are slowly getting darker and colder – which is enough to make anyone feel a little gloomy.

But for some people, the winter weather means more than feeling a little down in the dumps.

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression that occurs during a particular time in the year. It can happen during the summer months, but most people experience it in the winter.

According to the NHS website, the condition can also be known as ‘winter depression’ and symptoms can include persistent low mood, loss of appetite, irritability, lacking in energy and sleeping for longer than usual.

Anyone struggling to cope with SAD should consult their GP.  But for those with milder symptoms, there are a number of natural remedies that can help.

A few simple lifestyle changes could help make those winter months a lot easier.

Natural sunlight

Natural light may be limited during the winter months but anyone with SAD should try to get outside as much as possible.

Exposure to daylight is thought to increase the brain’s release of the ‘feel-good’ chemical serotonin, which not only boosts moods but also promotes calmness.

Around midday is when the sun is the brightest – so why not pop out for a quick walk around the block during your lunch break?

Alternatively, if you’re inside all day, try sitting near a window to soak up as much sunshine as possible.

Planning holidays to warmer climates during the colder months might also be something to consider.

Light box therapy

During the winter months, there’s a distinct lack of sun. So people who suffer with SAD are advised to get their hands on a light box.

They work by mimicking sunshine with high strength bulbs, prompting chemical changes in the brain to help improve an individual’s mood.

It’s thought that the light may encourage the brain to reduce the production of melatonin – the hormone which makes you feel tired. People with SAD may produce more of this than normal.


Running woman illustration
Getting active might not sound appealing right now, but it helps (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Getting active kills two birds with one stone.

Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being. But working out also increases an individual’s metabolism, which can help improve energy levels.

When it comes to activities, some are better than others for treating SAD. Low-impact aerobic activities such as walking and dancing are recommended. Other calming activities to try include yoga, swimming and stretching.

As little as 10 minutes a day can really help.

Vitamin D supplements

This particular vitamin is made by skin after being exposed to sunlight and it’s thought to play a role in serotonin activity.

Those with SAD have been found to produce less of the vitamin – so this is where supplements can help.

Vitamin D is also great for bone and immune system health as well as reducing inflammation. It’s a great all-rounder for general wellbeing.

B Vitamins

how to fuel your body for an ultra marathon
Make sure your diet is packed with B vitamins (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

B vitamins help convert the protein from your diet into neurotransmitters and these have a direct impact on energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism.

They’re also crucial for the production of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps to put us in a good mood.

So it’s simple, incorporating B Vitamins into your diet can help to regulate mood and anxiety levels.

Those looking to include more B Vitamins should stock up on fish, shellfish, nutritional yeast and dark leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuce and spinach.

Omega 3

Some studies have found that fatty acids can be beneficial in treating mild to moderate depression – but it’s worth stressing more research in this area is needed.

In particular, two omega 3 fatty acids – called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — are thought to be the most beneficial to people with SAD.

Cold water fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are high in Omega 3, as well as nuts and seeds.

Need support? Contact the Samaritans

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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Scientists have created a plant that makes ‘breast milk’

scientists have engineered plants to make 'breast milk'
Scientists have engineered plants to make the same chemical structure as human milk fat (Picture: Getty)

Scientists have created the world’s first plant that produces ‘breast milk’.

The brainiacs behind the venture engineered plants to produce an oil that is the same chemical structure as human milk fat – the main component of breast milk.

This discovery could mean exciting things for the future of bottle feeding – with the potential to make a cost effective copy of human milk for babies.

For those less scientifically clued-up, the natural human milk fat molecule, triacylglycerol, helps babies digest nutrients. So replicating it from a plant could be ground-breaking for those who cannot breastfeed.

According to researchers, few baby formulas contain anything like this molecule, so it could be added to their production – meaning babies will absorb formula milk better.

The innovative project was carried out at Rothamstead Research in Hertfordshire – one of the oldest agricultural research institutions in the world.

Scientists at Rothamstead stress that, while they believe breast milk to be best for little ones, the breakthrough could lead to improvement in all types of formula, for babies who need it.

Lead researcher, Dr Peter Eastmond, said: ‘Virtually all other organisms don’t have fat with the same structure as human milk fat, no plants do, and very few yeasts, fungi or microbes do either.

‘My hope is that if we can find cheaper methods to produce fat that more closely resembles the structure of human milk fat, then it will be an ingredient more widely used in infant formulas and at a lower cost. It could improve infant formulas in the future.’

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Financial security and buying property top the list of things people in their twenties worry about

Illustration of woman with red hair, dressed in a light blue shirt and white trousers holding her hand over her face and looking as if she is thinking 'sigh'
What’s keeping you up at night? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

What do you worry about?

If you’re in your twenties, the answer is probably ‘all sorts of things, all the time’.

New research from life insurance broker LifeSearch reveals that our 20s are the most worrying times of our lives, with three-quarters of those in their twenties saying they feel worried ‘all the time’.

So the good news is that if you’re feeling anxious, you’re not alone.

More than 2,000 adults aged 16 and above were asked about how often they worried and what exactly kept them up at night.

The things we’re currently worrying about in our twenties are a little different to the generations before us.

While our baby boomers worried about nuclear war when they were in their twenties, today’s twenty-somethings are more concerned about climate change.

But other worries take up brain space across every generation, including financial security and mortality (nothing like the thought of the inevitable march towards death to add some cheer to your morning).

What are we worried about?

Top worries for those in their twenties today:

  1. The future
  2. Financial security
  3. The health/mortality of my loved ones
  4. My own health
  5. Getting on the property ladder
  6. Job security
  7. Climate change
  8. The economy
  9. Crime
  10. Violence
  11. My own mortality
  12. Political instability

Top worries for baby boomers (51+) at the same age:

  1. Financial security
  2. Job security
  3. The future
  4. The health/mortality of my loved ones
  5. Getting on the property ladder
  6. My own health
  7. Violence
  8. Nuclear war
  9. My own mortality
  10. Crime
  11. Global conflict
  12. Societal tensions

A little bit of worrying is normal. It’d be a bit weird to go through life completely stress-free.

But if you find your worries taking up your life or causing you intense distress, it’s important to reach out for support with your mental health. That might mean just chatting with a friend, speaking to a therapist, or going to your GP to talk about possible treatment options.

There are simple things you can do that we know reduce stress, too, so make sure you’re ticking all those key points off.

Easy ways to reduce stress:

  • Talk about your worries
  • Make sure you’re sleeping well
  • Eat regular meals that make you feel good
  • Cut down on things that make you jittery, like coffee, energy drinks, and booze
  • Try meditation or mindfulness
  • Do some gentle exercise

Need support? Contact the Samaritans

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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Couple slammed for Handmaid’s Tale themed wedding photos

Handmaids Tale wedding photos Picture: Van Daele & Russell Photography
‘A white woman cosplaying oppression on her wedding day..this is too much’ (Picture: Van Daele & Russell Photography)

A newlywed couple have been criticised online after posing for wedding photos in front of the ‘hanging wall’ from The Handmaid’s Tale TV show.

Kendra Munro and Torsten Mueller even went a step further and asked photographers to photoshop images of women in the iconic red robes and white bonnets.

Critics have said that the couple have completely missed the point of the show and are celebrating symbols of misogynistic oppression with their ‘insensitive’ images.

But the couple are fans of the show and live in Cambridge, Ontario, where The Handmaid’s Tale is filmed – so a shoot in front of the wall where dead women are hanging on the show seemed entirely natural.

The post on Facebook was shared by a New York-based writer on Twitter, where it quickly went viral.

People are not happy.

‘Oh god how can you misunderstand something to this degree,’ said one Twitter user.

‘Absolutely damn not. Human subjugation is not a ‘theme’ for a wedding,’ added someone on a Facebook comment.

‘Wow, this is deeply disturbing. ‘Praise be’? Seriously? I love the show, but this photo is truly puke-worthy,’ said another.

‘A white woman cosplaying oppression on her wedding day..this is too much,’ wrote someone else on Twitter.

Photographers Shawn Van Daele and Clint Russell have come out defending the image, saying that the whole point was to start a difficult conversation.

‘To all who are upset by this image: We actually totally agree! Mission: accomplished!’ wrote Shawn.

‘Everyone is talking about this issue now, rather than binging on a television series and then not doing anything about what they’re so worked up over until the next season comes out in the spring.

‘What’s sad is that the oppression and hatred, the division, fear and breakdown of humanity and compassion is being perpetuated in every one of these comments.

‘Take a step back and consider you may not actually know the facts, either – that this image was created and put out by a pair of “Gender Traitors” who are no strangers to many of the subplots of oppression, violence, and inequality that run through Margaret’s brilliant work.’

Pictiure: Hulu Kylie Jenner dresses up as Handmaid's Tale character for Stassi's 22nd birthday
The dystopian TV drama stars Elisabeth Moss (Picture: George Kraychyk/Hulu)

Shawn said the angry reaction was sad and exactly as expected. He said it was a missed opportunity for people to educate themselves and engage in an issue rather than just being ‘keyboard warriors’.

‘We’d love to see you out in the streets participating in women’s marches, supporting equal rights for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, and so many other important causes, instead of sitting here scrolling through Instagram, knee-jerking your way through comments,’ he continued.

‘So you’re correct – it’s gross, disgusting, and a horrible reality that is rampantly becoming more ‘real’ in the world day by day – and comment by comment.

‘There’s no more “us” – only division and hatred, and no more curiosity to learn, to help, to actively become engaged in correcting humanity’s breakdown instead of instantly attacking. Congrats for adding to that today!

‘Why exactly are you offended? Have you asked yourself? And what are you actively doing about it in the real world? We’re thrilled that this is starting a conversation!’

We’re not sure that Kendra and Torsten are as happy about their wedding day becoming a political moment as their photographers seem to be.

Do you have an amazing wedding story you’d like to share? Get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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Bodybuilding mum embraces loose skin on her tummy to inspire other women to love their bodies

When Courtney said she planned to get into bodybuilding after giving birth to twins, she was laughed
When Courtney said she planned to get into bodybuilding after giving birth to twins, she was laughed at (Picture: MDWfeatures / @court_vital_fit)

Personal trainer Courtney Standridge, 30, wants to inspire women to embrace their post-baby bodies.

She does that by competing in bodybuilding competitions with the loose skin on her stomach on show, to prove that the chances your body goes through during pregnancy don’t have to hold you back.

Courtney, who lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina, first got into fitness to reduce her stress levels seven years ago, when she met her now-husband Kyle, 32.

At first Courtney would run at night so no one could see her body, but eventually she joined a gym (and went in daylight) in 2012 and fell in love with working out.

The couple began trying for a baby in 2014, but when Courtney was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) she worried she may not be able to conceive.

So imagine their surprise when in June 2016 Courtney learned she was pregnant with twins.

Courtney whilst pregnant with her twins
Courtney while pregnant with her twins (Picture: MDWfeatures / @court_vital_fit)

Even while carrying two babies around, Courtney was still dedicated to fitness. She told her family she planned to start competing in bodybuilding after giving birth – they just laughed, which only made her more determined.

Courtney, who shares her fitness journey on Instagram, said: ‘I think anyone feels less confident after having a baby. Our bodies went through something amazing, but we will never look the same again.

‘For me, I was so happy to have my healthy babies, that my body didn’t bother me as much as how weak I felt did. I wasn’t able to work out during my pregnancy, so going back to the gym postpartum was like starting from scratch.

Courtney whilst pregnant with her twins
Courtney found it difficult feeling ‘weak’ during pregnancy (Picture: MDWfeatures / @court_vital_fit)

‘I remember about halfway through my pregnancy, my mum asked me if I was upset about losing my fit body, she had twins and swore it was the reason she never got her body back.

‘I told her and the rest of my family that I planned to compete in bodybuilding after having my babies and they all laughed in my face – pretty uncontrollably actually. I was livid, but so determined to show them I could.

‘I guess I have a rebellious attitude because I love proving people wrong – especially when it involves bettering myself. That’s a win-win.’

Just nine months after the arrival of her twins, Courtney competed in a bikini competition and came sixth.

Courtney after giving birth to Elijah (left) and now (right)
Courtney after giving birth to Elijah (left) and now (right) Picture: MDWfeatures / @court_vital_fit)

Getting up on that stage was a massive boost to Courtney’s confidence, reminding her that she can do anything she sets her mind to.

16 months after giving birth to her third child Elijah in February, she competed in another bodybuilding competition, this time placing third and fourth.

She wants to show that after her pregnancy she’s the fittest and strongest she’s ever been, and has embraced every part of her body.

She may be super toned but she still has loose skin on her stomach. Courtney refuses to be ashamed of this and shows it off every time she goes on stage.

Courtney is proud of her loose skin
Courtney is proud of her loose skin Picture: MDWfeatures / @court_vital_fit)

The mum-of-three said: ‘I love and respect my body now more than ever. I’ve never been as strong, both mentally and physically as I am now after having three babies.

‘I have loose skin, but that doesn’t take away from any of my accomplishments. I went on stage with that same loose skin and walked away with hardware.

‘I do have moments of self-doubt, but I snap myself out of it because I’m so blessed to have my babies and I’m not going to let skin and scars shake my vibe.

Courtney ready for a bikini contest in July 2019
Caption: FORT MILL, SOUTH CAROLINA, USA: Courtney ready for a bikini contest in July 2019 (Picture: MDWfeatures / @court_vital_fit)

‘I received so much love from friends and strangers letting me know how much I inspired them to get healthy – which is all I’ve ever wanted. If I can help someone turn their life around, it will ripple and affect many more.

‘I won’t lie, at first I was nervous about receiving backlash and negativity… things like I should be home with my kids and stop being selfish or self-centred, but I didn’t hear any of that.’

When Courtney is prepping for a competition, she cuts out sugar, sweets, soda, restaurant meals, alcohol and lattes in favour of tuna, chicken, nuts, vegetables, rice cakes, peanut butter and egg whites.

She wants to show others that it’s possible to lead a healthy lifestyle and chase down your goals as a busy parent.

FORT MILL, SOUTH CAROLINA, USA: Courtney with Mason. AFTER being laughed at by her family for vowing to compete in bodybuilding after having twins this mum-of-three proved them wrong and embraces her loose skin on stage ? now she wants to show other mums they can get their bodies back after pregnancy. Personal trainer, Courtney Standridge (30) who lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA, first got into fitness to help with stress and anxiety seven years ago when she met her now husband, Kyle (32) after she stopped smoking because he wouldn?t date a smoker. In the beginning Courtney would run at night so no one could see her but eventually she joined a gym in June 2012, and she fell in love with working out. Courtney and Kyle started to try for a baby in 2014 and she was diagnosed with hypothyroid, PCOS and was told that she may not be able to conceive as she wasn?t ovulating, a year later. With Courtney being just 26, the couple were devastated but through diet, exercise and prayer, Courtney fell pregnant with her twins, Mason and Sedona (both 3) in June 2016. Halfway through her twin pregnancy, Courtney?s mum, who also had twins, asked her if she was sad to lose her fitness and figure but when she said that she planned to compete in bodybuilding after giving birth, she was laughed at which made Courtney even more determined to prove her family wrong. Just nine months after giving birth to her twins, Courtney competed in a bikini division and placed sixth. Getting up on the stage showed Courtney that she is capable of anything and 16-months after giving birth to her third child, Elijah (1) in February 2018, she competed again, placing third and fourth. Courtney is proud of her body for bringing her three beautiful children into the world and she is the most physically and mentally strong she has been in her life. Despite her muscular physique, Courtney has loose skin on her tummy which she is proud of and she embraces when up on stage. After having her twins
Courtney with Mason (Picture: MDWfeatures / @court_vital_fit)

To any other mums hoping to get into fitness, Courtney says: ‘I want to show women it is possible and that it can be done no matter what one’s circumstances may be. Working out at home, during lunch, during nap time, or just making better choices about what we put into our bodies. We are the most important person in our children’s lives and they deserve healthy mums.

‘Start slow, don’t feel guilty, and hire a trainer. Just because you were a varsity athlete in high school doesn’t mean you can jump back in the game and hit 20 burpees at a jump.

‘Your body just did an amazing thing- it made a human that you brought into the world. Ease back into your routine to avoid injury, which leads me to getting a trainer. A good trainer is an investment in your health and wellbeing.

‘If you want to get back in shape, build your programme with a pro who will guide you and help you avoid injury. Lastly, don’t feel bad about it.

‘You’re the most important person in your child’s life. They want you to be healthy and happy. Take 30-60 minutes a day to do something for yourself so you can be your best self.’

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‘I had a stroke at 24 and it made me forget my baby daughter’s name’

Nicola Brown comp
‘In reality, it can happen to anyone – including babies’ (Pictures: Nicola Brown)

Nicola was just 24 when she was left partially blind after a devastating stroke.

She was a healthy young mum with a four-year-old boy and a six-month-old baby girl. She was even sent home from hospital after doctors mistook her seizures for sleepwalking.

When she had her haemorrhagic stroke, surgeons were forced to operate on her brain and told Nicola that she had just a 50% chance of survival.

Waking up from that operation felt like a blessing, but she was left visually impaired. She also had to battle with the stigma associated with being a young stroke survivor and the ignorance of others.

‘It has been difficult and quite shocking at times,’ Nicola tells Metro.co.uk.

‘People are extremely shocked when I say I’ve had a stroke, and I get the usual comments about not knowing it happens to young people. In reality, it can happen to anyone – including babies.

‘I think it comes down to people not grasping that your brain controls everything. So no, reading glasses can’t improve my visual impairment.

‘Just today, someone suggested that looking at my phone may have made my vision worse.’

The physical impact of Nicola’s stroke has significantly changed her life. As well as her sight, she also has problems with memory, energy and emotions.

‘I would often forget the name of my baby girl for a long time. When people would approach me and ask, I would have to look to my mum for answers.

‘I also often have a really short temper, as I am really tired. Post-stroke fatigue, as it is known, affects all aspects of my life. I am unable to get my words out and tend to repeat myself – I lose track of where I am in a conversation.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

The FAST test helps to spot the three most common symptoms of stroke. But there are other signs that you should always take seriously. These include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet.
  • Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences.
  • Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness or a sudden fall.
  • A sudden, severe headache.

If you spot any of these signs of a stroke, don’t wait. Call 999 straight away.

Signs of stroke: FAST

  • Face: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?
  • Arms: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?
  • Time: If you see any of these three signs, it’s time to call 999.

The Stroke Association

‘People who have no experience with a brain injury will say things like, “oh yeah, I get tired too”, but it’s difficult for them to understand that this is a whole different type of tired.

‘It has an emotional impact, for sure. I sometimes feel bad because my children bear the brunt of my fatigue. In the evening, I have an awful temper and I tend to shout at them, and then get angry at myself and feel guilty. It’s a vicious cycle.’

Nicola can no longer read unassisted, and she has to rely on assistive technology to help with her assignments at university.

‘I used to enjoy reading; I miss it,’ she tells us.

‘My visual impairments used to really get me down – having to accept that I am now a disabled person is very hard. Asking others for help is extremely difficult, as I always have been quite an independent person.’

Nicola says that interactions with others and social situations can be hard, particularly when people lack sensitivity or don’t know how to act around her.

‘When you first begin recovery from a brain injury, people tend to avoid you – they would often ask my mother, ‘’how is she?’’, with me standing right in front of them,’ says Nicola.

‘People have even joked about my poor reading skills, with one former employer calling me “stupid” in front of others, not understanding that my reading issues are because of damage to my brain.

‘Comments like this upset me, but also give me more determination.’

Nicola is now campaigning for more awareness through the Stroke Association’s Rebuilding Lives campaign. She wants there to be more education around the scope of stroke, who it can happen to, and the effects of brain injury.

‘As time goes by, people forget that this will affect me long term – I’ll always have a brain injury. Just because I walk and talk, does not change the fact that I have a disability,’ she says.

‘It has taken me many years to accept that I am disabled. However, the new me is a nicer, more empathetic person. I may have a brain injury for life and from a younger age than some, but I am on a journey of living with it and learning to cope with it.’

Lily was 19 when she had a stroke in her sleep, just days before she was set to receive her A-level results.

‘I was born with a hereditary blood disorder which increases the chances of stroke. I have to consider this when I think about having children, I don’t want to pass this gene on to them.

Doctors only discovered that Lily had had a stroke weeks later, and she has been left with problems with her balance and coordination and serious fatigue.

Lily Aldis
‘I felt like screaming “why is this happening to me?”‘ (Picture: Lily Aldis)

‘I felt useless and worthless after my stroke, I didn’t think stroke could happen to young people.

‘I felt like screaming “why is this happening to me?” These days, I get more headaches than I used to and whenever I do get one, I’m fearful. I worry, “is something more serious going on? Am I having another stroke?”

More than one million stroke survivors live in fear of having another stroke, and 79% are scared to go out alone, according to research by the Stroke Association.

One in five survivors said they kept their fears to themselves and didn’t talk to anyone. This is something Lily can understand.

‘I really don’t want my parents or my boyfriend to be as scared as I get either. Sometimes I don’t even tell them if I have a headache – I just take painkillers in secret.

‘It’s weird, I don’t want people to treat me differently due to my stroke but I still want people to know that I am a stroke survivor.

‘Even if I haven’t got some of the physical symptoms, life can still be very difficult and scary.’

Lily says that having a stroke has turned her life upside down, and the lack of awareness about younger stroke survivors makes it all the more difficult.

‘I’ve felt like such a burden to my friends as I can’t do what I used to and what a normal 22-year-old would be doing.

‘My balance and coordination are all over the place sometimes, which is very frustrating. I used to love playing football, but I can’t even do that anymore.’

Stacey woke up on New Year’s Day in 2014 and knew something was seriously wrong. She was just 23 at the time.

‘I felt like my face was drooping on one side and that my speech sounded funny to me,’ she explains.

‘I woke my then partner, now husband, Philip, and said to him, “get me an ambulance – I’m having a stroke!” He didn’t believe me and to be honest I started to doubt it too.

Stacey Hutton
‘I worry that my children miss out because I’m not the person I was before my stroke’ (Picture: Stacey Hutton)

But an MRI scan revealed that Stacey had had a stroke, caused by a vertebral artery dissection – a tear to the lining of the vertebral artery in my neck, which supplies blood to the brain.

‘I actually lost the ability to walk, but still had the use of my arms. I remember the day I was asked to try and walk with the aid of a Zimmer frame – I said: “If you’re bringing that for me, I am not using it.”

‘After some careful negotiation, I agreed to try it but vowed that I would not leave the hospital still using it. And, true to my word, when I got home after nine days on the stroke ward, I had progressed to using crutches.’

Five years down the line and Stacey still battles with fatigue, she walks with the aid of a stick and still has problems with swallowing and short-term memory.

‘I am incredibly grateful every day for the help and support of my close family and friends,’ says Stacey.

‘One of the hardest things is that I feel that I can’t take my two-year-old to the park on my own. As soon as I let him down he runs and I can’t run after him, which is really tough. I just feel awful that I can’t do the same things with them.

‘I worry that my children miss out because I’m not the person I was before my stroke.’

Stacey doesn’t really talk about how she feels with her friends and family. She says it can be hard keeping everything to herself.

‘I’m aware that my loved ones see me coping and I look OK so they probably think I must be OK. So much of living life after stroke is hidden and every day is different.

‘People say to me, “gosh, you’re looking well – you don’t look like there’s anything wrong with you”. I say, “makeup covers a lot.”’

Stacey now attends support groups and is working to increase awareness about stroke prevention in the local community – because she remembers how many questions she had when she fell ill.

‘Because I was young when I had my stroke, I worried if I would be able to have more children and whether I would be able to get married. I even worried about how I would support myself. Would I be able to work? How would I cope financially?

‘I’m passionate about raising awareness that stroke can happen to anyone at any age. We want to give other survivors hope and show that there is life after stroke.’

The stats from the Stroke Association show that many stroke survivors are facing their recovery alone.

This leads to a bleak attitude to recovery with 88% of survivors afraid they won’t get better, and four out of five fearing they would get sent to a care home when they first had their stroke.

‘When you live in isolation, too afraid to leave the house and are unable to ask for help, your motivation can disappear and can leave you in a very bad place emotionally – feeling like a prisoner in your own home,’ says Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association.

‘It takes a team to rebuild lives after a stroke. When stroke strikes, part of your brain shuts down, and so does a part of you.

‘Recovery is tough, but with the right specialist support, the brain can adapt after stroke. I’ve heard countless stories, and know countless people who, after many years continue to make remarkable recoveries.

The first step to eliminating fear is to ask for help and support. If you are a stroke survivor, this could mean speaking to your doctor or social worker to get some answers. If you know a stroke survivor, reach out, ask them how they’re feeling.

‘No one should have to live their lives in constant fear.’

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Ear tattoo inspiration: Everything you need to know about the dainty tattoo trend

leaf tattoo in ear
Ear tattoos are all over Instagram (Picture: NaraIshikawa )

An important update for anyone who’s run out of real estate to get pierced: now ear tattoos are a major trend.

Take a gander at the #eartattoo tag on Instagram and you’ll find all manner of designs on lobes, helixes, and traguses (tragusi?), from dainty floral stick and pokes to bold black lines wrapped around where a hoop would usually go.

But before you rush to your nearest tatt shop, there are some important things to know about this particular body art trend.

First off, make sure you, well, actually like ear tattoos and whatever design you put on yours. That’s important. Trends come and go but tattoos do stick around forever (unless you’re willing to undergo some painful laser treatments).

dainty flower tattoo on earlobe
Floral designs look gorgeous (Picture: mini_tattooer )

Then you’ll need to think carefully about your design.

Ears are quite a weird shape, and don’t have that flat expanse many other bits of the body offer – there are ridges, and whirls to make things difficult.

So you probably can’t get a detailed portrait done on your conch, unless you’re able to find someone who’s able to do details that are absolutely microscopic.

Handpoke tattoo artist Nara Ishikawa advises simple and dainty designs like leaves, lines, and dots.

linework ear tattoo by nara ishikawa
Simple lines are perfect for ears (Picture: NaraIshikawa)

This isn’t just to make things easier for your artist. You also need to consider that ears have a small surface area and do sag over time (some people get fillers to sort out their sagging lobes). Add in lines that will expand, fade, and distort over time and you’ll be left with a mysterious blob on your ear if you don’t think strategically.

Think clear and simple pieces that don’t require squinting to understand.

‘With a tendency for lines to expand you don’t want anything too intricate that will lose readability too quickly,’ Nara tells Metro.co.uk.

It’s worth chatting with a tattoo artist about the kind of thing you’re after, rather than having your heart set on a very specific design that meets your exact specifications in size and style.

You may need to collaborate and adjust your expectations to create a design that works on your unique ear.

leafy ear tattoo by megan sanchez
If you’ve got piercings, an ear tattoo works brilliantly (Picture: megansancheztattoos )

Nara says: ‘It may be hard to get a pre-drawn design on your ear. Generally it is better to draw on as every ear is a different shape and a custom drawn design will fit and flow on your ear better.

‘I guess with any “drawn on” tattoos there is an element of trust on your tattoo artist as the pen used can look a bit messy and less clear of what the final result will look like as a printed stencil would.

‘Researching and choosing the right artist for you is still very important in this process.’

You can go for a machine tattoo or a hand poked one. With a machine you might notice that the buzzing and vibration is uncomfortable by your ear, whereas handpoke on the ears can be practically painless.

billie bam lavender ear tattoo
Big fan of this little lavender (Picture: billie_bam )

Pain-wise, ear tattoos hurt less than lots of other areas, so if you can handle a piercing you can probably handle an ear tatt.

Ears do tend to bleed more than other areas, though, so don’t panic if you see a load of red.

Nara tells us ear tattoos are no more likely to fade than tatts in other areas, as long as they’re done correctly and looked after.

We would say that the immediate aftercare might be a bit tricky as it’s tough to keep your ears dry when you’re washing your hair. Wash your hair the day of your tattoo to maximise the time between tattooing and coming into contact with shampoo.

Go small and dainty or bold (Picture: __houhou__ )

Make sure to wear suncream on your ears when out and about, too. It’s an area that’s easily forgotten, but sunlight will fade your tattoo pretty quickly, especially if you’re prone to tucking your hair behind your ears.

The final thing to know: if planned carefully, done by a great artist, and looked after, ear tattoos can be a brilliant addition to your body art collection.

They’re the perfect tiny touch to add some edge to your look, they look great with earrings, and they’re easily covered if you have long hair.

‘I think ear tattoos are an easy choice to make as they are generally small and feel like an extra earring than tattoo,’ says Nara. ‘Although I’ve seen designs that cover the whole ear which are beautiful and bold.’

Whatever design you choose, just make sure you ‘gram it. The rest of us need more inspo for our inkings.

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Spill It: How much a 22-year-old apprentice engineer drinks in a week

Spill It: How much a 25-year-old SEO drinks in a week Picture: Getty
He loves a vodka and coke, this guy (Picture: Getty)

If you’re a Millennial, a Gen X, or a Baby Boomer, you’ll be completely confused by the TikToking, VSCOing, sex eschewing ways of Gen Z.

This is the generation that grew up able to understand the internet from birth, and who have had all the trappings of that effect their lives in one way or another.

That doesn’t mean that they’re above the common themes that plagued other generations growing up, though.

Although news articles report that these young-uns are eschewing the booze and opting instead for a fitness-filled lifestyle, there’s still the pressure to drink socially.

As part of Spill It, we talk to people from all walks of life to see how they face these pressures, and what they drink over the course of a week.

This week, we’re chatting to Thomas, a 22-year-old from Scotland. He’s an apprentice engineer who’s currently off work in the process of moving house.

Although he can spend nights off without the booze, his tendency is more to binge on the nights that he is out with friends. Let’s take a look.


I took it easy as I was moving out of my parents and into a new house the following day.

Spent the night not drinking and preparing stuff for the next day moving.

Units: 0


Spent the full day moving all my stuff into my new house with my friend so we decided to have a celebratory night out.

Had a half bottle (35cl) of vodka before I went out then possibly 20 vodka colas while out. Drinks at the club I normally go to are as low as £1 each, so it’d be rude not to.

Units: 30.5


Incredibly rough from the night before and having things to do in the new place, so no drink was consumed, as even the thought would make me sick.

Units: 0


Went to the gym to try and feel somewhat healthy after Tuesday night’s drinking, and feeling hungover on Wednesday. No drink consumed.

Units: 0


Sat in the house watching a movie with my new housemate.

Had two cans of Strongbow Dark Fruits, but didn’t want to overdo it because I was going out the following day.

Units: 3.6


Off out for a friend’s birthday party, so pre-drank with four cans of Strongbow Dark Fruits before going out.

At a rough estimate I’d say it was then around 10 vodka and cokes while at the pub/club.

Units: 16.2


Too hungover from the night before so no drink was consumed.

Units: 0

Total units this week: 50.3

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

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

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Why you shouldn’t hold your phone while running

Illustration of woman wearing fitness gear
Try not to clutch your phone or water bottle in one hand while you’re out running (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

If you’re someone who likes to clutch their phone while out for a jog, stop it.

We understand it’s tempting to hold your phone when running. It’s a comfort blanket, and it feels easier to keep it in your hand to skip through all those poorly-chosen tracks on your workout playlist rather than having to pull it out of a pocket each time.

Or maybe you don’t have pockets in your running gear (a curse many of us live with) and can’t be bothered to get one of those jazzy phone armbands.

The decision to just clutch your phone makes sense, but it is in fact a bad idea.

Why? It’s not just because you’re playing with the risk of dropping your phone and smashing its screen (although that’s a real concern). A running expert has warned that this particular habit may be leading to an epidemic of hip and shoulder injuries.

UK Athletics running coach Alexa Duckworth-Briggs says: ‘It might seem trivial, but holding your phone while running could be setting you up for future injuries.

‘When you hold something in our hands, there are subtle knock-on effects to your gait.

‘It creates muscular imbalances, affects the distribution of weight across your body, and makes you a less efficient runner in general.

‘This could be happening every time you train, week after week, month after month.

‘And all of this means you’re more susceptible to strains, particularly in your legs, hips and across your shoulders.’

When you hold your phone, you’re adding a little bit of weight to one side of your body, and keeping your hand an arm in an unnatural position.

That can lead to you adjusting your weight in a damaging way, leaning, and injuring yourself as a result.

illustration of two women running together
Holding your phone could lead to injuries – for you and your phone (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

An armband isn’t the answer, though. You’re much better off with a special waist belt, so your phone is in the middle of your body rather than weighing down one side.

Alexa, who’s also a coach with the We Run online support group, says that as mobile phones have grown bigger and heavier, the more injuries she’s seen.

She explains: ‘People tend to always hold their phone in the same hand. It’s a force of habit.

The issue here is in the repetition of movement, with your arms swinging thousands of times during a 30 minute run.

‘By making one arm heavier, you’re altering the momentum of your limbs. And your body will attempt to compensate for the imbalance by working certain muscles harder than others.

‘That’s where repetitive strain injuries will come into play.

‘I’d expect problems to manifest in the side of the body opposite to where you’re holding your phone.

‘Your arm and opposite leg go backwards and forwards in unison. So if you hold your phone in your right hand, you’re most likely to have issues with your left leg and hip.

‘I tend to pop my phone in a zip-tight freezer bag and put it in the waistband of my leggings,” she says.

‘But you can buy elastic belts that fit tightly around your waist or hips.

‘There are some mobile phone carriers that strap around your arms but, again, I’d say they’d still leave you unbalanced. You’re better off holding that weight centrally to your body.’

Going for a belt or using that little pocket at the back of your leggings will prevent phone-induced injuries – and, of course, protect you from dropping your phone while you jog. Your sweaty hands paired with the motion of your jog make it all too easy for your phone to slip directly into a muddy puddle.

Dylan Bourguignon, CEO of phone insurance specialist So-Sure, says he’s seen countless customers who’ve smashed up their phones while working out.

‘It’s all too easy to lose grip of your phone when out running, particularly if you’re jogging on uneven ground off-road,’ says Dylan.

‘And, as most of us are all too well aware, mobile phones don’t bounce too well when dropped. They’re even less happy submerged in a puddle.

‘We’ve had lots of cases where phones have also ended up in rivers and canals thanks to slippery fingers while running on towpaths.’

Stick your phone in a belt or pocket to save yourself pain (both from injury and from having to fork out for repairs).

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How to have feminist sex

Flo Perry's book on How To Have Feminist Sex
It’s a guide on how to have the sex you want, not the sex you think you should have (Picture: Flo Perry)

Flo Perry is on a mission to improve your sex life.

The 27-year-old author and illustrator has just released a book that’s all about getting freaky, but if you think you’re in for a saucy read à la Fifty Shades of Grey, let us stop you there.

How To Have Feminist Sex is undoubtedly alluring (most books about sex are) but it’s also a manual on how to get yours in bed and how to ‘have the sex you want’.

Just as feminism isn’t about hating men but about equality, Flo’s book is multi-faceted.

It features chapters on pubes, virginity, casual sex, orgasms and much more, but above all, it champions the idea of choice.

Want to be clean-shaven downstairs? It doesn’t make you a bad feminist. Want to have sex all the time with loads of people? Go for it.

Front cover of Flo Perry's book titled How To Have Feminist Sex with illustrations of women in lingerie
It features chapters on pubes, virginity, casual sex and more (Picture: Flo Perry)

Flo’s book is very much about you and she encourages readers to engage with the book; in one section, you are even asked to jot down your thoughts on paper.

‘Feminism is very trendy these days and you see the word in the media a lot,’ Flo tells Metro.co.uk.

‘But a lot of the conversation around sex and feminism seems to be just about how sex is a source of trauma in women’s lives, and I want us also to talk about how it can be a place of pure joy!

‘I hope it gets more people talking about what they want from sex. I hope it shows people that sex doesn’t have to be something shrouded in shame, and I hope the book challenges some of the myths that porn, our parents, and our media make us believe about sex.’

Two pages from the Honeymoon Period chapter in How To Have Feminist Sex
The book is also about relationships and how to keep things spicy with your partner (Picture: Flo Perry)
Two pages from the body image chapter in How To Have Feminist Sex
It also talks about body image and that ‘you are always loveable’ (Picture: Flo Perry)

Flo is a self-defined sex-positive person and doesn’t mince her words when it comes sex, but that’s all part of her charm and it’s very much relayed in the book.

She’s dedicated it to her former and future lovers, and opens the book up by sharing details about her own sexual identity: ‘My qualifications include being an emotionally well-adjusted slag and being really good at drawing boobs,’ it reads.

‘I’m extremely bisexual. I say extremely because I fancy nearly all humans over 5’8 and some short ones too.’

So, what is the key behind having sex like a feminist?

‘Having feminist sex is all about having the sex you want to be having rather than the sex you think you should be having,’ the sex-positive author adds.

‘And of course maximising pleasure for you in your sex life, whatever that might look like.’

Two pages from the dating chapter in How To Have Feminist Sex
The dating chapter is Flo’s personal favourite because it taught her a lot (Picture: Flo Perry)

Flo says: ‘The book covers lots of things including, body image and how accepting your body can lead to better sex.

‘Desire in long-term relationships, how to maintain it and why it sometimes goes away. Consent, what does it really mean and how to make sure it’s a feature of your sex life.

‘Dating, how to enjoy it and should you send nudes or not (I think you probably should.)

‘I love the chapter on dating, I was really learning the lessons as I wrote it, I think it’s funny, and I think being single can be a great time in your life.’

If you don’t like illustrations in books, you’ll probably not be a fan of this one, but there’s a reason Flo decided to step away from the traditional writing model.

‘I love drawing and so being able to draw for my own book was a dream,’ she says.

‘I think adding illustrations and making it funny makes the messages in the book easier to absorb. It’s got some pretty hard-hitting facts and ideas in there, and breaking them up with jokes and pictures of boobs just makes it a more enjoyable read I think.

‘I want this book just to be a big permission slip for women to do whatever they want. To talk about sex more, and probably to wank more.’

The book was released yesterday (3 October) and can be bought at Amazon.

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Lidl is selling a heated dog bed which keeps four-legged friends warm during winter

lidl selling heated dog bed
Lidl’s thermal bed which helps keep mutts warm (Picture: Lidl/Getty)

Pooches across the UK can expect to be truly pampered this winter – thanks to supermarket giant Lidl.

The store is selling a super cosy heated dog bed, priced at a very reasonable £24.99 (well it is Lidl, after all).

The Zoofari dog bed works by reflecting body heat from the canine back onto them, to ensure there are no frozen paws during the colder months.

If that wasn’t high-tech enough, it’s also reversible. Turn it over and you have a cooling side, which works by drawing the heat away from your mutt’s body in order to help lower their temperature.


Lidl heated dog bed
Your dog could be this comfy (Picture: Lidl)

According to Lidl, the seasonal bed is designed for medium-sized pets – or smaller dogs who love extra room.

The supermarket also claims it’s ‘comfortable with extra thick padding’ and recommends for it be washed at a maximum temperature of 30C.

We’re assuming it could also be an option for cats, or any other pets fond of warm spaces.

The inventive bed is only available to buy in stores – so don’t try searching for it on the Lidl website.

It also appears to be one of cheaper thermal dog beds on the market at the moment.

Pets at Home has a similar medium bed for £50, while Scuffs sells a similar size product for £44.99.

Scruffs heated dog bed
Scruffs also has a medium-sized thermal bed priced at £44.99 (Picture: Scruffs)

Those looking to spoil their good boy or girl even more this winter can apply for their dog to become a furrfluencer’ – thanks to holiday website Snaptrip. The winning dogs will get to review 10 dog-friendly properties across the UK – and will get paid for it. 

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A comprehensive guide to home STI tests – are they free and are they safe?

Illustration of a woman sat on the toilet
It’s vital to get regularly tested, and doing it at h(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may not be the most pleasant experience but if you’re sexually active, it should be something you do on the regular.

Infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea often only show mild symptoms (or none at all) so it’s important to not use, ‘but everything seems okay down there’ as an excuse to swerve getting checked.

Some sexually transmitted infections can cause complications such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease if left untreated, so it makes sense to keep on top of your sexual health.

Despite this, many of us delay getting tested as we’re either a) embarrassed (don’t be, they really have seen it all before), b) nervous or c) struggle to find time to make it to the local clinic.

However, none of these excuses fly thanks to the invention of home STI tests. That’s right, you can get a kit delivered to your door so you can do all the fiddly bits yourself. Easy…right?

Are home STI tests free?

Depending on your age and/or the area you live, you may be eligible for a free home test kit for certain STIs.

Your best bet is to see if you live in one of the 20 areas currently serviced by SH:24 (a sexual health organisation working in partnership with the NHS) or Google ‘free home STI test [insert your hometown here]’ to see what’s available in your area.

Certain areas also offer free chlamydia testing kits for those under 25 – see if you’re eligible through the NHS.

If you don’t qualify for a freebie, don’t despair – you can buy one from a private company such as Fettle (the paid-for version of SH:24), Zava or Lloyds Pharmacy.

When should I not take a home STI test?

SH:24 advises going straight to the clinic if one or more of the following applies to you:

  • You have been sexually assaulted
  • You are a man who has sex with men and have had unprotected sex in the last three days
  • You have any symptoms, for example itchiness, soreness, redness, unusual discharge or lumps/sores.
  • You are a woman and have had unprotected sex in the last five days and think you are at risk of being pregnant
  • You are under the age of 16

How does self-testing work?

Zava basic STI test for women
The Zava basic STI test for women (Picture: Zava)

I tried the Zava basic STI test for women, £122.99, which checks for gonorrhea (vaginal, anal and oral), chlamydia (vaginal, anal and oral), HIV and syphilis.

I had to fill out an initial questionnaire so a Zava doctor could prescribe the kit for me. It got approved and sent out the same day, arriving at my door a few days later in very discreet packaging (you can also pay extra for next day delivery).

My kit contained three swabs (one for my mouth, vagina and anus) and a blood collection kit, along with detailed instructions on what to do with it all.

The swabbing was easy – you’ve just got to be comfortable inserting swabs inside yourself – and taking your own blood sounds scary but it’s pretty stress-free.

Those with needle phobias can breathe easy as blood is collected used a spring-loaded, single-use lancet.

I recommend soaking your finger in warm water for a few minutes prior to blood collection to make it more comfortable. The first time I took my own blood I failed to do this and it was sore – I can confirm the warm water soaking makes it much less painful.

I find it easier when I whack on loud music, take a deep breath and press the lancet in on a heavy beat.

Swabs are popped into containers (make sure you label these correctly) and put safely into the return box along with the blood sample, and posted to Zava using the pre-paid envelope.

Whichever type of kit you use, make sure you read the instructions carefully before starting as some companies require you to do the test on certain days of the week/times of day.

Zava has doctors working seven days a week so it doesn’t matter what day you post your kit off, but other companies may only have doctors available Monday to Friday. This means if you post your bodily juices off on a Friday they’ll be left festering all weekend, rendering them unusable.

I dropped my samples off to the postbox on a Friday afternoon for the evening collection, and got my results back the following Tuesday by way of an email telling me to log into my Zava account.

You’ll be pleased to hear I tested negative for everything. I celebrated by having unprotected sex with a stranger.

(I joke, I joke)

How do I know if my kit is legit?

Any kit obtained via the NHS will be of high quality, but what if you don’t qualify for an NHS kit and need to buy one from a private company?

Your first port of call should be checking that the kit you’re about to buy has a CE quality assurance mark, and is licensed for sale in the UK.

‘Not all companies that are producing these kits have fully calibrated equipment which is approved by a CE mark for medical devices, known as a MDD or MDR,’ says Dr Asif Munaf, founder of home blood testing and IV company Endorance.

‘Make sure the kit you use has the CE mark so you can some sense of trust that the device will be reading what is supposed to be reading.’

You may have to contact the company directly to enquire about the CE mark. Zava, for example confirmed that while their kit isn’t CE marked, all the components of it are.

The NHS recommends checking that your self-test kit is sealed, without damage to the packaging, and within its expiry date.

If you have concerns about the quality of a self-test kit, report it via the Yellow Card Scheme.


Is home STI testing as accurate as going to the clinic?

illustration of woman talking to a doctor
Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

We’ve established that home STI testing is easy, but is it as accurate as getting your bits out at the clinic?

Research shows that self-tests are as accurate as their clinician counterparts. However the NHS states that ‘no self-test is 100% reliable’. In fact, no STI test is 100% accurate, including those done at the clinic.

To ensure a higher rate of accuracy, ensure you follow the instructions carefully e.g. providing enough blood, swabbing all required areas of your mouth for the advised length of time.

It’s also important to remember that there’s a ‘window period’ for certain infections between catching them and them showing up in a test.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea can take up to two weeks, HIV up to four weeks, and syphilis up to 12 weeks.

What happens if a result comes back positive?

For certain infections such as chlamydia, medication can be prescribed and posted to you (for a fee if via a private service).

For infections such as HIV, syphilis or Hepatitis B or C, a clinician will contact you and advise on your next steps, which will usually involve visiting a clinic, and seeking emotional support.

Home STI tests make it easier for you to bury your head in the sand if you receive a positive result, but it’s important not to for both your physical and mental wellbeing.

‘The use of home kits often mean users don’t seem medical help which they ought to even if they have suspicion of an STD with tell-tale symptoms such as burning when urinating, skin discoloration and changes and foul-smelling discharge,’ explains Dr Munaf.

‘This can not only make the infection worse it can spread it to other people the person comes into contact with.’

While home STI testing can be expensive if you don’t qualify for a free one, studies have shown that offering young people a home test kit almost doubles uptake than if they are offered a test at the clinic.

However you choose to do it, just make sure you get regularly tested (at least once a year) and that you act on the results.

‘My advice is that if you have suspicion of STD than go to seek medical help preferably via your GP or walk-in sexual health clinic,’ says Dr Munaf.

‘If that’s not possible, then at the very least buy your kit from a company that has doctors who analyse your results.’

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Vienna opens Insta-friendly museum so you can up your selfie game

A woman and a man, each standing in a ball pit with a blue and orange theme respectively
There are 24 rooms in the museum, each with its own theme (Picture: Philipp Lipiarski)

Unless you’re an art buff or a tourist travelling to a new city, it’s likely that you probably haven’t been to a museum for quite a while.

Visits from young people are declining, which is exactly why Vienna has decided to open the type of venue that will appeal to younger crowds: an Instagram-friendly museum.

Dubbed nofilter_museum – because really, what else would they name it – it will be filled with everything needed for a selfie that will rack up the likes.

Pose against a floral wall, with a giant pink inflatable flamingo or take a jump in one of the many ball pits.

The idea is that guests will be able to create their own art and immortalise it on social media, while also enjoying the space.

‘The number of young people going to a museum has fallen, so we are trying to combat that with social media,’ Petra Scharinger, co-founder of the museum, told BBC.

‘They prefer to live online instead of interacting with the real world.’

The interactive museum features 24 rooms; in one room, you can take photos with fake food like cupcakes and macarons, play around with glitter confetti or step inside a closet with your mates and pose against a colorful backdrop.

A woman on a swing in a yellow room in the nofilter_museum with the words 'When life gives you lemons' scribbled on the wall
It’s very Insta-friendly (Picture: Philipp Lipiarski)
People standing in closets with different themes and colours at the nofilter_museum in Vienna
The pop-up museum will be open for six months in Vienna (Picture: Philipp Lipiarski)
Two women posing in a pink room where there are glasses, cups and flowers hanging from the ceiling
There is no shortage of props to pose with (Picture: Philipp Lipiarski)
nofilter_museum in Vienna (Picture: Philipp Lipiarski)
So you can pretend you’re Ariana Grande in the ‘Side to Side’ video (Picture: Philipp Lipiarski)

As expected, popular social media influencers are already keen to visit, though specific names have yet to be confirmed.

This isn’t the first museum to target social media users.

Across the pond you can find The Museum of Ice Cream in Los Angeles, where pretty much everything is pink, cute and creative (exactly what you want to attract new followers).

The museum’s Instagram account even has 390,000 followers of its own and the venue has been valued at around £161million.

Not bad for a space that mainly features pools filled with sprinkles, fake ice cream and inflatables.

Nofilter_ is wants to achieve similar success – Petra, a business graduate, hopes to welcome around 300 to 500 people every day.

Two women posing in a silver room
The aim of the nofilter_museum is for it to offer great backdrops for social media pics, but also for people to have fun while there (Picture: Philipp Lipiarski)
A couple standing in front of a gold frame
Is this the future of museums? (Picture: Philipp Lipiarski)

‘I think it’s the future of museums,’ she said.

‘The main point is that it’s not only about selfies, but also about having a good time, being able to interact while experiencing art.

‘I do think that people spend a lot of time on their phones and that’s why we try to combine that with something real and something fun. But I don’t think it is our responsibility to educate them.’

Unlike its US counterpart, this Insta-friendly museum will not have a permanent space.

The pop-up opens today (4 October) and will be open for six months, with Petra and her co-founder Nils Peper planning to take it to other countries.

Fingers crossed that the UK is on the list.

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Women of colour face inequality in contraception and colonisation is to blame

An illustration of a black woman's legs, ready for a cervical exam
People of colour often seek our services only when they are at a crisis point (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Sex is fundamental to the human experience, yet for so many people it is one of the hardest things to talk about.

As a woman of colour, sex and reproduction were definitely taboo topics when I was growing up – it’s not typically discussed in most Indian households. To date, I count wading through a discussion in ‘Hinglish’ about periods and contraception with my very Indian grandma as one of my personal successes.

However, as I got older, I started to question the origin of the stigma surrounding sex in my community, which eventually led me to become a sexual and reproductive health doctor.

I now work as part of the collective Decolonising Contraception, a not-for-profit organisation formed by people of colour for people of colour.

Our members not only recognise the cultural barriers faced by people of colour in accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare, but have actually lived them too.

We know that there are huge disparities within our field. Compared to white women, lower proportions of women of colour seek contraception from their GPs, Black women have a higher rate of repeat contraception use and South Asian patients often suffer from taboo when accessing services.

The reasons for these disparities are not entirely clear. The last national survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles by The Lancet asked whether the differences were due to deprivation, mental health or education – and the conclusion was that they are not.

There is something perhaps not measurable by research and a bit more sinister that plays a part in driving these ethnic inequalities – history.

Colonised populations have long had their reproductive freedom curtailed. For instance, Puerto Rican women were experimented on during clinical trials for the modern combined contraceptive pill, Black Americans have an extensive history of forced sterilisation and over six million Indian men were sterilised in 1976 alone.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Every day, I see how these events have manifested in my community. For many of my patients, our meeting is the first time they have ever seen a sexual and reproductive healthcare professional.

People of colour often seek our services only when they are at a crisis point – maybe they have symptoms, require emergency contraception or want to discuss options for an unintended pregnancy.

Many also frequently tell me that medical professionals do not have their best interests at heart – they feel as if they are characterised as irresponsible and that contraception is thrust on them with minimal explanation.

Individual communities face unique challenges around sexual and reproductive health and cultural attitudes shape patients’ journeys.

While I wasn’t raised in the exact same culture as some of my patients, I understand the challenges they face and this helps them to open up.

When a South Asian patient returns to have her implant urgently removed because her mum says it will make her infertile, I can see that the concerns may run deeper than the purely physical, and that discussion requires more time.

Contraception and fertility choices can be driven by the enmeshment of religion and culture. As an example, those that attend mosque or temple may struggle to use methods that cause irregular bleeding as some historical cultural practices state that women shouldn’t attend places of worship when on their periods.

Individual communities face unique challenges around sexual and reproductive health, and cultural attitudes shape patients’ journeys. Not all stigma is exclusive to people of colour, but if we seek to tackle poor access for those who have the worst outcomes, then we can all benefit.

We should all be striving to find more methods of contraception that cater to a wider demographic.

I welcome new developments, such as a contraceptive gel for men and online contraception prescriptions, but we need to be mindful that innovation is only part of the solution. If we are all to be empowered and lead safe, fulfilling sex lives, then the fear that has arisen in communities from previously colonised countries must be addressed.

That relationships and sex education is now part of the national curriculum is a great step forward, as more young people will become equipped to talk about these problems. However, families and communities can also impact how easily you are able to view sexual and reproductive health, so honest, non-judgemental conversations in those safe spaces are essential.

This can start as simply as mothers sharing their first period stories with their daughters, or young people asking older relatives what they think about relationships. Assumptions should be left at the door – often answers to these questions can be surprising and lead to more discussion.

Listen more, talk less, and thank people for sharing their views – even if you don’t agree with them because understanding the barriers to contraception and health care is the first step to solving them.

I hope for a world that acknowledges the historic abuse of contraception, yet recognises that contraception is about everyone, and isn’t just a women’s problem.

It can and should be liberating to provide users with the opportunity to plan their pregnancies and their lives – and to have the freedom to choose.

Tickets for Decolonise Contraception’s Pleasure and Vibes event are available at eventbrite.co.uk

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