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Bride uses dad’s ashes for her wedding day nails

Charlotte Watson on her wedding day
Charlotte Watson on her wedding day, wearing a manicure incorporating her father’s ashes (Picture: Cara Green)

When Charlotte Watson’s dad lost his life to cancer just four months before her wedding, she knew she wanted to honour him on the big day.

She decided to incorporate his ashes in her wedding day nails, in a meaningful manicure created by her cousin, Kirsty Meakin.

Charlotte, 26, met now-husband Nick back in 2007 doing street dance. After welcoming their first daughter, Ella, Nick proposed to Charlotte on a break in Carden Park in 2012, popping the question while walking by a huge lake with water fountains.

The couple, from Stoke-on-Trent, weren’t in much of a rush to get married.

But then, in 2017, Charlotte’s dad was told his prostate cancer had spread to his lymph nodes and bones. Charlotte and Nick booked their wedding for 30 August 2019.

Charlotte Watson on her wedding day
Charlotte marrying Nick, with whom she shares two daughters (Picture: Cara Green)

Sadly, Charlotte’s dad didn’t make it until then, passing away just four months before the wedding.

‘In 2018 the cancer had spread even more into his spine and ribs,’ Charlotte tells Metro.co.uk. ‘At this point we had realised the cancer was incurable.

‘At the end of March 2019 my dad had to have his spine rebuilt as the cancer had broken down his [vertebrae]. After knowing what complications a spine operation could cause he still fought through.

‘Unfortunately my dad ended up having sepsis from the spinal operation and we lost him on 29 April.’

It was Charlotte’s cousin Kirsty, who’s a nail artist and YouTuber, who came up with the idea of using the ashes in her wedding manicure.

The ashes were encased within Charlotte’s nails (Picture: KIRSTYMEAKIN/Caters News)

Kirsty recorded the process of creating the nails, showing her followers how she and Charlotte went through her dad’s ashes to find elements that would work for the nails – both the fine, dust-like pieces and the ‘tiny bits of bone fragment’.

Kirsty created a French ombré manicure with the ashes encased in the tips and finished with gems.

The end result was pretty special.

Compulsory byline: @KIRSTYMEAKIN / Caters News - (PICTURED: Bride Charlotte Walton on her joyous wedding day to husband Nick with her special nails which contained the ashes of her late Father Mick Barber.) A bride has had her dad
The nails were finished with gems (Picture: @KIRSTYMEAKIN / Caters News)

‘I finally got my wish, which was for my dad to hold my hand and walk me down the aisle,’ says Charlotte. ‘That’s exactly how it felt.

‘The reaction we got was incredible, not just from family and friends but from thousands of people who watched the video and shared it.’

Charlotte Watson also honoured her father on the day with a photo of him on her shoes
Charlotte also honoured her father on the day with a photo of him on her shoes (Picture: Cara Green)
charlotte watson holding a teddy bear made of her late fathers jumper and jeans
Charlotte had a teddy bear made from her late father’s jumper and jeans (Picture: Charlotte Watson)
charlotte Watsons wedding day photo frame
After the wedding, Kirsty glued the nails to a photo frame (Picture: Charlotte Watson)

Alongside her nails, Charlotte was able to honour her dad at the wedding with a photo of him placed on the back of her shoes, a pendant attached to her flowers, and a teddy made from one of his jumpers.

After the big day Kirsty removed the nails and glued them to a photo frame, so Charlotte could keep them safe forever.

Charlotte now hopes to use the remaining ashes to have jewellery made.

Do you have an amazing wedding story to share? Get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@metro.co.uk

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The world’s first escape room in a plane has flown into London

An escape room set inside an airplane has arrived in London
Fancy an escape room set inside a real Airplane? (Picture: Perfocal)

That’s the work Christmas party sorted.

Yes, the world’s first escape room set inside the walls of an airplane has landed in London.

Set up by the Riddle Within, an escapes room group of extraordinaires who have a thing for all things immersive experiences, Flight 338 is the capital’s latest on-trend gimmick to join the never-ending escape room craze.

Parked in Greenwich venue Studio 338, the decommissioned jet plane was specially shipped in and is part of an immersive storyline that will see visitors taking part in a sinister drama set in a crime-fuelled US.

Story-wise, the whole thing is a little intense. As the organisers put it, ‘shadowy figures’ from the ‘less law-abiding days’ appear to take out their revenge on you as a former member of one of the most feared gangs responsible for the biggest heists and robberies in United States history.

You have to work together to solve all the puzzles, clues and the biggest mystery of all: the riddle of flight 338.

Attire? It’s an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs kind of affair. Remember, escape rooms are all about ‘authentic’ experiences.

In a nutshell, it’s either going to be a good night out with the other half, or a seriously bad stonker that sparks a fall out bigger than a game of post-Christmas dinner Monopoly.

Flight 338 is at Greenwich venue Studio 338 338 Boord St, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0PF. Tickets start from £20 per person and can be booked online

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Dishoom is throwing a massive Diwali party in Shoreditch

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Stephen Chung/Lnp/REX (9137490l) Traditional garba dancers perform at Diwali, the 'Festival of Lights', in Trafalgar Square. Diwali celebrations. London, UK - 15 Oct 2017 Hosted by Sadiq Khan, , organisers present a variety of cultural activities and entertainment for visitors to enjoy. Diwali is observed annually by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in India and many other countries around the world.
Diwali with Dishoom? Yas! (Picture: Rex Features)

Diwali marks the start of the new Hindu year and everyone’s favourite Indian restaurant is welcoming it in style.

On Tuesday 22 October between the hours of 6pm to 10pm, Dishoom is celebrating the wonderful thing that is Diwali at late-night Shoreditch hangout Dinerama.

This year’s lineup has been curated in partnership with Soumik Datta Arts, a charity dedicated to creating and championing arts projects that brings together talent from underrepresented and minority communities in London.

Under the glow of Dinerama’s ‘grammable fairy lights, headline acts will include SDA’s founder, musician and composer Soumik Datta who will be joined on stage by British-Asian artist Vibs Bhatia.

Singer-songwriter, Saranghi (a string instrument) player, vocalist, DJ and founder of the queer South Asian club night Hungama, Ryan Lanji, is also part of the deal.

Jaspreet Kaur, an award-winning artist who has spoken at TED talks, the UN and many women’s networks will also be delivering some thought-provoking poetry. Spoiler: you will leave very, very inspired.


Food wise, you’re seriously spoilt. Dishoom will be dishing out all sorts of treats from their snazzy pop up stalls, including Jackfruit Biryani and a brand-new street food creation from Chef Naved of Shakarhandi Chaat.

The guys and gals at Yum Bun, Yumplings, Chin Chin Labs, Fundi, Club Mexicana and White Men Can’t Jerk will be there to fuel all your other deepest, darkest foodie fantasies.

Tickets? We’re glad you asked. Entry will set you back a very reasonable eight quid, and guests are advised to bring a wad of cash to gorge on all the street food and down all that booze.

Best part is that money from each ticket sale will be donated to charity Seeds of Peace who specialise in areas of conflict to break down barriers and inspire peace.

Book your tickets through Dishoom.

Dinerama is at 9 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3EJ

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Durham tops the list of the most affordable places to rent in England

(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) metro illustrations
Time to move? (Picture: Ella Byworth/Metro.co.uk)

If our weekly series What I Rent hasn’t helped you choose where to live, maybe this new bit of research will.

Fresh data shows the most and least affordable places to rent in England based on average earnings and average rental prices.

Turns out that rent is considered ‘unaffordable’ in more than half of the cities in England, so we’re not in a great place.

There are some places that are reasonable.

Durham tops the list of the most affordable places to rent, with people spending 23% of their salary on renting a property. That’s good – the old rule of thumb was to spend 30% of your salary on rent, so those in Durham have an extra 7% to play with. Think of all the lattes and avocados they could buy.

Durham has one of the cheaper average rents – £493 per month – which means if you’re on the area’s average salary of £25,815 you’re sorted.

After Durham comes Liverpool and Lancaster, with renters in both places dedicated 24% of their earnings to rent.

Most affordable places to rent in England:

  1. Durham – average rent £493, average salary £25,185, 23% on rent
  2. Liverpool – average rent £499, average salary: £25,165, 24% on rent
  3. Lancaster – average rent £555, average salary £27,394, 24% on rent
  4. Hull – average rent £427, average salary £20,801, 25% on rent
  5. Stoke-on-Trent – average rent £481, average salary £23,160, 25% on rent
  6. Bradford – average rent £530, average salary £24,055, 26% on rent
  7. Carlisle – average rent £478, average salary £21,942, 26% on rent
  8. Sunderland – average rent £528, average salary £23,933, 26% on rent
  9. Chester – average rent £643, average salary £28,880, 27% on rent
  10. Preston – average rent £547, average salary £24,380, 27% on rent
  11. Newcastle upon Tyne – average rent £618, average salary £26,703, 27% on rent
  12. Sheffield – average rent £600, average salary £25,330, 28% on rent
  13. Salford – average rent £578, average salary £24,719, 28% on rent
  14. Coventry – average rent £637, average salary £26,410, 29% on rent
  15. Plymouth – average rent £637, average salary £26,410, 29% on rent

Surprisingly enough, London doesn’t top the list for the most unaffordable places – although rent is the most expensive in the capital city than anywhere else in London, with an average of £2,377 per month.

The average salary in London is higher than normal, though, which is why it’s not considered the least affordable place to rent. On average Londoners earn £70,171, spending 41% of their income on their rent.

Least affordable places to rent in England:

  1. Brighton and Hove – average rent £1,302, average salary £29,938, 52% on rent
  2. Bath – average rent £1,288, average salary £29,900, 52% on rent
  3. Oxford – average rent £1,366, average salary £31,838, 51%
  4. Exeter – average rent £976, average salary £23,650, 50% on rent
  5. Bristol – average rent £1,070, average salary £27,082, 47% on rent
  6. York – average rent £1,034, average salary £26,442, 47% on rent
  7. Cambridge – average rent £1,225, average salary £31,941, 46% on rent
  8. City of Westminster – average rent £2,832, average salary £78,391, 43% on rent
  9. Manchester – average rent £839, average salary £23,750, 42% on rent
  10. Chichester – average rent £966, average salary £27,926, 42% on rent
  11. City of London – average rent £2,377, average salary £70,171, 41% on rent
  12. Portsmouth – average rent £812, average salary £24,473, 40% on rent
  13. Southampton – average rent £793, average salary £24,367, 39% on rent
  14. Norwich – average rent £787, average salary £24,434, 39% on rent
  15. Leicester – average rent £647, average salary £21,353, 36% on rent

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Mum discovers secret weapon for tackling head lice

London, England, United Kingdom
Head lice are pretty annoying Getty Images/Image Source

We’ve all suffered the horror of headlice. It’s downright miserable, but a very clever mum has come across an ingenious hack to banish the critters for good.

In a Facebook post, Jess Proctor, from Stockton-on-Tees in Durham, had a lot to say about Schwarzkopf’s Gliss Express Hair Repair conditioner.

‘Anyone whose kids keep getting headlice, I recommend using this,’ Jess said.

‘You blow dry it into the hair once it has been washed (don’t let hair dry naturally as it won’t work), it makes hair so soft that headlice cannot cling to it.

Jess then went on to reveal that her very own hairdresser, Amanda Birch of Topper’s Hair Design, was the genius who recommended it.

Packed with keratin, a structural protein that coats the hair in a shiny protective layer, Jess said that she has been using the ‘miracle’ cure ever since she found the nits lurking in her daughter’s hair six months ago.

FOR most parents, taking control of a nit infestation usually involves your child crying hysterically in the bath as you try (in vain) to run a lice comb through their tangled hair. Provider: Facebook
The conditioner makes hair super soft, so lice can’t hold on (Picture: Facebook)

Lice are a common problem, especially among young children.

General symptoms include everything from allergic reactions to the louse saliva, itching, redness, pink eye and in some cases, swollen lymph nodes or glands.

Aside from the hack and over the counter medicines, other home remedies range from wet combing the hair to treating the scalp with essential oils: tea tree, anise, ylang ylang, eucalptus and lavender to name a few.

Responding to Jess’s post, several Facebook users rejoiced with one saying: ‘I have been using this on my girls for years and they don’t get it. It’s amazing.’

The best part is that the conditioner sells for a measly £2, a lovely £8 less than other traditional topical treatments on the market.

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You Don’t Look Sick: ‘I don’t have diabetes because of my diet. It’s an autoimmune disease’


It’s time for You Don’t Look Sick – our weekly series about living with an invisible illness or hidden disability.

This week, we’re with Jade Byrne, 32, from Darlington, Co Durham, who has type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the pancreas and it no longer produces insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar.

This is different from type two diabetes, which means the body still produces insulin but the body is resistant to it. Type 2 is often (though not always) caused by a bad diet and unhealthy lifestyle.

Type 1 diabetes, however, cannot be prevented and is not caused by diet – but often Jade faces judgement because people don’t understand the condition.

She says: ‘People will say things like “But you don’t look diabetic” I usually respond with “and what does that look like?” 

‘The response is usually, “well you’re not fat”. Type 1s are only 10% of all diabetics in the UK and so when we read about diabetes in the media, it’s referring to type 2 diabetes, typically brought on by lifestyle. 

‘Type 1 diabetics come in all shapes and sizes but that has no relation to the fact we are Type 1 Diabetic. It’s an autoimmune condition.’

Jade has type 1 diabetes. She is sitting on a sofa with her legs up.
Jade has type 1 diabetes (Picture: Chris Booth for Metro.co.uk)

Like with other invisible illnesses, Jade looks healthy on the outside and when she occasionally needs to use facilities like a priority seat or disabled bathroom, she has faced stares from strangers.

She explains: ‘I had to ask for a seat on a very busy train recently because I was having a hypo (low blood sugar).

‘Nobody said anything to me, but they were giving me looks. One man made me feel really uncomfortable. I know I shouldn’t have let his ignorance get to me. 

‘I sometimes get a look coming out of a disabled toilet when I’ve been changing my pump, but I just have to brush it off or just give them a really fake smile.’

Jade was diagnosed at four years old after her mum read about the symptoms in an article and recognised that Jade had some of them, including drinking lots, weeing more often and feeling tired.

Jade has grown up with the condition and doesn’t know any different but as she’s got older, the technology used to control it has become much more advanced and has helped to improve her quality of life.

Jade lifts her top to show the site where her pump is connected
Jade showing her pump (Picture: Jade Byrne)

She explains: ‘I wear a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an Insulet Omnipod insulin pump.

‘I always have two cannulas inside my body. These basically act as my pancreas, along with my mathematical skills. 

‘Before these devices, I would have to prick my fingers to know what my blood sugar level is and inject my insulin with an injection pen and work out the amount of insulin I needed myself. 

‘Now my phone always knows what my blood sugar is and alerts me when it’s dropping.

‘My personal diabetes monitor (PDM) works out my insulin dosage for me based on the amount of carbohydrates I tell it I’ve eaten and the insulin to carb ratio that is programmed in for that specific time of day. 

Jade with her insulin pump
Jade with her pump that delivers insulin (Picture: Jade Byrne)

‘The Omnipod also drip feeds me my background insulin instead of having to have another two injections a day for that, which I used to have to have.’

Although the CGM and pump help control blood sugar, Jade’s life is still a huge balancing act, trying to work out exactly what she needs to keep everything within range.

Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes can lead to low blood sugars (hypos) or hypers (high blood sugars) and if these are not corrected quickly, someone with diabetes can become seriously ill.

In the long term, poorly controlled type 1 diabetes can lead to circulation problems, blindness, kidney problems and increases the risk of developing other health conditions.

Jade needs to account for everything from stress levels, to the amount of exercise and even the weather to try to keep her blood sugar levels within range – 4 mmol to 9mmol.

She explains that even before she’s left the house, she has already had a lot to consider: ‘Each morning I wake up, see what my blood sugar is on my phone. 

‘If it seems a little high, as it often does first thing at the moment (hormones), I’ll type my blood sugar into my PDM and my Omnipod pump will give me a correction dose of insulin. I get ready as any normal person would, my devices are waterproof so showering is fine. 

Jade in a bikini
Jade uses a pump and continuous glucose monitor to manage her condition (Picture: Jade Byrne)

‘Then I’ll get my kids up and we go downstairs for breakfast, I need to give myself insulin every time I have carbs and it’s best if I give to myself about 15 minutes before I eat. 

‘This means working out, what I’m eating and it’s carb content, telling my pump my current blood sugar, by checking my phone, and also telling the PDM the amount of carbs I’m going to eat. 

‘Before we leave the house for school, I need to check my phone to make sure my blood sugar is above 5mmol as you cannot legally drive a car in the UK if your blood sugar is below that. 

‘As long as I’m above 5mmol, I’ll then drop the kids at school, which can be stressful and cause issues with blood sugars dropping or sometimes even rising. It’s quite an unpredictable condition.’

Jade works as an actor, writer and children’s book author and the days where she is on stage mean she has to manage her condition slightly differently to the days she is at home.

She says: ‘Every day is different for me as sometimes I’m acting, which means my adrenaline is high. 

Jade points at the sign for her play Pricks
Jade wrote her play Pricks about living with diabetes (Picture: Jade Byrne)

‘This means I need to give myself more background insulin than usual as adrenaline sends your blood sugar up. 

‘If I’m rehearsing I often need less background insulin as the adrenaline isn’t there so much but I’m using a lot of energy. 

‘When I’m writing, I don’t need to alter my background. Every day though, as long as my alarms don’t beep to say my blood sugar is dropping or rising too high, I just need to check my blood sugar before I eat on my phone and then work out the carbs I’ve eaten and tell my PDM all of this information and it gives me the correct insulin.’

As a busy mum, running around after her kids can often cause her blood sugar to fall low.

She explains: ‘When I pick the kids up from school, and run around like a headless chicken between all their activities, my blood sugar often drops and can drop quite quickly.

‘If it drops below 3.5mmol, this is classed as a hypo and I need something sugary to get my blood sugar up. 

Blood runs down Jade's leg as she changes a canula
She needs to change her canulas regularly and it can be messy (Picture: Jade Byrne)

‘My favourite treatment is pineapple juice and then I need a more complex carb like crisps.’

Jade’s CGM also alerts her during the night if her blood sugars start to fall as it is essential that she wakes up and has something to eat.

‘I often get woken up several times throughout the night though on a bad night as my body loves to surprise me with a night time hypo,’ she says. 

‘This is why I got the Dexcom G6 because if I hypo in the night I miss a lot of my symptoms as I’m asleep. 

‘With my Dexcom I get woken up by the alarms on my phone before I have an actual hypo, so I can treat it before it drops too low.’

Although diabetes is a treatable illness, it requires a lot of careful management and Jade knows to take each day as it comes. 

Jade on stage for her play Pricks
Jade performing in Pricks (Picture: Jade Byrne)

She says: ‘Every single day is different. I rarely have an entire day with blood sugars in range, in fact I don’t know if I ever have. 

‘Everything affects your blood sugar level, the weather, stress, excitement, exercise, hormones, mood. 

‘It’s very hard to be a perfect type 1 diabetic and I am far from it. Sometimes, even after almost 30 years, I still forget that I am. I’ll eat something and then feel a bit ill about half an hour afterwards and then I realise I’ve forgotten to give myself insulin.

‘It’s totally relentless, but because as a Type 1, I’m very strong and resilient, because you have to be, you wouldn’t even realise I’m doing all of this monitoring and maths. 

‘It certainly doesn’t stop me doing anything, it can just make things a little more tricky. I may be knackered, but I still have a smile on my face.’

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes

  • Going to the toilet more – Your body will try to get rid of excess glucose through urination
  • Being extremely thirsty – If you’re going to the toilet more, you’ll be very thirsty
  • Tiredness – Type 1 diabetes stops your body making the energy it needs, so you’ll be exhausted
  • Weight loss – Your body has to get energy from somewhere, so will break down fat stores
  • Fruity-smelling breath – If your body continues to operate like this, acid called ketones will build up. This will cause your breath to smell like pear drops, and can also lead to stomach pain.


She has a lot of support from friends, family and charities like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF).

She wrote a play called Pricks and during her research, she found lots of online support groups.

She says: ‘I honestly think they are my best discovery. I am part of so many groups now and if I ever have a worry about anything, I drop a post in a group and I have a whole host of advice and support almost immediately. 

‘I had the best family and friends growing up and to be able to cope and deal with type 1 you need to have the best support around you, I was really lucky. 

It really does wear on your mental health though and I find speaking to other type 1s the best for this, as they know it and they get it. They totally understand you.

Jade who has type 1 diabetes
Jade wants to raise awareness of diabetes and other invisible illnesses (Picture: Chris Booth for Metro.co.uk)

 ‘JDRF and DigiBete are also brilliant resources. They have so much content on their sites specifically to support people with Type 1 Diabetes. 

‘JDRF are very very close to my heart and are such an incredible little charity that have made wonderful advances in technology happen already with so much more in their pipeline.’

Jade has had three tours of her show and it ran at Pleasance Courtyard Edinburgh Fringe 2018. She has three more tours planned.

She’s also launching a children’s book called Daisy Donald on World Diabetes Day 14 November with JDRF, with £1 from the sale of each book going to the charity.

Daisy Donald wears an invisible cape to fight an invisible illness. The illness is like a monster that she has to tame and sometimes even fight. It’s revealed later in the book that the monster is type 1 Diabetes.

How to get involved with You Don't Look Sick

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

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

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

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What is Ehlers Danlos, the condition which Sia suffers from?

singer Sia
Now you Sia… (Picture: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Daily Front Row)

Sharing the news on Twitter, Titanium singer Sia has announced she is ‘in chronic pain’ suffering from Ehlers Danlos.

She wrote: ‘Hey, I’m suffering with chronic pain, a neurological disease, ehlers danlos and I just wanted to say to those of you suffering from pain, whether physical or emotional, I love you, keep going.’

sia tweet snippet
(Picture: Twitter)

What is Ehlers Danlos?

Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of rare inherited conditions that affect connective tissues.

Symptoms can include loose joints, joint pain, abnormal scar formation and skin hyper-elasticity (very stretchy skin).

The Genetics Home Reference (GHR) reports that the syndromes are quite rare, affecting about 1 in 5000 individuals worldwide.

There is currently no known cure, although sufferers can benefit from various types of therapy and advice.

Singer Sia behind wig and hat
…now you don’t. (Picture: Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

For more information on the condition and treatment visit the NHS website.

Pop star Sia is always frank and open with her fans, so it’s no surprise she’s letting people in on her health battles.

Sia tweet snippet
(Picture: Twitter)

Last year she took to Twitter to celebrate her eighth year being sober.

She previously spoke about becoming an addict, which led to her hit single Chandelier being written but impacted on her mental and physical health.

She told Billboard in 2013, ‘I got seriously addicted to Vicodin and Oxycodone, and I was always a drinker, but I didn’t know I was an alcoholic. I was really unhappy being an artist and I was getting sicker and sicker.’

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‘Dark and divine’: Tamil community celebrate their heritage on Instagram

Picture of woman in sari next to a picture of a Tamil man posing
Sinthujan (left) started an Instagram Story series celebrating Tamil pride (Picture: Sinthujan Varatharajah/Stephane Blot)

When political geographer Sinthujan Varatharajah started an Instagram Story series, he had no idea he’d spark a massive conversation.

The Berlin-based essayist and researcher began sharing stories of Tamil people; one of the largest and oldest ethnolinguistic groups from parts of India and Sri Lanka.

Sinthujan wanted to celebrate Tamil pride, the beauty in the community’s diversity and the obstacles that people face.

‘Growing up, I’ve heard from all types of people, particularly Asians, how Tamil people are ugly because of dark skin tones and non-Aryan facial features,’ he tells Metro.co.uk.

‘The cussing, mockery and humiliations were so dominant and widespread, that we as a people have come to deeply internalise them.

‘To essentially look Tamil was something you weren’t proud of, but often deeply ashamed about. It wasn’t considered beautiful, worthwhile.’

The series encouraged Tamil people to share images of themselves to honour their heritage.

Man wearing yellow top standing
Sinthujan wanted to address discrimination against Tamils (Picture: Sinthujan Varatharajah)

Sinthujan, who says ‘Tamil’ has almost become a swear word, grew up in the UK, where he felt the effects of discrimination.

He adds: ‘I started a discussion on it on Instagram in which people shared their experiences of discrimination based on anti-Tamil racism and internalised anti-Tamilness.

‘It was my way of assembling and archiving the collective and structural nature of such forms of racism, which you’ll hardly read about or even hear about.

‘I want other Tamils to know that we’ve no reason to feel ashamed to look the way we do. We are beautiful the way we are.’

Woman in sari
The replies from other Tamil people poured in (Picture: @ _indu_/Instagram )

Sinthujan added that Tamils are often excluded from the South Asian narrative, often feeling like the ‘stepchild’. He is also not optimistic about representation in mainstream media as a whole, feeling it’s superficial.

He reckons social media does a better job of representing people than traditional media.

‘I don’t have any reason to be optimistic considering how slow changes are and how little there is actually done to address it beyond surface discussions and feel-good campaigns.

‘Social media is where some ruptures are happening. But even social media mostly reproduces the same visuals and stereotypes.’

The images have elicited a strong reaction on social media where users have said they feel seen.

‘I’ve never felt less alone and more proud than when scrolling through this thread,’ wrote one person.

Another wrote: ‘It’s incredibly heartwarming and pride-inducing to see the many ways we look. We’re beautiful, resilient, brave, and worthy’.

Here are some more of the beautiful pictures shared in the series:

Woman posing in the sun
Followers said the images were ‘heartwarming’ (Picture: @suntharv/Instagram )
Man in stripey white and blue shirt
Sinthujan feels that there is Anti-Tamil sentiment in the Asian community (Picture: Ruvin De Silva)
Tamil woman in orange dress
Producer and director Thurka Gunaratnam pictured (Picture: @Sharanguru)
Woman posing in red dress
Some people feel being Tamil is like being a ‘stepchild’ to other South Asians (Picture: Thushaa Lalita)
Tamil woman posing in the sun
Tamil and proud (Picture: Julian Bell )
Tamil woman wearing long polka dot dress
There’s great diversity among the group (Picture: Tharsiha)

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No woman with big breasts is ever asking for attention – believe me

Jackie Adedeji wearing a leopard print top
People seem to forget that I am a person with feelings, not an inanimate Barbie (Picture: Jackie Adedeji)

I must have heard every comment going about my 34GG breasts.

I’ve had men ask, ‘can I motorboat them?’, ‘are they real?’ and had comments like, ‘your boyfriend’s a very lucky man, I bet he loves them!’

I once had to put my arms across my chest as I crossed the road as I saw a builder point and mouth to his team, ‘have you seen the size of her t*ts!’. They all turned in unison, their eyes popping out like cartoons.

I’m always surprised at these comments – people seem to forget that I am a person with feelings, not an inanimate Barbie.

However, as I am all too aware, when your breasts are big, you’re automatically sexualised.

I’ve been told, ‘Well hide them if you don’t want the attention!’ But no woman with big breasts is ever ‘asking for attention’ – believe me.

Firstly, have you tried to hide 34GG breasts? It is impossible. But more importantly, why should we have to hide our breasts in the first place? It’s not a woman’s responsibility to hide her breasts and change her clothes in social spaces for fear of attracting the wrong attention and unsolicited comments on her body.

It is totally not OK to comment on someone’s body without anyone asking for your opinion – and it isn’t only men who do this.

Women have told me in bathrooms on nights out that ‘I’m so lucky’ and compare their boobs to mine in the mirror.

Jackie Adedeji wearing a red dress and sunglasses
Having big breasts is not a choice or a luxury (Picture: Jackie Adedeji)

They tell me they have fried eggs and wish I could donate my breast fat to them so they can feel ‘sexy’.

Sure, it’s very sexy when you think you’re having severe chest pains on the tube and want to press the emergency stop – then realise it’s because yet another metal underwire has popped out of your bra and is striking you in the chest. Another £50 bra down the drain then!

Having big breasts is not a choice or a luxury – it’s how I was born.

At 11 years old my breasts were already 30FF. Mum took me to get my boobs measured and I was given a white frilly bra that looked like something my grandmother wore. ‘It will give you all the support you need,’ mum said as she smiled. I frowned.

At school, my classmates got to change for P.E. in the classroom with the boys but the teacher told me my body was ‘too mature’ so I had to get changed in the bathroom. It made me feel like I was an alien, like I was abnormal.

I was a child who looked like a woman. There were so many items of clothing I could never wear because, according to relatives and family friends, I looked ‘too promiscuous’. I know they meant well but now I’m older, I realise how sad it is to make a child change what they were wearing to stop attention.

Really we should be asking why people are sexualising breasts on a child in the first place?

Today porn plays a huge role in the way we view breasts. ‘Big breasts’ is a commonly searched-for porn category and a sexual fetish on its own. Breasts have become a sexual commodity and it almost feels I have become one too.

Last year I even considered breast reduction surgery for the first time. I was finally ready to be free of the issues my breasts bring with them.

Jackie Adedeji wearing a white spotty top
For the rest of my life I’ll always constantly be worried that someone is staring at me for all the wrong reasons (Picture: Jackie Adedeji)

I went for a private consultation only to find that surgery would cost around £7,000. I’m 25 and rent in London, so that thought went down the drain quickly.

Free breast reduction surgery is available on the NHS but there are long waiting times and the eligibility criteria is very tight. Russell Bramhall, a consultant at the burn plastic surgery unit at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, told the Guardian this year that women getting the surgery are almost at the mercy of a postcode lottery.

With reduction off the table, I know I will spend the rest of my life dealing with the cost of bras, which are so much more expensive for us well-endowed ladies. We need more choice and more assistance finding bras that fit properly.

And for the rest of my life I’ll always constantly be worried that someone is staring at me for all the wrong reasons.

In the meantime, however, I am teaching myself to love and embrace my melons.

Women with big breasts should feel free to express ourselves like everyone else. I know the experience is not the same for everyone but I hope to be an example that if you’re a GG or a JJ, you’re still beautiful like everyone else.

Like Sophia Loren said, nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful. Easier said then done, but I’m ready to practise.

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Mum says Haribo could help identify if your child has broken a bone

Picture of Haribo sweets
Handy Haribos (Picture: Facebook/ Wendy Wood)

A mum has shared a useful tip given to her by a nurse on how to quickly check whether a child has broken a facial bone.

Netmums editor Wendy Wood from Surrey rushed her daughter Grace, four, to hospital after she recently fell over.

The youngster had fallen in the playground on her first day of school and was left with a bruised eye and cheekbone.

When Wendy arrived at the hospital with Grace, a nurse told her that in future she should ask the child to chew on a Haribo before taking her to A&E.

The simple hack could identify whether any bones in the face are actually broken.

Wendy shared the tip on Facebook writing: ‘Nifty mum-trick I learned today from a brilliant A&E nurse…if your child has bashed their face and you’re worried they may have broken a bone, give them a Haribo to chew.

‘If they can’t chew it, get to A&E sharpish!’

Child with a bruised eye and cheekbone
Grace, 4, fell in the playground and got a bruised eye and cheekbone (Picture: Facebook/ Wendy Wood)

One person commented: ‘Ouch! Great trick though. And is it broken?’, to which Wendy revealed that Grace hadn’t fractured anything.

Other mums and dads felt it was a handy trick but some warned that it could do more harm than good.

An Australian woman who studied at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School at Imperial College London said she had plenty of experience in A&E and advised against the sweet trick.

Ley Anne wrote: ‘I’ve been fortunate enough to work in A&E for most of my working life. Never, in my entire career if a parent brought a child to me concerned about a facial fracture would I use a Haribo to make a diagnosis.

‘Not at home, not in the playground, not with my own kids.

‘If a child genuinely had a facial fracture, I would rather they didn’t eat until they were assessed by a specialist. I would never, ever think you are wasting my time.

‘Please let us support you being the parent, let us make the call and save the Haribos for after’.

Mum and daughter hugging
Wendy said a nurse told her about the trick (Picture: Facebook/ Wendy Wood)

One parent also added that she had once broken her lower jaw but didn’t know because her arm hurt more than her face.

Had she chewed a sweet, it could have pushed her jaw out of alignment and she may have needed an operation, she argued.

In any case, always check with a medical professional before attempting to help someone or yourself.

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Draping a canopy over your baby’s cot could be dangerous, paediatrician says

Simple gold poster hanging on white wall in baby room interior with dirty pink canopy crib (image:KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty)
Hanging a canopy over your baby’s cost might look nice…but at what cost (Picture:KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty)

It’s normal for parents to want to make their baby’s nursery a pleasant space but an expert has warned that a growing interior trend is potentially dangerous for newborns.

Draping a fabric canopy over your child’s cot might look nice on Instagram but doing so poses a risk of strangulation, paediatrician Dr Ruth Barker said.

The doctor told MailOnline: ‘I’ve treated a baby who used a mosquito net to pull up to stand, and ended up wrapping it around her neck.

‘Luckily, her mother came into the room and found her dangling from the net before it was too late.’

As many as 40,000 under-fives are admitted to A&E each year as a result of preventable accidents, with the most common causes being falls, burns, choking strangulation and suffocation.

Another trend being warned against is fairy lights.

Consumer advocacy group Choice Australia has raised concerns that they are also a potential choking hazard.

bed with a canopy for the kids room, note shallow depth of field
This could be dangerous for your child (Picture: Vladimir_n/Getty)

They argue the strings as well as the individual bulbs, if dislodged, are easy for an infant to choke on – as are any batteries the lights come with.

The good news is that there are some easy steps to take to baby-proof your nursery.

How to make a child’s nursery safe

Securing any large items of furniture to the wall, with braces, will ensure that they won’t accidentally topple over.

It’s also a good idea to secure drawers with child-proof locks, to prevent your baby from climbing on them.

Window guards and baby gates are a good way to stop your child from making any potentially dangerous bids for freedom.

Ultimately, when it comes to interior design for your baby’s bedroom it’s safer to err on the side of caution.

Your baby probably doesn’t care too much about aesthetics anyway.

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Parents are loving this vegan head lice spray that also detangles thick, curly hair

Picture of a head lice spray next to a picture of a young girl's hair
This spray is being raved about on Facebook (Picture: Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK group/Facebook)

Headlice is an annoying rite of passage for most kids but hopefully not everybody’s parents will cruelly shave off their child’s hair as a result (thanks mum).

It can be a real mess trying to treat an infestation as well as a pain for children dealing with itchiness.

But a new product is being raved about on social media for its ability to get the job done.

Parents say the nit repellent is not only effective in getting rid of the unwanted creatures but also helps detangle children’s unruly hair.

The spray is the product of celeb stylist Daniel Galvin Jr but doesn’t boast a designer price.

Costing £8 on the Daniel Galvin website, the lice repel spray can also be found in pound shops and Tesco for a few pounds cheaper. And it’s vegan – perfect for eco-conscious shoppers.

In one post on Facebook group Extreme Couponing and Bargains Facebook a mum said: ‘My daughter has the most beautiful thick curly hair and with her recently starting reception I’ve been full of dread in case she catches the dreaded head lice.

‘Then I came across this from the Poundshop, smells amazing and helps with the tats in her hair.

‘I spray this on every morning before school and fingers crossed it keeps them away.’

Little girl's shiny brunette hair from the back
Perfect and lice-free (Picture: Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK group/Facebook)

Other mums also had raving reviews for the item, with one saying: ‘This is also sulphate and paraben-free, so perfect on curly or Afro hair.

‘I use it on my daughter before nursery and can’t recommend it enough.’

While most parents used it as a treatment to headlice, one mum revealed she used it as a preventative method for her children who are now adults.

She claimed that her daughter, who now teaches children, has never caught lice from her pupils – and put it down to the spray.

She wrote: ‘My two kids, now aged 32 and 26, have never had nits.

‘I used a small spray of hairspray on their hair every day and it acted like a repellent.

‘My daughter has also been a teacher for 10 years and still hasn’t had them and still uses hairspray… give it a go!’

You can get the Daniel Galvin Jr Dubble Trubble Citrus Detangle Lice Spray from Tesco for £5.

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It’s National Orange Wine Day – here’s everything you need to know about the cool drink

Glass of orange wine on picnic table (Image:Savchenko/Shutterstock)
Orange wine (Image:Savchenko/Shutterstock)

It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say that orange wine is ‘having a moment’ now – really, this has been the case for a good few years. But it’s still quite trendy – the wine bars and small plates restaurants of East London are awash with the stuff.

Orange wine can be expensive but it’s definitely worth trying if you haven’t before; in many ways, it combines the best qualities of both red and white.

Since it’s National Orange Wine Day today, here’s a guide – reading this should help you avoid humiliating yourself if you ever need to impress someone who knows about wine.

It’s got nothing to do with oranges

Get that ludicrous notion out of your head right away – oranges aren’t used in the production whatsoever, nor do orange wines taste particularly citrusy (although they are often quite sour).

The name is derived entirely from that fact that the colour is orange, which makes sense.

It’s been around for ages

Orange wine was first made made nearly 6,000 years ago, in Eastern Europe, so it’s hardly a new trend. It has, however, seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years.

This has happened alongside the rise of natural wine (wine produced organically, without additives). Orange wines aren’t natural by definition, but most of them are.

It has a couple of other names

Orange wine is also commonly referred to as ‘amber’ or ‘romato’ which means auburn in Italian. But don’t be fooled – they’re all the same thing.

It’s basically like if you tried to make red wine with white grapes

When you’re making white wine, you typically remove the skin from the grapes before fermenting; with red wine, you leave the skin on.

Orange wine mixes up this process by using white grapes but leaving on the skins.

The result is a far richer and more full-bodied drink than regular white wine.This is also how it gets its colour.

Don’t serve it too cold or too warm

Befitting its status as a hybrid between red and white wine (arguably more so than rosé), it’s best served somewhere between chilled and room temperature. Wine experts recommend somewhere around 12°C.

You should pair it with spicy food

Because orange wine has such a strong flavour, it works well with hot foods including Indian, Moroccan and Ethiopian.

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Halloween boobs are back, so get the glitter and glue out

Spiders, blood and gore pained on women's boobs
Your Halloween inspo is here (Instagram/@lilliamarocho/@alice_mckerchar/@gogetglitter)

Did you know boobs double as a Halloween costume? So do butts, it turns out.

Creative folks over on Instagram have been slathering glitter all over their bits in order to create spooky looks.

And the trend has just been resurrected ahead of this year’s festivities.

Glitter boobs did the rounds in 2018 with many a brave soul (it takes courage to leave the stuff on your body for weeks) eschewing clothes on the day and going bare.

But hey, at least they saved money on an outfit that’s useless after 24 hours.

Pumpkin butts were all the rage last year, providing the perfect peach shape to paint the orange stuff on.

And then people decided that the only thing better than one pumpkin is two and got out copius amounts of black and orange glitter to paint jack-o’-lanterns onto their boobs.

If you’re inspired by these get-ups but don’t want the same old pumpkin look then fret not, there are plenty of other options


Leading the pack for the trend is Instagram page Go Get Glitter which pretty much does what it says on the tin.

And this year they’ve gone more scary than sexy, opting for some blood and gore.

One of the creations includes flesh, blood and…mermaid scale? While that might not be the most frightening outfit, it certainly adds some edge to the mermaid look.

Also part of the latest designs is spider boobs, with two tarantulas – made out of beads – and plenty of baby spiders and cobwebs decorated all around the chest.

Some people aren’t just committing one body part to the costume but are painting their entire surface, with one woman painting a whole skeleton across her whole body.

If you don’t fancy light refecting off residue glitter on your body for the rest of your life, you could always go for a tried and tested outfit – in which case Mean Girls costumes are there for you.

In the meantime, enjoy some more Halloween-inspired boobs.









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Miss Trans Queen India crowns its third winner – and the prize is cosmetic surgery

Contestants prepare backstage during Miss Transqueen India 2019, in New Delhi
The winner of Miss Transqueen India 2019 was announced in New Delhi last week (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)

Though transgender and general LGBT rights in India were only made legal in 2018, there has been growing tolerance in the subcontinent.

While many are still discriminated and even abused, in larger metropolises, there is more acceptance and even celebrations of transgender unions.

One such commemoration of trans people is the Miss Trans Queen India pageant.

And now, in its third year, the beauty contest has just crowned its winner, tattoo artist, Neetu RS from Bangalore.

As the latest winner, Neetu received a beauty treatment voucher and a free surgery offer from a clinic in Gujarat.

The annual pageant is held to empower the transgender community which often lies on the margins of society.

This year’s final took part in New Delhi where hopefuls from all over the country gathered to compete.

Nithu RS (L) winner is crowned by Veena Sendre , Miss Transqueen India 2018 during Miss Transqueen India 2019.
Nithu RS, the winner is crowned by Veena Sendre who is Miss Transqueen India 2018 (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)

Neetu fought hard against 11 participants in the final and also won the Best Evening Gown title.

She told Indian Express: ‘It is a dream come true. I now want to represent my country at the international level and win the crown for India. My life story must inspire people. And I need to help my community break barriers.’

The beauty queen, who identified as a trans woman in middle school, felt that being successful would make it easier for her parents to accept her.

She started her own beauty parlour, opened a restaurant, and educated herself. And now, her whole family stand by her.

‘As a son, I completed my responsibilities,’ she explained. ‘That is when I decided to come out for the sake of my life and decided to step into the next phase.

‘I came out to my sister in 2016 who was shocked and in tears. I told her about successful LGBTQ+ people, showed her videos and how many people are part of the community.

‘She eventually told my mother who was depressed for a long time. But I told her that my strength lies in her and now, my entire family stands by me.’

 Winner, Nithu RS (Front C) gestures during Miss Transqueen India 2019
Neetu is a successful tattoo artist and business owner (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)

Founder of Miss Trans Queen India, Reena Rai explained why the pageant is more than just a beauty contest.

She said: ‘When I started this, I was all alone. My victory lies in the fact that all my queens are standing with me.

‘These queens are not just about beauty but agents of change. They are doing work on the ground level.

‘They are celebrating the success of their own trans sister. They now understand that a transwoman winner is not just an individual but a representative of the community.’

Here are some more images of Miss Trans Queen India 2019:

 Contestants prepare backstage during Miss Transqueen India 2019
Fab colours (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 Contestants prepare backstage during Miss Transqueen India 2019 (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)  
Glam squad (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 Contestants prepare backstage during Miss Transqueen India 2019
A quick nap among the activities (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 Contestants prepare backstage during Miss Transqueen India 2019
Enjoying a laugh backstage (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 A contestant takes photographs with Veena Sendre , Miss Transqueen India 2018
A contestant takes photographs with Veena Sendre, Miss Transqueen India 2018 (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 A contestant takes part in a photoshoot for the Miss Transqueen India 2019
Strike a pose (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 A contestant takes part in a photoshoot for the Miss Transqueen India
High fashion (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
epa07892224 Contestants take part in Miss Transqueen India 2019, in New Dehli, India, 03 October 2019. Miss Transqueen India is an Indian beauty pageant for the transgender people over India and happens since 2017. The winner of the title will represent India at Miss International Queen 2020 in Thailand. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA ATTENTION: This Image is part of a PHOTO SET
Traditional round  (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
Navya Singh (L), Miss Transqueen India brand ambassador and Veena Sendre, Miss Transqueen India 2018 perform during Miss Transqueen India 2019, in New Dehli, India, 03 October 2019. Miss Transqueen India is an Indian beauty pageant for the transgender people over India and happens since 2017. The winner of the title will represent India at Miss International Queen 2020 in Thailand. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA ATTENTION: This Image is part of a PHOTO SET
Two queens (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 ontestants take part in Miss Transqueen India 2019 in their best gowns
Best gown round  (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 Contestants prepare backstage during Miss Transqueen India 2019
Busy busy  (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 Contestants prepare backstage during Miss Transqueen India 2019
Glam squad pt 2  (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 Yalini(L) and Bonita(R) second runner up are crowned during Miss Transqueen India 2019
Runners up  (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 Contestants speak with Navya Singh(R), Miss Transqueen India 2018 and brand ambassador during a photoshoot
Contestants speak with Navya Singh (right), Miss Transqueen India brand ambassador  (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 A contestant leaves after taking part in a photoshoot
More photoshoots  (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)
 Veena Sendre (L) Miss Transqueen India 2018 and Namitha Ammu(R) Miss Transqueen India 2018 second runner up
Winner and runner up from last year imparting their wisdom  (Picture: EPA, Rajat Gupta)

Neetu will now be entered in the Miss International Queen to be held in Thailand. Good luck, Neetu.

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Woman quits job as funeral director to become a professional mermaid earning £100 an hour

Mermaid woman comp
‘You have to learn how to control your breathing and your heart rate’ (Picture: Solent News)

A woman has made a drastic career change to become a full-time mermaid after realising that her job as a funeral director was making her miserable.

Jasmine Seales, from Basingstoke, says she would often ‘end up crying to myself’ at the funeral home because dealing with grieving families was so hard.

So the 28-year-old quit her job after she was inspired to become a professional mermaid. She has even vowed ‘I’ll do it until it puts me in a wheelchair’ because she loves it so much.

Now she trains in the water up to twice a week and can hold her breath underwater for an impressive two minutes and 35 seconds.

A funeral director ditched her job because it made her so miserable to become a full-time mermaid - and now makes ??100 an hour. Jasmine Seales, 28, revealed she would often 'end up crying to myself' at the funeral home because dealing with grieving families was so 'hard'. Miss Seales quit her job after she was inspired to become a professional mermaid - and today vowed 'I'll do it until it puts me in a wheelchair' because she loves it so much. Now she trains in the water up to twice a week and can hold her breath underwater for an impressive two minutes and 35 seconds. She dresses in bras and 'dragon skin platinum silicone' mermaid tails and performs at festivals, birthday parties and events - earning up to ??100 an hour. SEE OUR COPY FOR DETAILS. Please byline: Jasmine Seales/Solent News ?? Jasmine Seales/Solent News & Photo Agency UK +44 (0) 2380 458800
Jasmine can earn up to £100 per hour (Picture: Solent News)

She wears bejewelled bras and ‘dragon skin platinum silicone’ mermaid tails when she performs at festivals, birthday parties and events – and she can earn up to £100 an hour.

Jasmine, who has fibromyalgia, discovered the unique sport when she was at Bestival on the Isle of Wight and knew she had to try it.

‘There was a girl there doing displays and it just looked really interesting,’ she says.

‘I got speaking to her and I thought why not give it a go. It has been a life-changing decision.’

But being a professional mermaid isn’t all glamorous photoshoots on the beach – you actually have to be really skilled. Jasmine has had to train rigorously at camp to learn to control her breathing under the water.

A funeral director ditched her job because it made her so miserable to become a full-time mermaid - and now makes ??100 an hour. Jasmine Seales, 28, revealed she would often 'end up crying to myself' at the funeral home because dealing with grieving families was so 'hard'. Miss Seales quit her job after she was inspired to become a professional mermaid - and today vowed 'I'll do it until it puts me in a wheelchair' because she loves it so much. Now she trains in the water up to twice a week and can hold her breath underwater for an impressive two minutes and 35 seconds. She dresses in bras and 'dragon skin platinum silicone' mermaid tails and performs at festivals, birthday parties and events - earning up to ??100 an hour. SEE OUR COPY FOR DETAILS. Please byline: Paul Dale/Solent News ?? Paul Dale/Solent News & Photo Agency UK +44 (0) 2380 458800
The niche sport is starting to gain popularity in the UK (Picture: Solent News)

‘I train once or twice a week and just being in the water in general really helps my body in check.

‘When training, you have to learn how to control your breathing and your heart rate to be able to perform underwater for prolonged periods of time.

‘At first, it feels pretty unnatural, but the more you do it you become used to it.’

Jasmine explains that the niche sport has been booming in the US for a while and is only just starting to gain popularity here in the UK.

‘It has just been so much fun and it’s a really creative thing to do,’ she adds.

Jasmine even took part in the Miss Mermaid UK pageant this weekend, which was held to raise money and awareness for the organisation Sea Shepard UK.

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Wanting to get married and have kids doesn’t make me any less of a feminist

bride in control carrying groom
A womxn wanting to be in a secure relationship and start a family shouldn’t mean that they are all of a sudden anti-feminist (Picture: Getty)

Growing up in a traditional African family, the importance of family and having a strong, close community around you was something that had been ingrained in me since childhood.

Although I didn’t have a huge immediate family, I grew up having hundreds of members of my extended family – cousins, half-cousins, second cousins, aunts and uncles – always popping in and out of our house. I was used to being around a lot of children and from a young age, I knew that I wanted to have a traditional family.

For my generation and the generations before us, womxn particularly have been socially conditioned to make family the most important part of our lives. We’re told to stay away from boys growing up, yet then deal with almost being hounded about marriage and babies as soon as we turn 21 – in my experience, this is especially the case within certain ethnic backgrounds.

Some of us were taught ‘home training’ by our parents at a young age: being taught how to cook, clean and take care of the house. I was told to always serve the men in the house their food first – something that, to this day I still subconsciously do.

But we’re now in 2019, and with the help of the feminist movement and general ‘wokedom’, we are now being conditioned to not see family as the pinnacle of success. Womxn are putting their careers ahead of settling down and are having children later in life. We have the freedom to travel, casually date, work, self care and just… live, without having the pressure to get a ring on it and get knocked up. Not only is it a freeing feeling, but honestly, it’s about damn time.

However, I still dream of getting married and having children.

Not because I’ve been conditioned by family or society to have kids by a certain age (my parents cut all that nagging out a very long time ago) and not because I feel peer pressure to settle down before a certain age, but because I love the prospect of having children, and having them with a partner.

Whenever I’ve shared this with some feminist friends of mine, I’m always greeted with the same responses: ‘But you don’t HAVE to have a family Steph! We’re in 2019 and we can do things on our own,’ ‘You don’t have to wait for a man in order to have a family, do it yourself!’ or ‘It’s a bit traditional and anti-feminist, no? Motherhood and marriage are oppressive!’


I thought the whole point of being a feminist was to acknowledge that womxm can have a choice to do whatever they want, however they want? Isn’t that the whole point?

I get that the conventions of heterosexual marriage can be problematic at best, and yes I am part of the whole ‘MEN ARE TRASH!’ crew from time to time, but a womxn wanting to be in a secure relationship and start a family shouldn’t mean that they are all of a sudden, anti-feminist.

You can be a feminist and still hold on to some traditional values; the beauty of it being that it’s not because we feel we have to, but because we want to. Isn’t that the whole point?

When I hop into social media and see fellow womxn being shamed for changing their last name to their husbands’ upon getting married, it makes me feel incredibly sad. I’m not down with the concept of putting others down to feel superior in your feminism.

Yes, marriage may historically be a sign of ownership, losing your surname could be interpreted as an erasure of one’s identity, and the whole concept of having the ‘virginal’ white dress may be considered problematic but equally, it doesn’t give anyone a right to feel morally superior to someone else because of the decisions they’ve made about their own lives. That includes having children, or having the traditional fairytale wedding.

These days, I would like to think that people are getting married for love and long-term companionship; choosing to share your life with someone has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to be a feminist or empower women.

Yes, the archaic definition of marriage was problematic, but I’d like to think that we’ve come a long way from that now – I see it as something quite subjective and personal to the individual. It’s more of a partnership, as opposed to someone belonging to someone else.

Being a feminist isn’t necessarily about being a strong, independent woman who can do everything by herself. Granted, we can, and we’ve been awesome at doing it for years, but one can be a feminist and still want to fall in love, want companionship and settle down. It shouldn’t have to be a case of picking one or the other.

At the end of the day, the way in which we as millennials and Gen-Zers approach relationships and the prospect of settling down has changed drastically.

We are no longer bound by archaic norms, and we have the choice to create our own traditions and rulebooks as to how we think these ceremonies and family units should fall in place.

As feminists, we actually have the choice to decide what we want to do, and surely, shouldn’t that be the most important thing?

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LIDL launches new hyaluronic acid skincare range – and it’s cheap

LIDL launching new skincare range
LIDL’s new skincare range (Picture: Lidl)

Being obsessed with skincare is up there with liking avocados and being locked out of the property market as a classic staple of the millennial experience.

Skincare can, famously, be pretty pricey – but we have good news for broke or stingy people who still don’t want to look like a withered husk.

Budget supermarket chain Lidl is launching a new skincare range – including cleansers, gels and micellar water – that’s as friendly to your wallet as it is to your pores.

The Hydro Expert range is centred around the ingredient hyaluronic acid – although this sounds like something you might use to dissolve a body in a bathtub, it’s actually an extremely effective moisturiser which is commonly found in high-end products from the likes of Glossier (whose version would set you back a whopping £24 a bottle.)

LIDL's new skincare range
This could be yours (Picture: Lidl)

With Lidl’s prices starting at £1.49 and capped at £3, however, this magical ingredient will finally be accessible to those of us on a tight budget.

This is happening at a good time – during the cold winter months, when there is a lack of humidity in the air, dry skin is a common problem. As well as using moisturisers like Lidl’s range, there are a few things you can do to help this.

For a start, using an air humidifier in your home can make a difference, as can taking extra care to stay hydrated (as tempting as it can be to hibernate with a glass of wine during the winter months – this doesn’t help) and avoiding harsh toners.

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Eco-tourism: How to have a sustainable city break

Does jet lag make your depression worse?
Limit your carbon footprint by making smarter travel choices (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Travelling by any means other than by foot or by bike is generally not great for the environment.

But there are ways to limit how much of a negative effect your travel plans have on the planet. It just involves making some smarter choices.

Autumn and winter are perfect for city breaks. Whether you’re after a final blast of sunshine or getting festive with Christmas markets, now is the perfect time to book some cheap flights to a fun, European city.

And if sustainability is high on your list of priorities, the travel experts at lastminute.com have released data on the top eco-tourism spots to make your city break as eco as possible.

The data reveals that Copenhagen is the best city to visit for an environmentally friendly trip, with cycle-friendly zones and eco-friendly hotels.

Rome and Barcelona also scored highly because of their extensive range of walking and bike tours.

The study looked at the most environmentally friendly cities based on activities, green spaces, transport options that reduce the damage caused to the environment compared to mass tourism.

(Illustration: Ella Byworth)
Opt for bike or walking tours instead of jumping on the tour bus (Illustration: Ella Byworth)

Stay active with eco-friendly tours 

One way to reduce your environmental impact while abroad is to choose your activities wisely.

Instead of jumping on a tour bus, try a bike or walking tour instead. Every city offers unique experiences for tourists looking to try something more adventurous, without the expense of polluting or harming the environment.

Rome offers the best variety of walking tours with 1434 options, including taking you through Ancient Rome and Colosseum or the Vatican Museums, followed by Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica.

If you travel to the nearby island, Sardinia, you will also have the opportunity to give back to the ecology in the area by volunteering at a dolphin conservation project.

If you’d prefer to explore a beautiful city by bike, head to Barcelona for a broad selection of bicycle tours with 123 on offer.

Many are based in the Gothic Quarter, with knowledgeable tour guides who can inform you about Barcelona’s history and current culture.

For extra eco points, set some time aside to visit the surrounding hills of Catalonia where you can volunteer at a farm rescue.

Improve the environment during your visit

An important part of eco-tourism is leaving the environment better than when you arrived. It’s not enough to not add to the pollution, you can actually improve it if you put the effort in.

Amsterdam offers a free canal tour and breakfast to those willing to help by clearing rubbish from the waterway, while in Reykjavik you can take part in a hike and forest reseeding program to combat the damage caused by mass tourism.

There are also options for animal lovers, in Barcelona, you can volunteer at a farm rescue centre or, in London, visit the woodland animal conservation Gunnersbury Triangle to help care for the rescued creatures.

Getting between locations can be eco-friendly too.

Copenhagen ranked the most cycle-friendly followed by Amsterdam and Paris, but car-free sections can be found in all top six of the most eco-friendly tourist destinations.

If you need to drive, rent an electric car, these are the most popular choice in Amsterdam, followed by Reykjavik, and Stockholm.

The top eco-friendly travel locations

  1. Copenhagen
  2. Amsterdam
  3. Stockholm
  4. Prague
  5. Vienna
  6. Barcelona
  7. Reykjavic
  8. Lisbon
  9. Rome
  10. Paris
  11. Berlin
  12. London
  13. Athens


Travel to eco-friendly hotspots 

Copenhagen is ranked as the best city to visit for eco-tourism with a score of 6.8 out of 10.

This city has previously achieved a European Green Capital award and has been described as a ‘transport pioneer’ by the European Commission for its’ accessibility for cyclists.

This city hit the No.1 spot for its car-free zones and subsequently high air quality.

It’s also no surprise that Copenhagen placed very highly for its cycle-friendly score, as they have their very own ranking system for this, the Copenhagenize Cycle Score.

The eco-friendly activities offered here include spending the day sailing on a solar-powered boat.

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Artist creates brilliant paintings of the Queen by using her boobs as brushes

Woman painting with her breasts and a painting she created of the queen
You’ll never guess how this painting of Queen Elizabeth came to be (Picture: Caters)

This week in weirdly delightful news, a woman has been painting with her boobs, and the results are pretty great.

Artist Nadia Matievskay from Belarus doesn’t paint fruit bowls or nude folks, she makes majestic illustrations of none other than Her Majesty the Queen.

The 21-year-old has been using Elizabeth II as her muse and her boobs as her brushes, and she even manages to sell her paintings.

Covering her breasts in paint, Nadia has also been able to create stunning landscapes.

Nadia, who turned professional after painting her first piece as part of a challenge, angles her bits in different directions to create unique patterns and styles.

If you thought her quirky methods were new then you’d be wrong. Other women in the past have also got creative using their breasts.

And who could forget Pricasso, the man who paints with his penis?

While he’s painted many a politician and celeb, he hasn’t ventured onto dear old Lizzie. But perhaps that could be considered treason.

 Nadia Matievskay, 21,from Minsk, Belarus, using her breasts to paint
Who knew breasts doubled as paintbrushes (Picture: Nadia Matievskay/Caters)

Meanwhile, Nadia loves giving a shout out to the monarchy and says there’s even a growing demand for her work.

She said: ‘I love what I do and I see why there’s a demand.

‘Of course, I realise that the way the paintings are created is what’s attracting attention to my art and I but I want to keep on making my art as much as possible.

‘It’s difficult for me to say that I have a favourite painting. I love all of them.’

 Nadia Matievskays paintings of a tree she has done using her breasts to paint
Neat talent (Picture: Nadia Matievskay/Caters)

Nadia said she had never picked up a paintbrush until she began painting her unique pieces back in February.

She now sells her art using Facebook and Instagram and flogs the stuff across the globe.

The budding Picasso says she picked up her unique style of painting while she was completing an acting course.

She said: ‘One day our mission was to give each other some weird tasks.

‘And my task was quite odd, to paint a picture with my breast and sell it. So, at the start, it was sort of just a joke.

Nadia Matievskay painting with her breasts
(Picture: Nadia Matievskay/Caters)

‘I think my first experience was quite a success. It’s hard to evaluate it from the point of view of a painting technique as not many people paint like this but the colour was quite nice.

‘Since then I started to source the information and study the twists and turns of breast painting.

‘Every painting has its own story and feelings which I try to transfer through my art.’

And another plus side – she gets to save money on aprons.

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