My abusive marriage drove to be a dominatrix… and now I earn £380 a session

Writing for News.au, Doug details her thousands of clients (ranging from '18 year old novices to 85 year olds' trying out their latest kink) and what caused this woman who resembles a "90s goth" to becoming a dominatrix who charges £380 a session.

"It’s my first time paying a dominatrix and my hands are a little shaky as I pull out two fifties and two twenties.

What’s the etiquette? Pay beforehand? Afterwards?

The dominatrix* waits, one eyebrow raised. She’s seen it all before.

I blather my way through a few self-justifications and she nods without listening. Heard it all before too.

“My, uh, wife knows I’m here,” I say, and this gets her attention.

“Really?” I nod sheepishly. She seems unconvinced.

“Riiiight. Well, let’s get on with it then.”

We’re in an anonymous apartment in the boom-town western end of Melbourne’s CBD.

It’s new to me – the city remade, the view of the Docklands and its architectural quirks across to once-gritty Footscray, now under siege from the would-be landed gentry.

Ten years back, the city’s west was best known for its decrepit power station, often infiltrated by ravers, Cave Clan urban explorers and the homeless, and anyone else willing to brave the asbestos-riddled wasteland. Now, it’s apartment towers and offices.

When I arrived, the dominatrix buzzed me in through a camera-enabled security screen and I snuck into the elevator behind a crop of stylish Koreans talking about assignments. Up, up up in the lift, ears popping, dark corridors and beige doors.

Sleek and anonymous and secure – the reasons why she chooses to conduct her work here. She shifts apartment every week, moving around the city.

But when I steel my courage to knock and she invites me in – suddenly, life. An elegant apartment lit by sparks of late afternoon sun, a view over the harbour, indoor greenery. The TV chatters, the place is warm.

I take my shoes off at the door as per her request. One of her phones rings.

“Three hours? [£380]. You want the usual or something different?” she asks her client, matter of fact. A regular.

She steers me inside while negotiating her rate, gives me a glass of water, conducts business. And then she asks me for my payment for the interview.

The woman is a self-taught dominatrix, expert in inflicting emotional or physical pain on masochists who pay for it.

Her surface life circles around bar-work, a desultory path through uni, and negotiating the expectations of her Vietnamese parents.

Her private life is based on making bank from the exotic-Asian stereotype. Fake lashes, hooded eyes, the mystery and pain of the Orient. Her accent, though, is distinctly ocker.

Bleach-blond on black Vietnamese hair, an oval face, a casual manner. She flicks a stray lock from her eyes in a way that reminds me of 90s goths, that kohl-darkened hidden-motives look.

She’s busty, short and energetic – certainly not the austere, tall ice queen I’d imagined. She notices my inspection and assesses herself clinically, holds out one arm to see it better.

“This is me. I’m not beautiful, not ugly. I’m in-between,” she says.

She has found the fantasy useful – and lucrative. She couples her Vietnamese background with fake lashes to give her the appearance of innocence. And of course, many men request a school uniform.

“I don’t look dominant. I look very innocent,” she says.

“So they don’t see it coming when I say something nasty.”

Three years ago, she was engaged to be married to an abusive man. It was the latest of many.

Her whole life, she says, has been framed by abuse. What was it about her, she wondered, that drew the bullies and domineering men? What weakness? And what, exactly, told abusive men that here was a well-trained victim? What gave away her suicide attempts, her inner turmoil? How did they know?

It must be innate, something small, something pathetic about her. She deserved it. It was who she was.

And so she cut herself, traded catharsis for scars, a final attempt to try to escape the crippling self-doubt and depression and savage self-loathing that had dogged her throughout life.

This time, though, she was determined to break the habit of victimhood. When she finally freed herself of her latest hateful lover and moved back in with her parents, she took along with her a gift she’d planned to give him.

He was dominant. He loved displaying his power, and expected her complete submission. She’d bought paddles and chains, ball-gags and handcuffs as a sign that she was his, submissive and attentive, the imbalance of their relationship converted into a kink.

Now that she’d won free of him, the equipment lay there in a cupboard at her parent’s house, unused.

Now she needed money to start life again and pay down a massive credit card debt. Working at a bar was okay money, but she needed more.

So she set out as an independent operator. She got business, but not enough. It wasn’t easy to stand out from the escorts or nude masseuses who routinely advertise online.

Then she remembered her gear. Could she invert her personality, go from submissive take-it-all victim to the inflicter of pain?

She could. And better – she was good at it.

It felt cathartic. Every time she mocked a CEO’s modest little d*ck that didn’t hang properly or made a middle-manager weep at his cheating ways or landed a paddle on a macho bloke’s naked arse – it felt like victory, doubly sweet because she was being paid handsomely for it.

“It’s like my therapy,” she says, grinning.

“This industry helps me a lot. I used to be so angry and I took it out on myself.”

Now, she gets paid to get angry – cuttingly, coldly angry – at Generic Men who shuffle in and out.

“With most clients, I inflict emotional abuse and they really like that.”

She turns the tricks of her old abusers on men who pay for it.

Her clients range from 18 year old novices to 85 year olds keen to finally try out their latent kink. She has more than a thousand on her books.

On a good three-day stint during, say the Grand Final weekend when many more men are in town, she can make [£1,700] after renting the room. And best of all, she doesn’t have to get her hands dirty. If clients want to jerk off, that’s their business. But she’s not about to help them.

As soon as they walk into her rented room, she tries to figure them out. What makes them tick? What are the weaknesses she might exploit? What are they vulnerable to? What do they most fear? Then she uses it ruthlessly.

She tells a crossdresser who only wears women’s clothes in secret that he must have mummy issues, that his gender identity is totally wrong. She smears makeup on his face so he can know his true worthlessness as a little wh*re.

One client was racked with guilt about cheating on his wife. So she told him she would tell his wife what a piece of crap he was, and watched with delight as he writhed.

“These are the words they say to themselves,” she says.

Her clients range from 18-year-old novices to 85-year-old keen to finally try out their latent kick. She has more than a thousand on her books.

As a longtime self-hater, she knows what works. She reflects back their own worst fears, their own self-loathing, and amplifies it. She takes the most lethal phrases aimed at her during her time under the abuser’s boot, and turns them around. She takes a special joy in watching a good insult make contact.

“I know how to manipulate them. I’m not dumb,” she says.

“I release the kraken.”

It’s a fine line, though, between play and making actual contact. Some of her clients genuinely loathe themselves and the release they seek is having that validated. As a suicide survivor, she knows some of the signs. So she’ll sit down with these clients at the end, and say this is not who you are.

“I say you’re a wonderful person.”

So far, she’s attracted one stalker. His obsession has made her extra vigilant about changing her location, and she takes other security precautions.

“I’m a tough cookie,” she says.

Why do men like being told they’re terrible, I ask. She snorts.

“Many are CEOs or managers in real life. They like that one hour break.”

Her work phone constantly beeps and vibrates. She checks one message.

“Ew. Anal. No.”

She closes her eyes, fake lashes on eyelids, to better recall the horrors of her personal life. Far too many.

She plays idly with her necklace as she talks, eyes closed, about bad relationships, about the three times she was raped in bad relationships, about being molested as a kid, about her suicide attempts, about her desperate efforts to escape, to run away, only for her mum to put the hard word on her – I need you. Don’t leave. Live with us till you’re married.

“I’ve been through a lot. So I’m not judgemental,” she says.

“I guess these things play a massive part in who I am. But I don’t regret them. They make me stronger. You can look back and go boohoo. But there’s nothing you can do about the past.”

It wasn’t long into her secret career that she discovered the usefulness of submissive men who consider themselves slaves.

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One regular client loves being a sissy-slave, where he dresses up in girlish clothing and puts on make up and has to do degrading things.

Another slave client pays her good money to clean her rented apartment and cook for her. He wanted more degrading cleaning, so Tyra asked her tradie mate if he wanted his filthy stag house in St Kilda cleaned.

Tyra sat there, watching her slave sweat for three hours as he carted out the accrued filth of a tradie living alone.

Can I see the gear, I ask. She ushers me into the bedroom and empties out her backpacks. Panties for the fashion designer client who likes to wear them, a girlish wig for sissies, suspenders for her closeted transvestites, chastity devices for the ex-Catholics, and a French maid dress Tyra originally bought for muck-up day.

“They have to wear that, not me. It’s not my thing,” she says, laughing.

Canes, horse-crops, nipple-pegs. She clips a peg onto my arm and I wince.

“Soft. The guys who are really into pain won’t even feel this.”

I, uh, I didn’t realise quite how vanilla I was, I say. She laughs openly. Then she switches mode.

“We women are powerful. We can be deceiving, manipulative, play roles if we must. This is the best thing I could possibly do for myself. Using the power of a p*ssy.”

It’s heading towards 5pm and the light is waning. A loud knock at the door makes us both jump. A client? I panic. She shakes her head.

“I haven’t put my ad up yet.”

She glides to the door, moving soundlessly and looks through the peephole. Then she gestures at me to get into the bathroom. I obey, of course.

I try to hide in the towel rack and fail, so I settle for hiding behind the door. Tyra opens the door. It’s the man who holds the lease on the apartment. He’s brought shampoo and come to see if everything is alright.

She turns on the charm, coos and thanks him profusely. I can feel him preening under her attention, even from my hiding place. I sneak a look around the corner, but she has one hand behind her back, waving frantically – stay hidden.

When he’s gone, she makes me wait until we hear the lift doors close. Then she shoos me out unceremoniously. Time’s up.

That night, still vaguely dazed from Vanilla Man’s visit to the self-taught dominatrix, I check Twitter.

She is on a rampage, posting screencaps of men – their full names and emails included – who promised to pay their mistress for the pleasure of her scorn and then reneged.

The kraken is angry today."

*Names have been kept anonymous to protect privacy

In more news, this woman gives her boyfriend permission to CHEAT on her during the Christmas period – because he then buys her "guilty" gifts.

And this sexpert reveals why you MUST buy your BFF a sex toy this Christmas.

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Inside Princess Margaret's affair with a notorious gangster – who was known for his 'penis pint trick

The Princess, who died in 2002, was renowned for her party lifestyle, especially when she was in her holiday home of Mustique.

And, in the 1970s, she reportedly had a fling with London gangster John Bindon – whose party trick was hanging five half-pint beer tankards from his manhood.

The Princess and Bindon reportedly had an intimate relationship in the 1970s, which started when he spent three weeks at her home on the Caribbean island.

According to Bindon’s ex, the Queen’s younger sister even sneaked Bindon into Kensington Palace, according to the gangster's girlfriend at the time.

Talking to the Mirror, Vicki Hodge, the daughter of baronet Sir John Hodge, was with Bindon on the trip and and claims she knew all about the alleged affair.

She said: "John told me he had sex with Princess Margaret the first time he went to Mustique.

"He always told me about his affairs, but he refused to go into details.

"In those days in Mustique, everyone thought nothing of making love on the beach."

Vicki said the princess was attracted to Bindon because he sttod out from her usual crowd.

She said: "John was tall, broad, with an air of menace, coupled with a boyish charisma that rendered him irresistible.

"The princess loved his cockney accent, his rhyming slang and dirty jokes."

The gangster was apparently proud of his manhood and often did party tricks with it, and Vicky claimed mischievous Margaret asked to see it on the beach.

The guests were enjoying lobster, champagne and caviar when Margaet’s close friend Lord Glenconner asked him to reveal his assets.

"He turned to John and said: 'Ma'am knows about your advantage in life and would really like to see it," Vicki said.

He jumped up and was followed by Margaret and a lady-in-waiting, she added, and she examined it “like a fossil".

Margaret always denied any affair with the gangster but numerous reports, including in Craig Brown's recent biography of the princess, claim there was an affair.

Born in Fulham in 1943, Bindon was the son of a London cab driver and spent time in prison fro petty crime as a teen.

He moved into movies after director Ken Loach spotted him in a pub and offered him a role in his 1967 film Poor Cow.


He also appeared in Performance opposite Mick Jagger and in Get Carter with Michael Caine.

But offscreen he was alleged to deal in drugs and have connections with the Kray twins.

He was invited for a three week break in Margaret’s hideaway in Mustique in 1970.

Bindon recalled later: “My accent and Cockney phrases foxed her sometimes. We talked about acting, films and showbiz. I think she liked me because I nattered away quite happily.”

A few years later, however, Bindon was on trial for murder after allegedly killing London gangster John Darke outside a Putney pub in 1978.

 

He fled to Dublin but returned a year later to stand trial at the Old Bailey, where he was acquitted.

Margaret went on to start a well-publicized romance with Roddy Llewellyn, who was 17 years her junior.

Bindon's film career collapsed and he lived as a recluse in London until his death from an Aids-related illness in 1993.

A recent documentary on BBC1 revealed Margaret's life with a bisexual husband and boozy parties every night.

 

 

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People think Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Christmas card reveals a huge ‘bald patch’ and ‘massive feet’

Some praised the “romantic” black and white wedding shot while others thought it showed the Royal couple “turning their backs on the public” and Samantha Markle claimed it was a slight to her family.

But there was something else eagle-eyed fans spotted about the moody shot – Prince Harry’s hair.

Or rather lack of it.

One Twitter user tweeted: “Is Prince Harry going bald? #justasking.”

Another said: “I caught this photo at a certain angle and Harry looked bald on top – straight up George Costanza. Now I can't unsee it.”

A third added: “Seriously. The top of Harry’s head looks like it was a bald man they photoshopped a little hair onto.”

On Mumsnet, one user wrote: “Does he have a bald patch or is it the lighting/filter?”

A hair specialist recently revealed that Harry’s bald patch had DOUBLED in a year.

But others were worried about other aspects of the picture – including Harry’s feet and legs.

One wrote: “All I noticed was his big feet! Is he particularly tall?”

Another wrote:  “Long bendy weird leg alert! But still nothing compared to this, officially the most awkward Christmas photo ever chosen for a card.”

A third said:  “It's a really, really ugly image. Everything looks weird and out of proportion. Horrible.”

In November, Dr Asim Shalmalak from Manchester’s Crown Clinic, said Meghan could be to blame for Harry’s growing bald patch.

He said men who were content in their relationships take less care to hide their thinning hair.

Dr Shalmalak commented: “There has been a significant acceleration of his baldness in the last year and Harry is now losing his hair as rapidly as his brother William.

 

“The last year has been wonderful for Harry. While marital happiness does not bring about any hormonal changes which would affect hair loss, research shows that men in settled relationships tend to do less to disguise their baldness.

“It reflects nature and the need to find a partner. Once that goal is achieved there is slightly less incentive to cover up hair loss.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared their photo on the same day as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

In stark contrast to the stylist black and white shot, however, Kate and William shared a cosy family snap of themselves and their three children relaxing in the woods.

And it proved the thrifty couple's love of hand-me-downs.

It has been revealed that the couple will now celebrate Christmas at Amner Hall without Meghan and Harry, after the newlyweds turned down an invitation.

Source: Read Full Article

Last-Minute New Year's Eve Dresses You Can Get Just Before the Ball Drops

Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Dresses You Can Get Just Before the Ball Drops

Realizing just now that you haven’t figured out what you’re wearing for New Year’s Eve? You could wear something you already own, or you could see what kind of embellished, show-stopping minis and maxis you can get delivered before the ball drops on December 31st. To make it easy for you, we rounded up our top picks, so all you have to do is shop.

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Dyson Airwrap Boxing Day deals: the best discounts on Dyson's Airwrap hair styler

 

  • Dyson Airwrap, from £399 at Selfridges – buy here
  • Dyson Airwrap, from £399 from Boots – buy here
  • Dyson Airwrap, from £399 from John Lewis – buy here

People havn't been deterred by the price tag: the Airwrap has been flying off the shelves and Boots actually had to close its original wait list for the styler.

There is a chance that the £399-450 price tag may be shaken up on December 26th when Boxing Day 2018 rolls around.

Still unsure? We compared it to cheaper stylers in our comprehensive review and the Airwrap came out on top everytime – check out the pics here.

Or, invest in the tech brand's Supersonic hairdryer instead – we've got the best Boxing Day deals here.

What makes the Dyson Airwrap different?

Just like the Dyson Supersonic hairdryer (read our review here), the Air Wrap promises to style your hair while inflicting less damage than ordinary hot irons.

What's more, while it may look like your average curling tong, it's not called an Air Wrap for nothing – these babies actually suck the hair around the barrel for you. No more burnt fingers!

The Dyson Airwrap also comes with a series of attachments: both a 40mm and 30mm Airwrap™ barrels  with clockwise and anti-clockwise barrels for symmetrical curl, a firm smoothing brush with fixed bristles to tame frizz and straighten, plus a dryer to remove excess water and prep damp hair for styling.

There are also three types of the tool, each one catering to different types of hair: frizzy unruly, limp and flat or all-rounders.

Fabulous' own JENNY FRANCIS pitted the Dyson Airwrap against individual styling tools in a series of tasks and named a winning and losing gadget in each showdown.

The verdict?

“As much as I don’t want to admit it of a product with a £450 price tag, I think it’s an absolute wonder-tool.”

Read the full review and see the pictures of her hair here.

Where will I find Dyson Air Wrap Styler deals?

  • Buy it at Boots: the retailer slashed prices on many popular electricals for Boxing Day 2017 so we're expecting much of the same this year.
  • Buy it at John Lewis: you'll find some of the best warranty offers here and possible promotional codes across electronics departments.
  • Buy it at Dyson: you can expect to find discounts across the site come November 23r
  • Another stockist of the Dyson Airwrap, Selfridges' winter sale often sees prices slashed by around 20 per cent – check out the best deals here.

Our tips for finding the best deals on Boxing Day

PREPARE Research the items you want to buy and find out the cheapest price. Websites like PriceSpy, PriceHistory and CamelCamelCamel will give you historical data on prices so you can see how much you should pay.

GET FOLLOWING Follow your favourite shops on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and sign up to its deals newsletter to get the latest on any offers. We post the best deals in our Sun Money FB group too.

EARN CASHBACK Check websites like Quidco and TopCashback BEFORE you place your order. Cashback websites PAY you to shop. All you have to do is click through their links and the money is added to your online account, usually within 14 days.

CHECK FOR CODES Take a look at The Sun Vouchers, and see if you can get extra savings with discount codes.

New year, new you? December 26th is the best time to update your look – get a heads up on upcoming fashion and footwear sales here, and shop the best Boxing Day 2018 beauty deals here.

Or, new decor…hit refresh come January when furniture and homewares are often half price – these are the best sales to bookmark.

For tech fans, we've rounded up the best tech and gaming deals you can find on Boxing Day.

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The women who bravely confess what it's like regularly wetting themselves in public

For many women having to let a stream of wee flow in the corner of Poundland or sit in a puddle of pee at the local mother and baby music group are all-too familiar scenarios.

While women who have given birth are a third more likely to develop urinary incontinence, the NHS says it can also be caused by taking certain medications, such as some antidepressants, or drinking too much caffeine and alcohol.

Being overweight or obese can also heighten the risk because it can weaken pelvic floor muscles.

Here, Sun Online speaks to four women who bravely confess to wetting themselves in public.

'All around me was a wet puddle'

Former DJ Catrina Davies, 37, gave birth to daughter, Zoe, six months ago. They live in Rhoose, Wales.

Catrina says: "Since I gave birth I've had some real emergencies. I was torn when Zoe came out, and went two months without doing any 'Kegels' or pelvic floor exercises.

Once on a train, I was waiting for the toilet but the person inside couldn’t open the door.

I was doing the hand between the legs – what I call the 'no, no, no!' – dance: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Finally the door opened. My bum hit the loo seat just in time, but I'd lost a few drops down my leg.

Another time I was at a music class with other mums and babies when we got half way through and I desperately needed to go.

But the other mums had their babies so nobody could look after my daughter.

I had to go – all around me was a wet puddle. I cried from embarrassment.

Fortunately the other mums completely understood. In the end we all laughed about it.

Once, I was coming home from doing the shopping. We live on the third floor. I got my baby into our flat first, then went back down for the buggy.

On the way up I needed to pee, but by the time I got in I felt the all too familiar dribble running down my leg.

My jeans were drenched – it was a proper stream of wee.

I drink lots of water but I’m convinced it’s sugary and non-alcoholic drinks that cause it. Even at the pub, while I have a soft drink, I’ll sit near the loo. When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go."

'I went into a corner Poundland and soaked my trousers'

Spanish teacher Vanesa Domene, 37, lives with her partner. They have an eleven-month-old son and live in Colchester

Vanesa says: "I ended up getting torn when I gave birth and stayed in hospital for a week. I had attended pre-natal yoga classes and the importance of pelvic floor exercises was drummed into me.

The midwife said the same afterwards. But because I had stitches it wasn't possible to start them.

For three months I had a big problem with controlling my pee. The last thing I wanted to do was wear an uncomfortable sanitary towel.

Even though I was advised to I ignored it, assuming I could control it myself.

On my first trip into town without the baby I was queuing to pay in Poundland when the need to pee came over me.

The sensation was overwhelming, the queue wasn’t moving and I couldn’t wait any longer.

I went to a corner in the shop and the pee streamed down my leg, soaking my trousers. I couldn't control it mid-flow.

I was so embarrassed, I dropped my basket and ran out of the shop. Fortunately it was raining so I could hide the fact my trousers were wet.

It was the most awful moment of all my life. I’ve never been to that Poundland again.

For the next three months I had no choice but to wear a big lumpy sanitary towel in case I got caught out.

I didn't stop doing the pelvic exercises from that day on. I also did yoga to tighten-up down below."

'I have to insert a vibrator-sized machine inside me'

Marina White, 38, is a full-time mum and lives in West London

Marina says: "The first time I wet myself I got really upset. It also annoyed me because no one talked to me about the fact this this can happen after you give birth.

The birth was fine and I didn’t tear. But I should have been told that unlike your tummy muscles the vaginal floor doesn’t just ping back into shape either.

I look after my body and keep trim but there are so many things I can’t do in case I wet myself.

If I jump while using a skipping rope it happens. It’s the same if I sneeze – it happens. Likewise if I cough – the wet sensation in my knickers takes over.

Once I was at the gym wearing light-coloured leggings and I wet myself. I was mortified. I had to do the walk of shame home with a wet patch around my privates.

I didn’t have a jumper or top to cover it either. I only had the leggings, trainers and a crop top on.

I just made sure I got home quickly and prayed no one saw me – it was obvious what had happened.

Then another time I was wearing a dress and it just leaked out. I couldn’t sit down all day. I was terrified that a damp patch would stain my dress.

I have found some Kegel exercises on YouTube to help me strengthen my vagina muscles. I’ve been really disciplined about doing them and it does help.

I've also bought a pelvic toner. You insert the vibrator-size machine into the vagina and squeeze on it.

It gives feedback on whether you are doing it properly – I am determined to control this."

HOW CAN YOU EXERCISE YOUR PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES?

The pelvic floor muscles are located between your legs, and run from the pubic bone at the front to the base of your spine.

They are shaped like a sling and hold all your pelvic organs in place.

In a woman, that includes the womb, vagina, bowel and bladder.

As a result, the muscles play a key role in your need to pee – giving you control over when you urinate.

As a person ages their pelvic floor muscles naturally weaken, and women who have had kids are more likely to have weaker pelvic floors as a result of childbirth.

The weaker your pelvic floor the greater your risk of incontinence and the worse your sex life is likely to be.

To strengthen your pelvic floor, it is important to workout the muscles each day.

You can feel your pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop the flow of urine when you pee.

To strengthen your muscles, experts recommend:

– Sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10 to 15 times in a row

– Do not hold your breath or tighten your stomach, buttock or thigh muscles at the same time

– Once you are used to the exercise, try holding each squeeze for a few seconds

– Each week add more squeezes to your daily routine

– Within a few months you should notice results, enjoying greater sensitivity during sex

'I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy'

Cleaner Bridgette McDermott, 34, has three children aged 14, 12 and 13 months. They live with her partner in Coleville, Leicestershire

Bridgette says: "I’ve had no bladder control for the last 12 years and it has made my life hell. Even when I’ve been to the loo and I’ve properly finished, I’ll still get wee dribbling out.

I started wetting myself after I had my second child. I suffered a prolapsed womb and had surgery to sort it out, but the pain afterwards was horrendous.

If I'd have known what was going to happen I wouldn't have gone through with it. The only positive was getting a tighter 'designer vagina' at the same time.

After the op I was given pelvic floor exercises but with two young kids it was hard to remember to keep them up.

Two years later, things began to loosen up down below. If I coughed or sneezed I’d dribble.

After giving birth for the third time the urge to go is constant – it means I have to live my life very differently. If I go trampolining with the kids I always wear a sanitary towel.

Skipping and jumping are out of the question too.

I can go to the loo and have a wee but even when I don’t feel the need to go it keeps trickling out: I'm going to see my GP again.

I end up with wet knickers so often that I have resorted to carrying a spare pair with me.

When I go to bed with my partner I wear large comfy undies in case I have an accident.

It’s embarrassing – I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy."

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England cricket legend Freddie Flintoff chats celebrity mates, injuries and becoming the new host of Top Gear

I’ve had professional shaves a couple of times and always felt vulnerable to be honest. Having a stranger with a blade so close, it’s not right really!

You retired from cricket at 31. Do you play for fun?

I play the odd charity game, but I can’t do what I used to and that’s frustrating.  I’m having my shoulder stitched back together (he injured it in 2003) and my knee’s hanging off (he suffered a torn meniscus in 2009). My boys [Corey, 12, and Rocky, 10, with wife Rachael] play.

Is your daughter Holly, 14, interested?

She has to be! She’s all right, but she’s not that interested.

The boys are doing OK. They’re young and they have enough pressure on them without talking them up.

Congratulations on landing your dream job presenting Top Gear!

Yeah it’s all right, isn’t it? I’m a big fan of cars and I enjoy driving. My first dream job was to be a cricketer and I did that.

It’s not very often you get the chance to have two dream jobs. I’m over the moon.

You’ve been doing A League Of Their Own since it began in 2010. Is it as fun as it looks?

Work is one of the things I’ve been so lucky with. I worked at the record counter at Woolworths and I enjoyed that as well, but other than that, I’ve never really had a job. I played cricket and I’ve done some TV.

Why does James Corden still host the show when he’s been so successful in America?

It’s fun to do, it’s successful, and James will be the first to admit you don’t walk away from your hits.

Jack Whitehall left the show earlier this year – are you missing him?

Yeah, I was texting him the other day and it’s amazing to see what’s happened with Jack. He’s a good lad and he’s worked so hard.

I remember when he came on the show as a spotty kid and now he’s doing movies like The Nutcracker And The Four Realms.

Probably out of all of us, Jack is the one who’ll be massive. And I say that with a certain amount of pride.

Who’s the most fun on a night out?

I’m not any more, I don’t drink [Freddie became teetotal in 2014]. I used to look after Jack. Jamie [Redknapp] is good fun.

They’re all good lads. Romesh [Ranganathan, who replaced Jack in February] has been a brilliant addition.

He’s a bit older, he’s had a bit of life experience, he’s funny and is killing it everywhere.

BTW

  • Freddie has been caught speeding “a couple of times”.
  • He’s been asked to do Strictly but says he has no ambition to be judged on his dancing!
  • These days he’s tucked up in bed by 10pm with a box set.

You won the Australian version of I’m A Celebrity! in 2015. How was that?

I look back at it with quite fond memories. It was so easy it was untrue! I just sat and chilled out for a month.

I probably slept for 12 hours a night even though I wasn’t quite sure what time it was. I lost 10kg, which is always welcome.

There are very few times in your life when you get to do absolutely nothing, so I took it.

  • Freddie’s Flintoff by Jacamo A/W ’18 range is out now (Jacamo.co.uk).

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Put a ring on it – add some bling to your Xmas lunch with these festive napkin rings

Really, it just helps us feel fancy. But, as you can reuse them time and time again, they do make you more of a green goddess too!

You can’t beat a bit of metallic tableware come Xmas, but try rattan or mother of pearl if you fancy something a little different.

And if your family gathering is small, the swans may just float your boat because they are a little pricier. Whereas if you’re hosting 20 folks, they may not be the wisest choice.

We love the mini wreath ones, complete with name tags, from Lakeland, as you get a set of four and they’ll handily work as place markers too.

But whatever you choose, just put a ring on it – Beyonce would approve!

From top, L-R:

  • Copper, £10 for four, John Lewis & Partners – buy now
  • Napkin, £30 for four, Padlifestyle.com – buy now
  • Wreath, £4.99 for four, Lakeland – buy now
  • Rattan, £9 for six, Neptune.com – buy now
  • Animal print, £17.99 for four, Zara Home – buy now
  • Geo shapes, £10 for four, John Lewis & Partners – buy now
  • Swan, £11.99 for two, Zara Home – buy now
  • Fruit, from £9 for four, Rowen & Wren at Notonthehighstreet.com – buy now
  • Crystal leaf, £6.99 for six, Amazon.co.uk – buy now
  • Pearl, £24 for four, Kalinko.com – buy now

Stockists: John Lewis & Partners (Johnlewis.com), Lakeland (Lakeland.co.uk), Zara Home (Zarahome.com)

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Our fashion team show you four ways to wow friends and family on Christmas Day with top high street style picks

We have put together their selection of outfits to help you freshen up your wardrobe this winter.

Tracey Lea Sayer, 47, Fashion Director

"I love Christmas Day! I have the whole family over to me for dinner and spend the day topping up everyone's drinks and prepping roast potatoes.

"I usually just wear old comfy clothes but this year with my love of dressing up re-instated due to my Instagram account, I will still be be able to eat my way through the day in loose fitting elastic waist pants but this year they will be silky, sassy, sexy and oh so seasonal!"

  • Top, £89 from Ghost — buy now
  • Trousers, £89 from Ghost — buy now
  • Boots, £42 from Topshop — buy now
  • Bag, £29.99 from Zara

Lynne Mckenna, 39, Fashion Editor

"I am beyond excited about Christmas, I can't wait to open the fizz, watch my family unwrap their pressies, play games, drink cocktails and toast us all being back together.

"This year I am channelling my inner Margot from the Good Life in this wonderfully flowing, elegant dress by No.1 Jenny Packham from Debenhams, this designer dress without the price tag makes me feel unbelievably fancy and with it's wrap around, tie side detail I can eat until my hearts content."

  • Dress, £159 from Jenny Packham at Debenhams — buy now
  • Shoes, £39 from Topshop
  • Earrings, £27.99 from Pilgrim — buy now

Nana Acheampong, 32, Shopping Editor and Celebrity Stylist

"My go to for Christmas will always involve sequins, whether it be a jumper top or in this case a dress.

"I love to dress up on Christmas day and make a real effort and this statement dress will definitely enable me to do that.

"The all over gold sequins, bell sleeve detail and front slit make this my perfect dress for Christmas.

"The dress is also loose enough to eat as much I want on the day and still feel comfortable!"

  • Dress, £150 from ASOS
  • Shoes, £72 from Office — buy now
  • Bag, £25 from V by Very — buy now
  • Earrings, £10 from River Island

Daisy Jordan, 27, Fashion Assistant

"I might spend the day drinking prosecco and eating my bodyweight in roast dinner, but I LOVE dressing up on Christmas day.

"Bright colours and luxe fabrics are my go-to, with matchy-matchy accessories and of course – a glass of fizz!

"Pink isn’t your standard festive shade, but this dress is totally me.

"The frills add shape to the frock, while the diamante belt is a cute addition."

  • Dress, £39 from Topshop — buy now
  • Bag, £25 from Topshop — buy now
  • Shoes, £35 from Collection at M&S — buy now
  • Earrings, £10 from River Island
  • Hair: Dino Pereira using ORIGINS
  • Make Up: Bethan Owens using MAC
  • Stylist's Assistants: Corrine Corrodus and Isabel Bettany

Stockists: Asos Asos.com, Debenhams Debenhams.com, Ghost Ghost.co.uk, Marks and Spencer Marksandspencer.com, Office Office.co.uk, Pilgrim Pilgrim.net, River Island Riverisland.com, Topshop Topshop.com, Very Very.co.uk.

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An ‘Ancestral Memory’ Inscribed in Skin

The look

In Alaska and other areas of the circumpolar north, women have been working in the last decade to revitalize a tattooing tradition.

Photographs and Text by Ash Adams

Produced by Eve Lyons

Grete Chythlook dreamed of the tattoo before she had ever seen one in person: a few fine lines drawn from the bottom lip down to the tip of the chin.

“I didn’t know anybody who had a chin tattoo,” she said, “whether Inuit, Gwich’in or any other group.” So when a friend asked her to accompany her to a tattooing session, and the design matched her vision, she sensed that something special was happening.

“Being in the room with her while she was getting these marks was so powerful, I couldn’t process it,” Ms. Chythlook said. “I came home and I told my husband, ‘This is a part of me. This is real. This is something I can’t deny anymore.’”

These line tattoos speak to a practice that dates back at least 10,000 years and is now being revitalized by Alaska Native women who want to reconnect with the traditions of their ancestors.

“This is something our people had done for thousands of years, and then all of a sudden, it’s just gone,” said Ms. Chythlook, who is Gwich’in. In light of that history, she considers her dreams of the tattoos “an ancestral memory, something telling me that this is where I was meant to be.”

These tattoos were traditionally inscribed on women’s skin by women’s hands to commemorate various achievements and points in a woman’s life, such as one’s first menstrual period, the mastery of a new skill and childbirth.

But as Western colonization swept Alaska in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the establishment of boarding schools where indigenous languages would not be spoken, many Alaska Natives were prohibited from practicing the rituals that had bound them to one another. Tattooing was one of those traditions.

In the last decade, women in Alaska and other areas of the circumpolar north have been working to revitalize the tattooing tradition. For them it is a response to the long-ago efforts to wipe out cultural practices and entire populations of people, and a celebration of cultural resilience.

Holly Nordlum has been a voice at the forefront of the movement to revive this practice. Inspired by her great-grandmother, the last woman in her family to have the traditional tattoos, she applied for a Polar Lab grant through the Anchorage Museum in 2015, and with the help of the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center developed a program designed to educate women and the public about the art of traditional Inuit tattooing.

Ms. Nordlum uses a traditional hand-poke method in her tattooing sessions, which take place in homes all around Alaska. One of the things she likes best about her work is its visibility. As someone who was often teased by peers for her lighter complexion, Ms. Nordlum sees her tattoos as a counter to the whitewashing of native life.

“We all come from white dads,” she said. “We are all a product of that.” The tattoos, she said, are a rearticulation of native heritage, and in borrowing stylistic elements from various Inuit cultures, the practice of tattooing has created a more visible indigenous sisterhood.

Historically, the tattoos were applied using bone, sinew and soot or gunpowder. These days the tattoos are applied with bamboo, thread and black ink on a massage table, sometimes with the soft hum of streaming music in the background.

Some women cite academic and professional accomplishments, like graduating from college, as occasion for getting their tattoos, while others say that making their Alaska Native heritage visible — so as not to “pass” as white or nonnative — motivated their decision.

“I was never ashamed of who I was or where I was from,” said Ms. Chythlook, who had her chin tattooed by Sarah Whalen-Lunn, an artist. “And that was a big one for me — choosing not to pass — and making sure that when I walk into a room not only do people know who I am, but they know how I think, what I feel, because this says more than just, ‘Oh, she’s native.’”

In fact, for many of these women, the markings are a reminder to speak their native languages and claim other aspects of their ancestry with pride. They, like Ms. Nordlum, believe that the connection between their markings and Alaska Native heritage must be made explicit to safeguard their culture against appropriation.

“These tattoos were a marker in a woman’s life, a way to celebrate a woman’s life, and when you dilute it and just anyone can get a traditional tattoo, those things aren’t celebrated and they aren’t important,” Ms. Nordlum said, “and I think that’s really detrimental to healing. So, when we do the tattoos, we talk a lot about the people’s stories, their stories and their colonization — even though they wouldn’t call it that, it’s just their lives and their hardships — but we’re all a product of colonization.”

“We can cite those things and teach them so that they don’t feel like it was them or their family’s fault,” she added. “And that can be very healing and very emotional.”

As face tattoos have captured the imagination of body-art enthusiasts in recent years, these Alaska Native women hope that these traditional styles can remain their own.

“I really believe that there is so little that is sacred to us, that we should hold this and hold it tight, and we should not give it away,” Ms. Nordlum said. “And we should fight to keep it our own.”

Ash Adams is a photographer in Anchorage.

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