Savvy shopper bags £290-worth of wood flooring for £70

Bargain-hunter bags £290 of wood flooring for £70 by snapping up planks from open packets – and is delighted with the ‘beautiful’ mismatched result

  • Ellen Humphries, 56, from Glasgow, told how she bagged wood flooring for £70 
  • Revealed trick is to go into store and ask for opened packets in different shades 
  • Ellen added as long as it’s all from the same manufacturer they will all fit together

An ingenious bargain-hunter has revealed a clever way to bag wooden flooring for less. 

Ellen Humphries, 56, from Glasgow, wanted to redo her dining room and kitchen floors, but buying new packets of wood in one shade would have cost £290.  

So the thrifty homeowner asked the shop’s manager if they had open packets in the back that she could choose from, and ended up getting 18 square metres of wood flooring for just £70. 

‘I need to find as much as I can on sale or come up with ways to afford what I want and need,’ the retired mum-of-one said, speaking to money-saving community 

‘To buy this floor from any walk-in shop would have been £290. I didn’t have this. So, I was thinking outside the box.’

Ellen Humphries, 56, from Glasgow, has told how money was tight, so she thought up a clever plan to bag wood flooring on the cheap. Pictured, the new flooring in the homeowner’s kitchen

The thrifty homeowner asked the shop’s manager if they had open packets of wood flooring in the back that she could choose from. Pictured, the finished result

A chuffed Ellen (pictured) told how she ended up bagging 18 square metres of different coloured wood flooring for just £70, whereas purchasing new packets of wood in one shade would have cost £290

Savvy Ellen went on to explain how she began to wonder whether shops had any open packets with scratches or dents.  

‘I realised the shop would not have enough of the same colour, so I thought I would ask for different shades of the same wood,’ she explained. ‘I told my family and friends, but they didn’t think it was a good idea.’

‘I then had a word with the joiner that was going to fit it. He just said: “It’s vital that it is all the same manufacturer as the click system would need to be the same”.’

Ellen headed off to her local shop, not entirely convinced whether a big company would do it for her.  

‘I asked the manager whether I could have a look in his stock room,’ she continued. ‘We found more than I needed in pallets that were open or broken, so we made up 18 square metres.’

‘I told the joiner to make sure he picked up a different board from the one before and use all the cutoffs too. I even had enough left to do the risers on my stairs.’

A delighted Ellen shared snaps of her new dining room and kitchen floors to Facebook, and they quickly racked up over 3, 000 likes (pictured)

Ellen told how she had to ensure the wooden flooring was from the same manufacturer as the click system would need to be the same. Pictured, the finished result

Offering advice to others, Ellen says the most important thing is to make sure you buy from the same manufacturers so all the bits of wood fit together properly. 

‘Go around different shops asking about broken packets, but they must be the same manufacturers,’ she advised. 

‘Think outside the box and ask for older stock. And remember, free samples of carpet can do smaller spaces. I haven’t done it, but you can also carpet your stairs with free carpet samples.’ 

Tom Church, co-founder of, commented: ‘Wooden flooring is a luxurious part of any home, but finding the wood can be an expensive process. 

‘Ellen’s tips are fantastic: all you need to do is find a friendly manager who will let you rummage in the back room of the shop and you can install wood flooring in your house for a fraction of the cost’ It goes to show that haggling still works on the High Street and it’s worth a shot.’

Ellen, who transformed her floor on the cheap (pictured), also told how anyone could do the same in smaller spaces with free samples of carpet instead

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Your weekend in Melbourne February 29 to March 1


Composer and conductor Joe Hisaishi.

CLASSICAL The music behind cult Japanese animated films Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and others from director Hayao Miyazaki will be performed live by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Music from the Studio Ghibli Films. Composer Joe Hisaishi leads the evening in front of montages from the films, supported by a children’s choir and marching band. Sunday, 7.30pm, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, city, $80-$187,
1300 182 183,

Former resistance fighters in the band Maubere Timor.Credit:Nick Miller

CULTURAL Indigenous music troupe Maubere Timor sings stories of the fight for East Timor’s independence. Made up of former members of the East Timorese resistance, the band combines traditional island sounds with modern musical influences. Saturday, 8.45pm, Spotted Mallard, 314 Sydney Road, Brunswick, $25,  9380 8818,

Guitarist Slava Grigoryan.

CLASSICAL  Be transported to the Sicilian countryside with an afternoon of classical guitar by the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra (MCO), kicking off the 2020 season with Italian Guitar. The MCO is joined by guitarist Slava Grigoryan to perform the works of Giuliani, Verdi, Handel and Vivaldi. Sunday, 2.30pm, Melbourne Recital Centre, corner of Sturt Street and Southbank Boulevard, Southbank, $57-$137, 9699 3333,

POP Former Spandau Ballet lead singer Tony Hadley returns to perform his latest solo album, Talking to the Moon. Expect to hear hits from his former band such as True and Gold as well as new singles including What Am I, a reflection on Hadley’s decision to leave Spandau Ballet. Saturday, 7pm, Forum Melbourne, corner of Flinders and Russell streets, city, $90, 1300 111 011,


Black Ties at the Arts Centre for Asia TOPA festival.Credit:Garth Oriander

COMEDY When Maori corporate high-roller Hera meets Aboriginal consultancy entrepreneur Kane, it’s love at first sight. Less simple is planning a wedding with their two families. Black Ties is a comedy from ILBIJERRI Theatre Company and Te Rēhia Theatre and is performed as part of Asia TOPA. Saturday, 1pm and 7pm, the Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, city, $30-$65, 1300 182 183,

Last Words explores the vulnerability of memory.Credit:

PLAY A collaboration between the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Last Words asks ‘‘What remains when memory is lost?’’ The play explores the vulnerability of memory, based around co-devisor and director Joseph Sherman’s experience watching his parents develop Alzheimer’s. Spoken in English, Russian and Yiddish, Last Words follows Sherman’s parents’ life pre-and-post WWII in the Soviet Union and St Kilda in the 1970s. Sunday, 2pm and 6.30pm, Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre, 7 Selwyn Street, Elsternwick, $25-$45,  9923 7465,

A O Lang Pho, a Vietnamese “bamboo circus” performance, is part of the Asia TOPA festival.Credit:Nguyen The Duong

CIRCUS Witness dizzying acrobatic feats with A O Lang Pho, a bamboo circus combining contemporary dance, theatre and stunts to build an expanding metropolis. Translating as ‘‘from village to city’’, the show is directed by former Cirque du Soleil choreographer Tuan Le and is performed to a live score of traditional Vietnamese music.Saturday, 2pm and 7pm, State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, city, $30-$106, 1300 182 183,


MARKET The Tallarook Farmers’ Market is the only accredited market in the Mitchell Shire and features produce from farmers in the Goulburn Valley. Pick up tomatoes and tomatillos from Somerset Heritage Produce, stock up on beef sausages from Chantlan Livestock and Produce, or try some Heathcote-grown wine by Peregrine Ridge.  Sunday, 9am-1pm, CWA Park, Railway Place, Tallarook, free entry,

TALK Cyber Electric is an annual play-reading series that sees actors present works-in-progress alongside directors and editors. This year’s works tackle themes of relationships, identity, family and ethics. Saturday, 4pm and 7.30pm, Southbank Theatre, corner of Southbank Boulevard and Dodds Street, Southbank, $8,  8688 0800,

FESTIVAL Pop-up market Sustainable Living Festival features eco-friendly products from small and local businesses. Learn about local community groups and NGOs, or wander through a tiny house. Saturday, 6am-4pm, Sunday, 9am-4pm, Queen Victoria Market, corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, North Melbourne, free entry, 9320 5822,

FESTIVAL Headlined by local electronic dance band Art vs. Science, BeerFest returns for an afternoon of small-batch craft brews, ciders and boutique spirits from more than 65 local vendors. There will be food trucks serving up dishes designed to pair with beer and live comedy from Aussie favourites such as Luke McGregor and Lewis Garham. Saturday, 1pm-8pm, Catani Gardens, St Kilda, $15-50,

Celebrity chef Elizabeth Chong.Credit:Justin McManus

FOOD Prominent Australian figures are transported back to pivotal moments in their lives at Double Delicious. Guests including writer Benjamin Law, chef Elizabeth Chong and performer Raghav Handa prepare the dishes that have been significant in their lives as they combine storytelling and cooking. Saturday, 5.30pm and 8.30pm, Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford, $65-85, 9415 3600,

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Cookbook author Alison Roman makes mistakes – and brilliant food


Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman

Alison Roman.

Alison Roman is super cute, and not supermodel slim, and wears high-waisted jeans. I would love her for these details alone, but she’s also funny, telegenic and a beautiful cook. I’m transfixed by her food column in The New York Times and Good Food magazine, her YouTube videos, and her two cookbooks (Dining In and Nothing Fancy) in which she creates bright, simple dishes in her tiny Brooklyn kitchen with 45 pepper mills, no dishwasher and a terrifyingly full fridge.

“Oh god,” she shouts on her chocolate chunk shortbread cookie video, squatting in front of her fridge. “Don’t look in there, f…! Get out of there!” Not only does she swear – extremely unusual in US cooking videos, even woke ones shot in Brooklyn – but her fridge looks exactly like my fridge: packed solid with naked vegetables and teetering piles of containers and half-empty bottles lying sideways.

Being “relatable” may be the new black, but I find most people’s attempts to be as chaotic and useless as I am in my daily life (especially my daily cooking life) deeply annoying. Not so Roman.

I know she takes ages to peel an onion or a garlic clove, because I’ve seen her do it; I’ve seen her accidentally tip all the tomato cores into her chilli oil fish dish; I’ve seen her put a piece of far-too-big rigatoni in her mouth. I have done all these things too, and seeing her do them makes me feel good.

Thanks to her, I’ve also cooked a perfect ricotta dumpling in 11 minutes, learnt the term for those caramelised brown bits at the bottom of the pan – “fond”, if you’re interested – and joined her in the quest to rid the world of cauliflower leaves in pasta. “I don’t like the way [they] look in the sauce,” she confesses. “It’s a shallow choice, and I’m making it.” I’m with you, Alison.

To read more from Good Weekend magazine, visit our page at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times.

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Making it affordable

Rationalising stamp duty and increasing FSI can boost State revenues and also help the realty sector. By R.P. Deshpande

On the eve of presentation of the State Budget by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa (on March 5), stakeholders and experts met him and gave suggestions related to the real estate sector in Karnataka.

Presently there is a uniform stamp duty of 5% on immovable property sales/transfers in the State. It is recommended to rationalise the stamp duty, based on the cost of property, with a view to increase the revenue from stamp duty and providing significant relief to EWS, LIG and lower strata of MIG who are desirous of buying their dream homes. The stamp duty recommended for property worth less than ₹50 lakh is 4%; ₹50 lakh-₹100 lakh, 5%; above ₹100 lakh, 6%

Economics of revenue collection in Bengaluru

At present rate of 5% stamp duty, for 100 properties of average cost of ₹50 lakh, the revenue collection is ₹250 lakh at recommended stamp duty rates.

Assumptions: average cost of 60% properties is ₹30 lakh; cost of 30% properties, ₹75 lakh; average cost of 10% properties, ₹150 lakh.

For property cost of ₹30 lakh at stamp duty rate of 4% and number of properties being 60, the revenue collection is ₹72 lakh; for property worth ₹75 lakh, stamp duty of 5% and number being 30, the revenue is ₹112.5 lakh; and for those costing ₹150 lakh and stamp duty of 6% and number of units being 10, the revenue is ₹90 lakh. The total is ₹274.5 lakh. This is slightly higher than the stamp duty collection, as per present system. Once stamp duty is rationalised as suggested, it is most likely that the number of registrations will increase, leading to higher revenue collections.

On a socialistic approach, it is necessary to subsidise the poor and levy a slightly higher stamp duty on the rich. Increasing stamp duty on all commercial properties to 6% will certainly increase the revenue collection.

If implemented, this measure will give the required fillip to the national objective of ‘Housing for all by 2022’ and encourage the ‘affordable housing’ sector.

Increasing FSI in CBD areas

At present, depending on the width of approach road and other parameters, FSI (Floor Space Index) or FAR (Floor Area Ratio) is fixed between 1.75 and 3.25. In most of the areas, the applicable FSI is 1.75 or 2.25.

Due to astronomical increase in land costs, especially in CBD areas, violating the approved plan and constructing more built-up area has become the order of the day, which has led to congestion, putting heavy pressure on civic agencies in providing basic amenities to the residents and it has also encouraged rampant corruption in the system.

In CBD areas with the present FSI norms, a builder cannot make a viable project at all. For example, the market price of an apartment in Basavanagudi is around 10,000 per sft., where land price is around Rs. 20,000 per sft. Say on a plot of 10,000 sft, FSI allowed is 1.75% and hence as per approved plan, builder can construct 17,500 sft. The input costs are as follows:

At a land cost of ₹2,000 lakh, construction cost of built-up area at 2,000 per sft being ₹350.0 lakh, and administrative cost at ₹500 per sft being ₹87.5 lakh, the total is ₹2,437.5 lakh.

At the market sale price of ₹10,000 per sft., the realisation from sale of 17,500 sft is ₹ 1,750 lakh. Thus, if the builder constructs as per approved plan, he stands to lose ₹687.5 lakh.

To make the project viable, builders are constrained to violate the approved plan and increase the area of construction from 17,500 sft to 30,000 to 40,000 sft, thus achieving FSI of 3 to 4. On an average, majority of small builders go for 35,000 sft. Then the input costs and realisation of sales workout as follows:

At land cost of ₹2,000 lakh; construction cost at ₹2,000 per sft working out to ₹700 lakh; and administrative costs at ₹500 per sft coming to ₹175 lakh, the total is ₹2,875 lakh.

Revised realisation

By selling at the same price of ₹10,000 per sft, sales realisation on 35,000 sft is ₹3,500 lakh and gross profit is ₹625 lakh. It is estimated that to manage the violations, a whopping ₹100 lakh is spent! When this kind of development has become almost order of the day and almost all apartments are built using FSI of 3.5 to 4 in CBD areas, it is suggested to increase the FSI officially to 3 and allow proper development and wipe out corruption from the system.

The worst worry is for projects coming up on less than 500 sq. mt plot and have up less than 8 units, which are out of the ambit of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016. While medium-size and large projects coming under RERA will have to construct as per approved plans, the violations in smaller projects will certainly make the CBD areas unliveable.

(The author is founder Director of Institute of Home Finance, Bengaluru,and can be contacted at [email protected])

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How Lady Kitty Spencer has channelled Princess Diana at fashion weeks

Following in her aunt’s footsteps! How Lady Kitty Spencer has channelled Princess Diana’s classic looks throughout fashion month – from classic separates to THAT red dress

  • Lady Kitty Spencer, 29, has attended several fashion events in recent weeks
  • She appeared to channel her aunt, Princess Diana, on several occasions
  • Lady Kitty mirrored the late princess’s love of classic separates and block colour 

As Princess Diana’s niece, Lady Kitty Spencer doesn’t have to look far for dazzling fashion inspiration. 

And it appears the society beauty has taken inspiration from the late princess’s style archives when planning her recent outfits. 

D&G model Lady Kitty, 29, has worn a string of ensembles that channel Diana as she’s jetted between Paris, London and Milan for fashion week events. 

D&G model Lady Kitty, 29, has worn a string of ensembles that channel Diana as she’s jetted between Paris, London and Milan for fashion week events. The season kicked off last month with Paris Fashion Week, where Lady Kitty attended the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 show in an outfit similar to one worn by Diana in New York in 1997, right

The socialite, who is engaged to 61-year-old fashion mogul Michael Lewis, has since jetted off to Marbella to film a campaign celebrating the 50th anniversary of Puerto Banus.

The similarity between Lady Kitty and Princess Diana’s looks was first spotted by Tatler.

The season kicked off last month with Paris Fashion Week, where Lady Kitty attended the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 show. 

The blonde beauty plumped for pared back neutrals for the occasion, teaming a classic cream coloured trouser suit with a flattering white polo neck that proved the perfect contrast. 

Lady Kitty headed off to join the fashion pack in Milan. There she made a statement at two Alberta Ferretti events, including the presentation (left) where she went for a bold all-navy ensemble. Princess Diana wore a tailored navy look to the Royal Albert Hall in 1990, right

Kitty’s most showstopping look was a slinky, floor-length red satin gown, worn to an evening event to celebrate Alberta Ferretti, left. It bore more than a passing similarity to a scarlet gown worn by Princess Diana to the premiere of 1992 film Just Like A Woman at Leicester Square

It was a similar styling approach to that taken by Princess Diana as she arrived at the Carlyle Hotel, New York, in June 1997.

The princess chose a suit in a similar colour, although hers was in a lighten linen fabric to accommodate the summer heat, and wore it over a simple black top.  

After a brief stop off in London to attend a couple of charity events, Lady Kitty headed off to join the fashion pack in Milan. 

There she made a statement at two Alberta Ferretti events, in both instances choosing stunning outfits that mirrored Diana’s wardrobe. 

The glamour continued at Tod’s, with Kitty once again giving a nod to Diana in structured dress with a black and white pleated skirt, left. While the look was less like Diana’s style than Kitty’s others, it still bore a strong resemblance to an outfit worn by the princess in Egypt in 1992

The most showstopping look was a slinky, floor-length red satin gown, worn to an evening event to celebrate the Italian designer. 

It bore more than a passing similarity to a scarlet gown worn by Princess Diana to the premiere of 1992 film Just Like A Woman at Leicester Square. 

The glamour continued at Tod’s, with Kitty once again giving a nod to Diana in structured dress with a black and white pleated skirt.

While the look was less like Diana’s style than Kitty’s others, it still bore a strong resemblance to a jacket and pleated skirt combo worn by the princess in Egypt in 1992.  

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Sundown Festival: Sean Paul and Loyle Carner to headline 2020 extravaganza

Fresh off the back of their mammoth 2019 line-up, which saw the likes of Anne-Marie and Tinie Tempah storming the main stage, acts for this year’s Sundown Festival promise to be the pop extravaganza's biggest year to date.

Heading back to Norfolk Showground in Norwich across three days in September (4th-6th), the bill includes artists from an eclectic mix of musical genres spanning grime, R&B, pop, dance, electronica and more.

Known as one of the world’s biggest party starters, the unstoppable Sean Paul is one of two headliners to be announced.

Master of the musical crossover, the Jamaican singer will perform his best dancehall stapes such as Get Busy, Temperature, Breathe and legendary features including Rockabye, Cheap Thrills, Boasty and many more.

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The other headline act comes in the form of Loyle Carner, the south London native who rose to following the release of his confessional hip hop album Yesterday's Gone.

The award-winning UK rapper-turned-superstar will bring his expert craftsmanship and remarkable lyrical resonance to his main stage slot, not to mention his back catalogue of hits from his two releases, including sophomore album, Not Waving, but Drowning.

And the main stage line-up also features two female powerhouses who have become undoubtedly Britain's biggest breakout stars of the last year.

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Forging her path in the UK pop scene, Raye will treat revellers to hits including You Don’t Know Me, Decline and countless others,

Also joining the main stage line-up will be superstar-in-waiting Becky Hill, whose recent smash Wish You Well has stormed into the charts, ready to go off when Sundown kicks off this September.

Elsewhere on the bill, BBC Sound Of winner Ray BLK will also appear on Sundown’s main stage, dance legend Example will return to the festival, and The Manor and Wilkinson will also bless the Norfolk Showground with their presence, with more names to be announced.

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In addition to a varied main stage schedule, Sundown Festival will continue to provide a haven of genre-defying performances from the very best in drum and bass, house and techno.

Tickets are available here from 8am Friday 28th February. Follow @SundownUK for more info.

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‘Happy’ boy, 15, fatally jumped from school stairs after phone call with friend

A 'wonderful' teenager took his own life by jumping from the third floor banister of his school.

George Brankov had been talking to his friend on the phone in the moments before the tragedy at UTC Media City College in Salford.

As he climbed the stairs in June last year, he told his pals he was 'concerned about a group of friends'. 

"He felt they were pulling away from him. He seemed to take it very personally," police coroner's officer Julieann Hyde said at an inquest into his death at Bolton Coroner's Court on Thursday.

The 15-year-old, from Northern Moor, told his friend the 'only people who claim to love me are my mum, dad, girlfriend and you'.

"He told his friend he was going to do something but his friend thought he wasn't being serious," Ms Hyde told the court.

The inquest heard his friend tried to reassure George on the phone.

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But George then put his mobile on the floor and jumped from the banister.

There was no one else present.

A coroner recorded that George died of suicide.

His friend later told police it wasn't the first time George had said he was going to kill himself.

Teachers had said that earlier in the day George seemed distracted and was using his mobile phone in the classroom.

He did not turn up for his final lesson of the day and an email was sent to members of staff about his absence.

The inquest also heard evidence from a receptionist at the college who said she was sat at her desk when she heard an 'almighty crash'.

She called for an ambulance, while the students were called out of class and away from the scene.

George was rushed to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in a critical condition but he later died on June 3 last year.

His mum Tania Brankov, an office manager, told the court she was on her way to a conference when she got a phone call from George's girlfriend.

She said that he had been round in the morning to drop off a box of chocolates and to walk her to her school.

She said there had been nothing unusual.

Paying tribute to her son, Mrs Brankov said George was 'wonderful, happy, considerate and smart'.

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The court heard that George previously had counselling for anxiety through the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in 2014 and 2016.

He had no further contact with them until 2019.

On May 20, 2019, a few weeks before his death, he went to his GP for an emergency appointment as he was feeling 'quite down'.

His mum Tania Brankov told the court: "A couple of weeks before it happened, he mentioned to his dad that he didn't feel himself."

The inquest heard he had lost his appetite, didn't sleep very well and had lost interest in his sports hobbies.

They booked in an emergency appointment at their GP on May 20 last year.

He told the doctor he had 'thoughts of suicide' and 'thoughts about taking a paracetamol overdose'.

She referred him to CAMHS and he was directed to the newly created rapid response team at Pennine Care Foundation Trust.

The team was set up to give emergency help to children in distress – previously they would have had to go to A&E.

The team, including Kirstie Beasley, a mental health practitioner, visited George at his home the day after.

He told mental health practitioners that he was 'lacking motivation' and was tired.

"He used words like 'angry and sad and said happiness was rare," Ms Beasley told the court.

George told the team he was suffering from 'flashbacks' of a prior trip to Bulgaria when he was 'very unwell' and taken to hospital with his abscess, where his parents were only allowed to visit him for 30 minutes a day.

In May last year, before a GP, he spoke to his parents about having thoughts of suicide, and that he was stockpiling paracetamol.

He said he had thought of other methods, like jumping from a height, but that he was 'fearful of failure' and the 'embarrassment of people seeing him'.

He was also worried it might leave him paralysed, meaning he would be unable to do sports like skiing and playing tennis.

George engaged with the team and 'there was a strong indication he wanted to get help', Ms Hyde told the court.

They did not think taking to George to hospital would be the best option as he was engaging well and had a good relationship with his family.

He did not have antidepressants as that was not considered the best course of action.

George was under the care of the rapid response team until May 23.

The team spoke to CAMHS about discharging him back to their service, which George was happy with.

An allocation meeting to discuss referring him back to CAMHS was arranged, but the team at CAMHS required a form to be filled out by Ms Beasley.

It meant there was a delay in getting George referred.

The day before his death on Sunday, June 2, the family went out for a meal.

Mrs Brankov told the court her son hadn't 'noticeably deteriorated'.

He said he didn't fancy doing any revision for his exams so his mum suggested they 'go home and chill'.

Coroner Stephen Teasdale recorded a conclusion of suicide.

"He was always a polite, keen and considerate young man. He was athletic, he loved skiing and tennis", he said.

"He was sociable and loved his friends but in a way this became a 'weakness' as it was his 'perception that he was losing his social circle'.

The coroner confirmed that George had been 'traumatised' by the trip to Bulgaria.

"He was traumatised by an experience that was out of the control of his parents and him," he said.

Addressing George's mother, Mr Teasdale said: "He was a charming young man, and you received a phone call no parent should have to receive.

"It was a loss to you, but also to the rest of us."

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year.

If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected]

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Christine McGuinness’ boobs erupt from sports bra as she flaunts gym-honed bod

Christine McGuinness has left fans hot under the collar after she shared a busty snap on her official Instagram account.

The 31-year-old, who is married to The Chase's Paddy McGuinness and starred in The Real Housewives of Chesire, shared the sexy snap to her 332,000 followers.

Posing up a storm, Christine flaunted her sensational gym-honed body while donning a white sports bra teamed with pink gym leggings.

Featuring a sheer panel across her cleavage and down the sides, Christine looked as glamorous as ever, as her pink leggings sat high up on her waist.

She finished the look off with a baby pink shiny manicure and her engagement and wedding ring glistening on her finger.

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She sported her signature Barbie blonde locks in a wavy high ponytail while showcasing her pearly white smile.

The Blackpool-born beauty has now launched her own fitness plan for fans to follow in the comfort of their own homes and used the post to promote it.

Writing over the snap, she included her own quote: "All you need is a smile and a sports bra…"

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Taking to the caption, she wrote: "January may have been and gone but it's never too late to chase your health and fitness goals.

"All you need to get started is a smile and a sports bra…

"Click the link in my bio to get my fitness plan and get started."

Her fans rushed to the comment section to gush over her incredible figure.

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One wrote: "Omg I love this… Literary all you need. I did a mega spin class tonight and I feel great for it. You look fab. Body goals."

A second said: "Wow you look amazing so pretty and stunning, so glamorous and looking so tanned."

Another gushed: "Sportswear looks so amazing on you."

A fourth commented: "Oh, what a gorgeous body you have," followed by the love heart emoji.

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Man Utd legend Scholes compares ‘special talent’ Bruno to Cantona and Rooney while he reminds Hargreaves of… Scholes – The Sun

PAUL SCHOLES hopes Bruno Fernandes can become the missing link for Manchester United like Eric Cantona, Wayne Rooney or Dwight York were.

But Owen Hargreaves reckons the Portuguese midfielder reminds him of… Scholes!

The red-headed Old Trafford icon was not short of praise after Bruno helped dismantle 10-man Club Brugge in the Europa League round of 32 in a 5-0 win, with a goal and a second-assist.

Impressed Scholes, 45, said: "He looks a special talent, he looks like he can be a hero with the fans as well.

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I was emotionally abused by my best friend and had nowhere to turn

The word ‘abuse’ carries similar connotations for many people, most of whom likely imagine horrific domestic situations; abuse between lovers, married couples, parents and children.

Up until a few years ago, when I met my former friend Laura*, there’s a good chance I would have said the same thing. However, our friendship would end up isolating me from the rest of my peers – it held me down, made me feel despised and constantly want to lash out.

It started simply enough, on my first day of university.

I was recovering from crippling social anxiety that had gripped me all throughout college and saw university as a fresh start. I didn’t want to be known and scorned as ‘the quiet girl’ anymore. I wanted to find a good group of friends and find myself.

Laura was naturally charismatic and outgoing, with an infectious attitude that made me want to explore a similar side to myself. The first month of our friendship was filled with laughter, self-deprecating jokes and gags at other people’s expense. Looking back, that was one of the very first red flags I missed.

I was still only a teenager, but I knew in my heart that I didn’t want to laugh at other people’s shortcomings. It was gradually alienating me from the rest of our peers, most of whom were met by a cold disposition when trying to speak to our group.

Laura made it clear that they would never be welcome into our circle of friends, leaving me with no one else to rely on.

The second red flag was a subtle transition, as the jokes about my social awkwardness and cringey Tinder dates became increasingly sinister.

I didn’t find her jibes about my acne scarring or breast size funny, either. And even though these conversations centred around me, I felt like an outsider.

Laura told me I was ‘flat’ and that my face was so ‘cratered’ that I’d never be able to find a boyfriend. Each time this occurred, I felt my spirit being ground further down.

But knowing how sensitive she was about her own physical appearance, I never retorted.

Even if I wanted to join in on the ‘banter’ and make fun of her, it was clear that I wasn’t allowed to. Jokes about me were fine; I was conventionally attractive, so I ‘deserved’ them. Gags about Laura were taboo, banned in our circle of friends.

Towards the end of our friendship, I didn’t even want to spend time with her – but I felt like I had to.

I also spent half the time apologising to her – about everything.

If I was late to meet Laura or if I had reasons for not being able to see her, I would receive messages telling me this behaviour was not OK, and that if I wanted to keep being friends with her I’d have to conform to her rules.

Most days I’d sit at home crying until my eyes were red raw, before composing myself, slapping on my makeup and plastering a strained smile across my face. After all, much to my shame, we were the ‘mean girls’ of uni – everyone hated us, who else would bother to take me in?

I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about it; having struggled with friendships all throughout sixth form, I feared I’d be labelled the problem.

Laura’s aim was to make me feel like a liar, to isolate me, to make me feel like I was ‘deserving’ of this treatment; and that’s exactly how I felt

After a while, my boyfriend noticed changes in my personality. My self-confidence had taken a tumble and I would always reject his compliments in light of how I saw myself. He told me that my self-hatred was obvious and that the way my friend treated me wasn’t normal.

With his support, I finally told Laura that she didn’t feel like my friend anymore.

She saw this as a treacherous move and her presence grew increasingly anxiety-inducing; she started posting nasty comments on my Instagram posts and kept texting me about how I’d ‘betrayed’ her. So, I blocked her on every platform.

What followed was a one-sided spin war in an attempt to coerce our peers into joining her side. I was told by multiple people that she ranted on Snapchat about how I was just a ‘bitch’, who used her anxiety as an excuse to be a bad friend.

Laura’s aim was to make me feel like a liar, to isolate me, to make me feel like I was ‘deserving’ of this treatment; and that’s exactly how I felt.

The phrase platonic abuse is rarely spoken, even in today’s culture of openness about mental illness.

Emotional and verbal assault is often tolerated within friendships under the guise of ‘banter’ or a dark sense of humour. But for me, ‘it’s only banter’ became a mantra that I would repeat to myself every night before falling asleep.

Conversations surrounding platonic abuse; whether emotional, verbal or physical, need to be opened up. We know that 48.4 per cent of women, and 48.8 per cent of men will experience emotional abuse in at least one romantic relationship during their lifetime.

It is almost impossible, however, to find statistics on platonic abuse and how this may impact victims during and after these friendships.

The discourse surrounding platonic abuse should also extend to mutual friends. While everyone else in our circle of friends knew it was going on; no one spoke up for me as the victim. This needs to change.

Now, I’m happily blossoming with a new group of friends who do everything in their power to uplift me, and I do the same for them.

I still see Laura around on occasion, but it doesn’t affect me anymore. And despite what happened, I hope that she has found her peace from the situation, too.

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