Kate Middleton dons £15 face mask by Amaia as she unpacks donations at a baby bank in Sheffield

The Duchess of Cambridge revealed how she has been left in tears after hearing the stories of families coping amid the coronavirus pandemic during a visit to a baby bank in Sheffield on Tuesday.

Kate – who sported a £15 reusable cotton floral face mask from London-based label Amaia – spoke of how she went home and wept after visiting a baby bank helping vulnerable families at the start of lockdown.

‘It can get very emotional,’ she said. ‘I remember a couple of the families I met from King’s Lynn and I went home and literally burst into tears, their stories were so moving. The struggles they have gone through, the bravery they have shown…in extraordinary circumstances. Helping their families through extraordinary times. 

The mother-of-three, 38, who cut a stylish figure in an elegant white £1850 dress by Suzannah, was talking on a visit to a Baby Basics UK, to launch a new initiative she has spearheaded, getting 19 major UK retailers and brands to donate more than 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks across the UK.

Baby Banks are a crucial nationwide service, run by volunteers, helping to support some of the most vulnerable families in the UK by providing essentials such as nappies, clothing and bedding. 

Most of those who seek their help come on professional referral from services including health visitors, midwives and social workers.

The banks have proved to be a lifeline for many struggling parents during the coronavirus crisis, but have found their services under increasing pressure, both as a result of demand and because they have been unable to accept second-hand donations on health and safety grounds.

Kate Middleton, 38, put on a stylish display as she arrived for a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics in Sheffield on August 4, 2020

Kate beamed as she met those who volunteer to support some of the most vulnerable families in the UK by providing essentials including nappies and bedding 

The Duchess of Cambridge, who opted for a timeless dress by Suzannah, could be seen lifting boxes as she helped unpack donations at the baby bank

The Duchess of Cambridge, who opted for a timeless dress by Suzannah, could be seen lifting boxes as she helped unpack donations at the baby bank 

During the visit, the mother-of-three spoke to parents about how baby banks have provided them with invaluable support when they have needed it most. Pictured, talking to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen, who got supported by Baby Basics

During the visit, the mother-of-three spoke to parents about how baby banks have provided them with invaluable support when they have needed it most. Pictured, talking to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen, who got supported by Baby Basics

Hearing of this, Kate – who has also previously visited Baby Basics in West Norfolk the start of the crisis – decided to put out feelers for donations from brands and high street retailers.

In all, she has persuaded nineteen brands to donate more than 10,000 items to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities, who operate more than 40 baby banks across the UK.

The Duchess, who paired her ensemble with £531 mock snake skin heels by Tabitha Simmons, which she first donned during the 2011 royal tour of Canada, could also be seen wearing an apron and rubber gloves as she helped to unpack the first donations, which included clothes and toys.

Despite her vertiginous heels, she pulled boxes from a pallet with ease and carried them inside, helping staff from Baby Basics UK which started ten years ago in Sheffield, who have teamed up with two other baby bank services, Little Village and Aberdeenshire-based AberNecessities. 

Inside their temporary distribution centre – which with the help of couriers DHL is transferring the donations as far afield as Aberdeen and Hastings – Kate helped unpack some of the boxes – exclaiming as she picked up a bottle of Child’s Farm shampoo, which she clearly recognised.

Cat Ross, CEO of Baby Basics, told her: ‘Often in a world where there is a lot of judgement and stereotyping about being poor, that additional stress can be even more difficult for parents who are doing amazing things to keep their families going with such strength, such determination.’

During her visit, the Duchess of Cambridge revealed how in recent months, she had heard from families who have been supported by baby banks through the 'most difficult of times'

The royal (pictured) added she had been 'deeply moved' after hearing from parents about how baby banks have provided them with support

During her visit, the Duchess of Cambridge (pictured left, and right) revealed how in recent months, she had heard from families who have been supported by baby banks through the ‘most difficult of times’

Kate (pictured) cut an elegant figure for the visit and opted to wear her brown locks down, keeping her eye makeup minimal

Kate (pictured) cut an elegant figure for the visit and opted to wear her brown locks down, keeping her eye makeup minimal

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) spoke to CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross, Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn and CEO Little Village Sophia Parker during a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) spoke to CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross, Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn and CEO Little Village Sophia Parker during a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics

Kate donned a pair of rubber gloves as she helped to unload a pallet of supplies during a visit to the baby bank in Sheffield today

Kate donned a pair of rubber gloves as she helped to unload a pallet of supplies during a visit to the baby bank in Sheffield today

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) has brought together nineteen British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) has brought together nineteen British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide

The royal was photographed wearing a face mask for the first time

The Duchess of Cambridge cut a stylish figure in the 'Flippy Wiggle' dress by Suzannah

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured, left and right) cut a stylish figure in the ‘Flippy Wiggle’ dress by Suzannah for the visit, which costs £1,850 online

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) sported a pretty floral face mask and cut a stylish figure in an elegant white £1850 dress by Suzannah

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) sported a pretty floral face mask and cut a stylish figure in an elegant white £1850 dress by Suzannah

Following her arrival (pictured), Kate set about opening some of the boxes and chatted with the helpers about organisations they worked with to offer emotional support to families

Following her arrival (pictured), Kate set about opening some of the boxes and chatted with the helpers about organisations they worked with to offer emotional support to families

After her hour-and-a-half visit, the duchess left by car, still sporting her mask, after saying a muffled goodbye to the volunteers

After her hour-and-a-half visit, the duchess left by car, still sporting her mask, after saying a muffled goodbye to the volunteers

‘Yes,’ replied Kate. ‘One of the mums I met was a nurse. These are families who do fantastic jobs and even they are struggling. All of the research shows how vital things like this are for them and that they are being recognised.’

The Duchess also talked at length about what the impact of Covid-19 would be, particularly for children. 

‘It’s difficult for sure but there is a lot of fear about worry about when furlough ends and what it means for families,’ said Miss Ross.

‘But one of the positives to come out of it is the strength of communities across the UK and people wanting to help, volunteering and wanting to provide for each other. Organisations like us want to harvest that and it keep it going as much as possible.’

‘It’s been wonderful during lockdown, hasn’t it?’ said the duchess, ‘about the way everyone has been busy knitting away and actually it is those small volunteering acts that everyone can contribute to that make such a difference. 

‘That inter-generational support system has been amazing. Knowing that you can make such a big difference to another family is wonderful.’

Sophia Parker, Chief Executive and Founder of Little Village, agreed, adding: ‘We say the currency in this is kindness, this is what this is all about.

‘It’s really special being able to facilitate people to support others. They are often just looking for that opportunity to do something.’

Kate added: ‘It’s about finding new ways of still providing people with the support they so desperately need.’ 

Kate showed support for the initiative, explaining that it's necessary to find new ways to provide people with the support that they desperately need

Kate showed support for the initiative, explaining that it’s necessary to find new ways to provide people with the support that they desperately need  

The Duchess of Cambridge wore her glossy brunette hair in a relaxed style, opting for subtle makeup and minimal accessories for the visit

The Duchess of Cambridge wore her glossy brunette hair in a relaxed style, opting for subtle makeup and minimal accessories for the visit 

The Duchess of Cambridge donned a face mask as she visited Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics - which is a volunteer project supporting families in need struggling to provide for their newborns

The Duchess of Cambridge donned a face mask as she visited Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics – which is a volunteer project supporting families in need struggling to provide for their newborns

Kate (pictured) spoke of how she went home and wept after visiting a baby bank helping vulnerable families at the start of lockdown

Kate (pictured) spoke of how she went home and wept after visiting a baby bank helping vulnerable families at the start of lockdown

Baby banks aim to support and empower families by ensuring every child has the essential items they need to thrive. Pictured, Kate unloading a pallet of supplies

Baby banks aim to support and empower families by ensuring every child has the essential items they need to thrive. Pictured, Kate unloading a pallet of supplies

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) revealed how she has been left in tears after hearing the stories of families coping amid the coronavirus pandemic

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) revealed how she has been left in tears after hearing the stories of families coping amid the coronavirus pandemic 

Kate, who donned a floral face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, helped to unpack vital supplies for families struggling and in need of them the most (pictured)

Kate, who donned a floral face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, helped to unpack vital supplies for families struggling and in need of them the most (pictured)

The mother-of-three could be seen donning a pair of safety gloves and mask amid the pandemic as she engaged in a socially distanced conversation with the Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn, CEO Little Village Sophia Parker and CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross (pictured)

The mother-of-three could be seen donning a pair of safety gloves and mask amid the pandemic as she engaged in a socially distanced conversation with the Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn, CEO Little Village Sophia Parker and CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross (pictured)

Kate then set about opening some of the boxes and chatted with the helpers about organisations they worked with to offer emotional support to families.

‘Sometimes it’s just about having the opportunity of offload,’ she said. ‘And once someone has received a basket do you often see them coming back for support in different areas?’

After helping with the packing, Kate met with one family who have been helped by Baby Basics UK in Sheffield, Ali Wartty and Sahara Mrs Hamawandy, both 47, who have lively triplets San, Shan and Laveen, aged one year.

The family came to the UK from Iraq seeking asylum and were given leave to remain, but with no access to public funds.

Mr Wartty, who is self employed, a managed to buy a one-bedroom, 12th floor flat from Sheffield Council, but the couple – who were initially told they were were having twins but found out about their triplets at their 20-week scan – have struggled financially, emotionally and practically with three young children.

They were referred to Baby Basics by their support worker who have helped them with basic necessities including a triple pram, as well as Moses baskets and starter packs, as well as clothes and toiletries as the babies have grown.

‘Hi, all of them, of course they are triplets! ‘ exclaimed Kate. ‘Gosh they are all doing very well and sorry to intrude on your family time.’

‘Yes it’s so fun!’ she said, as Shan cooed and blew raspberries as he toddled. 

In an emotional conversation, Mrs Hamawandy told Kate how she had struggled to cope.

‘Is was living on the 12th floor of a block of flats and trying to cope with the three of them,’ she explained.

‘It must have been so stressful,’ sympathised Kate. ‘Is that when you sought the help Baby Basics? Is the fact that someone talked to you and someone listened to you, is that what made the difference? ‘

Mrs Hamawandy replied: ‘Yes, it wasn’t just the practical help, it was having someone to reassure me and give me a chance to have five minutes to myself.

‘I wasn’t coping at all, my brain wasn’t coping. I had huge anxiety. Is wasn’t able to go out with three babies. How do you take your three babies down from the 12th floor without a pram? We weren’t able to go out at all. After eight months I tried to take them out. But when I tried to take them out I was crying because I couldn’t.’

She told Kate that she had no family or friends that could help – her sister here in the UK is herself ill.

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) talked at length about what the impact of Covid would be, particularly for children

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) talked at length about what the impact of Covid would be, particularly for children

The mother-of-three talked to other baby banks on a teleconference during a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics Sheffield on Tuesday

The mother-of-three talked to other baby banks on a teleconference during a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics Sheffield on Tuesday

During her visit, the Royal spoke to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen, who got supported by Baby Basics

During her visit, the Royal spoke to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen, who got supported by Baby Basics

‘That must have been so difficult for you,’ Kate said. ‘It must have been even harder with lockdown. Did that make things more difficult?;

‘Yes it was even worse as I couldn’t go out,’ she replied. ‘When they started to walk and I was in the house by myself, it was really difficult. It really was a very bad time.’

Kate replied: ‘I am so sorry to hear that. Do you still feel now that it will affect you in the long term, the struggles you had at the beginning? Do you feel you get support emotionally, as well as the physical support?’

Speaking after meeting the duchess, Mrs Hamawandy said it had meant a great deal to her to have the chance to tell her story to the duchess.

The following organisations have generously donated items such as nappies, bedding and clothing to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities: 

Bloom and Blossom

Boden

Bramley

Childs Farm

Frugi

Green People (Organic Babies)

John Lewis

JoJo Maman Bébé

Kit & Kin

Kokoso Baby

M&S

Mamas & Papas

Matalan

My Little Coco

Sainsbury’s

Tesco

The White Company

Trotters

She continued: ‘I wanted to tell her for a family like me, especially with three children, that mum needs help. If mum is not feeling good, it will affect the baby. 

‘To give support to mum means giving support to the whole family. If mum has the chance to sleep for half an hour or get a little help, it helps the whole family. I was really devastated and shocked and crying all the time. 

‘I didn’t get the chance to look after myself and get at least ten minutes to myself. I couldn’t even find half an hour to lie down in the day because I was always getting up to check on each one of them. I didn’t have any support or family to help.

‘That’s why the charity has been so important to a mother like me. It gave me power. It transformed me. I just want to say thank you to everybody. ‘

The duchess also spoke via Zoom on a lap top to mothers helped by two of the other baby bank charities, Little Village and AberNecessities.

Chatting to Amy Cotton, who fled a violent home with only her baby son Ricky, now three, and the clothes on her back, and has received a buggy, clothing and toys for her child.

She now works as volunteer for the Little Village and has a 12-week-old daughter, Ellie-Rose.

‘Do you feel it is good for you being part of that volunteering community, helping mums who have been in the same position as you?’ asked the duchess.

Amy said it had mean a great deal of her to say thank you.

Kate added: ‘It’s so valuable. You hear so often that its very hard for parents and families to reach out for support because of the stigma about saying “I’m finding it really hard and I’m struggling’. Is that something you’ve come across, particularly with the families you are working with?”

Amy told her that it was, but added: ‘We all want to do what’s best for our children.’

‘It is brave and not often the easiest thing to do but it is really fantastic that you’ve reached out, that you are so open about your own struggles but also the fact that you are in such a fanatic place now. 

‘I suppose it is real credit to you, the journey that you’ve undertaken and the courage and strength you’ve shown to get there. So well done. And I love the fact that you are volunteering too,’ smiled the duchess.

She also chatted to Ella-Mae Michalski, who has twin girls Bella and Ruby, born prematurely and who are now 21-months-old and was helped by Little Village with a double pram., clothes, muslins and other essentials.

She has been shielding during the coronavirus outbreak because the girls have chronic lung disease.

‘As a mum the one thing you want too be able to do is to provide for your children and it was difficult not to be able to do that but Little Village helped,’ she explained.

‘It must have been heart-breaking and such a huge worry and anxiety for you during pregnancy and after birth,’ Kate said.

Ella-Mae replied: ‘Yes, Little Village is amazing. It’s something as basic as getting a cup of tea when you come here and people asking how you are and being able to offload without fear of what people might think.’

Kate then asked: ‘Do you feel there is a judgement around being able to put on a facade and pretend that everything is going great? Is it places like this that are needed in communities where parents don’t feel judged and mums can go and be honest and feel like they are being listened to?’.

‘One hundred percent,’ she was told.

The Duchess of Cambridge was also pictured donning a pair of rubber gloves as she spoke to Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn, CEO Little Village Sophia Parker and CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross

The Duchess of Cambridge was also pictured donning a pair of rubber gloves as she spoke to Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn, CEO Little Village Sophia Parker and CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross

During her visit, Kate (pictured) told how baby banks work every day, up and down the country, to provide immediate, tangible and practical help for parents and carers when they are most in need

During her visit, Kate (pictured) told how baby banks work every day, up and down the country, to provide immediate, tangible and practical help for parents and carers when they are most in need

The Duchess of Cambridge praised the generosity of the companies taking part in this initiative

Added that thanks to them, baby banks across the UK will be able to support even more families through this 'particularly challenging time'

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured, left and right) praised the generosity of the companies taking part in this initiative – and said thanks to them, baby banks across the UK will be able to support even more families through this ‘particularly challenging time’

After her hour-and-a-half visit, the duchess left by car, still sporting her mask, after saying a muffled goodbye to the volunteers.

Speaking after the visit, Baby Basics CEO Cat Ross said: ‘Having her visit and seeing the work we do has been just amazing. It will really help people to hear and know about Baby Basics and the work we do. A lot of people have heard about food banks but don’t necessarily know about the baby banks and what we do. ‘

The charity, she explained, helps families including those in economic poverty, teenage mothers, women seeking asylum, women fleeing domestic abuse and trafficking.

She added: ‘Having someone like the Duchess behind us is amazing and her helping us by getting in all these amazing brands has been incredible. We can get more to families and treat them to the goods they would never, ever get. It’s just fantastic. ‘

Announcing her initiative, Kate said: ‘Over recent months, I have heard from families who have been supported by baby banks through the most difficult of times and I have been deeply moved by their stories. 

‘Having somewhere to turn to for support is important for all families, and baby banks work every day, up and down the country, to provide immediate, tangible and practical help for parents and carers when they are most in need.

‘Baby banks are driven by incredible volunteers, demonstrating the power of community spirit in supporting families and coming together to raise the next generation.

‘Thanks to the generosity of the companies taking part in this initiative, baby banks across the UK will be able to support even more families through this particularly challenging time.’

A 2018 survey estimated that 1 in 100 families in England with children under 5 have visited a baby bank , and statistics from a new survey conducted by the charity Little Village shows that baby banks across the UK have found a substantial increase in the use of their services during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, many baby banks have been unable to accept second hand items at this time and the Little Village research shows that 77% of baby banks desperately need more nappies, mattresses and other products.

It also reveals that 9 in 10 baby banks say the outbreak of COVID-19 is making it harder to support families in the way they would want. 

The royal donned mock-crock grey £531 heels by Tabitha Simmons, which she first donned during the 2011 royal tour of Canada. Pictured, during a socially distanced chat with CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross, Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn and CEO Little Village Sophia Parker

The royal donned mock-crock grey £531 heels by Tabitha Simmons, which she first donned during the 2011 royal tour of Canada. Pictured, during a socially distanced chat with CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross, Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn and CEO Little Village Sophia Parker

The mother-of-three (pictured) was on a visit to launch a new initiative she has spearheaded, getting 19 major UK retailers and brands to donate more than 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks across the UK

The mother-of-three (pictured) was on a visit to launch a new initiative she has spearheaded, getting 19 major UK retailers and brands to donate more than 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks across the UK

Despite her vertiginous heels, Kate (pictured) had to trouble pulling boxes from a pallet with ease , before carrying them inside

Despite her vertiginous heels, Kate (pictured) had to trouble pulling boxes from a pallet with ease , before carrying them inside

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) opted for a pretty floral print mask and earlier in the day, donned an apron and rubber gloves to help unpack the first donations, which included clothes and toys

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) opted for a pretty floral print mask and earlier in the day, donned an apron and rubber gloves to help unpack the first donations, which included clothes and toys

Kate previously visited Baby Basics West Norfolk,  where she packed up Moses baskets with supplies and spoke to families who had received support from the charity

Kate previously visited Baby Basics West Norfolk,  where she packed up Moses baskets with supplies and spoke to families who had received support from the charity

In total, nineteen brands have donated items to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities, who operate baby banks across the UK. Pictured, Kate talks to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen

In total, nineteen brands have donated items to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities, who operate baby banks across the UK. Pictured, Kate talks to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen

On her previous visit to Baby Basics West Norfolk, Kate packed up Moses baskets with supplies and spoke to families who had received support from the charity.

She has also continued to speak to vulnerable families and the organisations that support them throughout lockdown, Kensington Palace said.

In recent weeks, she has held calls with Family Action, Home Start, Action for Children, London Early Years Foundation, Cocoon Family Support, East London Research School, and Coram about how they are continuing to support and nurture families and children throughout this challenging time. 

In addition, DHL Express has provided logistical services for the dissemination of donations to baby banks across the UK.

Cat Ross, CEO of Baby Basics, said: ‘We are thrilled to be part of this amazing initiative from The Duchess of Cambridge. To have the opportunity to highlight the importance of Baby Banks and the amazing service that Baby Basics Centres across the UK provide has never been more important than at this time when we are in the midst of a national crisis. 

‘So many more families in the UK will need support of a Baby Bank, some for the first time, and we are committed to doing all we can to support them in a way that restores dignity and values parents and their children.

‘To have the support and donations of so many amazing brands makes our work that little bit easier and means that we can continue to ensure we can provide what is needed for every referral we receive.’

Sophia Parker, Chief Executive and Founder of Little Village, also welcomed the initiative, saying that they were ‘delighted’ that the duchess was helping to bring brands together to support them.

She added: ‘Our survey with baby banks on the impact of Covid-19 shows huge gaps in support and rising levels of need among families living in poverty. The pandemic appears to be making the situation much, much worse for many families.’

The charity is set to support more than 6,000 children this year, double the number they helped in 2019. 

She commented: ‘We know that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are absolutely critical for their future outcomes around education, employment and health. Every child should have the right to a good childhood and this new initiative is a much welcomed step towards tackling child poverty in the under 5’s.’

Danielle Flecher-Horn, Founder of Aberdeenshire-based AberNecessities, added: ‘We are extremely proud to be part of this initiative which is dedicated and committed to supporting children living in poverty across the UK.

‘Having taught children who have social and emotional difficulties I have seen the affect early childhood experiences have in later life.

‘By providing parents with the resources to build a positive relationship with their children – from pregnancy and throughout the first years – we can make a real difference to a child’s development, health and overall happiness.’

The Duchess of Cambridge paid a private visit to Baby Basics West Norfolk in May (pictured), where she opted ofr an on-trend look as she paired her green floral frock with white Superga trainers

The Duchess of Cambridge paid a private visit to Baby Basics West Norfolk in May (pictured), where she opted ofr an on-trend look as she paired her green floral frock with white Superga trainers

Following private visits to Baby Basics West Norfolk in May (pictured), where the Duchess heard more about the baby bank's need for donations, she spearheaded a drive for donations of items for babies from brands and high street retailers

Following private visits to Baby Basics West Norfolk in May (pictured), where the Duchess heard more about the baby bank’s need for donations, she spearheaded a drive for donations of items for babies from brands and high street retailers

Kate Middleton dons £15 face mask by Amaia as she unpacks donations at a baby bank in Sheffield

The Duchess of Cambridge revealed how she has been left in tears after hearing the stories of families coping amid the coronavirus pandemic during a visit to a baby bank in Sheffield on Tuesday.

Kate – who sported a £15 reusable cotton floral face mask from London-based label Amaia – spoke of how she went home and wept after visiting a baby bank helping vulnerable families at the start of lockdown.

‘It can get very emotional,’ she said. ‘I remember a couple of the families I met from King’s Lynn and I went home and literally burst into tears, their stories were so moving. The struggles they have gone through, the bravery they have shown…in extraordinary circumstances. Helping their families through extraordinary times. 

The mother-of-three, 38, who cut a stylish figure in an elegant white £1850 dress by Suzannah, was talking on a visit to a Baby Basics UK, to launch a new initiative she has spearheaded, getting 19 major UK retailers and brands to donate more than 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks across the UK.

Baby Banks are a crucial nationwide service, run by volunteers, helping to support some of the most vulnerable families in the UK by providing essentials such as nappies, clothing and bedding. 

Most of those who seek their help come on professional referral from services including health visitors, midwives and social workers.

The banks have proved to be a lifeline for many struggling parents during the coronavirus crisis, but have found their services under increasing pressure, both as a result of demand and because they have been unable to accept second-hand donations on health and safety grounds.

Kate Middleton, 38, put on a stylish display as she arrived for a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics in Sheffield on August 4, 2020

Kate beamed as she met those who volunteer to support some of the most vulnerable families in the UK by providing essentials including nappies and bedding 

The Duchess of Cambridge, who opted for a timeless dress by Suzannah, could be seen lifting boxes as she helped unpack donations at the baby bank

The Duchess of Cambridge, who opted for a timeless dress by Suzannah, could be seen lifting boxes as she helped unpack donations at the baby bank 

During the visit, the mother-of-three spoke to parents about how baby banks have provided them with invaluable support when they have needed it most. Pictured, talking to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen, who got supported by Baby Basics

During the visit, the mother-of-three spoke to parents about how baby banks have provided them with invaluable support when they have needed it most. Pictured, talking to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen, who got supported by Baby Basics

Hearing of this, Kate – who has also previously visited Baby Basics in West Norfolk the start of the crisis – decided to put out feelers for donations from brands and high street retailers.

In all, she has persuaded nineteen brands to donate more than 10,000 items to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities, who operate more than 40 baby banks across the UK.

The Duchess, who paired her ensemble with £531 mock snake skin heels by Tabitha Simmons, which she first donned during the 2011 royal tour of Canada, could also be seen wearing an apron and rubber gloves as she helped to unpack the first donations, which included clothes and toys.

Despite her vertiginous heels, she pulled boxes from a pallet with ease and carried them inside, helping staff from Baby Basics UK which started ten years ago in Sheffield, who have teamed up with two other baby bank services, Little Village and Aberdeenshire-based AberNecessities. 

Inside their temporary distribution centre – which with the help of couriers DHL is transferring the donations as far afield as Aberdeen and Hastings – Kate helped unpack some of the boxes – exclaiming as she picked up a bottle of Child’s Farm shampoo, which she clearly recognised.

Cat Ross, CEO of Baby Basics, told her: ‘Often in a world where there is a lot of judgement and stereotyping about being poor, that additional stress can be even more difficult for parents who are doing amazing things to keep their families going with such strength, such determination.’

During her visit, the Duchess of Cambridge revealed how in recent months, she had heard from families who have been supported by baby banks through the 'most difficult of times'

The royal (pictured) added she had been 'deeply moved' after hearing from parents about how baby banks have provided them with support

During her visit, the Duchess of Cambridge (pictured left, and right) revealed how in recent months, she had heard from families who have been supported by baby banks through the ‘most difficult of times’

Kate (pictured) cut an elegant figure for the visit and opted to wear her brown locks down, keeping her eye makeup minimal

Kate (pictured) cut an elegant figure for the visit and opted to wear her brown locks down, keeping her eye makeup minimal

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) spoke to CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross, Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn and CEO Little Village Sophia Parker during a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) spoke to CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross, Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn and CEO Little Village Sophia Parker during a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics

Kate donned a pair of rubber gloves as she helped to unload a pallet of supplies during a visit to the baby bank in Sheffield today

Kate donned a pair of rubber gloves as she helped to unload a pallet of supplies during a visit to the baby bank in Sheffield today

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) has brought together nineteen British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) has brought together nineteen British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide

The royal was photographed wearing a face mask for the first time

The Duchess of Cambridge cut a stylish figure in the 'Flippy Wiggle' dress by Suzannah

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured, left and right) cut a stylish figure in the ‘Flippy Wiggle’ dress by Suzannah for the visit, which costs £1,850 online

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) sported a pretty floral face mask and cut a stylish figure in an elegant white £1850 dress by Suzannah

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) sported a pretty floral face mask and cut a stylish figure in an elegant white £1850 dress by Suzannah

Following her arrival (pictured), Kate set about opening some of the boxes and chatted with the helpers about organisations they worked with to offer emotional support to families

Following her arrival (pictured), Kate set about opening some of the boxes and chatted with the helpers about organisations they worked with to offer emotional support to families

After her hour-and-a-half visit, the duchess left by car, still sporting her mask, after saying a muffled goodbye to the volunteers

After her hour-and-a-half visit, the duchess left by car, still sporting her mask, after saying a muffled goodbye to the volunteers

‘Yes,’ replied Kate. ‘One of the mums I met was a nurse. These are families who do fantastic jobs and even they are struggling. All of the research shows how vital things like this are for them and that they are being recognised.’

The Duchess also talked at length about what the impact of Covid-19 would be, particularly for children. 

‘It’s difficult for sure but there is a lot of fear about worry about when furlough ends and what it means for families,’ said Miss Ross.

‘But one of the positives to come out of it is the strength of communities across the UK and people wanting to help, volunteering and wanting to provide for each other. Organisations like us want to harvest that and it keep it going as much as possible.’

‘It’s been wonderful during lockdown, hasn’t it?’ said the duchess, ‘about the way everyone has been busy knitting away and actually it is those small volunteering acts that everyone can contribute to that make such a difference. 

‘That inter-generational support system has been amazing. Knowing that you can make such a big difference to another family is wonderful.’

Sophia Parker, Chief Executive and Founder of Little Village, agreed, adding: ‘We say the currency in this is kindness, this is what this is all about.

‘It’s really special being able to facilitate people to support others. They are often just looking for that opportunity to do something.’

Kate added: ‘It’s about finding new ways of still providing people with the support they so desperately need.’ 

Kate showed support for the initiative, explaining that it's necessary to find new ways to provide people with the support that they desperately need

Kate showed support for the initiative, explaining that it’s necessary to find new ways to provide people with the support that they desperately need  

The Duchess of Cambridge wore her glossy brunette hair in a relaxed style, opting for subtle makeup and minimal accessories for the visit

The Duchess of Cambridge wore her glossy brunette hair in a relaxed style, opting for subtle makeup and minimal accessories for the visit 

The Duchess of Cambridge donned a face mask as she visited Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics - which is a volunteer project supporting families in need struggling to provide for their newborns

The Duchess of Cambridge donned a face mask as she visited Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics – which is a volunteer project supporting families in need struggling to provide for their newborns

Kate (pictured) spoke of how she went home and wept after visiting a baby bank helping vulnerable families at the start of lockdown

Kate (pictured) spoke of how she went home and wept after visiting a baby bank helping vulnerable families at the start of lockdown

Baby banks aim to support and empower families by ensuring every child has the essential items they need to thrive. Pictured, Kate unloading a pallet of supplies

Baby banks aim to support and empower families by ensuring every child has the essential items they need to thrive. Pictured, Kate unloading a pallet of supplies

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) revealed how she has been left in tears after hearing the stories of families coping amid the coronavirus pandemic

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) revealed how she has been left in tears after hearing the stories of families coping amid the coronavirus pandemic 

Kate, who donned a floral face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, helped to unpack vital supplies for families struggling and in need of them the most (pictured)

Kate, who donned a floral face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, helped to unpack vital supplies for families struggling and in need of them the most (pictured)

The mother-of-three could be seen donning a pair of safety gloves and mask amid the pandemic as she engaged in a socially distanced conversation with the Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn, CEO Little Village Sophia Parker and CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross (pictured)

The mother-of-three could be seen donning a pair of safety gloves and mask amid the pandemic as she engaged in a socially distanced conversation with the Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn, CEO Little Village Sophia Parker and CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross (pictured)

Kate then set about opening some of the boxes and chatted with the helpers about organisations they worked with to offer emotional support to families.

‘Sometimes it’s just about having the opportunity of offload,’ she said. ‘And once someone has received a basket do you often see them coming back for support in different areas?’

After helping with the packing, Kate met with one family who have been helped by Baby Basics UK in Sheffield, Ali Wartty and Sahara Mrs Hamawandy, both 47, who have lively triplets San, Shan and Laveen, aged one year.

The family came to the UK from Iraq seeking asylum and were given leave to remain, but with no access to public funds.

Mr Wartty, who is self employed, a managed to buy a one-bedroom, 12th floor flat from Sheffield Council, but the couple – who were initially told they were were having twins but found out about their triplets at their 20-week scan – have struggled financially, emotionally and practically with three young children.

They were referred to Baby Basics by their support worker who have helped them with basic necessities including a triple pram, as well as Moses baskets and starter packs, as well as clothes and toiletries as the babies have grown.

‘Hi, all of them, of course they are triplets! ‘ exclaimed Kate. ‘Gosh they are all doing very well and sorry to intrude on your family time.’

‘Yes it’s so fun!’ she said, as Shan cooed and blew raspberries as he toddled. 

In an emotional conversation, Mrs Hamawandy told Kate how she had struggled to cope.

‘Is was living on the 12th floor of a block of flats and trying to cope with the three of them,’ she explained.

‘It must have been so stressful,’ sympathised Kate. ‘Is that when you sought the help Baby Basics? Is the fact that someone talked to you and someone listened to you, is that what made the difference? ‘

Mrs Hamawandy replied: ‘Yes, it wasn’t just the practical help, it was having someone to reassure me and give me a chance to have five minutes to myself.

‘I wasn’t coping at all, my brain wasn’t coping. I had huge anxiety. Is wasn’t able to go out with three babies. How do you take your three babies down from the 12th floor without a pram? We weren’t able to go out at all. After eight months I tried to take them out. But when I tried to take them out I was crying because I couldn’t.’

She told Kate that she had no family or friends that could help – her sister here in the UK is herself ill.

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) talked at length about what the impact of Covid would be, particularly for children

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) talked at length about what the impact of Covid would be, particularly for children

The mother-of-three talked to other baby banks on a teleconference during a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics Sheffield on Tuesday

The mother-of-three talked to other baby banks on a teleconference during a visit to Baby Basic UK & Baby Basics Sheffield on Tuesday

During her visit, the Royal spoke to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen, who got supported by Baby Basics

During her visit, the Royal spoke to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen, who got supported by Baby Basics

‘That must have been so difficult for you,’ Kate said. ‘It must have been even harder with lockdown. Did that make things more difficult?;

‘Yes it was even worse as I couldn’t go out,’ she replied. ‘When they started to walk and I was in the house by myself, it was really difficult. It really was a very bad time.’

Kate replied: ‘I am so sorry to hear that. Do you still feel now that it will affect you in the long term, the struggles you had at the beginning? Do you feel you get support emotionally, as well as the physical support?’

Speaking after meeting the duchess, Mrs Hamawandy said it had meant a great deal to her to have the chance to tell her story to the duchess.

The following organisations have generously donated items such as nappies, bedding and clothing to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities: 

Bloom and Blossom

Boden

Bramley

Childs Farm

Frugi

Green People (Organic Babies)

John Lewis

JoJo Maman Bébé

Kit & Kin

Kokoso Baby

M&S

Mamas & Papas

Matalan

My Little Coco

Sainsbury’s

Tesco

The White Company

Trotters

She continued: ‘I wanted to tell her for a family like me, especially with three children, that mum needs help. If mum is not feeling good, it will affect the baby. 

‘To give support to mum means giving support to the whole family. If mum has the chance to sleep for half an hour or get a little help, it helps the whole family. I was really devastated and shocked and crying all the time. 

‘I didn’t get the chance to look after myself and get at least ten minutes to myself. I couldn’t even find half an hour to lie down in the day because I was always getting up to check on each one of them. I didn’t have any support or family to help.

‘That’s why the charity has been so important to a mother like me. It gave me power. It transformed me. I just want to say thank you to everybody. ‘

The duchess also spoke via Zoom on a lap top to mothers helped by two of the other baby bank charities, Little Village and AberNecessities.

Chatting to Amy Cotton, who fled a violent home with only her baby son Ricky, now three, and the clothes on her back, and has received a buggy, clothing and toys for her child.

She now works as volunteer for the Little Village and has a 12-week-old daughter, Ellie-Rose.

‘Do you feel it is good for you being part of that volunteering community, helping mums who have been in the same position as you?’ asked the duchess.

Amy said it had mean a great deal of her to say thank you.

Kate added: ‘It’s so valuable. You hear so often that its very hard for parents and families to reach out for support because of the stigma about saying “I’m finding it really hard and I’m struggling’. Is that something you’ve come across, particularly with the families you are working with?”

Amy told her that it was, but added: ‘We all want to do what’s best for our children.’

‘It is brave and not often the easiest thing to do but it is really fantastic that you’ve reached out, that you are so open about your own struggles but also the fact that you are in such a fanatic place now. 

‘I suppose it is real credit to you, the journey that you’ve undertaken and the courage and strength you’ve shown to get there. So well done. And I love the fact that you are volunteering too,’ smiled the duchess.

She also chatted to Ella-Mae Michalski, who has twin girls Bella and Ruby, born prematurely and who are now 21-months-old and was helped by Little Village with a double pram., clothes, muslins and other essentials.

She has been shielding during the coronavirus outbreak because the girls have chronic lung disease.

‘As a mum the one thing you want too be able to do is to provide for your children and it was difficult not to be able to do that but Little Village helped,’ she explained.

‘It must have been heart-breaking and such a huge worry and anxiety for you during pregnancy and after birth,’ Kate said.

Ella-Mae replied: ‘Yes, Little Village is amazing. It’s something as basic as getting a cup of tea when you come here and people asking how you are and being able to offload without fear of what people might think.’

Kate then asked: ‘Do you feel there is a judgement around being able to put on a facade and pretend that everything is going great? Is it places like this that are needed in communities where parents don’t feel judged and mums can go and be honest and feel like they are being listened to?’.

‘One hundred percent,’ she was told.

The Duchess of Cambridge was also pictured donning a pair of rubber gloves as she spoke to Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn, CEO Little Village Sophia Parker and CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross

The Duchess of Cambridge was also pictured donning a pair of rubber gloves as she spoke to Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn, CEO Little Village Sophia Parker and CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross

During her visit, Kate (pictured) told how baby banks work every day, up and down the country, to provide immediate, tangible and practical help for parents and carers when they are most in need

During her visit, Kate (pictured) told how baby banks work every day, up and down the country, to provide immediate, tangible and practical help for parents and carers when they are most in need

The Duchess of Cambridge praised the generosity of the companies taking part in this initiative

Added that thanks to them, baby banks across the UK will be able to support even more families through this 'particularly challenging time'

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured, left and right) praised the generosity of the companies taking part in this initiative – and said thanks to them, baby banks across the UK will be able to support even more families through this ‘particularly challenging time’

After her hour-and-a-half visit, the duchess left by car, still sporting her mask, after saying a muffled goodbye to the volunteers.

Speaking after the visit, Baby Basics CEO Cat Ross said: ‘Having her visit and seeing the work we do has been just amazing. It will really help people to hear and know about Baby Basics and the work we do. A lot of people have heard about food banks but don’t necessarily know about the baby banks and what we do. ‘

The charity, she explained, helps families including those in economic poverty, teenage mothers, women seeking asylum, women fleeing domestic abuse and trafficking.

She added: ‘Having someone like the Duchess behind us is amazing and her helping us by getting in all these amazing brands has been incredible. We can get more to families and treat them to the goods they would never, ever get. It’s just fantastic. ‘

Announcing her initiative, Kate said: ‘Over recent months, I have heard from families who have been supported by baby banks through the most difficult of times and I have been deeply moved by their stories. 

‘Having somewhere to turn to for support is important for all families, and baby banks work every day, up and down the country, to provide immediate, tangible and practical help for parents and carers when they are most in need.

‘Baby banks are driven by incredible volunteers, demonstrating the power of community spirit in supporting families and coming together to raise the next generation.

‘Thanks to the generosity of the companies taking part in this initiative, baby banks across the UK will be able to support even more families through this particularly challenging time.’

A 2018 survey estimated that 1 in 100 families in England with children under 5 have visited a baby bank , and statistics from a new survey conducted by the charity Little Village shows that baby banks across the UK have found a substantial increase in the use of their services during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, many baby banks have been unable to accept second hand items at this time and the Little Village research shows that 77% of baby banks desperately need more nappies, mattresses and other products.

It also reveals that 9 in 10 baby banks say the outbreak of COVID-19 is making it harder to support families in the way they would want. 

The royal donned mock-crock grey £531 heels by Tabitha Simmons, which she first donned during the 2011 royal tour of Canada. Pictured, during a socially distanced chat with CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross, Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn and CEO Little Village Sophia Parker

The royal donned mock-crock grey £531 heels by Tabitha Simmons, which she first donned during the 2011 royal tour of Canada. Pictured, during a socially distanced chat with CEO Baby Basics UK Cat Ross, Founder of Abernecessities Danielle Flecher-Horn and CEO Little Village Sophia Parker

The mother-of-three (pictured) was on a visit to launch a new initiative she has spearheaded, getting 19 major UK retailers and brands to donate more than 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks across the UK

The mother-of-three (pictured) was on a visit to launch a new initiative she has spearheaded, getting 19 major UK retailers and brands to donate more than 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks across the UK

Despite her vertiginous heels, Kate (pictured) had to trouble pulling boxes from a pallet with ease , before carrying them inside

Despite her vertiginous heels, Kate (pictured) had to trouble pulling boxes from a pallet with ease , before carrying them inside

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) opted for a pretty floral print mask and earlier in the day, donned an apron and rubber gloves to help unpack the first donations, which included clothes and toys

The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) opted for a pretty floral print mask and earlier in the day, donned an apron and rubber gloves to help unpack the first donations, which included clothes and toys

Kate previously visited Baby Basics West Norfolk,  where she packed up Moses baskets with supplies and spoke to families who had received support from the charity

Kate previously visited Baby Basics West Norfolk,  where she packed up Moses baskets with supplies and spoke to families who had received support from the charity

In total, nineteen brands have donated items to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities, who operate baby banks across the UK. Pictured, Kate talks to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen

In total, nineteen brands have donated items to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities, who operate baby banks across the UK. Pictured, Kate talks to the family of Ali Wartty, Sahara Hamawandy and their triplets San, Shan and Laveen

On her previous visit to Baby Basics West Norfolk, Kate packed up Moses baskets with supplies and spoke to families who had received support from the charity.

She has also continued to speak to vulnerable families and the organisations that support them throughout lockdown, Kensington Palace said.

In recent weeks, she has held calls with Family Action, Home Start, Action for Children, London Early Years Foundation, Cocoon Family Support, East London Research School, and Coram about how they are continuing to support and nurture families and children throughout this challenging time. 

In addition, DHL Express has provided logistical services for the dissemination of donations to baby banks across the UK.

Cat Ross, CEO of Baby Basics, said: ‘We are thrilled to be part of this amazing initiative from The Duchess of Cambridge. To have the opportunity to highlight the importance of Baby Banks and the amazing service that Baby Basics Centres across the UK provide has never been more important than at this time when we are in the midst of a national crisis. 

‘So many more families in the UK will need support of a Baby Bank, some for the first time, and we are committed to doing all we can to support them in a way that restores dignity and values parents and their children.

‘To have the support and donations of so many amazing brands makes our work that little bit easier and means that we can continue to ensure we can provide what is needed for every referral we receive.’

Sophia Parker, Chief Executive and Founder of Little Village, also welcomed the initiative, saying that they were ‘delighted’ that the duchess was helping to bring brands together to support them.

She added: ‘Our survey with baby banks on the impact of Covid-19 shows huge gaps in support and rising levels of need among families living in poverty. The pandemic appears to be making the situation much, much worse for many families.’

The charity is set to support more than 6,000 children this year, double the number they helped in 2019. 

She commented: ‘We know that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are absolutely critical for their future outcomes around education, employment and health. Every child should have the right to a good childhood and this new initiative is a much welcomed step towards tackling child poverty in the under 5’s.’

Danielle Flecher-Horn, Founder of Aberdeenshire-based AberNecessities, added: ‘We are extremely proud to be part of this initiative which is dedicated and committed to supporting children living in poverty across the UK.

‘Having taught children who have social and emotional difficulties I have seen the affect early childhood experiences have in later life.

‘By providing parents with the resources to build a positive relationship with their children – from pregnancy and throughout the first years – we can make a real difference to a child’s development, health and overall happiness.’

The Duchess of Cambridge paid a private visit to Baby Basics West Norfolk in May (pictured), where she opted ofr an on-trend look as she paired her green floral frock with white Superga trainers

The Duchess of Cambridge paid a private visit to Baby Basics West Norfolk in May (pictured), where she opted ofr an on-trend look as she paired her green floral frock with white Superga trainers

Following private visits to Baby Basics West Norfolk in May (pictured), where the Duchess heard more about the baby bank's need for donations, she spearheaded a drive for donations of items for babies from brands and high street retailers

Following private visits to Baby Basics West Norfolk in May (pictured), where the Duchess heard more about the baby bank’s need for donations, she spearheaded a drive for donations of items for babies from brands and high street retailers

6′ 4″ model gets creepy DMS from men asking to CLIMB her

A stunning six-foot-four woman has revealed that she is inundated with DMs from men asking to ‘climb’ her – while insisting that shorter guys are better lovers.

Emerald Van Langen, a 32-year-old nutrition manager and model from Toronto, Canada, admitted that dating used to be difficult because of her height, but that hasn’t stopped her from finding love – or admirers online. 

‘I’ve been with my husband for eleven years now and he’s five-foot-ten-inches tall. Before we met, I didn’t date much but I only dated shorter men – six-foot-two and under – when I did,’ she explained.  

Legs for days: Emerald Van Langen, 32, is a six-foot-four nutrition manager and model from Toronto, Canada 

Look of love: Emerald's five-foot-ten husband of 11 years is six inches shorter than she is

Look of love: Emerald’s five-foot-ten husband of 11 years is six inches shorter than she is

While some might assume a shorter man would be more likely to be intimidated by her height, she said the opposite was the case.    

‘Taller men would always seem to be nervous about me being taller than them,’ she recalled. 

Emerald proudly shows off her height in the photos she shares on her Instagram page, though she admitted that they sometimes attract unwanted attention. 

‘I do receive some inappropriate DMs. Some just ask me to stand next to a door, but some want me to post kinky videos,’ she explained. ‘Someone once messaged me saying, “I’d climb you for a f**k.”‘

Unwanted attention; The model, who practices pole dancing, said men will reach out to her on Instagram and ask her to post 'kinky videos,' while offered to 'climb' her

Unwanted attention; The model, who practices pole dancing, said men will reach out to her on Instagram and ask her to post ‘kinky videos,’ while offered to ‘climb’ her

Opinion: Emerald has only ever dated shorter men and thinks they are better lovers

Opinion: Emerald has only ever dated shorter men and thinks they are better lovers

Growing up, Emerald had always hoped she would be as tall as her older sister, who is six-foot-three, and shunned coffee and soda after hearing a rumor that caffeine would stunt her growth. 

‘When I was younger, I learned that caffeinated pop and smoking would stunt your growth,’ she said. ‘Smoking wasn’t an issue in our house – nobody did it.

‘I put more effort into not drinking any caffeine as I wanted to be taller than my sister and it paid off,’ she added. ‘Whether that’s down to genetics or my efforts is unknown.’   

In ninth grade at school, Emerald began to notice that she was growing at a much quicker rate than that of her friends. 

Throwbacks: Emerald took modeling class when I was 16 years old, but was later deemed 'too' tall' by casting directors

Throwbacks: Emerald took modeling class when I was 16 years old, but was later deemed 'too' tall' by casting directors

Throwbacks: Emerald took modeling class when I was 16 years old, but was later deemed ‘too’ tall’ by casting directors 

Trying to blend in: Emerald stopped wearing heeled shoes in school after she got noticeably taller than her friends

Trying to blend in: Emerald stopped wearing heeled shoes in school after she got noticeably taller than her friends

Guess why? Emerald's classmates used to joke that she'd be a great basketball player

Guess why? Emerald’s classmates used to joke that she’d be a great basketball player

She began to opt for flat shoes instead of heels and preferred to be seated when conversing with others because it was more comfortable for her.  

‘I used to feel a bit awkward in school. I would often bend down to fit in pictures – and still do,’ she recalled. ‘Everyone joked that the basketball coach would ask me to be a part of the team, but they never did.’

Emerald grew to six feet, four inches tall – beating her sister by a single inch – and learned to fully embrace her height, though some things are still difficult for her.   

‘Clothes shopping has become easier now that I know which stores sell longer sizes,’ she said. ‘When I went wedding dress shopping, I had to have a seamstress drop the skirt so it was longer.

She got her wish! Growing up, Emerald had always hoped she would be as tall as her older sister, who is six-foot-three

She got her wish! Growing up, Emerald had always hoped she would be as tall as her older sister, who is six-foot-three

Dedicated: Emerald found her niche as a model when she started freelancing

Dedicated: Emerald found her niche as a model when she started freelancing 

Hard to handle: The model admitted that it bothers her that strangers will shout at her on the street and ask how tall she is

Hard to handle: The model admitted that it bothers her that strangers will shout at her on the street and ask how tall she is 

‘Apartment hunting is the worst experience. My first question is how high are the ceilings which landlords always seem to lie about,’ she added. 

‘Strangers sometimes shout, “How tall are you,” which bothers me. It’s more decent to come over and talk instead.’

Emerald is now spending more time focusing on her modeling career after initially struggling to find her place in the industry. 

Models are well-known for their graceful heights, but casting directors often deemed Emerald to be ‘too tall.’ It wasn’t until she started freelancing and finding her own work that Emerald found her niche.

Struggles: Emerald said she always has to ask how high the ceilings and doorways are when she is apartment hunting

Struggles: Emerald said she always has to ask how high the ceilings and doorways are when she is apartment hunting 

Embracing her height: Despite her struggles, Emerald said 'being tall has its benefits'

Embracing her height: Despite her struggles, Emerald said ‘being tall has its benefits’

Benefits: Emerald said being tall means that she has 'more storage space' to 'eat more,' and she never needs a stool to reaching something

Benefits: Emerald said being tall means that she has ‘more storage space’ to ‘eat more,’ and she never needs a stool to reaching something 

‘I started taking a modeling class when I was 16, which taught me to stand up straight and be more elegant,’ Emerald said.

‘I got a paid gig, but my hips and feet were too big to fit into their sample sizes, so I gave modeling up for a few years.

‘Now, I’m falling in love with it again and I’ve started working out, and building up my strength. I love meeting new people and traveling to new places on the job.’

‘Being tall has its benefits,’ she added. ‘I have more storage space so I can eat more. Most importantly – no stools or ladders needed.’

Woman reports NBA player-turned-psychologist to his OWN company

A woman has been left red-faced after tweeting a company to complain about one of their employees – only to discover he was the CEO.

Twitter user Clementine Fandango, from Cardiff, complained to Amaechi Performance Systems, a Manchester-based consultancy firm, about former professional basketball player turned psychologist John Amaechi, 49.

Amaechi, who is the first ever openly gay NBA player, was awarded an OBE  in 2011 for his services to sport and set up his eponymous firm after retiring and is one of British sport’s most high profile anti-racism campaigners.

The former England international, who has also worked for the BBC covering the Olympics, was born in the US to a Nigerian father and British mother, and raised in Stockport, Greater Manchester. 

Twitter user Clementine Fandango, from Cardiff, complained to Amaechi Performance Systems, a Manchester-based consultancy firm, about former professional basketball player turned psychologist John Amaechi, 49. Pictured, receiving his OBE in 2011

He had tweeted using the term ‘Karen’, which Clementine took umbrage with. 

Retweeting a video of three women called Karen appearing on This Morning yesterday to defend their name, the former NBA player wrote: ‘The most #karen thing ever’.

The term ‘Karen’ has become widespread on social media over the last few years and refers to a stereotypical middle-class white woman, whose behaviour is a result of her privilege.  

Clementine, who describes herself on Twitter as an ‘opinionated socialiser,’ tweeted the official Amaechi Performance Systems account to complain about the worker using the term.

Clementine, who describes herself on Twitter as an 'opinionated socialiser,' tweeted the official Amaechi Performance Systems account to complain about the worker using the term 'Karen'

Clementine, who describes herself on Twitter as an ‘opinionated socialiser,’ tweeted the official Amaechi Performance Systems account to complain about the worker using the term ‘Karen’

Amaevhi is a former England international and has also worked for the BBC covering the Olympics. He was born in the US to a Nigerian father and British mother, and raised in Stockport, Greater Manchester. Pictured, in 2015 at NBA Global Games London

Amaevhi is a former England international and has also worked for the BBC covering the Olympics. He was born in the US to a Nigerian father and British mother, and raised in Stockport, Greater Manchester. Pictured, in 2015 at NBA Global Games London

‘Hi, how do I go about making a complaint about John Amaechi, who’s been sexist and gaslighting on social media?’ she wrote.

The company replied pointing out that he was the CEO and wrote: ‘Thank you for bringing this to our attention. 

‘In light of the severity of the situation, I’m going to escalate this complaint about John Amaechi directly to our CEO, John Amaechi. 

‘Rest assured, he will take a very dim view of such conduct.’

Retweeting a video of three women called Karen appearing on This Morning yesterday to defend their name, the former NBA player wrote: 'The most #karen thing ever'.

Retweeting a video of three women called Karen appearing on This Morning yesterday to defend their name, the former NBA player wrote: ‘The most #karen thing ever’.

In a second tweet they added: ‘It’s neither sexist nor gaslighting. 

‘But please feel free to report the alleged offending tweets to Twitter, who I’m sure will be delighted to handle your complaints. Thank you.

Amaechi found humour in the complaint and tweeted: ‘My day is complete. Someone reported me to my own company.’

Others also found the exchange funny, joking that it was going to be ‘one hell of an HR meeting’. 

‘Wow she actually did  ask to speak to the manager. Amazing’ wrote one, while a second added: ‘That HR meeting is going to be exhausting, You’ll have to switch seats either side of the desk between questions and everything’

A third penned: ‘Brilliant! Haha! I would have loved to have seen her face when she read the response. This has made my day!’

Amaechi was Britain’s first major NBA star, and played for Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets and New York Knicks during his career.

He came out as gay in 2007, before becoming a psychologist and political activist.

Others also found the exchange funny, joking that it was going to be 'one hell of an HR meeting' (pictured)

Others also found the exchange funny, joking that it was going to be ‘one hell of an HR meeting’ (pictured)

Woman reports NBA player turned psychologist to his OWN company

A woman has been left red-faced after tweeting a company to complain about one of their employees – only to discover he was the CEO.

Twitter user Clementine Fandango, from Cardiff, complained to Amaechi Performance Systems, a Manchester-based consultancy firm, about former professional basketball player turned psychologist John Amaechi, 49.

Amaechi, who is the first ever openly gay NBA player, was awarded an OBE  in 2011 for his services to sport and set up his eponymous firm after retiring and is one of British sport’s most high profile anti-racism campaigners.

The former England international, who has also worked for the BBC covering the Olympics, was born in the US to a Nigerian father and British mother, and raised in Stockport, Greater Manchester. 

Twitter user Clementine Fandango, from Cardiff, complained to Amaechi Performance Systems, a Manchester-based consultancy firm, about former professional basketball player turned psychologist John Amaechi, 49. Pictured, receiving his OBE in 2011

He had tweeted using the term ‘Karen’, which Clementine took umbrage with. 

Retweeting a video of three women called Karen appearing on This Morning yesterday to defend their name, the former NBA player wrote: ‘The most #karen thing ever’.

The term ‘Karen’ has become widespread on social media over the last few years and refers to a stereotypical middle-class white woman, whose behaviour is a result of her privilege.  

Clementine, who describes herself on Twitter as an ‘opinionated socialiser,’ tweeted the official Amaechi Performance Systems account to complain about the worker using the term.

Clementine, who describes herself on Twitter as an 'opinionated socialiser,' tweeted the official Amaechi Performance Systems account to complain about the worker using the term 'Karen'

Clementine, who describes herself on Twitter as an ‘opinionated socialiser,’ tweeted the official Amaechi Performance Systems account to complain about the worker using the term ‘Karen’

Amaevhi is a former England international and has also worked for the BBC covering the Olympics. He was born in the US to a Nigerian father and British mother, and raised in Stockport, Greater Manchester. Pictured, in 2015 at NBA Global Games London

Amaevhi is a former England international and has also worked for the BBC covering the Olympics. He was born in the US to a Nigerian father and British mother, and raised in Stockport, Greater Manchester. Pictured, in 2015 at NBA Global Games London

‘Hi, how do I go about making a complaint about John Amaechi, who’s been sexist and gaslighting on social media?’ she wrote.

The company replied pointing out that he was the CEO and wrote: ‘Thank you for bringing this to our attention. 

‘In light of the severity of the situation, I’m going to escalate this complaint about John Amaechi directly to our CEO, John Amaechi. 

‘Rest assured, he will take a very dim view of such conduct.’

Retweeting a video of three women called Karen appearing on This Morning yesterday to defend their name, the former NBA player wrote: 'The most #karen thing ever'.

Retweeting a video of three women called Karen appearing on This Morning yesterday to defend their name, the former NBA player wrote: ‘The most #karen thing ever’.

In a second tweet they added: ‘It’s neither sexist nor gaslighting. 

‘But please feel free to report the alleged offending tweets to Twitter, who I’m sure will be delighted to handle your complaints. Thank you.

Amaechi found humour in the complaint and tweeted: ‘My day is complete. Someone reported me to my own company.’

Others also found the exchange funny, joking that it was going to be ‘one hell of an HR meeting’. 

‘Wow she actually did  ask to speak to the manager. Amazing’ wrote one, while a second added: ‘That HR meeting is going to be exhausting, You’ll have to switch seats either side of the desk between questions and everything’

A third penned: ‘Brilliant! Haha! I would have loved to have seen her face when she read the response. This has made my day!’

Amaechi was Britain’s first major NBA star, and played for Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets and New York Knicks during his career.

He came out as gay in 2007, before becoming a psychologist and political activist.

Others also found the exchange funny, joking that it was going to be 'one hell of an HR meeting' (pictured)

Others also found the exchange funny, joking that it was going to be ‘one hell of an HR meeting’ (pictured)

‘Thrifty’ bride who wants to spend only £100 annoys Facebook wedding asking for too free things

A thrifty bride-to-be who took to Facebook in the hope of bagging freebies for her big day got a short shrift from unimpressed social media users. 

The bride, believed to be from Michigan, posted in the Facebook group Buy No Things, Ann Arbor, a group where neighbors can swap unwanted items, asking for decor and accessories for free. 

She explained she was trying to organise the wedding for under $100, and said she felt compelled to ask strangers for these items because god ‘told her to’. 

A woman from Cork alerted the Facebook group That’s It, I’m Wedding Shaming, revealing the bride’s stream of requests, which included decorations, a veil, candles, a champagne fountain, ring bearer pillows, cake toppers and glass jars. 

Many agreed the bride was just profiteering from the kindness of others and labelld her ‘entitled’.  

People called out the bride for her unrealistic budget and because she kept asking others for free things

People called out the bride for her unrealistic budget and because she kept asking others for free things 

‘Y’all I cannot make this s*** up. She keeps posting and is DEAD SERIOUS,’ the woman said as she shared screenshots of the bride’s requests.  

The bride explained that her wedding is scheduled for the end of September, and that she wanted to arrange it for less than $100. 

She explained the wedding would be rainbow themed, and that she had managed to sort her dress,  bouquet, boutonnieres, venue, food, music and clean up for an impressive $26.80, presumably with no cost involved for most of them. 

Then the requests for free items from the group started coming thick and fast.  

A woman from Cork alerted the wedding shaming group to the thrifty bride, saying they could no believe how many free items she was asking for

A woman from Cork alerted the wedding shaming group to the thrifty bride, saying they could no believe how many free items she was asking for 

Numerous times, she asked for a Halloween cauldron to replicate the ‘end of the rainbow’ money myth. 

She also asked for some rainbow-colored yarn to complete her decor. 

For her own outfit, she asked for a small veil to prop over a hat, and a mustard seed pendant necklace, because she had lost one, a family heirloom which was close to her heart. 

The bride kept coming up with new asks, which included accessories for her decor, clothing accessories and even jewellery

The bride kept coming up with new asks, which included accessories for her decor, clothing accessories and even jewellery 

She asked for a champagne fountain that she planned on filling with chocolate milk, her fiancé’s favorite drink.  

Possibly feeling self-conscious about asking for so many freebies, the woman explained God had told her to ask for all these items. 

She then added that she was currently staying at a hotel with her partner until the wedding, and asked if anyone could lend them a toaster to make the grilled cheese sandwiches they’ve been craving.  

Her behavior did not fly with the members of the wedding shaming community, who could not believe how entitled the bride was being, saying she did not deserve to call herself ‘thrifty.’

At one point, the bride, who had also asked for a veil, revealed she was staying at a hotel and asked if someone could let her use a toaster

At one point, the bride, who had also asked for a veil, revealed she was staying at a hotel and asked if someone could let her use a toaster 

‘Well God is telling me “ask and you shall receive a million dollars”, sooooo,’ one said.  

‘Self entitled much?’ asked another.

‘Wow shes gonna blame this s*** on God,’ said another.   

‘I know how we’re planning the weddings going forward. With an unrealistic budget, and an optimism that God wants us to throw a tacky wedding,’ said one bride-to-be. 

People called the bride out for saying 'God' had asked her to ask others for freebies. Others criticized her rainbow theme

People called the bride out for saying ‘God’ had asked her to ask others for freebies. Others criticized her rainbow theme

‘This post is the gift that keeps on giving. Or taking,’ quipped another. 

Some also took a dig at the bride’s taste level, saying her wedding seemed to be planned by a child, due to the colorful theme.  

‘This sounds like the dream wedding of a preschooler complete with her imaginary friend god telling her what to add next.

‘OMG what is wrong with her??? Maybe it‘s just a wedding in her mind,’ one said.  

‘Thrifty’ bride who wants to spend only £100 annoys Facebook wedding asking for too free things

A thrifty bride-to-be who took to Facebook in the hope of bagging freebies for her big day got a short shrift from unimpressed social media users. 

The bride, believed to be from Michigan, posted in the Facebook group Buy No Things, Ann Arbor, a group where neighbors can swap unwanted items, asking for decor and accessories for free. 

She explained she was trying to organise the wedding for under $100, and said she felt compelled to ask strangers for these items because god ‘told her to’. 

A woman from Cork alerted the Facebook group That’s It, I’m Wedding Shaming, revealing the bride’s stream of requests, which included decorations, a veil, candles, a champagne fountain, ring bearer pillows, cake toppers and glass jars. 

Many agreed the bride was just profiteering from the kindness of others and labelld her ‘entitled’.  

People called out the bride for her unrealistic budget and because she kept asking others for free things

People called out the bride for her unrealistic budget and because she kept asking others for free things 

‘Y’all I cannot make this s*** up. She keeps posting and is DEAD SERIOUS,’ the woman said as she shared screenshots of the bride’s requests.  

The bride explained that her wedding is scheduled for the end of September, and that she wanted to arrange it for less than $100. 

She explained the wedding would be rainbow themed, and that she had managed to sort her dress,  bouquet, boutonnieres, venue, food, music and clean up for an impressive $26.80, presumably with no cost involved for most of them. 

Then the requests for free items from the group started coming thick and fast.  

A woman from Cork alerted the wedding shaming group to the thrifty bride, saying they could no believe how many free items she was asking for

A woman from Cork alerted the wedding shaming group to the thrifty bride, saying they could no believe how many free items she was asking for 

Numerous times, she asked for a Halloween cauldron to replicate the ‘end of the rainbow’ money myth. 

She also asked for some rainbow-colored yarn to complete her decor. 

For her own outfit, she asked for a small veil to prop over a hat, and a mustard seed pendant necklace, because she had lost one, a family heirloom which was close to her heart. 

The bride kept coming up with new asks, which included accessories for her decor, clothing accessories and even jewellery

The bride kept coming up with new asks, which included accessories for her decor, clothing accessories and even jewellery 

She asked for a champagne fountain that she planned on filling with chocolate milk, her fiancé’s favorite drink.  

Possibly feeling self-conscious about asking for so many freebies, the woman explained God had told her to ask for all these items. 

She then added that she was currently staying at a hotel with her partner until the wedding, and asked if anyone could lend them a toaster to make the grilled cheese sandwiches they’ve been craving.  

Her behavior did not fly with the members of the wedding shaming community, who could not believe how entitled the bride was being, saying she did not deserve to call herself ‘thrifty.’

At one point, the bride, who had also asked for a veil, revealed she was staying at a hotel and asked if someone could let her use a toaster

At one point, the bride, who had also asked for a veil, revealed she was staying at a hotel and asked if someone could let her use a toaster 

‘Well God is telling me “ask and you shall receive a million dollars”, sooooo,’ one said.  

‘Self entitled much?’ asked another.

‘Wow shes gonna blame this s*** on God,’ said another.   

‘I know how we’re planning the weddings going forward. With an unrealistic budget, and an optimism that God wants us to throw a tacky wedding,’ said one bride-to-be. 

People called the bride out for saying 'God' had asked her to ask others for freebies. Others criticized her rainbow theme

People called the bride out for saying ‘God’ had asked her to ask others for freebies. Others criticized her rainbow theme

‘This post is the gift that keeps on giving. Or taking,’ quipped another. 

Some also took a dig at the bride’s taste level, saying her wedding seemed to be planned by a child, due to the colorful theme.  

‘This sounds like the dream wedding of a preschooler complete with her imaginary friend god telling her what to add next.

‘OMG what is wrong with her??? Maybe it‘s just a wedding in her mind,’ one said.  

Viewers of The Deceived split over new thriller starring Emmett J Scanlan and Paul Mescal

Normal People fans were left swooning over Paul Mescal’s latest drama as the first episode of Channel 5’s The Deceived aired last night. 

The four-part thriller, set in Donegal, follows the torrid affair of Cambridge English student Ophelia Marsh (Emily Reid) and her teacher Dr Michael Callaghan (Emmett J Scanlan) after his wife’s mysterious death in a fire.  

Paul Mescal, known for his breakout performance as Connell in BBC One’s Normal people, also makes a brief appearance as fireman Sean McKeogh.

So far, the show has split audiences with some favourably likening it to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. But others quipped it could have been the plot of an episode of the beloved cartoon Scooby-Doo. 

Channel 5’s new thriller The Deceived, starring Emmett J Scanlan (second left) and Paul Mescal (second right), split audiences after its first episode aired last night

In the first episode, conflicted Ophelia recounted her love affair with married university professor Michael. 

The student decided to visit her lover’s hometown in Ireland after he’d gone some time without contacting her. 

There, she found out Michael’s wife Roisin Mulvery had just died in a house fire – on the exact same night her husband confessed to having an affair.   

Some reading buffs were quick to compare the plot of The Deceived with Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, where a young and impressionable student falls in love with a wealthy widower, only to be haunted by the ghost of his deceased wife.  

Normal People fans were delighted that hunk Paul Mescal stars in the show as good guy fireman Sean McKeohg

Normal People fans were delighted that hunk Paul Mescal stars in the show as good guy fireman Sean McKeohg

While some audiences linked the show's plot to literary power house like Jane Eyre and Rebecca, others thought it laid more with Scooby-Doo

While some audiences linked the show’s plot to literary power house like Jane Eyre and Rebecca, others thought it laid more with Scooby-Doo 

However, strange events happening around Michael’s home, including a knocking sound filling the house at night, made some viewers wonder whether Roisin was really dead.  

The mysterious circumstances surrounding Roisin’s death made some fans compare the show to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. 

In the literary classic, governess Jane is horrified to find out that her great love Mr Rochester is hiding his insane wife Bertha Mason in his attic. 

Emmett J Scanlan plays English university lecturer Dr Michael Callaghan alongside Emily Reid as his student and lover, Ophelia Marsh

Emmett J Scanlan plays English university lecturer Dr Michael Callaghan alongside Emily Reid as his student and lover, Ophelia Marsh 

In the 1847 novel, all hell breaks loose when Bertha escaped the attic and sets fire to the Thornfield Hall. 

The tension and stellar cast of the Channel 5 show seemed to please some, who were seduced by its ‘moody atmosphere.’

‘Really enjoyable. Should have been in the Autumn with the cold, dark, moody and creepy nights. Excited to see where it goes next,’ one wrote. 

‘Rebecca meets Jane Eyre. Enjoying it so far,’ another said.  

Student Ophelia visited her lecturer's hometown and found out his wife had died in a mysterious fire on the same night as he confessed to their affair

Student Ophelia visited her lecturer’s hometown and found out his wife had died in a mysterious fire on the same night as he confessed to their affair 

Ophelia and Michael reunited after his wife's funeral. The circumstances of her death made audiences wonder whether Roisin was really dead

Ophelia and Michael reunited after his wife’s funeral. The circumstances of her death made audiences wonder whether Roisin was really dead 

‘#TheDeceived is giving me major Jane Eye vibes,,’ one wrote.  

‘Omg #TheDeceived is a 10/10 watch,’ said another. 

However, others were not convinced, with some saying the show was too far-fetched for them. 

‘#Thedeceived should have been soooo good but found myself laughing at the multiple plot holes!! Too far fetched for me,’ one wrote. 

‘I’m afraid #TheDeceived has lost me. Someone let me know if it becomes brilliant but at the moment I’m not caring for anyone in it,’ another said. 

Michael and Ophelia's affair started when the lecturer was still married to his wife Roisin Mulvery

Michael and Ophelia’s affair started when the lecturer was still married to his wife Roisin Mulvery 

‘From the same writers are Scooby-Doo,’ one quipped. 

However, fans of Normal People and Paul Mescal 

‘watching this new drama on channel 5 purely because paul mescal is in it and i’m still mourning over normal people,’ one said. 

‘As if Paul Mescal needed to be made any more desirable, we now get to hear him with a northern accent,’ said another. 

‘PAUL MESCAL AS A FIREMAN,’ simply stated another, sharing a gif of a man fanning himself.  

Some audiences said they wanted to like the show but that its plot was too far-fetched. Others only cared about Paul Mescal

Some audiences said they wanted to like the show but that its plot was too far-fetched. Others only cared about Paul Mescal

Shih Tzu wins over thousands of Instagram followers due to Lady Gaga resemblance

Pup-arazzi! Adorable Shih Tzu with a fierce fringe wins thousands of Instagram followers thanks to his uncanny resemblance to Lady Gaga

  • Shih Tzu Bontenmaru, five, is named after a Japanese samurai and live in Tokyo 
  • The pooch has more than 22,000 Instagram followers and resembles Lady Gaga 
  • He has the same blunt fringe and blunt bob as the popstar famously sported early on in her career 

An adorable Shih Tzu has won thousands of Instagram followers thanks to his resemblance to pop megastar Lady Gaga.

Bontenmaru, five, who is named after a Japanese samurai, and lives in Tokyo, has become an internet star racking up more than 22,000 Instagram followers.

His owner Tomoyo Matsuura thinks his fame is due to the resemblance to the Poker Face hitmaker’s signature ‘do of a blunt fringe and short blonde bob.

Bontenmaru, five, who is named after a Japanese samurai, and lives in Tokyo, has become an internet star racking up more than 22,000 Instagram followers

Puparazzi! The pooch sits on a countertop at his Tokyo apartment showing off his blunt fringe and chopped 'do

Puparazzi! The pooch sits on a countertop at his Tokyo apartment showing off his blunt fringe and chopped ‘do

Photos show the white and grey pooch sporting the same full fringe and bobbed hair while lounging about the apartment

Photos show the white and grey pooch sporting the same full fringe and bobbed hair while lounging about the apartment

She explained: ‘Bontenmaru goes to the barber shop (dog groomers) once every two months, and every three weeks I cut his hair it by hand.’

Photos show the white and grey pooch sporting the same full fringe and bobbed hair while lounging about the apartment.

In one picture the dog lies across the a white leather sofa showing off his perfectly coiffed hair cut.

In another the furry friend sports a grey ribbed jumper with brown buttons as he poses in front of a a bouquet of flowers.

The adorable canine's hairdo resembles Lady Gaga's look during her The Fame album ear in the late noughties

The adorable canine’s hairdo resembles Lady Gaga’s look during her The Fame album ear in the late noughties 

In one picture the dog lies across the a white leather sofa showing off his perfectly coiffed hair cut

In one picture the dog lies across the a white leather sofa showing off his perfectly coiffed hair cut

In another picture the furry friend sports a grey ribbed jumper with brown buttons as he poses in front of a a bouquet of flowers

In another picture the furry friend sports a grey ribbed jumper with brown buttons as he poses in front of a a bouquet of flowers

Hair goals! Shots show the pooch chilling in a grey jumper and showing off his swishy grey and white hair

Hair goals! Shots show the pooch chilling in a grey jumper and showing off his swishy grey and white hair

Great at ever angle! The dog is shown lying down on a white leather sofa and showing off his silky hair 'do

Great at ever angle! The dog is shown lying down on a white leather sofa and showing off his silky hair ‘do

Videos on his Instagram page show the pooch swimming, trying watermelons and staring at his own reflection. 

His fans come from all over the world, with users from the UK, the US, France and Japan flooding the comments of his pictures.

‘Gorgeous!!! Fabulous look!’ said one on a shot of him swimming. 

Ready fur my close up! The Shih Tzu has fluffy soft white fur on his body and a sleek grey and white hair cut on top

Ready fur my close up! The Shih Tzu has fluffy soft white fur on his body and a sleek grey and white hair cut on top

‘He is too cute and sweet,’ said another.

 ‘Gorgeous!’ commented a third.

‘You are the most adorable,’ a fourth wrote. 

The Queen and Prince Philip are expected to fly to Balmoral today

Jetting off on their staycation! Queen and Prince Philip arrive at RAF Northolt ahead of a flight to Balmoral to start their summer holiday after months isolating at Windsor Castle

  • The Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, flew up to Balmoral this afternoon
  • The couple will remain at the Aberdeenshire estate until early October 
  • They were seen arriving at RAF Northolt, in west London, in the back of a car 

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are en route to Balmoral for the start of their summer holiday.

The couple, who have been isolating at Windsor Castle since March, arrived by car at RAF Northolt, west London, this afternoon ahead of their private flight to Aberdeenshire, where they will remain until early October. 

The Queen, 94, looked typically elegant in a powder blue jacket and dress as she arrived at the airfield in the back of a chauffeur-driven car. The Duke of Edinburgh, 98, was dapper in a yellow collard shirt and green jumper.

A group of aides have already travelled up to the sprawling 50,000-acre Scottish estate to prepare the castle for the couple’s arrival.

It is understood staff quarantined for two weeks in order to minimise the risk of the Queen or Prince Philip, who are both in their 90s, being exposed to Covid-19. 

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are en route to Balmoral for the start of their summer holiday. The couple were seen arriving at RAF Northolt, west London, ahead of their flight

The couple, who have been isolating at Windsor Castle since March, travelled by car from Windsor to RAF Northolt, west London, ahead of their private flight to Aberdeenshire

The couple, who have been isolating at Windsor Castle since March, travelled by car from Windsor to RAF Northolt, west London, ahead of their private flight to Aberdeenshire

The Duke of Edinburgh, 98, was dapper in a yellow collard shirt and green jumper as he travelled in the back of a car for the flight to Aberdeenshire this afternoon

The Duke of Edinburgh, 98, was dapper in a yellow collard shirt and green jumper as he travelled in the back of a car for the flight to Aberdeenshire this afternoon

Reports suggest the hand-picked team of royal aides who will join the couple include Vice-Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, master of the household; Sir Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary, and Paul Whybrew and William Henderson, her pages.

Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, her equerry; Terry Pendry, her head groom; Angela Kelly, the Queen’s personal assistant and her senior dresser; Jackie Newbold, Kelly’s PA; and three assistant dressers will also join, according to The Sunday Times.

The staff will minimise their contact with people outside the royal household in order to create a ‘Balmoral bubble’ designed to keep the Queen and Prince Philip safe. 

Measures will also be taken if any members of the royal family come to visit. Typically the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are joined by their children and grandchildren, as well as close friends, throughout the summer holiday.

However this year any visitors, who typically include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, will likely maintain social distancing while on site. 

Family members will not stay in the castle with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh as they have done in previous years and will instead be housed in other properties in the grounds of the 50,000-acre estate.

They will be able to meet her for outside activities instead including walks, horse riding and picnics. 

A group of aides have already travelled up to the Scottish home of the Royal Family to prepare the castle for the couple's arrival. They will live in the main castle, pictured

A group of aides have already travelled up to the Scottish home of the Royal Family to prepare the castle for the couple’s arrival. They will live in the main castle, pictured

Previous reports suggest staff have been banned from social activity and the annual Ghillies Ball has also been cancelled due to coronavirus.

An insider told the Mail on Sunday ‘stir-crazy’ aides are staying in the New Block, a dull granite building with a dozen bedrooms outside near the castle.

The insider said: ‘Without all the normal facilities which make a stay pleasant for staff, everyone’s saying it’s like being in Colditz, the prisoner of war camp.

‘It’s the assignment from hell because there is absolutely nothing people can do. The social club remains shut and the staff bar closed. With so little to do they’re going stir-crazy.’

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are expected to fly to Balmoral today for the start of their summer holiday. Pictured, the couple in June at Windsor Castle

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are expected to fly to Balmoral today for the start of their summer holiday. Pictured, the couple in June at Windsor Castle