Citrus oil dabbed on cotton wool and hidden behind the radiator is the genius Christmas hack that keeps your home smelling fresh over the festive period, a royal butler reveals

The combination of cooking, damp coats and shoes can lead to a slightly unpleasant smell in your home.

Luckily, former royal butler Grant Harrold has a genius hack to combat the issue.

On his website, he explains: "Cooking smells and damp coats aren't always the most pleasant, so keep some citrus oil and cotton wool balls handy.

"Just apply a few drops onto the cotton wool and place behind the radiator.

"This is an excellent aroma for the home at Christmas, and there are plenty of other lovely essential oils available."

Grant worked as a butler for Prince Charles from 2004 to 2011, so we have a sneaky suspicion this may be a trick that the royals have used in the past.

And if it's good enough for Buckingham Palace, it's good enough for us.

We revealed earlier this week that the Royal Family have put their Christmas decorations up – and as expected, they've done so in style.

Over on Instagram, they gave us a glimpse of the ornate display in Buckingham Palace's Marble Hall.

There are three large Christmas trees – which were grown in Windsor – as well as a garland fixed along the grand staircase.

The trees have been decorated with some very fitting ornaments, which come in the shape of crowns, crests and carriages.

The garland is just as glamorous, with velvet bows and colourful baubles lining the golden banister.

Sparkling white lights finish off the festive arrangement.

If you look closely, you may just spot a carefully placed piece of cotton wool…

In more royal news, Kate Middleton has revealed that Prince Louis is already perfecting his royal wave.

Meghan secretly attended Michelle Obama's London talk – and 'held a power meeting backstage'.

And the Queen 'told Prince William to put royal duties on the back burner' when Kate was expecting Prince George.

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Caring Camilla throws fabulous Christmas bash for terminally ill children…complete with live reindeer

There was sausages and mash made into smiley faces, tree decorating – and Father Christmas even spared two of his reindeer, Dancer and Blitzen, for the children (and Camilla) to stroke.

One little girl, nine-year-old Lara Mehmet, held the duchess’s hand and looked at the animals in wonder.

“A reindeer, a serious reindeer!” she exclaimed in wonder.

“Yes a serious reindeer”, Camilla chuckled, as she encouraged the youngster to stroke it.

“He tickles!” the little girl squealed.

“Yes, I would love to feed him too”, the royal said as she stretched out her hand.

The fun was part of an annual event that the duchess throws for the children of Helen & Douglas House, the world’s first children’s hospice in Oxfordshire, which provides medical, emotional and practical support for seriously ill children and their families, as well as youngsters helped by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. She is patron of both organisations.

The children and their families were invited to Clarence House, her official London home to meet the Duchess before being asked to help her decorate a Christmas tree with brightly coloured ornaments.

There was time for a fabulous lunch served by Camilla, dressed in Bruce Oldfield, and her team with squash, gingerbread cookies, candy canes, iced biscuits and cakes.

Among the guests were Darre Downey, ten, and his mother, Kerrie, who flew over from Belfast.

Darre’s mother explained that he suffered a brain tumour and stroke two years ago and was receiving care and support from Roald Dahl.

‘It’s just such a wonderful event,’ she said.

Tyler Standing, six, from Brighton, was with his parents, Jane and David. He was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness.

Although a chatterbox normally, he completely clammed up on meeting Prince Charles’s wife.

Jane explained later that his diagnosis, at the age of three, had come out of the blue and had been very hard to deal with, but for Tyler’s sake they simply tried to get on with life and “accept the inevitable”.

She said: “A friend wrote to the Duchess and asked if Tyler could come and because she has an association with the charity that helps us, she said yes. We cannot thank her enough, it has been a magical experience. We can’t believe we are here.”

After lunch, the duchess handed out goodie bags and told the children and their parents: “I hope you’ve all enjoyed your lunch today.

"I’ve got a surprise for you all outside, but before we go out I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas. The tree decorating for me is always the start of Christmas.

Camilla told them the annual event always signalled “the start of Christmas”, adding: “I haven’t thought about it before today, but I come in and see the tree and the children and everything and it just gets me in a Christmas mood.”

Jasper Grannum, of Chalfont St Giles, was thrilled when Camilla offered him a second helping of his favourite sausage and mash.

“She’s a beautiful lady,” he said, beaming. Asked if she was his new best friend, he added: “Probably.”

The 12-year-old Chelsea FC fan suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive muscle wasting condition, which has left him confined to a wheelchair since last year.

Mum Nicola said: “He was diagnosed when he was two and lost the ability to walk when he was 11. He loves his sports and used to play football, but now he plays wheelchair football.”

Jasper goes to Helen and Douglas House hospice for respite care, giving his family, including a nine-year-old sister, a break from 24-hour care.

“He has been going for two or three years now and he loves it. The nurses there are incredible,” said Nicola. “The Duchess has been so lovely, she’s a very warm person. Jasper has been really looking forward to coming and it’s been wonderful.”

The Duchess also invited the youngsters to help her decorate a giant tree and try on a bearskin worn by assistant equerry Jack Farmelo, of 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards.

Alexander Harvey, 10, of Northampton, was joined by mum Elizabeth and grandmother Valerie Bignell, after being invited through Helen and Douglas House.

“It means everything to be here today,” said Elizabeth. “We have been so looking forward to it. She’s (Camilla) such a lovely lady.”

In even more Royal Family news, a Royal butler has revealed the do's and don'ts of Christmas entertaining, including the correct time to pull your crackers and why you should keep your glass in your left hand.

Plus Meghan and Kate Middleton’s body language ‘revealed rifts’ when asked about rows in February – a body language expert has revealed.

And as Kate and Meghan are set for a tense festive time, here’s how to defuse family arguments around Christmas.

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Julia Roberts Majorly Mixes It Up with 5 Outfits in 24 Hours (Plus More Celebrity Quick-Change Artists)

The star of Mary Queen of Scots is ruling the red carpet while promoting the movie, wearing (from left) Chanel twice, head-to-toe Isabel Marant, Brock Collection with Jimmy Choo heels and Mizuki jewelry and – if you couldn’t guess – Chanel again. (Makes sense: She is a face of the brand after all.)

The superstar – known for her love of stylish suits – has been mixing it up this week with outsized outerwear (her Max Mara coat, worn with orange boots), rainbow stripes (her Valentino dress and coat), polka-dots and chunky Oxfords (in Derek Lam 10 Crosby and Christian Louboutin) and what her stylist Elizabeth Stewart called Derek Lam “Tuffskins.”

The future Mrs. Nick Jonas had a high-fashion Fashion Week, hitting the town in looks by Longchamp, Ralph Lauren Collection, Kate Spade New York (with Stuart Weitzman heels and Karen Walker shades) and boyfriend jeans with a Fendi bag.

It wouldn’t be a Blake Lively press tour without a gazillion outfit changes, and the one for A Simple Favor was no different – she packed five equally over-the-top suits (including one that walked down the Givenchy men’s runway, left) into 24 short hours.

Not to be outdone, Blake’s costar in the film went through a number of outfits herself, including (from left) David Koma, Cushnie, David Koma again and Fendi.

Oh, did you think we were done with Blake? Last month, the star kicked off her parade of pants looks on her Simple Favor press tour, including (from left) frayed orchid denim, a Zimmermann pinstripe and lace look, a graphic-print purple shorts look, multicolor plaid Roland Mouret, a layered velvet outfit by Brunello Cucinelli and neon Versace menswear – all topped off with oodles of Lorraine Schwartz jewelry.

In one day, the star’s style ranged from edgy (with a Mulberry bag) to retro (in Rochas with velvet Chloe Gosselin pumps) to ladylike (in a Valentino dress, Mulberry bag and Giuseppe Zanotti shoes) to comfy.

For a full day of meetings and events, the Honest entrepreneur had an equally full day of outfits, including a windowpane plaid Sea New York matching set, a pussybow blouse and pencil skirt (by Lela Rose, with Via Spiga sandals), a pink party dress and embroidered purse (all Dior) and an Onia cheetah-print kimono and pant to travel home in.

Over the course of 24 hours in two countries, the Duchess of Sussex looked impeccable in five very different outfits, including, from left: a Roland Mouret dress with Paul Andrew heels and Fendi bag; a Givenchy pantsuit with Sarah Flint heels; an Emilia Wickstead dress with Aquazzura pumps; a Givenchy skirt set with Strathberry bag and Paul Andrew suede shoes; and a Dior dress with heels by the brand.

Ocean’s 8…appears to be the number of looks Anne is trying to wear in one short day while out promoting the film. Over 24 hours, the star has worn everything from a slinky lamé jumpsuit to an office-appropriate blouse and A-line skirt; from a Bottega Veneta sparkly pocketed dress with Jenny Bird earrings to a turquoise-theme print outfit; from a Stella McCartney tiger-stripe skirt suit with Karen WAlker sunglasses to a white pants look with Alexis Bittar jewelry.

Kendall actually had five outfit changes during her busy day in N.Y.C.: In between her two Longchamp ensembles (leave it to a supermodel to look comfy in a long-sleeve dress and suede boots on a 90° day), high-waist jeans and white tee and the Elie Saab mini she wore to the Tiffany & Co. party, she posed for a pic in lingerie and hot rollers.

While most of Rosie’s outfits may be ambitious for anyone but a supermodel to pull off, even the mortals among us can agree it’s time to invest in some fabulous boots and a great red lipstick.

No time to get sick of the same old outfits! Selena didn’t stay in any one look for too long while on a press tour in London, changing from a Proenza Schouler jumper and top to an floral Isabel Marant dress and Mansur Gavriel shoes to an off-the-shoulder mini and Trademark slides to an all-black outfit and plaid coat with the Mansur Gavriel slippers again.

When you’re already known for your everyday style, as Kate is, you’ve got to go all-out for a press tour, as she did, wearing (from left): head-to-toe Coach; Oscar de la Renta with an Edie Parker bag; Mother Jeans with Roger Vivier accessories; a Rochas dress with Roger Vivier heels. 

She may only be 13, but the Stranger Things star pulls off the dramatic outfit changes as well as far more seasoned stars. She wears (from left): a Miu Miu jumpsuit with Giuseppe Zanotti boots; a Rodarte three-piece ensemble; a Gucci dress; a Wolford bodysuit under a brocade skirt suit; and a Louis Vuitton mini.

If you think that four outfits in a day is impressive, you need to see the rest of Gabrielle’s nonstop wardrobe changes during her book tour. (She’s in: a full Gabriela Hearst look; red velvet pants with a cropped turtleneck; a full Proenza Schouler look; Stella McCartney separates with a Danse Lente bag.)

Blake is in a category all her own when it comes to press tour outfit changes (seen here promoting All I See Is You) especially because she says she doesn’t have a stylist to wrangle all the outfits. You’ll often find her in a pile of beautiful shoes. (From left: she’s in Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and Brandon Maxwell, with shoes by Christian Louboutin and jewelry by Lorraine Schwartz.)

Because you deserve to see the rest of the outfits Blake pulled off in a day: See her in Monse, Chanel, Jonathan Simkhai (with a Bottega Veneta coat) and Ralph Lauren Collection.

A diva is the female version of a hustler, and noted diva J.Lo definitely had to hustle to squeeze five outifts into one day, including: a peplum Zuhair Murad outfit; Sophie Theallet jumpsuit; a Saint Laurent metallic ensemble and a Lilly e Violetta coat. 

Selena swapped outfits six times in June, including: a Miu Miu look; Victor Glemaud slip dress and top; Jacquemus mini; Christopher Kane dress and black-and-white tea-length dress (many worn with a favorite pair of Louis Vuitton sandals). 

Just imagining the suitcases Blake had to bring to Cannes to accomodate all her outfit changes (including, from left, Giambattista Valli Haute Couture, Versace, Preen and Vivienne Westwood Couture) makes us exhausted.

While promoting her book, Graham changed four times in a day – but kept the corsets consistent. She wore: a beige dress topped with an August Getty Atelier duster and Fleur du Mal belt; Nili Lotan dress; black turtleneck dress; and August Getty Atelier sheer dress. 

Another street style star who’s no stranger to a quick change in the back of the car: Jessica, who swapped styles four times in 24 hours but kept her Tod’s bag consistent. 

Multiple Dior looks in one day? Yes, she Cannes! While promoting Catching Fire at the French film festival, the star hit multiple events in four neutral-hued finds from the fashion house of which she’s the face. 

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Front Row Report: The Chanel Show Was Truly Epic

A bit of French flair descended on the Big Apple on Tuesday, December 4, with Chanel taking over the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC for its pre-fall 2019 fashion show. And you better believe the stars turned out in style of the big event.

From chic separates (think: Sadie Sink sparkling in a blue two-piece and Marion Cotillard très chic in a winter white skirt suit) to gorgeous gowns (hi, Margot Robbie and Penelope Cruz), Hollywood A-listers were all about the glam as they enjoyed their night at the museum taking in the fab fashion.

Keep scrolling to see all the best front row outfits from the Chanel pre-fall 2019 fashion show!

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Michelle Obama's Book Tour Includes a FLOTUS-Level Wardrobe

Although Michelle Obama has left her FLOTUS title in the past, she’s maintaining her feminine and sophisticated style.

In honor of the release of her book, Becoming, Barack Obama‘s better half has been traveling across the country giving surprisingly relatable advice, promoting her new work and sharing epic looks from her well-managed wardrobe. She may not be in a public office, but her style, which she and stylist Meredith Koop carefully curated during her time in the White House, has remained the same with clean lines and classic silhouettes at the forefront. 

“I never expected to be someone who hired others to maintain my image, and at first the idea was discomfiting,” she stated in her book. “But I quickly found out a truth that no one talks about: Today, virtually every woman in public life—politicians, celebrities, you name it—has some version of Meredith, Johnny, and Carl”—her glam team—”It’s all but a requirement, a built-in fee for our societal double standard.”


Best Dressed of the Week: Tessa Thompson, Rita Ora, Emily Blunt and More

While her style may have stemmed from a need and double standard, her resulting style is universally appealing. Power suits, elevated denim styles, pretty pumps—if you want to look amazing and command respect, Mrs. Obama’s closet is the perfect place to start.

Check out the best looks from her book tour below!

Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Power Suit

In Philadelphia, Michelle Obama opted for a bold, red suit with flared trousers.

Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The Blues

The lawyer went for a monochromatic look from Akris with grey pumps.


Shining Star

Adding a little sparkle to her wardrobe, Michelle opted for an off-shoulder top featuring crystals and loose-hanging pants.

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Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

Stars and Stripes

The former FLOTUS opts for a suit, complete by the Safiyaa Greta Pinstripe Jacket and Dankia High-Waister Pinstripe Trousers.

Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

When They Go Low, We Go High

White just may be Michelle’s color. For an conversation with Tracee Ellis Ross in Inglewood, California, she went for a long, white suit jacket and matching wide-leg pants.

Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Bold in Black

In Washington, Mrs. Obama kept it classic with a black suit, but added a feminine flair with hanging crystal details on on shoulder.

Article continues below

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30 Stars Slaying Winter Style With Over-The-Knee Boots: Taylor Swift & More

Over-the-knee boots are the perfect way to stay warm and stylish this winter while still rocking a sexy, short skirt! See over 30 stars wearing the look below!

I think over-the-knee boots are one of the sexiest items of clothing one can wear. Maybe it’s because they are usually paired with a short skirt, but showing off your legs in thigh-high boots is a trendy and cool style that’s not going anywhere soon. Taylor Swift wore a tiny mini with thigh-high boots at the American Music Awards in October. Her outfit was Balmain, and definitely not for sale for the masses, but the shimmery silver vibe is perfect to copy for a holiday party. Taylor also famously wore red velvet boots at a Tommy Hilfiger fashion show — another perfect (and warm!) winter look.

Jennifer Lopez continues to be the hottest woman alive! She rocked a combination of velvet, leather and snakeskin at the Billboard Music Awards this year. She paired her boots with a longer skirt, but it had a high slit so you knew she was wearing the thigh-high style! Bebe Rexha wore hot pink thigh-high boots while performing at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which was taped in NYC in November. She always takes a risk on stage and we love it. See over 30 stars wearing boots in the gallery attached above!

At the VS Fashion Show viewing party on Dec. 2, Winnie Harlow rocked black sparkly boots with a tiny mini skirt. It was a super wearable look that is perfect for a holiday event of New Year’s Eve! Olivia Munn once wore blue suede boots with a glittery mini, giving new meaning to the phrase blue suede shoes! See more stars in boots in the gallery!

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Whether You're Friends With Betty or Veronica, We Have the Perfect Gift For Her

Whether You’re Friends With Betty or Veronica, We Have the Perfect Gift For Her

Riverdale is full of mysteries, but one case that doesn’t need cracking is the girls’ style. Arguably the most fashionable show on television today, every episode seems like a runway waiting to happen. The main characters have such distinct styles that perfectly reflect their personalities, and we feel we all have at least one of them in our lives. So, naturally, we’ve curated the perfect gift guide for fashion girls who totally see themselves in Betty, Veronica, Cheryl, Toni, or Josie. If you have someone in mind, scroll ahead, then check out more gifts for Riverdale fans.

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Strutting the Red Carpet and Worrying About Climate Change

Michael R. Bloomberg stood on the red carpet Monday night, smiling his tight smile and rebuffing questions about whether he planned to run for president.

His hearing also seemed to fail when asked if he would wed his longtime partner, Diana Taylor. “I didn’t hear that question,” he said, all three times it was asked.

That was understandable. After all, he was at Lincoln Center to discuss “Paris to Pittsburgh,” a new documentary about climate change financed by his nonprofit foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“It’s critical people understand that something is changing in this world, not for the better,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “And unless we do something, it’s not going to turn out well.”

A theme emerged when other well-heeled guests were asked how climate change affected them.

“Well, I mean, I own some real estate on the water,” said Christie Brinkley, the former model, who listed her two Hamptons estates earlier this year for a combined $49.5 million.

The actor Ed Norton began: “Well, I have a house in Malibu.”

And Martha Stewart said: “I live on a farm in Bedford, New York, and we’ve had so much rain this year. I live on the top of a hill, and I’m living in a swamp.”

Ms. Stewart also said the children of her former “Apprentice” boss, President Trump, would never be accepted back into New York society because of their father’s environmental policies.

“I think they drank the Kool-Aid and I’m sorry about that, because Ivanka is an intelligent, beautiful young woman,” she said. “How can she allow her father to go and start drilling in Alaska? We don’t need oil — just drive a Tesla car.”

But aren’t Teslas too expensive for most people to buy? “Of course they can,” she said. “It’s $39,000, cheaper than most cars.” (For the record, the base price for the lowest-end model is $45,000.)

After a short walk across Central Park, it smelled like teen spirit at the Marc Jacobs store on Madison Avenue.

The designer’s 1993 grunge collection for Perry Ellis was so poorly received that it got him fired. Now, 25 years later, he is revisiting the collection under his own label — everything from $45 rainbow socks to a $2,400 floral chiffon slip dress.

Grunge glamour, Mr. Jacobs said, is something “you can achieve if you just let yourself go. Any kind of visual noise is perfect.”

The Monday night event drew several scenesters — like the teenage models Presley and Kaia Gerber, and Gigi Hadid — who were not born when Generation X was slouching around in check flannel, checking their beepers.

Waiters passed trays of hot dogs among guests including Sofia Coppola, Kim Gordon, Andreja Pejic and the drag personality Miss Fame. The model Karen Elson chatted with the fashion editor Grace Coddington, forming a double supernova of red hair.

Sandra Bernhard, herself a ’90s icon, mentioned that the new play “Bernhardt/Hamlet” — about the French actress Sarah Bernhardt in a gender-nonconforming production of “Hamlet” set in 1899 — has been causing confusion.

“A woman got there and said, ‘What the hell happened? I thought you were in ‘Hamlet.’’’ Ms. Bernhard said of a recent complaint from a dinner companion. “She left at intermission.”

Nobody left during a screening of the riveting “If Beale Street Could Talk,” held Saturday night at the New York Institute of Technology. The new film, directed by Barry Jenkins (who won Oscars for best picture and adapted screenplay in 2017 for “Moonlight”), is based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel about a young African-American man wrongly imprisoned by a racist system.

“So much about the story is still relevant today,” Mr. Jenkins said. “It just shows how pervasive some of these problems have been.”

The after-party was at P.J Clarke’s on West 63rd Street, where the film’s cast — Stephan James, Kiki Layne, Colman Domingo and Regina King — mingled with guests including John Cameron Mitchell, Kenneth Lonergan, Alex Gibney and James Schamus, the chief executive of Focus Features.

“I’m probably one of the few people that knew James Baldwin,” said Gay Talese, 86, over a gin martini with a lemon twist. He described a 1966 dinner at his Manhattan home attended by Baldwin and Tom Wicker, a celebrated columnist for The New York Times.

“Baldwin got into an argument with Wicker about race, and Wicker’s wife, Neva, said, ‘Jimmy, you can’t talk to my husband that way.’ She was crying and he said, ‘I can talk to your husband as I wish,’” Mr. Talese said.

“She ran from the table, into the living room, and grabbed the curtains,” he added, miming Neva burying her face to dry the tears.

Did the curtains have to go out to be cleaned? Mr. Talese paused at the question but did not answer. Great men pay no mind to the drapes.

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Love Island's Olivia Bowen credits £25 silicone gel for transforming her 'red and angry' surgery scar – and it has five star reviews on Amazon

The Love Island runner-up took to Instagram yesterday to tell her followers about Nourisil MD's Silicone Scar Gel – which has also received five star reviews on Amazon.

Olivia, 24, shared a before and after photo of a mark just below her armpit, which is the result of surgery to remove a benign lump.

She wrote: "A month or so ago I was sent this silicone gel from @nourisil_md which basically is meant to help with the redness and raised appearance of scars.

"I've been using it for the last month and I'm actually so happy with how my scar has changed!

"You can see even in these photos it's actually visible how much it's made my scar, which was very red and angry, calm down and settle and I no longer have any discomfort from it!"

Olivia added: "I honestly recommend it so much for anyone with an angry scar, it's made me so happy."

Over on Amazon, the product is described as being "designed by dermatologists for the prevention and treatment of keloid and hypertrophic scars, resulting from wounds, trauma, burns or medical/cosmetic surgery".

It works by creating a "silicone barrier" that helps the skin to release moisture, thereby reducing collagen and the severity of a scar.

The brand states that it's suitable for use on all types of skin, and even on children.

  • Nourisil MD Silicone Scar Gel, £25 from Amazon – buy now

There are a number of positive reviews on the site, with one customer writing: "Bought this for my daughter who had an operation on her forehead to remove a large cyst.

"The serum is easy to put on, non-greasy and makes the skin really soft. I was worried about the scar as it had a bit of a bump each end but Nourisil MD has really helped reduce this and the scar looks much improved.

"I was surprised how quickly we started to see a reduction in the bumps and would happily recommend this product."

Another person commented: "I bought this product to try on my large, hypertrophic keloid scar that had become quite hard.

"After nine months of use, it has softened the scar and stopped the itching.

"I still have a long way to go before the scar flattens but at least it's going in the right direction."

Meanwhile, an expert has revealed that your fake tan could be giving you diarrhoea and other tummy troubles.

Viola Skin's £15 Vitamin C face cream is 'most wished for' on Amazon and people say it's 'faded' their fine lines.

And Ruth Langsford's hairdresser has launched a range of £3 products for thinning hair.

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Student, 19, 'told she had asthma SIX TIMES' only to be diagnosed with cancer

For months the 19-year-old went back and forth complaining of the same symptoms.

She was plagued by her cough for three months as her chest pain got worse, and she felt exhausted all the time.

But six times her GP told her it was nothing more than asthma.

Sophie managed to get through her A-levels, achieving the grades she needed to get into her first choice university.

Yet, eight months after first going to see her doctor, she still wasn't feeling better.

It was then that an X-ray revealed a tumour growing in Sophie's chest.

The mass was a staggering 10cm, and led doctors to diagnose her with Hodgkin lymphoma.

She was forced to put her life on hold while she underwent treatment, and now the teenager is calling on other youngsters to speak up when they fear something is wrong.

Sophie, from Basildon in Essex, said: "You know your own body better than anyone so trust what you feel and keep going until you get the answers you need.

"Just keep on fighting.

"When I got the call that they had found a mass on the right side of my chest I felt my heart sunk to a sludge.

"I never expected that to happen, it was quite frustrating for me and my family as I had been so many times.

"In a way I was relieved as I knew something was wrong with me and could be done about it, but I was petrified."

She added: "It should have been picked up earlier as I had been to the doctors five or six times over eight months before I was diagnosed."


HODGKIN lymphoma is a rare cancer of the lymphatic system – the network of blood vessels and glands throughout the body.

The lymphatic system is part of the immune system.

Clear fluid, lymph, flows through the lymphatic vessels and contains infection-fighting white blood cells or lymphocytes.

Hodgkin lymphoma happens when B-lymphocytes begin to multiply out of control and gathers in lymph nodes (glands).

The most common sign of the disease is a painless swelling in a gland, usually in the neck, armpit or groin.

Other symptoms include:

  • night sweats
  • unintentional weight loss
  • a high temperature
  • a persistent cough or feeling breathless
  • persistent itching of the skin all over the body
  • feeling tired all the time
  • an increased risk of infections
  • excessive bleeding, like nosebleeds, heavy periods and spots of blood under the skin

The disease can develop at any age but is more common in adults in their early 20s, and those over the age of 70.

After being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma – a cancer of the lymphatic system, the network of vessels and glands in the body – Sophie was referred to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at UCL in London, in September 2017.

She underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, while her friends enjoyed their first year at uni.

While they went out and got drunk, she lost her hair after six cycles of chemo and 16 days of radiotherapy.

"Losing my hair was the worst thing at first as that is what you associate with cancer but it does get better, you just adapt to it," she said.

"Being in the ward made it better as you realise you are not the odd one out and seeing everyone there being comfortable with no hair."

In July, Sophie was given the all clear and was able to take up her place studying biological sciences at Reading University.

The 19-year-old thanked the Teenage Cancer Trust who helped her face treatment while all her friends were enjoying "normal" life.

She said: "You wouldn't expect it but the Teenage Cancer Trust units have such a happy atmosphere, and my friends could visit any time, which was brilliant.

"I feel so lucky to have been given my treatment at a Teenage Cancer Trust unit. It changed my outlook on my situation."

The Teenage Cancer Trust has urged others to follow in her footsteps and to keep fighting for a diagnosis.

Sasha Daly , deputy director of policy and influencing said: "Cancer, whilst rare in young people compared to adults, is still the biggest killer of young people by disease.

"We know that early diagnosis can make all the difference.

"We too often hear heart-breaking stories about young people who are diagnosed with cancer too late.

"We want this and future generations to be armed with the right information, so they are more likely to feel confident to visit their GP or talk to their family if they have any health concerns."


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