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Metro.co.uk: News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities from Metro

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    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    A plus-size artist has been depicting her moods using her face as a canvas.

    Skye McLaughlin, 24, spent £4,500 on makeup in a year to transform herself into a ‘living art doll’, changing her look daily.

    She describes her face as being a ‘canvas of emotions’, using makeup to channel her changing moods.

    Skye, who weighs 21st 4lbs, and wears a UK 28, says her style is inspired by Japanese fashion. She’s keen to challenge the preconceptions that dolls should have figures like Barbie.

    Syke, from Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania, said: ‘At first, people would say, ‘You can’t be a doll because you’re fat.’ But I just did what I wanted. Now, I’m helping other people who are plus-size realise that they can do it, too.

    ‘I have tons of people every week saying, ‘Hey man, you make me see that I can do that too. I don’t have to dress drab because I’m plus-size’.

    ‘It’s the magic of life – we can wear what we want. One of my huge goals is to make people feel comfortable wearing whatever they want. It’s so important to dig deep and be who you are.’

    Skye, whose mum is a makeup artist, became interested in painting her own face aged 15.

    Skye McLaughlin, who calls herself Porcelainette, takes a selfie (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    She said: ‘I started to realise that I could paint on my face and that segued into special effects makeup.

    ‘Then, when I was 18, I started working at haunted houses as a dead clown girl, inspired by Pierrot clowns with the stark white, mask-like faces.

    ‘It provided the foundation for what my make-up evolved into, and I still use the same basic formula when doing my make-up – a white base, some type of bright blush, bold or gigantic eyes, and then details.

    ‘That’s where I really came into my own and really started treating makeup like art.’

    At school, without the funds to invest in cosmetics, Skye, who is single, improvised, using markers to create realistic special effects on her face and body.

    She continued: ‘I’d draw on myself with my artist markers. I’d make these realistic gashes, or I’d draw weird things, or lines on my face, but the gory stuff got me in trouble.

    ‘I remember once, I was in maths and I raised my hand and had these cuts on my arms.

    ‘My teacher screamed and ran over to see if I was okay, but I’d drawn them on with a marker.’

    Skye McLaughlin in a light make-up look(Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    While her wild make-up grabbed her classmates’ attention, Skye does not have happy memories of school, where she was bullied about her size and constantly harassed by one student who continued to verbally abuse her by phone even after they graduated high school.

    She explained: ‘I struggled a lot as a young person; I was not treated well by my peers because of my weight and how I dressed, which was really experimental and weird, but I think people also just thought I was weird.

    ‘Some teachers even thought I was the bully because I was big, tough and angry and I stood up for myself.

    ‘I was so angry and sad, but instead of lashing out, I really turned my anger into fuel to create and have found devising my different looks a great support.

    ‘With each new look, I create a new piece of art.’

    And, while Skye’s inspiration for her elaborate appearance often comes from her love of horror and fantasy, her own emotions are also reflected in her creations.

    She said: ‘A lot of my emotions are put into my work.

    ‘When I’m angry, I paint it on my face. When I’m sad, I paint it on my face and when I’m happy, I paint it on my face.

    ‘I’m turning myself into this caricature of emotions.’

    Her love of dolls has developed in tandem with her makeup creations, but while she began collecting them, along with figurines, as a teenager, she couldn’t afford the ball-jointed versions she really wanted.

    Skye McLaughlin, who calls herself Porcelainette, takes a selfie (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Coming as a blank canvas for their owners to transform, she now has three of the special dolls, which collectively cost her £1,200, for just the blank doll forms.

    She said: ‘I read about ball-jointed dolls obsessively from the age of 10.

    ‘Even though I couldn’t have one, I was planning which one I was going to get in the future, who they were and how I was going to dress them.

    ‘I was drawn to them because of the magic of what I could do with them. I got to take something that was in my brain and apply it to this doll – making my fantasy real.

    ‘And that’s pretty much what I do to myself on a daily basis.’

    But Skye, who has 17,900 followers on Instagram, is keen to differentiate between herself and ‘living dolls’ – a community of people who try to replicate the ‘perfect’ waif-like appearance of Barbie dolls.

    She explained: ‘Living dolls try to be very perfect, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s not my goal. At the end of the day, I take my look off, and I’m the blank canvas again – nothing is permanent.

    ‘What I really wanted was always to just be a living artwork and to eat, sleep and breathe it and become it.

    ‘I describe myself as a living art doll. It means I’m using my body as a canvas to become my own art.

    Skye McLaughlin, who calls herself Porcelainette (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘Part of being a doll is being blank, especially with art dolls, it’s a lifestyle, so part of being the art yourself is being a blank canvas.’

    And while Skye has certain repetitive themes – like painting a dot under each eye to highlight two natural freckles – she transforms her look to be different every day, taking between three hours for a simple white face dusted in gold, and 12 hours, for a complicated evil clown look.

    She continued: ‘It’s cool because it’s temporary, I make this piece of art and as soon as I’m done, I wipe it off, then it’s gone forever.

    ‘When you make a painting you have this big thing left once you’re done, it’s beautiful and it’s wonderful, but I don’t have space for a million paintings.

    ‘So, that’s the great thing about make-up art – it disappears when you’re done.’

    While Skye receives mostly positive reactions on her appearance, she says she once shouted at a man who made unsolicited sexual comments to her.

    And, she says that though she loves doing her makeup, her favourite part is taking it off.

    She said: ‘It’s like a breath of fresh air. The makeup is a deep inhale and taking it off is letting it all out again.

    ‘It’s part of the cycle. I feel just as good with or without make-up. The blank canvas is fine, it’s good, and it’s mine.’

    MORE: This woman has launched a discount card specifically to promote black-owned businesses

    MORE: Stunning black and white photos show the studio of a 1950s tattoo artist


    Living dollLiving dollhattiegladwellmetroSkye McLaughlin, who calls herself Porcelainette, takes a selfie (Collect/PA Real Life)Skye McLaughlin in a light make-up look(Collect/PA Real Life)Skye McLaughlin, who calls herself Porcelainette, takes a selfie (Collect/PA Real Life)Skye McLaughlin, who calls herself Porcelainette (Collect/PA Real Life)Living dollLiving dollhattiegladwellmetroSkye McLaughlin, who calls herself Porcelainette, takes a selfie (Collect/PA Real Life)Skye McLaughlin in a light make-up look(Collect/PA Real Life)Skye McLaughlin, who calls herself Porcelainette, takes a selfie (Collect/PA Real Life)Skye McLaughlin, who calls herself Porcelainette (Collect/PA Real Life)

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    (Picture: Sewport)

    A CEO has posted a £60,000 a year job advertisement for a personal stylist and designer to travel the world.

    So if you’re a lover of fashion, this job will be perfect for you.

    The job advert was published on Sewport.com last week. They are looking for a fashion designer and seamstress to travel with and dress the CEO across the world over the next year, and they’re willing to pay £60k.

    The job will involve designing and making tailor-made outfits for the woman for work and social events, while travelling outside of the UK and Europe.

    The selected candidate will need to create bespoke outfits for the CEO’s meetings and social events, based on current fashion trends.

    The advert states that the designer will need to travel with the CEO to different continents around the world, including Asia, North America, Australia and Europe.

    Tailor at Work on Sewing Machine.
    (Picture: Getty)

    They will need to create formal and casual outfits for the CEO’s meetings and social occasions, which can range from attending the horse racing in Dubai, to a dinner with her family.

    The advertisement comes after the CEO decided it was time to find a new designer – who was recently let go from the position due to the CEO losing ‘confidence in their ability to be efficient and effective’.

    The CEO says in the ad that she’s looking for someone young, but with at least five years of experience within fashion to fill the role, and says that she’s hugely passionate about fashion and has a unique sense of style that the right candidate must ‘channel’.

    But there are a few rules.

    The selected candidate will have to source their own tools and material – but don’t worry, they will be paid for.

    The advert states that some months the designer will have to create 10 outfits, but others it may just be a few, with the designer focusing on styling the CEO’s current clothes. The chosen designer will also be given 28 days holiday and full sick pay.

    CEO posts ??60k a year job ad for personal stylist and designer to travel the world https://sewport.com/fashion-designer-manufacturer-needed
    (Picture: Sewport)

    It continues that the CEO is aware of the magnitude of the job, but assures hopeful candidates that there will also be extensive additional perks, such as fine dining, exclusive access to prestigious events and the opportunity to see the world.

    Boris Hodakel, Sewport.com founder, says: ‘At Sewport our whole ethos is about giving people the chance to create absolutely anything they want within fashion, so we often get some quite weird and wonderful requests – however it’s been a while since we’ve had anything this enticing!

    ‘After receiving the email request we realised this was definitely something we could help with – even if it is slightly different to our normal way of working. The CEO is looking for a designer and a manufacturer, and as a platform which connects both of those professions, what better place to find a personal designer to travel the world with you.’

    MORE: Zara has a new logo and people are not keen

    MORE: Photographer takes ‘primal’ labour pictures to encourage more homebirths


    CEO posts ?60k a year job ad for personal stylistCEO posts ?60k a year job ad for personal stylisthattiegladwellmetroTailor at Work on Sewing Machine.CEO posts ??60k a year job ad for personal stylist and designer to travel the world https://sewport.com/fashion-designer-manufacturer-neededCEO posts ?60k a year job ad for personal stylistCEO posts ?60k a year job ad for personal stylisthattiegladwellmetroTailor at Work on Sewing Machine.CEO posts ??60k a year job ad for personal stylist and designer to travel the world https://sewport.com/fashion-designer-manufacturer-needed

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    Picture: @toniosborne_/Twitter)

    A woman charged her ex £100 to talk to her, and we think she’s our new role model.

    19-year-old Toni Osborne recently shared two screenshots on Twitter – one of her demanding £100 for her ex’s right to talk to her, and the other of him actually sending it.

    Toni says that the guy had ‘cheated, abused’ and broken up with her over three years ago – so thought asking for the money was ‘compensation’.

    Her ex had messaged her asking to talk, and explained that he would be willing to do anything for her time of day.

    Toni Osborne posted screenshots of conversation with ex-boyfriend on Twitter (Picture: @toniosborne_/Twitter)
    (Picture: @toniosborne_/Twitter)
    Toni Osborne posted screenshots of conversation with ex-boyfriend on Twitter (Picture: @toniosborne_/Twitter)
    (Picture: @toniosborne_/Twitter)

    And she replied: ‘Give me £100 then we will talk’.

    Immediately, he said it was fine by him – and actually sent her the money.

    We’re not sure what happened after that, but the tweet has since gone viral, with more than 3,000 retweets and 32,000 likes.

    It also received a lot of comments from girls who have taken inspiration from the tweets:

    Honestly, we like Toni’s style. Though we think she should’ve charged him per message, not per conversation.

    Not everyone’s able to deal with an ex in such style. We asked people to tell us the greatest length an ex has gone to to get them back – or to at least talk to them.

    Here’s what they said.

    Dan said his ex went to great lengths to get him back

    ‘Literally all forms possible. She was a friend of a friend so, joined group chats, Facebook, email, even LinkedIn. I had explained my reasons clearly why it was no longer happening so she claimed she was struggling mentally…. I gave her advice that I could but she was lying.

    ‘I said that, as she had a son, the best thing she could do was focus on him, delete social media or at least limit it. Not use dating sites if this is how she deals with it all.

    ‘I offered advice but had to express that I am not a professional and her doctor should be her first point of call. I can only do so much. This was 18 months ago and yet she still tries to contact me on occasion. I have to ignore as engaging gives false hope.’

    One ex got abusive…

    ‘One guy whom I was with for roughly seven years actually waited outside my new place, grabbed me and threw me in his truck just so I would listen to him.’

    One guy used his ex’s Netflix – and no, we’re not talking for free streaming

    ‘My ex changed my name on Netflix to “call me” so I deleted my account, then he used his parents Facebook to message me after I’d blocked his socials, tracked my location to find where I was, tried to PayPal me with messages and emailed me through eBay… wild times.’

    Myla’s ex was a little nicer… though not successful

    ‘Wrote me a 10 page letter and left school, showed up to my school lunch to give it to me in front of everybody. Awkward as hell, but cute.’

    MORE: Man born with no limbs is now a talented break dancer

    MORE: Can you use sex and masturbation as a form of meditation?


    Woman Charges 'Cheating' Ex-Boyfriend ?100 To Talk To HerWoman Charges 'Cheating' Ex-Boyfriend ?100 To Talk To HerhattiegladwellmetroToni Osborne posted screenshots of conversation with ex-boyfriend on Twitter (Picture: @toniosborne_/Twitter)Toni Osborne posted screenshots of conversation with ex-boyfriend on Twitter (Picture: @toniosborne_/Twitter)Woman Charges 'Cheating' Ex-Boyfriend ?100 To Talk To HerWoman Charges 'Cheating' Ex-Boyfriend ?100 To Talk To HerhattiegladwellmetroToni Osborne posted screenshots of conversation with ex-boyfriend on Twitter (Picture: @toniosborne_/Twitter)Toni Osborne posted screenshots of conversation with ex-boyfriend on Twitter (Picture: @toniosborne_/Twitter)

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    (Picture: Getty)

    McDonald’s New Zealand is ditching its Happy Meal toys in replacement for Roald Dahl books to encourage children to read more.

    The fast food restaurant will be giving away 800,000 books over the next six weeks.

    Six specially-created books will be given out to those buying Happy Meals, including Wonderful Mr Willy Wonka, Fantabulous BFG, Lucky Charlie Bucket, Matilda, Brave Little Sophie and Marvellous Miss Honey.

    A Happy Meal and McFlurry are arranged for a photograph at a McDonald's Corp. fast food restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. McDonald's Corp. is scheduled to release earning figures on October 23. Photographer: Caitlin O'Hara/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    (Picture: Getty)

    Each book features extracts from Roald Dahl’s original titles, alongside illustrations by Quentin Blake.

    The books being given away in Happy Meals

    24 January to 30 January: Roald Dahl’s Fantabulous BFG

    31 January to 6 February: Roald Dahl’s Amazing Matilda

    7 February to 13 February: Roald Dahl’s Lucky Charlie Bucket

    14 February to 20 February: Roald Dahl’s Brave Little Sophie

    21 February to 27 February: Roald Dahl’s Wonderful Mr Willy Wonka

    28 February to 6 March: Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Miss Honey

    Stickers and activities will also be in the book.

    The project comes as part of McDonald’s global Happy Meal Readers programme, which hopes to inspire young children to read more.

    Mcdonald?s is giving out free Roald Dahl books to encourage children to read more Roald Dahl's Matilda book Picture: Penguin metrograb
    (Picture: Penguin)

    Jo Mitchell, director of marketing at McDonald’s New Zealand, said: ‘The Happy Meal Readers programme is all about helping parents to get their children to enjoy reading.

    ‘The Roald Dahl characters are ones that many parents will have enjoyed growing up, and it’s great to play a part in introducing them to a new generation.’

    MORE: A CEO is looking to pay someone £60,000 a year to dress her around the world

    MORE: Plus-size woman uses makeup to turn herself into a ‘living art doll’


    TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Currently, McDonald's top-selling children's meals can range from 300 to nearly 800 calories across North America (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Currently, McDonald's top-selling children's meals can range from 300 to nearly 800 calories across North America (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)hattiegladwellmetroA Happy Meal and McFlurry are arranged for a photograph at a McDonald's Corp. fast food restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. McDonald's Corp. is scheduled to release earning figures on October 23. Photographer: Caitlin O'Hara/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesMcdonald?s is giving out free Roald Dahl books to encourage children to read more Roald Dahl's Matilda book Picture: Penguin metrograbTORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Currently, McDonald's top-selling children's meals can range from 300 to nearly 800 calories across North America (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Currently, McDonald's top-selling children's meals can range from 300 to nearly 800 calories across North America (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)hattiegladwellmetroA Happy Meal and McFlurry are arranged for a photograph at a McDonald's Corp. fast food restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. McDonald's Corp. is scheduled to release earning figures on October 23. Photographer: Caitlin O'Hara/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesMcdonald?s is giving out free Roald Dahl books to encourage children to read more Roald Dahl's Matilda book Picture: Penguin metrograb

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    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    A council worker has relived the moment she woke up from a coma thinking she was the Messiah after a rare brain infection turned her into a ‘different person’.

    Convinced she was ‘a messenger from God,’ despite not being religious, Evie Moore, 23, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, spent two months in hospital being treated for encephalitis – a serious inflammation of the brain.

    She remembers lying on the floor next to her hospital bed, creating the sign of the cross.

    She even temporarily forgot who her parents were after the condition – which causes the body’s immune system to start attacking healthy brain cells – struck.

    She said: ‘When the junior doctor came to see me, I’d say, ‘Hello, I’m a messenger from God and I’ve been sent from heaven.’’

    Despite no longer experiencing religious delusions, Evie says encephalitis has changed her personality – making her less inhibited – and also blames it for ending her first serious relationship.

    She said: ‘It’s very upsetting, because I feel like I am better and I am back to normal, but I know that something has changed and my mum and dad sometimes comment on things that I might say that before I wouldn’t have done.

    ‘And, after the breakdown of my last relationship, I stopped looking for love because I was worried that my illness would mean we just broke up again.’

    Before September 2015, when she was diagnosed with encephalitis, Evie was a fit and healthy young woman, who ate well and visited the gym regularly.

    Evie at a World Encephalitis Day event, February 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Living happily with her then boyfriend, who she does not wish to name, and working as a customer service assistant at an energy company, she started experiencing out-of-character feelings of jealousy and paranoia.

    ‘In the three months before encephalitis hit me, I was becoming paranoid and was getting worked up about things that wouldn’t normally bother me,’ she recalled.

    ‘For no reason at all, I was getting really worried about my boyfriend at the time speaking to other girls, which never used to bother me before.

    ‘And looking back now, that was clearly the beginning of it.’

    Her condition deteriorated rapidly at the end of September 2015, when Evie caught the flu and was confined to her bed for a week.

    At home on her own while her boyfriend was out one evening, she called her parents and, sensing something was wrong, her orthopaedic engineer dad Ivan, 53, immediately drove to her house and brought her back to the family home in Tetbury, 11 miles away.

    ‘Mum and Dad knew something wasn’t right with me, as I was very distressed and out of sorts,’ she said.

    ‘It was becoming apparent that this wasn’t just flu. They were on tenterhooks.’

    Evie and her dog Willow, Autumn 2017 (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Then suddenly, Evie, who at the time was 20, started having a seizure in their living room, her eyes rolling back into her head and her mouth foaming.

    Frantic and unable to bring her out of the seizure, her parents called an ambulance and paramedics immediately defibrillated her once she was in the ambulance to kick-start her heart and bring her back to consciousness.

    Evie was rushed to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital 20 miles away in Gloucester, where she was put into an induced coma for 48 hours to reduce the damage to her brain caused by the seizure, which doctors were unsure of the cause of.

    ‘My memory from then has all pretty much gone and I’ve had to piece it together from what my parents and younger sister Ruby, 19, have told me,’ she continued.

    ‘But I do remember coming to and looking at the catheter bag at the end of my bed, thinking, ‘How strange, I wonder what could have happened?’ and then feeling a horrible pain from where I’d bitten my tongue during the seizure.’

    When her family came to visit her she didn’t recognise them and was barely able to form sentences.

    Gradually, over a week in hospital, her memory and faculties returned with the help of steroids to reduce the brain inflammation and Evie was allowed to return to the flat she shared with her then boyfriend, having never been given confirmation of what had prompted her mysterious seizure.

    Still confused, she was advised to have someone with her for the first two weeks and could not leave the flat without quickly becoming so overwhelmed that she had to flee back indoors.

    Evie in the Lake District on holiday, April 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘I started becoming delusional, too,’ she said. ‘Once, I was watching the news on TV completely petrified, as I thought that I was there in the war zone that they were reporting on.’

    Things came to a head a week after going home when, lying in bed beside her boyfriend one night, she believed her mother was dead.

    She recalled: ‘I sat bolt upright and was totally convinced she had died, as if someone had just told me, and started getting ready to leave the flat and go to my parents’ in the middle of the night.

    ‘It was clear then that I needed to be back in hospital again.’

    Readmitted to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Evie was diagnosed with psychosis, a common symptom of encephalitis, which usually develops a few weeks after the initial seizure.

    She was was eventually diagnosed with encephalitis after two weeks back in hospital under observation.

    Evie continued: ‘I had no knowledge of who I was anymore.

    ‘The medics put me in a room on my own and I could see the birds flying outside and thought that I could, too.

    ‘I was desperately trying to jump out of the window and fly and my dad using all his force to pull me back.

    Evie and George on holiday in the Lake District (Collect/PA Real Life)
    Evie with her new boyfriend, George, on holiday in the Lake District (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘I turned around and just shouted ‘f*** off’, and I remember seeing him tear up at those words.’

    Despite the sudden change in Evie’s behaviour and personality, her parents tried to be as comforting and helpful as they could, visiting her every day.

    Unfortunately, her relationship did not survive, as two weeks before the end of her nine week stint in hospital, her boyfriend confessed he could not cope with the change in her.

    ‘The illness had really altered who I was, and I think for a young relationship that was too much of a strain,’ she said.

    ‘He came to visit me and started crying and we both decided it wasn’t right any more.

    ‘He left and I closed my curtains and just started sobbing my eyes out.’

    When she was finally discharged, Evie moved back in with her parents and, while her psychosis diminished, she couldn’t work for 18 months because of exhaustion and disorientation.

    ‘For a long time I had to rely on my mum to help me get dressed in the morning and put my makeup on,’ said Evie.

    ‘I felt so tired all the time, but my parents were amazing in getting me up and doing things so that I didn’t just sit around and wallow. And that really helped me get off my feet both emotionally and physically.’

    At first taking a part-time job as a shop assistant, in November 2017, Evie was able to go back to working full-time as a sales consultant at travel agent Thomas Cook.

    Evie and George, June 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)
    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Then, in February 2017, despite vowing not to get involved with another man, she met sales assistant George Moore, 25, who had been in the year above her at school, although they had never spoken before.

    Initially finding each other on Snapchat, the pair clicked and met up for a coffee. They dated for a while and then moved in together six months later.

    Evie said: ‘I told him all about my encephalitis and what had happened to me on that first date.

    ‘He was brilliant and really encouraging. I fell in love with George and he made me feel so much better.

    ‘He’s really tried to change things for me and help me to recover. That has been so important in getting over this nightmare.

    ‘Sometimes I might seem a little strange, but he just said how brilliant he thought I was to have come through it all, and that made me feel really good in myself.

    ‘Now that I am recovering and have George at my side, I am completely comfortable in myself again.’

    To find out more about encephalitis and World Encephalitis Day on February 22, visit the Encephalitis Society’s website.

    MORE: A CEO is looking to pay someone £60,000 a year to dress her around the world

    MORE: Plus-size woman uses makeup to turn herself into a ‘living art doll’


    Evie MooreEvie MoorehattiegladwellmetroEvie at a World Encephalitis Day event, February 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)Evie and her dog Willow, Autumn 2017 (Collect/PA Real Life)Evie in the Lake District on holiday, April 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)Evie and George on holiday in the Lake District (Collect/PA Real Life)Evie and George, June 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)Evie MooreEvie MoorehattiegladwellmetroEvie at a World Encephalitis Day event, February 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)Evie and her dog Willow, Autumn 2017 (Collect/PA Real Life)Evie in the Lake District on holiday, April 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)Evie and George on holiday in the Lake District (Collect/PA Real Life)Evie and George, June 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)

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    Scammer stories have long held a certain appeal. But now, in an age of fake news, social media and #sponcon, where ostentation is our porn and likes are currency, a new wave of modern-day scammer stories has us gripped.

    First we learned of Anna Delvey, the audacious socialite who convinced investors, lawyers, banks and New York’s elite to invest millions of dollars in a business idea that wasn’t actually real. She’s now in prison.

    Then there was Instagram star Caroline Calloway, who leveraged her social media success to sell $165 tickets for four-hour ‘creativity workshops’ that promised salad, handwritten letters and flower crowns – that didn’t quite materialise.

    Events were cancelled, plans changed on the fly and promised detail never delivered. Those handmade flower crowns turned out to be a single flower that was propped in attendees’ hair for photos, then passed on. The home-made salads proved too tricky for Calloway to pull off, so she asked people to bring their own packed lunch instead.

    We read every Instagram update with wonder, chuckling at the seemingly shock delivery of 1,200 mason jars, the relocations, the decision to ditch handwritten letters in favour of affirmations written in the front of free notepads.

    The whole fiasco came to an abrupt end after it was exposed in a detailed Twitter thread, leading to a hand-wringing apology from Calloway.

    And, then, of course, there was Fyre Festival: The biggest, boldest scam of them all.

    The man behind it, Billy McFarland, has been sentenced to six years in federal prison. Millions of us were gripped by the story, told first through tweets of terrible cheese sandwiches sent from the frontline, then in the form of documentaries on Netflix and Hulu.

    This was a scam of giant proportions. There were the models and cool kids – including Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin – who helped flog tickets costing thousands by posing on speedboats and posting orange squares on Instagram.

    There was powerful, extensive promo for an event that didn’t truly exist. There was the moment attendees – who had been promised luxury villas and private jets gratis – were asked to load thousands of dollars upfront on to cash-free wristbands for their amazing experience on a private, deserted island in the Bahamas (that turned out to be a tiny corner of the Bahama’s biggest island, Great Exuma, population, 7,314).

    Then, finally, the absolute mess of the event: the drenched disaster relief tents, the fighting over mattresses, the lack of food, the absence of musical guests.

    We watched it all, hooked by every moment, revelling in the schadenfreude.

    So why it is that we find scammer stories so captivating? And what does our fascination say about us?

    The first explanation is simple: The stories are just so damn good.

    They twist, they turn. Just when you think surely they are about to get caught out, the scammer pulls it off again, takes their scam further, gets even more brazen.

    Scammers seem to be getting away with what we know is wrong. They disrupt the narrative, and it’s exciting.

    There is a vicarious thrill in watching people do things we’re told are wrong – lying, cheating, stealing – with positive consequences – money, fame, getting away with it.

    It’s gratifying. We get to watch or read, risk free, about someone doing things that we would never dare to do.

    BGUK_1457111 - ** RIGHTS: WORLDWIDE EXCEPT IN UNITED STATES ** Los Angeles, - The latest trailer for Netflix???s upcoming documentary FYRE, the film is a behind-the-scenes look into Ja Rule and Billy McFarland???s disastrous 2017 Fyre Festival. Fyre Festival flew a bevvy of models including Bella Hadid, Alessandra Ambrosio, Emily Ratajkowski, Gizele Oliveira, Hailey Baldwin --------- *BACKGRID DOES NOT CLAIM ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE ATTACHED MATERIAL. ANY DOWNLOADING FEES CHARGED BY BACKGRID ARE FOR BACKGRID'S SERVICES ONLY, AND DO NOT, NOR ARE THEY INTENDED TO, CONVEY TO THE USER ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE MATERIAL. BY PUBLISHING THIS MATERIAL , THE USER EXPRESSLY AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND TO HOLD BACKGRID HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH USER'S PUBLICATION OF THE MATERIAL* Pictured: Fyre Festival BACKGRID UK 13 JANUARY 2019 UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
    Models were used to sell an idea of a festival that didn’t really exist (Picture: BACKGRID)

    Then there’s the opposing source of gratification: when the scammers finally get caught. Order is restored and we can feel more comfortable in the world again.

    After all that build up, no, they don’t get away with it. The baddie is still punished.

    But the bit that’s more fun than a Disney film is that while part of us wants order to be restored, another part is rooting for the scammer.

    We want to see them push further, be more audacious, so we can marvel at just how far they’re able to go.

    Professor of applied neuroscience Patricia Riddell tells Metro.co.uk: ‘When we hear stories, we often compare the behaviour of the person in the story to our own behaviour. If we think of scamming in terms of the intellectual or comedic content, then we are likely to want to be like the scammer.

    ‘It is only when we focus on the victim and how they might have been hurt that we are likely to feel compassion and therefore less positive about the scammer. So – the way the story is presented will help to influence how we react.’

    Patricia explains that a great scammer story needs to be ‘unique, clever, and probably have a level of humour in it too’ – but the perspective is key as well.

    A great scammer story maintains distance between the observer and the scammer, not only for the sake of mystery, but to allow you to judge them.

    They can’t be entirely sympathetic characters, but you need to see how engaging they can be.

    You have to be drawn in at first. The scammer needs to appear to be brilliant and sparkling, convincing enough that you can see why people became their victims – yet not so convincing that you didn’t see it coming.

    That added layer of awareness lets you feel smart; you wouldn’t have fallen into their trap.

    Once you’re drawn in, the meaty bit. The scamming commences, trickled with clues that the people being scammed do not spot.

    Then, finally, the moral resolution. There are a couple of options for this element.

    As Patricia notes, a great scam story can only be enjoyed without a guilty conscience if no one is genuinely affected by the scam, or if the victims aren’t particularly sympathetic.

    With Fyre Fest and Caroline Calloway, there’s a sense of ‘well, the scammed people kind of deserved it’. These are people willing to spend significant amounts of money on outrageous experiences, taking being ‘Instagram influenced’ to another, significantly more privileged level.

    When there are victims we can’t dismiss as ‘deserving’, things get more complicated.

    Patricia worries that our obsession with scammer stories may ‘demonstrate a lack of compassion in our society that is not entirely healthy’, a valid concern.

    It doesn’t seem quite right that we voraciously eat up stories from Anna Delvey and Billy McFarland, that we’re intent on finding out all the details of how they pull off their scams, or that we take such glee in watching people do terrible things.

    But there is some light in our ethical darkness.

    While Patricia argues that for a scammer story to be enjoyed, ‘it is important that no one was hurt physically, financially, or psychologically’, the Fyre Festival documentary proves that this might not be necessary.

    We might have enjoyed watching the lies, the fraud, and the sheer expense that unfolded, but we were touched by the stories of workers who went unpaid – enough that fundraisers have racked up thousands of dollars to help pay them back.

    So, is it bad that we love scammer stories so deeply? Are we terrible people for being riveted by people getting deceived?

    It depends on how you feel after taking them in. If you have a gentle chuckle to yourself about those who bought into the scam, that’s not morally angelic, but it’s not doing any harm.

    And besides, the set up of how these narratives are told very often encourages that exact reaction.

    If the wrongdoing inspires you to take action against fraud and false advertising, or to raise money for the people affected by the scammer’s nefarious ways, that’s great. You can rest easy.

    Really, the only cause for concern is if you consume scammer stories not as moral stories of failure and deviance, but as forms of inspiration. If you finished watching one of the Fyre Festival documentaries and thought, ‘yes, I shall now pull off a similar scam’, that’s… not good.

    Scammer stories are only enjoyable if they’re kept at a distance of fantasy.

    They need to be unbelievable – so shocking it’s truly remarkable that someone managed to pull it off.

    And remember: for every scammer story that gets turned into a Netflix documentary, there are many that end simply with jail time.

    MORE: It's time to Marie Kondo your online life

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    Why do we love stories of scammers?Why do we love stories of scammers?ellencscottBGUK_1457111 - ** RIGHTS: WORLDWIDE EXCEPT IN UNITED STATES ** Los Angeles, - The latest trailer for Netflix???s upcoming documentary FYRE, the film is a behind-the-scenes look into Ja Rule and Billy McFarland???s disastrous 2017 Fyre Festival. Fyre Festival flew a bevvy of models including Bella Hadid, Alessandra Ambrosio, Emily Ratajkowski, Gizele Oliveira, Hailey Baldwin --------- *BACKGRID DOES NOT CLAIM ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE ATTACHED MATERIAL. ANY DOWNLOADING FEES CHARGED BY BACKGRID ARE FOR BACKGRID'S SERVICES ONLY, AND DO NOT, NOR ARE THEY INTENDED TO, CONVEY TO THE USER ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE MATERIAL. BY PUBLISHING THIS MATERIAL , THE USER EXPRESSLY AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND TO HOLD BACKGRID HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH USER'S PUBLICATION OF THE MATERIAL* Pictured: Fyre Festival BACKGRID UK 13 JANUARY 2019 UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*Why do we love stories of scammers?Why do we love stories of scammers?ellencscottBGUK_1457111 - ** RIGHTS: WORLDWIDE EXCEPT IN UNITED STATES ** Los Angeles, - The latest trailer for Netflix???s upcoming documentary FYRE, the film is a behind-the-scenes look into Ja Rule and Billy McFarland???s disastrous 2017 Fyre Festival. Fyre Festival flew a bevvy of models including Bella Hadid, Alessandra Ambrosio, Emily Ratajkowski, Gizele Oliveira, Hailey Baldwin --------- *BACKGRID DOES NOT CLAIM ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE ATTACHED MATERIAL. ANY DOWNLOADING FEES CHARGED BY BACKGRID ARE FOR BACKGRID'S SERVICES ONLY, AND DO NOT, NOR ARE THEY INTENDED TO, CONVEY TO THE USER ANY COPYRIGHT OR LICENSE IN THE MATERIAL. BY PUBLISHING THIS MATERIAL , THE USER EXPRESSLY AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND TO HOLD BACKGRID HARMLESS FROM ANY CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR CAUSES OF ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH USER'S PUBLICATION OF THE MATERIAL* Pictured: Fyre Festival BACKGRID UK 13 JANUARY 2019 UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*

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    Embargoed to 2330 Wednesday January 30 File photo dated 19/02/18 of breakfast cereal. The theory that breakfast is the most important meal of the day - including for dieters - may not be true, research suggests. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday January 30, 2019. A review of studies found that eating breakfast does not appear to help people lose weight and should not necessarily be recommended as a weight-loss strategy. See PA story HEALTH Breakfast. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
    (Picture: PA)

    If you’re trying to lose weight, you should skip breakfast, according to new research.

    It’s thought that eating a big breakfast in the morning stops you feeling as hungry throughout the day, helping people to slim down.

    But a new review published in The BMJ suggests ‘the most important meal of the day’ may not help people to control their weight.

    Researchers found there is no good evidence to support the idea that eating breakfast promotes weight loss – or that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain.

    In fact, the findings show that daily calorie intake was higher in people eating breakfast and that skipping brekkie does not cause greater appetite later in the day.

    The researchers said their review questions the thought that eating breakfast helps you lose weight.

    ***EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 BST, THURS AUG 30TH ( 19.01 ET, WED AUG 29TH)*** Delaying breakfast by 90 minutes and eating dinner earlier helps people lose weight, according to new research. See NATIONAL story NNBREKKIE. The pilot study suggests that modest changes to breakfast and dinner times can reduce body fat. During the 10-week study on 'time-restricted feeding' - a form of intermittent fasting, researchers investigated the impact changing meal times has on dietary intake, body composition and blood risk markers for diabetes and heart disease. Participants were split into two groups - those who were required to delay their breakfast by 90 minutes and have their dinner 90 minutes earlier, and those who ate meals as they would normally. The participants were required to provide blood samples and complete diet diaries before and during the 10-week intervention and complete a feedback questionnaire immediately after the study. Unlike previous studies in this area, participants were not asked to stick to a strict diet and could eat freely, provided it was within a certain eating window. This helped the researchers assess whether this type of diet was easy to follow in everyday life.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    Previous studies have suggested that eating breakfast is linked with maintaining a healthy weight.

    But the researchers said those findings were observational and possibly reflected an individual’s wider healthy lifestyle and food choices.

    The team from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, analysed the effect of regularly eating breakfast on weight change and daily energy intake, based on evidence from 13 studies, mainly in Britain and the United States, from the last 28 years.

    They did a number of trials which focused on eating or skipping breakfast and changes in body weight, while others looked at the effect of breakfast on daily energy intake.

    For the study, the people studied included habitual and non-habitual breakfast eaters, or both, at a range of body weights who were monitored between 24 hours and 16 weeks.

    The researchers found that the total daily energy intake was higher in groups who ate breakfast compared with those who skipped it – an average of 260 more calories consumed in a day – regardless of their usual breakfast habits.

    And the results showed that those who skipped breakfast were on average one pound (0.44 kilos) lighter.

    ***EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 BST, THURS AUG 30TH ( 19.01 ET, WED AUG 29TH)*** Delaying breakfast by 90 minutes and eating dinner earlier helps people lose weight, according to new research. See NATIONAL story NNBREKKIE. The pilot study suggests that modest changes to breakfast and dinner times can reduce body fat. During the 10-week study on 'time-restricted feeding' - a form of intermittent fasting, researchers investigated the impact changing meal times has on dietary intake, body composition and blood risk markers for diabetes and heart disease. Participants were split into two groups - those who were required to delay their breakfast by 90 minutes and have their dinner 90 minutes earlier, and those who ate meals as they would normally. The participants were required to provide blood samples and complete diet diaries before and during the 10-week intervention and complete a feedback questionnaire immediately after the study. Unlike previous studies in this area, participants were not asked to stick to a strict diet and could eat freely, provided it was within a certain eating window. This helped the researchers assess whether this type of diet was easy to follow in everyday life.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    But the effect of breakfast on weight did not differ between people with a normal weight and those who were overweight.

    It has previously been suggested that eating breakfast may help with weight loss because of the efficient burning of calories early in the day preventing overeating later on.

    But the reviewers found ‘no significant difference’ in metabolic rates between breakfast eaters and skippers.

    And skipping breakfast was not linked to people feeling hungrier in the afternoon.

    The researchers said that because of the varying quality of the studies included, the findings should be interpreted with caution.

    But study co-author Professor Flavia Cicuttini, of Monash University, said: ‘Currently, the available evidence does not support modifying diets in adults to include the consumption of breakfast as a good strategy to lose weight.

    ‘Although eating breakfast regularly could have other important effects, caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults, as it may have the opposite effect.’

    Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College London, added that people have different preferences for when they eat food, which ‘might suit our unique personal metabolism.’

    He said: ‘No one size fits all, and prescriptive slow moving diet guidelines filled with erroneous information look increasingly counterproductive and detract from important health messages.

    ‘While waiting for guidelines to change, no harm can be done in trying out your own personal experiments in skipping breakfast.’

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    sei_49865081-a51csei_49865081-a51chattiegladwellmetroEmbargoed to 2330 Wednesday January 30 File photo dated 19/02/18 of breakfast cereal. The theory that breakfast is the most important meal of the day - including for dieters - may not be true, research suggests. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday January 30, 2019. A review of studies found that eating breakfast does not appear to help people lose weight and should not necessarily be recommended as a weight-loss strategy. See PA story HEALTH Breakfast. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire***EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 BST, THURS AUG 30TH ( 19.01 ET, WED AUG 29TH)*** Delaying breakfast by 90 minutes and eating dinner earlier helps people lose weight, according to new research. See NATIONAL story NNBREKKIE. The pilot study suggests that modest changes to breakfast and dinner times can reduce body fat. During the 10-week study on 'time-restricted feeding' - a form of intermittent fasting, researchers investigated the impact changing meal times has on dietary intake, body composition and blood risk markers for diabetes and heart disease. Participants were split into two groups - those who were required to delay their breakfast by 90 minutes and have their dinner 90 minutes earlier, and those who ate meals as they would normally. The participants were required to provide blood samples and complete diet diaries before and during the 10-week intervention and complete a feedback questionnaire immediately after the study. Unlike previous studies in this area, participants were not asked to stick to a strict diet and could eat freely, provided it was within a certain eating window. This helped the researchers assess whether this type of diet was easy to follow in everyday life.***EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 BST, THURS AUG 30TH ( 19.01 ET, WED AUG 29TH)*** Delaying breakfast by 90 minutes and eating dinner earlier helps people lose weight, according to new research. See NATIONAL story NNBREKKIE. The pilot study suggests that modest changes to breakfast and dinner times can reduce body fat. During the 10-week study on 'time-restricted feeding' - a form of intermittent fasting, researchers investigated the impact changing meal times has on dietary intake, body composition and blood risk markers for diabetes and heart disease. Participants were split into two groups - those who were required to delay their breakfast by 90 minutes and have their dinner 90 minutes earlier, and those who ate meals as they would normally. The participants were required to provide blood samples and complete diet diaries before and during the 10-week intervention and complete a feedback questionnaire immediately after the study. Unlike previous studies in this area, participants were not asked to stick to a strict diet and could eat freely, provided it was within a certain eating window. This helped the researchers assess whether this type of diet was easy to follow in everyday life.sei_49865081-a51csei_49865081-a51chattiegladwellmetroEmbargoed to 2330 Wednesday January 30 File photo dated 19/02/18 of breakfast cereal. The theory that breakfast is the most important meal of the day - including for dieters - may not be true, research suggests. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday January 30, 2019. A review of studies found that eating breakfast does not appear to help people lose weight and should not necessarily be recommended as a weight-loss strategy. See PA story HEALTH Breakfast. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire***EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 BST, THURS AUG 30TH ( 19.01 ET, WED AUG 29TH)*** Delaying breakfast by 90 minutes and eating dinner earlier helps people lose weight, according to new research. See NATIONAL story NNBREKKIE. The pilot study suggests that modest changes to breakfast and dinner times can reduce body fat. During the 10-week study on 'time-restricted feeding' - a form of intermittent fasting, researchers investigated the impact changing meal times has on dietary intake, body composition and blood risk markers for diabetes and heart disease. Participants were split into two groups - those who were required to delay their breakfast by 90 minutes and have their dinner 90 minutes earlier, and those who ate meals as they would normally. The participants were required to provide blood samples and complete diet diaries before and during the 10-week intervention and complete a feedback questionnaire immediately after the study. Unlike previous studies in this area, participants were not asked to stick to a strict diet and could eat freely, provided it was within a certain eating window. This helped the researchers assess whether this type of diet was easy to follow in everyday life.***EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 BST, THURS AUG 30TH ( 19.01 ET, WED AUG 29TH)*** Delaying breakfast by 90 minutes and eating dinner earlier helps people lose weight, according to new research. See NATIONAL story NNBREKKIE. The pilot study suggests that modest changes to breakfast and dinner times can reduce body fat. During the 10-week study on 'time-restricted feeding' - a form of intermittent fasting, researchers investigated the impact changing meal times has on dietary intake, body composition and blood risk markers for diabetes and heart disease. Participants were split into two groups - those who were required to delay their breakfast by 90 minutes and have their dinner 90 minutes earlier, and those who ate meals as they would normally. The participants were required to provide blood samples and complete diet diaries before and during the 10-week intervention and complete a feedback questionnaire immediately after the study. Unlike previous studies in this area, participants were not asked to stick to a strict diet and could eat freely, provided it was within a certain eating window. This helped the researchers assess whether this type of diet was easy to follow in everyday life.

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    (Picture: Feylyn Lewis)

    As a young carer, I frequently worried that my mother might die.

    Her condition meant debilitating pain could come on suddenly; some days she would feel great, other days her pain would force her into bed for weeks or even to the hospital.

    Because she suffers from chronic pain, caused by a botched operation on her spine, there was uncertainty from physicians on how to treat her. That ever-present unpredictability coupled with feeling as if I had no control over the situation caused a great deal of anxiety for me as a young child.

    I also didn’t know any other young carers, or any other children with issues like my own, and so often felt isolated and alone.

    My life seemed very different to that of my peers – I was mature for my age, but wanted to feel normal and care-free. That tension increased my feelings of isolation.

    Now, as a research fellow at the University of Sussex, specialising in young carers, I realise such feelings are very common among young people who face these types of responsibilities, and I’m looking for ways to help them.

    We need evidence-based, supportive interventions co-produced with young carers to foster their mental health well-being. I’m currently running a research project to do just that, which includes the largest-ever study of young carers across seven countries, with every phase of our work centred around their needs.

    I began caring for my mother at the age of 11, living in Nashville, Tennessee. In some ways, it’s even tougher being a young carer in the US, because we don’t have formal support services as can be found in the UK.

    There were many difficult times growing up, but my third year at university was particularly tough. Our home was repossessed, my grandmother and aunt died unexpectedly within two weeks, and my mother’s pain landed her in the hospital.

    I attended morning classes and spent the afternoons and evenings in the hospital, writing essays and studying for exams between visits from the nurse.

    Young carers want someone to talk to – informal support can be given by peers or trusted adults, but I strongly believe formal support through trained professionals is essential.

    Eventually this all became too much and I reached out to a trusted friend.

    I hadn’t told anyone about my family’s difficulties, and so the news of my mother’s illness, the family deaths, and the loss of our home proved to be too overwhelming for her.

    In the months that followed, her silence signalled to me that the challenges of my life were ‘too much’ and I should keep them private and not over-burden my friends. Once again, I felt isolated, misunderstood, and alone.

    Fortunately, around this time, one of my professors noticed I wasn’t myself in class. One day, she held me back after a lecture to ask how I was doing. No one in my life had asked that before.

    That one question, ‘how are you doing?’ was a turning point.

    (Picture: Feylyn Lewis)

    She provided a space for me to talk about my family, and explained that a 20-year-old shouldn’t have to shoulder this level of responsibility without support. She also directed me to the university’s counselling service, where I started to attend sessions.

    Having a dedicated person to talk to makes an incredible impact.

    I often hear the same sentiment from other young carers that I’ve interviewed for my research – they want someone to talk to. And while informal support can be given by peers or trusted adults, as a certified mental health therapist, I strongly believe formal support through trained professionals is essential.

    As a young carer, I lacked emotional support, and a good listener was what I needed most. Our aim is to learn more about how people like myself, especially those in adolescence, feel about their responsibilities and how it impacts on their mental health – in order to improve their situation.

    That’s not to say we can eradicate all the tough times from a young carer’s life.

    But, hopefully, as more time is spent listening to them, we can find more effective ways of helping them, so they don’t have to go through what I did.

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    MORE: 13 things you only know if you’re a carer


    img_20190119_124330_838-bc4fimg_20190119_124330_838-bc4fallieabgarianimg_20190119_124330_838-bc4fimg_20190119_124330_838-bc4fallieabgarian

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    If my label defines me, I’m a cripplingly shy and socially awkward writer.

    That makes me sound like Superman’s Clark Kent, but sadly I don’t morph into a planet-saving superhero – I couldn’t cope with all the attention.

    I’ve been shy for as long as I can remember. The label handed to me by parents and teachers exacerbated my shyness. It held me back in school, in relationships and in my career. It manifested itself from a cute coy toddler to a socially weird adult.

    As a child I had undiagnosed dyslexia. This resulted in years of cold sweats as I dreaded my turn to read out loud in English; of course I’d get all the words muddled and bored kids would snigger.

    Labels Blog - shy Claudia Martin
    My boyfriend dumped me because his parents thought I was rude (Photo: Alexander Crawley/Metro.co.uk)

    I failed my French GCSE because I was so embarrassed about having my voice recorded for the oral exam that I couldn’t bring myself to turn up. I longed to be invisible in school and hid behind a grown-out fringe hoping no one could see me.

    One of the worst things about being bashful is how it can be interpreted as bad manners. When I met my first boyfriend’s parents at 15, I felt my face flushing before I even walked through the door.

    I stared at their living room carpet during the entire ordeal and couldn’t think of anything to say. When they offered me a coffee they didn’t hear my pathetically meek ‘no thank you’ and just assumed I ignored them.

    Afterwards, my boyfriend said I was rude. Then, he dumped me.

    The fear of blushing is the main root of the problem. It used to be so extreme that I wore green-coloured concealer under foundation to neutralise my crimson cheeks.

    Labels Blog - shy Claudia Martin
    I wore green-coloured concealer under foundation to neutralise my crimson cheeks (Photo: Alexander Crawley/Metro.co.uk)

    If I forgot my green cream, I’d avoid speaking to work colleagues in case I turned scarlet. Since then I’ve tried to overcome blushing by overtly acknowledging it, I’ll announce: ‘I’m going red!’

    For some strange reason I thought shouting something like, ‘Look at me everyone, I’ve turned into a beetroot!’ would make the ruby wave of doom too embarrassed to pop up ever again. This didn’t work either. Sadly shyness itself isn’t shy.

    Blushing is my Lex Luther but I’ve found a new way to fight him. I don’t have a red and blue spandex number to change into, instead I just hold my breath, stiffen up and pretend to be someone I’m not: an extravert.

    I know it’s fake, but so far it’s working. Hear me out here: it’s the label I’m trying to get rid of, not me.

    Labels Blog - shy Claudia Martin
    After I left my job I realised my shyness had stopped me making friends (Photo: Alexander Crawley/Metro.co.uk)

    With new people I’ve never met before I can start afresh. I can be a new me, or my extraverted ultra ego. People treat socially awkward people differently. They don’t want to hang out with us. Social discomfort is an ugly thing.

    At my last job, everyone knew I was shy. In the huge open plan office I’d get palpitations at the thought of getting up for a coffee – bored eyes leave computers at any opportunity.

    My face would redden when a colleague said ‘good morning’. It’s absurd that a grown woman – a wife and mother – turns crimson at bland everyday things such as a simple ‘hello’, but anything that attracts attention is painful. It’s debilitating.

    It stopped me doing my job properly. Emailing co-workers a few desks away rather than chatting to them is no good for productivity and networking. I didn’t form any relationships, and left with no friends.

    Labels Blog - shy Claudia Martin
    I recently started a new job and I’m determined to hide my bashfulness (Photo: Alexander Crawley/Metro.co.uk)

    I’ve even cancelled job interviews when symptoms are severe. It’s impossible to sell yourself for that dream job if you’re stuttering over your CV and reddening over your strengths and weaknesses.

    At least at social situations you can have a quick drink beforehand, but you can’t rock up at a job interview stinking of booze.

    I’m 45 years old. I shouldn’t still be shy.

    I recently started a new job and I’m determined to hide my bashfulness. I’ve donned my new identity. I am Superextravert: a caped hero fighting the evil Captain Blush!

    On my first day I was loud, confident and chatty – all the things I wish I was. The first few weeks went pretty well; I bounced into the office every day shouting ‘GOOD MORNING’ to unsuspecting work colleagues. I boldly contributed in meetings and crushed fingers with my power-handshake.

    Labels Blog - shy Claudia Martin
    I changed my name for this piece because I was scared it would make me less employable (Photo: Alexander Crawley/Metro.co.uk)

    It’s amazing how easy it is to put on an act. Does everyone do this?

    I’ve been there for three months now and already old enemy habits have popped up; my voice wavers inaudibly, I speak to colleagues on messenger and I sink in my chair in meetings. But I bash these bad guys as and when they come.

    My colleagues seem to like me. I join in with office banter and have been invited to drinks. I will keep fighting the label even if it means putting on an act during my whole career.

    It’s the label itself that’s my Kryptonite and it needs to be kept secret – it only exists if people know about it.

    I don’t want anyone to know about it, which is why I asked to change my name for this piece. I wrote it and then panicked at future employers Googling me and discovering that I’m a social misfit. Why would anyone employ a shy person?

    I would love to ‘come out’ to the world as the socially inept weirdo that I am and bravely celebrate my fellow introverts. But instead I’ll remove my cape and scuttle quietly back to my desk, hoping no one will look at me.

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    Labels: Shy - Claudia MartinLabels: Shy - Claudia MartinjessrubyaustinLabels Blog - shy Claudia Martin Labels Blog - shy Claudia MartinLabels Blog - shy Claudia Martin Labels Blog - shy Claudia MartinLabels Blog - shy Claudia MartinLabels: Shy - Claudia MartinLabels: Shy - Claudia MartinjessrubyaustinLabels Blog - shy Claudia Martin Labels Blog - shy Claudia MartinLabels Blog - shy Claudia Martin Labels Blog - shy Claudia MartinLabels Blog - shy Claudia Martin

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    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Dear Kate,

    I’ve been ghosted by someone I thought was a really close friend and I don’t know how to cope with it.

    We’ve been friends for about six years now, we used to work together, and about four months ago, she left my last text on read and never replied. I’ve spoken to her before about dropping out of touch with me and told her it really hurt my feelings, but this time she seems to have just cut off contact altogether.

    My last message was quite a personal one, so I’m really confused as to why she would just stop replying.

    I haven’t done anything wrong, I’ve really tried to think of something. I’ve heard of people getting ghosted by boyfriends and girlfriends – is it possible to get ghosted by a friend?

    don’t know how I’ll ever get her back and to be honest I’m not sure I want to, but how do I deal with how hurt I am?

    Celia, 32

    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Dear Celia,

    Oh yes, yes, yes, it’s entirely possible to be ghosted by a friend – I can’t tell you how many stories like yours I’ve heard.

    Please know, first of all, that you are not alone.

    People get ghosted every day; it seems to be an incorrigible symptom of our social media-laden lives. Since writing an entire chapter in my book about why you shouldn’t ghost a friend, I’ve even been ghosted myself – in very similar circumstances to yours.

    It’s been about 15 months since my formerly delightful friend left my WhatsApp message on ‘read’ and I remain baffled. It is bewildering, sad and hurtful.

    I feel you on this one, Celia, I really do.

    For starters, what I want you to do is to give yourself permission to be hurt by this. We tend to get so preoccupied with romantic love, that we forget how meaningful friendships can be to us and therefore, how shattering it is when they end.

    Particularly if they end in this dreadfully confusing way.

    Tell yourself it’s fine – more than fine – to be devastated by your friend’s unceremonious exit from your life.

    Whichever way you’ve reacted – tears, anger, comfort eating – it’s all valid. The breakdown of a relationship of any kind is a type of grief, so allow yourself to mourn.

    We have a protocol for how to deal with romantic breakups, and it involves wallowing, ice cream, crying, howling on the phone to our friends, lashings of self-pity and eventually a rebound of some kind. My advice is to do just the same, if it helps you.

    Have a great rage-filled rant, sob, nap and crack out the Ben and Jerry’s. People have told me that getting ghosted is worse than being broken up with (several people actually said it felt more like a death, because someone just ceased to exist in their life) so indulge in some classic post-breakup antics and see if it makes you feel any better.

    If you haven’t already, you might like to consider sending one last message to your ghoster.

    As the ghosted, we are robbed of any closure. We’re just left in this painful silence, wondering what we did wrong, speculating on what could make us so fundamentally unlovable that we don’t even deserve an explanation when the friendship is over.

    Ghosting is an act of real cowardice, and you deserve better.

    If you’d like to engineer your own sort of closure, maybe send one final text to your former buddy, just saying that although you know not to expect a reply, you want her to know that she’s hurt you – but that you’re going to move on now.

    It might make you feel like you have a voice in this situation.

    Equally, if you’re not up for that and you’d rather match silence with silence, don’t ever feel like you owe this person any form of contact again.

    Next, I’d suggest reminding yourself how delightful and restorative good friendships can be.

    Gather your favourites – it’s time for a Deliveroo and Netflix night.

    Or go out dancing, if you’re into that kind of thing.

    Whatever it is that will cheer you up and rally you, get a date in the diary pronto.

    The most powerful antidote to the pain of being ghosted is the presence of proper friends.

    Give someone you can depend on a call, explain what’s happened, debrief as much as you need and then do something thoroughly lovely.

    Throughout all of this, remember that you are worthy of proper friendships.

    About Lean On Me

    Kate Leaver is the author of The Friendship Cure and she will be answering your friendship woes in her weekly Metro.co.uk column.

    If you’d like to submit a question or problem, email LeanOnMe@metro.co.uk with ‘Lean on me’ in the subject line.

    Submissions are anonymous and you can follow the discussion on Twitter #LeanOnMe.

    MORE: Lean On Me: Can I still be friends with people who voted Brexit?

    MORE: Lean On Me: My friend keeps trolling me on Instagram. Should I block her?

    MORE: Lean On Me: Should I tell my friends I want our holiday to be boyfriend-free?

     


    sei_49782133-9c9esei_49782133-9c9ekateleaversei_49782133-9c9esei_49782133-9c9ekateleaver

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    now that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring
    (Picture: Ella Byworth)

    What would make the slog of having to work day in, day out, a little more bearable?

    Snacks? Puppies in the office? Later starts?

    A new study has found out how people’s work perk wishes change as they age, asking 2,000 workers what they wish their workplace would offer.

    It turns out that a lot of us want to improve our work/life balance and wouldn’t mind perks that save us some cash, too.

    Younger adults are after help with housing, while older generations are more concerned with private healthcare. That being said, it’s the younger generation who cares most about mental health provisions.

    Oh, and work perks really do make a difference to people’s career choices. Half of employees surveyed would leave their current job if they thought they could get a position elsewhere with more perks, while just 22% would prefer extra pay over plenty of benefits.

    So, what are people after?

    The work perks 18 to 24 year olds most want:

    1. Unlimited holiday days
    2. Flexible working hours
    3. Dental care
    4. Free breakfast supplies
    5. One free holiday a year
    6. Access to mental health care
    7. Private health care
    8. Retailer and restaurant discounts
    9. Free coffee and tea
    10. Help with housing
    11. Additional holiday days for long service
    12. Enhanced pension contribution
    13. Free fruit
    14. Free eye tests
    15. Free taxis if you need to stay in the office late
    16. Clothing allowance
    17. Phone allowance/work phone
    18. Free/on-site gym and classes
    19. First class travel on work trips
    20. Summer hours between May and August
    21. Subsidised gym/fitness classes
    22. Assistance with childcare costs
    23. Free showers
    24. Taking paid work days to volunteer at a charity
    25. Access to an emergency nanny

    The work perks 35 to 44 year olds most want

    1. Flexible working hours
    2. Enhanced pension contribution
    3. Unlimited holiday days
    4. Free coffee and tea
    5. One free holiday a year
    6. Additional holiday days for long service
    7. Private health care
    8. Dental care
    9. Free eye tests
    10. Free breakfast supplies
    11. Assistance with childcare costs
    12. Summer hours between May and August
    13. Free fruit
    14. Retailer and restaurant discounts
    15. Access to mental health care
    16. Free/on-site gym and classes
    17. Clothing allowance
    18. Subsidised gym/fitness classes
    19. Help with housing
    20. Free taxis if you need to stay in the office late
    21. Taking paid work days to volunteer at a charity
    22. First class travel on work trips
    23. Free alcoholic drinks on a Friday
    24. Pets in the office
    25. Unpaid sabbatical

    The work perks 45 to 54 year olds most want:

    1. Flexible working hours
    2. Additional holiday days for long service
    3. Private health care
    4. Enhanced pension contribution
    5. Free coffee and tea
    6. Free eye tests
    7. Dental care
    8. One free holiday a year
    9. Unlimited holiday days
    10. Clothing allowance
    11. Free fruit
    12. Retailer and restaurant discounts
    13. Summer hours between May and August
    14. Access to mental health care
    15. Free breakfast supplies
    16. Free/on-site gym and classes
    17. Unpaid sabbatical
    18. Subsidised gym/fitness classes
    19. Help with housing
    20. First class travel on work trips
    21. Free taxis if you need to stay in the office late
    22. Phone allowance/work phone
    23. Taking paid work days to volunteer at a charity
    24. Assistance with childcare costs
    25. Pets in the office

    The work perks people over 55 most want:

    1. Flexible working hours
    2. Enhanced pension contribution
    3. Private health care
    4. Additional holiday days for long service
    5. Free coffee and tea
    6. Dental care
    7. Free eye tests
    8. Unlimited holiday days
    9. One free holiday a year
    10. Retailer and restaurant discounts
    11. Clothing allowance
    12. Access to mental health care
    13. Free fruit
    14. Free taxis if you need to stay in the office late
    15. Summer hours between May and August
    16. Phone allowance/work phone
    17. Subsidised gym/fitness classes
    18. Free/on-site gym and classes
    19. Help with housing
    20. Unpaid sabbatical
    21. Taking paid work days to volunteer at a charity
    22. First class travel on work trips
    23. Free breakfast supplies
    24. Free showers
    25. Pets in the office

    Spot a pattern? Flexible working hours are at slot one or two for every single age group. Perhaps it’s time to rethink the traditional nine to five.

    Free breakfasts are always appreciated, too.

    MORE: A CEO is looking to pay someone £60,000 a year to dress her around the world

    MORE: A sore throat that won’t go away could be a sign of cancer

    MORE: It’s Wetherspoon workers like me who have to push out Tim Martin’s Brexit propaganda


    organising communal rentingorganising communal rentingellencscottnow that summer is over, it's harder to harness that springorganising communal rentingorganising communal rentingellencscottnow that summer is over, it's harder to harness that spring

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    Vday Reday - dating trend of reappearing just before V Day
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Valentine’s Day is a mixed bag.

    On the one hand, it’s a celebration of love – whether that be self-, romantic, platonic or pet love (the healthy kind, we’re not referring to bestiality).

    But, on the other hand, it’s also the influence of weird and woeful dating trends that we could all live without.

    Like V-lationshipping – the trend that’ll make your phone blow up with messages from old flames. Most of whom you probably haven’t heard from in weeks or months, and some of whom never explained why they stopped messaging you in the first place.

    The ‘shippers’, as they’re known, will appear when you least expect it, and usually with a vague invitation to hang out, asking you what you’re doing for Valentine’s or a simple ‘it’s been a while’. It might be someone you only went on a first date with, but it can just as well be an ex, too.

    Oh, joy.

    Laura*, 21, tells Metro.co.uk that she broke up with her on-off boyfriend a few months ago, but received a text from him today. She’s also heard from several former boyfriends and guys she casually dated in the past.

    ‘My ex and I were dating on and off for a year and a half. I ended things unwillingly because he had too many other commitments and couldn’t make time for me.

    ‘During my time of heartbreak and attempts to get over him, a few ex lovers crept out of the woodwork, making connections with me on social media and asking to see me again. However, after six months of not seeing each other, my ex called me out of the blue asking to meet up on Valentine’s Day. He reached out and said that he misses me and still loves me, despite the lack of effort made in the past.

    ‘It was a stab to the heart and I had to decline. Even though it marks our anniversary.’

    Shippers will most likely contact you with a text, WhatsApp message or through a dating app, but will also take to social media if needed. Someone in our office told us that four different women contacted him through Facebook messenger, despite him not having met them more than once or twice, and not spoken to them for months.

    His last interaction with one of the women consisted of her sending a photo of a card with a penis displayed on the front.

    The rule of V-lationshipping is that there is no rule; it doesn’t matter what you were last speaking about or what you did the last time you saw each other (date or f***). If you’re still in a shipper’s contact book, odds are there’ll be a ‘long time, no see’ coming your way.

    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Pamela from Aberdeen tries to avoid shippers by blocking them as soon as she realises there’s no future for a continued relationship.

    ‘The dating pool in Aberdeen is beyond dry,’ she said.

    ‘This marks my fourth Valentine’s Day as a single woman. Not only do people from the rejection pile re-surface, but if I’ve been savvy enough to block them on the dating app, they’ll hunt me down on LinkedIn, of all places.

    ‘There’s nothing better than suddenly getting a DM on your professional profile from “Shawn”, who works offshore and probably has a wife, two kids and a dog, with the simple message of “you horny yet, hun?”‘.

    ‘No mate, I’m not. I wasn’t when I unmatched you on Tinder, and blocked you on Plenty of Fish and Badoo, either. How the hell do I block someone on LinkedIn?

    ‘Chivalry is most definitely dead at this time of year.’
    Although this boom in flirty conversation from those in your past is a Valentine’s effect, it begins to peak around a month before the big day.

    Dating app Happn reported a rise in new member registrations around 20 January (measured in 2017), and activity during this period and up until mid-February is also generally higher than during any other time of the year.

    Once, the dating app where you’re presented with one profile per day, has seen an increase in members around Valentine’s Day for the past three years.

    In 2016, these were tenfold, with a slight dip in 2017 and 2018. Similar figures are found on Clikd, another dating app, with the end of January ‘traditionally quieter’ and a boost in early February with people ‘trying to find their perfect Valentine’s date’, according to founder Michael Blakeley.

    Basically, if you’re considering getting back in the dating mix, now is the time.

    If you’re already on a dating app, don’t be surprised if you suddenly start to hear from people you thought had exited your life, never to return.

    ‘As much as many of us old cynics like to pretend we don’t care about Valentine’s Day, the truth is it’s a date we’re all aware of in one way or another, and it creeps into us by a process of cultural osmosis,’ Stu Nugent, sex and relationship expert at LELO, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Reaching out to people we’ve had romantic contact with in the run up to 14 February isn’t unusual: outwardly we might seem aloof about the calendar date, but psychologically and subconsciously, we’re all more open to seeking out romantic encounters at that time of year.

    ‘It’s the same reason why we are open to spending more in the run up to Christmas: we’re conditioned to respond to these ingrained societal cues, whether we like it or not.

    ‘And hey, why not reach out? That old flame might be feeling exactly the same way.’

    As Stu said, if you’re keen to see if the romance still exists with someone you can’t get out of your head, go for it.

    But beware, shippers can be devilishly charming but with the worst of intentions.

    Ask yourself, is the attention you’re receiving out of the blue real, or is it just a desperate attempt from someone to get themselves a date for Valentine’s?

    If it’s the latter, don’t reply – you deserve better than V-lationshipping.

    MORE: Woman in long-distance relationship with a plane loves his wings and thrusters

    MORE: The worst dating trends we were hit with in 2018

    MORE: Can you use sex and masturbation as a form of meditation?


    Vday Reday - dating trend of reappearing just before V DayVday Reday - dating trend of reappearing just before V DayallieabgarianVday Reday - dating trend of reappearing just before V DayVday Reday - dating trend of reappearing just before V DayVday Reday - dating trend of reappearing just before V DayallieabgarianVday Reday - dating trend of reappearing just before V Day

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    Two children laughing and smiling in a bedroom with a bunkbed
    (Picture: Getty)

    If you want a laugh, don’t seek out a comedian waffling on about how they’re no longer allowed to be offensive. Go straight to the kids.

    Children are hilarious. They just are. They say ridiculous things and their jokes appeal to everyone.

    So naturally, we’re interested to know which jokes children rate as the funniest of all time. They’re not a tough crowd, exactly, but they do seem to know what’s universally funny.

    Beano polled 2,000 British children aged seven to 12 years old to find out the jokes they rate as the funniest.

    The poll’s part of promo the Beano is doing for a new competition to find Britain’s funniest classroom. Primary schools across the UK can submit classes’ jokes from 1 April 2019 to be in with a chance of winning a bundle of Beano annuals, comic subscriptions, and a VIP Beano visit and joke workshop.

    So, to get a sense of what the judges will be looking for, let’s take a look at the ten jokes British kids rated the most hilarious.

    The top 10 funniest jokes of all time, according to kids:

    1. Why was the sand wet? Because the sea weed!
    2. What do you call a blind dinosaur? Doyouthinkhesaurus
    3. What did the policeman say to his tummy? Freeze you’re under a vest 
    4. Doctor, Doctor! Help, I feel like a pair of curtains! Pull yourself together then
    5. What’s the fastest vegetable? A runner bean! 
    6. What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite!
    7. What’s brown and sticky? A stick!
    8. What do you call a blind deer? No eye deer
    9. Why should you be careful when it’s raining cats and dogs? You might step in a poodle!
    10. Do you want to hear a joke about pizza? Never mind, it’s too cheesy

    Brilliant, right?

    Mike Stirling, Editorial Director at Beano, said: ‘The hunt to find the UK’s funniest primary school-class is on! Beano is encouraging pupils up and down the country to put forward their very best jokes, gags and funnies to be in with a chance of being crowned Britain’s funniest class.

    ‘Beano has always known how naturally funny kids are, so this national competition is the perfect way to shine a spotlight on the comedians of tomorrow and add some Beano LOLZ into primary schools across the UK.’

    If any of the jokes are as brilliant as the ones on @KidsWriteJokes, this competition should be a lot of fun.

    MORE: These are the work perks British employees actually want, depending on their age

    MORE: A CEO is looking to pay someone £60,000 a year to dress her around the world


    Happy young friendsHappy young friendsellencscottTwo children laughing and smiling in a bedroom with a bunkbedHappy young friendsHappy young friendsellencscottTwo children laughing and smiling in a bedroom with a bunkbed

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    (Picture: Getty)

    It’s the most important meal of the day… Isn’t it?

    That’s what we’ve always been taught, but a new study has claimed that may not actually be the case.

    Research published in the BMJ, suggests eating breakfast may not help people to control their weight – as had been previously thought.

    The findings show that daily calorie intake was higher in people eating breakfast – they even went as far as to say that skipping breakfast could help you lose weight.

    As tempting as this might be if you have a weight-loss goal, the reality is that regularly skipping breakfast, or any meal, can be dangerous. And there are certainly healthier, more sustainable ways to lose weight.

    Eating waffle, avocado, cucumber, salmon and poached egg
    (Picture: Getty)

    It’s hardly groundbreaking to discover that eating one less meal in the day will help you to lose weight. It’s all about the number of calories consumed, compared to what you burn off – it’s not complicated.

    Previous studies have suggested that eating breakfast will help you maintain a healthy weight, partly to do with keeping you fuller for longer during the day and warding off the temptation to snack.

    This new study hasn’t exactly debunked this claim, rather they said that these results possibly reflected an individual’s wider healthy lifestyle and food choices.

    And that is the crux of it. They’re saying that if you make healthy lifestyle and food choices – then eating breakfast won’t have a detrimental effect on your weight.

    And of course it’s not all about weight. Being healthy is about so much more than what you see when you step on the scales.

    Eating breakfast actually has loads of other benefits that you might not have thought about – that are probably more important for your body than losing a pound or two.

    ‘Eating a meal in the morning – and it doesn’t need to be immediately after waking – helps to restore blood sugar levels which will have fallen overnight,’ explains nutritionist and founder of employee wellbeing company Elevate, Ruth Tongue.

    ‘With low blood sugar, we’re more likely to have a low mood, feel tired, hungry and crave pick-me-ups.

    ‘There is a lot to be said for giving your digestive system a good break – each time we eat the gaps between cells in the gut lining open to allow for nutrients to be absorbed and we don’t want these gaps to be open too much as it can lead to inflammation – but overnight is enough of a break for our bodies.

    ‘If we were to skip one of our three meals each day, we would be potentially missing out on vital nutrients that we need for optimum health.

    ‘When we skip meals, our bodies release the stress hormone cortisol – which we need some of but not too much.

    ‘Over time, high levels of this hormone can lead to weight gain, as well as inflammation in the body. Cortisol also affects the production of another hormone Leptin that controls our appetite signals – if we don’t produce enough Leptin not only will we feel hungry, but we’ll also store fat rather than use it for fuel.

    ‘On top of this, studies have shown time after time that people who skip breakfast are more likely to make less healthy choices later in the day – be it due to the feeling that they are “allowed” that treat because they’ve skipped a meal or because they’re simply hungrier and in need of more energy.

    ‘So all in all, the benefit you may get from a slightly reduced calorie intake skipping breakfast will be far outweighed by the negative effects.’

    Maintaining a healthy body weight is important for overall wellbeing and for avoiding certain illnesses – but weight isn’t the only marker of good health, and shouldn’t be your only consideration when it comes to making decisions about food.

    We need food to fuel our bodies, provide vital nutrients and energy to perform at our best. But food can also be a joy, and denying ourselves meals can quickly descend into disordered eating and a negative relationship with food.

    It’s all about common sense. Making healthy lifestyle choices, eating balanced meals and getting active as often as possible will probably be more effective in helping you lose weight than skipping breakfast.

    MORE: These are the work perks British employees actually want, depending on their age

    MORE: Skipping breakfast could help you lose weight, suggests study

    MORE: A sore throat that won’t go away could be a sign of cancer


    Eating breakfast might not help you lose weightEating breakfast might not help you lose weightnataliemorris88Eating waffle, avocado, cucumber, salmon and poached eggEating breakfast might not help you lose weightEating breakfast might not help you lose weightnataliemorris88Eating waffle, avocado, cucumber, salmon and poached egg

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    Jewellery maker Gabrielle Reilly is living in the future.

    The 22-year-old from Virginia, U.S, has come up with a hack that’ll ensure you don’t lose your precious wireless Apple earphones.

    AirPod earrings – earphones attached to earrings – are the invention of the Virginia native, whose creation quickly went viral on Twitter.

    If you can’t afford the fancy earphones (same here) then make sure you show the hack to your mate who has a pair. You’ll know they do ’cause they’ll probably be wearing the AirPods in their selfies.

    Gabrielle, who uses they/them pronouns, launched their self-made product online in a 14-second clip which racked up more than 3.45 million views.

    The paralegal said they were inspired to make the earrings to prevent the buds from going missing.

    Gabrielle said: ‘A lot of people either tell me I’m a genius or question the design.

    ‘I think AirPod earrings was an idea a lot of people had, but didn’t know how to realise the concept.

    (Picture: Kennedy News/Gabrielle Reilly)

    ‘I have been making jewellery ever since I can remember because my mum is very into DIY.

    ‘Initially, I had put the AirPods on a chain necklace because I absolutely refuse to lose them.

    ‘A lot of people ask “why not just get regular earphones?” but I wanted AirPods because my cat has chewed through numerous wired earphones and I was tired of it.

    ‘The necklace held up really well, so I thought why not make earrings?

    ‘It was more or less a joke, especially considering how AirPods have become a meme – but it was a functional joke.’

    If you want to make your own but are worried about puncturing the earphones or damaging them, don’t worry, Gabrielle simply added a small white band around the bud which is attached to the metal part of the accessory.

    That means you can take them off if you don’t fancy wearing them as accessories or they clash with your outfit.

    Gabrielle said they were surprised by the huge positive reaction people had had to the design.

    ‘I was so surprised when the post went viral, I didn’t expect any of this at all,’ they added.

    ‘I’m super thankful for the support though, it has been quite an interesting experience.’

    Gabrielle is also selling the product on their website where a pair is available for $20(£15.25) (no shipping to the UK yet).

    And yes, you’ll need your ears pierced if you want a pair – there are no clip-on options.

    MORE: Apple releases software to help smartphone junkies shake off their addiction

    MORE: As we devour every detail of the Fyre Festival fall-out, why do we love scammer stories so much?

    MORE: Get your lover a chocolate replica of your head for Valentine’s Day


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    Samanda Ford, 58 in hospital while receiving treatment. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017.

    Doctors even told her she was supposed to die last month but miraculously Samanda is still alive. She says it’s her positivity which has allowed her to live longer.

    To celebrate her time, Samanda decided to have an early funeral – one that she could attend.

    And it was a ‘brilliant’ night, she said.

    Samanda’s idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.

    Samanda Ford, 58 who hosted her own wake after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    ‘I like people to be happy,’ she said.

    ‘We are all terminal at the end of the day. I thought why shouldn’t I be allowed to have my own wake, it was a really great evening.

    ‘Some of my family thought it was a daft idea at first but then decided it was brilliant. It gives people the time to put things right.

    ‘When somebody dies you have got so much to pay out. This took some of the stress away from that as well.’

    Samanda Ford, 58 who hosted her own wake after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer meeting guests outside. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    She added that as long as she has the energy to carry on doing fun things she’ll never stop making memories.

    The most emotional part of the evening for Samanda was when she read through a notebook with messages from friends who had been at the wake.

    She said: ‘I welled up at that, people were very kind.’

    Samanda Ford, 58 who hosted her own wake after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer meeting guests outside. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.
    (Picture: SWNS)

    Her friends and family gathered around a local pub in Beccles, Suffolk, and put up a post on Facebook inviting anybody who was interested.

    Loved ones circled around a piano and sang Samanda’s favourite songs, which she loved.

    She said: ‘We actually forgot about the fact that it was a wake at all.

    Samanda is now planning an ‘is she ever going to go wake’ next year.

    MORE: Dad who adopted two disabled kids creates accessible igloos so they can enjoy snow

    MORE: Woman’s rare brain disorder made her believe she was the Messiah

    MORE: Woman charges cheating ex £100 just for the privilege of talking to her


    Wake before deathWake before deathfaimabakar1Samanda Ford, 58 in hospital while receiving treatment. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.Samanda Ford, 58 who hosted her own wake after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.Samanda Ford, 58 who hosted her own wake after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer meeting guests outside. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.Samanda Ford, 58 who hosted her own wake after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer meeting guests outside. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.Wake before deathWake before deathfaimabakar1Samanda Ford, 58 in hospital while receiving treatment. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.Samanda Ford, 58 who hosted her own wake after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.Samanda Ford, 58 who hosted her own wake after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer meeting guests outside. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.Samanda Ford, 58 who hosted her own wake after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer meeting guests outside. See SWNS copy SWCAwake: Meet the woman dying of terminal cancer who hosted a wake while she was still alive. Samanda Ford, 58, was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2017 and even died and came back to life on the operating table. According to her doctors she was supposed to die last month but she thanks her positivity and alternative medications for keeping her alive. Her idea to host a wake came after she realised how painful it can be for family and friends to have to organise a funeral and wake after a loved one dies.

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    Nasi lemak, the traditional Malay rice dish, is being paid tribute to in today’s Google Doodle.

    EastEnders characters make memorable returns such as Phil Mitchell, Mick and Linda Carter and Kat Moon10 EastEnders characters who have made unforgettably iconic entrances

    The cartoon, which turns into a video when clicked on, shows the meal being lovingly prepared in a variety of ways with all the usual trimmings.

    So what exactly is nasi lemak, what’s in the recipe, and why have Google chosen today to celebrate it?

    What is the recipe?

    Nasi lemak is a meal that’s considered the national dish of Malaysia.

    There are plenty of different variations that are popular all across that part of the world, with Chinese and Indian cultures also having their own versions, however the basic ingredients tend to remain the same.

    Anchovies (or ikan bilis), fried fish, hard boiled egg, water spinach, peanuts, sambal (hot sauce) and sliced cucumber are all typically served alongside the rice, which is steamed and cooked in coconut milk, flavored with pandan leaf and served on a banana leaf or paper.

    There’s also the option of serving it with beef rendang or fried chicken on the side.

    A plate of the traditional Malaysian dish Nasi Lemak
    Nasi lemak with all the trimmings (Picture:Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    Also popular in Thailand and Singapore, nasi lemak is usually eaten in the morning, and is thought to have originated as a ‘farmer’s breakfast’ in the west coast of Malaysia.

    However, nasi lemak is so beloved that it’s commonly enjoyed at any time of the day.

    Legend has it that the daughter of widow Mak Kuntum spilled coconut milk into a pot of rice. When Mak asked her daughter what she cooked, her daughter replied ‘Nasi le, Mak’, or ‘Rice, mother’ – and that’s how nasi lemak was born.

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    What is Nasi Lemak and why is it today?s Google Doodle?What is Nasi Lemak and why is it today?s Google Doodle?aidanmilan6A plate of the traditional Malaysian dish Nasi LemakWhat is Nasi Lemak and why is it today?s Google Doodle?What is Nasi Lemak and why is it today?s Google Doodle?aidanmilan6A plate of the traditional Malaysian dish Nasi Lemak

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    Cooper was born with short spine syndrome, meaning his vertebrae are fused together and compressed
    Cooper was born with short spine syndrome, meaning his vertebrae are fused together and compressed (Picture: Elly Keegan / SWNS)

    If you were to spot Cooper out for a walk, you’d probably notice he looks a little different.

    That’s because he was born with short spine syndrome, a genetic condition that causes vertebrae to fuse together and compress.

    That means he’s half the size he should be, and looks a bit, well, squashed.

    But his disability doesn’t stop him from living a happy life.

    Cooper was rescued by animal control officers in 2017, near a suspected puppy farm in Halifax, Virginia. Officers reckon he was abandoned because his birth defect would make him more difficult to sell.

    He was taken to Secondhand Hounds, a shelter in Minnetonka, Minnesota, where he was treated for ear mites, worms, and a hernia.

    Cooper cant sit on hard floors or go for long walks
    (Picture: Elly Keegan / SWNS)

    Once he was in better health, Cooper was adopted by Elly Keegan, 32, and her husband Andy, 33, who live with their dogs Skylar, Waylon, and Tuva.

    He’s found a loving home with the couple, who happily make any adjustments Cooper’s disability means he requires. That includes not being able to walk on hard surfaces or go for long walks.

    ‘The condition means that Cooper has a screwing and corkscrewing of his spine,’ explains Elly. ‘It is fused in two places – on his neck and on his rear.

    ‘He looks like he has no neck and to look behind him he has to turn his whole body.

    A pooch born with half a spine is just one of 30 dogs in the world living with the condition. See SWNS story SWNYspine. Cooper, a two-year-old American foxhound, lives with short spine syndrome, a genetic condition caused by inbreeding where vertebrae are fused together and compressed. The pup was rescued by animal control officers in summer 2017, close to a suspected puppy farm in Halifax, Virginia. Animal control officers believe that the two-month-old pup was abandoned because of his birth defect. Cooper was saved by Secondhand Hounds, a shelter in Minnetonka, Minnesota, who treated the neglected dog for ear mites, worms and a hernia. The brave pooch was eventually adopted by Elly Keegan, 32, and her husband Andy, 33, who live with their dogs Skylar, 13, Waylon, three, and Tuva, four.
    (Picture: Elly Keegan / SWNS)

    ‘When he was found he was in very poor condition. His butt is on his back and it was all matted. He couldn’t go to the bathroom properly which was causing him a lot of issues.

    ‘He was originally placed with a family, but because Cooper is a chaser of cats, it didn’t work out.

    ‘I couldn’t put him through that process again.

    ‘I was also very aware that he needed intense medical care. I am lucky to have the support of Secondhand Hounds and the right environment for a special needs dog.

    ‘That’s not to say we don’t have incidences. A few months after he came he had a fall and fractured his neck in five places.

    ‘A couple months ago he was starting to show signs of pain again and he actually had a bone infection called osteomyelitis. Because his spine is so compromised, it was dangerous but luckily we got it under control with antibiotics.

    ‘He also had a surgery which helps him go to the bathroom a little better, which means he’s quite low maintenance now and can go by himself.

    ‘It’s hard because he can’t go for long walks and can’t spend a lot of time on hard surfaces. He has to be on soft ground like grass or carpet.

    ‘But he’s still the happiest dog.’

    A pooch born with half a spine is just one of 30 dogs in the world living with the condition. See SWNS story SWNYspine. Cooper, a two-year-old American foxhound, lives with short spine syndrome, a genetic condition caused by inbreeding where vertebrae are fused together and compressed. The pup was rescued by animal control officers in summer 2017, close to a suspected puppy farm in Halifax, Virginia. Animal control officers believe that the two-month-old pup was abandoned because of his birth defect. Cooper was saved by Secondhand Hounds, a shelter in Minnetonka, Minnesota, who treated the neglected dog for ear mites, worms and a hernia. The brave pooch was eventually adopted by Elly Keegan, 32, and her husband Andy, 33, who live with their dogs Skylar, 13, Waylon, three, and Tuva, four.
    (Picture: Elly Keegan / SWNS)

    Elly says that despite his disability, Cooper is a happy dog who loves to run around, play, and snuggle up with his owners.

    He gets a lot of attention from strangers, and is being considered as a candidate for a study of short spined dogs conducted by Purdue University.

    Secondhand Hounds want Cooper’s story to encourage people to give special needs pets a chance.

    Elly says: ‘His condition is caused by inbreeding and it is unconscionable to me that he was just thrown away when the breeders realized he wouldn’t make them money.

    ‘Many dogs with conditions like Cooper’s are euthanised which makes me so, so sad.

    ‘They have so much living to do and Cooper is a real example of that.

    ‘He has a happy, normal little life now and is a key member of our family.’

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    Dog with half a spineDog with half a spineellencscottCooper was born with short spine syndrome, meaning his vertebrae are fused together and compressed Cooper cant sit on hard floors or go for long walksA pooch born with half a spine is just one of 30 dogs in the world living with the condition. See SWNS story SWNYspine. Cooper, a two-year-old American foxhound, lives with short spine syndrome, a genetic condition caused by inbreeding where vertebrae are fused together and compressed. The pup was rescued by animal control officers in summer 2017, close to a suspected puppy farm in Halifax, Virginia. Animal control officers believe that the two-month-old pup was abandoned because of his birth defect. Cooper was saved by Secondhand Hounds, a shelter in Minnetonka, Minnesota, who treated the neglected dog for ear mites, worms and a hernia. The brave pooch was eventually adopted by Elly Keegan, 32, and her husband Andy, 33, who live with their dogs Skylar, 13, Waylon, three, and Tuva, four.A pooch born with half a spine is just one of 30 dogs in the world living with the condition. See SWNS story SWNYspine. Cooper, a two-year-old American foxhound, lives with short spine syndrome, a genetic condition caused by inbreeding where vertebrae are fused together and compressed. The pup was rescued by animal control officers in summer 2017, close to a suspected puppy farm in Halifax, Virginia. Animal control officers believe that the two-month-old pup was abandoned because of his birth defect. Cooper was saved by Secondhand Hounds, a shelter in Minnetonka, Minnesota, who treated the neglected dog for ear mites, worms and a hernia. The brave pooch was eventually adopted by Elly Keegan, 32, and her husband Andy, 33, who live with their dogs Skylar, 13, Waylon, three, and Tuva, four.Dog with half a spineDog with half a spineellencscottCooper was born with short spine syndrome, meaning his vertebrae are fused together and compressed Cooper cant sit on hard floors or go for long walksA pooch born with half a spine is just one of 30 dogs in the world living with the condition. See SWNS story SWNYspine. Cooper, a two-year-old American foxhound, lives with short spine syndrome, a genetic condition caused by inbreeding where vertebrae are fused together and compressed. The pup was rescued by animal control officers in summer 2017, close to a suspected puppy farm in Halifax, Virginia. Animal control officers believe that the two-month-old pup was abandoned because of his birth defect. Cooper was saved by Secondhand Hounds, a shelter in Minnetonka, Minnesota, who treated the neglected dog for ear mites, worms and a hernia. The brave pooch was eventually adopted by Elly Keegan, 32, and her husband Andy, 33, who live with their dogs Skylar, 13, Waylon, three, and Tuva, four.A pooch born with half a spine is just one of 30 dogs in the world living with the condition. See SWNS story SWNYspine. Cooper, a two-year-old American foxhound, lives with short spine syndrome, a genetic condition caused by inbreeding where vertebrae are fused together and compressed. The pup was rescued by animal control officers in summer 2017, close to a suspected puppy farm in Halifax, Virginia. Animal control officers believe that the two-month-old pup was abandoned because of his birth defect. Cooper was saved by Secondhand Hounds, a shelter in Minnetonka, Minnesota, who treated the neglected dog for ear mites, worms and a hernia. The brave pooch was eventually adopted by Elly Keegan, 32, and her husband Andy, 33, who live with their dogs Skylar, 13, Waylon, three, and Tuva, four.

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    METRO GRAB - taken from the Facebook of Polsin Sinsamoe without permission Woman finishes marathon holding puppy she rescued along the wayhttps://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2195370500791870&set=pcb.2195370797458507&type=3&theaterCredit: Polsin Sinsamoe
    (Picture: Facebook/Polsin Sinsamoe)

    A woman from Bangkok ran 19 miles of a marathon clutching a puppy that she had rescued during the race.

    Khemjira Klongsanun spotted the tiny dog on the side of the road, with no mother or owner nearby.

    She was about seven miles into the race, but she decided to take a detour so she could scoop the helpless pup up in her arms.

    She didn’t put the dog down until she crossed the finish line, 19 miles later.

    (Picture: Getty)

    The running enthusiast could have given the puppy to an onlooker, but she wanted to make sure he was taken care of – so the dog became her running mascot.

    At the end of the race, Khemjira couldn’t bear to part with the pup, so she decided to take it home to be a part of her family.

    Since that fateful day on the racecourse, the dog, who has now been named Nong Chom, has been for a check up at the vets and has been introduced to Khemjira’s other dogs.

    Khemjira even went back to the point where Nong Chom had been found to double check that there wasn’t an owner or mother dog looking for him – but it seems as though this puppy had no one else in the world.

    So it seems as though Khemjira and Nong Chom finding each other during the marathon was a happy accident of fate.

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    Woman finishes marathon holding puppy she rescued along the wayWoman finishes marathon holding puppy she rescued along the waynataliemorris88METRO GRAB - taken from the Facebook of Polsin Sinsamoe without permission Woman finishes marathon holding puppy she rescued along the wayhttps://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2195370500791870&set=pcb.2195370797458507&type=3&theaterCredit: Polsin SinsamoeWoman finishes marathon holding puppy she rescued along the wayWoman finishes marathon holding puppy she rescued along the waynataliemorris88METRO GRAB - taken from the Facebook of Polsin Sinsamoe without permission Woman finishes marathon holding puppy she rescued along the wayhttps://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2195370500791870&set=pcb.2195370797458507&type=3&theaterCredit: Polsin Sinsamoe

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    blindness, blind,
    (Photo: RNIB/Facebook)

    A picture of a woman on her phone while using a long white was shared on Facebook and captioned ‘If you can see what’s wrong say “I see it”,’ and instantly I was horrified.

    I tried to resist the urge to look at the comments, only to find myself scrolling through hundreds of comments full of assumptions, mockery and speculation.

    The general belief was that this woman must be faking her blindness – the possibility of her using her phone and being blind or partially sighted was an alien concept.

    Yet I personally see nothing wrong with it. As a long cane user myself, I regularly use my phone – it actually helps me a great deal. So, what is the fuss all about?

    This viral Facebook post was all my worst fears rolled into one. The fear of someone looking at me and thinking the whole thing was an act. The fear that the photo could quite easily have been me.

    I’d be devastated to be seen solely as my disability, with strangers making such ignorant assumptions and reducing my sight loss to a joke.

    This fear of being judged means I can be apprehensive about using my phone while out in public. I’ve been glared at while waiting for a train because I was on my phone, but its accessibility features like enlarged text mean I can use it just like everyone else.

    People think that if you use a long cane you can’t see anything. That you’re completely blind and living in darkness. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a spectrum of sight and each of us is different in terms of how we see.

    blind, blind people, blindness
    I’ve used a long cane for over a year and the biggest learning curve has been people’s invalidation of my disability (Photo: Chloe Tear)

    These simple adaptations also mean I can check train times because I can’t read the main boards and always have access to a magnifier. Similarly, people seem to be amazed when I give them eye contact or thank them for moving out of my way.

    However, I shouldn’t be embarrassed for using my vision.

    I have been a long cane user for a year and a half, and the biggest learning curve has been people’s attitudes towards me and the invalidation of my disability.

    This is why the work of charities can be so important, providing support and guidance for blind and partially sighted people, as well as educating the general public and challenging myths and misconceptions around sight loss.

    It’s important to say, though, that not all members of the public treat visually impaired people with suspicion. Last year I walked into Fat Face on my local high street and a member of staff immediately asked if I’d like them to describe the clothes. I politely declined the kind offer as it wasn’t something I needed, yet the thought meant a great deal to me.

    Now I’d like to ask you something. Next time you meet someone with sight loss, please don’t make assumptions about their level of sight. Don’t make us feel invalidated by thinking or saying that we are ‘faking it’.

    When you live with sight loss you get very used to using your remaining sight to the best of its ability. We are capable of using mobile phones, Kindles and other devices just like everyone else, and not everyone who uses a long cane is completely blind.

    Above all, treat us like human beings going about our day. We don’t want to be judged or fear being ridiculed on social media like the woman who was the subject of this awful mockery and abuse.

    See me for who I am, don’t define me by my sight loss.

    The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) provides support and guidance to those affected by sight loss. Chloe featured in the ‘How I See’ campaign and also writes at Life as a Cerebral Palsy student.

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    FacebookFacebookjessrubyaustinblindness, blind, blind, blind people, blindnessFacebookFacebookjessrubyaustinblindness, blind, blind, blind people, blindness

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