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

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    (Picture: Metro.co.uk/ Getty Images)

    Want to truly treat her this Mother’s Day?

    Mother’s Day is fast-approaching, so to help take the stress out of your shopping experience, we’ve selected our top beauty gift ideas certain to put a smile on your Mum’s face.

    Sure, flowers, chocolates and a bit of bling are bound to make your mum happy. But nothing beats a pamper, or a perfectly packaged beauty product.

    From perfume, skincare to makeup must-haves, these are the perfect beauty gifts to show your Mum just how much you appreciate her this Mother’s Day.

    Floral Street London Poppy Eau de Parfum

    Floral Street London Poppy Eau de Parfum
    (Picture: Feelunique)

    This blossoming fragrance from London-based perfumery Floral Street, is intoxicatingly zesty and vegan.

    Poppy may be in the name, but it’s the notes of Sicilian lemon, Florida orange and sultry amber that take center stage when spritz onto your wrists.

    Floral Street are also plastic-free as they’ve done away with excess packaging by creating beautiful boxes with recycled biodegradable pulp cartons.

    Floral Street London Poppy Eau de Parfum, £55, feelunique.com and qvc.co.uk

     

    Liberty London Five Minutes’ Peace Beauty Kit

    Liberty London Five Minutes' Peace Beauty Kit
    (Picture: Liberty London)

    If your Mum has ever asked (or begged) for five minutes peace, Liberty are delivering on this wish with their Five Minutes’ Peace Beauty Kit.

    The Liberty print box is packed with seven full-size ‘restorative’ skin care essentials from the likes of Votary, Omorovicza, Herbivore and includes a Diptyque Baies candle to set the mood.

    The exclusive gift is worth over £252, but can be purchased for £95. It’s a no-brainer beauty buy for those in need of a little respite.

    Liberty London Five Minutes’ Peace Beauty Kit, £95, libertylondon.com

     

    Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Bergamot & Juniper Limited Edition

    Liz Earle NEW Cleanse & Polish™ Bergamot & Juniper Limited Edition Read more at https://www.boots.com/liz-earle-cleanse-and-polish-bergamot-and-juniper-limited-edition-10260410#sjccdZCtuFFEPMGE.99
    (Picture: Boots)

    If you want to pamper your Mum this Mother’s Day and your on a low-budget, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of Liz Earle’s iconic Cleanse and Polish.

    The cult cleanser is world-renowned, with one sold every 20 seconds globally and it’s amassed more than 100 awards since the company was founded back in 1995.

    And if that wasn’t enough, they’ve just released a refreshingly scented twist on the classic with notes of Italian bergamot and juniper.

    Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish™ Bergamot & Juniper Limited Edition, £23.50, boots.com

    ESPA Ultimate Sleep Collection

    ESPA Ultimate Sleep Collection
    (Picture: Lookfantastic)

    For a great nights sleep luxury skincare brand ESPA have released their Ultimate Sleep Collection.

    The gift box contains £110 worth of ESPA products for just £35 and includes their Overnight Hydration Therapy, a gorgeously rich overnight mask overnight and a Soothing Bath Oil laced with calming scents of frankincense and myrrh.

    And if you want to treat your Mum to a spa day, ESPA have over 300 spas in 55 countries.

    ESPA Ultimate Sleep Collection, £35, lookfantastic.com and espaskincare.com.

     

    The Body Shop Our Finest Facial Mask Duo

    The Body Shop Our Finest Facial Mask Duo
    (Picture: The Body Shop)

    For an at-home pamper evening with your Mum this Mother’s Day, dim the lights, lie back and relax, as you treat your skin to best masks the high-street has to offer from The Body Shop.

    The Finest Facial Mask Duo contains two of the Body Shop’s best-selling 100% vegan face masks; Himalayan Charcoal purifying Glow Mask and British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask.

    They’re a firm favourite of ours here at Metro.co.uk and guaranteed your Mum (and her complexion) wont be disappointed.

    The Body Shop Our Finest Facial Mask Duo, £32, thebodyshop.com

     

    Diptyque X Pierre Frey Candle Duo Set

    Diptyque X Pierre Frey Candle Duo Set
    (Picture: Space NK)

    Treat her to the new Diptyque X Pierre Frey Candle Duo Set – a perfect gift for Mother’s Day and candle lovers.

    Presented in delicately designed box by French upholstery fabric designer House of Pierre Frey, she’ll find two of Diptyque’s finest scents, Rose Geranium and Mimosa.

    Diptyque X Pierre Frey Candle Duo Set, £94, spacenk.com

     

    Dr. Barbara Sturm Discovery Set

    Dr. Barbara Sturm Discovery Set
    (Picture: Cult Beauty)

    Great skin starts with the best skincare and the Dr. Barbara Sturm Discovery Set is an affordable way to introduce your Mum to the wonders of Dr. Barbara Strum skincare.

    The set comprises six of Dr. Barbara Sturm’s innovative skin care products from Dr. Sturm’s soft, fine foam cleanser to eye cream all designed to renew and give skin a youthful boost.

    And they’re all housed in a stylish holographic beauty bag which Mum can re-use.

    Dr. Barbara Sturm Discovery Set, £85, cultbeauty.co.uk

     

    Björk & Berries Herbalist Hand Wash and Hand Cream

    Björk & Berries Herbalist Handwash and Hand Cream
    ( Picture: John Lewis)

    Give your Mum’s hands a wash and hug with Björk & Berries’s Herbalist Hand wash and Hand Cream.

    The gentle but effective duo cleans and hydrates the skin with the combination of organic linseed oil and birch water.

    The fresh scent has been inspired by the little wood cabin by the garden where herbs are handpicked, hung and dried after the harvest season – cute huh?

    Björk & Berries Herbalist Hand wash and Hand Cream, from £19, johnlewis.com

     

    Benefit Cosmetics Mother’s Day Makeup Bundle

    Benefit Cosmetics Mother's Day Makeup Bundle
    (Picture: Benefit Cosmetics)

    Why not build your Mum her very own Benefit makeup kit?

    Simply pick your bundle from the three available options ranging from £35 to £69 and select three full-sized products from the likes of POREfessional Primer, Hoola and Roller Lash and receive a travel size mini and pink beauty bag for free.

    It’s the ideal way to discover Benefit Cosmetics iconic makeup products, or top-up her favourites.

    Benefit Cosmetics Mother’s Day Makeup Bundle, £35 – £69, benefitcosmetics.com

    MORE: Lush is ditching eggs from all its products

    MORE: Woman mocked for her monobrow is finally embracing her natural beauty


    The best beauty gifts for Mother\'s Day 2019The best beauty gifts for Mother\'s Day 2019

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    Is toxic positivity ruining your mental health? Metro illustrations Ella Byworth/ Metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Ella Byworth/Metro.co.uk)

    Happiness is the end goal, right?

    Get that promotion. Earn more money. Find your soul mate. Then, and only then, you’ll be happy.

    Most of us spend our days doing whatever it takes to be happy in the hope that when we finally reach that milestone, the feeling will stick permanently.

    But simply willing ourselves to be happy by slapping on a smile and aggressively scrolling through positive quotes on Pinterest isn’t going to cut it, and with today being International Day of Happiness we need to acknowledge that this incessant push for positivity can be harmful.

    It’s called toxic positivity.

    It’s those cheap plaques that your mum insists on hanging around the house which are plastered with vomit-inducing phrases such as ‘today I choose to be happy’ and ‘good vibes only’.

    Toxic positivity is enforced by brands such as Coca Cola, who for years used the slogan ‘Open Happiness’ alongside images of beautiful people seemingly finding nirvana from the first sip.

    At its most damaging, toxic positivity screams ‘cheer up!’ in the faces of people who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Metro.co.uk spoke to Senior Therapist Sally Baker who explained that this expectation to be happy all the time is causing people to lose touch with how they really feel.

    ‘Toxic positivity doesn’t allow you to feel your full spectrum of emotions. If things are going right for us they feel easier and there are some people that are so afraid of their darker or more negative emotions that they put a lot of energy into staying really positive.’

    This need to put on a front comes from a place of fear.

    how can we get more in touch with our senses? and why should we?
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    People who are relentlessly positive are often afraid of facing their inner demons because they aren’t confident about being able to cope with them.

    However, vocalising these complicated feelings can help build emotional awareness and resilience.

    ‘You have to acknowledge authentically where you’re at and then you take the power back,’ says Sally. ‘Then you won’t be afraid anymore.

    ‘One of the techniques I use is the Emotional Freedom Technique.

    ‘This is where you get to say out loud exactly how you’re feeling. Then you look outside and realise that the world is still turning.

    ‘It’s very freeing to say that you’re feeling down instead of trying to struggle and fight against it. Sometimes you just need to stay there and feel it.’

    Amy Holland, from Cardiff, explains why she insists on letting out anger when it inevitably creeps into her relationships.

    ‘If someone has annoyed me I won’t brush it under the carpet,’ she explains. ‘With co-parenting sometimes it’s not appropriate and it will do more harm than good.

    ‘So I make sure I address it assertively and speak to a friend later to have a rant to get it off my chest.

    ‘Then I can dissect it a bit better too and make sense of it. You’ve got to get the anger out somehow.’

    As well as trying to calm down these potentially harmful emotions, there are some scenarios where unwanted emotions can work in our favour.

    Keynote speaker Kirsty Hulse says that owning her anxiety before a big gig actually gives her the energy and focus she needs to give her best performance on stage.

    She coaches people on how to hone their confidence by embracing all emotions and using them as a force for good.

    Kirsty says that feelings of vulnerability are natural, especially when going into a challenging situation such as a networking event.

    She says: ‘Before I go into any networking event I take a moment to remember that most people are feeling vulnerable and that I’m not the only one going in there feeling ill-equipped. That really helps me’

    It seems that chasing the elusive idea of happiness is pointless, but leaning into however you feel right now is not.

    According to therapist Sally Baker, we should all be aiming for a more realistic state of being: ‘Happiness is such a fleeting emotion. Just a feeling of peacefulness in ourselves would be great’

    So take a few minutes today to just feel however you’re feeling.

    Sit on the sofa and be tired. Admit that you feel lonely. Go for a run and feel free, just for a moment.

    Happiness is overrated.

    MORE: Working class, black men are being forgotten in the conversation about mental health

    MORE: Embrace the Danish concept of ‘pyt’ to deal with daily stresses

    MORE: Why do lads do such unquestionably stupid things?


    Is toxic positivity ruining your mental health?Is toxic positivity ruining your mental health?

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    (Picture: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

    Model Halima Aden is putting us all to shame as at the age of 21 as she now adds being a fashion designer to her lengthy list of achievements.

    She was the first hijab-wearing model to be featured on the cover of Vogue, advertised a headscarf for Nike, and was part of a Kanye West Yeezy presentation.

    Now The American-Somali model is launching her own range of headscarves for Muslim women with a keen fashion sense.

    Working with Turkish modest wear brand Modanisa, Halima will debut the set of 27 hijabs at the second edition of Istanbul Modest Fashion Week in April.

    Halima, who grew up in Minnesota, U.S, after being born in a refugee camp in Kenya, has been making strides in representation for Muslim women and the move will no doubt please her thousands of followers.

    They’ll be even happier to know the line drops just before Ramadan. The scarves might even make perfect Eid presents.

    (Picture: Peter White/FilmMagic)

    It’s not Halima’s first time walking the runway for Modanisa, as she hit the Dubai Modest Fashion Week catwalk in 2017.

    This year Modanisa goes back to its Turkish roots, being held in Istanbul where it will unveil its Ramadan collections from a mix of up and coming and established Turkish designers.

    The first hijab-wearing model for esteemed management agency IMG, Halima wants to invite other Muslim women to have many firsts.

    ‘I’m focused on the next generation,’ she told Paper. ‘I want to one day see a hijabi at the Met Gala. I want to see a hijabi being a lead actress. Think of all the many firsts that are still out there.

    ‘What can I do to encourage girls to dream big, to bring it home?’

    We can’t wait to see what Halima’s designs look like and what other words will be added to her model-fashion-designer title in the future.

    MORE: Halima Aden makes history by competing in Miss Minnesota USA wearing a hijab

    MORE: International Somali Awards celebrate all the achievements of an underrated community

    MORE: Meet the Muslim women breaking boundaries in sports, comedy, dance, and modelling


    Street Style - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2019/2020 : Day EightStreet Style - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2019/2020 : Day Eight

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    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)

    It feels like there are limited options when it comes to advertising food.

    You have to make the product look as appetising as possible, then list off enough of its wonderful qualities to convince people to try it themselves.

    But it turns out there is another way.

    One company decided to give Nemyugun bakery in Yakutsk, Russia, a helping hand with their promo… without their involvement.

    Tryuukk recruited a bunch of super glamorous grandmothers to pose with pastries, bread, and sweet treats from the bakery.

    As we mentioned, Nemyugun bakery had nothing to do with the campaign. The creative company just decided to run with it, choosing to promote a brand they liked in an unexpected way. Fair enough.

    Each elderly model was styled in the latest fashion, complete with faux fur coats, massive sunglasses, and pearl necklaces, then handed a baked treat to show off as though it were the coolest accessory in the world – which it is.

    The theme of the shoot was the bakery’s slogan: ‘delicious like at grandmother’s’.

    The resulting photos, which appeared on a mysterious Instagram profile and Twitter page, are truly glorious. Never before have carbs looked this cool. Never before have we so desperately needed a baguette with which to stunt on the ‘Gram.

    Greggs, take note. This is the future of bakery advertising, we’re sure of it.

    Take a look at the photos below and just try not to crave a doughnut. It’s impossible.

    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)
    Company Creates Advertisement For Bakery With Elderly Models Posing With Their Products Picture: Babushkin Podgon METROGRAB Mandatory Links: https://www.instagram.com/babushkin_podgon/ https://twitter.com/BabushkinPodgon
    (Picture: Babushkin Podgon)

    MORE: This awesome mother and son duo are the ultimate source of fashion inspiration

    MORE: Grandma says she finally has a smoking hot body in glorious obituary written by her children

    MORE: The best beauty gifts for Mother’s Day 2019


    SEI_57637585SEI_57637585

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    It’s World Happiness Day today and Finland knows just how to bring everyone joy.

    The country is inviting people to Scandinavia for free to learn the art of happiness. And you get your own Finnish person to help you master it.

    Tourism group Visit Finland has launched a project called Rent a Finn. For a ‘hands-on experience’, the Finns will act as ‘happiness guides’ and take you around all the best local spots.

    In an attempt to boost tourism to the ‘happiest country in the world’ Finland has launched the project whereby winners selected will be able to spend part of their summer in the country for free.

    Lover of the outdoors might want to apply, or just those who like free things, as the promo video highlights the importance of nature in relieving stress.

    The locals will be taking you to their favourite natural spots around the country so you too can be stress-free and happy.

    We’d be pretty happy with a free summer abroad too.

    Hanna Hanna is an IT marketing professional who currently studies tourism economics. She is passionate about Finnish nature and sharing its wonders with travellers. She lives in Metropolitan Southern Finland but has spent most of her summers sailing in the Archipelago and winters skiing in Lapland, so she is more than familiar with the many wonders of Finnish nature. https://rentafinn.com/en/host/hanna/
    You could be staying with Hanna, an IT consultant in Archipelago (Picture: Rent a Finn)

    ‘Finland is the happiest country in the world (according to the United Nations World Happiness Report 2019),’ says the website.

    ‘Our secret is in our nature, very literally. When others go to therapy, Finns put on a pair of rubber boots and head to the woods.

    ‘Now it’s time everyone had a chance to learn from the best.

    ‘Eight ordinary Finns have signed up as happiness guides and want to share their connection to nature with you. Find your happiness. Book your very own Finn.’

    Depending on the guide you get, you could be staying in the capital Helsinki or dreamy Lapland. Other areas up for exploring include Archipelago and Lakeland.

    To apply, you’ll have to send in a video of yourself explaining why you want to visit Finland, then fill in a few bits and bobs online.

    A host will be attached to you and you can learn more about them on the website so you’re not staying with a complete stranger.

    MORE: Get paid £200 a week to travel the world – but Instagrammers have to choose what you do

    MORE: Ladies, why are we so afraid of long-haul solo travel?

    MORE: Girls to get free sanitary products in schools to end period poverty


    Boats Moored On Canal Amidst BuildingsBoats Moored On Canal Amidst Buildings

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    McDonald's Is Giving Away A La-Z-Boy Couch That Has a Built-In McFlurry Chiller
    (Picture: McDonald’s)

    It’s such a common dilemma.

    You’re sat on the sofa, gorging on a tasty burger and trying to finish it fast enough so your ice cream dessert doesn’t melt before you get to it.

    Not anymore, you guys.

    McDonald’s has joined forces with La-Z-Boy to create the ultimate snack spot – a huge sofa with a built-in McFlurry Chiller kept at 33 degrees, so you’ll never have to eat soggy ice cream again.

    But that’s not the only extra feature.

    It also has light-up cup holders, adjustable seats, built-in phone chargers and stain-resistant fabric.

    There’s also a branded blanket, in case you go into a food coma and need a nap.

    McDonald's Is Giving Away A La-Z-Boy Couch That Has a Built-In McFlurry Chiller
    (Picture: McDonald’s)
    McDonald's Is Giving Away A La-Z-Boy Couch That Has a Built-In McFlurry Chiller
    (Picture: McDonald’s)

    The ‘McDelivery Couch’ is part of a new campaign called ‘going out is overrated’ and will be given away to one lucky foodie.

    How can you win this near-perfection sofa?

    Go to Twitter and share a pic of yourself eating a McDonald’s item on your own sofa.

    Don’t forget to tag @McDonalds and @UberEats in it, and #McDeliverySweepstakes.

    And if you don’t win, you could always invest in a cooler for a similar effect.

    MORE: McDonald’s is introducing vegan McNuggets in Norway

    MORE: Papa John’s is launching a Marmite stuffed crust pizza

    MORE: Flora goes completely vegan and removes dairy from their entire spread range


    SEI_57649058SEI_57649058

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    people celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim
    Israelis taking part in a parade celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim (Picture: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

    Across the world, Jewish people are getting ready to don some fancy dress and celebrate the festival of Purim.

    thumbnail for post ID 8953819Keanu Reeves will play Duke Caboom in Toy Story 4 as trailer gives first look at character

    The festival is one of feasting and overall revelry, and held on the 15th day of Adar, which is a month in the Hebrew calendar.

    This year, it falls on Wednesday 20 of March, and ends the evening of Thursday 21 March,

    If you want to get more involved with Purim this year, then read on, because here’s everything you need to know about the holiday, and how to say ‘Happy Purim’ in Hebrew and Yiddish.

    What is Purim?

    Purim, which starts at sundown on Wednesday, celebrates a defeated plot by Haman, adviser to the Persian king Ahasuerus, to massacre the Jewish people roughly 2,500 years ago.

    The person who foiled this plot was Esther, the Jewish wife of Ahasuerus, who was not aware of his wife’s religion.

    A young Jewish girl in fancy dress during the annual Jewish holiday of Purim
    A young Jewish girl in fancy dress for Purim (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

    When Haman got permission from Ahasuerus to have all the Jews in his kingdom killed after the Jewish Mordecai refused to bow to him, Esther revealed to her husband her status as not only Jewish, but as Mordecai’s blood relative.

    In doing so, she saved her people, and secured Mordecai’s future as Ahasuerus’ new advisor after Haman was subsequently executed.

    A family poses for a portrait during a Purim parade
    A family celebrating Purim (Picture: Corinna Kern/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

    Celebrating Purim usually involves 24 hours of dressing up and partying in fancy dress, donating to the poor, feasting, prayer, and reading the Scroll of Esther, or the Megillah, typically in a synagogue.

    How to say ‘Happy Purim’ in Hebrew and Yiddish

    ‘Happy Purim’ in Hebrew, a language widely spoken in Israel where most of the population is Jewish, is ‘chag Purim samayach’, which is pronounced KHAG poo-REEM sah-MAY-akh.

    In Yiddish, a historical Jewish language ‘Happy Purim’ is ‘ah freilichen Purim’, pronounced FRAY-likh-en POO-rim.

    MORE: ‘How to recognise a Jew’ headline appears on Polish front page

    MORE: What is halal and kosher meat and why is it banned in parts of Belgium?


    Israel Celebrates Festival Of PurimIsrael Celebrates Festival Of Purim

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    (Picture: Asda)

    We are a big fan of a caterpillar cake.

    The perfect blend of cheap, retro and delicious.

    If you’ve worked in an office at any point, you’ve probably sampled a few.

    But if you find that one is just not enough for everyone, Asda is about to release a giant version.

    Yes, we know M&S released a giant Colin the Caterpillar cake years ago, but it’s only available to order online and can’t be picked up in store.

    It sort of defeats the last minute birthday vibe that the caterpillar cake represents.

    It also costs £40 and serves 40 people so it might be a bit much for your standard birthday.

    Giant Colin the caterpillar Marks & Spencer
    M&S also do a giant 2kg Colin the Caterpillar (Picture: Marks & Spencer)

    Asda’s version Clyde the Colossal caterpillar cake, costs a much more affordable £12.

    It’s a foot-and-a-half long (45cm) and serves 24 people, which is twice as many as their standard Clyde.

    It’s the same soft chocolate sponge, rolled with chocolate flavour buttercream and coated in milk chocolate but it’s just twice as long.

    Unfortunately that doesn’t make it cheaper. A standard Clyde is £6 so it is just like buying two.

    The face is made from icing rather than chocolate like some other brands but that’s unlikely to stop everyone fighting over it.

    Sarah Burns, Asda’s bakery expert said: ‘As well as being a fun novelty cake, Colossal Clyde is great value for money for our customers.

    ‘There has been an increasing demand for supersized and extraordinary products recently and we’re happy to be at the forefront of quirky thinking and showstopping products that our customers love.’

    It will be available at selected Asda stores and from their website from next month.

    MORE: Pose with your McDonald’s meal for a chance to win a La-Z-Boy sofa with a built-in McFlurry Chiller

    MORE: You can enjoy a summer in Finland for free to ‘find your happiness’


    Colossal Clyde-46deColossal Clyde-46de

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    (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    Ready your paws and get ready to order your tickets right meow: CatFest is coming to town.

    This June CatFest, a full-on festival entirely dedicated to cats, is arriving in London. We’re very excited to be the event’s media partner, supporting all the cat-themed fun going down on the day.

    What exactly goes down at a cat festival, you may ask?

    Well, quite a bit.

    This year’s proceedings will have more than 50 exhibitors, feature films, live music, books, art, and cocktails – all cat-themed, obviously.

    There’ll also be meet and greets on offer with celeb cats including street cat Bob and feline model Starina.

    Oh, and vegan street food. That doesn’t seem especially cat-themed but it will be tasty.

    The event is welcome to cat owners and cat lovers (but not your cats. Imagine the havoc), and people keen to welcome a kitty into their lives can head along to see adoptable rescue kittens at the Meow Parlour, for a £5 donation at the door.

    One of the rescue kittens who will be at the festival (Picture: CatFest)

    Attendees will be able to shop for treats and accessories for their kitties, get expert advice on all things cat, and pick up art to turn their home into a feline-themed palace.

    The fun will be running all day and well into the evening, starting at 10.30am on Saturday 29 June and finishing at 10.30pm. We’d recommend eating plenty of street food to keep you going for the entire event.

    If you fancy coming along, you can buy a ticket through Eventbrite. Move quickly, though. If there’s anything we’ve learned from being on the internet for all these years it’s that people really love cats, so we expect tickets to go fast.

    Part of the proceeds will go to Erham Rescue, a charity that works to sterilise and improve the lives of vulnerable Moroccan street cats and kittens, and Freshfields Animal Rescue Wales, so you can know you’re doing some good as well as enjoying a splendid day out.

    What's on at CatFest?

    In short, a lot is happening. Here’s a mega list so you know what to expect.

    Expert attendees include:

    • Giles Clark, wildlife expert and star BBC’s Big Cats About the House

    • Gwen Cooper (Homer’s Odyssey)

    • Tom Cox (Close Encounters of the Fur Kind; the Good, the Bad, the Furry)

    • James Bowen (A Street Cat Named Bob) and street cat Bob

    • Britta Jaschinski, European wildlife photographer of the year

    • Celia Haddon, author and animal behaviourist and author (Cats Behaving Badly; the Joy of Cats)

    • Shawn Simons, Kitty Bungalow founder and animal advocate

    • Anna Kogan, Forgotten Animals founder

     

    From 8.45pm there’ll be a film festival, screening: 

    • ROAR, Tippi Hendren’s cult classic about big cats, the most dangerous film ever made

    • KEDI, the enchanting documentary about Istanbul’s street cats, inside the mansion (6.30pm; and 8.15pm showings)

    With live music from:

    • The Cronins

    • Young Sawbones

    • Liberation Drummer

    • Jade Stanger

    • The Meyer Dancers (London’s coolest go-go girls) will be shimmying at sunset

     

    Other stuff that’s happening includes…

    • Swell Cat Art Show to benefit Alban
    • Swell Cat Art Show to benefit Albanian street cats
    • Bookshop/storytelling tent
    • Face painting + arts and crafts workshop
    • Fab vegan street food and kitty-inspired cakes
    • Cat-themed cocktails
    • Meet and greets with street cat Bob, model Starina, Katzenworld blog cats Rene and Freya, Elliot the Warehouse cat and more
    • Rescue kittens at the Meow Parlour

    When: 29 June 2019, 10.30am to 10.30pm

    Where: Beckenham Place Park, Beckenham Hill Road, London, BR3 1UH

    Order tickets through Eventbrite.

    Send us your cat stories!

    As the media partners of CatFest, coming to London on 29 June, we're excited to share loads of stories about brilliant cats.

    All cats are wonderful, of course, but if you have a story of a truly exceptional kitty, we want to hear it.

    We're talking about lifesaving cats, cats who've overcome challenges, kitties who've changed things for the better.

    If you've got a story to share, send us an email at ellen.scott@metro.co.uk with the details and pictures.

    To book your tickets to CatFest, do head over to Eventbrite.

    MORE: Tiny kitten that won’t grow finds a loving home after being rescued from a hoarding situation

    MORE: Kitten with vitiligo slowly transforms from black to stunning dappled fur

    MORE: Glorious photographs take a look at cats from below


    Cat Fest A picture of a startled kitty Picture: Metro.co.ukCat Fest A picture of a startled kitty Picture: Metro.co.uk

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    (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Parents often want to spend more time with their kids but finances get in the way.

    One mum, though, has taken up couponing and yellow sticker shopping and has been so successful, she has been able to close her thriving business so she can be with her son.

    Owning the upmarket beauty salon for seven years, Charlene Price-Jones, 32, of Cardiff, South Wales, earned a handsome income and was used to living the high life.

    She enjoyed splashing the cash on clothes, meals out and three exotic holidays a year.

    When she met her husband Iwan, 33, an accountant, her thoughts turned to starting a family and she realised that working 70 hours a week would mean she would never see her children.

    She made the bold decision to close her salon and completely transformed her spending habits, meaning she can now spend more time with nine-month-old Finn.

    Charlene said: ‘I realised I was on a hamster wheel. I was earning well, but my life had been taken over by work.

    ‘When I got engaged and started thinking about babies, I knew I’d end up having to pay out for costly childcare.

    Charlene and Finn (PA Real Life/Collect)
    Charlene and Finn (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘I wanted to be at home with my little one, so I decided to close my salon. Since then, I’ve been on a mission to be as frugal as possible, to help out with money while I get used to not having that income.’

    After 16 years working in the beauty industry, Charlene opened her own salon in August 2010.

    But everything changed when she got engaged six years later and started to think about having children.

    She knew that her heavy workload would mean paying out hefty sums for childcare – not to mention missing out on quality family time.

    So, in 2017, she took a leap of faith, closing her salon for good and launching a mission to live on as little as possible.

    A haul of yellow stickered items (PA Real Life/Collect)
    Charlene has sliced her grocery budget by buying yellow stickered items (Picture: PA Real Life)

    Resourceful as ever, she began collecting money off coupons and visiting supermarkets when stock was reduced so she could stay home with Finn and not be forced back to work by lack of funds.

    Also making money through network marketing, selling health and wellness products via social media, Charlene said: ‘Now, I don’t have the high costs of running a business that I did before.

    ‘Then, I still had to pay my overheads, regardless of how much I was making – but now, my overheads are zero.

    A haul of yellow stickered items (PA Real Life/Collect)
    A haul of yellow stickered items (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘Once I closed the salon, I knew I had to scale down and start living ultra-frugally, so I could build my income back up.’

    Looking at her outgoings, Charlene realised food was eating up most of her cash, so she now swears by yellow-sticker bargains.

    She continued: ‘My parents have drummed into me from an early age the value of a bargain, and I am so thankful for that.

    ‘Now, between coupons, discount vouchers and reduced stock, my shops will cost about a quarter of what they did before.

    A haul of yellow stickered items (PA Real Life/Collect)
    A haul of yellow stickered items (Picture: PA Real Life)

    ‘For example, I went to M&S the other day and picked up £35 worth of food for £8. I’ll then prep all my meals, and freeze whatever I don’t need so it doesn’t go off.

    ‘A few years ago, I could easily have let it all add up and up, getting to the till and realising I’d spent £80-£100 without even thinking about it.’

    Keen to help others, Charlene now shares her pearls of money-saving wisdom on her Instagram page, where she will upload photos of her yellow-sticker hauls.

    She added: ‘I’ve had times when I’ve felt like a millionaire, and times when I’ve really struggled, but I’m much more mindful now.

    ‘I hope I’m creating a better future for Finn, too. This frugal living has helped me stay at home with him, which is priceless.

    ‘I’ve learnt now that it’s not what you earn, it’s what you do with it.’

    MORE: Asda launches a giant caterpillar cake that’s over a foot long

    MORE: Pose with your McDonald’s meal for a chance to win a La-Z-Boy sofa with a built-in McFlurry Chiller


    Former shopaholic reinvents herself as a coupon queen after selling her thriving business to spend more time with her babyFormer shopaholic reinvents herself as a coupon queen after selling her thriving business to spend more time with her baby

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    (Picture: Catherine Marsay)

    Catherine Marsay runs a childminding service that she is offering as a free space for mums to drop their children off while they go for their smear tests.

    The mum-of-two from Billingham, Durham, says she will look after kids for an hour while mums who are too busy to get a minute to themselves get a cervical screening.

    She reminded her followers that smear tests may be uncomfortable but they’re so important.

    Catherine’s business is almost at full capacity but she wanted to help struggling mums tempted to skip the vital screening test which is required of women aged 25 and over..

    Since Catherine posted the offer on social media, her video has been viewed more than 6,000 times.

    Her offer came as welcome news to busy mums who branded her a legend for providing the sweet service.

    (Picture: Catherine Marsay)

    Catherine told Metro.co.uk that the idea came to her after she saw other childminding forums offer it.

    ‘I thought I would also like to do my bit, although I’m almost full to capacity there are times when I can accommodate children for an hour while their mums go for a smear test,’ she says.

    ‘It’s something I myself struggle to get to on my own as I work all week and have two young children and I thought if I could just take the childcare hurdle away then it’s one less thing for mums to worry about.’

    A Billingham childminder is providing childcare FREE for an hour - so women can attend their smear tests. Catherine Marsay, who runs Over The Rainbow childminding service, says she will look after mums' kids for an hour while they take the test, telling women to "get your smears booked, a child needs their Mammy and now you've no excuse not to go!"
    (Picture: Catherine Marsay)

    She posted the offer on Monday and is yet to see people sign up but the reaction online has been hugely positive.

    Catherine said people have commended her for the offer and shared their own stories. She’s glad to have raised a bit more awareness for women’s health.

    ‘It can be lifesaving, simple as that,’ she added. ‘It takes five minutes and although it can be unpleasant, the symptoms of cancer and everything that comes with that are so much worse.

    A Billingham childminder is providing childcare FREE for an hour - so women can attend their smear tests. Catherine Marsay, who runs Over The Rainbow childminding service, says she will look after mums' kids for an hour while they take the test, telling women to "get your smears booked, a child needs their Mammy and now you've no excuse not to go!"
    (Picture: Catherine Marsay)

    ‘I know people who have had their tests come back abnormal, some needed further examination or surgery and by doing this their life was more than likely prolonged and saved a lot of heartache for themselves and their loved ones.

    ‘The “Jade Goody” effect has gone, there’s a new generation of women at smear test age now and it’s vital they also get the message to prioritise this quick lifesaving test.’

    You can contact Catherine through Facebook if you’re from the Billingham area and want to use the service.

    What happens in a smear test?

    • Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina.
    • It’s not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer.
    • All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should be invited by letter.
    • During the screening appointment, a small sample of cells will be taken from your cervix.
    • The sample is tested for changes to the cells of your cervix.
    • Finding abnormal changes early means they can be monitored or treated so they do not get a chance to turn into cervical cancer
    • You’ll get your results by letter, usually in about two weeks.

    MORE: One in five women mistakenly believe a smear test detects ovarian cancer

    MORE: Beauty salons offer free bikini waxes to encourage women to get their smear test

    MORE: Mum who lost daughter to leukaemia asks people to paint rocks and hide them in her memory


    A Billingham childminder is providing childcare free for an hour - so women can attend their smear testsA Billingham childminder is providing childcare free for an hour - so women can attend their smear tests

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    a woman smiling
    Can pretty much guarantee that her smile wasn’t prompted by a ‘Cheer up love, it might never happen’ (Picture: Getty Images/Westend61)

    The International Day of Happiness 2019 is here, which gives us the perfect excuse to take stock of some of the more pleasant things in life.

    thumbnail for post ID 8954629Noah Centineo confirms he’s working on To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before 2 right now

    These days, society (yeah, we see you, social media) puts a lot of pressure on people to be happy.

    Recognising both the negative and positive emotions that you feel day to day is an essential aspect of fostering your own well-being.

    With that being said, today isn’t the International Day of Recognising Negativity, it’s the International Day of Happiness.

    Sticking a ‘Live, laugh, love’ plaque on your wall isn’t going to fix the problems in your life, but even so, we’ve put together some quotes that some very wise and/or clever people have said about happiness that will hopefully add a little bit of positivity to your day.

    Princess Diana

    ‘Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.’

    princess diana
    Princess Diana was a fan of paying it forward it seems (Picture: Getty)

    Maya Angelou, writer and activist

    ‘My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style.’

    The Dalai Lama

    ‘If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.’

    Emily Dickinson, writer

    ‘Find ecstasy in life. The mere sense of living is joy enough.’

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressing a crowd
    (Picture: Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images)

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights activist

    ‘Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.’

    F. Scott Fitzgerald, writer

    ‘For what it’s worth, it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be.’

    Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology

    ‘Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.’

    oscar wilde
    (Picture: Shutterstock)

    Oscar Wilde, writer​

    ‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.’

    Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States

    ‘Happiness consists more in conveniences of pleasure that occur everyday than in great pieces of fortune that happen but seldom.’

    George Sand, (AKA Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin) writer

    ‘There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.’

    Bernard Baruch, American financier

    ‘The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than growing with them.’

    actor brad pitt
    (Picture: Rich Fury/Getty Images)

    Brad Pitt, actor

    ‘I think happiness is overrated. Satisfied, at peace—those would be more realistic goals.’

    J. K. Rowling, writer

    ‘Personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications are not your life.’

    John Barrowman, actor

    ‘I’ve always thought people would find a lot more pleasure in their routines if they burst into song at significant moments.’

    Joanne Harris, writer

    ‘Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.’

    MORE: How to break up with someone who has depression

    MORE: Important signs that could indicate someone is suicidal


    Secret to happiness is to live in London or New YorkSecret to happiness is to live in London or New York

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    (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

    Easter is coming, which means the shops are already filled to the brim with Cadbury Creme Eggs – and we couldn’t be happier.

    And of course the hunt for the white chocolate egg is back, for those who want to win up to £10,000.

    But if you haven’t got time to hunt for one yourself, you can now pay someone to do it for you.

    Yep, you can now earn money by hunting for Creme Eggs. You just won’t win the prize yourself.

    Bark.com has launched the world’s first professional Cadbury Creme Egg Hunter service for people who want to increase their chances of finding the white chocolate egg.

    Professional players will be required to travel to associated supermarkets and buy the chocolates in order to find a prize-winning white chocolate Crème Egg.

    (Picture: Cadbury)

    The site is recruiting people across the UK to offer the professional Cadbury Crème Egg Hunter service, with prices expected to start at £45 per hour.

    There are 872 prize-winning white chocolate eggs in circulation in this year’s Cadbury Crème Egg hunting campaign. The prizes include:

    – 9 x £10,000 white chocolate eggs

    – 22 x £1,000 white chocolate eggs

    – 66 x £100 white chocolate eggs

    – 700 x £50 white chocolate eggs

    – 75 x £10 white chocolate eggs

    The service has been launched to help shoppers who are looking for the prize-winning white chocolate Creme Eggs during Cadbury’s annual campaign, but don’t have the time to buy the eggs themselves.

    It also increases a person’s likelihood of finding a white egg and winning a prize by widening the search area. The pro Cadbury Crème Egg Hunting service has launched across the UK and is available to all members of the public.

    Those who want to pay someone to find the eggs will be asked specific questions about how they’d like their Creme Egg Hunter to carry out their work – such as the number of eggs they’d like them to buy, which shops to visit and what areas of the UK they’d like covered.

    Earn ?45 an hour hunting for white Cadbury Cr?me Eggs cadbury
    (Picture: Cadbury)

    Those who sign up to be a Pro Cadbury Crème Egg Hunter will have to provide a photo ID, be subject to a full background check, and be willing to travel to several supermarkets either in their local area or around the UK. Bark.com also recommends a contract is written up between the customer and Hunter to agree on the transfer of prizes and terms. As well as the hourly rate, which includes the cost of 8 boxes of eggs, and travel expenses, there is an option for pro Hunters and customers to agree bonuses should prizes be won.

    Shops that are selling the white chocolate eggs include Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, One Stop shops and some independent retailers.

    Pro Hunters can expect to earn upwards of £45 per hour, however they can change a price dependent on their customer’s needs.

    Kai Feller, co-founder of Bark.com, said: ‘The McDonald’s Monopoly Player service was a massive hit last year and we think this service could do equally as well. This is the second year Cadbury has launched the white chocolate Crème Egg hunt and thousands of people across the UK are understandably eager to find a white chocolate Crème Egg and a high value prize.

    ‘However, some people just don’t have the time to be constantly buying eggs from a selection of supermarkets across the country – and that’s why we’ve launched this service.

    ‘We already have professional Cadbury Creme Egg Hunters signed up on site, however demand is high, so we need more hunters to offer the service.’

    You can sign up as a pro Cadbury Creme Egg hunter or book your own through Bark.

    MORE: Cadbury is adding Dinky Deckers and mini Crunchies to its Heroes tubs

    MORE: You could be paid £10.75 an hour to taste Cadbury and Oreo products


    Earn ?45 an hour hunting for white Cadbury Cr?me EggsEarn ?45 an hour hunting for white Cadbury Cr?me Eggs

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    Sunglasses Cat has a rare condition that means she has no eyelids and is unable to produce tears (Picture: Karen McGill)

    Bagel might look like one cool cat, but she’s a very special kitty on a mission. The five-year-old cat — known to her nearly half million Instagram followers as Sunglass Cat and considered to be among the world’s most influential pets — doesn’t wear shades as a style statement.

    Born without eyelids and unable to produce tears, she needs them to protect her sensitive eyes from dust and debris and the elements when she goes outside.

    Her blingy eyewear and accessories are real conversation starters that only help her profile.

    Sunglass cat is a real cool customer (Picture: Karen McGill/sunglasscat.com)
    Sunglass cat is a real cool customer (Picture: Karen McGill/sunglasscat.com)

    ‘Everyone always stops to talk to me about her sunglasses or to take pictures,’ says Karen McGill, who rescued Bagel from a shelter near to where she lives in Los Angeles, California. ‘Most people laugh and think it’s cool, but then I have to explain that it’s a necessity.’

    As soon as she saw the tiny gray-and-white kitten Karen was smitten. ‘She stuck her paw out. She was very cross-eyed and so cute,’ she remembers. ‘It was love at first sight. I knew she was special.’

    She originally meant for the cat to live with her daughter, but she had many issues and almost died after she was rescued.

    Sunglasses Cat sunglasscat@sunglasscat.com
    Sunglass Cat had many issues and almost died after being rescued – but is now a famous feline influencer with half a million followers on Instagram (Picture: Karen McGill/sunglasscat.com)

    Karen had to nurse the very underweight kitten around the clock, sleeping on her daughter’s apartment floor and spoon-feeding her baby food every half hour to help with her digestive problems.

    Since Bagel had so many health issues Karen kept the kitten herself, taking her to work and everywhere she went. ‘I couldn’t leave her for a moment because she had real bad separation anxiety,’ she says.

    ‘However, I didn’t know about her eye condition until she was about four months old. At time we were living on a boat in Venice Beach and I was taking her to the beach every day, unaware that she couldn’t develop tears. I noticed she was keeping her right eye half closed often. I took her to an eye specialist once I discovered she had an issue.’

    Sunglasses Cat sunglasscat@sunglasscat.com
    As a kitten, Bagel needed round-the-clock care (Picture: Karen McGill/sunglasscat.com)

    Bagel had three eye surgeries before she was a year old to freeze her eyelash follicles to stop them growing straight into her eyes, which could damage her cornea and over time lead to blindness.

    ‘I have to give her eye drops several times a day and pluck out a few rogue lashes that grow inside instead of along the normal lash line,’ explains Karen. ‘She will eventually have another surgery, or I’ll keep plucking the lashes out as long as she lets me.’

    After that first surgery, Karen and the vet came up with a brilliant idea to create fitted, feather-light sunglasses to protect her eyes. She reveals it took Bagel some time to get used to the glasses, but now she’s happy to wear them since she associates them with comfort. The sunglasses come off so that Karen can wash her eyes.

    But whenever Bagel is outside she always wears her flashy shades, making her the coolest cat on the block.

    In addition to her eye condition, Bagel is unable to regulate her own body temperature, so Karen began dressing the tiny kitten almost immediately after adopting her.

    ‘We were at the beach. It was 80 degrees, and Bagel was shaking. So I bought a cute little dress. The next day I took her to the beach and she was fine.

    Sunglasses Cat sunglasscat@sunglasscat.com
    Sunglasses Cat has trouble regulating her body temperature too, so wears little outfits to stay warm or keep the sun off (Picture: Karen McGill/sunglasscat.com)

    ‘She has overcome so much in her short life,’ says Karen, who says she wants to let people know that animals with disabilities are just as deserving of loving homes – yet they are always the first ones to be euthanised for being “unadoptable”.

    ‘I wanted to put her on social media to show how amazing she is,’ she says.

    Inevitably Bagel became a sensation seemingly overnight, seducing and abandoning in bits of silk and satin, her rhinestones and her cuteness.

    Now she’s living the American dream, travelling across the nation using her mega-star wattage to shine a light on adoptable animals with special needs.

    KILLING KITTENS

    In the US, the most recent shelter animal euthanisation rate is over 1.5 million, of which over 60% are cats. Only a couple years ago, that figure was closer to 8 million.

    Since last year, California, where Bagel lives, pet shops are only allowed to sell animals from shelters or other rescue organisations, which is amazing, and inevitably other states will follow.

    Usually animals with special needs and aggressive dogs (or rather, scared dogs) are the first to be put to sleep, along with kittens and puppies.

    In America, kitten season is called the killing season (in most public kill-shelters, kittens, especially motherless ones, aren’t even given a chance to be adopted because they take up more resources).

    ‘She is the most loving, kindest, gentlest cat you’ll ever meet. She brings so much joy and has touched so many lives,’ says Karen.

    Bagel could win the title of world’s busiest cat, certainly. She has certainly melted hearts on Animal Planet as ‘America’s Next Cat Star’ contestant, appeared on best-dressed pet lists for her killer style and at multiple festivals and fundraisers to promote the wellbeing of animals everywhere: the Salvation Army at Christmas; feline film festival in LA; an animal-rights march in NYC; the Haute Dog Halloween Parade in Hollywood.

    Bagel lives in a multi-cat household with five other pampered felines, but runs the manor as the self-appointed alpha cat. Mostly Bagel prefers hanging out with her dog mates, going hiking and swimming with them, and being leader of the pack.

    sunglass cat (Picture: Karen McGill/sunglasscat.com)
    At the beach (Picture: Karen McGill/sunglasscat.com)

    ‘She loves travelling, riding on planes and trains, being pushed in baby swings, going to new places and meeting people,’ Karen says.

    Of course, she is well aware of her fabulousness. ‘She really enjoys a fuss, getting constant kisses and cuddles,’ says Karen. ‘She’s a real diva who must have her own seat wherever we are, and especially when riding on the New York subway and meeting her public. She adores being carried and, if she knows that her stroller is around, refuses to walk on her leash.’

    Bagel and Karen hope to encourage more people to adopt animals with extra needs to prevent them having their lives cut short.

    ‘If I didn’t adopt Bagel she probably would’ve been put to sleep,’ says Karen. She’s incredible and amazes me every day.

    ‘I can’t imagine life without her.’

    Meet Bagel at Catfest London 2019, and listen to Karen McGill talk about animals with special needs at Beckenham Place Mansion on 29 June 2019, 10.30am-10.30pm (nearest station: Beckenham Hill).

    Tickets need to be bought in advance. Visit catfestlondon.com for more information and to buy tickets – and find Sunglass Cat here on Instagram


    Sunglasses Cat sunglasscat@sunglasscat.comSunglasses Cat sunglasscat@sunglasscat.com

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    Parker Trinkle - mum is Jessica and dad is Spenser At just 23 and a half weeks pregnant, Jessica Trinkle was given news that would make any parent-to-be frightened and worried ??? her son had a lesion on his spinal cord. Doctors eventually diagnosed the baby with Spina Bifida. This diagnosis led to a rare, nerve-wracking operation where the lesion is corrected while the baby is still in-utero. Jessica says she spent countless hours Googling her son???s diagnosis, even though doctors warned her against it. ???In the midst of searching for any ounce of hope, I then came across myelomenigocele, a form of Spina Bifida that allows mothers to undergo open fetal surgery to prevent further damage.??? Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect that is associated with life in the United States. It???s a type of neural tube defect (NTD) that occurs when a babies neural tube fails to develop or close properly ??? the literal meaning for Spina Bifida is ???split spine.??? According to the Children???s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fetal spina bifida surgery is shown to offer significantly better results than traditional repair after birth. Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage. FEATURED VIDEO Jessica, along with her husband, Spenser, and their two-year-old daughter, Aria, traveled to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies for an in-utero surgery on their son, whom they named Parker, for the repair of myelomeningocele. The couple was told this was the fourth Spina Bifida surgery done in the Orlando hospital, but their doctor performing the surgery had already done 60 surgeries at other hospitals. ???The surgery itself was extensive and consisted of a team of more than 13 doctors and nurses,??? Jessica says. ???Together our surgeons made about a 10-inch incision into my abdomen, which is then followed by about a 5-inch incision into the
    (Picture: @ebu.photography)

    Meet Parker – according to his mum, he likes to eat, sleep and poo, like any other month old baby.

    But Parker is pretty special.

    Parker has spina bifida, meaning his spine did not form properly, but when he was in the womb, doctors operated on him to try to prevent any further damage.

    They then stitched it up again and leaving him there to grow until he was born 22 weeks later – like being born twice as his mum Jessica Trinkle, from Florida, U.S., says.

    Halfway through her pregnancy, on 1 November 2018, Jessica went in for a routine appointment.

    During the scan, her medical team realised something was wrong with the baby, who Jessica and her husband Spenser had already named Parker.

    Jessica, who is also mum to Aria, three, explained: ‘Everything looked fine to me. I was able to observe on the projector in the exam room. After the scan she gave some 4D images of Parker’s face and sent me into the room to chat with the doctor, which is pretty routine.

    ‘My OB walked in, greeted me and sat in the chair. He then invited me to sit next to him to “talk about our little guy” so I hopped off the exam bed and I felt extremely numb. My heart had that feeling you get when you’re on a roller coaster that’s about to go down a big drop.

    ‘I could feel my hands start shaking and tears fill up into my eyes but I held them back, I didn’t want to jump to conclusions but I couldn’t help it.

    Parker Trinkle - mum is Jessica and dad is Spenser At just 23 and a half weeks pregnant, Jessica Trinkle was given news that would make any parent-to-be frightened and worried ??? her son had a lesion on his spinal cord. Doctors eventually diagnosed the baby with Spina Bifida. This diagnosis led to a rare, nerve-wracking operation where the lesion is corrected while the baby is still in-utero. Jessica says she spent countless hours Googling her son???s diagnosis, even though doctors warned her against it. ???In the midst of searching for any ounce of hope, I then came across myelomenigocele, a form of Spina Bifida that allows mothers to undergo open fetal surgery to prevent further damage.??? Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect that is associated with life in the United States. It???s a type of neural tube defect (NTD) that occurs when a babies neural tube fails to develop or close properly ??? the literal meaning for Spina Bifida is ???split spine.??? According to the Children???s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fetal spina bifida surgery is shown to offer significantly better results than traditional repair after birth. Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage. FEATURED VIDEO Jessica, along with her husband, Spenser, and their two-year-old daughter, Aria, traveled to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies for an in-utero surgery on their son, whom they named Parker, for the repair of myelomeningocele. The couple was told this was the fourth Spina Bifida surgery done in the Orlando hospital, but their doctor performing the surgery had already done 60 surgeries at other hospitals. ???The surgery itself was extensive and consisted of a team of more than 13 doctors and nurses,??? Jessica says. ???Together our surgeons made about a 10-inch incision into my abdomen, which is then followed by about a 5-inch incision into the
    Parker’s scar from his surgery (Picture: @ebu.photography)

    ‘This was the one and only doctor’s appointment I have ever been to where my husband couldn’t make it, and all I wanted was him.

    ‘They sent me downstairs for blood work where I called my husband and mother, who both left work immediately to be with me.

    ‘We went back upstairs to discuss the findings more. They explained that it seems that a sac was found on the spinal cord. They couldn’t get into how severe it was. We had so many questions, but he didn’t have all the answers. We were afraid of all things, stillborn, miscarriage, brain-dead, everything.

    ‘He then explained that his medical judgment suggested that worst case scenario “Parker” would need a wheel chair. That was the first time anyone said his name.’

    Parker was diagnosed with myelomeningocele (MMC). It is the most common and severe form of spina bifida which means the backbone hasn’t formed properly as the baby grows and it and it can cause a range of physical or intellectual disabilities.

    Jessica and Spenser went away from the appointment and started to research the condition.

    Parker Trinkle - mum is Jessica and dad is Spenser At just 23 and a half weeks pregnant, Jessica Trinkle was given news that would make any parent-to-be frightened and worried ???????? her son had a lesion on his spinal cord. Doctors eventually diagnosed the baby with Spina Bifida. This diagnosis led to a rare, nerve-wracking operation where the lesion is corrected while the baby is still in-utero. Jessica says she spent countless hours Googling her son????????s diagnosis, even though doctors warned her against it. ???????In the midst of searching for any ounce of hope, I then came across myelomenigocele, a form of Spina Bifida that allows mothers to undergo open fetal surgery to prevent further damage.??????? Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect that is associated with life in the United States. It????????s a type of neural tube defect (NTD) that occurs when a babies neural tube fails to develop or close properly ???????? the literal meaning for Spina Bifida is ???????split spine.??????? According to the Children????????s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fetal spina bifida surgery is shown to offer significantly better results than traditional repair after birth. Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage. FEATURED VIDEO Jessica, along with her husband, Spenser, and their two-year-old daughter, Aria, traveled to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies for an in-utero surgery on their son, whom they named Parker, for the repair of myelomeningocele. The couple was told this was the fourth Spina Bifida surgery done in the Orlando hospital, but their doctor performing the surgery had already done 60 surgeries at other hospitals. ???????The surgery itself was extensive and consisted of a team of more than 13 doctors and nurses,??????? Jessica says. ???????Together our surgeons made about a 10-inch incision into my abdomen, which is then foll
    Jessica and Spenser during the C-section (Picture: Positively Parker)

    They found support groups on Facebook and information online that said that some babies can be operated on in the womb to prevent any further damage as the baby continues to grow.

    The couple were referred to a specialist hospital in Orlando and they had their first appointment the following Monday.

    Jessica adds: ‘”Well this is the day” I thought to myself. “D day” as the moms online called it, short for diagnosis day – the worst part of the entire journey they said.

    ‘Upon arrival we signed in and waited for what seemed like hours, when in reality it was only about 30 minutes.

    ‘We began the day with an ultrasound, that was as scary as it was beautiful.

    ‘My husband beside me, I could tell he was just as nervous as me, so I closed my eyes to keep it together. After the scan the tech gave me a few profile shots and had me wait for the specialists.

    Parker Trinkle - mum is Jessica and dad is Spenser At just 23 and a half weeks pregnant, Jessica Trinkle was given news that would make any parent-to-be frightened and worried ??? her son had a lesion on his spinal cord. Doctors eventually diagnosed the baby with Spina Bifida. This diagnosis led to a rare, nerve-wracking operation where the lesion is corrected while the baby is still in-utero. Jessica says she spent countless hours Googling her son???s diagnosis, even though doctors warned her against it. ???In the midst of searching for any ounce of hope, I then came across myelomenigocele, a form of Spina Bifida that allows mothers to undergo open fetal surgery to prevent further damage.??? Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect that is associated with life in the United States. It???s a type of neural tube defect (NTD) that occurs when a babies neural tube fails to develop or close properly ??? the literal meaning for Spina Bifida is ???split spine.??? According to the Children???s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fetal spina bifida surgery is shown to offer significantly better results than traditional repair after birth. Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage. FEATURED VIDEO Jessica, along with her husband, Spenser, and their two-year-old daughter, Aria, traveled to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies for an in-utero surgery on their son, whom they named Parker, for the repair of myelomeningocele. The couple was told this was the fourth Spina Bifida surgery done in the Orlando hospital, but their doctor performing the surgery had already done 60 surgeries at other hospitals. ???The surgery itself was extensive and consisted of a team of more than 13 doctors and nurses,??? Jessica says. ???Together our surgeons made about a 10-inch incision into my abdomen, which is then followed by about a 5-inch incision into the
    (Picture: @ebu.photography)

    ‘The nurse brought us into the office; the MFM and neurosurgeon went over Parker’s findings in great detail, never forgetting to say his name and never leaving me with an unanswered question.

    ‘The neurosurgeon brought up foetal surgery and my first words were: “Yes, that’s what I need to do. Let’s do it.”‘

    The surgery needed to be carried out before 25 weeks and six days of pregnancy and with Jessica already past 23 weeks, it was a race against time.

    Jessica adds: ‘That same day we started with psychological evaluations, genetic counseling, blood work and an amniocentesis (amniotic fluid test) that was overnighted so we met the deadline for foetal surgery. We didn’t leave the hospital until almost 10 hours later.

    ‘I was physically sick to my stomach after all the testing; I even passed out during a blood draw. I was ready for bed but determined to do this for our son.

    Parker Trinkle - mum is Jessica and dad is Spenser At just 23 and a half weeks pregnant, Jessica Trinkle was given news that would make any parent-to-be frightened and worried ??? her son had a lesion on his spinal cord. Doctors eventually diagnosed the baby with Spina Bifida. This diagnosis led to a rare, nerve-wracking operation where the lesion is corrected while the baby is still in-utero. Jessica says she spent countless hours Googling her son???s diagnosis, even though doctors warned her against it. ???In the midst of searching for any ounce of hope, I then came across myelomenigocele, a form of Spina Bifida that allows mothers to undergo open fetal surgery to prevent further damage.??? Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect that is associated with life in the United States. It???s a type of neural tube defect (NTD) that occurs when a babies neural tube fails to develop or close properly ??? the literal meaning for Spina Bifida is ???split spine.??? According to the Children???s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fetal spina bifida surgery is shown to offer significantly better results than traditional repair after birth. Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage. FEATURED VIDEO Jessica, along with her husband, Spenser, and their two-year-old daughter, Aria, traveled to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies for an in-utero surgery on their son, whom they named Parker, for the repair of myelomeningocele. The couple was told this was the fourth Spina Bifida surgery done in the Orlando hospital, but their doctor performing the surgery had already done 60 surgeries at other hospitals. ???The surgery itself was extensive and consisted of a team of more than 13 doctors and nurses,??? Jessica says. ???Together our surgeons made about a 10-inch incision into my abdomen, which is then followed by about a 5-inch incision into the
    (Picture: @ebu.photography)

    ‘The next day followed with even more testing: a foetal cardio work up and a foetal MRI. The following day also more testing, we got all of it done in record time and we got the approval for foetal surgery for 13 Novembernovem.’

    In the next nine days, Jessica and Spenser organised their stay in Orlando and how they would leave their daughter for three weeks.

    Friends created a fundraiser and raised $10,000 in 24 hours as with Jessica in hospital, the family only had one income.

    On the morning of the surgery, everything became a reality for Jessica.

    She adds: ‘All of the emotions I had suppressed made their way to the forefront the second I was wheeled away from my loved ones but it was also at this exact time that my doctor became the shoulder I so desperately needed to cry on.

    ‘Anesthesia took over and before I knew it I was back in my hospital room as if nothing had happened when in reality a lot actually had.

    Parker Trinkle - mum is Jessica and dad is Spenser At just 23 and a half weeks pregnant, Jessica Trinkle was given news that would make any parent-to-be frightened and worried ??? her son had a lesion on his spinal cord. Doctors eventually diagnosed the baby with Spina Bifida. This diagnosis led to a rare, nerve-wracking operation where the lesion is corrected while the baby is still in-utero. Jessica says she spent countless hours Googling her son???s diagnosis, even though doctors warned her against it. ???In the midst of searching for any ounce of hope, I then came across myelomenigocele, a form of Spina Bifida that allows mothers to undergo open fetal surgery to prevent further damage.??? Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect that is associated with life in the United States. It???s a type of neural tube defect (NTD) that occurs when a babies neural tube fails to develop or close properly ??? the literal meaning for Spina Bifida is ???split spine.??? According to the Children???s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fetal spina bifida surgery is shown to offer significantly better results than traditional repair after birth. Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage. FEATURED VIDEO Jessica, along with her husband, Spenser, and their two-year-old daughter, Aria, traveled to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies for an in-utero surgery on their son, whom they named Parker, for the repair of myelomeningocele. The couple was told this was the fourth Spina Bifida surgery done in the Orlando hospital, but their doctor performing the surgery had already done 60 surgeries at other hospitals. ???The surgery itself was extensive and consisted of a team of more than 13 doctors and nurses,??? Jessica says. ???Together our surgeons made about a 10-inch incision into my abdomen, which is then followed by about a 5-inch incision into the
    (Picture: @ebu.photography)

    ‘The surgery itself was extensive and consisted of a team of more than 13 doctors and nurses. Together our surgeons made about a 10-inch incision into my abdomen, which is then followed by about a 5-inch incision into the uterus.

    ‘Mock amniotic fluids are also infused constantly into the uterus to keep the fluid levels safe for Parker and I.

    A sneak peek of Parkers bottom and back are exposed and then repaired while still in the womb, after the repair the uterus is then closed again.

    ‘To say I was overwhelmed upon being awake would be an understatement yet at the same time after all the emotional turmoil I had gone through up until this point it made the psychical pain a cakewalk.

    ‘Personally after having gotten to this point I had told myself that there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my kids and if I had to do it again I would.’

    After the surgery, the aim was to get to 37 weeks to give Parker the best chance.

    Parker Trinkle - mum is Jessica and dad is Spenser At just 23 and a half weeks pregnant, Jessica Trinkle was given news that would make any parent-to-be frightened and worried ??? her son had a lesion on his spinal cord. Doctors eventually diagnosed the baby with Spina Bifida. This diagnosis led to a rare, nerve-wracking operation where the lesion is corrected while the baby is still in-utero. Jessica says she spent countless hours Googling her son???s diagnosis, even though doctors warned her against it. ???In the midst of searching for any ounce of hope, I then came across myelomenigocele, a form of Spina Bifida that allows mothers to undergo open fetal surgery to prevent further damage.??? Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect that is associated with life in the United States. It???s a type of neural tube defect (NTD) that occurs when a babies neural tube fails to develop or close properly ??? the literal meaning for Spina Bifida is ???split spine.??? According to the Children???s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fetal spina bifida surgery is shown to offer significantly better results than traditional repair after birth. Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage. FEATURED VIDEO Jessica, along with her husband, Spenser, and their two-year-old daughter, Aria, traveled to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies for an in-utero surgery on their son, whom they named Parker, for the repair of myelomeningocele. The couple was told this was the fourth Spina Bifida surgery done in the Orlando hospital, but their doctor performing the surgery had already done 60 surgeries at other hospitals. ???The surgery itself was extensive and consisted of a team of more than 13 doctors and nurses,??? Jessica says. ???Together our surgeons made about a 10-inch incision into my abdomen, which is then followed by about a 5-inch incision into the
    (Picture: @ebu.photography)

    Jessica spent three weeks in hospital before she was allowed to return home to her family.

    She was told to get as much bed rest as possible and her husband and daughter helped to look after her.

    Amazingly, they made it to 37 weeks and the couple prepared to finally meet their son.

    Jessica added: ‘With my husband by my side it was time to be rolled into the operating room. Once there I found myself surrounded by several faces that were like family at this point in our journey. One nurse asked my favorite artist and we started singing Breathin’ by Ariana Grande to lighten my mood.

    ‘I felt every single human emotion possible. Crying was the only thing I could do while my husband held one hand, my anesthesiologist with the other, and my coordinating nurse at my head; she became like a second mama to me.

    ‘I was so thankful that all these people in the room invested their time and knowledge into my son in helping give my son the best possible outcome in life. I heard my doctor voice over everyone say, “Ok Jessica, you’re going to feel a lot of pressure, Parker is here.”

    Parker Trinkle - mum is Jessica and dad is Spenser At just 23 and a half weeks pregnant, Jessica Trinkle was given news that would make any parent-to-be frightened and worried ??? her son had a lesion on his spinal cord. Doctors eventually diagnosed the baby with Spina Bifida. This diagnosis led to a rare, nerve-wracking operation where the lesion is corrected while the baby is still in-utero. Jessica says she spent countless hours Googling her son???s diagnosis, even though doctors warned her against it. ???In the midst of searching for any ounce of hope, I then came across myelomenigocele, a form of Spina Bifida that allows mothers to undergo open fetal surgery to prevent further damage.??? Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect that is associated with life in the United States. It???s a type of neural tube defect (NTD) that occurs when a babies neural tube fails to develop or close properly ??? the literal meaning for Spina Bifida is ???split spine.??? According to the Children???s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fetal spina bifida surgery is shown to offer significantly better results than traditional repair after birth. Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage. FEATURED VIDEO Jessica, along with her husband, Spenser, and their two-year-old daughter, Aria, traveled to Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies for an in-utero surgery on their son, whom they named Parker, for the repair of myelomeningocele. The couple was told this was the fourth Spina Bifida surgery done in the Orlando hospital, but their doctor performing the surgery had already done 60 surgeries at other hospitals. ???The surgery itself was extensive and consisted of a team of more than 13 doctors and nurses,??? Jessica says. ???Together our surgeons made about a 10-inch incision into my abdomen, which is then followed by about a 5-inch incision into the
    (Picture: @ebu.photography)

    At that exact moment they pulled back the curtain and laid him on my chest. I couldn’t believe my baby was here and he was everything I could have asked for and then some.

    ‘Five pounds five ounces and looking exactly like his big sister. Spina bifida became an afterthought and all I could think about was this little baby staring up at me, such a beautiful soul who I will become a forever advocate for.

    ‘After the initial excitement of Parker’s arrival we were then given some exciting statement from his doctor. Of the 80 or so foetal surgeries he has performed for spina bifida in other locations, he would rank my son in the top 5%.

    ‘Within the 70 years that Winnie Palmer hospital has had a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Parker was the first and only spina bifida patient that did not need to spend even one second there.

    ‘Hearing such things like that after everything I had been put through made it all worth it. I did it, we did it and I am so thankful that I did. Two days after the C-section we were headed home as a family of four; ready to start the next path of this journey.’

    Now, just over a month on, Parker is doing well at home and although his family know that he will still have some special needs, they are hopeful for the future.

    Jessica added: ‘Parker is a month old and continues to thrive despite the stigmas associated with special needs. He is just like any other newborn baby, loves to eat, sleep and poo.

    ‘From the outside looking in you would never be able to tell anything was different about him. I only hope the older he gets I can continue to make him feel as though he isn’t different and if he ever does feel that way I want him to remember what it is we went through together.’

    MORE: Asda launches a giant caterpillar cake that’s over a foot long

    MORE: Shopaholic becomes coupon queen after selling thriving business to spend more time with her baby


    Positive ParkerPositive Parker

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    Drawing of someone writing an email on their laptop
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    There are few things as soul-destroying as spending five days a week at a job you hate.

    Five years ago, I found myself in this exact situation, being micro-managed to the point where I wasn’t allowed to send an email without it being signed off first and hating every moment.

    My mental health deteriorated quickly.

    Housemates pointed out how my personality had changed, and my then boyfriend and I started arguing more.

    I lasted five months, before the director of the company asked to have a chat – which ended with me on my way home at 10am, unemployed.

    My story isn’t unique; I’ve heard countless friends and former colleagues talk about how demotivated they feel, how unhappy their jobs make them, but how they can’t make themselves leave.

    Like Jenny*, who spent months second-guessing her work and being put down by her boss, before finally throwing in the towel.

    Or Cecilia*, who used to cry in the toilets during breaks every day because she hated everything about her job but didn’t want to quit, because the pay was good.

    Or one of my current colleagues, who previously worked for a reputation management company where she ‘wasn’t allowed to eat in the office’ and was hit on by a superior.

    Despite this, she stayed for a year because she was told someone else in the company had tripled her salary in five years and she hoped to do the same.

    Ah yes, money.

    It’s so often the reason people remain in a job they can’t stand; the reward of a hefty amount of cash in your bank account that’ll give you the freedom to do what you want in life.

    Except, there you are, spending most of your time hating every day (and sometimes even yourself, for not leaving).

    What is cognitive fog/cognitive fatigue and how can you deal with it?
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Fear is the other main drive for why people don’t leave a toxic work situation.

    Remember that episode of Friends, where Chandler tells Rachel to quit her job in order to get ‘the fear’ – a feeling that will drive her to follow her dreams?

    Sure, all ended well and Rachel eventually became a bigwig in the fashion industry, but reality doesn’t offer as much comfort.

    Because while most of us (who are unhappy at work) dream of announcing ‘I quit’ in a dramatic fashion before walking out the doors as the hero of the show, we’re afraid.

    Afraid of what else is out there.

    Afraid of ending up someplace worse.

    Afraid of the shame, should we not land on our feet.

    So, what can you do if you’re stuck in this vicious circle?

    Firstly, know that you’re not the only one; a survey released by YouGov last month showed that 32% of over 4,000 participants were dissatisfied with their careers.

    ‘Fear of moving outside of our comfort zones, away from safety and security, can stop us making powerful changes in our lives,’ career coach, Helen Campbell, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘The idea of leaving a job we don’t like tends to be about moving away from what we don’t want, instead of moving towards what we would like, so the inspiration for the change is then coming from a negative mindset.

    ‘If you want to leave your job, try mapping out your perfect working day on paper or as a mood board.

    ‘What time do you start in this perfect job, and what sort of environment would you be in? What would you wear to work, and how would you get there? Who else would be around during your working day?

    ‘Then start looking at whether your current role will ever bring this to you or if it’s time to look elsewhere.’

    One mistake that people make when quitting a job is leaving it for the next best offer, despite the fact, as Campbell explains, your future workplace should match your priorities.

    Don’t just accept any new role because you’re unhappy in your current one – while it might bring change in the short-term, you could quickly end up where you started.

    Instead, do your research and approach employers that you would like to work for, who promote a workplace that has values you believe in.

    Or look into working from home and for yourself, but beware freelancing has its drawbacks too.

    ‘Don’t wait until you’re miserable beyond belief and reach the “enough if enough point” – take action and don’t settle for five out of ten job satisfaction,’ Michael Serwa, a life coach who has worked with high-profile people including senior team members at Google and presidential candidates, tells Metro.co.uk.

    ‘Do something about it, and do it now. Bite the bullet and make that dream happen.

    ‘Even if you lack clarity, don’t give up on the idea that there is something more rewarding out there for you.’

    Inspiring speeches about capturing dreams aside, leaving a job can be scary and rightly so.

    You’re uprooting a cornerstone of your life, but remember that a job is just a job – and if you’ve reached the point of hatred towards what you do and where you do it, it’s time to leave.

    It might be useful to talk it through with a friend, list the pros and cons or find someone who has been in a similar situation and ask questions about how they prepared for their departure.

    Because while I encourage and applaud those who simply quit without a plan, this type of exit could cause undue stress that you could potentially avoid.

    Sometimes, it’s not the case that you hate your job completely – maybe it’s a new boss, a certain colleague or just a shift in responsibilities. It’s worth exploring options within the company (if you want to stay there).

    Find out if they have an opening in a different department that might suit you better.

    ‘If you aren’t enjoying your job, I always advocate giving your current company an opportunity to change first,’ said James Taylor, managing director of recruitment consultancy, Macildowie.

    ‘Tell them how you are feeling, what worries you, how you feel things could improve – focusing on offering solutions rather than problems.

    ‘If that doesn’t work, go and find a company or boss that does want to listen to you.’

    And if the reason you want out is purely because of money, you’ve got nothing to lose by asking for a pay rise before you quit.

    But whatever you do, if you’re reading this and feel like crying because it resonates with you – do something.

    It’s OK to not like your job, even if it’s the role you’ve dreamed of getting your entire life.

    It’s OK to start over in a completely different industry (yes, even if you’ve spent a decade cultivating your skills in this particular field).

    And above all, it’s OK to quit – don’t let fear rule your life.

    MORE: Outrage as scientists blame ‘working mums’ for UK obesity epidemic

    MORE: I quit my dream job for my own sanity and I’ve never been happier

    MORE: You’ll start hating your job with a burning passion when you’re 35, says new study


    how exactly should you sign off an email 3f-bfa8how exactly should you sign off an email 3f-bfa8

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    Daniel and Andi at their wedding ceremony..Former drug addicts turned fitness fiends Daniel Butler, 33, and Andi Nevue, 36, have tied the knot at the gym after crediting their newfound hobby with turning around their $200 a day crystal meth habit. New Mexico, USA. See SWNS story SWNYgym.Two former drug addicts turned fitness junkies tied the knot IN A GYM. Health fanatics Daniel Butler and Andi Nevue wed beside the treadmills at Crunch Fitness in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. The bride and groom even squeezed in a quick exercise session on their big day before heading to the Zumba room for the reception. Daniel, 33, a mechanic, and Andi, 36, a student, once battled a $200 a day crystal meth addiction and credit exercise with helping them turn their lives around.
    (Picture: Gigachip Photography /SWNS.COM)

    Two former drug addicts who now love fitness have tied the knot at a gym.

    Daniel Butler and Andi Nevue got married next to treadmills at Crunch Fitness in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

    The bride and groom even did a workout on their big day, before heading to the Zumba room for the reception.

    Daniel, 33, a mechanic, and Andi, 36, a student, once battled a $200 a day crystal meth addiction and credit exercise with helping them turn their lives around.

    They have now been clean for almost two years.

    The couple, who share a a son, Liam, four, leapt at the opportunity to celebrate their big day in the gym where they work out six times a week together.

    Andi said: ‘It’s been a home away from home for us and it has helped us maintain our sobriety.

    ‘It is a good way to release your energy and stress.

    ‘Instead of turning to substances for an escape, we find it through physical activity.

    Daniel and Andi at their wedding ceremony..Former drug addicts turned fitness fiends Daniel Butler, 33, and Andi Nevue, 36, have tied the knot at the gym after crediting their newfound hobby with turning around their $200 a day crystal meth habit. New Mexico, USA. See SWNS story SWNYgym.Two former drug addicts turned fitness junkies tied the knot IN A GYM. Health fanatics Daniel Butler and Andi Nevue wed beside the treadmills at Crunch Fitness in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. The bride and groom even squeezed in a quick exercise session on their big day before heading to the Zumba room for the reception. Daniel, 33, a mechanic, and Andi, 36, a student, once battled a $200 a day crystal meth addiction and credit exercise with helping them turn their lives around.
    (Picture: Gigachip Photography /SWNS.COM)

    ‘We go six times a week, it’s an important part of our relationship.’

    Crunch Fitness manager Keith Smith, 41, offered the couple, who live in Las Cruces, the gym for their big day.

    ‘He wanted to have a wedding there on Valentine’s Day and when he found out we were engaged, he asked if we wanted to be the couple,’ said Andi.

    ‘We were completely on board with it. It was something utterly different.’

    Keith became ordained as a minister to perform the wedding ceremony at an altar set up beside the treadmills.

    Andi’s mom Patricia, 69, and her dad Larry, 71, filled the venue with an aisle runner, chairs decorated with pretty bows and an arch.

    Her daughter Lorali, 15, from a previous relationship, was a bridesmaid along with Katie Frybarger, 24, and maid of honour Brenda Nevue, 38, while the couple’s son Liam was a page boy and Daniel’s niece Davielynn Valdez, six, was their flower girl.

    Andi working out at the wedding ceremony.Former drug addicts turned fitness fiends Daniel Butler, 33, and Andi Nevue, 36, have tied the knot at the gym after crediting their newfound hobby with turning around their $200 a day crystal meth habit. New Mexico, USA. See SWNS story SWNYgym.Two former drug addicts turned fitness junkies tied the knot IN A GYM. Health fanatics Daniel Butler and Andi Nevue wed beside the treadmills at Crunch Fitness in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. The bride and groom even squeezed in a quick exercise session on their big day before heading to the Zumba room for the reception. Daniel, 33, a mechanic, and Andi, 36, a student, once battled a $200 a day crystal meth addiction and credit exercise with helping them turn their lives around.
    (Picture: Gigachip Photography /SWNS.COM)

    After tying the knot in front of 60 guests, the husband and wife flexed their muscles with a session on training sleds.

    Andi said: ‘My parents brought all the decorations to make the gym look fancy and nice.

    ‘Our church donated chairs for us to use.

    ‘Daniel set up an arch with an aisle runner and decorated the chairs with bows.

    ‘We got married in front of the arch on the side of the treadmills.

    ‘We took a picture on the treadmills.

    ‘Straight after we did a quick workout with the training sleds, pushing weights on artificial turf, it’s how football players train.

    ‘Our reception was in the zumba room and we had Mexican and Italian food.

    ‘Some of our guests thought getting married in a gym was a little unorthodox but they were supportive.

    Andi with her father Larry at the wedding ceremony..Former drug addicts turned fitness fiends Daniel Butler, 33, and Andi Nevue, 36, have tied the knot at the gym after crediting their newfound hobby with turning around their $200 a day crystal meth habit. New Mexico, USA. See SWNS story SWNYgym.Two former drug addicts turned fitness junkies tied the knot IN A GYM. Health fanatics Daniel Butler and Andi Nevue wed beside the treadmills at Crunch Fitness in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. The bride and groom even squeezed in a quick exercise session on their big day before heading to the Zumba room for the reception. Daniel, 33, a mechanic, and Andi, 36, a student, once battled a $200 a day crystal meth addiction and credit exercise with helping them turn their lives around.
    (Picture: Gigachip Photography /SWNS.COM)

    ‘They know that fitness is our thing now.’

    Daniel and Andi met in April 2014 through mutual friends.

    ‘We immediately started dating and just two weeks later I moved in with him,’ Andi said.

    ‘I knew as soon as I met him that he was the one.

    ‘I was attracted to him physically, mentally and emotionally.’

    However the loved-up couple were also both battling an addiction to crystal meth.

    Daniel said: ‘It was a daily habit, we were smoking it all day, every day.

    ‘I was probably spending around $200 a day on drugs for us both.

    ‘All I did was work 24/7 to support our habit.

    ‘I didn’t have time for family or for my relationship.

    ‘Meth took over our lives.’

    Daniel and Andi at their wedding ceremony..Former drug addicts turned fitness fiends Daniel Butler, 33, and Andi Nevue, 36, have tied the knot at the gym after crediting their newfound hobby with turning around their $200 a day crystal meth habit. New Mexico, USA. See SWNS story SWNYgym.Two former drug addicts turned fitness junkies tied the knot IN A GYM. Health fanatics Daniel Butler and Andi Nevue wed beside the treadmills at Crunch Fitness in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. The bride and groom even squeezed in a quick exercise session on their big day before heading to the Zumba room for the reception. Daniel, 33, a mechanic, and Andi, 36, a student, once battled a $200 a day crystal meth addiction and credit exercise with helping them turn their lives around.
    (Picture: Gigachip Photography /SWNS.COM)

    In June 2017 he was arrested for drug possession and spent six months behind bars in Dona Ana County jail.

    He finally got sober and so did Andi.

    ‘We got sober together,’ she said. ‘I didn’t touch a drug while he was in prison and neither did he.’

    The pair also stopped drinking and when Daniel was released they embraced exercise.

    He said: ‘When I got out, we needed to do some different things.

    ‘We had gained a lot of weight and were becoming unhealthy.’

    Andi added: ‘I had gained about 50lbs. I think it was because I was depressed being away from Daniel.

    ‘After we got out, as a term of Daniel’s probation, we were forced to live apart for a year.

    ‘We didn’t seek out anyone else.

    ‘We needed to stay sober and get our lives together.’

    The gym became a big part of their relationship.

    Instead of fancy dinners, Andi and Daniel would take high-intensity training classes together.

    Andi says the gym kept their relationship alive.

    The couple moved back in together in October 2018 and at Christmas Andi proposed to Daniel.

    Daniel and Andi at their wedding ceremony..Former drug addicts turned fitness fiends Daniel Butler, 33, and Andi Nevue, 36, have tied the knot at the gym after crediting their newfound hobby with turning around their $200 a day crystal meth habit. New Mexico, USA. See SWNS story SWNYgym.Two former drug addicts turned fitness junkies tied the knot IN A GYM. Health fanatics Daniel Butler and Andi Nevue wed beside the treadmills at Crunch Fitness in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. The bride and groom even squeezed in a quick exercise session on their big day before heading to the Zumba room for the reception. Daniel, 33, a mechanic, and Andi, 36, a student, once battled a $200 a day crystal meth addiction and credit exercise with helping them turn their lives around.
    (Picture: Gigachip Photography /SWNS.COM)

    She said: ‘I proposed in front of our family over Christmas break.

    ‘I bought Daniel a Denver Broncos mug and hid the ring inside of it.

    ‘When he opened it, our son Liam said: “Will you marry my mummy?”

    ‘He said “yes” immediately. He had been trying to find an elaborate way to propose to me but I got sick of waiting.’

    The couple will celebrate two years sober in June this year and are looking forward to married life filled with workouts.

    Daniel said: ‘Exercise will always be a massive part of our lives.

    ‘We go to the gym all the time and we’ve got no plans to stop now.’

    MORE: Mum who lost daughter to leukaemia asks people to paint rocks and hide them in her memory

    MORE: Mum is devastated after her brother uninvites her kids from his wedding


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    (Picture: Getty/Westend61)

    To mark the arrival of spring, Hindus celebrate Holi festival.

    Traditionally, the religious event marks a day where people come together and forget ‘all resentments and all types of bad feeling towards each other’, though it is celebrated in a variety of ways and under different names, depending on where in India you are.

    If you’re in London, you can also join in on the fun as organisers put together events inspired by the ‘festival of colours’, including well-known paint throwing – and this year is no different.

    We’ve rounded up the best events in London, so you can go along, get rid of the bad feelings in your life or at the very least throw some paint on your mates.

    Play Holi in the City

    Today and tomorrow, between 1pm to 10pm, Cinnamon Kitchen will host its #HouseofHoli event.

    It’s the perfect excuse for City workers to let off some steam by throwing paint at each other – or if they dare, at the boss.

    Held outside the restaurant in Devonshire Square, ticket prices vary depending on what time and experience you choose.

    Go just for the paint throwing or add extras like cocktails and ‘Holi bites’.

    Holi hai

    Chapel Bar in Islington will host a Bollywood party on both Friday and Saturday, called #Holihai.

    DJs will be playing the best Bollywood and Punjabi songs until the early morning.

    You can also munch on Indian snacks and sip Holi cocktails.

    Tickets start from £10, with a special £5 offer for students.

    Bang Bang Oriental

    Tomorrow, Bang Bang Oriental, the food hall in Colindale, will be hosting a one-hour dance performance with traditional bhangra, south Indian and Bollywood dancing.

    You can also enjoy classic Indian music by Sitar and Tabla.

    Order yourself a Chicken Biryani from the new food stall, Patiala Xpress, and take in the show.

    No need for tickets or paint-friendly clothes at this one.

    Magic of India: London Holi Colour Dance Party

    eventbrite
    (Picture: Eventbrite)

    Soak up the culture of Holi festival at this family-friendly event on Winchester road, near South Hampstead, this Sunday.

    Aside from paint throwing, there will also be live music by a folk song band, 20 bhangra and Bollywood dancers, a DJ and a 10-set drummer band.

    After you’ve exhausted yourself by throwing food-grade colour at your mates, enjoy a feast of north and south Indian food – dosa tavas, pakoras, hot jalebis and samosa chaat.

    We recommend wearing something you’re not too precious about (though organisers claim the colour will wash off).

    It’s a ticket-only event and it’s almost sold out. Get yours for £14.50, here.

    Wimbledon Indians Holi Gala Event

    In Wimbledon, another paint throwing event will take place on Saturday.

    Similarly to the one mentioned above, it also has live performances, music and food stalls, but it’s somewhat cheaper at £10.

    Unfortunately, it’s currently sold out but organisers mention in the description that they will release new tickets ‘tomorrow’ (though we’re not sure which tomorrow they’re referring to).

    Either way, best to keep an eye on the booking page, just in case.

    Kanishka

    The luxurious Mayfair restaurant has introduced a special Rangil tasting menu for the occasion.

    Sample flavours from India and surrounding countries, with dishes such as Lahasa Thupka (Tibetan noodle soup) and goat curry on the menu.

    It launched on 18 March and will be available until the end of the month.

    The experience costs £55 per person and you’ll need to book a table.

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    Fear of mirrors Stephen Tim Stubbings Photography for Metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Tim Stubbings Photography for Metro.co.uk)

    Stephen Gillatt, 40, lives with a phobia of using mirrors. The debilitating fear started four years ago, around the same time he had a mental breakdown.

    It’s not essentially the mirror that he’s afraid of – it’s his own reflection.

    Stephen will go months without peering in a mirror, because he cannot bear to look at his face.

    This doesn’t just affect him when he’s getting ready in the morning. If Stephen goes to get his hair cut he will keep his eyes shut throughout.

    Walking past large windows when shopping is a nightmare, as all large reflective surfaces make him feel uncomfortable.

    Fear of mirrors Stephen Tim Stubbings Photography for Metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Tim Stubbings Photography for Metro.co.uk)

    Stephen tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I rarely use a mirror to do my hair. It’s short, so I just leave it how it is, or put some wax on my hands and just rub them all over my head. That’s it.

    ‘I rarely know what I look like when I go out. I just get dressed and ask my wife, or my eldest daughter – they’re both honest with me!

    ‘Not using them doesn’t directly affect me; but using them does. It’s actually easier when I don’t use them. So, unless I absolutely have to, I won’t.

    ‘I envy people who can just use mirrors for aesthetic purposes – to just see how they look, and if they like it. Or want to change it.

    ‘When I look in a mirror, I see an unsuccessful, emotionally ugly person. I don’t see my physical features, I just look straight through them.

    ‘I see my failures as a son, husband, father, brother and friend. My inadequacies. How I’ve hurt people, how I’ve let them down. And how much I loathe and hate myself for doing all this.

    Fear of mirrors Stephen Tim Stubbings Photography for Metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Tim Stubbings Photography for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘It also has links to death anxiety too.’

    Stephen says that looking in mirrors makes him panic about his mortality. It’s a reminder that he won’t always be able to look into a mirror and see himself – that he’ll eventually be gone.

    ‘Eventually it’ll be just darkness and oblivion’, he said.

    ‘It triggers lots of things in my head. I have a lot of invasive, uncontrollable thoughts, and when I look into a mirror, they are triggered.’

    Stephen also hates having his photos taken, as he hates seeing himself on camera.

    He adds: ‘I wish I could just look in a mirror and think “My hair looks ridiculous, I’ll change it!”‘

    Stephen is currently not receiving any help for his phobia. He was in therapy for a couple of years and talked about it during some sessions, but he still lives with his phobia intensely.

    He said: ‘The problem comes from deeply embedded feeling of low self-worth and self-esteem. And to an extent self-loathing as well.

    ‘I’ve formed these feelings and views of myself over decades. So, it might take that long for me to truly displace them. And to be honest, living without mirrors isn’t that bad once you get used to it!

    ‘I’ve had so many challenges – self harm and suicide, addictions, problems with sleep, eating and body image to mention a few. So, I’ve not really talked about it.

    Fear of mirrors Stephen Tim Stubbings Photography for Metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Tim Stubbings Photography for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘I’ve written a memoir about fatherhood and mental health called Mad, Sad, Dysfunctional Dad which will be published, I hope, at the end of April or early May and I talk about it a lot in there.

    ‘It shows in more detail how my daily routine and emotions can be affected my both using, and not using mirrors. And how debilitating it can be.

    ‘I’ve not met anyone who lives with this phobia and could not find anything on the internet in terms of number of people in the UK living with it.

    ‘I feel it’s met with maybe not disbelief, but a difficulty to empathise.

    ‘It’s very complex and I can how why people might find it difficult to get their head around, so to speak.

    ‘The more concerning aspect is the stigma that still exits around mental health and mental illness.

    ‘I think people are still scared of it, and a lot of this is down to a lack of understanding, misinformation and the way it is portrayed and sensationalised in the media, especially films and news coverage.’

    Stephen see a way of battling his phobia, especially because he’s become so used to never using mirrors.

    He said: ‘I’m not sure I’ll ever use mirrors on a daily basis again. But it’s like anything, you learn to live without something, and the more you do, the easier things become.’

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    6828065 - A little Superman entrance - Bree Jessica on her son?s entrance to the world where he looked like Superman
    (Picture: Supplied)

    Kids want to be superheroes – but this baby thought he was one the minute he was born.

    Little Harry was born via caesarean section at 40 weeks and four days because he was a large baby.

    The picture was taken by his dad the moment he was born and shows him with his fist in the air, like a Superman.

    It was the first time his mum Bree Summers, from New South Wales, Australia, saw her son.

    Harry is now seven but Bree shared the picture with her friend and doula Jade Jevaratnam, who runs the Instagram account Hello World Birth.

    She posted a series of pictures of babies born by c-section as part of Caesarean Awareness Month.

    Described as a ‘little superman entrance’, Bree explained: ‘Harry was welcomed into the world at 40weeks + 4day.

    ‘Planned cesarean due to position and size of bub. Weighing in 9lbs even and 50cms.

    ‘The c-section was very calm and relaxed, I was lifted up so I was able to see Harry being pulled out.’

    6828065 - A little Superman entrance - Bree Jessica on her son?s entrance to the world where he looked like Superman
    The family now (Picture: Supplied)

    Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Bree said: ‘I never showed anyone the photo or thought much of it.

    ‘But when my friend asked if I had any photos of my boys’ deliveries for C-section awareness and then she published it on Instagram, I had people reaching out to me in support of the picture.

    She added she is keen to ’empower other women in their birth journey’.

    ‘I’m proud my photo could be helping other women,’ she said.

    Jade added the picture had gone further than she could have imagined.

    6828065 - A little Superman entrance - Bree Jessica on her son?s entrance to the world where he looked like Superman
    Bree and Harry (Picture: Supplied)

    She said: ‘A year or so ago, I started out asking friends and clients if they would be willing to share their birth story with an image on my social pages, with the hope that it could empower and inspire women and mums, to share and see the excitement, joy, pain and reality of birth in all its ways.

    ‘This photo I posted in particular has been shared numerous times since.

    ‘It’s WELL beyond anywhere I could have ever taken it, and it’s pretty cool, cos it just started with an idea, a brave mum, sharing her story and this photo with me and it’s now reaching thousands.

    ‘Thankful for all the stories I’ve been apart of, heard, been able to share to date and hope for many more.’

    MORE: Baby with spina bifida had an operation while he was still inside the womb

    MORE: Celebrate the festival of colours at Holi events around the city


    6828065 - A little Superman entrance - Bree Jessica on her son?s entrance to the world where he looked like Superman6828065 - A little Superman entrance - Bree Jessica on her son?s entrance to the world where he looked like Superman

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