Articles on this Page
- 10/28/19--10:39: _Bride’s mum furious...
- 10/28/19--23:42: _Mum writes powerful...
- 10/29/19--00:19: _The 4 best facials ...
- 10/29/19--00:27: _Narcissists are les...
- 10/29/19--01:21: _Nine-year-old boy t...
- 10/29/19--02:47: _What I Rent: Vicky,...
- 10/29/19--03:19: _Billie, Meghan and ...
- 10/29/19--04:02: _These are the winne...
- 10/29/19--04:12: _My 5 year old daugh...
- 10/29/19--04:43: _Whole Foods says fa...
- 10/29/19--04:55: _Gory daddy daughter...
- 10/29/19--05:02: _An easy guide to no...
- 10/29/19--05:02: _Asda is selling an ...
- 10/29/19--05:59: _Would you buy this ...
- 10/29/19--06:15: _Woman finally becom...
- 10/29/19--07:01: _Teenage sisters wea...
- 10/29/19--09:16: _Granddad spends £13...
- 10/29/19--09:22: _Giant pig in blanke...
- 10/29/19--23:53: _Bride who was told ...
- 10/30/19--00:13: _Mum with two wombs ...
- weakness in your ankle or leg – you might trip, or find it harder to climb stairs
- slurred speech, which may develop into difficulty swallowing some foods
- a weak grip – you might drop things, or find it hard to open jars or do up buttons
- muscle cramps and twitches
- weight loss – your arms or leg muscles may have become thinner over time
- difficulty stopping yourself crying or laughing in inappropriate situations
- 10/29/19--00:19: The 4 best facials in London to avoid the curse of winter skin
- 10/29/19--02:47: What I Rent: Vicky, £395 a month for a one-bedroom flat in Glasgow
- Ivy (inspired by Queen Beyoncé’s daughter, Blue Ivy)
- Jasmine (inspired by Aladdin)
- Archie (inspired by the Royal baby)
- Eve (inspired by Killing Eve)
- Edward (inspired by Ed Sheeran)
- Meghan (inspired by Meghan Markle )
- Ariana (inspired by Ariana Grande)
- Billie (inspired by Billie Eilish)
- 10/29/19--04:02: These are the winners of the search for the UK’s messiest bedrooms
- 10/29/19--04:55: Gory daddy daughter zombie photoshoot wins Halloween
- 10/29/19--05:02: An easy guide to non-sexy Halloween costumes
- Painful, heavy, or irregular periods
- Pain during or after sex
- Painful bowel movements
A bride’s mum was left furious when her daughter’s wedding cake didn’t match her expectations.
Lorraine was enraged at her daughter ‘lopsided’ cake, held together by kebab sticks and decorated with inedible craft glitter.
Taking to Facebook, the mum explained how her daughter had ordered a three-tier-piece from a seller in Ayrshire for £160.
She’d even sent a picture of how she envisioned the cake, complete with flowers, pearls and a metallic finish.
What the baker offered was not what anyone expected – the clumsy creation was tilted on one side, didn’t feature the colours requested and was oddly decorated.
The cake was reportedly dropped off at the hotel where the baker collected the money minutes after Lorraine left for the wedding venue.
When she saw it, she was horrified.
‘This was supposed to be my daughter’s wedding cake,’ she wrote on her Facebook wall.
‘Craft glitter, kebab sticks and cost a lot of money.’
Describing it as something a ‘five-year-old’ might create, Lorraine urged others not to use the baker’s services and linked to their page in her post.
It seems the cake-maker has since deleted their page.
Thankfully, on the day of the wedding, the hotel chef stepped in and saved the day.
They bought a cake from Asda and jazzed it up with icing and flowers from the wedding.
Lorraine’s still not having any of it and said she would be contacting trading standards over the item delivered to the hotel.
Facebook users were also less than impressed.
One person wrote: ‘Oh my god! This is awful! How can someone actually do this to someone on their wedding day! Absolutely disgusting.’
‘Omg that is absolutely shocking,’ wrote someone else.
‘No support structure, which is why it’s leaning like Pisa. I don’t even know where to start regarding the icing.
‘I bake a fair bit and even I can hammer out a decent cake.’
According to one of the comments, the baker wrote to the bride saying she’d made ‘an error in judgment’ when it came to creating a wedding cake.
That’s one way to describe it.
Jennifer Bell, 28, was in the third year of her degree in learning disability nursing when she noticed problems with her speech.
Doctors at the time thought her symptoms were down to hormonal changes during her second pregnancy with daughter Kacey, now one year old.
But in March 2019, six months after giving birth to Kacey, Jennifer was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and given just nine months to live.
The single mum-of-two has written a powerful letter following her terminal diagnosis, urging people ‘not to take life for granted because tomorrow is never guaranteed’.
Jennifer, from Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, wrote: ‘Since being diagnosed with a terminal illness your perception of things, people and places change.
‘Your priorities are different and things that you once took for granted you no longer do.
‘Day in day out whether it’s on social media or it’s in public, I hear people moaning and I think to myself I wish that’s all I had to worry about.
‘We are all human and have difficult times but here’s something for you to think about, not for you to feel bad, simply for you to realise that everyday is a gift and you should really count your blessings instead of moaning about what you don’t have.’
After giving birth to her first daughter aged 20, Jennifer juggled childcare with studying at university, along with a part-time job and a university placement. After giving birth to her second daughter, Kacey, she was straight back to university after just two weeks off.
But just as she thought her life was about to ‘finally be easier’ as she neared the end of her final year of studying, she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
Her letter continues: ‘Through every year at university, I thought this is too much, I can’t do this. But I kept pushing myself for my girls.
‘Any student nurse knows how hard work life and student life is.
‘It’s round the clock, listening to patients, comforting them, changing beds, feeding them… the list is endless and they are under valued and underpaid.
‘Then, at the end of my long hard journey when I could see light at the end of the tunnel, I was diagnosed with MND.
‘That is unfair. Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is unfair at any age – but before 30 it’s gut-wrenching.
‘Knowing I never got the reward of being in a qualified nurse post after all the work is unfair. It’s unfair two kids are going to lose their mum.
‘It’s unfair that after school, all the kids in Georgia’s class go home and she has to go to Marie Curie sessions. It’s unfair I can’t read my kids a book or sing them a song.
‘Most unfair is that MND has been around for so many years and there’s not one thing out there to help or cure it.
‘It’s unfair to be told you have MND and its just ‘bad luck’ and, ‘We can’t help you’.’
Jennifer shared her letter to encourage people to stop moaning about the small stuff and be grateful for being healthy, alongside raising awareness of motor neurone disease.
She ends the letter by writing: ‘So before you moan about how you had a crap sleep last night or you can’t be bothered with work or you have a sore throat, maybe think to yourself in the grand scheme of things is this really important?
‘You only have one life so live it and if there’s something you don’t like change it.
‘Stop wishing for more than you have or you will never find happiness as it comes from within.”
‘Don’t take life for granted because tomorrow is never guaranteed.
‘Life is short, live it properly.
‘After spending 28 years of not being content the only thing now that keeps me content is the love of my family and my two beautiful daughters.
‘If I had lived the last 28 years not taking things for granted I would have done it the right way…so do it right people, you only have one chance.
‘So here’s to finding a cure for MND, appreciating your nurses and the NHS and not taking life for granted.’
What is motor neurone disease?
Motor neurone disease (MND) is an uncommon condition that affects the brain and nerves. It causes weakness that gets worse over time.
It’s always fatal and can significantly shorten life expectancy, but some people live with it for many years.
There’s no cure, but there are treatments to help reduce the impact it has on your daily life.
Symptoms of motor neurone disease
Symptoms of motor neurone disease come on gradually and may not be obvious at first.
Early symptoms can include:
Believe it or not we are just 58 days away from Christmas and that means we are heading into one of the worst seasons for skin.
It’s not only the cold weather and central heating that take their toll. The holiday season brings plenty of cheer but also plenty of late nights, parties packed with over-indulgence and general behaviour that leaves skin looking worn out, tired, irritated and blotchy.
So the time to act is now. Most facials are recommended every 4- 6 weeks so if you get going now, you have time to get one or two in before the party season is in full swing.
London offers a host of treatments that will let you safeguard your skin and manage to recapture your hard won summer glow all winter long.
Start with The Champagne Enzyme treatment @ Facial Bar, Neville Hair & Beauty, designed to revive tired and congested skin and help banish dry spots.
First and foremost it gives the face a deep cleanse that incorporates warming honey cleanser, followed by a divine feeling masque that very gently resurfaces skin with 16% sugar cane extract (glycolic acid) that encourages exfoliation along with papaya and pineapple enzymes to break down the proteins in dead skin.
It’s understandable that the word peel can make you nervous – but this really is so gentle – there’s no redness or sun sensitivity afterwards, so you can go straight from salon to party with no downtime.
There is plenty of hydration and brightening too with botanically derived hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and green tea, licorice, grape and rosemary, vitamin C and a very cool ‘copper firming mist’.
It’s a results-driven treatment facial that feels cleansing, firming and plumping. Pores looked smaller afterwards, fine lines less obvious and puffy areas – around marionette lines and cheeks – reduced. It’s also good for hyperpigmentation which can be worse after summer sun. The addition of the red light mask seemed to brighten skin and reduce redness.
The finale was a layer of a high grade pharmaceutical strength SPF serums that left me feeling like I’d had Botox.
The treatment is suitable for all skin types including those with sensitive or rosacea prone skin. The botanical, pharma grade ingredients are non-systemic so the treatment is also ideal for pregnant and nursing women. The Champagne Facial is £90.
Another great option, is the Linda Meredith Haute Couture Facial, which is beloved by a host of famous faces including Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Thompson and Stella McCartney. The reason? It genuinely brightens skin. It starts with a gentle cleanse and steam, before a natural micro-glycolic serum to clean deep beneath the surface. Its antibacterial effect serves to reduce breakouts and soften fine lines and wrinkles. If skin is sensitive, a fine layer of glycolic is applied and removed immediately. Less sensitive skin can have more layers applied, creating a firming effect.
Then comes the uniquely Linda Meredith part – a facial massage and pure oxygen (her serum is patented and potent) to plump up the skin’s surface and give the skin a marked radiance. There’s a reason this facial is so often performed before a red carpet appearance.
And while there are many oxygen treatments available, what makes the LM oxygen treatments unique is the combination of medical grade oxygen and the vitamin-enriched serum. This is one of the reasons that Linda Meredith’s facial is frequently named one of London’s best. Recommended every 4-6 weeks. Facials start at £135.
For those of us with skin like the Sahara, you may want to opt for the Hydrafacial with Dr Nima. Already big in the USA (in 2018 the HydraFacial was performed on someone every 15 seconds) this wonder treatment gives instantly plumped and saturated skin.
The HydraFacial uses Hydradermabrasion to flush out the skin and leave that perfect template for putting makeup on – which you can do straight afterwards. The process also uses a gentle vacuum-like technology to clean out pores and supply the skin with the moisture and active ingredients it’s craving for a plumper, dewier, smoother look.
Plus, it can help smooth fine lines, discoloration and wrinkles. The entire facial is a four-step process (with a couple of optional steps tacked on at the end):
It begins with an exfoliating cleanser, followed by a glycolic peel and a salicylic acid peel before the final step which is a serum packed with peptides. LED light therapy at the end is optional as is some lip plumping.
The first step, the exfoliating cleanser, eliminates dead skin cells on your top layer of skin. The second and third steps, the glycolic and salicylic peels, provide all the benefits of a chemical peel – minimising pore size, enhancing collagen production, smoothing fine lines, improving and tone and texture. The intensive serums replenish the skin in the fourth step, leaving it plumped and shiny, now that everything has been removed from the pores.
Finally a quick round of LED light therapy. Blue light helps rid the face of acne, and red light helps calm the skin. Recommended every 4-6 weeks, cost is £195
Taking it back a notch is the Ancient Egyptian Facial with Dr Jack – It is believed 2,000 years ago Cleopatra maintained her famous complexion by using regular milk and fruit acid peels, combined with face shaving. Today, Harley Street’s leading skin expert, Dr. David Jack has modernised and reintroduced this ancient technique and is achieving incredible results.
This unique anti-aging facial comprises three steps: a gentle facial peel, dermaplaning (or facial shaving) followed by a vitamin facia, giving brighter, radiant and more youthful complexion with smooth, even skin tone and reduced fine lines and pigmentation. The dermaplaning will remove any fine hairs and the pro-collagen anti-aging serums will give your skin a super-boost.
The fruit-based mixed acid peel is tailored to your skin type and gets to work on your dead skin cells. These are then removed by dermaplaning to reveal fresh new skin beneath. This is followed by a really rich and nourishing vitamin treatment that makes skin look refreshed and dewy.
Face shaving or dermaplaning may sound crazy but this technique has been around for centuries and recently has been gaining traction in the beauty industry. It is believed that Cleopatra maintained her even complexion by regular milk and fruit acid peels combined with face shaving.
The treatment takes around 30-45 minutes involves the use of a fruit-based glycolic acid peel, combined with salycylic and mandelic acid, and then gently shaving the top layer of the skin. This exfoliation technique removes the waterproof upper layers of the skin to allow penetration and absorption of a series of anti-ageing advanced vitamin serums which are then applied to the skin.
After the treatment it is expected that the face may be a little red and dry for a few days so it is important to use plenty of moisturiser, vitamin serums and SPF for at least 5 days. What to expect afterwards? And increased glow to the skin, evening of complexion, reduction of hyperpigmentation, improved skin tone, reduction of ‘peach fuzz’ vellus hair (but no risk of hair growing back thicker or darker).
This beautifying blade method will shave years off. Recommended once every skin cycle (approximately 6 weeks, the cost is £250).
Narcissism isn’t generally considered a good thing.
And no, we don’t recommend that you lean too hard into the self-love and become self-obsessed.
But there could be a benefit to thinking you’re super important.
Narcissism can lead to mental fortitude and being less prone to stress and depression, according to a new bit of research led by Queen’s University Belfast, was published in the journals Personality and Individual Differences and European Psychiatry.
Narcissistic personality disorder is characterised by believing you’re better and more deserving of good things than other people. Those who are narcissists might act as if they’re ‘above’ others and will easily exploit or screw over other people for their own gain.
A narcissist will also desperately need to be looked up to. They might feel upset if people who don’t recognise their achievements or resent other people’s success.
Dr Kostas Papageorgiou, from Queen’s school of psychology, says there are actually two types of narcissism – grandiose and vulnerable.
He says: ‘Vulnerable narcissists are likely to be more defensive and view the behaviour of others as hostile, whereas grandiose narcissists usually have an over-inflated sense of importance and a preoccupation with status and power.
‘Individuals high on the spectrum of dark traits, such as narcissism, engage in risky behaviour, hold an unrealistic superior view of themselves, are overconfident, show little empathy for others, and have little shame or guilt.’
Those who are vulnerable are more likely to have low self-esteem, whereas those who are grandiose have a mental toughness that can make them less prone to stress and depression.
Three studies involving more than 700 people in total found that those who scored highly for grandiouse narcissism had lower levels of perceived stress and were less likely to view their life as stressful.
Dr Papageorgiou said: ‘The results from all the studies that we conducted show that grandiose narcissism correlates with very positive components of mental toughness, such as confidence and goal-orientation, protecting against symptoms of depression and perceived stress.
‘This research really helps to explain variation in symptoms of depression in society – if a person is more mentally tough they are likely to embrace challenges head-on, rather than viewing them as a hurdle.
‘While of course not all dimensions of narcissism are good, certain aspects can lead to positive outcomes.
‘This work promotes diversity and inclusiveness of people and ideas by advocating that dark traits, such as narcissism, should not be seen as either good or bad, but as products of evolution and expressions of human nature that may be beneficial or harmful depending on the context.’
So, should we all try to be narcissistic?
No, probably not. But we can learn from this study that a little bit of self-importance – whether that’s putting yourself first, telling yourself you’re brilliant, or believing you deserve good things – could be handy boost to our mental state.
***ILLUSTRATION REQUEST*** XX signs you’re in a relationship with a narcissist (Gary M)
Joe Whale, nine, kept getting into trouble for doodling during classtime.
Rather than shutting down the habit of scribbling in his workbook, Joe’s parents decided to encourage his creativity by sending their son to an after-school art class.
His teacher recognised Joe’s talent and posted his work all over Instagram, which led to something pretty wonderful.
Number 4, a restaurant in Shrewsbury, contacted Joe’s teacher to ask if the nine-year-old could come to the building and decorate the dining room with his drawings.
Every day after school Joe’s dad drives him to the restaurant so he can doodle his ideas straight on the wall. Once he’s all done, the work will remain there permanently.
Dad Greg said: ‘Joe is a really talented little boy, he’s excelling at school, he’s a great footballer and cricketer, but drawing is definitely what he is most passionate about.
‘It’s actually quite annoying, he’s better than me at most things.
‘He was in school getting frustrated at the little amount of art he could do so he used to doodle on the table’s whiteboard in class and get into trouble for doodling
‘His mum and I decided to get him into an art class outside of school called Bloom, he’s been there for about six weeks and he loves every minute of it.
‘His drawings blew his teacher away and they gave him his own wall to keep doodling on which he does every week when he goes there.
‘A few weeks into his classes, his teacher asked if she could post his work on her Instagram for everyone to see and a short while later we got another call from her about a restaurant who had seen his work.
‘They wanted to get Joe into their restaurant to complete an art piece on their wall, and it was in their main dining area, we were over the moon.
‘I asked Joe and he of course leapt at the chance to do it so we have been going there after school where for a couple of hours a night he’ll put his creativity on their wall.
‘Joe loves doodling and we’re so proud of everything he’s achieving, the fact that a completely independent business has asked our nine-year old son to do a professional piece of work for them is incredible.’
Greg posted Joe’s work on LinkedIn, where it quickly racked up more than 1,500,000 views and comments.
His art teacher said she recognised Joe’s skills right away.
‘I first met Joe several weeks ago, he was a bit frustrated at school because he couldn’t doodle as much as he wanted to and had been asked to stop,’ said Kerry.
‘I asked his parents for some of his work to assess his level and could not believe what I was looking at, we moved him into an older class straight away.
‘His work is very exact and immaculate, it’s very balanced, he goes straight to ink and creates perfect work straight from the start, no practising beforehand.’
Can he decorate our offices next?
Londoners, you’ll want to sit down for this one.
This week is our cheapest What I Rent thus far.
In case you haven’t been along for the ride, a brief explanation on What I Rent: it’s a weekly series looking inside people’s rented properties to show the good, the bad, the mould, and the hideously overpriced.
Each week we nose around someone’s rented property, all with the aim of creating a real picture of the state of renting… and to satisfy our nosiness.
This time we’re up in Glasgow with Vicky, a 27-year-old creative community art producer.
Vicky lives alone, having moved to Glasgow in May 2018 after nine years based in Beijing. She’s also studying in London part-time to become a dramatherapist.
Hey, Vicky! How much do you pay to live here?
Rent is £395 per month plus £15 service fees.
Bills – I think I put about £40 on the gas and electric every month but I still need to change my rate. I’m really disorganised at the moment.
And what do you get for what you pay?
One bedroom, one bathroom, one kitchen, one living room. This place is probably big enough to be a two-bedroom but the fact there is a window in every room was a strong selling point.
How did you find the place?
A few months ago a friend mentioned on Facebook that he was looking for a new flat and someone commented about Southside Housing Association’s Mid Market Rent scheme. I knew my landlady at the time was planning on selling her flat so I found the scheme online and added myself to the list.
The mid-market rent homes are for people in full or part-time employment but crucially are secure tenancies and – this was a life saver for me – are open for people with pets. I work in the arts and will never be earning a massive amount of money and yet the options are so limited in the private renting market.
I moved in this July and still haven’t fully unpacked – I’m just coming out of a manic time at work and with starting uni. I’m confident I will get some lampshades and curtains sorted before the end of the year.
Are you happy where you live?
I live right on Eglinton Cross – just on the wrong side of the magic invisible line of gentrification which has been creeping up through Govanhill of late. This means I to step over broken glass and chicken bones to get to my overpriced poached egg on sourdough toast.
I love where I live! When I first viewed the place I was very ambivalent. The housing association had just taken over the building and had to give us a disclaimer before they let us in the building – the front and back doors to the close swung open with the wind, half the stairs were missing and the smell was… memorable.
By the time I moved in, however, we had security doors in place, the stairwell was complete and the whole place is pressure cleaned once a week so that it doesn’t smell… as much.
When we went into the flats themselves though (there were three available when I viewed) light just poured out of them. The flats themselves are lovely, big high ceilings and nicely renovated.
I’ve grown very quickly to love the neighbourhood. There’s an African restaurant directly downstairs which has a door into our close and saved me when I locked myself out on my first week (don’t ask). My local nail place Taffy Beauty is two minutes away and I get free entertainment from the Star Bar across the road when they have their karaoke nights. I’m right by Govanhill which has an excellent mix of social enterprises, hipster coffee and plant shops and the best kebab and curry joints in Scotland.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
I have loads of space. It’s obscene. I study part-time in London and delight in telling my classmates how big my flat is and how little I pay.
How have you made the flat feel like home?
It’s still a work in progress. I did the kitchen first. The flat was completely unfurnished when I moved in so I had to scour Gumtree etc to get my appliances, I lucked out with my cooker which I love.
Getting all my spices out on the counters, and my Chinese and Korean bits and bobs out helped. I’ve picked up a lot of wee things along the way and they all remind me of my lovely friends and family who are scattered around the globe.
What’s it like living alone?
I have recently come out of a long and lovely co-habiting relationship so it was an adjustment at first but there’s nothing like living alone: freedom, space, independence. If you can afford it, every woman should live alone at least once in her life.
We say alone, but you have two pets, right?
When the photographer was round my cat, Prince – also known as Mister Socks – refused to come out from under the bed. He’s my most recent pal. One rainy day this summer I was walking around my new neighbourhood with the dog and saw a friend on the other side of the road outside an excellent Asian grocer, Strawberry and Spice. ‘Vicky,’ she said, ‘Do you want a cat? Because Shaka’s sister is spending too much time in Pakistan and her husband wants to rehome it.’
Long story short, Prince now lives with us, and after a couple of weeks under the bed has now realised the dog won’t come near him so he kind of rules the roost.
Baozi is my dog. She has an Instagram account. Baozi turned up outside my courtyard house in Beijing in March 2016. She was an adorable wee black and white ball of fluff and has grown into quite a weird-looking thing.
When we adopted Baozi we already had a cat, George, so Baozi has grown up being terrorised by cats. George now lives in the lap of luxury with my friend Heather in Beijing, We brought Baozi back to the UK overland on the Transsiberian and then through Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and Holland by train before hopping on the ferry back to the UK. She is a well-travelled hound and does very well with the Scotrail delays after we got stuck in Poland for two days due to storms.
Baozi has taken to the Southside well and enjoys foraging for discarded chicken and kebabs outside the house on a Sunday morning.
I couldn’t believe how hard it was to rent with pets given how ostensibly ‘pet-friendly’ the UK is but every private listing I saw said ‘no pets’. When I would go to viewings on the offchance I could convince a landlord I would be one of about 15 people vying for the same overpriced place being showed by some glaikit estate agent flunky and give up hope.
I was not a ‘desirable’ tenant. I don’t know that I would ever have found a place if Southside Letting hadn’t saved me.
Are there any issues with the flat?
So far no problems! We’re right on a very busy road which bothered me a bit at first but I don’t hear the traffic any more.
Do you have plans to move again?
No, I won’t move unless my situation changes dramatically. I’m back on the list with the housing association in case there comes a time I need a bigger place but I genuinely am very happy where I am.
And what about buying a place?
Nope. I have a secure tenancy, I have no need to feel like I ‘own’ something. I’ve never been interested in buying a home, my career and lifestyle has always meant I’ve prioritised travel and adventure over saving and putting down roots.
I don’t buy into the idea that we should all aspire to own a house. Homelessness and housing insecurity is a real and fundamental problem in our society today and I think we’ve all got to think about how we’re contributing to it.
A very good point. Let’s have a look around.
What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am. Check back next week to have a nose around another rented property.
How to get involved in What I Rent
What I Rent is Metro.co.uk's weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what's normal and how much we should be paying.
If you fancy taking part, please email email@example.com.
You'll need to have pictures taken of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your room. Make sure you get permission for your housemates!
You'll also need to be okay with sharing how much you're paying for rent, as that's pretty important.
Expecting a baby next year? Then you’ve probably already gone through all the popular baby name lists.
If you’re not about that ‘name on a keyring’ life then you might opt for the rarer monikers for your baby.
But if you want to get ahead of the curve and figure out which names are set to blow up next year then we’ve got just the list.
Flower company Bloom & Wild has handily created their predictions for the most popular baby names of 2020.
So expectant mums and dads, get out a pen and paper (or your phone’s Notes app) and jot some of these down.
The brand looked at the percentage increases of certain names over the past decade using the Office for National Statistic’s baby name data.
It’s no surprise that celebs and fictional characters top the list.
Predictions for the most popular baby names for 2020
Bloom & Wild’s study shows flowers, film, TV and celebrity influence on baby name trends.
So expect to see lots of newborns named Eve, Billie, Archie, Edward, Meghan, and Ariana in the coming year.
Being a flower company and all, they also looked at floral names, which are back in vogue, including Ivy and Willow.
In the TV show category, Peaky Blinders and Game of Thrones are set to dominate trends.
Baby name inspiration is also being drawn from celebrities such as Emilia Clarke and Maisie Williams.
Top five floral girl names
Top five TV and film names for boys
Top five TV and film names for girls
Top five celeb names for girls
Any of these take your fancy?
ACL Music Festival 2019
Are you the sort of person to make your bed every day, tidy everything away and leave it as a place for relaxation?
You might want to look away now.
These 10 bedrooms have been crowned the UK’s messiest by bed and mattress specialist Bed SoS.
They ran a nationwide photo competition to find the untidiest bedroom in the country – and these were judged to be the worse.
The winner was Anna Wrigley, from Kendal in Cumbria, who shared the picture of her room the morning after a night out, featuring the classic half-eaten takeaway.
For sharing her mess with the world, Anna won a new bed.
Other’s in the top 10 include Philip Burch who struggles to walk around the bed because there’s so much on the floor and Melek Gil who still has Christmas decorations scattered across the bed.
Of course, a few parents used the competition to share their kids’ messy bedrooms. Nothing says ‘tidy your room’ like an online shaming.
Danny Richmond, Managing Director of Bed SOS, said: ‘These pictures prove that we can sometimes let life get on top of us. Although it may seem like a chore, a tidy bedroom and a comfy bed, free of clutter, can have a huge impact on the quality of our sleep.
‘Hopefully, these pictures inspire you to give your bedroom a tidy, to ensure you get a good night’s rest.’
Let’s take a look at the top 10:
There’s a full list of 25 on the Bed SoS website.
UK\'s messiest bedroom
Our 10-year-old daughter Amelia never wears a mask at Halloween. She dresses as a princess or a doctor or a YouTuber (yes, really).
Our daughter Elizabeth who is five years old always dresses with a mask at Halloween. A skeleton mask, a cat mask, a Minnie Mouse mask.
This could be perfectly normal, or it could be because Elizabeth has a facial disfigurement.
At six months old Elizabeth was severely burnt in a house fire while sleeping in her cot. Now, at five years old she has realised she does not look the same as the children in her class.
She knows now why she is stared at everywhere she goes. It isn’t because she is wearing a pretty dress, or because they like her teddy bear, as we have been telling her.
It’s because she has no hair and only one ear and because her face has been skin grafted. Now she is old enough to realise.
This week a boy asked her if she was a zombie. When she was a baby, small enough to be in a buggy, a passing man said to us, ‘at least she won’t have to wear a mask at Halloween’.
It seems that now she feels that she does.
People, adults, have called her scary. Children have said she looks ‘freaky’.
Teenage boys have pointed at her and sniggered among themselves. Elderly ladies have looked horrified at her.
We have no doubt that Elizabeth knows what people think about how she looks and we know that at Halloween, when all the other kids are trying to look ‘scary’ she just wants to look as normal as them.
Scars and disfigurements do not make you look scary, evil or bad. They are the signs of a survivor.
It is a stain on our society that so many find those with facial disfigurements scary or ugly or less than themselves.
That is what is ugly, those parents who allow their children to grow up thinking that it is OK to consider those who look different as weird or freaky and that it’s OK to stare at them or comment or push them away.
Scars and disfigurements do not make you look scary, evil or bad. They are the signs of a survivor.
They show that something happened to that person and they got through it, they overcame it, they beat it. They are to be admired as the heroes, not ostracised as villains.
That’s why we are working with the charity Changing Faces to change attitudes and behaviour towards people like Elizabeth who have a scar, mark or condition that makes them look different.
It is a testament to the skill and dedication of the surgeons and medical staff at Birmingham Children’s Hospital who put our daughter back together that she can move the muscles and skin on her face.
It is nothing short of a miracle that a smile can still spread across her face, and that it can continue onto the faces of those around her and through a whole room.
It is amazing that she can frown in concentration as she tries to button her top with two remaining fingers, and that she can express how little she needs your help with one angry look.
Though her captivating smile and infectious laugh are precious – they are not for everyone.
Those who judge her based on a quick glance and can’t spare the time to meet her don’t deserve that smile.
So, at Halloween, they will see the mask that Elizabeth chooses, and they can continue on with their lives in the belief that what we look like on the outside somehow tells them who we are. Those of us who are privileged to have met Elizabeth know different.
Elizabeth and her parents Sinead and Liam are ambassadors for Changing Faces, the UK’s leading charity for anyone with a scar, mark of condition that makes them look different.
If you need some advice or support please get in touch at www.changingfaces.org.uk or call 0300 012 0275.
This year has been all about the keto diet, CBD oil, and probiotics.
2017 was the year of charcoal everything (although that’s a trend that’s still going strong at Starbucks, in the form of the Phantom Frappuccino).
What foodie future does 2020 have in store?
According to Whole Foods, it’ll be a year of fancy flours, meat-plant blends, and spreads. Interesting.
Each year the healthy food store asks a panel of trend-forecasters (cool job, right?) made up of culinary experts, buyers, and foragers what they reckon will be the big food trends from the year ahead.
As we’re more than 90% through the year and the end is nigh, Whole Foods has thus revealed their predictions for the year ahead.
Ready? Here’s what they said, accompanied by a little explainer of what on earth each healthy thing actually is.
1. Regenerative agriculture
Okay, so 2019 might have seen us take aim at straws and excess plastic packaging, but in 2020 Whole Foods’ experts think our focus will be on regenerative agriculture.
This is a fancy way of saying ‘creating food while helping the environment instead of wrecking it’.
So the process of farming might involve restoring degraded soil or planting trees along the way, but the main aspect is drawing carbon out of the air and into the land.
This will be a major buzzword (or buzz… term) for the year ahead, but people have been doing it since at least 2015.
Not just your standard self-raising bag, to be clear.
Apparently 2020 will be the year we embrace new types of flour into our lives, such as cauliflower flour, banana flour, and tiger flour.
Still relying on spelt? You’re so 2018.
3. West African flavours
Whole Foods says rich, earthy dishes containing tomatoes, onions and chili peppers as a base will be popping up all over the place.
Look out for West African restaurants serving up bunny chow and jollof.
4. Fridge snacks
Snacking is always a trend in our hearts, but in 2020 we’ll move on from handfuls of almonds and entire sleeves of bourbon biscuits to snacks that live in the fridge rather than in your desk drawer.
Or so says Whole Foods, who predict we’ll be grabbing fresh snacks prepared and portioned in advance, such as hard-boiled eggs, pickled vegetables, and mini dips and dippers.
5. A farewell to soy
Plant-based foods will keep going strong, but apparently major brands are swapping classic soy for vegetarian and vegan foods made with mung bean, pumpkin, avocado, and watermelon seeds.
6. Spreads and butters
Nut butters that aren’t just almond or peanut, seed butters, and chickpea butters. Grab all the spreads and butters you can, smear them over a slice of toast or a cracker, and enjoy.
7. Alternative sugars
Remember that time when everyone was asking for agave nectar with their tea?
Expect more of the same, but this time with fruit-based syrups made from dates, pomegranates, or coconut.
You’ll also spy more starchy syrups using sweet potato. Sounds weird, but could be delicious.
8. Meat-plant blends
Do we understand the point of having a veggie burger mixed with meat? Not really.
But this trend will keep going strong in the new year, with the intention of appealing to those who want more plants in their diet without ditching meat.
Keep a close eye on packaging, as that ‘flexitarian’ burger might be a beef and mushroom combo.
9. Alcohol-free drinks
Going sober has been a massive movement this year, and it’s not going to slow down in 2020.
Booze-free pals, rejoice, as you’ll spot plenty of fun options in the year ahead – think flavoured sparkling waters, botanical-infused options, and alcohol-free gin.
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A couple from Alabama just organised the best Halloween shoot, featuring their 11-month-old zombie daughter feasting on her dad’s ‘intestines’.
They often watch horror films together (nothing too violent, mind you) and Daniel even has a Michael Myers mask that he dons every once in a while for a laugh.
When Tiffany took baby Oakley to Oregon to see some family, she took part in a mummy daughter photoshoot.
That made Daniel want his own. So Tiffany got thinking and when tagged on some zombie pictures on Facebook, had the idea to set one up.
Enlisting the help of her other kids Kaiden and Gibson, Tiffany began preparing for the photoshoot.
It was a family effort as they helped Daniel and Oakley dress as zombies and snacked on gooey red velvet cake which doubled as intestines.
Tiffany told Metro.co.uk: ‘The day of, Kaiden and myself started doing Daniel’s makeup first.
‘We hoped Oakley would just play while we worked on this. But just like a curious 11-month-old, she was right up in our business!
‘So I would do some of Daniel’s makeup, then smudge a little on her, do a little more of his and smudge again on her, brushes on him, brushes on her.
‘She was even attempting to help with the makeup brushes! It was a game to her! About a two-hour game. It took patience but was fun.’
Little Oakley really got into the part too, munching on intestines as her dad played dead. Daniel then changed into a Michael Myers costume and pretended to kidnap her.
Oakley, whose photos were edited to look like she had contacts in, didn’t look fussed.
‘Although it was a “dead” shoot it was very much alive,’ added Tiffany. ‘With Kaiden and Gibson behind the scene helping, Oakley learning to stand by herself, all of us snacking on my props, mostly the red velvet, laughing and giggling at the faces Daniel and Oakley were making, exploring the woods, watching wildlife, and riding down country roads on our side by side.’
The mum-of-three said that’s what families are all about, spending time with each other.
‘Children need our time, they need us, they need laughs, giggles, hugs, and adventure,’ she explains. ‘That is what they will remember!
‘They aren’t going to remember eating cake and berries off of some fake intestines until I decide to share the photos at her wedding.’
Here are the rest of the images from the brilliant zombie shoot:
A skin-tight, butt-less Buzz Lightyear suit. A low-cut leotard with thigh-high boots that somehow pays homage to the child-devouring Pennywise. An Instagram feed flooded with ‘sexy’ Joker outfits.
When shopping for a Halloween costume, you’ll have noticed the tendency for women’s costumes to be unnecessarily sexed-up. Nothing is off-limits. Adult minion? You got it. Risqué Margaret Thatcher? The costume exists.
Halloween has become a yearly memo that women should be dressed down to dress up. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with getting cheeky with your look, it just might not be for everybody. Let’s throw a few other options in there.
If you’re searching for a costume that’s not prefaced by the word ‘sexy’, try one of these…
The Tethered from Us
Remember the Halloween party scene in Mean Girls?
‘In the real world, Halloween is when kids dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it,’ says Lindsay Lohan’s character Cady Heron, before she arrives at the party in a genuinely scary outfit.
Learn from her. Dress to provoke and to startle this Halloween. It is, after all, the reason for the season.
Transform into one of The Tethered from Jordan Peele’s horror masterpiece Us by picking up a Pluto costume, or by simply donning a spicy red jumpsuit and toting along your favourite pair of scissors (plastic, for safety).
Human snack food
Do as Katy Perry did in 2014 and transform yourself into a walking Cheeto. Nothing says ‘look at me, but do not objectify me’ like an oversized crisp costume.
Try a more UK junk food like a Hobnob, wine gum or scotch egg, or simply pop on this basic chip costume.
The 80s pop singer
Nobody loves 80s nostalgia more than the people who were barely alive for it: millennials. Ladies, dress like an 80s male pop singer this Halloween.
Pencilling or adhering a moustache above your lip apparently isn’t considered particularly lust-worthy, nor is powdering on some stubble, so it’s a surefire way to avoid looking hot.
Channel David Bowie with this goblin king Labyrinth costume, or get your Bohemian Rhapsody on with an iconic Freddie lewk or saunter your way to success with this pretty-in-purple Prince outfit. You’ll feel fabulous and get fewer creepy comments than usual.
The Timothée Chalamet puppet
When a £96,909 26-inch tall recreation of an Oscar-nominated actor Timothée Chalamet hit eBay, we know we hadn’t seen the last of this artistic vision. Recreate one of the biggest internet moments of 2019 by donning a red-carpet-ready man harness and pencilling ventriloquist lines onto your chin.
Midsommar May Queen
Channel Midsommar, one of the most unsettling flicks of the year, without breaking the bank.
Simply pop on a full-length linen frock and rummage around in your neighbour’s shrub to assemble a wild floral crown fit for a May Queen but definitely not fit for Instagram.
A moistened Goofy
me when i was 10 pretending i was dead in the pool to see if anyone would care pic.twitter.com/ejSCli9wIR
— monty (@cumrascal) May 26, 2019
Take cues from one of the most existentially poignant memes of the year by wriggling into a princely Goofy costume and then dousing yourself in water.
Judi Dench in Cats the motion picture
Get even scarier. Why go as Anne Hathaway’s sexy Catwoman when you can dress as one of the warped-by-CGI cast members in the motion picture reimagining of Cats?
Mysterious yellow blob with ‘720 sexes’
Opt for a natural look by styling yourself as the unicellular blob recently put on display at Paris Zoological Park. You might have several hundred sexes, but that won’t make you sexy.
The sleeping bag dress
Kimmy K did it, and so did Pharell. Now, it’s up to you. All you’ll need are a few camping essentials to drape over your chassis. For additional reference shots, here’s hiker-extraordinaire Pattie Gonia’s hot take on the look.
The CCTV alien boi
a lady posted this and said she saw this on her home camera this morning. what y’all think this is ? pic.twitter.com/L98wckn6bO
— jey bee . 👑 (@jadynbee_) June 7, 2019
Go about your business with a vaguely-Dobby aura this Halloween. Bonus points if you can recreate the bouncy little strut.
A guide to non-sexy Halloween costumes
Ok, so we’re bringing you yet another advent calendar but this one is pretty exciting.
You can count down the festive season with mini bottles of Baileys.
The calendar, available exclusively at Asda, costs £20 but it comes with three different flavours.
Behind each of the 12 doors (which does mean you have to make each bottle stretch over two days), you’ll find either coffee, orange truffle or original Baileys.
Each bottle is 5cl (about two shots worth), which is a total of 60cl of booze. Although £20 not seem like too much compared to some advent calendars, you could pick up a full one-litre bottle for £12 at Asda or Tesco.
The calendar is available online or in-store and is already on sale.
It was shared by Money Saver Online on Facebook and fans are already excited.
One person said: ‘OMG I NEED TO FIND ONE OF THESE!!!!!’
Another added: ‘I need two of these.’
If you’re a Baileys fan with a smaller budget, you can get a Baileys calendar with one 5cl bottle and 24 pieces of chocolate for £5 at B&M.
Other Baileys-themed Christmas treats include the chocolate Yule log for £5, also at Asda, as well as salted caramel and hot chocolate-flavoured Baileys cakes at Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.
The Baileys hot chocolate freakshake cake serves 16 and costs £13 or you can have a pack of nine cupcakes drizzled with caramel for £4.
Bailey\'s advent calendar
For those of you with a spare £60k kicking about and a need to keep your trousers up, we’ve got just thing.
Forget the standard black leather belt or braces look, because this belt – for fashionistas only – is made of gold and platinum, and is encrusted with diamonds.
It’s a creation of House of Borgezie, who have previously made diamond-covered shoes worn by Beyonce herself. So, they’re no strangers to a bit of luxury.
But what are you getting for your £60,000 investment?
Designer, Christopher Shellis, believes that the unique Fleur-de-Lys design which is made from solid platinum and 18 carat gold studs and encrusted with 60 diamonds, is worth every penny, as an heirloom.
The unisex belt, which weighs 300 grams and is 30mm thick, is intended as formal wear and can be ordered in any size.
Chris, 53, said: ‘The Fleur-de-Lys is an inspiration of mine. It first appeared over 2,000 years ago but no one knows exactly where it came from.
‘It’s always been associated with power and royalty. It is all over Westminster Cathedral and the gates of Buckingham Palace.
‘It became popular around the time of Elizabeth I’s coronation in 1558.
‘I love the gallantry and style of that era which was a golden age for courtiers like Sir Walter Raleigh competing for the attention of the Queen.’
The design process and took three days, and so far only one has been made. Chris – who began his career as a diamond setter in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter – will make more if there are more orders, which he believes there will be once word gets out.
‘It’s easier to sell a Ferrari than a family saloon car because there are always people who don’t think about the cost and buy something because they like it,’ he says.
‘They spend £20,000 on a bottle for wine so £60,000 on a belt isn’t much for them. It is so special and the diamonds are of perfect clarity. For 5.5 carat diamonds it is not that overpriced.
‘My main market is in Europe in Italy, Austria and Switzerland and prestigious parts of the continent like the Cote d’Azur. I also have quite a few clients in the states.’
Along with this eye-wateringly expensive version, he’s also designed a solid silver one that’s somewhat more accessible at £800.
Chris still thinks that those with the means to fork out £60,000 for the gold and platinum version due to its durability.
He said: ‘The gold and platinum belt will last forever and could be handed down for generations.
‘It’s like the gold in Tutankhamun’s tomb and impervious to the elements. It would be as good as new if it was dug up in 10,000 years.’
Quite a long time to wait for a return on the investment, but whatever floats your boat.
Cli McBratney, 32, and her husband Andy, 35, were desperate to become parents.
But after three failed attempts at IVF and years of waiting – they thought it might never happen.
The couple had one round on the NHS and spent £26,000 on two private attempts but they couldn’t afford any more.
So when her dad Jim Burt, passed away from mouth and throat cancer, aged 52, in April 2017, he left them the money they needed for one more attempt.
And amazingly, this round worked for the couple, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, giving them their little boy Jesse.
Positive that Jim had worked his magic from beyond the grave, Cli said: ‘I definitely think my dad played some role in the IVF working, wherever he is.
‘I’m not religious at all, but the way it’s all fallen into place really has blown my mind.
‘Before my dad passed away he said he would do whatever he could to give us a child and he stayed true to his word.’
The couple started trying for a baby soon after they married on 17 August 2014 but a year later, Cli still wasn’t pregnant and they booked an appointment at Belfast Fertility.
Following tests, including an ultrasound, doctors discovered Cli only had one functioning ovary, while Andy was found to have a low sperm count.
They already had savings and decided to have private IVF treatment, costing £13,000, so they wouldn’t have to wait to move up the NHS list.
Sadly, the first round failed and the couple said it was a ‘harsh reality check’.
Cli explained: ‘You think IVF is simple and that the doctors are doing all the hard work for you and it’s going to work.
‘Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth and we learnt that the hard way.’
They decided to try again, this time going for NHS-funded IVF treatment.
So, after nine months on the waiting list, in June 2016, Cli had another of her eggs fertilised by Andy’s sperm at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.
She explained: ‘I’d only been able to produce one viable egg this time and I couldn’t help feeling from the get-go that the odds were stacked against us.
‘When we found out the pregnancy hadn’t taken it was still sad, though. I guess a part of you hopes your body will work in weird and wonderful ways and it will all work out.’
Three months later, the couple were left even more heartbroken when Cli discovered her father was dying of mouth and throat cancer.
She continued: ‘I remember thinking that if I could get pregnant, a grandchild would give my dad so much more to fight for.
‘That’s when I knew we had to try IVF again.’
They managed to scrape together another £13,000 but this time the opted to go to fertility clinic, Sims IVF, in Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, after hearing of friends who had twins after going there.
In February 2017, they went through the now all too familiar IVF process once again.
Sadly, it was unsuccessful for the third time and they decided to give up on their dream of becoming parents.
‘It was hard,’ Cli said. ‘Every time we’d see a child on the street we’d cry. We ended up drowning our sorrows a fair few times.’
Just two months after their third failed IVF attempt, Cli was left heartbroken again when her father passed away from cancer on April 23, 2017.
‘I told him about the failed IVF and he was really upset,’ she said. ‘He was so determined he would do whatever it took for us to have our baby.’
And Jim managed to help even after he had died, leaving his daughter £15,000 specifically for one last shot at IVF.
So, in November 2017, following a much-needed break in Bali for two weeks, Cli and Andy returned to Sims IVF to start the treatment.
She said: ‘The clinic suggested using a sperm donor as a back-up plan this time.
‘They also suggested Andy go on a course of Proceive fertility supplements to boost his sperm count.’
Three months later, in February 2018, doctors fertilised five of Cli’s eggs – three from donor sperm and two from Andy’s sperm.
And, following further tests, they found the embryo fertilised with Andy’s sperm was the most viable, so this was the one they used to proceed.
This time, during the dreaded two week wait for news, Cli was certain the pregnancy would take, saying: ‘I just knew that Dad would not allow me not to fall pregnant.
‘I was so confident this time around that I bought two balloons for my mum and Andy’s mum that Mother’s Day – which said, “You’re going to be a grandmother,” on it.’
Amazingly, on Mother’s Day March 11 last year, Cli and Andy found out she was pregnant.
‘I got up at 5 am and I did the test and it said it was inconclusive and I told Andy, ‘she said.
‘I told him it hadn’t worked but he wouldn’t believe it and 10 minutes later I did another test and it showed the same thing.
‘But then Andy had another look and it had worked, as soon as he told me we burst into tears, jumping up and down on the bed.
‘It was so early in the morning we couldn’t even tell our nearest and dearest but that one moment – seeing it positive – blew our minds.
‘It was absolutely amazing and we were so happy.’
And on October 10, 2018, Jesse was born by emergency C-section, after Cli’s waters broke five and a half weeks early, at Ulster Hospital, in County Down, Northern Ireland.
‘We were a bit worried as he was a few weeks premature, but he was born fit and healthy,’ she said.
‘It’s been brilliant ever since and there have been no issues whatsoever.
‘I know I’ve got to say this but he really is fantastic. He’s the most gorgeous boy.’
Now, Jesse is one and Cli has returned to work but the couple have decided not to have IVF for any more children.
Discussing further IVF treatment down the line, she said: ‘I couldn’t put myself through all that again.
‘If I fell pregnant naturally that would be brilliant, but I know that is virtually impossible.
‘We’ve been through so much to get where we are now but I wouldn’t change a thing.
‘It’s all thanks to my wonderful dad’s generosity that I’m a mum and every time I look at Jesse, I know how proud he’d be. Every moment of effort has been more than worth it!’
Woman who endured a string of failed IVF attempts finally becomes a mum after her late dad left her ?15,000 for one last shot at motherhood
When Jason’s family learned that his grade IV glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, had spread into his cerebral spinal fluid, he knew he needed to act fast to make the most of the last few months he had left to live.
Jason Halbert, 51, was diagnosed in April, but in October leaned that his life expectancy had gone from a little over a year to just a few months.
That meant Jason, his wife Nicole, and his two daughters had to think and talk about mortality, and work out exactly how they wanted to spend their final months together.
Jason had to accept that he wouldn’t live long enough to see his daughters get married, grow up, and have kids of their own.
But his daughters had a way that Jason could experience one part of their big life moments.
Kaylee, 18, and Ashlee, 16, decided to wear wedding dresses to stage the first dances at their weddings their father wouldn’t live to see.
On October 14, Jason danced with each of his daughters at Olde Dobbin Station in Montgomery, Texas, in emotional moments captured by photographer Shalonda Chaddock and witnessed by friends and family.
Nicole shared images of the special dances on Facebook, writing: ‘Three weeks ago, we found out the cancer had leaked into his cerebral spinal fluid. When this occurs, it is called Leptomeningeal Disease and has a prognosis of two-three months. Your heart stops, you can’t hear, your breath becomes shallow.
‘How were we supposed to tell our daughters? How were we supposed to plan our future?
‘Jason has always been the most attentive father. He’s never missed any of their events. We have raised two daddy’s girls and I was about to break their hearts. Their future suddenly looked very different.
‘The dreams they had of their daddy walking them down the aisle had come to a screeching halt. The certain songs they’ve played hundreds of times while imagining themselves swirling around a dance floor, in the perfect dress, in the arms of the first man they ever loved, suddenly took on new meaning.
‘In a quiet voice, holding back tears, they asked if they could have “their” dance. Yes, YES! You will have your dance! We create memories, we recreate them, why not PRE-create a moment?’
The family’s friends all stepped up to make sure the moment could happen. Some offered up wedding dresses while others did the girls’ hair and makeup.
The end result was something special.
‘The day of the dance, the sun was shining through gray rain clouds, sunlight mixing with rain showers,’ wrote Nicole. ‘I realized, afterwards, how appropriate the weather was for this day. That is what we’ve been doing through this whole journey, trying to find the light among the darkness, the sunshine in the rain.
‘There was laughter and tears but in the end, there was an everlasting memory. There’s a quote I love “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to dance in the rain.” Our girls and their daddy did just that.’
Alongside the photos, the family also took video of the dances which will be kept tucked away until Ashlee and Kaylee’s wedding days.
They’re sharing their story to raise awareness of glioblastoma and encourage people to live in the moment and love hard.
‘When our girls look back at this chapter, I want them to remember not a journey of death, but a journey of life,’ said Nicole. ‘Take the trip, snap the pictures, eat dessert first, go see your friends, play games with your kids, make your days matter!
‘When you live your life surrounded by kindness and love, you have lived your life well.’
Nicole and her daughters plan on getting matching sound wave tattoos of Jason saying: ‘I love you girls’. The dad is also working on making recordings for them to listen to and writing letters they can open on important days of their lives.
If you thought you might have overspent on your costume for Halloween, spare a thought for Rod Dawson, who’s spent £13,000 this year alone on doing up his house for the big day.
The 55-year-old from Cornwall, has transformed his bungalow into a spooky house of horrors, complete with themed rooms featuring clowns, witches, and ghosts.
While it may seem extravagant, the spooky decor is all for a good cause, as Rod opens his home to the public and takes donations for charity each year.
As well as the creepy ornaments and wall hangings adorning the house, the granddad has also got 10 volunteers to get in on the freaky fun by frightening those who dare to enter.
Anyone who is brave enough to go into the St. Austell house will start off in a completely black hallway with ghouls projected onto the walls and skeletons hanging from the ceiling.
From there, they’ll head to the ‘butcher’s quarters’, where they’ll see heads and limbs hanging bloody from the ceiling, while the butcher himself appears with a pig’s mask with blood covering his body and wields a machete.
The alien room features a dead alien laying on a surgical table with flies coming out of his mouth.
Next up a young woman dangles across the bed resembling a scene from the exorcist whilst a girl takes the role of Annabel as she rocks a monster baby in a cot.
Witches and wizards take you to a new room featuring a projection with further haunting characters taunting guests.
Freddy Kruger awaits beyond this lair and swipes his claws at those daring to enter.
Rod says, ‘There is a room full of gravestones. We have loads of animatronics and smoke. There is also a pirate room.
‘We don’t have things or people that jump out, they just move slightly. Last year we had costumes that we stuffed and this year people will be in them, there will be ten of us hiding around the house this time.’
It all started out for Rod as a bit of fun, but when people started asking where they could put donations, he decided to give any money people wanted to leave to the Cornwall Air Ambulance Service.
It’s taken off so much that he has to inform the emergency services and bus companies beforehand, as thousands of people turn up to be part of the experience and there can be congestion.
In an odd turn of events, Rod actually doesn’t like horror movies, so the ideas for the themed rooms have come all from his own imagination.
For the 2019 festivities, he and his friends began setting up the whole thing three weeks ago, and it’s been an expensive process.
‘A friend gave us lots of stuff from America last year but in total we spent around £13,000 – it’s like Christmas,’ Rod said.
He added: ‘My wife and my lad help me with the decorations. I put little snippets on Facebook before we hold our open house.’
And, although he says that the whole thing is too frightening for little ones, it appears the younger members of his own family enjoy the whole thing. Rod said: ‘One of my grandchildren was actually born on October 31 – so they ended up thinking the decorations and visitors were in their honour.’
Pigs in blankets fans, listen up – a really huge sausage wrapped in bacon is coming to London next month.
Yes, the Christmas favourite is going gigantic, and you can be one of 300 people to try it.
This P.I.B. will weigh 25kg (about the same as an average eight-year-old child), will be about 70-80cm wide and measure over two metres in length.
The average man in the UK is 1.75 metres tall so this really is a lot of pork, which will be wrapped in over 10 metres of bacon.
In fact, this beast will be about 1000 times bigger than a normal chipolata.
It will appear on the opening night of the four-day food festival Taste of London at Tobacco Dock, East London on 21 November.
The giant sausage – dubbed The Notorious P.I.B. – will be created by Simon ‘The Butch’ Taylor, founder of the Surrey Hills Butchers.
Guests on the first night of the festival will have a chance to enjoy a piece of The Notorious P.I.B., which will be cooked for six hours at the festival’s fire pit.
Simon said: ‘I have been lucky enough to work in traditional butchery for over 25 years – that’s over 25 Christmases and a lot of pigs in blankets!
‘I couldn’t imagine a more fitting way to pay homage to each of these years than by creating this at the festive edition of Taste of London.’
Tickets for Taste of London are from £17 and £5 for children.
As well as the giant P.I.B., you can expect 50 restaurants, including Berenjak, Thai barbecue masters Smoking Goat, Lewis Hamilton-backed Neat Burger with its plant-based burgers, and Bubala, which opened in September and features vegetarian Middle Eastern food.
Christmas dinner snack. Festive spiced bacon and venison cocktail sausage rolls. Pigs in blankets with thyme bay leaves
Emma Kitson was told she would never have use of her legs again after crushing her spine working as a gunner with the Royal Artillery.
But she stunned everyone by walking down the aisle on her wedding day.
Emma, 35, joined the army as a gunner with the Royal Artillery when she was just 18 and saw active service in Iraq in 2003.
As one of a very small number of female gunners, she wanted to prove herself and ‘keep up with the lads’, not realising the 100lb shells – AS90 bullets for tanks – she was carrying on her back were slowly damaging her spine.
She left the army as a 21-year-old, when the pain in her back became too much to bear.
The pain became worse throughout her twenties, and seven years ago doctors told her they would need to operate to try to repair the damage.
When Emma woke up from surgery, she couldn’t feel her left leg. She has needed to use a wheelchair ever since due to the extreme pain she experiences while walking.
But when her partner, swimming coach Chris Kitson, 38, proposed, Emma was determined to spend most of her wedding day out of her wheelchair.
She put in hours of training to strengthen her legs, allowing her to make the 20ft journey to the altar without her wheelchair.
Emma didn’t tell anyone of her plans, including her husband-to-be, so they were all surprised to see her walk on the day.
She managed the walk down the aisle with her dad and her son by her side, then had her husband for support on the way back. She also took ‘tons’ of medication to help with the pain.
Debt charity worker Emma said: ‘I thought to myself “whatever happens when I get out of that church I actually do not care”.
‘If I’m in a wheelchair for the rest of my life I do not care because I can actually say I’ve walked to Christopher and then I’ve walked with him out of the church, and that’s everyone’s dream, isn’t it?
‘I wanted to avoid being in my wheelchair for as much of the day as possible – I wanted to show my dress off as much as I could on my special day.’
Training was tough – at one point Emma pushed herself so hard she managed 29 seconds walking on the treadmill.
Thankfully Emma is used to pushing her limits. She took part in last year’s 2018 Canada Invictus Games and won three swimming gold medals and a bronze in power-lifting, and met Chris as a result.
Her journey in fitness began when she entered the Warrior Games, a multi-sport event for wounded, injured or ill service personnel and veterans organised by the United States Department of Defence, in 2014.
‘It was being with the squaddies again,’ Emma added. ‘Some of them have lost limbs and it just put my life into perspective.’
The games gave her back her confidence and gave her the strength to leave an abusive relationship.
Then while training for the Invictus Games, she met Chris. She says he made her feel like ‘life was worth living again’.
The couple now live in Halifax with their daughter Charlotte, three, and Emma’s children from a previous relationship, Kiera, 14, and Archie, 10.
‘I am now more active than I have ever been, and my children are also achieving their own sporting goals,’ said Emma.
‘Yes, I am in constant pain and on so many painkillers that I would rattle if you shook me, but I get on with my life and I enjoy it.
‘Right now I am really happy that I ended my single life walking, and started my married life walking.
‘I do not see myself as an inspiration. I make my own inspiration. Everybody can be their own inspiration, you can achieve your dreams.’
ex-army gunner who was told she would never have use of her legs after carrying heavy shells crushed her spine astounded her guests by WALKING down the aisle
At 14, Megan Argyle was diagnosed with rare condition uterus didelphys, which caused her to have two combs, two cervixes, an ovary in each, and one vagina.
She was later diagnosed with endometriosis after suffering with excruciating pain in her abdomen.
Now, at 28 years old, the mum-of-one has undergone a double hysterectomy to allow her to live life again.
Megan discovered she had two sets of reproductive organs at 14, when having sex with her then-boyfriend.
‘I ripped the septum which is a dividing wall of tissue in the vagina when I was having sex with my then-boyfriend,’ Megan said.
‘The blood was gushing out and I knew something wasn’t right, I went to the hospital and they discovered I have two cervixess and two uteruses.
‘I was having underage sex but in hindsight it was a good thing because I found out about my condition from a young age.
‘It also explained my heavy periods that would last for two weeks and they got worse and worse.
‘At 18, I was diagnosed with endometriosis on both sets of my reproductive organs and I also had cysts on my right ovary.’
That explained her heavy periods, but it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with endometriosis on both sets of reproductive organs that she understood her excruciating pain.
Megan, from Hull, says she is happier without her reproductive organs as she’s finally free of the pain of endometriosis and can ‘be a mum again’.
She said: ‘A double hysterectomy was the best decision I have ever made, I needed to get my quality of life back so I can be the best mum to my daughter Rubie, five.
‘I feel incredibly lucky to have her after the doctors warned me at 21 that I must try for a baby before I’m 30 and the chance of miscarriage was very high.
‘I was only 21 with my whole life ahead of me, I had never thought about children before, but it seemed like a now or never decision as the endometriosis was getting worse and can cause further fertility problems.
‘I suffered one miscarriage before giving birth to my miracle baby Rubie at 23 but it has been so hard for me to enjoy activities with her because of my crippling endometriosis.’
Despite four ablations – a surgically procedure that destroys the lining of the uterus and reduces menstrual flow whilst burning endometriosis away – it continued to grow back, leaving Megan in constant pain.
She was desperate for a hysterectomy and requested one aged 26 years old, but doctors were reluctant as they wanted to try contraceptive methods instead.
She tried contraceptive pills and a coil for each cervix – one of which became embedded and was surgically removed – but nothing worked to soothe the pain.
Megan was experiencing constant pain and such heavy periods she would change her sanitary pads three times an hour.
After years of struggling, a doctor finally agreed that a hysterectomy was the best option.
‘My quality of life was getting worse and worse,’ Megan explains. ‘I’ve lost count of how many times I was signed off work.
‘I would change up to three sanitary pads per hour and I was in constant agony to the point where I have to curl into a ball.
‘I have also been known to sit on the floor in shops as I physically couldn’t walk any more.
‘I was put into an induced menopause, but I continued to bleed so the doctor agreed a hysterectomy is the best option for me.’
Although Megan has had both her uteruses removed, her ovaries were left in place so she could have children through surrogacy in the future.
She said: ‘I am now happier than ever, and I can’t wait to be a mum again – I can’t wait to go swimming with my daughter and pick her up when she falls without being in excruciating pain.’
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body, such as in the ovaries or the fallopian tubes.
Each month, these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.
It’s a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods, and it can lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems.
The condition is fairly common, with around 1.5 million women in the UK living with it.
Symptoms vary from person to person but some of the most common include:
Woman with two wombs has double hysterectomy at 28