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For Annette, Sheila and Gemini, dance is life! It was wonderful to write about three women who have found happiness through their dancing shoes. With the new series of Strictly hitting screens this week, what a perfect time to celebrate these gorgeous women.

 

Out now in Best!

Awwwww I love this family! Beautiful Maria and her beautiful children. Maria suffers from endometriosis and could not conceive again after the birth of her first child, Eleanor. She longed for a big, loud, happy family… Years went by and she booked in for a hysterectomy, ready to admit that it was not to be.

But then… along came Joseph. Joe has Down’s syndrome and in a stroke of fluke, luck and joy, so does his little sister – another surprise baby for the parents who thought they could not conceive!
Happy Families – just look at those smiles. Out now in Bella.

This is a story of love, loss, hope and the happiest of endings in the wake of the saddest of times. Angeleen is an absolute delight. She knew that she and Chris would make perfect parents. After a brain tumour cruelly took his life too soon, she decided to have IVF with his sperm, creating two beautiful children.

The story was in the Mirror yesterday – read it online here. 

Ah, isn’t this gorgeous? Four daughters and one son who were adopted write open letters of thanks and adoration to the mums who adopted them and helped shape their lives for the better. I love adoption – it is not easy but it is incredible and these five families are testament to the rewards.

Out now in Take A Break.

Here’s a story to make you smile… it’s Little Miss Sunshine, a real life yellow wearing, sunshine loving smiler, Ella. It all began at Ella’s wedding, where she wore touches of yellow to pay tribute to her late dad, who loved the colour. Now, yellow is Ella’s whole life and she wears it well!

You can follow Ella’s journeys around the sun on Insta here. Out now in Best.

Always a joy to write a happy love story! Here is the wonderful Paula telling of how she’d almost given up on love after two decades spent not quite finding Mr Right. After a chance stumbling upon a book about Feng Shui, she made a few home improvements and weeks later, her luck turned. Absolutely lovely to work with Paula and write her story – out now in Best!

The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes took a group of people with varying forms of dementia and gave them the opportunity to work in a restaurant – the results are on 4od now. It’s a great concept for a show and an experiment – incredible people have been written off as incapable of working but the show asks what happens if you give people responsibility again?

Lorayne was one of the participants and has early onset frontotemporal dementia. Here she tells her story in Best and it was wonderful to work with her. Lorayne has lost none of her wit, strength or courage.
The title refers to the film Still Alice, which is a devastating but poignant watch. Lorayne’s story is out now in Best.

With Father’s Day ahead this weekend, I’ve been writing about amazing dads. Men who have been through the most heartbreaking of circumstances, but come out stronger for those around them. Men who are not afraid to talk about mental health and understand that true strength is in talking about our fragility. Men like Mark, who went out for a walk with his wife and toddler and came home a widow and a single dad. His story is so incredibly sad, but Mark found his way through it and taught himself how to be happy again. For his wife, Katherine. For his daughter, Margot.

Read Mark’s incredible attitude to the hand he’s been dealt out now in Bella. Mark was supported by WAY – widowed and young. If you have been widowed young, visit www.widowedandyoung.org.uk for support.  Mark writes an amazing blog here. 

This isn’t an easy read, but it’s poignant and beautiful and Jon’s attitude towards the double tragedy he and wife Vikki faced is utterly gorgeous. Because he’s glad he had the little time he had with his twin sons. He’s grateful to the medical team who tried to save their lives, the friends he made while living in the worst possible circumstances, the kindness of those who helped his family during their time of need. It’s these things he focuses on – what a wonderful man he is.

Daughter Cecily Hope was born just a few weeks ago, making this coming Father’s Day both a happy and a sad one for Jon. Read his story in Best now…

Jon was supported by Ronald McDonald House Charities, a home away from home for families in his position. Find out more at www.rmhc.org.uk

 

It was such an honour to work with Svetlana on her memories of Chernobyl – and a real inspiration to hear her thoughts and musings on how not to live in the shadow of such a terrifying and traumatic experience.

The chernobyl nuclear disaster shook the world and although I’ve always known vaguely what happened, interviewing Svetlana gave me insight into what really happened. It makes for a harrowing yet inspiring read – out now in Best.