PA Media - Real Life
PA Media Real Life brings you real life stories from the UK, Ireland and around the World.
PA Media Real Life brings you real life stories from the UK, Ireland and around the World.
Designer Pam Hogg's spring/summer 2024 collection, entitled Apocolypse, was debuted at London Fashion Week on Sunday night and dedicated to late Irish singer Sinead O'Connor. Models walked the runway in front of a screen emblazoned with words that seemed to evoke Catholicism – including "Redemption", "Atonement" and "Judgement Day", and crucifixes were a common motif throughout the clothes – perhaps a nod to O’Connor’s fierce stance on child abuse in the Catholic Church.
A Pokémon fanatic couple are planning a themed wedding after getting engaged with a Poké Ball in front of the pair’s favourite character after they bonded over a mutual love of the TV show. Alice Ingle, 29, a teacher, first met her fiancé, Chris Dawson, 32, who cannot work due to a disability, in 2018 when a photo of her in cosplay as Pikachu caught his eye and he asked her on a date to catch Pokémon together using the mobile game, Pokémon GO. Chris offered Alice his rare shiny red gyarados card if she agreed to go on the date and, five years later, he asked her to marry him in front of Pikachu at a Pokémon GO event last month. Alice, who lives with Chris in Batley, West Yorkshire, said: “I was so confused at first when I was handed a gold card at the event that said ‘will you marry me?’ so when I turned and saw Chris on one knee with a ring in a Poké Ball, I was speechless.
Mark Eldridge is not just a resident in the village of Great Massingham. He has been essential in preserving a vital community lifeline: the local Post Office and the essential banking services it provides. The Post Office has stood in the picturesque Norfolk village for decades and was taken over by Mark and his dedicated team in 2018. The village of Great Massingham has a range of local amenities, including a doctor's surgery, fire station, convenience store and village hall. However, one critical aspect remains lacking – local bank branches.
Credit @HMConstance A man who is converting a second hand hearse into a purple, grave-themed campervan after falling in love with it on Facebook Marketplace has named it "Morticia".
Credit: Rochelle Muir A 27-year-old with a rare genetic disorder is now trying to be the role model she never had as a social media influencer, to show people with disabilities they are “fully worthy and capable” of achieving anything. Rochelle Muir, who lives in Colorado, USA, was born with ectrodactyly, which means she has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, two toes on her right foot, and four toes on her left foot.
A dog handler has taken van life "to the next level" by moving his home and kennel onto four wheels, earning £40,000 per year with his travelling security business while spending less than £200 per month on "rent and bills". James Barrie, 52, swapped his three bedroom house in Doncaster for a "bog standard" white van, which he fitted with solar panels and a large kennel for his beloved 6.9st (44kg) Caucasian cross German Shepherd guard dog, Luna. The pair travel all over the country together guarding valuable locations, from building sites to the luxury homes of the rich and famous, and working 12 hour shifts six days a week.
An American woman who transformed her new-build house into a “Gothic castle” complete with “vampire bedroom”, dark walls and “haunted” furniture, has said her unique home is something she has “always dreamt about” and makes her feel like she’s been “transported to an old vampire novel”. Lauren Kenner, 32, a brand manager in the video game industry, moved into a modern house in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband, Brandon, a 33-year-old artist, in April 2022 and quickly began sourcing furniture that she felt had a “haunted presence” and painting the walls dark colours to “feel like (she is) not in modern society”.
Credit: Andras Bagoly WARNING: Some viewers may find content to be disturbing. Andras Bagoly, from Vancouver, is a props master in the film and television industry and father of four who, obsessed with erotica, has converted his home office into a sex museum with a £35,000 collection of 10,000 erotic oddities, including vintage sex toys, sex dolls and pornographic movies. He hopes to open the collection to the public as he thinks “the history of sex should be celebrated".
A mum who was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at age 13 and had to have her colon removed 11 years later as it became pre-cancerous, giving her a “second chance at life”, is now an influencer bearing all to show it is possible to “live a beautiful, normal, happy life” with a stoma bag. Meghan Cary Brown, 31, a stay-at-home mum and content creator, from Charlottesville, Virginia, in the US, spent most of her teenage years in “so much pain” and had to “deal with bullying as well as being sick”. Must Credit Meghan Cary Brown
Pia Gerbaulet, 37, from Finland, said she was ‘lured’ into the world of historical re-enacting by accident. A woman who has never been on a beach holiday because her life has been “consumed” by her hobby as a historical re-enactor, where she makes her own costumes, cooks 18th century dinners and participates in battle re-enactments and balls, has said “keeping history alive” gives her self-confidence. (Please credit: Mia Kivialho, @?rococoatelier, Jemina Laine)
A man who quit his £65,000-a-year senior marketing job to become a professional mattress tester after his “amateur reviews” were swamped with clicks now runs a successful business assessing their performance, including a “sex score”. Derek Hales, 34, has tried hundreds of mattresses since launching his company Naplab in 2021 and has devised a series of experiments to determine which makes for the best rest. Each mattress is sent to Derek’s “testing studio” and mounted on a solid bed frame before being scored against eight criteria: cooling, motion transfer, response time, edge support, sex, pressure relief, off-gassing and company. Each category involves a series of experiments, like dropping a 12lb medicine ball on the mattress to measure the shock waves, or using a high-speed camera to see how quickly it bounces back into shape. To determine which mattress is best for doing the deed, Derek looks at five key factors, including bounce, edge support, noise, pressure and cooling, to produce a score of zero to 10, with 10 being “exceptional sex performance”.
James Crane surprises his best friend Ben French on his stag do in a nightclub in Krakow, Poland, after he managed to renew his passport in under 12 hours.
An American man brought a live lobster from his local supermarket home in 2021 as an “experiment”, “to see if (he) could keep it alive”, and to his amazement, his pet, Leon the Lobster, is still “thriving” – now, his YouTube videos of his pet’s progress are “racking up millions of views”, and he admits the crustacean “must have a special place in (his) heart.”
A teenager who became paralysed after a 50ft motocross jump went wrong now competes in car races with a team of competitive disabled drivers using hand-controlled pedals. Noah Cosby, 18, was just 16 years old when he attempted the jump at his homemade motocross freestyling track. Used to completing 75ft jumps, Noah decided to try a smaller jump to “be safe” after Covid restrictions meant he was out of practice.
A Gothic artist has turned an entire room of her house into a “shrine” to more than 300 “creepy dolls”, as she thinks collecting “makes life so much more interesting and fun” and has spent over £19,000 on her “addictive” hobby. Victoria Grossman, 53, a single mum to Blake Grossman, 21, a punk rapper, from Long Island, New York, began collecting Barbie dolls in her 20s, and since watching the horror film, Annabelle, she “became fascinated with creepy dolls” so began collecting and creating them – she has sold more than 400 of her handmade dolls.
A mother who was told her 19-year-old son may not survive after he was hit by a London Tube train and suffered a very severe brain injury and multiple broken bones, leaving him comatose for a year and unable to move, has said “miracles do happen” as he has learned to walk again. Amanda Jenkins, 48, said she was “in disbelief” and her legs “turned to jelly” when she saw her son Jovel lying unconscious at St Mary’s Hospital in London in critical condition. Jovel, now 23, was hit by a Tube train at Oxford Circus on November 13 2019, aged 19 – although he has no memory of the accident – and suffered a very severe brain injury. In March 2022, Jovel was transferred to St Andrew’s Healthcare in Northampton, where he started multi-disciplinary, highly specialist neuro-rehabilitation – and although he was initially “paranoid, cross and anxious” and “aggressive towards staff”, he gradually began to engage in the sessions. Months later, following additional surgery on his ankles, “tremendous progress” was made and Jovel has since learned to walk again, which has made him “happy”.
An American dad of two has had limb lengthening surgery to increase his height from six foot to almost six foot seven after deciding his legs were “too short” for his body and hopes to feel "on top of the world" once the €100,000 (£86,000) procedure has fully healed. Credit: Brian Sanchez Credit: Brian Sanchez
A TikToker, who lives off grid in a treehouse in the middle of the jungle in Hawaii and grows and eats over half of his food from his greenhouse, bought the land and the building materials for around $30,000 (£24,120), using his monthly TikTok earnings, and has said he does not “miss a thing” from his previous life in the city.
A mother who has made thousands of pounds from selling homemade horror dolls online which terrify her husband and delivery drivers, some of which move and are as big as her toddler, says she is "shocked" at how popular they are.
Pavie Valsa, a transgender woman originally from the Czech Republic, performs as Britney Spears in Waterloo four times a week as part of the show, It’s Britney Brunch. She said performing as the star has helped to improve her confidence, after suffering from anxiety and depression in her teens.