Could lockdown spell the end of Rushing Woman Syndrome?

‘I don’t want it to take a health crisis to wake you up, to remind you, of how precious life is,’ said Dr Libby Weaver, a nutritional biochemist, as she finished her 2014 TEDx talk in Queenstown, New Zealand. 

Her words seem more poignant now, as families across the world have been torn apart by Covid-19, but back then she was speaking then about Rushing Woman Syndrome.

Dr Weaver coined the term and authored a book of the same name in 2011, and if you’re not a ‘rushing woman’, the chances are you know one. 

‘I was noticing an enormous change in women’s health, and it was a feeling that women had a pile of things on their to-do list, they had overflowing emails in their inboxes… It was as if there weren’t enough hours in the day,’ she tells ‘We couldn’t keep up with everything being asked of them or that they wanted to be part of.’

The juggling of everything on our to-do lists and neverending sense of urgency, she says, is leading to ‘relentless’ output of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which come with myriad physical health issues, including problems with menstruation, menopause, energy levels and metabolism – though this is not a conclusive list. 

With many now forcibly on pause thanks to lockdown, some have an opportunity to see how they’ve been moving through life in fast-forward. A global pandemic was not the health crisis Dr Weaver meant in her talk, but it has definitely given some the opportunity to reevaluate.

Alexandra Wood, 39, is one of Savile Row’s first female tailors and juggles her business Alexandra Wood Menswear with caring for her three children, having started her company with just £1,000 maternity pay when her daughter was born. 

‘My eyes are everywhere,’ she tells us. ‘I’m dealing with all aspects of my business, while looking after the children so it’s full-on.’

Since restrictions meant her bricks and mortar store had to close its doors, she’s had the opportunity to reflect and find the positive. 

Alexandra explains: ‘I’ve had to really focus on the most beneficial use of my time and what will help me grow the business in this turbulent time. I started my business with a newborn and in a recession so where there’s a will, there’s a way.

‘I’ve always been someone who loves going at full speed ahead but I have realised that simple time with the children doing TikTok dances bring about a lot of joy. 

‘I will also make sure I have more time with the children and that will mean streamlining my business and doing things that only make a difference. The art of delegation started in lockdown and will absolutely continue.’

Caroline Johnson, 42, also started her business Cheerleader PR while on maternity leave with her second daughter and has been a rushing woman.

She says: ‘Most days and weeks my head would be struggling, trying to keep all the plates spinning. I’d see it with my friends too, especially those with their own businesses who often find it impossible to switch off.’

Lockdown has meant her husband has taken on more of the household duties while she works in the spare room. 

‘When I look at my typical day before lockdown I wonder how I kept up with myself and kept everything going,’ says Caroline. ‘I was exhausted a lot of the time and needed to recharge at weekends.

‘I wonder what I was doing it for and what I was trying to prove. But equally, I loved a lot of it and miss it.

‘Funnily enough, I find lockdown just as tiring in some ways. Maybe because it has different pressures.’

While Dr Weaver knows of women who share these experiences, lockdown has also shown us the other side of the coin.

She notes: ‘It can be such a gift to reflect and say “I was doing x, y, and z and I can see now, I don’t want or need to do that.”

‘But that requires a degree of privilege to have your basic needs met – food, clothing and shelter – to be able to do that.’

‘The other scenario is, I do know a number of women for whom everything has sped up and had more responsibility fall to them.’

Key workers like nurse Jamie-Louise Docherty, 28, know this reality all too well. A new mum to a one-year-old son, she’s not currently working with Covid-19 patients but is struggling with not seeing friends.

‘It feels like my support system is missing,’ Jamie-Louise says. ‘I am missing baby classes and meeting up with my mum friends.

‘All of our babies turned one in the last couple of months which we had lots of plans for so it’s just been adjusting to a series of disappointments.

‘But everything else is the same, and probably amplified being in the house so much more like I feel very on edge.

‘My brain is in so many places and it has never been more obvious.’

Jamie is able to divide up household duties with her husband, though she sometimes feels that the mental load of remembering what needs doing falls to her. 

Dr Weaver says in homes like this, many women can end up doing ‘the frantic double shift’ – working hard in their careers only to pick up much of the household and parenting duties when at home with little rest.

‘Women have been, I guess, just gently alert all the time,’ she tells us. ‘We see so much more in our vision so much more that needs doing so I think biologically, we are a little bit predisposed to keep doing. It’s the compromise on our rest that’s enormously impacted on the way our nervous system is able to function. 

‘I think the shift has been a lot slower with men to pick up work, that’s not paid work, so around the house, looking after children, shopping, cleaning, all those other activities.’

Rather than pursuing balance, which can seem all too unattainable, Dr Weaver says it comes down to prioritising and adjusting our feelings on other people’s perceptions of us. 

‘I think what we do is we might rate ourselves or judge ourselves harshly for not being a good enough fill-in-the-blank,’ she explains. ‘Not a good enough colleague, not a good enough mother, daughter, sister, friend.

‘When we live forever in the service of others, which I think a lot of women do with real love in their heart – and my goodness, we need that – we need to be very comfortable saying no when we need to.’

Often rushing women describe needing others to perceive them as kind, thoughtful and selfless, which she says goes to show what a ‘beautiful place’ this desire to be all things to all people comes from. 

‘We’re so stressed, we think it’s all the people and the tasks and the situations and we stop catching a glimpse of the fact that it’s our responses to all of those things and the way we think about those things that makes those things stressful or not.’

For women who don’t have the luxury of dumping anything off their to-do lists, Dr Weaver says it’s all in the breath and finding the joy: ‘One of the things that science has shown that lowers stress hormones more effectively than just about anything is to extend the length of our exhalation.

‘A slow, long exhale activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a branch of the autonomic nervous system, which is the opposite of fight and flight.’ 

She suggests putting your legs up the wall as you lie in bed with your arms stretched out and diaphragmatically breathing for 10 minutes. This is also good for mental clarity and can improve many bodily functions including sleep, digestion, circulation, lowering blood pressure and pulse.

As for finding what feels good, Dr Weaver says: ‘Joy gives us an irreplaceable depth of energy. Think what brings me joy and how, or what brings a smile to my face and how could I incorporate more moments of that? 

‘You might identify something that brings you joy, and it’s going to take an hour and you literally might not have an hour spare but you might have five minutes to yourself at this point or first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, and it’s a time for you to write in a journal or look out the window and watch what nature’s doing.

‘I live in Australia now but I was living in New Zealand when all of the dreadful earthquakes were happening in Christchurch. People didn’t have toilets that flushed for six months or more. 

‘Still to this day when I flush the toilet I think “I’m so thankful for this”. Those little things that are so simple and yet it’s so privileged that we have food and a warm bed. 

‘I hope in putting things into perspective there is a degree of slow down for women inside themselves and what they perceive they need to be happy and fulfilled. It’s often a lot simpler than we think it once was.’

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TV and Movies

Here’s why we don’t see much of Megan Fox anymore

Megan Fox became the world’s it girl following the release of Michael Bay’s 2007 adaptation of Transformers, where she played the character Mikaela Banes. It seemed like every corner of the media couldn’t get enough of her and every outlet, especially mens’ magazines, collectively drooled over her. She was the most beautiful woman alive, totally dominating Hollywood and it seemed like her reign would last forever.

Then, strangely, Fox seemed to slide back from her shining role in the spotlight. For someone who defined sex appeal, Fox disappeared almost as quickly as she came, leaving fans wondering what happened to her. While it wasn’t one, single instance that jeopardized Fox’s relationship with Hollywood, there was a series of events that slowly chipped away at her hireability. Not only that, but some of the resistance to being in the spotlight came from Fox herself as the actress pushed back against the sexual objectification she felt from the media. Curious to hear exactly what happened? Keep reading.

Megan Fox called the Transformers director 'Hitler'

Early on in her career, Megan Fox established herself as an open book. While this is great, the downside of such openness was saying too much. In her 2009 interview with Wonderland, interviewer Marshall Heyman said that Fox “has garnered a reputation for being a loose cannon, an over the top interview subject who really speaks her mind.”

Heyman added his thoughts on Fox’s openness: “I love that. So often we get canned responses. Here’s someone who’s anything but.”

While this might be refreshing, Fox ended up saying some really scathing things about major players in Hollywood. When asked about her time on Transformers, Fox spoke about director Michael Bay and said: “God, I really wish I could go loose on this one. He’s like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad man reputation.”

But Fox didn’t stop there and added of Bay: “He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he’s a nightmare to work for.” Yikes!

Megan Fox ended her relationship with the Transformers' franchise

While it’s great to be honest, Megan Fox’s blunt comments about working on Transformers and her experience with director Michael Bay might have cost her a job. Fox was cut from the production of the third Transformers movie. While Bay was prepared to forgive Fox, producer Steven Spielberg wasn’t comfortable with the Hitler comments.

Bay covered all of this in a 2011 interview with GQ, saying of Fox: “She was in a different world, on her BlackBerry. You gotta stay focused. And you know, the Hitler thing. Steven [Spielberg] said, ‘Fire her right now.'”

However, a rep for Fox told People that it was her decision to leave Transformers 3, saying: “It was her decision not to return. She wishes the franchise the best.”

Whatever happened, Fox was definitely out of the franchise and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley took over, becoming the new face of Transformers.

But comments about Fox didn’t stop. According to GQ, Ehren Kruger, who worked as a screenwriter on the Transformers series, said of Fox: “She was there for rehearsals. But she seemed like an actress who didn’t want to be a part of it. She was saying she wanted to, but she wasn’t acting like it.”

Even Shia LaBeouf, Fox’s co-star on the film, called her out on what she said about Bay: “Criticism is one thing. Then there’s public name-calling, which turns into high school bashing. Which you can’t do. She started shit-talking our captain,” via GQ.

Megan Fox resists her role as sex object

While Megan Fox might have been pushed out of Hollywood for her critical comments about director Michael Bay, the actress has also been resistant to the sexist treatment she’s received.

In a 2019 interview with ET, Fox looked back on the 2009 film she was in, Jennifer’s Body, and how sexualized she was expected to be: “It wasn’t just that movie, it was everyday of my life, all the time, with every project I worked on and every producer I worked with.” Fox added: “It preceded a breaking point for me.”

Fox said this constant expectation to be sexualized led to a psychological breakdown. According to ET, Fox explained: “I didn’t want to be seen, I didn’t want to have to take a photo, do a magazine, walk a carpet, I didn’t want to be seen in public at all… so I went through a very dark moment after that.”

While this must have been really painful, Fox seems to be doing better. According to the Daily Mail, she is still happily married to her husband, Brian Austin Green and they have three sons: Bodhi, Noah, and Journey.

Thankfully, Fox has moved on and shared with ET: “I felt like I was suffering but now having a different outlook and having grown the way that I have grown, it made me a much better human being.”

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TV and Movies

Here’s why we don’t see much of Meg Ryan anymore

It would be tough to binge on a ton of romantic comedies and not run into Meg Ryan. The blonde beauty was pretty much the queen of 90s meet-cute stories and the world fell totally in love with her. Who could resist? She basically invented the scrunched nose and that shag haircut that was so iconic of 90s style. And how about those big, heavy boots she wore? There really was no one like Meg Ryan.

The actress, born in 1961, according to MSN, rose to serious stardom in the 90s and became a household name. But then Ryan’s career seemed to stop. While we still love Ryan to bits, we have to pause and ask: where did she go?

Ryan went from being our collective American crush to fading away. So why don’t we see her anymore? Don’t worry. We’ve got some answers to the big question: what happened to America’s sweetheart?

Why did Meg Ryan burn out so quickly?

According to MSN, Meg Ryan first displayed her acting chops in the film Rich and Famous by George Cukor in 1981, making Ryan exactly 20-years-old. Not a bad way to launch a career!

She then worked on Amityville III: The Demon in 1983 and slowly worked through the horror genre and television to land some high-profile Hollywood roles. As MSN says, Ryan then landed a role in Top Gun in 1986, followed by, you guessed it, her 1989 role in When Harry Met Sally, which may very well be the most iconic film Ryan ever did. Her chemistry with co-star Billy Crystal and her fake orgasm scene in the diner pushed her into major celebrity status. It was unforgettable!

She then met Tom Hanks on the set of Joe versus the Volcano in 1990 and they became another iconic on-screen couple, following up the comedy with other classics like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Ryan was also a hit in The Doors, appearing opposite Val Kilmer and it was this film that pushed her out of the rom-com rut where she could have potentially found herself stuck. Around this time, she met Dennis Quaid on Innerspace and married him in 1991. Together, Ryan and Quaid had a son and daughter.

It seemed like everything was going great for Ryan. So what the heck happened?

Was the collapse of Meg Ryan's career Russel Crowe's fault?

Things changed in 2000, when Meg Ryan starred alongside Hollywood’s bad boy, Russell Crowe, in Proof of Life. The couple started a romance right around the same time Ryan decided to divorce her husband, Dennis Quaid. Because of how quickly her new relationship began, people assumed Ryan and Crowe were having an affair. Ryan’s union with Crowe painted her in a totally different light. As In Style says, Ryan’s “squeaky-clean persona she’d cultivated from a decade of rom-com success was overwritten by her perceived indiscretions.”

Ryan was 37-years-old at the time of these allegations and she told W Magazine how ruthless the public was towards her: “I found myself in a hotel lobby in London a few months ago, thinking, all of a sudden, ‘So this is what it feels like to be the Scarlet Woman.’ Oh! I’m having that experience now!” (via E! News.) Despite all the attention and hype, Ryan and Crowe fizzled out as a couple by December 2000, according to In Style.

But the scandal involving Crowe wasn’t the only turning point in Ryan’s career. She acted in the 2003 Jane Campion film In the Cut, which was met with scathing reviews and because of this, Ryan said to The New York Times: “I think the feeling with Hollywood was mutual. I felt done when they felt done, probably.”

Meg Ryan blames ageism in Hollywood

Meg Ryan spoke at length about her role in Jane Campion’s film, In the Cut, and how that role potentially ended her career for the simple fact that she got naked on screen. Ryan told The New York Times in 2019 that interviews berated her, asking: “How could you be naked?” So when asked how that particular film impacted the arc of her career, Ryan said: “I feel like that might’ve been the last movie I did.”

In that same interview, Ryan pushed back against her former label of “America’s sweetheart,” saying that labels like that don’t allow for the full expression of a person. Ryan also spoke about ageism in Hollywood and said: “The pressure was implicit. How you look — there’s so much judgment.”

It’s so totally unfair that Hollywood and audiences were too limited to see Ryan as anything other than a young, blonde, love interest. However, Ryan seems to have risen above this narrowness in her own way. She told Good Morning America in 2015: “I love my age. I love my life right now… I love the person I’ve become, the one I’ve evolved into.”

While things may not be the same as they once were, Ryan seems to have captured a level of peace and tranquility that leaves her detached from public opinion and that may be the best thing yet. So you know what? We’ll have what she’s having.

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TV and Movies

‘Creepshow’: Episode 1 Drops on AMC With Tobin Bell and Giancarlo Esposito

The horror anthology series, Creepshow, was exclusively released on Shudder in 2019. Now, fans who don’t subscribe to the streaming service are in luck because AMC will begin airing season 1 in May. Here’s the scoop on what to expect, who will appear, and when to watch Creepshow.

What is ‘Creepshow’?

Creepshow is a television series based on the 1982 horror film of the same name. From the minds of writer, Stephen King, and director, George A. Romero, the Creepshow feature film was a collection of five scary stories. While each tale was independent of the other, the film was woven together by animated vignettes seemingly ripped from the pages of 1950s era comic books like Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror.

The Creepshow film starred Adrienne Barbeau, LeslieNielsen, Ed Harris, and Ted Danson, among others. It spawned two movie sequelsand the recent Creepshow television adaptation.

Fans can stream the ‘Creepshow’ series on Shudder

The Creepshow series premiered on the AMC-bred streamingservice, Shudder in Sept. 2019, and the entire first season is currentlyavailable on the platform. Shudder’s portfolio targets horror buffs and suspenselovers with shows such as Wolf Creek and Darkest Night.

With a robust collection of thriller movies and series, Creepshowwas an ideal addition to the streamer’s portfolio. Subscribers pay $5.99per month for the service but can save a few bucks by opting for the annualrate of $56.99, which works out to $4.75 per month. Savvy bargainers can electthe 7-day free trial and binge Creepshow before deciding whether to keepor cancel the subscription.

When will the show premiere on AMC?

Up until now, fans without the Shudder subscription had no access to Creepshow, but that is all changing now. Creepshow Season 1, which consists of six episodes, premieres on May 4 at 10 p.m. on AMC.

Fans can look forward to new chapters at the same time each week until it completes its run on June 8, according to Deadline. But that is not the end of the road for the series. Show creator, Greg Nicotero revealed on Instagram that season 2 has been delayed, but will definitely return.

Who stars in ‘Creepshow’?

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Creepshow isan anthology series that features a revolving cast and unique narrative in eachepisode. Episode 1 of the series is titled “GrayMatter; The House of the Head,” and the official episode synopsis readsas follows:

“A man’s drinking habitbecomes insatiable and his appetite grows to frightening proportions; a severedtoy head appears in a girl’s dollhouse and starts murdering.”

The audience will noticesome familiar faces popping up in the first episode, including horror icon, Tobin Bell, of the Saw series. Another star, GiancarloEsposito, who originated the role of Gus Fring on AMC’s Breaking Bad andBetter Call Saul, will also appear. Furthermore, movie buffs willeasily spot Adrienne Barbeau, who starred in the original Creepshow film.

Subsequent episodes will showcase a star-studdedroster of talent, including David Arquette, Big Boi, and Tricia Helfer. Withsolid source material and a killer cast, Creepshow has the potential tobecome a fan-favorite for horror lovers.

Read more: 5 Disturbing Horror Movie Scenes That You Just Can’t Unsee

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World News

Carrie Symonds claps for NHS one day after giving birth to baby boy

Carrie Symonds claps for the NHS: Boris Johnson’s fiancée tweets she has ‘another wonderful reason’ to salute healthcare heroes just a day after giving birth to PM’s new son

  • Carrie Symonds took part in the clap for care workers a day after giving birth
  • On Twitter she said she had ‘another wonderful reason to thank the NHS’
  • PM Boris Johnson held his first press briefing since recovering from coronavirus
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Carrie Symonds had another reason to thank the NHS this week as she confirmed she was clapping for health care workers the day after giving birth.

The 32-year-old posted on Twitter at 8pm tonight confirming she would be taking part in the nationwide weekly clap.

Symonds also took the opportunity to wish Captain Tom Moore a happy 100th birthday.

In the post she said: ‘Clapping again for our tremendous carers tonight and wishing hero @captaintommoore a very happy birthday.

Symonds (left) gave birth yesterday morning and fiancé Boris Johnson was present at the birth. Pictured: Symonds and Johnson arrive at The Midland, near Manchester Central convention complex on the eve of the Conservative Party conference on September 28, 2019

Carrie Symonds took to Twitter to thank the NHS and confirm that she was taking part in the weekly clap for care workers

‘I also have another wonderful reason to thank the NHS this week too

‘Thank you so, so much!’ 

Despite confirming she took part in the clap tonight, Symonds was not seen outside Downing Street with fiancé Boris Johnson.

Prime Minister made his first public appearance today since Symonds gave birth to their baby boy as he led the Downing Street press briefing.

This was also the first briefing he has led since recovering from coronavirus.

The Prime Minister started by thanking the NHS.

He said: ‘I want to thank everybody who has been doing such a good job in my absence, and I want to thank the NHS for so much – including getting me back here and, I might add, a very much happier hospital visit yesterday.’

Downing Street has been tight-lipped with information about their son, only releasing the gender of the child, the fact both mother and child were doing well and that Boris Johnson had been present at the birth.

The PM’s father, Stanley Johnson, said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ and ‘thrilled’ by the birth of his grandson. 

No 10 said that Boris Johnson is not expected to take his two-week paternity leave until later in the year.

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Jenna Dewan Makes 'Most of Nap Time' With Workout 1 Month After Son's Birth

Taking advantage! Jenna Dewan squeezed in a workout while her and Steve Kazee’s 1-month-old son, Callum, slept.

“Making the most of nap time,” the actress, 39, captioned her Thursday, April 23, Instagram Story. “I’m tired.”

In the black-and-white social media upload, the Flirty Dancing host exercised on a yoga mat.

The Gracefully You author welcomed her son on March 6. The little one joined her and her ex-husband Channing Tatum’s 6-year-old daughter, Everly.

“And just like that, our hearts exploded into all of eternity and beyond,” the former World of Dance host captioned her baby boy’s Instagram debut. “Welcome to the world you little angel! Callum Michael Rebel Kazee 3/6/20.”

Kazee, 44, explained the special meaning behind his moniker the following day, writing via Instagram: “Callum: Gaelic for Dove because he has been so sweet and peaceful since landing in our arms. Michael: My middle name. Rebel: I wanted a way to honor my mother. Her name was Reba but from a very young age, her father called her Rebel. And so … Callum Michael Rebel Kazee was born.”

The following month, the Connecticut native showed her post-baby body in a dancing TikTok video.

“OK OK OK I’m here @tiktok,” Dewan wrote alongside the April 19 video of herself getting her groove on in a cropped pink sweater and matching sweats. “@sarafoster challenge accepted!”

Kate Hudson commented, “Wait … what?! U had a baby five seconds ago! Amazing,” while Kimberly Van Der Beek wrote, “[Hot] mama!”

Us confirmed in October 2018 that she and the Tony winner were dating, six months after Dewan and Tatum, 39, announced their split. The couple’s pregnancy news broke in September 2019 and Kazee proposed five months later.

“When you wake in the morning I will kiss your face with a smile no one has ever seen,” the Broadway star captioned their February engagement announcement. “When you wake in the morning I will kiss your eyes and say it’s you I have loved all these years.”

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TV and Movies

Liam Payne ‘brings back long One Direction hair’ on Good Morning Britain – and fans go wild – The Sun

LIAM Payne brought back his 'One Direction hair' on Good Morning Britain earlier today.

Just like many others in the UK, the singer has had to let his hair grow out since the shutdown of hairdressers – and it looks like he'll have to make do for a little while longer after The Sun reported that hairdressers will have to remain shut for six more months.

The 26-year-old appeared on the British breakfast programme and opened up about how life has been treating him during lockdown.

But fans couldn't help but reminisce on the singer's earlier stages of his career after they noticed that he seemed to look very similar to what he looked like when he was in the popular boyband.

One fan took to Twitter and wrote: "Is it just me or is Liam Payne bringing back his early 1D years hair??"

Another said: "@LiamPayne lockdown hair! Got the 90s curtains coming along nicely #LockdownHair #GMB"

A third tweeted: "Liams hair is the only good thing to come out of coronavirus @ Liam pls don't cut it"

The Strip That Down singer revealed that it was a "really tough call" missing his son's third birthday.

During his chat with Charlotte Hawkins, he revealed that he and ex Cheryl agreed for him to miss Bear's birthday during the pandemic.

Instead, Liam FaceTimed him and got loads of photos and videos from Cheryl.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he said: “Yeah, it was a really tough call not to go down for his birthday.

“I discussed it with Cheryl and we both agreed it was for the best thing.

“I’m down here in the city and I’ve been exposed to everything and we were slowly finding out information about this thing.

“It was horrible and I got lots of pictures and videos, I did a little FaceTime.

“That’s been the hardest thing, it’s the most difficult thing for all of us. It’s quite funny – the technology that’s been pushing us further apart is pulling us together again.”

Cheryl revealed at the time she didn’t host a party for Bear – instead rescheduling it for after the lockdown.

Liam paid tribute to Cheryl and his son on Mother’s Day with an Instagram post as they celebrated apart.

He wrote: “Double special day today thanks to 2 very special ladies and a very special little man…

“Happy Mother’s Day mum and Cheryl you two are the most amazing mothers Bear and I could have asked for, thanks for raising me right and thank you Cheryl for showing my son all the love in the world,” he wrote in the heartwarming post.

Liam added: “Happy birthday little man! 3 already I can’t believe it. It’s amazing watching you grow and you surprise me constantly, it really seems like yesterday I was holding you for the first time, thank you for bringing life and joy to my world I hope I can do the same.”

The former Girls Aloud singer gave birth to Bear in 2017 after the couple had been dating for a year, but then split in 2018.

It’s believed Cheryl and Liam split because of their hectic careers – and Liam’s burgeoning efforts as a solo artist – had come between the pair.

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DAN HODGES: We can't go on like this much longer

DAN HODGES: We can’t go on like this much longer – cheating death by also cheating life in coronavirus lockdown

  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

It was when I bought a gun that I knew Corona Madness had finally claimed me. I’d been speaking to a Government official who presented an increasingly apocalyptic vision of how the Covid-19 crisis could spiral out of control.

Panic-buying was just the start, they feared. Soon there would be looting, the police would be overwhelmed and the Army would have to be drafted in.

So I ordered a pistol on the internet. Not a real one, obviously. A replica. But I figured the average looter wouldn’t notice the difference.

Then I decided to try to turn back time.

A soldier is pictured being trained by a paramedic. This morning, Whitehall is locked in a fierce debate over how to plot a way out

I’d seen the reports of increasing numbers of Covid-19 patients in their 50s being admitted to hospital, and started to contemplate the brutal triage system that would be introduced by a desperate NHS. 

So at night, as I went to sleep, I began to try to teach myself a new birth date – one that would place me in my 40s and give me a fighting chance of ICU admission when the virus struck.

But the thing that tipped me closest to the edge was a packet of toilet paper.

A neighbour rang to ask if I knew of any local shops that might still have some in stock. As I spoke to her, I could literally see six new rolls glinting in their shiny packet.

Basic decency said I should offer to give her some. But I was transfixed, like Gollum eying his precious ring.

What if the panic-buying intensified? Why hadn’t she had the foresight to purchase her own rolls? This was my sacred toilet paper.

Panic-buying was just the start, they feared. Soon there would be looting, the police would be overwhelmed and the Army would have to be drafted in. The 2011 London Riots are pictured above

That was me at the start of this crisis. The Blackheath Rambo – a fake fortysomething with a pistol, ready and willing to take down anyone who dared make a move against his prized hoard of Andrex.

Of course, the madness subsided. It proved impossible to maintain such a sense of jeopardy over a month of lockdown.

The gun never actually arrived – too many people had the same idea as me, and they sold out. The NHS ICU crisis didn’t materialise.

In the end I relented, and offered to help my neighbour.

But my own brief skirmish with coronavirus’s mental demons revealed a simple truth. We can’t carry on living like this.

This morning, Whitehall is locked in a fierce debate over how to plot a way out.

On one side are scientists and epidemiologists, warning of the awful death toll that could result from a premature lifting of restrictions.

What if the panic-buying intensified? Why hadn’t she had the foresight to purchase her own rolls? This was my sacred toilet paper. That was me at the start of this crisis [File photo]

On the other are economists and accountants, pointing to the catastrophic impact on the economy if those restrictions persist.

But there is a vital voice missing from the discussions. The voice that sets aside the clinical and economic imperatives for a moment, and calmly points out a basic fact. We are surviving. And existing. But we are no longer living.

Each of us is incarcerated like a prisoner. Allowed out for one hour of exercise a day, before being reinterred for the other 23.

When we do go out, we are not people, but glorified computer guidance systems, constantly calculating the speed and trajectory of nearby pedestrians, cyclists or joggers who could deploy the lethal germ and seal our fate.

We are lucky. The elderly and infirm are granted no release from their cell at all.

Families have been ripped asunder. Grandparents banned by Government edict from hugging their grandchildren. To encroach within 6ft of a lifelong friend is to risk a fine or arrest.

That is on an individual level. But what we are witnessing goes far wider. To the slow leeching of the life-blood of a nation.

Our great works of art have been rendered invisible. Shakespeare has been banished from the stage by executive order. Our sporting arenas lie silent. Within our cathedrals, churches and mosques the simple act of prayer has been rendered a sin.

Yes, these measures have all been justified. And, despite the naysayers, have proved effective.

Britain did its duty and observed the Easter lockdown. And as predicted by the Government’s health experts, the spread of the virus may have finally peaked.

But we need a serious discussion now – as a country – about where we go from here.

And it cannot be a discussion confined to graphs, or spreadsheets, or infection rate algebra.

The argument up to now – correctly – has been that the priority must be saving lives.

And many have been. But at what price? Not in economics, but to a nation’s soul.

We have heard the cry ‘scandal’ a lot over the past month. The ‘scandal’ of our care homes. The ‘scandal’ of lack of PPE. The ‘scandal’ over testing.

But the biggest single scandal of this crisis occurred on March 30, when 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from London, succumbed to Covid-19.

Because of restrictions we all demanded be put in place to keep us safe, he died alone. And because of those same restrictions, he was buried alone.

Yes, we should be proud of our collective national effort over the past month. But when we allow our children to die in that way, we have set aside our humanity and taken a step towards barbarity.

So now we need to be honest with ourselves. We need to make a choice. In terms of who we are, who we want to be and just how high a price we want to pay to keep ourselves safe from coronavirus.

The NHS ICU crisis didn’t materialise. In the end I relented, and offered to help my neighbour. Ambulance staff in North London are pictured above wearing personal protective equipment

And it’s a choice that will have to be made quickly.

Speaking to Ministers last week, it is clear that there will be no Hollywood-style ending to our Covid-19 crisis.

As one explained: ‘People need to realise this thing is just not going to go away. Smallpox is basically the only virus that’s ever been eradicated. Every season we get four separate strains of flu circulating in the UK. And coronavirus is set to become one of them. Theoretically for decades.’

I’m also told the production and distribution of a vaccine is, realistically, years away. As is a foolproof testing and tracing regime.

So over the next three weeks of lockdown, we are going to have to take a long look around, and then take an even harder look at ourselves.

How much longer do we wish to carry this on? Another three weeks? Six? Nine? Three months? Three years? For how much longer do we as a nation intend to cheat death by also cheating life?

Ministers are today facing demands they set out their ‘exit plan’. But we cannot subcontract our own humanity to them.

We have to decide ourselves what risks we’re prepared to take in order to go back to the lives we had before the coronavirus laid its hand upon us.

Because we are going to have to go back. This is not sustainable. We cannot all continue to exist 6ft apart. We are going to have to learn to shake hands again. And hug again. And kiss again.

If there are new dangers that come with that, so be it. But however well-meaning Boris Johnson and his Ministers and their experts are, we cannot continue to live – and die – like this.


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These Never-Before-Seen Pics of Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell Exchanging Their Vows Will Make You Sob

IDK about y’all, but these days, the thread that I am barely hanging on by is entirely made up of Bindi Irwin wedding content. I’m not even sorry about it because the Crocodile Hunter’s daughter deserves all the happiness! For those who haven’t been seeking refuge in the great escape that is Bindi’s Instagram, you may have missed that she married her boyfriend Chandler Powell on March 25.

At the time, Bindi shared a picture of their first kiss as a married couple, and now, Animal Planet blessed the longtime Bindi the Jungle Girl fandom (aka my desk at Cosmopolitan) with some sweet, exclusive behind-the-scenes pictures of the moment she and Chandler exchanged their wedding vows, their tribute to the late Steve Irwin, and them setting up the ceremony on their own.

Grab some tissues and prepare to cry happy tears:

Bindi previously recounted the special ceremony and said:

Even though Bindi and Chandler couldn’t have all their friends and family at the wedding, they’re bringing the celebration—and emotional moments of Bindi and her mom, Terri, talking about Steve—to everyone’s homes with a special program on Animal Planet. It premieres on April 18 at 8 p.m. EST, but if you’re busy with Zoom parties that day, it’ll come on again the next day at 9 p.m. EST.

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World News

Two Houston cops lead chicks on mission to find their mother

Cracking the case! Two Houston cops lead chicks on mission to find their mother during the Easter weekend

  • Cute video shows Houston Police Sgt. Engelhart encountering a group of little chicks walking down a sidewalk in Memorial Park on Saturday
  • Sgt. Engelhart helps to line up the birds and lead them on a search mission to find their mother 
  • Priscillia Thompson, a reporter with Decision 2020 for NBC News, captured the video of Sgt. Engelhart in Memorial park
  • Houston Police Asst. Chief Larry Satterwhite ran into the same family of chicks, apparently still searching for their mother
  • He, too, formed the group into a line and set off on an operation to find their mother
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

A Houston Police Department sergeant was captured on video helping chicks find their mother on Saturday. 

Houston Police Sgt. Engelhart gathered the birds for a search mission down a sidewalk in Memorial park, which was closed due to coronavirus.

Priscillia Thompson took a break from her regular job covering the presidential election for Decision 2020 for NBC News to capture the footage of cuteness.

The little chicks were scrambled on a sidewalk in a Houston park, looking for their mother

Houston Police Sgt. Engelhart organized the little chicks into a straight line in the park

Once the little chicks all lined up straight, Sgt. Engelhart began marching the birdies down the sidewalk to look for their mother

In her tweet she said the sergeant also helped her after she locked her keys in her car.  

‘A big thank you to Sgt. Engelhart who not only helped me after I locked my keys in the car this morning, but also helped these little chicks find their way back to mom — all while making sure that folks know all parks are closed due to #COVID19.’ 

Houston Police Asst. Chief Larry Satterwhite caught up with the same family of little chicks in search of their mother. He manages to escort them safely down the sidewalk.

Another Houston officer, Asst. Chief Larry Satterwhite, also tried to help the same family of little lost chicks find their mother in another part of Memorial Park

The obedient little chicks are very responsive to Asst. Chief Satterwhite’s leadership

With the help of this police escort, little chicks were able to make their way safely down the path, but there’s no word on whether they ever found their mom

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