FINANCIAL analyst Emma Nettleton had her life all summed up until her mother’s cancer diagnosis made her look at life differently.

Emma had worked in the financial sector for more than 12 years.

She worked as both a financial analyst and a finance assistant for different companies but never really found her place in the finance industry.

But Emma made a monumental career change after her mother, Diana Taylor, 60, was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer just before Christmas in 2017.

Emma, 34, of California Road, Manningtree, ditched the suits and number crunching and took up face painting so she could spend more time with her mum.

She said: “It was just before Christmas.

“My mum had a rash on her head and after multiple scans and tests, it turned out she had cancer.

“It was a shock and it was just out of the blue.

“My mum never drank or smoked and it got to her anyway.”

It was that moment when Emma, who is a mum-of-two, realised she did not want to work in the finance sector for the rest of her life.

She said her mother had always encouraged her to do something she enjoyed and advised her to live her life to the full.

The words kept ringing in Emma’s ears.

She said: “I was stagnated at my office job, I was working with spread sheets, expenses, looking at budgets and payrolls, but I have always liked crafts.

“I wanted to find a job where I could be creative.

“I have never had a job which I loved before.

“My mum doesn’t think my career change was down to her, she keeps saying it was down to me but I think she pushed me to do it.”

Emma started a new career as a face painted and expanded her repertoire to do balloon sculptures, a world away from her previous job.

She began at Go Bananas play centre, in Mason Road, Colchester, and has never looked back.

She has now created her own business, called Emma’s Fanciful Faces and also started making all sorts of balloons, including giant themed balloon numbers and balloon centrepieces as well as “belly buddies” - balloon animals with chocolates in the belly balloon.

Emma attends birthday parties, corporate events, weddings, christenings but also creates balloons for individual orders.

She said she had no regrets about her change of direction.

“I’m really happy my work-life balance is so much better and I can live without having to stress about not spending enough time with my children,” she said.

“I’m really fortunate because my husband would look after the kids if I have to attend an event at the weekends.”

Emma advises people to make the most of their lives.

She said: “We have only got one life and need to make the most of it.”