I really never thought that I would call myself a leggings person. In high school, I wouldn’t even wear lounge-y sweats during our school’s spirit week, and it became a joke among my friends if I even owned anything other than “fancy clothing.” I did. I just didn’t wear them outside of the house.
Eight years later, and I’m currently living in leggings — let’s be honest, we all probably are right now given the circumstances. But before March, I didn’t really own a pair I felt good about wearing at home and for a quick grocery run. That is, until I finally caved and decided to get a pair of Spanx’s famous, celeb-loved Booty Boost Leggings, which are currently on sale for Cyber Monday FYI. With practically every A-lister aboard the Booty Boost train, I just had to see what they were all about.
Spanx Booty Boost Active Leggings
Shop now: $78 (Originally $98); spanx.com
I came across them often in my writing. Jennifer Garner wore the iconic Spanx leggings one day. Kourtney Karadshian the next, and then Reese Witherspoon. Were these magic leggings? I couldn’t have known it back then, but now I do: They are magic, indeed.
There was clearly a draw about them — so many celebs wouldn't just wear them for no reason. They promise to give you your best butt yet, which is obviously one huge plus. I’ve worn a couple of other leggings that weren’t the best for my behind, so that fact these were said to lift (zero squats required) and compress was a major selling point. The minute I put them on, I saw the butt-lifting magic with my own eyes. The sculpting performance fabric really did its work — it felt durable and shaping and appeared to be cellulite-proof, but I didn’t feel constricted or confined, and that’s all thanks to the legging’s four-way stretch material that ensures they're comfy enough to wear all day long.
I was already in love. But the fact that the Booty Boost Leggings had an anti-camel-toe design and didn’t show any sweat marks after an hours-long bike ride (yes, I really put them to the test) was just the cherry on top. They also land high on the waist to keep muffin tops at bay and have a super sleek design, which I really appreciate because I can dress them up without much hassle. Sports bra in the morning, cropped sweater for brunch.
I didn’t think I would ever say that I’m a leggings person, but it’s 2020 and truly anything is possible. And I guess the saying is true: When you find the right one, you just know. In fact, I’m scooping up another pair of the Booty Boost Leggings while they’re on rare sale because why not?
Emmerdale makes me feel I should never have been born: A Down’s syndrome TV plot has campaigners up in arms. None more so than Heidi Crowter – who’s taking the Government to court
Heidi Crowter and husband James, 27, from Coventry, have Down’s syndrome
Between 2010 and 2018, 124 foetuses were aborted after a Down’s diagnosis
26,000 people have signed a petition against storyline portrayal in Emmerdale
Heidi, 25, fears people with Down’s who watch TV plot may feel worthless
Twirling the platinum wedding ring around her finger, Heidi Crowter is as happy as you’d expect any new bride to be.
Her home is full of mementoes of her wedding to partner James in July. Photos of the big day are on display in the sitting room of the couple’s two-bedroom flat. And her wedding dress, all froth and tulle, is still in her wardrobe.
‘It was the happiest day of my life. I can’t believe I’ve got such a wonderful husband.’ Meanwhile, James’s love and pride in his wife is palpable.
It is a picture of marital contentment which makes it all the more extraordinary that she is engaged in a hugely controversial legal battle — one she sees as essential to prove that her life is as valuable as any other young bride’s.
Heidi Crowter, 25, who lives in Coventry with husband James, 27, is campaigning to change the law, so that foetuses with non-fatal disabilities such as Down’s are treated like other foetuses. Pictured: Heidi with husband James
Heidi, 25, has Down’s syndrome, as does James, 27. When we meet at her home in Coventry, she is disarmingly outspoken with an infectious giggle. Yet she is also intensely serious when it comes to discussing the changes she wants to make to our preconceptions of people with Down’s — and to the law on abortion.
Currently, abortions after 24 weeks and up until birth are allowed in England, Scotland and Wales under three circumstances: if the mother’s life is in danger; if she is at risk of grave physical or mental injury; or if there is a severe foetal abnormality. Down’s falls into this last category, although the majority of cases are detected much earlier in pregnancy.
Still, between 2010 and 2018, 124 foetuses were aborted after 24 weeks following a Down’s diagnosis. Heidi sees this as a deep injustice that calls into question the value of her own happy, fulfilled life — and those of other disabled people.
‘How can anyone say my life is less valuable than anyone else’s?’ she says with complete frankness. ‘When babies such as me can be aborted up to birth, it makes me feel like I’m better off dead.’
The issue is set to become even bigger thanks to an upcoming storyline on ITV soap Emmerdale in which leading characters Laurel and Jai decide to terminate a pregnancy after a Down’s diagnosis.
More than 26,000 people have signed a petition calling for Emmerdale not to portray Laurel and Jai (pictured) making a decision to terminate a pregnancy after a Down’s diagnosis
More than 26,000 people have signed a petition calling for the storyline to be scrapped, while charities and MPs have written to ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall. Nevertheless the first scenes, in which Laurel discovers she’s pregnant, will air this evening with Emmerdale insisting that it has been produced in a sensitive way and in consultation with parents with children who have Down’s syndrome, medical professionals and groups such as Antenatal Results and Choices.
Aspokesman for the soap said: ‘The full context of Laurel and Jai’s story will be portrayed because they only reach this heartbreaking decision after much soul-searching. Emmerdale felt the story of thousands of couples who make this choice every year, feeling unable to talk about it, needed to be told.’
Heidi, however, doesn’t see it that way. ‘I’m so upset. Having this horrible story gives such a terrible message,’ she says. ‘It makes me feel like I should never have been born.
‘I won’t be watching. But I feel angry that there might be people with Down’s who will watch and feel worthless.’
Actress Sally Phillips — best known for BBC1’s Miranda and whose 12-year-old son Olly has Down’s — has branded the show ‘irresponsible’.
Actress Sally Phillips whose 12-year-old son Olly (pictured) has Down’s, has branded Emmerdale ‘irresponsible’
Sally is also supporting Heidi in her campaign to change the law so that foetuses with non-fatal disabilities such as Down’s are treated like other foetuses. ‘Given advances in medical care and quality of life for people with Down’s, the different right to life is beginning to look, not just dated, but barbaric,’ says Sally.
Heidi is the first person with Down’s to take the UK government to court and is supported in her legal case by her family and the charity Don’t Screen Us Out who see confident, chatty Heidi as the perfect poster girl.
Heidi’s fellow claimant, Maire Lea-Wilson from West London, has a one-year-old son with Down’s called Aidan. She resisted pressure to terminate her pregnancy after a scan at 34 weeks detected her son’s condition.
Now the question will be argued in the High Court, after judges gave the green light for Heidi’s challenge against Health Secretary Matt Hancock to be heard on the grounds of discrimination against disabled people.
Heidi claims the law amounts to a breach of her human rights. She is stepping into a fraught arena, with any tightening of abortion law potentially seen as a threat to women’s right to control their own bodies. Women in Northern Ireland only won the right to have abortions at all this summer, after decades of legal struggle. And, in some parts of Europe, women’s rights are going backwards. New laws in Poland last month ban nearly all abortions and have fuelled fears that any changes to the rules could be the thin end of the wedge.
Born in July 1995, it was touch and go whether Heidi would survive because she needed an operation to fix a hole in her heart. Pictured: Heidi and James on their wedding day
But Heidi is adamant she is not looking to ban abortions. She simply wants parity for disabled people. ‘I believe in a woman’s right to choose,’ she says firmly. ‘But this is all about there being equality in the womb.’
Heidi was born to parents who refused prenatal testing for Down’s; they already knew they would choose to keep their baby no matter what. Still, Liz, a nursery teacher, 53, and Steve, 52, who runs a car sales business, admit that didn’t lessen their shock and anxiety when Heidi was diagnosed within days of her birth in July 1995.
Down’s is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome and carries an increased risk of health problems. It was touch and go whether Heidi would survive as she needed an operation at two months to fix a hole in her heart.
Heidi is clearly doted on by her parents and two older brothers: Dan, 28, and Tim, 26, and younger sister, Suzie, 23. She attended a mainstream comprehensive in Coventry, where she passed some GCSEs. ‘I was bullied a little, but I had friends who stood up for me. Mum told me to hold my head up high and that’s what I try to remember,’ she says.
After school, she studied hairdressing and secured a part-time paid job in a children’s salon in Leamington Spa.
Heidi and James (pictured) who met in October 2018, wed on July 4 at Hillfield Church, Coventry, in front of 30 guests despite the pandemic
She’s proud of her smart little flat in a complex for disabled adults, a few miles from her parents’ home where she lives largely independently with the help of three carers.
It was through her parents that Heidi met James in October 2017. ‘When I first saw him I couldn’t believe how handsome he was,’ says Heidi. ‘It was love at first sight,’ adds James. He proposed in December 2018 — going down on one knee in front of both sets of parents and, despite the pandemic, they wed on July 4 at Hillfield Church, Coventry, in front of 30 guests. The ceremony was livestreamed and 1,000 people watched online. Their wedding has now been viewed more than 35,000 times.
Since then, Heidi has been inundated with messages from other people with Down’s who, like her, are enjoying fulfilled, independent lives. ‘I feel fantastic that we are getting somewhere,’ beams Heidi. ‘I may look and sound a little different but I have the same dreams and hopes.’
while it is possible for couples with Down’s to have children, it is simply too dangerous for Heidi to become pregnant because of her weakened heart, so James has had a vasectomy.
‘It’s upsetting, because I love children,’ she says. ‘But you have to make the most of what you have. And my life is wonderful.’
Wherever one stands on the complexities of Heidi’s campaign, it’s impossible not to admire her unfailing good humour and zest for life.
For more information on Heidi’s court case go to: crowdjustice.com/case/ downright discrimination/
As the doctor spoke, my daughter Neepy and I sat hand-in-hand, our eyes full of tears and with the ‘big C word’ echoing around us.
The room went cold and we couldn’t believe what we were being told. It was so unexpected to hear that my daughter had cancer, and we were both devastated. Neepy felt sick to her stomach while I had to suppress my screams, my tears and my fear, to show her I was going to get her through this dreadful nightmare.
The words felt so feeble in that moment, but I told my sweet Neepy that she was not alone. I’d be with her every step of the way.
Neepy hardly went to the doctor so it was really unusual for her to go to the GPs in May 2017 with severe back, stomach pain and sickness – it was the first time she had ever been on her own. Little did we know that these were the early signs of her cancer.
The GP told her she had a urine infection and she was sent home with antibiotics.
After three days of taking them, Neepy suddenly blacked out. My husband took her to the hospital where she stayed for a week and was told she had a severe kidney infection – but after being discharged, Neepy’s symptoms continued. Over the course of 10 months she went back to GPs around 10 times and on each occasion she was sent away with painkillers and told to exercise and do yoga.
When Neepy could no longer use her left leg, and she was in unrelenting pain, I took her back to A&E and insisted on an X-Ray. After seeing the result, the doctors immediately admitted her and in April 2018, aged just 23, she was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma of the pelvis, a very rare form of bone cancer.
In the days after her diagnosis, it felt as though we were living in a bubble.
All the family tried our very best to stay positive but I would look around and see their faces were etched with sadness. We’d try to act ‘normal’ but simple things like eating and sleeping became a luxury as fear that we might lose Neppytook over.
To know that GPs had failed to properly refer her made me feel extremely angry. Her kidney infection was one of the first signs of Ewing Sarcoma and knowing how much pain she was in, it saddens me to know that her symptoms were not taken seriously. Why was she being asked to take such strong pain relief – and why did that not raise any alarm bells?
I wished she had been diagnosed when her symptoms first began to show – I feel let down by the delays and poor communication we experienced, both of which meant we were unable to explore a second opinion and other options.
Instead, Neepy had to start chemotherapy straight away – it was life or death – and our world changed again as her treatment began, along with all the side-effects. Poor Neepy was so naïve, she had no clue what she was facing. She was going to have to endure 26 rounds of chemotherapy and six to eight weeks of radiotherapy.
For the first time in my life, as a mother, I had no control in making her better and it left me feeling helpless.
In January 2019 we were given the devastating news that the cancer had spread.
She had more chemo and radiotherapy but as treatment came to an end in July 2019, Neepy was advised that the cancer was terminal, and that she should live the remainder of her life to the fullest.
One of her wishes was to be part of my wedding so my husband and I brought it forward and wed a month later. We made many precious memories that day. The joy in her face was unforgettable – and as we entered 2020, things were looking up.
Neepy was getting her strength back day-by-day, making plans to go on holidays and was even considering going back to work. We all felt so happy seeing our her spirits so high.
That all changed a month later. The cancer had spread further, and my daughter was given a few months to live. I remember us both looking at each other in disbelief.
During that time, Neepy started writing her final wishes in her notebook. I only found out after she passed away as she had told her boyfriend if anything happened, he was to give me it, so me and her brother Jay, knew exactly what to do. She had thought of every little thing and was so brave it broke my heart. No child should have to write down their final wishes and no parent should have to see it.
On Sunday 12 July 2020, my gorgeous daughter, my true best friend, gained her angel wings at the age of just 26. She had developed a brain tumour and gone into palliative care but we eventually brought her home to her bedroom, where she desperately wanted to be, surrounded by family and friends. The memories we made during that time are very special and I shall cherish them forever. I miss her so much.
The loss of a child doesn’t just affect the parents. It affects their siblings, wider family and everyone around them. Delayed diagnosis can put people through this needlessly: our 10-month wait for a diagnosis cost my family dearly.
Had we known about Neepy’s illness earlier, it would have given us so much more time together as a family, making more memories and giving Neepy the opportunity to experience all the things a young person should.
People will continue to die if things don’t change and the starting point for that begins with increased awareness about cancer, especially in young people, and early diagnosis.
I want young people to know the symptoms of cancer – things like lumps, bumps and swellings, persistent pain and extreme fatigue – so that they question that ache or pain and get it checked out quickly. If they still have concerns, they shouldn’t be afraid to go back to their doctor and press for tests or answers.
For so long after Neepy’s death, it felt like the walls of our home were crying with me; I would lay in Neepy’s bed with her dog, Timmi, who would cry by my side.
Now what’s getting me and my family through is raising awareness of cancer by supporting Teenage Cancer Trust’s #BestToCheck campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and encourages young people to see their doctor at the earliest opportunity.
It also encourages healthcare professionals to err on the side of caution and refer patients for further investigations, even with lower levels of suspicion.
I don’t want any other young person to go through what Neepy did. I want them to make their voices heard.
Kamal “Chance” Givens is taking a page from Michael Corleone in explaining why he was MIA from a reunion show with Tiffany “New York” Pollard… it’s not personal, it’s strictly business.
Here’s the deal … Tiffany ripped Chance for blowing off “I Love New York Reunited” this week, saying it felt like he “s*** on the whole reunion show.” Some of her former suitors questioned Chance’s manhood and called him a coward.
But, Chance’s camp says he was simply too busy to make time for the reunion because he’s got his hands full with his own dating show, “One Mo’ Chance,” and a new movie role.
Fact is … Chance doesn’t really need Tiffany to be famous anymore, unlike some of the guys taking shots at him for not showing up.
Chance isn’t sinking to their level either … his reps say he’s wishing Tiffany the best on her recent engagement. He’s happy Tiffany finally found her match, and they will stay friends for life.
We’re told Tiffany and Chance haven’t spoken since the reunion and Chance understands why she’s pissed. Chance also appeared on the OG show with his brother, who died 5 years ago, and we’re told he did not want to go down that emotional rollercoaster reliving that time and loss of his brother.
Yeah, Tiffany might want to give Chance a pass on this one.
ABOUT one million Americans a day packed airports and planes over the weekend before Thanksgiving – and that number is expected to soar.
The first Sunday after Turkey Day is expected to be the busiest travel day of the holiday period despite major concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Can I travel for Thanksgiving this year?
There are few if any restrictions for travel in most states around the country.
The three million people who went through US airport checkpoints from Friday through Sunday marked the biggest crowds since mid-March, when the Covid-19 crisis took hold in the country.
“I don’t want to unknowingly make anyone sick. But I also don’t want to miss this special event for my only daughter,” said Laurie Pearcy of Minneapolis, who is traveling to New Orleans for her daughter’s bridal shower and a small Thanksgiving dinner with her son.
How can I be careful while traveling?
There are many steps you can take if you must travel by air, according to the CDC:
Always wear a mask in public places
Get a flu shot before you leave on your trip
Stay at least six feet apart from people you do not live with
Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer
Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth
Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer
Rethink your travel plans
The coronavirus is blamed for more than a quarter-million deaths in the US and over 12 million confirmed infections.
New cases have soared to an all-time high as well, with an average of more than 170,000 per day.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert, told CBS’ Face the Nation that people at airports “are going to get us into even more trouble than we’re in right now.”
“There is so much community transmission all over the United States that the chances of you encountering somebody that has Covid-19 is actually very, very high, whether it’s on an airplane, at the airport or at a rest area,” said Dr. Syra Madad, an infectious-disease epidemiologist in New York City.
Which states have travel restrictions?
A handful of US states have light restrictions, but most do not have any.
California is urging those who come to the Golden State to self-quarantine for two weeks.
People in Connecticut must also self-quarantine for two weeks after arriving and are required to fill out a travel health form.
Failure to submit the travel health form or to self-quarantine in Connecticut may result in a civil penalty of $500 for each such violation.
People arriving in Hawaii can avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine by providing proof of a negative test, according to The New York Times.
In Maryland, visitors and returning residents are asked to get tested within three days of arriving.
Some other states have similar guidelines, according to The Times.
What are the Thanksgiving Covid rules?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving "is to celebrate at home with the people you live with."
The CDC says: "Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year."
Mostly, the CDC asks for people to use common sense.
CHRISTMAS is just one month away, and everyone is asking whether it is safe to see family – even if the Government allows it.
Three households will be able to form an exclusive ‘bubble’ for five days over Christmas – thought to be between Christmas Eve and December 28.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Michael Gove convened leaders at 4pm today to finalise plans to save the holidays, after Boris Johnson confirmed yesterday that families will be able to enjoy Christmas together.
Until then, England will go back into a tougher new tiered system from December 2 when the national lockdown ends.
Officials have said the public "will be advised to remain cautious" during the festive period, "and that wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact”.
What are the experts' views on how to approach the festive season?
Should we relax the rules for five days?
The Prime Minister is set on relaxing the Covid restrictions to allow families a break at the end of "an incredibly difficult year".
But he has been warned a five-day relaxation in the rules could reverse any reductions in infection rates in the lead up to Christmas.
It could mean a potential 25-day period of tighter measures into January if the Government follows advice from Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies).
For some, this decision could lead to their last Christmas
Dr Gabriel Scally, president of epidemiology and public health at Royal Society of Medicine, said: "Five days is excessive. There are not family gatherings that last five days, I think that would be too much.
"A long relaxation, particularly of the rules around alcohol and hospitality, I think that would be unhelpful and would feed the virus. We have to remember the levels of the virus are still very high, even though we are supposed to come out of lockdown next week."
But he added: "I do think for those who want to do it, it will be good to have some loosening of the rules."
Dr Nibedita Ray-Bennett, founding president of the Avoidable Deaths Network, said: "In my opinion, 'the relaxation for five days' is an emotive decision, not based on science.
"It is a decision of high risk with high impact. Sadly, the impact will be evident through the increase in the number of deaths.
"We will lose lives. For some, this decision could lead to their last Christmas."
Even if they let us have a normal Christmas, is it safe to relax?
Dr Scally, a member of Independent Sage which today published a report with practical suggestions for a safe Christmas, said: "The first thing to remember is that it's not compulsory.
"A lot of people have decided not to do anything this Christmas. They're going to meet online and stay in touch that way because they feel so passionately about keeping their relatives safe.
"We've got to remember the big star rising in the east is the vaccines, so it's a small sacrifice to make over the past few months."
Lucy Yardley, professor of health psychology at the University of Bristol and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said some people have taken the good news about vaccines to think "Oh, it's all over. I don't have to take it seriously anymore."
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: "[There is] still time to have another peak of infection that could kill many more people.
"So, actually it should be the other way around – we should think that 'We're so close, we've only got to keep doing it for a little bit longer', and the worst possible Christmas present is to cause this infection to spread in our families."
How can you make it less risky?
Professor Ray-Bennett, an associate professor in risk management at University of Leicester, said: 'Through effective management of the Covid-19, I believe our vulnerable citizens can enjoy many more Christmas’ in our lives.'
If you chose to come together with family, Dr Scally said the most important thing to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading is ventilating the home.
"If you are meeting indoors, you need to make sure there is good airflow. It's not just opening one window, it's two either end of the house or one on the top and bottom of the house, and keeping doors open. You don't need a gale, just movement of air so you're not getting stale air.
"It's an old fashioned idea to prevent infection, but it’s very good."
Prof Yardley said: "At the moment, people don't really realise that they need to do things in the home and that there are things they can do to make everybody safer if they do come together."
She suggested taking the same precautions that pubs have to, including cleaning surfaces every hour.
HOW TO HAVE A SAFE CHRISTMAS
The Government will soon give guidance on how to celebrate Christmas safely. Experts have given an idea of what to expect:
SELF ISOLATE FIRST: Experts say if you want to be extra careful, isolate for 10 days to two weeks before seeing relatives to make sure you have not got the coronavirus.
MEET OUTDOORS: It would be safer to meet people outside your household outdoors, where the coronavirus is less likely to spread. Go for a walk or meet in the garden if you can.
VENTILATE THE HOME: Ventilation is the most crucial way to prevent infections this Christmas, experts say. Open the windows for ten minute bursts or continuously, and keep doors open to allow for air flow.
WEAR MASKS: A face covering protects both the wearer and those around them. Using them both indoors and outdoors adds an extra layer of risk control.
DON'T SHARE FOOD AND DRINK: Ideally, Christmas dinner guests would be spread out as much as possible. But if the table is small, experts say at least don't share plates or cups.
AVOID PHYSICAL CONTACT: It's still not safe enough to hug our loved ones. It's best to socially distance, especially from the most vulnerable, until they can be vaccinated.
LIMIT CONTACTS: Even if the Government allow for a number of households to mix, it is recommended to limit how many people you see as much as possible.
Can dozens of people can get together for parties?
The Government will permit a number of households to see each other for a few days. But it isn’t known if the number of people will be capped, and if children will be exempt.
If not, it potentially allows for big gatherings.
"That is the worrying part, if numbers are too large and the space is too small," Dr Scally said.
"It's a function of three things – the numbers, space and what's going on. If everyone is standing around talking face to face that's problematic.
"One of the problems for us is that traditionally christmas gatherings are multi-generational. I think that will be the most dangerous thing."
If you go to the pub then see family, that's the most dangerous situation of all
Prof Yardley said: "When people come together with people they know well in their homes it's a particularly risky situation because they let their guard down.
"They spend a lot of time with them and that's actually when the infection is most likely to spread."
Dr Scally said if people decide to have large gatherings, "they need to think about making them as safe as possible".
But he suggested instead meeting outdoors for a Christmas walk, or if possible, in the garden while wrapped up warmly.
"Even though the government has dropped the two metre social distance rule, try to maintain that. It's a very good way of reducing the risk," Dr Scally said.
"The other thing to do is wear a mask because they add a lot of protection to both those wearing them and others; if everyone wears one, it’s a very good way of reducing the risk for all."
Should we self-isolate for two weeks before seeing relatives?
Dr Scally said self isolating before seeing relatives at Christmas was a "sensible and caring" thing to do.
He said: "Families have to have a discussion so everyone is comfortable with the arrangements. That means some may isolate for 10 days or 2 weeks before so they know they won’t pose a risk."
Prof Yardley warned of the risks of celebrating the festive seasons at the pub with friends – if their tiered restrictions allow for it – before mixing with family.
She said: "Obviously, if you go to the pub then you go to see family members that you haven't seen and stay with them for a couple of days, that's the most dangerous situation of all."
Can we sit at the same table and eat together?
Dr Scally said eating at the table with a group of people from outside your household was problematic for a number of reasons, and was one of the most risky things you can do this Christmas.
He said: "Not everyone has a house big enough for a big table to spread people out, so people are sitting close together.
"They are eating and not wearing a mask, and they may be drinking alcohol and talking, possibly loudly because there is music."
Prof Yardley also warned against "sharing plates and cups and so on".
Should I hug my grandparents?
We’ve been yearning to hug our loved ones for months.
But health chiefs have said to resist the urge. The Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Times Radio last week social distancing rules of "one metre plus" will remain in place over Christmas.
Asked if we can give our grandmas a cuddle over the holidays, Dr Scally said: "Give them a promissory note to be cashed in when people have been vaccinated."
Is it safe to stay overnight?
Under the new tiers guidance set out by the Prime Minister last night, people in Tier 3 are not allowed to travel to other parts of the UK and stay the night.
Those in Tier 1 and 2 are encouraged to "avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas" to limit the spread of the virus.
But at Christmas, this could change. It's expected that there will be a relaxation of restrictions on overnight stays.
Given that officials in the UK’s four nations are working together, it’s expected people will be permitted to travel freely between countries.
Dr Scally said he does not think overnight stays are a problem, "provided the house is suitable and that's possible to do to contain distancing, and keeping surfaces clean".
Is it okay to see my family on Christmas day, and the in-laws on Boxing Day?
The Government has yet to clarify how household mixing will work, raising questions about whether limited households can "bubble" together for several days, or whether you can see different households on each day.
Dr Scally said either way, "the more people you see, the more networks you are connecting".
"We should do as little mixing as possible," he added.
How do I set rules in my house?
If you’re hosting people this Christmas, you may feel awkward telling people to abide by some rules.
Dr Scally said: "It's about reaching agreement, not imposing their view of things on someone else.
"Masks is a good example – the benefit of masks comes from everyone wearing them, because the mask really is effective in stopping someone transmitting the virus. So saying to someone, I'd like you to come in, but only if you wear a mask, it's working out how to say that in a non-threatening way."
The expert also cautioned to be considerate, saying: "We've got to be very careful about older people and those with vulnerabilities, and there will be people of all ages with underlying health conditions.
"We must be respectful of that, and understand why people want mask wearing or social distancing observed if they have people round."
Is it safe to invite someone who may be lonely?
Scientists at Independent Sage have said no-one should be alone this winter, despite the pandemic.
Dr Scally, who is part of the group, said people should invite isolated people over for Christmas if it can be done safely.
He said: "We should be thinking about those who are isolated. Even if you’re knocking on their door to wave at them through the window.
"That neighbourliness is very important, and that's what communities should be doing to look after those who can't see families."
MIKE TYSON has warned Hollywood actor Jamie Foxx that playing him in a new biopic 'is not going to be pretty.'
Foxx confirmed over the summer that production for the film is well underway and he has bulked up massively to match Iron Mike's physique.
The heavyweight legend has undergone his own stunning transformation from bloated former fighter to jacked athlete ahead of his highly anticipated comeback against Roy Jones Jr this weekend.
Some CGI will be used to help Foxx portray Tyson at various stages of his life and career.
But for the most part it will be the real thing, and Foxx has gone through a brutal training regime to replicate Tyson's intimidating look.
Foxx will also have to capture Tyson's remarkable career highs and lows in a life that has been marred with controversies.
Speaking on his role, Tyson backed 52-year-old Foxx to pull off an Oscar-winning performance but threw in a warning shot.
He told Charlie Mack: "He can do a great job I know that.
"I'm very grateful. I'm very excited about it. I'm gonna sit down and tell him the truth and he's gonna have to learn to process that.
"It's not going to be pretty."
Foxx said his workout of 60 pull-ups, 60 dips and 100 press-ups had radically altered his top half but joked: "I ain't got no legs, I ain't got no calf muscles so we're gonna have to get some prosthetics for that."
He aims to weigh around 15st when filming starts, to reflect the shape of a young Tyson, before 'ballooning' to 16st to play an older version of the boxer.
Iron Mike announced himself to the world at the age of 20 when he became the youngest ever heavyweight champion.
He would later cement his reputation as one of the world's greatest by becoming the undisputed champion.
His life has also been marred by controversy including biting off the ear of old foe Evander Holyfield.
Out of the ring he spiralled out of control with a history of drug and alcohol addiction and depression.
He also allegedly hit his first wife, with Robin Givens describing life with Tyson as 'torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine'.
In 1992 he was convicted of the rape of then 18-year-old Desiree Washington and jailed for six years.
So which tier WILL London be in? Confusion as mayor Sadiq Khan predicts Tier 2, northwest leaders demand Tier 3 – and optimistic capital MPs make a bid to be in the LOWEST Tier 1 when lines are redrawn on Thursday
Sadiq Khan said last night he expects London to be placed under Tier 2 rules
Meanwhile Sir Ian Duncan Smith was fighting hard for lightest Tier 1 measures
Argued that beating heart of Britain’s economy needed to be kept running
But northern city leaders demanded consistency across England
Debate raged last night over which tier London should be in under Boris Johnson’s new system when the lines are redrawn on Thursday.
A rising infection rate in the capital, bucking the trend for most of England, has raised the possibility it could be plunged into the harshest Tier 3 restrictions.
Under the Prime Minister’s new scheme, pubs and restaurants in Tier 3 will only be able to offer takeaway and delivery services, while cinemas, bowling alleys and hotels will close.
Residents in Tier 2 will have to follow rules that were previously in place in the highest Covid level – meaning pubs will only be able to serve alcohol with a ‘substantial meal’.
Senior Tories, including Sir Ian Duncan Smith, last night demanded that London – which they argued was the beating heart of Britain’s battered economy – be put into Tier 1.
But Whitehall sources told The Daily Mail that very few areas could be afforded the Level 1 restrictions, with only rural regions likely to have the lightest rules.
A shopper walks through a deserted Convent Garden in central London on Monday afternoon
In 20 of London’s 32 regions last week there were increased infection rates. The biggest jumps being Havering (up from 309.4 to 386.0), Enfield (up from 175.6 to 230.4) and Redbridge (up from 249.0 to 300.4)
Two weeks ago the average infection rates were largely lower than today – but the worst-hit London boroughs are still outside the top 100 in the league table of 317 authorities in England, Department of Health statistics show
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that he anticipates Level 2 measures will be imposed after December 2.
Tory heavyweight Sir Ian told The Telegraph: ‘London must be put into Tier 1. London is dominant in the economy and we need it to get back to work immediately.’
Mr Khan (pictured earlier this year) thinks his city is going into ‘what is called Tier 2’
Another London MP told the Guardian that they were ‘fiercely lobbying’ for hospitality to stay open in the capital.
It comes despite renewed pressure from regional leaders in the northwest who argue that there must be consistency across the country as they point to rising infection rates in London and the southeast.
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield city region, told The Guardian last night: ‘We’re willing to do our bit, but we must not be taken for granted.’
Liverpool’s Labour mayor Joe Anderson and Greater Manchester’s Andy Burnham have again come out hard against being plunged into the toughest measures.
Many leaders in the northwest stand poised to argue that it is, in fact, London which deserves the most stringent Tier 3 rules.
In 20 of London’s 32 boroughs last week there were increased infection rates.
The biggest jumps being Havering (up from 309.4 to 386.0), Enfield (up from 175.6 to 230.4) and Redbridge (up from 249.0 to 300.4).
Meanwhile Kent has one of the worst infection rates in the country, with the district of Swale recording 631.7 cases per 100,000 people.
That district is worse than anywhere else in England and just 50 miles to the centre of London.
Despite this, Mr Khan remained optimistic that the data did not point towards Tier 3 measures for his city.
‘It’s a bit early to say yet, but based on the numbers that I’ve seen, which is a slowdown in the virus spreading, it’s coming down in parts of London in a couple of boroughs.’ Mr Khan told LBC.
‘What I hope would happen is … London would probably be in what is called Tier 2.’
Commuters are packed onto a London tube on October 26 as the capital’s millions continue to toil amid the pandemic
Despite rising cases, Covid-19 hospital admissions in London are among the lowest in the country and were last week less than a third of those in the northeast and half the figure in the northwest.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Thankfully in London the NHS has performed remarkably in this second peak and has coped with it despite the pressures admirably well.’
Mr Johnson will announce which tiers the regions of England are in on Thursday.
The tiers will be reviewed every two weeks based on five categories: the numbers of cases, cases among those aged over 60, rate of infection, prevalence of the virus in the population and local pressures on the NHS.
The tiered system is expected to remain in place until March 31.
The onerous tiered system which the Prime Minister has said will remain in place until March 31
Which areas will be plunged into Tier Three? Hull and much of the North West face toughest restrictions while London faces Tier Two and infections in Kent are spiking
By Mark Duell, Martin Robinson and Connor Boyd
Infection rates remain stubbornly high in areas across the country that will face Tier Three local lockdown rules when England’s shutdown ends next week, with Hull, Kent and parts of the North West and Midlands in the firing line.
The district of Swale was recording 631.7 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to November 18, according to analysis of the latest Public Health England figures. It marked a sharp rise from the 425.8 infections per 100,000 reported for the previous seven days.
The rising case rate means Swale will likely be plunged into a Tier Three lockdown when the national shutdown ends on December 2 unless the borough can drastically reduce its infection rate.
Meanwhile official data shows Hull, in East Yorkshire, is also in danger of being put in the high-risk category next month because the city is recording 615.1 cases per 100,000.
Official testing data shows that coronavirus infection rates are falling across the North of England, where they were highest during the peak of the second wave, but they remain high in some areas of the West Midlands, Kent, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire (Darker colours indicate higher rates of positive tests per 100,000 people)
Boris Johnson today unveiled his winter Covid-19 road map to curb the spread of the virus, which includes a revamped tiered lockdown system from next month.
Under the new scheme, pubs and restaurants in areas in the highest category will only be able to offer takeaway and delivery services, while cinemas, bowling alleys and hotels will close.
Residents in Tier Two will have to follow rules that were previously in place in the highest Covid level – meaning pubs will only be able to serve alcohol with a ‘substantial meal’.
Exactly which areas are being allocated into different tiers won’t be announced until Thursday, but the PHE weekly infection rate data is normally one of the measurements used by officials.
London is set to go back into a Tier 2 lockdown when the second national lockdown ends on December 2 despite clear signs the already low infection rates across the capital have stalled and are dropping.
Businesses and MPs have demanded that the UK’s largest city should be in Tier 1 to help recover some of the billions the economy has lost since since March as the hospitality industry warned 75 per cent of pubs, restaurants and cafes could go bust without freedom to open fully.
But Boris Johnson is expected to ignore their pleas and keep London in Tier 2 – with stricter rules making it more like the current tier 3 – when he makes the announcement on which tier England’s regions will be in on Thursday. Mr Johnson unveiled the detailed lockdown ruled today via Zoom, where he is self-isolating.
The infection rates in the worst-hit London boroughs are still outside the top 100 in the league table of 317 authorities in England, Department of Health statistics show, with the seven-day average in London down to 197.2 per 100,000 residents yesterday from 198.9 on Saturday. The national average is currently 235.
As the PM set out his tier-strategy to the spring via Zoom, it also emerged today:
Oxford-AstraZeneca announce their vaccine is up to 90% effective and can be stored in a normal fridge;
Boris Johnson is unveiling new lockdown tier rules with pubs and restaurants reopened ‘in name only’ – but gyms and Christmas shopping are back on. The tiers each region will be in from next month will be released on Thursday;
Ministers are proposing a major testing scheme to prevent the need for self-isolation when people have come into contact with infected individuals, in an attempt to win over rebels on the Conservative backbenches;
Boris Johnson said he would reveal on Thursday which tiers will apply to each part of Britain, with no decision taken on whether London will go back into tier two until the 11th hour.
The move could depend on data on cases and the R number for transmission in the capital over the next few days.
But the Government face be significant criticism from politicians and business leaders if the capital was put into the higher tier three level.
The return to the same ‘high’ level as before November 5 means non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and gyms will be allowed to reopen in the capital. But the rules are expected to be tighter even than before, with pubs in Tier 2 only allowed to open if serving ‘substantial meals’ with drinks.
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, told the Evening Standard: ‘Reopening in a safe and sustainable way is vital to ensure that retailers and leisure operators get the best possible opportunity to make up some of the billions in lost trade this season. In order for this to be most effective, we hope the Government recognises the latest figures we have seen in the capital and will see fit to place London at the very least in Tier 2, if not Tier 1.’
Noam Bar, co-founder of the Ottolenghi food empire with chef and best friend Yotam, said: ‘We have learnt to live with Tier 2, though of course Tier 1 is preferable both for us as a business and for the Government — on Tier 1 we’d employ more staff and pay more taxes.’
London won’t be the only area anticipating a move back to devastatingly tough rules when December comes.
Swale’s local council leader, Roger Truelove, echoed his comments, claiming lockdown rules in the borough were being ‘willfully disregarded’, with residents regularly not wearing face coverings and ignoring social distancing.
An emergency meeting is being held today by local councillors and health officials to discuss why the district – which is home to about 150,000 and includes the Isle of Sheppey – has seen such rapid growth of the virus.
The latest analysis of PHE figures, by the Press Association news agency, found Covid-19 case rates started to fall in most local areas across England in the most recent week, up to November 18.
In a Commons statement this afternoon, Boris Johnson is set to confirm the second national lockdown will end in England on December 2, with a return to the regional approach that was in force before
In only two of the nine regions are a majority of areas recording a week-on-week rise – London and the South East. It is still too soon to judge the full impact on case rates of the England-wide lockdown, however.
The nationwide restrictions began on November 5, and the most recent figures are for the week ending November 18 – just 14 days into the lockdown.
Given it can take up to two weeks for Covid-19 symptoms to appear, and further time for somebody to be tested and the result to be processed, more data is needed to be certain about how and where case rates are falling.
But the latest figures suggest the numbers are heading in the right direction, though crucially not in all parts of England.
The rate is rising in 34 out of 67 local authority areas in south-east England, the worrying figures show. Other areas with big jumps include Medway (up from 256.3 to 384.8) and Gravesham (up from 269.3 to 386.2).
The biggest week-on-week fall has been recorded in Oxford, where the rate has dropped from 256.5 to 152.8. The Isle of Wight has the lowest rate in the region: 76.2, up very slightly from 74.8.
Of the 32 areas in London, 20 showed an increase, the biggest jumps being Havering (up from 309.4 to 386.0), Enfield (up from 175.6 to 230.4) and Redbridge (up from 249.0 to 300.4).
Havering also has the highest rate in London. Camden has the lowest, down from 125.2 to 113.3. The neighbouring borough of Islington has seen the biggest week-on-week drop, down from 179.0 to 145.2.
Meanwhile, rates are falling in almost every area of Yorkshire and the Humber – a turnaround from last week, when most areas were recording a rise.
In the latest figures, just three out of 21 areas showed an increase: Craven, North Lincolnshire and Selby. North Lincolnshire recorded the biggest week-on-week jump in rates – but this was only a small rise, from 412.1 to 448.1.
Scarborough saw the biggest fall, down from 614.2 to 349.4. Hull continues to have the highest rate in the region, and the second highest in the whole of England: 615.1, down from 785.3.
Rates are up in only three of the 39 areas in north-west England – Carlisle, Hyndburn and South Lakeland. Hyndburn saw the biggest rise, from 382.5 to 487.4, giving it the highest rate in the region.
Closed down and boarded up, the Garrick Arms pub in Charing Cross is among many pubs boarded up after the capital’s hospitality industry was decimated
Covent Garden in London is pictured on Friday. The capital is expected to go back into tier two despite falling infection rates in many boroughs
Oldham, which once had the highest rate in England, is down from 641.1 to 442.0 – the biggest week-on-week drop in the North West.
There have also been claims that tiers should vary between boroughs, although this would be hard to enforce given how many Londoners travel between them for work.
Today, Mr Johnson set out plans for the new tiers of restrictions to replace the lockdown in England and to pave the way for a limited relaxation at Christmas.
He detailed his winter strategy this afternoon, with a plan to deploy a major testing scheme in an attempt to winner over rebels on the Conservative backbenches.
He told tell MPs that non-essential shops can open in all three tiers after the current restrictions expire on December 2, in a boost for retailers.
Mr Johnson also set out the basis of plans to allow a small number of households across the UK to mix over a limited number of days around Christmas.
It comes as hopes were raised that vaccines could end the pandemic after a British jab was found to be up to 90 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19.
AstraZeneca and Oxford University said their jab is effective in stopping most people from contracting coronavirus and falling seriously ill.
There are some indications that it can also prevent people passing the virus to others. The jab is likely to be rolled out in the UK from December.
THE Saunderson Brothers have been on our radar for a while now having talked us through an amazing playlist of ten Detroit classics back in June this year.
Their new release is their debut on Sacha Robotti’s Slothacid imprint. Alongside their famous Inner City parents, they’ve turned the lockdown into a creative opportunity with their Signature Move EP. They recently told The Night Bazaar:
“Collaborating with family is cool because we already know each other so well, and are able to work to each others’ musical strengths and weaknesses. We all live fairly close by at the moment so that makes the entire collaboration process seamless.”
With vocals from their mum, Ann Saunderson, on the title track, and a much-hyped remix from their father, Detroit legend, Kevin Saunderson, this raises the bar for family collaborations and also puts Robotti’s Slothacid label firmly on the map. But whose idea was it for the whole family to feature on the new release?
“It was a group effort really – we usually send most of our music to our Mom to see if she’s vibing for vocals and if we all like the final product we run with it.”
Listen to the new tracks below. Read the interview in full and check out their exclusive mixes The Night Bazaar.