UK - The Huffington Post
UK - The Huffington Post
Zachary Quinto And Billy Porter To Voice Gay Dads On New Disney+ Series
The Proud Family is going to have some brand new additions when it returns to our screens next year. Disney+ this week unveiled artwork and voice cast additions for the forthcoming reboot of the beloved animated series, which concluded its original run 16 years ago.Slated for release in 2022, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder will star Zachary Quinto and Billy Porter as Randall and Barry Leibowitz-Jenkins.The characters are described as a mixed-race gay couple who are the adoptive parents of 14-year-old activist Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins, another new addition who will be voiced by Keke Palmer. EJ Johnson, who is the son of NBA legend Magic Johnson, is also joining the cast as Michael Collins, described in press notes as a gender-nonconforming trendsetter who serves up “fierce looks at school and on the basketball court”.Michael did appear in the original Proud Family series, when the character was voiced by Phil LaMarr.The Proud Family was hailed as a culturally inclusive milestone for children’s entertainment when it premiered on the Disney Channel in 2001, thanks to its predominantly Black cast of characters.The original series followed the adventures of 14-year-old Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt), and her eccentric family.  A holiday-themed episode in the show’s debut season won praise for exploring the traditions of Kwanzaa.Fans may also recall the show’s infectious theme song, which was performed by Destiny’s Child and Solange Knowles.  A made-for-TV feature film, The Proud Family Movie, aired in 2005 as the series finale. Last year, Disney+ announced that most of the original Proud Family cast would return for the reboot.In addition to Kyla Pratt, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder will feature Tommy Davidson as Oscar Proud, Paula Jai Parker as Trudy Proud, Cedric the Entertainer as Uncle Bobby and Soleil Moon Frye as Zoey Howzer. In recent weeks, Zachary Quinto has been doing promo with Jim Parsons for the documentary Tennessee & Truman: An Intimate Conversation, in which the two actors provide voiceovers as writers Tennessee Williams (Quinto) and Truman Capote (Parsons).Billy Porter is currently starring in the third and final series of Pose, which began airing in the US earlier this month.Later this year, he’ll be seen as the Fab G ― a genderless fairy godparent ― in the new film adaptation of Cinderella, co-starring Camila Cabello. HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Prices and availability subject to change.MORE DISNEY NEWS:Nothing To See Here, Just Harry Styles Posing Up A Storm In A Disney Princess-Inspired Photo-ShootMiley Cyrus Had A Seriously Heartfelt Reaction To Hannah Montana's 15-Year AnniversaryEmma Stone Unleashes Chaos As A Young Cruella In First Trailer For New Disney Film
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
What Is ‘Genetic Pain’? How To Spot Your Intergenerational Trauma
Prince Harry has said he wants to break the cycle of “genetic pain” in the royal family, during his first major interview since his sit-down with Oprah.Harry joined the Armchair Expert podcast with hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, and revealed he wanted to leave royal life in his 20s, calling it a cross between living in The Truman Show and a zoo.Speaking about his upbringing, he said: “There is no blame. I don’t think we should be pointing the finger or blaming anybody, but certainly when it comes to parenting, if I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on, basically.“It’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway, so we as parents should be doing the most we can to try and say ‘you know what, that happened to me, I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to you’.”We asked two counselling psychologists what we need to know about “genetic pain”. What is ‘genetic pain’? Instead of “genetic pain,” Jo Coker, a counselling psychologist who works with the College of Sex and Relationship Therapy, prefers the term ”unresolved intergenerational trauma”. “There’s growing evidence that there’s possibly some genetic link to intergenerational trauma, but that’s at a very early stage,” she tells HuffPost UK. “I think Prince Harry may have just cottoned onto that term, but it’s perhaps not a term we would tend to use.”Intergenerational trauma is when somebody has had a traumatic event in their childhood – or an experience they didn’t enjoy or didn’t like – and they go on to repeat that same pattern with their children, she explains. “Even with every intention to do things differently, people tend to repeat history,  because that’s the pattern that exists,” says Coker. “It’s a bit like when people who have a poor [romantic] relationship say: ’I’m never going to repeat a relationship like that again’, and then they go on to have a relationship exactly like that again. We all tend to repeat patterns that have been set for us.”How does intergenerational trauma manifest?There aren’t a series of tick-boxes you can check to see if your family is impacted by intergenerational trauma or genetic pain, says counselling psychologist Dr Chloe Paidoussis Mitchell. “It’s often invisible, and can cause mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression and addiction issues,” she tells HuffPost UK. “Often, children carrying the wounds of generational patterns feel very low self-worth and self-esteem, and because there’s no obvious cause, they don’t understand it and try and mask it, or avoid facing it.”This trauma, or pain, can be very destabilising and impact a person’s sense of wellbeing and happiness over a number of years, she adds. “Therapy to heal genetic pain involves learning to build a positive relationship with oneself and awareness of what has contributed to this pain.” How to break the cycleBoth experts agree avoiding blame is key to breaking the cycle. Cross generational trauma is “unintentional and unconscious” and “distressing for all parties” in almost every case, says Dr Paidoussis Mitchell. “Stopping the patterns doesn’t mean rejecting parents or accusing them,” she adds. “To stop patterns from being repeated, it’s important to do this from a place of compassion, not judgment and rage, so you’re sure you’re not unconsciously enacting a pattern of repressed anger to your own children.”Learning about the historical context of your parent’s (or grandparent’s) experience can help you to approach the topic with more neutrality, says Coker.“For example, if we go back to the previous century and look at the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, people would send their children halfway across the world to boarding school and not see them for a year, but we would consider that pretty barbaric now,” she says. Stopping the patterns doesn’t mean rejecting parents or accusing them.Counselling psychologist Dr Chloe Paidoussis Mitchell“So you also have to see trauma in the context of history. If you’re trying to recover from intergenerational trauma, you need to be able to understand the events that happened, not just see it in isolation and in the context of today’s world. What sounds unacceptable today may have been acceptable then.”Talking to your parents or grandparents about their childhood is the first, obvious step to greater understanding of historical context. “It’s all about having sensitive conversations about childhood with all generations in the spirit of love and care, rather than rejection and judgment,” says Dr Paidoussis Mitchell. “People make mistakes and parenting is always about being good enough.” Making an active choice to confront these troubling memories and break a cross generation pattern “takes courage and can be very destabilising for the whole family,” she adds. Professional guidance is often advisable, so intentions are properly validated and understood.Useful websites and helplinesMind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email help@themix.org.ukRethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.READ MORE:Prince Harry Says He Already Wanted To Leave Royal Life In His 20sPrince Harry Nails Why You Shouldn't Say 'You Need Help' To Someone Struggling'All Too Familiar': Why Black British Women Relate Hard To Meghan MarkleMen Journal, Too – And They’re Starting To Talk About ItPrince Harry Reveals His Early Secret Meetup With Meghan Markle
4 h
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Too-Real Tweets About Having A Sister
It’s hard to describe what it’s like to have a sister to those who lack the experience. But the funny folks of Twitter have come pretty close.We’ve rounded up 30 funny and relatable tweets about life with sisters. Enjoy!My sister asked if I stole her cream sweater. Uh, yeah. Who else would've stolen it? You think a burglar broke in and was like "Cute top!"— Lauren Reeves (@laurenreeves) October 8, 2014My little sister just said "I see you're wearing your loser badge... oh wait that's your face" which is a pretty sick burn, except for the fact we have nearly identical faces— Katie (@middlebiely) April 23, 2018shout out to four year old me, who on hearing that i was having a sister suggested the name "iguanadon"when my parents said "that's not a girl's name," probably hoping i would go with a non-dinosaur, i changed my suggestion to "iguanadonna"— dissertating yell at me if you see me on here (@HalstedMedieval) March 9, 2020“what’s it like having a sister?” pic.twitter.com/mNkSOSXZBU—
4 h
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Operation Un-Mask: Will We Ever Stop Wearing Face Coverings?
Nowadays, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid at putting on a seatbelt for your own safety when sitting in your car – or anyone else’s. Yet right up to the 1980s, seatbelt uptake was pretty low until laws changed to make them mandatory. Fast forward to pandemic times and we’ve witnessed a similar trajectory on mask-wearing. For so many, it’s become second nature to whip a face cover from their bag or pocket before entering a shop or hopping on the bus.But in the first half of 2020, it was touch and go as to whether western nations would even get on board with the idea. It all started with a bunch of experts who, when the pandemic first hit, fought hard for officials to recognise mask-wearing as a form of protection from the virus. In March 2020, a group of researchers and scientists started the global #Masks4All movement, led by Australian research scientist Jeremy Howard. They cited evidence that even cloth masks limited the spread of Covid-19 at a time when personal protective equipment (PPE) like surgical and N95 masks was in dangerously short supply.Around the same time, pockets of people in the UK were starting to cotton on to the fact that masks, even homemade ones, were better than nothing – but most of us remained staunchly against the idea. Some who adopted mask-wearing before it was recommended by officials found themselves on the receiving end of harsh glares and even abuse. Deborah Stevens, 60, a supermarket worker at Tesco in Royston, Hertfordshire, would turn up to work in a mask to try and protect herself and her family, particularly her daughter who needed to shield for medical reasons.She recalls stares from customers. They made her feel as though she was doing “something that wasn’t really needed,” she told HuffPost UK earlier this year. “And I had to do that for myself and for my family, that was the only way I could cope, to protect myself the best I possibly could.”Trisha Greenhalgh, professor of primary health care services at the University of Oxford, was one of the key mask influencers in the UK, pushing for people to wear homemade face covers from very early on. She could often be found tweeting advice on how to make cloth coverings from t-shirts and singing the praises of using pantyliners as mask filters.On April 24, 2020 – a month into England’s first lockdown – Prof Greenhalgh told HuffPost UK that wearing face masks was “a socially responsible thing to do and may save lives”. A year on, she stands by that message. She remembers the incident that made her realise mask-wearing could be hugely beneficial: a performance of Bach’s St John Passion in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw auditorium on March 8 that led to 102 of 130 choir members developing symptoms of Covid-19. Sadly, four people linked to the choir died.“This massive super-spreader event simply cannot be explained by ‘fomites’ [things people touch in common] or droplets [which fall with gravity],” she says. “The virus had to be airborne. So we had to stop it getting into the air.”Getting others – especially doctors – on board with the idea of mask-wearing as a protective measure for the public was a huge challenge, she tells HuffPost UK. “They had a mindset that we should exercise extreme caution when introducing new interventions, hence masks should not be recommended until we had incontrovertible proof of their efficacy and safety.“But compared to a new drug or vaccine, the risk of serious harm from face masks is extremely low, and the potential for benefit at population level could be high. It was abundantly clear to me that the well-rehearsed reasons for advocating caution in clinical trial research did not hold here.”Prof Greenhalgh and colleagues published a paper on April 9, 2020 arguing just that. There’s since been plenty of evidence to suggest face masks work not only in protecting others but also – to some degree – the wearer. But while other countries rushed to adopt mask-wearing, there was a lot of flip-flopping from government officials in the UK who couldn’t seem to decide whether they should recommend that we wear masks or not. The lack of consistent messaging led to confusion, which ultimately helped contribute to anti-mask sentiment, psychologists have said since.Way back in January, a blog post from Public Health England said there was “very little evidence of widespread benefit” to wearing a face mask outside clinical settings such as hospitals. In March, England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said of masks: “For the average member of the public wandering down the street, it is really not a good idea.” And later, on April 24, health secretary Matt Hancock said the evidence on the effectiveness of face masks was “weak” and there were no plans to make them mandatory. Of course, the government was facing huge shortages in PPE, but there was precious little suggestion that homemade face covers were a viable option.Four days later came a momentous shift in discourse: Scotland became the first UK nation to officially recommend the use of face coverings in public places and just two days after that, prime minister Boris Johnson suggested face coverings were “useful” to guard against coronavirus and could give people the confidence to head back to work.But another whole month passed before mask wearing became mandatory on English public transport in June and then in indoor public settings in July, with fines for anyone who didn’t abide by the rules (and wasn’t exempt from wearing a mask for physical or mental health reasons).Prior to this, thousands were still catching public transport to work, packed in like sardines (despite the stay at home message, many simply had no choice but to go to work), and public transport workers were dying at high rates. Studies have since shown London bus drivers were three times more likely to die from the virus than other workers.A YouGov poll from June 2020 suggests more people were not wearing masks than were: less than a quarter (21%) of Brits wore a mask or cover when out in public. People in France, Spain, Italy and Germany had widely adopted masks at this point, but the UK lagged far behind. Only in Scandinavia and Australia were people less likely to wear masks.But when mask-wearing was made mandatory in shops and other indoor public spaces, people began to sit up and take notice. Survey results showed the tipping point when most Brits went from never wearing masks to always wearing them when out and about, came when they were made mandatory. All of a sudden, you were more likely to get glared at if you weren’t wearing a mask in the supermarket. Much like the change in seatbelt laws before it, Brits went from mask-avoidant to aficionados in the space of weeks.Find more statistics at StatistaProf Greenhalgh says she dearly wishes the change of policy had come earlier and been more decisive. “If UK policy had changed in April instead of July, for example, so many thousands more lives could have been saved,” she says.Now, as lockdown eases, the conversation is turning to masks again – but this time, the question is how much longer we’ll be required to wear them.The UK government has confirmed that from May 17, pupils in England will no longer have to wear face coverings in schools and colleges, where Covid-19 transmission remains low, while health secretary Matt Hancock suggested mandatory mask-wearing might change for everyone else from June 21.However, there is no consensus. With children and most young people not yet vaccinated, many experts say there’s “no reason” to expect the virus will hold back if measures like wearing masks are removed. Scientists on the government’s Sage committee reportedly told ministers that pupils should continue to wear face masks into the summer. Could this be yet another mask mistake? There are concerns over the long-term consequences of the virus in children – or long Covid – and we know kids aren’t immune from experiencing debilitating symptoms, although more research is needed in this area.With all the speculation about variants of concern it’s worth remembering that, new variants or not, kids & younger adults are still unvaccinated so there’s no reason to expect the virus will hold back from infecting them if mitigations (like masks & ventilation) are removed.— Dr Nisreen Alwan
4 h
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
How Fears Over The Indian Variant Have Changed The UK's Covid Vaccine Rollout
Boris Johnson has warned that step four of England’s “road map” out of lockdown in June is in jeopardy as scientists said the Indian variant of concern could be 50% more transmissible than the Kent variant.Here’s how the vaccine roll-out has been affected to help win the “race” between the programme and the surge of the virus.What was the plan? In January, the UK government announced that every adult in the country would be offered a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of July.It later said both parts of the two-dose vaccine could be delivered 12 weeks apart, a move that courted controversy since the initial plan was to leave 21 days between the jabs. It was breaking with the policy adopted by many other countries.The roll-out was based on getting the vaccines to the most vulnerable groups first. The priority list was decided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – an independent expert advisory committee.The top priority groups were over-80s, care home residents, and NHS and social care staff. In phase two, jabs were handed out to people over 75, before moving down to those aged 70-plus and 65-plus as well as other adults with health conditions which leave them vulnerable. Other adults over 50 were then vaccinated in the third phase.The roll-out age group started to stall between the 40- and 50-year-old cohort due to global supply issues – but the July goal remained the same.What’s changed?The government is now looking at ways to “flex” the rollout of vaccines in areas most impacted by the variant, including vaccinating everyone in multi-generational households, from 18-year-olds to grandparents. A handful of areas in England are encouraging all over-18s to come forward for the jab.A vaccine centre in Merseyside has had queues around the block after it was announced all over-20s would be given a jab. In Scotland, all over-18s living in Moray are now able to book a vaccine, in an effort to tackle rising Covid cases in the area.Meanwhile, the prime minister announced on Friday that the over-50s will now be offered their second jab eight weeks after their first – instead of 12 weeks.Elsewhere in England, the broader vaccine rollout was extended to those aged 38 to 39 on May 13 and everyone eligible is being urged to book – especially if you live in an area with rising cases.Why?Data from Public Health England shows a rise in cases of the Indian variant of concern from 520 to 1,313 this week in the UK, with the agency saying infections were “rising in the community”.The change comes as the UK tries to ward off the possibility of a new surge in cases caused by the India variant, which is feared to be up to 50% more transmissible than the Kent variant.Johnson told a Downing Street press briefing: “The race between our vaccination programme and the virus may be about to become a great deal tighter, and it’s more important than ever therefore that people get the protection of a second dose.”How will it affect those waiting?Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said despite the change in tactics it was still the government’s aim for everybody to have been offered a first dose of the vaccine by the end of July.“The prioritisation of second doses will not, we think, delay the situation, the rollout, for people who are in younger ages,” he told the briefing.“We hope to get all the way through to everybody having their first vaccine by the end of July – that is the aim.“Additionally, there is an aim for people of all ages to accelerate to some degree the point at which people get their second vaccination.”Prof Whitty added: “This is because we think those who have a second vaccine will have greater protection, not only against the original variants but also against this new variant.”He said even with the India variant, the number of people who are testing positive for Covid-19 in the UK is “on a steady downward path and is stable” in terms of the overall numbers.There is also a “steady decrease” in the numbers of people who are in hospital.Prof Whitty said the number who have died following a Covid-19 test has been steadily decreasing with the most recent seven-day average standing at seven deaths a dayRelated...Will Lockdown Be Extended? What The India Variant Could Mean For Covid RulesBoris Johnson Warns Indian Variant Puts June Re-Opening At RiskWhat Is A ‘Surge’ Covid Vaccine And Can I Get One?
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Why Union Boss Elections Are As Crucial As 'Red Wall' Votes For Keir Starmer
This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Bob Crow, the late boss of the RMT transport union, was undoubtedly a controversial figure. London commuters late for work due to seemingly endless Tube strikes would curse his name. Politicians and journalists who clashed with the left-wing firebrand would call him a “dinosaur” or, owing to his whopping £142,000 salary, a “champagne socialist”. But when Crow died suddenly in 2014, it was notable how tributes came from not just those sympathetic to left-wing politics but from across the political spectrum. Even Boris Johnson, then the Tory mayor of London, recognised Crow “fought tirelessly” for better pay and conditions and that he thought his former foe “a man of character”.Obviously, no self-respecting union leader would want to be seen getting too cosy with Conservative politicians. But how Crow was regarded in the political sphere stands in sharp contrast to Howard Beckett, one of the candidates to replace Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite. Keir Starmer moved to suspend him from the Labour Party for saying home secretary Priti Patel, a British-born minister of Indian heritage, “should be deported”. Beckett apologised to Patel but remained defiant during an interview with Sky News on Friday, refusing to withdraw from the Unite race and saying his suspension was “completely inappropriate”. He added he did not “literally” mean the minister should be deported and was “sorry if” that was not clear to those that read his hastily-deleted tweet. While the assistant general secretary claimed he had not been informed of a suspension, Labour sources insist an email was sent and his union informed. Unite, meanwhile, does not appear to have taken any action, telling HuffPost UK he “has correctly and unreservedly apologised”, while offering no further comment. Beckett’s is the just the latest in a long line of bad headlines and divisive interventions from union chiefs in the seven years since Crow’s death. And many of them have targeted not the Conservatives, but Labour. McCluskey accused former deputy leader Tom Watson “sharpening his knife looking for a back to stab” and said Starmer faces the “dustbin of history” if he does not change direction. The FBU’s Matt Wrack has hit out at Starmer for “watering down” policies and Labour MPs for undermining former leader Jeremy Corbyn.TSSA boss Manuel Cortes repeatedly went public to hit out at Corbyn for Labour’s “Brexit fudge” when the party was in turmoil over its policy on a second referendum in 2018.  Former GMB general secretary Tim Roache stood down last year citing ill health and has faced claims of impropriety, which he denies. Separately, an independent report found the union to be institutionally sexist. In the minds of voters, all this friendly fire points to more left-wing division and Labour leaders not in control of their party’s agenda. Fresh elections this year for the leadership of Unite and GMB follow Christina McAnea’s election as the first female general secretary of Unison in January. With Peter Mandelson calling for union reform, these races are just as  important for Starmer’s Labour Party, if not more, than any parliamentary by-election. A new era of Labour blood-letting and a “war of the roses” between MPs and the union movement splashed across every newspaper is not likely to boost the electoral hopes of Corbyn’s successor.Though said to be “McCluskey’s right hand man”, Beckett is unlikely to emerge victorious in the Unite race, however. Some believe he may struggle to even make the ballot.The contest is between Steve Turner, a figure who prefers to keep his powder dry until behind closed doors, and moderate Gerard Coyne, who pointedly told HuffPost UK that Unite can no longer be Starmer’s “backseat driver”.  Whoever leads a union affiliated to Labour will have a voice and a platform. But, as Crow proved, how they use that influence will be their legacy. Related...Unite Urged to Stop Being Starmer's 'Backseat Driver' By Union Leadership ContenderLabour Suspends Union Boss After His 'Deport' Priti Patel TweetRace To Replace Len McCluskey Starts As Unite Triggers General Secretary Election
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
'Time For Blair’ Is Trending And Everyone Knew What To Do
With the Labour Party in turmoil following the loss of the Hartlepool by-election and the subsequent botched shadow cabinet reshuffle, questions are being asked about the leadership of Keir Starmer.Does the former Director of Public Prosecutions have the charisma to match Boris Johnson? Could anyone realistically do better against a government spending lots of money and successfully vaccinating its population against a deadly pandemic?As many wrestle these questions and more, one man has an answer: Time for Blair. The Tories now have a 15 point leadTime for Blair— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) May 14, 2021That’s the simple solution proposed by Andrew Adonis, the former Labour Cabinet minister in the 2000s who now sits in the House of Lords.The proposition on its surface is pretty simple: bring back the man who steered Labour to a hat-trick of general elections, a man with a proven track record of success. And he boiled it down to just three words. And used it again.Time for Blair https://t.co/3qMhXaaFRc— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) May 14, 2021 And again. Time for Blair, as I say here https://t.co/uFDK4X8vJj— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) May 14, 2021 And again. Just in case you’ve missed it -Time for Blair— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) May 14, 2021 The polls, however, don’t quite see it that way, with Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn regarded as better placed than TB. Would [X] do a better or worse job of leading the Labour party than Keir Starmer?According to 2019 Labour voters:Andy Burnham - ✅47% / ❌7%Jeremy Corbyn - ✅35% / ❌43%Tony Blair - ✅27% / ❌36%Rebecca Long Bailey - ✅16% / ❌21%https://t.co/tXRHN7ikKrpic.twitter.com/RYIbQ30R2j— YouGov (@YouGov) May 14, 2021 But the argument seemed lost on most who engaged with the idea on Twitter, and there seemed to be three directions to take it.The most popular was to reference Blair’s foreign policy, and implicit in all of them was the war in Iraq.  Time for Blair? I quite agree. Ten years in Belmarsh should do it.— Count Binface (@CountBinface) May 14, 2021Actually, it's time for Blair to stand trial for his war crimes. Nothing else.— Northern Independence Party
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
'More Transmissible' Indian Variant Puts June Re-Opening At Risk, Boris Johnson Warns
The Indian variant could make it “more difficult” for England to move further out of lockdown in June, Boris Johnson has said.He told a Downing Street press conference on Friday: “I do not believe that we need, on the present evidence, to delay our road map and we will proceed with our plan to move to step three in England from Monday.“But I have to level with you that this new variant could pose a serious disruption to our progress and could make it more difficult to move to step four in June.“I must stress we will do whatever it takes to keep the public safe.”At the briefing, Englands chief medical officer Chris Whitty said there theres is “now confidence” that the India variant is “more transmissible” than the strain first discovered in Kent.Johnson said that if the Indian variant proves to be “significantly more transmissible” than other strains “we’re likely to face some hard choices”.This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Martin Bashir Quits The BBC Amid Investigation Into Princess Diana Interview
Martin Bashir has quit the BBC on health grounds amid an investigation into his Panorama interview with Princess Diana.The veteran journalist, who was the BBC News religion editor, has been seriously unwell with complications related to Covid-19 since last year.Jonathan Munro, the BBC’s deputy director of news, said in a message to staff: “Martin Bashir has stepped down from his position as the BBC’s religion editor, and is leaving the Corporation.“He let us know of his decision last month, just before being readmitted to hospital for another surgical procedure on his heart.”Munro’s message ended: “Although he underwent major surgery toward the end of last year, he is facing some ongoing issues and has decided to focus on his health.“We wish him a complete and speedy recovery.”Bashir began working as a journalist in 1986 and made headlines around the world in 1995 for his interview with Diana for Panorama.Diana’s brother Earl Spencer has alleged Mr Bashir showed him fake financial documents and told untrue stories about the Royal Family to gain access to his late sister.The BBC has appointed Lord Dyson, a retired judge and former master of the rolls, to lead an investigation to discover what steps the BBC and Mr Bashir took to land the interview.Former BBC director-general Lord Hall led a 1996 internal BBC investigation into the circumstances surrounding Diana’s appearance, which sent shockwaves through the royal family with her revelations about the state of her marriage.The BBC has previously said in a statement that during an internal corporation investigation in 1996, Mr Bashir admitted commissioning mocked-up bank documents.They had been shown to Earl Spencer, but he said they had played no part in securing the princess’s appearance on Panorama.In March, Scotland Yard said it would not launch a criminal investigation into the interview after a former employee of Earl Spencer made a formal complaint to the force.A legal representative of Alan Waller, who used to work for Diana’s brother Earl Spencer as head of security, had written to the Met alleging unlawful activity.READ MORE:Princess Diana’s Bombshell 1995 Interview Is Under Investigation. Here’s WhyMartin Bashir, Veteran Journalist And Celebrity X Factor Star, Seriously Unwell With Covid-19
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Jade Thirlwall's Video Of Little Mix's Post-Brits Celebrations Is Every Bit As Amazing As You'd Hope
Earlier this week, you may have seen some paparazzi photos of Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwallletting her hair down after the band’s historic win at this year’s Brit Awards.Well, Jade has now shared a string of pictures of herself and bandmates Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock celebrating their win, which saw them becoming the first girlband in history to take home Best British Group.As well as a couple of somewhat demure shots of herself backstage with Perrie and Leigh-Anne, Jade also shared a rowdy clip of the trio excited leaving the awards show after their win.“Best group, bitch!” an excited Jade is heard saying, while Perrie agrees: “Woop, bitch! Making history, bitch!” View this post on InstagramA post shared by jade amelia thirlwall (@jadethirlwall)In the same post, Jade also revealed a photo of the band celebrating the win with their team, with herself and Leigh-Anne both jokingly holding up their middle fingers to the camera.It’s been a big week all round for Little Mix, with Perrie announcing that she is pregnant with her first child on Monday, a week after Leigh-Anne also revealed she was expecting.This was referenced by Brits host Jack Whitehall during the ceremony, when he was heard singing (as part of a sea shanty-inspired sketch): “Soon may the Little Mix come, babies popping out one by one, they still look like they are having fun, Jade’s drinking for all three.”Jade also poked fun at being the only member of the group who isn’t pregnant with a meme she shared on her Instagram story, quoting a recent interview she gave with People magazine. READ MORE:Jesy Nelson Shows The Love For Former Little Mix Bandmates After Their Historic Brit Awards WinLittle Mix Mark History-Making Brit Awards Win With Powerful Speech On Music Industry SexismLittle Mix Fans Are Loving Leigh-Anne And Perrie's First Photo Together Since Pregnancy Reveal
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Melissa McCarthy Had The Most Bridesmaids Way Of Marking The Film's 10th Anniversary
One of the greatest films of all time turns the ripe old age of 10 this week – yes, it’s been a whole decade since the release of Bridesmaids. And to celebrate, Melissa McCarthy has shared a suitably Bridesmaids tribute to the hit movie. Referencing perhaps the film’s most infamous scene – where the bridal party get violently ill in a wedding dress shop – Melissa posted a string of behind-the-scenes snaps on Instagram on Friday. The Oscar-nominated actor, who played sister-of-the-groom Megan in the hit comedy, shared a picture of herself in her bridesmaid dress with fake vomit (or, at least, we’re hoping it was fake) down the front.  View this post on InstagramA post shared by Melissa McCarthy (@melissamccarthy)Another snap featured the main cast outside the bridal shop, while a third saw Melissa and co-stars Rose Byrne and Wendi McLendon-Covey posing with girlband Wilson Phillips, who had a cameo in the film’s final scene. Melissa joked: “Who knew the recipe for joy would involve vomit, a carpal tunnel glove and a kangol hat?“Happy 10 year anniversary Bridesmaids!!! I’d marry you all over again.”Directed by Paul Feig, the film was co-written by star Kristen Wiig – who played Annie – and Annie Mumolo. Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Rebel Wilson, Matt Lucas, Ellie Kemper and John Hamm were also among the cast. Rumours of a sequel to Bridesmaids surfaced in 2012, and while Kristen Wiig later said she was not working on another scripts, reports suggested studio bosses were pursuing the idea of going ahead without her. However, Melissa said she would “never” want to do another film without Kristen, adding at the time: “I think it’s a terrible idea. I don’t know anything about it. But I know that nobody wants to do it unless it’s great. If it is, I will show up wherever those ladies are.”Relive that bridal shop scene in all its *ahem* glory below...READ MORE:Bill Murray Claims He Was Tricked Into Making Ghostbusters II 'Under False Pretenses'Kristen Wiig's 'Lasagna' Dress At The Oscars Has Twitter Feeling SaucyYep, Another 'Ghostbusters' Film Is In The Works, Helmed By Original Director Ivan Reitman's Son
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Pro Gamers On Turning Their Passion Into A Profession
Gaming emerged as a true lockdown victor, with consumers spending a record £7bn on mobile games and consoles in 2020 in the UK. The rise of online games such as Fortnite has taken it to a whole new audience and encouraged new players to take up consoles and try out mobile apps.The demographics of gaming are also changing. Female gamers are on the rise, and in 2020, they accounted for almost 41% of all gamers in the US.And if you now think of gaming in a new light, you’re not alone - with plenty of ways to turn gaming from a fun hobby to a professional career. There are various different paths to explore, from playing esports professionally to content creation to turning your passion for gaming into an entertainment platform. We chatted to three gamers in the UK and the US about what it takes to make gaming your career, and a couple of themes emerged. A love of gaming is key, as are discipline and persistence. Oh - you’re also going to want to make sure you have a superfast, super reliable broadband - such as Sky Broadband Superfast.Stephanie Ijoma, Founder NNESAGA: “You Need To Have Purpose, Dedication, Balance, Focus And Passion”Stephanie Ijoma has been gaming since the age of four, and turned her childhood passion into a career that sees her wearing lots of hats: as a gamer, gaming and DEI consultant, content creator, events producer and founder of NNESAGA, a leading gaming and entertainment platform in the UK which champions diversity and inclusivity to ensure representation and opportunities for black and minority gamers in the industry.Ijoma’s varied career has seen many highs, from ensuring black British gaming content creators are part of Next Gen console launches (something she did with her friend, The Nerd Council’s Timi Abayomi-Ofarn) to consulting for Sony Playstation and Xbox. Ijoma has also partnered with Elgato and collaborated with Google. “Gaming has always been my escape, my comfort. It allows me to be in my own world when life gets a bit too much,” Ijoma says. “You could say birthing NNESAGA saved my life at one point. I created NNESAGA off of the frustrations of trying to get into the games industry. I decided to build my own platform and here we are six years later.”The right tech setup - from reliable broadband to Elgato products like ring lights and capture cards - has been critical to Ijoma’s development as a gaming pro. Reliable broadband ensures your play isn’t interrupted, and you never miss a critical moment in the game. The passionate gamer recommends it “so that you are able to experience minimal lags whilst streaming and gaming online with friends.” Ijoma believes success in the industry comes down to the right balance between fun and work. “You need to have purpose, dedication, balance, focus and passion. At the end of the day, gaming is supposed to bring out the big kid in you. “Remember why you first stepped into this and keep that as your core thought process throughout your journey. The best advice I would give to someone or anyone is always: IMPACT OVER NUMBERS,” she says. Barney “Alphari” Morris, Team Liquid, League of Legends: “You Need A Base Level. It’s Not For Everyone, Honestly. You Need To Be At Least Good At The Game, Before You Can Consider Going Pro”Barney Morris, aka Alphari, is a British League of Legends pro currently playing in the top plane position for Team Liquid. He started gaming as a child, had his first go at League of Legends aged 13 and turned pro at 17. He credits “playing a ton, watching videos and watching the LCS” for helping him improve a lot in his early teens - he was one of the top 200 players on the server aged 14.“It was mostly just a hobby at first, then I started playing team games in ranked mode online. And that introduced me to thinking about it more as a profession,” he says. From the age of 15, he started travelling around the UK to play the game competitively, meeting teammates in real life. Morris looked to older players like Maxlore, whom he credits as a mentor of sorts, for tips and advice.As Morris progressed in his professional esports career, his set-up has evolved as well. He recommends investing in a better monitor if you can, noting that there’s a big difference between 60Hz and 144Hz, glasses to protect his eyes from the screen as well as a mouse bungie - so his cords are a specific distance from the screen. He also has a pro headset and mic for clear communication with his teammates.“Ultimately, the most important thing you need is a computer and a good internet connection. If you have bad internet, if you’re lagging, then it’s just not going to happen - it’s just going to be super frustrating for you.”Find out how super reliable Sky Broadband Superfast can keep your home connected...In terms of the personality traits needed to turn esports into a career, Morris believes the ability to be self critical, as well as putting in the required time and effort, can make a huge difference, describing himself as “driven” and “addicted.” “League of Legends takes so much practice to really master and understand very deeply. It’s a matter of putting in the hours as well - a lot of it is understanding each little interaction between different items and characters, and remembering them. “There are thousands of people who want to just play the game as much as you, and they want to play professionally. And you’re in direct competition with these people. So it’s all about the small things that you can take away from these games and improve on, the things that other people are being lazy about,” Morris advises.Danielle “Ebonix” Udogaranya: “When It Comes To Making It As A Gamer Professionally, Find Your Niche And Establish A Brand. Some Of The Most Successful Content Creators Have Something About THEM That Sets Them Apart From Everyone Else”Danielle Udogaranya left her job in social care in 2019 to pursue streaming on Twitch full-time: known as Ebonix/EbonixSims, she is a passionate content creator in The Sims community, known for creating inclusive hairstyles and clothing to represent Black Sims gamers.“Between working full time in the special educational needs and disability sector, I taught myself how to create 3D hair models, make them compatible for The Sims and share them amongst the community to bridge the gap between the game and accurate player representation. My motivation has always been creating an equal balance of representation in the game, and this desire has grown outside of The Sims, where I’m aiming to tackle representation in all games,” she says. Udogaranya’s work comprises 3D modelling, playing and using reliable broadband to help build communities across the globe -  something she’s been training for since banging on her dad’s Atari as a toddler.Her set up is important: as a PC gamer, Udogaranya needs a good PC so that she can stream without lag - she uses an NVIDIA 3090 graphics card, 64GB RAM and an Intel i9 processor, as well as extensive storage drives and two monitors with quick response and high refresh rates (1ms/144Hz). An Elgato partnership provides a range of tools like capture cards, key lights and a Wave 3: Mic for noise suppression and quality sound.“I’ve also found it really essential to have a reliable and stable internet connection for online gaming, streaming and downloading games (and their accompanying updates). The lower the ping and the higher the upload and download speed the better,” she advises.One of the secrets to Udogaranya’s success is hard work - it took five years to start to see the fruits of her labour, which include being the first black UK woman Twitch ambassador, a direct collaborator with The Sims (she worked on new creating skin tones and hairstyles for the game) and raising £18,000 for charities through her gaming. Having reliable broadband hasn’t just helped with gaming; it’s been a part of her community-building, too.“I co-founded Black Twitch UK, so that it would be easier to connect with and find more black streamers in the UK and provide a platform to uplift and highlight them within a space where they are often looked over and under-represented when it comes to opportunities,” she says.Udogaranya also believes in the importance of routine, time management and consistency. When it comes to finding success as a gamer, she thinks it’s all too easy to worry about something and strive for perfection before you’ve even tried. She recommends diving in, learning as you go and not getting distracted by others.“Worry about your own lane and what you’re doing. It’s easy to get caught up watching what everyone else is doing and wonder how they’re progressing. Your time will come - manifest it and put your heart into it. And in everything you do, make sure you enjoy it and do it for you,” she says.Turning your passion for gaming into a profession needs commitment, but it also needs reliable broadband. Find out how super reliable Sky Broadband Superfast could help fuel your passion.
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
DJs And Musicians Reflect On A Year Of Playing Virtual Gigs
Many of us have spent much of the past year working from home, virtually meeting with colleagues and making presentations to clients while trying to kick a pile of dirty washing away from view. Our social lives have also been conducted indoors, from online quiz nights to musical gigs. The most sought-after item for an evening of relaxation or fun this past year? A reliable broadband connection. DJs and musicians have continued performing virtually throughout the pandemic, whether playing impromptu songs from their bedrooms or heading to empty studios and venues to perform. Yet through digital performances, they touched individuals in their own cities and across the world, gaining legions of new fans and providing solace in a time of uncertainty. The pandemic has accelerated our reliance on technology and reliable broadband, to enable us to do what we love and stay connected even when miles apart. Virtual gigs have also showcased a new way for performers to be more inclusive, to reach a broader audience, to experiment creatively and to do so in an eco-friendly manner.We chatted (virtually via super reliable Sky Broadband Superfast, of course) to DJs and musicians about what it’s really been like to play virtual gigs: the lessons learned, the essential kit, the struggles of connecting to an audience that wasn’t in the same room.One thing’s for certain: we’ve never relied on the comfort of music more in our lives.DJ Kue: “You Realise How Important Your Internet Connection Needs To Be When Live Streaming”San Francisco-based DJ, producer and remixer Michael Morales, aka DJ Kue, started live streaming online during the pandemic for his mental health: creating some normalcy through a live streaming schedule helped create a sense of calm and stability in all of the uncertainty of the pandemic.There were many changes for DJ Kue to grapple with, from not sharing the physical space with his audience, to having to respond to messages from fans in a virtual chat box while performing. But having a reliable broadband set up helped with peace of mind that the livestream would go smoothly.“As a DJ, you also need to be your own technical support when something goes wrong. And believe me, it does tend to go wrong at times,” he says. DJ Kue experimented with a range of different tools and services before deciding that OBS (open broadcaster software) and streaming to Twitch worked best.“For myself, having good internet was the most important thing. There are a ton of ways to livestream though and the internet is definitely your friend if you want to learn how to do it,” he says.Connecting with an audience that wasn’t there was another challenge: some listeners wanted to socialise, engaging with DJ Kue through online chats, while others treated virtual livestreams as pleasant background music to their afternoons or evenings. Many who would struggle to get to clubs in pre-pandemic times (e.g. those with young children), tuned in for a much-needed jam session in their day. “I feel like DJs livestreaming have given them the opportunity to experience something similar (although virtual), and even though it’s not entirely the same, people still have fun,” he says. On a personal level, the last year has also been a period of creative growth and experimentation for DJ Kue, who’s revisited old music and even played around with his virtual livestream setups. “I love the creative aspect of live streaming because you can do it anywhere: the most fun one I’ve had recently is where I had set up in front of my coffee nook at home for a morning coffee DJ stream and ended up making coffee while playing house music and interacting with folks in the chat. It was such a blast.” The beauty of a setup with reliable broadband allows creators like DJ Kue to work their magic from anywhere – to fans everywhere.Emily Burns: “I Love Doing The Live Performances Virtually - It’s Something I will Definitely Continue. I Have Really Enjoyed It”Singer and songwriter Emily Burns is a musician who pivoted to livestreams last year, jumping on her Instagram Live nightly, then weekly, for 10-15 minutes to perform a song or two and engage in conversation with her fan base. As someone who was desperately missing live performances, this was as much for her as it was for her audience, and gave her the joy of playing live - even without anyone else in the room.With a reliable broadband connection she didn’t need to upgrade her setup at home, although she did one charity “show” from her bedroom which featured a new mic and lights that changed in time to the music - an upgrade courtesy of Burns’ roommate, an engineer at Abbey Road Studios.For Burns, reaching a new audience brought unexpected joy during the pandemic.“I noticed people were joining my live streams and commenting, saying, ‘I’m from Korea’, and all these other places. Ordinarily, these people wouldn’t be able to necessarily come to one of my shows, so that was definitely an upside to it, being able to engage with people around the world,” she says.Burns also found she could provide support to fans beyond the music, using her home technology setup to organise chats about mental health with her fans, in a series known as “Terrified Talks,” inspired by her single “Terrified.” A reliable broadband connection made these virtual conversations possible, allowing her to see a more intimate side to her fan base, and candidly discussing issues beyond the music - something that would never happen in a live show. “It always amazed me how candidly and openly people would talk about their own situations. So that’s something that I definitely take away as a huge, huge positive of the last year.” Burns plans to continue her virtual streaming as she prepares for her next adventure: her live UK tour is kicking off in September 2021.Black Country, New Road: “That Was Weirdly One Of The Best Gigs We’ve Ever Played And It Was A Live Stream” How does a band with seven members who are scattered across London stay connected? For Lewis Evans, Tyler Hyde, Isaac Wood, Georgia Ellery, May Kershaw, Charlie Wayne and Luke Mark, the musicians comprising experimental rock group Black Country, New Road, in the beginning, the transition from live to virtual gigs felt like a healthy break from the intensity of performing in real life.Getting together as a band to rehearse and perform together - even virtually - was a slow process (made possible by reliable broadband and certain bandmates living together), but one that gave the band members time to focus on the creative side of things, finishing most of the demo for their second album and discovering older and newer passions: saxophonist Lewis Evans bought a tenor saxophone to get back to his jazz roots while bassist Tyler Hyde has been writing her own music. While most musicians performed their live streams from home, Black Country, New Road partnered with streaming platform DICE to reach new audiences and break into venues they always dreamed of, like the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre. “It was a real step up for us. We went there the day before and there was this huge team of people setting up this incredible space with five giant projectors across this beautiful venue. We had about 10 of our friends that were the choir for us but it wasn’t unveiled that they were the choir until later in the set, so it just looked like we had a small audience in there, and then they sang with us and it was just beautiful to share that with friends,” says Hyde. Not only has embracing technology presented new opportunities for the band, but virtual gigs have allowed them to be more inclusive and kinder to the planet. “Anyone who’s anywhere can tune into one of these things, you don’t feel like you’re missing out. I certainly felt like I’ve been missing out on bands that I’ve liked, and they’ve been on tour and I couldn’t make it to a gig or their best gig that they played was somewhere in a different country and I couldn’t get there. And also, the environmental impact, and our carbon footprint as a band - that’s something we’re really trying to work on,” says Evans.With the ability to reach an audience in any country - one of the band’s gigs over lockdown was a livestream from The Moth Club in London’s Hackney to an American university in New England - Evans and Hyde are hopeful for a future where live performances can be combined with livestreams. “A band plays differently depending on the audience; a crowd in South America is going to be totally different to a crowd in London. We don’t have the money to go and see our favourite bands play all around the world. People that have even less money than us, can’t even go to any gigs at all - they’ll never get to see their favorite bands. So if they can pay a fiver to watch the livestream, that’s amazing,” says Hyde. Now, wouldn’t we all love that: a world where all we need is reliable broadband – and a fiver – to see any band of our dreams. While wearing our PJs, no less. These are just some of the amazing stories where reliable broadband has helped fuel people’s creativity over the last year. Find out how super reliable Sky Broadband Superfast could help fuel your passion.
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
How To Turn Your Passion Project Into Your Career
Going digital provides endless opportunities for budding entrepreneurs but more importantly, it opens doors for those struggling to find the funds for a bricks-and-mortar site or service.Proving that all you need is determination, a good laptop and a reliable broadband connection (such as super reliable Sky Broadband Superfast), we have talked to three people who have turned what they love into a living by embracing technology.From a former accountant who now designs virtual escape rooms, an afternoon tea expert who has fans all over the globe and a cupcake decorator who is now an Instagram hit, they share their top tips for turning your passion into a business online – including the tools you need to get there.‘I run my business from my living room’For Eileen Donaghey, making a cup of tea isn’t just a British pastime, it’s an artform.And thanks to the internet, the 32-year-old, who is based between London and Belfast, can now teach people across the globe about her passion: afternoon tea.Eileen hosts virtual corporate events and private classes using her reliable broadband to connect with other passionate tea drinkers. Her successful Instagram account boasts fans from not only the UK but Japan, the US, Brazil and more.“I started my Instagram account back in 2018. At first, it was a hobby but once my following grew above 10,000, people started asking me for recommendations and I knew I could turn my passion into a digital business,” she says.“I currently run it from my living room, where I have the essentials: a computer, reliable broadband, and subscriptions to online tools and photo editing. Eileen’s first experience with afternoon tea took place when she was just a child and it became the start of a life-long love.“I went for my first-ever afternoon tea in my teens with my mum,” she says.“It’s such a big part of UK culture. I love everything about the whole experience; from dressing up for the occasion to seeing the show-stopping creations that the chefs present.” In addition to her events, Eileen also has an e-book, which launched in December 2020 and features tips, recipes and information about the history of afternoon tea. She credits reliable broadband for being able to run her business smoothly.“Without good broadband, it would be so difficult to do my job because I spend the majority of my time online,” she says.“And it brings me so much peace of mind to know that I can trust my connection to run smoothly while I am presenting to customers.“It means I can focus on the other important stuff – tea, that is.”‘Swapping careers was scary’A former accountant, Chris Stylianou has done what many people dread: swap careers.The 32-year-old left his old job behind in 2019 to follow his passion of playing games, and now offers online adventures in the form of virtual escape rooms and immersive theatre productions.“From Final Fantasy to Risk and of course, Dungeons and Dragons, I have always loved playing games,” says Chris, founder of The Adventure Is Real. “Swapping careers was scary but I wanted to do something more creative, where I could bring people together – and where better to do that, than on the internet?”Having a reliable broadband connection has played a huge part in helping Chris build his business.In April 2020, he launched Agent Venture; a virtual game where a group is led on a secret mission by an actor via Zoom – and the team needs to be online throughout the entire event. “We are now transitioning to being online only,” Chris, who is originally from Manchester but now lives in London, says.“There have been a lot of challenges to tackle – especially when the business first went digital.“We use special effects to make the experience believable, along with roleplay – the voice actors are incredible at bringing the game to life.“However, there are a lot of other things to take into account when you run a digital company – besides the customer-facing experience – such as having communication channels like Slack and email, planning tools and perhaps crucially for us, video conferencing software – which often uses a lot of bandwidth.“We are entirely dependent on the internet. Having reliable broadband is key. Digital is in our DNA.”Hosting virtual events has its benefits too, like giving players in North America, Europe and Asia access to take part.“The reach is phenomenal,” says Chris. “It’s so much easier to create the environment you want on a computer. Plus, it’s often cheaper, too.”‘I couldn’t run my business without the internet’ In 2014, Farley Berry was set for a career in art psychology, when a friend asked for help in baking cupcakes for a birthday party. She soon began making her own sweet treats at home and fell in love with decorating and fondant details. Now, the 42-year-old from London has 269,000 followers on Instagram and spends her days making intricate pastel-coloured cupcakes, as well as hosting live classes for both adults and children, connecting with fellow passionate cake-makers via her reliable broadband home set-up.This was the first step to building her digital business – which has since taken off.“Being able to talk to people online is paramount to what I do,” says Farley, who is perhaps better known as Lady Berry Cupcakes.“I wouldn’t be able to run my business without things like fast reliable broadband and social media.”Sharing advice for budding digital business owners, Farley explains that the most important thing to do is to invest in what you need before you launch.“I do everything myself and just have the basics; a massive glass window for natural lighting, a cradle for my iPhone and my laptop, as well as broadband – and all of this means that I can focus on what’s important; engaging with my followers and creating amazing cupcakes,” she says.“I host live classes and am set to take part in The Bake Fest, a virtual festival that is streamed internationally. I don’t even want to think about what I’d do if my internet or computer didn’t work.Find out how super reliable, Sky Broadband Superfast can keep your home connected.“Once, I was accidentally locked out of Instagram and it was terrifying because that’s how I communicate with my audience and promote and sell my classes.”And it seems making beautiful baked goods runs in the family.“My parents actually met in a bakery where they decorated wedding cakes, but I had never intended to go down that route,” Farley says.“In fact, I remember baking when I was 20-something and my cupcakes were an absolute disaster.“My skills have since improved but for me, making cupcakes isn’t actually about baking – it’s sugarcraft, designing and teaching.”And you have to be passionate about what you’re selling.“I am obsessed with creating miniature fondant detail and to see what I can fit on that tiny three-inch space,” she adds.Itching to turn your own passion into a career? There’s no time like the present! Find out how super reliable Sky Broadband Superfast could help fuel your passion.
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
These Virtual Reality Artists Will Challenge Your Perception Of Art
Ever fancied exploring the depths of an erupting volcano? Or perhaps you’d prefer to float around in space in the shape of a mythical creature – well, if your imagination can take you there, so can a virtual reality artist.New technologies have developed quickly over the past decade but VR, as it’s commonly known, is still in its infancy.The possibilities for the future are endless and it’s not just for gamers – anyone can now visit museums and live festivals, and hang out with friends in avatar shape – all with the help of super reliable broadband such as Sky Broadband Superfast.We ask three experts in the field what they love about VR, how they use tech to fuel their passion for storytelling and what it’s really like to put on a headset and transport your mind.  Don’t worry, your body stays put.‘VR lets you visit worlds that only exist in your mind’Having studied and worked as a 3D animator, Rosie Summers from Leeds first fell in love with VR five years ago. The 25-year-old’s passion for storytelling actually began in fine art but thanks to technology and reliable broadband, she has been able to branch out into a new artform.“I used to specialise in painting emotional oil portraits but yearned for more movement in my work and that’s when I started working in animation,” she says.“Through that, I naturally found VR. It’s a mindblowing tool for any storyteller because you can defy gravity and visit new worlds that otherwise only exist in your mind.“But it’s crucial that I have fast broadband; it’s a lifeline for me because it allows people to join in regardless of where they are and it helps me expand my audience. Rosie hosts live shows that combine dance and VR – where she performs for viewers while wearing a headset against a green screen that will display the virtual world that she’s in.“It’s almost like a webinar or Zoom chat,” she says. “Through the power of the internet, people online can immerse themselves in other dimensions.“I use a lot of technical equipment too, like high-powered PC headsets and programmes to create the lighting and colours for my VR environment.”Rosie’s inspiration comes from her surroundings, especially nature. She also loves space and often incorporates that in her work. The VR artist has designed everything from fantastical universes to forest scenes and galactic art, as well as unique characters.Her latest project ‘Blood Speaks’, is a powerful story created by Indian transmedia artist and activist Poulomi Basu, which explores normalised violence that women face around the world surrounding periods. It is centered around a girl called Maya, who forms a bond with a local British Indian teenager and together they reveal hidden modes of patriarchy.“Maya rises up like an almighty phoenix, full of strength and the powers of the universe – she’s a superhero,” Rosie says. “This is the fundamental beauty of VR, it lets you immerse yourself in a different culture in a way that other art can’t.“And it’s not as difficult as many people think. I don’t code or anything like that – I’m strictly an artist who is utilising digital mediums to showcase my work.“You are actually living in that lens and that’s what I love about it,” explains the passionate storyteller.‘You’re no longer looking at a painting – you’re exploring its entire universe’Quentin Darras is new to the world of VR. The passionate 3D animator co-created his first design last year, after winning a £20,000 grant through an initiative called Creative XR, run by Digital Catapult and Arts Council England. And it’s all about art, quite literally; but moved into a digital space with the help of reliable broadband and high-powered software.Dubbed (Hi)Story of a Painting, each episode of the five-part series revolves around a famous painting, such as George Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.“I fell into VR and it has changed the way I view art,” says Quentin, 33, who is originally from Paris but moved to London in 2009. “You still have to tell a story so the job is pretty much the same as 3D animation, but I had to take a crash course in how to design in a 360-degree space.“You’re no longer looking at a painting – you’re exploring its entire universe, which is fantastic.”Quentin, who has worked with brands such as Nintendo and Lego, was originally set to be a doctor.“I was in medical school and I hated it,” he says. “After failing my degree, I joined a VFX start-up and my passion grew from there.“The great thing about VR is that it’s accessible to everyone; you can just go on the internet, get the programmes you need for free and get creative.”But having the right tools is essential to the artist’s process. Alongside the latest VR kit, having reliable broadband, such as Sky Broadband Superfast, is essential.“Everything I do takes place on a computer; not just the designing, but the research and writing. I need constant access to information,” Quentin adds.Despite some challenges, he has no regrets about leaving his medical career behind.“I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it is I love most about VR,” he says. “All I know is that it brings me so much happiness.“To do my job, I just need good broadband, tea, at least one sketch book and a good computer.“It may not be very romantic but it’s very important – and with it, I’m able to create incredible art.”‘You could be an animal, have six legs or explore the inside of a volcano’Anrick Bregman is an old hand at storytelling, having worked as a creative director since 2007, before moving into VR in 2014.He specialises in artistic interpretation of factual stories, such as turning documentaries and news into virtual experiences that users can immerse themselves in – and he is a big champion for the internet.“The web used to have a huge amount of creativity applied to it; we use a browser every day for email, maps and Facebook but we must not forget that it’s also an experimental storytelling tool,” he says.“Decades ago, we were limited on what we could do – like when downloading photos would take hours – but thanks to reliable broadband, we no longer have those limitations.“Now, your browser is a place where anything can happen and VR feels like the next frontier.“One of my favourite projects was a story about a refugee crossing the Mediterranean, based on a short story by Khaleid Hosseini, author of A Thousand Splendid Suns.“This intersection of the written word translated into a virtual reality appeals to me – it’s very powerful.”A more recent project involves the recreation of a mysterious place built in Greenland during the 1960s, which no longer exists. Even if it did, the area is freezing and virtually inaccessible to human beings.But in a virtual world, anything is possible. “You could be an animal, have six legs, travel in time, explore the inside of a volcano or go into space,” says Anrick.If you’ve never tried VR and are curious about what it feels like, Anrick, who is Dutch but moved to London 20 years ago, offers some insight.“It’s definitely awkward in the beginning and some people get nauseous,” he says.“Others become very aware of the furniture around them and worry about falling over, but you get used to the sensation very quickly.”While VR requires you to wear a headset that disconnects you from the world you’re physically in, it’s still a very sociable experience – and it’s only possible thanks to reliable broadband. “A present day misconception is that VR is a single player version of a games console, but that’s not the case,” Anrick says. “Shared spaces like DJ sets and festivals, or even conferences, offer a different side to this medium.“Just last week, I was inside the Greenland exhibition as my avatar, talking to a ‘room’ of other people – some of whom were in Copenhagen and Aarhus.”“I have two VR headsets, one low-end and one high-end, because the experiences are very different. The Oculus Quest 2, is wireless, so the internet is again crucial.“Additionally, you could expand with all kinds of interesting add-ons and specialist software, like body-tracking or lip reading, which makes your avatar match your real body inside VR more accurately.”Once all the elements are in place, the rest is up to you… and reliable broadband connection.When tech and passionate creativity combine the results can be out of this world. Find out how super reliable Sky Broadband Superfast could help fuel your passion. 
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Boris Johnson To Host Downing Street Covid Press Conference
Boris Johnson will hold a Downing Street Covid press conference at 5pm on Friday, No.10 has announced.The prime minister will be joined by chief medical adviser Chris Whitty.It comes as new coronavirus cases involving the Indian variant, also known as B16172, have more than doubled in a week.This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.Related...Will Lockdown Be Extended? What The India Variant Could Mean For Covid RulesWhat Is A ‘Surge’ Covid Vaccine And Can I Get One?
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Labour MP Wes Streeting Diagnosed With Kidney Cancer
Labour shadow minister Wes Streeting has been diagnosed with kidney cancer, he confirmed in a video on Twitter. The MP for Ilford North said the news has come as “enormous shock” but doctors have said he can expect to make a full recovery. The 38-year-old said a lump was discovered when he was in hospital for treatment with a kidney stone in March. Streeting is a rising star in the Labour Party and was appointed as Keir Starmer’s shadow secretary of state for child poverty in a reshuffle last week.  In the video, Streeting thanked friends, family and Labour activists for supported, and added: “While receiving a cancer diagnosis at the age of 38 has come as an enormous shock, the good news is because of that kidney stone the cancer has been caught early, my prognosis is very good and I should make a full recovery.“But it does mean I have to take time off work for treatment.”  I want to share some personal news. From the end of next week, I’m going to be away from work for a little while as I’m about to undergo treatment for kidney cancer in the safe hands of the NHS.Personal statement: pic.twitter.com/kUk1kqb0BM— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) May 14, 2021“I want to say a massive thank you to my family, close friends and colleagues who supported me through what has been a really difficult period. “And I also want to say thank you to all of the Labour candidates and activists I joined on the doorstep because without knowing it, they made such a difference to me during what was a really difficult time, taking my mind off things and helping me to crack on as normal. “I will be taking time off from the end of next week and during that time, if you’re an Ilford North constituent and you need my help as your local MP, you should continue to contact my office as normal and my brilliant team of staff will be there to support you.“But in the meantime I’m going to be following doctors’ orders.“My family have made it very clear and actually so has Keir that I will not be coming back until I’ve made a full recovery.”Starmer was among those wishing Streeting well. He tweeted: “The thoughts of the whole Labour Party are with Wes and his family at this difficult time. Wes is a friend and a colleague and I know he’ll come back from this even stronger and more determined than ever before.“I can’t wait to see him back in parliament as soon as possible.” Related...Labour Reshuffle: Angela Rayner Moves To Senior Role After Clash With Keir Starmer
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Sophie Turner Slams Paparazzi For Photographing Her Daughter: 'It's Disgusting'
Sophie Turner has had it with paparazzi – and she’s giving them a piece of her mind.The Game Of Thrones actor shared an Instagram story earlier this week, condemning paparazzi for sneaking around taking photographs of her 10-month-old daughter Willa. “I just woke up,” Sophie said at the start of the video. “I guess yesterday some paparazzi managed to get a picture of my daughter and I, and I just want to say that the reason that I have been not posting pictures of my daughter and making sure that we can avoid paparazzi at all costs is because I explicitly do not want those photos out there.”Sophie went on to say that Willa “did not ask for this life, to be photographed”.“It’s fucking creepy that grown old men taking pictures of a baby without their permission,” she continued.“I’m sickened, I’m disgusted and I’m respectfully asking everyone to stop following us around and stop trying to take pictures of our daughter and especially printing them. It’s disgusting and you do not have my permission.”Stories from Sophie. Please don't post pictures of Willa. @joejonas@jonasbrotherspic.twitter.com/94HpJripVB— Virginie.? (@TheGinieL) May 12, 2021Sophie and her pop star husband Joe Jonas welcomed baby Willa in July 2020.They kept the pregnancy and details about the birth very hush-hush ― following the couple’s practice during their relationship.Back in 2017, a year into the couple’s romance, Turner told The Times that she and Joe were in a “very private relationship”.Two years later, they tied the knot in two separate ceremonies. One happened in Las Vegas in May 2019, and the second took place the following month in France.Joe said previously that falling in love with Turner “made me want to be a better man, a better person, and ultimately made me a better brother” to his famous siblings.READ MORE:Sophie Turner Mocks Joe Jonas’ ‘Best Day Ever’ Boast Like The Stark Queen She IsSophie Turner And Kit Harington's Emmys Reunion Was Predictably EmoshSophie Turner Finally Meets Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness, Much Screaming Ensues
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
The O.C.'s Rachel Bilson 'Shocked' After Learning About Major Plot She Didn't Remember
The events of The O.C. are forever etched in the memories of those who grew up in the 2000s, but it seems that isn’t the case for one of its biggest stars. Rachel Bilson, who played Summer Roberts in the hit teen drama, has admitted that her recollection of the show is pretty hazy – so much so that she’s forgotten about one of its biggest on-screen deaths. The actor hosts a new O.C. re-watch podcast with former co-star Melinda Clarke (aka Julie Cooper) and during an interview to promote it on IMDb’s Movies That Changed My Life, she admitted she’d forgotten all about the death of Caleb Nichol. The multi-millionaire property tycoon, – played by former Neighbours star Alan Dale – met his end during the second series when he had a heart attack and died in his swimming pool.“There’s a lot of spoilers coming my way,” Rachel said. “Like, Melinda, the other day, mentioned that Caleb dies and I was shocked. I was, like, ‘What? He dies? No!’ So it’s going to be really fun to discover all of these plotlines that I haven’t seen.”She added: “I haven’t seen all of the episodes. It’s been so long, I definitely don’t remember any of them.”The O.C. debuted in 2003 and ran for four years, helping push cast members like Adam Brody, Mischa Barton and Benjamin McKenzie into the spotlight.It proved hugely popular with viewers on both sides of the Atlantic, and is credited with helping boost the profile of the Orange County area in which it was set, with reality shows like Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and The Real Housewives Of Orange County following shortly afterwards. Fans’ hopes for a revival were raised in 2019 when Adam and Rachel posted a photo together on Instagram – but these were quickly shot down by The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz. READ MORE:Sorry O.C. Fans, But That Reunion Isn't Happening Any Time SoonAs The O.C. Heads To All4, This Is What The Cast Have Been Up To Since It Finished
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
What Is A ‘Surge’ Covid Vaccine And Can I Get One?
Lockdown restrictions are supposed to ease across much of the UK from May 17 and we’re hurtling towards that precious June 21 date, when many are hoping life will return to normal. But the India variant threatens to set it back. Evidence suggests the B1617.2 variant is at least as transmissible as B117 (the Kent variant), with concerns it could be even more transmissible – and cases are spreading rapidly in the UK.  In England, which has the most cases, incidences have been reported in the North West – predominantly Bolton and Blackburn – as well as London, Bedford and South Northamptonshire.Meanwhile, the latest data suggests there are 17 cases in Wales, at least 12 cases in Northern Ireland and 20-30 cases in Scotland, where rising numbers in Moray and Glasgow are of particular concern.Discussion has started on whether “surge vaccination” should begin in these areas. Here’s what we know about the plans so far: What is a ‘surge’ vaccine?The concept of “surge” vaccinations is simple: vaccinate more people in the worst affected areas, sooner.  Vaccines minster Nadhim Zahawi told LBC’s Nick Ferrari that the government is looking at ways to “flex” the rollout of vaccines in areas most impacted by the variant, including vaccinating everyone in multi-generational households, from 18-year-olds to grandparents. More vaccine doses have already been sent to Bolton, which has a particularly high rate of the India variant, while 800,000 PCR tests have been sent to 15 separate areas of England, including parts of London and Merseyside, he said. Another option also being considered by clinical advisers to the government is to bring forward the date for second doses of vaccine for the elderly and vulnerable in regions where the India variant is spreading.Research is underway to monitor how effective the vaccinations are against the India variant. Early evidence suggests the India variant won’t escape vaccination as effectively as the South African variant, according to Professor Chris Whitty.Why am I hearing about this now?The latest data from Public Health England released on May 13 shows cases of the India variant have more than doubled in a week in the UK, rising from 520 to 1,313. Meetings are happening on May 14 to discuss the best course of action. In Bolton, mobile testing units have already been deployed and door-to-door PCR testing has been offered to 22,000 residents. A vaccine bus has been established in the community to increase vaccine uptake as part of a wider drive.In London, PHE is working in close partnership across the health system and with borough councils in parts of the city where cases have been identified. PCR testing, whole genome sequencing, and enhanced contact tracing are being used throughout the city to target the many small dispersed clusters. Are ‘surge’ vaccines available?An official policy is yet to be announced, but it emerged that a handful of areas in England are encouraging all over-18s to come forward for the jab.People aged 18 and over in three wards in #Blackburn can now book an appointment for a Pfizer jab online.It's after the Indian variant was found in Shear Brow and Corporation Park, Billinge and Beardwood aswell as Bastwell & Daisyfield. pic.twitter.com/NVLEQMrTPk— BBC Lancashire (@BBCLancashire) May 13, 2021Elsewhere in England, the vaccine rollout was extended to those aged 38 to 39 on May 13 and everyone eligible is being urged to book – especially if you live in an area with rising cases.  In Scotland, all over-18s living in Moray are now able to book a vaccine, in an effort to tackle rising Covid cases in the area.HuffPost UK is not aware of surge testing in Wales or Northern Ireland at this time.    Will the India variant stop lockdown from ending?At the moment, we don’t know for certain if the variant will prolong lockdown, but it’s a possibility. Boris Johnson has said the government is “ruling nothing out” in tackling the variant. Asked if local lockdowns in England were possible, the prime minister said: “There are a range of things we could do, we want to make sure we grip it.“At the moment, I can see nothing that dissuades me from thinking we will be able to go ahead on Monday and indeed on June 21 everywhere, but there may be things we have to do locally and we will not hesitate to do them if that is the advice we get.”Wales has already held back on relaxing some restrictions due to concerns about the India variant. From May 17, indoor hospitality will reopen in Wales, but First Minister Mark Drakeford says meeting people in homes and small events are “both now on hold”.Asked if he would be prepared to delay further steps in his roadmap if advice from Sage suggests it is necessary, Drakeford said: “Yes, we would. We tried our best to follow the scientific advice at every step and if the advice were to be that we should hold back on some further easements because the risks in doing so would be too great then certainly that is what we would do.”In Scotland, Professor Jason Leitch said work is underway to see if the variant “would set us back”. “We’re a little bit unsure about the nature of this individual variant, it’s at least as transmissible as the Kent variant, we hope it’s not worse, but we’re having to do lots of science to find out,” he told BBC Radio Scotland. “That’s one of the big concerns, we’ve talked about that for months, a variant worse than Kent would set us back.”In Northern Ireland, May 24 was earmarked as an “indicative date” for when indoor hospitality may reopen, but some hoped this may be brought forward. However, some reports are now suggesting this date will be “stuck rigidly” to, in part due to the India variant. READ MORE:What Is The India Variant And Where Are Cases Rising In The UK?Vaccinations Could Be Targeted On Areas With Spike In Covid CasesIs It Safe To Travel? What To Consider Before Booking Your HolidayRevealed: Mixing Covid Vaccines More Likely To Leave You With Side Effects7 Ways To Undo The Brain Fog You're Feeling Because Of The Pandemic
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
6 Weddings Rules You'll Still Need To Follow From May 17
Newlyweds in England will be able to share their day with up to 30 friends and family from May 17, woop woop, but some of the traditional ingredients of a good wedding are still off the menu.The government guidance states weddings will be able to happen provided they are at a Covid-safe venue that has been allowed to open. Here’s what you need to know about how the big day is likely to go. 1. Social distancing has been easedInstead of instructing people to stay two metres apart away from anyone they don’t live with, people will be encouraged to “exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with Covid-19 and actions to take to help keep friends and family safe”. The guidance states: “You should always make space for other people to keep their distance if they want to.” A good excuse to avoid that annoying uncle!2. Dancing is “advised against”As HuffPost reported, dancing is “advised against” due to the increased risk of transmission – although the couple are still allowed to have their first dance.So queue up the Ed Sheeran – if you really must.3. Receptions can take place in a private gardenReceptions can take place indoors (but not in a private home), or outdoors if it’s a private garden. The guidance states: “Although there is no requirement to be Covid-secure in a private garden, the organiser should take all reasonable steps to limit the risks of transmission and must adhere to the gathering limit of up to 30 people.”An outdoor event is allowed to be “partially sheltered”, so an organiser could set up a marquee “provided that at least 50% of the walled area remains open”. Specific, and potentially draughty, but we’re pretty used to that by now, hey?4. There’s a wider choice of venuesThe couple can pick from a wider choice of wedding venues now, including any restaurant or indoor visitor attraction, like a gallery for instance, as the easing of lockdown restrictions will mean many of these places no longer have to remain closed by law.They will be able to host events and allow viewings with “appropriate Covid-19 mitigation measures in place”, the guidance says. Wedding night at the museum, anyone?5. Yes, face masks are still a thingFace coverings must be worn by everyone, both guests and staff, who attends the wedding ceremony or reception except when they are eating or drinking. Whether you go matchy-matchy with your mask and wedding outfit – think sparkles, florals or 2021 brights – or go full on colour clash, is up to you.6. You can have indoor performancesIndoor “professional” performances can also be part of the day. The guidance states: “Although there is no limit on the number of professional performers that can perform at a ceremony or reception, the number should be determined by how many the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place between the performers and guests.”In a slice of shade on the not-so professional artistes out there, up to six people who are in “amateur” choirs, bands or are musicians can perform together indoors, while outdoors, they may perform in groups of up to 30. Cheery!Related...Stop Judging Us For Wanting A Big Wedding'Beyond A Joke': How Couples Feel About No Dancing At WeddingsAll The Things You Can Do From May 17Family And Friends Allowed To Hug From Next Monday, PM AnnouncesVaccinations Could Be Targeted On Areas With Spike In Covid Cases
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
SNP Win Airdrie And Shotts By-Election In Fresh Boost For Indy Ref 2 Campaign
New SNP MP Anum Qaisar-Javed has vowed to “fight for independence” after her party emerged victorious in the Airdrie and Shotts by-election. The 28-year-old is Scotland’s second ever Muslim MP and has said she hopes to be a role model for other minorities. The by-election race, which took place just a week after the Scottish Parliament election, was sparked by former MP Neil Gray’s decision to step down from the Commons and run for Holyrood.After he was elected to the corresponding constituency in the Scottish Parliament last week, Qaisar-Javed, 28, retained the seat – albeit with a majority down on the 5,201 held by Gray in 2019.She polled 10,129 votes, ahead of Labour candidate and local councillor Kenneth Stevenson who came in second with 8,372 votes, a majority of 1,757.Conservative candidate Ben Callaghan secured 2,812 votes, with Liberal Democrat Stephen Arrundale fourth with 220 votes.Turnout in the election was 34.3%, with Qaisar-Javed saying this was “low” but adding she is proud of the SNP’s record in the area and “proud to be elected as the MP for Airdrie and Shotts”.Her election came as the Scottish Parliament saw its most diverse group of MSPs ever sworn in, with women of colour elected to Holyrood for the first time.Qaisar-Javed, a modern studies teacher, said she taught her students about the reasons why there are fewer people from minority communities in politics.She said: “We talk about reasons such as a lack of role models, and it has taken till 2021 but now we have two women of colour in the Scottish Parliament.“But I don’t just want women of colour to look at me, or people of colour, I want anyone from any minority group to be able to look at me and say ‘if she can do it, so can I’.”In a speech made after votes were counted at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell, she promised she would “fight for independence”.She added: “The initial priority has to be the Covid recovery, we have just gone through a pandemic, people have really struggled this last year.“And as we move through the pandemic and when the time is right, then yes of course we will be looking to campaign for another independence referendum, as is the right of people of Scotland.“Whatever the result is of that referendum, so be it, but that choice is of paramount importance.”After winning an historic fourth term for the SNP in Holyrood last week, first minister Nicola Sturgeon warned Boris Johnson not to stand in the way of a second Scottish independence referendum. Related...5 Key Takeaways From The Local Election ResultsNicola Sturgeon Hails 'Emphatic' Victory For SNP In Holyrood ElectionsAlex Salmond Sets Up New 'Alba Party' To Fight Holyrood Elections
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Will Lockdown Be Extended? What The India Variant Could Mean For Covid Rules
Boris Johnson’s plan to largely remove all coronavirus restrictions in England on June 21 could be derailed by the surge in cases of the Indian variant.What is supposed to happen on June 21England is currently in stage two of the prime minister’s four stage roadmap for unlocking the country.It is a process the government has said it wants to be “irreversible”.Stage three, which will see people be allowed to meet up inside, indoor hospitality reopen and international travel return, is due to go ahead on May 17.Stage four, due on June 21, is due to see all legal limits on social contact lifted. In effect it is expected to mark the end of lockdown.But four ‘tests’ have to be metIn order for England to advance through the stages, the government has set four tests for itself.The vaccine deployment programme continues successfullyEvidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinatedInfection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHSThe assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of the virusIt is number four, the risk from new variants, that has put the June 21 date in doubt.The number of cases Data from Public Health England (PHE) has shown a rise in cases from 520 to 1,313 this week in the UK.The agency said cases were “rising in the community” and it was assessing the impact and severity of the variant.Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, told LBC on Friday morning the May 17 reopening was “is still on”.But when pressed on whether the plans for June 21 could be paused, he said: “The way we don’t have to do that is by everybody doing their bit.”What action is being takenOne response being considered is bringing forward the date for a second dose of vaccine for eligible groups to increase protection.clinical advisers to the Government, who are meeting on FridaThe government is also looking at ways to flex the rollout of vaccines in the worst hit areas such as the North West, including vaccinating everyone in multi-generational households from 18-year-olds to grandparents.More vaccine doses have been sent to Bolton, which has a particularly high rate of the Indian variant, while 800,000 PCR tests have been sent to 15 separate areas of the England, including parts of London and Merseyside.There is no current evidence that vaccines do not work against the Indian variant, which is thought to be at least as transmissible as the Kent variant of the virus.What do the experts sayPaul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday the “big question” was how many of people who are getting the Indian variant will end up requiring hospitalisation.“And at the moment the hospitalisation rate doesn’t seem to be increasing yet, although if this becomes much more common we’ll almost certainly see some increase, so I think it’s certainly a concern,” he said.“I think the step four is in doubt in June now, but we really need to see what impact it has on severe disease before we can really be certain.”Asked why June 21 was in doubt, he added: “Well, because if the epidemic continues to increase, if the Indian variant of the epidemic continues to increase at the same rate as it has over recent weeks, we’re going to have a huge number of cases by June.“The issue though is that because it seems to be spreading in unvaccinated younger people at the moment and not yet that much more active in older people, maybe we’ll be able to weather it and we’ll still be able to have the step four in June.“But if that increases cases in elderly and starts to increase hospitalisations, and puts pressure on the NHS again then I think step four would be in doubt.”Related...Vaccinations Could Be Targeted On Areas With Spike In Covid CasesPeople Aged 38 To 39 Can 'Book Covid Vaccines From Thursday'
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Friends Fans Left Devastated By Major Absentee From Upcoming Reunion Special
The full list of guest stars for the Friends reunion was announced on Thursday evening, with a host of A-listers joining the original cast for the unscripted special.As well as celebrity Friends fans like David Beckham, James Corden and Malala Yousafzai (not a trio we ever expected to be sharing the screen, we have to say), supporting cast members including James Michael Tyler, Maggie Wheeler and Elliott Gould will also be getting in on the nostalgic fun.However, having had time to digest the full list of guest stars, Friends devotees can’t help but notice one very disappointing omission.We are, of course, talking about Paul Rudd.The ageless actor joined Friends in its ninth season as Mike Hannigan, a love interest for Lisa Kudrow’s character, Phoebe Buffay.After growing popular with the show’s viewers, Mike and Phoebe eventually tied the knot in the final series.Despite being a fan-favourite, Paul is not among the star guests taking part in the unscripted special, and it’s caused a bit of a stir among Friends viewers...HOW CAN PAUL RUDD NOT BE IN THE FRIENDS REUNIONeven joey's hand twin is on the guest list. but where is phoebe's husband! pic.twitter.com/n4jvx2cWH4— Radhika (@radzmatazz_) May 14, 2021Justin Bieber and James Corden but not Paul Rudd what pic.twitter.com/c1kwRAYkGV— kris (@notwithhaste__) May 13, 2021the absence of paul rudd on this list is appalling pic.twitter.com/uuwYqLd5kP— paul rudd (@philsadelphia) May 14, 2021As much I am pumped about the Friends reunion, please tell me Paul Rudd will be a hidden guest or something. I mean he was such a huge part of Phoebe's storyline as well.— Monica⁷
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Nicki Minaj Has Just Discovered The Crown And Her Commentary On It Is An Absolute Joy
Nicki Minaj has revealed she’s been using her downtime to get into The Crown, sharing her unique commentary on the royal drama in an open letter with her fans.Since the birth of her son last year, Nicki has been taking time out from the spotlight, but shared an update with her Barbz on Friday morning, on what also marked the long-awaited re-release of her 2009 mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty.The chart-topping rapper kicked off her letter with the fact that she’s been “obsessing over The Crown on Netflix” since it was recommended to her by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris.“I’ve been hooked ever since,” she said. “It’s safe to say I’ve watched every single episode of every single season at least five times each. Lol. Yikes. I know.”Nicki continued: “I can’t get enough of Claire Foy’s perfect face. I want to eat it. It just does the right thing in every single scene. Lmao.“I also can’t believe how much I enjoy Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. Seeing as tho I’m such a Meryl StreepINISTA.“I love Helena [Bonham Carter] as Princess Margaret and Josh [O’Connor] as Prince Charles, although let’s face it; he’s a tad hunkier than the real Prince ever was— and yes, I just used the word ‘hunkier’.” Turning her attention to Olivia Colman, Nicki wrote that she’s “a great actress”, but preferred her performance as Carol Thatcher in The Iron Lady.“Go figure,” Nicki remarked, adding: “BRAVO to the entire cast, writers and directors.”“While we’re on the subject of acting,” Nicki wrote. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was one of the best pieces of work I’ve had the pleasure of viewing in a really long time. GENIUS!!!! With a capital everything!!!!“Just when I thought there was no way I could love Viola Davis any more... I MEAN!!!!! OMG. I LIVE!!!! Every single monologue. Every single one. She brought those words to life in such a way that I truly felt as if she could’ve been speaking about the music industry right now!“The writing in the original play was just brilliant but she was able to even add a billion times more to it and I didn’t think that was even possible [because playwright] August Wilson is the TRUTH!!!“Chadwick, of course, was just exceptionally layered and riveting. His acting knows no bounds. I can’t believe he was taken from us so soon. The man was on his way to becoming a full-fledged ICON!!! I also really loved the actor playing Cutler. Colman Domingo.”Speaking about her life since becoming a mum, Nicki added: “Each day creates a new and fascinating, magical memory that I hide far away into a little cute compartment of my heart; vowing never to forget any of it. Like. He’s just a cute liddo marshmallow.“I can’t take it. His favorite movie is Madagascar (Escape 2 Africa)... won’t stop watching it. LOL. He’s so smart, funny, sweet, competitive... it’s kind of crazy how they have a full personality so early on. Yesterday I made him say mama. Even got it on video. Just... wow.” View this post on InstagramA post shared by Barbie (@nickiminaj)Nicki’s father Robert Maraj was killed in a hit-and-run incident earlier this year, which the Starships star said she “can’t really bring myself to discuss”, but noted it has been “the most devastating loss of my life”.“I find myself wanting to call him all the time,” Nicki said. “More so now that he’s gone. Life is funny that way.“May his soul rest in paradise. He was very loved and will be very missed.”Nicki ended her letter with a shout-out to DMX, stating his death “hit me like a ton of bricks.”“Losing him felt like losing someone I grew up with. I adored him. Blessings to his family,” she added.
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Chlorophyll Water Is All Over TikTok. But Is It Actually Good For You?
Chlorophyll water has been gaining popularity since 2016, when celebrities touted its health and beauty benefits. Now, TikTokers are claiming in viralvideos that it can help treat acne and inflamed skin, lessen body odour, prevent cancer and support gut health.The most popular TikToks ― which have garnered 1.5 to 2 million “likes” to date ― promote chlorophyll water’s transformative effects on the skin. In the videos, TikTokers show their skin’s progress over time and advise adding liquid chlorophyll drops to water rather than applying chlorophyll topically or swallowing a chlorophyll pill. “Drinking liquid chlorophyll seems to hit on people’s intuitions about naturalness and purity, because you are taking water and adding something that comes from plants, which are instinctively viewed as pure,” noted Andrew Shtulman, a professor of psychology at Occidental College. It is also easier to swallow chlorophyll than, say, cook green vegetables or exercise. After all, these health-boosting activities “take more effort, or we might not have the resources to purchase the materials or access to a space where we need to do them,” Shtulman said.That said, don’t expect it to be the cure TikTok users are making it sound. Like most things related to your well-being, there isn’t one magical solution or a quick fix. Here’s what to know:Does liquid chlorophyll benefit the skin?First, it is important to remember that dietary supplements do not go under any type of Food and Drug Administration approval, said Judy Simon, a registered dietitian and nutritionist and adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington. “Anyone can make all kinds of claims about chlorophyll supplements,” said Simon, so approach cautiously when you see them on your TikTok “For You” page.To assess the true effectiveness of liquid chlorophyll, you need to look at chlorophyllin, a semi-synthetic form of chlorophyll found in liquid chlorophyll that is different from the natural version contained in plants, Simon said. This form allows it to be mixed into water and dissolve well.However, the limited number of humanstudies on chlorophyllin’s effect on skin focus on topical application, as opposed to ingestion, and these studies involve only 10 people or fewer. Board-certified dermatologist Joyce Parkemphasised that better research is needed to uncover the benefits of using topical or liquid chlorophyll supplements. She did note that chlorophyll may hold potential benefits for the skin because “its antioxidant properties help with anti-aging and it also has anti-inflammatory properties to help treat acne” — but again, research remains limited.Ultimately, Park advised against relying on chlorophyll as your sole antioxidant or acne treatment. And you can reap the benefits of natural chlorophyll by eating green vegetables, drinking matcha or consuming spirulina, Simon said.Does liquid chlorophyll offer other health benefits?Existing studies are still inconclusive when it comes to drinking liquid chlorophyll for other health reasons. Some viral videos claim it can do everything from reduce body odour to prevent types of cancer, but there’s no solid evidence to suggest this is true. A single study on mice did find that drinking chlorophyllin mixed with water may regulate the gut microbiome. But Simon said this doesn’t provide enough evidence for her to recommend it to her clients to boost their gut health. Is liquid chlorophyll safe? After drinking chlorophyll water, you may experience side effects like diarrhoea or green-coloured poo. Some experience an allergic reaction or have stomach cramps, prompting some people to seek medical help. Drinking chlorophyll water isn’t likely to damage your skin, Park said. But it is still unclear whether chlorophyllin has other adverse impacts on your body when you use it long-term, since the only safety data that currently exists is for taking 300 milligrams daily for up to three months, Simon said. And for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, safety data does not yet exist, Simon said. If you fall into one of these groups, your doctor will likely advise you to avoid drinking chlorophyllin during these periods. You may also be advised to avoid it if you take medications that increase your sensitivity to sunlight, like some antidepressants or blood pressure medication, as chlorophyllin can increase your chances of sunburn. If you’re really into trying chlorophyll, talk to your doctor first. But honestly? There are other, more well-proven ways to boost your health.Related...7 Ways To Undo The Brain Fog You're Feeling Because Of The PandemicMen Journal, Too – And They’re Starting To Talk About ItWhat It's Like To Be Told Your BMI Is Too High For IVF
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Badass Cat Leaps From Burning Building And Struts Off Like A Boss
A black cat had the luckiest moment of her nine lives this week when she leaped from the fifth floor of a burning building in Chicago.The kitty jumped with a meow, literally landed on her feet and then, after a little hop, scurried off:Nine lives for a cat that jumped from fire at 65th and Lowe. Cat hit grass bounced and walked away! pic.twitter.com/LRBsjMta2Z— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) May 13, 2021The Chicago Fire Department told Fox 32 that the cat indeed survived. “It went under my car and hid until she felt better after a couple of minutes and came out and tried to scale the wall to get back in,” spokesperson Larry Langford told the Chicago Sun-Times.He also said they were still searching for the owner of the unit and, presumably, the cat. WGN said the fire was contained to a single unit and quickly extinguished. No injuries were reported. 
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Prince Harry Reveals His Early Secret Meetup With Meghan Markle
One of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s very first meetups was something straight out of a Hollywood rom-com.The Duke of Sussex told Armchair Expert podcast hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman on Tuesday that an early incognito date between him and Meghan involved pretending not to know each other at a supermarket.The revelation came when Shepard asked whether the duke ever did normal things growing up, like watch movies or shop for groceries, after Harry compared his life as a royal to a cross between The Truman Show and a zoo.The duke said that he went to the supermarket with his mum, the late Princess Diana – though only “a handful of times,” due to the constant paparazzi presence – before offering up the anecdote about his early rendezvous with Meghan. View this post on InstagramA post shared by Armchair Expert Podcast (@armchairexppod)“The first time that Meghan and I met up for her to come and stay with me, we met up in a supermarket in London, pretending that we didn’t know each other, so texting each other from the other side of the aisle,” Harry said, as the hosts giggled.“There were people looking at me – giving me all these weird looks and coming up and saying hi and whatever – and I was there texting her saying, ‘Is this the right one?’” he said. “She goes, ‘No you want parchment paper,’ and I’m like, OK. [whispering] ‘Where’s the parchment paper?’”No word on whether the two were working on the same roast chicken recipe they made the night they got engaged.The two, who are already parents to 2-year-old Archie Harrison, are expecting their second child, a baby girl, very soon. Harry opened up on “Armchair Expert” about the work he’s done to deal with his own trauma to make sure he doesn’t pass it on as a parent.“If I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering – because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered – I’m going to make sure that I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on, basically,” the royal said.“There’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway,” he went on. “We as parents should be doing the most we can to try and say, ‘You know what? That happened to me. I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.’”Harry said it all comes down to “awareness” for him, and asking “How can I change that for my own kids?”“And, well here I am. I moved my whole family to the US. That wasn’t the plan!” he said as Shepard and Padman laughed again. “But sometimes you’ve got to make decisions and put your family first and put your mental health first.” Related...Prince Harry Nails Why You Shouldn't Say 'You Need Help' To Someone StrugglingHere's How The Royal Family Celebrated Archie's BirthdayPrince Harry Says He Already Wanted To Leave Royal Life In His 20s
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Instead Of Returning The Dog You Adopted During Lockdown, Do This
It was one of the few genuinely positive stories to come out of the Covid-19 crisis: At the height of the pandemic, with so many of us working from home, animal shelters across the nation reported that they didn’t have enough dogs to meet the demand. Now as people return to the office and pre-pandemic life, some of those dogs are being left behind. Aron Jones, executive director of Moms and Mutts Colorado Rescue (MAMCO), told HuffPost her group has seen “an unprecedented number of returns” recently.“The majority of adopters use the ‘I no longer have time’ excuse while others claim they can no longer ‘handle’ their dog,” Jones said. Early on in the pandemic, Jones said her group changed its adoption application to include questions directly related to the quarantine situation: “How will you transition your dog to being alone once you return to work?” for instance, or “How will you accommodate your dog’s training and exercise needs during and after quarantine?”Even so, some dog adopters have struggled to navigate that transition with their pets. Since the last week in February, MAMCO has had 62 dogs returned to its rescue. Of these dogs, 39 had been adopted between March and July of 2020. In a typical 12-month period, Jones said, the group has an average of 50 returns overall. Roughly half of those are dogs or puppies that were adopted up to four weeks earlier ― not a year later, as the group is seeing now among pandemic adopters. What worries Jones is when the dogs end up at the shelter rather than back at the rescue group.“Most adopters follow the contract and return the dogs to us, but on occasion we will get a call from a shelter because one of our dogs has been surrendered,” Jones said. “This is terrifying, since shelters can euthanise any dog due to behavioural issues, and many dogs show fear aggression when entering the shelter.”That said, a shelter is clearly a much better option than abandoning a dog or selling a pet online to a stranger. Since the pandemic began, the rescue group The Las Vegas Trapping Girls has seen an uptick in dogs dumped around the city or in the desert. In November, the group told KVVU-TV in Las Vegas that it has also seen more “free” dog listings online, which can be dangerous for a pet because it’s impossible to know who will end up with the dog. (In the worst-case scenario, a dog offered up for free could be used for dogfights or as a bait dog.) Pet shelters and rescue groups want people to come to them first. “We would much rather pet owners do the responsible thing of contacting a rescue centre than putting a pet’s welfare at risk by selling it online or abandoning it somewhere,” said Rob Young, the head of centre operations at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London. “We aren’t ever here to judge people for the reasons behind giving up their pet.” Just as if our world got turned upside down we would be confused, so too are dogs, except they don’t understand why this is happening.Nicole Ellis, a dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert at RoverOf course, even returning a pet to a rescue centre or no-kill shelter can be traumatic, said Nicole Ellis, a dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert at Rover, a dog-sitting and dog-walking app.“Most of the time, adopted pets have built up their trust and love in you and their new routine,” she told HuffPost. “To be taken away and put into a noisy shelter, filled with smells and sights they’re unfamiliar with, is a tough transition.”As a result, some dogs become fearful and erratic when introduced to any new situation, according to Ellis. The dogs may take longer to bond with a new owner, or they may pick up new behaviours to signal their distress: barking, pacing and self-harming behaviour, such as excessive licking.“Just as if our world got turned upside down we would be confused, so too are dogs, except they don’t understand why this is happening,” Ellis said. “They believe they are part of the family, and no family member should go through that.”Though many shelters have reported seeing an uptick in pet surrenders in recent weeks, national shelter data has yet to show a statistically significant number of returns, according to data from the animal welfare group Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends Animal Society hopes to convince uncertain pet owners that they have other options: Dogs can absolutely adjust to their owner’s return to the office. With the right training and preparation, it really doesn’t need to be a huge ordeal, said Holly Sizemore, the chief mission officer for the group. “By now, many people have undoubtedly discovered the secret reality of what dogs and cats really do all day. Whether there are people around or not, they mostly sleep, with a bit of eating and playing mixed in ― all things that they can do just as easily without human companionship,” Sizemore said. Below, pet experts like Sizemore offer realistic advice on how to continue to care for your pup ― and how to handle rehoming them if that really is the best option for both of you. Recognise that the pandemic has had a stressful effect on all pets, not just yours. Dogs, just like humans, are enduring a really stressful time right now. If your dog is exhibiting behavioural problems, know that that’s very common.As the COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift around the country, Jones said, her group is seeing a ton of what she calls “pandemic puppies.”“These are dogs who were raised in quarantine situations by people who were not able to take the dogs to training, dog parks or to socialise with other people,” she said.Jones likens the dogs to teenagers who lack social skills.“Many were paired with people who also were not able to be trained in dog behaviour because of social distancing,” she said. “Dog training is actually more for people than it is for dogs, so now both dog and owner are overwhelmed.”Look into a good trainer. Jones tells stressed-out new pet owners to take a deep breathe and realise there’s outside help available. Pet owners just need to be willing to take a new approach with a trainer. “Contact the rescue or shelter you adopted from and ask for trainer recommendations,” she said.“If your puppy/dog is fully vaccinated (the other kind!) start going to off-leash dog parks and socialise your dog,” Jones said. “Go to a park that has an extremely large, grassy area and costs a fee to enter, since that usually deters people who have aggressive dogs.”Anticipate that your dog may have some separation anxiety. Erin Katribe, medical director of Best Friends Animal Society, suggests pet owners know the signs of separation anxiety and prepare for it before work schedules change.  Separation anxiety is common among pets that are overly attached or dependent upon their owner.  After more than a year of lockdown, that probably describes most dogs right now.When pets with separation anxiety are left by their owners, they experience high levels of distress and anxiety, which often manifests in some telltale behaviour: barking or whining when you leave, scratching or chewing on furniture, over-grooming or a change in appetite.  “Most pets don’t like sudden and abrupt changes,” Katribe said. “Instead, try starting now to get your pet ready and ease them back to your previously ‘normal’ routine more easily.”To get dogs prepared for more alone time, the vet suggested a few things:  Create a safe, comfy place where they can have peaceful, relaxing alone time. Maybe it’s a quiet room off to the side in your home or a crate filled up with some Kongs and other toys to keep them busy. (You also might want to buy or make some hidden treats in boxes and food puzzles for mental stimulation)While you’re gone, play soothing music or podcasts (think reggae, smooth jazz, classical or radio stations like the BBC or NPR). This will keep them from being startled by outside noises. You can also try a white noise machine. Reward your pup for calm, independent behaviour, especially if they’re usually clingy. Usually, pet owners pay the most attention to their dogs when they’re active or even misbehaving. What you want to reward is calm and chill behaviour.  Practice leaving for short periods of time to run errands or go for a walk. To reinforce the idea that you’ll always come back, tell them you’ll be back later while leaving and announce that you’re back when you get home. Make sure your dog is getting a good walk and playtime before you leave for work or when you come home.Providing a pet with exercise, stimulation and a potty break throughout the day can work wonders, Ellis said. “When you get home, consider some one-on-one time to do a little training together,” she said. “Ten to 15 minutes can go a long way in fixing or preventing behavioural issues, and you’ll find that it will really strengthen the human-animal bond.”For a dog with a lot of energy, consider day care or midday walks from dog walking platforms, such as Wag or Rover, if you can swing it.If it’s not possible to keep your pet, make sure you return it to a safe rescue or shelter centre. Even if there have been some hiccups between the two of you, your pet has no doubt provided you with companionship and comfort through this difficult year. Try to honour the commitment you made at adoption, Sizemore said.That said, it might still be the case that finding a new home for a pet may be the best option for your and/or the pet if you’ve exhausted other options and your pet’s quality of life is at stake.“In those cases, we’d encourage you to reach out to your network of friends and family as well as to your local shelter or animal welfare organisation for advice on resources available to re-home your pet,” Sizemore said. Keep in mind that some shelters are still faced with having to euthanize incoming pets simply because they don’t have the resources to guarantee a positive outcome. “That means that anything you can do to relieve that potential burden from your local shelter and ensure your pet isn’t put at risk is absolutely imperative,” she said. Regardless of your dog-owning status, use Best Friends Animal Society’s Pet Lifesaving Dashboard to find out if a shelter near you needs help in saving the animals in their care. If your local shelter experiences an influx of “pandemic pet” returns, your donation could make a big difference.Related...Brits Can't Stop Hiring Hens – And They're Clucking AdorableThe Gross Truth About How Often You Should Wash Your Pillowcases30 Funny Tweets About Being A 'Plant Parent'
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...
Prince Harry Nails Why You Shouldn't Say 'You Need Help' To Someone Struggling
Prince Harry has a knack for dropping eloquent mental health truths, and his interview this week on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast is no exception.In the episode, the two discussed their fear of sharing past traumas or mental health difficulties with others. Shepard said that he worried his peers would call him “attention-seeking” or tell him to “stop being a baby.”Harry replied that the phrase “you need help,” which is often employed as a joke or insult, is another damaging reaction. That’s because it implies “I don’t know how to deal with this, you’re unhinged or you’re not particularly well – go and seek help,” he explained.“Rule No. 1 is that when you actually want or feel as though someone needs help, telling them to their face ‘you need help’ is probably the best way for them to go ‘uh no – no I don’t,’” Harry said.“Any single one of us – wherever we are, wherever we come from – will always try to find some way to be able to mask the actual feeling,” he continued. “That was a huge part of the beginning of my life. I rejected it, I said there was nothing wrong with me. I’m fine.”He’s absolutely right. We’ve made progress as a society, but that doesn’t erase past decades of mental health stigma (which still persists in some ways). Telling someone they need mental health help has often been used in a derogatory way – particularly when someone is being what others consider “problematic.”Saying “you need help” turns a process that would actually be beneficial into the absolute last thing anyone would want to do. It implies that you’re beyond personal care and only a therapist can “fix” you.In reality, people living with mental health conditions need both professional and social support. Research shows that loved ones play an integral role in our mental health: One study showed people with depression who have poor social support have worse symptoms and recovery. That same study suggested that people with anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia may also have similar outcomes.Another study found that social support is a significant protective factor against postpartum depression. Other evidence states that a lack of social support is associated with an increased likelihood of developing post-traumatic stress disorder following a traumatic event.Now, of course, there are many cases in which a person might say “you need help” more seriously. It might be a well-intentioned or compassionate observation. That’s fine! Your concern is needed! But there are ways to make that statement sound more caring and less dismissive.Below are a few options to try the next time you find yourself in this situation.Ask an open-ended question that acknowledges mental health issues.“My favourite way to get into these conversations is to lead with normalising it and then get into open-ended questions,” said Jessica Gold, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Like, ‘This pandemic has been really hard on me mentally, what has it been like for you?’ And see where the conversation goes.”Say, “I noticed _____ and I wanted to check in.”Gold said this isn’t necessarily her first option, but it is one method you can try.“I always try to lead with non-accusatory statements where possible, trying really hard to say things that don’t point out something someone may see as a ‘fault,’” she said.You don’t want to make them feel like they look bad, but rather compassionately bring up your concerns. For example, “I noticed you’ve been a little down and haven’t been playing piano much recently, so I wanted to check in.”You can also ask them how they want you to check in.Do they prefer a text every so often? What kind of questions actually help them open up? Would they rather you ask about symptoms or distract them from what’s going on for a little while?“I think it is important to ask people how they want to be checked in with,” Gold said. For example, people who are well-meaning “often say things like ‘Are you eating?’ to the people with eating disorders or ask about symptoms of depression or anxiety. People understand why you are checking on them, but it is important to try to do it on their terms.”Ask, “Would you like me to help you find a professional to speak to?”Think someone genuinely needs help? Offer to search for someone with them.“Help people navigate the mental health system. The mental health system is inherently broken, but it is also not designed to be very helpful for people with actual mental health disorders,” Gold said.“For example, you have to call a bunch of therapists and see if they have openings, and maybe follow up,” Gold continued. “Depression decreases your motivation and activation energy and anxiety makes talking to people on the phone hard. It can help tremendously for friends and family to help get you where you need to go ― look up therapists, or hospitals if that is what they need, even manage the emails and communication initially. But, you should ask if they want help with it before you just do it, of course.”Therapy isn’t a dirty word or something to be shamed, Gold stressed. “It doesn’t mean something is ‘wrong’ with me, it means I made a choice to support myself more, to make my life more balanced.”And if you are making jokes or snide comments about someone’s mental health, know that it says way more about you than it does about them. Be kind and open when someone is vulnerable around you. No one is asking you to be perfect ― just asking you not to be a jerk.Related...Prince Harry Says He Already Wanted To Leave Royal Life In His 20sThe 10-Minute Mental Health Workout To Boost Self-EsteemHow To Get Your Confidence Back If It's Shattered Right Now
UK News and Opinion - The Huffington Post...