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Yoga and butt lifts

Gwyneth Paltrow and Jenifer AnistonImage copyright Reuters/Getty

Did your day begin with a workout, meditation and a breakfast worthy of an Instagram showing – all before getting to work? If not, you’ll need to shape up to make it on to the glossy pages of magazines.

We’ve all rolled our eyes while reading those celebrity day-in-the-life interviews – with the inexplicably early starts, heavy exercise and distinct lack of caffeine as standard.

Beauty editor of Red Magazine, Rosie Green, is one of the latest to share her morning rituals. Hint: there’s not a soggy cornflake in sight.

After rising at 06:00, there is an early morning run, “lots of cuddles”, “pimped-up porridge” – think fruit and nuts rather than golden syrup – a school drop-off and “just enough time to tong my hair”.

This insight led fellow parent and children’s author, Pip Jones, to think about her own routine.

“04:30: I wake up because I need a massive wee,” she wrote. “05:30: I flop out of bed and go downstairs to make builders’ tea. It tastes like crap without sugar in, so I put loads of sugar in it. 06:30: We start the day doing some grunting and arguing. I feel really grateful that no-one is biting anyone else.”

Similarly, Twitter user @Tillyecl’s routine involved less “pimping” and more Marmite.

But others manage to find the time for far more than dressing or feeding yourself.

A LinkedIn post from a US professional called Mark Sloan went viral after he revealed how he spends the three hours before he heads to the office at 08:15. The tight schedule included “language learning” and drinking a whole litre of water.

Early starts seem to be a non-negotiable for many successful people. After all, how would businessman Sir Richard Branson fit in a spot of kite-surfing before breakfast unless he got up at 05:00?

The Virgin founder, who lives in the British Virgin Islands, also said being an early riser means he can check his emails “before most of the world logs on”.

Most of the world that is, except for supermodel Cindy Crawford, who’s awake and checking emails at 06:30 before her first cup of green tea. Then it’s workout time.

“Often I’ll take a Jacuzzi outside for 10 minutes first; it’s like my meditation,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. Then there’s cardio, 10 minutes on a trampoline and another 10 running stairs. By 08:00 it’s time for her second mug of green tea to match a green “shake”.

Image copyright cindycrawford Instagram
Image caption Supermodel Cindy likes her breakfast juice how she likes her tea: green

It’s not just celebrities, but royalty too, that are slaves to the alarm clock.

“I get up around 06:45 to start exercising by 7,” Princess Eugenie of York said. “I go to the park from 7 to 8. I do circuits, which I love because they’re quick… Or I go with my best friend to this amazing, women-only gym called Grace Belgravia. If I need to pick up some groceries, I go to Waitrose, right next to my gym.”

Music royalty Simon Cowell keeps pumped to his prime with the help of 500 daily push-ups.

“Then I have a steam and a bath, but I always have breakfast in bed,” he added. It remains unclear whether Cowell prepares this himself.

Getting back into bed for a bacon sarnie is not an option for US actor Jennifer Aniston. She begins her day with hot water and lemon, before 20 minutes of meditation.

Breakfast is a shake – which involves something called maca powder and “dynamic greens” – which is followed by a workout to rival most people‘s weekly exercise: spin for half an hour, yoga for 40 minutes and then the gym.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption 500 push-ups a day give Simon Cowell the X-factor

For actor-turned-lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow, multi-tasking is key to morning productivity.

“Did dance aerobics for 45 minutes then all of the butt lifts and the like. Rushed upstairs to have a shower, doing my post workout stretch while the conditioner was doing its magic on my hair to combine activities,” she wrote on her website Goop.

But very occasionally these interviews offer some common ground from a world more familiar to mere mortals.

Author and columnist, Caitlin Moran confessed most mornings she wakes thinking: “‘UGH this is too early. This is GHASTLY.”

“I pack the kids off at 8.30am, then go swimming for 45 minutes. The bottom of my local pool is endlessly fascinating. Clumps of hair moving like jellyfish; scrunchies; leaves. I once thought I saw a poo there,” she told Stylist magazine.

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens & Jacksonville Jaguars protest during US national anthem

Ravens and Jaguars defy President Trump at Wembley

NFL stars defied US president Donald Trump by protesting during the US national anthem before Sunday’s match at Wembley Stadium.

Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars players went down on one knee after Trump said that those who protest during the anthem should be fired.

Last year, quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt for the anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

Further protests took place during the other NFL games on Sunday.

At Wembley more than 20 players and staff from both sides either knelt or linked arms during the anthem.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who donated $1m to Trump’s inauguration committee, also linked arms with two of his players.

“I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honoured to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem,” Khan said.

“Our team and the NFL reflects our nation, with diversity coming in many forms – race, faith, our views and our goals. We have a lot of work to do, and we can do it, but the comments by the president make it harder.”

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti added: “We recognise out players’ influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 per cent. All voices need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form.”

The players all stood when God Save the Queen was played after the US national anthem.

Trump told a Republican rally in Alabama on Friday that the protests showed “disrespect of our heritage”.

He then followed that up with further criticism on Twitter, writing on Sunday: “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our flag and country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”

NBA stars have also become involved in the issue, with LeBron James describing US President Donald Trump on Saturday as a “bum” over comments he made about fellow basketball star Steph Curry.

Trump said the Golden State Warriors were no longer invited to the White House after their superstar Curry, 29, said he did not want to attend “to show that we won’t stand for the things (the president) has said”.

Jacksonville embarrass Baltimore at Wembley

“Going to White House was an honour until you showed up,” James, 32, said.

What is the anthem protest?

Following 29-year-old Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the anthem more players have since joined in by taking a knee or raising a fist during the anthem.

Speaking on Friday, Trump said: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired’,” the former host of The Apprentice said.

“You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired’. And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

Having opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in the off-season, Kaepernick – who began his protests because he wanted to start a nationwide debate – remains a free agent.

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell supported his players by explaining they had raised millions of dollars for recent disaster relief efforts and were involved in community programmes.

“There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month,” he said.

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

The NFL Players’ Association president Eric Winston said Mr Trump‘s comments were “a slap in the face to the civil rights heroes of the past and present”.

In other reaction:

  • New England Patriots CEO Robert Kraft said he was “deeply disappointed” by the comments, and that he supported players’ rights to protest
  • Miami Dolphins owner and founder Stephen Ross said the US needed “unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness”
  • Jed York, CEO of Kaepernick’s former team the San Francisco 49ers said he would continue to support his players, calling the comments “callous and offensive”
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan (centre) – who also owns Championship football club Fulham – displayed his unity with his players

Uber seeks talks with London mayor to renew licence

Uber appImage copyright Reuters

Uber is prepared to make concessions to ensure its licence to operate in London is renewed, its general manager for the capital has said.

Tom Elvidge told the Sunday Times: “While we haven’t been asked to make any changes, we’d like to know what we can do.”

He added: “That requires a dialogue we sadly haven’t been able to have.”

Transport for London told the ride-hailing app firm it was not fit to hold a private hire operator licence.

A TfL spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Uber has been asking to meet Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, since his election in May 2016 but those requests have been rejected, according to sources close to the US company.

More than 630,000 people have signed an online petition in a bid to keep Uber operating in London after its licence expires on 30 September.

It has 21 days to appeal TfL’s decision and can continue to provide its services in the capital “until the appeals process has been exhausted” – a point Mr Khan reiterated in a response to the change.org petition.

TfL made the same point in a tweet on Sunday:

TfL cited failures to report serious criminal offences, conduct sufficient background checks on drivers and other safety issues as grounds for not renewing Uber’s licence.

Concessions by Uber are likely to centre on passenger safety and benefits for drivers, limits on their working hours, and holiday pay.

Despite the more conciliatory language from Mr Elvidge, Uber said in a series of tweets on Sunday that it would challenge the TfL decision “in the courts to defend the livelihoods of drivers & the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use Uber”.

“Drivers who use Uber in London are licensed by TfL and have been through the same enhanced DBS [Disclosure and Barring Service] background checks as black cab drivers.

“We have always followed TfL rules on reporting serious incidents, with a dedicated team that works closely with the Metropolitan Police.”

Although there are apps such as Mytaxi and Gett that allow passengers to hail black cabs in London, as well as those from minicab firms such as Addison Lee, Uber has no direct rival in the capital.

Estonian-based Taxify was forced to suspend services just days after launching in London earlier this month because it did not have a TfL licence.

The situation is different in the US, however, where Lyft has won market share this year following a series of PR disasters by Uber that resulted in the ousting of founder Travis Kalanick as chief executive in June.

Uber’s share of the US ride-hailing market has fallen from 91% in 2014 to 74.3% in August, according to data from Second Measure, which tracks credit card purchases.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lyft replaced its pink moustache mascot with the Amp sign this year

Lyft has 23.4% of the market, with other apps such as Via, Juno, Gett and Sidecar on 2.2%.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that senior Lyft executives had three face-to-face meetings with TfL and City Hall officials in the past year, as well as two conference calls.

The meetings, revealed in a Freedom of Information request, do not indicate that Lyft is preparing to launch in London, however.

Lyft competes with Uber in hundreds of US cities and has styled itself as a more ethical and responsible operator than its bigger rival.

It’s all gravy?

Yorkshire puddings
Image caption Hungry yet?

They have been around for hundreds of years but now Yorkshire puddings have found themselves thrust into the culinary spotlight.

This week a BBC video about a Yorkshire pudding wrap was viewed more than 13 million times online, making the dish and how to eat it a real talking point.

It’s polarised opinion, with some saying it’s food heaven and others claiming it is sacrilege and food hell.

But what’s behind the revival of this humble recipe?

And who is qualified to say how it’s best eaten?


What is a Yorkshire pudding anyway?

The Yorkshire pudding is made from a simple batter of eggs, flour and milk and needs to be light yet crispy and well-risen. The general rule is that the fat – often dripping or goose fat – needs to be red hot in the tin before the batter is added, avoiding the much-feared soggy bottom.

According to Yorkshire food historian Peter Brears, the recipe first appeared in a book called The Art Of Cookery by Hannah Glasse in 1747. She *whisper* came from Northumberland.


How did it get its name?

As for how it got its name, Mr Brears said it is likely to have come from Yorkshire miners, who worked incredibly hard but were well paid enough to be able to afford meat and be given free coal to keep a fire going. “A fire and roasted meat were essentials for making Yorkshire pudding,” he said.

It started to be taken up as a Yorkshire symbol in the 1890s when it started appearing on postcards – yes, postcards. From then on, well, it is just folklore.


How is it traditionally served?

The Yorkshire pudding is usually made in a rectangular tin and cut into squares to be served with a roast dinner. It can also be made with whole sausages cooked within it, a dish known as toad-in-the-hole.

Image copyright Getty Images

The baked batter treat is believed to have been originally served as a starter with gravy. That way diners were filled up before the main course so whoever was feeding them could get away with serving less meat.

Some people also like to eat it cold the next day with jam.


What are the new incarnations of the regional speciality?

So far, so good. For the uninitiated, that’s the basics covered. But if the idea of eating something called a “pudding” with a savoury course isn’t mind-bending enough, how about trying it in even more exotic forms from wraps to burritos?

The wraps have been on sale for a while, with a stall dedicated to selling them in Leeds Kirkgate Market and a cafe in York has reportedly had customers queuing out of the door for one since being featured in the online video.

The Yorkshire pudding burrito is also a thing, which is possibly similar to a wrap but with more stuffing. Both feature the elements of a roast dinner encased in a fluffy light batter wrap, and are proving extremely popular.

Earlier this month it was reported a diner in Beverley, Hull, was serving a Yorkshire pudding pizza. The huge pudding is used as a base before a layer of sausage and tomato is added with a cheese topping. Not quite as traditional maybe, but does it work?

Maybe the proof of the pudding really is in the eating.


Has it actually always been a kind of fast food?

Mr Brears who has published several books on the history of food and worked with The National Trust and English Heritage, said the thought of a Yorkshire wrap reminds him of how it was eaten as factory food in the mid to late-19th Century.

Image copyright Empics
Image caption Yorkshire pudding wraps have been on sale in Leeds Kirkgate Market since last year

He said: “When you’d have your Sunday roast you would always cook more potatoes and more veg, and when you went to the mill you took a basin with meat and potatoes and gravy in the bottom and a piece of Yorkshire pudding on top.

“You would wrap it up and then during the day you would stand it on the steam pipes to warm it up.”


How has the Yorkshire pudding wrap gone down online?

Commenting on the BBC News video, Alice Elizabeth Ruggiero said: “My grandmother was a true Yorkshirewomen, she served individual puddings before a dinner of stew – she filled the pudding with the gravy and we ate it like a starter with the meat and vegetables after. It was delicious.”

Shona Court said: “I want our town to have a least three of these places. I would be in heaven as, according to my son, I don’t have blood, I have gravy!!!!”

Image caption The Yorkshire pudding wrap is basically a roast dinner, wrapped in a Yorkshire

Not everyone is a fan. Jan Starkey Dean said: “Isn’t anything sacred anymore, why does everything have to be on the go? Are people so busy they can’t sit down to eat? I think a lot of it is laziness.”

And Patricia Pope said: “Think I will stick with the traditional Sunday roast beef dinner and Yorkshire pudding sitting down at the dinner table so that I can enjoy it thoroughly.”


What does the rest of the world make of a Yorkshire pudding?

US resident Jim Cotton said: “As an American I must admit we don’t understand Yorkshire pudding (although I had some once in the UK and enjoyed it).

Image caption Love them or hate them, you can’t go on social media this week without seeing one

“But this does look great. Maybe a new franchise operation in central Texas?”

Camden Gilbreath added: “I’m American, I had no idea what a Yorkshire pudding was and not super clear on the broad definition of the word “pudding” in the English language, because I think creamy slightly gross dessert.

“All that said call it whatever you will that looks just delicious, idk [I don’t know] what a regular Yorkshire pudding looks like but man that looks good all wrapped up.”


Ok, so enough about actually eating them. What else can you do with a Yorkshire pudding?

These tasty treats make pretty good sporting props, it turns out.

Across the Pennines in Ramsbottom they are used as targets in the annual World Black Pudding Throwing Championships, which celebrates the historic rivalry between Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Image caption In Ramsbottom, contestants throw black puddings at a stack of Yorkshire puddings on a high platform

Contestants throw black puddings with the aim of knocking off as many Yorkshire puddings as possible from a 20ft (6m) platform.

Last year on Yorkshire Day, a Yorkshire pudding throwing contest was held in York to celebrate the region.

They made the sport headlines in April, when Sheffield‘s Danny Willett, who won last year’s opening major of the year, promised to include Yorkshire pudding on the menu of the Masters Champions Dinner.

Staying in sport, the parents of triathletes Jonny and Alistair Brownlee joke that the secret of their sons’ success is “roast beef and Yorkshire puddings”.

Big kids

US designer Jeremy Scott greets the audience at the end of the show for fashion house Moschino during the Women's Spring/Summer 2018 fashion shows in Milan, on September 21, 2017Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption My Little Pony with attitude: US designer Jeremy Scott at Moschino’s fashion show in Milan

The fashion industry is experiencing a revolution, with mermaids, unicorns, sparkles and vintage toys now all the rage in High Street fashion shops.

Products once considered to be “too childish” or alternative for women to wear are now increasingly popular.

Moschino has just launched its My Little Pony collection for Spring/Summer 2018 at Milan Fashion Week.

But the trend has led to renewed debate among consumers about whether wearing such fashion items is a sign of immaturity.

A new social phenomenon is arising on Instagram, whereby young women have become the key influencers for their friendship circles and communities.

Social trends

Users now regularly post photos of their outfits on Instagram, together with a full run-down of what they are wearing and where they got it from.

If someone has a unique and unusual item, others covet it.

Image copyright Jessica Ayton
Image caption Quirky cute alternative fashion items can now be found on the High Street

To ensure that more people see the outfit shot posts, users include hashtags for different styles and tag the small businesses they purchased the item from.

This helps other consumers find the product, as well as providing free publicity for independent brands.

Over time, these trends grow on social networks, often without ever receiving mainstream media coverage.

Relatable fashion

Now, some of these fashion trends are making their way into the mainstream – whether it’s seashell bags, pink heart chokers, sparkly rubber phone cases, pastel jackets, comfortable boat-like shoes called “creepers”, fluffy neon fur tops or colourful see-through backpacks.

“People just want something they can relate to,” says Rosanna Mackney, the creative director of Dreamy Bows, a UK retailer of Japanese fashion.

“If you see a model in a magazine, you know they’ve had styling and a makeup artist to do it for them, but if you see someone’s Instagram account, you know that they achieved that look by themselves, so you know it’s a lot more realistic that you can achieve the look yourself.”

Image copyright Ruth Brain
Image caption Clothing themed around vintage 1980s toys like My Little Pony, Care Bears and Polly Pocket are also now all the rage

Merchandise depicting vintage toys like My Little Pony and Polly Pocket have also seen a revival amongst fashionistas on Instagram.

Apart from Moschino, American independent makeup brand Lime Crime recently launched a line of eyeshadow palettes inspired by 1990s Polly Pocket playsets.

Lime Crime founder Doe Deere says that her beauty brand wants customers to be unapologetically expressive: “Our customers create the trends – they inspire us daily.

“Women have been told a lot of things [about what they should wear], but thankfully the fashion and beauty industries are populated with innovators and change-makers who don’t give much thought to the rules.”

‘Be adult’

Yet many think that childlike items should be best left in childhood.

“You may like bright and vibrant colours. That is perfectly fine. But you are not a little girl. You are an adult woman, and there is pride in being an adult women,” Racked.com’s Jennifer Wright implores in a critique of the 2017 summer fashion trends.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Are the symbols and fashions you choose to wear really a sign of how mature you are?

“Please don’t latch onto the fantasy world of mermaids and unicorns and whatever other bits of girlish nostalgia is being marketed to you.

“None of those things are real. Now, more than ever, we need to be present in the real world that’s unfolding. The world needs adult women, desperately.”

Financial crisis

Ruth Brain, 27, an alternative fashion YouTube vlogger from Edinburgh known online as “Princess Peachie“, has been collecting vintage toys since 2005.

Ms Brain who has 59,000 YouTube subscribers and 12,000 Instagram followers says that while her hobby was judged as being “weird” 12 years ago, nowadays young women feel more comfortable expressing themselves openly.

“Those of us who grew up through the late 1980s to early 2000s are all kind of withdrawing to that carefree, happier feeling,” she says.

“Which for us was before the point we finished high school and got tossed into a financial crisis.”

“But also we’re all kind of realising that ‘growing up’ isn’t really related to aesthetic.

Image copyright Dreamy Bows
Image caption The latest trends are heavily influenced by the Harajuku street styles from Japan and other underground movements

“It’s related to your intelligence, wisdom and emotional maturity – so if you’re wearing My Little Ponies on your sweatshirt or Care Bears on your socks, none of that really matters in the grand scheme of things, as long as it makes you smile,” says Ms Brain.

Fashion rebels

Rosanna Mackney also disagrees that wearing colourful, cute fashion items is a sign of immaturity.

“It’s a rebellion against what society and high fashion thinks women should dress like,” she says.

“Mature, understated elegance, muted colours – lots of people don’t want to conform to this, and sometimes we just want to wear cute and colourful things that express all sides of our personalities.”

But perhaps times are changing, and the so-called “rules” governing a woman‘s perceived maturity are being turned on their head.

“Fashion today is becoming more young and fun – it’s kind of like they’re branching out for the ‘weird kid’,” says Jessica Ayton, 27, an alternative fashion blogger from West Yorkshire with 5,000 followers on Instagram.

“The cutesy fashion, we’re allowed to embrace it now.”

Nicola Adams’ fight called off after problem with Alexandra Vlajk’s blood test

Nicola Adams is undefeated in her first two professional fights

Nicola Adams’ fight against Alexandra Vlajk in Las Vegas has been called off after a problem with her opponent’s pre-fight blood test.

Double Olympic champion Adams was due to fight Hungarian Vlajk in a super flyweight bout on the Saul Alvarez v Gennady Golovkin undercard on Saturday.

Vlajk, 37, has won 11 of her 17 contests and has stopped two opponents since turning professional in 2013.

Britain’s Adams tweeted she was “devastated” not to be fighting.

The 35-year-old, who said the bout would not go ahead because of a problem with her opponent, added: “Thank you everyone for your support and kind messages.”

Adams would have been making her debut in the US and was looking forward to fighting on such a high-profile bill.

She told the BBC earlier in the week: “This is something you dream about as a kid. It may never come true and it’s nice to think I’m able to achieve my dreams.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever had women on the undercard of such a big event before, or in Vegas. We are definitely changing the game for the better.”

Adams targets world title after ‘dream’ Las Vegas fight

Analysis – ‘a huge frustration’ for Adams

Ade Adedoyin, BBC World Service reporter in Las Vegas

The fight is off because we understand Vlajk failed a medical. I understand it’s related to a blood test.

They conducted another test, but didn’t have enough time to turn that sample around, so as a precaution the fight was cancelled.

It’s a huge frustration for her, with the opportunity to box on such a big bill.

Flexing hard

Flex LewisImage copyright Instagtram/ Flex-Lewis
Image caption Flex Lewis goes from an off-season weight of up to 240lb to the 212lb category in competitions, in which he is a five-time champion at Mr Olympia

Arnold Schwarzenegger won Mr Olympia six times but now a Welsh bodybuilder is hoping to emulate his success at the competition in Las Vegas.

James ‘Flex’ Lewis from Llanelli has won the 212lb weight category at the contest for the last five years and he hopes to secure his sixth this weekend.

He started bodybuilding as a teenager in a bid to improve his rugby playing.

But it soon turned to his sport of choice and he is now a bodybuilding celebrity in America.

His success in the sport has led to him appearing on magazine covers and television in the US.

Yet, his fame has hardly caused a ripple in his home country.

Image copyright Flex Lewis

“I get a lot of love around the world. I’m on US television, on the front cover of magazines, but in my own country I get a small column in my local paper, the Llanelli Star,” he said.

Mr Lewis took up bodybuilding when he was a student. He was a keen rugby player and had dreams of playing for Wales at rugby, earning the nickname of Flex after being able to dodge tackles as a winger on the pitch.

In a bid to improve his rugby skills, he started lifting weights.

“It was a fluke really how I got into bodybuilding,” he explained.

“When I was 19, the owner of the local gym said if I entered one competition I’d get free membership.

“I just thought ‘how hard can it be?’ I was just thinking of the money I’d save and getting it over with so I could eat a big bag of chocolates.”

But when he won the competition in Port Talbot and was offered the chance to to represent Wales, his sense of national pride took over.

By 20, he had won junior Mr Wales and junior Mr Great Britain twice, and junior Mr Universe. By 22 he was competing against men in their late 30s in the senior category and had turned professional by 24.

Image copyright Instagram/ Flex_Lewis
Image caption Coach Neil Hill spotted Flex Lewis in his first competition and has been with him ever since

Describing it as “a whirlwind”, he said: “Even looking back to my nickname playing rugby, I think I had a path to follow.

“Being a Llanelli boy moulded me as well, being from a hardworking town gave me that focus and determination.”

Mr Lewis settled in America after going on a trip to Muscle Beach in Santa Monica and Gold’s Gym, California and now has a family and several businesses he runs as well as training for the competitions.

He said he has “a love-hate relationship” with the gym, with every training day like “groundhog day” – his motto is “get in and get it done”.

In 2012, he won his first title at the Mr Olympia competition.

But it took a trip back to Llanelli for him to realise the significance.

“I had left home at 19, slept on sofas, chased the dream,” he said.

“It was probably not until two weeks later that winning it it sank in.

“I’d gone back to Llanelli; I was walking the dog along the coast and it suddenly hit me and I had tears streaming down my face.”

Five years later and he is preparing for his sixth title and emulating his hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“I used to watch WWF, but then I saw Arnold’s films, and he blew my mind. he looked un-human, like a cartoon,” he explained.

“There is nothing better than meeting someone you idolise. But I already have one up on him apart from the Mr Olympia record.

“We were on stage (at an event) and he tried to pull a joke on me. But I got to the punch line first. So it’s 1-0 to Flex on jokes.”

And he hopes that his success will be shared by his fans, some of who are travelling from Wales.

“There are no better fans in the world than the Welsh – it won’t be a Conor McGregor draw, but I will have an area in Vegas that will be the loudest,” he said.

Image copyright Flex Lewis
Image copyright Instagram/ Flex_Lewis
Image copyright Instagram/ Flex_Lewis

Almost 400,000 Britons hit by data breach

EquifaxImage copyright Reuters
Image caption The massive data breach is being investigated by US and UK data watchdogs

Data about British people “may potentially have been accessed” during the data breach at the US credit rating firm Equifax.

The UK arm of the organisation said files containing information on “fewer than 400,000” UK consumers was accessed in the breach.

Last week, Equifax revealed details of the hack and said data on more than 143 million Americans was taken.

The US Federal Trade Commission is investigating how the data was stolen.

Information released when details of the breach were disclosed suggest that hackers got at Equifax’s internal systems between mid-May and the end of July this year when the company discovered it had been penetrated.

Data on social security numbers, birth dates and addresses, was taken during the incident.

Equifax is now facing dozens of legal claims over the incident.

Protecting data

In a statement, the UK office of Equifax said an internal investigation had shown that data on UK consumers was accessed during the hack.

It said data on Britons was being held in the US due to a “process failure” which meant that a limited amount of information was stored in North America between 2011 and 2016.

The information held included names, dates of birth, email addresses and telephone numbers. No addresses, passwords or financial data was involved.

Equifax said that because the data on UK citizens was limited it was “unlikely” that those affected would suffer identity theft.

It said it would contact those affected and offer them free ID protection services that would alert them to any attempt to carry out fraud with their details.

“We apologise for this failure to protect UK consumer data,” said Patricio Remon, president at Equifax’s UK office, in the statement.

“Our immediate focus is to support those affected by this incident and to ensure we make all of the necessary improvements and investments to strengthen our security and processes going forward,” he added.

It said it was co-operating with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Information Commissioner’s Office on their investigations.

Equifax has set up a website – equifaxsecurity2017.com – to keep people up-to-date with what is happening and to provide advice.

Bombardier announces 95 job losses in NI operations

Bombardier Aerospace factory in BelfastImage copyright Pacemaker

The aerospace company, Bombardier, has announced another 95 redundancies at its Northern Ireland operations.

The redundancies are part of 7,500 global job cuts announced last October – mostly in its railways division.

The company said it would “explore opportunities to help mitigate the number of compulsory redundancies”.

The job losses, which will affect support staff, are not related to the aerospace firm’s trade dispute in the United States.

The company said: “We need to continue to cut costs to help ensure our long-term competitiveness.

“We acknowledge the impact this will have on our workforce and their families”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe history of Bombardier in Northern Ireland

Earlier this year, Bombardier signed a contract with IBM to outsource technology operations.

At the time, the firm said the deal was intended to improve productivity and reduce costs.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The wings for Bombardier’s C-Series planes are made in Belfast

Last year, the company announced it was cutting 1,000 jobs in Northern Ireland, about 20% of its local workforce.

That was in response to severe financial pressure as cost overruns on its new C-Series jet drained cash out of the company.

It is now facing a complaint from rival firm Boeing that it has engaged in anti-competitive practices by selling the C-Series below cost in the US.

Boeing wants the US trade authorities to impose financial penalties.

DUP and Sinn Féin leaders say that if the Boeing’s complaint is upheld it would have “serious implications” for Bombardier’s NI operation.

Watchdog probe into Fox Sky bid confirmed

Sky logoImage copyright Reuters

The bid by 21st Century Fox to buy Sky will be referred to competition regulators in the “coming days“, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has confirmed.

She said the deal would be examined “on media plurality and genuine commitment to broadcasting standards grounds”.

The Competition and Markets Authority will provide their response within 24 weeks of the referral.

Ms Bradley will then decide whether the deal may proceed.

Fox already owns 39% of Sky but wants full control of the satellite broadcaster.

It abandoned one takeover attempt in 2011 following the phone-hacking scandal. Late last year it launched a new bid.

However, some fear it would give Rupert Murdoch’s family, which controls Fox, too large a presence in the UK media.

The referral will also include corporate governance issues following a series of sexual harassment cases at the US company.

Earlier this week Ms Bradley said she was “minded” to refer the £11.7bn deal and gave the two broadcasters ten days in which to submit further arguments. They declined the opportunity to make further representations.