Fiona Phillips is raising awareness of loneliness this Christmas

I was completely taken aback by know it affected me - there was nothing to get up for

– Fiona Phillips

It’s no surprise that the festive season can make people living alone feel all the more isolated. According to a leading charity, Britain is in the grip of a loneliness epidemic, and it’s sadly not set to go away.

This morning we were joined by TV presenter Fiona Phillips who took part in an experiment where she spent five days on her own. The aim was to see how it would impact her life.

Fiona explained to Good Morning Britain how quickly the sense of isolation brought her mood down.

“I’ve always liked my own company. But I was completely taken aback how it affected me,'' she said. "I felt severed from my family, and it was physically painful.”

Top five headlines you’re waking up to

  1. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned that workers are facing two "lost decades" without earnings growth. The thinktank predicted that by 2021, average earnings look set to be a disappointing £1,400 lower than the forecast in March 2016. According to predictions, Britain's national debt may not return to pre-financial crisis levels until "well past the 2060s".

  2. Theresa May has said she wants to "reignite the dream of home ownership" in light of the Government's move to abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers. Concerns were raised about the cut pushing up house prices. The prime minister said: "We want to ensure that the young generation - that today perhaps worries about never getting their foot on the housing ladder - will have that extra bit of help to do so".

  3. It is hoped that a new immune therapy developed from “miraculous” cases of cancer recovery, could begin testing on human patients next year. The treatment uses cancer-killing immune cells taken from donor blood, which are then multiplied in the lab. According to experts, the neutrophil cells are part of the body's first line of defence against foreign invaders. Scientists from King's College London partnered with a biotech company to prepare early trials of the treatment.

  4. Condolences have been offered from Gavin Williamson, amid fears that all 44 crew members on a missing Argentine submarine have died. The defence secretary offered sympathies after the Argentine navy announced that a sound thought to be an explosion had been detected by US and specialist agencies who have been leading the search. The "hydro-acoustic anomaly" came about just hours after the navy lost contact with the ARA San Juan on November 15, according a spokesman for the Argentine navy.

  5. Robinho, a former Manchester City football star has reportedly been sentenced to nine years in prison for rape by a court in Milan. According to Italian news reports, the Brazilian player was found guilty of taking part in a gang rape in 2013. It has been reported he attacked a 22-year-old Albanian woman, along with five other men. Local news reports claimed Robinho, has protested his innocence of the charge and that he was not in court for the hearing, entering a not guilty plea through his lawyer.

Top five headlines you're going home to

  1. An Army sergeant is to face a retrial on charges of attempting to murder his wife by tampering with her parachute after the first jury failed to reach verdicts. Emile Cilliers, 37, of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, denied throughout a seven-week trial at Winchester Crown Court two charges of attempted murder and a third count of damaging a gas fitting.

  2. Workers are facing two 'lost decades' without earnings growth, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned. The respected economic think-tank said by 2021 average earnings look set to be nearly £1,400 lower than forecast in March 2016. This would be lower in real terms than at the time of the 2008 financial crash.

  3. Experts are to begin exploring whether playing football increases the risk of dementia, in "one of the most comprehensive studies ever commissioned" on the subject. The study, which starts in January, will explore whether dementia is more common in ex-professional footballers than in the normal population.

  4. Argentina's navy is investigating reports of a loud noise detected a few hours after a submarine went missing. The ARA San Juan disappeared last Wednesday with 44 people on board. The operation is entering a 'critical phase' because the crew's oxygen supply could be running low.

  5. Former East 17 band member Brian Harvey has been arrested over claims he sent malicious tweets. The 43-year-old singer, who made his name in the 90s boy band, is being questioned by police in north London.

Should vaping be banned in public spaces?

It is a toxic, addictive drug, you are still smoking

– Nilufer Atik on why she thinks the UK should follow New York's example and ban vaping

As of yesterday vaping and the use of e-cigarettes was officially banned from workplaces and outdoor areas in New York - with many residents we asked reacting positively to the decision.

So, should the same ban be implemented over here in the UK?

Simon Clark, who's director of pro-smoking organisation Forest doesn't think so, telling us where people have been anti-vaping in America 'for some time', people in the UK feel more 'liberated' by it and find it a good way to give up smoking.

However ex smoker Nilufer Atik doesn't trust that vaping isn't as harmful as smoking and doesn't like people using e-cigarettes around her child.

Top five headlines you're waking up to

  1. The Treasury has defended Philip Hammond's abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers after the Office for Budget Responsibility warned the move could result in a hike in house prices. The chancellor cut duty on homes sold up to £300,000 in his Wednesday Budget, a boon to young people hoping to get onto the property ladder. However, the OBR responded by predicting the move would increase house by around 0.3%, hindering first-time buyers while helping people that already owned a property. We'll be joined by Hammond on today's show.

  2. Travel disruption is expected as strong winds and heavy rain cause flooding in areas of the UK, with gusts of up to 85mph hitting some areas. Scotland and Wales have been particularly affected, with vehicles left stranded in Cumbria. A warning for snow is also in place in Scotland, with travellers advised to leave extra time for their journeys.

  3. Drinking a few cups of coffee a day reduces health risks, experts have claimed. Researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh reviewed more than 200 studies examining the effects of coffee consumption on health, concluding that taken "within usual patterns of consumption" the drink is safe, except in pregnancy. The studies even showed a link to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

  4. New York has officially banned vaping and the use of e-cigarettes in workplaces and other indoor areas. The state Health Department announced Wednesday that a law signed by Gov. Cuomo in October placing new restrictions on the indoor use of e-cigarettes is now in effect.

  5. US actor Jeffrey Tambor has been accused of sexual harassment by three women, including his Transparent co-star and former assistant Trace Lysette and a makeup artist who claims he forcibly kissed her on set of a film in 2001. The 73-year-old actor, who says he has no recollection of the latest allegation and says he he now considering quitting the Amazon hit show.

Top five headlines you're going home to

  1. Stamp duty for all first-time buyer purchases up to £300,000 is to be abolished immediately and an extra £2.8 billion pledged to the NHS in England, Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced in his Budget speech. He also revealed that the outlook for productivity growth, business investment and GDP growth has been downgraded.

  2. Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey is understood to be being investigated by British police over a second alleged sexual assault. It is understood officers from the Metropolitan Police's child abuse and sexual offences command are looking into claims the House of Cards actor sexually assaulted a man in Lambeth in 2005.

  3. The former Scottish Labour leader, who is heading into the Australian jungle for I'm A Celebrity, has defended her decision to enter the TV reality show. Kezia Dugdale today said that she will be donating the three-week salary, £2,500, to charity.

  4. The UK's data watchdog says it has "huge concerns" over Uber's secret payment of $100,000 to hackers who stole users' information. The Information Commissioner's Office says the revelation that 57 million customers' and drivers' data was stolen by hackers and covered up by Uber raises questions about the company's ethics.

  5. Zimbabwe's recently fired vice president has returned to be sworn in as the country's new leader after Robert Mugabe's shock resignation during impeachment proceedings. Hundreds of people have gathered in expectation of a speech by Zimbabwe's incoming leader outside the ruling party headquarters where Mr Mnangagwa is being briefed.

Should teachers refrain from calling pupils 'girls'?

Teachers shouldn't call pupils 'girls' or 'ladies' because it reinforces gender stereotypes and could upset transgender students, according to mental health campaigner Natasha Devon.

Piers Morgan was so vocal about his opposition to the idea, we invited Girls' Schools Association President Charlotte Avery to call in to explain the reasoning behind Natasha's thinking.

'I remember everything': Six months on from tragic Manchester bombing

I can still smell the smell of the night. I just knew I was dying.

– Survivor Martin Hibbert

It's six months today since the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 22 and injured 500 at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. Meanwhile, the Government has faced criticism because it still hasn't contributed towards the £17million bill incurred by Manchester authorities in the aftermath of the attack.

This morning we were joined by Charlotte Campbell and her fiance Paul Hodgson, who lost their daughter Olivia on that fateful day. Charlotte appeared on Good Morning Britain the morning after the attack, begging for information before she knew Olivia had been killed. Ahead of getting married in an emotional ceremony this weekend - and Olivia's 16th birthday next week - the couple joined us to talk about how they've coped over the last six months.