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ontents We’re taking party-season inspo from Ab Fab’s finest!

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Inside week TH IS

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At our office Christmas party on Thursday, a fair few of us will be partying like Ab Fab’s Patsy Stone – forgetting how old we are, singing along to Look At Me by Geri Halliwell and shouting, ‘More Prosecco, anyone?’ And, just to make sure we remembered what it’s like to party like it’s 1992, we caught up with Joanna Lumley on page 50 and she reminded us about Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Just out on DVD, it makes a great Christmas present for your girlfriends, daughters… or yourself! If your office party is just around the corner, let us know how it goes – the good, the bad and the downright Patsy… OPlease let us know your thoughts on facebook. com/bestmagazine

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Dita Von Teese wows the crowd

ON THE COVER

REAL LIFE

8 Victoria’s shock outburst 10 Davina’s secret sadness 14 Danny Mac on his biggest Strictly rival – Ed Balls! 32 Festive slim! Drop 5lb in 5 days 34 ‘I’ve fostered more dogs than I can remember’ 42 New Christmas cakes yule love to bake!

30 ‘I won my wedding’ 36 Why I helped my daughter to die

SHOWBIZ

9 Difficult days for Brad & Jen 20 Gareth Malone’s very British Christmas 21 Strictly laid bare with Bruno 54 We just can’t keep up with the EXECUTIVE EDITOR Kate’s Kardashians SIOBHAN WYKES split

REGULARS 4 Start your week with a smile 12 Fashion: a touch of velvet 17 Coleen’s straight talk 19 Best on test: lippies that last 22 Health: be a winter flu-buster! 24 We’re all talking about 26 Celebrate your shape 28 Fashion Fix

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19 29 Go shopping for stockings 38 Sleeping beauty 40 Fabulous festive flowers 41 The Cashback Queen 45 Food in a flash 46 Homes: comfort and joy 47 Claire crafts Christmas 48 Girls’ night in… and out 52 Tony Cowell 55 Crossword 56 Travel: coconut island 58 Treat yourself for under a tenner Hearst Magazines UK is a trading name of The National Magazine Company Limited (Registered in England number 112955) whose registered offices are at 72 Broadwick Street, London W1F 9EP. Terms and conditions: Entrants must be 18 or over. Employees of The National Magazine Company trading as Hearst Magazines UK, Spoke and associated companies are excluded from taking part. Hearst Magazines UK retains the right to not award prizes to claimants or consortiums who in the opinion of Hearst Magazines UK have not entered into the spirit of the promotion. Should more prizes be claimed than are available in any prize category for any reason or claimed as a result of a technical error, a simple draw may take place for the prize. The editor’s decision is final. Suppliers cannot be held responsible for breakdown in communication systems or networks. Images are for representational purposes only. SP: Spoke, www.Spoke-Interactive. com. Data Protection: We will use the information you supply to process your competition entry. For our privacy policy visit hearst.co.uk/dp

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COVER PICTURES: BATTERSEA DOGS & CATS HOME, BBC/JAY BROOKS/MATT BURLEM, PETER CASSIDY, GETTY, SPLASH NEWS THIS PAGE: GETTY, PHOTOSHOT

Pass the bubbles – it’s Christmas!


UR O Y T R A ST

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SECRET SMILE?

Is she or isn’t she? It’s the question on everyone’s lips, and has Cheryl given the biggest hint yet that she’s expecting a baby with boyfriend Liam Payne, 23? In a recent interview, the 33-year-old singer said, ‘Now is a very good time in my life. I know you can tell exactly what is going on with me. My eyes give everything away.’ Well, we’re definitely on baby watch!

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WORDS: CARLY LEVY PICTURES: GETTY, REX

Dickens’ tale is brought to life by some four-legged friends!

An Artful little Twist We’re not sure Bill Sikes would take kindly to being played by a guinea pig in this remake of Charles Dickens’ famous novel Oliver Twist, but we love it! From the makers of A Guinea Pig Nativity and A Guinea Pig Pride & Prejudice comes the tale of the famous boy – or, in this case, guinea pig – who dared to ask for more. Staying true to the novel (apart from the four legs, of course), Oliver encounters a host of friends and foes, including the Artful Dodger and Fagin, on his journey from the workhouse into the Victorian underworld. Oliver the guinea pig, Consider Yourself a winner with us!

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They wowed the crowd!

best this WEEK

S CHRISTMAS CAPER

It was black and wh night for these th ite on the ree as they went mon beauties mad. Burlesque st ochrome ar Teese, 44, looked Dita Von fe a floaty skirt, actr minine in ess Michelle Dockery, 34, sho wed pinstripe trouser off a sexy suit, singer Katy Perry while ,3 dazzled in a jump 2, suit. Gorgeous!

Tycoon Richard Branson, 66, looks more than ready for the festive season as he channels his inner Christmas elf in a seasonal red velvet waistcoat. But, hang on, who’s that we see behind him? It looks like Santa’s joined the party, too. Is he holding a secret sherry? And there was us thinking Mr Claus only drank on Christmas Eve!

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Dita goes full-on glamour puss with a slick of red lippie

Michelle dons retro pinstripes

Nothing exudes elegance quite like this classic monochrome pairing. Well, they do say opposites attract!

Suits you! Katy jumps on board with the trend

JUNGLE LOVE Who knew back in the late 70s when Larry Lamb and Lady Colin Campbell had their dalliance that years later they would both have roughed it in the Australian outback in I’m A Celebrity…? The pair dated for around six months after Lady Colin’s divorce in 1975. In a recent interview, the aristocrat, 67, said she ended the relationship when she realised Larry, 69, wanted to marry her. So, sadly, Tarzan never got his Jane.

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Split sides

WORDS: CARLY LEVY, MILLIE GOOCH PICTURES: BROADIMAGE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK, GETTY, INSTAGRAM, PHOTOSHOT

There’s no splitting opinion when it comes to who’s getting this fashion trend right. The Duchess of Cambridge, 34, was a clear winner, opting for a subtle side split in gorgeous white. Elsewhere, busy not showing her best side, was Mel B, 41, in a red dress that probably made everyone turn the same shade when they clapped eyes on her. Clearly, someone, somewhere ran out of red thread. Sorry, Mel, you just look plain scary.

Kate plays it safe with the old less-ismore rule...

... while Mel B shows the thigh isn’t the limit!

BEAK TO BEAK

Nothing brings us festive cheer like a cute furry friend. And these penguins do the trick. Mum and Dad share an early Christmas kiss as their little one averts his eyes. It seems parents embarrass their kids in the animal kingdom, too!

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One approves of Kate’s regal choice, but Mel’s not spicing up our lives


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MAKES HARPER BECKHAM IT! A REAL POINTE OF

Instagram/@victoriabeckham

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A photographer, a budding tennis champ and an aspiring singer: Victoria and David Beckham have produced quite the talent pool with their three boys, Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz. And now little sister Harper, five, is training with the English National Ballet! With mum Victoria on hand to help her practise, this baby spice will be one to watch.

9 Dame Joan thinks British Airways could do with putting on the Ritz!

Going crackers! If Dame Joan Collins ever comes round for tea, give her the right crackers with her cheese. After a BA flight to LA, the 83-year-old tweeted, ‘Everything great except the crackers. How about serving Ritz?’ OK, no need to snap, Joan!

10 A VERY MERRY XMAS!

We all love a bauble, but who wouldn’t like a Christmas dec with a kick? These delicious delights will definitely make you merry! The Absolut and Malibu miniatures are ideal for adding a quirky twist to your tree and, at just £4 each, they make great secret Santa gifts, too. Available at Asda and strictly for grown-ups!


best for CELEBRITY Is Victoria about to add ‘momager’ to her CV?

Ice queen Victoria Beckham shows her fun side…

‘Make David disappear!’ W

pointing at Beck’s bum before she got out of a car during a rare joint public appearance together in China. On a more serious note, there are rumours that the mum-of-four plans to start managing her youngest son Cruz’s music career. However, according to an insider, David isn’t keen on the idea. He thinks his wife has enough on her plate, running her fashion empire, designing her Estée Lauder make-up collection and looking after Brooklyn, Romeo, 14, Cruz, 11, and five-year-old Harper. He thinks Scooter Braun, who manages the careers of Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Usher, is the man who could take his son’s career to the next level. Whatever the couple decides, it looks like Cruz is set to follow in his mum’s musical footsteps. As for the pair themselves, they still appear as lovedup as ever. Well, we all love someone who makes us laugh.

David Blaine spewed frogs from his mouth

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Pointing at Beck’s behind! Instagram/@victoriabeckham

e are used to seeing David’s sense of humour, but it was Victoria Beckham who stole the show recently, when the couple took part in illusionist David Blaine’s Beyond Magic TV show for ABC in America. In a rare glimpse into what Piers Morgan calls ‘the real Victoria – smart and funny’, we saw the 42-year-old cracking a joke at the expense of her hubby, David, when the magic show ended and she asked, ‘Has anyone made David disappear yet?’ No, Victoria, David is still here! But he and son Brooklyn, 17, were awestruck as they watched two frogs spilling from the magician’s mouth and into his hands. The 41-year-old former footballer ignored his wife’s quip and stuttered, ‘David [Blaine] asked me to say the name of an animal he could keep alive in his hand, so I said “a frog”. Then, he sewed his mouth shut with a needle and thread. I thought that was the trick. I forgot about the frog bit, and then live ones came out of his mouth. How is that even possible?’ But it wasn’t the only time that Victoria showed us her fun side last week. She also shared a video on her Instagram of her cheekily

The ice queen has thawed to reveal ‘the real Victoria – smart and funny’

PICTURES: ABC/XPOSUREPHOTOS.COM, INSTAGRAM, STARTRAKS PHOTO/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

WORDS: LYNN CARRATT


best for CELEBRITY Jen was left shame-faced after making an awkward gaffe on The One Show

Former lovers Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston could both do with a shoulder to cry on right now…

Difficult days for Brad & Jen

PICTURES: AKM/GSI/XPOSURE

‘What used to make me tick is not necessarily making me tick any more,’ confesses Jen

rad Pitt and his blooming co-star, French actress Marion Cotillard, shared a sweet kiss at the London premiere of their glamorous war thriller, Allied. They cracked jokes on the red carpet, and Brad, 52, happily posed for selfies with excited fans. But, knowing that the world’s media was trained on his every move, it can’t have been easy for Brad to appear with pretty Despite constant Marion, 41, rumours, Jen has quashed whom he reports that – like Angelina had been and her ex – she wants falsely to adopt a baby, after rumoured becoming involved with a Mexican to be having orphanage. a fling with. Pregnant

B

Did you know?

Brad and his Allied co-star, Marion Cotillard

WORDS: SHELLEY MARSDEN

Marion had swiftly shot down the alleged affair rumours in a statement on her Instagram page – another chapter in the Brangelina divorce drama, which began when Brad’s wife, Angelina Jolie, 41, filed for divorce on 19 September. Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston, his wife from 2000 to 2005 (they split after he met Angelina on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith), has remained tight-lipped about their split. Coincidentally, Jen, 47, now married to actor Justin Theroux, was in London on the same day as Brad’s premiere, without any of the other cast members of her upcoming movie, Office Christmas Party. Sadly, she ended up causing a stir for all the wrong reasons… Appearing on BBC’s The One Show in front of some disabled youngsters celebrating the success of the Children in Need charity campaign, Jen compared her latest film role to those in Horrible Bosses and Friends. She blurted that her latest role was basically the same, ‘just without the sex toys’ – at 7pm on a weeknight. Oops! Viewers took to Twitter to express their shock, which will simply add to Jen’s woes. The star recently vented her anger at the press for presenting her as being ‘whittled down to a sad, childless human’, confessing she feels she’s ‘at a crossroads in life’. She added, ‘What used to make me tick is not necessarily making me tick any more.’ Like Brad, Jen’s been dodging various false rumours, namely that her marriage is in crisis and she may be attempting to rekindle her romance with Brad. If the two had met up in London for a mutual shoulder to cry on, who’d blame them?!

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Davina’s secret sadness he may look like she leads the perfect existence but, speaking in her usual heart-on-yoursleeve way recently (at the Mumsnet Blogging Awards), national treasure Davina McCall, 47, revealed she still has rubbish days - just like the rest of us. The This Time Next Year presenter is the first to admit she bolsters the idea of her ‘perfect’ life with what she chooses to post on social media. But, as Davina, wife to ‘hot husband’ Matthew Robertson, 47, and mum to Holly, 15, Tilly, 13, and 10-year-old Chester, confessed, they don’t tell the full story. Describing a terribly

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Davina McCall’s grandmother and father both suffer from dementia, making for heartbreaking moments sad morning in hospital with her beloved grandmother Pippy, 96, it was a reminder of something that’s bound to worry Davina: her future health – especially given that her father, Andrew, was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Earlier this year, she said, ‘In true McCall fashion, he is not taking it lying down.’

Instagram/@davinalpmccall

On a ‘memory walk’ for her dad, Andrew

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Davina, you seem permanently happy and confident– are you? Here’s the thing. Sometimes, what we post on social media, myself included, is misleading. I posted a picture on my Instagram account the other day and somebody commented, ‘Urgh, too skinny.’ I gathered myself, and wrote back, saying, ‘I see your point, and I did take 74 pictures, and posted the one where I looked the skinniest! I’m a size 10-12, I don’t exercise every day – because, frankly, who has the time to do that?!’ I answered [the comment] because I thought, yes, I portray an image of myself that I want you to see. I show you the best bits of me, and that can be quite misleading – for us, our children, other people – to always be looking at our ‘perfect’ lives. Take my day today, for instance. What happened? It was absolute chaos. My lovely gran – anyone that’s read my new book, Lessons I’ve Learned, knows how much of a VIP she is in my life – is

He’s hot! Husband Matthew


Her dad and grandma share a smile

currently in hospital with a fractured hip. She’s got terrible dementia, really terrible. So, every five minutes, I had to remind her of where she was, and tell her she was going to be OK. I had to get a carer to come and sit with her after I went, because she can’t be left alone. Then, back home, Chester was going to rugby with my husband, Matthew, and just before he left the house, Matthew decided to become enormously demanding, saying, ‘What’s going on, where’s my wallet?!’ And my hair was really greasy but I hadn’t had time to wash it, so I sprayed it full of dry shampoo. I still had no make-up on, our dogs hadn’t been out for walkies all day, and it was pouring with rain –

A McCall Christmas

Davina, who lived with her grandm ot Pippy, between the ages of three her, and 12 before moving in step-mum, has sa with her dad and id that Christmas the McCall hous in ehold is a loving recreation of her granny’s massiv e Christmas celeb ratio were ‘a lot of peop ns, where there le, lots of love an d Pippy at the hear t of it’. This year, she sa id thing’ as usual, ad , will be a ‘three-day ding, ‘Now we ha ve between 16 and 26 guests staying – family, friends an d people who do n’t have a place to be . I always do the traditional Chris tmas lunch myse lf – I’ve got it down to a fine art now.’ She also confes se lighting! ‘I festoo d to a love for festive n the entire front of my house with sparkly , Santas. The child flashing, animated ren love them.’

Gran Pippy is her VIP

Half-sister Caroline died in 2012

and then I came here. Like all of us, I’m a work in progress! What keeps you sane when you hit those bumps in the road? I live by the motto, ‘An attitude of gratitude.’ Some people might look at me and think, ‘Oh, that’s easy for you,’ but sometimes it doesn’t have to be about the hot husband or the lovely kids. It could be about something tiny. When I had a heroin habit, I was the lowest I could go, emotionally. I hated myself. I couldn’t look in the mirror because I disgusted myself. The day I got clean was the day I started being grateful, wherever I could. When has that attitude helped you? When my beautiful sister, Caroline, died. [Davina’s half-sister, Caroline Baday, died of cancer in 2012.] I had the panic, the pain, the ‘Why me?’ But I opened my eyes to the fact that we had seven weeks at home, together, sharing memories and each other’s company. I remember the outpouring of love for her and how that made her feel. I’m still unbelievably grateful that I was holding her hand when she slipped away. It’s a simple principle, but I’ve found that being grateful, even for the little things, and trying to reframe a terrible situation, helps get you through it.

WORDS: SHELLEY MARSDEN PICTURES: INSTAGRAM, REX FEATURES, SPLASH NEWS

Instagram/@davinalpmccall

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VE E XCLUSI

Danny: I’m happy to be called ‘quite sexy’ The Hollyoaks hunk is foxtrotting his way to becoming a ballroom dancing champ and says that, despite having formal dance training, it hasn’t helped his Strictly performances... ctor Danny Mac is currently taking the dance floor by storm on Strictly Come Dancing and is hotly tipped to walk away with the Glitterball Trophy. The 28-yearold heartthrob, who is engaged to his former co-star Carley Stenson, 34, chats to best about his sexy moves, ‘fierce’ dance partner Oti Mabuse and his dance rival Ed Balls.

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Does being the favourite make you more relaxed about getting through each week?

I don’t think I am the favourite – don’t bet on me! Everyone else has really upped their game and it’s a very level contest. I’m absolutely loving the show and my time here – I’d be gutted to go. I want to spend the next few weeks having the best experience possible and hopefully stay until the final.

You’ve had some dance training. Do you think that is necessary Can Ed Balls to win? beat the former Hollyoaks star to the title?

Not at all, and if you could do

these dances anyway, there would be no point in doing the show. I would never want to take anything away from what I’ve achieved with Oti. It’s completely down to her. When you leave drama school, you do dancing, but it was never like this. I only started when I was 18. You can’t compete with the boys who’ve been doing it all their lives. I never tried to have a career as a dancer. I’m not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. We hear you like a drink – are you allowed alcohol when you’re training?

Sssshhh! Don’t tell Oti! Sometimes she advises me to have a drink because, as she

Danny’s been getting rave reviews from the judges

once told me, I can be ‘boring’ if I don’t and, after all, it’s a nice way to wind down after training. Do you mind taking your top off and doing all the sexy moves?

I’m there to dance. Sometimes the song requires it, like the rhumba, and they said it had to be ‘quite sexy.’ They wanted me to open my shirt completely, but I said, ‘No, keep the buttons down,’ and I think that worked better. It maintained my dignity. The dancing isn’t necessarily the most comfortable feeling anyway, so the last thing you want to do is have your shirt wide open, too. How are you managing your anxiety?

I get really anxious, but it doesn’t show, thanks to my acting. It’s strange because it comes out of nowhere, but at least I know why I feel like it. Ed has said he doesn’t have time for ‘sexy time’ – have you found that?

I want to hear more about Ed’s sex life! [laughs]. Did you expect a politician

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He’s just a great dancer and so much fun. I love watching him. He’s one of my favourite guys on the show. I see all his rehearsals and it’s so entertaining. You’re not laughing at him, you are enjoying it with him. Oti is such a fierce instructor, so how do you get on with her?

We are really good friends. Everything I have achieved comes from her. She’s an unbelievable woman; we have a brilliant connection. We both want the same thing –to do well and improve as much as possible. Our energy together is really great and we also just like spending time with each other. She’s such a great, warm, strong, powerful, talented, intelligent person. She’s a dream! What are your plans for Christmas?

I can’t wait. Everyone has grown up now, so we spend a lot of time apart, but we try to get together every year. I’m really looking forward to having all my brothers and

sisters, my mum, my nan, Carley and all our partners together. It’s all going to be at my mum’s house in the morning and then we will have lunch at a local pub, because it’s very hard to cook for 20 people!

Danny says Oti’s a dream!

On fiancée Carley Stenson Danny, who’s said, ‘We’re stronger than ever!’ has been dating his former Hollyoaks co-star since 2011. A wedding’s planned for next summer. Despite a number of celebrities splitting from their partners either during or shortly after competing on the BBC1 show, hunk Danny has insisted that the infamous Strictly curse is not going to strike his relationship with his actress fiancée. Danny says, ‘It’s not even an issue. Carley and I are stronger than we’ve ever been.’ So, with all his dance training, surely he’ll

be showing off when it comes to the first dance at their wedding? ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m asked to do a step or two after all this pressure, so maybe we’ll have an easy one,’ admitted the star.

WORDS: KELLY ALLEN PHOTOS: BBC, GETTY, REX FEATURES

like Ed Balls to take Strictly by storm?

Instagram/@OtiMabuse

Danny and Oti are the bookies’ favourite


CO AN NOL

‘FREEZING DEAD PEOPLE? IT’S PREYING ON THE VULNERABLE’

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eading the incredible news story recently about the British girl, known as ‘JS’, who died of cancer aged 14, and won her legal battle to be cryogenically frozen after death, I was in utter shock. In a letter read to the court, JS said, ‘Being cryopreserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up, even in hundreds of years’ time.’ Her story is terribly sad, and as alien as a sci-fi movie. That’s not to say that years from now, cryogenics won’t work. But currently, there is zero evidence that this process, costing from £37,000, does anything but take huge sums of money from people who sometimes can’t even afford it. JS’s maternal grandparents reportedly scraped together the costs. Her father has accused the American company storing her body of ‘selling false hope’, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a disgusting CRYOGENICS business,

preying on vulnerable people. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that my daughter Ciara was terrified of dying. If this idea gave her comfort, I’d agree to it to take away the fear. Would I go ahead with it, though? And should a person ‘wake up’ in the future, what world would greet them? In 100 years, I’d be gone, her dad would be gone and the world could be unrecognisable. If fresh evidence proves cryogenic freezing works, then, yeah, sign me up. Knowing my luck, though, there’d be a power cut and I’d thaw out! For now, I’ll live in the real world, in an age where women can have babies in their 60s, and billionaires can fly to the moon…

‘If a person were to ‘wake up’ in the future, what kind of a world would greet them? They may not even recognise it’

COLEEN & CIARA

and another thing...

PICTURES: CAMERAPRESS, GETTY

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best for STRAIGHT TALK

FROZEN IN TIME… Simon Cowell and Britney Spears are just two celebs rumoured to have shown an interest in being cryogenically frozen. OK, they have the money, but I still find it incredible that anyone would think this could be the way of the future! SIMON

BRITNEY

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best for CELEBRITY ’Tis the season for another glee club

Gareth’s Very British Christmas Our favourite choirmaster Gareth Malone opens up about Christmas, his celebrity friends and the carols he loves to listen to

Gareth has been on our screens for a decade

Dazzling in black is Gareth’s wife and rock, Becky

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urrently getting the nation singing on BBC Two’s The Choir: Gareth’s Best in Britain, household name Gareth Malone is about to release his new album, A Great British Christmas, full of festive classics recorded with choirs across the country (and the odd celeb). Gareth, 41, who lives in north London with wife Becky, an English teacher, and children Esther, six, and Gilbert, three, has been attempting to bring the cool into choral singing for 10 years now - and we still can’t get enough…

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Hi, Gareth! The new album’s lovely. What’s your favourite track? As a father, seeing refugees

get on boats with their kids and risk their lives was heartbreaking. I wrote Restless in response to that. It’s poignant for me. I live in a nice house, with food on the table, and I think Christmas is the time for thinking of the people who don’t have all these lovely things we take for granted. But there are also lots of traditional carols on the album, like O Come All Ye Faithful and Silent Night, as well as festive classics such as Walking In The Air. Tell us about former The Voice judge Ricky Wilson’s contribution… It was sweet. I’d offered him a song I’d written [Paradise Street], and one afternoon I heard singing outside – there was Ricky, headphones on, practising before ringing the bell. He nailed it; he brought real northern grit to it. It’s fascinating meeting celebrities. When I went to Gary Barlow’s house to work on the song for the Queen’s Jubilee, it was a nervewracking moment! But he was just a lovely, talented bloke. Will your Christmas be carol-filled this year? Well, we don’t have a John Lennon grand piano, but we did just get a new upright piano, so there will definitely be a lot of singing involved. I’ll also be taking my two children carolling with the neighbours, so I’m leading by example. Is it true you’ve chosen the song for your funeral? Yes, Wham!’s Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. Don’t know if I’ll get that past my wife, though! People are always so surprised I listen to anything but classical music, and don’t live in some 14thcentury stone cellar. Hilarious. ● A Great British Christmas (Decca Records) is out on 2 December.

PICTURES: BBC/TWENTY TWENTY BRIGHTON LTF/MARK JOHNSON, GETTY IMAGES FOR DEBRETT’S

WORDS: SHELLEY MARSDEN


STRICTLY LAID BARE

With

BRUNO

Bruno Tonioli has the hot news on this week’s movers and shakers.. POOR GORKA

A LOW-KEY BIRTHDAY It was my 61st birthday last Friday, but I didn’t have a party, just some Champagne with close friends. I usually have a delayed celebration after the craziness of Christmas! Two parties, just like the Queen…

Filming the Strictly Christmas special last week was lovely. It always makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, and this year, we have the gorgeous Matt Goss performing! It’s also a great chance for a catch-up with our former contestants.

‘A danceoff between Honey G and Ed Balls - that’d be hilarious!’

BECKHAM BALLET How fantastic that Victoria Beckham’s little girl, Harper, five, is now training with the English National Ballet. Start ’em young! I saw Mrs B on a flight to LA recently, wearing a blue dress from her own collection. She looked stunning. I’d love to see her do Strictly, but it’ll never happen – if the Spice Girls can’t get her, I don’t think anyone will!

Terrifyingly good

HONEY G

How hilarious that Honey G challenged Ed Balls to a dance-off. Is he the best dancer on Strictly? No. Is she the best singer on The X Factor? Absolutely not! But they’re both great fun. Gosh, imagine if they starred in a West End show together: it’d be like Apocalypse Now – they’d cause a revolution!

ED BALLS

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PICTURES: BBC/JAY BROOKS/MATT BURLEM, BBC/GUY LEVY, BURMISTON/SYCO/THAMES, GETTY, REX

GORKA

He’s bounced back, but that unprovoked attack on Gorka outside a bar in Blackpool did shake me a bit. I’ve never had any negativity directed at me, but it does make you watch your back. I’m so glad he’s OK.

FEELING FESTIVE


Be a winter flu-buster!

UK WORKERS TOOK AN AVERAGE 1.85 DAYS OFF SICK LAST YEAR

DREADING FALLING ILL JUST WHEN YOU’VE STARTED GETTING READY FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON? DON’T PANIC – HERE’S DR ELLIE CANNON’S GUIDE TO WARDING OFF COUGHS, COLDS AND INFLUENZA…

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t this time of year, it seems inevitable that you’ll pick up a cough or a cold. So how come there’s always that one person in the office who seems to escape all the bugs? They don’t have superpowers, they probably just follow a few easy steps to keep healthy and avoid the germs. It can be simple, effective and cheap!

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE Don’t be confused between a common cold and flu. Most people will have had a cold – blocked nose, sneezing and feeling pretty lousy. It usually lasts about a week. Far fewer people have really experienced flu. Flu is a serious illness, often causing 10 days of muscle aches, sore throat, fever and significant tiredness. It results in many vulnerable people, like children and the elderly, being hospitalised.

CROWD CONTROL

FEEL THE BURN

If you can, try to avoid the hustle and bustle – the fewer people you’re squashed next to on the bus or in the lift, the less likely you are to get ill. Try to catch an earlier bus, or take the stairs when you get to work. You don’t need to become a complete hermit, just avoid the most densely packed places. More people get ill in the winter because we’re all huddled up closely together inside!

Get moving to boost your immune system. It seems that exercise is the cure-all for everything these days! We know that moderate levels of exercise boost your immune system, causing an increase in certain bug-fighting cells in the bloodstream. Finding the right thing to do in cold weather can be a challenge, but look for a convenient indoor exercise class that will put you in a great mood, too.

TAKE YOUR VITAMINS There are vitamins and minerals that protect you from getting ill. Vitamin C, D and zinc all boost the immune system and protect against some viruses. Winter months aren’t great for vitaminladen fruit in the UK, so it makes sense to supplement. The herbal remedy echinacea is taken to prevent colds, and while there’s no definite proof that it works, you may find it useful.

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GET THE JAB Consider a flu injection. Many adults are eligible for a free flu jab on the NHS, especially if you have kidney, lung, liver or heart disease, if you are a carer, or over 65. Otherwise, flu jabs are pretty cheap at high street chemists – usually around £10. They protect you against the most common viruses that cause flu, but they won’t stop you getting the common cold.


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Ask me anything… GOT A PRESSING HEALTH QUESTION? ASK DR ELLIE CANNON

Osteoporosis in the family Q My elderly mother has been diagnosed with osteoporosis – am I at risk? A Yes, I’m afraid so. Osteoporosis is a condition which causes the weakening of bones, and makes you more likely to suffer bone fractures. It affects over three million people in the UK, and post-menopausal women are more at risk, due to the hormonal effects on their bones. You’re more likely to have it if your mum does, and it’s also more common in smokers and women chronically underweight. Make sure your diet is rich in calcium and vitamin D, and start weight-bearing exercises, like jogging.

Molluscum waiting game Q My child has a skin condition called molluscum. The GP says I’ll have to wait for it to clear up. Is there anything else I can do? A Molluscum is a common skin condition in primary school-age children, where they get little pearly bumps on

TAKE IT EASY For all winter viruses, treatment is pretty standard. Rest and plenty of fluids are key. If you can’t have a day off, even a few early nights will help. It also takes patience. Viruses may take 10-14 days to clear, which can be frustrating, but usually you need nothing more than TLC. Pharmacists are best placed to give advice on soothing remedies.

Is BV my partner’s fault? Q I have a vaginal condition called BV – is it possible I caught this from my partner? A BV, or bacterial vaginosis, is a vaginal infection that’s not passed on by sex. It’s caused by an imbalance of the bacteria within the vagina, and results in a discharge that can worsen after sex and periods. BV can resolve itself or a GP can prescribe antibiotics. Avoid scented soaps, as these can cause it to recur.

NEWSFLASH If you know someone going through cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support can help. Macmillan.org.uk is full of advice on everything from what to bring with you to chemo, to how to exercise again afterwards.

Best’s GP Ellie Cannon works in a busy inner-city practice. The mumof-two specialises in family health and appears on Sky TV.

Want Dr Ellie to solve your problem? Email danielle.southwood@hearst.co.uk with ‘Dr Ellie’ in the subject line.

WORDS: DR ELLIE CANNON PICTURES: GETTY, ISTOCK

HYGIENE RULES! Keeping clean seems such a basic idea, but it really works. Although many infections are picked up from transmission through the air when someone coughs or sneezes, you can still contract viruses from surfaces. The winter vomiting virus, for example, can be passed on this way. Rigorously keeping surfaces clean, and washing your hands very often after being on public transport or touching communal areas, protects you.

the skin in clusters. It is caused by a virus like the one that causes warts, and is harmless. There is no mainstream treatment for it and the bumps usually go after 12-18 months. It can be upsetting if children feel selfconscious, but mostly they are on the body under clothes, so don’t worry.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

If you haven’t had time to keep up with Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, we’ve done it for you…

Expect train delays Rain? Wind? Leaves on the line? There’s one thing you can count on: an announcement from National Rail that you can expect train delays – just to make your Christmas as miserable as possible! Every year, at least one in 10 Christmas journeys is delayed in England and Scotland, and 26 per cent of those last year were in the south east. It resulted in almost 400,000 Twitter complaints – the words ‘stuck’, ‘delayed’, ‘standing’, and ‘bus replacement service’ were common – and yet nothing seems to change. Last week, on Thameslink, signal failures between London’s King’s Cross and Hertfordshire meant there was no way of getting home for best’s editorial assistant Dani – except in a cab – at a cost of £120. On Thursday, she suffered the same fate. Why? Wait for it, the rescue train had also broken down. Warms the cockles of your heart, doesn’t it? Especially while you’re freezing on a platform for a train that never arrives… WHAT DO YOU THINK? Tell us at facebook.com/ bestmagazine

Nail your festive mani ’Tis the season for sparkly talons Whether you want Christmas tree tips, or jolly snowmen nails, Pinterest is the place to look for all your Christmas beauty inspiration. There are even stepby-step guides on some of the designs, so you can ensure your mani looks merry at all times! Find them at: pinterest.com

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e r ’ e W t u o ab KING L A T L L A


PICK of the best L G O IN G V IR A

Little and large

Granny takes a trip…

The adorable dogs who are #friendship goals OR WEIRDRFUL? E WOND

Instagram/@blizzardandlulu

Everyone has an embarrassing moment every now and then, and the best you can hope is that no one witnesses it. We bet this grandma thought she’d got away with hers when she fell into her grandson’s cot while putting him to bed – but her daughter captured the whole thing on the baby monitor and, when she posted it on her Facebook page, it went viral. The clip shows Valerie Routh Sharp, from Alabama, USA, stepping onto a footstool to put her grandson to bed – then tumbling in headfirst with him still in her arms! Nikki Sharp Bishop, the mother of the little boy and Valerie’s daughter, captioned the video, ‘My mom is going to kill me but I had to post. For those of you who don’t know my mom she is 5ft and has always been vertically challenged!’ Find it at: Google ‘grandma falls into crib’

Meet Lulu and Blizzard, the tiny Japanese Chin and not-so-tiny St Bernard, who are the best of friends. Despite their height difference, the inseparable pair do everything together including baths, watching TV and afternoon strolls. Lulu has even taken to riding on Blizzard’s back during their adventures. Ahh, puppy love!

FIND US ON INSTAGRAM AT… @bestmagofficial

Back in early 2015, a simple picture of a dress had the nation divided over its colour, and now it’s back to haunt us in flip-flop form. This picture of Havaianas posted on a Portuguese Twitter account is splitting people once again. So, white and gold or blue and black? Happy arguing!

#StodgyMusic There’s a new hashtag sweeping twitter embracing naughty food in lyrics. Get on board using #stodgymusic – it’s not too lard to join in! I should have known butter. Batter the devil you know. Stuffin’ compares to you!

FIND US AT… @bestmagofficial

A Hatchimal for Xmas Every year, that one special toy shoots straight to the top of children’s most-wanted lists, and this year, it’s the Hatchimal. They’re cute eggs that contain an interactive furry bird, which will then learn to walk, talk and play games – a bit like a modern Tamagotchi. These in-demand toys sell for £59.99, and already, harassed parents are worrying they won’t be able to get hold of one in time for Christmas. Manufacturer Spin City is stepping up deliveries but some stores, such as John Lewis and Tesco Direct, have already run out. Thankfully, you can still grab one from retailers like Very or Argos – and you can check where they’re still available at playpennies.com.

WORDS: MILLIE GOOCH, SARAH WHITELEY, LAURA MILLAR PICTURES: INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, YOUTUBE, XPOSURE

Trending on Twitter

NE E VE RYO WANT S…

Twitter/@naosejatrouxa

The new ‘dress’


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Main image: Jumpsuit, £22 Scarf, £8 Bag, £6 Boots, £25 all Matalan

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Below: 1. Scarf, £16, M&Co 2. Jumpsuit, £120, Phase Eight 3. Bangle, £8, People Tree 4. Bag, £20, Miss Pap 5. Heels, £22.99, New Look

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TOP TIP Don’t assume you can machinewash faux fur – always check the tag for washing instructions.

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Gilet gem Go for comfort and style, and add shape with a belt.

Jump to it 1

A cropped culotte style is great for petites, and flares will add height.

Main image: Gilet, £99, Jeff Banks for Precis Roll neck , £69 Trousers, £79 both Jacques Vert

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Above: 1. Scarf, £32, Accessorize 2. Roll neck, £18, very.co.uk 3. Gilet, £38, M&Co 4. Trousers, £45, Next 5. Bag, £55, Dune


best for STYLE

Streamline shift Dress up a simple silhouette with gorgeous accessories.

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1 5 Main image: Dress, £79, Label Lab Scarf, £55, Helen Moore Bag, £69, Biba all House of Fraser Above: 1. Scarf, £25, Jigsaw 2. Dress, £89, Phase Eight 3. Gloves, £29.50, M&S 4. Bag, £45, Accessorize 5. Heels, £85, Dune

CELEBRATE YOUR SHAPE Look fabulous in faux fur 5

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Skirt the issue A statement metallic style will grab attention.

Main image: Jacket, £95 Dress, £169 both Coast Accessories, stylist’s own Left: 1. Scarf, £32, Accessorize 2. Jacket, £90, Littlewoods 3. Top, £26, M&Co 4. Skirt, £38, Littlewoods 5. Bag, £28, Wallis

WORDS: MILLIE GOOCH

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Fashion Fix BEST LIFESTYLE EDITOR LARA NUGENT

Our pick of the latest looks and how to wear them Instagram/@katebeckinsale

Maxi dress, £69, Littlewoods

Tunic dress, £13, Primark

Bracelet, £12, John Lewis

Jumper, £26, Dorothy Perkins

Arm candy

Clutch, £29, Accessorize

Seeing stars When it comes to prints, statement stars – as worn by celebs like Kate Beckinsale, left – will add a touch of magic to your seasonal wardrobe. O A distinctive star print gives a winter maxi a fresh new look. Team with knee-high suede boots for supercool 70s glam. O Go laid-back with a star slogan sweater or T-shirt, a perfect alternative if novelty Christmas jumpers aren’t on your wish list this year. O Pick up a star-studded tunic dress now and you’ll still want to wear it when spring arrives. Choose one with choker-neck detailing to add interest to your daytime look. O Let your accessories do the the talking this party season by upgrading to a knockout evening bag that’s guaranteed to leave everyone starry-eyed!

This bold print is the perfect way to turn heads this party season. Choose one statement piece and keep the rest of your outfit simple

A designer bag for under £50? What’s not to love? Bag, £35, Star by Julien Macdonald at Debenhams

S T U D YO U L IK E You don’t need big earrings to stand out – check out these chic designs

£1.50, Primark

£6.99, H&M

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£10, Debenhams

£5, Next

£8, Accessorize

£12, M&Co


Primark

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best for STYLE

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£8 John Lewis

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£27.50

TOP TIP Invest in adhesive hooks. They’re cheap and they won’t damage your fireplace!

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FEATURE: MILLIE GOOCH PICTURES: ALASDAIR WILSON, BIGSTOCK, YOUR REFLECTION STUDIO

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£12

Our festive favourites to hang up for Santa FACEBOOK.COM/BESTMAGAZINE 29


‘I won my w Competition-crazy Sarah Taylor, 35, had her eyes on the perfect prize… Sarah and Gaz finally got married at their dream venue

It was fate that a wedding at Ashton Lodge was the prize

very bride feels extremely blessed on her wedding day, but I had even more reason to than most. Not only was I marrying the man I loved in front of my friends and family, I was also getting my dream big day for free – the venue, the reception, the champagne… And it was all thanks to my obsession with entering competitions. I started ‘comping’ back in 2003 as a way of filling the time on my hour-long commute into work. But, after my first big win – an all-expenses paid holiday to New York, worth £4,000, later that year – I was hooked. Before long, I was entering 300 competitions a week and winning everything from a six-month supply of cheese to festival tickets worth £500, as well as a family trip to Spain. I met Gaz in September 2006 after a mutual friend set us up on a blind date. Although he was quiet and shy and I was loud and outgoing, we shared the same sense of humour and hit it off. When I told Gaz all about my obsession with entering competitions, I think he thought I was a bit mad. But it didn’t put him off. And when I saw how great he was with his son, Joe, now 12, from a previous relationship, I knew he was the man for me.

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‘If there’s one thing I’ve learnt’

‘Even when things aren’t going well, try to stay positive. Always give everything a go and something will come up!’


best for REAL LIFE

wedding!’ for the second time, I was made redundant. I’d always been the highest earner out of the two of us, so living on just Gaz’s postman wages alone made money incredibly tight. Once again, the wedding went on the back burner as we were forced to dip into our savings to pay the bills. We sold our car and tightened our belts. I also started entering more competitions than ever. One week I won some supermarket vouchers, which really helped with our big food shop. I also won an Xbox One, which I sold for £300, and a much-needed family holiday to Eastbourne. Then, in January this year, I discovered my local radio station was running a competition to win a £10,000 wedding at Ashton Lodge – the dream venue I’d fallen in love with five years ago. It felt like fate. I had to enter. All I had to do was send an email describing how me and Gaz first met. So I told them all about our blind date, and how I already had my wedding dress in the wardrobe. Five days later, the radio DJs knocked on our door. With beaming smiles, they told me to dust off my wedding dress – because we’d won! I burst into tears as Gaz

The couple eventually got the wedding they had always dreamed of

‘It felt like a reward for getting through the tough few months since my redundancy’ pulled me in for a huge hug. It felt like we were being rewarded for getting through the tough few months since my redundancy. That same week I was offered a job as a teaching assistant at a local primary school. Our luck was finally starting to change. The £10,000 prize included exclusive hire of Ashton Lodge, a hog roast for 100 people, champagne, wine and beer, and a popcorn and sweets trolley.

Sarah holidayed in New York thanks to a competition win

Wedding plans had to go on hold when Oscar was born

With the venue and reception already booked for May 28, 2016, I had three months to prepare. Trying on my wedding dress after five years and one baby was a bit of a shock, and I had to lose 1st 7lb to fit into it. Then I entered more competitions to pay for a few extras. A £75 M&S voucher went towards suits for the pageboys, and I spent a £75 Waitrose voucher on some fancy cupcakes. Standing arm-in-arm with my dad before walking down the aisle to Gaz was when it hit me that I was finally getting married to the man of my dreams. The day was perfect from start to finish. As for my comping days, they are far from over. Because how else are we going to get our dream honeymoon to Rome?

WORDS: SOPHIE ELLIS PICTURES: THOMAS BARNES MEDIA

We moved in together just a year later. Then, in October 2010, we were in Scotland on an all-expenses paid driving holiday that I’d won, when Gaz popped the question. We started planning our big day straight away. By December I’d already bought my dress and found the perfect venue – Ashton Lodge, a beautiful Edwardian country house in Warwickshire. I fell in love with the gorgeous period features and stunning gardens. The only problem was that at £5,000, it was way over our £2,000 budget, so we started saving furiously. But, in February 2011, we put our wedding plans on hold when I discovered that I was pregnant. It was a bit of a shock because I’d been told I might struggle to conceive after having some pre-cancerous cells removed following a smear test a year earlier. But we were both thrilled. I stashed my wedding dress in the wardrobe as we spent our savings for our big day on baby things. Our son Oscar was born in September 2011 and, when I returned to my job in a bank in May 2012, we started putting money away again. But, in 2015, just as we started planning our big day


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SEASONAL DIET Look and feel fantastic this Christmas with our mulled fruit juice plan. You could lose up to 5lb while enjoying some seasonal flavours, too…

Five-day festive juice diet 32 FACEBOOK.COM/BESTMAGAZINE


Ho, ho, ho! Santa will soon be coming. So if you’re looking to lose weight in time for his visit, then look no further. We’ve come up with a juicing plan to help boost your immune system, burn fat and get you in the Christmas spirit! Each day, just follow the menu (right), which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. One meal is substituted for a juice per day (recipe below). Your Clementine Cocktail (makes two glasses): Each morning, blend 400ml of water with 1 clementine and a quarter of orange, both chopped, plus a splash of cranberry light juice. Pour in a pan and warm with a cinnamon stick and two cloves. Add extra water if you wish. Remove the spices to serve. In addition to your daily juice, aim to have another 1½ltr of fluid daily, including water, herbal tea, diet drinks and tea and coffee (taken black). Sorry, no booze. Stick to the plan for five days, no longer. Please see your GP before starting a new weight-loss regime. Weight loss varies.

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MONDAY Breakfast Clementine Cocktail.

soldiers. Shell the eggs and serve all together.

Lunch

Dinner

Boil 2 eggs in a pan and keep warm. Next, toast a slice of wholemeal bread, butter thinly with lowfat spread and cut into

Grill 1 pork chop until cooked through. Boil 4 new potatoes and some green beans for 20 mins, then serve all together.

TUESDAY Breakfast

Dinner

Make up 1 bowl of porridge using ½pt semiskimmed milk (add water, if needed). Top with winter berries and serve.

Grill 1 chicken breast until cooked through; keep warm. At the same time, boil some sweet potato chunks for 20 mins. Remove the potatoes, mash and serve with broccoli and chicken.

Lunch Clementine Cocktail.

WEDNESDAY Breakfast

Lunch

Beat 2 eggs and add to a non-stick pan (sprayed with low-calorie cooking oil) together with a handful of spinach. Cook until set, then warm some cherry tomatoes in a pan and serve together.

Toast 2 slices of wholemeal bread and butter with low-fat spread. Pour over ⅓ tin of warmed baked beans.

Dinner Clementine Cocktail.

THURSDAY Breakfast

Lunch

Grill 2 Quorn sausages, mushrooms and tomatoes (sprayed with low-calorie cooking oil). Serve with a slice of wholemeal toast spread lightly with low-fat spread.

Clementine Cocktail.

Dinner Cook 1 small baking potato in the oven until soft. Slit down the middle and add a blob of low-fat spread and coleslaw.

FRIDAY Breakfast

Dinner

SNACKS

Clementine Cocktail.

1 x apple 1 x pear 1 x orange 1 x clementine 1 x bowl of blueberries

Lunch

Bake 1 cod fillet in the oven (wrapped in foil) alongside chunks of sweet potato (sprayed in low-calorie cooking oil). When nearly cooked, boil some sliced carrots and serve together.

Stuff 1 wholemeal pitta with 2 slices of turkey breast, a dollop of low-fat hummus and lots of salad of your choice. 1 pear.

WORDS: CATHERINE MORTIMER PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY, JUMP FOTO

HOW IT WORKS


We all know that Christmas is a time for giving but, as these warm-hearted people show, that doesn’t always have to mean presents. These lovely stories illustrate the real meaning of the festive season

Chris’ three little helpers: George, Whippet and Willow

The true spirit of ‘When our house burned down, our neighbours saved the big day’ Rebecca Peden, 25, from Rathfriland, County Down, is married to Andy, 28, and mum to three-year-old Daisy

ll the presents were wrapped, and I’d spent a fortune on decorations. Having just moved into our new rented house, we’d planned to spend Christmas Day, just the three of us – I was even going to attempt cooking turkey and all the trimmings! But in the early hours of 22 December last year, we awoke to banging. ‘Fire!’ Andy shouted. Our smoke alarm hadn’t sounded, but a neighbour was hammering on our door. We escaped the smoke-filled house and, once outside, we saw the recycling plant next door was ablaze and it’d spread to our roof. We stood in our pyjamas, shocked

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The Pedens lost everything in a freak blaze

and sobbing, as our house, and everything we owned, went up in flames. While the emergency services battled the blaze, I went into shock as I contemplated how on earth we were going to rebuild our whole lives. But, when news of our situation spread, neighbours showed up with food, clothes and even Christmas gifts. I was speechless, unable to believe their generosity. People even donated furniture and money. And when we moved into another house a few roads away, they were there for us again, this time to help decorate and furnish our new home. They showed us the true spirit of Christmas.

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Rebecca, Andy and Daisy were helped by neighbours…


best for REAL LIFE

‘We’ve fostered more dogs than I can count’ Chris McLean, 59, lives in Surbiton, Surrey, with her 60-year-old husband Dave

He had a broken jaw, had never been walked and was extremely timid. I fostered and nurtured gorgeous George, and Willow also took him under her wing, sandwiching him between herself and me when we went for walks, to protect him. It was hard work, but worth it. ‘We can’t move him on and expect him to trust another family,’ Dave said after we’d had George four months. So, with the support of our sons, Jack, 24, and Ben, 23, we adopted him. Over the years, we’ve fostered more dogs than I can count. I’ve also helped

Xmas

to rehome a few, but I always have a lump in my throat when they go. In 2014, I took early

Hanan (left) and Harper put pen to paper for the elderly

The dog-lover with two of her foster pups

retirement so I could do more with Battersea, and within the wider community, educating people about caring for dogs. We’ve even fostered over Christmas, but were careful to give the nervous pup her own space, and not overwhelm her. Now, we have five dogs – four from Battersea – and three have been given Battersea Ambassador Dog status, which we’re immensely proud of. It really is a team effort. OFor more information, visit battersea.org.uk

‘I’m so proud of my mini volunteers’ Heloise Wright, 33, and her fiancé, Matthew Hendricks, 34, live in Brighton, East Sussex, with their three children

hen I was eight, I was playing with my huge bouncy ball when I noticed a group of homeless kids nearby. Realising they didn’t have any toys, I gave it to them. Their delight struck me and, since then, I’ve helped those less fortunate than myself. So when I had my kids – Hanan, nine, Harper, six, and six-month-old Skylar – I was careful to teach them that it costs nothing to be kind. They quickly became as dedicated as Matthew and I are, and write letters Heloise’s family are regularly to our

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all about helping others

local care homes. And, in the run-up to Christmas, we visit the residents. Our boys sit for hours chatting and sharing stories with the elderly. Last year, Hanan and Harper even saved up their pocket money to make up care packages for the homeless. This year, we’ll be visiting the care home again, and on Christmas Day, we’ll be helping at a soup kitchen. ‘What are we doing next year?’ they’re already asking. I’m so proud of my young volunteers. Helping people is what Christmas is all about.

WORDS: LOUISE BULGIN PICTURES: BATTERSEA DOGS & CATS HOME, PRESS EYE

ack in 2010, we adopted Willow, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. My family had been adopting from there for years, and Willow was special – maternal and patient. Her nature was further proof of the amazing work Battersea did in caring for animals. But, having been in their kennels, I could see how many other animals needed help. So, alongside my job as a community matron, I became a foster carer for dogs who struggled to cope in kennels. It was devastating to see how vulnerable the innocent pooches were after being abandoned. One dog, George, had been horribly abused.

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Why I helped m Debbie and her daughter had a very close bond

’ll always treasure my last Christmas with Brittany. That morning, I woke up to the smell of fresh coffee and cinnamon buns, and we laughed as we exchanged presents and poured champagne. Aged 29, my darling daughter had been married just over a year by December 2013. And as I watched her and her husband, Dan, cuddle their rescue dog, Bella, I hoped I’d have a grandchild soon. Brittany had always wanted to be a mum. Perhaps it was because she was an only child. She wanted a big family – at least four children of her own. She and Dan were planning to go away for New Year’s Eve, and I thought perhaps she’d get pregnant. But, on the night of 31 December, Dan called me. Brittany was in hospital with a ‘bone-crushing’ headache. She’d suffered from these for a year, and had even seen a neurologist, who suggested they were hormonal. It never crossed my mind it could be serious. Brittany lived her life at a million miles an hour. She’d backpacked in Thailand and volunteered in Costa Rica. She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro just weeks before her wedding. But now, a CT scan showed a large shadow on her brain. At the hospital, Brittany was in tears. ‘I’m sorry, Mum,’ she sobbed. ‘I won’t be able to take

When Debbie Ziegler, 58, found out her daughter, Brittany, 29, had a brain tumour, she made the hardest decision of her life…

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‘If there’s one thing I’ve learnt’

d ‘We have to be open an truthful about death. sad, Although it’s terribly es it’s something that do to d, sse dre ad be need to help those facing it.’


best for REAL LIFE

my daughter to die

Death with dignity Two weeks later, Brit had surgery, but they only managed to remove 45 per cent of the growth. And it quickly grew back. My husband – Brittany’s stepdad, Gary – called hospitals all over the world who were carrying out medical trials. But, while we were in denial, Brittany was secretly searching for ways to end her life. Eventually, she talked to me about her feelings. ‘Mum, I’m dying,’ she said. ‘This tumour won’t stop. I’ll be paralysed. I’ll lose my memory. I’ll lose everything that makes me who I am.’ At the time, she was living in California, where there are no right-to-die laws. She told me that she wanted to move to Oregon, to take advantage of its Death with Dignity Act. It went against every fibre of my being, but I had to face up to her pain. She wanted to leave this earth on her own terms. So, I promised to help her die in any way she chose.

In April, we met with doctors at Oregon Health & Science University, who would oversee her palliative care and assisted death. It brought Brittany a sense of peace and let her focus on the days she had left. The next month, my darling girl and I went on an Alaskan adventure, going dog-sledging and taking a helicopter ride to a glacier. I pretended to be happy for her sake while, inside, my heart was breaking. Back home, Brittany turned down chemotherapy and radiation treatment, knowing it would only make her last days more difficult. In August, we moved to a little house in Oregon. I read to her and learned massage to ease her headaches. When her friends visited, she laughed. On her darker days, she was angry at the world. Soon, she was having violent seizures and her personality started to change. She used terrible language and lashed out physically. Then her story hit the press, and a TV crew asked her to be part of a documentary. By then, she hated looking in the mirror because she was bloated from steroids, but agreed to go on camera because she wanted to be an advocate for the terminally ill. She believed that it was everyone’s right to die free from pain and suffering. It was then that Britt asked me to promise to continue her

Beautiful Brittany was an adored only child

Debbie and stepdad Gary agreed to support Brittany’s decision to die

‘Brittany wanted to leave this earth on her own terms’ work after she was gone. ‘Even if your voice is shaking, please speak up, Mum,’ she said. Brittany chose 1 November 2014 as the day she would die, 18 days before her 30th birthday. That morning, I asked her if she was sure. ‘Yes, very sure,’ she replied. We went for a walk with her friends, and she seemed at ease. When we returned,

‘The girl with the dazzling smile’

100 capsules were being broken into a glass. Brittany asked us not to cry, and I prayed for the strength to control my tears. Dan lay beside her and I cradled her as she gulped down the medication which would end her life. She settled on her pillow, then fell asleep. Voice cracking, I read several poems before Brittany’s friend whispered, ‘She’s gone.’ Grief overwhelmed me. It came in waves that still hit me. That Christmas, 2014, Britt left me a pair of shoes with ‘Live your dream’ printed on them, and a note, saying she hoped I’d wear them in Machu Picchu, Peru, one day. She’d gone there and loved it. In January, I stood before the California Senate and told Brittany’s story. This June, they passed an assisted dying law – a bittersweet victory. It wouldn’t bring her back, but she’d left a legacy. Gary and I went to Machu Picchu on the first anniversary of her death, and he took out a banner he’d secretly made, reading, ‘Brittany is here!’ And I could hear her saying, ‘Get up, Mum, and go live.’ Debbie tells Brittany’s story in Wild And Precious Life, Ebury Press, £12.99

WORDS: JAYNE SAVVA

care of you when you’re old. I won’t live that long.’ ‘Everything will be all right,’ I said. But, two days later, an MRI scan confirmed she had an aggressive brain tumour. ‘Will it kill me?’ Brittany asked, bravely. ‘Not immediately,’ the consultant said, quietly. ‘You have some time.’ She was strangely calm, but it took all my strength not to scream out loud. Outside her room, though, the dam burst. ‘No, no, no,’ I shouted. This couldn’t be happening to my daughter… The girl with the dazzling smile and long, muscular limbs. She couldn’t be dying.


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THE FAIRYGODMOTHER GLOW Sienna X Gradual Glowing Self Tan Lotion, £15.95

This glow-getter is perfect if you are looking for a zingy hit of wake-you-up lemongrass – a highly hydrating lotion which helps eliminate tired, sagging skin and gives an expensive-looking gleam. Simply buff on with a mitt every other day before bedtime, to get a super-smooth finish and avoid that ghostly pale body shade. You can use a little on your face, too!

FACEBOOK.COM/BESTMAGAZINE 39

WORDS: CARLY HOBBS PICTURES: ALAMY, GETTY, SCOPE BEAUTY/MONTEZIN/SUNRAY

best for BEAUTY


best for HOMES FESTIVE CHEER LANTERN BOUQUET, £32.99, Lakeland

CYCLAMEN BASKET, £25, M&S

SAUCER DISPLAY, £35, Interflora HYACINTH BASKET, £32, Waitrose

POINSETTIA, £7.99, Dobbies

MINI TREE, £10, Homebase

IRRESISTIBLE WINTER WONDERLAND, £25, Co-op

SAY IT WITH FLOWERS Have a very floral Christmas with these gorgeous seasonal blooms TABLE CENTREPIECE, £35, Interflora

BOUQUET, £20, Next

WREATH, £22.99, Dobbies

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WORDS: LARA NUGENT

CHRISTMAS AMARYLLIS, £22, Waitrose


best for CASH ADVICE

Fresh from Dragons’ Den

N E E U Q K C A B H S A C THE AM SARAH WILLINGH SAVES YOU £££s Out & about Sadly, car theft goes up in December, as thieves spot vehicles filling up with festive goodies. Ask if you can pick up valuable shopping on the way home and don’t leave stuff on show in your car. If you do have anything stolen, most car insurance covers you for goods left in the car (between around £50 and £250) and home insurance may cover you for personal items outside the home to a higher maximum. Finally, call your credit

Protect your home

Insurers often offer a 10 per cent festive uplift in cover over Christmas to ensure your presents are protected in the home. But check whether your freezer’s covered. If not, it’s a useful extra, as it covers your goods in the case of a power cut or freezer malfunction. More than a third of freezer claims happen over the festive period and past research from card provider in case it confused.com says covers goods paid that the average for with the card freezer contains DO IT against loss, theft almost FOR FREE or accidental £200-worth Save cash by making damage, usually of food. Fire face packs or body nts scrubs from the conte y, up to 90 days is also a risk ne of your cupboard – ho after purchase. at Christmas avocado, sea salt, oats and, according at gre olive oil are and ingredients for DIY pressies.

Short & sweet! Worried about the cost of buying presents for your children this Christmas? Then head to Asda, where the supermarket is offering up to 50 per cent off toys and children’s products, from Hot Wheels to Barbie, throughout

November and December. Asda’s Big Toy Rollback also sees its own exclusive range of toys on offer until the beginning of December, so get online and check its prices against the competition.

to Aviva Insurance, Christmas Day sees a rise in fire claims of 120 per cent compared with an average day, as kitchens go into overdrive to prepare the festive feast, electrical sockets are overloaded and candles are left burning.

Deal of the Week Get 25 per cent off plus free delivery at Hotter Shoes using the code VCGIFT25 at checkout* FACEBOOK.COM/BESTMAGAZINE 41

PICTURES: GETTY, REX/SHUTTERSTOCK *OFFER ENDS 11 DEC

PROTECT YOUR PURCHASES As you buy more at this time of year, make sure you’re fully insured…

Did you know? A fifth of all break-ins at car parks take place at Christmas


Extract from Scandikitchen Fika & Hygge by Brontë Aurell, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£16.99). Photography by Peter Cassidy © Ryland Peters & Small

Glorious cakes for you to bake Looking for an alternative to mince pies and fruit cake this Christmas? Try one of these delicious recipes instead… 42 FACEBOOK.COM/BESTMAGAZINE


best

RECIPE BOOKS Sticky white chocolate cake SERVES 6-8

150g butter 150g good-quality white chocolate, broken into pieces 2 eggs 200g caster sugar 150g plain flour Pinch of salt 2tsp vanilla extract ½tsp grated lemon zest Optional toppings (see method) YOU WILL NEED

A 23cm springform round cake pan, greased and lined with baking paper 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. 2 Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the white chocolate pieces until melted. Set aside. 3 Beat the eggs and caster sugar until pale and fluffy in a stand mixer or using a hand-held electric whisk. Sift the dry ingredients into a separate bowl and fold gently into the egg and sugar mixture. Fold in the lemon zest and chocolate-butter until combined. 4 Pour into the prepared cake pan and place in the preheated oven straight away. Bake for about 15-17 mins until the cake is just underbaked. The middle should still be really sticky and only the side should be fully baked. Keep an eye on it, as baking times will vary. If it wobbles, it still needs a little more time in the oven. A skewer inserted 2cm from the edge should come out clean. 5 Leave the cake to cool in the pan for at least an hour before transferring to a serving plate. If you think you have overbaked it, then remove from the tin immediately to stop the baking process. 6 Serve the cake on its own, or with any of the toppings below: ● Raspberry coulis: Mash 120g raspberries and place in a saucepan with 2tbsp icing sugar. Heat and boil for a few minutes, then strain through a sieve. ● Double chocolate: Finely chop 50g of your favourite chocolate and mix with whipped cream and ½tsp cocoa powder. ● Fresh mixed berries: Top with fresh redcurrants and blueberries, and dust with icing sugar just before serving with whipped cream.

Raspberry squares MAKES 12-16

1 portion of sweet shortcrust pastry dough (see overleaf) 200g good-quality raspberry jam 300g icing sugar 1-3tbsp hot water Sprinkles, to decorate YOU WILL NEED

2 baking sheets, greased and lined with baking paper 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/ gas 4. 2 Split the sweet shortcrust pastry dough into two equal portions and roll into two evenly sized squares, around 3mm thick. Each one should be around 30x30cm. 3 Put the pastry squares on the prepared baking sheets. Prick the surfaces with a fork to prevent air bubbles forming as they bake. Pop in the oven for about 10-12 mins, or until

slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack. 4 On one of the cooled pastry sheets, spread a generous, even layer of the raspberry jam. Very carefully slide the other piece of pastry on top so that it sits exactly on top of the base. Handle delicately, as the pastry can break quite easily. 5 Mix the icing sugar with hot water to form a smooth paste. The amount of water you will need will vary depending on your sugar. If the paste is too thick, simply add a few drops more water. Too thin? Add a bit more icing sugar. Aim for the consistency of runny honey. Spread the icing on top of the pastry to evenly cover. Top with sprinkles and leave to dry. 6 Using a very sharp knife, cut the edges off the pastry to make straight sides. Cut into 12 large or 16 small equal pieces to serve.


best

RECIPE BOOKS Medals MAKES 10-12

½ portion of sweet shortcrust pastry dough (see below) ¼ portion of pastry cream (see below) FOR THE FILLING

150ml whipping cream 1tbsp icing sugar A drop of vanilla extract FOR THE FROSTING

60g icing sugar 15g cocoa powder Sprinkles or small berries, to garnish YOU WILL NEED

A 7-8cm round pastry cutter A baking sheet, greased and lined with baking paper A piping bag fitted with a star nozzle 1 Remove the pastry from the refrigerator a while before using. 2 Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. 3 Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 2-3mm thick. Cut out 24 circles using the cutter and place them on the prepared baking sheet. 4 Bake for about 6-8 mins in the preheated oven, or until just a little bit browned. Set aside to cool on a wire rack. 5 Beat the whipping cream with the icing sugar and vanilla until stiff. Set aside. 6 To make the frosting, mix the icing sugar with the cocoa powder, then add 2-3tbsp hot water and stir. You may need to add more water, but do this slowly so that it doesn’t get too runny. You want a thick yet spreadable frosting. 7 Spread around a

teaspoon each of frosting on top of half of the pastry circles. Use the back of the spoon to neatly spread toward the edges. Before the frosting sets, add the sprinkles. 8 Put a large teaspoon of pastry cream in the middle of each remaining bare pastry circle. Spoon the whipped cream into the piping bag and pipe a neat circle of whipped cream around the pastry cream. Add the iced top layer and garnish with another small swirl of whipped cream. Top with a few small fresh berries, if desired. 9 Serve chilled and eat with a pastry fork.

Sweet shortcrust pastry dough This basic pastry is useful for many recipes. If you prefer a less sweet base, simply reduce the sugar content slightly. MAKES 700G

200g cold butter, cubed 350g cups plain flour 125g plus 1tbsp icing sugar 1tsp vanilla extract 1 egg 1 Rub the cold butter into the plain flour until sandy in texture, then add the icing sugar and vanilla. Add the whole egg and mix until the dough holds together and becomes smooth, taking care not to over-mix. You can also make the dough in a food processor by pulsing the ingredients together briefly, if you wish. 2 Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least 30 mins in the refrigerator before using.

Pastry cream The only thing to watch out for with this is not to

44 FACEBOOK.COM/BESTMAGAZINE

burn the milk, as this will spoil the whole lot. MAKES 600–625G

500ml whole milk 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk 100g caster sugar ¼ cup corn flour ½tsp salt 2tbsp butter 1 In a saucepan, carefully heat the milk with the scraped-out seeds from the vanilla pod. 2 In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, and add the corn flour. 3 When the milk has just reached boiling point,

take off the heat and pour one-third into the egg mixture, while whisking continuously. 4 Once whisked through, pour the egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk. Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Whisk continuously as the mixture thickens, for just under a minute, then remove from the heat, and stir in the salt and butter. 5 Pour into a cold bowl and place a sheet of baking paper on top to prevent the cream from forming a crust as it cools. The mixture will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days.


best for FOOD NEWS 30 -m in ut e

Food in a flash

m ea ls !

MAKE LIFE EASIER IN THE KITCHEN WITH THESE SPEEDY MEAL IDEAS AND SUPERMARKET BUYS

Great gift idea If you have a gin fan in the family, then the M&S Create Your Own Blueberry Gin Kit, £20, makes a fabulous bespoke present. It contains all the ingredients to make a unique tipple that will have everyone talking on the big day.

£7.93

TOTAL COST

Turkey stir-fry

GREAT TO SHARE

Party pieces On-the-move food Batchelors’ microwavable lunch pots are packed full of hearty ingredients and include one of your five-aday. Choose from either the High Protein, High Veg or Soup & Dippers options, each priced at £1.99.

Who doesn’t love a sausage roll? Just in time for Christmas, Iceland has transformed the ultimate party food into this seasonal showstopper. The Pork, Chutney and West Country Cheese Garland, £4.99, will make the perfect centrepiece at any gathering, as it tastes scrumptious served alongside leftover turkey or ham.

1tbsp rapeseed oil 400g turkey breast, sliced into strips 1 broccoli, cut into florets Juice of 1 lemon, plus extra wedges for serving 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped 3 cloves of garlic, sliced 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce 2tbsp dark soy sauce 300g pack of straight-towok thick udon noodles Handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped 2-3 carrots, chopped 5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 Heat half of oil in a wok. Add turkey and toss over a high heat for 3-5 mins until the meat is cooked through. Remove and put aside. 2 Heat remaining oil. Add broccoli and toss for 2-3 mins. Add half of lemon juice, chilli and garlic. Cook for 1-2 mins. Remove and put to one side. 3 Mix rest of lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Add to wok. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 min. Tip in the noodles, stir-fry for 1 min, then return the turkey and broccoli to the pan. Add half the coriander and stir. 4 Serve on plates. Mix raw carrot and ginger to top the noodles, and garnish with remaining coriander.

COOK’S TIP

CELEBRATE WITH ALDI To mark the British athletes’ success in the Rio Olympics earlier this year, Aldi has given its award-winning fizz a bit of a makeover. The Monsigny Champagne is still a bargain at £9.99 and would make the perfect treat for any bubbly fans. In store from 1 December, while stocks last.

Why keep turkey just for Xmas Day? It’s low in fat, and a source of vitamin B6 and niacin, to help maintain good health.

FACEBOOK.COM/BESTMAGAZINE 45

WORDS: LARA NUGENT PICTURES: PRIMA

PER SERVING CALS 346 FAT 9g PREP 10 mins COOK 15 mins SERVES 4


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£5.95 TOP TIP Layer up the bed and any armchairs with cosy textiles and cushions in rich winter shades for a luxe look.

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FEATURE: LARA NUGENT

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Wreath, M&S


Claire crafts

Christmas Claire’s crafts

T

FESTIVE LIGHT DISPLAY

o add an extraspecial touch of glimmer and glow to my festive table this year, I’ve created a stunning display that combines light, glass and glitter. It can also be used to add a cosy feel to a fireplace, and makes a fab window display. If you’re looking for a simple, low-cost way to add a bit of sparkle to your home, this is it! Enjoy…

Claire Richards xx

6 Once the ht line for the tape, create a straig base has dried, use a ruler, ea to be decorated – ar take the Mod ct all the sizes rfe pe be to s ed ne it Glass jars in various as Podge Gloss and pe y around the jar. Low-tack masking ta wa completely cover dy Gloss ped, paint a r that you have alrea Mod Podge Sparkle 3 Once the jars are ta e Sparkle the glitte e dg th Po to d on it Mo al of wl se at ll bo co wi g nt is Mixin dece applied. Th be to g. ea din ar ed ole sh excess Gold glitter Gloss over the wh y, jar and stop any inl th o ge to it lia fo y ad r dr re it tte sp gli let n’t side and Selection of glittered. Do u have Set to one urself, glue will dry before yo . It will look white e th ely (or you could do it yo or let mp co ches of tter. gli an e br th to appears r ply tte ap gli to ing ce an apply a ch whilst wet, but that dis er ov ) , en ing rd en ga op ur its yo n’t panic. greenery from 4 Hold the jar at once it’s dried, so do e th kle s rin ht sp Lig d D an , leted all the LE wl Copper Wire the mixing bo 7 When you’ve comp rning s tu ht e, Lig glu ar t St we choose your D e y, th LE dr to e ire Gold W glitter on jars and they ar ll wi wl bo e rt to arrange slowly as you go. Th display area and sta n he W r. tte N gli around with e loose PREPARATIO the jars. Have a play cide catch th d, de re d ve an s co jar ely ss let nts to get gla mp me ur 1 Select yo the area is co all the different ele to 20 e lik nd ou uld ar r e smaller wo u fo th e yo ep sid es Ke e which on set to on e best effect. th es on te na e edges, and glitter. The more or minutes to dry. jars to the front or th in, of at pla t co r lef he st ot be an k liage at the will probably loo 5 Once dry, paint arrange the tallest fo at st. co st mu a fir e is th th er bo ov ry packs for of e re tte dg but a mixtu the Mod Po back. Place the ba tter decorate ll gli e wi u th yo at ger jars, w pe big ho re e d on th an e r 2 Decid of glitte the lights inside u is yo jar e do , th re ple help hide them each jar. For exam process, making su or in glittery jars, to or ps r, ga tte no gli th to wi ing d, th re want the whole completely cove it dry. from view. a few stripes es. Set aside and let tch pa just the bottom half, or the masking or only the lid? With

HOW TO MAKE IT

WORDS: CLAIRE RICHARDS PICTURES: NICKY JOHNSTON, STUDIO 33 ALL ITEMS AVAILABLE AT HOBBYCRAFT

Add Christmas baubles or glitter-dipped feathers to any extra empty jars for that finishing touch

FACEBOOK.COM/BESTMAGAZINE 47


best GIRLS’ NIGHT IN...

1

This week’s must-see TV 1

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas SUNDAY, SKY FAMILY CHRISTMAS, 4PM

Jack Skellington, the skeleton Pumpkin King of Halloween Town – a creepy community of ghosts, ghouls, vampires and werewolves – stumbles through a magical portal to Christmas Town. Impressed by the bright and cheery atmosphere, he decides to bring some festive spirit back home, and announces Halloween Town will take over the celebrations. Crowning himself ‘Sandy Claws’, he assigns tasks to all the residents, when he’s not busy falling in love with Sally, a beautiful rag-doll woman... The brainchild of Tim Burton, there are typically dark aspects to this musical animation, but have faith in Disney – kids will adore the spooky stuff, and there’s a happy ending. Meanwhile, adults can marvel at the incredible feats of imagination and haunting visuals.

2

BRITs Icon: Robbie Williams

Robbie’s come a long way since his mum suggested he answer an ad for a new boy band, aged 16. He’s the most successful British solo artist in UK chart history. No surprise, then, that he’s selected for this special award, following the likes of David Bowie and Sir Elton John.

EASTENDERS

Big Soap Story

The pressure is on for Ronnie (left) when Jack reveals he’s booked a date for their wedding, while Jane prepares for her night out with the girls and is offered words of support by Stacey.

CORONATION STREET Aidan finally sees proof of Maria’s innocence when he

48 FACEBOOK.COM/BESTMAGAZINE

2

MONDAY, ITV, 9PM

spots Caz alive and well. Elsewhere, Mary confides in Erica that she’s found a lump in her breast.

EMMERDALE Jermaine tells Belle he’s got a job… but it’s in America. Will she go with him? Meanwhile, will Tracy and Vanessa forgive their dad, Frank, yet again?


TROLLIED’S

3

GEORGIA MAY FOOTE MONDAY, CHANNEL 5, 9PM

The canine stars return for a new series of four-legged fun. Go ‘ahh’ as Big Ron goes on a diet and struggles with bathtime, and Pyrenean Mountain Dog Baloo (above) hangs out at the beach.

4

THE LAST DRAGONSLAYER

Rillington Place

5

TUESDAY, BBC ONE, 9PM

Nico Mirallegro and Jodie Comer (below) co-star with Tim Roth and Samantha Morton in this chilling threepart drama about the real-life grisly murders at a flat in London’s Notting Hill. Serial killer John Christie strangled eight women and hid their bodies at the infamous address in the 40s, while an innocent man was hanged for his crimes.

4

COMING UP

5

Alan Carr’s Happy Hour FRIDAY, C4, 8PM

Our favourite comic, Alan Carr, is back with his own club night, featuring celebrity guests, stand-up comedy, variety acts and live music. In the first show, the chatty man’s guests include actress Rebel Wilson, plus comics Jack Whitehall and Rob Beckett, with performances from Bastille and James Arthur.

THEY SAID WHAT?! It seems the sizzling chemistry between Han Solo and Princess Leia in 1977’s Star Wars was due to a real-life fling between stars Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. ‘It was Han and Leia during the week, Carrie and Harrison during the weekend,’ she claims in her new memoir. He was 33 and a married dad, while Carrie was just 19…

Step into fantasy with orphan Jennifer, the bane of the dragon race. A magical blend of modern and medieval, this family treat premieres on Sky1 this Christmas.

UP H C T A C MOVING ON Jimmy McGovern’s series of compelling dramas about characters at a turning point in their lives is unmissable. Bingewatch on BBC iPlayer.

…joining the hilarious supermarket set comedy It’s been brilliant – I’ve always wanted to do a comedy. And I’m lucky, as my character, Holly, is a store manager, so I don’t have to wear the green nylon uniform! …going blonde Everyone thought I’d dyed my hair for the stage show Breakfast At Tiffany’s. But it was just a blonde wig, which was good, as I think bleaching my hair would have wrecked it. ….moving down south I hated London at first, because I’m so Northern, but now I’m kind of on my own there and around friends and having fun, it’s different. But I’ve been on tour so much, I’ve just been living out of a suitcase – I only go home to repack it. …missing Strictly I was backing Daisy [Lowe] to win, but there are so many good dancers this year, and I think Ed Balls is hilarious. It makes me wish I was back there – it’s such a great experience [Georgia May reached the final in 2015]. But my only chance is the Christmas special. OTrollied, Mondays, 9pm, Sky1

WORDS: DIERDRE O’BRIEN PICTURES: BBC, CHANNEL 4, CHANNEL5, DAVID APPLEBY, GETTY, KEITH BERNSTEIN, PIXAR, REX FEATURES, WIREIMAGE

3

ON...

The Secret Life of Puppies: Terrible Teens


Watch thing! ONE

Joanna Lumley

fter accidentally killing Kate Moss by pushing her into the Thames at a fashion launch party, Patsy and Edina go on the run in this riotously enjoyable big-screen Ab Fab. Our favourite fashionistas soak up the sun – and the booze, naturally – in the south of France. Pursued by the paps, and penniless in the playground of the superrich, they come up with a plan to keep the good times rolling. Bolly good fun, with amazing celebrity cameos.

A

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie ‘Sweetie darling !’

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH best

‘Jennifer and I were a lovely double act!’ At 70, Joanna Lumley is more fabulous than ever. Starting her career as a model in the 60s, she starred in The New Avengers as pin-up Purdey, before becoming the champers-swigging, beehived Patsy Stone in 90s sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. Now a doting grandmother, Joanna lives in London with her husband, conductor Stephen Barlow.

What are your best memories from the Ab Fab movie? Working with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm – I felt no pain doing that – and filming with my old pal Barry Humphries. When he appeared with that seedy moustache and those repellent white teeth, it was hard to look at him! And there was the obvious pleasure of being back with Jennifer [Saunders] – Patsy smoking like a train and Edina slowly having a nervous breakdown…

50 FACEBOOK.COM/BESTMAGAZINE

You’re more outgoing than Jennifer, aren’t you? She’s quite shy. When we met 25 years ago, Jennifer would find press interviews a total nightmare, but she’s changed since then. When we did the press tour for this film, we were like a lovely double act! Speaking of movies, did you enjoy your cameo in The Wolf Of Wall Street? I filmed for two or three days, and it was such a pleasure. The director, Martin Scorsese, is one of the heroes of our world, so if he’d said, ‘Can you be out of focus cleaning shoes for a bit?’ I’d have said yes! But to be


... AND OUT OUT AND ABOUT ATTRACTION Jennifer Saunders

DON’T MISS REWIND READS Rediscover Enid Blyton’s best-loved characters – now all grown up and transported to 2016. Four tales take the Famous Five into the age of Brexit and spiralisers. Enid Blyton For Grown-Ups, £7.99 each in hardback.

‘How do I feel about getting older? Well, I don’t dislike it – that would be like saying I dislike the daylight!’ Joanna Lumley

told I had to sit on a bench and kiss Leonardo DiCaprio, well… At 70, how do you feel about getting older? I don’t dislike it – that would be like saying I dislike the daylight. I adore every age! The benefits are, you’ve seen more, you know more and you feel wiser. Things that seem like a catastrophe can usually be made better. When did you last cry? Programmes where people are brought back together, like Long Lost Family, get me every time. Practically all Davina McCall needs to do is appear on screen and I’ll start crying! OAbsolutely Fabulous: The Movie is out on DVD this Friday, £9.99

TOWER OF LONDON ICE RINK If you fancy gliding around a real moat, get your skates on and head to the historic Tower, where hundreds of snowflakes light up the wall of the famous fortress after

dark. Post-skate, visit the pop-up bar, made entirely of ice, or enjoy a fondue in the Dip-Dunk Lodge. Tickets from £13.50, until 3 January 2017. hrp.org.uk/tower-oflondon/whats-on/towerof-london-ice-rink

FILM JUST KEEP SWIMMING! Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, swims on to the small screen, with Ellen DeGeneres providing the voice for the friendly but forgetful Blue Tang fish, who sets out on an epic search for her lost parents. Out now, £9.99.

SULLY

ISS M T ’ N DO BRADLEY WALSH – CHASING DREAMS We know him as an actor, comic and quiz show host, but Bradley Walsh is also an old-fashioned crooner. Along with a 54-piece orchestra, he’s picked his favourite swing classics in this cool compilation. Out now, £11.60.

In January 2009, a hairraising drama occurred on the Hudson River in New York City. Heroic airline pilot Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger was forced to land his US Airlines plane on the water, after it was struck by a flock of geese and damaged. Thankfully,

all his 155 passengers survived unhurt. Now, movie legend Tom Hanks plays the moustachioed maverick whose quick thinking saved the day – and a lot of lives. The impressive supporting cast includes Laura Linney, Aaron Eckhart and Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn. Out Friday

THE CLOTHES SHOW LIVE, NEC BIRMINGHAM (2-6 DECEMBER)

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Fashion heaven! With over 350 pop-up boutiques, nonstop catwalk shows and a Pamper Lounge, there’s lots to inspire you. Plus, indulge in a bit of star-spotting in the Paparazzi Pen. Tickets from £26.65, seetickets.com


Tony Cowell BEST’S CELEBRITY INSIDER TALKS TO SUBO

‘When my sister died, I had to take a step back’ Susan Boyle has had her fair share of controversy since that famous Britain’s Got Talent moment, but she’s still dreaming a dream…

Singing her signature song for Children In Need

cottish singer Susan Boyle, 55, who’s sold over 20 million records since her first appearance on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, is now a muchloved artist. Here, she opens up about losing her beloved sister, and explains why she still puts her trust in Simon…

PICTURES: ALAN SIMPSON, MIRRORPIX, PA IMAGES, REX FEATURES

S

You recently performed for Children In Need – was that difficult without Sir Terry Wogan at the helm? It was like not having a friend around, because I had got to know Terry very well – this was my sixth appearance. He was the face of Children In Need, and it felt very different without him there. I will miss him sorely.

Susan is happy to have re-signed to Simon’s record company

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Stunning the audience with I Dreamed A Dream in 2009

Your new album, called A Wonderful World, is your seventh – did you ever dream you’d achieve that? I had no idea. I can’t believe it, and it all feels very strange. It wasn’t that long ago when I dreamed of making my first album, so I feel very blessed. The new album feels very romantic – was that the idea behind it? Yes, there’s an element of nostalgia involved. There’s a jazzy feel to it, so it transcends Christmas, and I hope people will play it all year round. It’s about romance, and we all need that in our lives.

Simon tells me that some of the songs were your mum’s favourites… The Nat King Cole track, When I Fall in Love, is a posthumous duet with the legend himself. His estate gave me permission to perform it, so it was a great honour. It was one of the songs my mum and dad used to dance to. You referred to Simon as a ‘genius’ recently – do you still put your trust in his judgement? Simon has a special gift for what he does, so yes, I do trust his judgement. He has taught me a lot and he’s always been


best for CELEBRITY

SuBo’s mum Bridget, with sisters Mary and Bridie

The star is mourning her sister, Bridie

very honest with me. I have just signed a new contract with Syco [Simon’s record company], so I’m very happy. It only took you three minutes and 40 seconds to find fame on BGT, but you spent a lot longer than that dreaming about it… Since I was 12 years old, I’d wanted to perform on stage. I sang at school just to get attention, but it never prepared me for that moment on BGT. Nothing could. Did you have something to prove to your late mum that prompted you to audition for the show? Yes. I promised Mum, just before she died, that I’d pursue my singing. We were watching a woman on TV performing, and I asked Mum, ‘Is that what you want me to do?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ But I also had something to prove to myself. Has the money you’ve earned made a difference, or was changing your life more important? The money’s nice [laughs], but the success has meant so much to me – proving to myself that I could perform to thousands of people. I’ve sung in front of the Queen and the Pope, so I feel very blessed. Your faith is important to you. Was it a help when you got stressed recently? My faith is the backbone of my life. It’s given me strength and the courage to fight on and make a comeback. I suffer

from Asperger syndrome, so I do find certain situations stressful, and my recent incident at an airport got me upset [Susan became distressed at Heathrow]. I apologised, but it’s my faith I always fall back on for help. You lost your sister, Bridie, last year – did that hit you hard? You were very close, weren’t you? It was very hard. Bridie was such a beautiful person, and very supportive of me. She was a great loss to me and the family. She lost her battle with cancer and, after she passed, I felt I had to take a step back, to find where I was going. I needed to take stock. You’ve had a bit of rest recently, and you look fantastic. Have you been working out? I feel stronger and more able to get out there and give the public what they want. I’ve been going to the gym and I’ve been walking to Tesco and back, and that’s two miles. If I’m unfit, I can’t perform. People want to see me, so I have a duty to them. Where will you be spending Christmas? With friends and family. I love being around children at this time. I’ll go to midnight Mass at my local church for a good dose of Christmas spirit. ● Susan Boyle’s new album, A Wonderful World, is out now on Syco Records


best for CELEBRITY

Divorces, drugs, drinking and even a sex change. As yet another crisis hits the first family of reality TV, is it any wonder...

nother day and yet another emergency for the Kardashians. Last week, Kim’s hubby – Kanye West – reportedly had a ‘psychotic breakdown’, was handcuffed to a stretcher and then taken to hospital for his own safety. The Famous hitmaker, who cancelled the remaining dates of his Saint Pablo tour, allegedly underwent a psychiatric evaluation and was treated for temporary psychosis due to

A

Kris divorced hubby Bruce after his sex change plans

sleep deprivation and dehydration. But concerns for Kanye’s erratic behaviour have been circulating for months. Especially since wife Kim, 36, was robbed at gunpoint in Paris in October and she moved in with mum Kris Jenner – while Kanye, 39, has been on tour – to feel safe. As ever, though, in the world of the Kardashians, the show had to go on! Last Monday night, as Kanye was being taken to hospital, ‘momager’ Kris, 61 – with toyboy Corey

Kim is said to be struggling after the robbery

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Gamble, 35, in tow – and daughters Khloé, 32, and Kourtney, 37, were all smiles as they walked the red carpet at the Angel Ball in New York (in honour of her first husband Robert Kardashian). And it seems news of Kanye’s troubles may not have come as a surprise to mother-in-law Kris. When the Kardashian matriarch was interviewed on the red carpet just before the news about his health broke, she revealed, ‘He's exhausted he's just really tired. He's had a gruelling tour and it's been a grind. He just needs some rest.’ But is Kanye the latest in a line of men to be hit by the so-called ‘Kardashian curse’, or is it just coincidence? Khloé’s ex-husband Lamar Odom’s basketball career went into freefall during their marriage, when he turned to drugs and almost died after an overdose.

Meanwhile, Kourtney’s ex, Scott Disick, even visited a psychic to discover the root cause of his bad-boy partying. Scott, 33, said, ‘Anybody that’s dated a Kardashian has been cursed, there’s something going on in the water.’ The psychic revealed that yes, he was cursed – and advised him to make an ‘offering’ of a rooster to break the curse! Which he reportedly did… But Scott’s drinking made far fewer headlines than when Kris divorced Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn, months after admitting he wanted a sex change, while Khloé left hubby Lamar over drug use. So, as a New Year dawns with Kris managing yet another crisis, the one question we find ourselves asking is: Could all this spell the beginning of the end of the Kardashians on TV?

WORDSS: LYNN CARRATT. PICTURES: ACE PICTURES/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK, GETTY

We just can’t keep up with the Kardashians


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Both these sets of clues lead to the same answers, revealing in the shaded squares a new film starring Brad Pitt (6) CRYPTIC CLUES ACROSS 1 Rush job for life? (6) 5 Reportedly parrot sounds like a clock in government activity (8) 9 When today will be yesterday (8) 10 Well known parts of a mouse trap (6) 11 Not all of village life is unhealthy (3) 12 Check remainder and drop down (8) 14 Scene heard to be observed (4) 15 Baking ingredient sounds like ‘rose’, e.g. (5) 17 Foolish 11 Across in outer parts of Surrey (5) 18 Dance with a bouncer? (4) 19 Investigative work to do with the quest (8) 23 Snake which could be feathered (3) 25 Sailor to achieve something aimed for (6) 26 Grind charged particles in large numbers (8) 27 After a meal kiss and cuddle. It’s something put in the drink! (8) 28 Foolishly resist a family member (6) DOWN 2 A tiny piece of moat reconstruction (4)

PRIZE PUZZLES ENTRY COUPON ISSUE 48

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Too menial, possibly, to be full of feeling (9) 4 In Peru rallies are concerned with the country (5) 5 Might see the strength (5) 6 Free rides in elevators (5) 7 Remit pieces of a watch, e.g. (5) 8 Warily, yet saucily out. Out of order! (10) 13 To jointly think it over is intentional (10)

16 Literary collections may be stored in such buildings (9) 20 Makes very slow progress cultivating sedge (5) 21 A trio performing in proportion (5) 22 One of our kind using some inhumane methods (5) 23 The accounts of little William (5) 24 On a single occasion in the past (4) WINNING CHEQUES WILL BE MADE PAYABLE AND POSTED TO THE NAME AND ADDRESS AS WRITTEN LEFT. PLEASE TAKE CARE WHEN COMPLETING THE COUPON!

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One entry per household. Postal entries to reach us by closing date of 15 December 2016. Winners will be drawn at random from correct entries received by post and phone. Names and addresses of winners available on request. No correspondence can be entered into. The editor’s decision is final.

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ANSWERS MEGA CROSSWORD 43/16 PARANOID ACROSS 1 Insect 5 Roadside 9 Assembly 10 Awaits 11 Use 12 Literary 14 Bali 15 Split 17 Skier 18 Ages 19 Promises 23 Fat 25 Bungle 26 Official 27 Educated 28 Halves DOWN 2 Nose 3 Executive 4 Table 5 Royal 6 Avast 7 Stair 8 Determines 13 Background 16 Practical 20 Magic 21 Sweet 22 Stood 23 Fifth 24 Hare Lines open 29 November 2016 till midnight on 12 December 2016 (closes 15 December 2016 for postal entries). Over 18s only. †UK Calls cost 65p per min plus your telephone company’s network access charge; ROI 97c per min, and should last no longer than 2 mins. UK SP: Spoke (0333 202 3390). ROI SP: Phonovation/ Spoke (01437 8815). To enter by post, use coupon, left.


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Coconut island Wishing for some winter sun? Relax and unwind with an idyllic taste of tropical Thailand… Koh Samui was the inspiration for Alex Garland’s epic The Beach

BEST TRAVEL WRITER MILLIE GOOCH

TRAVEL SNAPSHOT

Love the island nightlife! Relax under the palm trees at a fun beachside bar

Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island and, thanks to its palm-fringed beaches, plush resorts and lively nightlife, it attracts young travellers and wealthy holidaymakers alike (Posh and Becks even own a luxury home in its hilltops). The best time to visit is during the dry season (mid-December to April) but, even in the wettest season (September to mid-December), showers are usually short and fall after 3pm, so it’s seen as a year-round holiday destination.

PICTURES: FACEBOOK, GETTY, REX FEATURES

INSIDER’S GUIDE

The exotic exterior of the welcoming Amari Koh Samui hotel

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Northwest of Koh Samui lies the Ang Thong National Marine Park, a cluster of 42 protected islands that are uninhabited and undeveloped. They’re said to be the inspiration behind Alex Garland’s blockbuster novel, The Beach, made into a 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Visiting the park is easy – tour company Boutique Yachting (boutiqueyachting.com) offers a one-day package on board the Naga sail boat for 4,200 THB (approx £95) per person. The price includes a guided tour and delicious buffet dining on deck, plus a sneaky peek of the Beckhams’ snazzy pad en route!


best for ESCAPES It’s a tropical paradise, but there’s so much more to this lovely island

This gorgeous part of the world draws both young backpackers and wealthy celebrities to its shores

GETTING THERE: Hayes & Jarvis (hayesandjarvis.co.uk) are offering a seven-night holiday starting from £799pp, including accommodation, at Amari Koh Samui on a B&B basis, transfers and return international flights from London Heathrow with Malaysia Airlines.

STAYING THERE:

Book a Piña Colada treatment at The Breeze Spa for your day of arrival at Amari Koh Samui (see DON’T MISS Staying There, above right). Head to CoCoTam’s, located in The tranquil treatment Fisherman’s Village (facebook. helps stimulate melanin com/CoCoTams) for spectacular evening formation to maximise your tan. entertainment. The cocktails – ordered

from the comfort of your own swing – are incredible, and the beach bar boasts one of the best fire shows on the island.

FOOD AND DRINK The Amaya Food Gallery has a stunning beachside setting and celebrates a mix of international and Asian cuisine, with inspiration from local street food. For a true taste of Thailand, take part in live cooking stations and action-packed BBQs. *£17.92pp deducted with 2.62% cashback

BEFORE YOU GO

Sail away to the protected isles of the Ang Thong National Marine Park

The recently refurbished Amari Koh Samui sits on the sun-soaked white sands of Chaweng Beach. With 193 contemporary rooms, four dining spots, two pools and a FIT centre, you’ll be hardpressed to find a reason to leave.

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DEALS

Enjoy a cocktail before the amazing fire show starts at CocCo Tam’s

PORTUGAL All-inclusive Hotel Enotel Lido Madeira offers 7 nights from £666.08pp* with flights from Gatwick on 12 December 2016. TopCashback.co.uk/ Thomas_Cook

CARIBBEAN Carnival Paradise cruise offers 5 nights visiting the Western Caribbean, inc Tampa and Grand Cayman, from £279pp, departing 30 January 2017. carnival.co.uk

MADEIRA 5-star Pestana Casino Park Hotel and Casino offers 7 nights on a B&B basis from £262pp inc flights from Manchester on 9 December. easyjet. com/en/holidays


SAVE the best for LAST PUT A RING ON IT Ring holder, £9, Monsoon

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BUDGET BLING Earrings, £1, Primark

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TOP TIP Festive doesn't have to mean green and red – why not embrace the peacock trend this season?

magazine, ISSN 0954-8955, is published weekly by The National Magazine Company Ltd, t/a Hearst Magazines UK, c/o USACAN Media Dist. Srv Corp at 26 Power Dam Way Suite S1-S3, Plattsburgh, NY 12901. All rights reserved. No part of may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means, either wholly or in part, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Not to be resold, lent, hired out or otherwise disposed of by way of trade at more than the recommended retail price (subject to VAT in Republic of Ireland) or in a mutilated condition. Printed by York Mailing Ltd, Brinkworth Rush, Airfield Business Park, Elvington, York, YO41 4AU. The publishers, editors and authors accept no responsibility in respect of any products, goods or services that may be advertised or referred to in this issue, or for any errors, omissions, misstatements or mistakes in any such advertisements or references. is distributed by Conde Nast & National Magazine Distributors Ltd (COMAG), Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7QE (tel: 01895 433600). Prices are correct at time of going to press.

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WORDS: DANI SOUTHWOOD PICTURES: BIGSTOCK

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