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23/11/09 16:37:17 23.11.2009 15:37 Rival Colour LTD

H❤ eart ❤ H A ❤



…with Dame Judi

With a Cranford two-parter on the horizon, we catch up with Dame Judi Dench who reveals what’s made Christmas this year so special By Daphne Lockyer


his Christmas, Dame Judi Dench will be celebrating as she always does at home in London with family and friends. At some point, you imagine, they’ll be gathered round the fireside to watch more helpings of the unmissable Cranford in which Dame Judi stars. She couldn’t have wished for a more perfect Christmas present – the chance to film another two episodes of the hugely popular costume drama. The opportunity for a get-together with her Cranford pals, she says, was a delightful surprise. “None of us had expected to come back for another bash after the first series, so when two more episodes were commissioned we couldn’t believe our luck,” she says. No wonder, then, that a party mood prevailed during filming for the Christmas specials. “Yes, there was a lot of good humour and laughter… and cake making, just as there was in the first series of Cranford,” she says. “It started when someone suggested that everyone make a cake and bring it on set and it sort of continued,” she says. “I don’t take any great credit for my Victoria sponge, but Julia McKenzie’s meringues were heavenly, as were Barbara’s macaroons and Deborah’s brandy snaps. Never mind awards for the show itself – if they handed out BAFTAS for baking, all three of them would deserve to win.” She admits that since losing her beloved husband Michael she often takes refuge in the company and friendships of


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other actors. Cranford, then, of course, was a perfect gift because it meant reuniting her with fellow Cranford-ites Julia McKenzie, Barbara Flynn, Imelda Staunton and Deborah Findlay. Of course there was one notable absence – Eileen Atkins, who played Miss Deborah, on-screen sister of Judi’s Miss Matty. Eileen received a BAFTA for best actress for her role, but sadly her character was killed off at the end of the second episode. But not to be left out, when filming for the specials began she sent a huge crate of oranges to the set for her fellow cast members. It came with a note ‘Please retire to a room to eat your fruit in solitude,’ – one of Miss Deborah’s famous lines. “We did miss Eileen so much,” says Judi. “We even wondered if we could have her written back in. You know, perhaps she’s had a nasty bump on the head and had been asleep upstairs the whole time or something. But, of course, that was never on.” In the event, Judi had a life size cardboard cut-out photograph of her friend made up for filming. “Every now and then we’d send Eileen pictures of herself in the background of various scenes,” says Judi. “We didn’t want her to think she’d been forgotten.” Without the presence of domineering Miss Deborah, however, Judi admits her own character in Cranford has flourished. “She’s had to assume a bit of backbone that she wouldn’t have had if her sister were still alive. “Although the characters have shifted subtly, the relationships and sense of


24/11/09 10:48:03

❙ star chat ❙

community at the heart of Cranford remains the same. It’s still a place where people watch out for one another and know each other’s business. “It takes me back to when I was a little girl in the Thirties and Forties. I remember friends of ours being blitzed in York and absolutely everybody rallied round bringing food and clothes, which was wonderful. Now we tend to shy away from that – and I’m always rather thrilled that people can’t find my house on their sat nav. But still, there is something to be said for a community that cares and Cranford is a celebration of that.” This time around, Miss Matty finds herself in the role of surrogate grandmother to her maid Martha’s baby girl, Tilly. “She’s finally experiencing something she feels she’s missed out on – the joy of having a child around – and Weehh W have ten CDs up for keeps Martha busy in the kitchen so that ggrabs arab called The Music of she can spend time with this lovely little featuring music aran FOR U OY YOU OU CCranford, girl. She’s absolutely in her element.” used u esed during the series. All you In real life, of course, Judi is mother to have t t eev eth veaeve tto o do to stand a chance of actress Finty Williams and grandmother winning ni dniesi si gninnw ninning iiss ssend end iin n a postcard to the Yours to her 12-year-old son, Sam. “They pages, marked t eL ehare t no ss er ddaddress address on on the the Letters L et everything to me,” she admits. “Family ‘Cranford competition’. Include your name comes first and always has. If Finty and and home address details. The first ten Sammy needed me, then that would be it, entries drawn after the closing date of there’s no question. But they’ve also got December 18, 2009, will be sent a CD. If their own lives, which allows me to pursue you do not wish to be contacted in future mine. And I do still very much need and by Yours Magazine please write ‘No want to work.” Further Contact’ clearly on the postcard.




‘Cranford is a place where people watch out for one another’

Now 75, she’s more than used to reading that she looks a good 15 years younger; although she’s delighted that Cranford doesn’t just include actresses of a certain age, but positively revolves around them. “By ‘a certain age’ do you mean old?” she laughs. “But yes, it’s very nice indeed to be asked to play one of them, especially as we all get on so well.” Miss Matty will, she knows, do nothing to diminish her status as a national treasure. “Oh no,” she says, “please don’t call me that – it’s such a dusty old thing to be called!” Maybe it’s a desire to shake off that dust that sometimes leads her to play less than sympathetic roles, like malevolent Barbara in Notes on a Scandal or tough nut M in the Bond movies. Soon we’ll see her morphing into yet another hardhitting character when she stars with a raft of Hollywood actresses, including Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz and Sophia Loren, in the movie version of Tony award-winning musical, Nine. Judi plays a chain-smoking powerhouse of a woman – as far from Miss Matty as you could imagine. The smoking, she admits, was a challenge, just as it had been when she appeared in the art house movie, Rage. “I’ve never been very good with cigarettes,” she says. “And in Rage I had to learn to smoke a joint. They brought in a university student to show me how, but I set fire to my trousers!” She hoots remembering the incident, or perhaps wondering what the ladies of Cranford might think of such behaviour. “Can you imagine,” she laughs. “Pass the smelling salts.”

JUDI SHARES A SECRET “Watch out for scenes in

Cranford featuring a parrot. When you hear him squawking and making those clicking noises in his throat, it’s actually me. I happened to be in the editing suite when filming had finished and they said they needed more sounds from the parrot. I said: “Well no need to call him in. I’m sure I can do it and I’ll be a lot cheaper.” So the voice you hear is mine. Don’t tell the parrot handler!” YOURS // EVERY FORTNIGHT

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25/11/09 10:37:59

By Carole Richardson

success. Arranging for me to interview first for the three priests, along with them at home, their manager Sam Wright, christenings, weddings and funerals. said: “What you’ll see is what you would The trio, who first sang together as young he sight of eager fans tiptoeing have seen before they became famous. schoolfriends, pledged never to give up down Father David Delargy’s They all look after their parishes and their day jobs and it is written into their path to peep through his themselves. There are no housekeepers: recording contract with Sony’s Epic label study window has become they do their own cooking, ironing and that they’ll never be asked to put record commonplace since The Priests their own shopping. It’s not Father Ted.” promotion above pastoral duties. – Northern Ireland’s international singing Silly old me, expecting a Mrs Doyle to be “This singing business is an interesting superstars – hit the big time, earning them bringing endless cups of tea! sideline, but everything has a shelf life. a place in the Guinness Book of Records “We’re all Mrs Doyles!” jokes This will have a shelf life too. We’re just for the fastest-selling classical debut parishioner Rosaleen Kane, speaking for enjoying it and taking it as it comes,” says album of all time. The scene might have the ladies at Father David’s senior citizens’ Father David, the tallest of the three, come straight out of Channel 4’s comedy group, which meets for tea and buns after who has to be careful at concerts that series, Father Ted. Huge public curiosity the 9.30am mass on a Monday morning. It’s he gets the right height microphone. even boosted the size of Father David’s evident they’re immensely proud of him, Nevertheless, it has been an amazing congregation, albeit temporarily. A year gentlyy teasing him and insisting that ‘his experience. Their success has led to on, has quietened down bit t t t e hta,o stni ,bstthe ahesnsffuss w ueosed sh sd eaetsntq etueietened d ow n a b it aatty g his Hannahstown parish on outskirts a a H H a nH na Hh ssiw iw srH a pawonnnow aoht stow nnp oaunruitshnouo stn outthe oshe sm o rtufitlsltkirtisrttesrt at effeet eet aare re sstill till firrmly m tnn ylnyoon on the t.’n hdegnground’. guround’. me hthem them meeting g the Queen, appearing on going give of Belfast. Father Matt up Mr e ht aF dn A( .eet s aefBl B eo Bf B elfast. ((And A nd F atheruM tt att u pevi g ot gni og m ’ Ixe m xi t t xe““Next Next ttime imenII’m a’m , w g oihnsgsstto oog Rivnea ht a noJ ethe the Jonathan Jonathan Ross Ross show, shio cw er,eiand angcdneirecording redrcording at does do er s e od da or etthe he rroad oddade d d eoteouseldtrreputedly do u eetpu otdeodlyod oa i cerueohutou yyou oeush”tthe heW ”e,b“, earrecipe,” .s”eze,iclei”m ,E p e, oek kk s ,ekoo R ”kojjokes noikaecsilElizabeth EilsizaaBbse’ trthet etSPSt S at St St Peter’s Peter ’s Basilica Basilica in in Rome. Rome. “When “W hen Donnelly hands him mass...) e.e.. ss aet mtr hesshorter th r or ter m ass...) n nsesnD noasnsanselally aass sshe hehh nandshh imu ut uaoyou you think tah tnint kt tabout ab ueosauesettrthese teshueogsyegs things tghnings you you really reyallly home-made They Fame bee ficckle, but t ub, el kc fi e benaec e m F ame ccan an b kle, b ut e h T. e nocs e d mamm m m ’- teI o “m o.osah tih om mdea-m e ha”d, fel sscone. ecsornueo. yT hecyniep o et ehave hvave to to pinch pinch yourself,” yourself,” he he admits. admits. “It’s “It ’s Father David his i h dna ) 64(eedi vaehDrhe hF t ather D avid ((46) 46) aand nd h is nill au cer , eulhhkcchculchaall lcll cchuckle, huckle,elrrecalling eaeh cehartelnlthitu enth gd ottthe no hae dsao smosall alll so so mad mad and and unreal. u n r e a l. hee ttried pass off myy o own Father t t i s s–t srsat s-cco-stars os-sstarstsa–gFssiblings gligblnings F athr er ff oss ap ot dei rt e he e ttime m ime h ried tto op ass o w ffoay m e nie nev““Even Even iin nm wn Martin Father r e ht aF diina ) 6it4(t ni tM r artin ((46) 46) aand nd F ather egnops s’ y naprrmocregnei r etccatering atering ccompany’s ompansyt’s essponge iprotpn,geet em iet elifetime, lfifetime, priests priests his own. Eugene O’Hagan e ne naegH n’ eO n E g(u egnen(e O )n0 a’H 5n(an gan ((50) 50) – neywoksaiebhyas aattraybake erkaaybake aass h is o weir v er e were were viewed v iewed have not had heads et oen eh vave n ott rh ard ttheir rhi eir h aeads y yrp r yrpE Everyday esivrearpyed yeay parish pieard i smhm ei td duties uetm eietsore m reras as remote. remote. byy ttheir global ass tthis abol gerei e ht en yb nde nrtturned urned b heir g lobal moclli t s si ht sha hcssuch uch a his sstill till ccome ome si ti Now N wow it it is is a


Nicknamed Holy, Holy, Holy at college, their singing has made them international superstars but what’s life like away from the cameras?

At home with the singing priests i

The pop star priests take centre stage


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23/11/09 15:14:32

❙ star chat ❙ ‘This singing business is an interesting sideline but we’d always put pastoral duties above record promotion’ – Father David

I bet Madonna doesn’t have to do her own ironing! Father David in a board moment and, above left, having a cuppa with a parishioner

Could their runaway success ever change their celibate lifestyle to one of sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll? “I think we’re a bit long in the tooth for that now,” he smiles. Their meteoric success will, however, allow them to save a little for their old age (a priest’s pension provision is notoriously poor) as well as donate much of their profits to charity. In nearby Newtownards, County Down, Father Martin Where is Mrs Doyle O’Hagan could do with a few when you need her? roadies to shift boxes for him. Father Martin does a spot of vacuuming He has only been in his new parish for ten days and hasn’t had time to unpack. The previous week he had been called back from London, where The Priests were promoting their second album Harmony, to arrange a funeral following the death of a lady in her 90s. It has been an emotional wrench to leave behind his old parishioners and the

‘The day job is the essence of what we do while the music gets through and reaches people’s hearts’

church he has spent the past three years renovating. “I openly cried at every mass before I left!” he admits. Fortunately he’s ‘a dab hand with a Hoover’ and loves gardening and collecting antiques. His brother Eugene teases that Hercule Poirot would be instantly at home in the Victorian priest house. As he is still in the throes of unpacking, Father Martin offers to take me to the local pub for lunch after a trip to St Finnian’s primary school next door. There he has the chance to show off his skills as a natural entertainer, singing with the children during a lesson involving homemade musical instruments. They are soon eating out of his hand. Do they see him as a pop star? “Half a pop star!” answers ten-year-old pupil Erin. “Me? A pop star? Oh no!” he gasps. En route to the pub, he is stopped in the street by the lollipop lady and a little boy. Is this the price of fame or simply part of being a parish priest? A bit of Pupils tune into Father Martin’s every word


completely different thing altogether. The world has changed and we have had to adapt to new circumstances and expectations.” Singing has always been a part of the three priests’ lives and they’re well known for performing in choirs w wn wo k nownol llocally o and Then, in February last year, n nocoa nndocconcerts. onc oo o c rcoeee cerr aerrrecord ecord company scout knocked on their door and r r ar d ooor d a nd asked them to make a demo r r o or ocrrecording. ecordin By April they were standing on h h t h te hto n tthe hesssteps of Westminster Cathedral n n ssigning n iigning a £1 million contract. Their first album, bl a lm bumT, The Priests, was an immediate hit around a uround the world. ““We We never expected any of this and it was bit nervewracking at the start. We aa a aw s as a b were in at the deep end, ” admits e et ew r ere tthrown h Father F t ather David, whose varied CD collection ciincludes nclu e de Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen and v va end eeven v Meat Loaf.

– Father Martin

ad about the Turn over to re FORTNIGHT her teac mus//icEVERY priests’ first YOURS YOUR077-16-18 priests.indd 17

➙ 17

23/11/09 15:15:10

‘A new look ah C m trsioffor rohr C Christmas’ hrristmas’ istmas After a year following our Reclaim Your Waist Plan we decided our diet panel deserved a bit of a makeover in time for Christmas!


YOUR077-61-64 Makeover.indd 61


10/11/09 17:54:11

Maria Meredith, 53 Weight lost: 14lb Inches lost: 3in from waist and 2in from hips


Maria says: “I really did struggle to begin with. I couldn’t get motivated to exercise and I was feeling down, so food and drink were a comfort. But being followed by Yours really was the turning point. Seeing my list of excuses in print gave me the kick-start I needed. I finally made losing weight and looking after myself a priority. I had hypnosis to help with my self belief and I now feel more positive and my healthy lifestyle is really working.”

Maria’s verdict

‘I feel so confident and sexy! I never thought I’d wear a dress again, but now they’re firmly back in my wardrobe’

Maria’s new look


Maria says: “I have avoided dresses and skirts for ages because I’ve always found it easier to hide my tummy in a pair of floaty trousers and a stretchy top. I lost confidence in choosing clothes when I put on weight because I just felt fat in everything. But now I’m feeling much better and I’m hoping you can change my mind.” The fashion fix: Dresses are actually perfect for Maria’s pear shape. She needs a dress that has an A-line skirt to skim her hips and a fitted waist to show off her slimmest area. Maria should avoid bias or straight cut dresses which will cling to her hips and make her look larger than she is. A cropped tuxedo jacket helps to dress up a simple frock. The short sleeves are ideal for masking ‘bingo wings’ and the structured fabric helps to balance Maria’s figure. When you invest in a party outfit it’s a good idea to buy things that can be worn again – Maria’s crop jacket would look just as great with a well-fitting pair of tailored trousers and a top. Maria wears: Net layered dress, £50, sizes 14-32, Simply Be; satin crop jacket, £25, sizes 14-30, Evans; diamanté satin heels, £26, sizes 3-8, Next; diamanté and bead necklace, £15, Wallis; diamanté wrap bangle, £10, Dorothy Perkins; diamanté drop earrings, £6, Allusions at Bhs


Stockists: Allusions at BHS 01277 844438; Dorothy Perkins 01227 844 444; Evans 0845 121 4516; Freedom at Topshop 0845 121 4519; Majique 020 7437 8438; Marks & Spencer 0845 302 1234; Monsoon 0844 811 0068; Next 0844 844 8939; Phase Eight 0207 471 4406; Simply Be 0871 231 5000; Ted Baker 0845 130 4278; Viva La Diva 0871 231 8000; Wallis 0844 984 0266


YOUR077-61-64 Makeover.indd 64

10/11/09 17:56:12

Roy Hudd rw writes r just for you

f ot ol a s ah’ nos ekil r eht af ekil‘ es ar hp ea h erasTThe hahr’ ehnp phrase oshereakkislehei,kirl‘‘like elitkhet afather, father, like likefsson’ ootno’l has haas a llot ot o off The all-round entertainer and Yours columnist reveals who he’d invite to the perfect Christmas feast


an you believe that Christmas is nearly here again? I can – Easter eggs have started appearing in the shops and they’re advertising summer holidays on the telly. How lovely it is for shopkeepers to hear the merry sound of till bells ringing as they enjoy this magical, special time – the annual celebration of turnover. Of course it’s horrible the way Christmas is used to flog toys that’ll be lost at the back of a cupboard before the New Year and ties and jumpers that’ll never be seen outside the wardrobe they’re hidden away in. And odd smelling toiletries that, if used, tell other people you’re coming two minutes before you arrive. But I still love Christmas – mostly for getting families and friends together. I love Christmas grub, roast potatoes and well cooked vegetables (even sprouts), but still prefer beef with horseradish, drowned in lovely gravy, to chicken or turkey. Then the Christmas pud – the heaviest, fruitladen delight of all with custard and the odd five pence piece to break your dentures on. I love the crackers (which keep me in jokes for the following 12 months) but, best of all, I love sharing the festive feast with my favorite people. A family game for years has been putting together a group of people (alive or dead) you’d like to share the meal of the year with. My gran always filled her list with dead people, saying, “They don’t eat – so all the more for me!”


‘When the other comedians ran out of gags Ken Dodd would carry on for another two hours’

Audrey Hepburn and Spike Milligan would be welcome at Roy’s party

She wouldn’t have to do a thing – we’d all just look at her. That enthusiast for all the things I like, Sir John Betjeman, would be included simply because I do like people who agree with me! And Spike Milligan who, when he was in the mood, was (along with Groucho Marx and James Thurber) one of the people who made me laugh a lot. The former Speaker of the House of Commons, Betty Boothroyd, must be there – she’s the only person who could control this lot. I’d let Delia Smith do the cooking and lend her a hankie when the Norwich City football result came through. Also invited to the party to enjoy the mince pies will be all the people who bought my autobiography. They’ll each get a tangerine – but anyone sneaking in who hasn’t bought the book will be guaranteed a raspberry! Perhaps on second thoughts I’ll settle for a nosh up with the missus, the granddaughter, the son and daughter-in-law and Bella (our dog) who’ll be lurking under the table for any stray bits of dinner. Yes, that’s a proper Christmas. You have a good ’un, too.

My list always includes that great champion of Christmas, Charles Dickens. With any luck he might do one of his famous readings as we all sit back full of joy and puddin’. Joyce / ///// AaFart Fa in a Colander: The Grenfell might give us a monologue, too. I’d have to have Autobiography by Roy Hudd is Auoto EXTRA A R A Tommy Trinder who knew so many outrageous saucy tales by Michael O’Mara pub FOR U YOU OU bu published about my music hall heroes. Oh, and I’d have Ted Ray, Arthur Books Boo at £20. Yours readers can n Askey, Sandy Powell and Robb Wilton who all had outrageous buy b y uy the t hardback book for the saucy tales about Tommy Trinder. Ken Dodd would be there of £17 with free p&p c c c especial specl ial price p because when the other comedians finally ran out3of0gags 910 ghe’d ni ll ac y by by calling calling 01903 01903 828503 and quoting YOUR/ carry on for another two hours. Audrey Hepburn will be there. ROY (UK mainland only, while stocks last).


YOUR077-75 Roy Hudd.indd 75


10/11/09 18:05:48

xxxx ✽

king This fortnight the Yours gardener is loo forward to a tremendous tulip display

Bringing hyacinths for Christmas blooms into the house from the cold frame Ordering fruit trees and seeds Buying and planting amaryllis as gifts for Christmas Digging over any bare soil in the garden and veg patch

alk to any well-travelled person about their holidays and they will bombard you with a long list of places ‘you just must see’. I am not well travelled, so I’m not going to reel off a list of exotic destinations – just one. If you want a quick and inexpensive ot s pl e h pee d) ni 4t( m ucb but 0u 1 t 10cm 10cm (4in) (4in) deep deep helps helps to to holiday, go and see the tulips they stay upright. eensure ns in Holland. Whether it is wet After flowering, a tulip bulb A or sunny, you can’t fail to be pssplits pli into several more. There impressed by their sheer beauty. be one big one, which will o hsshould ho The Dutch have made tulips ower flo o w the next year, and several their own, even though they are ones that you’ll need to ssmaller ma natives of Turkey. Wild tulips are grow g orow on to reach flowering size. found throughout the Middle This T i his is why it’s best to lift and East and are a big part of Turkish t t t rssort ortyyour bulbs after flowering, Spring flowering art and culture. The name ‘tulip’ unlike i i ilu nlik daffs which can be left in tulips come in is supposed to be derived from the ground for many years. Some e t h eg a vast variety the name for turban but old people p oeop find this too much effort of shapes and Turkish tulips looked nothing and are disappointed when their a nd a colours wallfl owers perfect. like turbans – in fact, thet cblooms were bulbs b b blb ulbs don’t flower well the next ef ree pesiew rslreerew l oflll a w allflo wers iiss p erfect. Apparently, we British prefer our similar to the tulips we call lily-flowered. year. The choice is yours – either throw tulips plain and simple, but I love the There are hundreds of varieties of them away or grow them on carefully multicoloured and weird shapes such as tulips and all can be planted now. You and save some money. blowsy parrot tulips with feathered petals can plant them right up to Christmas Either way, the beauty of tulips as they and lily-flowered varieties with elegantly and they will flower perfectly. Tulips develop from slender buds to rounded, fluted blooms. thrive in well-drained soil and full sun, star-like or peony-shaped flowers is I pack the bulbs in pots to create a real but you can put them almost anywhere impossible to ignore. Visit the Dutch show of colour. For containers, stick to and they will bloom next spring. bulbfields and you might think you need the shorter varieties because they are Because the flowers look great from all to plant hundreds to get the look, but if less inclined to flop over in the wind. It angles they are perfect for formal beds – you plant just five or seven in your border, the traditional combination of tulips and doesn’t matter how deep you plant them, you get to appreciate the real beauty of owers ee hestthe h re fl wo wers – the shine of the petals, the mrtm e mm ssymmetry ymmetry of the bloom and the contrast ‘Ballerina’ This orange, lily-fl pilduowered td deered ttulip ulip of ower ee ehhoflhtetho t f tthe he flo w centre. Each bulb represents is cheap, elegant, bright t t and t nfragrant nt ngarant hundreds of years of history and a few ds dder dn h undreds o – just perfect. weeks offsssublime beauty. s s k oks kw eeeks o u ‘Red Riding Hood’nPerfect n aan for adnpots aosts and and window boxes, this has purple-mottled t t tmt ottled leaves and dazzling red flowers. ‘May Wonder’ Double, e erich wsrw pink eow oofloowers wers that look like peonies. NEXT ISSUE: ‘Blue Parrot’ Not the most rufflded ed Geoff Stebbings is Getting the of parrot tulips, but tall editor of Garden Red Riding best from your and stately with blooms in Answers. For advice and Hood poinsettia shades of lavender. inspiration each month, don’t miss your copy.

My favourite tulips



This week I’ll be…

fO Our rouerGg gard r, raerd ne ene ner, r, G Geo eoff ff Stebbings, has been gardening since the age of seven. He trained at Kew before becoming a garden writer. He has a small garden crammed with plants – and three allotments.


YOUR077-89 Gardening.indd 89

98 89 9

11/11/09 11:15:05

Ask us a n y t hi n g

Got a question? We’ll find you the answer!

What can I get my granddaughter and grandson for Christmas?

Yours says: We just know your little darlings will adore this Paint Your Own Funky Wellies kit from Little Pals, which comes complete with Wellington boots and paints. The boots are available in three different sizes: small, to fit children’s shoe sizes 8-9; medium, to fit shoe sizes 10-11; large, to fit shoe sizes 12-13. And they come in two funky colour combinations: pink with green trim, pictured here, or green with blue trim. The kit is priced at £14.95 plus delivery – they’ll love it! // To order call 01829 731370 or visit www.

Where can I buy comfortable and stylish silk or satin pyjamas?

Yours says: Try Bhs, which has a great selection of satin pyjama sets. There’s a pretty lace satin set with a flattering wide-strapped cami top and long elasticated waist trousers, in a range of colours. Or, if you’d prefer a more traditional style, this floral jacquard print satin set includes a shirt-style pyjama top and long trousers. Both are priced at £25, with matching robes available. Bhs has a great selection of satin nightdresses, too. // To find your nearest stockist call 0845 196 0000 or visit


I prefer gift boxes to using wrapping paper, but is there a cheaper alternative to what’s in the shops? Yours says: These stacking boxes from Letterbox are the perfect solution to that tricky present-wrapping dilemma. The set of eight boxes stack inside each other and come in eight different colourful designs. The largest box is 22cm square – just finish it off with a pretty bow and you have a beautifully wrapped present in seconds. Priced at just £11.99 for the set, they’re a cheaper option to buying individual gift boxes. And they make great storage boxes, too. // To order call 0844 557 5000 or visit

Where can I recycle my Christmas cards?

Do you know any good recipe books for my favourite sweets? Yours says: We’ve fallen head over heels with Life is Sweet by Hope and Greenwood. This little gem is full of recipes of our favourite sweets, combined with beautiful photography and witty tips. Miss Hope and Mr Greenwood are the founders of some of London’s finest sweet shops and these recipes are surprisingly easy to make. If you love coconut ice, butter toffee, or rose and violet creams, then this book’s for you – all you need now is a sugar thermometer! // Life is Sweet is at all good bookshops or online from

Yours says: Recycle your Christmas cards this January in special bins provided by the Woodland Trust in WH Smith, Marks & Spencer and TK Maxx. The Woodland Trust is aiming to plant 12,000 native trees through this year’s Christmas card recycling scheme, so your cards are going to a great cause. Since the scheme began 13 years ago, the Woodland Trust has planted over 155,000 trees in an effort to restore our wooded areas. // To find out more call 01476 581135 or visit www.

This fortnight’s questions came from: Sadie Turner, Penzance; Christine Shaw, Peterborough; Henrietta Brown, Colchester; Katie Goodwin, Derby; Tamsin House, Northwich

// We’d love to help to answer your questions. Write to us at: Ask Us Anything, Yours magazine, Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Peterborough PE2 6EA. Or email your query to us at yours@ with ‘Ask us Anything’ in the subject line.


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look at life… Yours columnist Lynda Bellingham fondly remembers Christmases past – particularly solving the case of the missing teddy bears


hristmas has always been sacrosanct to me. Whatever has been going on in my life come Christmas day I am there with my mince pie and a cracker singing up a storm. Until my parents died in 2005 I had never missed a family Christmas. The last four years have been different in many ways but I have still managed to keep the family together for Christmas day. As a child I simply adored the whole deal. We had old fashioned woolly socks that belonged to my dad laid on the bottom of the bed. I still remember the thrill of waking up in the dark in the night and reaching down to feel the heaviness of the stocking on my feet and then hearing it rustle as I squeezed it before falling asleep again. I remember one year my sisters and I asked Santa for teddy bears. We sat through the usual tree ceremony which involved my father handing out each gift in rotation while mum wrote down who they were from etc. She used to drive us mad because she’d insist on folding each piece of wrapping paper very carefully and recycling it. We were always in a rush to get on to the next present. This particular year we had finished all the presents and there was no sign of the bears. How could this be? Surely Santa hadn’t forgotten. We went into the kitchen and discussed the problem. How could we ask about our teddy bears without looking greedy and ungrateful? I volunteered to try and find out. My acting skills weren’t very advanced and I think I simply went back into the front room and blurted out to Mum and Dad that we had looked everywhere for our teddy bears but couldn’t find them. Dad looked shocked and said to Mum: “Strange isn’t it Ruth,how Santa seems to have forgotten the girls.” “Well maybe he has hidden them out

of reach,” replied my mum. We rushed round looking in cupboards until my sister Jean let out a shriek from the front room. She was standing in the middle of the room pointing up to the picture rail where three white teddy bears were perched in a row. Happiness. There is always a good deal of talk about how Christmas is stressful for families, especially women, but I really haven’t had that problem. When the boys were young I would spend a day in the West End doing the whole festive thing. We would visit Santa’s grotto at Selfridges or Harrods. We would have a cream tea at the Waldorf Hotel which was always so beautifully decorated with lights and little fir trees. Then we would sit on an open decked tour bus and ride round on the top deck looking at the lights. Somehow it never rained and was always quite balmy and it was magical. We were so close to the Christmas lights in Oxford Street we could almost touch them. Nowadays I often take myself off for a day near Christmas and just walk through the streets enjoying the atmosphere. It is murder if you are trying to get last minute shopping but if you are just there to look and enjoy it is heaven. The smell of roasted chestnuts on a winter’s night – the crisp cold air on your face as you come out of an overheated store. Just looking in shop windows packed with colour and sparkle makes me well up. Silly old woman I hear you say. But it only comes but once a year. So to all Yours readers have a very happy Christmas.

‘We were always in a rush for the next present’

After a blissful break in the British Virgin Islands, it’s back to rehearsals for the Strictly Christmas Special. All of us are invited back for a group dance. I must say it’s lovely to be working with Darren again, and


Back with Darren but still feeling the fear

fab seeing all the Strictly gang, but I am nervous. I’m trying to tell myself it doesn’t matter if I get it wrong, but that doesn’t work because I’m still thinking, ‘Oh, please

don’t let me go wrong.’ I can’t help dreading it a bit. Still, can’t wait for Christmas. I’ve already begun buying bits and pieces for my boys’ stockings (my two sons and my stepson). My son Michael hinted he’d like a watch. Don’t know what he’ll think of the Buzz Lightyear one I’ve got him!


My fortnight…


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23/11/09 14:34:29

Yours Magazine #77  

Yours magazine Issue 77 brings you news and views on issues that matter to you from the UK's favourite magazine for women in their prime.

Yours Magazine #77  

Yours magazine Issue 77 brings you news and views on issues that matter to you from the UK's favourite magazine for women in their prime.