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‘My favourite sound in the world’
dec 6-19, 2016 £1.55
The stars are out for
Christmas Mary Berry on the final BBc Bake off
❆ pLus Mary’s fuss-free festIve
Birds of a Feather head abroad
Maureen Lipman on faith & family
‘Cheers to our best show yet!’ 14
YOURS n EVERY FORTNIGHT
Birds of a Feather stars Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph chat about family, friendship and why their Christmas special was a joy to make
fter taking a ten-month break to spend time with her granddaughter and family, Birds of a Feather actress Pauline Quirke is relishing a return to acting. And she can’t think of a better way than to reunite with her long-term friends, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph, for a Christmas Birds of a Feather special. The one-off hour episode on Christmas Eve sees the three ladies travel to Morocco to try to find Travis, who has failed to phone a worried Tracey whilst away. But it’s not long before they find themselves in all sorts of bother.... There are plenty of lighter moments, too, with Dorien falling for the charms of former flame, Vince, played by Martin Kemp, and a camel ride across the desert. It is, says Pauline proudly, the best Christmas show they’ve ever made and also a poignant one for all three, who haven’t been on our screens at Christmas for nearly 20 years. “It’s definitely our best yet,” explains 57-year-old Pauline. “It’s very Birds and we have had so much fun. We didn’t have to change a word of the script because it’s so good. While we flew to Malta to film the scenes set in Morocco, this isn’t about us jollying it up over
there. It’s everything you would expect it to be, but more…” Filming the Birds special came after a self-imposed break from work for Pauline. At the start of 2016, she had an operation and wanted to take time out to fully recuperate. Last year, her daughter also gave birth to a baby daughter, Grace, and Pauline admits she loves being a grandmother. “Grace has changed our lives – and I’ve had ten months off,” she admits. “Sometimes that was spent with my grandchild, yes, but I also had an operation, which took a long time to get over and I needed to take time out. “I had ten months holidaying and two months acting – perfect!” Christmas will be a very different affair this year too, because Pauline has decided to star in panto for the first time in a quarter of a century. “This is going to be a very different Christmas for me,” she confides. “It’s different because we’ve got Grace and it would have changed anyway. But I am doing panto for the first time in 25 years. We are going to share the cooking this year. Charlie, my son, is going to do the starter, me the veg and I will give the dessert a go too. Steve, my husband, is going to do the turkey.
Christmas Day will be my only day off but Charlie is in panto with me so I get to spend lots of time with him!” She won’t get to see fellow co-stars and close friends over Christmas either because both Linda and Lesley are starring in panto, too. Their Christmas Day will also be spent with family and friends. Linda, 58, has just become a grandmother again so is really excited about spoiling her grandchildren. “I started shopping in October,” she admits. “I love Christmas; I’m up early and in bed late!”
‘We started this programme in 1989 and here we are, in 2016, older and wiser’ Lesley Joseph Fully relaxed from taking part in this year’s Strictly, Lesley, who had to train with Anton while filming the Birds Christmas special, admits she feels just incredibly lucky that she can embrace her job and the time spent with family. “Christmas is not just about the kids, it’s a friends and family thing – everything,” says the enthusiastic and energetic 70-year-old. “A lot of people have gone in 2016 and it’s been a tough year with losing David Bowie, Victoria Wood and Alan Rickman. It’s been a hard year for
showbusiness and we have lost some great people far too young. You have to celebrate what you’ve got and enjoy the people you have now. Life is so unpredictable. I want to feel lucky and embrace what we’ve got. We started this programme in 1989 and here we are, in 2016, older and wiser!” “And I love the fact we are still getting so much joy out of Birds,” adds Linda. “How many people can actually say that? We have been blessed with this. The fact we have done a programme and it is probably the best Christmas show ever after all these years, is a big achievement for us. The writers and ITV have shown so much courage to put us on over Christmas – we’re not young!” As for whether, the three friends will be making any New Year resolutions, it’s a resounding ‘no way’. They would like more of the same. Will they be returning in 2017 for a new series of Birds of a Feather? Probably not, they say, but stress a decision has yet to be made. “I would like to make another Christmas special,” says Pauline. “And next year take 11 months off instead of ten!” n The Birds of a Feather Christmas special is on ITV on Saturday, December 24.
PICS: ITV/THAMES TV; CAMErAPrESS
By Christine Smith
From left, the girls in the first series in1989, filming in Malta for the Christmas special and Lesley with guest star Martin Kemp YOURS n EVERY FORTNIGHT
Jolly J UMPERS
£12, s-l, Primark
Whether you’re looking for a traditional Fair Isle, a touch of sparkle or a comedy knit – we have the perfect Christmas jumper for you! By Fashion Editor, Michelle Nightingale
£29, 8-22, M&Co
£15, s-xl, Matalan
£59, 8-18, Monsoon
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£18, 8-22, George at Asda
Christa wears: Reindeer jumper, £29, 8-22, M&Co | red jeans, £44.99, 10-28, Witt International
£25, 8-22, Debenhams
£20, xs-xl, Bonmarché
£12,, s-l, Primark
£35, 14-32 Evans
❤ LO V E S
£28, 6-22, Dorothy Perkins
£15, 8-22, George at Asda
£18, 8-22, George at Asda
PHOTOGRAPHY RUTH JENKINSON; STYLIST DANIELLE ELMES-HUGHES; HAIR AND MAKE-UP SARAH JANE GREEN
Fiona wears: Jumper, £20, 8-20, F&F at Tesco | grey trousers, £22.50, 8-22, M&S
Stockists: Bonmarché 0330 026 2728; Debenhams 0344 800 8877; Dorothy Perkins 0344 984 0261; Evans 0344 984 0262; F&F at Tesco 0800 323 4070; George at Asda 0800 952 3003; M&Co 0333 202 0720; M&S 0333 014 8000; Matalan 0333 004 4444; Monsoon 0203 372 3053; Primark www.primark.com; Witt International 0871 987 0101
£18, s-xl, Matalan
s e l gg i n h t l a he
From heartburn to hangovers, make your Christmas as painfree as possible with these simple remedies to sort all your festive discomforts, says Karen Evennett
Too much trifle..?
“If over-indulging leaves you with heartburn or indigestion, a fast fix is a good quality raw apple cider vinegar,” says naturopath Zoe Palmer-Wright. “Add 1 tbsp to a small glass of water and sip it slowly. It’s a great solution when you’ve got too little gastric acid – and you should start to feel better straight away.”
Frequent episodes of indigestion or heartburn can be a sign that you are regularly eating or drinking something that disagrees with you
One GlAss tOO mAnY… It can happen to the best of us – especially when someone else is doing the pouring… “One way to head off the damage is to take a milk thistle supplement before you have an alcoholic drink if you suspect you might get carried away,” says nutritional therapist Ali Cullen. “this will help your liv liver cope with the alcohol. You can take another dose when you get home too. eating nuts (for B vitamins) and berries (for Vitamin C) will also help to lower your risk of a hangover and make you feel better the next day.”
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Frequent episodes of indigestion or heartburn can be a sign that you are regularly eating or drinking something that disagrees with you. You may have low levels of stomach acid or an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut (eating probiotic yogurt can help with this) but persistent problems should be checked out with your GP.
tummy troubles A bulging waistband… If too many Brussels sprouts and fizzy drinks leave you bloated and windy, reach for fennel, suggests Zoe. “Chew fennel seeds, or sip a fennel tea. As a one-off (but not too often) you can also use activated charcoal tablets (from health stores). The charcoal absorbs gas and removes toxins and is even used in hospitals to remove poison.” If you take prescribed medicines, you must consult your GP before taking activated charcoal tablets as they can prevent medicines’ absorption and stop them working properly. TRY YOGA TO EASE WIND AND BLOATING – child’s pose is great for this. kneel on the floor. touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then spread your knees as wide as your hips. Breathe out and lay your torso down between your thighs reaching your arms out in front of you. hold this posture for as long as is comfortable or until your wind has eased. (you you y ou might w want ant to do this somewhere private!)
Too little energy…
Running around shopping for presents and cooking up a storm can leave you exhausted. Give yourself a boost with beetroot! “It helps deliver more energy to your muscles to get you through a demanding day,” says nutritional therapist Ali Cullen.
TRY A BEETROOT AND BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE… soak two tbsp of porridge oats overnight in 100ml (4floz) apple juice. Blend with 25g (1oz) cooked beetroot (not in vinegar), 100g (3½oz) blueberries, and 150ml (5floz) yogurt.”
TAKE CONTROL OF STRESS Stress can cause low energy, insomnia, overeating and even heartburn. Focus on breathing in and out through your nose for a minute and try to count backwards from 20,000,” says Tony. “It’s all about changing the focus of your attention.” For more on coping with stress, turn to p65
items worth stocking up on
CAN’T GET TO SLEEP…
PICs: shutterstoCk, rex/shutterstoCk, getty Images; alamy
Try these tummy saviours! You’re never too grown up to feel anxious and overwhelmed when n Pukka Three Fennel Tea, you’re facing a new situation. £2.49 from supermarkets Your busy, over-excited mind needs Whether you’re dealing with and health stores to rest before you can get to sleep, says tricky family members, coping Tony. “Focus on the present, tuning with Christmas alone or reaching n A Vogel Milk into what you can hear, see, smell and out to find new friends try this Thistle Complex, feel around you. If you get distracted, trick to help you feel calmer. £10.79/60 try again until you can concentrate “Find somewhere quiet where tablets, from for a whole minute – you’ll soon nobody can disturb you,” says NLP health stores feel relaxed and start to practitioner Tony Wrighton. “Start drop off.” breathing in and silently counting: “In, n Bragg Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, two, three, four… out, two, three, four…” £4.95 from www.omninatural.co.uk Then lightly tap your thumb on each finger of your hand, starting on your index finger and working outwards to your little finger DON’T FORGET... counting again. Now combine the breathing, Many GP surgeries close over the Christmas period so stock counting and tapping. up on prescription medicines in advance. Then walk around the room while doing this, n For non-serious medical issues over Christmas, dial 111 or go coinciding each step with the numbers and the to your local walk-in centre thumb taps until you feel calm and relaxed.” n For emergencies call 999 or visit A&E
n For pharmacies open over the holiday, see www.nhs.uk
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Deck the halls without
If you want to buy a real Christmas tree, look for a local retailer registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, which will ensure your tree has been grown in Britain.
costing the Earth – how to celebrate the season while protecting the planet… By Lizzy Dening
t’s the most wonderful time of the year… but also the most wasteful. Experts estimate we throw away enough wrapping paper to go around the equator nine times, and enough Christmas trees that, laid end to end, they could reach New York and back again. That’s without mentioning unwanted gifts, unnecessary lights, excessive heating and sackfuls of Christmas cards. But don’t worry, it’s possible to have a magical season with all the trimmings, while still taking care of the planet, with our expert tips…
Choose a tree with roots then replant it in January
n Call 01473 785100 or visit www.bctga.co.uk
Old Christmas lights can be recycled – check if your local council collect small Wrap gifts in brown electrical paper, tie with string and items. If add a sprig of greenery not, take them to a household waste recycling centre. Glass baubles and tinsel can’t be recycled, but paper chains are perfect for compost heaps.
It’s a wrap Tie parcels with string instead of tape to ensure wrapping paper can be used again next year. Old newspapers make easy wrapping paper, (iron first to stop the ink running – use a warm iron and place an old tea towel between the iron and the newspaper or buy recycled brown paper at
THIS CHRISTMAS MEET OUR EXPERT Kate Blagojevic is a press officer and energy campaigner for Greenpeace UK, visit www.greenpeace.org.uk for more information
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Send e-cards to internet-savvy friends and family
From B arry and Je an
GOOD to KNOW veg, seeds to plant, energy-saving lights or a vegetarian cookery book. There are lots of small things we can do to make a difference together for a green and fun festive season.” Of course, there’s nothing quite like a homemade gift either – so get creative! n For inspiration, visit www.yours.co.uk/ christmascraft
Keep your cards and cut the pictures out to use as gift tags next Christmas
Paperchase, £3.50/ 5m. Sticking to traditional wrapping? Steer clear of shiny textures, as anything glossy or laminated can’t be recycled. Group gifts together rather than wrapping them individually, to save paper. Send a festive free e-card instead of the real thing, via Friends of the Earth. n Visit www.foe.co.uk/living/cards
“There are lots of things we can do to lower our carbon footprint all year round,” says Kate. “In terms of your home energy, consider switching to a green electricity scheme that sources from renewable energy and save energy by turning off fairy lights when they're not needed. Keep the heating below 20°C and wrap up warm in a festive jumper instead.”
It might not be the most popular decision, but cutting down on the number of pigs in blankets, sausage rolls and other meat treats is an easy way to help the environment – as well as your waistline! “Over the Christmas period think about including more veggie and vegan options,” says Kate. “Not only will it help the planet, but you’ll also save money.” If you can’t picture Christmas dinner without the turkey, look for a local, organic bird for a more ethical option.
Presents for adults
“What about giving gifts that will lead to a greener life in the New Year?” Says Kate. “You could buy a subscription to an organic food box scheme, a book on growing your own
Consider buying a gift subscription for organic veg box delivery
Presents for grandchildren
There’s no harm in checking your local charity shops or nearly new sales to see if there’s anything your little ones might like secondhand, but if you want to buy something new there are plenty of ethical options. Consider ‘adopting’ them an animal, via your local dog shelter, zoo or a wildlife charity such as WWF. These packages often come with a cuddly toy and photos of your chosen animal, so they’ll still have something to open on the day. Plus it’s a gift that will last all year, as they’ll probably receive post updating them on their animal too. n Visit www.wwf-adopt-a-animal.co.uk
Order toys and books with a low carbon footprint via The Centre for Alternative Energy. It stocks a range of wooden toys, card games and children’s books. n call 01654 705959 or visit http://store.cat.org.uk/
The Ethical Superstore has sold eco-friendly, Fair Trade and organic household goods and gifts for ten years. n Find lovely children’s clothing, toys, games and books by calling 0333 400 0464 or visiting www.ethicalsuperstore.com
n Find your local tree recycling centre. contacting your council or visit www.recyclenow.com/ local-recycling n you can also use pine needles to restore balance in your
compost heap, or as natural pot pourri! n Don’t forget to make the most of your recycling bin – pop in six mince pie foil cases and you’ll be saving enough energy to watch eastenders on christmas Day! n m&s and the Woodland trust
are yet again running their festive card recycling scheme. this popular push encourages you to drop off old cards in your local store – for every 1,000 they receive, a new tree will be planted.
n shred spoilt wrapping paper to use as padding for future gifts or to keep your decorations safe for next year. alternatively use it for streak-free windows – it works just as well as newspaper, as long as it’s not shiny.
pics: alamy, shutterstock
n Heart of House lit wreath, £19.99, Argos 0345 640 2020
n Metal star tree topper, £6, Sainsburys 0800 636262
n Chamonix Noel dome bauble, £3, John Lewis 0345 604 9049
Deck the halls with these festive decorations
n Wooden house scene, £2.50, Tesco 0800 323 4050 n Ho ho ho doormat, £10, Homebase 0345 077 8888 n Buckingham Palace Christmas stocking & Christmas tree decorations, £12.95 each, Royal Collection Trust 0845 330 2898
n Musical storage tin, £12, Cath Kidston 0845 026 2440 n Small red glitter stag, £4, Homebase 0345 077 8888
n Heart of House luxury pack of reindeer baubles, £14.99, Argos 0345 640 2020
YOURS n EVERY FORTNIGHT
MAKE IN 10 MINS
n Glitter wire tree table decoration, £3, B&Q 0333 014 3357
n 25 Christmas tree candle, £6, George Home 0800 952 3003
Festive baubles Time to make: 10 mins Makes: 2
n 1x A4 foam sheet in red n 1x A4 foam sheet in green n 20cm length of red ric rac n 20cm length of white ric rac n 20cm red cotton n small scraps of thin festive ribbon n A few coloured sequins (optional) n fabric glue
n Santa bouncer, £10, Debenhams 0844 800 8877
n Grand tour 3D jolly Santas, £3, John Lewis 0345 604 9049
n Set of 6 red Christmas decoupage baubles, £8, Next 0333 777 8739
n 50-piece red and silver decoration Set, £10, Next 0333 777 8739
1. Draw a bauble-shaped template on a piece of paper. It should be roughly the size of 1/6 of a sheet of A4. 2. Cut this out and place on top of a piece of foam. Draw around it and cut out using sharp scissors. 3. Pierce a hole in the top of your bauble shape using a metal skewer or the point of a compass. 4. Decorate using the ric rac, ribbon and sequins. Secure them with the fabric glue. 5. Once dry, thread a small piece of red cotton through the hole.
YOURS n EVERY FORTNIGHT
GOOD to KNOW Five easy ways to make this Christmas a jolly one By michaela peacock
t’s easy to feel overwhelmed at this time of year, rushing around shopping and taking care of everyone else. But with a few simple tweaks you can keep your anxiety levels in check and make sure you all have a great time.
When you start to feel tense you might be tempted to reach for a coffee or even a glass of wine – but have a glass of water instead. “Water hydrates every part of your body and brain and helps you cope better with stressful situations,” says Neil Shah, chief de-stressing officer at The Stress Management Society. “Still water at room temperature is best.”
Rub out tension
You can alleviate that stressful feeling by rubbing a pressure point on your
tummy. “Find your gastric point two or three finger’s width down from your bottom rib, in line with your belly button. You’ll know when you’ve got it because it’s very sensitive. Using two fingers, gently massage it. The more often you do it the calmer you’ll feel.
Take a walk
It is important that you find a way to wind down after a busy day and exercise is an immediate tonic. It burns off stress hormones and helps produce mood-enhancing endorphins. A walk or bike ride is also a perfect opportunity to spend time as a family, or even have a little bit of time alone away from everything. It doesn’t have to be a long walk – just 10-15 mins is enough to clear your head and boost your mood.
Seasonal STRESSBUSTERS TWO-MINUTE MOOD CALMER
if your muscles are tense and tight and you’re finding it hard to relax, try this quick fix from the mental health charity mind.
pics: getty images
sit somewhere comfortable. Keep your back straight, your feet on the floor and close your eyes. start clenching your toes for a few seconds then release them. Notice the difference between the two feelings. match your breathing to your movement. tense the muscle as you
breathe in, and relax as you breathe out. move up your body to your thighs, stomach, up to your shoulders and hands, clenching and relaxing each muscle in turn. take time to notice any parts of your body that feel tense, tight or tired. Repeat until you feel relaxed, then slowly and gently begin to move again.
When you take deep breaths the levels of oxygen in your body help to reduce your stress hormone levels. Hearty carol singing is also an instant way to fill your lungs!
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