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❙ star chat ha ❙ By Alis Alison James


here can be no doubt that Pauline Quirke likes a challenge. In less than a year she’s dropped more than eight stone in weight and looks truly fantastic. But now this new-look Pauline is about to face yet another challenge. After Christmas, she starts rehearsals for the greatly anticipated stage version of the iconic TV sitcom Birds of a Feather which made her – and co-stars Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph – household names. From March next year, Pauline and the girls are taking the show all over the country for five gruelling months. “I am very, very nervous about it,” she admits. “I’ve never done a tour before and the other two have both done a lot more theatre than I have. It’s scary but very exciting, and I can’t wait.” What makes it extra special for Pauline is that her own son, Charlie (17), will be on stage with her. “I’m really happy that my boy will be joining me in the show,” she says. “It’s such a bonus. Charlie’s playing Tracey’s son. OK I’m his real-life mum but he’s a terrific little actor, even if I do say so myself. To set the scene, if you remember at the end of Birds of a Feather, Tracey fell pregnant. That was about 16 or 17 years ago and now she has a son – played by my Charlie. He’s doing A Levels right now so he’s sharing the role with Linda’s boy Louis, who’s 19. It’s so lovely. We’ll both get to see more of our boys than we normally would. They might not like it, but we will!” Spending lots of time with Charlie will help stop Pauline missing actor Danny Miller, who plays Aaron in Emmerdale. “Danny’s become like a lovely son to me,” she reveals. “He’s an absolute joy. I was a bit homesick when I arrived in Leeds, but Danny and people like him made me feel part of the team from day 14

Merry Christmas from YOURS

‘I’ve never been so happy – or so scared’ As actress Pauline Quirke looks forward to a new chapter in her life, she reveals her hopes and fears one. Danny and Marc Silcock, who played my screen son, Jackson, would regularly come to my flat and I’d cook them tea. I’ll miss everyone in Emmerdale – it’s been one of the happiest periods of my professional life and I’ve made friends for life. “Apart from Danny, I’m especially close to Lucy Pargeter (Chas Dingle) and Charley Webb (Debbie Dingle). Those girls – and everyone at Emmerdale, in fact, were such a support to me when I was doing the LighterLife plan. Whenever I got fed up with it – as you inevitably do at times – they’d be there, saying how brilliantly I was doing and encouraging me to stick with it. It was Danny, Charley and Lucy who organised my leaving party actually.”

Pauline with son Charlie, who will be appearing on stage with her in the show

Now that Pauline’s at her target weight of 11 stone, what’s best about being eight stone lighter? “It has to be that I feel so much healthier and have much more energy. It was always about feeling and being healthy, never about being a size eight. I can honestly say I feel better than I have in years. But obviously it’s also great being able to wear whatever I like instead of only having a very limited choice. I’m a size 14! I haven’t been able to wear 14s since I was a teenager. I’ve bought a few really nice things, but it’s fantastic just being able to wear jeans and a T-shirt.” As we look forward to watching Pauline’s last few weeks in Emmerdale, we can’t wait to see how her character Hazel leaves the village. Will it be a big send-off or a low key exit? “There’ll be a few fireworks,” Pauline reveals. “It’s not just a case of her deciding to PAULINE leave. Aaron’s involved – he’s her ON HER NEW link with Jackson and Hazel feels SLIM LOOK... his own family aren’t good We think you’re looking fantastic... enough for him. She’ll be sad Thank you so much. I can hardly believe to go – as I will be. I don’t it but I’m at my target of 11 stone. I’ve lost want to go but I know I have eight and a half stone and I’m a size 14. to. I’m the one who made Are you going to stop your LighterLife the decision to go which dieting plan now? makes it slightly easier but I always said I’d stop when I got to I’m not looking forward to it. 11 stone. This was always my decision Like Arnold Schwarzeneggar, – LighterLife don’t tell you what I will be back, though. target weight you Enmerdale hasn’t seen the last of should be. Hazel – or me!’ Merry Christmas from YOURS



THEN AND NOW… The girls are back: Linda Robson (as Tracey), Lesley Joseph (Dorien) and Pauline (Sharon)

By Alison James hristmas can be a bit of minefield for newlyweds. Whose family should they spend the day with? Which clan gets the consolation prize of a Boxing Day visit? Or might they have a cosy Christmas à deux? For the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, there is no such dilemma. Christmas will always have to be celebrated within the bosom of the Royal Family at Sandringham House in Norfolk. William is used to this – but what of his new wife, whose previous Christmases will have been more informal? Maybe the Middletons are the kind of family who stay in their pyjamas for most of the day. Perhaps mother Carole has a sherry while she’s cooking the turkey. This is all in the past for Catherine. Last Christmas was the last one when she could do just what she wanted. So what’s in store for her and her Prince? The Royal Christmas gets under way on Christmas Eve, after the Queen has spent the previous few days putting the finishing touches to the 20ft Christmas tree which comes from the Sandringham estate and always stands in the White Drawing Room. The family follow the German tradition of opening their presents on Christmas Eve. During the afternoon, each member places their gifts to one another on linencovered trestle tables which have

C Merry Christmas

Will & Kate!

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prepare to spend their first Christmas together, we take a look at how they’ll be celebrating

❙ royal y l watch ❙

been set up in the Drawing Room. The great unwrap takes place at around 6pm, with the Queen starting the proceedings. Catherine is aware of another royal custom in which they compete to see who can buy the least showy gift. She’ll be presenting the Queen with jars of her homemade strawberry and plum preserve (apologies if you’re reading this, Ma’am, and we’ve spoiled the surprise!). After the pressie opening, the family retire to dress for dinner, meeting up again for cocktails in the Saloon. All the adults drink gin and tonic, although the Queen, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles enjoy a dry martini. Dinner at 8.30pm is a black-tie affair and the finest china and silverware is laid out on the dining table, which is decorated with Christmas flowers from the Sandringham nurseries. Typically, the menu comprises Norfolk shrimps, lamb or locallyshot game, followed by tarte tartin with brandy cream or a soufflé. White wine is served with the hors d’oeuvre, claret with the

Who else will be there? Only the Queen’s immediate family celebrate Christmas with her at Sandringham. In addition to herself, Prince Phillip and the Cambridges, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, Princess Anne and husband Tim Lawrence, Prince Andrew, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their two children, Louise, eight, and James, four, are sure to be present. Peter and Autumn Phillips, and Zara and Mike Tindall are also likely to be there as they spent last Christmas with Autumn and Mike’s families respectively.

Did you know?

✤ Preparations for the Royal Christmas begin in March! Just before Easter the 600 members of the Queen’s staff receive a letter from their boss, asking what’s on their wish list. There is a budget – gifts start from £28 for the most junior employees to a maximum of £35 for longerserving staff members. One footman has been collecting a dinner service, one plate at a time, which he reckons will be complete by the end of the next decade. ✤ The Royals’ traditional threecourse Christmas luncheon has to be eaten in 50 minutes so the Queen can watch herself on television. Everyone wears a paper hat except for Her Majesty. ✤ The Duchess of Cornwall sneaks away after Christmas lunch in order to spend the rest of the holiday with her own children, Laura and Tom, and their families. ✤ Playing Monopoly is banned at the Royals’ games after dinner on Christmas night because, according to Prince Andrew, ‘it gets too vicious’. ✤ The week before Christmas, the Queen throws a party for her staff and their partners at Buckingham Palace. There’s a disco, two or three bands, three dance floors, plus a lavish buffet. Until she was 80, the Queen always used to dance with her footmen, but now she just enjoys watching everyone having fun. ✤ Until he married Camilla, Prince Charles had to make do with a single room at Sandringham. ✤ All the Royals’ presents are left on show until after Boxing Day, with labels beside every gift revealing who gave what to whom. Merry Christmas from YOURS



main course and champagne with the dessert. On Christmas morning everyone awakes to their stockings at the end of the bed, stuffed with small gifts and fruit. According to Sarah, Duchess of York, the day is a never-ending round of getting changed. A tweed skirt and cardigan for the full English breakfast, stylish dress, coat, hat and gloves for the church service, a silk dress for lunch, casual skirt and blouse for the afternoon, silk skirt and blouse for tea and, finally, a formal gown for dinner. After the traditional lunch, everyone gathers around the log fire in the Saloon to watch the Queen’s Speech on television. After this, the Queen often takes the corgis for a stroll. The evening is spent playing party games such as charades (which the late Princess Diana is said to have disliked intensely). On Boxing Day Prince Phillip organises a shoot. Catherine could well go riding with the Queen instead. After all this pomp and protocol, escaping to her own family at their Berkshire home on December 27 could come as something of a relief. Prince William might also be glad to chill out and relax with the in-laws of whom he is so fond. Let’s hope he remembers to pack his PJs!

Sandringham House (left) is the Queen’s favourite Christmas venue

✤ Gold box clutch bag, £15, Next

✤ Silver glitter clutch bag, £6, Primark


✤ Pat wears: Dress, £45, 8-24, Isme; peep-toe heels, £28, 3-8, Bhs; earrings, £15, Accessorize; necklace, £18, Marks & Spencer; cuff, £18, Accessorize; bag, £22, Debut at Debenhams.

STOCKISTS: Accessorize 0844 811 0068; Bhs 0845 196 0000; Brantano 0870 990 1600; Debenhams 0844 561 6161; George at Asda 0800 952 0101; Isme 0844 811 8112; Marks & Spencer 0845 302 1234; Next 0844 844 8939; Primark 0118 960 6300; Wallis 0844 243 4320. Details correct at time of going to press


Merry Christmas from YOURS

If your budget won’t stretch to a whole new outfit this festive season, save some pennies and get a new look with these dazzling accessories By Michelle Nightingale ✤ Grey corsage, £4, Accessorize ✤ Black pointed flats, £22, 3-8, Marks & Spencer

✤ Turquoise drop earrings, £10, Accessorize

Style yle notes te

✤ Black bead bracelets, £3 each, George at Asda

✤ Pewter Jewel Strappy Sandals, £28, 3-8, Bhs

✤ Jewel flower bangle, £7, George at Asda

✤ Silver ball necklace, £18, Marks & Spencer

✤ Bead necklace, £8, Marks & Spencer ✤ Bronze peep-toe court shoes, £24, 3-8, Brantano


✤ Beaded chiffon wrap, £32, Next

NEXT ISSUE Find the perfect jeans

✤ Drop earrings, £4.50, George at Asda ✤ Beaded bolero, £35, s-xl, Next ✤ Cream Corsage, £3, George at Asda

✤ Jade bead necklace, £15, Wallis

✤ Silver bead necklace, £5, George at Asda


from Yours

Have a second peek at our roundup of the best party frocks with sleeves, online at www.yours. Merry Christmas from YOURS


echarge Recharg your


hristmas is the most dangerous time of year healthwise according to the experts. All that festivity, cheer and general gluttonous behaviour could play havoc with your health, leaving you with indigestion, weakened immunity and a less-than-happy liver. This year, be clever and prepare your body for the festive onslaught and you’ll hit the New Year running.


Boost your immunity “A combination of winter bugs, poor eating habits and reduced activity levels at Christmas can all compromise your immunity,” says Boots Pharmacist Angela Chalmers. “Keep your immune system healthy with nutritious food, regular exercise and quality sleep.” Angela suggests a breakfast of slow-release carbohydrates, such as porridge, to give you all-day energy. Stock up on fruit and veg in hearty soups and get to bed early. If you only do one thing: “A brisk walk every day could boost white blood cell production, which could help to fight infection,” says Angela. Off the shelf: Healthspan Gold Multivitamins and Minerals (£7.95/180 tablets) call 0800 73 123 77 or visit


Merry Christmas from YOURS

How to have a...

healthy Christmas ’Tis the season to be jolly unwell if you’re not careful – but follow our festive guide to the holidays and you’ll sail through yuletide without so much as a sniffle By Rebecca Speechley

Defend your digestion

Protect your liver

Indigestion unfortunately becomes more common as you age. “Lack of saliva and dental problems could prevent you from chewing your food thoroughly,” says Angela. “This means food is harder for your stomach to deal with.” And, according to nutritionist Joanna Dziedzic of Revital Health Stores (www., if you’re over 50 you’ll produce less stomach acid and digestive enzymes, making it even harder to break down a lot of rich food. Avoid large amounts of common indigestion culprits such as alcohol, coffee, chocolate and tomato sauce. Smoking ups your risk of indigestion too – so quit if you can.

“As you get older, having too much to drink could hit you harder,” says Joanna. “This is because your body is less tolerant to alcohol and your liver is busy dealing with lots of other toxins on a daily basis.” Drinking less is the obvious answer – try to alternate an alcoholic drink with a soft one and never drink on an empty stomach. Avoid mixing different types of alcohol and, if you overindulge one day, be kind to yourself the next.

If you only do one thing: “Eat slowly to give your stomach a fighting chance,” says Angela.

If you only do one thing: “Try Milk Thistle Complex by A. Vogel (£9.15/50ml tincture), it could help to protect cells and encourage liver regeneration, which should enable your body to deal with alcohol faster,” says Joanna. Call 01294 277 344 for stockists.

Off the shelf: Biocare Digestaid (£16.85/60 capsules) available from health stores.

Off the shelf: Boots Headache and Upset Stomach Relief (£2.34/10 sachets).

❙ health h matters ❙

Ask Dr Trisha The Yours doctor is here to answer your questions every fortnight I get the odd migraine every now and again, but around Christmas I seem to get a lot more. Could all the food and general hype of the festive season make them worse and how could I prevent them?

Guard your gut

When to seek help

“Eating too many low-fibre foods is a major cause of constipation at Christmas,” warns Angela. “A lack of exercise and not drinking enough water could also slow your bowels down.” Make the most of dried and fresh fruits available to increase your soluble fibre intake. Exercise helps stimulate your bowel too –so a brisk walk after lunch is a great idea.

Christmas and New Year are the deadliest times for heart disease due to a combination of overindulgence and people ignoring the signs. If you or a loved one experiences any of the following – it could be a sign of a heart attack – call 999 immediately: Heart attack symptoms *Central chest pain or ‘heavy’ feeling in your chest – it may feel like a bad episode of indigestion *The pain or discomfort may spread to your arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. *You feel light-headed, dizzy, short of breath or nauseous on top of the above symptoms.

If you do one thing: Drink more water – you’ll feel less thirsty in the cold weather but should aim for six to eight glasses a day. Off the shelf: Optibac Probiotics to maintain regularity (£24.98/30 sachets) call 01264 369 936 or visit

For health advice if your GP surgery is closed call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47

See your GP before taking supplements or herbal remedies, particularly if you take prescribed medicines. Always speak to your GP before stopping any medication or before starting any diet or exercise regime. Never stop taking medication unless advised by your GP.

NEXT ISSUE Feel fabulous in a fortnight

Dr Trisha says: Christmas can be a disaster zone for people who suffer with migraines, because many of the trigger factors, including; certain foods and alcohol, noise, bright lights and stress or tiredness, are typically all part of the festive season. When a migraine occurs, an individual combination of triggers is usually to blame – so you may have to do some detective work to find a strategy for prevention that works for you. Classic food triggers include; cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, pickled foods, and heavily spiced dishes such as Chinese food – so choose carefully which party food you put on your plate. Alcohol is another culprit and certain drinks, especially the darker coloured ones, such as red wine, brandy or rum, contain chemicals thought to trigger migraine. Stick instead to white wine, gin or vodka. Rather than particular foods, many people find that a lack of food or water leads to a migraine – keep hydrated and have regular snacks to keep your blood sugar levels even. Similarly, changes in routine and lack of sleep can play a part, so try to stick to your normal habits. Keep the environment cool, smoke free and calm, and take regular breaks from noisy rooms or stressful family situations. Finally, if you use them, make sure you have plenty of preventer-type medication at home to cover the festive season. Dr Trisha Macnair is a hospital physician who specialises in medicine for older people. She works part-time at Milford Hospital near Guildford and writes for the BBC Health website. Merry Christmas from YOURS






of Brits are worried about funding

Christmas. Cut back by making cards and presents, and research food and drink prices before you buy. And remember – it’s just one day!

Best buy Pop into a Tesco store for festive food offers including Finest Christmas Pudding which is now half price at £5, Finest Clementine Pudding is on offer for £4 (usually £5) while Tesco Value Christmas Pudding with Cider is a flaming bargain at just £1! While stocks last.


| IT’S A FACT | Christmas Eve is the busiest day of the year for cash withdrawals as consumers got ready for the festivities, says LINK. Try withdrawing £10 less than you would normally to prevent overspending.


Merry Christmas from YOURS


Watching the


Yours cash Saver


Superdrug has five per cent off the price of a book of four, six or 12 first-class stamps in stores, so you pay less for postage (£5.24 for a book of 12 firstclass stamps from Superdrug rather than £5.52). Take advantage of this offer until January 3, while stocks last.

CASH IN THE ATTIC Santa brings exciting new toys each Christmas, but which ones will be potential money-spinners in future years? “Consider characters that have had an impact on children recently,” says Mark Hill from Miller’s Guides. “The talking Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story may yet prove to be a good bet. He created enormous hype in 1995, when supplies ran out. Today, internet chat rooms exist solely to trade in the original figures. A mint and boxed original can fetch more than £30.” A Buzz Lightyear (pictured) produced in 19951999 is valued at £8-12. To infinity and beyond!


Ask Michael...

The Yours money expert Michael Wilson answers your questions

Zizzi has launched a Cichetti (Italian tapas) menu – perfect for light lunches. Dishes are usually £4.95 or you can get three for £12 or five for £18 including Polenta Croccante (crunchy nuggets of polenta) and Polpette al Pomodoro (meatballs in tomato sauce), saving from £2.85. Ongoing deal. ✤ For menus and venues see or call 0845 6022698.


of CDs, DVDs

and games in the UK aren’t used regularly. Make extra cash by

How to...

selling unwanted ones

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on www.musicMagpie.

it may make your home insurance invalid – so speak to your insurer before you go. Simply type in the CD or DVD barcode and you’ll get an instant price.

GREENWATCH Energy companies are guilty of giving inaccurate information to people who ring up to switch for a cheaper deal. Despite being asked for the best price, in nearly a third of calls firms failed to offer their cheapest tariff according to Which? findings. “Customers should insist on being told the cheapest deal. Check for exit fees and ask about paying by direct debit or managing your account online as this will usually get you a discount,” says Richard Lloyd from Which? Call the Yours Switching helpline 0800 008 7777 or visit for the best deals.

Turn the page for more advice Merry Christmas from YOURS



| IT’S A FACT | Up to

Empty homes at Christmas are a thief’s dream, so make your house look occupied if you’re away. Invest in plug-in security timers to turn lights on at certain times and ask a neighbour to draw the curtains and pick up the post. If you’re away for more than 30 days

I try to give some money to charity at Christmas but every time I send a gift to a new one I get inundated with unwanted literature. I am beginning to wonder if it is all worth the fuss. Michael says: Envelopes through the door, collectors on your doorstep, unsolicited letters, unwanted telephone calls and television appeals – it’s enough to destroy your Christmas cheer! But there are probably a handful of charities you want to support because of some personal interest. I suggest you contact one of the charitable organisations that offer what is, in effect, a charitable bank account. One is the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), and another is Stewardship which exists especially for donors who want to support church projects. Both organisations offer a similar range of services. Instead of sending the money in small amounts to different charities, you can make just one donation either to CAF or Stewardship. Or you can sign a direct debit and make monthly gifts. By doing this you accumulate a balance in your own charitable bank account. When you want to give some money to a charity you send them a charity voucher, which operates like a cheque. Gifts can be made anonymously to cut down on unwanted literature. Contact CAF at www.cafonline. org or on 03000 123 000, and Stewardship at www. or on 08452 26 26 27 Michael Wilson


❙ knitting ❙

Chunky cardi



This cosy creation is perfect for keeping out the winter chill MATERIALS 6(6:7:8:9:10) 50g balls of Sirdar Babouska F056 yarn in shade 107. Pair each 4.5mm (UK 7) and 5.5mm (UK 5) knitting needles. 1 button. Yarn quantities are based on average requirements when specified tension and yarn is used. Different yarn may be used, but ensure tension of replacement yarn matches that stated in the pattern for best results.

0 – no stitches or rows; patt – pattern; p – purl; rem – remain(ing); rep – repeat; RS – right side; st(s) – stitch(es); tog – together; WS – wrong side; yfwd – yarn forward; yrn – yarn round needle.


NOTES Figures in brackets () refer to larger sizes (see measurements chart). Where one set of figures is given this applies to all sizes. If a zero is given, this means you do not need to work these instructions. Circle the size you wish to make before you start.

Using 5.5mm needles and thumb method cast on 62(68:74:82:88:94) sts. 1st row k1, * yfwd, yrn, p2tog, rep from * to last st, k1. 2nd to 18th row as 1st row. 19th row knit. 20th row k2(2:2:0:0:0), * p1, k2, rep from * to last 0 (0:0:1:1:1) sts, p0(0:0:1:1:1). 21st row k0(0:0:1:1:1), * p2, k1, rep from * to last 2(2:2:0:0:0) sts, p2(2:2:0:0:0). 22nd and 23rd rows as 20th and 21st row. 24th row k2(2:2:0:0:0), * p1, k2, rep from *

TENSION Always check tension carefully and adjust needle sizes throughout if necessary. 13 sts and 20 rows = 10cm/4in square over pattern using 5.5mm needles or the size required to give the correct tension. It is essential to work to the stated tension to ensure success.

ABBREVIATIONS Beg – beginning; cm – centimetres; dec – decrease(ing); foll – following; g – grammes; in – inch(es); inc – increase(ing); k – knit; mm – millimetres;


Merry Christmas from YOURS


91/97 102/107 112/117 122/127 132/137 cm 36/38 40/42 48/50 48/50 52/54 in


105 411/4

114 45

126 493/4

135 531/4

145 571/4

cm in

64 251/4

64 251/4

cm in

48 19

48 19

cm in

FULL LENGTH (approximately) 50 193/4

52 201/2

56 22

60 233/4

SLEEVE LENGTH (adjustable) 46 18

46 18

47 181/2

48 19