Categories
PHONES & GADGETS

Facebook reveals secret tricks it uses to spot if YOU are a social media ‘predator’

META has revealed some of the tricks it plans to use to spot predators on Messenger and Instagram DM’s.

The tech giant, formerly Facebook, is still working on making those apps end-to-end encrypted but there are concerns this would make online abuse harder to stop.

Facebook Messenger will warn you about potential "predators"

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Facebook Messenger will warn you about potential “predators”Credit: Facebook

Meta’s latest blog post has revealed how the company will try and prevent abuse on its platforms when it can no longer “scan” messages.

It said: “In an end-to-end encrypted environment, we will use artificial intelligence to proactively detect accounts engaged in malicious patterns of behavior instead of scanning your private messages. 

“Our machine learning technology will look across non-encrypted parts of our platforms — like account information and photos uploaded to public spaces — to detect suspicious activity and abuse.”

There’s been particular concern from children’s charities that end-to-end encryption could lead to online child abuse going unnoticed.

Children’s charity NSPCC has said that end-to-end encryption could lead to a “significant drop in reports of child abuse… a [failure] to protect children from avoidable harm.”

Meta appears to address these concerns in its blog by stating: “For example, if an adult repeatedly sets up new profiles and tries to connect with minors they don’t know or messages a large number of strangers, we can intervene to take action, such as preventing them from interacting with minors.

“We can also default minors into private or “friends only” accounts. We’ve started to do this on Instagram and Facebook.”

Meta said it will also be educating “young people” with in-app advice and warnings about people who are messaging them if they are deemed suspicious.

It claims that safety notices on Messenger have been successful already and could stop people from getting scammed or “flag suspicious adults attempting to connect to minors.”

Reporting harmful behavior will also be encouraged on Messenger and there’s an option to say whether the activity “involves a child”.

Meta still admits that this approach isn’t perfect and will require regular review.

It said: “Preventing abuse on our apps requires constant iteration, so we regularly review our policies and features, listen to feedback from experts and people using our apps to stay ahead of people who may not have the best intentions.”

The tech giant has confirmed that end-to-end encryption on the platform won’t come into place for at least another year despite stating how important it is.

Cyber security company show how hackers could use your PRINTER to access your Gmail in new cyber security threat

In other news, Android users are being warned to update their phone’s privacy settings after a new update could leave their devices vulnerable.

Samsung has killed off one of its most beloved smartphone ranges, according to reports.

And, a tech expert has revealed some exciting hidden Google features in a popular TikTok video.

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Categories
GAMING

Last chance Christmas PS5 restocks at PlayStation Direct and Smyths Toys NOW

GAMERS have got another chance to bag themselves a PlayStation 5 today both online and in-store just in time for Christmas.

The PS5 is available at Smyths Toys this morning, while PlayStation Direct is sending out emails to UK customers.

PS5 standard and PS5 Digital Edition are available today in limited quantities

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PS5 standard and PS5 Digital Edition are available today in limited quantitiesCredit: Sony

Twitter stock tracking account, @PS5StockAlertUK, has come through with the intel once again.

Smyths PS5 restock

Keep an eye on your local Smyths Toys which is opening up early in some regions for its in-store PS5 stock drop.

@PS5StockAlertUK says you may find doors opened at 8am while others are opening up at their usual hours

The retailer is offering pre-orders today with a £20 upfront deposit required.

The number of consoles up for grabs will be limited — the account goes so far as to say “low quantity stock,” so you’ll want to get there as soon as possible.

It’s the PS5 standard disc edition only, which may not look as easy on the eye as its perfectly symmetrical counterpart.

But for those of you who don’t have the best internet connection, popping in a disc is going to be preferable to long downloads for digital games.

PlayStation Direct PS5 restock

Sony has sent out a round of exclusive invites to select customers for the chance to buy a PS5.

The Twitter account says the lucky few will be able to go online and purchase the console between 8am and 10am this morning.

So check your inbox, spam, and junk folders to make sure you’re not sitting on the PS5 equivalent of a golden ticket.

If you don’t have one, don’t worry — from 10am it’s a free-for-all so head to the PlayStation Direct website to try your luck.

With continued stock shortages and everyone eager to tick the PS5 off their Christmas list, there’s not much time left to secure a console.

And the options to get your hands on one before the holiday are going to be limited so keep an eye out on PS5 stock trackers over the next few weeks.

  • Read the latest stories for PS5
  • Keep up-to-date with all the Xbox news
  • Read the latest gaming news

All the latest Gaming tips and tricks

Looking for tips and tricks across your favourite consoles and games? We have you covered…

 

Call of Duty: Vanguard & Warzone – Season One Teaser Trailer

Every screenshot of the NEW Warzone Caldera map we’ve seen so far revealed.

Minecraft 1.18 update rolls out dramatic new changes to the game as you know it.

What time is the Call of Duty Warzone Pacific map out?


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Categories
FASHION

Woman’s bedroom is entirely covered in PrettyLittleThing bags after Black Friday haul

A WOMAN has shocked shoppers after showing off her bedroom entirely covered in piles of PrettyLittleThing parcels.

TikTok user @olivia.kingx uploaded a video which displayed the famous pink packaging completely concealing her bed and floor area.

TikTok user @olivia.kingx showed off her whopping PrettyLittleThing haul

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TikTok user @olivia.kingx showed off her whopping PrettyLittleThing haulCredit: TIKTOK
Olivia picked up the fashion items in the PLT Black Friday sale

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Olivia picked up the fashion items in the PLT Black Friday saleCredit: TIKTOK

Olivia said she picked up the whopping haul in the Black Friday sales – and had managed to fill four black bin bags with the items.

The shopaholic also added that she shared the clip knowing that she would get some hate for it.

Her video has clearly racked up a lot of attention, as it currently has 1.7million views.

And like she predicted, people had a lot to say in the comments. 

One said: “That’s sad.”

Another added: “This is why there was nothing left.”

However, other people said that trolls were just jealous of her autumn splurge.

One wrote: “Everyone is just mad because they didn’t manage to get anything.”

The shopaholic also added that she shared the clip knowing that she would get some hate for it

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The shopaholic also added that she shared the clip knowing that she would get some hate for itCredit: TIKTOK
Not only were the bags covering the bed, but also concealed the floor

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Not only were the bags covering the bed, but also concealed the floorCredit: TIKTOK

We shared how a woman was left raging as PrettyLittleThing order arrives with just ONE sandal & she’s not happy with the rest either.

Plus, a WOMAN was left red-faced after suffering an awkward wardrobe malfunction on the London Eye.

And shopper baffled after buying dress from In The Style and sent completely different item.

Woman shocked after buying ‘classy’ outfit from PrettyLittleThing only to find out the back was it outside

Categories
HAIR & BEAUTY

The clever make-up tricks to knock years off your face at Christmas, by Strictly make-up queen Lisa Armstrong

PARTY season is here and whether your festive function is on the dancefloor, down the pub or at your dining room table via video, your face is front-of-house.

But many of us feel lockdown has aged us. So where do we start?

Lisa Armstrong reveals how to knock years off your face with clever make-up tricks

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Lisa Armstrong reveals how to knock years off your face with clever make-up tricks
Lisa Armstrong's youthful party look on the model

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Lisa Armstrong’s youthful party look on the model

Strictly Come Dancing’s head of make-up Lisa Armstrong tells Beauty Writer Siobhan O’Connor how to create a youthful party look.


1: EYE MASK THEN MASSAGE TO BANISH DARK CIRCLES: CLEANSE the skin first and then spritz face with a mist to hydrate before applying make-up.

Next, I love to add an eye mask like Garnier hyaluronic acid and orange juice hydrating brightening eye sheet mask (usually £2.99, now £1.99, Boots) to hydrate the skin, reduce puffiness and make eyes appear brighter. Then I move on to step two — eye make-up — while the mask is working its magic.

When you take the mask off, massage the leftover moisture under the eyes. The skin is thinner here so the blood sits in the pocket — if it sits there too long it becomes deoxygenated and the blood becomes darker and shows through the skin.

If you massage and pat it you encourage blood flow and this takes away the darkness.

Masks hydrate, reduce puffiness and help make your eyes look brighter

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Masks hydrate, reduce puffiness and help make your eyes look brighter

2: USE EYESHADOW BASE TO PREVENT CREASING: FOR your eye make-up, start with a base over the eyelid for the shadow to sit on. This prevents any creasing in wrinkles.

Next go over with a wash of a medium colour similar to your skin tone — opt for a slightly darker hue in the outer corners of your eyes and along the lash line.

3: AVOID HEAVY LINER AS IT WEIGHS DOWN EYES: KEEP eyeliner to a minimum. When it’s thick it can be heavy and pull the eye down. I’ve used MAC eyeliner (£16, now £12.80 maccosmetics.co.uk) in “teddy” — a soft brown shade that is not too overpowering.

Keep it right into the lash line to make your pupils pop. Apply mascara in a zig-zag motion. If using stick-on lashes, go for individuals rather than a strip, which can weigh down the lid.

4: FEATHER BROWS TO DRAW THE EYES UP: BRUSH brows up from the outer corner of the brow to make eyes appear wider and to lift the whole face.

Using thick, heavy pencil to fill in the brows can make them appear strong. This looks too harsh and is ageing.

Using feathery strokes makes brows appear light and fluffy, and complements the face rather than overpowering it.

Highlight underneath the brow to give that wider eye appearance, but keep it matte as shimmer attracts too much attention.

5: AVOID HEAVY POWDERS ON SKIN: IT’S best to start with eyes to avoid any eyeshadow fall-out ruining your base. Then blend a light foundation — L’Oréal Paris Plumping Tinted Serum (£13.99, Superdrug) into the skin with a buffing brush.

Next, use a cream concealer under the eye, avoid heavy formulas and try a light reflection option like Creaseless concealer (£23, tartecosmetics.com).

Use a fluffy brush to blend in before using your fingers to pat the concealer close to your bottom lash line.

Set the concealer with a fine powder such as E.l.f. High Definition Powder Sheer 331, (£6, Boots). Use a small brush to dab this on to the skin — this will set and smooth any fine lines, whereas a dense powder will cling to creases.

Thick eyeliner can be heavy and pull the eye down

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Thick eyeliner can be heavy and pull the eye down

6: CREAM BLUSH TO PLUMP CHEEKS: AS we age, we tend to lose plumpness in cheeks and definition in our jawline. Create the illusion of plumpness by using a cream blush such as Kosas High Intensity Colour + Light Creme Blush & Highlighter (£32, naturisimo.com) on the apples of cheeks.

Cream will give a nice dewy finish rather than a powder blush, which can stick to an uneven texture. Swoop up towards the temples to draw the eyes up.

7. BRONZER TO DEFINE JAW WITH contour, don’t use anything shimmery.

Use bronzer to sculpt, but going up and out along the cheekbones rather than in the hollows of your cheeks as this will make your face look gaunt.

Finally, draw lines along the jaw bone and blend. This creates shadow and gives the illusion of a stronger jaw.

Red lipstick is a great go-to - it's festive, mood-boosting and distracts from skin woes

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Red lipstick is a great go-to – it’s festive, mood-boosting and distracts from skin woes

8: USE A POUT PLUMPER BUT DON’T OVERLINE LIPS: OVERLINING the lips does not make them appear plumper.

If your pout is thinning, try a lip plumper. I use the Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme (£22, asos.com). It increases fullness immediately with avocado oil and vitamin E to soften lips.

Next, line the lips and keep it extra sharp to add definition, then fill in with a matte lipstick.

Red is always a great go-to. It’s festive, mood-boosting and distracts from skin woes. Try Avon x Lisa Armstrong MATTEiculous Lipstick in My Joy, (£12, avon.uk.com).

9. USE A VERY LIGHT POWDER TO SET IN PLACE
FINISH with powder on the forehead, down the T-zone and either side of the nose. Try a light, translucent pow­der such as Nars light-reflecting loose setting powder (usually £29, now £20.30, narscosmetics.co.uk) — it’s weightless and luminous.”

  • Strictly’s make-up guru Lisa is one of our Fabulous Beauty Ambassadors – a panel of industry insiders bringing you all their expertise.
Strictly’s make-up guru Lisa is one of our Fabulous Beauty Ambassadors

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Strictly’s make-up guru Lisa is one of our Fabulous Beauty Ambassadors

Categories
CELEBRITY

I was so sad and lost I thought about taking my own life, says X Factor winner Louisa Johnson

X FACTOR champion Louisa Johnson fell into such a deep depression in the years after her victory that she contemplated suicide.

The singer was just 17 when she became the youngest winner of the TV talent show in 2015.

I was so sad and lost I thought about taking my own life, says X Factor winner Louisa Johnson

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I was so sad and lost I thought about taking my own life, says X Factor winner Louisa Johnson
Louisa was just 17 when she became the youngest winner of The X Factor in 2015

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Louisa was just 17 when she became the youngest winner of The X Factor in 2015

She signed a record deal with Simon Cowell and scored a top ten hit with her debut single, a cover of Bob Dylan’s Forever Young.

But within months of her triumph, Louisa found herself in a dark place mentally, grappling with life in the spotlight and unable to cope with the pressures of fame.

Despite a sell-out UK tour in 2016 and a successful collaboration with Clean Bandit, she would spend the next four years battling depression, panic attacks and PTSD.

Things reached a crisis point on her 23rd birthday in January this year when thoughts about taking her life clouded her mind and she checked into rehab to recover.

Louisa, from Thurrock, Essex, says: “I woke up and just didn’t want to be here any more.

“I was so fed up, I was done. I wanted someone to shake me. The unhappiness was like an annoying gnat that wouldn’t go away — it kept nagging at me, bugging me.

“I thought about taking my own life. But it was an idea rather than, ‘This is it, I’m doing it’.

“I have, what I like to call, a ball of fire inside me and I know I’d never do it because there is so much to look forward to in life. But that didn’t stop me thinking about it.

“As much as I’ve struggled, I know there’s a small part inside of me that’s a fighter. I won’t give up.”

Louisa quickly realised she needed urgent help, so she packed her bags and headed for a two-month stint in a rehab facility. There, she was treated for trauma, depression and anxiety.

‘Wanted to try anything to get rid of feeling s**t’

She says: “I’d been seeing a therapist for an hour every week for six months, but this constant sadness still wasn’t going. I was mentally drained and lost. “I wanted someone to look after me and that’s when my therapist said, ‘Have you ever thought about rehab?’ “I was shocked and confused but at the same time I just wanted to go. I wanted to try anything to get rid of feeling sad and st all the time. I was ticking along fine but I didn’t want to ‘tick along’, I wanted to help myself, I wanted to live.”

Louisa — whose close friends and parents, mum Lisa Hawkyard, 54, and dad David Johnson, 50, were her pillars of strength — reveals going to rehab was frightening but something she knew she had to do in order to get her life back on track.

Louisa says: “It sounded like such a bad thing and I was s******g myself, but now I’ve been, I know it’s not. It was the most life-changing, eye-opening, painful, liberating experience of my fg life.

“I didn’t come out of there thriving or feeling like a ‘new woman’. I still felt uncomfortable coming home, very scared I was going to get depressed again.

“It didn’t ‘fix’ me, but it helps me in my everyday life and it’s only now that I’ve realised that.

“When life gets stressful, overwhelming and tough I’m no longer going back to the mindset of ‘I can’t do this any more’. That’s the biggest change.

“I have the tools and techniques to identify that and cope with it.

“I feel more in control of my life. I know who I am now and what I want.”

Louisa isn’t the only former contestant to have struggled with life after The X Factor.

Louisa checked into rehab this year where she was treated for trauma, depression and anxiety

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Louisa checked into rehab this year where she was treated for trauma, depression and anxiety
While Louisa is adamant the programme wasn’t the sole reason for her mental breakdown, she believes better aftercare could have helped

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While Louisa is adamant the programme wasn’t the sole reason for her mental breakdown, she believes better aftercare could have helped

Many of the stars — including Cher Lloyd, 28, Rebecca Ferguson, 35, and Irish twins Jedward, 30, — have since hit out at the show, which pulled in nearly 20 million viewers at its peak, but was axed by ITV this year.

While Louisa is adamant the programme wasn’t the sole reason for her mental breakdown, she believes better aftercare could have helped.

She says: “I feel like I could have had more support professionally.

“We had no support from the show for our mental health and no one sat me down and talked to me about what life would be like.

“I wouldn’t change anything about being on the show because it’s all part of my journey. Yes, it would have been great to have had therapy after but I probably wouldn’t have done it because I wasn’t ready.”

Louisa began struggling immediately after she won the 12th series in December 2015. She says: “In the three months after the show ended, I became really depressed.

“My life went from being crazy — people made me breakfast, told me what to wear and I got cars everywhere — and then I went home and everything was ‘normal’ again.

“I was so sad and was in bed all the time. I was like, ‘How has my life gone from all this glitz and glam to being back home in my bedroom at my parents’ house?’ To be honest, I don’t remember too much about the show and life after it because I was disassociated and numb. I was just doing what I was told and wasn’t actually present.

“I didn’t care about anything — Beyonce could have knocked on my front door and I wouldn’t have opened it.”

She started to suffer panic attacks each week and remembers one coming on as she was about to take the stage with Clean Bandit, six months after her win.
She says: “We were about to do our first live performance of Tears and I felt so anxious. I couldn’t breathe.

“It felt as though someone had their hands wrapped around my throat. I have no idea how I got through it. The bouts of depression and anxiety then came in phases. Overall, I started to feel numb and didn’t enjoy life in general.

“I didn’t want to go out with my friends or do anything. I just wanted to stay at home.

‘Trauma can manifest itself in many different ways’

“I had high-functioning anxiety and I’d shut down.”
It wasn’t until 2019, when Louisa started to have therapy, that she was diagnosed with trauma.

She says: “My trauma wasn’t uncovered as one thing, it was a series of events that had happened over my lifetime. I didn’t have a great experience at school, I left at 17 to do X Factor and was then catapulted to fame in the space of six months. The shock and extreme emotions I had in such a short space was too much.

“I was a child and then I had to be a woman really quickly in front of a lot of people.

“I had no idea what I was doing and that gave me PTSD. It sounds dramatic because I hadn’t had a car crash or been to war, but I’ve learnt how trauma can manifest itself in so many different ways.”

Louisa says recording music has made her feel happy again.

She says: “I’ve been working on new music with my team that we’ll be releasing early next year.

“It’s very raw and honest — like a diary. I can’t wait for the fans to hear it because it explains what I’ve been doing over the past few years.”

Now, she is looking to the future. Louisa says: “Going to therapy is normal to me now. When I speak about it in everyday conversations, people still sometimes look at me as if to say, ‘You’re in therapy — what’s wrong with you?’ but it’s part of my life and part of being healthy.

“I haven’t had a panic attack or gone to that dark place where I was before rehab and I’m so thankful.

“I know it could happen again, but I’m prepared for it if it does, but for now I’m working on growing my confidence every day and it feels good.”

Louisa says recording music has made her feel happy again

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Louisa says recording music has made her feel happy again

You’re Not Alone

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
  • Movember, www.uk.movember.com
  • Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm

Categories
PARENTING

I’m a child behaviour expert and this is how to get your kids to behave when the relatives are round this Christmas

YOU’VE bought your gifts, you’ve dug out the stockings, the baubles are on the tree and you’ve even treated yourself to a second mince pie… you’ve just got one more thing to worry about this Christmas.

You can prep, plan and pre-order but you can’t force your children to be the gorgeous little angels you know they can be, when the big day comes.

Child behaviour expert Sophie Giles explained how to get kids on best behaviour this Christmas

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Child behaviour expert Sophie Giles explained how to get kids on best behaviour this ChristmasCredit: Getty

The combination of present excitement, fun Christmas telly and all the sugar known to man, mixed with stressed out parents trying to time Christmas dinner and fractious old folks who just want the Queen’s speech and a quite sherry, can be a nightmare.

Aware of the potential pit falls, child behaviour expert Sophie Giles spoke exclusively to Fabulous about how you can ensure that this year’s festivities are smooth sailing.

She said: “Christmas can be armageddon. Nursery or school has inevitably been hyping up your children very early on.

“Your little ones will have seen the decorations on every corner and the trees in everyone’s windows since the end of November.

“All of the bright lights and fun just puts them on high alert way before Christmas has even started.”

On top of all the yuletide glitz and sparkle, there’s also the anticipation of presents.

It won’t be long before your brood are marching round every shop explaining what they want, pointing at adverts on the telly and writing long lists for Santa.

All of this can be particularly stressful for parents.

Add to the load, the fact that elderly relatives may be coming to join the day, with their own ideas of whether children should be seen and/or heard, and you could be set for disaster.

Sophie, who founded Gentle Start Family Consultancy, said: “If children aren’t used to being around people, their behaviour can vary. So it’s important to do a few things in the run up to manage the situation as best you can.”

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Leading up to Christmas

As Christmas fast approaches, Sophie suggests giving your kiddies a time table of what happens when.

She said: “I suggest starting with timetable for kids, this means they’re not constantly asking what’s going to happen and when.

“Young children respond quite well if you can measure things in the number of sleeps.”

You could design your own picture calendar for this or even mark up their advent calendar with dates like their last day at school, the day they’ll have visitors, the day they’re hitting the shops for presents and other big milestones.

Sophie also suggested that older children, who are three years plus, practice gratitude in the lead up to the big day.

She said: “You can role play scenarios with them where they receive a gift that they didn’t like and teach them to graciously say thank you to the person who gave it to them.

“If your child was hoping for a paw patrol toy but got socks from Auntie Jean instead, ideally you’ll want them to give a kind thank you, and then they can come and complain to you about it later when they’re away from the offending relative.

“You obviously don’t want to harp on about this, but it doesn’t hurt for children to realise that there are others who don’t get presents at all or have very little.

“You can encourage them to take part in a shoe box Christmas challenge where they fill a shoe box with presents and give it to charity.”

In another move to encourage gratitude, Sophie recommends bringing back the old art of letter writing.

You can role play scenarios with them where they receive a gift that they didn’t like and teach them to graciously say thank you to the person who gave it to them.

She said: “Sending a thank you letter or a thank you picture is also a great way to let that person who gave them a gift know that they are in their thoughts and it was nice to see them.”

If you’re not keen on the daily chocolate intake of an advent calendar, Sophie also suggested an Elf on the Shelf as the perfect fun alternative to move around each day and allow the children to find.

The Christmas Lunch

Stack the odds in your favour for the big day but putting in some ground work a few days before.

Sophie said: “Make sure children are getting enough sleep in days directly before. They probably won’t sleep well on Christmas Eve and you don’t want a grouchy sleep deprived child at the table.

“Then make sure they’ve had a decent breakfast on Christmas morning so they don’t have low blood sugar when it gets to time for lunch.

“Next up, you’ll do best with a strict no screens at the table rule.”

In order to minimise the risks Sophie suggests tailoring the meal to the children.

She said: “It is a long meal can get boring for young ones.

When children are dehydrated they’ll find it hard to focus and the won’t have the same emotional regulation.

“I would let them each bring one or two toys that they’ve been given. Make sure it’s nothing loud or with bright lights, but maybe a couple of stocking fillers.

“Then while the adults are talking they can whip out their toys and play with them. They can even explain them to the adults.

“Wobble cushion are perfect for children with mild ADHD or who just can’t sit still as they act as the perfect sensory aid.

“Also don’t forget to keep children hydrated, as when they’re excited by everything that’s going on, they’re likely to forget to drink water. This will mean they’ll find it hard to focus and the won’t have the same emotional regulation.”

Sweet treats

While sugar has a way of getting kids all hyped up, you wouldn’t want to completely deprive them of all things sweet on the special day.

Sophie said: “If you have set times for sugar, they’re not going to be constantly asking you for treats, because they’ll know when they’re next chocolate or pudding is coming.

“But be fair to them, if you have loads of chocolate in the house for guests or hanging on the tree, you can’t expect them not to eat it.

“So if you are keen to restrict sugar on the day, make sure you remove temptation.”

Keeping the noise down

It may be that the old folks are hoping for peace and quiet and you’re stuck juggling a disgruntled great aunt and a manic four-year-old.

Sophie said: “It’s Christmas day so I would be worried if a child was incredibly quiet all day.

Every child will get cabin fever if they don’t go outside once or twice.

“If you need to keep noise to a minimum, you could have set periods when they’re outside. That way they can burn off that energy and have a run around the garden or the park and play with some of their new toys.

“Every child will get cabin fever if they don’t go outside once or twice.”

Another great tool for getting a bit of peace is setting a Christmas movie time.

Sophie said: “You could also coincide some set screen time with when Great-Auntie Mildred wants her sherry-induced nap.

“If you do want to watch a Christmas movie, ideally you wouldn’t do so too close to bed.”

Present time

Managing the stress and excitement of present time comes with it’s own unique challenges.

Sophie said: “Muddling up the presents is actually quite common so in my house, the elves use a different coloured wrapping paper for each child.

“When it comes to opening their gifts, create space around each child.

When anyone gets a nice new toy (even if they’re an adult) they don’t want to share it straight away.

“Children tend to group together when opening presents. But if they’re in a huddle they won’t focus on what they have but will be comparing.

“Find a room with a bit of space – you could even enforce the covid 2m apart!

“If a child is particularly disappointed by a present you could say: ‘Father Christmas chose these presents especially for you. So they must be pretty wonderful and he must have thought that you’d really like them’.”

But what about sharing? Should children have to share their toys? Sophies not keen on forcing children to hand over their gifts.

She said: “Yes, we want to encourage children to learn how to share, but that doesn’t have to be immediately.

“When anyone gets a nice new toy (even if they’re an adult) they don’t want to hand it over straight away.

“You should make sure a child has had a reasonable amount of time with their own gift before insisting they give their brothers/sisters/cousins a turn.

“Also don’t make your child hand over something to a younger sibling that they are too young to play with and may just break! There’s nothing more disappointing.

“Only share the robust – age appropriate toys!”

Child behaviour expert Sophie Giles shares her tips for helping excitable children behave well at Christmas

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Child behaviour expert Sophie Giles shares her tips for helping excitable children behave well at ChristmasCredit: Getty

You can find more information on parenting and behavioural consultant Sophie Giles and the consultancy she founded on their website: Gentle Start Family Consultancy.

For in other news, this how to get paint and play dough out of everything.

Plus here’s what you can do to stop tantrums in their tracks.

And ever wondered how to get crease free uniforms with no ironing? We’ve got you covered with this and so much more in our parenting section.

Mum praised for ‘brilliant’ parenting hack to stop the kids being naughty & all you need is some lolly sticks

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RELATIONSHIPS

My partner lets me sleep with other men

WHILE Marie Newberry is into kinky sex, her partner Ben Elks is not – so he has given her permission to fulfil sexual fantasies with another man.

The couple were both into “vanilla” sex when they met 12 years ago.

Marie Newberry's partner Ben Elks has given her permission to fulfil her sexual fantasies with another man because he isn't into kinky sex

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Marie Newberry’s partner Ben Elks has given her permission to fulfil her sexual fantasies with another man because he isn’t into kinky sexCredit: Chris McAndrew
Marie and Ben were both into 'vanilla' sex when they met 12 years ago

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Marie and Ben were both into ‘vanilla’ sex when they met 12 years ago

Full-time mum Marie, 30, shared her Fifty Shades Of Grey fantasies with warehouse operative Ben, 31.

But because he wasn’t keen, they are now planning a threesome.

Marie says: “Ben really isn’t into bondage or being submissive during sex, but I find it a huge turn-on.

“He’d be happy with a quickie but I like lots of foreplay.

“I’ve tried to entice Ben with fluffy handcuffs but it feels forced, which isn’t enjoyable for either of us. I end up being the submissive one but I want to feel dominant.

“We’re lucky to have a strong relationship and being open with each other over the years means we’ve found a compromise.

“Ben wants me to be happy, and vice-versa.”

The Northampton couple, who have two children aged six and five , met at college.

Back then they had the same sexual preferences.

Marie says: “When we first got together, it was romantic and lasted for hours as we got to know what we both enjoyed.

“Sex with my previous partners hadn’t been great and Ben knew exactly what to do. I had my first orgasm with him.

“Then the kids came along and sex turned into rushed quickies before Ben left for work in the morning.

“We wanted to have the kids close together in age, so sex was functional and all about trying to conceive. Sometimes we did it five times a day, although it was always rushed.

‘FIVE TIMES A DAY’

“Ben loved the spontaneity but I missed our long and passionate sessions. As time went on, I felt able to be more honest about what I wanted from sex.

“A few years ago, I was shocked when Ben said he would like to watch me having sex with another man.

“It seemed the perfect solution, as I’d get to do all the things I like in the bedroom and seeing me would make Ben happy.

“It felt exciting, especially as I thought I was the only one with the kinks. Other men I dated before Ben would never have agreed to it.”

In July last year, Ben agreed to Marie having solo sex with a male friend as long as she texted him before, during and afterwards.

She says: “The idea was that Ben would get turned on by the thought of me having sex with another man and we’d have incredible sex together afterwards.

“It’s called ‘hot-wifing’, and we thought it would be the first step to having a threesome. It didn’t work because Ben admitted he felt left out. I enjoyed the sex but I’d had better with Ben.”

‘TALKING AND FLIRTING’

The couple are now signed up to adult website fetish.com where they hope to find a potential match to fulfil both their fantasies.

Marie says: “I’ve been talking and flirting with a couple of men who have mentioned they like bondage.

“Even them messaging me turns Ben on. If Ben had said no to letting another man in on our sex life, I would’ve accepted it. But I love how we are trying to find a way to fulfil both our sexual fantasies.”

Ben says: “When Marie told me what she wanted in the bedroom I was shocked.

“But it’s important we both enjoy sex, and she gets to do stuff she likes even if not with me.

“Otherwise, it could build up resentment in our relationship. If a partner can’t give the other one what they want during sex it could lead to them looking for it elsewhere — and that’s the last thing that I want to happen.”

Marie said: 'We’re lucky to have a strong relationship and being open with each other over the years means we’ve found a compromise'

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Marie said: ‘We’re lucky to have a strong relationship and being open with each other over the years means we’ve found a compromise’Credit: Chris McAndrew
I decided to tie my bloke up to spice up our sex life – but I ended up in surgery and he almost lost a limb

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REAL LIFE

I was trolled after saying I’ve ditched textbooks in favour of taking kids to the ZOO

A mum who regularly takes her kids out on adventures has ditched textbooks in favour of ‘unschooling’ her two children.

Shanel Bell, 34, advocates for unschooling, similar to homeschooling, where children are in charge of what they learn about.

The kids learn from their home in Bury-St-Edmunds, Suffolk

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The kids learn from their home in Bury-St-Edmunds, SuffolkCredit: Mercury

Maths is taught through cooking, history lessons happen in the museum, and they focus on what interests her kids, Maui, 10, and Maya, six.

The kids learn from their home in Bury-St-Edmunds, Suffolk, and Shanel says their insatiable curiosity means every day is different.

She said: “It all depends on what they’re interested in, so we try and focus on things they want to learn about.

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“It’s about the real-world application of the things you learn, so cooking turns into a maths lesson because you’re measuring and counting ingredients.

“They can see how what they’re learning is important, and we try and get out to learn as much as possible.

“We’d only get a textbook out if, say, there was an animal they wanted to learn about, we’d find it in a textbook.

“But we’d also have a trip to the zoo to see it in person, or we went owl handling in York where they could learn more about owls.”

The family began travelling when they lived in Colorado, US, and had been all over the country before relocating to the UK.

Shanel says everything began with one camping trip.

She said: “We’ve always homeschooled them, the only year they were in public school in the US was the 2019/2020 year.

“Obviously that ended part-way through due to the pandemic, so we figured that was a sign to keep doing what we were doing.

“We went on a camping trip in 2016, and we absolutely fell in love with it.

“It was after that we bought an RV and travelled the US for a few years before moving to the UK.

“Now, we go out camping and travel all around the UK whenever we can, and we go for hikes every weekend.”

The family moved to the UK for her husband, Nicolas, 34, who’s job as a medic required him to relocate.

Since moving, they’ve made trips to the Peak District, Snowdonia, and up to the Isles of Skye, Scotland.

She said: “We’ve always wanted to live here, and we were so lucky that we were able to move here during the pandemic.

“It’s so frustrating though, because we’d love to travel around Europe, but we can’t at the moment.

“It feels so close but so far away.”

Shanel says she gets mixed reactions from people about unschooling.

She said: “Some people are fearful of learning that doesn’t take place behind a desk, but they don’t understand that the world is their classroom.

“People share their concerns, and we know they mean well, and I understand it is unconventional but it works for us.

“Overall, it’s helping them understand the world and become better global citizens.”

Meanwhile, a parenting expert reveals what it means to be a ‘crunchy’ mum – and why ‘gentle’ parenting is best long term.

Plus, why having a naughty Elf on the Shelf for Christmas is a BAD idea for your kids.

Also, parents reveal they feel guilty about one aspect of their lives – and it’s more relatable than you think.

Her kids are definitely not scared of the dark!

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Her kids are definitely not scared of the dark!Credit: Mercury
Maths is taught through cooking, history lessons happen in the museum

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Maths is taught through cooking, history lessons happen in the museumCredit: Mercury
Mom reminds all parents to ditch puffer jackets when their kids are riding in the car and her tip could be life-saving

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FOOD

From rosé with a kebab to sparkling wine with fish and chips, the perfect tipple for your meal

DO you select a soave or choose a chablis?

According to a new survey, we are clueless on wine and pick our plonk on the basis of price or label.

According to a new survey, we are clueless on wine and pick our plonk on the basis of price or label

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According to a new survey, we are clueless on wine and pick our plonk on the basis of price or labelCredit: Shutterstock

But wine expert Victoria Moore says the right pairing of food and wine is a match made in heaven.

And she has come up with the best choice for a host of family favourite meals in her new book.

She says: “The bottle you open makes a difference to the way you experience and enjoy your food. In good matches there is a kind of harmony. Each complements the other.”

Victoria says the trick is finding flavours that work well together — and avoiding those that don’t.

She adds: “The best way to understand this is to consider a bad match — orange juice after toothpaste, say. I’ve yet to find anyone who enjoys that.”

Here, she shares her perfect pairings.

Fried Eggs And Rioja: What To Drink With Absolutely Everything (Granta, £12.99) is out now.

CHRISTMAS DINNER

Choose wines that suit the food and the mood

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Choose wines that suit the food and the moodCredit: Shutterstock

BALANCE between wines that suit the food and the mood.

A rich blend of syrah, grenache and mourvedre from southern Rhone, Languedoc, California or Australia, or an Australian Bordeaux blend for stuffings and sauces.

FISH FINGER SANDWICH & KETCHUP

A softly fruity red, like Fitou, is perfect with ketchup and the crunch of bread­crumbs

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A softly fruity red, like Fitou, is perfect with ketchup and the crunch of bread­crumbsCredit: Getty

A CHEAP softly fruity red, like Fitou, is perfect with ketchup and the crunch of bread­crumbs.

I also like a cheap Cotes du Rhone a Californian zinfandel or an Australian syrah-cabernet sauvignon.

CURRY

A fruity, off-dry rosé or an off-dry sparkling wine holds up well against most curried foods

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A fruity, off-dry rosé or an off-dry sparkling wine holds up well against most curried foodsCredit: Shutterstock

WINE with a bit of sweetness helps to neutralise the burning effect of chilli.

Without that sugar, it can be hard to taste the wine.

A fruity, off-dry rosé or an off-dry sparkling wine holds up well against most curried foods.

CHINESE

The bold flavours and sweetness in Chinese food means three mainstream wine styles can be relied on to work well

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The bold flavours and sweetness in Chinese food means three mainstream wine styles can be relied on to work wellCredit: Getty

THE bold flavours and sweetness in Chinese food means three mainstream wine styles can be relied on to work well – chardonnay, riesling with a little bit of residual sugar (that is, off-dry riesling) and pinot noir.

BEANS ON TOAST

Just go for a cheapo supermarket red, which is likely to have a smidge of sugar in it

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Just go for a cheapo supermarket red, which is likely to have a smidge of sugar in itCredit: Getty

BAKED beans are so sweet and so processed that it is usually for the best if the wine you have with it is fairly sweet too.

Just go for a cheapo supermarket red, which is likely to have a smidge of sugar in it.

CHICKEN KIEV

A yummy chicken Kiev goes very well with a nice crisp white such as sauvignon blanc

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A yummy chicken Kiev goes very well with a nice crisp white such as sauvignon blancCredit: Getty

OOZING with garlic butter and covered with crisp, tasty bread­crumbs, a yummy chicken Kiev goes very well with a nice crisp white such as sauvignon blanc, vermentino or picpoul.

FISH & CHIPS

The best match is English sparkling wine

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The best match is English sparkling wineCredit: Getty

THE best match is English sparkling wine. Its vehement acidity and biting bubbles are good with salt, vinegar and fat.

A young, non-vintage champagne would also work along the same lines, though I prefer the cleaner swoosh of the English.

KEBAB

Lamb kebabs in pitta are fantastic with a robust rosé

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Lamb kebabs in pitta are fantastic with a robust roséCredit: Shutterstock

LAMB kebabs in pitta are fantastic with a robust rosé (maybe from the Lebanon), or a robust red (from Greece, Turkey, Lebanon or Portugal).

A chicken kebab, however, needs an inexpensive and neutral white for best results.

BURGERS

THE ultimate red wine food that makes nearly every type look good

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THE ultimate red wine food that makes nearly every type look goodCredit: Getty

THE ultimate red wine food that makes nearly every type look good.

Fruitier reds that hold up to garnishes include a carmenere-cabernet sauvignon-merlot from Chile, a Salice Salentino from Puglia in Italy and malbec from Argentina.

JACKET POTATO (WITH CHEESE)

Try a smoky oaked St Chinian, a claret or a cabernet sauvignon-syrah from Australia

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Try a smoky oaked St Chinian, a claret or a cabernet sauvignon-syrah from AustraliaCredit: Getty

WHEN the potato is cook­ed in bonfire embers or the oven without foil to keep the skin tender, it has a crisp, smoky-smelling thick jacket.

Try a smoky oaked St Chinian, a claret or a cabernet sauvignon-syrah from Australia.

PIZZA

Reds have a bite that meets that of the tomato and the heat of any spicy cured meat.

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Reds have a bite that meets that of the tomato and the heat of any spicy cured meat.Credit: Getty

I SPENT a year in Italy so I am pre-programmed to favour Italian reds.

They have a bite that meets that of the tomato and the heat of any spicy cured meat.

My go-to reds at home are a sangiovese or the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

CRISPS

Champagne has a high acidity, which is very good when it meets with salt

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Champagne has a high acidity, which is very good when it meets with saltCredit: Getty

I AM happy to say that one of the very best wines for ­accom­panying crisps and other salty snacks is champagne. No, I’m absolutely serious.

Champagne has a high acidity, which is very good when it meets with salt.

MINCE PIES

The crumbling pastry and luscious dried fruit of mince pies suit the molten raisin flavour of a sweet oloroso

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The crumbling pastry and luscious dried fruit of mince pies suit the molten raisin flavour of a sweet olorosoCredit: Getty

THE crumbling pastry and luscious dried fruit of mince pies suit the molten raisin flavour of a sweet oloroso or cream sherry.

It works with dry sherry, too, though pick a robust one – an amontillado or a punchy fino rather than a manzanilla.

LASAGNE

Try an Italian red wine

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Try an Italian red wineCredit: Getty

TRY an Italian red wine, most of which have the acidity to cut through the creamy sauce, as well as the savour to match the meat.

Sangiovese is a good catch-all or pick a Chianti Rufina if you want the wine to be more refreshing.

MACARONI CHEESE

An old-fashioned glass of red Bordeaux is also satisfying

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An old-fashioned glass of red Bordeaux is also satisfyingCredit: Getty

FOR a white that’s refreshing against all that gooey cheese, pick picpoul.

An old-fashioned glass of red Bordeaux – youngish for the refreshing edge, and with plenty of cabernet in it – is also satisfying.

BIRTHDAY CAKE

Go for prosecco over cava

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Go for prosecco over cavaCredit: Getty

IF you are drinking wine and eating cake on a birthday, then you probably have fizz in your glass anyway – and quite right too.

But it’s a case of the sweeter the better, as dry wine tastes a bit odd after sugar, so go for prosecco over cava.

FRIDGE RAID

Have a bottle of sherry ready

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Have a bottle of sherry readyCredit: Getty

WHEN you stand hovering with an empty plate and big appetite by the open fridge door, prepared to eat anything, have a bottle of sherry ready.

Even if it has passed into cooking sherry territory, it’s good with leftovers, chunks of cheese and raw veg.

HANGOVER

I believe that the “hair of the dog” cure is completely overrated

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I believe that the “hair of the dog” cure is completely overratedCredit: Getty

I tend to drink Lucozade and endless cups of tea if I’ve got a hangover.

I believe that the “hair of the dog” cure is completely overrated.

Aldi tests out new ‘Specialbuy’ trolley with a WINE RACK to help shoppers navigate the middle aisle

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HOROSCOPES

Daily guide to what your star sign has in store for your zodiac dates

♈ ARIES

March 21 to April 20

For the first time in five months Neptune is moving forward – and so are you, and you draw up an action plan that shows how smart you are.

You also discover an artistic skill you never knew you had.

If you are single, check out a Sagittarius who works in travel, speaks four languages and sounds sexy in all of them.

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♉ TAURUS

April 21 to May 21

Becoming the family money minder may be a surprise, but you could do it so well.

With Mars on patrol, passion returns to a relationship.

An established couple may have exciting news. If you are single, your new love looks like a TV news reporter.

This could be an important relationship, so resist rushing it.

♊ GEMINI

May 22 to June 21

People who have been hard to contact are now ready to talk to you – and listen. This leads to progress at work and with home plans.

But there are still love choices to make, and if you are single, Pluto, planet of the unexpected, could transform a crush into genuine love.

Luck is written on a postcard from the past.

♋ CANCER

June 22 to July 22

A relationship that has been full of maybes changes, and you make plans for the future together and could become such a strong couple.

A group of work mates enter a contest just for fun but could become the most unlikely winners.

Meanwhile, Mars tells you that you do have talent and are ready to work on it.

♌ LEO

July 23 to August 23

When you discuss property and prices, you will be very determined but also scrupulously fair.

You sense you can make real progress this time. As for love, if you are single, a clever, imaginative and rather rich Aquarius could be The One.

Your best source of luck today arrives in your life in an unforgettable way.

♍ VIRGO

August 24 to September 22

Neptune, the planet that understands your hopes and wishes, clicks into action and some special romantic words are spoken.

The idea of a self-build home is exciting and challenging in a good way. But do let all those involved have their say so they feel included.

Pluto could put your name on an unusual award.

♎ LIBRA

September 23 to October 23

Strict Saturn and super-lucky Jupiter are in the heart of your chart to set up a day when you could be talent spotted.

A family conversation about money could make progress, now you add more patience to the mix.

If you are single, a second-time-round romance could be so special. Luck knocks on door 73.

♏ SCORPIO

October 24 to November 22

Smart-thinking Mercury stays in your finance chart for the next 14 days. This is prime time, not just for money, but for the people and plans you care about most.

You could be ready to let yourself fall truly and deeply in love again.

Someone who plays sport at a high level adds a strand of luck to everything you do.

♐ SAGITTARIUS

November 23 to December 21

Neptune, the planet that mends friendships and helps family relationships get back to their best, could work brilliantly for you now it is moving forward.

Love recaptures its spirit of fun and deepens the bond between partners.

If you are unattached, the initial B is a hot romance clue, as is a job caring for animals.

♑ CAPRICORN

December 22 to January 20

New love connects you to a former neighbour who has found success and has a claim to fame.

In a settled relationship, it is not a day to let love drift but to plan a hot date with your partner.

Work-wise, you know your ideas are good and now you dare to discuss them with confidence and win vital support.

♒ AQUARIUS

January 21 to February 18

You are the zodiac genius, with smart money-making ideas. Your cool independence is a hot passion attractor.

A relationship with a musician that starts today may be all you have been looking for, and a sexy bit more.

If you are in a relationship, entering a contest as a duo doubles your chance of success.

♓ PISCES

February 19 to March 20

When a friend you feel you have known for ever suddenly seems so fanciable, it could be the start of love that has a real future, though it amazes everyone who knows you both.

Work-wise, your inspired finishing touches make a project a big success.

A relative’s talent for football could thrill the whole family.

ZODIAC SIGNS: What’s a star sign and how do I find mine?

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