World News

No longer a cut above, private schools relax rules on lockdown locks

The long locks of lockdown are flowing at Melbourne's private boys' schools, which have dropped their hard line on hair length and allowed students to parade their shaggy manes and mullets after months of barber-free home learning.

Hairdressers are back in business this week, but many schools have shelved their usual standards on grooming in term four, mindful that senior students have more weighing on their minds than hair.

Caroline Chisholm Catholic College students Allan (year 11), James  (year 7) and Oliver (year 7) .Credit:Joe Armao

Trinity Grammar student Tom de Graff is one of many boys who have returned to campus this week sporting a 'do that flouts his school's usually strict haircut policy.

While his school generally stipulates boys have tidy hair cut above the shirt collar, he boasts a curly mullet with shaved sides.

“A lot of boys have currently got fairly long hair, I haven’t had my hair cut since July," he said. "The school hasn't told me off because they are understanding given the situation."

Tom said the relaxed standards had given him a chance to revel in his less serious side.

“It allows my personality to show, I do like to express myself and have a bit of fun."

De La Salle College principal Peter Houlihan said students' welfare, not their hair length, was the school's biggest concern in term four.

“We made a decision last week to relax those restrictions. The boys have enough going on," Mr Houlihan said.

"We’re pretty strict like most boys' schools about hair on or above the collar. But we’ve just had the year 12 English trial exam this morning, which means that virtually every year 12 boy is in, and there are a lot of wayward haircuts," he said.

"A couple of boys have got outstanding mullets, we’ve had a lighthearted crack at them; said the minute the barber shop opens you’re back in there."

Whitefriars College principal Mark Murphy said he would worry about haircut standards again in 2021.

"We’ve been very lenient, not made a big deal of it," he said. "A lot of boys have come back with very different sorts of hair cuts.

"Some people were saying maybe it might look as if we are dropping standards, we don’t think we are. Our community knows what the expectation is and they also know that this is a very different time.”

Across town in Braybrook, teachers at coeducational Caroline Chisholm Catholic College have also accepted some of the more wild barnets on display.

"I’ve been amazed at the many different hairstyles among our students," principal Marco Di Cesare said.

"Some have been lucky enough to have someone at home who is handy with the clippers, others have opted, like so many of us, to grow it out."

Terry Blizzard, principal of Christian Brothers College St Kilda, said schoolboys weren't the only ones missing hairdressers.

"I think everyone in Melbourne is keen for a proper haircut and our boys and staff are no different."

With Anna Prytz

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Andrea McLean details the ‘dark’ night she considered taking her own life ‘I was crying’

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Andrea McLean, 51, who hosts Loose Women, has addressed the time she was “on the floor” when considering taking her own life. The ITV presenter revealed after the “longest night’, she pretended everything was fine and took herself to work the next day.

I was on the floor, pacing the room and crying

Andrea McLean

Andrea said she never mentioned it as she didn’t want to go over what had happened again.

“It lasted a night and it was the longest night, dark and horrible,” she began.

“I was on the floor, pacing the room and crying.”

Andrea went on to discuss the following morning, admitting she decided to put on a brave face.

READ MORE: Andrea McLean husband says he’s dating an old lady in brutal reaction

“The next morning I got up off the floor and went to work,” she added.

“I spent a whole day pretending everything was fine.

“By the time I got home I thought, ‘It’s passed. I still don’t feel right but I don’t want to think about it any more.’

“So I never mentioned it.”

Andrea told the Mirror her husband Nick Feeney first found out what happened after reading her self-help book This Girl Is On Fire.

She explained he was “devastated” after discovering what she had gone through and that he didn’t know about it.

The presenter then reached out for help by going to counselling with Nick to work through it as a “team”.

Andrea opened up further and said many suggested she shouldn’t write about her breakdown in her book, but the mum-of-two wanted to give her readers the full picture.

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It comes after Nick spoke of how hard it was to see his wife go through the horrible time.

Speaking to Kate Thornton on her podcast White Wine Question Time, he shared: “The difference with me is I’m not reading her book, I’ve seen it and it’s just horrendous, it’s hard.

“All I want to do now is just make sure she never ever goes back there again, to do everything in my power.”

He continued to tell Andrea: “I’d get rid of everything just to make sure you do not go from smiling at me this morning and then something happens and you’re in tears.”

Nick and Andrea have been married since 2017 after meeting for the first time in 2015.

The pair were set up five years ago on a blind date by a Loose Women make-up artist.

Andrea separated from her former spouse Nick Green in 2005, and later married Steve Toms for three years.

The TV star is mum to Finlay, 19, and Amy, 13 from her previous marriages.

For confidential emotional support, contact The Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing [email protected]

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A Lip Reader Figured Out What William Said to Kate at the Sussexes' Final Royal Engagement

Royal historian Robert Lacey’s extremely extra book BATTLE OF BROTHERS is truly the gift that keeps on giving for people thirsty for tea—and the latest revelation to emerge offers some interesting insight into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s final royal engagement. And by that I mean a lip reader revealed what Prince William allegedly said to Kate Middleton at the event.

Before you grab popcorn, the comment is *not* to do with the Sussexes—despite reports of extreme tension between the “fab four” during the day in question. Instead, Robert Lacey revealed that William’s “longest coherent sentence that TV-watching lipreaders could work out” had zero to do with his brother and everything to do with hand shaking concerns.

According to reporting from Lacey’s book (via The Sun), William whispered to Kate: “This whole handshaking thing is weird. We’re going to have to put a load of hand gel on after this.”

I mean. Considering we were on the brink of a pandemic when this event took place, William’s concerns over handshaking make sense! Either way, anyone who previously thought he was whispering about his brother can officially chill.

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‘Just like a freight train’: cicadas’ song hints at bushfire bounceback

By Peter Hannam

Wander in many parts of the Blue Mountains during the daytime and it's likely your ears will soon be ringing with the sound of countless cicadas singing for a mate.

Most will likely be cicadas of the greengrocer species known for their large size, or perhaps Double Drummers – both of which can produce noise exceeding 120 decibels that is painful to the human ear.

A recently emerged greengrocer cicada – also known as a masked devil or yellow Monday – rests on a white Waratah flower near Mt Wilson in the Blue Mountains.Credit:Wolter Peeters

That life cycle, which varies across the 246 described cicada species in Australia, does leave some varieties vulnerable to wildfires.

Some adult cicadas survive only a matter of weeks until they mate. Females then lay eggs that can be destroyed by flames if they haven't developed into nymphs capable of burrowing to safety in the soil.

This year's crop of greengrocers likely dates from 2013, a spring that included big fires in the Blue Mountains, but they were earlier in the spring. "These cicadas were lucky," Dr Moulds said.

A cicada emerges from the soil at Burralow Creek, near Bilpin.Credit:Nick Moir

Males are responsible for the cicada din, the noise created by the flexing and relaxing of internal muscles that cause ribbed membranes, known as tymbals, to buckle inwards and outwards.

Those males wisely close off other membranes, known as tympana, that serve as ears so they won't be deafened by their own song.

Research suggests the cicada chorus both wards off predators, such as birds, and also helps conceal individuals.

Cicadas leave their shells at Burralow Creek near Bilpin.Credit:Nick Moir

Dr Moulds estimates he has probably named about 40-50 of the 246 described species of cicadas in Australia, many of which are only found in this country.

That still leaves at least 70 per cent – or perhaps 500 or more Australian cicada species – to be named, he said.

Adding to the challenges for cicada watchers is that the same species can come in a variety of colours.

In the case of greengrocers, for instance, different hues can make them blacker, as in the masked devil variety. Yellow Monday is the moniker for those that are more orange, while there is also a blue moon version that is quite rare, as the name suggests.

Cyclochila australasiae, more commonly known as the greengrocer cicada, sheds its nymph exoskeleton. Credit:Wolter Peeters

The cicadas shed their skins multiple times during their lengthy lives as nymphs, living underground and sucking the sap of trees. Bushfires that kill trees, as was the case in many parts of NSW after the Black Summer last year, would likely have killed the nymphs feeding off them too, Dr Moulds said.

Once they emerge, the final shedding of their skins marks their arrival as adults, ready to mate and to fly.

Professor Cassis said now is "an important opportunity" to see if the bushfires have caused major changes to the biota, with some species faring better than others.

UNSW this week received more than $1 million in federal support to fund two projects aimed at assisting the recovery of wildlife after the bushfires.

A cicada in a tree in Sydney's northern beaches.Credit:Nick Moir

The larger of the two grants will study how the fires affected invertebrates, from beetles to snails and bees, many of which provide essential services to the forests from pollination to nutrient recycling, UNSW's Professor Shawn Laffan said.

Much of this area was previously surveyed for invertebrates by UNSW and the Australian Museum, including a study of the North East Forests in 1993, giving researchers a baseline for comparison.

The other study will examine how the fires affected reptiles in the sandstone landscapes around Sydney.

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Beauty and Fashion

A no-frills guide to understanding acids in skincare

If there’s one sure wayto revitalise your skin,it’s with the experts’go-to: acids. But with so many different acids out there, whichshould you add to your beauty routine?

Acids. They sound terrifying, especially when we link them to skincare (who can forget Samantha in Sex And The City and her acid peel – we’re mentally scarred for life) but they’re still one of the biggest beauty buzzwords.

When Glossier dropped their much hyped Solution exfoliator, £19, it was clear acids were here for millennials too, and Alpha H’s iconic toner Liquid Gold, £33.50, now sells once every minute. 

Where they used to be a bit off limits – used only by skin obsessives, expert facialists and dermatologists – there’s been a huge surge in interest in acids across the skincare board. 

Indeed, Space NK has seen its sales of products containing acids double in the past couple of years because of the demand for faster results and an increased consumer interest in skincare. And the reason for this excitement? Adding acids to your skincare regime pretty much gives instant (and cumulative) results.

“Acids work on superficial layers of skin, dissolving and breaking down the bond of dead skin cells to leave a fresh, even surface layer,” explains facialist Michaella Bolder. 

But not all acids are the same, she warns: “Retinoic acids work on a deeper level of the skin, speeding up cell turnover (and shouldn’t be used in combination with other acids), while L-Ascorbic acid – aka vitamin C – helps to protect the skin against free radicals and environmental pollution. That’s why you need to know what you’re using.”

Everything you need to know about acids in skincare

The increased popularity of acids in skincare products has unfortunately come with issues of misuse, inevitably on account all of the different acids available and confusion as to how they should be used and for which skin type. Dr Jules-Jaque Nabet, aesthetic doctor and medical director at Omniya, is seeing a growing number of people coming to his clinic after experiencing problems related to the overuse of acids. 

“People want instant results but aren’t following the proper instructions given in terms of how often to use an acid and which particular kind. Then they end up with sensitive skin that’s prone to sun damage and inflammation,” he says.

While overuse and potency (facial products containing acids tend to come in percentage strengths) are tricky factors to navigate when you’re casting your eye across a crowded beauty hall, used correctly, acids are one of the biggest beauty game-changers – and a way to transform your skin. But knowing how to tell an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) from a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) – the former is best for dry skin, while the latter suits normal to oily skin – and if a glycolic acid works best for your skin or if you’re ready for mega high-strength retinoic acid can be complex. 

Whether it’s brightening dull skin, softening fine lines or addressing pigmentation, scroll down to find out the perfect acid match for your skin type – and the best beauty products containing acids you need to add to your routine, to take your skincare game to the next level.

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Azelaic acid for pigmentation

What is azelaic acid?

“Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring dicarboxylic acid found in grains such as rye, wheat and barley,” says Dr Alexis Granite, consultant dermatologistat The Cadogan Clinic.

How does azelaic acid work?

It helps to reduce pigmentation by inhibiting an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is involved in the production of melanin – the pigment that gives skin its colour. It’s also antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and has antimicrobial properties that work well for mild rosacea and acne.

Can azelaic acid be used for all skin types?

Yes: there’s little risk but lots of benefits. It doesn’t damage the skin barrier and it helps stop the growth of abnormal melanocytes (cells that form melanin) linked to melasma, which causes grey-brown patches, usually on the face. Actual skin saviour.

How should azelaic acid be used and how often?

Azelaic acid is more gentle than other acids used in skincare and likely to take longer to be effective, so be patient (use once a day on clean skin). Higher strengths – 15-20% – are available on prescription if pigmentation persists after six months.

Are there any side effects?

Azelaic acid is a mild exfoliant so can cause extra peeling – use with Aesop Elemental Barrier Cream, £43, which uses reparative agents to soothe the skin post-treatment.

The three beauty products below containing azelaic acids are our favourites for tackling pigmentation: 

  • Best azelaic acid for treating light pigmentation: REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic

    REN’s cult Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic contains azelaic acid, which brightens skin and gently evens skin-tone.

    REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic, £25

    buy now

  • Best azelaic acid for treating sun damaged skin: Sesderma Azelac Lotion

    Use Sesderma’s Azelac Lotion at night (it can cause light sensitivity) to help get rid of dead cells and combat redness.

    Sesderma Azelac Lotion, £23.99

    buy now

  • Best azelaic acid for treating melasma: The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension

    This product from The Ordinary is a high-concentrate azelaic acid (10%) in a lightweight gel-cream.

    The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension, £5.50

    buy now

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Glycolic acid for deep exfoliation

What is glycolic acid?

The smallest molecule in the AHA family, so it’s easily absorbed by skin.

How does glycolic acid work?

“It fuels epidermal cell renewal, helping get rid of dead cells and stimulating new ones,” says dermatologist Dr Sandeep Cliff-Patel.

Can glycolic acid be used for all skin types? 

It’s not advisable to use glycolic acid if you use acne treatment Roaccutane. Those with sensitive skin should try polyhydroxy acid (PHA), which is good if your skin can’t tolerate AHAs: try Exuviance Soothing Toning Lotion, £28.

How should glycolic acid be used and how often? 

Add glycolic acid to your evening routine. It’s most effective when used regularly, but you need to build up tolerance, so go easy. Glycolic concentration of more than 20% is typically peel level (Sex And The City alert) and 15% is likely to irritate, so start low and work up. 

“A foaming wash is a great introduction as it’s not too strong,” Cliff-Patel adds. Or in the evenings, when your skin is in repair mode, try a cream or ready-soaked pad which stays on the skin longer.

Are there any side effects of using glycolic acid?

A study found it can mildly increase sun sensitivity so use with Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defense SPF50, £38, to nix this issue.

The three products containing glycolic acid below will help buff your skin to perfection: 

  • Best glycolic acid for newbies: Nip + Fab Glycolic Cleansing Fix

    This 2% glycolic acid gently retextures and exfoliates as it smooths the skin.

    Nip + Fab Glycolic Cleansing Fix, £7.34

    buy now

  • Best glycolic acid to use regularly: NeoStrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel

    With 10% glycolic acid, wipe these NeoStrata pads over your face post-cleanse.

    NeoStrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel Pads, £50

    buy now

  • Best glycolic acid to use monthly: Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturizer

    This Peter Thomas Roth moisturiser contains glycolic acid and vitamin E.

    Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturizer, £28.88

    buy now

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L-ascorbic acid for brightening skin

What i is L-ascorbic acid? 

The active form of vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects skin from environmental damage, which can cause dull, crepe-like skin.

How does L-ascorbic acid work? 

Victoria Hiscock, production and education specialist at AlumierMD, says, “L-ascorbic has a natural effect on reducing excess pigment production, which leads to brighter and improve skintone.” Sign us up.

Can L-ascorbic acid be used for all skin types?

Yes: it’s one of the few ingredients backed by years of scientific research in which dermatologists and experts agree everyone should be using it.

How should I use L-ascorbic acid and how often? 

Hiscock says L-ascorbic acid should be applied in the morning to make the most of its antioxidant properties. It usually comes in serum or cream form: use the former directly on cleansed skin and the latter after your usual serum, because creams absorb more slowly into skin.

Are there any side effects to using L-ascorbic acid?

Look out for water, or ‘aqua’, in the ingredients list. L-ascorbic acid is hydrophilic (water-soluble), and therefore dissolves in water. It’s also inherently unstable and oxidises when exposed to air or light, so packaging shouldn’t be transparent. Be an acid detective.

These products containing L-absorbic acid get our vote for brightening power: 

  • Best L-ascorbic acid to use with make-up: AlumierMD Vitamin Rich Smoother (C&E)

    AlumierMD Vitamin Rich Smoother (C&E), £67.50, contains 15% L-ascorbic acid and vitamin E which brightens and revitalises skin.

    AlumierMD Vitamin Rich Smoother (C&E), £67.50

    buy now

  • Best L-ascorbic acid for all skin types: Mary Kay TimeWise Vitamin C Activating Squares

    Each square of Mary Kay’s TimeWise Vitamin C Activating Squares contains a stabilised vitamin C derivative.

    Mary Kay TimeWise Vitamin C Activating Squares, £22

    buy now

  • Best L-ascorbic acid to use day and night: The Hero Project Vit C-30 Ultra Brightening Serum

    This powerful serum contains around 30% stabilised vitamin C.

    The Hero Project Vit C-30 Ultra Brightening Serum, £39

    buy now

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Retinoic acid (vitamin A) for firming skin

What is retinoic acid? 

Retinoic acid is a prescription-strength ingredient proven to prevent and fight visible signs of ageing. Non-prescription strength retinoic acid is called retinol.

How does retinoic acid work? 

“Retinoic acid directly enters the centre of the skin cell,” says Dan Isaacs of Medik8. “It attaches to retinoic acid receptors and triggers a reaction that tells cells to regenerate quickly, resulting in collagen production.” With regular use, this leads to plumper, firmer skin.

Can retinoic acid be used for all skin types? 

Isaacs explains that because it speeds up cellular regeneration it prevents skin ageing in the same way it helps to correct it. “It’s also recommended for acne sufferers as it prevents dead cells clogging pores,” he says. Avoid if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding – no evidence suggests it’s harmful, but there’s also none to suggest it isn’t.

How should I use retinoic acid and how often? 

It’s suitable for nightly use (with a moisturiser but don’t mix with AHAs or BHAs), but introduce to your routine slowly. “Use a low strength – 0.3% at first. Then upgrade to 0.6%, eventually working up to 1%.”

Are there any side effects of using retinoic acid?

Most retinoids aren’t photostable, which means they deactivate when exposed to UV rays. Hence the opaque packaging.

These are the best products containing retinoic and vitamin A acids to use if you want to firm your complexion:  

  • Best retinoic acid for first timers: La Roche-Posay Redermic R UV SPF30

    La Roche-Posay’s Redermic R UV SPF30 is fragrance-free and non-poreblocking. It’s even suitable for sensitive skin.

    La Roche-Posay Redermic R UV SPF30, £30

    buy now

  • Best for retinoic acid for mid-level users

    This Medik8 serum is developed with time-release technology to help lower the risk of irritation.

    Medik8 Retinol Serum 6TR, £35

    buy now

  • Best for regular users of retinoic acid: Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol

    Use this retinol three times a week at first then gradually increase frequency.

    Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol, £53

    buy now

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Main image: Getty

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The Alchemist Reveals 'The Food Villain' Tracklist Featuring Action Bronson, Big Body Bes & More

The Alchemist can’t stop. The legendary producer’s 2020 has been filled with an entire career’s worth of classic records ranging from Boldy James’ The Price of Tea in China and Freddie Gibbs’ Alfredo to work alongside Westside Gunn on Pray for Paris and Conway The Machine for LULU. Back in late-August, Alan The Chemist announced his upcoming The Food Villain project alongside three other collaborative projects: Action Bronson’s recently released Only For Dolphins, Black Vladimir and Body Language — all set to release before 2021.

Now thanks to a recent stream of tweets, we know that The Food Villain is slated to release October 25 via ALC Records and boasts a tracklist inspired by the cuisine found throughout Bronson and Alchemist’s F*ck That’s Delicious television program. The 16-track effort will feature Action Bronson and partner-in-crime Big Body Bes and is available for pre-order in limited edition vinyl, CD and cassette options today. Check out The Alchemist’s The Food Villain tracklist below and stay tuned for more updates in the near future.

In other music news, Kendrick Lamar recently revealed that Baby Keem stole his favorite beat, talked his mysterious pgLang venture and more in a new interview.

The Alchemist – The Food Villain Tracklist
1. Alan
2. The Angry Guy
3. Not Culinary Inclined
4. Who Eats Wings Like That?
5. A Villainous Person
6. Cheese Is Overrated
7. Lamb Sauce
8. Flavor Break-Thrus
9. I Hate Everything ft. Action Bronson
10. Afterschool
11. Skeptical About Goat
12. Blowing Your Mind Out
13. Cigarette Drum Machine
14. This Isn’t Good
15. Definition
16. Islamic Excellence ft. Big Body Bes

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World News

Labour thinks supporting a 'circuit breaker' lockdown shows how much they care – but they're fatal

Short circuit

SO much for Sir Keir Starmer forensically “following the science”. What now?

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam says a national “circuit breaker” lockdown would be wrong.

What a blow for Labour and the Left, for whom supporting a draconian new shutdown is an article of faith. A week ago we said Starmer had backed the wrong horse. It has fallen at the first.

Anyone can see Covid has flared up in certain specific areas and barely at all in others. Lockdowns are not only ruinous, they are themselves fatal.

Why impose another now on the whole country?

Those still clamouring to do so should read the heartbreaking words of grieving Andrew Jenkinson today. His wife Emma, mum to four young kids, died of cancer after the first lockdown ­cancelled her chemo for three months.

Many scientists think total shutdowns do more harm than good. We agree. Indeed we are unconvinced, for all the drawn-out bickering over money, that Manchester’s Tier 3 curbs are even needed given that cases have fallen there most of this month.

And those using misleading figures on hospital bed occupancy to back lockdowns should look hard at themselves.

Yet more patients needing life-saving non-Covid care will avoid the NHS because they wrongly fear our hospitals are overwhelmed. They simply are not.

The Left seem to think lockdowns show how much they care for lives while their grubby opponents complain about the economy. With tedious inevitability, they denigrate the intelligence and morality of those who disagree.

But poor Emma and the many other victims of the first lockdown are ample reason to avoid another. And, yes, if our economy is wrecked, and NHS funding with it, thousands will die from that too.

Back to the drawing board, Sir Keir.

Silly burgers

FOR years The Sun has railed against waste and pointless diktats spewing out of Brussels. You may have noticed.

But even we had a double-take at the proposal to rebrand veggie burgers “veggie discs” to somehow avoid “confusion” among very dim shoppers.

A plague grips the world. Yet this is what the EU Parliament will devote time and public money to voting on today.

Luckily, in ten weeks we will be free of this pantomime.

Corbyn’s racists

ANTI-SEMITISM was never far from the surface with many senior Corbynites.

So it is depressing but unsurprising that Unite’s Len McCluskey would tell Peter Mandelson, whose dad was ­Jewish, to go home and “count his gold”.

Without voters’ good sense, ­Jeremy Corbyn might have established the first institutionally anti-Semitic Government, with Red Len pulling its strings.

A genuinely chilling thought, even now.

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]

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Buy A Gift Black Friday sale 2020: What To Expect | The Sun UK

EXPERIENCE Days make a popular present, and it always pays to look out for an offer.

So we've looked at the things you can expect from the Buy A Gift Black Friday sale in 2020.

Just because items are in a Black Friday sale, doesn't mean you can't find them, or something similar, cheaper elsewhere. Always shop around before spending your money.

  • Shop Buy A Gift Black Friday offers – here

When is Black Friday 2020?

Mark the date in your calendar: Black Friday will be celebrated on November 27 this year.

Cyber Monday also sees some good discounts, falling on November 30 in 2020.

For Black Friday we often get deals ahead of the big day, so make sure you check back on the retailers you're hoping to get a discount with.

More Great Black Friday Deals

Take a look at some of the other Black Friday deals we’ve found around the web

  • 101 Black Friday deals
  • Mattresses
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Toys
  • Advent calendars
  • Shark
  • Dyson

What to expect from Buy A Gift’s Black Friday sale in 2020

This Black Friday we'd expect to see some great offers across different Buy A Gift sections: everything from driving to flying and afternoon teas.

We'd also hope to see a price slash on spa offers and short break experiences.

Here are some of the most popular Buy A Gift categories for some shopping inspiration when the big day rolls around:

  • Driving: think everything from supercars to junior rides.
  • Short Breaks: from one-night luxury stays to city exploration breaks, there's something for everyone.
  • Flying: you can even gift flying lessons to a loved one.
  • Food and Drink: if you're a foodie, there's plenty of choice from Gordon Ramsey restaurant experiences to cocktail making masterclasses.
  • Spa and Beauty: spa days and pampering treatments are a great way to say 'I love you' without words.

What was in the Buy A Gift Black Friday 2019 sale?

Buy A Gift offered 26 per cent off selected experiences:

  • Peaky Blinders Immersive Dining Experience for Two
  • Seven Course Tapas with Cocktails for Two at H10 London Waterloo Sky Bar
  • Christmas Dinner Cooking Class at The Smart School of Cookery for Two
  • The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour with Afternoon Tea for Two
  • Unlimited Sushi and Asian Tapas with Bottomless Drinks for Two at Inamo

Our tips for finding the best deals this Black Friday and Cyber Monday

IT might be tempting to dive in and snap up LOADS of items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but here’s how you can guarantee you’re getting a good deal.

PREPARE Research the items you want to buy and find out the cheapest price. Websites like PriceSpy, PriceHistory and CamelCamelCamel will give you historical data on prices so you can see how much you should pay.

GET FOLLOWING Follow your favourite shops on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and sign up to its deals newsletter to get the latest on any offers. We post the best deals in our Sun Money FB group too.

CHECK FOR CODES Take a look at The Sun Vouchers, and see if you can get extra savings with discount codes.

Enjoyed reading about the things to expect from Buy A Gift's Black Friday sale in 2020? Here are the things we'd hope to see in the Virgin Experience Days Black Friday sale.

Take a look at our handy guide to the most important things this Black Friday.

Sun Selects will help you to choose the right product to suit your needs the most.

If you click on a link in this article and buy a product we will earn revenue.


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World News

Why are an elephant and a donkey the Republican and Democratic party symbols?

THE elephant and the donkey represent the US party systems since 1828 and 1854.

The popularity of the animals rose due to political cartoons at the time to represent the two-party system. 

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Why do the different parties have symbols?

The parties have different symbols as political cartoons identified them due to a popular phrase and an insult by presidential opponents for the 1828 election. 

The donkey for the Democrats and the elephant for the Republicans became the staple when referring to the political parties.

What does the elephant symbolize? 

The elephant has been representing the Republican party since 1854.

The idea of the elephant came about due to soldiers of the Civil War as they would use the phrase “seeing the elephant” to mean that they experienced combat. 

It became the symbol of the GOP when Thomas Nast, a political cartoonist, used it in an 1874 Harper’s Weekly cartoon. 

Nast’s drawings mocked President Ulysses S. Grant’s rumored run for a “third term” in office and portrayed various interest groups as animals, including an elephant labeled “the Republican vote.”

Eventually, the elephant picked up as a symbol and other cartoonists were using it in their work when speaking about Republicans. 

What does the donkey symbolize?

The donkey became a symbol for the Democratic party during the 1828 election. 

Andrew Jackson was running for office and during his campaign his opponents called him a jacka**.

Instead of being insulted, Jackson took the opportunity to use it on his campaign posters against John Quincy Adams.

He defeated Adams and Nast also popularized the donkey in his political cartoons about the election.

How many people have voted for the election so far?

The Presidential election will be on November 3

  • As of Monday afternoon, the US Elections Project reports that just under 30 million Americans have already cast their ballots in certain states, while voters have requested 82.5 million ballots total
  • It also shows that Democrats are voting early in much higher numbers—accounting for 53.8 percent of votes cast in those states, compared to 25.3 percent for Republicans
  • Also, 20.4 percent for voters with no party affiliation have voted early as well

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How to get a free pumpkin worth £2 this Halloween

PUMPKINS are a must during Halloween celebrations, and you can currently get one worth £2 for free using cashback.

The deal is offered to new and existing customers of cashback website TopCashback until October 31, or until 10,000 pumpkins have been claimed, whichever's first.

All you need to do to get the free Halloween pumpkin is to first buy it yourself, and then show the cashback website your receipt in order to get the money back.

The pumpkins can be bought in any UK store or supermarket, and there's no minimum spend, but you'll only get up to £2 refunded.

Also keep in mind that the offer isn't valid on online shopping, so make sure you keep hold of your receipt after you pop by the store.

Sadly, customers can only claim cashback for one pumpkin each.

Pumpkin prices at the big four supermarkets start from just 85p, so you'll easily be able to get one for free thanks to the deal.

How to get a free pumpkin

  • You'll first need to create or sign into a TopCashback account.
  • Once you're a member, take a photo of your pumpkin receipt from any UK store and upload it on the TopCashback website before October 31. Another option is to download the TopCashback app and upload the receipt there
  • The receipt must show the date and time of purchase, the store name as well as the amount spent

Keep in mind that it can take up to 30 days before you can withdraw the cashback to your bank account.

How to get cashback every time you shop

NOT using a cashback site or app means you are missing out every time you shop. Here are full-time bargain hunter Collette Jones’ best tips.

  • Check out welcome offers: Cashback sites have amazing freebies for new customers, such as a takeaway from Just Eat or a Benefit beauty product
  • Look for cashback on everything: You can claim on things such as MOTs, insurance, train tickets and holidays
  • Save money at the supermarket: It’s a good idea to download apps Shopmium, Check-outSmart, Quidco ClickSnap, GreenJinn and TopCashback’s Snap and Save. Check out what is available, pick it up in-store and upload a photo of the receipt to get your cashback
  • Combine cashback offers with promotions: Double savings and maximise cashback by matching third-party offers from cashback sites with in-store and online promotions. You can’t always use discount codes with cashback, but you can take advantage of sales and offers such as free gifts
  • Download cashback notifiers: The website Honey has a great notifier. It sits in your browser, pops up when you click on a website that offers cashback and searches voucher codes

If you aren't fussed about carving a pumpkin, Poundland's light up Halloween pumpkins are back in stock at just £1.50 a piece.

In other Halloween news, Asda’s seasonal pizzas have also made a comeback and they’re shaped like spooky pumpkins.

Plus, Colin the Caterpillar fans can now buy a Frankencolin the caterpillar cake to celebrate Halloween.

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