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Day 322 in the Big Brother house…

Okay, I’m being dramatic, but it does feel like we’ve been cooped up in some weird form of reality TV programme for almost a year. Eagerly anticipating a cameraman jumping out to tell us this has all been one big show.

Although life won’t simply snap back to normal post-pandemic, the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine has brought with it some hope for the near future. there will undoubtedly be new opportunities for us on the Rock (not least with the newly extended Schengen legislation that will allow us unrestricted movement into Spain). And who wants normal, anyway?

This month being all about chubby cherubs and declarations of love, we’ve adorned the issue with hearts, flowers, and varying hues of pink and red. But do you know the origins of St Valentine’s Day? Neither did I, but luckily, I have a top-notch team of journalists who do – and it involves sacrificing goats, whipping rituals, nakedness, and, of course, a Valentine’s note (p. 36).

Whether you’re gifting your loved one a dozen roses, box of chocolates, or a goat for an African village (no I still haven’t forgiven you, Chris), this too stems from tradition as far back as the 15th century (p. 26).

Or perhaps a romantic getaway is more up your street? (Who am I kidding, it’s up nobody’s street right now, but one can dream!) Pete invites us to the amorous Algarve, with all its charm and diversity (p. 63).

Also tempting us with travel, Chris is back with part two of his ambitious attempt at travelling from Oxford to New Zealand, (as far as possible) by land (p. 69).

And of course, we have our much-loved regulars for you: 7 Steps to Glowing Skin by our beauty expert (p. 77), Reigniting the Spark by adding some key pieces to our wardrobes (p. 80), how to draw Le Pont des Arts (‘love lock’ bridge) in Art Club (p. 55), and 3 new books with a hint of romance in Bookish (p. 58).

With love,

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