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News Report Page 7 of 18
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Vision Direct Poll Reveals Nation's Dating Habits

ACCORDING to new figures released today on the nation's dating habits, 42% of the population, wouldn't mind going out with someone for the 1st time on Valentine's Day. Only 10% admitted it was off the books, while 19% would wait at least 5 dates before feeling it was appropriate to celebrate the most romantic day of the year with their other half.

The poll of 2,465 respondents conducted by leading contact lens retailer Vision Direct, also revealed our nation's somewhat deceitful approach to dating. When asked if they had ever told a blind date they looked different so they could leave the site unseen in case their date was not up to standards, 12% admitted to having done it at least once.

Smile and eyes are most attractive features... Asked about what they found most attractive in a person, Brits chose a person's smile (38%), followed closely by the eyes (37%) and voice (5%). When it comes to eyes, it seems that blue is the most attractive colour, winning over a larger pool of respondents (42%) compared to the runners up brown (31%) and green (18%). Surprisingly, 5.3% respondents confessed they're most attracted to different coloured eyes

It's all about the eye for detail... This may be the reason why 11% of respondents admitted to wearing coloured contact lenses to a 1st date, without revealing the true colour of their eyes. While most of these (47%) came clean within a couple of days, 26% have never managed to reveal their true colour for fear of disappointing their date.

Ashley Mealor, Chief Marketing Officer at Vision Direct, said:- "It was interesting for us to see how mainstream coloured contacts had become, to the point of customers wearing them on a routine basis. I think it's important for people to be able to alter their appearance in a non-invasive way, especially if this brings benefits such as a boost in self esteem and confidence."

"Lads on Tour" and "Girls' Holiday in Dubai" pictures get the left swipe... When it comes to dating apps, it seems the top nuisance for the 2,465 respondents were profiles with the majority of pictures in semi naked:- "Lads on Tour" and "Girls' Holiday in Dubai" scenes (13%), followed by people wearing sunglasses in almost every picture (10%). In terms of the successive face to face part, it seems the biggest turn-off by far is people constantly being on their phones (72%), followed by showing up with a friend (12%), mentioning an ex (9%) and being called pet names (6%) such as babe, love and darling.

"Ask for Angela" if you're feeling in an unsafe situation... Finally, 1 thing worth remembering when going out on a date, especially if it's taking the wrong turn is to "Ask for Angela." 53% of respondents still admit to not having seen it advertised or knowing what it means.

More children are being taken into care with fewer foster carers to look after them

BARNARDO'S foster carers look after children across the North West, giving them the best chance to have a happier and positive future. But we are concerned there are not enough suitable foster families to take care of the increasing numbers of vulnerable children in care. The number of children in care across the North West has risen by 13% over the last 4 years, with an additional 1,810 children now in care around the Region. It's estimated that fostering services across the North West need to recruit at least a further 1,240 foster families in the next 12 months alone, in order that all locally fostered children can live with the right family for them. It's more important than ever that more people consider becoming foster carers to ensure the right loving families are available in the right location when children need them. Without enough foster carers, children will have to wait longer before finding the best match or they may need to be moved to different families several times because the most appropriate carer is not available, which can have a hugely negative impact on a child. Being a foster carer can be a challenge, but our carers tell us that opening your heart and your home to a vulnerable child is 1 of the most rewarding things you can do, giving children the life skills, support and care they need to build brighter futures. Barnardo's North West Fostering Service offers comprehensive training and support to its foster carers, including extensive support throughout the application process, intensive induction and regular ongoing training and 1 to ones, dedicated out-of-hours access to a qualified social worker, access to foster carer support groups, short breaks and a generous financial fee. To find out more about becoming a foster carer, or the support Barnardo's can offer, visit:- Barnardos.Org.UK or on the charities' Facebook account page. To speak to a member of the Barnardo's team about foster caring, please call:- 0151 488 0822.

Say 'I do' to Marriage Allowance this Valentine's Day

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) was sharing the love on Valentine's Day and encouraging married couples and those in a civil partnership to sign up for Marriage Allowance. More than 3.5 million couples are already benefitting from Marriage Allowance, which was introduced in April 2015, but HMRC estimates around 700,000 couples are still eligible for the free tax break worth up to ₤238 this year. If their claim is backdated, they could receive a lump sum of up to ₤900.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, said:- "For more than 3.5 million married couples and those in a civil partnership, we are putting up to ₤238 this year back into their wallets, and it is encouraging to see so many people taking advantage of the tax relief. Married couples who are yet to sign up for this great scheme; you too can benefit; it is quick to register and any back dated allowances will be paid as a lump-sum."

Marriage Allowance lets lower income workers transfer ₤1,190 of their Personal Allowance to their husband, wife or civil partner; if their income is higher. This reduces their tax by up to ₤238 for 2018/19 tax year.

Customers can benefit from Marriage Allowance if all the following apply:-

You're married or in a civil partnership.

You do not pay income tax or your income is below your Personal Allowance (usually ₤11,850)

Your partner pays income tax at the basic rate, which usually means their income is between ₤11,851 and ₤46,350.

The personal tax allowance is increasing to ₤12,500 in April 2019. The increase in non-taxable earnings means eligible couples will be able to transfer up to ₤1,250 from the lower income to the higher income earner; reducing their tax by up to ₤250 a year.

Couples can find out more and apply for Marriage Allowance at GOV.UK. Couples are guaranteed 100% of their eligible entitlement, if they apply directly through HMRC. There is no need to reapply for Marriage Allowance every year because it is automatically renewed. However, couples should notify HMRC if their circumstances change and they want to cancel it.

Valentine's day pressure leads to last minute date rush

THE pressure to find a date for Valentine's Day causes people in the North West to go to extraordinary lengths to avoid being alone on the most romantic day of the year, according to new research., the leading savings site, surveyed over 2,000 people across the country and discovered that 16% of North West residents believe Valentine's Day is the loneliest time of the year to be single, causing 30% to confess they will spend February chasing a last minute date.

The research has found that people in the North West have been guilty of adopting a varying range of tactics in the past to make sure they have a date for 14 February, with varying degrees of success. The usual avenues are the most popular, with 38% having gone on the hunt at a pub or bar and 20% pursuing someone on dating apps. More surprisingly, 1 in 7 North West residents (14%) have even slid into a stranger's DMs and just 18% put out a request for a date on at least 1 of their social profile pages. It seems that people in the North West are also happy to overlook decisions and repeat past mistakes in the search for a Valentine with 17% returning to an ex and 12% calling on someone they had previously turned down advances from.

The UK is set to spend over ₤990m* celebrating Valentine's Day this year and it can be a pressure filled situation, as your ability to deliver a romantic experience and a special gift is often seen as a measure of how much you're invested in the relationship. Indeed, ⅖ of people in the North West (39%) admit that sentimental value is the factor they're most looking for from their partner on Valentine's Day, with a ¼ insisting it has to be romantic (28%), personal (24%) or a surprise (23%) Very demanding, eh?!

When it comes to plans, the research has discovered that the tried and tested path is the way to go. A romantic meal (43%) was voted as the NorthWest's favourite way to spend Valentine's Day, followed by a weekend away (41%).

While 17% people in the North West want a special surprise date, the invitation to move away from the norm is not a suggestion to do something active. The likes of climbing or mini golf (20%) came second only to watching a sports match (34%) as the worst ways to spend Valentine's Day.

The North West's favourite Valentine's Day plans:-

A romantic meal - 43%

A weekend away - 41%

At home in front of the TV - 17%

An experience day - 12%

A movie at the cinema - 11%

The average person in the North West spends ₤30.65 on a Valentine's Day gift but often they'll be better off playing it safe on traditional gifts, such as:- flowers (22%), expensive jewellery or watches (17%) and tickets to an event (12%) came out on top as our favourites. However, something practical (21%) is voted the North West's worst present. The research has revealed that the most romantic day of the year is in fact not the time for men to try spice up activity in the bedroom, with underwear (11%) among the presents people in the North West most hate to receive.

The North West's worst Valentine's Day gifts:-

Something practical - 21%

A cheesy teddy - 14%

Underwear - 11%

A novelty gift - 9%

Cheap jewellery - 9%

48%of North West residents admit they have previously bought a bad gift. 36% blame a lack of money and 22% blame leaving it to the last minute, however the reason can be a little more sinister for people in the North West. 9% confess they bought a bad present because they suspected infidelity or because they wanted to be dumped (8%)

Interestingly 45% of millennials feel under pressure to have a date for Valentine's Day, causing them to turn to friends to celebrate PALentine's. Indeed, while 59% spend Valentine's Day with their partner, 21% choose to instead be with their friends instead.

With the pressure not to spend Valentine's alone mounting, millennials are increasingly likely to reject the traditional norm and rebuff social expectations. 23% of millennials have been on a friend date and 34% have exchanged Valentine's gifts with a pal. The average millennial is prepared to spend ₤39.90 to celebrate Valentine's Day with a friend; 30% more than they would be willing to spend on a partner if they had been together less than a year (₤30.70).

How millennials would spend Valentine's Day with friends:-

Exchange Valentine's Day gifts - 65%

Go on a friend date - 60%

Hook up - 51%

Throw a PALentine's party - 45%

Go speed dating - 40%

There is also a case of solidarity between friends in either celebrating their independence or sharing a common goal; 12% have thrown a PALentine's Day party to actively rejoice being a singleton and 40% head for speed dating with a friend. 19% admit they have hooked up with a friend on Valentine's Day and 51% confess it is something they would consider.

Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at, said:- "The UK is set to spend over ₤1.5bn on a variety of intimate plans and personal gifts this year. Far from being risqué and adventurous, the research has shown that we'd be safer sticking to traditional celebrations like a romantic meal with some flowers. If you need some inspiration this Valentine's Day, we invite you to put your relationship to the test by trying our Compatibility Calculator. The fun quiz gives you the opportunity to get your hands on a range of bespoke discounts and deals for romantic treats including flowers, fragrances and holidays depending on how you truly feel about your partner."

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