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London - To outsiders, Britons can sometimes appear to be a stuffy and staid bunch.

The truth, however, is that beneath that calm, conservative image courses a stream of mischievousness – at least if a new study is to be believed.

The research found up to one in five women indulge in a daily bout of “naughtiness” to help tickle up their day.

Among the regular bad behaviour listed is pulling a sickie and secretly lusting after a partner’s father. Other “naughty” acts include women keeping a picture of a heart-throb, rather than a boyfriend or husband, as their mobile or PC screensaver.

About 15 percent of the 2 000 women surveyed also admit they touch up pictures of themselves before posting them online to hide any imperfections.

One in six (17 percent) will lie about how much they spent on a new outfit, handbag or other purchase, even pretending it was a gift. The survey by Cadbury’s comes as adverts to launch its Crispello include one in which a girl reveals she fancies her boyfriend’s father – something 10 percent of women now admit to.

Almost one in four women (23 percent) admit they flirt to get a freebie or a discount, from suggestive banter with a coffee shop barista to fluttering eyelashes at a car salesman.

Only 18 percent of women say they are never naughty but it seems those that are might be helping their health. Studies have found indulging in the odd mischievous treat reduces stress and leaves us feeling healthier, happier and younger.

A poll of 1 045 people found 59 percent who did naughty things did it to relieve stress and 57 percent said it made them happy.

A sizeable 38 percent said they needed to be naughty to cope with the economic doom and gloom. - Daily Mail