NICOLA Bulley's young daughters have been having sleepovers with friends to "take their minds off" the search for their mum.
The dog walker, 45, vanished after dropping her children off at school in St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire, on Friday January 27.
Since then there has been no trace of the mum-of-two, leaving her family in agony.
Friends have said Nicola's girls have been hanging out with pals to keep a sense of normality.
One source told the Mail on Sunday: "It's to try to retain a sense of routine.
"To take their minds off [what's happening]."
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It comes after Nicola's broken boyfriend revealed his hope of finding her alive is "stronger than ever".
In an emotional Facebook post, Nicola's partner Paul Ansell wrote: “Eight days without you and it feels no more real now than it did on day one.
“The agony continues but the hope is stronger than ever of finding you.
“There is no evidence yet to suggest any scenario over another and all options must be kept wide open.
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“Please if anyone still has dash cam footage from the area, particularly along Garstang Road on Friday January 27, and hasn’t yet checked or handed to the police [please do].
“We need her home. We will not entertain any other outcome.
“We need a happy ending to this nightmare.
“Please keep hope and positive vibes high and let's find Nikki – My beautiful partner and our girls’ amazing mummy.”
Cops yesterday revealed their "main working hypothesis" was that Nicola had "sadly fallen" into the icy River Wyre.
Police explained they thought she may have plunged in while trying to retrieve her dog Willow's tennis ball.
However Superintendent Sally Riley, of Lancashire police last night said cops found “no evidence of a slip or fall” near the bench where Bulley’s mobile phone was found.
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