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Metro.co.uk: News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities from Metro

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    Boohoo are selling the most extra beach cover-up imaginable
    (Pictures: Boohoo/Getty)

    A kimono is a garment defined in the dictionary as ‘a long, loose traditional Japanese robe with wide sleeves, tied with a sash’.

    There are some outlets that just don’t play by the rules, however, and will be looser than the standard kimono with both the truth and their fabrics.

    Boohoo are one such outlet, and have truly gone all in with their ‘Holly Butterfly Beach Kimono’, perhaps creating one of the most extra pieces of clothing we’ve seen in a while.

    Generally, beach cover-ups are designed to give your skin some respite from the hot sun while keeping you cool. Granted, the Holly will keep your wrists and neck in the shade, but not much else.

    The online fashion retailer say it should help to give you ‘plenty of poolside pizazz’, and that certainly seems true.

    boohoo holly butterfly kimono
    (Picture: Boohoo)

    Just imagine flouncing down the beach with a frozen margarita in hand, looking like your third husband just died in ‘mysterious circumstances’. Isn’t that what we all look for from a summer vaycay?

    The kimono comes in white or black (and for only £6 too) although you’ll have to buy a bikini separately.

    As an alternative to a bikini, you could also take notes from this weekend’s Coachella festival and opt for an all-tape outfit underneath your butterfly wings. Although the tape would probably come off if you weren’t for a dip, this was never about practicality to begin with.

    MORE: Anxious about running the London Marathon? You could have ‘maranoia’

    MORE: Easter eggs ranked by amount of sugar and fat in them


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    This hen party were sent the wrong masks
    (Picture: HotSpot Media)

    A hen party has launched a search on social media for the man behind the mask after a company sent out the wrong order.

    33-year-old Chelsea Heatley, from Birmingham, ordered 20 masks from LordFox of her friend’s husband-to-be, to wear on a hen do in Liverpool last weekend.

    Instead, the bridal party received masks with another man’s face on it.

    They saw the funny side and actually took the masks on their night out, taking hilarious pictures over the weekend.

    This random man was the centre of the party
    (Picture: HotSpot Media)

    Now they want to track the mystery mask man down.

    Chelsea, a writer, ordered the masks for the hen do of her friend and bride-to-be, Corinne Linekar, 32, a business development manager from Oxford.

    She says: ‘I ordered the masks of the groom’s face so we could wear them on the hen do for a laugh.

    ‘It was a surprise for Corinne and she had no idea.

    ‘Two packages arrived in the post minutes before I was leaving to drive to Liverpool, so I didn’t have time to check them.

    The hens decided to wear the masks anyway
    (Picture: HotSpot Media)

    ‘When me and my friends arrived at our apartment a few hours later, I opened one of the parcels while we were decorating.

    ‘But instead of Corinne’s groom, Matt, I pulled out the face of a smiling fair-haired man.

    ‘I had never seen him in my life.

    ‘It was then I realised the company had sent me the wrong order.

    ‘I showed the other bridesmaids and they fell about laughing.’

    Afterwards Chelsea opened the second parcel and, to her relief, she found masks of the actual groom, Matt Young, 33, a project manager.

    They had a good laugh with the masks!
    (Picture: HotSpot Media)

    Seeing the funny side, the hen party of 17 decided to take masks of both men out on their bar crawl in Liverpool to surprise Corinne.

    Chelsea says: ‘We named the unknown guy Ryan and took pictures wearing the masks as we headed to different bars around Liverpool.

    ‘Then we all posed with the bride for a group picture.

    ‘It was hilarious.’

    Chelsea has since posted the pictures on Facebook, asking people if they recognise the mystery man.

    She says: ‘After the hen do, I decided to track down the mystery man and let him know we took him on a fab weekend around Liverpool.

    ‘I contacted the company to let them know they sent the wrong order, I just hope that the person who originally ordered the masks got a replacement in time for whatever celebrations they had planned.’

    LordFox has been contacted for a comment.

    MORE: Bridesmaid bans drinks, drugs, sex and own food on Vegas hen do as it doesn’t ‘align with Church’

    MORE: Bride is urged to burn ‘awful’ wedding dress after sharing photos on Facebook

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    Jasmine Lovell had her ears pierced at Claire's Accessories
    Jasmine Lovell had her ears pierced at Claire’s Accessories (Picture: MEN Media)

    When Joanna Lovell decided to allow her young daughter Jasmine to get her ears pierced, she did what many parents do and took her to Claire’s Accessories.

    The store has become famous for offering ear piercing to children, so it seemed like the perfect choice. Little did she know, however, that she would be paying a whopping £68 due to a ‘mistake’ on her part.

    The parenting reporter told Hull Live that she expected to pay between £20 and £30 for the piercing, which was a treat for her sixth birthday.

    Although she admits she ‘naively’ didn’t research the price before visiting, Joanna and Jasmine went ahead with choosing a pair of 18 carat gold studs.

    With Jasmine beginning to get nervous about the whole thing and Joanna’s attention on her, the mum says she didn’t notice the range of different options on offer or what they might have meant in terms of cost.

    My daughter has wanted to get her ears pierced for a while now and when she turned six I finally gave in and told her she could get them done. My reasoning was that loads of her friends have already had their ears pierced, I was a lot younger when my mum had mine pierced and I think she's old enough to look after them now. caption: Jasmine Lovell had her ears pierced at Claire's Accessories
    Jasmine is happy with her new jewellery (Picture: MEN Media)

    However, when the staff member serving them said it would be £65, she says she was visibly shocked but that ‘it would have been so embarrassing to ask if there was anything cheaper’.

    With Jasmine already on Joanna’s knee and everything ready to go, she simply said it was fine and got on with it.

    Despite the fact that Jasmine apparently loves her new jewellery, the journalist wanted to warn other parents of the hidden costs when choosing earrings.

    It appears that what happened to Joanna occurred because, though Claire’s ear piercing prices start at £12 for two ears, the more fancy you go with the earrings, the more you’ll pay.

    The starter kit itself includes the earrings and standard aftercare lotion, and can go all the way up to £90 if you choose a diamond.

    When asking her friends, Joanna found that many had no idea it could add up to so much, and wanted her tale to act as a warning. She also called for staff at Claire’s to bear in mind that price might be a factor for parents when choosing which style to go for.

    Responding to her artcle, Claire’s said: ‘Our prices are based on the cost of the metal, and the cost of any stones used i.e. crystal, cubic zirconia or diamond. Our ear piercing earrings are designed specifically for piercing at our specialist ear piercing vendor’s state of the art facility.’

    MORE: One-eyed dog abandoned after being shot in face

    MORE: Boohoo is selling a ‘butterfly kimono’ and it’s ridiculously extra


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    Tesco Express supermarket store logo in London, England
    (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

    Plenty of stores will be running with reduced hours or closing completely at various points during the Easter weekend.

    It is a busy time for shoppers, but supermarkets in particular often close their doors for at least one day to give their staff a break during the holidays.

    This means that shoppers are advised to plan ahead of their planning any trips to their local supermarket over the next few days, as it could be closed by the time you get there.

    If you’re planning to stock up on supplies ahead of an Easter celebration, or you need to buy some last minute Easter eggs then make sure you know where is open.

    Here is everything that you need to know about the planned opening hours for Tesco during Easter 2019.

    Shopping trolleys of British supermarket chain Tesco at a store in south London
    (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

    What are the Tesco opening times for Easter 2019?

    Most Tesco stores are set to have their normal opening hours on both Good Friday and Saturday 20 April.

    Customers will then see many of the Tesco’s main shops close on Easter Sunday, while many of the Tesco Express stores will stay open with their usual opening times in place.

    Tesco shops will then be open again from Easter Monday by many of them will be running with reduced opening hours, which in most in case will be the same as their usual weekend hours.

    If you want to check when your local Tesco will be open over Easter then it is worth using their store locator to check the opening hours before you leave.

    What is the weather for Easter 2019?

    This Easter weekend is set to be warm across the UK with highs of 21 degrees on Saturday and Sunday in some parts of the country.

    Temperatures could even go as high as 22 degrees on Good Friday, with warmer weather than Spain and Greece.

    Visit our Opening Times page for more information on other store and shop opening hours.

    MORE: Alexa Easter Eggs: Best hidden answers from Amazon’s Echo speakers

    MORE: Godiva unveils £10,000 chocolate Easter ‘Atelier’ egg

    Tesco ExpressTesco Express

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    A Marks & Spencer store
    When will your local Marks and Spencer be open over the Easter break? (Picture: Getty)

    It’s Easter weekend, and once you’ve finished scoffing your fill of chocolate eggs you might just want to take in a bit of retail therapy.

    And in many cases that would include a trip to M&S to possibly nab yourself a bank holiday bargain or even stock up on food.

    As with most retail giants the chain will be open over the four-day break – but you can expect some closures and reduced opening hours.

    Here’s when your local will be opening its doors over the weekend…

    What are M&S’s opening hours for Good Friday?

    The chain will be open across the UK as usual on Good Friday – with some opening their doors at 8am and some at 9am.

    You can check what time your local branch is opening on Friday via the store finder on the chain’s website, which has published its opening times for the Easter break.

    A Marks & Spencer store
    Even the bigger branches will get some time off over Easter (Picture: Getty Images)

    M&S Simply Food is also open across the country on Friday – with some branches open as late as 10pm in case you need to stock up on any last minute Easter goodies.

    What are M&S’s opening hours for Easter Sunday and Easter Monday?

    Many branches of Marks & Spencer are closed on Easter Sunday – as is the case for a lot of major retail chains – including the flagship branches in London’s Oxford Street.

    However some branches in Scotland are open on this day, so once again check the store finder to see if your local is one of them.

    A lot of M&S Simply Food branches will also be closed on Sunday, although some – especially those located at major rail stations and hospitals – will be open as usual.

    Marks & Spencer will be open again across the UK on Easter Monday, although once again opening times will vary, so check the website for details.

    Man who loves Marks & Spencer doesn’t just get any tattoo, he gets an M&S tattoo

    Visit our Opening Times page for more information on other store and shop opening hours.

    Inside A Marks & Spencer Group Plc Food HallInside A Marks & Spencer Group Plc Food Hall

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    Matzah forming a Star of David
    How do you wish someone a happy Passover as the Jewish festival begins?

    While Easter is being celebrated across the country, Jewish people are gearing up for their own festivities as Passover kicks off.

    The eight-day festival begins at sundown on Friday night with the first of two Seder nights – which will see people playing host to a special service and festive meal in their homes.

    The festival commemorates the exodus from Egypt, as Moses rescued the Israelites from a life of slavery under Pharaoh.

    But if you want to give a special greeting to a Jewish friend at this time of year, what should you say to them?

    How do you wish someone a happy Passover in Hebrew?

    It’s customary to wish someone celebrating the festival a ‘chag Pesach kasher vesame’ach’.

    That’s pronounced ‘CHAG PEH-sach kah-sher ve-sah-may-ach’ – and it means ‘kosher and joyous Passover’.

    Jewish people having a Passover seder
    Jewish people across the world will be marking the festival with a Seder service and meal (Picture: Getty Images)

    This makes reference to the importance of the dietary laws during the festival, which sees Jewish people eating Matzah – unleavened bread – and avoiding leavened products such as bread – for the duration.

    You can also use standard festive greetings such as ‘gut yom tov’ (with ‘gut’ pronounced as in ‘put’) – which literally means ‘good day’, or ‘chag same’ach’ – which means ‘joyous festival’ and which is commonly used as a greeting during all Jewish holidays.

    What are Jewish people not allowed to eat on Passover?

    A festive Passover meal
    Bread is off the menu for the week but there is still plenty of food about (Picture: Getty Image)

    Jewish people will refrain from eating bread and other food products made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt which has risen upon contact with water, and is known as ‘chametz’.

    This also means that food such as pasta, cereals, porridge and cakes and biscuits containing flour are off the menu for the week.

    Instead Jewish people eat unleavened bread known as matzah, but while this is eaten as part of the Seder service it is not obligatory to eat it for the entire duration of the festival.

    The festival begins on Friday night and ends on the evening of Saturday 26 April.

    Matzo - Passover celebration.Matzo - Passover celebration.

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    Logos for Tesco, Lidl, Sainsburys and Aldi in front of apples on display at a supermarket
    What are the opening hours on Good Friday? (Picture: Getty)

    Easter is finally here and that means many of us are able to enjoy a four day weekend, while we stuff our faces with chocolate eggs.

    If you’re thinking about making a trip to the shops during your time off, then it is worth planning ahead as some stores are likely to have reduced hours at certain points over Easter.

    This can also include post offices and banks as the public holiday sets to bring parts of the country to a stop.

    If you’re planning to stock up on supplies ahead of an Easter celebration then here is everything that you need to know about the Easter opening times for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Aldi.

    Tesco opening times

    Tesco logo outside the supermarket
    (Photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

    Most Tesco stores will be opening with their usual hours on Good Friday and Saturday this weekend.

    However, many of their shops are then set to close completely on Easter Sunday, although many of their Tesco Express stores are set to stay open with their normal hours.

    Many of the shops will then re-open again on Easter Monday, although some will be running with their weekend hours.

    Customers are advised to use the Tesco store locator before setting out over Easter as some stores could be affected differently.

    Sainsbury’s opening times

    Sainsbury's logo outside shop
    (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

    Many Sainsbury’s stores are set to stay open for most the Easter weekend this year, including Good Friday.

    However, many are set to close completely on Easter Sunday, although this can vary between stores as some convenience stores and petrol stations will remain open.

    If you’re planning to make a trip over the Easter period then it is worth checking the Sainsbury’s store locator to see what the opening hours will be for your local shop.

    Lidl opening times

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 29: A general view of a Lidl supermarket on October 29, 2014 in Glasgow,Scotland. Discount stores continue to increase their popularity, as Britains biggest supermarkets are challenged by the discounters taking customers. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

    Lidl stores will be open as normal on Good Friday and Saturday, but then all stores across England and Wales will be closed on Easter Sunday.

    They will then re-open on Easter Monday with reduced hours of 8am until 8pm, before returning to normal hours again on Tuesday 23 April.

    If you’re not sure what the usual opening hours are for your local store then you can check by using the Lidl Store Finder.

    Aldi opening times

    CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 30: An Aldi shop sign seen on August 30, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

    Most Aldi stores will be opening their doors from 8am until 8pm on Good Friday.

    They will then stay open slightly later until 10pm on Saturday before closing completely on Easter Sunday.

    Many of the shops will then open 8am-8pm on Easter Monday and then return to their normal opening hours from Tuesday 23 April.

    You can also check the usual opening hours for your local shop by using the Aldi store finder.

    Visit our Opening Times page for more information on other store and shop opening hours.

    MORE: How to spot the Easter eggs in Avengers: Endgame

    MORE: Easter 2019: The best vegan Easter eggs

    Tesco Sainsburys Lidl Aldi OPENING TIMES (sched 5pm day before)Tesco Sainsburys Lidl Aldi OPENING TIMES (sched 5pm day before)

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    The logos for Morrisons, Asda, Waitrose and Iceland in front of a supermarket shopping aisle
    (Picture: Getty)

    Easter is a busy time of year for many people as they set off to see family and friends, or go away for a short vacation.

    The four day weekend is one of the highlights of the year and the sunny weather for this weekend means that many of us are likely to be venturing outside for most of it.

    If you’re planning to head to one of your local supermarkets to stock up on supplies this weekend then you may want to plan ahead.

    Many shops will be have reduced opening hours at various points during the Easter holidays, which means you might miss out if you don’t check ahead of time.

    Here is everything that you need to know about the opening times for Morrisons, Waitrose, Asda and Iceland over Easter.

    Morrisons opening times

    Morrisons supermarket signange is seen illuminated in Rochdale, England
    (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    Most Morrisons stores are set to be open from 7am until 10pm on Good Friday and Saturday 20 April.

    However, all of their stores will then close completely on Easter Sunday, before opening again on Easter Monday from 8am until 7pm.

    You can find out the usual opening times for you local Morrisons supermarket by using their store finder.

    Waitrose opening times

    Dark clouds reflected in glass surface of Waitrose store, Ipswich, Suffolk, England
    (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

    Many Waitrose stores will be running with their normal opening hours throughout the Easter weekend, including Good Friday.

    However, some of their bigger shops will be closed on Easter Sunday, including in London Victoria, Hall Green in Birmingham and Wilmslow.

    If you’re wondering whether your local Waitrose will be open over Easter then it is worth using their branch finder.

    Asda opening times

    Front entrance and sign at main entrance of an ASDA retail supermarket in Dorset
    (Photo by: Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images)

    Asda stores will be running with their normal opening hours for Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but most of them will then be closed for Easter Sunday.

    Most stores will then re-open on Easter Monday, although some will have reduced hours that day before returning to normal opening hours on Tuesday 23 April.

    You can check the exact opening times for your local shop by using the Asda store locator.

    Iceland opening times

    Iceland supermarket with people walking past outside
    (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

    Good Friday and Saturday 20 April will most Iceland stores run with their usual opening hours.

    All Iceland supermarkets will then be closed for Easter Sunday, and will re-open on Easter Monday but the specific opening hours on that day will vary between stores.

    You can check all of the details on the opening times for your local Iceland by using their store finder.

    Visit our Opening Times page for more information on other store and shop opening hours.

    MORE: Asda relaunches its £1 Easter bunny crumpets

    MORE: Yankee Candle launches Easter candles in pink and green

    Morrisons Waitrose Asda Iceland OPENING TIMES (sched 5pm day before)Morrisons Waitrose Asda Iceland OPENING TIMES (sched 5pm day before)

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    Easter is almost here, which means this Saturday will be spent rushing around the supermarkets stocking up on last-minute eggs because you weren’t prepared at all (don’t worry, we’ll be doing the same thing).

    If you’re looking to eat more than chocolate, KFC has come up with a new chicken recipe for those who fancy eating fast food on Easter Sunday instead of the traditional Sunday lunch.

    This isn’t just a random recipe, though – this is something KFC is thinking of launching themsevles.

    The fast food restaurant is going to be trialling the KFC Hot Cross Bun Burger.

    The Classic Fillet Burger bun has been replaced with a traditional hot cross bun, then stuffed with Original Recipe chicken breast filled and served with fresh lettuce and mayo.

    No, we’re not sure what to think of that either – but it’s definitely something we’d be tempted to try.

    KFC is currently trialling the hot cross bun burger
    (Picture: KFC)

    The burger is currently being tested and trialled by KFC’s chief innovators to make sure the ‘Easter burger is a hopping success’.

    If it gets good feedback, the burger could make its Easter debut across the nation next year.

    But if you’re a bit bummed that you won’t be able to try it this weekend, KFC has come to the rescue with the recipe.

    They say to simply cut a hot cross bun in half and toast it.

    Then, add a layer of mayo to the bottom bun, followed by a layer of lettuce.

    Next, place an Original Recipe chicken fillet on top (yes, you will have to go to KFC first), and finally, add your top bun.

    We’re not totally sure how the currants and fried chicken will taste together, but hey, it’s worth a go, right?

    MORE: Easter eggs ranked by amount of sugar and fat in them

    MORE: Asda has slashed the price of its Jack Daniel’s from £32 to £18 for Easter weekend

    kfc hot cross bun burger Picture; KFC METROGRABkfc hot cross bun burger Picture; KFC METROGRAB

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    Ashley has been dubbed the coupon queen
    (Picture: PA Real)

    A waitress dubbed the ‘Coupon Queen’ by her husband has slashed her weekly grocery bill by nearly £7,000 a year since using money-off vouchers.

    Ashley Leverett, 29, who works part-time in the same seafood restaurant as her waiter partner, Michael, 34, has been so driven to find the best deals that she has turned couponing into a second job.

    Ashley, of Seneca, South Carolina, USA, who has a daughter, Mila, three, has such a knack for spotting the best savings, that she has even amassed 4,600 followers to her Instagram account, devoted to what she calls ‘The Craft of Couponing.’

    The super couponer said: ‘I work weekends at the Red Lobster seafood restaurant in Anderson, but spend the rest of the week couponing.

    ‘I travel for up to 300 miles a week to shop at the stores where I can cash in coupons.

    ‘But I’ve got down my weekly supermarket bill from around $200 (£152.47) to just $50 (£38.12) – saving around $7,800 (£6,898) a year, so it’s worth it.’

    Ashley's dedicated store room at home
    (Picture: PA Real)

    Ashley first started using coupons after watching Extreme Couponing, which shows shoppers making massive savings with coupons.

    But she said social media is now the best place to pick up tips on how best to find and use cut-price vouchers.

    She said: ‘Social media is a great place to start to learn how to coupon.

    ‘If you use the ISO (In Search Of) Coupons hashtag, you’ll find all the different couponers who are out there sharing their tips and advice.

    ‘I have a network of couponing friends all over the States now. We swap tips and swap coupons, but to get the most out of doing this you have to learn the lingo.

    ‘Then you need to find out which stores are coupon-friendly, google their coupon policy because some stores place a limit on how many coupons you can cash in per person or per shopping trip and be prepared to travel to the stores that will take the coupons you’ve collected.’

    Interacting with other enthusiasts on social media also teaches those interested in learning more about the language of couponing, according to Ashley.

    Ashley's haul of discounted items
    (Picture: PA Real)

    ‘Take dedicated couponing,’ she said. ‘This means doing your research, homework and planning.

    ‘Then there are the three types of coupons – manufacturer/brand coupons; store coupons and competitor coupons.

    ‘You need to work out what you can use, and when, to buy as much as you can for as little money as possible.

    ‘Sometimes, I’ve used a combination of all three different types together and come home with money in my purse that the store has actually paid back to me!

    ‘We call this stacking – using a combination of coupons together – and it’s something I’ve now mastered, so I get more than one discount on the same thing.’

    For newcomers, once they have learned the language and gained confidence, Ashley then recommends they start looking for coupons in stores and newspapers.

    She said: ‘I have a coupon binder for my vouchers.

    ‘The inserts are baseball card sheets, which are perfect for your coupon collection, because you can slip each coupon into the individual slots.

    ‘It’s a good idea too to print out a store’s coupon policy and keep that in your binder to take with you when you shop.’

    Sticking to collecting coupons for essential household and personal products, including detergents, shampoos, trainer nappies for Mila and food, Ashley uses them to buy in bulk and has a dedicated stockpile room at her four-bedroom home, where she can store her free goods.

    Ashley with husband Michael and daughter Mila
    (Picture: PA Real)

    The youngest of six, with her retired parents, Glenn, 72, and Evelyn, 67, living close by, she often gifts her coupon-acquired goodies to her family – also selling them on at a 50% discount at a local flea market.

    ‘I get really excited when I have enough coupons to come home with a really big haul,’ she said.

    ‘I recently came home with over 100 packs of training pants for Mila which, with my coupons, were 99 cents (75p) instead of $1.99 (£1.50) per pack – saving me $100 (£75.)

    ‘I’ve also stockpiled 50 bottles of a decent branded detergent, which I could not have afforded without my coupons.’

    Now Ashley’s husband is so proud of his thrifty wife that he boasts about her couponing skills to family and friends, calling her ‘The Coupon Queen’.

    And little Mila is now in training to follow in her mum’s footsteps, as she can already spell Ashley’s favourite grocery store Publix.

    Ashely said: ‘My mum was a keen couponer and I caught the bug, too, so it makes sense that Mila will, as well!’

    Ashley's five top tips for successful couponing:

    • Use social media to find couponing groups and learn the lingo.
    • Use couponing hashtags to find great deals.
    • Collect newspapers as a source of coupons.
    • Get organised and create a file where you can keep all your coupons.
    • Learn store policies to get the most out of your coupons.

    MORE: World’s first ‘livable electrical yacht’ touted as solution to rising sea levels

    MORE: Holland & Barrett launches three new vegan ice creams

    Coupon queenCoupon queen

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    Illustration of a woman holding her baby bump
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Meghan Markle’s birth plan has been much discussed throughout her entire pregnancy.

    The Duchess of Sussex’s decision not to give birth in the Lindo wing, where all three of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children were born, or to use the Queen’s doctors, came under criticism – but like most mums, it is up to her to have her baby the way she wants.

    With plans moving away from so called ‘protocol’, rumours have been flying.

    One such rumour is that Meghan has hired a doula – someone who works with and supports parents-to-be before, during and sometimes after birth.

    Of course we have no idea if it’s true but if so, she would be one of an increasing number of women to employ a doula.

    Unlike a midwife, doulas are not there for medical help but are more like a childbirth coach, but sometimes they do face criticism for just being ‘expensive handholders’.

    They help to devise a birth plan, advise them on preparing for labour and then are on call for up to four weeks around the due date. Throughout labour, they provide emotional and practical support throughout and once the baby is born, they carry out at least one more visit to support them as they settle into life as a new parent.

    Nicola Wilson, a director for Doula UK explains: ‘I started as a doula over 20 years ago when it was a very new thing in the UK. The idea really grew from the U.S. and spread over here.

    ‘We now have around 700 registered doulas with Doula UK and that number has remained steady but there has certainly been a huge growth in people wanting to use one and a change in attitude since I started.

    ‘I think when I started, midwives and medical staff didn’t really understand why I was there. Now they recoginse the role of the doula and have started to embrace it as someone there who is able to help guide those new parents through all the little things, while they tend to their medical needs.’

    Couple with their baby
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Although there is evidence that women who had continuous support from someone like a doula were less likely to use pain medication and suffer from post-natal depression, the benefits are not cheap.

    A doula costs between £800 and £2,000 depending on the area where you live and their level of experience.

    One of Nicola’s clients, Helen, had her first child in January and she says that having a doula made the birth easier.

    She initially wanted a home birth and asked Nicola to help plan and guide her through it.

    When she was admitted to hospital with pre-eclampysia, Nicola continued to help her in hospital.

    ‘I wanted to give birth at home and with a doula there to guide me, it felt much more likely that that would be possible,’ she says.

    ‘We decided a few months before I gave birth and we were able to get to know Nicola.

    ‘I ended up having to go into hospital and it was different to what we wanted but Nicola helped to make sure it was calm. I was napping between contractions.

    Illustration of a woman holding her baby bump
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    ‘Even in hospital, she helped to get me into the birthing pool and she just helped to make sure we were able to follow through with our birth plan. She looked out for what I needed.

    ‘She organised things and I was able to concentrate on what was happening in that moment. For example, I didn’t want to use much pain relief and there was a moment were I faltered and was asking “What else can I do?” She was able to tell me how I had only had a little bit of gas and air and maybe I should try again. That was really helpful.

    ‘It just meant having some experience and guidance to make it as smooth as possible. It made a big difference to me.

    ‘It is expensive but for me it was worthwhile and I would recommend it to other people.’

    With the rise in the number of people training to be doulas, accessing one is now quite straight forward.

    There are a small number who work with the NHS so it is worth asking your healthcare team, but most doulas are privately and self-employed.

    Some doulas volunteer through the Doula UK Access Fund. It covers the expenses of Doula UK doulas volunteering to work with local clients in emotional, practical or financial hardship.

    Most doulas are members of and approved by the Doula UK organisation and you can use their directory to search for one that will suit your needs. Although doulas are not required to register with the organisation, choosing one through their directory means you can be sure they have completed a qualification and recognition process.

    Many have trained as doulas after going through childbirth themselves and wanting to help other women have a positive experience.

    Melanie Butcher with her two children
    Melanie with her children (Picture: Melanie Butcher)

    Melanie Butcher, 38, from Solihull in the West Midlands, trained as a doula 18 months ago and started working as a doula seven months ago when her two children started full-time school.

    She explains: ‘I realised that women are very much expected to comply and fit into the system when it comes to pregnancy and labour rather than the system working around their specific needs.

    ‘If you question or request anything that doesn’t fit into a particular hospitals standard procedure, you can come up against barriers which can be stressful and hard to navigate.

    ‘My care was not terrible but I had some interventions that I did not wish to have or were not clearly explained to me, and I felt afterwards that my voice had not been heard.

    ‘When it came to my second pregnancy, I was much more clued up on my rights, my choices and what I wanted from my birth experience. I, however,  suffered with severe pre-natal depression which made it harder for me to effectively request the service that I wanted and getting support with my mental health was also a challenge.

    ‘With determination and the help of my husband and support of one of my community midwives, I did finally manage to achieve what I wanted – an unmedicated, water birth at home.

    ‘To be in control of my birth was hugely healing for me and made me want to help support other women in achieving a positive birth experience.’

    After the experience of having children, Melanie wanted to work with other women to make sure they are empowered.

    Melanie at the birth of her second child (Picture: Melanie Butcher)
    Melanie at the birth of her second child (Picture: Melanie Butcher)

    Now she works with mums in her local area, through pregnancy and on call for the day of the birth.

    Typically she has at least two pre-natal visits and is then on call for up to four weeks around a due date. She attends the birth and has a postnatal visit to talk through their experience.

    She also offers support and guidance over the phone and helps to research and write their birth plan.

    She explains: ‘I offer support with whatever a birthing parent needs. Tasks vary with each birth but include anything that helps mum to feel heard, cared for, safe, and fully informed and supported in her decisions.

    ‘Some specific examples include massage to help with pain, suggesting birthing positions to help baby’s decent, helping mum to eat, drink and empty her bladder, asking that the family are given some private time to make key decisions, and generally helping to keep a mother in her ‘zone’ so she can just get on with following her body’s lead.

    ‘Doulas will often talk about this as ‘protecting the birth space’. Low lighting, minimal conversation, aromatherapy and playing music that mum has requested can all form part of this – as can rearranging the furniture in a hospital room if needed.

    ‘I also support any other birthing partners helping them to feel confident in their role, explaining any procedures, or simply giving them the opportunity to rest and refuel during a long labour.

    ‘After a baby is born helping to establish breastfeeding, assisting an exhausted mum to shower, and supporting her through the delivery of the placenta is common. Mother’s can be really vulnerable emotionally and physically during this time and it’s vitally important that their care doesn’t end at the delivery of the baby.’

    Charlotte Holloway, 41, also from Solihull, has worked as a doula since 2010 and has supported over 100 births.

    Like Melanie, she was inspired by her own pregnancy. She says: ‘I had a very traumatic first birth, a lack of support from busy midwives; NCT classes just hadn’t prepared my husband and I for the long hard slog of labour.

    ‘I had a huge amount of anxiety from watching birth programmes designed to frighten you to death about labour and birth and the complete helplessness my husband felt as I fell apart with fear.

    ‘My birth ended in an emergency C-section that could have been avoided had I had support to keep me calm and remind me that I had choices.

    Charlotte with her child
    Charlotte with her child (Picture: Charlotte Holloway)

    ‘Had I had support in someone I trusted to reassure me in early labour that what I was going through was normal and not to be frightened of, that could have encouraged me to stay at home in early labour and kept the oxytocin flowing in my body to help my birth become shorter and easier.

    ‘When I became pregnant with my second baby, I still did not know about doulas, but I did realise how important a good birth team was, how important having continuity of care was.

    ‘My mum stepped up to help, along with my consultants. I had the most amazing VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) with people that believed in me, even when I had a huge panic attack and begged for a C-section.

    ‘They calmed me, mopped my brow, held my hand, kissed me and let me know I was loved, and I was doing the most amazing job. I can still remember the elation I felt when I got to hold my baby girl in my arms immediately after birth, it was so very different to how I felt with my son.

    ‘During my maternity leave, I decided to have a complete change of career and trained firstly as a childbirth educator and antenatal/postnatal yoga teacher. During this training, I found out about doulas and eagerly signed up to train as a doula. I then went on to join Doula UK as a mentored doula and become recognised in 2014.’

    Hands in the shape of a heart on a baby bump
    (Picture: Irene Palacio for Metro.co.uk)

    Charlotte explains that there is a misconception that we don’t need doulas because we have midwives, but they play very different roles.

    She says: ‘I get asked if a doula is like a midwife. My answer is absolutely not! I have no medical training and my role is not clinical. It is supportive.

    ‘When a client goes into labour, I’m often called before the need to go to hospital arises or a midwife is called out to the home.

    ‘I will support clients in early labour, I can encourage them to rest, eat and drink, I can encourage partners to get some rest, being with clients, we see how their labour changes via body language, breathing and noises made and can suggest when it might be a good time to head to the hospital or call out the midwife.

    ‘I don’t leave my clients until they’ve had their baby, they are settled, have given their baby their first feed and are ready to rest. This means I can be with a family anywhere from a few hours to a few days, which is very different from a midwife, who has clinical care of their birthing women and will only stay as long as their shift.

    ‘I will then support the clients with a postnatal visit where I can help with anything from feeding, cooking, light housework or just being a friendly ear to listen and chat about the birth.

    ‘I know from personal experience how having a good support team around you can make a huge difference to a birth experience. I hear from clients that they couldn’t have done it without me or that I have special powers. None of that is true, what I do is have full belief in my client’s ability to birth.

    How do you become a doula?

    There is no requirement to complete any particular qualification to become a doula but to join Doula UK, the biggest membership association, you must complete their recognition process.

    You can attend an introductory workshop with Doula UK to get a better idea of what a doula does and what involves.

    Doula UK provides a list of approved preparation courses. You can choose a course in your area that suits you. Most courses are flexible and involve a number of training sessions, as well as studying at home.

    You can join Doula UK and find a doula mentor. You will then work with them to complete the recognition process.

    Doula UK

    ‘I help partners to get involved as much as they want and feel comfortable to. I can help create space to make decisions and encourage dialogue between my clients and the health care professionals looking after them, we always work best as a cohesive team.’

    Katy Hemus, 35, from Birmingham has been a doula since 2016. Like Charlotte and Melanie she was inspired by her own birth but she had a very positive experience and she wanted to empower other women.

    She says that there is a feeling that doulas are working against the medical system. For her, it is about working with the women’s team to improve the experience but she is completely led by what her client wants.

    She says: ‘There is a misconception that doulas have an agenda to go against the medical system and advice, and that they advise their clients of this – which is simply not true.

    ‘What we want is for women to be given information and evidence so they can decide what is right for them. We want them be given the information in a way which gives them choice and doesn’t involve scaremongering women into consenting something out of fear.

    ‘Supporting women to have positive birth experiences helps with parenting and our own emotional state of mind.’

    Working with a doula is costly and down to personal preference but if Meghan wants someone there to help her give birth for the first time, we absolutely don’t blame her.

    Pregnancy and labour can be terrifying. Anything that makes that easier for women seems like it might be a good way forward.

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    FILE PHOTO: Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit MoroccoFILE PHOTO: Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit Morocco

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    Kinky Character: Findom
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    This is Kinky Characters – a series that explores unusual fetishes and the people who like them.

    Most people’s monthly outgoings include things like rent, phone bills and food shops.

    Howard, on the other hand, ends up spending a large chunk of his monthly salary on women – and we’re not talking about picking up the bill at a dinner date or buying a round of drinks.

    The 47-year-old, who works in the transport industry, is obsessed with financial domination (findom or ‘wallet rape’) – a BDSM sub-fetish that revolves around control or humiliation in conjunction with money.

    Findom includes two parties: the submissive (known as a pay pig or money slave) and the dominant (known as an owner or domme).

    There’s not a one-size-fits-all version; some pay pigs want their owners to manage their finances completely, budget their cash and give them a spending allowance. Others want to be blackmailed in a roleplay scenario or be ‘fined’ for being disobedient.

    Or, like Howard, some prefer to shower women with gifts or money.

    To clarify, this isn’t an explicitly sexual transaction, but rather a complete submission of power, which gives the pay pig sexual satisfaction.

    The people involved might not even meet up in real life; often these relationships occur through digital contact only. Many meet through forums on fetish sites such as Findom.com or through social media, especially Twitter.

    Money for nothing sounds like a dream scenario for the owner, but why do pay pigs enjoy spending their hard-earned cash on a stranger?

    Howard reveals all, including how much money he has spent on his owners over the past few years.

    Illustration of blonde woman on a green background surrounded by money
    (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    Tell us about your fetish

    I stumbled across findom on Twitter three years ago, when I got out of a 15-year relationship.

    It looked interesting and the concept turned me on, so I kept going back for more. I suddenly found the idea of a powerful woman having full control over me (and my money) exciting.

    I’m not currently owned by anyone, but have been four times in the past. One was a findom dominatrix, another was a banker, a journalist and a hospital nurse.

    Its partly sexual, but it’s more about empowerment of female rule.

    I know I’m physically stronger than all of my previous owners, but that means nothing as they hold full control over my life. They say, I do – and it’s really easy for me (and the biggest turn-on).

    As for the money, I give them gifts or a monthly allowance to spend, but some pay pigs – as we’re known – prefer the woman to have complete access to their finances.

    My owners don’t manage my money, I do that.

    How does it work?

    It depends on what you’re after.

    I’m into both financial dominance and female domination; it’s a combined fetish for me.

    I prefer a female who has a normal day-to-day job and who everyone who thinks is ‘Miss Innocent’, but who secretly owns a submissive pay pig.

    I f***ing love the secrecy and naughty side to that.

    It’s not easy to find someone with a regular job who has done findom before, but once they know I am genuine in my offer to look after them financially, they become interested.

    To me, findom isn’t just about money.

    My owners will tell me how to behave and what to do.

    For instance, I’m currently talking to a potential new owner who told me to get on my knees and send her a photo – so I did.

    How much have you spent on your owners over the past three years?

    That’s a tough one – probably a few grand.

    But I have had good owners who know that if they rinse too much, it’s no good for them in the long-run. I won’t leave myself too short.

    Allowance varies, but it’s usually a monthly figure. The most I have given over a month has been about £500.

    I’ve also bought lots of things for my owners.

    For the bank woman, I basically purchased everything for her flat – from cups to a sofa. She set up an Amazon wish list and I got her gifts through that.

    Makeup, lingerie and shoes are the things I have bought most of.

    What do you get in return?

    What do I get out of it? The pleasure of being controlled.

    It’s complete servitude. She is your priority, you work and earn for her.

    It’s a buzz for a sub when you buy an owner shoes and she wears them on a night out. And every single owner has commented on the thrill of wearing shoes payed for by me and her being the only one who knows about it.

    Do you ever feel like you’re wasting your money?


    At the end of the day, it’s a kink – but my view is that you only live once and nobody is getting hurt.

    If both of us enjoy the experience, then why not do it?

    I do occasionally think that I could have bought a car with the money I have spent on the women, but I’m pretty laidback about the whole thing.

    Tell us about one of your owners

    I once had a meeting in a bank.

    The woman who met with me was dressed in a suit and heels, with glasses on and her hair up. I couldn’t help but think it would be great if she did findom.

    I had her card and took a huge risk, the biggest one I’ve ever taken when approaching a potential owner.

    In an email, I asked if she’d be interested in trying it. I was scared that she might get angry that I asked; 24 hours passed and I thought ‘what the f*** have I done?’, but then she replied.

    To cut a long story short, it turns out she had a very strict side to her and she ended up owning me for about seven months.

    I used to pay for her nights out, buy things for her flat and much more.

    It only ended because she changed branches and moved.

    Do you date or have sex with your owners?

    I like my own space and doing my own thing, and find dating a bit dull.

    I have the odd date, but no, I don’t date my owners in the conventional sense.

    We don’t have sex either.

    The only time I have ever done anything sexual with an owner was after I did chores for her. I delivered her shopping, and when I arrived she told me she wanted to be pleasured with my tongue.

    So I went down on her for about 30 minutes, then she told me I had done my job and to f*** off until I was needed again.

    That’s the one purely sexual act that has happened in three years of findom, but I still have sex with other people outside of the fetish.

    In your opinion, is society becoming more open towards unusual fetishes?

    I’m not sure.

    I don’t shout about what I do from the rooftops, so I don’t get in many chats about it.

    My family and friends don’t know either. This is my thing away from work and all that.

    Do you have an unusual fetish?

    Want to tell us about your sexual preferences or odd kinks?

    Drop an email to almara.abgarian@metro.co.uk to be considered for upcoming episodes of Kinky Characters.

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    Kinky Character: FindomKinky Character: Findom

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    ella byworth 1 of 3 for Spending illustrations Metro illustrations Ella Byworth/ metro.co.uk
    (Picture: Ella Byworth/ metro.co.uk)

    When millennials moan that we can’t afford property or ask for job stability, we’re often told that we should just stop wasting our money on takeaway coffees and daily breakfasts from Pret.

    While we could probably cut down, a new survey suggests it’s a myth that the 18 to 34 year old group spends excessively on drinks on the go.

    In fact, the findings suggest that millennials spend less on coffee, speedy work lunches, and takeaways, than those over the age of 35. Take that, parents.

    Researchers from car manufacturer Dacia surveyed 2,000 adults of different age groups, tracking their spending for a month.

    They found that the millennial group spent an average of £5.56 on coffee a week, while 35 to 44 year olds spent £6.43.

    That trend continues across those ‘frivolous’ food purchases we’re so often berated for, suggesting we’re not actually the extreme spenders we’re made out to be.

    Average spending on coffee, drinks, and takeaways:

    According to the research from Dacia, the average Brit spends, per week:

    • £5 on coffee
    • £4.28 on soft drinks
    • £7.83 on takeaways
    • £8.29 on lunch
      = £25.40

    18 to 34 year olds (millennials):

    • £5.56 on coffee
    • £5.74 on soft drinks
    • £9 on takeaways
    • £9.09 on lunch
      = £29.39 (15% above average)

    35-44 year olds:

    • £6.43 on coffee
    • £6.02 on soft drinks
    • £9.89 on takeaways
    • £9.71 on lunch
      = £32.05 (26% above average)

    45-54 year olds

    • £4.94 on coffee
    • £4.19 on soft drinks
    • £7.99 on takeaways
    • £8.10 on lunch
      = £25.22

    55 and over

    • £4.14 on coffee
    • £2.45 on soft drinks
    • £5.69 on takeaways
    • £7.12 on lunch
      = £19.20 (25% below average)

    The millennials surveyed spent an average of £9 on takeaways in a week and £9.09 on lunches, which is a touch less than 35 to 44 year olds spend on the same things – £9.89 and £9.71, respectively. More than half of the 18 to 34 said they ‘always’ or ‘often’ take a packed lunch to work, saving them some cash.

    When it comes to hot and cold drinks, lunch, and takeaways, the 35 to 44 age group will spend an average of £140 more per year than millennials. Not a lot, but it seems a bit rich to tell us off for our spending habits if those older than us might be doing worse.

    The group who has a bit more of a right to shame us is the over 55s, who were found to be the most sensible with their money. Older folks were found to spend £4.14 on coffee a week, on average.

    Of course, it’s worth noting that this study has a small sample size, and it’s really not that easy to generalise people’s spending habits based on their age. You’d imagine that someone’s income and where they live would both have an impact on what they waste their cash on, and whether these purchases are justifiable.

    After all, if you’re earning £50k and spending £5 a week on coffee, that really doesn’t seem too bad. But strict budgeters on small wages will think even a fiver on takeaway coffee is a massive waste.

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    Spending illustrationsSpending illustrations

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    A Primark store in Cardiff
    Is Primark open over the Easter break? (Picture: Getty Images)

    The Easter weekend is looming, offering folk the chance to enjoy a lie-in, scoff a whole load of chocolate eggs and maybe indulge in some retail therapy.

    Except that’s not the case for everyone, with the heroes who work in the big shops of the UK still having to put in some hours over the break.

    Primark is among those likely to be busy over Easter, although some branches might well have reduced opening hours over the bank holidays, so make sure you know when to turn up so as not to be left on the doorstep.

    Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning a Primark jaunt over the Easter weekend…

    What are Primark’s opening hours for Good Friday?

    Primark’s stores will be open as usual on Good Friday, although some may be operating reduced hours.

    The hours vary according to location, so be sure to check your local branch via the website’s store locator before setting off.

    Birmingham Primark
    Even the world’s biggest branch in Birmingham will be shut on Easter Sunday (Picture: Getty Images)

    What are Primark’s opening hours for Easter Sunday and Easter Monday?

    The majority of Primark stores, including the flagship branches in Oxford Street and the world’s biggest branch in Birmingham, are closed on Easter Sunday.

    While some have not listed specific Easter hours on the website, it’s worth getting in touch with them to double check whether they are open or not.

    Most branches are open on Easter Monday, although as with good Friday, check the website for revised hours as opening times vary from one place to the next.

    Shoppers are seen outside Primark store on London's OxfordShoppers are seen outside Primark store on London's Oxford

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    A pile of matzah
    There’ll be a lot of matzah eaten during Passover – but bread is off the table (Picture: Rex Shutterstock)

    The Jewish festival of Passover begins on Friday, bringing with it plenty of celebration and festive feasting.

    But it also brings a few dietary restrictions also – as Jewish people celebrating the eight-day festival refrain from eating bread and certain other foods during this time.

    So just why is bread off the menu – and what will celebrants be eating instead?

    Here’s what you need to know about those Passover rules…

    Why are Jewish people not allowed to eat bread on Passover?

    The festival of Passover commemorates the story of the Exodus, when Moses rescued the Israelites from a life of slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt.

    According to the story when the Israelites left Egypt they did so in such a hurry that the bread they had baked for the journey did not have time to rise properly.

    A family having a Passover seder
    The story of Passover is recounted at the Seder table (Picture: Getty Images)

    Jewish people celebrating Passover therefore steer clear of bread for the duration of the festival to commemorate this, instead eating unleavened bread, or ‘matzah’ as it is known – a cracker-like flatbread which is made from flour and water and is baked just long enough to prevent it from rising.

    It is not compulsary to eat matzah for the entire duration of the festival – only on the two Seder nights which kick things off.

    What else are Jewish people not allowed to eat during the festival?

    A Seder meal during Passover
    Don’t worry, there is still plenty you can eat during the festival (Picture: Getty Images)

    It’s not just bread which is a no-no this week, as anything made from wheat, oats, barley, rye or spelt which changes when placed in liquid is off-limits.

    That means no pasta, cereal, porridge or dough which rises (so pizza is off the menu also), as well as cakes and biscuits containing flour made from any of the above, and any other manufactured food containing anything made from these.

    These items are known as ‘chametz’ and should be avoided for the entire eight days of the festival.

    During this time many people will also ensure they are completely free of chametz by only buying food which has been specially supervised as fit for use during the festival, as well as using different crockery and cutlery which they only use on Passover.

    What can Jewish people eat during Passover?

    A pile of matzah
    You don’t have to eat matzah except on the first two nights (Picture: Rex Shutterstock)

    There is still plenty to tuck into over the eight days, with meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fruit and most vegetables and nuts permitted.

    There are also alternatives to flour available, including nut flours and potato flour, which can be used for baking during this time.

    While certain fresh foods do not need to be specially supervised for Passover, there are still some rules surrounding what does and does not need supervision.

    For more information you can check out the London Beth Din website.

    Why do some people not eat rice on Passover and others do?

    A bowl of rice
    What’s the deal with rice? (Picture: Getty Images)

    Rice falls into a category of foods called Kitniyot, which also includes corn, sunflower seeds and legumes such as peas, chickpeas, beans and lentils.

    It is customary among Ashkenazi Jews (those of East European descent) not to eat these foods over Passover, as there were concerns in the past that they might become contaminated with chametz while in storage or that foods resembling chametz could be made from them.

    However Sephardi Jews (those of Middle Eastern, Spanish and Portuguese descent) do not follow this custom and continue to eat these foods provided they have been carefully checked for chametz beforehand.

    Can you drink alcohol on Passover?

    You most certainly can – alcohol is an important part of the festival, with four cups of wine being drunk by everybody at the Seder service.

    That said, regular alcohol, which is largely made from grain, is off limits on Passover.

    However there is plenty of good kosher for Passover wine available to buy at this time of year, along with special Passover-friendly spirits including gin, vodka and plum brandy.

    So you don’t need to miss out on a tipple at this time of year.

    xx things which always happen at every Passover Sederxx things which always happen at every Passover Seder

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    Colour coded rooms The Pink Project ??? Charity & Hopey and Their Pink Things, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, Light jet Print, 2011 Picture: JeongMee Yoon Provided to metro.co.uk from photographer
    (Picture: JeongMee Yoon)

    Colour is powerful, and when you’re a child it’s easy to get fixated on one glorious shade.

    You probably went through a phase where everything you wore and played with (and, if your parents were unlucky, ate) was one colour.

    For girls, that colour might have been pink. For boys, blue.

    Blame all the societal suggestions around those colours, the marketing of toys and treats, the negative reactions to little boys expressing a preference for pink – it all seeps in, and you’ll very often find children fitting neatly into the blue vs pink stereotype.

    To explore that idea, Seoul-based photographer JeongMee Yoon created The Pink and Blue Project, a series of photos capturing children’s colour-coded bedrooms packed with toys and trinkets in blue or pink.

    Colour coded rooms The Pink Project ??? Charity & Hopey and Their Pink Things, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, Light jet Print, 2011 Picture: JeongMee Yoon Provided to metro.co.uk from photographer
    Cole, New York, USA (Picture: JeongMee Yoon)

    JeongMee Yoon was inspired to start the series by her five-year-old daughter, who loves pink so much that she wanted to only wear pink clothes and play with pink toys.

    ‘I discovered that my daughter’s case was not unusual,’ she says. ‘In the United States, South Korea and elsewhere, most young girls love pink clothing, accessories and toys.

    ‘This phenomenon is widespread among children of various ethnic groups regardless of their cultural backgrounds.

    ‘Perhaps it is the influence of pervasive commercial advertisements aimed at little girls and their parents, such as the universally popular Barbie and Hello Kitty merchandise that has developed into a modern trend.

    Colour coded rooms The Pink Project ??? Charity & Hopey and Their Pink Things, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, Light jet Print, 2011 Picture: JeongMee Yoon Provided to metro.co.uk from photographer
    (Picture: JeongMee Yoon)
    Colour coded rooms The Pink Project ??? Charity & Hopey and Their Pink Things, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, Light jet Print, 2011 Picture: JeongMee Yoon Provided to metro.co.uk from photographer
    Jake, New York, USA (Picture: JeongMee Yoon)

    ‘Girls train subconsciously and unconsciously to wear the color pink in order to look feminine.’

    The project, which started in 2005 and still ongoing, explores not only gender socialisation but consumerism and marketing. Just look at how much stuff the kids have in the images, all colour-coded to their preference.

    Take a gaze at the photos and you’ll also spot some difference that go beyond the blue or pink option.

    Colour coded rooms The Pink Project ??? Charity & Hopey and Their Pink Things, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, Light jet Print, 2011 Picture: JeongMee Yoon Provided to metro.co.uk from photographer
    Charity & Hopey, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea (Picture: JeongMee Yoon)

    JeongMee says: ‘Many toys and books for girls are pink, purple, or red, and are related to makeup, dress up, cooking, and domestic affairs.

    ‘However, most toys and books for boys are made from the different shades of blue and are related to robots, industry, science, dinosaurs, etc.

    ‘This is a phenomenon as intense as the Barbie craze.

    Colour coded rooms The Pink Project ??? Charity & Hopey and Their Pink Things, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, Light jet Print, 2011 Picture: JeongMee Yoon Provided to metro.co.uk from photographer
    Kihun, Seoul, South Korea (Picture: JeongMee Yoon)
    Colour coded rooms The Pink Project ??? Charity & Hopey and Their Pink Things, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, Light jet Print, 2011 Picture: JeongMee Yoon Provided to metro.co.uk from photographer
    (Picture: JeongMee Yoon)

    ‘Manufacturers produce anthropomorphic ponies that have the characteristics of young girls. They have barrettes, combs and accessories, and the girls adorn and make up the ponies.

    ‘These kinds of divided guidelines for the two genders deeply affect children’s gender group identification and social learning.’

    The photos are a reminder of just how powerful societal gender conditioning really is – something especially jarring when you remember that before World War II, pink was considered a colour for boys.

    Colour coded rooms The Pink Project ??? Charity & Hopey and Their Pink Things, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, Light jet Print, 2011 Picture: JeongMee Yoon Provided to metro.co.uk from photographer
    Kyungjin, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea (Picture: JeongMee Yoon)

    ‘The saccharine, confectionary pink objects that fill my images of little girls and their accessories reveal a pervasive and culturally manipulated expression of femininity and a desire to be seen,’ explains JeongMee.

    ‘As girls grow older, their taste for pink changes. Until about 2nd grade, they are very obsessed with the color pink, but around 3rd or 4th grade, they do not obsess with pink as much anymore.

    ‘Usually, their tastes change to purple. Later, there is another shift. However, the original association with the color-code often remains.’

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    The outside of a B&Q store
    Planning on popping to B&Q over the Easter break? (Picture: PA)

    Easter weekend is upon us, which is a time for many people to down tools and enjoy a well-deserved four-day break.

    But there will of course be those who are taking the opportunity to pick up their tools – of a DIY nature that is – and pop to B&Q for a bit of a bank holiday shopping spree.

    The DIY superstore will be open during the Easter weekend, although you can expect reduced hours in many of its branches.

    So just when will they be open? Here’s what you need to know…

    What are B&Q’s opening hours for Good Friday?

    B&Q will be open across the country as usual on Good Friday, although opening hours will vary, with some stores opening their doors as early as 6am and others getting a bit of a lie-in as they open at 8am.

    Lawnmowers for sale in a branch of B&Q
    Stores will be open across the country but times will vary (Picture: Alamy)

    You can find out what time your local will be open by using the store finder on the B&Q website.

    Most stores across the country will be open until 8pm on Friday but once again this may vary.

    What are B&Q’s opening hours for Easter Sunday and Easter Monday?

    B&Q’s employees will be getting a well-earned break on Easter Sunday with many branches closed completely.

    According to the website a few will be open, however, so check the store finder to see if yours is among them.

    The chain will be open for business again across the country on Easter Monday, with opening times once again varying from 6-8am.

    A general view of the B&Q store in Ballymena, County Antrim, NorA general view of the B&Q store in Ballymena, County Antrim, Nor

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    Bride sits looking grumpy
    (Picture: Getty/Facebook)

    What to wear to a wedding is a tricky question.

    You have to check all the dress codes, make sure your outfit will look lovely in pictures, and speedily decide if there’s too much white in your dress.

    When it comes to getting children dressed for the occasion, things can get even tougher.

    After all, when a child decides they don’t want to wear the outfit you carefully picked out, there’s no convincing them otherwise. And if they find something they want to wear non-stop, you’ll need a lot of luck to get them to change into something more situation appropriate.

    So spare a thought for this family who are battling it out over one little girl’s desire to wear a superhero costume to her aunt’s wedding.

    A bride has lashed out online about her niece’s choice of outfit for her wedding – a red and blue satin design with a large gold star on the front, to make the wearer look like a mini Captain Marvel.

    The bride wrote: ‘Was at the soon-to-be-in-laws today and they chose this dress for my fiancé’s niece.

    A photo shows the little girl wearing a captain marvel inspired dress
    (Picture: Facebook)

    ‘I told them to keep shopping. Do people really not understand what to wear to weddings?’.

    The bride’s comments were shared in a wedding shaming Facebook group, sparking debate over whether the bride was in the right to kick off about her niece wearing a superhero outfit to the wedding.

    Some sided firmly with the bride: ‘You have to be such a narcissistic adult to allow your precious little princess to do this,’ wrote one.

    Others questioned what was so wrong about the dress, suggesting the stars actually made the outfit look quite jazzy and wedding appropriate.

    There’s a big debate still going on in the comments about whether the child is just a guest or part of the wedding party. The general consensus seems to be that if she’s a bridesmaid or similar she should wear what the bride wants, as she’ll be in all the pictures, but if she’s just a guest she can wear whatever superhero outfit she likes.

    One woman commented: ‘Unless the kid is in the wedding does it really matter what they wear? They’re going to be bored, wanting to leave the entire time and probably not participating in much. I don’t see how it would impact anything to let them wear something fun and comfortable.’

    Another said: ‘Okay but is it possible here that – bear with me – the grandparents got this dress thinking “this is a lovely dress!” without any realisation of it being a superhero inspired outfit?

    ‘That it might actually be a pretty dress, and the only reason people are losing their minds is because they KNOW it’s a superhero themed one?

    ‘If OP didn’t know it was superhero related, would she still be as upset, or is this purely being deemed inappropriate because of the stigma that comes with dressing up as a character?’

    No one thought the outfit was justification to un-invite the niece from the wedding.

    But what do you think?


    Bride lashes out at niece\'s superhero costumeBride lashes out at niece\'s superhero costume

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    A branch of Asda
    When is your local branch of Asda open over Easter? (Picture: PA)

    With Easter weekend upon us, most people are looking forward to a few well-earned days off – and some festive treats along the way.

    Which probably means a trip to the supermarket to stock up on those timely chocolate eggs and any other last-minute supplies you might need for the four day break.

    If Asda is your store of choice then the good news is they’ll be open over Easter, although the hours might be a bit different to usual.

    Here’s what you need to know about the retail giant’s opening times in the coming days…

    What are Asda’s opening hours for Good Friday?

    Asda will be open across the UK as normal on Good Friday, although opening hours vary from one place to the next.

    While some of the 24-hour stores will be open round the clock as usual, others may have more reduced hours.

    A shopper carrying an Asda basket
    Opening hours are different over the Easter break (Picture: Getty Images)

    You can find out when your local will be open via the store locator on the chain’s website.

    What are Asda’s opening hours for Easter Sunday and Easter Monday?

    Most branches of Asda will be closed on Easter Sunday – as is the case for most major retailers across the UK.

    However some branches in Scotland will be open as usual – check the website for details of whether your local is open and what time.

    Asda petrol stations will also remain open over the Easter break.

    The supermarket will be open for business again across the country on Easter Monday, but once again hours may be reduced in some stores – keep an eye on the website to see if yours is one of them.

    Asda equal pay court caseAsda equal pay court case

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    A logo of burger chain McDonalds
    Can you still get your McDonald’s fix over Easter? (Picture: Getty Images)

    It’s Easter weekend, and that means a whole lot of chocolate egg eating and over-indulgence going on.

    It also means a lot of the major high street chains will be reducing their opening hours and shutting up shop on some days as the country downs tools for a four-day break.

    If you’re a fan of McDonald’s, the good news is that they will indeed be open over Easter – but will their hours be different to normal?

    Here’s the info those looking for a Maccy D’s fix over the weekend need to know…

    What are McDonald’s opening hours on Good Friday?

    McDonalds will be open as normal on Good Friday across the country, although opening times vary.

    You can check when your local is open via the location finder on the fast food giant’s official website.

    A McDonald's Creme Egg McFlurry
    Want to celebrate Easter with a Creme Egg McFlurry? (Picture: McDonald’s)

    There’s no indication that the chain is changing its opening hours over Easter, but check the site if in doubt.

    What are McDonald’s opening hours on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday?

    According to the website McDonald’s is open as normal across the country on Easter Sunday – although opening times are different from one branch to the next.

    The same applies to Easter Monday, with McDonald’s once again open across the UK.

    So if you want to mark the Easter weekend by treating yourself to a Creme Egg McFlurry – which are back on the menu this season – then now’s your chance.

    Everyone's Favourite McFlurry Is Returning To McDonald'sEveryone's Favourite McFlurry Is Returning To McDonald's

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