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8 March 2017

Staying in is the new going out

The latest trend in UK mealtimes is ordering dinner to come to you.

Visits to restaurants, cafes and pubs serving food rose by just one per cent. Food delivered to our homes by companies like Deliveroo and Hungry House rose by 10 per cent, to 599 million. It was worth GBP 3.6bn last year, six per cent higher than in 2015 and 50 per cent higher than in 2008.

Pubs also benefited from the change. They sold almost 60 per cent more of their food through delivery companies last year. There has been a big rise in UK pubs specialising in good food during the last decade, and so it is not surprising that more of them are partnering with delivery companies.

People in the UK used to eat restaurant food at home more for a treat, and at the end of the week. It looks like these choices are changing. Deliveroo, one of the new delivery companies, said orders grew by 650 per cent last year, with 20 per cent more lunch orders and an increase of around a third in people ordering healthy food.

The surprising thing is that getting a meal delivered to home is usually not much cheaper than going to the restaurant. The average bill is GBP 1 lower, although it can vary for different restaurants.

Women's hair gets longer (so shampoo sales drop)

It is fashionable for women in the UK to have long hair now, and that means shampoo sales have gone down. Why? Because women with long hair wash it less than three times a week.

Long hair is more popular with British women than with those in France, Germany, Italy or Spain, and has also become more popular with older women as well as younger ones.

The number of women with long hair has risen by about 20 per cent this decade. We bought five million litres of shampoo less last year than in 2015, worth around GBP 17m to the industry.

Why Big Ben sounds like no other bell

If you've been to London, or you've watched or heard a UK news programme, you'll probably have heard the bell of Big Ben. This is the famous bell on the Houses of Parliament clock, which rings every 15 minutes.

But the clock is about to go silent, as part of a huge repair project. And when it starts again, it may sound different.

Experts say the bell has a distinctive sound for several reasons. It has never been tuned, it has a crack in it, and it may be covered in soot (the dust created by smoke from fires). The bell has a crack in it because the ringer (clapper) was too large when it was first installed.

Experts who have been examining the bell say it has a unique sound, but that repair work may not make noticeable changes to the sound it makes.

This will be the third time Big Ben has been silent in its 150 years. Every time has been for repairs. This time, the faces of the clock may be painted in their original colours of green and gold.

Ancient jewellery found in a field

Do you know what metal detecting is? It is something people do for fun in the UK: they have special machines which find metal in the ground.

Two metal detectorists have found four amazing pieces of gold jewellery dating back to the third or fourth century BCE. They are three gold collars and a bracelet, which might have been made in France or Germany. They are some of the oldest examples of Iron Age gold.

They were found by two friends, Mark Hambleton and Joe Kania, who had recently started metal detecting again. They had done it for 20 years before but gave up because they didn't find anything and it was "boring" (and went fishing instead).

They found the jewellery in a field one afternoon. It was cold and getting dark, and they hadn't found anything and were about to stop. Then they found something, realised it was gold, and went on to find the other three pieces.

Now experts think the jewellery could change everything which is known about the North of England before the Romans arrived.

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