Skip to content

It started with a single caravan parked on a verge near our house and was quickly followed by a Facebook message from the leader of our residents' association.

"Looks like a gypsy has moved in. Clear your cars tonight and lock all sheds/doors/garages," it read.

I replied politely, explaining that I wasn't happy with the stereotypes being used.

"Well, what should we call them then?" came the reply. It was shocking to realise that this person didn't understand I was objecting to the idea that all travellers and gypsies were thieves. They saw that as such a universal truth that they assumed I must have been merely objecting to the term 'gypsy'.

Our money saving columnist takes her first trip to a discounter to see what all the fuss is about.

I have never been inside an Aldi. There, I said it.

Although my friends rave about the prices and value, and my husband occasionally slips in to buy prize-winning booze, I have not personally shopped in an Aldi, Lidl or any of the discount supermarkets taking Britain by storm.

Could food banks be contributing to the problem of poverty?

It's no secret that food banks are on the rise, with more than 400 outlets across the UK. In the last 12 months, the Trussell Trust says its banks fed 913,138 people. Of those, 330,205 were children.

Feeding hungry children can only be good, but I am concerned that food banks are causing problems. I am worried that they are enabling us to accept food poverty when we need to be furiously demanding government action.

A former university lecturer's life was sent into a tailspin when she discovered her successful son was really at the centre of an ecstasy-selling ring. But she insists she's still proud.

Barbara Attwood was incredibly proud of her son Shaun. He had finished university with a first class degree, moved to America, got a job in the incredibly competitive world of stockbroking and had a huge house with a swimming pool. There was nothing to worry about; he was clearly a success.

Then one night, comfortably watching Coronation Street with her daughter, she received a phone call that turned everything on its head. Shaun had been arrested. He hadn't been to work in months. He had been caught running a vast drugs ring. He was looking at a sentence of 200 years in a US prison.