The Saturday Miscellany: How to organise a calendar; gin fashion; Tom Barbash's bookshelf


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The Independent Culture

How to: Organise a calendar

By Sarah Parsons

For those who turn up to Thursday's meeting on Tuesday, or forget to order the birthday cake, Jessica Robson, of secretarial agency Bain & Gray is here to help you remember those all-important dates.

"The optimum amount of calendars to keep? One. Trying to maintain and update several calendars is hard, and you are likely to miss an event. One calendar for both professional and personal use is much safer."

"It is important to distinguish between two aspects of time management – appointments, and 'to-dos'. It is crucial for appointments (ie meetings, hospital appointments) to be in your calendar, however it is best to keep 'to-dos' separate from your calendar, to complete at your discretion."

"Don't rely on memory to keep track of the meeting you just arranged – as the date is set, update your calendar immediately."

Rotating column: Gin fashion

By Olivia Williams

This year marks 250 years since the death of William Hogarth, who burned gin addiction into our collective imagination with his 1751 etching Gin Lane. Centuries on, the Brits are still big gin fans, but much has changed.

In the Victorian era, it moved out of the gin palace into the gentlemen's clubs. The G&Ts drunk by officers in the Empire made gin acceptable back home. Then, when it was adopted by early 20th-century débutantes, it rose to the apogee of glamour.

It wasn't to last. While London was getting into a groove in the Sixties, gin was getting into a rut. Seen as a fusty traditional drink, it was ditched in favour of vodka. For decades it would languish in the back of cocktail cabinets. Now, thanks to a wave of adventurous distillers, gin is back where it should be – on everyone's lips.

Gin Glorious Gin by Olivia Williams is out on 28 August (Headline, £14.99)

Instant Ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. I'm going on a date on Friday and I think the person may well be a spy. Should I voice my suspicions?

A. If I've learned anything from Spy Kids 2 it's this: members of the intelligence community are attracted to discretion above all things. Sit back, smile seductively then go through his/her texts as soon as they go to the toilet.


Four play: George Galloway* targets

1. Israel

2. The US Senate

3. Soda Stream

4. Manchester City FC

*George Galloway born today 1954

Micro extract: Killing fields

'By 3pm there was not a live French infantryman on the slopes of Mont St Jean. D'Erlon's corps attack was Napoleon's main point of effort and it had been repulsed with severe losses –anything up to 4,000 men'

From 24 Hours at Waterloo by Robert Kershaw (W.H. Allen, £25)

All good things

By Charlotte Philby



Soft sell

Made from 100 per cent merino wool, this incredibly soft cushion (above) from Barcelona-born interiors and textile designer Cristian Zuzunaga is one to keep away from children and pets. Check out his throws, too. £110,

Streets ahead

The LUXE City Guide's European Grand Tour Box is a slick eight-book set offering the lowdown on Madrid, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Barcelona, Istanbul and Florence. For the discerning holidaymaker. £44,


Choc attack

At the Pump Street Bakery they've combined Venezuelan cocoa, Maldon sea salt and sourdough breadcrumbs into a chocolate bar that is malty, grainy and good. £5.80,