Simon Usborne

Simon Usborne is a features writer at The Independent and i.

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The reindeer pen at the attraction

Winter blunderlands: Putting the grot into grotto

The temporary closure of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's 'Magical Journey' Christmas attraction continues the tradition of festive wonderland disasters

Roar appeal: Grayson Perry's lion bag, which is available to Labour supporters for £19

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits: How to shop politically

Following Labour's offer of a limited-edition Grayson Perry bag to its donors, Simon Usborne looks at the many merchandising opportunities other parties are cashing in on

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger performs in front of a crowd of 70,000 at Wembley Stadium in 1982

The Rolling Stones' tour insurance policy: Have they got Keith Richards coverage?

How do you underwrite a band on the run? Simon Usborne asks the experts

Mark Zuckerberg: Glad to be grey

Mark Zuckerberg and the art of being smart casual

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg wears the same T-shirt every day to avoid wasting time on 'silly' decisions. Could we all unlock extra brain power this way, asks Simon Usborne

Cruise control: facilities include the North Star observation pod, a robotic bar and a skydiving simulator

Quantum of the Seas: inside the world's smartest cruise ship

Simon Usborne gets a preview of Royal Caribbean’s latest enormous vessel before her maiden voyage
Call to alms: Marcelle Speller

How much money do you need to be a philanthropist?

Charitable gifts of over £1m are at a five-year high. But in addition to giving more, people are giving smarter thanks to training provided in donor workshops.

Go figure: Matt Parker, wearing the binary code scarf knitted by his mother

"Stand-up mathematician" Matt Parker is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences

Simon Usborne joins Parker on a fun-filled trip to the Science Museum to talk about his first book
Jewel in the crown: drawings from ‘The Letter for the King’, an adventure about a boy and his mission to save a medieval realm

Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom was written in 1962 by an eccentric Dutchwoman and has sold a million copies. Will it, ponders Simon Usborne, herald a new publishing era?

Ebola outbreak: Meet the men and women on the frontline against the deadly virus and other hazards

They are first responders, disease experts and emergency doctors. But who are the people who tackle killer viruses for a living? Simon Usborne hears how they (and their families) cope with work
PHONE LANTERN Impress your fellow night owls by putting a water bottle on top of your phone to create a makeshift lantern. The light from the screen will turn the water bottle into a light. Remember to turn off the lock on your phone to keep the light continuous and make sure that the bottle has water in it for optimum refraction.

Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Hacking doesn't have to mean taking something - software or celebrities - down

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The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future