Sophie Lam

Sophie Lam is Head of Travel at The Independent. She joined the travel desk in 2004, after spending several months in Central America and when not in the office is happiest on the beach.

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Farm house: A dining table in one of the properties

Stay the Night: Stein's at Trevone Farm, Cornwall

The television chef's latest venture is a joint project that goes back to his early days. Sophie Lam checks in

The Big Six: Cotswolds retreats

Farmhouse chic, original beams, serene furnishings, Chris Beardshaw gardens, and mounted antlers

In the bag: Part of the security process at Gatwick

Backstage travel: No 8 - The airport security team leader

It’s service with a smile as you head off to departures

Portugal's Ria Formosa: Spot the exotic visitors as they fly in

Birds and planes are major features of the Ria Formosa. Sophie Lam takes to the water to explore this extraordinary lagoon

Wild weekend: the hens hike up Chase End Hill

Not your average hen weekend: going wild in the woods

Bushcraft and camping (and champagne) in the Malvern Hills provided bride-to-be Sophie Lam with a weekend to remember

Rustic retreat: the lounge

Room Service: Serenity and style in the Algarve

Fazenda Nova, Portugal

Open all hours in Bangkok

Sunset is no reason to stop shopping in the world's most visited city, says Sophie Lam as she explores its bustling night markets

Room Service: The Nolitan, New York City

Take the rough with the smooth

Been there: Souvenirs can be a competitive sport among travellers

Sophie Lam: Which is more powerful, a tourist trinket or a memory?

Souvenir: "a memory", in French; or a thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place or event. It comes from the Latin, subvenire: "occur to the mind".

Wilde at heart in the capital: Café Royal, London

Room Service

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there