How to: Stop smoking

By Joshua Worth

It's New Year's resolution time, and if it's given you the desire to kick the fags, Professor Robert West is here with his advice.

* "Smoke as much as you like until your quit date and then stop abruptly and do your utmost to avoid even a single puff. When the cravings strike, remember that every day you avoid smoking you are gaining 5-6 hours of healthy 'life expectancy'."

* "To help you stick to your not-a-puff rule, get a prescription for Champix (very good at controlling the cravings), or use a nicotine skin patch plus one of the other nicotine products such as the lozenge or an electronic cigarette."

* "If you are not ready to stop just yet, use a nicotine patch and/or one of the other products to help you cut down. This will act as a stepping stone."

'How to Quit Smoking: The Ultimate SmokeFree Formula' by Prof Robert West (Orion, £7.99)

Rotating column: Slow club

By Simon Usborne

"Love, come and watch," I shouted up from the loo. We'd bought stuff at B&Q for a plumber to tart up the bathroom, but I couldn't wait for the Cedo Allium soft-close toilet seat so I'd fitted it myself. Flushed with man-does-DIY triumph and hinge-based expectation, I was ready for the maiden closing. For some time, you see, I had marvelled at the smooth civility of loo seats in posh hotels – the ones that cannot slam but decline with the stateliness of Tower Bridge. But (see also: huge showerheads; second basins) I had reconciled myself to a future without such a luxury at home. Yet at B&Q, presumably after a fall in rotary hinge damper prices, I discovered that soft-close was standard. And so we watched, hypnotised, as the seat lowered. After six seconds, wood met porcelain. There was no sound. Our bathroom had arrived.

Micro extract: Information overload

"The information age has off-loaded a great deal of the work previously done by people we could call information specialists on to all of the rest of us. We are doing the jobs of 10 different people while still trying to keep up with our lives."

From 'The Organized Mind' by Daniel J Levitin (Viking,

Instant Ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. My housemate's girlfriend is horribly over-familiar with me and the other housemates. What do we do?

A. She's trying to ingratiate herself, but obviously trying too hard. You could put her at ease by being friendlier. Or you could retreat to your room for the duration of their relationship. With luck it might peter out.


Four play: Rod Stewart* bands

1. Kinks

2. Steampacket

3. Jeff beck group

4. Faces

*born on this day in 1945

All Good Things

By Charlotte Philby



Made in Scotland from 30 per cent cashmere and 70 per cent merino wool, the 'Present Cashmere Blend Polo in Royal Blue' (above) is perfect for the office, long winter walks or snuggling up on the sofa. £185;



Alessi is gearing up for spring with a new range of colourful items including the 'Citrus' squeezer by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio (above). Stocking up on Vitamin C was never so appealing.


Good lookin'

Resolved to your new work-out regime? Do it in style with the newly-released active range from Australian label We Are Handsome. Looks good, with "technical features" including breathable fabrics and concealed support panels. From £54;