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Weather-proof your garden furniture

England isn’t the most forgiving country when it comes to the weather. While many of us invest in garden furniture for those summer months, weather-proofing it is essential all year long.

Safeguard your home improvement project: create a snagging list

If you employ a tradesman to carry out work on your property, then you should check for defects and document them in a list around two weeks before the work is due to be completed. This is when the tradesman serves notice and it will give him/her time to correct any flaws before the job is complete. Most importantly, this will happen before you part with the full sum of money.

Sales are predicted to rise further as spring approaches

Signs of optimism? House sales rise for fourth successive month

Sales are predicted to rise further as spring approaches

Dr Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth's Department of Psychology with her dog

Dogs 'see things from a human point of view' - at least when it comes to stealing food

Pet dogs may understand a human’s point of view, according to new research which suggests they are more likely to steal food when they think that nobody can see them.

Average London house £½m by end of decade

The price of an average London home will rise to at least £500,000 by the end of the decade – an increase of more than 30 per cent on today's £383,000 average – according to research published today.

Safe escapes from the timeshare snare

Conmen and fraudsters will undoubtedly circle if you try to sell your holiday deal. But you can get out with care, reports Esther Shaw

How the energy Green Deal can help you stay in the black

There's good news for people who lack the money to install renewable energy systems

McCarthy mulls debt

The board of retirement homes builder McCarthy & Stone will examine plans to pay off a big chunk of its debt this week.

The Holland Park house

Calm down, dear. It's only a £60m mansion

At least, that's what Michael Winner hoped it would be worth. That now looks unlikely

The interior design trends for 2013 – the Maison & Objet report

For anyone looking for the next big thing in the home fashion sphere, the exhibitors at the Parisian Maison & Objet, can give you a glimpse of what’s hot or not right now. The fair is the first and biggest design trade show of the year, which means that this is the place to spot new patterns, colours and styles. For the spring collection, however, there weren’t any shocking revelations. Pantone’s 2013 Emerald Green was nowhere to be seen, instead, pastels dominated.

Conserve heat: insulate your home

There are many ways to make your home more energy-efficient and reduce your heating bill. Insulated homes are comfortable homes. In an adequately insulated home, the temperature is constant throughout each room and walls, ceilings and flooring remain warm in the winter and cooler in the summer months.

Residential planning approvals graphic

Are we heading for a new housing bubble?

With ultra-cheap financing for mortgages but severely constricted supply, property prices could be on the rise again. Russell Lynch reports

A woman walks with her dog during a blizzard in Stockholm

Part-time pooches for time-poor dog lovers

There are few things nicer than walking a dog and I'll happily borrow a friend's canine for a stomp around the park. Sadly like many nine-to-five officer workers, renters and cramped townies it wouldn't be fair of me to own a dog. This is a shame. I grew up with dogs (a mutt called Ziggy, then a Jack Russell called Mini) but haven't had the joy of walking my own since leaving home 10 years ago.

Landlords add to buy-to-let portfolios thanks to Bank of England's lending scheme

Landlords are looking to take advantage of slightly looser bank lending to add to their property portfolios according to a raft of research from the rental market.

Only 34 per cent of first-time buyers in the UK were able to buy their home without any extra help last year

Lenders get innovative to give first-time buyers a boost

A new line of products have been launched for house hunters who have only a limited deposit. Chiara Cavaglieri sees how they compare

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'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