Arts and Entertainment

Pensioners ape 'Rocky', 'Titanic', 'Bond' and more

The lobby at Claridge's, decorated for Christmas

Hotels: Gonna make this a night to remember

Claridge's has let the TV cameras in and the result is a runaway reality hit. But what's it really like to spend the evening there? Unforgettable, say John Walsh and Charlotte Philby

The 10 Best photography books

From Magnum contact sheets to portraits by Mario Testino, there’s something here for everyone to feast their eyes on...

My Secret Life: Pierre Dukan, 70, diet guru

'I injected my friends and family'

Six hours, 35 miles and 118 years of history: that’s the offer from
Mersey Ferries for its special Manchester Ship Canal departures
between Seacombe (on the Wirral, opposite Liverpool) and Salford
Marilyn Monroe in 'The Seven Year Itch'

Needles at the ready for the The Seven Year Stitch

So you want to make like Marilyn Monroe? You don't need to start a hot and heavy affair with a president nor hit the (bleach) bottle. What you need is a needle and thread, some slinky white fabric and a copy of a new book, Sew Iconic: How to Make 10 Classic Hollywood Dresses by Liz Llewellyn (A&C Visual Arts, £14.99).

Album: Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday Roman Reloaded (Island)

The early American reaction to Nicki Minaj's follow-up to Pink Friday has been "mixed" – which is entirely appropriate, given that the album itself has an almost schizophrenic character.

When in Rome, don't do as the tourists do. Start your sightseeing early

Winter in the Eternal City provides the best chance to soak up the history without all the hassle. At least that's the theory

Coelho says: 'I cry very easily - tears are words waiting to be written'

My Secret Life: Paulo Coelho, 64, author

'I'm very good at archery'

One Day (12A)

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson

Preview: Glamour of the Gods

Vintage prints of the stars of Hollywood's 'Golden Age' will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from 7 July.

Marilyn Monroe dress stars in Hollywood sale

The star of the hit film Singin' in the Rain , Debbie Reynolds' is to sell off some of Hollywood's most famous frocks when part of her collection of movie memorabilia goes under the hammer in Beverly Hills today.

Vespa PX 125 - iDrive

Mod fashion returns as Vespa relaunches its classic PX scooter

Minor British Institutions: Pyjamas

Pyjamas have seen something of a revival these past chilly winters. Not the mimsy ones in pastel colours whose principal existence now is in the parallel world of modesty-conforming television bedrooms, but the full flannel, with stripes, cord and top pocket (for your hanky, of course). What could be more comforting and more secure (so long as you've tied the cord properly) while the ice grips and the wind whistles without?

Caroline: A Mystery, By Cornelius Medvei

As he nears retirement, Mr Shaw the insurance broker goes on his summer holiday and falls for a creature with "eyes a man could drown in". Their "strange affair" begins with a shock of mutual recognition in a field: "two strangers come face to face" and "an overpowering force shakes them". Shaw takes his new-found beloved back to the family home, an object of "devotion" as much as "affection". She wins over office colleagues, when she comes into work, with her "lovely personality". Her staff assessment promises swift promotion."Always well-groomed and never over-dressed", she also learns to play chess with a grandmaster's eye and a killer instinct. Her gift shows off "the grace of a dancer, the force of a juggernaut". Yet, for all her allure, this angelic being keeps a distance: "She combined great personal charm with an air of serene detachment". Then, one sad night, Caroline nudges open the door of her makeshift stable in Mr Shaw's backyard and disappears for ever.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
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news... you won't believe how bad their skills were

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas