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There's still time to snap up a crafty gift for Christmas that will look great and keep little ones busy in the holidays

Ron Atkinson entering the Big Brother house

Matt Butler: Big Bad Ron Atkinson sneaks back as a cuddly old granddad on Celebrity Big Brother

View From The Sofa: There’s no getting away from the fact that a racist remark ended his career

Cake pushers, begone! We don't want your calories

If the Government wishes to curb the obesity epidemic, it should forget chip shops and focus on kind, maternal women in offices who equate sweet foods with happiness

The 10 Best wedding cakes

Forget love and happiness - these multi-tier marvels are reason enough to get hitched this summer.

Beauty vending machines are in vogue at the moment

Forget stale Doritos, flat Fanta or a squashed Mars bar: Chanel's new vending machines arrive at Selfridges

Forget stale Doritos, flat Fanta or a squashed Mars bar after swimming. This is the 21st century and vending machines have gone upmarket. Chanel has set up its new machine, which dispenses mascaras instead of the usual disappointing swag, in Selfridges.

The reign of the cupcake may be at an end

Baking: Shares in cake frosting go cold

In great news for patisserie purists and weight watchers everywhere (but a potential catastrophe for fans of icing): the cult of the cupcake may at last be coming to an end.

The 10 Best Mother's Day gifts

It's time to make her feel special with flowers, perfume, cupcakes – or even the latest in coffee-machine chic

Was Justin Bieber's ‘worst birthday’ really so terrible?

It can be tricky to remember that Justin Bieber is a real human being.

How To Be Beautiful: It's all in the texture

No matter the style, it's the texture of your hair that ultimately sets the tone. A sleek bob means business, but the same cut artlessly ruffled up is more likely to suggest bed.

Great British Bake Off cooks up a global storm

The format is the BBC's second most successful export after Strictly

<b>Sylvester Stallone: Sly Moves</b> I have a thing about posture in the car. If I'm driving, I'll purposely put the seat upright to 90 degrees … and try to drive with my head on the headrest and it is so great for the neck and the spine.

The sly wisdom of action hero Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone might be 66, he might not have made a decent film for a while, and he might talk a bit funny, but could he still have you in a fight? Fuhgeddaboudit!

In an interview in today's Shortlist magazine, he confounds and delights in equal measure with a serious of pronouncements that leave us in no doubt: Step off Seagal,  move aside Arnie, Sly is back!

Buyout firms near to Twinkies deal

The private equity firms Apollo Global Management and C Dean Metropoulos are believed to be near a deal to buy snack cake brands including Twinkies and Donettes from the bankrupt Hostess Brands. A deal, part of Hostess's bankruptcy reorganisation, is not yet final.

Premier extends licence for Cadbury cakes

Premier Foods yesterday extended its licence with Cadbury to continue making cakes under the chocolate company's brand through to 2017.

Neon dreams live on in Las Vegas

It's the city that never stands still, but Simon Calder finds that the bright lights remain as warm as ever

My Secret Life: Greg Rutherford, 25, Athlete

'I pride myself on my cakes'

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Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
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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
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'