Extras
 

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

Shopping: Tea time

China cups, cake slices, silver spoons - afternoon tea is an elaborate ritual, and all the better for it.

Indoor: Flowers good enough to eat

The stuff of ... cakes. Sally Staples discovers the delicate art of sugar craft

The Weasel: My eye was taken by the interior of a nuclear reactor (`Please keep off the core')

"We were spinning out of control in space at 3-4,000 mph," yelled the American astronaut. Despite the excitement of his yarn, yelled against a hubbub of milling schoolchildren, his audience steadily dwindled. Even the thrill of exploring the infinite cosmos cannot overcome the far-from- limitless attention span of the modern child. The voice of the spaceman - in fact, an actor in a spacesuit - was reduced to a husky bellow by the effort. "If anything goes wrong," he croaked, "you dehydrate within seconds..." I felt in need of a drink myself while visiting the Science Museum during the Christmas rush, when attendance more than doubles to 4,000 a day.

Rather odd fairy cakes, ladies ...

"It Is high time our party stopped talking about 'the women' as if we are from another dimension or another species," said Mrs Peta Buscombe, the grandly titled Conservative Party Vice Chairman with Responsibility for Women.

City: I work for Julian Metcalfe

Beaky Evette works for the chairman of the Pret A Manger sandwich company

Chancellor must avoid boom and bust policies

The first working day after both the CBI and the TUC called on Gordon Brown to do something about the uncomfortably strong pound, lo and behold, the level of sterling falls sharply. An amazing demonstration of the possibility of talking down the pound, if only the Chancellor would make the effort?

Brass Eye wins over watchdog

The watchdog for television standards has gone out of its way to praise the controversial Channel 4 satire Brass Eye despite upholding complaints from two Tory MPs who were fooled into appearing on the show to criticise a fictitious drug called "cake".

A fish cake named desire

SIR CHARLES NAPIER: Spriggs Alley, near Chinnor, Oxfordshire OX9 4BX. Tel: 01494 483011. Open Tues-Sat 12-2.30pm and 6.30-10pm, and Sun 12-3.30pm. Table d'hote lunch menu Tues-Sat, pounds 14.50. Average a la carte price, pounds 30. Credit cards accepted

Two by two in Charlotte St

PIED A TERRE; 34 Charlotte Street, London W1P 1HJ. Tel: 0171 636 1178. Mon-Fri 12.15- 2.15pm and Mon-Sat 7.15-10.45pm. Three-course set lunch pounds 22. Set dinner, three courses pounds 29.50, seven courses pounds 46. Credit cards accepted

Guy Fawkes strikes again

Tim Stein meets a firestarter extraordinaire

Books: Concrete and cakes in Cavan

THE BEND FOR HOME: A Memoir by Dermot Healy, Picador pounds 16

Baker grabs a slice of the action

Tea for two? Chris Arnot finds a burgeoning cake maker who has attracted Fortnum & Mason

I Stole Freddie Mercury's Birthday Cake by Malcolm Hardee with John Fleming, 4th Estate pounds 8.99.

What could a man who has built a career around the public display of his genitalia (albeit occasionally shielded by a hard-pressed balloon or three) possibly have left to reveal? A fair bit, it turns out. This characterful and not overly ghost-written autobiography contains a feast of scabrous reminiscence. It is also a great deal more fun than Malcolm Hardee's act - but then again, so is having your appendix removed.

The chocolate test

You put down the phone and panic: six unexpected guests for dinner this evening. Two obvious puddings to turn to are chocolate mousse, and a rich chocolate cake - both are comparatively quick and simple to make, and everyone loves them.

Pick of the Week: Scottish Food Proms

When the musical Proms come round each year, they invariably provoke a wide range of foodie metaphors. So what can one say about the Fifth Scottish Food Proms? It's a high note in Glasgow's cultural year, beautifully arranged, and the list of tastings, kitchen tours, exhibitions, will be music to the ears of all but the
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before