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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

He wants his first birthday party catered? Start worrying, Mum

In answer to parents' many begging letters over the past 12 months, a handy cut-out-and-weep guide to spotting whether your darling boy - yes, little James, little Henry, little Willy - is not as other children:

Added ingredients

A successful little cake shop tries a new mix down the road; The Konditor Sandwich is a massive thing, consisting of excellent salty focaccia filled with lettuce, Emmenthal, ham, tomato, cucumber and a rich dressing Photographs by Kalpesh Lathigra

A perfectly frightful tea party

Natasha Roffe offers some tricks for treating your little horrors on Hallowe'en

Five places to enjoy a sweet treat

CHALK FARM

The comfort of cake

THE NORMAL MAN Susie Boyt Weidenfeld £9.99 HEMINGWAY'S CHAIR Michael Palin Methuen £14.99

Darling, for you, the ultimate cake

Annie Bell shows how to bake romance with maximum chocolate

Dresden beats the cake cheats

The most famous of all was baked for August the Strong, Elector of Saxony, in 1730. It weighed two tonnes, and took 60 bakers to prepare. Eight horses transported it to the Elector's banquet, where it was sliced with a five-foot knife.

BOOK REVIEW / Love among the yak jerseys Yak jumpers, white socks: 'Mothers and other Lovers' - Joanna Briscoe: Phoenix, 14.99/8.99

WHEN this Betty Trask Award-winning novel is not documenting a mother-daughter clash that makes your hair stand on end, it is quietly gathering pace as a lesbian love story. No, daughter Eleanor does not actually cleave to mother Paula, thank goodness: they wouldn't be able to stop insulting each other long enough to have sex, anyway. But it is one of her mother's close friends, the curvaceous Selma, who becomes Eleanor's object of desire, not least because she is the only one who notices the 17-year-old and who doesn't wear lace-up boots or reek of patchouli.

Travel: No meat, no treats

ONE OF my non-meat-eating predecessor's closing remarks expressed disquiet about the way airlines treat vegetarians. A wholesome series of letters from readers suggests Frank Barrett's experiences were not typical. 'Varied and delicious,' is the conclusion of Steve Elliott of Derby on the vegetarian catering of the Dubai-based airline Emirates. And John Browning of Stroud writes: 'In 20 years' flying I've never had any problems - recently I forgot to tell Lufthansa in advance, but they still produced the vegetarian meal.'

Health Update: Perils of eating poppy seed cake

Anyone who enjoys eating poppy seed cake should be aware of a possibly embarrassing consequence. Three doctors in Switzerland who had enjoyed such a cake as a dessert at a gourmet restaurant tested their urine afterwards and found it positive for morphine. They report in the Lancet that poppy seeds are consumed more frequently than generally thought - in pastries, cakes, bagels, buns, rice, curry sauce and many other foods. They say that such a finding could be relevant to professionals - such as pilots, train drivers, athletes and military personnel - whose urine is routinely checked for drug abuse.

Brigadier finds trouble on home front

A FEUD involving a cook, a brigadier, his wife and flat chocolate cake culminated yesterday in the Ministry of Defence being sued for constructive dismissal.

TRIED & TESTED / Ready for the chop: Food processors promise to perform those tricky tasks for the busy cook. But do they live up to their claims? Our panel find out

WHEN food processors first came on the market in the Seventies, the idea was that they would slice, shred, mix, blend and mince without the fiddly business of having to fit a different accessory for each job. Today's food processor, though, is likely to have more accessories than Imelda Marcos. There are specialised attachments for virtually every kitchen task you've ever heard of - and some that you probably haven't. You can also buy a food processor combined with a blender, a food processor with a mini-bowl for preparing small quantities, or even, for the ultimate in culinary one-upmanship, invest in a food-processing system instead - a mixer, processor and blender in one.

Daily Bread: What a junior doctor ate one day last week

I HAD a bowl of Shreddies and Grape Nuts in the morning, and a glass of milk. I'm the only doctor I know who doesn't live on coffee. I was at the hospital by 8.15, and spent the morning assisting in the operating theatre. At 12.30 I had lunch in the doctors' room off the ward. I had a can of Irn Bru, an apple, and some sandwiches I'd made in the morning. I use Safeway's granary bread and peanut butter. I get through so much peanut butter that I have to buy it in 3kg tubs. While I ate lunch I wrote up some overhead projector acetates for a case presentation I was making afterwards to some staff and students. In the afternoon I was in the frac

Racing: Hannon finds a Classic marker: Clues collected from a Guineas trial at Newmarket point to a colt who has yet to have his abilities tested on the track this season

IT WAS all winks and whispers after the Free Handicap here yesterday, but for those who stopped to draw some conclusions the messages were clear enough. Redoubtable may win the 2,000 Guineas. Unblest probably will not. And Lemon Souffle, favourite for the 1,000 Guineas throughout the winter, is far from certain even to line up for the season's first Classic a fortnight today.

Travel (The Location Hunter): Lost in America's embrace: Paris, the setting for Jean-Luc Godard's early films, has kept its looks but not its character, says Stephen Wood

There were two troubling things about the photograph. First, although it was ostensibly a still from Jean-Luc Godard's A Bout de Souffle, made in 1959, the scene - in which the two stars, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, embrace on a street corner in Paris - does not appear in the film. It was not unusual for Hollywood studios to set up special publicity stills, but it seemed curiously at odds with the cinema-verite style of A Bout de Souffle.
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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor