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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.

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

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.

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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<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past