Life and Style

Night In

Christina Patterson: Let the men eat cake (and have a chat)

One of the exhausting things about being a woman is that there's no brief answer to that social stalwart: "How are you?" In the workplace, maybe. In the street, maybe. Even at a party, maybe, but only if you don't know the person asking you well. But with a friend? With any, in fact, of your 20 close friends? Not a chance. There's no way out. Over a glass or 10 of chardonnay, or a slice or 10 of chocolate cake, you'll have to start from the beginning and work your way grimly through to the end.

Anthony Rose: Chain-store massacre?

One chain’s misfortune is another’s opportunity, and Oddbins is starting to look the real deal

Tom Sutcliffe: A massacre that may or may not be art

A few months ago the Mexican film-maker Guillermo Del Toro, the director of Pan's Labyrinth, gave an interview to Wired magazine in which he predicted that "in the next 10 years there will be an earthshaking Citizen Kane of games".

The Sketch: Words, words, words: tragic Gordon blusters on

I'm not sure Gordon's doing the right thing agreeing to these TV debates. There's too much he can't say. "That's a particular problem for my party," as Cameron put it yesterday. Gordon couldn't say that – the words would come out as: "That isn't a particular problem for my party." If he tried to say, as Cameron said, "I don't have the answer to that", it would emerge as, "the answer to that is, as I have said before, and I was right to say".

Anthony Rose: 'Independent wine merchants offer small volumes of quality wines that big retailers won't touch'

After the recent anti-alcohol rallying cry from the BMA, holding a wine tasting at its HQ could be thought of as akin to infiltrating Troy with a wooden horse. In this case, however, the footsoldiers of wine were there not to bury their enemy but rather to praise the endeavours of winemakers around the world making quality wines from boutique wineries. There's no precise definition as to what constitutes a boutique winery, but Judy Kendrick, who organised the event, explained: "In these days of the 'big brand', talk of minimum prices for alcohol and featureless bottles, it's essential to remember that we're in this business for the love of 'real' wine made by producers ... who are passionate about producing truly outstanding wines in limited quantities."

Bumper crops expected for English vineyards

English grape growers began their annual harvest today as industry experts predicted that home-grown wine production will almost double in the next six years.

Roast chicken with spring onion and horseradish

Ingredients to serve 4

Poll ranks naughty kids by name

Teachers say they can identify which children are likely to be troublemakers by their names.

Chablis: A vine romance

The medieval village is at the heart of a district so full of exquisite food and intriguing history that you could almost ignore all that wine. Almost

Anthony Rose: The French and Americans laugh at the English habit of enjoying our champagnes with a bit of age to them

I recently fossicked out a bottle of the obscure Heidt et Fils Carte Blanche Champagne, lurking in an ill-lit corner of the cellar. Being hopeless at cellar records, I had no recollection of how long it had been there, nor whence it had come. It soon became clear from the shrunken shaft of the cork that it was a fizz probably somewhere between 15 and 20 years old. The golden colour, gentle mousse, but above all the deliciously evolved nutty flavours and an ever so slightly sherryish whiff, confirmed that it was a wine of venerable age. Polished off rapidly with some past-its-sell-by-date, vacuum-sealed Hungarian foie gras I'd managed to prise open after years of resistance, it was a union made all the closer to heaven for its unexpectedness.

Great views, great wines. Is it really the Languedoc?

This area of France is famed for plonk. Yet, its winemakers have raised their game. Forget your preconceptions and take a tour, says Andy Lynes

Album: Bitter: Sweet, Drama, (Qaungo/Cooperative Music)

Too late for the scene and too early for mid-1990s nostalgia, Bitter:Sweet are a jazzy/trip-hop duo whose music is designed to be played in the background of TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy (episode two, season three) or in the foreground of Lipstick Jungle (theme tune, "The Bomb").

Stuffed trout, by Clarissa Dickson Wright

Ingredients to serve 8

Starfishing, By Nicola Monaghan

The breathless pace of this tale of City greed and corruption doesn't allow for many pauses or, alas, much depth. Her brittle protagonist, Francesca Cavanagh, takes a job as a newbie City trader, and Nicola Monaghan whizzes us through her nightly Chardonnay consumption and developing coke habit, and treats her doomed romantic involvement with her married, smooth-talking trader boss similarly speedily.

Anthony Rose: The more adventurous South African producers are trying out new blends of grape varieties

Knowing the South African winemakers Gary and Kathy Jordan, it's a fair bet that when their new London restaurant, High Timber, open its doors close to the Millennium Bridge this month, it will have a good chance of succeeding even in these tough times. The Jordans are the likeable and self-evidently courageous couple behind Jordan Estate in Stellenbosch. Their 2006 Jordan Chameleon Cabernet Merlot, £10, Jeroboams shops, is a succulently juicy Margaux-meets-the-Cape blend of blackcurrant with a capsicum whiff, and the 2004 Jordan Cobblers Hill, £17.95-£19.99, Jeroboams, Ex Cellar, Surrey (01372 275247), Flying Corkscrew (01442 412312),, one of the Cape's most stylish and complex bordeaux-style blends.

Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

people'Bring It On' actress says her legal team will combat the 'vultures'
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
The Jura Mountains
Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast
Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam