Life and Style

Modern London is a city in turbulence, a cosmopolitan cauldron in which more things change than stay the same, where all the world comes to throw a tantrum, get rich through property and complain about schools. Its restaurant scene has generally kept up.

Not to be scoffed at: Competitve eating is the world's fastest-growing hobby

What compels a person to swallow 65 hard-boiled eggs in six minutes? The money? The danger? The adoration of fans?

Hazelnut ice cream with chestnut honey

Serves 6 - 8

Market Report: Bid talk bubbles up around Mitchells & Butlers

As blood sprayed across the markets, flowing from the flanks of the flailing retailers, traders not running for cover had to be content with reheating a few classic bid stories.

The Laughter Of Mothers, by Paul Durcan

A son's compassionate, poetic and surreal tribute to his mother

How to dress for Christmas

You've basted the turkey, mulled the wine, pretended to like your presents, and the guests are on their way... But what on earth should you wear? Glenn Waldron deconstructs the festive fashion code

Liquid assets: winter soups

All you need for a warming bowl of winter soup is a dash of imagination and some spare vegetables, says Mark Hix. Photographs by Jason Lowe

Winter wonders: Anna Pavord visits a Sussex garden so full of life that not even a flood can put it off its stride.

February can be a treacherous month, but each year it produces at least one day when the wind drops, the sky clears and the temperature nervously hauls itself up into double figures. Gardeners have learnt not to trust this apparent truce, this first glimpse of spring's white flag, but we can at least enjoy it while it lasts.

Rupert Cornwell: Roles are reversed as 'George and Tony' show nears its end

It was supposed to be, as the Downing Street and White House jargon has it, a "forward-leaning" meeting, dwelling on the future of Iraq and Iran and the irresistible march of freedom and democracy to the darkest recesses of the planet. In the event, the joint press conference of George Bush and Tony Blair was a rather sorry affair, less sunlit uplands of the future than the dark valleys of the past. Just like their respective intelligence communities, these two leaders have a credibility problem, reflected in their abysmal opinion poll ratings. On Thursday evening, it showed.

Chestnuts are not just for Christmas

It's chestnut season. But, while we just save them for the Christmas turkey, our French neighbours use them to create tasty salads and puddings, discovers Simon Beckett

Miles Kington: The hazards of Chestnut Horror

Children no longer bothered with conkers, marbles, spinning tops or the old simple pleasures

Quinn: The woman who loved, spun and won

But at what cost? As Kimberly Quinn, the woman who helped bring down a Home Secretary, escaped Britain yesterday for a holiday from the headlines, Francis Elliott investigates her extraordinary rise to power and fall from grace

'Fathers need time to spend bonding with their child'

Richie Barnett spends his lunch hour acting as a "taxi service" between a nursery and relatives' houses to ensure his three-year-old son Fynley's childcare needs are met.

Racing: Hennessy rider Dunsdon defies doubters

There are some famous riders competing in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday and there is also David Dunsdon.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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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
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick