Extras
 

Make getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers

It makes you want to dye

There's only one problem with a Marks & Spencer fashion moment: you'll see your star purchase on every street corner. Unless...

Interest in Courtaulds may spark bid battle

COURTAULDS, the chemicals company, which announced plans for a de-merger in February, could find itself the subject of a bid battle after announcing yesterday that it had received an approach that could lead to an offer for the group.

Barristers attacked for price-fixing as think-tank calls for silk cut

The system of having Queen's Counsel - or silks - should be abolished because it only exists so barristers can charge higher fees, claims a solicitor writing for a right-wing think-tank. Michael Streeter, Legal Affairs Correspondent, looks at the case for the prosecution.

Style Counsel: Stole the show

Everyone owns at least one winter scarf. Mostly they are practical, woolly things, but those made from jewelled silk and velvet are the ultimate way to dress up any outfit says Melanie Rickey.

The Investment Column: Courtaulds counts on Tencel

So it doesn't wrinkle, it's tough and it's as soft as silk. But can Courtaulds' "wonder-fibre", Tencel, revitalise the chemical group's flagging fortunes? Courtaulds shares have slumped to 270p, less than 50 per cent of their value five years ago, and 7.5p down on the day on the back of poor first-half results. Pre-tax profits in the six months to September were pounds 62m, 5 per cent down on last year.

A cup above the rest; is it worth it? by cayte williams

Your biggest assets need tender loving care, but even La Perla isn't worth pounds 116

The Essentials: The time Dinner party The place Your home

An evening with good food, wine and friends is the ideal way to while away dark autumnal nights. But before planning the menu you'll need the right crockery, cutlery, glasses and table accessories. To help you lay the perfect table we went shopping and selected the following items:

The real feelgood factor

The new sensuality is not necessarily kitsch of a rejection of minimalist values, but an add on. Get the look by combining the very cheap with luxuriously expensive items.

Let's take it from the top

get the look ... and get it right

Letter: Unfair to fake fur

Sir: I was delighted to hear of the new anti-fur initiative by Respect for Animals (report, 14 December). I would be very sorry to be seen dead wearing fur. But could activists please ask sympathisers to be careful before attacking in public women who merely appear to be wearing fur? I have been the object of invective, and have even been spat at, for wearing my fake fur, when I have forgotten to wear my People for Ethical Treatment of Animals anti-fur badge.

TIGHTS OF FANCY

Oooh yes. Lacy tights are the ringer-dinger in thing to wear on your legs this autumn. Thank Prada for this resurgence in 'tack' hosiery (although its cashmere version costs rather more at pounds 95). Lacy tights should be worn with the simplest of outfits to avoid pattern overload. The good news is that for a tenner or so, you can have this year's look: climb into a pair and you will instantly update last year's wardrobe. And those with blotchy legs that never quite got along with sheers will welcome the camouflage effect of all over lace. To complete the effect these tights should really be worn with big clumpy scuffed leather shoes, the sort the girl who never got picked for netball wore. Revenge is sweet.

sheer bliss

Stay cool this summer in form-flattering chiffon. British designer Maria Grachvogel has artfully draped this most delicate of fabrics into dresses that reveal without revealing all

Ready to wear: Nothing like the real thing

Synthetics continue their steady ascent. Improved technology has made fibres which fell out of favour in the Seventies, such as rayon, polyester and acrylic, more attractive to wear. They have become more hydrophilic (ie less sweaty) and they can be used in finer gauges, thus becoming more versatile. This is good because man-made fibres, whether from a synthetic polymer (such as acrylic) or from a natural one (such as rayon/viscose) are perfect for the slinky knits that are so big this season. Slinky knits and jersey knits are perfect for covering up less- than-perfect figures; but there are a few things to watch for. Firstly, look for Lycra in woollen jersey, a recent innovation that helps the cloth keep its shape (mostly used by designers at present but also by Marks & Spencer); secondly, some slinky knits can cling, so prevent this by investing in Marks & Spencer "Cling Resist" underwear (from pounds 5 for a waist slip from branches nationwide). As for wearing slinky knits, the rule of thumb is: if you wear a fitted top, wear a loose bottom and vice versa.

But do I really need a pair of edible knickers?

mail-order junkie

BOOK REVIEW / A taste for indigo linen

THE BEST OF FRIENDS Joanna Trollope Bloomsbury £15.99
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve