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.


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
Career Services

Day In a Page

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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas