Life and Style

For all the cuddly Thomas the Tank Engine nostalgia that surrounds Britain's railway history, it should never be forgotten that this was the story of capitalism in the raw. In the 19th century, fortunes were made but more typically lost and the winners were only too keen to signal their grand ambitions to the world.

Bob Nolet: 'mixing cultures appeals to me - I love asian fusion'

My Life in Food: Bob Nolet, master distiller, Ketel One Vodka

'Mixing cultures appeals to me – I love Asian fusion'

Mallorca sick of tourists vomiting in the streets - and other destinations in need of an image makeover

Mallorca is keen to change its image as a boozy holiday destination.

The hamper from Ampersand includes a savoury tartine, scones sentried by pots of jam and clotted cream, and a variety of sweet pastries
Ashes to ashes: The aftermath of last week’s fire near Yarnell, Arizona

Climate change fanned the flames of the Arizona wildfire

Out of America: As summers get hotter we will see more blazes like the one that killed 19 firefighters last week

The Big Six: Mallorcan retreats

Ivy-clad exteriors, private paths and mountain-facing rooms

Isaac McHale: The chef of The Clove Club on racing crabs and eating testicles

My earliest food memory Racing large brown crabs across the kitchen floor with my dad. We'd buy them from our local fishmonger, MacCallums of Troon, in Glasgow. And the winning crab would get cooked first – and made into a Singapore chilli crab dish. Afterwards, my dad and I would take the inner claws from them, clean them and use them as devil horns come Halloween.

Simple and summery: Mark's strawberry Bellini

Strawberry Bellini

Serves 4

The victor, Gareth Evans (left) with writer Samuel Muston

Bottoms up at the mile-high cocktail contest

Contenders for the Diageo World Class Bartender contest had an added challenge this year: to shake up a drink that still tasted good in mid-air. Samuel Muston joined them on board.

Culinary experiences in Portugal

Postcard from... Lisbon

My Life in Food: Nik Fordham, master distiller, Bombay Sapphire

Born in Wokingham, Fordham started out as a chemist, studying the subject with biology at Plymouth University, a discipline that helped him when he joined Beefeater Gin as distillery manager in 2008. He went on to receive a diploma in distilling and the picked up the Worshipful Company of Distillers scholarship award for excellence in 2011. Since March this year he has been master distiller at Bombay Sapphire. He will also be leading the Bombay Sapphire Ultimate G&T Studio Workshops at The Hoxton Hotel (Tuesday 18 and Tuesday 25 June 7pm – 8.30pm)

Two chefs at the RSC's Rooftop Restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon have devised a Titus Andronicus-themed pie

Revenge is a dish best served as a hot pie

Out of ideas for a dinner party? Why not serve up a dish made out of the heads of two children stewed in their own blood encased in a pie-crust of their ground down bones? Such is the notoriously grisly fare of Shakespeare's revenge tragedy Titus Andronicus and, in a cheeky nod to the play's nasty nosh, two chefs at the RSC's Rooftop Restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon have devised a Titus Andronicus-themed pie with a steak and KIDney (boom boom) filling as a culinary accompaniment to the RSC's new production.

Orpheus, Battersea Arts Centre, London

Theatre review: Orpheus, Battersea Arts Centre, London

Battersea Arts Centre has a fine track record for picking out fresh talents, nurturing them and then letting them bloom in the nooks and crannies of its magnificent building. Jerry Springer the Opera started life at a scratch night here. And in 2007, a young company called Punchdrunk famously filled the place with their Masque of the Red Death.

Cocktail craze helps rum sales to sparkle

The popularity of rum cocktails has pushed vodka from the top spot for the first time since the 1960s, according to supermarkets and drinks firms.

Simon Price on Dexys: Cheer up, Kevin! I'm about to give you a big smacker on the lips

Some things are a gift. Like the sign above the Duke of York's – where Dexys are playing an unprecedented nine nights – for Peter Nichols's black comedy Passion Play. Dexys are an act, after all, who called their 1981 tour The Projected Passion Revue, and the two elements that implies – heightened emotion and calculated theatricality – are still key to a Dexys live show.

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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
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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