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.

Making staying in the new going out: 5 great ways to have fun without leaving the house

Even though it's freezing outside and you're skint anyway, there's still plenty of fun to be had inside. Here are five brilliant ways to have big nights in without breaking the bank

Investment View: Follow its boss and walk away from Punch

Punch Taverns took another kicking after its chief executive, Roger Whiteside, walked out to take charge of Greggs, the bakery chain. You can see why. Punch, an advert for everything that was wrong about the debt-fuelled madness which infected corporate Britain before the credit crunch, still faces significant problems.

Feathered friends: Venice carnival-goers

The Hedonist: Behind the mask in Venice

What to see and where to be seen

The Week In Radio: Saturday morning fever with master muso Mary Anne

"In another life I would have been out on the road DJing and dragging a record box around in the middle of the night in some shady club," remarked Mary Anne Hobbs at the start of her new weekend breakfast show on BBC6 Music.

Hollywood: An A-list invasion in the West End

More Hollywood-friendly stars than ever are swapping screen for stage in 2013.

An American Christmas: Why are we sacrificing British traditions for a yankified yuletide?

Candy canes a-plenty and silver lanes aglow; Christmas is undergoing a transformation, but it's not too late to stop it

Venice's bohemian bar suffers from drop in 'quality tourists'

Their establishment is as much a part of the Venice myth as the canals, gondolas and the Rialto Bridge. But now last orders have come for the Cipriani family, who have run Harry's Bar in Venice for 81 years.

Arrigo Cipriani pours a Bellini at Harry’s Bar in Venice

Last orders at Harry's Bar: banks call time on Venice's legendary Cipriani family

Their establishment is as much a part of the Venice myth as the canals, gondolas and the Rialto Bridge. But now last orders have come for the Cipriani family, who have run Harry's Bar in Venice for 81 years.

The Emperor's New Clothes (09/12/12)

Stop sniggering at the back. Yes, sperm counts are down, but that's no reason to write off all men
Very Moorish: Hôtel Heure Bleue Palais

The Hedonist: Wining and dining in Essaouira

What to see and where to be seen

Ricky Hatton's return to the ring ended in defeat, as he was knocked out by Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Arena.

Boxing: Body blow to Hatton's hopes of redemption

The Hitman's comeback ends in tears – and finally he throws in the towel

Joe McCanta, Cocktail maker: 'A dash of bitters - orange, lemon or celery - changes a whole drink'

My Life In Food: Joe McCanta, cocktail maker

McCanta started out bar tending in New York and went on to work for Saf raw food restaurants, opening Saf Restaurant and Bar in London in 2008. He has devised the cocktails for the Grey Goose Winter Ball to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation tomorrow. For tickets, go to ejaf.com

Make spooky cookies for your Halloween party

Halloween on a budget: five simple recipes

If you're having guests over for Halloween, the least you could do is cook up some frightening food. Read on for some killer recipes this Halloween.

Thirst for 'affordable luxuries' helps drinks giant Diageo hit £1bn sales

A thirst for "affordable" luxuries, in the shape of expensive cocktails in the trendiest bars, has helped global drinks giant Diageo record more than £1 billion in sales of its high end liquor in the past year.

Shanghai’s South Bund

Shaking it up in Shanghai

Waking up in the super-sleek bed in my room at The Waterhouse (1-3 Maojiayuan Road; 00 86 21 6080 2988; waterhouseshanghai.com) leaves me delightedly confused – the last time I awoke in Shanghai I was in a grotty hostel. This time around, we're poshing out at the minimalist boutique hotel in the up-and-coming Cool Docks – a refurbished part of Shanghai's South Bund.

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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
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition