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.

Salvatore Calabrese who has claimed to have set a new record for the most expensive cocktail in the world at Salvatoreís at Playboy Club London

Fancy a Friday tipple? Master Mixologist creates world's most expensive cocktail

'Salvatore's Legacy', which is made using ingredients dating back to before American independence and the French Revolution, will set you back a pricey £5,500 per glass.

Andy Mil, Great Britain's World Class Bartender of the year: 'I love the simplicity of a martini. You can end up with a million different drinks'

My life in food: Andy Mil, bartender

'I love the simplicity of a martini. you can end up with a million different drinks'

Teenager downs nitrogen drink, nearly dies

Turning eighteen is a rite of passage that invites adventurous drinking, but one teenager had surgeons to thank she saw the day through, after downing a -320 Farenheit liquid nitrogen cocktail and having her stomach removed. The Telegraph reports.

Liquid nitrogen has become an increasingly popular method of instantly freezing food and drinks

Teenage girl has stomach removed after drinking liquid nitrogen cocktail while celebrating her 18th birthday

Gaby Scanlon was celebrating her 18th birthday with friends when she drank a liquid nitrogen and champagne based cocktail known as a ‘Pornstar Martini’

Michael McIntyre, The O2, London

If there had been a spot for stand-up in the London 2012 closing ceremonies, it would surely have gone to Michael McIntyre.

Also showing: Keith Lemon: The Film and Petit Nicolas

Keith Lemon: The Film (85 mins, 15)

Romahome comes into its own on the campsite

Romahome R20 Hi

A fun little home from home. Just remember the gas...

Shoplifter's red-hot surprise

A man has been jailed for 14 weeks after stealing chilli peppers.

Tiffany Stevenson: Uncomfortably Numb, Underbelly, Edinburgh

Youth-preserving tips from a dermatologist inspired this latest hour from Tiffany Stevenson, known to television audiences from a stint on ITV’s ‘Show Me The Funny’ comedy competition.

Walking tour: Monmouth Bridge is the starting point for a 40-mile trek to the town of Hay-on-Wye

Kate Humble: A proper holiday? It's a lovely walk on a sunny day near home

What is the definition of a holiday? Does a proper, bona fide holiday need to involve suitcases, new outfits and a trip to Boots for sun cream? Do you have to go away from home and, if so, for how long? Unsure, I looked it up in the dictionary: "A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done."

Young Tory: Joe Cooke, ex-president of the Oxford University Conservative Club

Harriet Walker on TV: Wonderland: Young, Bright and on the Right

Inside the tiresome world of student politics, delusions of grandeur run riot

Full of beans: expensive coffees have become an 'essential' in many people's lives

Alice Jones: Hold the artisanal coffee. I'll put the kettle on

It is a good time to bury bad news so it is just possible that, in the midst of the gold rush, you may have missed the news that the apocalypse is upon us. Citizens, gird your loins, man the barricades and make a witty placard: the attack of Tescobucks is upon us! This week, Britain's most ubiquitous supermarket chain (2,975 shops and counting) announced its plans to launch a chain of "artisan" coffee shops across the UK. The chain, named Harris and Hoole after two coffee-house wits who feature in Samuel Pepys' diaries (it's arty and artisan), will open its flagship in Amersham at the end of the month. A dozen or so will follow and, before long, the entire nation will be being drip-fed chai lattes and bran muffins by baristas in felt aprons while leaning artfully on scrubbed wood stools.

Mexico: Ancient chocolate found on plate

Archaeologists say they have found traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate in the Yucatan peninsula, in a breakthrough suggesting it may have been used as a sauce with solid food.

Will Cameron's business Olympics clear the economic hurdles?

The PM wants the nation to cash in on the Games but, says Mark Leftly, the credit crunch may have spoiled its chances

Reform Social and Grill, Mandeville Hotel, Mandeville Place, London W1

Did you think that gentleman's-club dining – Brown Windsor soup, game-heavy main courses, "savoury puddings" like Welsh rarebit, a "roast" that's carved, table-side, from a carcass on a silver trolley by a chap who expects a tip – had gone the way of the bowler hat and the maiden aunt? You'd be wrong. While Jeremy King and Chris Corbin are reintroducing the Mitteleuropean grand café concept to London (with the Wolseley, the Delaunay and now Brasserie Zédel) others – from Mike Robinson to Mark Hix – are breathing life into traditional club grub.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
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The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
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Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
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Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
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Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
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Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn