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.

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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
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform