The Cross, Kenilworth: Restaurant review - the grand dowager has had an expert facelift

It's a tricky decision for a lady of mature years. At what stage do you have work done, if at all? Do you slide into comfortable decrepitude? Or undergo a discreet cosmetic procedure, and run the risk of emerging with a startled, over-shiny face that looks too young for your body?

UK chef creates world's most expensive ready meal - a fish pie costing £314

Charlie Bigham's said the Swish Pie would only be 'a drop in the ocean' to its customers

We are all dangerously in thrall to the mirage of that perfect life which Nigella Lawson seemed to embody

Too many people think others have idyllic lifestyles, bodies, relationships, sex

Café Murano: Restaurant review - Angela Hartnett's latest is worthy of its Michelin-starred sister up the road

When the Italian restaurant brings you focaccia and a bowl of olive oil, do you groan inwardly? It has become a standard-issue "freebie", but the olive oil is standard issue itself all too often. At Café Murano, the oil is so good that I could quite happily drink it (from Planeta, it's grassy and refined).

Tequila time: harvesting agave in Mexico

Food Miles: Breaks where the heat isn’t just in the kitchen

The season of eating, drinking and making merry is upon us and that might even apply if you’ve jetted off on a sun-drenched winter break. Travellers are particularly well served by the rise of food-themed breaks, tours and packages, celebrity chef hotel residencies and cookery courses. 

My life in travel: Pierre Koffmann

'I'd love to go to Rio Carnival next year. The music and samba are so exciting'

Pressed pigs' ears - as close as it gets to turning a sow's ear into a silk purse

Mark Hix recipe: Pressed pigs' ears

Serves 8-10

Books of the year 2013: Food

Are you an anarchist or an acolyte in the way you use cookbooks? Two food experts who face each other across the Atlantic have radically differing recommendations. In One Good Dish (Artisan, £17.99), David Tanis, formerly head chef of the legendary California eatery Chez Panisse and now food columnist on The New York Times, selects his everyday favourites such as Spanish garbanzo bean stew, warm potato salad with peppers and onions or mussels on the half-shell with breadcrumbs and parsley (highly recommended). "I hope you don't follow these recipes slavishly," he concludes. "Improvisation and ad-libbing make life in the kitchen much more interesting."

Dresden cannibal: German police worker ‘obsessed’ with cannibalism charged with torturing, butchering and eating man he met on fetish website

Police says victim had been fantasising about being killed and eaten by someone else since his youth

Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood will present a Christmas Bake-Off masterclass

Sherlock Series 3 and The Great British Bake Off join Christmas 2013 TV line-up

A masterclass with Mary Berry is also on the BBC menu this festive period

Ben Cohen left Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday after the judges voted to save Mark Benton

Strictly Come Dancing 2013: Ben Cohen voted off as Mark Benton is saved

Mark Benton survived his third dance-off as Ben and Kristina were sent home

The property's historic bedroom

Stay the Night: Lendal Tower, York

Once part of the city walls, then a water tower, this medieval building now accepts guests. Holly Williams takes a step back

The Great British Bake Off backlash has begun

Quality and cookery do not have to be mutually exclusive

‘There’s something about making a roast which is almost like a dance’

I should say at this point, I’m not a bad cook.

Michael Palin, Sir Tim Berners Lee and PJ Harvey will guest edit Radio 4's Today show this Christmas. But do we need to listen?

They’ll just be promoting their pet schemes and ideas - not editing in any real sense

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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
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones