Life and Style

Is there anything more festive than a magnum? Apart from a double magnum perhaps, a magnificent magnum is the most generous way to celebrate a great day with friends and family. It also keeps better than a bottle, so squirrel one away.

The late show: Mark Hix's Boxing Day brunch recipes

I know that I'm a few days early here, but last week I gave you recipes for an alternative Christmas lunch, so this week I want to look slightly ahead to a delicious brunch for Boxing Day or New Year's Day.

Black pudding hash with a fried duck egg

Serves 4

On a wing and a prayer: British birds under threat

What do the Bittern, the Tree Pipit and the Wood Warbler have in common? They are all British bird species that are under threat. Charlie Elder discovers the stark facts beneath the feathers

On the Front Foot: No fumbles or dropped catches – that's Halsall's field of dreams

What this Ashes tour has done (so far, for let there be no crowing, counting of chickens or any other foraging in the menagerie) is to reinforce the status of the specialist coach. Far from everyone's liking – some former players would ban all coaches and let the players get on with it, though they tend to be the ones who make their living in the media rather than through direct involvement with the game that made them – this England team adore their backroom staff.

Austin: A taste of the Texan takeaway

Hungry for something new? Austin has long been the most progressive city in the Lone Star State. Now even its street food has gone gourmet. John Lee tucks in

Holbeck Ghyll Hotel, Holbeck Lane, Windermere, Cumbria

Built as a rich man's folly – it was the Earl of Lonsdale's hunting lodge in the 1880s – Holbeck Ghyll is a gorgeous country house hotel with a stupendous view over Lake Windermere. Across the glassily calm lake stand the Langdales Pikes and, beyond them, the snow-capped peaks of the Cumbrian mountains to the north-west. Inside, it's like a dream of posh, Country Living-mag rusticity, from the blazing log fire and the Parker Knoll chairs in the lobby to the woven Bergerac furniture and the biographies of Tory politicians in the sitting-room. They bring you a dry martini and a leather-clad menu as you sit in the window seat thinking a) this is ridiculously old-fashioned, and b) this is sooooo blissful.

A feast in Moscow: Mark Hix used local ingredients to cook up a banquet on a recent trip to Russia

A couple of weeks ago, my head chef, Kevin Gratton, accompanied me on a trip to Moscow to cook for three nights at the Soho Rooms, a relatively new club with a restaurant where Laura Bridge, an old friend of mine, does all the cooking.

Susie Rushton: What's fair game in north Devon?

Notebook

Heston Blumenthal: 'For my next trick, a toast sandwich...'

The Monday Interview: The innovative chef's new London restaurant, Dinner, will serve historic British fare. Martin Hickman is given a flavour

Ten facts about Wayne Rooney's destination - Nike World

When Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan revealed this morning that Wayne Rooney was heading to Nike Town, he was actually incorrect.

Black pudding sandwich

Serves 4

Slice of heaven: Mark Hix's tempting breakfast sandwiches

The perfect fix on a cold winter's morning

Duck shot

Serves 4-6

Active Autumn: This lough marks the spot for hidden wildlife treasure

Anywhere but Northern Ireland and this place would be overrun by tourists, says Mark Rowe

Meatballs: Let's go round again

They used to be a staple of the school-night supper. Now meatballs are back – and they're having an upmarket makeover. Lena Corner reports
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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 1 May 2015
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