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.

Busaba Eathai, 8-13 Bird Street, London W1

Does Alan Yau's Busaba chain still offer the same comfort 10 years after its launch?

Take a turn around the magic circle

Walk Of The Month: The Somerset Levels - This county, on a sunny winter's day, offers great scenery and stunning wildlife, says Mark Rowe

The Lake poets' Cumbria: Wander lonely – and happily – as a cloud

Not all writers loved the Lake District. In his A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, published in 1722, Daniel Defoe said he found the Cumberland and Westmorland hills "high and formidable" with "a kind of unhospitable terror in them". They were, he said, "all barren and wild, of no use or advantage either to man or beast".

The Yuck Factor: How disgusting became the last word in luxury

Bird droppings, snail slime, excreted coffee beans – there's no substance so vile that it can't be a must-have product. Gillian Orr explores a world of (very) gross profits

Brawn, 49 Columbia Road, London E2

Remember the fuss that London foodies and critics made about Terroirs when it opened just off the Strand in 2008. Everyone loved its wine-bar vibe, its groovy "sharing plates", and its indescribably smelly vacherin mont d'or, which ponged out the basement. Well, the owners have moved on. Brawn is a high-concept, low-overheads place in Columbia Road, home of the flower market, and is currently the trendiest eating-house in town.

Kopapa, 32-34 Monmouth Street, London

Our cover is blown – but we'll be back for more of Peter Gordon's fantasy fusion food

Heat treatment: Kick-start the new year with Mark Hix's healthy yet flavourful winter soups

After all the excesses of the Christmas festivities there's nothing like a healthy winter broth to get the year off to a good start. But I'm not talking about just bunging a load of ingredients into a pot and hoping for the best – a truly delicious winter soup requires a careful balance of different tastes in order to create a fresh and flavourful soup. Here are four recipes to get your new year off to a great start.

Duck and ginger broth

Serves 4

Toast, BBC1, Thursday<br/>Just William, BBC1, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Other channels used the hiatus between holidays to serve up turkeys. But the Beeb had two treats

In a pickle: Mark Hix's easy-to-prepare potted and preserved New Year dishes

Potted foods make a refreshing change from leftover turkey and are a perfect snacking food

Duck liver p&#226;t&#233;

Serves 4-6

South Korea culls poultry as bird flu is confirmed

South Korea, already battling a serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in livestock, yesterday confirmed an outbreak of bird flu at poultry farms.

Business Diary: Death is no escape from junk mailers

You'd think in the era of electronic communication that the volume of junk "snail" mail, and the problems caused by it, would be on the wane. Not so. The Deceased Preference Service, which performs the useful service of deleting the names of dead people from mailing lists,says that 5.2 million pieces of direct mail (junk mail to you and me) will be delivered during the festive period to those who have departed this mortal coil. Quite apart from the pain these unnecessary letters might cause to recently bereaved relatives, that's enough rubbish to fill 245 dustbins. An awful lot of landfill.

Peter and the Wolf / Tales of Beatrix Potter, Royal Opera House, London

Even for Christmassy ballet, this is a show with a high sugar content.

Paul McDonald: Heard the one about the oldest joke in the world? It's a cracker!

Why do we still groan at the gags over Christmas lunch? Our writer delivers the punchline
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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
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before