Arts and Entertainment An Edouard Vuillard painting bought for £3,000 on Ebay is thought to be worth £250,000

Fiona Bruce said the owner has 'bagged themselves the bargain of the century'

Taste of the great outdoors: No foodie's garden is complete without a wood-fired pizza oven

Gwyneth Paltrow and Jamie Oliver both have one; Guy Ritchie can't stop talking about his. Rob Sharp discovers what makes them so hot

Smith vows to repay taxpayer for blue movies

Husband apologises to his wife, but not the public, for any embarrassment

Five hotels for stargazers

Whether it's from a geodesic dome in the desert or a Himalayan spa retreat, the view will be stellar.

At home with novelist Catherine Alliott

Catherine Alliott took on a dilapidated house in the Chilterns and turned it from a wreck into a haven. She explains how she did it - and why she loves her rural renovation

The White House: A cardboard cutout

It's the Oval Office, but not as we know it. Artist Thomas Demand built a life-sized replica – and then destroyed it. Rob Sharp finds out why

We're loving... We're hating... We're buying...

Compiled by Ben Naylor

Joanne Harris: Life in the middle of nowhere

'Chocolat' author Joanne Harris loves the fact that her house is in the country: there's silence to write, and she can make loads of noise without the neighbours complaining

Open fires: Gorgeous <i>and</i> good value

Got a romantic notion about having an open fire? Go ahead &ndash; it's a great way to save money, says Jimmy Lee Shreeve

Hotpot of Brussels sprouts, chorizo and barley

Serves 4

In a glaze of glory: Marcus Wareing dishes up his favourite winter ingredients

For his final column as our guest food writer, Marcus Wareing bows out with recipes starring two of his favourite winter ingredients: duck and sprouts

Exclusive Christmas short story by Helen Dunmore: A house by the sea

Illustrations by Anna-Louise Felstead

Peter York: Fire stations

The Way We Live Now

Venice suffers second day of flooding

Sea water powered by a fierce scirocco wind laid siege to Venice for a second day today, flooding basements, destroying domestic appliances and shopkeepers' merchandise and bringing the city to a halt.

Katy Holland: Last minute family getaways.

Are we there yet? Some great cottages perfect for Christmas.

First person: 'I was one of the Kingsnorth Six'

Ben Stewart, 34
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'