Interiors Insider: What's your interiors manifesto?

I love the idea of a manifesto for decorating your home – and was inspired by seeing one in an inspiringly unconventional new homes book called Things I Love (£25, Conran Octopus), by the super-successful Australian interiors stylist Megan Morton. Here are highlights from her brilliant list of house-y do's and don'ts…

Quintet quarter: A bedroom at the B&B

B&B and Beyond: Quintet, Shanghai

For an escape from the city's modern skyscrapers, find sanctuary in this charming 1930s house, says Lucinda Baring

Shopping: Smaller sizes and higher prices? What’s new!

A report from Which? published this week revealed that crafty manufacturers are shrinking packet sizes.

SITTING PRETTY: One of the highlights of the collection, this tan leather SO3 Seglora sofa is eminently desirable and the leather should age beautifully. £1,400

A rare Stockholm collection

Ikea launches its seldom seen Stockholm range next month. Trish Lorenz gets a sneak peak

Sigh of relief on the high street as trading levels climb to highest for three years

Trading on the high street bounced back strongly last month to its highest level for more than three years, giving retailers a much-needed fillip.

The tour</br>
Ampersand Travel, which specialises in trips to Asia, is launching tailormade trips in the UK, including an art tour of the capital and a week taking in romantic spots in Scotland (ampersandtravel.com).

Postcard from... New York

Back in the early 1930s, a wealthy New York businessman gave the Brooklyn museum what appeared to be a valuable gift: a cache of Renaissance paintings, works by Dutch masters and artifacts from China and elsewhere. And in the decades since, the bequest by Col Michael Friedsam must have been many a curator’s dream – until it became a nightmare.

A view of the convent of Mater Ecclesiae, the new residence of Pope Benedict XVI after his retirement, in Vatican City

Pope Benedict will get a pension worth €2,500-a-month

Pope Benedict XVI will receive a €2,500-a-month pension (£2,100) when he abdicates at the end of February and adopts the more modest title of Emeritus Bishop of Rome.

The Insider: Ingenious objects for your home

This job means I am a sponge for news of (often) brilliant products. Some are brilliant not just for their beauty, but also because they are so clever. I have some favourites: while not all are super-cheap, none is throwaway; some will even help the things you already have last longer…

Old and new: a Tower Wing suite

Room Service: Hotel Majestic, Kuala Lumpur

Colonial class with modern luxuries

NILS: Both men and women are pretty fond of sitting. But as you’re not able to fold this and it’s not made of lace, Ikea’s made it male

Ikea furniture: Are Billy, Sofia and friends really sexist?

It’s incredible what you can get at Ikea these days: those mugs with the too-small handles; fairy lights; beds; meatballs; a bit of casual sexism. If you were to have a flick through the Swedish flat-pack company’s substantial catalogue, paying attention to the names it gives its products, among the many Nordic place names it uses for things such as mirrors and bedside tables, it seems to have a distinctly gendered naming process.

Freshen up: the 1920s townhouse has a new lease of life

Room Service: Lastarria, Santiago de Chile

Colonial chic in a buzzy barrio

Interiors insider: Charlie Marshall of Loaf

Founder of Loaf Charlie Marshall shares top tips on what to look for when buying a bed and his favourite interior shops in London.

Five-Minute Memoir: William Nicholson recalls being driven over the edge by a white van

This is a tale of suffering, redemption and white vans. Late last year I needed to transport some furniture from our house in Sussex to my son's rooms in central London. I should have paid a man to do it for me, but foolishly confident in my driving ability, I decided to hire a van and drive it myself. It was a white Ford Transit 280 panel van, which if you've ever driven you'll know presents special challenges to the driver. It's long and wide and you can't see out of the back. You never really know how close you are to anything else on the road. Turning corners brings with it new surprises every time. Overtaking becomes an act of reckless abandon.

Baroness Warsi, Britain’s most senior Muslim minister

Baroness Warsi: Fewer than one in four people believe Islam is compatible with British way of life

Fewer than one in four people now believe that following Islam is compatible with a British way of life, Britain's most senior Muslim minister will warn today.

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Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam