How I learned to love my skunk

BRYSON'S AMERICA

Merger talks boost Seton Scholl

SHARES IN Seton Scholl Healthcare jumped 8 per cent yesterday when the footcare-to-hangover-cures group confirmed it was in merger talks with London International Group (LIG), which makes Durex condoms and rubber gloves. Shares closed up 60p at 827p, valuing Seton Scholl at pounds 873.8m.

New drivers should wear bobble hats

A WEEK after he passed his driving test, my 18-year-old son drove through a red light, hit a taxi and did pounds 7,000-worth of damage to our new car. The fact that at the moment of impact he was simultaneously lighting a cigarette, talking to his girlfriend on his mobile and trying to find a particularly good track on his new Puff Daddy CD may have affected his concentration. The cab driver seemed to think so. I'm all for driving tests being modernised and made longer, harder and more technical, but if you think this will make young men safer drivers, you're wrong.

Leak threat to LIG and Scholl merger

A PLANNED pounds 1.4bn merger between Seton Scholl and London International Group, makers of Durex condoms, to create a global healthcare business, was in danger of collapsing yesterday after news of the negotiations leaked.

Fashion: Cut out and keep

Would you pay pounds 480 for a piece of cloth? Well, it is by Issey Miyake, and you can make a complete wardrobe from it. There's a dress, a bag, a pair of knickers ... even a pointy hat. Susannah Frankel follows the dotted lines. Photographs by Sandro Sodano. Styling by Sophia Neophitou

Fashion: Back to the future

Designers are reinterpreting vintage silhouettes in a thoroughly modern manner. Styling by Sophia Neophitou. Photographs by Jean-Paul Pietrus

Books: Alphabetic gloves, edible vowels and other artificial speech devices

I See a Voice: A Philosophical History of Language, Deafness and the Senses

Fashion: Into The Groove

For women in their late twenties and early thirties, these clothes will bring back memories: Cyndi Lauper singing 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun', Madonna in 'Desperately Seeking Susan', those lacy fingerless gloves and fishnet bras, the heavy jewellery, ripped- up tights and stilettoes. All were slavishly copied in village discos up and down the land. This is not a revival as such - more a homage ...

Mystery approach boosts LIG shares by 27%

LONDON INTERNATIONAL Group, the world's largest maker of condoms, yesterday revealed it had received an unsolicited bid approach from an unnamed company, prompting a 27 per cent jump in its share price.

The Joys of Modern Life: 27. Zappers

COULD IT be that things were so much more complicated then? Did we really pull ourselves clean out of our chairs, walk over to the TV set and - risking all kinds of cardiovascular complications - manually press a button to change the channel? I can practically hear the mocking, tinny laughter of the Smash robots echoing up from TV Hell.

The evidence: The personal trainer's fitness kit

Liston Denys is a personal trainer and currently has 23 clients whom he visits two to three times a week.

Cricket: Gloves off as Stewart strikes back

England 270

Real People: Dress your inner child

'South Park' has made pre-school this winter's fashion statement. Anna Watson grabs her mittens

'Prague: a Rumpelstiltskin shadow play'

PASSPORT: THOMAS ALLEN

Earnings slump knocks LIG shares

SHARES IN London International Group, makers of Durex condoms and Marigold gloves, slumped yesterday as the company announced a fall in first-half earnings and issued a profits warning.
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Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
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scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
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Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

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Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick