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Online sales climbed a record breaking 58% as HoF celebrated 'best ever' Christmas

Days Like These: 'If a handbag's contents reflect its owner's mind, then Lord help me'

Rebecca Front: Are messy bags the result of a busy life? We all have detritus, but some don’t have time to deal with it’

Sophie Morris: Stop bossing women about what to wear

It is our little secret, of course, but every working woman faces the same dilemma when stood in front of her wardrobe each morning: should we dress like a hooker for the office today, or keep it simple with a sombre suit? Would leopard print or pinstripe work best? Fishnets or opaques?

From geeky to glamorous: Gadgets for her

Designers are tapping into the market for female-friendly gadgets – such as netbooks – that fit in a handbag. Rachel Shields reports

Stealing beauty - the curator who took priceless piece after priceless piece

He was a trusted curator at the V&A, a man who helped restore the museum's glory after the Second World War. But John Nevin also took some of that glory to his own home

Splurge! Human traffic hits sales

Around the country people queued all night for dramatic discounts, but this could still be a poor Christmas for retailers

Women still worshipping at the altar of the fashionable handbag

The priestess of designer fashion, Miuccia Prada, once told me that a woman's obsession with bags – and shoes – has its roots in the fact that these hardware-laden, status-driven receptacles are an easier way to make a fashion statement than, say, wearing a coat that looks like a big green teddy bear or a jewel-coloured turban. And what La Prada says ...

High street stores suffer as shoppers hit internet

Bargain hunters helped drive online retail sales last month but a drop in footfall on the high street at the weekend suggests the soaring trade on the internet is hitting stores that do not have an online presence.

Killer trapped by son's DNA

The mystery of Vicky Hamilton's disappearance in 1991 has finally been solved after a convicted murderer was found guilty of killing her

Handbag thefts from cars cost £178m

More than 400,000 women have had handbags stolen from cars in the last 12 months, it was revealed today.

Oh my Gok: Mr Wan reveals his ABC of catwalk style

When 20 teens took a crash course in styling from TV makeover guru Gok Wan, chaos and clashes followed...

My little bit on the side: The secret life of designers

What happens when designers need a change?

Christina Patterson: It's not isolation in old age that worries me

We may be lonely, miserable and scavenging in skips, but we won't be bored – because we'll be working

Christina Patterson: There's more to life than irony...

A generation brought up on Chaucer made sure the next would be brought up on Coleen

Want to avoid lost luggage, fees and terminal queues? Designers have the solution all zipped up

The baggage carousel might parade accessories in front of an audience, but it can be more of an anti-catwalk than a fashionable showcase. Lumpen rucksacks, gym bags and boring black nylon cases offer further proof that the golden age of travel is about as "over" as a pair of kitten heels. However, while cheap functionality might still prevail when it comes to luggage, among style- conscious travellers there is a growing interest in finding cases and accessories that combine efficiency with aesthetics.

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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 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future