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

The cultural significance of the handbag

Battered satchels, fleetingly fashionable designer clutches, elegant classics... We should acknowledge that bags are a crucial barometer of our times, argues Susannah Frankel

Deborah Ross: Pity the poor, overworked fashion hacks

If you ask me...

Editor-At-Large: Lansley is to health what Clarkson is to road safety

Last week, Caroline Spelman apologised when her "big idea" to flog our much-loved forests got the thumbs down on all sides. The day before, Dave had trashed it publicly during Prime Minister's Questions. Perhaps now Mr Cameron is back in the driving seat, he can rein in cocky Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. He has told The Grocer he's not interested in "nannying" people about what they eat. His new deal with the fast food giants, to put calorie counts on menus, does not add up to much – not when he's cut back on public health advertising and said he wants to work "in partnership" with the food and drink industry. It's a bit like asking Jeremy Clarkson to come up with a new driving test or a modern version of the Highway Code.

Pope's UK visit cost £7m

The Pope's state visit to the UK last year cost the taxpayer at least £7 million before security, the Foreign Office has disclosed.

Handbags at dawn: The battle at the heart of French fashion house Hermès

Talks of a takeover are ruffling family feathers at the classic fashion house, Hermès. Susannah Frankel on a battle for the grandest label of them all

The bold and the beautiful: Spring accessories

From fruity shoes and novelty sunglasses to fringed earrings and de luxe bags, spring's accessories are fresh and wild, says Gemma Hayward

Neds, Peter Mullan, 124 mins (18)

The Seventies are a tough time, and Glasgow is a tough place in an unflinching coming-of-age drama

Mulberry fashions 66% rise in trade from handbags

Mulberry, whose handbags adorn the arms of celebrities including Gemma Arterton and Kate Moss, became the latest fashion brand to defy the "age of austerity" as it reported bumper holiday sales.

Carola Long: 'The Maggie-Thatcher-meets-Her-Majesty look is one of this season’s multiple bag trends'

The forthcoming book Fifty Bags That Changed the World recalls the sensation that the Queen's style caused on a visit to Italy in 2000. La Repubblica ran a front-page story entitled "Ode to the Queen's Handbag". "There it is", the article gushed, "that disturbing object, firmly attached to her left forearm. The secret of her regality is in that little royal but oh so ordinary accessory."

Ready To Wear: This season's bags are barely big enough to fit a lipstick

Bad things about being a woman: unequal pay, period pains and, later in life, the inevitable hairy chin.

Mary Ann Sieghart: Let's resolve to embrace our flaws

With contentment comes confidence. And if you feel good about yourself, you start to look good – even if you are 80

'Ah, the language of handbags says it all'

Even in a recession, women can spend big money on luxury accessories. And, at Christie's, they're knocking-out vintage bags for the price of a quality car

Cinderella, Hippodrome, Birmingham

A familiar tale, traditionally told, a sumptuous look and bewitching sound. It must be Christmas

Elderly sisters fight off would-be attacker

Two elderly sisters who fought off an attacker who attempted to rob them in a residential street were praised today by police.

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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor