The ancient art of beekeeping: In it for the honey

Beekeeping is booming. Christopher Hirst looks at why hives are such a hit

Rise in urban beekeepers

Rising numbers of people in cities are keeping bees, the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) has revealed in its first nationwide survey.

Deborah Ross: No pet name ever leads to the bedroom

If you ask me...

Dom Joly: For a cheery welcome at Dulles, pose as a doughnut

I'm in Washington DC for four days. I decided it would be fun for my daughter to celebrate her 10th birthday in the capital of the USA. I've got all kinds of stuff lined up for her: the International Spy Museum, the theatre box where Lincoln was shot, the Vietnam war memorial....

Skye Gyngell autumnal prune recipes

Now that the weather is turning autumnal, it's time to celebrate food that's a little more hearty. So as we say goodbye to soft summer fruit, one replacement is the prune. This useful little fruit lends its soft jammy texture and intense flavour to all manner of dishes – both sweet and savoury (such as tagines).

Prunes with honey and cream

Serves 6-8

Cold comfort: Which trees and shrubs will best survive a freezing British winter?

Anna Pavord offers planting tips for the coming season

Minor British Institutions: Bara Brith

The easiest, but incorrect, way to describe Bara Brith is as a Welsh version of Dundee Cake. But it is a lot, lot less rich and fruity than its Scottish counterpart, and is not really a cake as such, but bread.

A taste of Transylvania: Mark Hix recreates some delicious Romanian artisan specialities

A few weeks ago, Jason Lowe and I found ourselves in the middle of a field in a forest in Biertan, in Transylvania. We had been invited over to attend the Transylvania Festival, which was showcasing some of the best local artisan food producers – along with various ceramicists and copper still and cauldron makers who were selling their wares. Jason, who can never resist buying random culinary objects of desire on his travels, bought himself a lovely big old goulash cauldron and tripod (although I had a hard time persuading him to buy a full-blown copper distilling kit).

If you think this sucks, try the fire hose

From the slightly unusual to the downright wacky, when it comes to spa treatments Chantal Cooke has seen (and done) it all

Business Diary: Shore swallows pride at Ocado

Sounds like someone has a chip on their shoulder. "Shore Capital is today attending a visit organised by Ocado to its Hatfield facility, the second time that our company will have visited the heart of its organisation," the brokers' analysts tell us. "The 'premier league' of investment banks could not, seemingly, 'get the company away' at the desired original valuation and so the 'cavalry' in the form of 'the championship' brokers has been duly brought in to try and do the job." Come, come chaps – don't do yourselves down.

Leading article: Grubby ideas

It could give a whole new meaning to the phrase "grub's up". As population growth threatens to outstrip the planet's capacity to produce sufficient quantities of food, some scientists are recommending that we replace meat in our diet with bugs.

Paul Vallely: Does it matter how they killed him?

Ronnie Lee Gardner's death by firing squad in Utah raises more questions about legalised killing

Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: ''My parents have invited my brother and his wife on holiday and I feel forgotten. What can I do?"

Dear Virginia, I'm sure you'll think I'm stupid, but I feel so unhappy. My parents have asked my brother and his wife and children to go on holiday with them – but they haven't asked me. They've taken a big house with a pool, it'll be great for the kids, a lovely family holiday etc. I'm 35 and single and they think I have an amazing career and social life – which I do! – but I'm so hurt they haven't even thought of inviting me. I just feel forgotten! What can I do? Yours sincerely, Tanya
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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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