Voices

I love Christmas but don’t worry, I’m not going to proselytise about it. I won’t pretend it’s any more than an excuse for gluttony and for corporations to sell people tat they don’t need. I go into the festive period with my eyes open, thanks very much, and I’m more fascinated than I am fanatical. But I do love it.

Rare feat as online sales tumble at Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley managed to achieve a rare feat for the High Street today, recording a fall in online sales.

The home page of the website ask.fm

Ask.fm 'will be safer from online bullying' as owners introduce new features

Website owners have introduced a range of new features that aim to keep users safer from abuse

British sales at Cath Kidston rose 21 per cent in the year to March

Bags of money: Why the world just can’t get enough of Cath Kidston’s bright ideas

Covet it or cringe at the thought of it, it’s Britain’s most unstoppable brand

Invisible Ink: No 181 - Saved from Obscurity

I’m not the only one creeping around charity shops and church bazaars looking for forgotten novels (this is not an age-specific occupation, but something I began at the age of eight – dare to be different, kids).

Invisible Ink: No 180 - L P Hartley

Many authors are specifically remembered for one beloved book. L P Hartley is recalled with a single phrase: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” It has achieved the status of a British proverb.

Pour it on: It's even possible for a watering can to embrace chintz. Wild & Wolf watering can, £34.95, wildandwolf.com

iStyle: Chintz charming

Laura Ashley is celebrating its 60th birthday by looking back to the 1970s. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Patterns, florals and faux Victoriana are big again, says Trish Lorenz

The Business Matrix: Friday 14 June 2013

Monarch takes flight

Laura Ashley fashion is frozen out

Laura Ashley has blamed the cold weather in March and April for weak fashion sales, which took the shine off a healthy performance from its home furnishings.

Victoria Holden wearing a Laura Ashley frock
Home grown: Kate Clanchy says her first novel is a short story 'which got out of hand'

Kate Clanchy: Scot free among the English

The prize-winning poet and dramatist has written her first novel. She tells Suzi Feay how it recalls her own journey south

Laura Ashley defends decision to ask suppliers for price reductions

Retailer Laura Ashley has mounted a vigorous defence of its decision to ask suppliers for price reductions, as strong sales of home furnishings produced a leap in annual profits.

Alexis Barrell spring/summer 2013

Floral prints for Spring: In the night garden

Spring florals are given a dark edge this season with an inky palette and a grown-up flavour

Laura Ashley celebrates as sales soar

Laura Ashley has cemented its status as one of the high street's best performers with a leap in sales ahead of the crucial Christmas period.

<p>1. Marks and Spencer</p>
<p>£17.60, marksandspencer.com</p>
<p>Unlike many coats, this is nice and flexible to move around in, with none of that stiff-armed, Michelin-man look and feel.</p>

The 10 Best children's coats

Keep the kids warm as the mercury drops this winter with 10 cosy, cute, and stylish jackets

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee