Extras
 

From Furbys to robotic puppies, there are lots of fun, innovative and educational toys in the shops this year. Kate Hilpern picks the ones the kids (and big kids) will love

Lost and found: After the Japanese dock... flotsam's greatest hits

After a section of a Japanese dock washed up on the West Coast of the US this week, here are four other great shore arrivals:

Child's play: a Junior Suite at the Hesperia Lanzarote in Puerto Calero

Summer 2012: Family friendly hotels

Children's rooms take on a different meaning at Hesperia Lanzarote (00 34 828 080 800; nh-hotels.com), in Puerto Calero, where seven new Junior Suites have been colourfully redecorated, furnished with bunk beds dressed in themed bed linen, and supplied with toys and a healthy "mini bar".

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes trailer goes “open world”

Watch as Batman and his friends drive, climb and fly their way through Gotham City.

Amol Rajan: Ryanair, you pay your money and take your choice

The headline at Mail Online said it all yesterday, as headlines at Mail Online tend to: "Ryanair rakes in record profits as it squeezes more out of customers in add-on fees and in-flight sales". There followed a graphic detailing "sky-high" charges – sky-high, geddit? – such as online bag check-ins, airport bag check-ins and credit card fees. "It will please boss Michael O'Leary and shareholders," the article gushed, "but the passengers who are forced to pay higher ticket prices on top of the airline's infamous swathe of extra charges will be less thrilled."

Legoland Florida opens a new waterpark next Saturday, with Lego-themed flumes and the chance to build a Lego raft for the lazy river. Legoland.com
Legolize is the new project with real head-sized Lego head

Trending: All in all you're just another brick in the wall

Thanks to digital-savvy idle thumbs, the opportunity to transform your looks using a quick online feature is a regular one. There have been programmes that allow you to transform yourself into a Mad Men character, or a yellow-skinned Simpson or a pixellated digital blur. And, all the way back in 2001, Chris Doyle's website Reasonably Clever offered users the chance to make themselves as a Lego figure. Which is fun – we all need a Twitter avatar. But two French artists have flip-reversed the idea with Legolize.

<p>1.Travel Etch a Sketch £11.49, lovememory.co.uk </p>
<p>Channel their inner Picasso on that long haul flight with this pocket-sized version of the children’s drawing game.</p>

The 10 Best travel games

1.Travel Etch a Sketch £11.49, lovememory.co.uk

Channel their inner Picasso on that long haul flight with this pocket-sized version of the children’s drawing game.

Skull set: A Pirate room at the Legoland Hotel

24-Hour Room Service: Legoland Resort Hotel, Windsor

It slowly wins you over, brick by brick

Lego buys out partner in schools unit

The toy maker Lego has taken full control of its education division after buying the remaining 49 per cent stake for €4.4m (£3.7m) from the UK-listed education supplier RM.

Christmas gift guide: The kids are alright

End the eternal quest for a gift that's durable, smart and more fun than the box it came in

<p>1. Caroline Gardner</p>
<p>£4.95, carolinegardner.com</p>
<p>Greetings card specialist Caroline Gardner this year offers a range of five advent calendars. The 12 days of Christmas is really enchanting.</p>

The 10 Best: Advent calendars

1. Caroline Gardner

£4.95, carolinegardner.com

Greetings card specialist Caroline Gardner this year offers a range of five advent calendars. The 12 days of Christmas is really enchanting.

1. Shark cycling helmet, £35, Paul Smith

Fabulous Christmas gift ideas: Toys for boys

Feast your eyes on part one of our ultimate Christmas gift guide: this week, terrific toys for boys and girls, foodie treats, addictive gadgets, literary treasures and much more…

The 10 best-selling games

Travel By Numbers: Rollercoasters

As US National Rollercoaster Day loops ever closer, Ben Ross reveals the twistiest, turniest of them all
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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
Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US