Life and Style
 

Waterproofing your wardrobe with practical, yet luxurious, purchases is a wise investment, says Emma Akbareian

How Bin Laden 'planned to give al-Qa'ida an image makeover'

Osama bin Laden, holed-up in his Pakistan hideaway, contemplated changing the name of al-Qa’ida in order to rebrand the organisation and make it more attractive to potential recruits, according to documents recovered from his compound.

The Watts Gallery: A fitting makeover for a Victorian hero

TheWatts Gallery was neglected and shabby. Now a £11.5m refit has restored its former glory, says Virginia Ironside

Ready To Wear: A lesson in how to wear palazzo pants without stilts

The trouser shape of the season is the palazzo – so wide legged it might reasonably be described as billowy and so long the best way to wear it is possibly on stilts.

Linda Barker's bedroom makeover

The interior designer of BBC series Changing Rooms fame walks you through a few simple ways of transforming a drab room into a luxurious sleeping space.

Feelunique's profits makeover

Europe's largest online beauty products retailer, Feelunique, will reveal a 50 per cent rise in 2010-11 turnover this week.

Exiles given 'X Factor' makeover as fans pick team

If fans find themselves uninspired by the Exiles team that takes the field against England in June, they will have themselves to blame. The side that will be on duty at Headingley for the inaugural International Origin Match will be selected from the best overseas players in Super League partly by supporters' votes.

Burmese junta officially dissolved

Burma's junta was officially dissolved today after a swearing-in ceremony to appoint the country's so-called civilian government.

Elbow, SECC, Glasgow

"Do you like what we've done with the place?" asked Elbow's singer Guy Garvey, nodding towards the catwalk jutting into the middle of the hall. "It's like we've won the pools and had a conservatory built." There can be few more modest bands to have appeared on a stage of this size, but now, approaching their 20th anniversary together in June, Elbow are an arena band. And believe it or not, they're better than most at the job.

Ireland agree to 'makeover' before England match

Ireland's World Cup cricketers have agreed to undergo a charity makeover ahead of tomorrow's group match with England.

Robinson calls for fast start for Scotland

Perhaps Andy Robinson is taking a leaf out of the Welsh song book. A fortnight ago Warren Gatland and his players headed off to Murrayfield with "Under Pressure" blaring over the stereo system.

Album: Anthony David, As Above So Below (Dome)

Anthony David is apparently the Obamas' favourite nu-soul dude – and it's not hard to see why, given his espousal of core 1970s social-conscious soul values, particularly the "on-message" reference in "Reach Ya" to "hoping we get healthcare rights, so she won't be a victim".

Deborah Ross: There's a high price tag on the gift of beauty

If you ask me...

The Independent's charity auction raises £65,000

There's a sensational selection of treats, treasures and unique experiences up for grabs in our annual charity sale. John Walsh wields his gavel and introduces the lots

Album: The Puppini Sisters, Christmas with...(Verve)

On which the Puppinis – a sort of 21st-century take on the Andrews Sisters, minus the real-world sibling connection – apply a 1940s polka-dots-and-baubles makeover to the predictable ("Let it Snow") and the unpromising ("Last Christmas").

Noël's house party: A home that has never seen tinsel is given a last-minute festive makeover

Getting your home ready for Christmas is about the little touches – those are the things that will help to make guests feel welcome," says Sarah Dare, from the seasonal-events department at Peter Jones, part of the John Lewis chain. "And it doesn't have to take much time." Well, that's good, because it's Christmas week – and my home looks like Scrooge's grotto.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Extras
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peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
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The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
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The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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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
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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick