Life and Style
 

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

Can an ex-civil servant finally persuade women to buy erotica?

Sex will be strictly cerebral in a new top-shelf magazine for 'thinking women', reports Jerome Taylor

Simon Carr: Want to lose weight? Live like your grandparents

It's that time of year to get less fat. Normally I don't bother. If I really have to go to the beach I put on a T-shirt and say I'm wearing a life jacket underneath. A bulldog clip behind each ear makes all the difference. It's easy to cheat. But this year visual tricks are not an option. I've got to go to a wedding in June, and if I don't fit into a 100kg suit the bride won't turn up. The happiness of more than one member of the wedding party is in my heavy hands.

Zuma celebrates as ANC set for two-thirds majority

South Africa's President-elect Jacob Zuma made a triumphant appearance before cheering supporters last night as early results showed a resounding win for the ruling African National Congress.

Make do and mend: The new fashion makeover

Kirstie Allsopp and Gok Wan both used to tell us how to spend our money. Now they've changed tack – with new shows aimed at leaner times. Gerard Gilbert isn't sold

Christina Patterson: When the going gets tough, the tough wise up

Not much space for chic little sofas when you’re worried you might lose your home

Alice Jones: Karaoke is so pernicious

Karaoke is the reason I no longer accept invitations without an exhaustive run-down of what the night's festivities might entail. Too many times I have been caught out, expecting an evening of drinks and dancing only to find myself locked in a small room with padded walls and brownish pleather sofas, staring at a flickering blue screen as my so-called friends bellow ("And through it alllllll, she offers me protec-SHUN..."), wail ("My eternal flaaaaaaame...") and screech ("I'm a Barbie girl...") through a back catalogue of songs that you only ever hear at weddings and work parties. "Gangsta's Paradise"? Who says white middle-class boys can't rap? The Grease megamix? Well, one song's never quite enough, is it?

Read for change: Instant dinners are getting a makeover

How do you fancy tucking into a Thai coconut curry instead of a curling cheese sandwich in your lunch hour? Or sitting down to a pea and mint risotto, or canellini and borlotti beans with curly kale and broccoli just minutes after you get home from a long day at work? Over the past few years, ready meals have been undergoing a revolutionary makeover, but they still have as many enemies as champions: are microwave dinners exemplary of all that is slothful and unhealthy about the British public? Or the ideal short cut to fitting a proper meal into a hectic schedule?

Simmy Richman: The Best Rock & Pop albums of 2008

‘For sheer chutzpah, it’s hard to top the LA-based indie gospel group Bodies of Water’

Ring the changes: Think out of the window box this Christmas

Give what you'd most like to receive: narcissi, slug rings and 2kg of brain compost

Sales slump hits B&Q

Retail group Kingfisher today said sales at its B&Q business were down nearly 9 per cent amid the slump in consumer spending.

Pandora: Gwyneth's makeover leaves her hubby cold

Gwyneth Paltrow recently underwent an attention-grabbing transformation, going from macrobiotic goody-goody to steeple-heeled glamour girl.

Bites: The truffles or the testicles, sir?

Credit crunch? What credit crunch? Bury your head in the sand for a night at Zafferano, the Michelin-starred Italian in Knightsbridge, for its annual "truffle menu", which features gloriously extravagant comfort-food dishes, including cheese fondue, risotto and sweet zabaglione, all made with white truffle.

The City and the Mountains, By Eça de Queíroz

The Portuguese Dickens, Eça de Queíroz (who spent almost 15 years as consul in Newcastle and Bristol), left this last novel behind on his death in 1900. As timely now as then, it follows – with a smart balance of satire, irony and lyric grace – the progress of a rich brat who quits the city to find fulfilment in rural life.

Birmingham named UK's ugliest city

It’s official - Birmingham is the UK’s ugliest city. According to a new survey, it is home to the some of the nation's least-loved buildings.

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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss