The City Diary: Extrabet - worth a punt?

Slackbelly exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Square Mile

Wild strawberry and Pimm's jelly

Serves 4

The Secret History Of: The Russell Hobbs K2 kettle

Think of a kettle and the chances are that something chrome and curved springs to mind. Probably with a red button sticking out of its black plastic handle. This is the Russell Hobbs K2. The world's second (the first was their K1) fully automatic kettle. A item which has achieved iconic design status and which celebrates its 50 anniversary this month.

Lamb chops with cucumber and mint

Serves 4

Pea and mint soup

This soup tastes of springtime – peas and mint are a perfect marriage. It is pale and creamy in colour, with just the odd pea dotted here and there for texture and surprise. English peas are at their best right now – sweet and tender. Buy them still in their pods wherever possible.

Murray in mint condition in Madrid

Andy Murray cruised into the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open tonight with a one-sided victory over Romanian Victor Hanescu.

Winston Churchill 'set to fade from memory'

By 2090 future generations will no longer recognise Winston Churchill, new research revealed today.

School aims to sniff out secret of success

A primary school is hoping the whiff of peppermint and the sound of running water can help boost pupils' results.

Nicholls shows strength in depth

Twenty-strong supporting cast to Kauto and Denman lined up for the Festival

Dates, walnuts and mascarpone

Serves 4

Blue Peter winner is BBC chief's daughter

The nine-year-old girl who won a Blue Peter competition to design a coin for the London 2012 Olympics is the daughter of a senior BBC executive, it was revealed today.

Kendal duo in mint condition for half-marathon challenge

It was in Kendal in 1869 that Joseph Wiper came up with the recipe for his famous Mint Cake. Some 140 years on, the Cumbrian town has found the ingredients for distance-running success, it would seem. Of the five-strong Great Britain women's team picked to contest the World Half Marathon Championships on the streets of Birmingham this morning, two happen to be products and proud members of Kendal Athletics Club.

Questions of Cash: 'Why was I handed check-in charge at the last minute?'

Q. We booked and paid for a holiday to Prague through Lastminute.com. When we arrived at Manchester Airport's bmibaby check-in, we were told we needed to pay another £40 as a "passport fee" and for airport check-in. We were told by bmibaby staff to take up any complaint with Lastminute.com, who told me I was not entitled to a refund. I made further complaints by letter and email, without success. The Lastminute.com website made no mention of the extra fees – which made it more expensive than if we had booked direct with the hotel and bmibaby. There was no online check-in option on Lastminute.com's website. ND, by email.

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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
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