Life and Style

Q. I'm a single mother in my forties and I think I've begun to develop some kind of social phobia. People think of me as quite a confident person. I'm fine dealing with people in my work and at the school gate (I have two sons aged 11 and 14), but I dread any social event.

Last Night's TV: Coming Up: I Don't Care/Channel 4<br />Mistresses/BBC1

Thank goodness for Coming Up. A collection of short films from Channel 4, it offers young talent a chance to show their skills with a brief slot on Thursday night. It's not just a break from the monotony of the channel's hospital/police office/chat-room-heavy roster; it's a genuinely interesting display of possibilities.

The Big Chill, Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire

The relaxed vibe that pervades the Malverns charmed our man in the mosh pit

Errors & Omissions: If you're going to mess about with numbers, get them right

Conversion course: One of the most frequent source of mistakes is the mania for converting currency amounts in newspapers. It is often unnecessary, which makes it all the worse when an editor gets it wrong, as someone did in editing Patrick Cockburn's Monday Essay about America's withdrawal from Iraq. He wrote that Iraq's entire military procurement budget for 2004-05, $1.2bn, was stolen.

Rhiannon Harries: 'Can we stop calling clothes you'd lost in your wardrobe 'vintage''

In the great tradition of all female travellers experiencing a sartorial crisis at a UK transport hub, I found myself last month in the Heathrow branch of Accessorize. The strap on my handbag, I explained superfluously to the shop assistant, had broken, which had come as no surprise, as it was vintage. She asked if it had been very expensive. Not really, I told her, as I hoisted the defunct gold 1980s number on to the counter (although, considering the craftsmanship, a tenner was indeed quite pricey). Upon sight, she laughed like a drain and said, "Oh right, it's just old."

Cultural Life: Paloma Faith, singer

Music: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 'Dig, Lazurus, Dig!!!', Edith Piaf "La Vie en Rose", Billie Holiday "Lady Sings the Blues", Lavern Baker "Voodoo Voodoo", Wynonie Harris 'Greatest Hits', Rufus Wainwright 'Want Two', and Erykah Badu 'Mama's Gun'.

Paloma Faith: a Cuban twist on the retro look

The singer Paloma Faith is known for her bold, retro look. But on a recent holiday in Cuba, she decided to give her signature style a tropical twist. Here, she explains how she did it

Barclays Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Town Hall and other venues, Cheltenham

An annual festival rounds up some fab singing, and a great discovery

Advertising: how did it influence this election?

Poster campaigns may have been overshadowed by new media, such as Twitter, and the televised debates

Dress Code: Paloma Faith, Singer

What are you wearing right now?

A yellow catsuit and a Carmen Miranda-style fruit hat. I'm on tour and am about to go on stage. It was made by my fab friend Carly.

Gilliam turns his hand to opera with ENO debut

He is an ex-Python turned film director whose on-screen flights of fancy have proven his love of high-octane, large-scale productions with similarly sprawling budgets.

DVD: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, For retail & rental (Lionsgate)

Forget the plot (an immortal man risks losing his daughter in a bet with the devil) and revel in the fantastical world Terry Gilliam summons in this exposition on the imperative of the imagination (in the film industry as much as life itself).

Paloma Faith, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Paloma Faith descends, waving ochre ostrich-feather fans as celestial clouds light up behind her, to a chorus of "aahs" from her backing singers, like some heavenly burlesque deity. Until, that is, you notice her head-dress: an elaborate, ridiculous ensemble of sequined fruit. She's a 2010 version of Carmen Miranda, a cabaret performer for the Gaga generation (the fruit tops off towering scarlet heels and a canary-yellow catsuit).

Paloma Faith, Yeasayer, Mystery Jets and Tim Westwood confirmed for Lovebox

16-18 July, Victoria Park, London

Paloma Faith: From burlesque performer to music's Next Big Thing

There's been an incident. Thanks to the internet, I've heard all about it before we even meet. Shortly before she sets out from her rented flat in Islington to the private members' club in central London where we are destined to share afternoon tea, Paloma Faith broadcasts the breaking news on Twitter: "ho hum! i didnt get nominated for a brit award but nor did amy [Winehouse] on her first album so i will try not to get upset". But she is upset, and by the time she arrives at our chosen destination, she is very upset indeed.

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University Edible Garden, Leeds – a sustainable garden in the centre of the university, passers-by can help themselves to the home-grown produce
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz