News TK Maxx store on Kensington High Street

TK Maxx was to blame for my worst outfits while growing up near the Lewisham branch. Miles of cut-price "designer" clobber by unheard-of labels, where every other Wetherspoon's-ready shirt seemed to be made by Lambretta, who I thought did scooters.

The sound of silence

Helen Rumbelow knew bliss when her sister introduced her to earplugs

Tourism: Guide takes `honest' look at Britain

Britain has some of the ugliest buildings in the world and is inhabited by unwashed people with strange accents, according to a new guide published yesterday.

The kiss at Piccadilly Circus ...

A new lovers' guide to Paris has been published. London needs one too, writes Hester Lacey

Leslau cashes in pounds 5m Burford share options

Nick Leslau, the 36-year-old chief executive of the Burford and Trocadero property groups, cashed in share options worth more than pounds 5m yesterday to pay off personal tax and debts. Following the deal he still retains Burford shares worth another pounds 5m and a further 2.8 million options.

Forte seeks Lillywhites sale lifeline

FORTE, the besieged hotel and restaurant group, yesterday said it has sold its Lillywhites sporting goods division to a Portuguese retailer for pounds 28.5m in a move that will bolster its hopes of remaining independent.

A modest proposal for our cheats and scroungers

DON'T YOU just love this idea of booting all the scum out of sight? All the drunks and whackos, the inadequates, the sociopaths and the addicts? Yes? So do I! And to hell with where they go, or what happens to them when they get there, or what drove them to it in the first place. Nuts to them all! I love it! You'd have thought it was a Tory idea, but it turns out to be the other lot who started it - the caring, soulful, wealth-redistributing, young ones - and now they're all in the same boat, pulling together, and there's hope yet for the ship of state...

IN BRIEF: Burford buys London Pavilion

Burford buys London Pavilion

Star caste

Star caste

Riding high on speed

Riding high on speed

THINKING BOOKS

LONDON's Golden Square, tucked behind Piccadilly Circus, has always seemed a strangely enchanted address, entirely appropriate to a new bookshop dedicated to philosophy and things of the spirit. "It's a feeling around these days that materialism has reached its limit," says spokeswoman Emanuela Ferrari Osborne, who is aiming "to make available the sacred texts of the world's great teachers at affordable prices".

Curator's Choice: Museum of London

My curator's choice is a Palaeolithic hand axe (above) found in Glasshouse St, by Piccadilly Circus, London WC2. It is between 400,000 and 70,000 years old and was discovered in about 1913 during building works in the area. The reason I like it is that it fits fantastically well into the hand and, when holding it, you have an instant sympathy with the person who used it.

Best-sellers: Top 10 London Underground stations

1 Kings Cross 2 Victoria 3 Oxford Circus 4 Liverpool Street 5 Euston 6 Piccadilly Circus 7 Embankment 8 Hammersmith 9 Holborn 10 Leicester Square

etc ..Five naff things to do in London

1. Have your portrait sketched. Takes 20 mins, costs pounds 15. A caricature takes five mins and costs pounds 3. Try the lower ground floor of the Trocadero, Piccadilly Circus, WC1.

REVIEW / Will the real Mrs Antrobus step forward?

IN 1991, Eynsford was the Best Kept Village in Kent, and in 1992 it was the Best Kept Large Village in West Kent. I spent quite a lot of Twenty Miles from Piccadilly Circus (ITV, London only) trying to work out whether they had gone down in the world or up into the big league. (Is large village just a euphemism for dormitory town or is it what every little village aspires to? Where does West Kent stop and is it bigger than East Kent?) I had to shelve the problem when the tension of the Britain in Bloom judging reached fever pitch.

This is where we begin

London is a great and fascinating city, full of interest and opportunities for enjoyment; London is gruelling and frustrating city where simply getting from place to place can be a trial. London is one of the centres of civilisation in Europe, excelling in music and theatre, boasting a pantheon of cultural giants. And yet it makes a very poor fist at educating most of its children.
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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 today
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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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
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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'