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How to be beautiful: Shades of black

Even a beauty junkie might question whether they need a set of nail varnishes in 10 shades of black in their life. The rest of us might wonder whether 10 varieties of the non-colour even exist and, in fairness, the Dickensian Volume – as high-minded US brand StrangeBeautiful refers to its latest palette – includes lighter tones that we simple-minded folk would probably call grey.

The Nutcracker, Coliseum, London

Though English National Ballet's new Nutcracker is a long-awaited production, it seems to have been rushed on to the stage. It has handsome designs, Tchaikovsky's score and some strong dancing, but suffered a case of first-night nerves. Some dances were under-rehearsed; at least one special effect went awry. The production and company need to take a deep breath and calm down.

More headlines

Alex James: What to do when confronted by a bull

When it comes to the countryside, despite all I've learned. I still rank as an idiot, a novice. I've only just discovered the difference between a swallow and a swift. (Swallows have red throats) However, I can and always have been able to spot a puffball at half a mile because they are delicious. It's about the right time of year for them and as there has been some rain I thought it would be worth extending my runaround to come back through the field where they grow.

Zen and the art of saving the planet

He has set up an eco-friendly village and is a best-selling author. Tomorrow, this green crusader will fill the Hammersmith Apollo with fans. But Thich Nhat Hanh is no rock star – he's a Zen master. Nick Harding meets a monk on a mission

Galvin La Chapelle, 35 Spital Square, London E1

Chris and Jeff Galvin are shaping up to be Britain's most successful restaurant-owning brothers since Albert and Michel Roux. Unlike the Roux brothers, the Galvins specialise in fine cooking, rather than fine-dining, and they are English, not French – not that you would ever guess it from their food; an evolved, contemporary take on classic cuisine bourgeoise.