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Conservative halve Labour’s poll lead

One burger, hold the carbon

Fast food is bad for us – and even worse for the planet. While chains are trying to make their meals ethical, they could do more, argues Sophie Morris

Contactless cards: the pros and cons of new payment technology

Smart cards which store data will make life easier, but are they safe?

The Fountain Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly, London

Fortnum & Mason sells fare fit for a Queen. But there can be no such gushing praise for its Fountain restaurant

Attack of the mega-calorie popcorn

Film fans should be given more information about how many calories they consume during a trip to the cinema, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said today.

Hit & Run: Downhill in denim

Seth Wescott is a lot of things – a bit of a dude, pretty hot on a snowboard and, perhaps, the first man in Olympic history to win a gold medal while wearing jeans. At least they looked like jeans. The American competitor, who nabbed gold in Monday's thrilling snowboard cross final crossed the line in a pair of baggy ski pants with a faded denim finish, jeans pockets and rivets.

Britain's appetite for fast food is proving insatiable

The number of takeaway outlets in Britain's 10 largest cites rose by 8 per cent last year as cash-strapped customers looked for cheaper food options, reports James Thompson

Coffee shops beat the chill with rapid expansion

Consumers are helping big chains to defy the downturn. James Thompson reports

Queen of the high street: Mary Portas is hoping to help independents with her new retail masterclasses

She's best known for the BBC2 TV show Mary, Queen Of Shops, where she's revived flagging retail businesses, but Mary Portas wasn't always set for a career on the high street. In her youth, she had ambitions of being an actress and even gained a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Consuming Issues: Is your favourite restaurant dirty?

Marco Pierre White once likened the front of his star restaurant to heaven and its kitchen to hell. He was talking about the ordeal for staff (among them Gordon Ramsay), but there are other, unknown horrors happening behind the swing doors.

Hotbed warms the hearts of its smaller investors

Gary Robins' democratic firm is thriving, writes Simon Evans. And then there's the pole-dancing

Get into a real pickle: How to make delicious and guilt-free homemade preserves

Claire Soares learns how to cook for the store cupboard

How tuna conquered the world

We swallowed it in sandwiches. We scoffed it as sushi. Now it's swimming straight towards extinction. How did the global appetite for tuna become insatiable? Martin Hickman reports

John Walsh: ‘Perhaps it’s time a major newspaper investigated cleaners’ expenses’

Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law, Clare Brown, has gone into print to explain about l’affaire Madame Mopp. You may recall that, among the epoch-making revelations about MPs’ domestic expenses, the PM was revealed to have paid his brother Andrew several thousand quid for the shared use of a cleaner. Ms Brown explained how she extended her own cleaner’s workload so that her industrious in-law shouldn’t be overwhelmed by work. In doing so, she paints an unlovely picture of Gordon’s domestic routine (“Gordon was already the sort of guy who might have to change shirts twice a day, and who would have streams of people trudging through his flat, usually leaving dirty mugs and takeaway cartons in their wake”) in which the Prime Minister resembles a sweaty drug dealer.

Smoothie operators sell out to Coke

Have the founders of the Innocent label compromised their ethics by taking £30m from a corporate giant? Martin Hickman investigates

Skinny lattes all round – coffee shops cut the calorie count

Seven of the biggest chains are making their menus healthier by reducing fat and salt in snacks and drinks
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam