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Conservative halve Labour’s poll lead

Work smarter and harder and longer to find your dream

Downshifting doesn't mean packing in a stressful job for a life of tranquil idyll. Meg Carter and Rachelle Thackray talk to people who made the jump and never looked back

There's big bread in sandwiches

We spend pounds 3bn a year on them, reports Melanie Clulow

Wednesday's book: Before I Say Goodbye by Ruth Picardie (Penguin, pounds 5.99)

Ruth Picardie's liberal parents left South Africa in the "ugly aftermath of Sharpeville", writes her husband, Matt Seaton, in the preface to this book by and about his deceased wife. The family had to contend with another sort of injustice when Ruth died of cancer aged 33, less than a year after being diagnosed.

Food for thought: Breakfast of champions

If you fancy some early-morning sustenance, you've usually got three options if you want to eat out - a croissant in a cafe, an artery- clogging fry-up in a greasy spoon or some posh nosh in a London hotel. But now an increasing number of restaurants are opening for breakfast during the week (several have done weekend brunches and the like for some time), serving up everything from pizza to kidneys to grilled salmon and seaweed.

Profit from passion

Two studies show that people work better if they believe in what they are doing and are emotionally engaged with the company they work for. Roger Trapp reports

With a canteen like this, who needs Conran?

If the words "staff canteen" summon up images of chips with everything, lumpy custard and Formica tables, think again, says Helen Jones. Eating at work is changing and, for some employees, focaccia has replaced Mother's Pride

Outakes: Damien Whitmore on a new direction for advertising at the Tate Gallery

`We are opening a new Tate Gallery of Modern Art at Bankside, and relaunching the Tate Gallery of British Art at Millbank, so we need to double our audience by the year 2000. Advertising plays a key role in attracting new audiences. But we felt that our usual advertising - just an image and a name, which is what most art galleries use - wasn't enough to attract them.

From famine to feast

Roger Trapp meets a man whose fine foods business has moved a long way from where it started, in the back of his car

How the DJ turned the tables

Capital Radio is kicking itself for letting Chris Evans get to Virgin first. But, Hilary Clarke wonders, is theirs the next station on his list?

Cafe Society: South Ken's Chinese puzzle

Hungry for culture but hungrier for food? Now the People's museums are waging war on the taxpayer, a full meal at Paper Tiger costs less than seeing the Great Bed of Ware at the V&A, as Serena Mackesy found out

Christmas Food & Drink: The new mail order

A live lobster, an alligator steak and a suckling pig are just some of the first-class foods you can buy mail order. Rachelle Thackray on how to get your Christmas dinner by post

City: I work for Julian Metcalfe

Beaky Evette works for the chairman of the Pret A Manger sandwich company

Radio: Tolstoy in 10 easy episodes

'War and Peace' on the wireless? Even stranger, it was recorded in a Soho almshouse. Sue Gaisford listened in report David Malouf would hate to bepigeon holed as another Sue Gaisford identity' novelist.He'd

Who called the taste police?

All is minimal, all is tasteful, all is bleached beech and pan- fried kangaroo. Whatever happened to individual style? asks Eleanor Bailey

How the personal touch replaces `automated hell'

There could no better sign of the transformation quietly gripping Shell's bureaucracy than the sight of Phil Turberville, head of the European refining and marketing division, donning a set of overalls and filling a customer's petrol tank.
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Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Former ‘Daily Mirror’ editor Piers Morgan
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
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The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
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Prices correct as of 28 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game