i

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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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