i Robert Burns, 1759 to 1796. Scottish Poet

Ah, Scotland’s favourite son.

Laura Mvula, Sing to the Moon (RCA)

Album review: Laura Mvula, Sing to the Moon (RCA)

While Laura Mvula deserves credit for blending her Caribbean heritage with her classical training, Sing to the Moon is far from the masterpiece some claim.

Tom Hodgkinson: The boys seem happiest surrounded by screens

What's wrong with children? However much you attempt to instill an anti-consumerist philosophy into them, they still hurl themselves unthinkingly at the latest fads, costing you an arm and a leg in the process.

Hearty dish: Mark's lamb pudding

Lamb pudding

Serves 4-6

Mark incorporates bergamot into his Earl of Sussex pudding

Earl of Sussex pudding

Serves 4-6

Bread sauce: Collect sandwich crusts in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer; when there is enough, whizz in a food processor and use to make bread sauce or keep for toppings

There's food for thought in the festive fridge: How to make a meal from Christmas leftovers

It pays to make a tasty meal out of leftovers

'Elf and Safety: the Twelve Myths of Christmas

Those festive sorts at the Government's Health and Safety watchdog, wearied presumably by annual comparisons to Dr Seuss's Grinch, have released their own guide to Christmas, debunking twelve myths about their work and its party-pooping nature.

Thawing of relationship between Fifa and FA

The Football Association and Fifa today moved to heal the rift between the organisations that developed after England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

DmC Devil May Cry – Preview

With DmC we think Ninja Theory have created something to appease all but the most ardent of naysayers.

Album: The Eccentronic Research Council, 1612 Underture (Bird)

1612 Underture is an electronic concept album which uses the trial of the Pendle Witches in 17th century Lancashire as the focus for a meditation on the social divides that still grip the North or, as it's described here, "the home of hard-grafting bastards, where even the children have Vimto moustaches".

Terry Spinks

Further to Steve Bunce's obituary (28 April), I hadn't seen Terry Spinks for many years and I was pleasantly surprised when, sometime in the late 1990s he came into my pub, The Woodman, at Stanford Rivers, Essex, writes Eddie Johnson. He was having treatment at a hospital nearby and his devoted cousin Rosemary was taking him home for the weekend and they decided to have a drink (non-alcoholic) before continuing the journey to Chadwell Heath.

Book Of A Lifetime: Clarissa, By Samuel Richardson

No one evokes the feeling of being trapped like an 18th-century author. The smallness of the city, the difficulties of transport and communication as compared to now, meant that one obsession, one place, could take over your life. They say that Henry Fielding's 'Tom Jones' created earthquakes on its publication in 1749 – if so, then 'Clarissa' should have inspired a volcano. It is a novel simmering with anger.

Herding Cats, Hampstead Theatre, London

Lucinda Coxon's play may be set in the run-up to Christmas but don't go expecting feel-good Yule-tide fare.

'Leave the turkey on low': The chefs' compendium of Christmas tips, tricks and recipes

Just how long does it take to cook a turkey? Is it possible to make the humble sprout sing? And what's the best thing to do with all that leftover pudding? Our experts have the answers...

Emergency: more puddings please, Heston

It is the ultimate middle-class nightmare, and likely to cause mayhem in the aisles: Waitrose has sold out of its Heston Blumenthal's Hidden Orange Christmas puddings, forcing desperate customers to bid up to £150 for the desserts on eBay.

ABEL & COLE ORGANIC LUXURY CHRISTMAS PUDDING
<p>14/20</p>
<p>From the porcelain bowl plopped a 'rather splendid' pudding with a 'nice matt surface' in mid-tan brown. The tasting panel liked its 'firm texture' with 'plenty of fruit and nuts' and the pleasingly 'restrained sweetness'. 'It stays together and you can really taste the fruit.' Unfortunately, it was 'not very spicy' though the label lists mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. The replacement of beef suet by palm oil (somewhere between 4-7 per cent) in this 'traditional pudding' makes it 'suitable for vegetarians'. £15.99 (600g)</p>

The pud, the bad and the ugly: 15 Christmas puddings are put to the taste test

It completes the Yuletide blow-out. But with so many Christmas puddings to choose from, Christopher Hirst sorts the stupendous from the stodge

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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 tomorrow
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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
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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...
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Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

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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'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

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Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

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Rodgers fights for his reputation

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Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

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Michael Calvin's Last Word

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