Life and Style

At the risk of straying into territory staked out by my more lurid male counterparts, I once saw a strip bar in Nashville with a neon sign outside advertising '99 Beautiful Girls! And One Ugly One'. They can get away with that kind of playful hucksterism down in the American South. Here, outraged punters would be demanding refunds and invoking the Trade Descriptions Act.

Suspended coffee: what a wonderful idea

Customers pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can’t afford one - it's a simple concept which should be introduced to coffee shops in the UK

Phone home: Vlod and Sasha with family at their wedding

Grace Dent on TV: A Very British Wedding

I don't know why this wedding involves a vodka syringe, but if you actually like people it's a delight

Calcutta: Two Years in the City, By Amit Chaudhuri

An engrossing journey through Calcutta delves beneath its poverty and drabness

F1: Martin Whitmarsh admits McLaren are 'undoubtedly struggling'

McLaren slow during practice for the Australian Grand Prix

Student election posters at Edinburgh University

Vote with your feet and give student elections a miss this year

Elected student officials would at least be harmless - if they weren't so expensive, reckons Eleanor Doughty

If dogs were cows and horses pigs…

Tales From The Water Cooler

Cruise hell: 'sewage running down walls and savages fighting over dwindling food supplies'

Passengers on board the Carnival Triumph using mobile phones to convey tales of carpets soaked in urine and passengers sleeping in tents on deck

Bog standard? Walham Green loos have been snapped up by café owner Luciano Lo Dico for £585,000

Hardly bog standard: the half-million pound public loo (and other converted washroom hits)

West London toilet-turned-cafe is the latest in a trend for converted conveniences

The former England captain Michael Vaughan launches Yorkshire Tea’s deal at Lord’s yesterday

Stephen Brenkley: A storm in a sponsored cup... ECB stirs up controversy by selling off the tea break

Tea has always been archaic yet sacrosanct. As an institution it has embodied the entire ethos of a type of game that probably did not exist, except perhaps at Blandings: at 20 minutes in length, neither one thing nor the other.

Freshen up: the 1920s townhouse has a new lease of life

Room Service: Lastarria, Santiago de Chile

Colonial chic in a buzzy barrio

Five-Minute Memoir: A steep learning curve on the Appalachian Trail

It never occurred to us how far from help we were. Baldpate is a mountain in the wilds of western Maine, New England. It stands 3,780 feet tall. The Appalachian Trail runs up one side and down the other. There are no legal campsites on the mountain, but Tony and I were 23, and we didn't care about rules.

Postcard from... Jerusalem

Since moving to Jerusalem a little over three weeks ago, there have been several unpleasant shocks to my system.

Postcard from... New York

When is a foot not a foot? When it's a Subway Footlong, according to a picture posted by a customer which has been doing the rounds on the internet. The Australian sandwich connoisseur whipped out his measuring tape – as you do – and discovered that his sandwich came up short. A mere 11-ish inches.

Page 3 Profile: Anna Soubry, Conservative MP

Another attack on junk food?

The market in Abidjan, the largest city in Ivory Coast

A risky route through Ivory Coast: Decades of neglect, yet a former glory remains

One guy grabbed the bag slung over my shoulder as his friend snatched the sunglasses from my face. They held me in place as a mob formed around us on the pavement and everyone started shouting.

Voices
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
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Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

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...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
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'