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.

Does size really matter? It does when it comes to your sandwich: Two men sue 'Subway' over size of their 'Footlong'

Company initially issued a statement saying that the sandwich lengths can vary a bit when franchises do not bake to the exact standard

Why flexitarians like me fit neatly into an an age when everyone is so afraid to commit

Meat-eaters are carnivores; the rest are veggies; and there's nothing in between. But might a flexible approach to other rigid concepts help us make sense of modern life?

The great French stench: 'Sulphur with sooty notes, like boiled egg, singed with a blow torch'

As a cloud of foul-smelling gas wafts over from France, Tom Peck visits Redhill, south London to sniff out the local reaction to its latest unwelcome visitor

Head v heart: Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese and Swansea’s Angel Rangel (pictured) both acted on their core beliefs, with very different results

The Last Word: A rare Angel among the callous Saints

How Rangel's charitable gesture contrasts with the graceless world of men like Nicola Cortese

Polly the cat travelled 1,700 miles trapped in a train's undercarriage.

InterKitty train: trapped cat travels 1,700 miles

A two-year-old tabby cat was found in "surprisingly good condition" after travelling 1,700 miles trapped in a train's undercarriage.

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.

TV review: Borgen, The Last Worker

Tom Leece is Film and TV editor at Fourth & Main

Lisa Markwell: Why has cooking become a spectator sport?

So, Delia Smith has left Waitrose to spend more time with her football team/husband/mixing bowl. Her on-screen husband, Heston Blumenthal, meanwhile, will continue to hawk the posh groceries, while those of us who love Delia hope she might return to what we always liked best – foolproof recipes. By which I mean her How to Cook heyday; let's draw a veil quietly over the cheat's book, which used frozen mash (shudder).

Pret a Manger

Pret workers want more for their smile: enough pay and hours to live on

The sandwich and coffee chain’s reputation is being challenged

'I accidentally touched another commuter’s hand on the handrails on the tube today' - by Dragodot

British People Problems: BuzzFeed meme attracts more than 230,000 views in 24 hours

An online forum for a uniquely British form of moaning has gone viral in the US. Liam O'Brien celebrates

Grace Dent on TV: Jamie and Jimmy's Food Fight Club, Channel 4

Giant jam sandwiches and silly sausage fights are ruining our beloved celebrity chefs

Questionable Time: Will Self and Peter Hitchens keep each other honest

In the last QT before Christmas, we spare a thought for Justine Greening, sandwiched between two of the most antagonistic gum-flappers this country has ever produced

Six things I’ve learnt watching Fresh Meat

When Fresh Meat first aired in 2011, I had just gone through the ordeal most commonly known as Fresher’s week. Interested to know how Peep Show creators Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain would portray university life, I at first found Fresh Meat surprisingly realistic... except that university students do work some of the time, but that wouldn’t make for very entertaining television.

Christmas turkey? Why not go for a goose

The traditional Christmas bird may not be cheap, says Anthea Gerrie, but with its uniquely delicious fat and crispy crackling, it’s a festive feast that keeps on giving

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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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