Jessica Ennis in action during the 60 metre hurdles heats

Ennis timing her run to perfection

The Russians are coming. Six months after Jessica Ennis was relieved of her World Championship heptathlon crown by Tatyana Chernova, another potential golden girl of the multi-events scene happens to be emerging from within the boundaries of the Russian Federation. Competing in Moscow last week, the previously unheralded Ekaterina Bolshova won her national pentathlon championship with a score of 4,896 points – 41 more than Chernova has ever amassed.

Ruby Walsh clears the last on Quel Esprit to win the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopards town yesterday

Quel Esprit jumps to head of Ireland's Gold Cup hopefuls

The novice chasers who did look the part last season have largely failed to do so since entering open company. Yet the one who finally made the grade, at Leopardstown yesterday, failed to get round in three of his first four steeplechases. For all that Quel Esprit did not beat a vintage field in the Hennessy Gold Cup, then, he may yet continue to confound expectations.

We Love: Chucky Ts - The cartoon band Gorillaz were an obvious choice for a new collaboration with Converse, which sees Murdoc and co. decorating four styles of the canvas high-top shoe. From £45, converse.com

The Fashion Audit: Chucky Ts, Anklets and Bobble Hats

What we love, we're not sure about, we're buying and can't wait for....

1. Office: £60, office.co.uk - This pair of brown leather lace-up shoes is a great all-rounder. The classic shape and style will work well with a grey suit but would also look great with a cuffed pair of chinos.

The Ten Best Men's shoes

From lace-ups to loafers and from brogues to boots, there are plenty of new styles to step out in...

On The Road: Slippers, saffron, and a game of hide and souk in Marrakech

It had all started so well. An early encounter with a babouche salesman resulted in a 50 per cent discount on his original price. These typical Moroccan slippers were made from the finest camel hide, he explained, and had taken his brother-in-law's family weeks to make.

Sebastian Faulks: I'll never forget how my personal Birdsong saga began

I well remember this assignment. I was literary editor of The Independent at the time, but enjoyed getting out of the office whenever possible. I had been interested in the First World War for a long time, so when the idea of this trip to France was proposed I was quick to volunteer.

Mark Donne: Supermarket success is costing us dear

Together, the big four supermarket chains make up the largest block employer in Britain outside the NHS: nearly 900,000 people work for Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys or Morrisons. And the Coalition is banking on the supermarkets recruiting again in serious numbers in 2012. But a new report by the Fair Pay Network demonstrates how the Big Four are complicit in keeping thousands of people in poverty. In the last trading year, Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons reported pre-tax profits of £3.5bn; £803m; £827m and £632m respectively. Their executives and CEOs revelled in the bounty with individual remuneration packages ranging from £3m to nearly £7m.

Mark Donne: Shelf-stackers aren't the only victims

The cost to the state of subsidising low pay with tax credits and housing benefit is huge
Judy Greer is set to come into her own following her scene-stealing appearance as a wronged wife in Oscar favourite The Descendants
Exercising barefoot allows the body to move as nature intended

Work out and bare your soles

Experts say that to get the best from a workout, we should kick off our shoes

Going up: Duda Jadrijevic, who started her own business and runs one of the More To Life Than Shoes network's groups

The sky's the limit: You don't have to swagger like an Apprentice to succeed in business

Will Dean meets the co-founder of a careers network with a simple twist

Charles van Commenee is the Dutchman hoping to guide Team GB to a golden summer

Charles van Commenee: Van the man guiding home nation's hopes

Charles van Commenee enters Olympic year with four world-class athletes in his charge – but, as he tells Simon Turnbull, he wishes he had more

Phyllida Lloyd: 'Movie making is an extreme sport on many levels. It requires stamina such as I had never imagined'

Phyllida Lloyd: Prime mover

With Mamma Mia!, she directed the most successful British film of all time. Can she bring the same magic touch to her portrait of Margaret Thatcher?

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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