Travel

Featuring a chic rooftop poolside, antique-inspired interiors, a former cinema, diner-style eating, a Korean restaurant, and an all-service spa

Top Tories fear a return to 'nasty party' image

Rhetoric about benefit "scroungers" and "skivers" used by the Conservatives will be toned down after a backlash from their own ministers and MPs, who fear the attacks could revive the Tories' image as "the nasty party".

Gay weddings are 'just the same as everyone else'

Dos and Don'ts for gay Bishops in the Church of England

The Church has opened its doors to gay - but celibate - bishops

Five-Minute Memoir: Andrew Kaufman recalls the day a friendship went wrong

The trip wasn't about celebrating Cinco de Mayo. I wasn't even sure what Cinco de Mayo was. Few people in south-western Ontario, the industrial heartland of Canada, did. All I knew for sure was that it was both American and Mexican, which seemed like an odd combination, interesting but potentially volatile.

Harriet Walker: Whatever happened to New Year karma?

I never know what I'm going to do on New Year's Eve. That is, I can take a very vague guess: what I presume I will do is lie around for most of the day, then go somewhere, get drunk, wonder what all the fuss was about and go to sleep fully clothed round my friend's house.

Was £168, now £79.95. Add a touch of spring to your bedroom with this Esperanza quilt, anthropologie.co.uk

Time to bag a bargain

Fancy upgrading your interiors? Brave the cold – and the other shoppers – and you could find your dream sale item. Trish Lorenz explains how

Why have the Tories rejected the spirit of 2012?

The Conservatives’ new tactic is a betrayal of all that Cameron stood for when he became leader

Simply divine: ‘Belief’ presenter Joan Bakewell

The Week In Radio: Joan, Jimmy and
Julian know how to lift the spirit

At the tail end of Christmas Day many of you, like me, will have found yourself reflecting on life’s big questions.

Come Dine With Me, University Challenge, The Hoarder Next Door and Graham Norton

Our pick of the best on the box this festive season

Sussex-based Nessie Maclay designs beautiful handmade greeting cards and stationery for her company Thisisnessie
Sussex-based Nessie Maclay designs beautiful handmade greeting cards and stationery for her company Thisisnessie
Don't be a lonely snowman this year

Single at Christmas. Is that such a bad thing?

As a single girl myself I know that all too often singles can be pitied because they’re on their own at Christmas. Even that sentence, ‘on their own’, sounds wrong. They’re not on their own, they’re just not in a relationship at that particular time. Besides, why should being single at Christmas be so miserable? It’s a great time of year whatever your age, whatever you relationship status.

<p><strong>Fizz Foam Fold Out, £189.99</strong></p>
<p><em><a href=argos.co.uk

With its deep, plump pillows and jet-black cover, you'd never guess that the Fizz Foam Fold out costs less than £200. Even less so, when you see it fold out, which it does with unusual ease, and turn into a comfy occasional bed.

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Fizz Foam Fold Out, £189.99

argos.co.uk

With its deep, plump pillows and jet-black cover, you'd never guess that the Fizz Foam Fold out costs less than £200. Even less so, when you see it fold out, which it does with unusual ease, and turn into a comfy occasional bed.

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The 10 Best sofa beds

Got the relatives coming to stay this Christmas? Put them up in style with one of these stylish (and comfy) couches

'Call The Midwife' and 'Downton Abbey' will not go head-to-head this Christmas

Broadcasting: Telly rivals call a truce for Christmas – you can, too

With the much-publicised trouncing of The X Factor in the ratings by Strictly Come Dancing, the rivalry between ITV and BBC is as healthy as ever. But have the networks called a Christmas truce?

Harriet Walker: Winter food should be snuggly

I very nearly ordered a veal's head in Paris last weekend. I couldn't help it – I've been conditioned by so many trendy new London openings into thinking that eating out should be an experience akin to going to a theme park, with the point of ordering like the slow ascent up the initial climb, and the presentation of the dishes that heady, brief pause before you whoosh into the om-nom-nomming of stuffing your face, as if your mouth were bagged open on the descent by G-force.

<p><strong>Explorers Club, Franschhoek</strong></p>
<p>An hour’s drive from Cape Town leads to the vineyards of Franschhoek. Here, adventurer and antiques collector Jo Sinfield has designed a group of stylish self-catering rentals dotted throughout the town. The main one is Explorers Club which sleeps six adults and four children in a mixture of doubles and bunks. It has vintage maps on the walls, recycled furniture and subtle African accents throughout. Three other properties – The Library, Cook’s Cottage and The Map Room – are available for smaller groups.</p>
<p>Explorers Club, 18 Wilhelmina Street, Franschhoek (00 27 72 464  1240; <a href=explorersclub.co.za). Nightly rental R5,900 (£415). Sleeps 10.

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Explorers Club, Franschhoek

An hour’s drive from Cape Town leads to the vineyards of Franschhoek. Here, adventurer and antiques collector Jo Sinfield has designed a group of stylish self-catering rentals dotted throughout the town. The main one is Explorers Club which sleeps six adults and four children in a mixture of doubles and bunks. It has vintage maps on the walls, recycled furniture and subtle African accents throughout. Three other properties – The Library, Cook’s Cottage and The Map Room – are available for smaller groups.

Explorers Club, 18 Wilhelmina Street, Franschhoek (00 27 72 464  1240; explorersclub.co.za). Nightly rental R5,900 (£415). Sleeps 10.

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The Big Six: South African villas

From the Explorers Club in Franschhoek to Wilderness Haven in the wild coastal town that is known as a top whale-watching spot...

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high