Voices

It’s day nine of my 10-day Italian detox, and I have to admit to feeling seriously blissed out. I’m so relaxed that it actually makes me uncomfortable, it being such a rare thing in my existence. I spoke to my wife and kids on Skype, and watched them bickering away back in my normal existence. I told them to calm down and not talk to each other in that manner. Something in my new spiritual persona jarred with them and they all stopped arguing with each other and stared at the screen.

ME case study: 'She told me that she did not want to carry on'

The mother of an ME sufferer tells Cahal Milmo how the condition debilitated her daughter

Charlie Sheen 'held four-inch blade' to wife's neck during row

Emergency call recorded moments of terror at climax of five-hour argument

Observations: Barbican's vampire show is theatre to get your teeth into

If imitation is a form of flattery, Twilight star Robert Pattinson ought to be pleased by the posters for new teen vampire flick, Cirque du Freak, whose young lead is a dead (or should that be undead?) ringer. The continuing mania surrounding Twilight on the big screen and the HBO series True Blood on the small meant it was only a matter of time before vampires invaded other cultural spheres.

Spiritualized, Royal Festival Hall, London

The first edition of Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space came in a mock-up packet of pills: the slim cardboard box contained a leaflet of instructions and a plastic tray covered in foil that you had to break open to reveal the CD itself, which looked like a giant aspirin. It was a beautiful piece of design, but for the fact that, once you returned it to the box after its first few plays, the CD rattled around so freely in there that it quickly became scratched, rendering around half of the tracks unplayable.

Tips and deals: 04/10/2009

The kit

Is it a pair of sunglasses, is it a cunningly disguised 4GB USB flash drive? It's both! These Calvin Klein shades would suit James Bond down to the ground. You, too, if you want to keep your computer files by your right temple. Price £120, go to marchon.com

Dress code: Amanda Byram, TV presenter

What are you wearing right now?

My grey bootcut True Religion jeans, named for a reason... a James Perse white shirt, a grey Elizabeth and James cardigan, black office gladiator sandals and my Baby-G diving watch.

Accessories all areas

Autumn's hard-edged glamour requires killer heels, delectable bags and dramatic jewellery. The devil really is in the detail, says Gemma Hayward

Style and beauty tips for the beach

From the skimpiest of bikinis to retro shades, style insiders reveal their seaside essentials and beauty tips to Carola Long – while The Independent's fashion team pick their own holiday must-haves

Pensioner crashes into opticians

He may have needed to go for an eye test – but possibly not by car. An 89-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle while driving down a busy street yesterday and ploughed through the front of an optician's shop, causing damage estimated at thousands of pounds.

The Sketch: Little Man in the Big Chair prepares to repel all boarders

The look on the faces of the Tories hadn't been seen since the Great Stink of 1858. There was an almost visible heat ripple of loathing coming off the top of their Conservative heads.

John Lichfield: How I became chic growing roses and parsnips

For the first time in my life, possibly only briefly, I have reached the pinnacle of Parisian chic. The newspaper, Le Figaro, has published a list of what it calls the panoplie du snob: a catalogue of 50 things which are at the furthest cutting-edge of in-your-face trendiness amongst the wealthy, Parisian chattering classes.

Howard Jacobson: Live fast, die young – or spend your old age playing canasta with the ladies

The latest figures showing that men are 100 times more likely to die of everything than women – and at a quarter of their age, and in double the agony – are all I need. I am approaching the age at which my father died – I am not actually, but if you fear you are, you are. What, when all is said and done, does "approaching" mean? Life is just one short, inescapable approach. I had a friend at university who kept a notebook of the ages at which his father, his grandfather, his great-grandfather, his great-great-grandfather etc, kicked the bucket, ticking each off and throwing a small gloomy party in his rooms as soon he'd survived it. But he only gave us water. His maternal grandfather had died of sherry poisoning.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee