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To buy a ticket for a hotly tipped play, within seconds of booking opening, requires perseverance and nerve as websites falter, payments vanish and a confirmation finally limps through. The goal is to see a top cast, whose fluency and fluidity is testament to years of determination – getting to drama school, being noticed at the end-of-year shows, getting an audition, getting a part and nailing it.  

Sugar snap curry makes a lovely spring or summer vegetable accompaniment, starter or part of a cold buffet

Sugar snap curry

Serves 4

Feast in the East: a sushi bar in the Japanese capital

My life in travel: Yotam Ottolenghi

'In Tokyo, I spent nights sitting in bars, eating noodles, raw fish and fried foods'

Tomatoes and crab on toast

Tomatoes and crab on toast

Serves 4

Blood feuds are becoming a theme of Aminatta Forna’s work

Review: The Hired Man, By Aminatta Forna

Step-by-step DIY guide to ending a Balkan blood feud

Barley: Planting is down 19 per cent. Seed for spring planting is in short supply

Beleaguered farmers' third poor harvest in a row means British shoppers will rely on imported food - and prices will rise

Crops from potatoes and peas to cereals are being hit, leading to increased reliance on imported produce

Bohemian charm in Tulum

The Hedonist: What to see and where to be seen

Ruth Rogers: 'You can tell a chef’s skill from the way they make a pasta pomodoro'

My life in food: Ruth Rogers, chef-owner of the River Café

Rogers is chef-owner of the River Café in London. She co-founded the restaurant with the late Rose Gray, with whom she also wrote books (the million-selling River Café cookbooks) and shared a Michelin star. Although her protégés included Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver, Rogers is not a trained chef herself. Last year Rogers was a finalist for Veuve Clicquot's Business Woman Award last year and now sits on the awards panel, which recognises successful female entrepreneurs worldwide.

This joker's wild: a liberated Russell Brand

Russell Brand hails 'perfect' anti-addiction concert acts

Russell Brand said he had put together the "perfect bill" for his anti-addiction concert with acts including Noel Gallagher, Rizzle Kicks, and Nicole Scherzinger.

Pitta bread pizzas 

Six delicious dishes you can make in halls on the cheap

Beat the kebab cravings and the nights spent spooning spaghetti hoops from the tin with these six incredibly simple-to-make recipes

Despite countless varieties many Britons like their baked beans too much to experiment

There’s more to beanz than Heinz

Think beyond the can and try your hand at cassoulets and Boston baked beans, says Christopher Hirst

The Mater Ecclesiae and its extensive ground will be the new home for Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI: the monastic life awaits – with plenty of time for his cats

Pope had his eye on a retirement home within Vatican City for some time

From horse to lasagne: Findus, supply chains, and why buying local is the answer in an ideal world only

Labyrinthine supply chains exist for a reason - to fill a demand for cheap meat

Butter is made by churning fresh cream or milk whereas margarine is made of vegetable fats

Margarine's not bad - but butter's better

Remind me again why butter is so bad? Oh, that’s right. It’s high in fat. Newsflash: we need fat. Good old natural fat, in moderation.

Flapjacks are a quick and easy snack or dessert - it might not come out looking quite as perfect as this, though

Five quick and easy dessert recipes for students

Why not treat yourself to a nice dessert sometimes? We've gathered some recipes for you to try out if you want to impress...

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Career Services

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona from £949pp
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Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
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Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
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Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
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How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
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Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
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'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
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Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

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England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

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Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

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‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week