Life and Style

Considerable volumes of wishful thinking and even more hot air have been expended on the 'wonderful' 2012 Burgundy vintage, currently on offer. Sparing you the hyperbole and cutting to the chase, Burgundy 2012 is a good vintage in which a handful of great wines have been made by a few exceptional growers. It is not a rising tide that raises all boats in the mould of 2005 or 2010.

A scene from Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug review

For all its use of 3D and digital technology, this is an old-fashioned romp at heart – a piece of pure cinematic escapism

Mariah Carey's Christmas classic 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' is still guaranteed a spin at the office party

Christmas songs: the best and the worst

Whack on some Mariah Carey but leave the Cliff Richard to grandma

A scene from The Duck House at the Vaudeville Theatre

Postcard from... Spain

Life's a beach: 'fingers' on Playa Brava

A big hand for Punta del Este

In this week's Lonely Planet 'Great Escape', discover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side

Five things to do for a fiver in London this December

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. But a good time in the capital needn’t break the bank.

Noddy Holder must be glad he wrote 'Merry Xmas Everybody' as he'll earn £800,000 this year from royalties.

Slade's 'Merry Xmas Everybody' to rake in over £520,000 in royalties by end of the year

Slade's 1973 hit still features on almost every festive playlist

Take note, supermarkets: We already have laws in place concerning alcohol and children

Supermarkets have been stopping parents buying alcohol where children are present

Fruit beers could soon fall foul of French taxes

Postcard from... Brussels

The Belgians’ sweet tooth is not limited to the calorific chocolates and truffles they consume: their famous beers are also often laced with sugar, especially the fruity brews enjoyed across the country.

Going home for Christmas: The best ways to freeload off your parents in the holidays

After a term's worth of student living, why not make the most of the comforts of home this Christmas?

The 10 Best Christmas hampers

From gourmet festive fare to chocolates with a royal seal of approval, these fine hampers make mouth-watering pressies for foodies

Festive cheer: The 12 bottles of Christmas

From sparklers to the dessert wines, Terry Kirby reveals the drinks that will get you in the festive spirit...

Wine: Something for the weekend?

Night in

Keep it on ice: Mark Hix reveals his delicious freezer essentials

Great ingredients such as prawns, globe artichokes and tomato sauce can all be kept in your freezer, ready to be deployed at the drop of a hat for a delicious tasting dish. You can even have a vodka shot on hand, too

Grace Dent on TV: Imagine – Who’s Afraid of Machiavelli?

Mr Memory, who was brought on Monday’s Newsnight to memorise the title sequence and couldn’t even remember that Jeremy bloke with the beard’s name. Gosh I love telly. 

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Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
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Day In a Page

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
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

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DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

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Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
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Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

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Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

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Michael Calvin's Last Word

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